Dealing with a selfish parent

organic_egyptOctober 9, 2009

I am 29 and my mother is 52. We live together and work together because of a difficult financial situation.

I am left to do most of the work. The only reason she is working now is because I kept pointing out that I am doing all of the work while she took up the role, equivalent to a housewife, and this is not our arrangement.

She treats me with no respect. She quit four jobs while I was growing up, because she did not like something about them, when she had no other job lined up. we had to move from place to place, getting thrown out for not paying the rent, and actually going through times of having no food.

I started working at 18, legal age in my country, and all the money went into the house to keep the roof over our heads and to feed us, yet I am given absolutely no respect. Her needs come first, her needs at her age. I am tired of her, I am sick of her. She has no regard for my existence, and after all of these years it has gotten worse.

I love her, I could not abandon a mother who is not working, but my God, she should have done something with her life after all of this time and not depended on me. Taking care of her is not my role.

The business is not doing it's best at the moment, and I cannot put her int he street. We cannot afford to live apart yet. So, how am I to deal with this.

She does not listen to me, If I try to talk about my feelings they are met with her feelings. Her only response is her feelings and her thoughts, which usually are that I am trying to ruin her day, I need to just be happy and make her life easier.

She who has taken the easy road everyday of her life!!!

I don't know what to do now, I have to save my life and my sanity. This doesn't begin to cover the full of this situation, but I hope it paints an adequate picture.

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Hi there

I can fully understand your resentment in this situation.

What would be the best outcome for you ? Would it be that you want your mother to appreciate you a bit more, and acknowledge your input in the household?

Your mother is fairly young, assuming she is fit and healthy, then she should be able to contribute in some way.

Do you have any siblings who could help out ?

What about your personal life - are you happy with that aspect of your life ? Do you have leisure time with friends ?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 2:30AM
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Because of the money situation right now, leisure time is maybe once to twice a month, as $$$ allows.

She is perfectly healthy and fit, this is the hardest part of all of this; there is no reason for her to be so laid back and dependent. She chooses to use her age and discontinued education as an excuse for sitting at home while I am working my ass off and there is still financial struggle here. Our neighbor who is ten yearws older than her and has arthritis goes to work, we all have to do what we must do.

I do feel a need to be appreciated more, and treated better. I do not have any siblings, which is the major problem, I cannot say "I have done my fair share now you do yours" to anyone, I am the only one, and she knows that I will not throw her out, she is taking advantage of the situation, I only wish I could learn to be as manipulative as her, and turn some of this back on her.

I really just need a coping mechanism until I can bring this situation to an end. I am tired of working so hard and being dragged to my wits ends like this. She is not my child. I don't owe her my life. Yet I cannot abandon her.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 7:52AM
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". She is not my child. I don't owe her my life. Yet I cannot abandon her."

You're contradicting yourself, you know that, don't you?

Living your own life and refusing to be verbally abused, does not constitute "abandonment." I would get out, or put HER out, regardless of the financial situation. Simply wouldn't put up with this. She didn't even have the decency to put a roof over YOUR head when you were a child - why should you feel obligated?

Tough love.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 9:16AM
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I do strongly desire to see her take her life and ways out of here.

She has taken up with this guy she swears is just a friend, but she is behaving like he is so much more. And he does not care a damn about me. He doesn't even care to say hello sometimes, and now I really feel like the parent.

She needs to pull her weight or let him pull it. Either way, she really has to go. I just don't know how to make it happen.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 3:52PM
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52? You're dealing with an unreasonable load of manure.

Tell her directly and tell her she needs to be on her own. I agree with you -- you don't owe her your life.

She knows she's being a stinker. Call her on it and tell her to buck up and move along. This is not "abandonment". Don't let her use that and don't use it on yourself. Kick her out!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 8:20PM
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Evidently she works off and on, wait until she is working and tell her if she quits this job she has to move out or you will. Or you can find the least expensive apartment you can and tell you will set her up for two months and then she is on her own.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 3:47PM
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You're a good daughter to have taken care of your mother's needs all these years. YOU OWE HER NOTHING MORE! She is taking advantage of you. She knows she can do it, and continue to do so because you're too nice a person to do anything about it. Your mother is a selfish, irresponsible person--perhaps she even has some mental or emotional issues.

You really need to sit down and decide just how long you plan to parent your mother. If you don't put your foot down soon (at 52, she's young enough to be making a life for herself), in a few years, she may start having physical problems that mean you really do have to become her caretaker--and when do you get to have YOUR life?

The bottom line here, is that your mother is going to take advantage of you as long as you let her. It's up to you--do you want to have her for a dependent for the rest of her life? Or do you want to be independent and have a chance at your own happiness? the only way a change is going to come, is if you make it happen. That's a rough position for you to be in, of course, but you're the only one who can change your circumstances.

I have a question? Is your mom's boyfriend living with you? or staying over? as well? It's hard to tell from your post--but if he is, there's no reason you should be supporting him as well. It's your home, let your mother know, NON-PAYING GUESTS don't get to have OVERNIGHT GUESTS! and stick to your guns.

I'm so sorry your mom has put you in this difficult position, but, on the other hand, you're going to come out of this a stronger person because of it. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 9:05AM
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Are you in Trinidad ?

Could you move out to another place ? Perhaps this is your only option here.

Was it expected that you would look after your mother like this? Different cultures view this obligation in a different light. My sister in law is in the same situation as you, she supports her mother, but this was something she was brought up to do. Whereas myself - this was not the path I was destined for.

This is wearing you out, and you have a right to some happiness in your life.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 6:46PM
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To Popi,

I am from Trinidad, and it is not the norm for the child to support the parent. I am being treated as if I have no rights at all, I know. She has the right to be lax in her ways, but I as the child do not have the right to call her on it, or to oppose her in any way as she just denies everything, she skirts acknowledging her wrong doing. She feels that she does not have to face anything, and when she does admit to something she offers a justification which makes her wrong actions perfectly acceptable to her, and if I don't agree then to hell with me! But if I fall short she really bears down on me.

I just want her to get a job and move on. This is my truest desire. I have been made aware that she has gone and gotten legal advise and actually given a copy of the keys to my home to someone to keep for her in case I throw her out. She has gotten counsel, as if I am the bad guy here!

I cannot believe this, I don't know what to do here, she is living with me, mainly on my strength, and mustering devices against me. I have lost all trust for her now. I am so heart broken and upset. what am I to do, put her in the street and change my locks. What about the torment in my soul?!

She is painfully self centered!! In every way!!! Every situation is treated with her in mind only. Where can I find hope here? I am the only child she has, she is treating me like crap, I know!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 10:58PM
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I think you need more guidance than we can possibly give you. It sounds like it's time for you to sit down and speak with an attorney. I'm NOT saying for you to initiate any kind of actions against your mom--yet. But given the situation you describe, you need to find out what your rights are, what kinds of things you can do and can't--legally. You need to have a lawyer tell you what the laws and practices are in your area, as far as how you can deal with your mother without ending up in legal trouble. She's already consulted counsel--you MUST get your own lawyer, so you know what your position is.

And on top of that, I think you need to change your locks, and NOT give your mother a key--she is to be in the house ONLY if you are home. Otherwise, she is to get out and do something constructive like: looking for work, volunteering, visiting friends, taking long walks--even picking up cans along the highways to turn in for the deposits.

One last thing I need to say, and hope it impresses upon you. You are NOT the bad guy. But users like your mother often seek out lawyers and are very adept at making the other person feel guilty. We have a few of those in our family. They think they have 'street smarts', but in the long run, when you get the right help on your side, they generally crumble like dust. I know it's really hard to have to deal with family members treating you like this--believe me, we've been there. But you have to ask yourself this--would you let a stranger on the street treat you this way? No? then don't allow your mother to continue to steal your heart, your future, your finances. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 3:08PM
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Your mother is selfish and you are an enabler. She will never take care of herself if you refuse to make her. Do what you would do to an adult child who refuses to get a job and leave the nest. Give her an "end all date". Tell her you found yourself a place and you are moving ALONE! Do you think its going to get any better? She's getting older, not younger. She is going to work less and less and depend on you more and more. She isnt going to have a life if you dont make her and you arent going to have a life if you dont take some control over your own situation.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 10:18AM
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Do you know your mother as a person or just as your mother?

Try to get to know her and her history.

Sometimes the confrontational parent/child drama gets in the way of a real understanding of each other.

Honesty never fails.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 8:11AM
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