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Looking for advice and support. - Carers UK Forum

Looking for advice and support.

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
My Mum is in her late 70's, lives close but alone. I am a working parent to a young child.
We have a close relationship but it has it's difficulties. Mum is controlling in her behavior with me. Feels she should never have to ask me for anything, I should just know! She talks in a way that often makes me feel guilty even though I do everything she wants. I have never done what I wanted to do because she plays the guilt card. She is also very critical of me and I do feel we have a dependent relationship.

She suffers with anxiety and has for a long time. She is very negative, can't make any decisions, always poorly with sickness etc due to her anxiety. She has distorted thinking, anxiety attacks and a very selfish attitude.

I listen to her constantly and offer help and advice. Some of the issues she has are self inflicted eg her terrible diet, drinking 15 cups of coffee per day etc.

My problem is that dealing with her emotions, worries etc is making me poorly. I also suffer with anxiety and I am struggling to cope with Mum. I feel like she never leaves me alone, that her problems are my problems and that it has got to a point, over a long time, that I can no longer offer a shoulder to cry on. I am starting to resent it. I want to run away and not deal with her for a while and these thoughts make me feel selfish and guilty and a bad daughter.

I feel trapped. I am even looking at Jobs elsewhere and imagining what it would be like to be somewhere else! I feel my life is not my own and that I will never become anything I have to stay close by and do my duty. Ihave a brother but he lives 4 hours away so it's just me and he left for the same reason. He lived with Mum for years and was becoming her friend, carer, confident. He left and I understand why and don't resent him a thing. We both love her so much but we should have the right to live our lives.

She is mobile and is physically very well for her age but she won't go out. She went to a craft class and only went a few times because she said two ladies had fallen out with her (they hadn't)

I have told her she needs to go to her GP and get some help.

How can I help myself and still give her the care she needs. She has no friends, only me and I am so scared this will get worse.

Thanks for listening. Xxx
Welcome to the forum.
Can I ask what care mum actually NEEDS (not wants)?
Is she claiming Attendance Allowance?
Are you receiving Carers Allowance?

Presumably you still ive with her?
No physical needs really, it's all emotional and mental. She is very needy in this way because of her anxiety.

I don't live with her but very close by.
In that case, mum needs some "retraining".
I had a disabled mum who wanted more and more, counselling helped me realise that I was behaving like a dutiful little girl (at 60!) and I never ever said no to her.
I learned how to subtly manage her expectations. At the time I was newly disabled, newly widowed, with a business to run and a son with severe learning difficulties.

1. Put the answerphone on, permanently. Then I could listen to the messages, but I responded when I was ready.
2. If mum gives you a job, then another one, say "we agreed that I should do this, so let me finish it first, I'll do that presently"
My mum had a notebook in which she wrote down what she wanted me to do on my next visit, how I hated that notebook!
3. Never commit to doing a job in a certain time.
4. If mum wants you to come immediately, say "I'm sorry mum, I'm busy at the moment (don't say what) but I'll be over tomorrow or ....

In this way, you never say "No" immediately, you are just managing her expectations. It was life changing for me.
Always remember that you cannot be forced to do anything. The only power mum has over you, is the power you let her have.
Sadly, you can never make her happy. She is the drowning person who will drown their rescuer.

I recommend counselling to help you see that.

Love her, but don't be a victim to HER unhappiness. It's HER responsibility to appreciate what she has good in her life (which is a LOT - write it down, the list will be long!).

Time for more space between you.

She's going to be unhappy whatever you do. So you might as well focus on YOUR happiness, (by backing off!), since you cannot make HER happy.

Sad but, alas, true.
I agree totally with Jenny. We are all responsible for our own happiness. My mum always blamed other people for things, or bought things to make her feel better. She was obsessed with Ercol furniture. Had at least 60 dining chairs, 10 dining tables, 10 sideboards....It took me and my sons a year to empty her home.
I read somewhere that the happiest people are those with the fewest possessions.
Oh thank you so much for your advice

It is a constant situation. I think it's just about to get better and then it starts again.

May I give you some examples so you may understand better. At the start of October she decided she wanted a dog and found one. From that date she continually contact me to ask what I thought, was she doing the right thing etc. Endless worries, questions, self doubt. I listened and helped but said I could not make this decision for her. She was having the dog, then not, then contacting the owner when it was not necessary. This conversation continued until December.

Eventually we made the 2 hour journey and got the dog. She had not had it 3 hours when she was sending messages saying she had made a mistake, she was so upset etc and she didn't want it.

I told her she needed to do what was right for her. I went to check on her the next day as she was in a mess. She was even worse! The dog had slipped it's lead and she lost it. This was the case for over 1 week until I found out the dog had died on the road. I was trying to deal with Mother and her emotions and anxiety and look for the dog. She did know she shouldn't have been taking it out until the dog had settled.

Last night I had more messages after talking to her for over 1 hour. She feels poorly, upset, sick etc and again today as soon as I had finished work.

This is incessant, drama after drama. She had a relative visitbthis week. She is lovely but Mother got envious about some things she told her and now she doesn't want her going again.

I just can't cope with it all.

I also think I could benefit from counseling but can't afford it at the moment. I just do the know where to start with her.
Start by putting your answerphone on, and leaving it on.

Say "sorry mum, I don't have time for this, we'll talk about it later", and then put the phone down.

In other words, YOU must take control. You can do it.
Thanks Bowlingbun. it has been this way for so long I do t know what to do. I am scared that she will fall out with me, cause issues.

I have tried to some extent before. She tells me I have changed then is quite nasty with her tongue.

I know I just need do it. Can you tell me what else worked for you and did your Mum resent this change?
My mum was never nasty, fortunately.

Others have advised that the best thing to do is say "I don't have to stay and listen to this" then put their coat on and go home (regardless of what they are doing at the time) or else simply put the phone down.

You are NOT a child, but an adult, and deserve to be treated as such. After all, you do not have to do ANYTHING for mum at all. Maybe she needs reminding of that?