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Jamie, before you can execute your Escape Plan, you need to identify the following:

- what is it you current do for your mother, and your brother? Set out all the tasks, eg, get the shopping in, in a list. Can be in 'random order' as you think of them. You could also write out a 'What I did today' list, to try and get a real handle on how your days are spent.

- what it is your mother NEEDS 'someone else' to do for her. This is a very important list, because it is the 'core care' list. It will be based on two criteria - the needs arising from her physical ailments (eg, what she cannot do for herself), and on her mental ailments (which really boils down to what she believes she cannot do!),

- Do the 'NEEDS' list for your brother as well (I'm assuming he lives at home with you and your mum?)

- List the 'dangers' for your mum, whether this is having an epileptic seizure or falling over and breaking her leg (or whatever!). Put some kind of star against the ones that are, say, life threatening (if any).

- Now list all the 'WANTS' your mum has (and your bro in a separate list). The most important thing now is to distinguish between things that your mum NEEDS and things she only WANTS. For example, it sounds like she WANTS to have you at her beck and call, but is this actually NECESSARY (ie, a NEED!) because of her ailments, or just because it 'comforts' her.

It's really important to make the distinction between her needs, based on her actual illness, and her wants, based on well, her 'inner bully' (or whatever one wants to call it!). (Make 'kind allowance' though, for the fact she may, as your mum, simply want your company because she loves you!)(but also be chary that that can be distorted into 'possessiveness' which is not healthy love!)(remember, 'true maternal love' ALWAYS wants the best for our children, whatever our sacrifice!)

Then set out a scenario of your current home situation AS IF YOU WERE NOT THERE.

What would happen (eg, what would happen if you go under a bus, say!)

All of this is to set out the stall for withdrawing your live-in 24x7 on-call care, because the SS will need to know what it is your mum and brother NEED, which THEY must now supply in some way, eg, sending in external care-workers or whatever, or, perhaps, say, finding a supported living place for your brother.

Some of the items on the 'need' list could solved by lateral thinking - eg, having shopping delivered straight to your mum, so 'no one' need go out and do it. (You could order it remotely for her if necessary, or your bro if he is up to it). Could she have some kind of alarm system for if she has a seizure, that summons an ambulance, say? Could your mum herself, maybe, go into some kind of supported living with a warden on duty?

The point is, over and over again, that if her current way of life, and that of your brother can ONLY be maintained by you living with her as her full time 'on-call' carer, then that current way of life has to change.

Of course she won't like it, but that is, you know, completely 'irrelevant' because right now she only gets the life she has BECAUSE you give up yours for her. And that is not morally acceptable.

As for her mental illness, well, to my mind, apart from the impact of short term memory issues, the rest of it (eg, anxiety, paranoia) is 'irrelevant' in that either she has to take meds for it to soften the daily impact on her, or she has to deal with it herself. Or not, as the case may be. Mental illness is so often the very worst 'tyranny' that impacts carers, but in some respects it is the 'simplest' for carers to deal with, as they can, to be brutal, simply ignore it (which the caree won't like, but tough.)

I hope this has given you a starting place, from which to get a handle on the 'handover' that will need to be done at some point, as you 'withdraw' from the situation, and start up your own life - belatedly, yes, but still in time to enjoy yourself.

I know you'll say' Oh, easy for those people on the forum to say This is What You Need to Do, but they don't know what it's like here! My mum will kick off and it will be impossible for me to get away!'

Yes, it will be hard, and yes, you'll get huge flack from her, and yes, SS will doubtless try and persuade/con/bully you into staying (because SO much easier for them!), so you will need to hold firm, and your mum may rage, or she may weep, or both, and hands will cling to you and try to claw you back 'in line' but, as I said in my earlier post, in the end, Jamie, it IS 'up to you' because no one can save you but yourself. BUT, by the same token, you DO have the power to save yourself. Your mum has been ruthless in 'using' you for years and years and years - it's time to reflect that same ruthlessness in making your own life. You've given her and your brother years and years and years of your life. Enough. You are entitled to your life, and that is all there is to it.

Wishing you all the best. Jenny
Just giving an update for all that wanted to help.

Sorry its been so long in my response but im getting out on the 25th september finally. Mum has been offered help from social services for wen i leave. It hasnt been easy at all but i finally took a stand. But for the record i didnt expect a magic wand or hand out i just wanted some support and motivation to take my life back in my own hands. So thank you everyone who took the time to message
Well done Jamie, expect some last minute drama, when it finally dawns on the family that you are serious. You ARE worth it, we will support you all the way. It's going to be tough, so come back here whenever you need to. I hope you manage to ENJOY your new life.
Jamie - BRILLIANT! Well, well done!

That is fantastic news!

Before I say more, though, please please don't think I was 'accusing' you of 'waiting for a magic wand' to 'sort it all out for you' - I truly wasn't! It was more to encourage you not to 'wait' for a magic wand because they don't exist (except, as I said, in the case of the very elderly, where 'death' is our magic wand....though I also point out, with some sense of self-irony here!, that FOUR YEARS after I first 'inherited' my MIL, she is STILL 'going strong' might have thought that the 'magic wand' would be pretty close to being waved over an 89y/o! But no, she's still alive and physically strong - so, had I not done what you have now done, and 'reclaimed my own life' (in my case by putting my MIL into residential care.....not easy, not guilt-free, but in the end it was 'my life or hers'....and I chose mine), then, I too, could still be waiting for that 'magic wand' to make my problems go away.

So, please don't think I was accusing you - never, I promise you!

Back to you now - I'm SO glad you've made the break. Do do remember this is for your mum's good AS WELL. It isn't good for HER to use you as a crutch, it just keeps her 'dependent'. I truly do believe that her 'well, you know what you were choosing - ie, giving up your life for ME' that she came up with came from her 'illness' not her 'real sefl'.

EVERY mother should want the BEST for her children, not herself - and that she was being so unbearably selfish either condemns her, or, at best, has to be assigned to the mental illness in her head making her so desperately selfish.

Think, therefore, now, that your 'escape' will help the 'real mum' emerge, the one who SHOULD be glad you are starting your OWN life now. Yes, it will means she 'suffers' because she hasn't got you any more on hand, but that 'suffering' is what motherhood is all about. It's sacrifice for your child. You too, Jamie, will, at some point in your life, make sacrifices for YOUR children - even if it is the sacrifice that so many of us parents of adult children make, when we bravely 'wave them off' in to their exciting adult lives, even though we cry for them to 'stay home' ....we know that leaving the nest is what needs to happen for their best sakes, not ours.

All that said, yes, as BB warns, expect a 'backlash' by your mum. Expect all sorts of tears, threats, promises, cajoling, heartbreak - I know it's hard for you, but you must 'stand firm'. Make regular time slots for her, out of your new timetable for yourself, so she is not bereft of you, and try and make those 'regular' - ie, so that if, say, she phones you in tears one night, and begs you to 'come home' you say 'Mum, I'll be seeing you on Wed, like I usualy do' (or whatever) and then make sure you DO stick to that Wed.

If she can come to rely on (a) you're not totally 'abandoning' (!) her and (b) you keep to your promises of when you will spend time with her, then, eventually, she will 'calm down' and come to trust you.

Eventually, she WILL accept the 'new situation' - partly because she has to (ie, you've made your decision) and partly because she will simply 'get used to it' - it will become 'normal' and not scary for her any more.

So, WELL DONE, and I hope that your 'new life' takes off, the way it should. Perhaps a little delayed, perhaps a little slow, perhaps, even with some disappointments and frustrations and so on, but you have made that first vital step, and I wish you all the very best with it.

You will go on loving your mum - in fact, hopefully, now that you have broke the chain, you can 'give' love, rather than have it 'taken' from you, if you see what I mean!

All the VERY best to you - Jenny