How does one move away from someone they take care of?

littleoc

Sponsor
When my mom was my age, she took care of her mom from the house we're both living in now.

Now I'm stuck at home taking care of her. She seems to love it and keeps proudly making references to me being the head of household. So does my sister.

It's making me crazy. I keep trying to give her back her independence and she keeps either abusing it (by immediately doing something stupid like eating a million jellybeans (she's diabetic)) or she keeps refusing to be independent.

I want to move out soon. I feel like I can't because she's not going to do anything to make sure basic things are taken care of once I'm gone. She physically can't take out the trash, for example. She can't take care of her cat, either, and I feel I can't just leave the cat either because she's gotten very attached to me.

Meanwhile I'm worried, on the other side of this, that if I move out, my grandmother is immediately going to put the house up for sale. Which I know she either will do eventually, or she will die and the house still won't be ours. And it's going to end up being my responsibility to get my mom somewhere because she doesn't have a savings and isn't going to do any research on her own.

Has anyone been through this? I can't take care of her. I really just can't. She can't plan ahead. I'm angry I moved back home because my siblings weren't taking care of her either, and she wasn't asking for outside help from anyone else because she is terrified of being a burden, but now she's also got herself relying on me and I really, really, really need space. I've been emotionally distancing myself from her for over a year and she still won't respect my boundaries.

And then half of this is just in my head, my own triggers and my own problems. It's not her fault I don't view her as my mom and I am not ever going to tell her I feel that way.

This feels hopeless. Any advice from anyone who's dealt with this?
 

The Albatross

MyPTSD Pro
When the pain of staying the same/status quo outweighs the pain of change. We did that, with our relocation out of state. But the trick is to carefully weigh and affirm that if you do, you also relinquish to fate, the family member. Mister is not sitting well right now due to his mom's status... but he elected to move/leave. Now he (we but he more than both of us) is struggling.

He is though stoic, sensible and did not expect that things would be easy. The fam did not step up but his family, his decision. I'm supporting him. Any decision is not without potential pitfalls... I guess that's what I'm sayin'. But it's like anything else.... ya pick the one you can abide/live with.

I'll try to double back when I have a bit more levity.
 
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Justmehere

Moderator
Is she connected to a social worker or adult protection services? If she is unable to care for her basic needs, she may qualify for a medicaid funded group home setting - which may actually be a lot healthier than the current reality. If that's a possibility, it may help you to back away, let things fall apart, so they can fall together in a better way for her. Sometimes the best way to help someone is to walk away. I have an uncle who could not care for himself, and when a family member cared for him, I mean... he survived... but they were both miserable and the dynamic unhealthy. When the caregiver stopped taking care of him, he then was considered basically under adult protection services because he couldn't care for himself.... and he got moved out of a messy house into a group home, with a case manager, and he become so much healthier. It's not that the family member failed at caring for him, but rather that a new living space with professional help gave him extra support he needed. His relationships with all his family members drastically improved.

It is really emotionally tough. Al-anon has helped me wrestle with this in a different way, and something said there is that we have to give people the dignity to make bad choices and move out of the way when the consequences come. What is happening now is working well enough for her she doesn't have to change. It may be ok for it to no longer work for her. Maybe the sooner the better for your sake too.
 

Freida

Sponsor
Call Adult Protective Services. They can determine if she is capeable of caring for herself. If she is, then you can move out. If she can't, they can help with placing her somewhere she will be safe.

You aren't turning your back on her.
You are saving you

I had to do something similar for my brother and it sucked because I had been in charge of him for most of my life.

The last time he lived with me I told him if he wanted to come back he had to sign a contract with me that would include me being his payee so his bills would get paid, the things he would be responsible for around the house, how he was going to eat, and a bunch of other stuff. He declined. That meant I could say to him -- you always have a home with me but there HAVE to be ground rules to keep me sane and married. (hubby HATED how he took advantage of me.)

It wasn't easy. I actually had to see a therapist to find ways to get ok with the guilt because I was basically condemning him to live on the streets. But she kept reminding me --- APS said he was capable of living on his own, and I had offered him a home, so it was his choices that led to where he lived.

And that is how I became ok. I gave him escape routes - he picked one that didn't include me taking care of him.
 

Sideways

Sponsor
we have to give people the dignity to make bad choices and move out of the way when the consequences come.
This.

Your mum is going to make choices that will seem crazy to you (and may or may not qualify as insane...that's a seperate issue). Like eating the jellybeans.

You can't fix that by being there. Being there? Is potentially making that whole dynamic worse.

Come what may, with your grandmother and your mother, the first person you need to look after is you. Everyone else's needs are secondary to that one.

I'm sorry a cat got involved. Perhaps arrange for the cat to be adopted.

And plan. Be clear with what you're going to do and when with regard to moving out, so they have the opportunity to help themselves out.

They will or they won't step up when it starts to become real - that's not your call, it's your mum's. Take ownership of your part, your welfare. Leave the parts you can't control with the people they belong to.

And, perhaps consider working through some grief counselling - there's a lot of grief about this situation that may need to be processed to help you get through it.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
I don't remember all the details, but I remember the story. How old IS your mother anyway? If your grandmother is still alive, I'm thinking she's probably not THAT old. Not that age directly correlates with competence.

If she took care of her mother, in the same house, even, I suppose she expects the same thing to happen for her. It's a bit like parents expecting a kid to go into the family business. If you don't want to go into the family business, at some point you have to have a conversation that goes something like "Mom? Dad? Hey, I really don't want to run the family funeral parlor, I think I'm going to join the circus." Then you join the circus. Pretty much the same thing everyone else has told you.

She seems to love it and keeps proudly making references to me being the head of household. So does my sister.
When you think about it, why WOULDN'T she love it? No responsibilities, someone to lean on for anything and everything. Towards the end of her life, my mom fell and broke her hip. She was in her 80's, but the break was as good as it could have been and her prognosis to return to independent living was excellent. She went in to a nursing home for rehab and stayed there. At one point, she moved out to an assisted living facility....for a weekend. Complained that she wasn't getting enough attention and went back to the nursing home. Stayed there till she died, refusing to do anything that might have gotten her up & walking again.

That drove me nuts, for awhile. BUT, when I stopped and thought about it, I had to accept that it was HER life, not mine. She was a mentally competent adult. (She may have had a couple mental health issues, but nothing that kept her from functioning in the world at a fairly high level.) She just happened to enjoy being fussed over and having a bunch of people she could boss around. Wouldn't have worked for ME, because I value my independence and don't do well in captivity. BUT, I am not HER. Her circus, her monkeys. Unless your mom is really and truly not competent to function on her own, the way you solve this problem is basically to move out. Preferably far enough away that it's not easy for you to pop back in and solve problems at a moment's notice.
 

Ronin

MyPTSD Pro
Unless your mom is really and truly not competent to function on her own, the way you solve this problem is basically to move out. Preferably far enough away that it's not easy for you to pop back in and solve problems at a moment's notice.

This.

Or, unable to move out? Change your acts.

You're not taking care of her issues anymore. Maybe closeby in distance, but the chapter you were a caretaker is over.

It's not cruelty, in case it feels like it. Allowing people to grow up a pair and learn to solve their problems is respecting them as people, and as equals.
 

littleoc

Sponsor
Hi, everyone. Thank you for the replies. It helps. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to back to you. Things have been rough. I'm going to voice all my thoughts as reactions to quotes to save myself some energy.

We did that, with our relocation out of state.
If I felt completely free to do whatever, I'd definitely do this.

But the trick is to carefully weigh and affirm that if you do, you also relinquish to fate, the family member.
This is what scares me the most. I've seen how that can end. My grandmother, long story short, chose to live in a nursing home. They neglected her to death.

I've grown up having to take care of my mom. When she's hated hospitals, she wouldn't vouch for herself. Just get depressed and weird. She didn't get the care she needed at the last hospital and was belittled and abused. She won't stick up for herself. I've been almost killed in hospital by a nurse that hated me, locked me up in solitary confinement for either two days or three. I'm scared I'll get her killed.

If she is unable to care for her basic needs, she may qualify for a medicaid funded group home setting - which may actually be a lot healthier than the current reality.
I'm really not sure a group home is a good idea. But I don't really understand how they work. I'm worried about coronavirus obviously but to be honest my OCD brain is very convinced she will be dead of that within three years and there's nothing I can do to stop it.

I suppose the ability to make friends and socialize would be better. Do people in group homes have the ability to stay in their own, private room and watch Netflix? Or is it like hospital where you have no rights?

If that's a possibility, it may help you to back away, let things fall apart, so they can fall together in a better way for her. Sometimes the best way to help someone is to walk away.
we have to give people the dignity to make bad choices and move out of the way when the consequences come.
This is wise. Thank you.

I'm sorry a cat got involved. Perhaps arrange for the cat to be adopted.
I'm going to adopt the cat, thank you for caring about her.

And, perhaps consider working through some grief counselling - there's a lot of grief about this situation that may need to be processed to help you get through it.
Can I ask how this situation counts as grief? If it would be too much to explain, that would be understandable, too.

How old IS your mother anyway?
Sixty this August.

If your grandmother is still alive, I'm thinking she's probably not THAT old.
Sorry, I may have misspoken somewhere. There are two grandmothers at play here. My mom took care of her mom, who didn't want to be cared for to be honest. Long story. She died of neglect and would have been able to be resuscitated but no one did. Long story.

My abusive father's mother, my other grandmother, owns the house my mom and I are living in. She is still alive. In her late 70s, early 80s somewhere. Her goal seems to be to get rid of the house I'm in. So the problem is that if I move out, my mom won't have anywhere to stay, technically. I want for her to be in a senior citizen community with a nurse or caretaker who does house visits. I don't really know if that's feasible. And a lot is in the way.

For example, my mom is refusing to move unless my dad isn't allowed to own the house after her. Long story, petty bullshit I don't want to get into.

When you think about it, why WOULDN'T she love it? No responsibilities, someone to lean on for anything and everything.
Ironically I don't totally think this is why she loves it, though I guess that's beside the point. I think she likes living with her child because her child is safe and she loves them. She hates not being able to take care of herself, and tries to in ways that get her injured. It's frustrating.

It's not cruelty, in case it feels like it. Allowing people to grow up a pair and learn to solve their problems is respecting them as people, and as equals.
It does feel like it. It feels terrible. But that last sentence is very helpful, so thank you.

You aren't turning your back on her.
You are saving you
These feel like contradictory statements to me. I think because of the fact that I feel like I'd be leaving her to her death and doom and despair and etc etc.

If she can't, they can help with placing her somewhere she will be safe.
What is this process like? Do I or my mom have any control?

I can't take it when I have to help my mom with things anymore. She takes minor things as abuse and gets weird about it, and then for actual abuses I have to do something about it and I can't deal with it anymore.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
I suppose the ability to make friends and socialize would be better. Do people in group homes have the ability to stay in their own, private room and watch Netflix? Or is it like hospital where you have no rights?
It’s not at all like a hospital. My family member comes and goes as he pleases. He watches Netflix n his room but also has dinner with others, BBQs in the backyard, does what he wants to do. It’s not a locked situation. He’s not required to even stay there. He has moved out and back in several times and while living there left whenever he wanted to go do something. There is just someone downstairs who can check in and make sure he is doing ok and helps him with basic self care, makes sure he is getting to the doctor, etc
 
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