You are here

Rough week - O/T , estranged mom has dementia

Shieldmaiden's picture

Last week was rough. I am finally feeling less tired from being sick. I had the energy to go out and work in the garden, which was really great. However, I keep getting texts and calls from my dad, who is 80. My sister got a call from my mother's doctor ( in another state) saying she may have heart failure but she definitely has dementia.  He told my sister she needs to be monitored. 

My sister got in the car and drove 8 hours to pick up my Mom, who lives alone, and drive her back to her (my sister's) house. So, after saying that she never wanted my toxic mom around her kids, she gave in and took her there to live, until she can get my mom to sell her house and buy or rent one nearby. Well, my Dad, being himself, is diving into depression and self-pity about the sadness of the situation, and making it about him. He snapped at me twice when I called him (after he asked me to call him) insinuating that I should be helping my sister. I told him no, Mom and I are estranged for a reason. I am not letting myself be dragged into that mess. It will be the death of me if I do. I will, however, be emotionally supportive of my sister, if she needs someone to talk to. I don't know why she is taking this action, knowing it will be toxic for her family, but I suspect she doesn't know what she is getting into. She has never really had any adversity in her life. I fear for her sanity - having 2 small kids, a husband that travels a lot, and now my bitter old mom cussing everyone out from the couch.

My dad then says "Well, I wasn't going to tell you this, but....your mother might take you out of the will. I said "If she hasn't taken me out of the will already, then she is not the back stabbing, toxic, pos that I know and love. I'd much rather have a mother than a fistful of dollars, Dad. " Well, he was flabbergasted. There was an awkward silence. Then he realized I wasn't going to burst into tears and be railroaded into loving someone who treated me like shit, so he apologized. Fancy that. I must be doing something right. 

So, now he is sulking and not answering our calls for a week, which is what he does. I love my dad, but he has always had this wierd, codependent relationship with my mom. Even being remarried for over 10 years, and divorced for longer, he still can't admit she isn't mother of the year. Its infuriating. 

So, I am feeling a bit down this week. Just tired of all the BS flying at me from every direction. Do you ever just want to go into witness protection? Ha ha. Seriously tho.... 


grannyd's picture

Yo, Rags,

I had to chuckle to myself, Mosking imagining how long you would tolerate the old crone at Chez Rags. I envision her duct-taped to a chair, modelling a ball gag! How close did I come?

Rags's picture

But even I would not go that far. Though, the crone would likely not be let out of her cell.


Not that I would tolerate a presence like that in my home and life.  Fortunately, my ILs are not that bad, I won the parent lottery, and... my DW is just as intolerant of toxic crap as I am.  She is far less tolerant of her own family than I am of her family.  Where I might help, there not a snowballs chance in hell that she would hellp them. She is... we... when it comes to that perspective.


grannyd's picture

Aw, Hon! Having benefitted from having a loving, supportive mother in my life for 74 years, I can only imagine the pain of growing up with a ‘back stabbing, toxic, pos’. Having grown up with such a woman, it would be pretty nigh impossible to escape some form of childhood PTSD. 

My dear Shieldmaiden, you have enough going on with your toxic stepdaughters to take on an ogre like your mother. I’m not a betting woman, but $50.00 (Canadian) says that your doomed sister will not last a month with mom on board; not to mention her husband. Be prepared to observe some weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth from that quarter! Good on you for refusing to ruin your own life by allowing that miserable old hag to invade your space.

Shieldmaiden's picture

Oh man! You would win that $50 bet! I love my sister, but she has not yet had much trouble in her life, and i don't think she is prepared for the amount of shite that our mom can dish out. I tried my best to protect her from it when we were kids, but she also was the pleaser in the family. I was the loud, mouthy one. 

I will do my best to give her good advice, but she is on her own. I am not rescuing her from this decision. 

As for PTSD, you are right. My DH gets to deal with my sadness and anger, when he tries to get me to "forgive" her. Its not about forgiving, I've done that. I just don't want any more of her verbal abuse, so I refuse to see her again.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

I'm so sorry, Shieldmaiden. Dealing with toxic people is bad enough. Dealing with toxic family members can be a bloody nightmare. Hugs and prayers for strength. 

Shieldmaiden's picture

Thanks Aniki. I think I will be ok. Thank goodness for DH. He has been by my side on this. 

JRI's picture

It's bad enough when parents have to make a big move due to health when they are relatively normal but how much worse it is when there are personality issues.  I really feel for you and your sister.  

My mom and sister were living together when Mom, at 93, realized she couldn't care for my sick, whackadoo sister any longer and asked me to find another place for them.  We found a nice retirement community and went thru all the moving trauma.  My sister made everything 1,000 times harder with her temper tantrums, distrust, refusal to visit the proposed cottage then demanding all kinds of changes.  The upside was that once she was under someone else's care, they didn't put up with as much of her bs as Mom did.

Hang in there, its a journey.

Shieldmaiden's picture

Thanks JRI. Sorry you had to go through that. Its always so sad to see a parent lose their independence. Its also sad to see them lashing out at your other loved ones, who are only trying to help. 

One good thing is , my sister is a mom now, and I think she has become quite a fierce protector of my nieces. This may be her saving grace when it comes to our mom. Our mom can bully her, but my sister won't allow her to bully her kids. I know that. She's a mama tiger.

notarelative's picture

Your sister has no idea what she did when she moved Mom to her house.  If Mom has named sister as her POA, things can be dealt with. But, if she has not, most likely, what is coming will be very hard. 

If sister calls you complaining, you might refer her to the message boards at (or for help. Other than that, staying out of the way is your best bet. Very seldom do memory issues make difficult people mellow.

Shieldmaiden's picture

Thanks for the references. i will keep those in case she needs them. Much appreciated!


AgedOut's picture

dealing with a parent w/ dementia is tough, dealing w/ a hostile parents w/ dementia is rougher but dealing with one while trying to run a home and raise two little ones is hell. 

maybe you can help your sister by researching facilities for your mom for the future. get an idea of what's in the area, what will be needed, etc. should she reach that point. 


you will all be in my thoughts. I've been there, lived that and I hurt for all of you. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Anyone criticizing you should be invited to move her into their house. I'm sorry you guys are going through this. 

1st3rd5thWEInHell's picture

Being a caregiver to an elderly mother is something admirable so I would say maybe your sister is doing it because of her natural feelings/emotions.

My father was disabled for the last 30yrs of his life and we grew up caregiving for him, especially my sister. It was not easy because sometimes he would fly into rages or be upset so this requires a lot of patience. If your sister feels like she can handle it and isnt asking for help or breaking down, I think you are right to be supportive.

I am not sure if your mother would even be ok with being caregiven by an estranged daughter. She would probably yell at you and prevent you from doing anything helpful or useful smh

Your dads disappointment seems misplaced. After all, if he is upset that she is sick and needs help, then he can move her into his house! Lol

strugglingSM's picture

Ugh! Dealing with parents' dysfunction and emotional immaturity is so difficult. Glad you have set and held your boundaries. Protecting your own peace will annoy them to no end, but it will save you in the long run. 


thinkthrice's picture

My Dad so is going to be 88 and Mom so will be 87 are religiously shunning me although they will write me a note once a year. 

As a child, I was always on auto pilot if you will as they were always concerned about their own affairs and never really put any time in parenting for anything other than discipline.

They have all their mental faculties and are physically pretty healthy.  However I believe my father still insists on driving and he could never see that well anyway has gotten into several accidents because of it.

My younger sister who is the golden child and by rights should be religiously shunned as well is not.  A k a double standard.   She too has been shunning me for even longer, but for the fact that we have opposite personalities and always have.

I have no idea what will happen if one of them should become seriously ill or pass on.  The members of their church might step in up there (Maine) as my father was always a big wig in that religion/cult since the 1950s.

I certainly don't envy your situation and am dreading it in my case.

Shieldmaiden's picture

Sorry you are having to think about dealing with this soon. Its hard. If my sister weren't dealing with this, and someone asked me to help my mom - I would request she signed a medical and financial power of attorney so I could use her money to pay for her care - outside my home. 

I would never bring my mom's drama into my home. I didn't even want her around my stepkids when they were younger, because she was so toxic.