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I took everyone's advice and have dropped the MPOA topic
So, I took everyone's advice. I stopped asking Dad over the phone or email what's happening. Let the chips fall where they may. It might take a crisis for them to ask for my help, as many of you pointed out. I so totally appreciate the support and advice I've gotten here. I feel heard and seen and supported.
Or they can go to my brother. He's a loser, but they respect him more simply because they are old fashioned sexist people- even with all the evidence of how differently our lives have gone. I've never been in trouble with the law, to begin with. He's downright mean to them and they treat him so much better than they do me.
My parents are literally the only negative people in my life. No one else treats me the way they do. I love my friends, neighbors, work colleagues, and dog. No one else puts me down, no one else insults how I look, no one else thinks it's ok to treat me like a servant.
In the interest of protecting my own mental health, I have had my Mom's cell phone blocked for over a week and didn't bother doing my usual weekend check in with her. All she does is rant at me and insult me and complain about her life.
Interacting with them makes me miserable. It's not fun, it's not enjoyable, and I leave every interaction feeling like sh** from the constant put-downs and ridiculous statements.
I also do not feel safe around them physically. My Dad used to hit me a lot when I was a kid, starting around the age of 7 until I was about 15. I never saw him hit my brother or mom. I think I just got it all. Now when I am around them, I am scared he's going to snap because it takes so little to get him agitated. And same with my mom- she NEVER SHUTS UP and even a simple "relax Mom, I'm making your tea" gets her FURIOUS. And then the two of them start screaming at each other and they both blame me for the drama.
They physically invade my space in every way possible- follow me around, poke me if they think I'm not paying attention to them, adjust my clothes, touch my hair or face when I'm talking to someone else, it's all crazy. Or I'll be trying to eat and they decide they are done, so I have to get up and clean up their plates etc even if I'm not done eating. They don't even respect my space in the bathroom- they bang on the door or try to barge in. It's not cool.
Dad sent me a lengthy email this past Sunday titled "Respond to each statement with your opinion" . . . it was a LONG list of complex statements about the economy and politics, etc. What irritated me and stood out was that he didn't even say, "hello" or "how are you" or "Hope your weekend is going well" ... it was like he was giving an assignment to a minion or something. I did NOT respond to the email because I suspect he is looking to pick a fight as he often is lately - if people don't agree with him, he goes ballistic.
Also, in terms of their loose plan to move closer to me and buy a condo- I'm really thinking that it might be better if they stay in TX. They don't know the area where I live at all- they lived in MA for 30 years but it was a completely different area- and they insist on a condo, not AL/MC etc . . . . and I really wonder if they'd be able to manage the basics like shopping, etc. And if they can't, it's all going to fall on me- which honestly, I can't stand the thought of. Managing them for a short visit is painful, draining, and messes up my entire life- and the idea of having them closer all the time is actually kind of frightening.
I know some of you suggested researching AL/MC places here . . . but honestly, they don't listen to anything I say- sometimes it's ridiculous- like they enjoy giving me "projects" which they will then not follow through with- it's happened multiple times and I'm done with it. One time they claimed they were going to sell their condo, so I met with a realtor several times, got it priced, they were ready to put it on the market, and then backed out at the last second. I felt horrible about wasting the realtor's time and I was upset that they wasted MY time.
As me and one of my dear friends say, "SIGH . . . . "
Wow. Hard to fathom. In a very short piece of advice, I'll say, "Save yourself. Whatever it takes."
You've shown more patience and diligence trying to help them than most people would possibly put up with. Don't let the stress of their behaviors and expectations make you ill, crazy or dead.
Beth- Bottom line is my parents have a miserable marriage, and both of them are depressed/anxious, and their way of dealing is to make me the scapegoat. I have wasted too much of my life on trying to "help". Things weren't always THIS awful, but the last few years have been an absolute nightmare.
It has taken me a lot of time to realize that it's ok for me to save myself . . . . I come from a culture where women and girls are pretty much expendable. Anytime my brother needs help, he gets it ten fold. I've asked for help a few times and got major guilt trips and basically been told I'm a burden.
My mother should have been medicated a LONG time ago. On my 25th birthday, she mailed me a ten page letter which was all about how much I suck and accused me of being a prostitute (which I am not- I actually have a very nerdy job, lol). Normal healthy people don't do that.
Do you realize that they are still controlling you? It is clear that your life (at least mentally) is revolving around them + their actions and behavior toward you.
My advice is to detach from them as much as possible. I would not read the emails they send or respond to them in any way. I would POSSIBLY check in monthly, briefly, if you must. If they ask you why you do not respond to emails ‘huh, I must be having email problems, I havent gotten anything. I better look into it’..repeat, repeat, repeat.
If they need help, I assume they have your brother’s number. I would not entertain them moving near you...you are already having a hard time maintaining boundaries for them long distance. You do not like these people. They treat you abominably. You feel like their victim, understandably so.
You cannot choose your relatives, but you CAN choose who to allow into your life. They have demonstrated over + over they will not treat you well + with respect. What is is going to take for you to accept this + cut them off?
You say you have other loving people in your life..good for you. I promise if you give them as much effort + attention you now give your ungrateful, mean parents, you will be immeasurably happier. The less contact you have with these people, the better you will feel.
The extent of the family dyfunction and abusive behavior was not known by me when I offered any previous opinion.
There are cases where abusive family are still potent enough with their dementia to do you harm. It appears this case is one of them and I would keep your distance. Some people are like spiders, waiting to catch you in their web.
If they are ever incapacitated enough for the courts to offer you decision making, and you can do that from a distance, you can consider that, but it would also be in your own self interest to just let the state do that.
Focus on living your own healthy life.
Terei- I know . . . . you are right. I try to enforce boundaries and they just get CRAZY. I'm going to gently just be less in contact and blame it on work . . . . that's the only acceptable option to them which won't set them off.
It's their old school thinking. They truly believe they have the RIGHT to control me.
Trust me, my friends and dog get A LOT of loving attention from me . . . home cooked meals, hugs, endless support, etc. And it feels wonderful, because it comes back so many times over from them! I feel so fortunate that I have such a great crew . . . and sometimes it's almost ironic, I attract REALLY good people, and I wonder why my parents don't even like me.
King Boo- You said "There are cases where abusive family are still potent enough with their dementia to do you harm. It appears this case is one of them and I would keep your distance. Some people are like spiders, waiting to catch you in their web. "
You are right. Well said.
It's hard for me to disclose what I've gone through, because it's not typical, and the history of abuse (mental and physical) complicates it all.
And, this is the time of year where my parents will try and manipulate me into wanting to see my very violent and abusive brother (he visits friends who live near-ish me for Thanksgiving). I've made it clear I have no interest in seeing him.
They simply do not respect my boundaries. My brother physically attacked me so many times, I've lost count- when I told my Dad I was upset after the last time it happened, his response was "You shouldn't feel like that". I told him I was absolutely entitled to whatever feelings I have about that. No one should accept abuse, which is what my family is forcing me to do.
In today's focusing on my healthy life- I'm taking my dog for a run on the beach and then meeting up with a dear friend for lunch.
My heart is heavy for you. We have a lot in common. I have not talked to my parents in over three months now. I’m just done. Every family get together and holiday is an emotional disaster for me. And I’m always the one who has everyone to my house and always the peace keeper. Not anymore! And ya know what? It feels great. I miss my Mother but I’ve been missing her for at least ten years already. And I just don’t want to continue to set myself up for the slaughter.
Stay strong. I’m very proud of you.
What dayN2night said. Be grateful that you have a btother whose desk the buck will stop on. Don't make yourself crazy trying to please people who will never be satisfied with your efforts no matter what you do. It doesn't sound to me as if you owe them much of anything -- certainly not being their doormat and scapegoat.
If you can afford it, I would suggest some counselling to understand the role your dysfunctional family has placed you into and how to escape from it.
SunnyBebe- I'm awfully sorry you went through that with your LO.
Unfortunately, my mother has ALWAYS been irrational and difficult, manipulative and emotional. Whatever is going on in her brain now makes her unbearable to be around. The smallest most basic things turn into a gigantic complicated mess because of her. My father, for all his faults, was at least more rational and practical but is becoming more and more difficult. I used to really enjoy our conversations. Now I feel like I'm being interrogated by a general. He comes up with such random sh** and expects me to answer him fully and thoroughly- like when my parents were here my mom was rambling nonsensically as always and he points to a hat of mine and demands to know what kind of a hat it is, where and when I bought it, and why did I choose the color purple.
I say, enough. I've wasted too much of my life on this dysfunctional dynamic.
Good for you! I hope your resolve holds when the inevitable comes.
You FIRST finally. Good luck. Sending you virtual hugs!
MinutebyMinute- It truly feels like a relief to let this go. I really don't know how it will play out, but I am tired of putting in effort only to be treated poorly.
I should also add, even for my culture, my family is really, really dysfunctional. I have a lot of friends from the same part of the world as me, but almost all of them have at least one sibling they can count on. I have one friend who has a brother a lot like mine, but her parents are happy and healthy and respect her boundaries. And another friend has two brothers, a very difficult relationship with one, but her mom was widowed a long time ago and she and her mom have a very sweet and loving relationship.
I think I realized my mom wasn't like other moms when I started studying traditional dance & music from our country. All the other Moms would sit in class, watch their kids, and be SO PROUD of them. My mom acted like it was a huge imposition to have to drive me there. One time I had a photo shoot in a fancy costume, etc . . . she basically spent the entire time blabbing on her cell phone . . . . it was so obvious that my dance teacher asked me kindly, "Why is your mom not interested?" and it was all I could not to cry and ruin three hours worth of makeup. I asked my mom afterwards why she didn't pay attention and she started screaming at me and told me she paid for it so I should be grateful.
Also, my Mom is going to our country to visit our relatives (I think leaving this week) and I am kind of secretly hoping she just stays there haha! It would be perfect for her- all her relatives are there, the weather is great, all my cousins have kids, there are loads of servants to cater to her never ending demands, and she has several batsh** crazy siblings who she can fight with nonstop.
If I had understood the full extent of your family history, I would not have given you one bit of advice or encouragement on how to deal with them. Run away, as far and as fast as you can. Let the Golden Child (your brother) deal with your parents. Their illnesses are not enough reason to overlook a lifetime of toxic and abusive behavior. Save yourself.
I had initially thought to recommend a few books that were helpful to me (Doing the Right Thing: Taking Care of Your Elderly Parents, Even if They Didn't Take Care of You by Roberta Satow, and Taking Care of Parents Who Didn't Take Care of You by Eleanor Cade.) Maybe other caregivers on the forum would benefit from reading them, but your parents seem way too horrible for those books to be helpful.
You may find some relief by reading Why Does He DO That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. I think the book's insights apply to your mother and brother as well.
I also hope your mom stays in her home country, or that they both remain in TX. If they do return to MA, consult an eldercare attorney for YOURSELF. The lawyer can make sure you will not be held liable for any costs of their future care, and help protect you from their harassment and abuse.
Your well-being is no less important than theirs. It's good to read that you have loving friends and are taking better care of yourself. Stay strong.
Cody- Thank you so much for the book suggestions- those sound like they will be very helpful! I was planning on going to the library today anyways.
Also- very well said- "Their illnesses are not enough reason to overlook a lifetime of toxic and abusive behavior. Save yourself."
One of the most empowering things for me is that most of my friends are parents, and I see how they are with their kids- yes, of course there is "discipline" and boundaries, but one of my friends pointed out to me that she has more respect for her teenage daughter than my mom does for me. That one really hit home.
Having disclosed the family history here feels like a weight has come off of me. I don't feel so crazy or frustrated. I am definitely fortunate to have lovely friends, and this community here.
Gubblebumm- RIGHT ON, this isn't dementia behavior, it's abuse. I've had therapists be completely befuddled as to how f***** the whole thing is. And friends of mine- have literally been horrified when they do meet my family. It's funny how many of my friends remember how difficult my parents made my life- one of my ex boyfriends is a dear friend and he told me the other day he remembered that every single time my mom called me in college, I'd end up in tears and he would just try to comfort me.
My mom and brother would literally throw me under a bus in a second, and then blame me for it. No integrity whatsoever.
In the parent lottery, you were unlucky enough to draw two extremely lousy numbers. You had a decades long task of surviving your family's abuse and neglect. You had little choice but to accept the challenge. You used ever evolving strategies to manage each toxic comment, every demand, bending to their will to stay safe. You did not run away; you did not self-destruct. You bravely persevered. Your strategies and work paid off. You made it through your childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. Now your parents are no longer in charge of you. You created a good life for yourself, with good people. You've finished the task. You succeeded. It's over, and you do not need to go back and do it all over again.
Now that you've won your independence, only three things are left between you and your parents: force of habit, hopes that they will change, and your lingering sense of obligation.
Your parents can not change their habits. They will continue to abuse, control and demand until they are too incapacitated to do so. They will not become better people.
You can change. You can stop responding to them. You can stop trying to make them care about you. You can give up hope that they can be better people. I know that losing hope can be harder than losing what you actually had. The grieving is real.
You have no obligation to maintain contact with long-term abusers. Maybe when they are too impaired to fight you, you'll be willing to coordinate their care and manage their assets from afar. But consider doing that only if it won't open you to more harm from your brother.
You are not alone.
I will keep you in my good thoughts.
As always, thank you so much for your caring and insightful words.
I did try to run away, and self-destruct but . . . something in me said "keep going, there's better out there". I was fortunate to attend an incredible high school with amazingly supportive teachers, and that's probably what saved my life.
One thing I do know: I cut my brother out of my life 5 years ago and it's the best thing I ever did. I have zero guilt about it. Need to frame my relationship with my parents in the same way . . . . especially since they both think he's better than me and constantly remind me, which is completely illogical.
I see how they treat him- completely bend over backwards and allow him to treat them like crap- and cater to his smallest needs . . . and I get treated like a servant, at best.
Let the Golden Boy be responsible for your parents, for better or for worse. The deserve each other.
I was my mother's scapegoat, but my dad saved me. What I endured is a small fraction of what you've tolerated. You seriously deserve a trophy for learning to care for yourself. And so do those teachers for helping you believe that you matter.
Your parents may both have some level of dementia, but there are obviously serious pre-existing conditions at play here. My mom's pre-dementia issues were much milder than your parents. However, the problems were significant enough for me to know that I had to get her into a facility with all levels of care and lots of resources. No way could I manage her on my own.
I hope you are planning to spend Thanksgiving with loving and supportive friends.
Thank you, truly, for all your encouragement and support! You lived through a lot too. And you're still here, compassionate and smart and giving- that takes a lot of strength.
I agree whole heartedly- Golden Boy can take care of my parents. They will see soon enough what it's like when I'm not helping. He's always been useless, and as we've gotten older, it's just getting worse because he's increasingly arrogant and my parents have this increasingly warped vision of what he is, especially my mom.
I actually told one of my teachers that I think my high school saved my life, and he asked if he could share that with other teachers, and I said of course. It was a very special place- a public high school, where we were all encouraged to be our unique selves, and being smart was cool. We really didn't have cliques, and everyone was sort of a smart-hippie-jock-creative hybrid, and there was a lot of diversity- most of us had immigrant parents. This is why I'm still so close with so many people from that time in my life. I went to school knowing that I'd be encouraged, supported, and inspired. Granted, every single day when I was going home, I'd wonder what drama awaited me, but knowing that I had the safe haven of school helped a lot.
I am fairly certain my parents have some level of dementia- which is not their fault . . . but their difficult personalities make them unbearable to interact with and I see how differently they treat me and my brother, so they DO have the capacity to act better, they just choose not to. I can barely manage a few days visit from them, so honestly when the time comes, they will need to go to some sort of facility where they have support. I can't do it alone, and I don't want to. My mom has always been insanely manipulative and loves sabotaging me. No one wants to be around someone like that.
Thanksgiving- not sure yet, but I have a couple of invites from friends. One is a big loud family where there will probably be about 50 people, and the other is a sit down "fancy" dinner thing with place settings and stuff. I hope you also have fun plans to be with people you love, and obviously to stuff your face!
HMW- OMG NO!!!! They don't respect anything I say, and basically everything is my fault. If I showed them this post my mother would say I am negative and ungrateful. She loves calling me ungrateful, which is funny because she is the one who never says thank you, nothing is ever good enough for her, etc- I love saying "Thank you" to people and acknowledging kind things they did, whether it's someone holding a door for me or buying me lunch or even just listening to me.
Being honest with them about my negative feelings towards them has never gone over well. Or even just being honest about what I want and need. As a kid it ended up with my Dad hitting me and my mom yelling at me, and now it's just yelling and put downs, or outright opposition.
I had a long conversation with a friend yesterday about how our parents (she is from the same country) expect SO much more of their female children, including that we accept being abused and treated completely differently from the male children. And the male children completely exploit this- my brother is a smug little a****** who knows he can get away with anything. Anything he wants or needs, he gets it and he doesn't even have to be polite. Me, I sigh a little while my mom's yelling at me when I'm making her tea/cooking for her, and she just gets furious.
As for them selling everything and moving closer to me- I honestly think it will take them a long time to make that happen, if it ever does. My Dad was saying that because the market is bad right now, he doesn't want to sell their house. They drag things out endlessly, so maybe it won't happen. He retired 7 years ago and they could have come back here, but they chose not to. Last time they visisted me my mom wanted to drive around and go look at 55+ condos, thankfully it was a holiday so I got out of it, but my Dad keeps saying he only wants to spend a certain amount on a condo, and for the towns/type of place they want, it's simply impossible.