How to Care for a Cranky, Manipulative, Controlling, Mom

My mother used to stand in front of greeting card racks and weep when she read the messages inside of Mother’s Day cards. She cried because she felt sad and guilty for not loving her own mother.

A lot of us buy into the “Hallmark” fantasy of happy families. We think if we don’t feel the kind of love and affection for our parents that’s expressed in those lovely holiday cards, that there’s something wrong with us.

Download A Free Care for Controlling Mom Guide

Dr. Joseph M. Casciani, owner and president of Concept Healthcare, talks about the “more so” factor of aging, which means that whoever we are in our youth and middle years is pretty much who we’re going to be in our later years – just more so.

So, if your mother used anger and guilt to control you when you were young, it shouldn’t be surprising that as she ages, she will become even more skilled at getting what she wants by making you feel sorry for her and/or bad about yourself. If it’s worked for her for the past several decades, she’s not going to change. She will only continue to perfect her technique.

A few years ago a friend told me her father had just died. When she said, “I’m so relieved,” I assumed her Dad had cancer or some other terrible disease and she was happy that his suffering had finally ended. I was wrong. She explained that her father had been an abusive alcoholic, and she said, “I am relieved I can finally stop trying to make him love me.”

We Cannot Make Our Parents Love Us

We would like to think that parental love is unconditional – that our mothers and fathers will love us no matter what. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. And no matter what we do, how hard we try, or how much we sacrifice on their behalf, our parents may never be able to love us the way we wish they could. If your parents are not loving people, don’t assume that you’re not lovable or that you’re the one with the problem. It may be that they simply are not capable of caring about anyone as much as they care about themselves.

We Cannot Make Someone Else Happy

Each one of us is responsible for our own behavior and our own happiness. We all encounter frustrations and challenges. How we respond to them is our choice. So if you know your parents’ “default emotion” is negative, accept their choice. Understand that you will never have the power to change who they are or how they view the world and their place in it.

Set Boundaries

The only way we can defend ourselves against someone who uses anger and guilt to get what they want is to set some personal boundaries. This won’t be easy, because if you change the way you have always responded to their manipulation, they will not be happy. You need to start with deciding that it’s not okay for anyone – including your parents, to treat you badly. It might help to print and post these three ideas on your mirror, refrigerator, and next to your phone:

  1. No one has the power to control me or make me feel bad about myself
  2. I have a right to live my own life, to pursue my own dreams, to spend time with people I like, and to engage in activities I enjoy
  3. Self-care is NOT selfish

You might also want to order the book, “Doing the Right Thing, Taking Care of Your Elderly Parents Even If They Didn’t Take Care of You” by Dr. Roberta Satow. It’s appropriate for anyone who needs help setting boundaries and sticking to them.

Choose Your Reaction

My grandmother was contrary and critical. She complained about everything, and she rarely had a kind word to say about anyone. And yet, she left a positive legacy, because my mom made a conscious decision to be different. Mom chose to focus on the beauty in her life rather than on the ugliness. Although she was never able to love her mother the way she wanted to, she found other people to love who were also capable of loving her back.

Share Your Comments

If you’ve had a similar experience with a loved one in your life, and/or cranky, controlling, or manipulative parents, we would love to hear from you. Please share your stories or read other stories in the comments section below.

Learn More

If your parents have always been difficult, it’s likely that they are just in the “more so” phase of their lives. However, if their irascible behavior is new, something else may be involved. They could be suffering with depression or even dementia. I interviewed Dr. Casciani recently, and if you like to learn more about understanding and coping with difficult parents, listen to this podcast: http://www.caregiverhelp.com/cghradio/radio-episode-37/.

Additionally, if you’re responsbile for care of a difficult parent, you may want to look into respite care.  

About Elaine K. Sanchez

Elaine K Sanchez is an author, caregiver speaker, and co-founder of CaregiverHelp.com, an online, video-based support program for Caregivers. Contact her at Elaine@CaregiverHelp.com.

  • Ann B.

    Thank you for this affirming article! I have a “more so” Mom, and am learning to set boundaries. Trying to respond properly to her bitterness and little hurtful comments.

    • Jennifer

      I feel for you all but so relieved to find this article which affirms so much in a positive way. I grew up with a mother who was most likely sociopath or what is referred to as a borderline personality. It took years to realize things would never change, it wasn’t me, it wasn’t personal, boundries were a good thing and I had the right to say no. I chose not to participate in the dysfunctional dynamics of our family drama and those who did not tried to draw me back in. It’s painful but I feel good about myself. The day did come after many years of changes on my part when I needed to tell her how I really felt about her behavior toward all of us. It was not out of anger or revenge but because I had finally made peace with what it was and wanted to move on. She did not respond well, I left but continued to come back to help her until she needed to move into a rest home. She had always been negative, hateful, angry and demanding. At one point, I was financially and emotionally spent and told my bothers that they had to step in to take over becuase I would no longer be involved now that she was in a safe place. It had been inconceivable for me to say no or tell people what my demands or needs were. It had taken years to get to the point where I could deal with my family on my terms and not at the whim of “crazy” people. It gets easier with practice and I have been able to set boundries at work as well. My mother passed recently and it’s sad that our family felt only relief but also because she is finally out of pain.

  • Ann m

    I am the Mom that is abused by her adult daughter. No matter how I try, she can hurt me but I just turned this article. And realize I can put boundaries too
    Thank you

  • Laura

    I had to figure this out on my own years ago, but its nice to know I continue on the right track. My mother wanted sons, she only had daughters. She took good care of us, but there wasn’t much in the way of nurturing. When it finally dawned on me that she found me “unloveable” (I divorced a cheating husband and apparently it was all my fault) I then began to heal because I already knew she was wrong. She isn’t much interested in my current husband (of 30 years) because there must be something wrong with him because he adores me still. Her loss, because he’s fabulous and I’m truly happy.

  • Carol Krancic

    Thank you for this article. When a person is struggling to care for a challenging family member, it can be a lonely experience if that person is the one who cannot find the perfect holiday card. In my case, and, “as I look back…” (the mantra of many caregivers), I have realized that, in the past, depression was an undiagnosed and unassisted condition of many people. When the “more so” aspect begins in the older years, the challenge is great because the concept of “I will be there for you because you were always there for me” is not present. There are many reasons that people choose to wade in and care for difficult elders, but my philosophy was because it was the right thing to do. Even though I dearly wish that I had had more of a reciprocal relationship, I am satisfied (most of the time!) that I lived my life according to my beliefs, and I have to be satisfied with that knowledge. Again, thanks for this article, and thanks for the book recommendation. Even the title of the book is affirming!

  • Amor

    Dear “mom,”
    Your daughter sounds like my sister, a very unhappy person who was emotionally abusive toward our mother and still doesn’t recognize or admit it, years after our mother’s passing. I hope you have another daughter to tell you she loves you, but if you do not, please allow me to say that if I were your daughter I would thank you for doing your best to raise me and love me. And I would tell you that you are loved. Hugs to you,mom! Wi love.

  • ellen

    Of my 3 sisters I was the least likely to end up taking care of our mother but that’s what happened. My mother didn’t like me for many reasons. My whole family was overweight. I was not. They all had dark, curly, hair. Mine was straight and blonde. My father favored me (which in our home only meant he hit me less). When Mom got breast cancer and then Alzheimers I was the only one capable and close enough to care for her. It was 3 years in hell that got a bit better when I could no longer care for her at home and found a good nursing home. She said less hurtful things as time went on but my care of her was obligatory, not out of love. The doctors and nurses praised me for my care of her but it didn’t help. It was never enough. Because it wasn’t out of love I felt compelled to do more and more, never sure it was as much as I would do if I loved her. I was relieved when she died. It was, and remains, the overwhelming emotion I feel about her passing. I got my life back. I would tell others in this situation to set up as good a situation as you can for them and then limit your exposure to their hateful behavior. I wanted to be able to look myself in the mirror after she died and I can. I did what was needed and then some and now I’m free, emotionally, from her. I live my life every day, knowing that I’m a better mother, a better grandmother, a better wife, sister, and friend, because she was a good role model, of what not to be.

  • Michelle

    My mom was good, she used guilt trips on my sister and I when we were kids, but she had been loving and tried to be supportive throughout our lives…until she met her now ex husband Eric. Once they got married, he went from being the most wonderful man to beating her every week and using heroin which he had hidden from us. He hit her so hard with a wine bottle he fractured her skull, which lead to minor brain damage. Once they were finally divorced, her whole demeanor changed. More manipulative, more paranoid…always accusing my sister and I of not loving her or thinking about her. I remember her screaming in my face that I didn’t bring back a milkshake for her when I went out with my boyfriend (I would have if she had asked for one). Eventually her mental illness and PTSD became so overwhelming that my sister refused to speak to her, and I kept minimal contact just to make sure she was amongst the living. She eventually dumped all our childhood pictures and momentos on my doorstep and moved across the country to “get away from her abusive family” Since she’s been out there I have still kept some minimal contact to make sure she’s not homeless or addicted to drugs. I love my mom, but she is not my mom anymore. She’s doing better nowadays; therapy and the right kind of meds helped level her out to a degree. She has taught me how not to be and to be cautious around the people I bring into my life, and that is the most important lesson.

  • CAROLYN

    My mother has always been a challenge. An intelligent woman with a zest for life, she could be kind and loving, but also melodramatic, selfish and quick to anger. As she aged her positive and negative personality traits became more pronounced. She was first diagnosed with dementia when she was 86, but I think the onset began before that. I’ve been responsible for managing her care these past years, and it’s been exhausting and emotionally draining but it’s also taught me patience and to appreciate my mother’s past accomplishments and her influence on my life. The saddest thing to deal with now is the complete eclipse of her personality. In a shockingly short period of time she has stopped speaking altogether and no longer recognizes us. Not surprisingly I miss the good things like her lovely speaking voice and smile, her enthusiastic reaction to things that always gave her pleasure such as friends and family, and her lively interest in books, music and pretty clothes, but what does astonish me is that I also miss her sometimes challenging and irascible nature.

    • Joda May

      Mother is a mother, Honor your father and mother. Do not complain. you did well Carolyn. What goes around does come around. Life in not guarenteed.

      • Christie

        No, Joda May, Caroline did not do well. She had a challenging woman for a mom, who didn’t love unconditionally, the way a mother should. Some people are blessed with one who does, many are not. Not everyone is cut out to be a mom. There are some selfish, hurt people out there, that unfortunately can only pass on what they know. Until or unless you’ve lived with this, you can’t understand, nor should you judge. It’s wonderful that she can help her mom, but those feelings of guilt brought on by realizing the ugly side of your parent, mix with feelings of self preservation of the soul, when you have to care for such a person. It never leaves you, as after death, just as during life, you can feel as if you didn’t do enough. Amazing how a depressed parent can do that to you. Caroline acted well in her mother’s behalf, and hopefully can fulfill the wish, that we don’t repeat our mother’s faults, as it is difficult not to live what you learned. But those feelings remain with you, that Mother, whether loving or derrogative, always remain with you, whether earned or not.

        • Monica Sylvester

          Thank you for your excellent response to Joda May. I am in a very similar position and when people make Joda’s comments, I find them very demeaning and hurtful.

  • B

    A truly decent parent will expect NOTHING IN RETURN. You do not owe them for bringing you into this world, you do not owe them for taking care of you (or not) for x-amount of years. This idea or notion that family life is all picket fences and that we must do the right thing (No we do not Dr. Shaw) by taking care of any of them – good or bad – is absolute nonsense. The greatest gift I give my children is to tell them every day they owe me NOTHING. When they are grown run free and live their lives.

    • Susan

      B, you are a good mom. That was one of my mother’s greatest gifts to me (among many). Over and over again, she said, we chose to bring you into this world, you owe us nothing, nothing at all. Live your life. She was glad when we wanted to spend time with her, grateful for what we did for her, never expected anything (really). When I see other people dealing with their demanding, entitled parents, I am grateful every single day.

    • new mom

      Thank you! I so appreciate your comment, “B.” I’m trying to figure out how to deal with my mom’s judgement, drama and anger and feel that it’s misdirected when it comes my way. I’m a mom now for the first time and dealing with my mom in a whole new way. For the first time ever (I was lucky) she doesn’t act like she thinks I’m right just because I’m her daughter. but instead questions every decision I make, asks where my husband is, when my baby will see the doc, etc. I have a strong, sad feeling this will only get worse. She’s always said her mom was terrible and that she wants to be different. I thought it was so sad, but now I understand and I think that’s sadder yet. She feels that she should have a return on her investments now, and that’s not the way I want to be with my children. I absolutely believe in loving freely and that the best thing we can do for our children is to teach them to live independently and lovingly on this Earth.

  • Tom

    Its even harder for a guy caring for dear old mom. Guilt, and manipulation lets include cultural pressure if you are not from this country.

  • Sophie Katt

    I take care of my mother because I am the only one who is close enough to do so. Thankfully, my brother – we are only 13 months apart in age – understands everything that I go through with our mother, and he appreciates the fact that I’m the one “in the trenches” so to speak, so he supports my decisions and encourages me to do “whatever I think is best”. I am thankful for his minimal involvement, as there is no arguing or fighting over “what to do about Mom”. Our mother is untreated bipolar and has been a source of disruption and drama all of our lives. We do love her, though, and we are trying our best to provide care for her. She is 76 and in very good health, so we might be doing this for quite a long time yet to come.

  • Brian

    My mother was a mean spirited woman,who showed love as well. But her nastiness always out weighed her kindness. She die at 50 28 years ago. I don’t miss her,or wish she were here.She doesn’t know my daughter,and that’s a good thing. My father is 80 still alive. I don’t have any kind of relationship with him,he was a lazy do nothing layabout child molesting ass. I’ve made peace with it,and I am a better parent for it. My daughter loves me unconditionally,and she is the best person I have ever or will ever know.

    • Kathryn

      Brian, I can relate. My maternal grandmother was a mean, violent woman who beat her children until they needed hospitalization (my mother was intimidated into telling the doctor that she had fallen down the stairs.) She was just as mean and violent towards her grandchildren. For reasons I don’t understand, my mother would allow my grandmother to babysit us sometimes when my grandparents would come to visit. My grandmother would lock us outside the house until we peed our pants, would refuse to feed us meals because we were “bad” (not that we had done anything bad but were just inherently bad), and even knocked out one of my little sister’s teeth when my sister talked back to my grandmother when my grandmother told her not to do something my mother previously told her to do. When my grandmother had a severe stroke when I was about 12, it came as a great relief to all of us grandchildren because she was no longer physically able to carry out her malicious intentions towards us.

      Good for you keeping your daughter away from harm!

  • Sydney

    My beautiful mother has been an example of what to be and what not to be all at the same time. I feel empathy toward her health issues and support her by availing myself to help or talk whenever she needs me, but I have a traveling husband and two boys still at home. Mom’s gotten in the habit of dumping her negativity on me first thing in the morning when I return from taking my high school sophomore to school These gripe sessions can go on for an hour, two hours or more until Mom finally declares we need to hang up because we’re just ‘wasting our time.’ If I try to interject positive comments, reminding Mom of the faith in God we share, she either gets silent or becomes angry. It’s as though I’m there solely to absorb Mom’s angst and she doesn’t seem to want to change. This has taken a toll on my emotional well-being to the point where I’ve had to start setting limits. I don’t mind being available to talk, but if the conversation is going to be long, it will need to be later in the day after I’ve accomplished more of what I need to do for my family. My husband travels extensively, so I need to guard myself emotionally so I don’t sink into the abyss. I appreciate this article as it has affirmed I’m taking steps to insure my own well-being, which is not only okay, but necessary in order to continue being the kind of wife, mother and daughter I want to be.

  • Diana

    I can TOTALLY relate to the first sentence in this article. I’ve stood in the card aisle on mother’s day or her birthday looking at cards that were too syrupy. I now know to look in the blank card section. It’s easier to pen my cordial generic greetings and be done with it. My mom is very self-centered & manipulative. Thankfully she no longer affects me because I have put my foot down on her. I call her on any nasty or spiteful behavior. She still manipulates my other siblings, but they are slowly coming around. It’s taken a while for me to get to this point, but I first had to mourn the fact that I did not have a mother that was nurturing or loving. In her mind she did a great job as a mother because we didn’t stave to death (talk about a low bar). That we should be grateful that she had not aborted us. Oh well. That’s about as good as it gets. I’m glad that more people are openly talking about this issue. It helps with the healing.

  • Frannie

    It breaks my heart to read the comments of those who were not parented well. I was fortunate to have had wonderful parents! Taking care of them in their later years was really a labor of love for my family! I had people say “How did you get stuck” Don’t you miss having a life”? Never felt that way! I was living life! My parents were always there for me and I was there for them! It wasn’t always easy but it always worked out! Lucky Us!

  • Woody

    Thanks for the article. It’s a tough subject for many but it really does need to be discussed more. Keep up the timely information!

  • Marisa Orellana

    I can’t tell you how helpful it is to hear all these comments.. Things I’ve struggled with for years are all here. I have always felt so quilty for the feelings I have or don’t have for my parents. The greeting card aisle always made me weepy because I wanted to buy the syrupy cards but could not bring myself to do it because I did not feel it. I’ve heard that phrase so often that we owe her, she gave birth to us and on and on… I do not want to do this to my children and I have tried hard to undo all I learned growing up;.

    Thank you to all of you for sharing!

  • Ang

    I am in the same boot. I’m 32 years now. My father divorced my mother when I was a few years out of college Since he couldn’t deal with her and he found another woman he loves. My father cares about me. I love my mom, she cares for me but by disproving my decisions, saying I should listen to her. I tried to deal with her. It gave me tension and I felt doing what I like might hurt her. After the divorce I tried to encourage her to have her life. But she asks about everything that I do.

    I will set boundaries. It could be hard to envision a life where your parent don’t even feel happy if you feel happy. I feel tension in my stomach. My mother try to use me to continue her battle with my father. It’s weird. I hope I’m a strong person.

  • Luz La Torre

    I Agree with Franny . I feel very Happy to had the opportunity and to be able of to taking care of my Parents for me was a GOD Bless! . Gave back to the Ones who take care of you with Love is WONDERFUL GIFT.

  • vera

    Thank you for this a article! I am going through this now with my mom. She was (is) a VERY abusive person. She beat me almost daily with anything she can find. The only time I felt safe at home was when my step dad was home. He was a corporate pilot.
    I tried to think of what she taught me growing up. She taught me to be strong, not by example for sure, but out of my desire to not EVER be like her! I have four grown children and seven grands so far. I tell them all the time how much I love and appreciate the adults they have become. They are wonderful parents. I wish my mom had been. She did alot of damage to us and i lived out of state for many yrs. But have moved to be closer to my kids and their families.
    I hope when the time comes, i won’t be asked to do her uilogy, because I don’t think anyone would like what I had to say…except my sister.

  • Ariel

    Thank you for this article. My mom is this way and we have never had a good relationship by any means. I always thought it was me, even though I knew deep down it wasnt, but she always makes me feel like I’m the bad person. Uses anger and the occasional guilt trip to make her look like the victim and me look like the a**hole. She even accused me of sleeping with her husband and didn’t send the message but later my little sister accidentally sent it when she was playing on her phone. She then proceeded to tell me that it was my fault she did that because I told her that being an alcoholic didn’t qualify her as being a fit parent in court. I wasn’t even being mean, just bringing her back to her senses before she done something stupid. So with me doing so, that made it ok to accuse me of something I wouldn’t dream of ever doing to anyone, much less my own mother.

  • Linda Kelley

    Thank you for a wonderful article. I know I’m not alone at a time when you feel no one else could be feeling like I do with a untreated bipolar mother .She has seemed to keep my childhood and adult life fulled with disruption and drama. I to will set boundaries and limits to her verbal and bullying now. At the age of 79 she does abuse me in exactly the same as if she was 30.

  • jswilson

    So what am I supposed to think? My Aunt has recently been on Facebook dishonoring my grandmother (how I see it) because of her manipulation and crankiness…she is 91, has always been independent, raised 10 children and now her health is fading and her memory is slipping fast! She doesn’t want to go into a home, she doesn’t want to live with my mom, she doesn’t want to share her home, but she isn’t able to do for herself.
    The way I see it, there are plenty of children and grandchildren nearby to help at all times. My mom actually stays with her 4 days out of the week and a couple other aunts help as well. I think grams should get her way and if she gets cranky…so what?! Give her a few! Cut her some slack! I cannot imagine going through what she has to endure! She’s scared most of the time, and confused…so she gets crabby and can be sensitive…what is wrong with that?
    Is my aunt just an attention whore? I honestly don’t know…but to attack the character of my grams on Facebook was just sick in my opinion and I told her so. Now, I’m the bad guy…

  • brandess

    Sounds like you described my mother…..I’m a cha and I can’t stand this any longer so “I bite “back any more

  • Rose Barnes

    Was relieved to find that I wasn’t the only one in this situation…Even when I was little, I could spend the night at friend’s houses, but nobody spent the night with me. Didn’t figure it out for a long time. And its only gotten worse over the years. When Dad died in ’83, it did something to her and she really got mean. I know I’m supposed to care, but I see her as little as possible. I will be moving next year, and I’m not sure I want to tell her.

  • Courtney

    My mother and my adult sister both act as the cranky, controlling, manipulative “mom” in my life. My mother is only in her mid 50’s and my sister in her mid 20’s and I have dealt with so much guilt and manipulation in my lifetime that I feel like they are much older (like 70yrs +). I started building boundaries about a year ago but it is still very difficult and I find that once I build up one boundary I have to turn around and build up another. It’s exhausting and heartbreaking. But I feel better knowing I’m not alone, because despite having an amazing husband and in law family, I am alone because I’m the only one they try to manipulate. I worry about the future and what the relationship, or maybe the lack their of, holds but at least I know there is good advice out there for support.

  • Randy Bradford

    Caring for the elderly, especially when they are your own parents in their own home, can be hard sometimes. Its always good advice to remember who they are and what they have done for you throughout your life. Patience and love are always the two best things to keep in your heart and mind when caring for the elderly.

  • Davina

    Thank you so much for this information. My Mother abused me as a child, and my 2 children and I have lived with my parents for 9 months due to homelessness related to domestic violence. She often curses and talks negatively about my ex in front of my children. I choose the high road of not arguing, and have tried to leave when things become too difficult. We have a home now that we are waiting to move into soon. I am so grateful to God for all He has done for me. He is so awesome!

    My parents care for my children while I work weekends. I am thankful for what they have done for me. I have a good job now that I can go to Nursing School free if I want. I am looking for someone to take care of my children so that my parents will be more free to do what they want.

    I hope you have a wonderful day!

    Blessings,
    Davina

  • susan

    I have had a lifetime of feeling guilty and controlled by my mother. I never really got to know my dad. She begged me not to get in touch with him. When I finally got up the gumption to try to find him, it was too late. He had died. When my stepfather died, she moved across the country to a retirement community (I live about halfway between). She told me my husband and I were “too boring” to live near. She expected to be invited to all special events and holidays and we were to visit her regularly. We couldn’t afford it. And the airport is 2 and 1/2 hours away for when she wanted to come see us. Her requests got increasingly unreasonable- I know she was lonely. I finally stopped calling her at our prescheduled time every week because sometimes she wouldn’t be there or would go away (like on a cruise!), and not let me know. I have not spoken to her in five years. In 2010 she started picking on my college age daughter. (I noticed that at 16 her behavior toward me changed)- she would not say why, but I figured she was just blowing off steam- she bullied me and my stepfather if we did not comply. I let another family member know that if she had an emergency, I would respond, but not for anything else.(This family member called me) I should have had the guts to tell her why I cut her off, but it would have ended in a shouting match. I’ve had enough!

  • Maryann

    My father was abusive throughout my childhood and adult life. U would never take care of him. I hope he’s dead before he gets feeble. He made my life miserable.

  • debbie

    i feel that therapist and the like, often forget something when they say, “no one can control your life unless you let them”… thats NOT true.. as evident in my case.. if i don’t act, do etc, they way my mother wanted me too growing up.. i risked being put in “programs”… (thats a huge life change.. all your rights taken from you and someone beltlooping you).. i couldn’t fit in with the other group members b/c i didn’t have their “big druggie stories”.. that staff would ask that we dig deep in our closet and share with the group some of the things we did.. i felt compelled to make something up (i never did that though) but, how was i going to go on this huge speech b/c “i wore eyeliner once when mom wasn’t looking” or, i saved and bought pumps to wear with jeans when mom bought me saddleshoes (it was the 80’s).. it was a devastating injury to me being throwin into that program.. shock doesn’t even begin to express it.. then as a wallflower adult with four extrememly roudy children.. my husband was becoming out of control and scaring me.. after a few calls to my family.. i decided to leave him.. with in 24 hours of being in their home.. a sociial worker showed up.. they called the STATE??? that was bad, that went REAL BAD.. that set my life back years! now here i am raising a severely disabled “autistic” low functioning son.. and when i ask for a little bit of respit and help.. i get ultimatums.. like “he really needs to be in a home”.. she gets together with my daughter who also is controlling and they come up with a plan that i can no longer see my first grandbaby (she’s 3 months old) unless i put my son in a home.. they want me to change my entire life.. BECAUSE I MERELY asked for their helpl.. and it really is THAT simple.. so when you say, they can only control you if you let them… nope, they can do serious things… like call the state, get u in all kinds of legal trouple ( i lost the kids b/c “i knowingly stayed in an abusive relationhipo” (even though i left him first)??? controlling people don’t just do it by words.. they will meddle legally in your life, physically, they will snoop and they will try to control your friends.. i realize, i am going to have to cut all ties with all of them to have peace.. and that is a gut wrenching decision.. but i am ready to make it.. i just can’t do this anymore..

  • Danielle

    My mother is exactly as you described, over controlling so much so that she even locked me out of the house so I would not use her bathroom & “fill up the septic tank.” I have my own “space” which is my father’s old woodcarving shop that I have tried to renovate but am not allowed to ‘change”. there’s no running water or bathroom but it is a separate building from the house where my mother lives, but on the same property just a few yards away. It has been 3 days since we have last spoken to each other and I don’t know what to do to break the silence. She just shuts the door to her room and doesn’t answer the phone, the door or sees anyone. She’s tried suicide twice this year using zopiclone, she didn’t die but hallucinated so badly she had to be hospitalized. They let her out the next day, and she was still hallucinating, she refuses psychiatric help and insists on dying at home but she could have many more years and I can’t just give up my dreams of even having a future. I want to plan my life so I can live it with loving people for the rest of my life, not here with a bullying control freak. Any advice on how transition away from this situation since I am her only caregiver, shopper etc.

  • Melissa

    I have been taking care of my mother for the past ten years but I’m struggling because she is so verbally abusive. I have remodeled her home because she and my mother let it get in such terrible disrepait that when he died and she became ill it was falling to the ground. I had to give her medication and force her to wear adult diapers because she urinated on herself multiple times a day and would not clean it up. I removed the carpet because it was wet and reeked of urine. These are just a few of many of the horrible situations that I deal with on a daily basis. I think the verbal and physcological abuse is the worst because it’s not just me it’s my daughter too. My mother is very manipulative and when she doesn’t get her way starts crying and screaming like a child. She does not clean the house, the yard, or herself properly. I am exhausted.

  • maddie

    I know this is a older post but I can identify with all of you. I have to take care of an abusive,control freak who is manipulating as well as jealous of her daughter’s it’s pathetic! I sometimes feel guilty for wishing her to hurry up and die already. I never use to think like this before but that ball sack face is driving me crazy. It has gotten to the point to where out of all her four kids I’m the one who felt bad and stuck around well everyone else went on with there life. Yes I’m in therapy for all this crap that is causing chaos in my life but it only helps so much. Only other option is to just leave and let her live her life and let a social worker or case worker step in? Or call a priest and see if the lady needs an exorcism??…lol…hey you never know? Sorry had to vent !

  • maddie

    I can so relate. My mother is a manipulating, control freak who is jealous of her adult daughter’s it’s pathetic not to mention verbally abusive and at times physically abusive it’s sad she has closed the doors to people . I was the only one out of her four children who has put up and taken care of her while the other’s ignore her and go about their lives. I need to do the same for my own sanity and let her fall on her own no literary so to speak so the doctor can see she is out of control and maybe get her some help? She urinates and poops herself almost everyday doesn’t bathe for like a month nor pay her bills and spends all her money on junk not to mention her house is going through foreclosure due to her denial. She is mobile but refuses to walk and always uses scooters . She claims her doctor told her nobody can put her in a home apparently she thinks she is John gotti and is untouchable? The real scary part is this woman drives still and she almost hit someone the other day and always goes into things with her car! I have gotten very bitter and cold towards her and just wish she would pass away. I know that sounds horrible but she is a miserable person who doesn’t like to see me in particular to be happy at all it depressing to say, the least. I am in counseling and take meds for anxiety due to all this and now I say”, F” her and move let some other poor soul deal with her!

  • Cheryl N Terry Reuter

    I have been reading through the posts, and find this is mostly a venting site. I need answers and do not know where to turn. So, I will vent, maybe that is therapy in itself. This is my second marriage, and I have only been in this family for 2 years, but what a 2 year ordeal!
    My mother-in-law has been decent to me, complimenting, friendly, a real sweetheart. The last 5 months, her health has changed and fallen numerous times, now,I am seeing a different side. My husband was adopted by her when he was 6. He came from terrible foster homes, but finally made a home with them. The dad was a doctor, so gone a lot, and she was left to raise 5 adopted children as she couldn’t have any of her own. To say the least she was ‘mother dearest’ He was raised by a manipulative, controlling, abusive woman, that made his and his siblings lives hell. My husbands siblings all moved out of state and when his father died, had my husband promise never to put his mom in a nursing home.
    Well, fast forward to today, he is the only family here and she is still the crazy biotch she was back then, but now she puts on the tears. I haven’t minded being there for her, visiting every other day at her rehab, taking care 24/7 of her dog, checking mail, washing her clothes, calling nurses, Home Care providers, doctors and having meetings with her phys/occ therapists.Then I saw the total disrespect and ungratefulness she had toward my husband. Not directed at me, but it still effects me to see this going on. A slap, a mean remark, a pinch on the ear, a snarl, an insult… and no matter what I have done, not one ‘thank-you’! She just fights every effort we make to keep her out of a nursing home. If her other kids had the choice, she would already be in one. If anyone has any ideals on how to handle this, feel free to respond. I am drained.

    • Helene

      My mother in law lives on her own, and we moved to be closer to her after her husband died, just to keep an eye on her. She is fine, but believes she is hard done by and unable to do stuff. So she gets us doing some stuff, like moving the whole house full of furniture to different rooms, gardening etc. But it’s the manipulation and alterior motives that become mind draining. If you don’t do a job because you are busy with your own stuff she puts on the guilts saying she will have to pay for someone to do it and all that fun mind bending stuff. My husband is not the only child he has a sister that moved to the opposite end of the country, conveniently. She has her stay for a couple of months a year and complains everyday how hard it is and so on. I have decided that this is my husband mother he has to do the jobs now and let him come to the conclusion that we can’t be the only ones looking after her. I will support him in his decisions and listen to him when he is frustrated but I am not going to let her stop me from doing what I want to do, so I don’t go over often, I am studying and keeping my self busy with my work, it’s our time to live. I would never expect my son to stop his fun to come and look after me, we have to accept when we are old we need extra help, but being unwilling to move into a retirement home and rely on others to.look after you is selfish. So what I would say to you, is don’t take on responsibilities that are.not your own. Live your life, because she did, and now it’s your turn.

  • Saritha BossTeambegood Washing

    As of January , I instantly & unexpectedly became responsible for my elderly father’s housing and care. This came right at the ending of a bankruptcy and search for housing for myself as I was looking at eviction. My siblings and others thought it was great for us both, but not when you don’t care to be in the company of someone you have been battling since adolescence about their mistreatment of you. And not after this parent was involuntarily removed from his residence for the same reason you was glad to move away from: for threatening someone with a firearm. This is the same person who it was later revealed to have plotted deadly harm against you after your mother left the abusive relationship, and who then tried to inflict the same abuse on you as you became a young woman who was viewed as another woman to be suspicious of; without the provocation of suspicion. Viewed as only being purposed to serve, silenced & obedient to the letter. Well, I’m not made for those types of expectation, so imagine how well we got along. I had to learn outside the home what it meant to be treated decently and with regard, and to know I had a full right to expect and demand it, and that I did not have to associate myself with ANYONE who didn’t give to me what I eagerly gave to them and even those who didn’t treat me the same. It took me a long time and different types of relationships before I even knew any better. I did not know how to speak up and assert myself or even what a true loving relationship was supposed to resemble. Not from friends (wasn’t allowed to have any and didn’t know how to get or keep them when I could), not from guys (who were not looking for much more than a doormat and “easy access”) not from any type of family/social support. It is really and truly by the Grace of God to have a sense of Absolute, Genuine Love, that I now have. But now the challenge is in giving it to the one person in the world who made me feel my lowest, worthless, ugliest and who STILL operates like that. But I tell you, God is SO GOOD because even though I occasionally have moments of struggle to deal with my father’s ways, God gives me strength to get through one moment at a time. I do what I can, what I can’t do, I leave for God to make a way. And He Does. God has blessed me with an Overcoming, Self Accepting Love and Blessed Peace. I even shared some of this latter part with my Dad, he also got quiet when I said that. I’ll be fair and say that in his own way he does the best he can of himself and it is my job to let that be that. I have fought off the impulse to even let my mind go into the thought of my Dad’s time, that is for the Lord to know, and for me to do my best by him within my capability. This blog has encouraged me Greatly. Excuse Me to anyone who finds negativity and complaint in my story, I’m working on it.Thank You to those who shared, God Bless Everybody!