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Old 07-26-2015, 09:46 PM
 
579 posts, read 509,015 times
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My family dynamics is confusing, and to cut the time short, I dont think I am going to go over my family tree. I am just going to say it like I live in an ordinary family. I am going to state my ethnicity though, it might be helpful towards this post.

My mom is turning 65 this year. She has chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cholestol, and maybe some other problems that I dont recall, but she is good with keeping them all under control. She has been a stay at home mom all her life, and at one time collected disability because of her chronic conditions. I dont know if she still does since she got everything under control a long time ago. My dad passed away when I was 16. He was the one who took care of her. By taking care of her, I meant taking her to doctor's appointments, and grocery shopping. While he was alive, she was like any ordinary woman, and her health was fine.

Shortly after he passed away, she started to complain of belly pain. At first all of us (she has 3 daughters, I am the youngest) were concerned. We took time off of work to take her to the ER and follow up visits. Every single time, they are unable to find anything wrong and concluded that it has to do with stress. She pointed her finger at the doctors and insist that there is something wrong with her, and that they dont know what they are doing and what to look for. After the 10th time of responding to her "belly pain", all 3 of us started to get tired. We felt like she was trying to seek attention because she is now living with my second sister who doesnt care much for her. We all have our nuclear family to tend to, and I feel like she doesnt like that she cant be center of attention.

She goes back to Vietnam every year (where we are from) at least once, and strangely, as soon as she gets off the plane, she says that she feels this burst of vitality. She's able to enjoy the time over there and never got the "belly pain" once.

After her time over there is over, and she resumes her life in the States, she goes back to being her melodramatic self. She complains EVERY SINGLE DAY about her life is so miserable, adn that the American soil (or just america in general) is making her sick, and its so boring being stuck at home all day (she doesnt drive), or how my second sister treats her like she doesn't exist. She always wants to go every where. The bank, the store, shopping malls, that one gadget that she's gotta have and will make people drive to 10 different locations to find a store that carries it. At first my eldest sister who give in out of sympathy for her since my dad is no longer around and he was the one who used to do these things for her. She would drive from Hillsboro to Portland (about 50 minutes) to take her places, and my mom is never content with the amount of help that people offer. If you do it once, she will ask you to do it again 5 more times. My eldest sister said she's had enough since this is clearly impacting her own family life. She has school aged children that she needs to take care of.

So since then, my eldest has put her foot down and always come up with excuses not to drive her places. My second sister is selfish. She lives with my mom who is helping her pay rent, but she would never drive my mom any where, so she is out of the picture. Now there's only me left, and she knows that. She calls me every single day, always talking about herself and our conversation would go somewhat like this. I am only 25 years old vs her being 65 so our conversation is not interesting.

Mom: "what are you doing?"
Me: "nothing"
Mom: "have you eaten yet"
Me: "yea"
5 minute silence
Mom: "I think you need to come by on Monday (husbands off day) to take me to 5 different places. Leave the kids at home, its gonna be a long day"
Me: (feeling obligated because she is my mom) ok

Every single Sunday, she calls me in anticipation because she knows my husband gets Mondays off (his only day off), and comes up with a list of things she wants to get done. Like my elder sister, I have came up with excuses more than once to avoid taking her shopping or looking for some gadgets, but it could only go so far. At the end, I run out of excuses and have to give in. Tomorrow is Monday, and I already promised her that I will take her out, and as she said, its going to be a "long day". I am considering taking my 2.5 year old so I can go home sooner, because if I go alone she will take advantage of that.

She wanted me to get off of work early to pick her up, and I said no because Monday is especially busy for me, I cant get off any earlier than noon. She wasnt too happy about it and kept repeating "you really cant get off earlier?"

Yesterday she called me and as soon as I picked up she said in her raspy sick voice "I am having belly pain". My kids were super tired since it was their nap time, but I offered to take her to the ER. My husband was at work so I would have to take my cranky kids with me. She said "no, let me go pop some pills and see if it helps" An hour later, I call her to see how she is doing and she said "better" and goes on to complain about American doctors who cant diagnose her and praising the doctors in Vietnam who were able to pinpoint the cause of her symptoms and that she has an irritated appendix and would need to operate. She is always complaining how life in the states sucks and out of irritation, I asked her "why wont you move there permanently then?" I really dont see her point in staying here. We are all "out of the nest", have our own families. We cant be there 24/7 unless she has serious medical issues, which it appears that she doesnt. She doesnt even need a care giver, she needs a driver.

She also gets upset when we dont give in to her requests. She complains that my second sister is mean to her, so my elder offered to take her in and offering her a room, and if she needs to go to the doctor's, her grandkids can drive her. She refused, because she doesnt like the husband. And guess who she bugs? ME. She wants to live with me! First off, we live in a 2 room apartment, no spare room for her. Second, even if we had a spare room, husband and I like to have our own privacy. I cant deal with my mom's complaining every single day. This is the one time that I put my foot down and said no. She got mad at me for 4 months. I visited her 4 months later and she said "now you decided to show your face".

I really am considering moving out of state because I cant deal with her bugging me every day with her complaints about how harsh life is and expecting so much from me. My husband says its because I am TOO nice and she can sense it. She's the type that wont take "no" for answer, and if you turn her down, she will become embarrassed, and like the above scenario, will ignore you until you "show your face". She never has anything positive to say. I dont understand why she just wouldnt move back home. What is there to lose? She built a house over there, and she gets a monthly pension. Cost of living over there is dirt cheap. You can buy a meal with less than $1.

I want to be a part of her life, and want to be there for her when she does have an emergency, I dont want her to die alone or anything (although everything will be much better for all of us, including her if she would just go back home she my uncles and aunts all live there. She actually lives with my uncle when she goes over there. The house is hers, but my uncle lives with her an in exchange for free housing, they need to take care of her when she gets too old). Would it be awful of me if I picked up her calls less frequently, ive done so before and she threw a fit. The only time I was able to live in peace was when I went to college 2 hours away and she knew I wouldnt be of any help.

Sorry for any spelling errors. I know there are a few but too lazy to spell check everything.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Kenmore, WA
7,492 posts, read 6,480,769 times
Reputation: 10932
It sounds like you feel trapped in this situation with your mother, and nothing you can think to do will make her happy. You will have to first address this with your sisters.

Sit down with your two sisters and discuss what each of you can and cannot do, and come up with a plan that meets your mothers and each of your needs as best is possible. Only the four of you together can decide what that will be in the end, but if you have a prior conversation before including your mom, you will at least know each others thoughts. You will have to offer a certain amount of time to take care of your mom, and insist that each of them do the same -- but try to stagger the days. Maybe you can help on Wednesdays, the oldest sister can help on another, and so on. There are no options of opting out. Make that clear from the start.

I know from limited experience that you will feel somewhat bound by cultural family traditions that no longer exist in families whose cultural links are more distant. It might help to explain to your mother that she and your father had to understand that in raising their family here that you would become more American in your approach to family life. You might then explain that with families of your own, and full time jobs, you cannot do for her what she was able to do as a stay at home mother. There just is not enough time. Give her a schedule of when you will be able to do things for her and then just keep her to that schedule.

For example: "Mom, my Monday's are reserved for my husband, but I will be able to spend time with you, take you on errands, to doctor's appointments on ________. (Name a day of the week that you can help her.) EACH of you should be able to devote a couple of hours each week. If you each keep those times free to spend with your mom, helping her with whatever comes up for that set time, the requests may become less frequent.

As for the pains, if she feels better in Vietnam, perhaps you should explain to her that the three of you have discussed it and as difficult as it would be to have her so far away, it might be better for her health to move back there. Explain that her health is more important to you, and you would not want her to suffer by being here, especially when your family time makes it so difficult for you to spend time with her.

She might actually prefer to be back there, but does not know how to tell you that.
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Old 07-27-2015, 01:28 AM
 
Location: Tijuana Exurbs
4,001 posts, read 10,452,658 times
Reputation: 4725
Stop taking her to the ER when she has belly pains. Refuse to take her to the ER. The ER is the most expensive medical care out there. If she insists on going somewhere, take her to urgent care. She's having belly pains, not a heart attack.

Maybe your mother and 2nd sister should move to a very urban part of the City so that your mother can call Uber, take the bus or walk to places she needs to go.
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:09 AM
 
396 posts, read 369,107 times
Reputation: 910
Your mother sounds very unhappy, perhaps depressed, and lonely. And since you are her primary caretaker with no help from your other siblings, it's natural this is going to wear you down. It can happen even under the best conditions (I was once where you were, but thankfully, my mother was easier to get along with).

Would she be amenable to going to a senior citizen center during the day where she could be around people her own age? Many of them offer crafts and day trips along with other activities. Getting her engaged with others could take some of the pressure off of you. Making friends is an added bonus.

Otherwise, when you are simply too busy or it's inconvenient for you to drop what you are doing to tend to her needs (when they are minor), you will have to learn to say no, or your health and well being will continue to suffer. Then you will be no good to her, you will be no good to your family and most importantly, to yourself. If she ignores you, that is her way of attempting to guilt you into being what she wants. Maybe ignore is good, if you can stop guilting yourself. Easier said than done, I know, but it gets better with concerted effort.

I would also encourage you to seek out a caregiver support group if there is one in your area. Online is good, but in person is even better.
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Texas
43,564 posts, read 52,710,219 times
Reputation: 70864
Man up and say no, for god's sake.

You don't have to be rude about it.
Just, "Sorry, I can't take you go five places."

She's a melodramatic faker...and you are just helping making it worse.
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,823 posts, read 19,921,769 times
Reputation: 23232
Quote:
Originally Posted by conlainhothuong View Post
My second sister is selfish. She lives with my mom who is helping her pay rent, but she would never drive my mom any where, so she is out of the picture. .
Out of the picture??
She's in the middle of it. Why do you other girls let her get away with this? Why does your mom let her off the hook?
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:43 AM
 
396 posts, read 369,107 times
Reputation: 910
Quote:
Out of the picture??
She's in the middle of it. Why do you other girls let her get away with this? Why does your mom let her off the hook?
The $64K questions and, in my experience, not ones easily answered. You cannot drag a person out to their car and force them to drive. I ran into exactly this with my older sister when my parents were on the decline and yes, a sibling can completely remove themselves by refusing to participate. And there's nothing legal you can do about it, much less anything personal if that person is of that mindset. Mom might be badgering her too but she apparently is letting it roll of her back, something the OP cannot do or hasn't learned to do.
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Old 07-27-2015, 06:46 AM
 
2,600 posts, read 6,118,110 times
Reputation: 2437
A caregiver is typically a family member, or friend who willingly sacrifices time, energy and, in some cases, their entire being to tend to the needs of a loved one.

I don't think this is you !!!
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,922 posts, read 36,237,009 times
Reputation: 63576
Quote:
Originally Posted by need4speed2012 View Post
A caregiver is typically a family member, or friend who willingly sacrifices time, energy and, in some cases, their entire being to tend to the needs of a loved one.

I don't think this is you !!!
Anyone who sacrifices their entire being to tend to the needs of a loved one who is faking illnesses and who is using emotional manipulation to dominate and abuse the time and energy of another person isn't a caregiver - they're a pushover or an enabler.

Caregivers don't have to give up all their time, energy, home or money to qualify as a caregiver.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:55 AM
 
2,635 posts, read 3,378,569 times
Reputation: 6975
It sounds like she is depressed and lonely. It is very common for depression/anxiety to be manifested by gastrointestinal complaints. Remember - she actually does have belly pain. It just isn't due to a stomach problem.

Has she seen a doctor who is following her for these symptoms? Have they tried treatments?

I agree that she may be more happy going back to Vietnam for her retirement. Is this possible?
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