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Anonymous
Reply with quote  #1 
After my father died, 16 years ago, my mother moved into the in-law apartment in my house. She was afraid to stay in the house I grew up in, and didn't want to take care of the 5 acres, etc. I said she could live in the apartment and planned that that would always be the case. I had no plans to move. At that time, when we talked about it, I told her that my greatest fear was that she would move to the town in which I was raising my family, but wouldn't make it her own, that she would live vicariously only through us. Which she did. My greatest fears were realized. Fast forward to now: my husband, three kids and I decided to move out to the country. We've spent 22 years in town and need a change. I need a break from my mother. We chose a house where she could have a bedroom, but no apartment, and I told her I didn't want to share the house: she could have her space when she stayed with us, but not "share" the house. She decided she wasn't ready to just have a bedroom. We offered to keep the other house and rent it out so that my mother could stay in her apartment. She refused. She found a small house just down the street from there, and has lived there for 3 months. But she is SO angry, seething really, all the time. She is passive aggressive with comments about dying or not being here in a year, about how I keep the new house, about not seeing her enough, about uprooting her life and "leaving her no family" because we aren't living together. And my brother seems to agree with her. I am confident in my decision and love the changes we've made, but feel overwhelming guilt about changing what I did think would be a lifelong plan. But I changed, my feelings changed, I wanted different things, and acted on that. (Also, my mother has plenty of money and is physically strong and well.) I'm just looking for thoughts on this situation with my mother and brother. They're my only blood family, really, but I do not feel understood or accepted by either of them simply because for the first time in my life I'm doing something unexpected, and that doesn't benefit them first. But I'm still sad. 
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Anonymous
Reply with quote  #2 
While my comments may feel negative , I don’t blame you for what you did. It is understandable that you reached a breaking point. I’m just wondering if you handled your departure with enough sympathy & love. This change will take a long time for your Mom to accept.

You created a caregiving situation when you allowed your Mom to move in with you and to become immersed in your life. Then you change her world at a time in her life that change isn’t easy. You stated that she would be confined to one room if she moved and sounds like you deliberately chose a home without an apt for her. I’m assuming if she has money, she could have helped you buy for something to include her. So in wanting your freedom, you rejected her. She feels abandoned & unwanted by those who have been the biggest part of her life. So yes, it makes sense she is hurt & angry.

You don’t mention how old your Mom is and if she had any friends or activities in the town you left. If not, then she has this huge gap in her life while you are now enjoying the new life you wanted and she has nothing. She is likely very frightened being alone for the first time possibly in her life.

Your decision to detach wouldn’t have been easy on your Mom regardless but there is a lot you can do to make it work. You need to make extra time to be with your Mom. Get her set up online if she isn’t. Do family FaceTimes with her. Message or text her daily. Go spend time with her weekly. Include her in your life. Yeah this is more work for you but you have responsibility for the decisions you have made. The guilt you feel shows you know this.

I understand both of your feelings as I’ve had to put boundaries on my relationship with my own Mom but it took 5 yrs to go from visiting her 3 or 4 days a week to now it’s just once a week. I lived with my daughter 5 days a week for 2 yrs to babysit her daughter and in spite of it being my recommendation that the social one be placed in daycare, it broke my heart to leave. It was so hard not to be a part of their daily lives as they had become my main focus. We had to teach a 3 yr old to use facetime so we could talk daily. My daughter went out of her way to visit me for weekends and we were 3 hrs away. It was so much easier 10 yrs before when I was working, she & grandson were living with us 5 days a week and hubby was babysitting. I missed them when grandson started school where they lived but I had work, my friends and I was younger.

Hugs to you, you made 2 decisions that were easy for either of you.
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Victory

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you for your thoughtful and caring response. I do have work to do. I talk to my mother daily and see her weekly already. But I think more conversation allowing her to express her hurt, feeling of being abandoned and fear about the future is necessary. How might I broach that, do you think? 
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Splotchy
Reply with quote  #4 
I have a slightly different take from the other person who posted. 

It is one thing to be hurt, afraid and disappointed to discover that what you thought was your "forever home" with your daughter is now not going to be. I doubt most of us would be overjoyed to get that news. It stings and feels like a rejection.  It might even take a bit of time to get over.

But it is completely another story to be so angry that you would make mean statements and threats about dying solely to hurt and guilt your child.  To me, that goes beyond just being afraid.  It is manipulative and mean.

I think your story is a good warning for anyone who is thinking of moving a parent in with them, without thinking through all the possibilities.  If a parent is still in good health, but expects you to make your life their life, at some point, that is going to feel suffocating.  While I understand your mom's emotions, I think it was a tad self-centered of her to not see that you, your husband and your children might someday have needs and preferences that differ from hers.

Having said that, your mom is clearly hurting right now. I am guessing that you did not intend to hurt her, but she still feels rejected.  Give her space to vent and let her have her feelings.  Reassure her that you love her.  But at the end of the day, try to help her see that this decision was about you and your family needing some healthy space of your own.  In time, I think a loving mother should be able to see that and accept that. 

If your mom cannot, then perhaps creating some space was a good choice after all.

I hope this works out and your mom finds the safety and security she seeks.

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Victory

Registered:
Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #5 
Splotchy,

Thank you for your balanced view and for sharing these helpful thoughts. You touched on the idea of my feeling suffocated, which is exactly right. I've been seeing a counselor for six months, which helps, and have learned a lot about my role as daughter in my family. I never was allowed to make a "normal" break from my mother -- in my 46 years there have only been 8 in which I have not lived with her at least part of the year (late fall, winter, spring; so 3/4 of the year, really). 

Manipulation and guilt is how that happened. I couldn't see it for a very long time. But as I've reached middle age, I'm simply no longer willing to do what is expected of me solely because I'm being made to feel bad about it. It took me getting to the edge of misery and despair, but I'm climbing my way out, even though it is being called selfish by my mother and brother, I think it is self-preservation and healthy for me (and my husband and children, actually.)

I can be a loving daughter and not live with my mother. 

So I thank you again.  xo
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