I’m finding looking after my mother suffocating- what should I do?

Anonymous asks:

Please help! I am 28 and my mother has just turned 60. My father died when I was very young and so my mum bought up all four children by herself.

She was a superhero and we had a fantastic upbringing.

About 4 years ago my grandfather got ill (he was 90)- he was only unwell for about 3 months before passing away.

Before he died my mum was his main carer and since he has died my mum has rapidly deteriorated into an old woman, and I am finding it very hard to cope.

She pretends that she is unable to read or write and if she has anything admin based to do for example renewing her car insurance, she will pretend that she’s unable to do it.

She acts as if she is unable to use her phone or the internet, although she uses it for social media no problem. When it comes to anything of any meaning, she will revert to asking someone else to do it for her.

She does not like socializing and speaks ill of everyone that tries to make any effort with her.

She has a friend who asks to meet her for coffee however my mother has convinced herself that her friend is a) a cocaine addict (unfounded) and b) in love with her (unfounded).

We have a family dog who we all adore, and my mum spends lots of her time walking her. The dog is now 7 years old and my mum is acting as if the dog is geriatric too, if the dog has a slight injury my mother will start saying she has arthritis – it’s never the case.

She has been suffering pain, diagnosed by the doctor as plantar fasciitis, a curable injury.

The doctor suggested she does exercises to repair her foot which she refused to do, she said she felt the doctor was fobbing her off and not taking her seriously.

We ended up spending £250 to go to a private doctor who said exactly the same.

She is only just now starting the exercises after almost a year of crippling pain and surprise, surprise it is now recovering.

At one point when she was suffering, she started crying saying she thought I was going to put her into a care home…. because she had a sore ankle.

Her finances are in a total mess, but she refuses to take any responsibility for them.

I am fortunate to be well paid and I often treat her to nights out or concerts and holidays.

She has never worked but lives off pension payouts and life insurance from my father.

These now hardly see her through the month – she lives an extravagant lifestyle and smokes and drinks despite not being able to afford it.

When I try and talk to her about it, she feels victimized that she doesn’t have the money and seems to refuse to understand that everyone else works to afford their lifestyles.

She has a huge 4-bedroom house inherited from my father, but she is obsessed with moving to the coast which I cannot encourage as she is such a burden to me already living 30 miles away.

I don’t know how I would cope if she lived any further away. She feels therefore that I am trapping her in this big house that she can’t afford to keep, but I feel I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

She will not even get on a train to visit these seaside towns she says she is moving to but rather she Googles them and then tells everyone she is moving there.

I am finding it suffocating and terrifying to think that I will need to be there for her for another 30/40 years. I’m desperate for some advice!

I have tried to encourage her to join social groups, speak to a financial advisor, stop smoking and drinking, start exercising but she takes absolutely no advice at all. HELP!

Michelle Zelli says: Oh my goodness, you are a rock that needs help and support!

Hello Anonymous,

Agony Aunts on Female First

It’s time to sit down and have an honest heart to heart with your mum, who’s behaving like an irrational teenager. You can’t go on like this, she needs professional help. Grief hits people in many ways and can be the catalyst for old wounds and issues to surface. Ultimately you are not her therapist or her carer. Instead of paying for another holiday, or night out, invest in good therapy – you may wish to go together initially, to untangle your relationship. She’s a relatively young woman and somehow the dynamic has reversed, turning you into the parent, which isn’t healthy, or sustainable. By allowing her behaviour to continue, you are also an enabler. She’s unlikely to change whilst she’s having her needs met. You have done so much but it’s time to hand over to a pro, let yourself off the hook and start living a life unfettered. By understanding the dance with your mother, you will also illuminate some of your own wounding which are feeding into this increasingly toxic two step.

Mum is resistant to change, which is another reason I recommend getting the best therapist you can find to support you through this transition. Your future self (and mum’s!) will thank you, take the leap, you owe it to both of you and your relationship.

Michelle Zelli

Michelle Zelli AKA ‘The Real Fairy Godmother.’ is a renowned international life coach. She blends her Blue Chip board-level background with spiritual wisdom and cutting edge science and has transformed her own life from a difficult and dysfunctional childhood to a successful executive. Michelle is relentless in her own mission for self-mastery and teaching others to find their own powerful path. This dedication has seen her train with the very best globally, and has since become a secret weapon for celebrities and CEOs worldwide.

Find out more at: michellezelli.com.

Follow Michelle: Instagram: michellezelli, Facebook: michellezelli