How can I deal with my mom's bossy attitude?

4 answers | Last updated: Apr 22, 2015
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father has been admitted into a hospital for vets. My poor mother was home in a 4 bedroom house by herself. She has multiple health problems, and suffered 2 heart attacks. I felt sorry for her being old/alone so i gave up my nice apartment to come live with her. Guess what? I'm not allowed to bring any furniture with me, forcing me to put all my stuff in storage. The dishwasher is not working. The bathroom water is yellow. The shower has no water pressure. And she does not want to eat organic. She has 3 sodas a day. But, when my older sisters come over she plays sick. She says to get off her case because for the first time in her life she has freedom from my dad and children. She was married at 16. I know she has diabetes. I find her pill cases around the house because she not taking them correctly. Every morning she barges into my room and wakes me up. If i say anything I'm told that this is her house. I feel like I'm trapped into a bad marriage with no where else to go.

Community Answers

Eboni green answered...

Before I get to your question, I want to commend you for your dedication to helping your mother"”not everyone has such a supportive and caring daughter.

However, as you are experiencing, the mother-daughter relationship can be very complex. Like you, I have been a caregiver"”both for an elder and for my daughter. It can be hard to see our elders make choices that we don't feel are in their best interests. But they can and will make their own decisions. All you can do is offer your advice for best practices. It is possible your mother is being so stubborn about her food choices because it is something over which she feels she still has control.

I can relate to your frustration over finding pills your mother leaves in the house, too. When I was caring for my daughter, I put a great deal of effort into managing her medications and keeping track of her schedule to make sure she didn't miss any. But unless I made her take them right in front of me, I often found them lying around the house. Much later, my daughter told me she avoided taking her pills because she didn't want to have to think about being sick.

These are some things that you may not have much power to change; your mother has to want change for herself. However, there are some changes you do have control over that may make a big improvement for both of you. Here are a few suggestions based on your comments:

  • Ask yourself, is living with your mother the best solution? Do you and your mother want this equally? Perhaps instead you could arrange a visiting schedule with your sisters to check in on your mother regularly and spread out the responsibility more.

  • Can you afford to get the dishwasher and shower pressure fixed? This could be a small thing that could go a long way for your personal comfort while living in your mother's house.

  • Untreated diabetes and a history of two heart attacks are very serious health conditions. Perhaps hearing about the risks of her health issues from a third-party expert could communicate the importance of caring for herself. Set up a meeting with a physician for this discussion.

If approaching your mother to have these conversations feels daunting, you can find guidance about how to address these topics and who to include in the discussion in Right at Home's Adult Caregiving Guide[].

I know you want the best for your mother, but she has to want it for herself as well. These steps will help you open the line of communication with your mother so you can start to move toward a situation that will work better for all of you.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Your predicament is familiar to me because my mother is the same way. I also dated several men exactly like that so now at least i know why.

The only answer, unfortunately, is to move out of her house. She is an adult and is responsible for her actions and decisions. If she can't do these things, she needs to be living in a nursing home if possible.

If you have family, involve them in this step. People like your mother will not change because you want them to, they'll change when they're ready, and it doesn't sound like she is.

I know you want to be good to her because she is your mother, but sometimes you have to set aside your feelings for a moment and think logically. Ask yourself if your decision to stay is worth it.

As someone who has also lived in a house that I found unsuitable and unsanitary (with my significant other refusing to help out) I know the only answer is to leave in order to salvage my sanity.

It is a tough decision and sometimes it hurts, but you must think about yourself, as well. Good luck.

Orien2 answered...

I'd say now would be a good time to consider a name chane and disapearing entirely. It worked for me.

Nottakinganymore answered...

no answers, but my bossy mother, widowed only 9 months ago, lives with us and is never satisfied. She is like a water torture - drip by drip, complaining about everything. I know she is unhappy, but I am doing my best! (we also have a sick daughter). I finally boiled over last week and yelled at her. She is currently feeling very sorry for herself, but at 94 needs to know her place. I won't stand for any more nonsense! It's tough, but there you go, as Jo Brand might say.