What do you do when a toxic person relies on you?

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by Samantha's pet, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Samantha's pet

    Samantha's pet New Member

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    I know the best way to deal with toxic people is to avoid them or set firm boundaries but that is not an option in this situation. My grandmother is a toxic person. Completely negative about absolutely everything, always expects the worst in every situation, master of guilt, and completely draining to be around. Problem is she lost her grandson (we was like her son, she raised him) and my grandfather in 2011. She has no one else except my mom. She has health issues (blood pressure spikes) and such and she NEEDS us. Since my grandfather died in November she won't stay at home alone overnight, but refuses to go to my parent's house (says sleeping there gets her blood pressure up) so she pays a lady to come stay at her house a couple nights a week. The rest of the week my mother and sister have to take turns sleeping at her house. She eats dinner with my parent's every night and has to come to everything we do together. I never get to spend time with my mom and or family without her.

    None of this would be a problem if she didn't insist on ruining everything she touched. I KNOW she has had it really rough this year, I KNOW she is depressed and having anxiety issues but I am having a really hard time feeling sorry for her lately and I feel guilty about that. My mother cannot and will not stand up to her at all and makes us all walk on eggshells with her. My mother is just completely run down. I truly feel like it's ruining her life and I feel so bad for her. My grandmother just refuses to try and make the best of her life. Anytime my mom events hints that she is being negative she lays on the guilt and my mom laps it up. She has become really cranky and been snappy with my mom these last few weeks.

    I am trying to get them to get her in therapy. I read that if cutting them out of your life is not and option then that is the next best thing. We are all hoping that after some time passes and she grief lessens that she will become more positive and pleasant. As it stands she is just mean and miserable. I feel so bad being angry with her. I know she has lost a lot but so have many other people and they deal with it much better. My mother lost those people too and she isn't an awful person now.

    I just don't know how to help and when I set (what I feel like are) healthy boundaries and I refuse to buy into her guilt my mom makes me feel bad. I just want my own life! I am maintaining my distance and living my life (I see my grandma at least twice a week) but that makes me selfish, apparently. Ugh, I just want things to go back to the way they were when my mom was happy and didn't have to babysit my grandmother 24/7. Do I sound awful? I expect her to need us but not rely on us for all her happiness and human interaction. I have tried finding her something to do. She shoots everything down.
     
  2. sparks19

    sparks19 I'd rather be at Disney

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    What was she like before the events of 2011? Had she always been this way or is this a new thing?
     
  3. ACooper

    ACooper Moderator

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    My honest opinion?
    If you don't want to be around your grandmother, for whatever reason (she's rude, mean, negative, whatever) then don't. Do what you need/want to do, just don't expect your mother to do the same, it's her choice/business. That is HER mother, the person who helped give her life, raise her, etc and if your mother feels compelled to take care of her now in her time of need.........no matter grandma's attitude, then let your mother do it without MORE grief coming from you. I'm sure she's under an enormous stress right now without more coming in from a different direction.

    That said, I don't think it's fair for your mother to be 'guilting' you into things concerning your grandmother either.........but right or wrong that's what moms do sometimes.
     
  4. Samantha's pet

    Samantha's pet New Member

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    My grandmother has been becoming increasingly more negative as she gets older. Everything she has been through has made it a little bit worse but also it's just that she is around all the time now. Before she had my grandfather so she was fine being home with him. Now she is lonely and wants to tag along, which could be wonderful. I am very much a "more the merrier" type of person and love having tons of family around but she just complains and argues about everything and ruins every outing.

    I don't expect my mother to cut her off. I just think she needs to tell her no sometimes and set some boundaries. Stop pacifying her, make HER make some compromises if she doesn't want to be alone, like coming to stay at their house, as opposed to making my mother always go over there. And my teenage sister doesn't want to spend the night there half of the week. My sister has to run home to get ready for school in the mornings, mom has to get ready for work, my grandmother is retired. She can stay at their house in her own room and then mosey on home when ever she wants to the next day. But no, they have to go there b/c their house "gets her blood pressure up". It's too cluttered and there might be 2 dishes in the sink so she panics.

    My mom is miserable. She wants to sleep in her own bed with my dad every night. She unloads on me almost every time I see or talk to her. She just won't stop catering to her and she won't talk to her again about therapy or senior yoga or anything to help with her negative thinking. She just wants to complain about her but she won't try to do anything about it.

    I don't mind being around her. I see her twice a week, minimum, like I said but it's not enough. My grandmother was upset last night b/c after yoga I ran by (my parents keep Chloe while I do yoga and they were eating dinner at her house) but I only stayed a minute b/c it was 8:50 pm and I needed to get Chloe home. Plus, she was complaining about how tired she was anyway. Well, she told mom when I left that she was upset b/c I just ran in and out.

    Mom always tells us what to say to her or what not to say before we go over there, she is always mediating and "censoring" our relationship with her. We just have to be so careful with her and cater to her every wish when she is around (according to mom).

    This is not about "oh, I don't like her so I don't wanna be around her." This is about the fact that my mom is completely drained, exhausted, and miserable. I know this because she tells me this constantly, yet she won't do anything to put a stop to it. I REALLY do recognize that she has had a horrible year but I don't think it excuses her behavior.

    I guess I am just tired of my mom complaining to me yet turning down any solutions I offer. I guess getting my grandmother in therapy is the only real solution. It may help with her negative thinking.


    Sorry about the lengthiness.
     
  5. Samantha's pet

    Samantha's pet New Member

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    I don't put any stress on her about it. I simply listen to her vent about it on a regular basis. I try to be insightful and really listen then I just offer the same suggestions, "talk to her again about therapy" "tell her to check in to that senior yoga class to help with her stress and blood pressure" "encourage her to find a hobby" etc. We all agree that none of us LIKE to be around her (that sounds so horrible but she just sucks the joy right out of us. We always feel worse after) but we all also agree that she needs us and, clearly, that not being around her isn't an option. We are all, mom included, in desperate need of a solution but everyone seems to be at a loss. So I'm not really trying to force my mom to do something about it, I am not trying to avoid my grandmother all together, I am just looking for a solution to help my mom and the rest of us because they have all clearly expressed that they want an alternative to this current situation. My parents both work full time. My mom owns a store so she works more that full time and this just can't continue. That's exactly what she said last night.

    So having her move in with them is a solution we are considering. Might sound counterproductive but at least my mom could just go home after work and stay home.

    Any other suggestions would be helpful.
     
  6. -bogart-

    -bogart- Member of WHODAT Nation.

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    Maybe the thing is your mom needs a counslour to talk to about the stress of taking care of an elderly parent.
    I bet your granny knows/feels the tension around and it hurts her feelings and she unconsicously gets grumpy/snarky. she could also be really realizing she will die soon and is scared . is there an assisted living center around where she could have her own appartment but someone comes checks on her? my granny was in one before she died and she loved it. a bunch of old biddies to get to know and boss around , plus a nurse checked on her twice a day.

    I now it is frustrating and you just wish your mom would do it your way , but she probably feels like it would be abandoning her mom.

    I do hope you all can find a solution that works because your granny's last years should not be filled with hurt/hate. and your mom should not feel horrid about not doing enough for her.
     
  7. zoe08

    zoe08 New Member

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    Maybe you could find her a senior friend? So she has someone her own age to do things with so she isn't so lonely?
     
  8. Samantha's pet

    Samantha's pet New Member

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    I guess I am not painting the right picture of the situation. I am not at all encouraging my mom to abandon her. I am encouraging her to get my grandmother into therapy, which I think is a reasonable step for anyone who has lost 2 people in one year, I am also encouraging her to help my grandmother find a hobby, and to find a permanent solution to her being lonely. The assisted living thing would NOT be considered by any of them. My grandfather was completely immobile and they wouldn't put him in a facility. She is not frail, she owns her house, and she can drive/get around fine. She is only about 73. She just gets a little tired, has some blood pressure issues, and is lonely.

    We do not act tense around her. We try to have a good time. She will even laugh now and then. She is only actually MEAN to my mom but she complains to all of us. She hates the restaurants we go to, the movies we watch, etc. She thinks everyone has the worst intentions. She has very irrational worries, I cannot convey how negative she is. It's like poison. And she is so mean to my mom. I wish we had the kind of relationship where I could gently approach her about some things but I think my mother would have a heart attack

    I really think if she could just change her negative thinking we could all have a good time together. She is just so extremely high strung and tightly wound.

    I do think therapy for BOTH of them (separately) would be beneficial. That way my grandmother could have an objective person to help her with her negative thinking and my mother could have an objective person tell her it's okay to say no sometimes.

    I really hope I don't sound awful. I just want to help my mom catch a break.
     
  9. Samantha's pet

    Samantha's pet New Member

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    That's a good suggestion and something we have mentioned. She goes to church but hasn't seemed to connect with anyone there and she has been going for years. I guess it's finding an actual friend that's the hard part. The lady she pays to stay with her has been taking her out with a group of her friends to eat once a month. They are going to Cheddar's this weekend. Of course my grandmother was going on about how much she hates Cheddar's last night :rolleyes: lol. But yes, that's helping. I really wish we could find her someone to go to the senior yoga class with her. I am going to make a list. Enforcing my suggestions is the real problem. I just wish my grandmother would decide that she wants the rest of her life to be worth living and make the choice to make her own happiness.
     
  10. -bogart-

    -bogart- Member of WHODAT Nation.

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    not a group home , i mean an apartment type setting. if not i understand.

    i have unfortunatly had some just plain old mad at the world people in my family also . it is hard to deal with them.


    is she on any new meds? i know meds can effect mood and attitude alot. can your mom maybe talk to her doctor about this and see if they can come up with a way to tranq her up.
     
  11. Samantha's pet

    Samantha's pet New Member

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    Well, she the meds they have been giving her make her so tired so they are messing around with that to get her something that works for her. IDK, they are just trying to get her on something that controls her BP and doesn't make her tired/nauseous.
     
  12. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    Sadly as some people age, they get nasty. Add to that the fact she is grieving (and that can make you bonkers). Then factor in her lack of independence. For my Gran that has been THE hardest thing to cope with. You can kind of see why she's cranky.

    If she can't care for herself, can't you look for some personal care for her? Someone outside the family to go to hers at set times to help her with tasks.

    She may need to address her apparent mental health difficulties, so a doctor appointment might be in order. She could have early onset of dementia too - that can make you nasty. She sounds depressed.

    I echo what cooper and hogart say too - its your mum's choice to care, and maybe she needs carers support.
     
  13. Samantha's pet

    Samantha's pet New Member

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    She is able to physically care for herself, drive, etc. She just doesn't want to be alone, which is fine, it's just her negativity that's the problem. No dementia. She has been to every Doc recently except a psychologist to address her BP issues. My mother has openly expressed that she can't go on with this current arrangement much longer and has asked me for solutions. I guess my grandmother is just going to have to move in with them.

    It is beyond cranky. She is just so bitter. At this rate she is going to waste all of her remaining years being bitter and miserable. That's hard to watch and sad, especially when she is bringing the rest of my family down, too. My mom has been through so much, too. She deserves to be allowed to live her life and be happy. Every time she tries to do something fun and joyful my grandmother lays on the guilt. Apparently when loved ones die we all have to stop living.
     
  14. Jules

    Jules Magic, motherf@%$*#!

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    Honestly, if your grandfather just passed away last November, she might still be grieving. And she might know how to grieve. When my grandpa passed away, my grandma was completely different... Yes, negative and bitter, and she was just not the person she usually is. I would just try abd get her to a support group maybe?
     
  15. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, Sam. I so understand. Your grand sounds just like my mother, except mom has been this way my whole life, so I can tell you it never gets any easier to deal with -- you just have to find ways to tune her out yourself.

    If she won't go to some therapy (like my mom, who went a few times and left, angry because the therapists didn't agree with her that there was nothing wrong with her, it was everyone else), then see about going yourself, just to learn some coping skills.

    The older we get, the more ourselves we become.

    ((((((((HUGS))))))))
     
  16. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    November is a very short time ago. If I lost the love of my life 5 months ago I would be pretty darn bitter. I echo Dizzy with depression and I would speak to her Dr about that.
     
  17. Samantha's pet

    Samantha's pet New Member

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    Thanks, Renee, and puppydog. I definitely agree that she is depressed. Losing my cousin was harder for her than my Grandfather but she has been this way for a long time. Before either of those things happened. My grandfather was very disabled so this wasn't out of no where. The losses just made it worse and the fact that we are around her more. We just really need a more permanent solution, as my mother cannot keep spending the night over there and she has to be able to live her life and go out of town when she wants to, do stuff for herself, etc. I think the best thing would be to get my grandmother in therapy, have her move in with them, and try to get her some friends/hobbies. I really am afraid she will quit therapy as soon as they point out that she has problems with being negative. She is in denial about that and gets super nasty and defensive if someone even hints that she is a negative person.

    Again, no one can understand how she is until you are around her. I know she is grieving but it's not okay. The way she acts is not healthy grieving and if we don't get her out of this way of thinking she will just get worse and more bitter. Especially since she was this was before. She has to at least start picking up the pieces and trying to look to the future. It's time to start thinking of a permanent solution to not wanting to stay home alone overnight. People going over there was a temporary solution that was supposed to last a few weeks. It's just time for her and everyone else to start figuring out what the new normal is going to be and find a situation that everyone can live with.
     
  18. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    Agreed. People like this are very difficult to be around. Its going to come down to putting your foot down, which is hard when family is involved.

    I think in your situation you have to do what is right for you, not your mother or grandmother. Each person in this situation is an adult. You are just going to stress yourself to death if you take it on.
     

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