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Periodic Contributor

Finding Balance

Good afternoon, I am a midlife career changer. I moved back to my hometown to be with my aging parents, taking a job transfer with the same low-pay job I'd done for 20 years. I finally went back to school, interned, and got a job offer. I have alot of work and studying to do..and noone understands.I've dealt with alot of resistance, both when I was studying and now that I'm starting my new job. I'm trying hard to appease my mother, but it's never enough. I was told that I had my whole life to achieve what I wanted-I just waited until now. I can't handle every doc appointment I'm informed of a day before, etc. I'm doing what I can. I only want a better life after a life of poverty. I feel guilty all the time for taking time for me and I wish she'd just allow me to do more with my life. Why is it so much to ask? I feel like it's my destiny to just exist.
2 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS
Bronze Conversationalist

First, good for you for making several substantial changes, what with the move, job change, and school. And it's hard to enforce good boundaries with needy / aging parents and have an adult-to-adult relationship when there are habits of co-dependence and manipulative guilt going on, as seem to be happening in your case. 

As an adult, you do deserve to take time for yourself. And you don't need her permission. But I know it's not easy to assert boundaries with parents. 

 

A couple of suggestions you might think about -- 

 

If there is a college or university program in social work, counseling, or clinical psychology, see if they have free or low cost sessions with student-counselors. Get some support and strategies for setting and holding boundaries with mom.

 

If possible tell mom you need to discuss a mutually workable arrangement for your help, including going along to her appointments. See if you can make the appointments for her so they fit your schedule. That could help eliminate one of the big irritations in your current interactions.

 

Good luck!

 

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Trusted Contributor

Congratulations on going back to school; I know how that goes. I resigned from my job and went to college in my thirties. And as if that were not enough, I moved to the United States and started life afresh.

 

While reading your post, I wondered who needs the other more than the other. Your aging parents or yourself? You use words like "appease" and "allow." You allow a child to do something, not a grown person. Under no circumstances should you feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You can't take care of anyone else (well) unless you are okay yourself. 

 

@DeahWA has given you a very good prescription on boundaries. Please consider that. Like my one boyfriend told me - You have one shot at this life, make the best of it. Take care and stay safe.  

 

 

 

Wanjiru Warama

View solution in original post

Trusted Contributor

Congratulations on going back to school; I know how that goes. I resigned from my job and went to college in my thirties. And as if that were not enough, I moved to the United States and started life afresh.

 

While reading your post, I wondered who needs the other more than the other. Your aging parents or yourself? You use words like "appease" and "allow." You allow a child to do something, not a grown person. Under no circumstances should you feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You can't take care of anyone else (well) unless you are okay yourself. 

 

@DeahWA has given you a very good prescription on boundaries. Please consider that. Like my one boyfriend told me - You have one shot at this life, make the best of it. Take care and stay safe.  

 

 

 

Wanjiru Warama

View solution in original post

Periodic Contributor


@WanjirusBits wrote:

Congratulations on going back to school; I know how that goes. I resigned from my job and went to college in my thirties. And as if that were not enough, I moved to the United States and started life afresh.

 

While reading your post, I wondered who needs the other more than the other. Your aging parents or yourself? You use words like "appease" and "allow." You allow a child to do something, not a grown person. Under no circumstances should you feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You can't take care of anyone else (well) unless you are okay yourself. 

 

@DeahWA has given you a very good prescription on boundaries. Please consider that. Like my one boyfriend told me - You have one shot at this life, make the best of it. Take care and stay safe.  

 

Thank you! I feel so fortunate to be able to connect to a community like this; I needed another perspective. It's not easy, but I am moving forward with my plans. I can't help anyone if I'm in bad shape. It's not too late to have the life I want.


 

Bronze Conversationalist

First, good for you for making several substantial changes, what with the move, job change, and school. And it's hard to enforce good boundaries with needy / aging parents and have an adult-to-adult relationship when there are habits of co-dependence and manipulative guilt going on, as seem to be happening in your case. 

As an adult, you do deserve to take time for yourself. And you don't need her permission. But I know it's not easy to assert boundaries with parents. 

 

A couple of suggestions you might think about -- 

 

If there is a college or university program in social work, counseling, or clinical psychology, see if they have free or low cost sessions with student-counselors. Get some support and strategies for setting and holding boundaries with mom.

 

If possible tell mom you need to discuss a mutually workable arrangement for your help, including going along to her appointments. See if you can make the appointments for her so they fit your schedule. That could help eliminate one of the big irritations in your current interactions.

 

Good luck!

 

View solution in original post

Periodic Contributor

Thank you both for your support; it means alot. Codependency is definitely what I'm dealing with. It's a lifelong pattern. I found some resources-thank you for the advice.  I needed help to learn how to break free yet still be there when needed....It's work, but I'm up for it. 

AARP Expert

Hooray! You got some great advice and perspective here. Your mother is probably being self-centered out of fear. I agree with all the tips. I also want to say that you can enlarge the caregiving circle. Are there any siblings, neices or nephews? Is she eligible for free or low cost state help? Go to https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Index.aspx and find out what programs can help her. She might even be eligible for a care manager who'd go to doctor appointments with her. Get rid of the guilt. You've bettered yourself and it doesn't matter what time of life you make a change. Grandma Moses didn't start painting until her 80s. Try to be calm and loving, responsible yet firm. It is not all up to you.

 

Carry on!

Jane