The Great Manipulator
(Central Florida, USA)
I am estranged from my mother. As I grew and as the years went by, she became more and more persistent in her insistence that I see things her way. I'm a "agnostic liberal city slicker." She's a Christian conservative who lives in rural America. She wouldn't agree to disagree or allow me to change the subject. Communication was a challenge to say the least.
I learned when I inherited my grandmother's couch that she and her siblings weren't allowed to sit down without being given more chores. The couch has little wear at 50 years old.
My mother was a stay at home mom but instead of greeting us with milk and cookies, she was taking a nap. We'd do our homework and have dinner ready by the time Dad got home from work. Then we were responsible to clean up after dinner as well. We 5 kids did most of the household chores. Mom did laundry and we helped her with canning fruits and vegetables in the fall. Mom was pretty well taken care of, not a lot of responsibility for having 5 kids.
My mother started exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer's about the time my dad retired. Seems to me that's a great way to get out of having to take care of him since she didn't have any kids left to do the cooking and cleaning. Chore by chore, my dad began to take over household responsibilities while her health deteriorated with various issues, digestive issues, heart trouble, motor deterioration. She's in a nursing home now and Dad's in a (different) retirement home. Dad can drive to visit her every day.
Didn't she choose a very effective method to NOT have to care for anyone and have others continue to care for her? I don't know her childhood but I suspect that having someone care for her was about getting the love she thought she was missing.
She was also diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia along with the Alzheimer's diagnosis. I suspected she had that all along because she did some crazy embarrassing things when I was growing up. It was confusing because it was presented as normal to me and it just didn't seem right at all. I was slapped for calling her on those things. I was "snotty." How life would be different for so many if mental health issues weren't denied but addressed and treated.