When your own mother makes life worse

I love my mom to the moon and back. She has always been my whole support system but since I got Fibro in 2007 along with dealing with a lifetime of depression, her acceptance of my health issues has become annoying to her. I know that I let her down more and more everyday and that breaks my heart, there are days when I tell her we will do something or I will help her with something and I have to call her and tell her I just can’t do it today because I’m in so much pain.

She has started telling me how disappointed she is with me and that makes me feel like a piece of crap.

My mom is 89 and I am 43. I was adopted at the age of 2 weeks because my mom wanted a daughter so bad because she had already had 3 sons and couldn’t have any more kids. So I’m the special one in the family. My brothers have no idea what Fibro is and they have no interest in learning. They think its all in my head. They also know that I’ve struggled with depression all my life.

I so much need advise on how to talk to my mom when I know I’m going to let her down and how to not feel like I have failed her again and again. I love her very deeply and I don’t want to say mean things to her. I just need for her to say, “Its ok we will do this another day when you are feeling better.”

My mom has a ton of health problems also, such as she is on oxygen, she has had 2 or 3 heart attacks and she has severe arthritis all over her body, so you would think she knows exactly how I feel but she is the type of person who says, just get out of bed and everything will be ok. She has been learning what Fibro is about and she is slowly understanding what I’m living with but she gets so frustrated when I let her down. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

There was recently a period of time when I would not call her on the phone because I didn’t want to hear that broken record of you need to go to see a therapist, you need to go see your doctor, you can’t be in that much pain for that long. Something is really wrong with you and you need to go get it fixed. There you have it gang, the broken record recording I am hearing more and more everyday.

I know that I don’t have a lot of years left with my mom (due to her health and age and she just moved into an assisted living apartment because of her health problems) and I want to make the rest of every day I have with her be good days and to not hear her complain about my issues. I just don’t know how to talk to her anymore and remain positive. I need for her to understand what I have to live with too.

Please help me. Thank you so very much!!

Dear flowerpower!

I hope that you and your Mom can get to a better place with all of this. I am so sorry this has to be.

I do have to tell you that I understand how she must be feeling if she thinks that you are not getting the best medical care available, or suspects that you may also have arthritis, which is a destructive autoimmune disease. The reason I tell you this is that I have been trying to get my son to a Rheumatologist. I inherited the family curse of Psoriatic Arthritis which has caused joint damage and spinal stenosis. He is not yet 40 and has had to have a procedure done at Pain Management where they have had to inject a type of gel that solidifies to replace the discs in his back that were gone, I mean he was 'bone on bone', the first time lasted him 10 years, he just had to have this done again.

IF this is from Psoriatic Arthritis, getting to a Rheumatologist and getting on a Biologic medicine can greatly slow this destruction down. So perhaps this is the thought behind your Mom's insistance that you go, could be the same thing I am trying to get through to my own child about!

Please take care of yourself, I care about you too!



Dear flowerpower

This is a sad situation that so many of us fibro people find ourselves in. There is one surety and that is when you are dealing with fibromyalgia you just can't make firm plans with anyone. Yes, this makes us feel badly, but it is not our fault. It hurts us very much to have to say on the day of the planned event, "I am so sorry but I just can't do this today because my body just cannot do it." Only when the other person is able to understand this and accept it without berating us do we have someone who truly understands.........perhaps accepts this part of our illness.............do we honestly have a person who is a vital part of our support system. I have only one person like this.

A mother of 89 who has her own health issues probably doesn't want to accept that she may not be able to do what she could do 5 years ago, but it's easier to blame the other person. If she has severe arthritis all over her body then depending on the weather she may not be able to take part in some planned activity. But she is not likely to admit that. Perhaps you might say, "Well, let's see what the weather is like because the weather affects both you and me and sometimes our pains just won't let us do this or go to that place." If she won't agree to this about all you can do is to be honest about yourself and say, "Well Mom some days the weather gives me so much pain that I just cannot even get out of bed. That's just the way it is with my illness." And try to prepare yourself for her negative scolding way toward you, but be firm that you just cannot go!! Because if you give in to your mother's plan and force yourself to go, then you will definitely pay for it with severe pain and perhaps be forced to spend some days in bed.

Unfortunately, you are in a unique position with your mother being that she adopted you because she wanted a daughter so her expectations of you are not reasonable or rationale. I suspect that your brothers just leave it to you to take care of Mother.

I understand your prediction and my hear aches for the position you are in. There is no solution that will see your mother happy at 89 because she is denying her own health issues while she berates you. Yes of course you want to make your time with your mother as happy as can be, but it's likely to be hard.

Much love and gentle hugs


Hi Flowerpower, So sorry to hear that you are going through this. When I first found out I had Fibro is when I found this site, it had so much information and what everyone was saying was exactly how I was feeling, so I told my Mom about this site and she joined. To this day she will call me and say you need to read this or did you see this. She truly understands now and it makes things much easier for me. Gentle hugs, Robin

Thanks for the input, I never once thought that my mom thinks I gave arthritis. Since my diagnosis of Fibro in 2007 I have been to so many doctors that we almost had to take out a loan to pay for what our insurance wouldn’t pay.

I was seeing a very nice and knowledgeable Rheumatologist and she diagnosed me with Fibro. All of my blood work showed without a doubt I have Fibro.

I stopped going to this Rheumy because she refused to give me any narcotics. Which after 2 years of my Rehumy giving me every NSID (like Advil) on the planet and none of them worked because they were eating a hole in my stomach. So that whole drug class I can’t take and the next logical step was low dose narcotics which I take Oxycontin and that has helped me so muchthat I’ve been on it for 3 years and I have not built up a tolerance. So that knowledge is good. It was my psychiatrist who prescribed the narcotic.

I’m so very sorry you are having to deal with the psoriatic arthritis. Almost all the drugs for that disease cause cancer. My aunt had it and took Embral and got cancer and died within 3 months.

Maybe your son is scared to find out his diagnosis. And that is why he is being stubborn.

I wish you improved health and thank you for your input. It really did help.

Oh, BLESS your mother, Robin! That brought tears to my eyes. You are blessed to have such a tuned-in mother. I think it's rare to find many people who would/could handle this illness as a family member/friend. Your mom is doing a beautiful job of it! Yep, that's a special call out to you, Mrs. Robin!

Hi Flowerpower, your post brings tears to my eyes, actually I’m calling my mom first, I am 48 & my mom is 71, she also has many health issues and just can not seem to understand my fibro. I get frustrated with her, but then I stop myself and say be patient, but I like you, recently had to not call her ( I talk to her at least everyday ) & we go to pool therapy togeather, but today I was to sick to even get dressed, she was disappointed. What has helped me is having my mom spend the night once a week, she needs to feel needed so I tell her I sleep better when she is here, she loves when I give her my undivided attention, it’s hard sometimes, but I know it keeps her going. I lost my dad suddenly last year, he was only 72, wow do I wish I had given him more of my time. Your mom may never understand the fibro, heck it’s hard for us to understand. I would say keep loving your mom and make the time you see her, about her, while gently telling her that having fibro feels like we are Alot older than we are.

Dee, you have so much wisdom!