Having Mother over for Thanksgiving


My mom is in her 60’s. I am in my 40’s. My mother has had a visible problem with abusing prescription drugs (painkillers and meds like zanex). I have tried repeatedly to get her to seek help with it. She would refuse or go temporarily to satisfy me and then go back to doing them.

Last year she was abusing. The manager from her apartments called me to let me know that she was doing them. I had had enough. This had been going for almost 20 years. I told her the only way I could continue to have a relationship with her was for her to go to an assisted living home. After a struggle she went. They managed her medications and she did very well. When she is not abusing, she is very coherent and intelligent but very disjointed otherwise.

Like all addicts she is extremely manipulative and will lie excessively to get other people (my brother and I in addition to the people at the assisted living home) to do her will. She has been there for about a year. I talked to her yesterday to let her know I was coming this Thanksgiving morning to pick her up and bring her to my house for the day. She was pleasant for a moment but then became tearful when she started telling me about how the assisted living home was treating her badly. She told me they had moved her temporarily to another home down the road – they are renovating pipes. They had only allowed her to have one change of clothes, her cat was not allowed to come, the people there were mean and they weren’t allowing her to have her meds. Also they were kicking her out in 30 days for breaking rules.

I got upset and called the lady who owned the home. The owner assured me she had all of her clothes with her, her cat was with her and she acted very happy. They had had a bbq the first week they were there. The owner did tell me that my had broken some of the rules there like smoking in her room. However, the owner said my mom was not being thrown out. When they came down on my mom for abusing meds and other rule breakings, my mom threw a tantrum and requested to be able to get out of there. The owner said you have the right to do that but we have to put in a 30 day notice no matter what. The owner mentioned that she knew my mom was just upset. The owner did say however, she could deal with anything that came up (smoking, acting up, etc) but not when it came to abusing meds.

The owner then told me my mom had been caught on a trip to WalMart trying to get prescriptions for meds. According to the rules at the assisted living home, they only use one local independent pharmacy for all the residents’ med so they can manage them. The group my mom was with at WalMart had split up and was allowed to do their own independent shopping for an hour. The owner was in another department and actually heard my mom’s name being paged at the Pharmacy. She walked over and caught my mom trying to get prescriptions for morphine (she apparently has one for back pain from a “pain” doctor) and a couple of other pain-killers. This really bothered me. I do go see her as often as we can (she is many miles away) but I did feel that things were beginning to turn for the better. This has really upset me.

At this point I am angry and do not want her over for Thanksgiving. I had found out also from the assisted living home’s owner that my mom was requesting all her meds for the day over to my house even though it was not going to be overnight. My family does not like her much – she is very manipulative like I said. Her day-to-day behavior reflects this. She enjoys drama and my family has had enough of hers. I know if I bring her in light of all that’s happened it will be a problem for all involved. I have wanted her to stop abusing drugs and quit manipulating me but that has not changed. Honestly, I want no further contact with her. I have had enough. What is the right thing for me to do to handle this situation?

Thanks, God bless. Please pray for me and my mom if you can.


If it’s any consolation, our mother was also manipulative, but with psychological abuse such as guilting, shaming, and fear-mongering. It got so bad that my sister had to cut her out of her life entirely - no contact. I used to think Sis was in the wrong to do so, but sure enough, a few years later I realized I had to do exactly the same thing.

I struggled with doubt about that decision, because you’re supposed to take care of your elders and all that, you know, 4th commandment stuff, but I finally had to admit to myself that honoring your parents does not mean allowing them to make your life a living hell. It does not mean inviting them into your home so that they can destroy the peace and tranquility of your household, so that they can turn family gatherings into unpleasant memories for all involved.

We are not talking about a frail Grandma who burdens you with driving her to and from the bridge club on Wednesdays. We are not even talking about a bedridden Grandpa that you want to get rid of because his existence interferes with your jet-set lifestyle. We are talking about parents whose waking hours are spent making life hell for everyone around them, and you can count on time spent with them being a nightmare of drama and manipulation.


Is your Mom in a group recovery program?

And I know, just like with alcoholics, there are women and men who refuse to attend.

Requiring instead, that their children and spouses attend a program to help them cope with the person in their family who is abusing drugs.

It would be helpful, prior to Thanksgiving, to call your Mom and ask her to he honest about her living conditions, the cat, and her being caught at the pharmacy.

Ask her to be honest about her addiction and what it is you can do to help her, help herself.


We have similiar problems so I can relate.

Can you call of your mom's doctor(s) and coordinate the amount and type of drugs she is getting form them and then let them know about your mom's drug problem and let them know that all scripts must be sent to this one particular pharmacy?

And let the home know that if your mom needs her meds for the day you will call them directly and arrange for that. They must know by now that your mom will try to get extra drugs by using any excuse she can and that you need to take special measures to ensure that this doesn't happen.

I'm sorry that all my suggestions put the burden on you but you may feel better if you can control some of what is going on with you mom. But don't be suprised if she finds another way to manipulate you because she probably will.

I'm spending Thankgiving with my mom and she has already begun the torture. I am hoping my Thanksgiving with mom will count toward less time I'll have to spend in Purgatory.:D


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