So I do home respite care for a girl with autism. I have been with her for two years now. Her mom is my boss, and she used to love me and say she wished she could clone me. But two months ago, she did a total 180 and has been constantly criticizing me and cutting my hours. I have tried to talk with her about why, and asked if there is something she wants me to do that I’m not doing yet. She said no, everything was fine, and I do an amazing job with her kid.
But then she goes right back to constantly hovering over my shoulder and criticizing me again. I have no idea what changed so suddenly. Well, I do have an idea. This all started the day after she asked, “What are you doing this weekend?” I replied, “Going to the gay pride parade.” That weekend she called me in to work at the last minute, so I had to work instead of going to the parade. And that is when the criticisms started. I don’t know for sure if that is the reason, but the timing is suspicious.
Today, things kind of erupted. I had mentioned several times that I can’t be scheduled for only an hour, because it costs me ten dollars in gas to drive there and back, and I only make ten dollars an hour. I said I don’t mind working an hour and a half, but I can’t be actively losing money when I go to work.
Today, while I was on my way, she sent me a text that said, “Today is only 4-5 due to music therapy.” This is not the first time she has done this. When I got to her house, I tried to explain that I have been noticing a pattern of behavior of cutting my hours without notice, and immediately she started screaming, “I’ve had it! I have absolutely had it!” She said I judge everything she does and I don’t know what it is like raising two kids with special needs, and I have to be lenient with her. She said every time she makes a mistake I jump down her throat (even though this is about the tenth time she has done this in the past two months, and every other time I just said, “it’s okay, things happen.”). This is the first time I have tried to assert my boundaries.
I don’t know what to do. I have tried multiple times to have a constructive discussion with her about changes I can make to better help the family. I feel like maybe I contributed to this unhealthy environment by not being firm with my boundaries and by making myself easy to take advantage of. I feel like maybe I had hostile body language and that is what caused her to yell. Basically, I’m starting to feel like it is my fault, even though intellectually I know that she was way out of line.
So what do I do? I have been trying to get another job but nobody will hire me. I can’t quit because I am getting paid through worker’s comp for partial disability, and in order to keep that check I have to work all hours available to me. I also don’t want to leave the girl. Most of the aide services in the area have blacklisted her because of how her mom treats aides. I don’t think she will fire me, because there is literally no one else to replace me. And having constructive discussions just results in her screaming at me. What do I do?