What hurts the most is my sister knows the work involved taking care of mom (even before she came to live with me) - she visited mom on Tuesdays and Thursdays (unless something came up) and wrote checks to pay bills. I did the rest. She knew all I was doing but never offered to do anymore. I know I could have asked...it just hurt that she knew and didn't offer.
The resentment started growing like a fungus - dank & stinking. I didn't want it but had no tools to remove it. Therapy helped (athough these is still a small patch).
You did what you felt was right & sacrificed things to give your Mother quality family time. It would be nice if you were thanked!! So I will. 😍 Thankyou for being a loving daughter/son taking action in a crises, being brave in the face of the unknown & offering your home & heart. Be proud of yourself!
I understand how you feel. All of our circumstances are different so I am not comparing our situations.
I was the primary caregiver too. I cared for my dad, mom and a brother. I missed out on a lot of things because I spent so much time caring for them.
No one else had a desire or interest to do so. They never helped me. Like you, of course I knew that I made the choice to do so because I truly cared about them. I felt like I had to show with my actions that I cared. I had no idea what I was getting into. I promised my father on his death bed that I would care for mom.
My parents did not care for their parents. My grandpa died in the hospital and grandma died while visiting my parents at their house. My dad’s parents were dead before I was born. So I had no frame of reference. It’s very hard being a caregiver.
Mom lived in my home for 15 years. She had Parkinson’s disease. She lost her home in Hurricane Katrina. She was far too old to rebuild her home.
She did not have flood insurance because in her neighborhood it wasn’t required. Their home never flooded in a hurricane before. The levee broke and that is how she ended up with nine feet of water in her home. There was a wait period for FEMA trailers.
New Orleans looked like a war zone with all the destruction in the city. All of her neighbors had moved away. I couldn’t leave her there. I couldn’t have immediately placed her in a facility and I wanted to comfort her. All she had left were the few clothes that we packed for our evacuation.
It is not helpful to hear someone remind us about it being our choice because just there are extenuating circumstances and our emotions get the best of us at times.
Plus, we were doing what we felt was best at the time. It’s tough. So, I totally get it.
People state facts and I don’t believe that they mean it to come off as insensitive.
Personally, as someone who walked in your shoes and heard it too I think it would be more useful to initially just show understanding of the situation at hand.
Save expressing the facts for later and show more empathy in the beginning.
I do not like to tell someone new on the forum these things because I remember feeling just as you do.
I am not trying to be critical about anyone, just saying how it feels on our side. They have a right to feel as they do as well.
Maybe it is hard to understand what primary caregivers experience if they have not had first hand knowledge of the emotional, practical and physical side of it. I had no clue about caregiving until I did it myself.
I guess I sort of feel being told that we chose our circumstances is like hearing, “I told you so.” Is the person saying it for themselves or the person who needs the help? That statement doesn’t usually help either.
Anyway, being overwhelmed, exhausted, sometimes not knowing what are the best options as far as care goes adds to the misery.
I was suffering from all of this, plus from isolation and my siblings would stop in for their 15 minute visit to see mom and all I heard was about all of the fun things in their lives, it is horribly insensitive to do that. I never heard them say, ‘Thank you for taking care of mom.’ That would have meant so much to me.
Then to top it off I had to hear my mom say how wonderful it was that my siblings were having so much fun.
Please, that is setting the caregiver up for resentment! Oh, I cooked all of the holiday meals for my entire family. I put a stop to that later. It gets to be too much all around.
Well guess what? I burned out. Now my mom is with my brother and he complains to my nephew. His son says to his father, “Dad, I guess now you know how your sister felt.” My brother called in hospice to help.
My mom will go along with anything my brother says because she has an old fashioned sexist attitude that a man is the ‘head of the home.” She treated me like I was still her little girl. That makes a big difference too.
To the original poster: is there any way you can find someone to come in and help with respite care? I feel like you need a break to go relax somewhere even if it is by yourself. I try to do that once every week or two and it really helps. ❤
To make matters worse, my remote siblings made a lot of assumptions about the care I was giving our parents, and it was never good enough-- even though they were rarely within a thousand miles of our home and even though the career I forfeited was an extensively trained professional in the senior care industry. So, yes, I do resent two of my siblings and, yes, the care of our parents has created hard feelings in the family. My Autistic sister and brother are furious with my two remote sisters and think they have been downright abusive. I have come to accept, and it was very painful, that I cannot change people. I have also come to accept that I have to have realistic expectations of family members. What keeps me going forward is that I know I tried my best, I honored my parents, and Mom thanks me everyday.
Thank you for your reply. I am 67 and my sister is 64. I understand that all of this was my choice, but I felt I had no choice. Mom had been taken to the hospital, and the doctor said she had given up. I brought her home so she could see her family before she died. She hadn't seen many of us in months because of COVD.
I know that resentment hurts only me. I am hoping that connecting with others who are also caregivers will help me learn how to cope with the resentment - and hopefully rid myself of it.
I don't know if there is any way to effectively "deal with" the feelings. Certainly, having people "remind" you that you made the choice to keep your LO home in your care does really nothing to help those feelings, however true the situation might be. Had I know then what I know now, yes, 2 years ago when my mom began to decline, I would have looked aggressively to place her in a facility. But this decline is like black mold in your house - it starts small and then, insidiously creeps up until it's a full scale infestation. By the time you realize how bad it's gotten, you are left playing catch-up; and then to add insult to injury you have siblings on the periphery who are every much the children of your mother as you are, but do not one thing to assist. Not one thing. Small wonder resentment grows like a weed.
How you deal with it really depends on what sort of relationship you will want to have with your sibs after mom is gone. If you feel once she's passed that you don't care if you ever see them again, then by all means, verbally blast away. Just don't make that decision in a fit of anger, frustration or exhaustion. If you think you might want to have a relationship going forward after, then let them know, somewhat less confrontational, that you're sick of it, exhausted and need some help.
Then - I assume you have access to your mom's funds to use for her care? If so, USE HER FUNDS TO PAY FOR RESPITE CARE so YOU CAN GET A BREAK! If your siblings balk at this, because respite care is pricey (unless your mom has an LTC policy) tell them their choice is mom pays or you drop her on their doorstep when it's convenient for YOU to get a break from this dumpster fire. And then take a well earned, well needed, well deserved vacation somewhere. Maybe a place where they serve you adult beverages with little umbrellas in them.
It was always off and on with having a harmonious and meaningful relationship.
Definitely wasn’t worth continuing the relationship. We cannot change other’s behavior and when the relationship turns toxic, it seems better to end it. At least for me.
I don’t have a right to tell anyone else what to do. We all have to make decisions that feel are best in our particular situation.
Best wishes to you.
At the end of the day though we can’t allow the anger to harm us. We can use anger to motivate us to move towards finding a solution.
Both fear and anger must be worked through or they will cripple us.
When speaking of our infirm brother, my sister states that she is “giving the problem to God.” What she means is that she is giving the responsibility for his care to anyone other than herself. She faults others for being concerned about him and coming to his aid. She doesn’t care one jot how her refusal to do more affects those who are trying to help him. Growing up, she was the only one who was emotionally close to this brother. Now she merely calls him occasionally to see how he is while his daughter, his younger brother and myself try to look after him. But my sister has always been self absorbed, entitled, pseudo-religious, and an emotionally absent parent. She doesn’t grasp the meaning of ordinary human compassion or true family love.
In almost every family, the caregiver becomes the one who steps up because of love, guilt, proximity or money. The others immediately fall behind by offering marginal support or trying to hide out from the responsibility entirely. Siblings who live out of town are especially prone to the latter tactic. At first they blow into town to visit the parent, but as the caregiving burden grows, you see less and less of them. Every sibling will find some way to rationalize everything they don’t do.
They will still expect to receive their share of the estate, scrutinize your expenditures after the fact and lay claim to as many of the family heirlooms and memorabilia as is their want, They will make no shamefaced apologies for their conduct, feel no real guilt or later claim they didn’t understand. It’s just how the parent caregiving scenario works. The character of each sibling is always revealed when they are tasked with giving up their freedom for a parent they don’t believe they should have to care for. The love of a parent for a child is normally unbounded; the love for a parent by a child usually is not.
My advice is for you to accept this reality and move on with caring for your parent. Ask or, if necessary, demand from your sister what you specifically need from her when you need it, but don’t expect her to do anything other than what you require. You will be a lot happier when you realize, like most family caregivers, that when you accepted responsibility for your parent, you agreed, for the most part, to do it on your own. You will be a lot happier if you, and every other caregiver in the same situation, stop expecting something from your siblings that is probably never going to happen and lay aside their failures when your parents are gone.
I am grateful to the posters on the forum that make suggestions of letting go of some of the burdens that we place upon ourselves and suggest a break even if we occasionally have to pay for it.
I wish that I would have been able to see that I did not have to do everything all of the time. I nearly killed myself in the process.
Plus when you think about it, the more we do, the more people expect us to do.
I was blind in so many ways! I really was. I became despondent and simply couldn’t see my situation clearly. Sad but true.
After so long of feeling like I had been the only one doing everything, it was almost as if inside I dared my sister to try and step in to do something - sadly it would have been too little too late. I know I have hung on to some of this as if it's power over her...such an illusion.
I'm glad to have this forum to "talk" about what I am living. To hear others' stories and get feedback has been the therapy I have needed for so long.
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