By clicking Talk to a Specialist
for information about our privacy practices.
My mom's split personality is a huge part of my stress and angst related to being her caregiver. She's so wacky, mean and abusive most of the time with me. She's basically miserable most of the time with me. With me, she has almost no short term memory. Then, whenever she goes out with me, she's like an entirely different woman, nice and sweet and jovial. I don't even recognize her. She's such a phony. But, my life is really hell because my brother and sister do nothing for my mother and see her maybe once a month for an hour. They tell me that she's fine and I must be losing it to say my mother's sick and has dementia. Also, when my mom goes to her doctor, she goes in alone and won't allow me to tell her doctor the truth about her condition, so she's getting no help for her severe mental problems.
Anyway, it's gratifying to know others are experiencing many of the difficulties I am.
My mother, at 86, is stuck in that seemingly endless never-never-land between being capable of living on her own and being so impaired she needs a nursing home. She can't drive and she can't stand unassisted or walk more than about 30 feet, even with a walker. That means she can't cook, clean her house, make her bed, shop for food or other necessities, or go to medical appointments on her own. None of these impairments require a nursing home level of care, but they all require someone there to help her out on a daily basis. She's gradually become more and more incapacitated over the last 10 years or so, but she's not sick let alone dying.
Nobody wants to take care of her, but somebody has to. My sister and I split up the duties, along with Mom's housemate who lives rent-free in exchange for household help and light meal preparation. My sister does most of the chores, like finances and scheduling appointments, that don't require face-to-face contact with Mom. I do most of the other stuff.
When I first moved to take care of Mom, I estimated her life expectancy at about 2-3 years, five at the absolute most, since was in her late 70's and already in lousy health with multiple issues. It's now been 7+ years with no end in sight. So you have people who never wanted to be caregivers, and you have people who stepped up willingly but gradually wore down as the work expanded and the time seemed to stretch into infinity. You get dragged into greater and greater levels of responsibility as you're searching desperately for a way to exit. It's like a job that you can never quit no matter how much you grow to hate it and no matter what other opportunities are out there. It makes people pretty crazy, and who can blame them? Not me at least, because I'm one of them.
I can see why you think the way you do and couldn't agree more: as I stated earlier in this thread, chiIdren who were abused by their parents typically don't make the best caregivers. Too much emotional and/ or physical pain, boundary violations, etc. make it so hard to care for the parent who not only didn't care for you but actively abused you, even through your adulthood. Compounded now by aging and dementia, it's the gift that keeps on giving.
I don't hate my mom. I fear the pain and punishment she inflicts and all too often, more than I' d care to admit, I've reacted like a child rather than the 60+ woman I am. I have a forgiving spirit. That's not the issue. It's just that Mom in her 92 years never, ever took responsibility for her own feelings and actions. To her, husband & children weren't individuals with their own needs but tools to prop the fake self she hid behind. I sought therapy years ago that helped with the emotional fallout and helped face the reality that the woman who "raised" me was and still is mentally ill. The damage she caused within our family is incalculable. None of her children or grandchildren were left unscathed. That circumstance leaves none of us suitable to be her caretaker.
But collectively we have done right by Mom, even though she doesn't think so. With moderately severe mixed dementia, she can no longer be held accountable for her speech or actions, bad as they may be. We have placed her in an excellent memory care facility and know she is well cared for. As her POA (appointed by herself and my dear father before he passed), I manage her care and finances but practice low contact. I would relinquish the job to other family members if I could but either they don't want the job or they struggle themselves with addictions or emotional issues ( some directly or indirectly related to Mom's abuse). My only option would be to hand her care over to the state but I fear I might live to regret such a choice.
In a nutshell, what I'm trying to say is the vast majority who come here to complain don't hate their parents. We're hurting. We need a "shoulder to cry on." We need support from a community that truly understands because we've all "been there." We need a place to vent where we won' t feel judged in a negative way. Some caretakers didn' t sign up for the job but found themselves holding the bag, barely hanging by a thread. For some of us, counseling or therapy simply aren' t options. So we come here to learn how to be more effective caregivers, to restore our emotional health and get stronger. I have found so much encouragement and coping skills here among friends. Blessings, peace and thanks to all.
See All Answers