Mom is driving me crazy!

Started by

I made my first post yesterday but I think I did it wrong so I am here to try again. My mother (who is only 56) lives with my husband, kids and I and has for the past 4 yrs. (since my dad past away). She suffered a brain aneurysm 11yrs ago and has not worked of driven since. She was a very independent person before this and we here about it often. I know she lost basically everything ( which we here about when she is upset) I can appreciate that and I feel for her, I do. But it's not like everyone's life did not change and I don't think she fully appreciates how much my husband and I have sacrificed for her. i don't mean to sound resentful and spiteful but sometimes the repetition and the forgetfulness( a result from the anerysm) are to much to bear. On the other hand we feel very blessed to be able to help and are blessed most of the time with her presents in our home. Other times I feel very resentful that I have to do this and I can't just have my children and my husband in our home and we "go visit grandma" like so many others. I know I sounds very ungreatful and I am making it sound worst than it probably is. I feel guilty for even typing this, she is my mom after all and I do love her. She helps out around the house with dishes and laundry and wants these jobs, as she says she is glad to help and I appreciate it, but all that aside it is the feelings I have and the repetition which we can't do much about. The sensitivity like if I say something in the wrong tone of voice she'll get upset and say something like "I was just asking" and if I don't bite my tongue we will have an arguement about the simplest of things. . Mostly I am saddend and frustrated with the resentment I feel, the distance getting between our relationship, how at such a young age in my life I feel like the rolls of been reversed and the guilt I carry for feeling this and avoiding her whenever I can because I just can't bear to hear the same stories over and over again or another mention of my beloved dad. For some of us, we are done grieving (I know losing a husband probably feels a lot different than losing a father) I just want to hold him in my heart now. I loved my dad so very much and it hurts to have here about him everyday. I have tried counselling with her but she is a very stubborn woman. She goes with her friend to grief counselling once a week usually, otherwise she will only go out when I take her, for whatever reason this may be, shopping,ect. She hates that she has to rely on me to get around and who could blame her, she is still relatively young afterall, but she is and always has been resistant to change. I guess I am just very greatful to know that I am truly not alone and it feels really good to put it out there to people who can truly understand our situation.

21 Comments

Hi amwe76,

did you feel better after writing? Writing emotions always helps me, it especially helps if someone reads them. Please don't stress yourself out by feeling guilty about feeling resentful, frustrated and unappreciated. Emotions are healthy, don't make them something else to feel bad about.

You didn't really ask any questions, just wanted to get it out eh? Good.

Now if you are having all these emotions because, just maybe, you are actually being driven crazy, maybe its time to consider some other arrangement? Something that would give your mom some of her independence back and perhaps, you, your sanity?

The focus of your home should be raising your children. I don't know the answer here, it would be for you to say. Could mom's widowhood and aneurysm be taking "center stage" in your home? Generations living together have to work to keep the home environment balanced. Your marriage and the raising of your children should be everyone's priorities.
Amwe76- wow. I could relate to your post. My mom had a brain aneurysm when she was 54 -now that I am 50 myself, she was a lot younger than I realized :). She used to say the exact same thing about how we didn't appreciate how her life changed. Our lives were turned upside down also, but she really could not see that. OncehatedDIL has some good advice. It is alot to take that on when you have small children. A couple of questions- can your mother drive? Does she have any ongoing issues related to the aneurysm? My mom had seizures that grew more frequent as time went on. They seemed to take a little bit of her with each one. The resulting damage from the aneurysm is very similar to dementia. Maybe talk to her doctor to understand if her situation is stable- as in you wouldn't expect it to get worse as in alzheimers. If that is the case, maybe she can get her own apartment near you. Some occupational therapy might help her adjust to her limitations and allow her to be more independent. If she can do that at 56, it would be so much better for you. Did she work before she had her aneurysm? If so, did she ever get SS disability? Is she getting benefits from your father? If she is not getting anything, I would check into that. An aneurysm is a traumatic and difficult thing to go through. Your mother, and you, must be very strong to have gotten this far. I would talk with her dr and make sure you understand her current status, and talk to them about what might be available to help her regain some independence. Good luck to you.
What you are going through may not be the worst story we have ever heard of on here, but it IS tough. It IS normal for you to miss your Dad and grieve for the "Gramma's House" experiences you and the kids don't get to have...my only other thoughts on what might help would be cognitive and physical rehab programming for your mom, and a grief group for you too! I went to one at my mom's Hospice for quite a while - it was odd to be the only one losing a parent among mostly people who had lost their spouse but it still helped a lot. God Bless You and your family!
amwe76, You and your mother have lots in common you know. You BOTH hate the circumstances, you BOTH miss a common loved one, you BOTH hate having to either hear or say the same thing over and over again. Your mother is young enough that she could live another 20+ years, so unless you and she want this to go on and on, the TWO of you had better be coming up with another alternative. How about a housing option where people like your mother who have different physical limitations live in an apartment complex? We have at least one place here in Portland Oregon where residents that have crippling problems live in one building in their own apartments. It is subsidized by the state of Oregon or federally I'm not sure, but the rent is on a sliding scale so they hardly pay anything. Start checking around for options like that one. If your mother has to jump thru red tape hoops in order to get government subsidies, then DO IT. You and SHE are not going to want to do this for the next 20 years.
Amwe76- one other thing. Your story really touched me as I went through this very thing. My mother lived 13 years after her aneurysm. It was a horrible road to go down, especially the last five. My MIL now is going through alzheimers. Both are hard. While different, the experiences can be very similar, with the exception that the aneurysm can occur much earlier in life. Also, with alzheimers the decline is generally gradually. you don't really know for sure when it started. An aneurysm is a traumatic event - literally an explosion in the brain. One thing I saw alot with my mother and now with my MIL is the frustration. They can get easily upset when they can't do something or don't remember something they know they should be able to do. It is good to get on these sites and vent when you need to. For a young person to feel the loss of independence so early in life, it can be very difficult. So, any of that independence you can help her get back, the better it is for both of you. I would definately try to understand what her situation is. If she is not having on-going events (seizures, mini-strokes), she could probably learn to be on her own more. That would help her feel better about her situation. Right now she is focused on what she has lost between her independence and your father. That's alot for. 56 yr old to have gone through. You can't bring your father back, but maybe you can help her get some of herself back. Look into what she qualifies for, and as NancyH said- fight for her to get it.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all so much for your comments and suggestions I feel like I have been given a tremendous gift. I have looked into getting her her own place and there are options, one is a low cost apartment which would be the best option, but it is in the town that I grew up in (which is only 15min from the town we live in now) but because of that my mom says that there are to many memories for her to live there again, even though that is where we do most of our shopping, banking, ect. I can't get her to see that it would be so much better for the both of us. There would be a schedule where I would come over to help her clean if she needed it and make sure she was eating properly(I thought it might be fun to have a day where we cook and fill her freezer). I would still take her to her appointments and shopping ect. Both my children are in school full time this year so it would be no problem to do these things with her during the week. However, every time we (or a counsellor for that matter) tries to coax her into the idea she gets upset and says she " knew it would come down to this, that she IS a burden." Sometimes she even goes so far as to say she would die if I put her in a home. I know she is depressed and she doesn't understand that going to these apartments would heal what is happening here. I am stuck because she is so young I would never put her in a home and I don't think she would even need assisted living yet, but she can't drive and she can't work and other than short term memory loss she is otherwise okay. She is very very stubborn and gets REALLY upset when I (or any one else for that matter) tries to talk to her about changing the situation. We live in Canada so she has her CPP and AISH for income which isn't to bad. That is all she qualifies for here financially but like I said it's enough. The other thing she was really stubborn about was a reprieve worker. Someone who would come once a week or so and take mom out to do whatever she wanted to do. It work give us a break from each other and take the responsibility off of me for a couple of hours, but that was a no go because this person would be a stranger even though the counseller said "only at the beginning, then you may make a new friend in her". Honestly and sadly my mom would rather sit downstairs and be alone and depressed than take any help. She wants the option to be alone until she feels like coming up to see what is going on upstairs. (She basically has the entire basement to herself, bedroom, bathroom, and a living room) There is no outside entrance down there however so it's not like a basement suite or anything. I can't even talk to her about boundaries without her getting all offended. This is why I have basically just distanced myself and do what I need to do. It really saddens me. So if anyone has any suggestions on how I might communicate to her better without her getting all offended that would be really great, otherwise I fear what my husband said "That no matter what we try and do, any change, to her will not be well received." In other words it coudl get ugly and I really don't want to fight and disintegrate what is left of our relationship. Our other option is to live it out for a couple more years and then we could get together with my brother and see if we could buy her a house. (I do realize that is probably just a dream and not a very viable one)
Just wondering- is it possible she is afraid to be alone? Because aneurysms can strike suddenly and are often deadly, maybe she is afraid of being by herself. My mother was so hard to communicate with and not offend as is my MIL now. Does she have any friends that could help position a new arrangement with her? Somehow position it as an opportunity. I do think you have to be careful with her age. She doesn't want to feel like she is "old".
That's just it, she is not old so it does put a different twist on things. I don't think she is afraid to be alone but I could probe at that and find out. Her friend and her have in common that they both have lost their husbands at a young age. The difference is that her friend still has her health. She recently switched houses with her son and his family so that they could have the bigger house and she downsized to the smaller house. My mom came back from a visit there and was in such a good mood and commenting on how her friend had such a nice little house. Then the other day we where doing some shopping and she was wanting to by some more laundry detergent, she likes to stock up a little, (since she does the laundry she likes to by the detergent, which is fine) but I made an observation to her saying she likes to buy that stuff because she is so nurturing and she likes to take care of a house, but now that is basically gone, so the one or two things she can do for a house it almost goes to excess. She pondered that for a moment and agreed, "Hmm, maybe your right" she said. When I joked with her and said she wanted a house like her friends she didn't disagree. It depends a lot on her mood. I think if I could present her with a little cozy house she would be overjoyed and accepting but maybe the idea of apartment living is depressing to her. Thank you for your concern and suggestions.
Also, I was wondering, in everyone's experience out there, is finding separate dwellings always the right answer? I mean especially in my case since my mom is relatively healthy, young, and mobile. Is there any suggestions on how we might find harmony with the way things are?
Hmmm. Maybe rather than explore separate housing, maybe go at it from the nurturing aspect and see if there is an outside activity,, such as volunterring, that might help. That would boost her self esteem and make her feel more useful. Might be a baby step to more independence.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support