In a major funk...so very tired of living for others.

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In a major funk... my mom was injured when I was 11, so I took care of my brother until he graduated high school. Dad was on the railroad for WEEKS at a time, so I cooked, cleaned, did laundry, etc. All that time I was told I was worthless. When my brother left, I was disowned. 35 years later...suddenly I am no longer worthless, HOWEVER, my brother refuses to care for our parents, and once again I am cooking, cleaning, overseeing meds, dr. appts., physical therapy, telemarketers, car maintenance, did the dog pee on the carpet- or was it the imaginary pink elephant. So very bummed. I had 2 marriages, both crashed and burned. Dad is a remote pillar of ice (lord love him - very healthy at least) mom's family lives to be in their late 90's and older. great.
All I keep thinking, over and over again...will I be taking care of people forever? Will anyone take care of me? I.am.so.tired. only 50 years to go.
How do I take a week vacation, secure in the knowledge that if she burns down the house to eliminate the pink elephants, that my father & brother will actually help, instead of saying "she has to learn these things" "we can't wait on her hand & foot" "if we don't answer, she'll get over it".
so.very.tired. thank the Lord she doesn't know how to text. The bell is bad enough.

12 Comments

id say let your parents do everything that theyre capable of. its pretty easy to play helpless and let someone else do it all for you. dad aint too old to learn how to operate a washing machine. pull back a bit for your own sake.
I forgot to add 1 other bit. During the 35 year respite, I was the "handler" for my aunt. True, by being her handler I got to see stonehenge, but still: "Jenny, I scratched my eye" "Jenny, I want to paint my interior pink" "Jenny, I lost my diamond ring" "Jenny, my dog died" "Jenny, I want a new car" "Jenny, I want to redo my backyard" "Jenny, I want my a new birdcage for my 200 finches" "Jenny, I can't reach the top cupboard" "Jenny, I want chicken noodle soup" "Jenny, I want new carpet" did I mention that I lived 20 miles away with my husband and stepkids? And no, that did not end the marriage - my husband's boyfriend ended the marriage.
I know - just needed to vent and feel sorry for myself today....suck it up Jenny, you can do this.
Jenny, you are making the decisions to be with these people. No one else. Did they raise you to be the slave? They have somehow put a terrible guilt on you, but it's up to you to break away and live your own life. It is not your repsonsibility to take care of these very young sick people. Pack your bags and head out.
I feel sorry for your lack of autonomy; become your own person. Good Luck.
Here's the place to bitch. and then you can go back and look at your bitching and figure out if it carries a message for you. did you aunt pay you? I mean more than paid your way places? You do it for nothing? How come? And if you aunt paid you, don't bosses generally tell you what your job is?

as far as your current situation, what im finding is that IF I am in sight, they seems to need more help. so IF I make myself scarce, they can get along a little better. hummmm..... so I turn my back or walk away and then I decide I am needed and for some reason wont let myself trust that im not, really. how can you know that if you've spent your entire life first being trained, and then training yourself? sounds like you got some YOU stuff to figure out. If you don't find some kind of boundaries, your body will help you and then something will happen to stop you. Its easier though on everyone (and sinks in better) if you know you are pulling back because YOU DESERVE IT.... Go ahead.. btich...cry...scream... then pull up your big girl panties and deal with it... signed.... been there.... my mother died when I was 8; had 2 brothers younger than me.. been there.... its awfully hard work but you CAN DO IT!!!!
The more you do for your parents the more they'll let you. They won't even try because they know you'll do it. If they can do it, walk away and let them. You obviously are tired of doing everything, so don't!! It looks to me like you are being used and you are grossly under appreciated. Step back and look at this picture, the one you've described to us and if you do not like what you see, you need to remove yourself. You deserve better. You are wearing yourself out doing for a family who doesn't see you for the caring, generous person you are.
You aren't alone. This happens all the time as sad as it is. Set your boundaries, get some respite as in "vacation", clear your head and then see if you want to continue on this road to ruin. Life is too short to waste being as unhappy as you are now.
Jenny, I am sorry! My standard expression is I am just so very tired! I try to keep it all together but some days are just tough.

My family doesn't have anything to do with me until there is a problem and then they want me to solve it. When mom needed a caregiver it was me not them to the rescue.

I just feel like the problem solver and like they abuse me. So I understand how you feel, just take some time for yourself, many of us on here feel the same way.
thewonderyears, I think the first step is to recognize that you are doing what you have chosen to do. This probably wasn't true when you were 11 and had to pick up the slack in running the household. But you are all grown up now. You get to choose how you live your life, just as your brother gets to choose. He made one decision, regarding his parents, and you have made another.

If you really want to, you can change your mind and make different choices. Really. It may be very difficult for you, especially if, as Christina suggests, you wear raised to be a slave. But even then you can make new choices.

Your parents are in their early 60s. This could go on for another 30 - 35 years. Is it your choice to live for them for that long?

Perhaps you can start by making small choices to improve you situation. Make sure your insurance is fully paid up and take a two-week vacation.

Decide that you are not going to do things for your mother that healthy Dad could be doing, or that she could be doing herself.

Decide that you are cooking three weeknights and one weekend day. That's it.

Decide that you are only washing your own laundry.

Make small decisions to improve your situation. Or make a big decision to change your situation entirely. But do recognize that you have choices.

Your Dad made the decision that Mom doesn't need to be waited on hand and foot. You decided she does need that and you are the one doing the waiting. Why should you have more authority over what she needs than her husband does? Your Dad decided that if her every demand isn't met she'll get over it. It is you, apparently, who have made a different decision.

You are doing what you decided to do. Not happy? Make different decisions.
thewonderyears, it is something I run across so often, both in myself and other people. Children who are raised to have poor self esteem are often the ones abused as caregivers. I don't know why we often have this super responsibility complex. Some people say it is because we are looking for approval, but I don't think that is it. One day someone will say what it really is and I'll say, AHA that's it. Someone finally understands it.

Serving others is not a bad thing, but being used is. It sounds to me like the only thing your parents need is someone to come in to do the medications and maybe meals on wheels. Your mother and father sound capable of doing the rest.

If your life is anything like mine, you've made some bad decisions (e.g. choice of husbands) along the way. You can make some good ones now while you are still young enough to benefit from them. Don't let yourself be used by people who are able to care for themselves. You have your own life and are very important.
Jenny pack your bags and head down the road never traveled by needy people!
The only one in need is you-to have a life of your own.
Jenny, what everyone else said already. Thank God for this site! At least around here people get it...

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