It stinks to feel this level of resentment for your own parent!!

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Hi All - I have been reading this forum off and on for some time. It's helpful to know that I'm not the only one dealing with the challenges posed with caring for elderly parents. My mom has been living with me and my family for almost 10 years now. I can cry when I think about it. I know that sounds selfish but my mom is such an energy vampire and it's so hard to be around her. She doesn't drive and her income level is low so we thought it would be great for her to live with us; otherwise, she's healthy as an ox and 80 years young. On weekends, when her shows aren't on, she comes looking for me about 5 times a day!! It really drives me crazy, I want to cry. She is constantly telling depressing stories of who killed who from the news. She is constantly complaining and she likes to bad mouth other people. My kids don't even like to be around her because she's pushy and she can't understand why they don't pay attention to her. She just thinks that she's such a "victim". I'm to the point where I resent people, just ordinary people who don't have to care for their parents. Awful, I know. I avoid inviting people to my home because she is often embarrassing. She's overly opinionated and doesnt know what questions are and aren't offensive. EVERYWHERE I go, she seems to want to come. And if I don't take her, she's "stuck" here because she doesn't drive and there is no public transportation around. I feel like her entertainment director. She has no life outside of my and my families life. I've encouraged her to take a trip to see her family SO many times (her sisters live in Italy) but there's always an excuse (apparently, when she visits, her sisters go about their normal life, and don't take her enough places). She depends on other people to make her happy and expects things from people. She has many times thrown in my face that she did this and that for me growing up (and insinuates that I now "owe"her). In fact, I"m pretty much convinced that this is why she had me to begin with..to keep her company in her old age. I really wish that I was one of those people who were crazy about their mom and who had a great relationship. Truth is that I really do love her but I do see her as a huge burden - her attitude is what makes it most difficult. I wish I had my own life. I REALLLLLLY wish that I had my own life. If we manage to go on a vacation without her, it's heavenly to feel those severeal days of independence. We recently bought a bigger house, that we really did not want to buy, just to give us and her separate space, and she calls it her jail. Not ONE bit appreciative of anything. In fact, I think this is the source of her constant unhappiness. I could go on forever, but I won't. I feel so STUCK and I feel like she's constantly dragging me down. I shudder when I hear her coming up the steps. Sad, I know. We moved from our original home because she lived with us and there was no in-law suite. It was TORTUROUS. She would rearrange my cabinets and decorate for me! I think she hates it almost as much as we do but she is too afraid to live on her own because of both financial reasons and feelings of lonliness/need. I feel like I can't breathe. It really stinks feeling this level of resentment for your own parent!!!

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Hi Oldmovies - I haven't checked this thread in a while. My heart is heavy for you. It is such a difficult situation. I also ask myself why certain people are the way that they are. I'm very analytical that way. I must know why certain people are so mean, why others are so rude, and why certain others are so negative and needy. In my mother's case, I think a LOT has to do with her childhood and growing up feeling unloved by her mom. My mother is very afraid and I think feels inferior so she must tear other people down to feel better. She is very sad so she must surround herself in negativity and depressing news to feel comforted in a sense, I guess. It's hard to understand when you don't think like they do. As far as your sibling situation goes, I believe your mom is trying to win over the Golden Child, who you say hasn't given as much of himself as you have. She seems to take you for granted, but you will never have regrets, so keep strong if you can. My uncle who passed away 5 or 6 years ago left his home to one son and nothing to the other son. You know what happened? He created enemies. The brothers don't speak anymore. Very sad, isn't it? What a sad legacy to leave behind, and we have a small family to begin with. You are dealing with so much right now - keep telling yourself that the situation is temporary, for nothing is forever. That's what I try to tell myself. I also try to think of situations where life could be MUCH MUCH worse, like having to deal with a sick child, etc. I guess it's a coping mechanism. You aren't alone. There are many caregivers out there - I hope we are earning our wings down here on Earth. Praying helps lots too! I can relate to so much of what you've said. I'm glad you came across my post and were able to share your story. It does sound a lot like my mom but even more like my aunt, who has never had any friends. She claims that she doesn't need anyone except for her family. I do think it's an inferiority sort of complex. I also think people little idiosyncrosies (sp?) get a lot worse as they age. I often wonder what I'll be like if I'm lucky enough to reach that kind of age!
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Energy Vampire
I have never posted to any site anywhere but I was so struck by your post, I joined and want to comment. If someone has not lived through what you have experienced, they just cannot understand. I do. My mother long ago started isolating herself from the world. She never was too fond of socializing and going out to begin with but when I was a child, she did have at least have other relationships other than with my father, her kids, etc. She always kept them at somewhat of a distance and while I did not realize it then, "it" was far from what was normal that I observed with other mothers and families. She was very involved with school activities and things like that, and even worked at a few different jobs and had work/acquaintance relationships with them -- but still not what most would call "close friends". The other factor was there was always something wrong with everyone. I was well into my late 30s before I really realized this - most of her sibling's in-laws, she didn't like the wives so she had minimal contact. In summary, there was always something wrong with almost everyone in her life. Either they stopped talking to her or coming around, or she just cut them off. As I grew older, this came to include everybody else that had been in her life, and I mean everybody. The only people that she wanted contact with was me, my 2 brothers, and her grandchildren (who are still just teens or preteens). Period. For well over 10 years, the only "friends" she had were cashiers at the supermarket to say hello to. This all leads to a VERY lonely place in life. Right now, I can think of at least 10 others that would be visiting her in a nursing home (where she is now) at least a few times a week -- but they won't -- because she long ago cut them off, or to use one of their terms "snapped them up" -- she is very critical, very easily offended, very suspicious, and often reads way more into every comment or situation than was ever meant. She does not see herself this way, and I used to think it was me -- but it was not. What this all has meant for me, and my husband and family -- is decades of if I didn't call her nightly for very long calls or multiple times a day - if not at work or on weekends, that she said I didn't "care" enough. The burden for honoring and remembering her fell 100 percent at my door as my brothers did very little in this area (if anything) and one lives out of state. We (my husband) were the ones that had to DO everything and I mean everything. Whether it was preparing 25 plus years of holiday dinners (buy it all, cook it all, clean it all up) - no help whatsoever -- it never occurred to anybody that we might like a meal made for us, or a birthday cake. Yet, if I didn't do it, there would have been no holiday/bday celebration -- and it always seemed easier to just do it --- my husband also helped her maintain her own home etc. etc. after my father died --you name it -- -- we did it. I was often made to feel guilty (I know I know, I let myself feel it...) that I didn't do enough. She often would comment over the years how this person she knew or that person she knew -- how THEIR kids did more -- that look at all she did and sacrificed raising we kids --- and now it is OUR TURN to take care of her. That is her world view --- that we should do MORE for her, and not just since she got much older either. In fact, no matter how much we did, it was never "enough" -- there were numerous holidays she was still sad because the out of town sibling wasn't home. In fact, for the past 25 years, what the out of town sibling did, or did not do, rotated how our holidays were (she was either satisfied or not) -- no matter what we did -- if he didn't remember or honor her --- what we did never compensated. A crumb from him was better than a whole loaf from us. It was a pretty rotten feeling, still is. We were (are) supposed to fill up all needs in her life, because everyone else is out of her life (by mostly her choice). I have NO CLUE why people do this, if someone does, please let me know. She also always thinks she knows everything and is always right, never wrong. She was very ill for over the last 8 months but refused to go to a doctor, or would make appointments and cancel them --- went to one or two and then never followed up...would even tell us she would not get in an ambulance even if we called one..you can't make someone go and get help if they don't want to.... It became a vicious cycle of calls and pleading for us to come over with her saying "I'm so sick, please help me" but then you'd go, and you'd try to talk some sense into her to go to the doctor (had not done much other than stay in bed for almost 2 months, had not washed hair for just as long...staying in the house with all the curtains drawn and dark etc....) -- then we started getting her groceries, pills, and all outside world errands -- which I tried to avoid for as long as I could -- because at least when she did errands it was a reason for her to go out. She absolutely would not do what was right. She also would not follow doctor directions. Anyway, it got so bad, she finally did go into a hospital and we now know she is loaded with cancer and who knows how long she will live. I literally begged her for months and months before to get help and how this was all caused by something - but you can't tell her a thing. Even a month ago when told to get a biopsy, she refused that, which then delayed any treatment by several more weeks (long story)...once again the decisions SHE makes for herself are often no good for her, but you, or doctors, or anybody, can tell her anything. There is nothing wrong with her mentally. Even now, at age 80, when we go visit, I can be in the room not more than 30 seconds and she is disciplining or criticizing for something I said or did, or whatever -- it has always been this way. She is always right, on all topics, always. It has been exhausting for pretty much my entire adult life watching all this. After my father died 15 years ago, we encouraged her to have her own life and hobbies, part-time job, whatever, to keep living some sort of life. She never did. More and more people dropped away, and it is indeed very sad but I don't think she has been "living" for at least a decade or more - not in the sense in what living really is. I have gotten thousands of phone calls all ending with "it is a -----y life" and "what's the point" and all the rest. If you tell her she should seek treatment for depression or whatever else, she would not hear of it. If I told her to go to the senior center, reach out to this one or that one, all my ideas were shot down. In addition, as she grew older, it would be calls about how sick (just general sickness, not the cancer) she was, or how lonely, or sad, or whatever. When you offer good or sensible solutions to the problem, she turns into a "baby" - saying "why are you yelling at me" and "you're making me sick" -- this escalated to new heights these past few months. The call of "I'm sick" and then you give suggestions to fix, or get treatment, or go in to Doctor, she then responds "why are you yelling at me" and turns the baby routine on. This same cycle repeated for years to some extent, but got much much worse this past year, when she really was very ill. So now, even though we both work full time, her expectation is that we go to the nursing home to see her daily (40 minute commute round trip) - which we pretty much do, and we also do all we can regarding getting her help/treatment and into another facility for what she needs. Our lives right now are either working, taking care of our house/child/pets, or doing nursing home, insurance nightmare, visiting her, or phone calls re: her, bank accts, and the whole ball of wax. If we don't do it, nobody else will. My one brother pays her bills on a joint account, but that is all. Nobody else would be doing all this research on homes, insurance and all the rest. It just would not get done. The other sibling out of town has not volunteered to do a thing.
She is pretty much also leaving everything she owns (in her will, we have read it) -- to just one of her children - long story on that too. No, he is not special needs, he is just like any of us, but that is what she did. That hurts too. Not because of the money, but because it is so painfully obvious that one child must be "taken care of" and not the others. None of that ever mattered, we still cared for her all of her life and now in the end of her life, we do the same thing we always did even though we have known for decades that only one child inherits everything. None of us are rich --we are all working class folks -- as were my parents -- but let me tell you, after what we have done over the course of my entire adulthood -- well it just hurts that is all. In fact, the child she is willing everything to has done the minimum (even now) for her. The children that did the least, ignored her, never visited on holidays, never cooked for her, forgot her birthday or mother's day most the time -- she values them both MUCH more -- I suppose because she always knew we would do for her no matter what -- she never had to "work" to obtain my love, respect, or obligation to her. I just did it because I thought that was what God would want from me you know? Honor thy parents? But she values the other "minimally involved" children way more than me, that is also very obvious.
I guess I now realize that I let it happen, and I should have controlled "it" long ago. I did set many more limits and tried to carve out my own life, but as energy vampire knows, this person is STILL your mother, and you try to keep hoping you can cope, or it will change. My mother had many good qualities too, but her stubbornness, and her refusal to listen to anybody, in the end, has now I think cost her -- her life --- or at least shortened it. It is all a very sad ending.
But my comment is why? Why do people do this? She had many quality people in many areas of her life, all shut out. Except for us. Why?
So while I have not technically been a "caregiver" in that she never lived with us, we live close by, and instead it was numerous requested visits to her house, many many phone calls per night, and on and on it has went. She has expected me to be her emotional "fix" for years and years -- and I have had my own problems! No matter, she always wanted more....Now she expects that any time we aren't at work to be with her in the nursing home, and while I go 1.5 to 2 hours daily, sometimes I can't, or sometimes I just want to do something other than work or go to a very depressing nursing home. On top of this, I have had other issues (sick husband on and off with his own medical problems), problems with unemployment due to layoffs, money, and the list goes on. Life has held almost no joy for many many years. I do keep trying to find some. I do. However, my entire adult life has been forever changed by all of this. Too bad I didn't realize what was going on much sooner....I have often felt that my entire life is spent worrying about everyone else's needs, my husband's, her's, my daughter (who is the least of my worries, a wonderful person!) and on and on it goes. There has always been some other crisis, drama, problem to fix. I too am SO ENVIOUS of when I hear other women and their relationships with their families, or families that all mix together -- that too was never allowed. She never wanted anything to do with any of my in-laws or my husband's family and called them strangers. When I watch how families were in old movies and TV shows, well it is just too bad that is all. Sorry so long, I had a lot to say!
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I am glad to have this forum. I can understand the opposing views on this subject. For me personally, I am much in the same situation as 'energyvampire' so I feel her frustration and pain. I came to live with my mother following my father's passing to help her out. Shortly after, she suffered a stroke which resulted in vascular dementia and is rapidly getting worse. She is also insulin dependent and does not drive. So, in short, I became her caregiver. It has been a road of many challenges including my mother's personality changes (in me as well). She is hard to get along with and few people want to spend much time with her. I think the hardest thing for me is how it challenges me as a human being. Many times, I am not happy with what I see. Also, my relationship with other family members has deteriorated---some to the point of not speaking to each other. I find that it is very easy for others to have an opinion about the situation but I will say emphatically that one cannot understand completely until they have lived it. IT IS HARD. And, yes, I do seek outside help.
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Energyvampire you just keep feeling how you need to feel. Sure it stinks to feel that level of resentment, but at least you are honest with yourself. I have read some of the negative comments to your post. Ignore them! I have dealt with negative comments on my posts and realize opinions are like aholes every has one. Feel free to express yourself and just embrace the comments that help with your situation and pity those whose comments show them as nothing more than what they are, insensitive and lacking in empathy.
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Thanks for your comments. It helps knowing someone out there understands. My dad WANTS to go on like this. He has congestive heart failure, COPD, MD and is a bladder cancer survivor. He has outlived doctors' estimates by 10 years. That's why I am so angry that he is not grateful for the extra time he has been given. He would rather lock himself in the house than spend time with us. (We are his only family.) When he had stomach troubles, he wanted the doctors to order more testing "so they could catch any 'possible cancer' as early as they could." He wants extraordinary measures, if needed. My dad used to isolate himself from my mom and I for hours and pray. There's nothing wrong with prayer, but when you won't participate in your family's life to pray for hours and hours at a time, there is something odd. My mom used to say that my dad really should have been a priest or monk. I understand her words much more now as an adult. My mother gave me a wonderful childhood. I can only imagine how much worse things would have been for me without her. I miss her daily. As silly as it sounds, I sometimes get angry, though, that she left me to contend with this mess. This mess includes the fact that I have to clean up my dad's home so we can sell it. He was a hoarder--never threw away mail, washed out every food container and collected it for future use, etc. He never got rid of my mom's clothing. I have to get his house in decent condition, in addition to taking care of him, my own house, and of, course, my lovely daughter. I have made it clear to him that unless he has a medical emergency, my daughter is my priority.
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EnergyVampire, I have received so much help from members on this board. It's been wonderful. When I am stressed out I have gotten wonderful advice. Funny thing is that when I read your post, I had to take a double take. I thought it was one of mine! It so accurately describes what I am going through, sadly, as well. The best advice I can give you is to take time for yourself. If you can get someone to watch your mother, paid (caregiver) or unpaid (church volunteer, neighbor), do it. It may not make the situation better when you return, but it WILL give you a much needed break.

My 22 year old daughter often says that people live longer, but why? My own mother wishes she "was in heaven" with my dad and is constantly unhappy (as am I). I am working on getting even more caregivers to do more hours as I have no one else to help. If that doesn't work, it's assisted living which she will hate. I hope that doesn't happen until she doesn't recognize us as that would be difficult. I look at it like this, if my mom dies prematurely (e.g. from me putting her in assisted living), it would be devastating to me and my kids. But, guess what? There's something even worse than that. If I die prematurely (from all of this stress taking care of her), not only is she up the creek with no paddle (my kids will not be willing to do the 54 hours a week I do), but my kids will have no mother. I choose the lesser of the two evils.
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A few points to add--my dad refuses to watch TV (unless it is religious programming or the news). He will not see movies or listen to music. He has no friends. Even when he was in better health, he never bowled, golfed, etc. My husband asked him what he listened to as a teen. My dad said "nothing." My dad lives in a bubble, and expects us to do the same. When my mom was alive, her aunts asked her to go on a trip with them to Vegas. He "forbade"--yes, that was the word he used--her from going. When I was little, he reset the trip odometer on her car weekly. If her numbers were higher from one week to the next, he yelled at her that she was using too much gas. He is a control freak who is trying to control everyone around him. I think his urge to control us gives him the will to live! LOL!
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I totally get your feelings! My mother and I were best friends, but, sadly she died more than 12 years ago. I am stuck with my father, who has been a hermit/complainer/crab/general stick-in-the mud all his life. (For example, when my mom was already very ill, she wanted to order an omelet. He refused, yelling that she "should order something cheaper and didn't need a $5 breakfast." Seriously, he did this! He certainly was not/is not poor! He actually refused his dying wife's request for an omelet! My mom joked that even prisoners headed to the chamber got to choose a final meal! That's just one example of who I am dealing with.) My dad is on oxygen 24/7 and had to move in with us last fall. I am his errand person on call at all hours of the day. He has several chronic medical conditions which have gotten worse over the past few years. You think he would be grateful that he has outlived everyone in our family from his generation. (He is 75. My mom, aunt and uncle all died in their 60s.) He is not appreciative. My dad sucks the life out of a room. He told me my 9-year-old daughter should not be allowed to ride her bike in front of our house because "someone will abduct her, and you'll be sorry." I am 42 years old and he told me I should not go to a music concert alone because I "am asking for trouble." (Mind you, the singer is 70 years old and from an oldies group--not exactly Lollapalooza!). My dad injects himself into every conversation and has taken over our lives. We are supposed to go on vacation to see my husband's family, and my dad said he does not want us to go. We invited him, but he does not want to travel. (His doctors have said it is fine for him to go with us.) I feel like I am denying my husband and daughter a life, and I am to the point that I feel I have a millstone around my neck. Even if my dad went to assisted living, he already said he would have a list of errands for me to do and would expect me to get his Arby's, etc, when he wants it! Yikes! I feel so trapped. Yesterday, I just drove home from his errands in tears. My own health is not good. He will probably send me to an early grave, just as he did my mother. My husband feels he can't do anything in his own house without "answering" to my dad. It's like we're 16! Yesterday, my dad was complaining how frustrating it is that he can't drive anymore and that his "life was turned upside down." I told him that 3 other people also had their lives turned upside down, but that he doesn't hear us yapping about it daily. It finally shut him up. I am exhausted. I have tried looking for "the good things," but they are pretty much not there. Sorry to vent, but I just wanted to let the initial author know that there are others out here who understand what you are going through. Some people judge, but they are probably the ones who never had to deal with such difficult personalities. I know that if it had been my mother, I would have a completely different attitude because she was such a nice person. My dad has never been nice. He acts very pious in public, but in reality, is a phony hypocrite the way he treats his family. My thoughts are with you.
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Braida, omg, you are NOT going to make me say " I HEARD that, girlfriend."
Yep, you did. You made me say it. :) xo
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@Clh777: Did you mean "herd" mentality takes no intelligence? Good comments from Nancy and hillarious from Christina. I like the "sister-swapping" idea too! :))
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