I'm so unhappy and feeling trapped.

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I'm so unhappy, and I don't recognize my life anymore. Mom moved in with me 6 months ago during cancer treatment, and she's still here. The issue now is major anxiety and depression post-treatment. She's afraid to leave. I'm doing everything, except emptying the dishwasher.Her constant negativity is exhausting me. I do have a sibling who's an active caregiver, but she gets to go home (lucky her).

I've had my own health challenges this year, which have been ignored to take care of mom. My work and social life have suffered, and I've gained a lot of weight. I don't recognize my body and nothing fits anymore.

What's just pushed me over the edge now is that mom is still making her own decisions. That is good, but although she asks for our advice, she doesn't always take it. I'm currently taking care of a property issue to make sure that it doesn't blow up any further. This has added a whole new level of stress to my life, but I'm afraid that if I do nothing her financial stability will be threatened. My stomach is in knots just typing this.

Oh yeah, mom is a narcissist and was abusive when my sister and I were children.

45 Comments

You trapped yourself by taking her in and I'm not sure why you did that. Do not ignore your own health issues, get them taken care of and if that means mom has to get assisted living, then move her into one until you are recovered.
Oh my goodness I so totally understand your feelings. I am a 24/7 caregiver for my 89 yr old Mom and have been for the past two years since she sustained almost life ending injuries when she fell down her basement stairs...at the time, Mom was diagnosed with early onset dementia, which is progressing now, to the point where she is totally dependent on me for bathing, dressing, cooking, cleaning, yardwork, the works...she is also 99 per cent immobile...

I feel trapped, and I have not spent the night away from this house in over a year and a half. I have one sibling, whom I love but is no help and his wife is absolutely selfish and never visits...has not been here in almost two years.

To make matters worse, I left my career, my home, everything behind and moved back here because I lived in a townhome which was not acceptable for Mom although looking back as she never moves from this chair it was as acceptable as this home is....I am about to lose my home in foreclosure to put the cherry on top....

I am feeling very resentful and extremely angry these days..at the brother who does nothing other than buy a package of depends each week..(usually) but does not contribute to any other financial issues...(we were left owing thousands of dollars in co pays even with excellent insurance coverage) and I will be paying on those the rest of my life. I have no health insurance so anticipate Mom may very well outlive me...

What to do.....I keep watching this site but so frequently see shades of similarities in all our lives...the family that never calls or visits, the siblings who refuse to share responsiblity, the inlaws who are disconnected because it's not THEIR parent.

I am praying very hard for patience and understanding as Mom's mental capacity continues to deteriorate and praying that the financial ruin of my own life will not be my end. But I am frustrated....and I understand...I have my really good moments, but I have some really bad ones for which I am ashamed when I feel so resentful....Funny thing is Mom doted on my brother all his life...he had to have the best, the most, whatever he wanted...I was left with whatever I got...I know she loves me but guess I think she loves him more (I was a Daddy's girl)

I am a strong woman, but feel myself cracking...Mom's siblings have all but abandoned her and do not even call anymore...why should they, they know that I have it "under control"...I am feeling anything but in control these days...but praying that I can just go one day at a time....and that's really what we have to do...I know I'm not any help...unless it's to say I do so totally understand your feeling of being trapped...God bless.....I know I will have no regrets later on, but fear I am going to carry forward some resentments that will never be mended....towards sibling and family members who abandoned us both...
Oh...to add insult to injury..I always took a lot of pleasure in being dressed to the nines and totally put together...I don't even recognize myself these days. I have gained a LOT of weight, my hair seems to be falling out, I can't leave the house long enough to go walking like I used to do daily, and I have tow loungewear type outfits that I wash and wear, wash and wear...it is like I just don't care anymore...what is the point...
Its 2.30am here and ive been to the toilet twice as my stomach is in knots here totally feeling trapped and overhwhelmed by the stress and worry of whats ahead with mum and will i cope?can I cope? do i want to do this? am i going to get very ill from this?
Like you have had major health issues the last few years which have healed but this stress is making me ill and I feel very alone family all off living a life.

I washed my hair today and felt a bit better but havnt washed it in over a week thats not me? Thankgod I have a shower everyday! Like you have put on wieght cant fit into my clothes keep saying ill diet and excercise? who am I kidding im mentally and physically exhausted and need a break from mum!

my mum has to go to another city to get her hearing aids tomorrow I thought great my brother can bring her in his car BUT OH NO mum dosnt want to go with him his car is not comfortable? what shes really saying is my brother will drop her there and bring her home she wont get to potter around shops and chit chat like with me!
I get so tired sometimes i cry stupid silly things i could have done tomorrow like watch TV with no mum for a few hours starts to mean alot?? Yeh who the hell am I?
Im sitting here waiting for my cat to come in (we have no catflap) he hasnt been here since 4pm today and its not like him not to come back and have his food im worried sick!
I know hes a cat and they wander but not him hes so routine and its cold outside and he LOVES his bed.

Im thinking the worst but cant wait up all night maybe hes ok and im just so down and at a low that im being negative.

He means so much to me I couldnt lose him now hes my comfort my little furry friend.

Anyone up? can you pray he will be back and safe. Sometimes we know our pets and this gut feeling is bad but I will go to bed now and hopefully hell be back in the morning!

So worried!
Kazzaa....I am a pet person too, and the one thing I did do when I had to move back here was bring my little "gang" with me...I know what you mean...you worry sick when they are not where they're supposed to be. I will say a prayer for you and your furkid...:) mine do that too and usually come in ...later than I'd like....but they come back...keep us posted...

I hear ya...I woke around 4AM today and never could go back to sleep worrying about everything, unpaid bills, Mom's health. I feel like I sleep with one eye and one ear open, always listening for her breathing..making sure she IS breathing...It takes a toll doesn't it.. bless your heart. I think we're all in the same boat in some form or fashion....and from what I am hearing from some of my friends who have actually been there, we do come out on the other side...and it is worth it...but there are the dark days or the sad days or the days with worry where you can't help but wonder...please keep us posted...let us know your little furkid came home.. prayers.. :)
Oh my God! You all sound just like me! I feel so trapped like I am in prison. I feel like "How dare her take my life away!" I will never do this to my kids. Maybe I would feel differently if she would have been a good mother to me. The other day she told me that by being borned, I ruined her life. I just want to know how to accept the unacceptable. I know people do it but I don't know how.
@Kazza, I hope your cat comes home soon. I've been there before. Sometimes they wander a bit to remind everyone that they are in charge. I'm grateful to have mine at the foot of my bed right now, even if she is giving me the stink eye because the light is on.

@PStiegman, ouch! Not that helpful. Yes, I chose to have mom stay with me, but I didn't exactly choose to have the anxiety filled, depressed parent that I've ended up with. Things can change pretty quickly in this care giving business; very few of us really know what we are signing up for.

Why did I do this? It made the best sense for my family and for my mom, so that she would have the best chance of a successful recovery (and continued independence). I wanted to remain true to my values and beliefs. Also, like many adults who have suffered abuse, I still love my mom. It's not all black and white. She will be leaving my home by the end of this year, hopefully by mid-November. But that won't solve all my problems, it's clear that my sister and I need to take on additional responsibilities in other areas, if we want to help mom stay independent, financially and otherwise. It's the new normal, and I'm feeling really resentful.

@hope, I understand. I have 2 pairs of black stretch pants that I now hate. At least you shower everyday. ;) I don't always, as I work from a home office, although I probably should. Like you, I like looking good, so this really is the pits. I wrote my post above after a really bad shopping trip.I think that it forced me to see the physical proof of how bad I'm feeling emotionally. I think that if I felt better about myself, I could handle the mom stuff better. I ended up ordering some jeans and a couple of bras on-line. A decent bra and a comfy pair of jeans would do me a world of good right now.

Mom has been with my sister since Saturday (coming back Thursday am), so I'm very lucky to have a break.
You know, of all the things that I have to do now, the hardest things are deflecting her negativity and maintaining good boundaries. Both take soooooooo much energy and lead to a lot of muscle tension. And if I'm not careful, I become negative too.

The best thing that I did was demand that my sister and I meet with a geriatric care specialist. We've met about 4 or 5 times since mom moved in with me, and it's really helpful to have a knowledgeable, neutral party to guide us and help us negotiate this terrain. Most importantly, she helps my sister see my perspective. My sister's great, but she doesn't have a clue about the day-in-day out of care giving.
Therapist Pauline Boss, in her helpful book "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia" has this to say about abusive situations:

"Taking care of someone who years before was abusive or neglectful of you is beyond what is expected of you. Caring for a family member who was or is physically or psychologically abusive is dangerous. ... These are justifiable reasons for NOT being a caregiver."
...
"with most, I encourage some kind of continued management -- often through social worker -- to make sure that the caregiving team or the nursing home professionals are treating your family member well. This may be the best you can do given your history together."

It is possible to see that your parent gets good care without personally doing the hands-on caregiving. If you are trapped, it is a trap you can open.
Modern, your paragraph that starts "Why did I do this?" really resonates with me. I also had same reaction to pstiegman's post... although, pstiegman, I'm sure you were simply trying to bring awareness to the part we each play in choosing to burden/involve ourselves with caregiving... but we truly don't see how quickly, and in how many ways, things can just take on a horrible, twisted, downward-spiral life of their own. It starts with meeting immediate needs, trying to help, and turns into some sort of twisted volunteer slavery - with a miserable existence. You look for an exit plan, but there isn't one.

The worry, anxiety, depression, resentment, uncertainty I've cycled through in the past couple of years of full time caregiving life is crushing. It has changed me, as well, into someone who acts differently than I used to. The comments about showering, washing hair, dressing down... I can certainly relate.

I don't have answers. But I can say some prayers for all of us, and for safe return of your 'furkid' (lol! never heard that before, hope22), Kazaa.

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