Caregiving has rekindled poor childhood memories

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I'm new here and literally found this forum by typing in verbatim, "My elderly mother is driving me crazy"... Up popped this site and I've been perusing the forum for about 30 minutes before signing up. I believe that this is divine intervention ;-)
My situation is a bit complex but I'm sure there must be others out there who can relate. I'll try to keep it short...
I am currently caring for my 65 y/o mother that has suffered from a massive stroke and has had a slew of health problems to due poor eating and lifestyle. My entire life my mom was obese and never did anything about her weight. She worked fulltime and by the time she got home, she was too tired to make dinner so she'd either rush home and cook a quick, processed-food type meal (like hamburger helper) or she'd bring home McDonald's or Wendy's for dinner. My mom had 3 girls and didn't do much to establish a bond with us. She stayed in church all the time... dragging us with her. My mom and dad have been married over 40 years... I stopped counting as it doesn't feel like they're married at all. My parents share a house and are more like roommates than a married couple. They have separate rooms and cook separate meals, etc. My dad treats my mom like crap and he always has. He's cheated on her several times and he started molesting my oldest sister when she was 14. When my sister got up the courage to tell my mom, my dad denied it and my mom cussed my sister out and then put her out of the house. My sister went to stay with my aunt and they went to the police. When my dad realized that this could end up really badly for him (he's an ex-cop), he then admitted to doing it and said he did it because he was drunk. He vowed to never to it again and they worked out an agreement that if my sister recanted her confession and just say that she made it all up, my dad said that she could stay with my aunt and he'd give her financial support.
I didn't find out the truth about the molestation until I was about 16 or 17 years old. I'd always wondered why my sister didn't live my us but my mom and dad always made it seem like she was a troubled teen. I know understand that she was indeed a troubled teen because she was being RAPED by her own FATHER!!!
My oldest sister is now in her forties and has yet to heal from the trauma. She struggles with alcohol addiction and has had bad relationships with men. My sister and I have always had a strained relationship because she has somewhat of a deep seated resentment toward my other sister and I. She's admitted that she wonders why she was the one picked on to be molested... She wonders why not one of the other sisters? She feels like my dad didn't and still doesn't love her because of what he did to her, and I totally understand her feelings. I have no idea how I would handle everything that she has survived...
Now fast forward to the present day... My oldest sister is deep in alcohol addiction and has gone thru several evictions due to mismanagement of her money and poor budgeting. My middle sister is married and barely speaks to my mom or dad. She has her own family and her own life and makes it clear that she calls or comes around when it's convenient for her. My mom will sit and call her everyday and my sister just looks at the caller ID and lets the voicemail answer. (I know this because I've been at her house when my mom called). Part of me doesn't blame her either because my mom will call you but expect you to lead the conversation. She calls me everyday and says all of 3 or 4 sentences. I get frustrated and feel guilty, mad, hurt, and ashamed all at the same time. Part of me is sad that I never had a mother that I could talk to and go to for guidance. She only cared about putting up a front for the church folk. Then I'm angry that she didn't leave my dad after raping my sister, HER DAUGHTER! Part of me then feels like she deserves the maltreatment that she gets from my dad... he walks around the house, cooks for himself and sits at the table and eats it right in front of her. He will go to the store and not ask my mom if she needs anything. This also makes me angry at him for mistreating my mom but then I say think "oh well, this is what you get for sleeping with the enemy!" I hate my parents for destroying my sister's life and not getting her the treatment that she needed. But I love my parents and I know that I should honor them as well. I am the only one that goes by to visit my parents and my dad often says that if it weren't for me, it would feel as if they didn't have any kids at all. I am just a big ball of conflicting emotions. Some days I'm able to suppress my feelings but when my mom does things like call me at 11:30 at night just to "see what I was doing" I get really angry and frustrated. I'm in school pursuing my degree and I get no support from either of them. I don't need their financial support but an "atta girl" every now and then would really mean a lot.


Sorry for this lengthy post but I've been holding these feelings in for years and I'm just happy to get it all out...
I honestly do care about my parents but I feel like my mom is selfish and always has been. She calls and wakes me up for nothing... not respecting the fact that my 16 y/o daughter is asleep and has school in the morning and I work and am in school as well. I guess she doesn't see the value in education as she didn't make any preparation for her own kids to go to college. She flat out told us that she didn't "have no money for no college" and just left it at that. She left us in a house with an abuser and my sister and I could've been molested also... thank God we were not but kind of mother does that???
rosey1, after reading your post, I am flat out stunned. Your parents and aunt should've gone to jail. Not only did they not pay for their negligence but they let your oldest sister be damaged beyond repair. Only by fate did you and your other sister escape physical harm because phychologically, you are suffering too. Sorry, but your dad sounds like a monster and your mom sounds like the doormat she's always been. Now you get to be involved in this mess. I sure hope you're keeping an eye on your daughter around her grandfather.
You can't undo history so you have to just move forward. You can't fix your parents marriage (or lack of one). Do you just stop in the check on your folks or is it more than that? I don't see how you do all that you do, what a load! Honestly, I think you can rule out help from your sisters, it is NOT going to happen. They've made their choices. I's not fair but start now to try to work on letting go of the resentment. Yes, you have a right to be resentful but too much of it will harm you, believe me, I've been there. If resentment has to stay on the Top 10 list, make it the last item. You deserve to concentrate on you, your daughter, and your education.
My lawyer once told me, you can't make your mother love you (and she never did). That also applies to other things i.e. you can't make your sisters help, you can't make your parents care, you can't make your family feel things they're incapable of feeling. Yes, they all should but in reality, it's not your call. You can control your thoughts and heart and only yours. Your story saddens me and makes me very angry. I have sympathy for you and hope for you too. This site can be a godsend because you can vent to your heart's content and I sure hope you continue to vent and share. You sound like a wonderful person!
Dear Rosey1- You are a survivor! I am always saddened and angered to read of the miserable childhood so many people experienced. It is a true testament of spirit that most victims have turned their lives around as adults.

Do your parents depend on you for all of their caregiving needs or are they still able to take care of themselves? If they are still on their own, now would be a good time to find out what their plans are when the time comes for when they need caregiving. You need to help them make decisions now, so you can be a distant, caring daughter in the future.

Your main focus should be on your health, happiness and your family. Your parents made their own choices early on and that is not anything you can change or be responsible for. I truly do not understand how they could expect you or your sisters to be there for them when they were never there for you. It's heartbreaking to know what you and sisters have gone through; but you have moved forward and need to keep going in that direction.

I wish you all the best!

Thanks AlwaysMyDuty :-) I am really working on trying to sort out these feelings and letting go. It's so hard sometimes... It's also worse as my parents age and require more of me; I find myself rehashing a lot of the bad memories and becoming really angry. I have also shared with my daughter the truth about her grandfather, and I absolutely monitor all interactions.
You asked if I just drop in to check on them, but believe it or not, I go by at least once a week and my visits range from maybe a couple hours til sometimes all day! I know its crazy, but I've been doing this song and dance for so long it feels like I'm a robot. It's all just an act, really, because deep down I hate them, but I love them too at the same time. And you are right, I need to let go of wanting and wishing my sisters will pitch in. I really appreciate your honest words because I need to hear them. Thank you so much for your feedback as I walk this journey ;-)
Thanks for your response littletonway! And no, my parents (thank God) are still pretty much independent for right now. My dad has a slew of health issues but he manages his own health pretty well. My mom does everything except drive, and because of she and my dad's strained relationship, I take her everywhere she needs to go (appt.'s, store, etc.) You made a valuable point in that while they are still functional, we need to take care of some serious business. My dad has broached the subject before by letting me know where his VA stuff is and the type of burial he wanted, but I think he was doing it evoke some sort of sympathy from me. I think it is time for us to have a serious, non-emotional conversation about it though. You really hit the nail on the head with "distant, caring daughter" because that's exactly my objective. I don't want to just abandon them (I'd hate for that to be on my conscience), but I 'm also not that proud daughter that would go thru "hell and high waters" to make sure my parents receive A-1treatment either. I am truly a work in progress and feel that I'm way too young to be going thru this. My parents have abused their own bodies and to this day refuse to eat right and my mom plays around with her med's... I feel like they don't care, so why am I so invested? I thank you for your insights because sometimes I can't see these things so clearly, being as I am living this nightmare ;-)
rosey, this happens more times than most people think We depend on our parents to protect us and they betray the trust. There are many terrible things that go on behind family doors. I suspect that your mother did not act because it would have been too inconvenient for her. In her mind it was better not to do anything than to upset her own apple cart. So she chose what was easiest for her to do -- she sacrificed her own daughter. It was an act of extreme selfishness that has infected the family since. From what you describe of your mother's behavior, the selfishness continues. Chances are that, since your father is not available to her emotionally, she will turn her dependence needs on a person who is. Often there is no regard for the needs of the other person.

In this situation, unless something changes, I would recommend caregiving at a distance. Caregiving does not heal old wounds. It tends to open them back up if something has not changed drastically.

When the Bible says to honor your mother and father, it doesn't say how to do it. One can honor by living a good life that would make parents proud. Honor in no way includes the act of sacrifice, particularly in an instance where the children have been maximally provoked to wrath. Perhaps it would be good to work on the forgiveness when you are able. You will know when and if it is possible. AlwaysMyDuty and littletonway gave excellent advice, IMO. You have much healing to do before it would be healthy for you to get back into too close a relationship. You can help make sure your parents needs are met without upsetting the lives of your daughter and you.
JessieBelle you are an angel :-) As I mentioned earlier, my mom raised us in the church and of course there is constant talk about the 10 commandments; "honoring thy mother and father" being one. I struggle CONSTANTLY with trying to really understand what that means. I have never heard it explained the way you presented it, and it really makes perfect sense. I always thought that "honoring" meant waiting on them hand and foot, being available to them, doing what they said, etc. I am in no sense perfect, but I consider myself a good person; I have an awesome daughter who works, is an honor student, and pretty well-adjusted... Now that I think about it, I think I'm honoring my parents just fine... Thanks so much for that JessieBell!
I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate everyone here. I'm a true believer that when the student is ready, the instructor will appear. I am definitely ready to sort out these emotions and feelings that I've grappled with for years, and by golly if the "teachers" haven't been showing up!!! Thanks again for your feedback ;-)
Yeah, my mom gave me that same old song and dance about honoring her as the Bible dictates. I retorted, oh yeah, like the way you treated your mother when she was bedridden and you bullied her unmercifully and didn't always attend to her needs, how you hated her and how you never shed one single tear when she died, yeah, like that'd that work out for you? She shut up ASAP! I told her one time to be thankful I didn't treat her like she treated her mom because I could fall back on "well, that's what I learned from me". I believe in the commandments but I do NOT buy the "sacrifice everything" edict to take care of a hateful, narcissistic, vile mom. I did everything possible to take care of her for 12+ yrs, but it wasn't enough, she still disowned me. My sister never lifted a finger, didn't want to, but mom adored her (how?) and sis was perfect in her eyes until she drew her last breath.
No rosey1 it is not easy to let go and you might not be able to. I'm just saying to not let it eat you up. It's out of your control now.
Oh yes, have a talk with the folks now. Full time caregiving is going to be a nightmare for you with all this baggage. It is not easy to do when you hate the sight of them at times (speaking from experience). As my son always told his grandma, your "pity train" may have left the station, but I'm not on it ;-)
WOW AlwaysMyDuty, You cared for your mom for 12+ years??!! You deserve a medal or something because I know that must've extremely difficult. I'm sorry but I can't even imagine going on for that long. After my mom's massive stroke in 1997, she had several other close calls, and still doesn't take care of herself. A few months ago her vascular surgeon joked about her having 9 lives! My parents will prob live a long time, so I know I need to get my emotions in check...

So AlwaysMyDuty, how long has it been since your mom passed? And how are you emotionally? What about your children? I know my daughter loves her grandparents and (because of me trying to build the family I wish I had) I try to make sure she calls and visits them regularly. My 2 sisters have kids but they don't call or visit them much. My mom bought my middle sister's kids gifts for Christmas and they've yet to go pick them up! Just goes to show how much they think about Grandma and Pop-Pop! LOL. I just wonder sometimes how I will really feel when their time comes. I know you can never really "prepare" but I'm interested to hear from someone who's been in a similar situation...
rosey1, mom's been gone 2 yrs. Don't know any of the details because my sister, executor/POA, refuses to tell me or the family. Nice, huh?! It was no picnic taking care of a mom who disliked me. She didn't have Alz, but several diseases, one terminal. (She didn't take care of herself like your mom.) She lived at home although she needed to be in NH but freaked at the suggestion. We got her a part time caregiver, HUGE mistake (long story). Don't know her health issues after 2010 when she disowned me. Didn't see her or talk to her ever again. Very sad, very hurtful. I try not to dwell on it but when I have days filled with self pity, resentment, anger, I just deal with it, get it out and then move on. This happens monthly, though, because I have to pay my lawyer for helping me deal with legal issues that my mom and sister put me in (another long story). I boo-hoo as I write the check, then try to put it behind me until the next month. It's frustrating that I "can't get rid of her" but I keep hoping one day I'll be free, albeit poorer!haha
My kids, as did I, loved my dad. We've always felt honored to be a part of him. He was wonderful! On the other hand, my kids think their grandma was a total nutjob, one of the meanest people they know, shelfish, ungrateful, greedy and stupid. Pretty much how I feel too. We do NOT miss her. We're actually embarrassed we ever knew her. Dad has been gone 16 yrs, and I still miss him and honor his life every single day. My kids and I have gotten rid of every external reminder of mom, the internal reminder is more than enough to bear.
Nobody ever said life is fair. I see your story and a multitude of others' stories and give thanks that in the whole scheme of things, mine isn't as bad. Hey, I'm still standing and I'm thankful for that.
I share/vent on AC because if I can prepare at least one person to prevent what happened to me, I'll be happy. Never thought I'd live this nightmare but I did. I sure don't want anyone else to suffer this hurt.

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