Been six months and I don't know if I can do this any longer.

Started by

I have only lived with mom for six months and I am already regretting my decision to do this. I have two sisters; one that lives in NY so she has a built in excuse, the other is local but does not help at all. She will visit mom for an hour or so most Fridays (I work full time during the day) but when I asked if she could change the visit time last week to Thursday night so I could attend a friend’s birthday party (it would be the first time I have done anything other than work and go home), she told me it was a work night for her and she was allergic to the smoke in the house. So, my sisters are no help-emotionally or financially.
In fact when I couldn’t manage to move to mom’s overnight (which people actually expected me to do so “she wouldn’t be alone”) I called my NY sister who was staying with mom thru the funeral and asked if she could delay her trip home for one week while I moved. Her reply was she hadn’t planned that and she didn’t have the right shoes... so she went home. No one offered to help me move or even asked how I felt, all I heard was they were so glad that they didn’t have to worry about mom anymore.
When I moved in my local sister had canceled my mom’s newspaper. Her and her husband had decided that mom couldn’t afford it. Mom said she was crushed, that she loved the paper so my son paid for her to get it back. I have fought for everything that meant something to mom. My sisters are all about the money, and have told both mom and me that if she runs out of money she will have to go into a state run facility or be homeless. They wouldn’t help financially. So although I have less money than the other two, I pay rent, I pay for anything that is just mine or my dogs and I pay half of everything else. I have less money now than I had when I lived on my own because I thought Mom needed me to do that so she wouldn’t see her money decline fast and it worry her. I took on the fight for mom and in the meantime I became the villain in the family. That was fine because I felt mom needed a person to fight for her.
Now I realize that Mom is not who I want her to be. She left me and my sisters when I was three years old. I never held that against her because I don’t know the whole story and we all have regrets so in my mind my mom was a wonderful person that truly loved me. What I heard this past Friday night made me realize that my family is toxic, all of them. How could I have allowed myself not to see that and make this move where now I am truly miserable?
Last Friday night I overheard a phone conversation my mom had with my local sister. I was shocked to hear mom tell out and out lies on me. She said things like I leave her alone all the time, that it’s all about me and what I want-that one almost sent me into a heart attack. It’s all been about mom, all of it, I have given everything I have (literally I had to give or throw away all my possession because I was told anything I brought with me had to be stored in my bedroom )and done everything I know to do and to hear that, I just really couldn’t handle it. My heart broke.
After she hung up I went upstairs with my knees just shaking and I confronted her. She called me paranoid and told me that her or my sisters haven’t done a thing to me, it’s all in my head. I felt so crushed. So I told her it’s not paranoid when you hear it and I repeated back to her some of the things I heard. She immediately said things like “I wish I could just die” and “this is going to kill me ”. Finally, I told her that it was fine, that I was ok, that it doesn’t matter…but it does. There is no talking to her because she acts like her “nerves” are shot and will reach for the anxiety medicine if I confront anything. She actually told me one night when I had just taken a shower and my hair was wet that if I didn’t go to McDonalds and get her what she wanted that she would tell my sisters. She said it kidding, but now I’m not sure she doesn’t tell them all kinds of lies. I believe now she has played us against each other, that she loves drama and she has always had my pop to complain about, and now I think I have taken his place and I will continue to be criticized no matter what I do.
I feel like I have no family, like I’m the villain and I am the one that is giving up everything. I don’t understand how this has happened to me. I have never done anything with less selfish motives; I have never given my life over to anyone the way I have to her. I wait on her hand and foot and don’t mind. I clean up her bowel movements all over the place and never complain. I rush home from work and cook dinner and do dishes and do everything else all the while trying to keep her company. I’m doing all I can do.
If I move out I m not sure what will happen to Mom. She can’t live alone, she’s sick too much and she has never had to take care of herself and I don’t think she can. I really hate my life and I don’t see it changing if I stay. I am venting…..


daughterofmom, I know how you feel. Caregivers give so much, but often are only resented in return. Many times our parents are of two minds: they need us to be there, but they don't want us living there. So no matter what we do, we are wrong. Siblings also seem to lose respect. Even if we are paying our own way, they can think that we are living off the parents. And if we tell them how we are paying for ourselves, it just makes us feel defensive. Most just don't get it.

I have been going through many of the emotions you feel for 3.5 years. I've learned how to deal with most of them, but the lack of respect has been damaging to the self esteem.

If you are very unhappy, you may want to look around for other arrangements for your mother. There are many ways to take care of her without sacrificing your happiness. You don't owe anyone your happiness. I don't know why your mother left when you were three and didn't take you, but I assume it was because she was very unhappy with something in her life. She should understand if you also need to leave.

Our parents often lie to others about us. I have come to expect it and just let it roll off of me. I don't even confront my mother when I hear it. It is just an attempt to get some attention and sympathy at my expense. She doesn't do it as much now as she used to, so maybe she is getting more accustomed to my face.

Let us know what you decide to do. You have given up so much to come home and, like many of us, your sacrifices are going unappreciated. Sometimes we get lip service from people about what wonderful children we are and blah, blah, blah. Personally I wish people would do things that had more substance than telling us how wonderful we are.
re: its been six months and I dont know if I can do this any longer
its been 16 yrs (8 of which ive been a full-time caregiver) and I know I CAN'T :-) LOL W
Time to move out! Look for a suitable nursing home for your mom and put her in there and live your life. Clear and simple ..... get your life back. Your mom lived her life..... so you live yours. You are young only once.
It sounds like your mother and sisters have taken advantage of your good nature. They do not appear to possess one and they have, to put it bluntly, played you for a fool. While my words may sound harsh, even brutal, you need to wake up to what's really going on. When you're swimming with alligators you better damn well know how to protect yourself. And at this point, it appears that you're not even "swimming," but drowning. You've tried to be the "good daughter' because you have a good heart but this sacrifice you've made has only gotten you smacked in the face. If you wish to reclaim your life (which is your RIGHT), then let your sisters know that you are moving out and planning to place Mom in a nursing facility. If you don't have the funds, read up on Medicaid and what you need to do for your mom to qualify. Final thought: If you let guilt stand in the way of you taking care of yourself, then it's not only your family who is playing you for a fool; you are doing it to yourself as well. Sorry, but supportive, kind words won't improve your situation. Only action on your part can.
If I were you, I would make a plan, think about where you want to live, find a job there, save your money and move out. Your sisters will take over, you sound like you are not going to win this one, good, you don't need to. Just move when you are set up, keep your plans to yourself and go when you can.
I believe like is a two way street, it has been my guiding principal in life. When it does not become so....walk.
If people cannot value what you are doing, and of course they do, but will not admit it to you. then say enough!
You will go batty otherwise.
The world is full of selfish people, and they all get to be a relative of someone.......
well said dunwoody well said :-) W
typo error.....should read 'life is a two way street''ll be the sangria....only joking!
One final thought: If, among other reasons, you are hesitant to move ahead with taking care of yourself and getting on with your life because, among other reasons, you fear that your sisters will judge you. Yeah, you know, those same sisters who do nothing for Mom but feign concern on the phone (which requires no sacrifice on their part) and are more than content to watch you go through this alone as you slowly bury yourself, then WHY ON EARTH would you care what they think? Remind yourself of this.
I agree with many of these comments. Do not ruin yourself over this. Your mom does not seem to appreciate you and neither do your sisters. Someone said to check into Medicaid and find a place for Mom. Save yourself. Was your mom always like this? If not, maybe she has dementia and still will need a place to take care of her. Good luck. You deserve better. I was stuck taking care of everything for my mom and siblings who I thought would help didn't. I had always been a good daughter and wondered, too, why I was taking everything on because I am POA. Others didn't want the responsibility and figured they could bow out because I am POA. There is no good answer. But you need to get your life back. As someone said, you are only young once. Don't give everything up for your mom and your sisters.

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