Guilt, Manipulation, Burnout etc.......

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For years my 80yr old mom has had it her way. My Dad passed away Sept 7th a year ago.My husband and I moved two doors down from my parents due to my dads illness and my Mom's refusal to be independent. She stopped driving 30yrs ago, why? Because she just wants to. She only lays on the couch all day and watches tv.She had her knee operated on 7 yrs ago and would never do the physical therapy, why? because she didn't want to. I used to live 20 minutes away and she didn't come to my home in 2 1/2 yrs, why? Because she didn't want to get ready, yes it would take her some time, but she didn't want to. Now that my Dad has passed we, my husband and I became caretakers. Through all this, I developed some major fibromyalgia, My stress level is through the roof. She does not look or pay any of her bills, I do it. A long time ago she told my Dad to do it because she didn't want to. Now, she can hardly write let alone Want to read a bill. My husband has had to try and take care of her with a very full time job. A while back when we discussed Assisted Living, she said my dad would turn over in his grave, I told her HE Would NOT. hello? May 28th she stopped walking completely. She would not speak to us, we thought she was having a stroke. We called EMS, she was in perfect health, except for her wanting to walk, so she entered a rehabilation hospital. She was there 6 weeks. She went to the 3 meals a day, always. She eats way more then me and is 5ft and over 200 lbs. which contributes to her troubles. I talked with her while she was there, told her I could no longer care for her as this fibromyalgia and migraines. She said she would be ok, that she was a lot better. um no. She came home, and back to the same crud.. here we go.
Two weeks ago I finally told her she does not do her excersizes she does not act like a Mom to me and that I was Done! Done! I walked out of her house. Because of guilt and wanting to take care of your loved ones, We continued to care for her. She would always say..dont worry, you worry to much. um yes. Two weeks ago we visited a wonderful Assisted Living Community, put down a deposit then told her this is where you are going. She had no choice but to visit or my husband and I would come apart at the seams with her. She knew she had to. She xanexed her self out, I got her ready and we went. By the way, she is on antidepressants they upped her dose at the rehab. She says she likes the xanex as she does not have to think of any thing when she takes them. oh my! We only allow her one, yes the doctor said she could take them and she has for over a year. She has never wanted to '"deal" with anything. It has been like that my whole life. Then give us the silent treatment when she is mad, and that would go on for days (growing up, and would treat my Dad like a carpet) now we are the carpet. Because, we Love our parents, we do not want them angry... ugh.
She will go in a "B" Assisted Living this Sunday Afternoon.
This has been the toughest thing I have ever done. Take care of her physically and mentally. I have felt like I have tried all my life to take her stuff on because I didn't want her unhappy. I have Two siblings, both out of state, both don't do anything. My sister comes twice a yr for a week at a time and enables her like I have. Enable. I hate that word. I have been stern with her at times then feel horrible after I do.
She has all of her meals served to her like a queen and has for yrs. I did not know all my Dad went through. He would tell me things, but until you walk a mile in someone elses shoes you just don't know.
Maybe I have not walked a mile in my Moms. I just don't know any more. Sometimes I feel like I am half crazy in my own mind.
I have been reading all of your posts for months and months, I finally got up enough nerve and strength with my fingers to write this.
You all have no idea how much your venting, your advice and stories have helped me.
I do not know if any of this makes sense.
I can't wait for your comments.
Thank you for reading this novel.


You make perfect sense to me. Our family members are just people, and some of us end up with family that are a lot like yours. I can empathize with you because my parents were among the laziest people walking on earth. Clean house? No way. Do anything for anyone else? Don't hold your breath. Expect other people to drop everything now and wait on them? You betcha. My father is gone, but my mother still complains how her children just ignore her. She ignored them for 60 years. What does she expect? There is more to parenting than giving birth.

I don't know why some people are content to sit and do nothing and let their lives go to shambles around them. But there are many people like that. Some of us ended up with them in our families.

I hope the ALF will put some life back into your mother. Vent away! You've earned it. I hope you are able to take a break and let go of some of that guilt and obligation you've been feeling.

One thing that always gets to me is how people can excuse our parents' behavior by saying things like they're old or they don't feel good. This may be true, but discounts our own feelings of being used. Other people also don't realize that laziness has been a lifelong thing, not something that sprung up when they turned 85. We know the history, which makes it harder on us.
So, how do things stand now? She is going to Assisted Living in a few days? Is she all packed? Is everything arranged?

I understand that some care facilities recommend no visiting for a certain length of time, to give the new resident time to settle. Has that been discussed?

You don't seem to ask a specific question (or did I miss it?) but I'll share a few thought on your post.

"I have felt like I have tried all my life to take her stuff on because I didn't want her unhappy." Newsflash, dear Jannie, you CANNOT prevent someone else from being unhappy. You cannot "make" someone happy. When you set an impossible goal for yourself you set yourself up to fail. Normal, healthy people are often happy and sometimes unhappy. Nobody else controls this. Are you always happy? Is someone else in charge of your happiness?

"Because, we Love our parents, we do not want them angry." Are you sure love is what is behind this? Over the years there have been several bosses in my life that I did not want to be angry. Because I loved them? Ha! Because they had power over me and were more apt to do things that made my life miserable when they were angry. Consider whether it is more fear than love that is keeping you walking on eggshells.

"Sometimes I feel like I am half crazy in my own mind." I don't think you are crazy at all. I think you could learn some techniques of dealing with a mother who is not mentally healthy, and deserve some support on the difficult decision you just made to move Mother to AL. I think getting some counselling would be a real good idea about now.

Good luck!

Jesse Belle, thank you for your comment. Just venting and hearing feed back helps so very much. Your words were every thing I wanted to say but did not know how. I thank you.

JeannieGibbs- I guess I didn't have a specific question. I maybe should of just put venting as a subject. I do appreciate your comment. They did tell us we could visit and often. We could be there every day if we want to. We are in the process of getting things packed. We have her doctor, phone, cable, electric Chair ordered and her twin bed ordered to be there this coming Sat. My husband and I have done foot work and phone work to get all this in to place.
I realize now that I didn't have a specific question, maybe just a vent.
How to mentally handle all this - really, I should of put that in my comment.
Yes, Jannie we feel we should take care of our parents, no matter what or who they become. Your Mom is right when she tells you not to worry, she will manipulate, guilt and survive life just the way SHE wants. It may seem really awful to you, but it is obvious she is fine with it. We can't change them, only our attitudes. Like JessieBelle said being around others and professionals daily may change her spirit. Keep loving her and loving yourself. You count, you matter! You and your husband have done all you can for your parents. She is in a safe environment.
SunsetSheila, Thank you for your words, support. Loving my Mom in a healthy way is what I need to hear. Healthy. Reading these comments will help my own mental health. Finally reaching out to all of you after several months for support. For a little sanity is what I needed. I will continue to reach out, and as things go ask questions. I have found this website to be very helpful.
I might add-I am in charge of all her money and she wants all these knew things for this small apartment., she entered the apt, which was empty. This will be her room. She is wanting new dressers -money- and a twin headboard- along with all the other things she wants, we decided to take everything she wants, and after she moves we arrange it. If it fits it does if not..then NO. She is buying over 2 thousand dollars on stuff for her place, I understnad she want her things,and new things. It is just that she wants 2 dressers, and there is room for only one.
We will bring what she wants and she will have to see with her own eyes the FIT.Has any of you experienced moving their parent going to A.L? How did that go? Does any one have any one in family in Assisted Living? How is is going? Please please fill me in on what our Mothers need that maybe you didn't think of. We are making this move this week end. Prayers it will go good!
Since my conversation a couple of days ago, my Mom is coming around just fine. I had a major fibro falre, and my husband and adult daughter began to finish ordering her head board and dresser. I know she wants to make her place her own, which is wonderful! Taking the first step, telling them we are all on the same team and We cannot take care of her is a safe enviourment like she needs. Now, she talks about what furniture she wants and meals she will eat there. God, I believe he will guide us through this.
I am glad you are putting your Mom in AL. You need to for your health. The first 2 years I had Mother I could not believe how hateful and ugly she could be. I was trying to care for her but she wouldn't forgive us for selling her house and moving her out. She wouldn't believe the Doctor said it was necessary. I have been considering putting her in a nursing home just to get away from her before my health is wrecked. Well last month she had a stroke. The only thing affected was her mind. She is back to the sweet lady I remember about 95% of the time so guess I will keep her.
About the furniture for your Mom. Why not put in what there is room for and tell her she can add more pieces later as she sees what she really needs and wants. She might feel like she has some control and might decide she doesn't need so much.
My mother has lived with my husband and i for over a year now. she is 87.she has depression which she has refused treatment for. she's extremely paranoid and ornery. i have started sewing as a distraction from her behavior, but it's tough sometimes. i'm determined to keep her out of any facilities because she wouldn't be happy. i think you're health is sooo important though. i would visit her often and let her do the decorating!
Careful, is your mother happy now?

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