I love my mom, but I really don't like her anymore.

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I am the only person who cares for my 92 year old mother. Due to her behavior and actions throughout her life, everyone has pulled away from her. I am in the unfortunate position of being the only sibling who lives near her. Her latest round of illness has landed her in intensive care for the past week. I truly think she doesn't care if she gets better. She just wants to lie in bed and be sick, even though the nurses tell me that she is doing better and will soon be moved to a step-down unit. She makes a huge deal out of it when they want her to sit up in a chair. They have told her that staying in bed will only make her worse and worse. She has started being mean to me as well. She suffers from mild dementia and is hard of hearing. I find that I feel less and less like being involved. I am exhausted, depressed, and angry. How do you deal with the feelings of anger? I've tried staying away for a day or so, but end up feeling guilty. I guess I just want to hear from someone who has been there.

9 Comments

Talk to the Social Worker and Discharge Coordinator at the hospital. Make it clear to them that you can do no more and they will assist you in finding proper placement for her.
Don't confuse guilt with regret. Certainly you regret her current decline, but at the same time it is NOT your fault. Old age is a tough road, not your fault, just get her to a safe place.
becky, I know how you feel. Often I wonder why, when the quality of life is gone, it keeps going on. Our loved ones' temper and disposition can become so bad that everyone disappears from their lives except for one caregiver. I know that everyone else is glad that the one person has accepted the entire weight. It's not fair, but it is the way it happens so often. If you've gotten to the point that you can't go through it, then Pam's advice is excellent. They can get to the point where we can't care for them anymore physically or emotionally. It can start feeling like we're battered. I don't know if you've reached that point yet, but understand if you have.

I would take the opportunity when she is in the hospital and rehab (if it's needed) to have some time for yourself. You'll feel guilty, but it sounds like you need some self care. Maybe you can just let your mother know you're not up to coming in on some days. It may give you some free time to decide what is the best thing to do.

We can get to the point where we neither like nor love them. Maybe it is the way of life in helping us to let go. ??
JessieBelle- that's my hairdresser theory - that in the end it is so awful that it becomes a relief when it's finally over.
beckyl, I assume that when Mom is discharged she will return to Assisted Living, or perhaps need a Nursing Home at that time. Hospital, AL, or NH, you do not need to spend more time with her than you are able/willing to. Professionals are there to see to her care.

Pam is so right -- as much as you might regret the present situation, it is Not Your Fault, and therefore guilt is totally unearned. You have no right to it. :) Give it up!

I don't know if you raised children, Becky, but most parents try very hard to teach their children that actions have consequences. You reap what you sew. When it is safe we allow our children to face the consequences of their mistakes and misdeeds.

And yet when it comes to our parent generation all of a sudden we think it is our responsibility to suspend the law of consequences. People who have pushed away those who would love and support them wind up with no one to love and support them. The one relative who takes on this role in spite of being pushed away for years is NOT suddenly responsible for protecting their loved one from the consequences of their life-long actions. It is OK to back off and do less than you would do if there had been a long-term mutually loving relationship.

If Mom is going to need a switch to Skilled Nursing care, you can serve her well by helping with the selection process and arranging the financing and all that kind of tedious administrative stuff. You do not need to participate directly in her care more than you honestly want to (after you ditch the guilt.)
Rainmom, I've heard your hairdresser's theory applied to teenagers. If they weren't so obnoxious by the time they are ready to fly out of the nest, how could we ever bear to let them go? :)
My mom has been in AL since Christmas. It's time for her to move to a higher level of care. I'm going to get that in place while she is in rehab. She is so incontinent, they have put in a catheter while she has been in intensive care. They don't use Depends in the hospital. It has been a relief to not have to worry about that, at least. Everybody keeps telling me how fortunate I am to still have her, but this isn't quality of life. The nurses all tell me what a delight and how sweet she is. I guess they're seeing something that I'm not.
beckyl- the nurses aren't seeing what we see because unless they are really in a snit, they save their anger and resentment for us. At least that's how it works with my mom.
Oh, Becky! If one more person tells me how lucky i am.....

My mom has always been a "slow healer"... according to her. ☺I try to remind myself that when our mom's were younger, you spent a week in the hospital after having a baby, two weeks for a C-section. It's a very different mindset.

Take care of you right now.
Most outsiders will never know how our family members truly are, even those that think they know us so well.

You don't have to actually like how your mom is acting or the negative things she's done. We are humans that deserve to be treated fairly and if we aren't, then we have a right to object. I chose to forgive the people who wronged me. It was much easier for me and I got tired of reliving the stuff, but, I get how others struggle with that.

I wouldn't take on any care taking duties, since it doesn't sound like that is needed in your case. If you mom refuses to follow the doctor's instructions, then let the staff handle it. You say she's getting dementia. It's very difficult to reason with that behavior. I would try to let the professionals do their job and if you need breaks, take them. Would staying with her around the clock make you feel better? I would do what I felt I could do and then make peace with it.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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