I am incredibly sad today ... trying to learn how to cope and afraid that this is just the beginning!!

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I sit here and read posts in the discussion threads with a ball of emotion welling up in my throat and tears running down my face. I can relate to sooo much of what I read here. I am new to this site - just found it today and I am sooo very thankful!! My mother lives with us. She is 69 yrs. old. She has been with us for 6 years. I have never had much more than a phone relationship with my mom and then we got along GREAT! I always told her that she would always have a place to live. She lived in Washington at the time - 6 years ago, she called and said she was selling her house and moving to Calif. We welcomed her in although we did not expect her to take us up on it at age 63!!. She is now on Social Security - it pays her health ins., car insurance, cell phone bill etc. She does not contribute to our household at all. After she pays her bills and is out of money, we supplement her for the rest of the month. She has a LOT of health problems and I am sure that is taxing on her but lately she is getting agressive with me - verbally mostly. She looks at me like she hates me and says some pretty hurtful things. Last night I was wrapping Xmas presents and she thought I had an attitude (???) I did not (I was just in another room not paying attention to her), as I tried to explain that I did not have an attitude she went on and on about how "its always about you isnt it" ... "you are always right arent you" .... YIKES!!! where did that even come from??? After I started crying, she told me "you disgust me". I know she suffers from depression - I dont know what all else. I try to talk to my brother and he tells me "Please, just try to keep things peaceful through the holidays" - like it is all my fault. So far this year she has ruined Mothers Day, Halloween, My wedding anniversary and my husbands birthday. These holidays will never be the same as I will always remember the hateful things she has said to me (although I try very hard not to dwell on them). I "love" my mother BECAUSE she IS my mother ... I do not "love" my mother. I hope that makes sense. I am feeling very defeated today!! I dont feel comfortable in my own home and dont even want to be there. My husband works long hours and so it is usually Mom and I alone in the evenings when I get home from work. I never know what I am going to walk in to when I open the door. Happy, Cheerful Mom or hateful mean mom. I walk on eggshells trying to keep her happy. I do everything in my power to keep peace at my home. I have turned everything over to her so she feels comfortable and feels like it is her home - now she has taken over. I have one brother that lives approx 2 hours away and doesnt want to "hear about it" and another brother that lives a mile away but doesnt want to "be in the middle". Neither of them help us financially or offer us any time alone as far as inviting Mom for dinner or anything. She is ALWAYS there. I stuff a lot inside as my husband works hard and doesnt need me crying on his shoulder every night when he gets home from work. I really dont have anyone else to talk to ... as you can tell by my rambling on and on here :-) I just dont want to live like this anymore and dont EVER see it changing .... How do I cope on a day to day basis ...

23 Comments

I know exactly how you feel. I am so overwhelmed. I have KNOWN I am a caregiver for about a year. We have to hold on to hope, make good things happen in our life, and fight becoming another statistic.
Well sweetie..just ramble and vent away..glad you found this site. It has been my lifeline. I care for both my aging parents although they are 86 and 9. For me is is 24/7. My hubby works hard but I am sure yours understand what you are going through to some extent. Just ask him to hug you tight .. There is a thread on here called the caregiver...How are you doing today... The folks there have really given me some great advice and lots of support. I will check in on you and try to remember you are not alone. There are many of us out here in various situations but we all share common thread..it is hard to cope when others don't understand...come here knowing it is a safe place and we will offer what support we can form the miles.
Vent away! People here do understand.

It sounds like you need more than venting (although that is an important start.) Something needs to change. I don't think you can handle this another 20 to 30 years, do you?

First of all, what are the huge mood swings about? What compels her to ruin holidays? Why is she biting the hand that feeds her? You need some answers to those questions, in order to come up with the best stratedgy for coping with the behavior? Is your mother bi-polar? Is she starting down the road to dementia? Is her depression getting worse? Is she having sleep problems? You need to have her get a professional evaluation, so you know what you are dealing with. If you need advice on how to get her to do that, post a new question so people with that experience can chime in.

Will it make a difference to know what is behind this hurtful behavior? I think so. I had a very difficult time dealing with my brother when I thought he was being a jerk. Then I found out that he is bipolar, looked it up, and discovered many of his behaviors are typical for that disease. It makes a big difference in how I deal with him and it is much healthier for both of us. (Mind you, I'm not inviting him to come live with us, but at least I can be supportive of him.) If I didn't know that my husband has dementia I would have divorced him years ago.

The other benefit of knowing what you are up against is that sometimes, depending what the causes are, there are treatments that can help.

The other step you can take is to get some counseling for yourself. This is not because there is anything wrong with you, but that you are in an extremely stressful situation, and you deserve some help to deal with it and with all the sad/angry/resentful/guilty feeling you have.

There are other issues that could be discussed here, such as the financial realities involved, and the relationship with your brothers. But first things first. Find out all you can about your mother's state of health. Get some counseling.

(You might want to check out a thread called something like I love my mother but I don't like her.)
Join our world sweetie! You are welcome and safe here. I don't know if this will help or not, but my dad has gotten snappy and mean sometimes too. He has no dementia either! The thing is they are losing all control over their lives, and know they are near the end. They are scared, and also are worried about YOU! Because they feel they have no power they vent on you. You cannot let it get to you. Remember, the roles have changed a bit. You are now more like a parent to them through your caregiving, and it is very hard for them to accept. Ignore it, and if you do have little blowups with them do not feel guilty. You are only human, and feel pain like everyone. It is a delicate balance this thing; one we all struggle with. The secret is to always forgive yourself, and always forgive them. If you didn't love each other so much none of this emotion would be happening. Best of luck and love, and know you can always b#!ch here with the rest of us!!!! LOVE, and hang in there.
We are grateful you posted.... as all have said, you are not alone, we do understand.... Jeanne gave some great suggestions, first things first.... if she won't get some help, then YOU are first on the list.... and to be told by someone that you disgust them is a very hurtful thing to hear..... I think she is disgusted with herself and she takes it out on you.... please come back and vent, vent vent vent, and ask questions..... we'll do all we can with our collective experiance to help you get a handle on things and get your life back.... prayers, angels and hugs..
Yes Ladeeda, they usually transfer what they are feeling about themselves onto you. It is actually very sad, and very confusing to deal with because it hurts so badly. Not too long ago my dad and I were having a spat, and he screamed "Get out of here right now, and don't come back ever!". Well, I think you can imagine how I felt. This is my beloved dad, whom I've adored my whole life saying these words to me! I am the only one here out of three siblings of which the other two do nothing except criticize me and exclude me from everything. I have no spouse, and no children. Technically I am completely alone with the exception of my friends. It hurts BAD, but I have to calm down and realize he's DYING and is frustrated. Everyone's feelings, including my selfish sisters are flying all over the place. That's one of the main things that makes caregiving so stressful. There are so many conflicting feelings that one doesn't know how to feel. We don't know right from wrong, hurt from mean, selfish from fear. We're all over the place emotionally, and it is SCARY! Ask the Universe to guide you, and never forget that we are never given more than we can bear. We are not ordinary human beings. If we were we would never have taken on this important task. LOVE and LIGHT
Thank you so much for your responses. I find it kind of strange that I find comfort in knowing that others are going through the same things I am. My Grandmother had Parkinson's and Dimentia so I wouldnt be a bit surprised if Mom ends up with dimentia as well. I guess one of the most hurtful parts is that my brothers kiss her backside as they want to be on good terms with her so I look like the bad guy all the time. MOST of the time, I can deal with it. I find my Joy in God and I know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. But today I just feel like one of those socker bopper clown thingies that we had when we were kids ... the ones you punch and it would fall over and pop right back up ..... I just dont feel like popping back up knowing I will get punched again. Mom has decided she needs to move out - I wholeheartedly agree. She cannot afford it and I dont imagine it will last very long but I think it would be good for her to see that things are not so bad here. BUT - the waiting list for low income senior housing in our area is 1.5 - 2 years long so no short term relief there. Each one of you made some very valid and very helpful points. I appreciate it so much. I made it through another evening with her and tomorrow is a new day.

That's how we do it . . . day by day. My sisters kiss my dads butt also, and I figured out why. They feel guilty that they're not the ones here doing everything for him daily so they go over the top trying to prove they are interested! Let it slide right off you! My two "Broomhildas" are mean on top of kissing up to him. They treat me like absolute crap, and criticize my every move concerning his care. Ignore, ignore, ignore. Those are their own inner problems, and they will have to deal with them someday. Best of luck sweetie. You are doing a great job, and don't ever doubt it. LOVE
For all you angels out there who are struggling with the unfathomably difficult labor of love called caregiving. Enjoy, and LOVE to ALL

"The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience – that is the hero’s deed."
~ Joseph Campbell
The one thing that this site has taught me is to never be a caregiver in someone's home or my own home to anyone except my husband or children. It was a choice I made when I married and gave birth.

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