I'm still here.....in a prison without bars!

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My crazy life continues taking care of my mother. A grown man reduced to a prisoner, controlled by the life I was born into. Is it odd....absolutely! Is is strange.....totally! Is it crazy.....yes it is! If by chance I get to get away by myself for an hour.....it is such a relief. It rejuvenates me for a short while. I know my life is not a 'healthy' life, but like the song says.....'i'm caught in a trap, i can't get out'! Yes, I want to care for my mother, but why does it have to be this crazy? If all sons and daughters did what I did......there would be many unwed and unemployed people around. Just picture people saying, "I can't go to college and get married because my father died when I was 15 and I have to care for my mother the rest of her life". It's crazy! Picture staying in the house almost the entire day. We might take a ride out the road for an hour or so and then come home. I have to be a constant guardian to my mother and trust me.....it gets old real fast. As I've said in a previous post, I never cared about marriage, but does that mean I had to have this lifestyle. What about my life? Is it fair to me? My life is on hold and I'm getting older. Where do caregivers draw the line? Do we sacrifice our lives so that another could have a life? That is what I'm doing. Is it crazy.....yes it is....very much so. Sometimes I ask myself......why me! My sister who live out of the area offer no help. No one knows but me what I go through.

35 Comments

It isn't fair Roscoe and you still have other options even now if you want to take them for your mother's care.
You're the only one who can change your situation!
Blah, blah blah,blah blah.
Mom deserves the company of people her own age. Talk to her MD about whether she needs a nursing home or just assisted living. He may recommend visiting nurses for her in your home in the meantime.
Feel your pain! Much in a similar situation, but have limited my time with my mother. She lives in her own home and is fairly able to care for herself except I do prepare at least one meal a day for her. She must call me at 10 AM to let me know she's still kicking and then I visit her on my way home from work around 5 PM. I bring her dinner, stay 30 minutes, have tea, and then leave. I visit her everyday. About the only thing I resent is she has developed into quite a liar and I have to sit everyday and listening to her outrageous stories.
Wow...

I came across your posting at a random (yet most appropriate) time -- should you care to read on...

I too, am living the same -- except I am a grown woman dealing with a mother who WILL NEVER get 'IT' or ME. I HAD a life (with all its many ups & downs) and while most understand and accept we cannot choose our parents, she refuses to allow me the room -- the right -- the respect -- to HAVE my OWN life again. Yes, over the years she has provided a realm of helpfulness which I gratefully accepted, never giving thought to motive(s) only to realize she was using, and continues to use 'the past' (which is now a ever-present 'presence') in manipulating every aspect and area of my existence. Oh, how I could go on and on about hostilities I forced to refrain from for the sake of peace -- even making genuine attempts in accepting her (as my daughter precisely dubbed) "a very complex woman"...

Coupled with the aforementioned is my dad's recent Alzheimer's diagnosis, of which she is in complete denial. I have seen it coming on for months. Having always been close to my dad (obviously the polar opposite of my mother) I did make the choice to temporarily move in with them to finish schooling, begin continuing my work in nursing and care of the elderly -- never contemplating I'd find myself waking every day within walls filled with such profound anxiety, fueled by the control and sanctimonious manners and judgments of a mother, in ways I must love -- yet have never -- and will never -- live a life which I now see slipping away from reach more and more every day.

My heart reaches out to you, understanding & feeling your pain...wishing I had words of wisdom that I too ... search for. Others in such situations, I can only presume have a strength within them I do not possess in finding ways to work it out, knowing up/down -- right/left -- any way seen or approached ... will never be enough -- or frankly -- even matter.

It helps to journal; funny...one can only wonder why I chose (for the first and only time) to do so in a venue with a public forum.

Health and happiness, however you find it -- I wish for you and all others who seek it.
~RR~
Roscoe, I could have written your post! I walk in your shoes. Darn right it's unfair, but what can ya do? Funny, I describe my living situation to my friends as a prison too. :) Rarely getting out. I was just looking at the clock a few minutes ago...and I see I'm going on another 12 hour day with my dad. I have sisters who live 10 minutes away who will not involve themselves at all with his care...or even visit him. I just want a little time to myself. More than an hour or two! I feel my life is on hold too. But we have to find ways to be happy, if even in small little ways. Yes, I'm worn out, but somehow I feel maybe this is where I'm supposed to be right now, and there is life after care giving - however far-reaching it may be. Hang in there. Some good medication helps sometimes too! ha
Roscoe, aren't you the self made millionaire? That was my understanding from your previous post. If that's so, you have a whole lot of choices and you're just not making them. That's a hell of a lot more than most of us can say, that's a lot more than most of us have so my understanding and sympathy for you is a flat zero. If I had an eighth of the money you claim to have, bet your sweet ass I would have made other arrangements long before now, and would have run like hell and never looked back. The only person chaining you to your misery is YOU. You had the brains to make all that dough, but you don't have the brains to figure that one out. More fool you. If you're making a choice to stay when you have the means...millions of them according to you... to leave, that's on YOU. What some of us wouldn't give, me included, to have YOUR options, you poor, poor thing. You keep asking 'What about MY life', as you sit on your fat bank account, not doing a damn thing to help yourself or change your circumstances when you COULD, which is a hell of a lot MORE than most people here have. Who the hell are you to whine? People here without options, that are truly stuck have that right, you damn sure don't, imo. When someone could do something to help themselves because they CAN, but choose to piss and moan about how 'UNFAIR' it all is instead while doing absolutely nothing to change their circumstances, it makes me sick.

No, what's really UNFAIR is the fact that HUNDREDS of people here would make good use of the kind of money you say you have, would use that asset to buy the best care in the world for their parent if they had that choice, and would free themselves and their families in a New York skinny second and be laughing with glee while they did it....but they can't do that, because they don't have those options. THAT, to me, is UNFAIR. YOU do have that option, but you do NOTHING but piss and moan about things you COULD change. Boo freaking hoo, dude. Spare me.

Reneerays, I understand that your mother is using guilt to control you. That's not an easy thing to resist. Roscoe has plenty of money, but refuses to hire any help. Can you see any way to get out from under your mother? Is she poor? Could she afford some in-home care?

Ask yourself what she would do if you were in an accident tomorrow, and could no longer care for her? I bet she would start doing things she refuses to do now, like hiring an aide to come and help her!

You feel that you are in her debt. How could you pay that debt back, even in fantasy? Would $1,000,000 be enough? How long must you care for her to pay her back? "Final Payments" by Mary Gordon involves a young woman who frees herself from a similar obligation to an unloved and unloving older woman.

You need some help in figuring out how to create a better life for yourself. That could mean helping her to find the help she needs, and walking away, or walking away but continuing to watch out for her. It could mean changing your attitude so that caring for her doesn't cost you so much. Detachment is not easy to learn, but it could help change caregiving from miserable guilty torture to a difficult but doable job. Setting boundaries is another skill to learn to allow you to choose how involved you want to be. This would not please Mom, but she must know at her age that you can't always get what you want!

How can you make changes like this? Look for some wise women at the local senior center, and at your local Area Agency on Aging. If there is any free or low-cost counselling, make use of it. A social worker might be more practical in helping you decide what you want to do and what you can do.

I wish you could click your ruby slippers together and escape. That's not possible. You do have some options you can't see right now to make a real difference in your life. Maybe your life can only be 10% better, That could be the margin between sanity and insanity!!!! Give us more details, by asking your own question, and we will advise you and support you into a better situation.
Solegiver, you sound wise. Tired and frustrated, but somehow accepting your situation.

Are there any options for you to get some respite? Is Dad on Medicaid? I think they will pay for some care so you can get a real vacation. Does Dad have assets? Does he pay you to care for him? Could he go into an assisted living facility for a week or two? He might decide he really likes it. Many people find, much to their surprise, that their elder actually does better in a facility, with more stimulation and opportunities to socialize. Even some of those who claim they would hate it!

Money is a barrier for most of us. Tell us how you manage to keep a smile on your face, and what parts of the "job" are hardest. Lazy siblings, maybe?

Best wishes to you.

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