I'm not happy about the years of caregiving I provided to my ungrateful mother.

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Although reading about other's trials and tribulations should make me feel better, I just find that I feel more isolated. I am not happy about the years of caregiving that I have given to my mother, who never appreciated my sacrifices. My husband never let me get away to re-center and get refreshed and I wasn't able to maintain friendships with old or new friends.

My husband is so protective of me, I can't go anywhere or do anything without him. Sometimes I just want to get away. I'm tired of everything revolving around him and his broken back and prostate cancer. That isn't to say that I don't care, but it is sucking all of the life blood out of me.

Everytime I insist on visiting my mother with AD in another city, alone, he and I have a huge fight lasting for days. I just want to give up.

The government isn't giving us any support, and I deathly afraid of being destitute when my husband and mother die. I have been searching for a job for over 3 months, but my husband won't let me look for a job in Phoenix and the little town where I live has a Walmart and Home Depot. My degree is in Health Care Services, but I am not a practitioner (nurse, CNA) and the other positions require a master's degree, which of course he objects to.

I need to do something positive with my life and as I get older (53), I find that I am running out of time. At times, I don't even care if I do die. I am not saying that I am suicidal, just that I am weary of the years of caring for others without taking care of myself.



3930 helpful answers
I, too, was kept from fulfilling my potential because of outside control, which I allowed. Your husband is afraid of abandonment, since he is no longer able to be a "real" husband to you. He resents you having other interests and having time for yourself. He apparently doesn't even want to share you with our mother who has AD.

You need the things you talk about. Somehow you need to get someone to help your husband understand, or else you need to just tell him you are doing what you need, for your own health. Have you ever tried a Co-dependence group (he will fight that like crazy)? Most of us who are tied to people as caregivers have co-dependency issues and these groups help you detach with love and do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

They help you get on with having a life of your own, as you are as important as the people you are caring for. Check you local newspaper or call the helpline and see where they meet. You really do need to get help understanding that you must help yourself, too. That is one of the hardest lessons we caregivers have to learn, and I never have fully learned it myself. But, I'm getting better.
Thanks Carol: I agree with you; he is afraid of losing me and is terribly jealous that I can supposedly go on with my life once my mother dies, but it isn't so, I've lost ten years in the workforce and still have to tend to his needs.

I have been in therapy for years and even took a class called Peer Support Specialist which teaches you how to listen to others who have a myriad of problems and are seeking counseling for them. Intellectually, I know what is going on, emotionally, I am running on empty.

I told him that I was going to see the Arizona State Representative for the National Federation of Caregiving Association this week and he wanted to go with me. I just told him that I had two and a half days and he would be mad sitting in a hot apartment while I went to see my mother and also see if I can become an advocate for the rights of caregivers.

We are a group that needs to unite and demand that we be treated fairly by the government. We are providing a service and not only do we get no renumeration for it, we lose everything, insurance, social security, job security, impoverishment for the future, our lives with our kids. I could go on, you all know what I am talking about.

3930 helpful answers
Good for you! I think you, emotionally, will feel better just taking action that may help all caregivers. Go for it! We're all behind you. Please keep us posted on what happens. Sometimes personal pain brings needed help for many.

My husband also was very controlling and would micomanage every thing I did and I allowed it because I wanted to be a good loving wife. It took me really getting angery how he and the staff in the short term nursing home he was in at the time to change, they and he treated me like I was not important in the big pictire-they told me not to come to the discharge planning meeting because they all including my husband had made up their minds and were not going to listen to me. I knew he was being discharged too soon-his infection was not healed from his foot where he had had two toes removed and he could not do his ADL'S- activities of daily living. When he came home he said he needed much even though he and the N.H said he could do things for himself--I made him do the things he said he was able to and was firm about- there was a lot of crying and fussing on his part but he did start doing things -he did try to drag me into the servent role but I kept up saying you and they said you could do it and finally he did start to at least try. Also he had to be readmitted to the hospital for 6 days and had to go back to rehab--I told him if he went back to the same one I would not go to see him-our son would have to take him in clean clothes etc. He did go to another N,H. for rehab and now is fussing to come home but our insurance--which we pay a lot for will let him stay for another few weeks. I told him if he comes home too early and I did not like the way his wounds looked I would take him right back to the hospital and start all over again. He was upset because I got caught in a bad storm on Sat and could not get in too see him-this N.H. is a distance from our home-the one he had been in 8 times in 6 years was very close to our home-about 10 minutes away. I think he thought it over because he knows not if he is nasty to me on the phone I will stay away for a few days. Therefor he called me again on SAT and was real nice to me-he is finally learning he can not continue to abuse me as in the past.
3930 helpful answers
It's amazinging what happens, sometimes, when we stand up for ourselves. I so rarely did it (I still struggle with that). I'd think, "Oh, she is in so much pain. She is lonely. She is - whatever..."

But the nurses at the nursing home knew that my mother, normally pretty nice to me, was abusive about a certain issue, because she couldn't (or didn't want to) comprehend the truth. The head nurse said, "When she treats you like that, don't visit for a few days."

I thought, "I can't do that!"

Why would I think that? She was well taken care of by people I knew and trusted. It's just that she loved all the extras I did "just right" for her every morning. I spoiled all of my elders rotten, and that's okay in a way, but I paid a price.

Anyway, one time I was so upset when left that I just couldn't to the following day. I didn't even call. When I went the day after, she was soooo nice! Dementia or not, she "got it."

I learned something that day. As I said, I'm still learning. But I did learn a little. We have to take care of ourselves, too. And often the best thing for the person you are caring for is that they retain as much independence as possible, even if it gives them some pain to do things. It's live and learn for all of us.

This site has so many bright and caring people on it. I'm just thrilled when I log in and see some of these posts.
I live in Mesa, there are plenty of satifying jobs in healthcare, where you could feel like you are contributing without needing a degree. And it may help you help your mother. You need to have an outlet. Don't let your husband hold you back. If he loves you he will see the importance of getting out there and doing something. What about volunteering? Phoenix Childrens Hospital has a great volunteering program. And maybe you could find a job in it all? Good luck, please let us know what happens.

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