Very frustrated and angry.

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Feel Helpless and Angry
Hello, I'm New: Part time caregiver for my mother, with congestive heart failure . She was always loving, easygoing and kind but she has become (understandably) very irritable, moody, and takes her anger out on me. As an example, she now wants to move to assisted living because she can no longer tolerate the heat and cold temperatures in her apartment (it IS awful and we cannot seem to get anything done about it), and when I told her we would have to look into it to see if Medicaid covers Assisted Living, she told me that I do not understand, she is going to die in that apartment, and I am mean. I sit here in tears because her illness has been very painful for me. She has been in and out of the hospital, she has fallen and been and out of Nursing homes and she has suffered.
I love her and don't want to see her suffer, but I am limited in what I can do. She keeps saying "do you want me to die in this place?". The truth is, I am trying to rally up my brothers to help with all of this but they don't really do anything. I feel so helpless here and it hurts to see her suffer. It seems like I fail her at every turn. She is so angry with me so often that I feel badly about myself. She does not take it out on the others so much though she is starting to get angry at them now, too. But most of the time it is me. getting the brunt of the anger and I try to understand the hardest.


Has your mother been evaluated for depression and dementia? Very few AL places will take medicaid. Does she need to go back to a Nursing Home?
Yes, she is depressed but did not want anti-depressants. Her physical therapist said she had early dementia. No doctor ever said so but then she doesn't speak at doctor's office. My brother was doing all the talking. She was in nursing home 2 times for fallings, so for rehab only. She has said she wants to go down south and live there where iit is warm, but is afraid. truth is she cant do it alone. I have thout she maybe a little of dementia like mood and anger and forgetting (which is not too bad) but talks all over the place and I lose the conversation string.
Yes, she has dementia. Yes she is depressed and NEEDS to take antidepressants. My mother is cold in the summertime when the ambient temperture in her AL apartment is in the high 80s--with a sweater on. None of this is your fault.

The fact that your mother is "taking this out of you" is not due to her CHF, it's due to her dementia, i.e., her inability to reason. You and your brother need to be on the same page about treatment for her various ills.

Can you get her to a geriatric psychiatrist? And let her do the talking? This will get you a better diagnosis and a better plan for meds. You don't ask if she wants to take antidepressants. You just give them to her with her BP pills.
Oh, about the cold. Long underwear works!
Jackie, those that are ill often lash out at the ones that are doing the most. It is a comfort level thing, she feels she can be most honest with you. I saw my Dad being so nasty to my Mom as he went through his final stages of Cancer while being totally charming to the nuses and room mates in the hospital. But she was the only one that he could be honest with. Assess her finances. Make sure her legal documents are in order (POA, Health care directives and proxy, Will, etc) Look into senior housing (low income if necessary) where there may be a few more services and more likely heat/AC and socialization. Call the county office of aging to learn about other services. And you may want to fill in more of your profile here to enlist more ideas from the others on this site. Your Mom's age? Other medical issues? Distance from you? Good luck.
Thank you all. Only PT said she is in early dementia. Thing is that brother has POA and the rest of it, she refuses to do. She has very little money/minimal and no will. She is still "well enough mentally' that I cannot force decisions on her such as where to move. Thing is that we cannot afford to put her in Assisted Living if Medicaid does not cover it. She does not reason these things out. I feel bad because I cannot help her, do love her and realize she is suffering.
Geewiz: you are right. I think she is closest to me and so I hear it all; the problem with that is that my brother doesn't believe me as she will not tell him what is REALLY going on with her and how bad it is. He has issues that I beg him to let go of but he wont. Now she is angry with him because he doesn't return her calls, is stopping taking her to doctor, etc. I am ill and too sick to take her. The only thing I have been good for is to try to coordinate things, do the research, talk to her, send food over, I did cook but she did not like my food, etc. I have feeling of guilt for not doing more, and frustration, and confusion over "is it dementia or not?" . Only the physical therapist said it once to her alone. Not the docs so my brother will not listen. I tried to tell him once but he ignored me. She suffers from congestive heart failure, pretty bad now, falls a lot, seems to have dementia (conversation confuses me as she is all over the map when we talk, she forgets what I told her the day before, ... I just don't know anymore). I feel so guilty posting my feelings of anger, but she accuses me of being mean and nasty and I am only trying to help her and doing it with respect. But I do get frustrated and my voice gets loud at times. So I realize this. Getting old is hard. Getting sick is hard ... everyone has left her ... and she is lonely and too ill to go anywhere. She is almost 88 years old and keeps saying "I am going to die if you don't get me out of this place". She would hate a nursing home. I feel like I can't do anything. She won't have people in .. public and private is very expensive. We have someone go in once a week to clean, my husband brings food in, and my brother WAS taking her to docs. I get her things she needs as much as I can. Thank you all. I know you are dealing with much more than me so I appreciate you all taking the time to respond. So sorry about your husband ...
Jackie, You are a lovely person to take care of your Mother during this difficult time. It is okay to write your true feelings here. It is a form of therapy for you. I agree whole heartedly with geewiz. Often the ones who are loved the most are treated very harshly. That old saying of "you always hurt the one you love" remains with me when I am care giving for a client. You feel like you cannot do anything but you are doing more than you know by simply taking the best care of your Mother as possible. It is hard on you and yes there are feelings of guilt. I have had them myself but I remind myself that we are human being first and we to get hurt when lashed out at while trying to do the right things. I know so many people who can't take it and "throw" their loved ones into a state run facility just to get out of the situation. Many kudos to you for hanging in there and not placing Mom into a nursing home where she would end up being ignored and abused. So it seems to me (and I am sure others here) that you are doing the best you can and though painful at times, you have a lot of love for your Mother and are determined to help her regardless of her behavior. You are right in that it is hard getting old and being ill. Mom knows this and it is her mental and physical state that she is truly angry at....not you. It is okay for your voice to get loud at times. Do not put so much pressure on yourself feeling guilty about this. The frustration on both sides can be unbearable at times. I've seen many a family member yell at their loved ones when the individual is too ill to walk to the bathroom or keeps getting out of bed and falling. It's normal on occasion. I think that all of us here whether we are caregivers to our own families or to members of other families can say we have all experienced what you are going through so know you are not alone. This is a time of pain and frustration for both you and your Mother but know she loves you and stay close to her. Hoping your brothers will become a little more involved but it is true that usually one sibling ends up being the main caregiver. If possible find a little time for you to do something you enjoy. You need a break even if it is just for one day to get a massage, go shopping or just sit in silence and read a book. For now please know we understand what you are going through and it really is okay to feel that frustration. Do not feel guilty. Easier said than done but really, you are human and you have feelings as well. Take good care of yourself and know that there are people here to help you. I thank God each day that I found this site. Wonderful and helpful people. Hugs to you.
Thank you, Elle. Your post made me feel so much better. It is true. She has, at different times, said "Im sorry for treating you so badly". Then, we have a day like today, and I am trying, and she is angry and nothing I really can say or do about so many of her problems which is frustrating all around. I tried calling my brother and he was just totally nasty and sarcastic with me. I told him that we needed to talk about things like POA for her, her condition and need to see a doctor and the fact that she won't go anymore, etc. There is no getting through to him. So I will keep on keeping on and try not to take it personally. I think all of us could do better by her IF we worked together, but we don't and that is the reality of it. It seems that when our parents get sick/when anyone gets chronically ill/many people bail out and run for the hills. Again, thank you for helping to alleviate my feelings of guilt. I do get frustrated. I do get angry. I am human. But, I do love her. This is all true. I am an imperfect human being.
Oh, by the way, my brother DID say he has noticed changes in her that "might" be early dementia or what is called Cognitive Decline. I wish I had been imagining it. My denial is strong. It hurts. I am losing her and I wish I had a better way to show her that I love her than all this constant chaos we seem to have. Thank you.
Jackie, You are wonderful to be so patient with your mother. From the sound of things you are being emotionally abused. Your mother does not have the right to do this, no matter how ill she is. It is not your fault that she is ill and lives in an apartment that doesn't suit her. She will not die if the temperature is too cool, since there are plenty of warm clothes and blankets to put on. She is angry at not feeling well and taking it out on you.

My mother is much like yours. One of my mother's most horrible habits is demanding that I do something RIGHT NOW. If I say I will do it tomorrow, she starts yelling and asking if I want her to die. She catastrophizes all the little things. For example, we ran out of orange juice. I told her I would pick some up at the store when I went the next day. She got mad because she was going to die of low blood sugar. Of course I knew there were 100 other ways to bring up her blood sugar. Her "I'm going to die" is really just trying to bully me into doing what she wants. It is quite cruel.

We often talk about FOG on the group -- fear, obligation, and guilt. Talking about how they are going to die if we don't do something employs each of these things. We fear that they will die and feel obligated to do something and feel horrible guilt if we don't. When your mother does this to you, realize that there is nothing wrong with you. She is being abusive. Just let her words roll off. If she is cold, maybe get her a blanket to help her stay warmer or bring her a sweater.

There is only so much you can do, given her limited resources. You might be able to find her a smaller apartment that has a better HVAC system. Most AL communities would probably be out of her reach, and I imagine that moving her in with you or family would totally ruin someone's life (the family that took her in).

Sometimes the best thing to do is not listen too carefully to complaints, but to use your own judgment about her circumstances. If you get the feeling that certain things are okay and livable, they probably are.

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