When caregiving is too much.
As the late-in-life only child to two narcissistic parents, I have given my whole life to "honoring" them and their demands. I see my parents as people who sucked the life out of me. After I was broken, (really my Dad said that just yesterday - ("you have to break kids, make them know it's your way"), I was indoctrinated to follow their beliefs. My beliefs, questions, concerns were negated to, "being sassy" and "children should be seen, not heard."
At age 10, I was told by them they could die anytime so I always had to do my best, behave, and not stress them. This was always followed by a stern and meaningful look and the reproach, "the bible commands you honor you parents."
They retarded my social skills by not allowing me to date, have friends over, or attend social functions until my sr prom. They hovered and helicoptered around my life in college, showing up for events to collect me when they deemed it inappropriate for me to be there.
When I moved out, they tracked me down and would spy to see if I allowed overnite guests. They dropped by unannounced to see if I was living the way I had been raised. They called neighbors and work colleagues when I hadn't answered their calls quickly enough to satisfy them.
I was not complacent, I told them I did not respect them because of their disrepect of me. Things would be great, then in two weeks back to their "normal" because "they knew best." Eventually,when they said something about being older parents and they could die any moment, thought what a relief it would be.
They meddled in my marriage. Mom told me if I was unhappy, I had to live in the bed I had chosen. I bailed on it and them.
My life was squelched until I moved to NY in my 30s. There, I took my first true breaths. I didn't tell them where I worked, lived, or who my neighbors where. Things were great for a couple of years. Then they found out via a well-meaning friend where I worked. Mom laughed saying she had tracked me down. When I failed to respond, she called my manager and left her a voicemail beseeching her to have me call my parents who hadn't heard from me in a while (two days). I was 32; they expected me to call everyday.
I called every other day, keeping it short, trying to keep in my anger that none of my friends had to check in more often than a felon or be called out to their coworkers (mom used every manipulative trick in the book.) Eventually, their age and repeated guilt-laden requests of needing me nearer, er visits etc brought me back, where I glaringly could see, it was merely a ruse to "get me home."
I started my own company, lived on the other side of town, didn't share who my neighbors were. I received 7 phone calls a day. Not emergency calls, meddling calls, what was I doing, who were my neighbors (in case she couldn't get "ahold" of me because I quit answering the phone by that time) I should call more, they were getting old and could pass away anytime. That was 14 years ago.
The loudest voice was silenced last year, mom passed. At 91, dad lives "independently" meaning he still drives, mows and cleans the house. I do the rest - bills, pills, setting up appointments and taking him to and from them on a weekly sometimes more basis because he can find his way to walmart but not to the dr., buying groceries (only if they're microwaveable, cooking time written in sharpie on the package because he can't be bothered to read the small print, even tho he still reads his small print bible hours a day) and scores of other trivial things.
He refuses nor can he afford outside help, doesn't want assisted living, is too healthy for a nursing home because he can do daily tasks unassisted. His younger siblings are mentally and physically unable to help (and are looking to me to help them - ha! as if).
I have 14 years of reduced income and ss benefits. I missed 78 days of work last year, carting him to his appointments.
Yes, it was my decision, but I was guilt-tripped into it.
This has been my life. I can't wait to start living it unencumbered.
I have lived in fear that they would die for more than 45 years. Now I only have hope.