sciencegal Asked November 2009

I just feel guilty all the time and I need to know if I will ever feel normal again?


My mom has MS. Her disease has progressed and the level of care she needs has dramatically increased in less than a month. As of this weekend she has moved to an assisted living with 24 hour care. She can no longer transfer on her own, has a catheter, and I feel has just given up.

I am 34 years old and an only child. My father passed away several years ago and I was also the caregiver for my grandfather before he passed away. My older friends have no "real" idea what I am going through or have gone through. My mom and I have had many conversations about her care and she was and still is clear that there is no way she could or would move in with me.

When I mentioned this to my friends, I was immediately made to feel guilty and told they would never send their parents to a nursing home. After this conversation, I have just stopped talking about anything to do with my mother. They just do not understand what I am going through. It is always on my mind no matter what I do.

I am emotionally drained by all of this. My mom can be and often is nasty to me and that makes all of this much harder. I cry all the time and I find myself resentful of those who lead what I feel is a "normal" life.

I have so much respect for those who care for their parents in their home. I feel guilty for even venting. I just feel guilty all the time and I need to know if I will ever feel normal again?

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Nennie86 Jun 2014
Guilt is normal even though it is not always warranted. It is what we feel as caretakers mainly because we can't imagine what life would be like if we were in that position. You have to respect your mother's wishes and that is what you have done. You have done the best possible thing for her while respecting what she wants.

Don't listen to those "friends" or let them make you feel guilty. Remember they have no idea what you are going through so who are they to make you feel guilty.

I can tell that you are a very caring person, as all who are caretakers are.

Don't let your mother's mood get to you too much. I know it is hard but the best thing you can do is not take it too personally. I know that doesn't change the fact that it hurts.

I write my feelings in a journal, I read books to escape or watch movies and I eat things that make me feel good. Be careful of the eating I have gained a bit. Perhaps you need to talk to someone professionally about your feelings?

Talking here I think will be a great start for you.

Keep your chin up and be happy. You are not alone.
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Operator Jun 2014
Yes you will feel normal again you did the right thing if anything you should be proud of your self for having the strength to do it, stop beating yourself up over it, your a good person some adult children don't even go see their parents believe me. Guilt plagues everyone to some degree, for we all have to lay our heads on our pillow at night. "Guilt is the most difficult problem in the whole realm of psychological therapy." I have a problem with guilt too.
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195Austin Jan 2010
The people above have put it better than I ever cound but I do understand what you are going through and you will find so many friends here I was abused by my husband for years mainly just verbably after he was reported years ago but verbal abuse hurts more I think and recently verbably by my Mom and feel I can not say anything to her I do not want to upset her at her age, You have come to a great place where all understand how ir is and I have found out just coming here and venting is so great and you will find the best people in the world here who have been there and done that being a caregiver is the hardest job you will ever have and a very unappreciated one and it is almost too much to take in that the person you are helping can be so mean it seems so unfair and some will say they do not mean but when you see them bing so nice and sweet to others and then turning around and being so horrible to you it hurts so much You need to self talk a lot and do not belive what they say it is hard but keep comming back here to get a dose of reality-it will keep you sane,
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deefer12 Dec 2009
First of all, do not feel guilty!!!! You are doing the best you can for your mom. The only people you need to listen to, are the ones who are caring for their loved ones just like you. No one can know how difficult things can get until they have walked in our shoes! I find the hardest part is letting go of guilt. Every time I snap at Mom, or yes, even yell at her, I feel terrible afterward. But when you are with someone 24/7 and still have a husband or other family to also deal with, life can get to you. Bad days are more of the norm than good ones, and no, you never get used to it! But somehow we all find the strength to deal and go on. You are still young and have a lot of life ahead of you. Let yourself start enjoying life again. Take a class to learn a new hobby like knitting or whatever you think you would like. This will get you out to meet new friends and occupy your free time. Please don't sit around over thinking what you could or should have done better or differently. It's all water under the bridge, and you need to get on with the business of living. That is what I intend to do when I no longer need to take care of Mom.
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LindaLSmith Dec 2009
Dear ScienceGal,
It's about a week before Christmas, and I'm just now reading your note and the responses that you received from others. Tears sprang to my eyes, and I was wondering how you're doing at this time of year.

One thing that really bothers me is when others put pressure on us, thinking that they know what is best for us. Ugh! When they don't realize that everyone's situation and needs are different, they actually make our situation worse. That's because they're not being supportive. And when that happens, it makes our hearts hurt EVEN MORE because we now have to also deal with their pressure. A lot of times we also become more isolated, in an attempt to not have to deal with their behavior! After all, we have enough on our plate already!

I wish people could understand that supporting THE PERSON (you!) is more important than agreeing with the other person's plans or decisions.

So, ScienceGal, are you in a better place than you were a month ago? I hope so. I hope that things have settled down somewhat. And I hope that you are able to find a way to enjoy yourself a little bit during the holidays. Hang in there, and don't give up or give in.

All of us on this site have been there. All of our emotions have been frayed and battered. At times, our fatigue has been so great that we felt like we would crumble. All of us have second-guessed our own decisions, worried about our sanity, felt horribly guilty because we're not perfect, and been misunderstood at one time or another. I am finding that is more normal, than abnormal in this family caregiver role.

Merry Christmas and a Happier New Year to you and yours,
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Dear sciencegal, welcome! Thanks for sharing your story. So glad you found this place to share your thoughts and feelings. You will find many here who understand. Our family currently has two in a Nursing Home, and one in an elder apartment. I can tell you it is hard, and it is draining, and it hurts like crazy sometimes. And one of ours is meaner than "all get out." You get the idea.

Feeling guilty is natural, and so is feeling resentful, confused, angry, lonely, and a host of other emotions. They are part of being human, and everyone experience a variety of them from time to time, so join in and vent all you need to with the rest of us. I can relate to your struggle, so know you're in familiar company, and you are not alone.

Give yourself some time to adjust to your mom's new living arrangement, and time to grieve her decline. As for nastiness, I understand perfectly how difficult that can be. Like a nightmare sometimes. Just remember it's her and not you that has that attitude. As for feeling guilty for venting, it's OK, and that's part of what this site is for. You have to be able to let off steam somewhere. Not everyone is comfortable with it, but plenty are. I can relate to the feeling, though. I feel ashamed to admit Dad and FIL are in a NH, because I know some who view NH choices with disdain. But every situation is different, and each family has to decide what works for them. So take heart, and hope you find your burdens lightened and spirits lifted. You are more than welcome to let out all that junk and you'll probably be surprised how many understand.

Normal means you have a wide range of emotions. That's the way God created us. Take care of you, without feeling guilty for that. Sorry to hear about you losing your Dad and about your Mom's decline. Hope she'll get the help she needs, and you can get some rest. Be gentle with yourself.
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sciencegal Nov 2009
Thank you for your encouraging words nauseated! I am so glad that I found this site and that I am not crazy. I plan to spend a lot of time on here to learn as much as I can!
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Dearest sciencegal, you are so totally normal. It is okay to feel this way, you are a sweet daughter. Your friends do not understand, and feel they can judge because they have never had to take care of their parents yet. But their turn will come, and they will then see what it is like to walk in your shoes. On this site you will receive encouragement and compassion. For those here, have walked, and are walking in your shoes. Hugs to you dear.
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