trace Asked May 2011

I hate the person I am when I'm around my parents, what can I do to be a better person?

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Hello, first timer here. I have both my parents that live next door, and I don't know how to deal with them. I feel like I constantly gripe and bitch at them, we can never have a normal conversation. They used to be smart and kind, they used to love one another and were easy to love. But no longer. I get an early morning update on all their bodily functions or the lack of. Then they proceed to tell me what the other has said or done to hurt their feelings. They exhaust me. They are not that old 70 & 68. My parents both have COPD, they both smoke, and do so with their oxygen on. I've told them soooo many times how dangerous and deadly it is and I can tell the tune me right out, and they say they 'forget'. We had a nurse come over and explain how dangerous it is and they act like it's all new information to them...and then she looks at us like why didn't you tell them? My aunt lives with them and is their primary caregiver, which to them means she does everything for them, they never leave their recliners. It's constantly, 'get me this', 'hand me that', 'while your up' or 'when you get up again'! It drives me crazy!!! And today I asked them if they actually got up anymore and they looked like I had slapped them across the face. I pray every time I start up to their house for God to help me hold my tongue, and to be a nicer, kinder person, and to have more patience with them, but I'm there 30 minutes and boom! There it is! I hate the person I am around them. And then I hate the person I am when I come home and tell my wonderful husband what they said or did. I feel like all I do is complain about them. My Mom is a diabetic, that believes that her diet has nothing to do with her diabetes, she says hers is"stress" related. She's 5' 1, weighs 300lbs, and has a daily diet of cakes, cookies, and candy. Her blood sugar is usually around 260 and she says it's a good reading. And that with the Humalog & Lantus injection twice a day. In the past couple of years we spend a least 6 to 8 weeks in the ICU with one or the other, from COPD related illnesses. Carbon Oxide or Dioxide(which ever) poisoning usually sends us to the ER then off to ICU. Two weeks ago Mom, goes in for that reason, and signs herself out the next day, she said WE went sent her there for no reason. So now we are in hospice care, because she refuses to go back to the hospital ever again. I'm on pins & needles, be it, a phone call, ( and yes I get urgent calls 'We need you really bad! Right now!' I'm thinking worse case scenario here, and they want me to come make there frigging beds!) or if there's a loud noise ("thunder" and I live in the south so it's been really nerve racking lately) I automatically think they've lit up and the oxygen has finally blew!. My blood pressure is sky high when I'm around them and then I come home and feel guilty for hurting their feelings, somebody please tell me some way of dealing with the crazy people that used to be my loving parents!

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woopiegirl May 2011
I've been going through this stuff with my mom for what seems like forever. She's in a nursing home for over 5 years now, and it still never ends. Doesn't help that she's a narcissist and a drama queen, but now that her dementia is getting worse, it is unbearable. Before the nursing home, she was in a senior apartment and for about 7 years before the nursing home, I was doing everything for her....food shopping, laundry, bathing, running to doctor's appts., not to mention driving to her place for every little so-called crisis. Just sharing and saying you are right to get all the help you can. Please, give yourself a break!
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Eddie May 2011
TRACE:

Support groups, like this forum, will give you a chance to vent; but the effects are going to be temporary. Sooner or later you will have to have THE conversation you've been avoiding for quite a while. Because you -- and everyone else -- has been catering to their every whim at the drop of a hat there's no real incentive for them to get better. So they get over ... while you stew in silence until you get back home and dump your misery on your husband. Don't be surprised if he tunes you out too; or tells you to "hold that thought" while he steps out to "take care of something." There's only so much the love of your life can take, and he's probably as sick as you are about the whole thing.

Now back to THE conversation I mentioned earlier. Start setting boundaries by covering your a__ (CYA). Let their respective doctors know they're smoking and make sure it's documented. If it's not in black and white it never happened. Your parents know it, so they continue to flip the script on you by playing the victim and sending you on guilt trips. If you don't honk your own horn people won't know you're coming, so let them know you mean business by enforcing boundaries consistently and refusing to be manipulated. After telling them "I hate the person I am when I'm around you two" make it clear that you're no one's slave and that unless it's a legitimate emergency you WILL NOT drop whatever you're doing and come to their rescue.

It's time you stop enabling their self-destructive behaviors and provide them with incentives/tools to help themselves from now on. Otherwise your self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect will continue to erode. You won't have a life to call your own and your husband will begin distancing himself from you.

It all starts and ends with you Trace. ... Respect yourself.

-- ED
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LGaston May 2011
It's hard to get others to do what we think is best for them. I'm glad that you realize that you are not alone......
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trace May 2011
Believe me I try to get my aunt to tell them that they need to physically move around more for their own benefit, as well as hers, but she goes into 'her martyr mode' and says as long as she can do for them, she will. I've tried to explain to her it's doing more harm than good, but she says it's just easier to do it herself. So now I just say, whatever. Of course, when my mother does do anything, she grunts, groans and calls on Jesus the whole time. So it can be agonizing just to hear her move around.

This my second day on here, and I already feel better. :) Just to vent with no guilt may save my sanity! Thanks again everybody!!!!
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palmtrees1 May 2011
I agree with naheaton. They may be your parents and I know you love them, but they are behaving like a couple of ill disciplined children. You have to reverse the roles here. If they are going to be so needy and childish, you have to be the grown up. I have taken this role with my Mom and it is interesting the peace of mind it gives you.
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NancyH May 2011
trace, what about your poor aunt? If you're going crazy with their selfish, manipulative ways, how much more is she? You're right, they are younger then most for having so many health problems, but it seems to me they've brought those problems on themselves right? I think it may be time to separate yourself from them for awhile, and please try to get your aunt some time off for good behavior too. It sounds like their bad habits have finally caught up to them, and being as young as they are, you could be looking at another 10+ years of this. Gotta decide now how those years are gonna look like. Bummer.
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ladee1 May 2011
trace, welcome to this sight. And yes sweetie, you are normal. And when you need to vent, get on here and let it all out. Everyone here understands that level of frustration as you are trying your best to care for them, and they won't listen... I would not go over everyday, and if you have help, your aunt, please make sure she gets some time off every few days or so.. If you are around them only for a little while , imagine what your aunt hears all day...
You have a safe place to put your feelings, not be judged, shamed or made to feel any way but normal.. And I agree with Lilliput, tell your "friends" that they are welcome to come help take care of YOUR parents if they are so lonesome for theirs. I know you won't say that, but I would.... stick around, let us get to know you, and you, us, and then you will see how "normal" you are... hugs across the miles to one of us...
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Hank4422 May 2011
Anger and frustration are not necessarily evil, bad or wrong.

It's a good indication that something isn't right or that something somewhere in our lives needs attention.
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toadballet1 May 2011
When you said, "I wish I still had the people they used to be" that rang so true for me. I have a good friend who lost his mother a while ago. Whenever I am in caregiver burnout he says the same things to me....as if to tell me that I am overreacting. When his mom was alive she drove him crazy, too and he didn't do this for over 3 years!! It is amazing to me that, when someone passes, we immediately put on the rose colored glasses and only want to remember the "good stuff." Not necessarily a bad thing, but perhaps a more realistic view is that we are all human - warts and all.
That is why this forum exists. If we wrote down a "job description" of what we do, hand it to someone, then tell me we do it all for free they would think you were crazy.
HERE, however, feel free to vent away. This is the most thankless, mind-numbingly intense, experience one will go through. We are alternatley watching our parents deteriorate while doing all those little grungy everyday things we have to do to keep them safe and healthy.
I agree with the above. Distance is your answer. Sounds like you have their direct caregiving taken care of (although, your aunt may need a break too). Limit your visiting time. Take nothing personally. The oxygen thing is worrisome...they may take out your aunt and your house with them. Who is supplying them cigarettes?
Try to tune out the potty talk and replace it with thoughts of what you are going to do the MINUTE you are outta there.
Welcome...we have all been there...
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trace May 2011
Thanks guys, It felt good just to 'write' it all down. I am going to look into a local support group. I have friends but most of them have lost one or both parents, so I've heard more than once, "I wished I still had mine". (I wish I still had the people they used to be.) So I try not to vent around them. But I do realize I do need some kind of support. Hank, I'm too cheap to gamble, but I think we're gonna hit the beach soon. And thanks for saying I'm normal! ;)
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