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End of April 2012: mom came to live w/ me. She suffers depression and diabetes and had one foot amputated. Doctor refused to let her live alone.

I am a married 26 y/o w/ two daughters- a 9 y/o and an 18-month old. I am a full-time worker and student. I hadn't lived w/ mom for 14 years now. My younger sister insisted mom live w/ her but because she lives w/ her boyfriend, the older siblings (six of them) decided that wouldn't be culturally right. The two eldest (the brothers and the "decision makers") either have dad living w/ them or close by. To get to the point, everyone decided that my husband and I "were the best option."

Of course I could and would not refuse, although I knew I would not be able to handle her mentally, emotionally, and physically, given my already very full plate. However, I voiced my concerns to my siblings from the very day that I was chosen. Even before she actually moved in, I experienced mixed emotions, anxiety, insomnia, fear, etc. Mom is not a very pleasant person to live w/ and we all agree to this. Per agreement in order to make everything work for everyone, mom would live w/ me w/ the help from everyone. Even after my husband discussed w/ my brothers as to why mom living w/ us wouldn't be a good idea, the brothers insisted, "Be patient w/ her. Let's just see how things work out. If it doesn't, just let us know and we'll find an alternate solution. We don't want you two to resent us for this. We're all in it together. You're not alone."

Sure enough, my husband and I feel completely alone in this. My sisters have helped out tremendously, including their husband and boyfriend. Now since mom has been seeing the doctors every week on work days, it had been difficult for me to continue missing work. I finally asked my brothers for help (who both live an hour away).

My request was unsuccessful. At first I get an 'ok' followed with, "I can't take this anymore!" The pressures of asking them for help was getting too much and they hadn't even taken her once to a doctor appointment. I end up doing so. I told them how stressed out I was and then gave them nearly half a list of what mom needed to get taken care of. Sure enough, I started getting ignored.

In order to carry on with life as normal and clear-minded as possible, I vent to the siblings. I vent about everything from mom praying loudly throughout the house on weekdays either too early in the mornings or too late at night while I'm trying to sleep as she prays about how we need to find our way to church, yatty yatty; how mom sings loudly (mind you, she woke up singing throughout the house at 4am the other day); how mom pees all over the bathroom floor (not intentionally but still. I have to vent.; how mom's wheelchair is causing damages to the home, how she complains about my dog, etc.

Then just a few days ago, I had had enough. I was burnt out. I was going into work late too often, mom had tons of appointments I had to coordinate with my schedule and my children's, she has paperwork that needed to be taken care of. Along w/ this, mom has constant mood swings that I have to deal with since I live w/ her. I told everyone I could not take it anymore. It's gotten too much for me that it's causing me time away from my own family. I can't concentrate at work, I can't concentrate on school, I have not the energy to go running as I usually do 5 days a week, I was burnt out. I pleaded for their help.

What I got from the siblings were, "All you do is complain. You're just like her! You two are perfect for each other! I hope your kids treat you this way when you're old. Karma is going to get you. You're going to hell. I curse you and your generation ten folds. Don't come near our family again! All you do is cause trouble for us!"

This made me so angry. What had I done? I took my mom in at their request and per agreement. I told them they made promises they had not kept. I said I'm completely stressed. I couldn't do this anymore. I'm willing to handle her depression and mood swings since I live with her but can someone else take on the responsibility of her doctor appointments, her paperwork, her errands, church, and bills? This was just too much for me now. For a whole two days, I got nothing but personal attacks from each and every one of them, except one sister. Am I really the bad guy because I'm stressed out to the bones? Am I bad for venting? For asking for help? For not being able to do this 100%? I was never like my younger sister who insisted I could take on this role without a problem in the world. I told them straight from the gecko I wasn't strong enough- that I would need a lot of help. They made promises which they never met; which they broke. And now they blame me. They've all gained up on me and I'm no longer "part of their family." They also refuse to help mom as long as she lives w/ me. What did I do? I am just completely beat from all of this.

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Well, when talking to young mothers, I ALWAYS tell them that there may come times when they just can't handle that new (or not so new) rbaby. Whether it is crying and won't stop, or what ever the problem... sometimes we just get warn down and can't do anything for them and actually NEED to remove ourselves from the picture for a while to regroup and not kill ourselves or do something we will later regret. Sad but true. We do it for ourselves, but MORE for that precious baby in our care.

Not so different in this situation. Some times we are just not able to cope, or with all the other pressures in life, we just don't have anything left to give. Does that make me a bad person?? No. Would it be better for me to snap and end up hurting my mom? Have a nervous break down?? (Then who is going to take her??) It is better to be realistic than to get in over our heads and fail or kids, our parents, spouses, etc. We aren't as super human as we would like to be. That doesn't make us bad. God realizes that too. You will not go to hell for not being able to do this!

You left your mom at an very young age. That can not be helping in this situation either. You have to do what is best for EVERYONE. That includes you, your husband/kids and mom. Are her needs being met this way? I think not. You are a young mom/wife and that really should be your main focus right now. Not that you should write her off, but figure out a way you can best serve those around you and yourself. If she needs to go to a nursing home? Or get home health to come take care of her.... Talk to that Dr. that said she can't live alone and see if he has suggestions. Perhaps you can have her spend the week with your sister and weekends with you? There has to be a solution that everyone can live with. I feel you are probably like me and want to make your family happy to your own detriment. Lesson number one: you can't make everyone happy. Period.

Just try to make the best decision you can with what you have available. Tell your brothers that you value their opinions and want to include them in the process, and get their input. If they are willing. Tackle it from the stand point of what is best for your mother. Not so much why it is not working for You. Take the focus off you and back onto her where it belongs. I pray they see things in a new light and want to work as a team.

I am sorry you are going through this. keep your chin up. You have already done more than most grown children would do for their parents these days. You are a good daughter and sister. God will bless you for this. Keep us informed of your progress in this. You are not alone!!

Darcy
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Thanks, Jessie. She says she's willing to do it, but of course, while making me feel really guilty because I can't. : / She says I'm going to hell. sigh*

Thank you.
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mystique, I feel so much for you. I can tell that you wanted to do what was right, and I am mad at the rest of your family for abusing you. What it looks like to me is they set up a situation that worked without involving them. The one thing I wondered as I read what you wrote is if your sister who is living with her boyfriend is still okay with taking on the primary role. If she is, it seems the ideal solution. And I know you would be willing to help her as much as you could.

If the others don't like it, tough. You do what you need to do. Caregiving is very difficult, emotionally draining, and time consuming. Please let us know what you decide to do. We're with you.
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Jeanne:
The husband doesn't expect anything from them anymore. I try to be the same way but it's not so easy. I still find myself overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities, even with trying to find in-home services for her. It's such a process. I still have kids to care for, work to do, school to focus on, etc. It's tough. Yes, I should've never entered this mess but I'm here now. I definitely need to hear from others on how they made changes to better the situation. I'm lost.
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Darcy,
I feel exactly the same way. They say it was my own decision and that they had nothing to do with it. Every time I bring up their promise, it goes ignored. I've put my trust in them too often, only to be let down. Now I'm the bad guy all over again.

NancyH,
Yes, unfortunately, that's how things are in my culture which I find troublesome for many women. My husband talked to them before. Results: Unsuccessful. We scheduled a meeting and the oldest brother's response was, "You two are younger than me. Don't ever demand anything of me." *sigh* HATE!
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OMG

What have you done? You "took my mom in at their request and per agreement." Sorry, bad decision. What you can do now is start thinking for yourself and with your husband make decisions that make sense for your family, your health, your career, and your relationships. What happens in your house and your life is not under the democratic control of a vote by your siblings. What did you do wrong? With all the best intentions, you played along in an unhealthy and unrealistic scenario. You mistook being passive for being loving. The good news is that you can correct this mistake.

It sounds like your brothers had good intentions. They are taking care of Dad. WIthout knowing them I give them the benefit of the doubt for being good guys. They are doing exactly what they have every right to do: making decisions about their own behavior regarding Mom. I think it is pretty shabby that they are not fulfilling promises. But reality is a big wake up call, and what they thought they could do may not be what they really can do.

And you know what? You have EXACTLY the same rights they do. You can make decisions about your actions regarding Mother. You can change your mind now that you've had a taste of the reality of the situation, including the reality that you aren't getting the help you counted on. "All you do is complain" according to your sibs -- well, stop complaining and start acting.

Do NOT try to convince your sibs what they need to do. They can make up their own minds, for their own reasons. Decide, with your husband, what YOU need to do, and take steps to do it. Yours is the only behavior you can control. Start controlling it, with more than venting.

While you are making up your mind what YOU will do, it might help to get some professional input regarding what help (if any) is available for your mother. I suggest calling Social Services in your county and ask for a needs assessment. Is she eligible for (or could she afford) some in-home help? Someone to take her to appointments? Would having that kind of help make a difference in your ability to keep her in your home? (It might not. What is available might not match what you really need. But look into it and think it over.)

Your sibs insist that you take care of mother and that you are no longer a part of the family? Ha! Let them insist. But they really have no control over you unless you give it to them. Don't argue. Don't fight. Don't even vent to them (excpet perhaps to the sympathetic sister). Don't write them off -- they are flawed humans just like you, and at some point in the future you may all want to have healthier relationships with each other. But for now, decide what YOU want to have happen (without counting on the sibs), and take steps to make it happen.

Your sibs aren't going to help Mother as long as she is in your home? Fine. Their choice. They can choose again what they want to do when she is no longer in your home, if that is your choice. What they absolutely CANNOT decide is whether Mother remains in your home. That decision is up to you.

You are angry. Good. Now use that anger to fuel some activity.

If you really are ready to take responsibility for your own decisions, let us know. There are plenty of people on these discussion boards who can share first-hand experiences with you regarding how to get things changed, with or without the agreement of your siblings.

My heart goes out to you. You are in a very, very unhappy situation. Please work on changing it.
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Mystique, are you from a culture where the men are the decision makers? It sounded like that to me when I read your post. For example, in the Asian countries it seems like that's the way things are. And of course middle east cultures too. If you are, then unless you get your brothers on board you're doomed. I'd be interested to know if this is the case, or not. Even if I'm wrong about that, maybe it's time you gave the power over to your husband. If your brothers will NOT listen to their sister, a woman, then give the power to your hubby. He's the one man in your life that has your best interests at heart, so tell him you need his help and you're willing to let him handle it. Then DO NOT take back the control!! Either give it to him or not, but when you do, make it real.
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Ha! That is because their true plan was to put her with you and you would just do it. They could wash their hands of it and not feel guilty because it was working so beautiful for you to do it all. Now reality is stepping in and they don't want to deal with it. Possession is 9/10ths of the law! They got her in with you... now she is YOUR problem! *Siblings put fingers in ears "Na Naa Naaa Na.... I~CAN'T~HEAR~YOU!! " I am so glad I am not the only one going through this. My family denies there is a problem to begin with.... They think I CHOOSE this life style for.... I don't know what. NOTHING would make me WANT to live with my parents if they didn't need me. NOTHING!

Hang in there. You are not the bad guy. Siblings just don't get it. :(
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