How do you help someone who doesn’t see the need?

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Dad was hospitalized, then placed in a nursing home a year and 1/2 ago. She depended upon him for almost everything, and couldn't maintain their huge home. Then she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, on top of Emphysema, COPD, RLS, Spinal Stenosis, and more. She also has some serious cognitive disorders, which prevent clear understanding of her situation. Like many of you, she has turned against the ones trying to help her. No matter what we try to do to help, or how we try to be a blessing, she dwells on the negative. She is critical and complaining, paranoid and manipulative.

Mom lives to socialize and spend money, and detests any restrictions on her freedoms to do exactly as she pleases, with no thought to personal safety, or common sense budget restrictions. Any attempt to moderate her activity with healthy boundaries, is met with utter comtempt. I am very conservative, and she is way over the edge extreme, so we do not agree. This has put considerable stress on an already strained relationship, and is at a breaking point - my breaking heart. I feel we've done all we can for mom, and cannot save her from her poor choices. She is bent on having her way, even lying to get it. Others do not see this, and work against our efforts to set boundaries. I feel as though we're fighting, not just Mom, but all her "allies," as well. Don't they see how unhealthy all this is? My heart hurts to see enablers make her problems worse!

We are running out of options, and hope our Attorney can help. He has offered some type of hope, and I am eager to speak with him next week. I am literally praying for a miracle.

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A problem I face alot is people (upon hearing some of the stuff my mom says and does) will say "you know she can't help it". Yes, I do and I love her just as much...maybe more...cause I know she's suffering, but it still is hard to deal with sometimes. I feel like I'm being a bad daughter by saying anything. Sometimes though the pressure builds up so much that you just have to vent a little bit.
Secretsister, when I read your posts it reminds me so much of my mom.
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Did it matter? Sorry it bothered you. I still did not hear the quote because I'm not an avid Albert Einstein fan.
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It is not productive to continue to badger sister.
She is doing her very best, we are not walking in her shoes and none of us would really want to.
Why not just pray for her??
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You left out the most important part of the insanity quote, which is from Albert Einstein.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting different results.”
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I guess it would be different if I had been angry.

I also never heard of that saying. I guess there is a reason why.

Thanks for the thoughts and "prayers".
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IF either of you ladies choose to be insulted then it is because you have never heard that expression "Definitition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over" used in context before. It was not referring to you. It was not unkind - why don't you search for the expression online if you doubt that.

As far as detaching with love, I seem to have read many of Secret Sister's posts telling others just that - boundaries and detaching. Its odd that in this situation it would be taken the wroing way. Since her sense of control is being threatened by a court appointed investigator I will forgive her jumping to conclusions, but jumping to conclusions and misinterpreting people is not productive.

As far as her guardianship goes, what will be will be. If she and you can't take well wishes and kind suggestions from others than so be it - but please don't misinterpret or twist what I have written. If you have anger at a situation please don't shift it onto others who are not involved. That is advice I found in ElderRage - worth a read again if you are wound up.

Sympathy, mediation, detatching emotionally and all of the other good suggestions that others have are not personal attacks. Ah well, I will pray for you.
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Mitzi, thank you for the clarification.
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Annlidot.... I have to address one statement. The best thing you can do is to detach with love. I understand where you are coming from, but it takes a much deeper kind of love to protect a person that is hurting themselves and especially from a mental disorder (whether self-induced or chemically off).

It runs into such a fine line from appearing controlling. Basically what being a guardian is all about is typically being a gate keeper to keep a person from harm. That takes a new level of love.

A lot of people mistake being a gatekeeper/guardian with being controlling when that is furthest from the truth. I'm not defending any one side, but I think its important to realize that there are things that go beyond a dysfunction (although the relationship becomes just that). But once you recognize the "disease" (for lack of a better term), you can then love them enough to protect them.

Sometimes it just doesn't happen and in the case of Secret.... it "appears" to be the last final surge to do that. None of us are in a position to judge that.

Also I want to define insanity for you according to the site dictionary (dot com) for a reference. I'm sure you can look it up in any dictionary.

And I quote...



insanity Show IPA
Use insanity in a Sentence
–noun, plural -ties.
1. the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind.
2. Law. such unsoundness of mind as affects legal responsibility or capacity.
3. Psychiatry. (formerly) psychosis.
4. extreme folly; senselessness; foolhardiness.

In your previous post, you may be referring to co-dependency, but that also runs a thin line with being a gatekeeper/guardian.

I'm as fierce as a pit bull when I see someone who cannot help themselves being mistreated. Not only for just my own mother and father, but for anyone. I pick and choose my battles to protect a person because I do not want to get in a cycle of co-dependency, but please be careful when throwing terms around. Insanity is pure foolhardiness in a variety of forms. Protecting a loved one for years, doesn't mean insane, it means there's a tougher love and a higher standard of when to walk away.

God bless and Merry Christmas!
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Those were very unkind comments. To judge someone as doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, calling them insane? That's rather inflamatory and judgmental, and the "blessings" incongruous. Good thing God's in control, and not Job's friends.

As Guardian, the court has given me the authority to act in my parent's best interests. That sometimes includes hiring others to care for them and meet their needs, which I have done on numerous occasions. Still, I'm ultimately responsible for their care, and answer to the court (and God) for everything done, not my peers.

Thanks to all who are objective and have offered constructive suggestions. For those of you who have to deal with difficult situations, let this be a lesson. Just because we love someone and try to help, you know it's not always welcome. And even when we are doing a fabulous job (kudos from our previous Probate Judge and Registrar), there are sometimes uninformed outsiders who will criticize our efforts. Avoid them.

I thank God that he has entrusted me with the care of my parents. Mom will never appreciate that, but God knows everything my husband and son and I have done to bring him glory. Just because an elder complains does not mean it's legitimate, as any reasonable observant person knows. Having had to deal with a difficult parent possessing limited comprehension helps us understand others who lack comprehension as well. Unless you've had to care for someone with a serious mental incapcitation, please refrain from judgmental attitudes and criticisms. (Especially when one is grieving.) Part of the problem, at times, is dealing with those who just don't get it, and are often cruel in their observations and assessments.

I thank God for the ability to persevere even in the midst of trials and difficulties. He has wonderfully provided help in time of need, and blessed us with encouraging supporters along the way. There have been many on this site who have shared their experience, strength and hope, and have been comforting (as God calls us to do). I thank God for the many professionals who have come along beside us, to help with the Caregiving journey. From Physicians to Social Workers, our Michigan State Police Trooper ally and friend, godly Pastoral counseling, and the wonderful friends God brought our way. I am thankful that knowldegeable professionals have counseled us in dealing with Mom and Dad, and guided us along the path. I am also thankful for the supportive family who not only stand beside us during the difficult times, but provide assistance when needed. One in particular, God used to send us a tangible gift, truly unexpected, and most certainly a blessing from God. So, if God be for us, who can be against us???

Many have tried to talk with mother, from counselors, Social Workers, and other professionals, and those who have tried to help her have all failed. She consistently alienates those with whom she disagrees, and seems to disagree with everyone who doesn't share her convoluted opinions. Even today, her own husband complains to the nurses about her. The nursing home staff documents every incident, but don't worry much, because she so rarely visits. His Physician has suggested limited supervised visits by her, but cannot stop her, short of some catastropic incident, and due process. They expect me, as Guardian to make that call, but I will not, and I have put it back on them. After all, as client, and my Dad's Guardian and advocate, I have entrusted him to their care, and it is their responsibility to make sure no harm comes to him. So, they watch and redirect, as much as one can in this situation. Dad has found the ultimate escape into a world of limited contact and comprehension. And he is safe from Mom's abuse and the harmful effects of her neglect. I can't shield him from everything, and cannot change the way Mom behaves with him. For that we continually pray.

But even though we struggle, my heart is still tender toward Mom. I forgive her over and over for all the hurts and heartaches she's created. It baffles me how one can be so hard-hearted and bitter. Actions have consequences, and she is reaping what she has sown. She has no clue what she is missing, as she has somewhat alienated her only other daughter, as well. Little does Mom realize her youngest covets the only thing remaining: her possessions, concluding there may never be a healthy relationship between them. We grieve the losses she created by her own hand while she yet lives. Still, we pray for our mother, that God would change her heart and mind. I am not beyond praying for one more miracle.
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Mitzipinkie, I guess that is why I suggested letting go. If someone is narcissistic they won't change because you want them to. In fact, one of the best strategies in the world to deal with people who have mental illness is to detach with love. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Now I know that this thread is all about Secret's problem, so I hope and know you will pray for her. Regardless of what anyone thinks sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways, that goes for having a challenging personality for a parent. Maybe that is part of G*d's plan too.

Blessings to SS - and all the prayer warriors on this site
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