How do I deal with a toxic mother with dementia without the overwhelming feeling of guilt?
My husband and I have taken care of his mother until November of last year. She didn't want to live alone, was afraid that she couldn't handle her home. So, we sold our home eight years ago and came to live with her. She has dementia, but refuses to acknowledge there are any problems-(and won't see a doctor, only sees a nurse practioner who is too busy to take the time to refer her, although he has noticed the symptoms). Over the past couple of years, things just got progressively worse. She would misplace items and then accuse me of stealing them. When we would find the missing items, she accused me of hiding them to make her think she was crazy. Then, she started giving things away (sending them to her other son, David, a convicted sexual predator who lives in Washington) then accusing not only me, but my husband of stealing from her. The other son, David, has stolen from her repeatedly over the years; even broke into her home while she was attending the funeral of her 2nd husband. I have never met the other son-(in 18 years of marriage), but know how he has treated both his mother and my husband.
10 years ago, she was terrified that she would "lose her mind", as her mother had, and become easy pickings for her other son. She took steps to ensure that she would not fall victim to David-(changed the will and signed over house to my husband) but neglected the important stuff, like medical POA. Now, she is in constant contact with David, sending him money almost daily-(she used to send money orders, now she wires money). He is obviously trying to suck her dry. In the meantime, WE are the one being accused of taking advantage of her!!
SO, in November of last year, we moved out. Emotionally, I was worn out and the stress was taking a physical toll on me. While packing, she picked up a bat and tried to hit my husband with it. She was furious that he would leave her. We then made an appointment with Adult Protective Services to try to stop David from taking advantage of her. They were of no help at all.
So, fast forward 8 months. Several months ago, she starting leaving ranting messages on my husbands phone-(she was going to sue us for trying to make her think she was crazy). We struggled with what she said her wishes were 10 years ago; not wanting to be another of David's victims. Now, her wishes are to take care of David. After meeting with a counselor who said that even if she was crazy, she had the right to do whatever she wants, we signed the house back over to her and have had no contact with her.
This situation suits me just fine. She has always been a bitter, mean woman. However, this is my husband's mother and he struggles every day with this enormous guilt that he is allowing his mother to be taken advantage of and he feels that he should be caring for her. He was hoping that if she saw that he want nothing from her, she would realize that he acts out of love and responsibilty for her.
I know I am rambling/venting a bit. I was just curious if anyone else has been in this situation. If they have been, how do you maintain distance without feeling this overwhelming guilt? IS there an answer?