I quit my job to care for my mother with dementia. Now she is telling everyone I'm worthless because I don't work. How can I handle this?

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I have been taking care of my mom for over two years. I had to quit my career to take care of her 24/7 - my siblings have shown up two times since she moved in here; furthermore, they do not even call to see how mom is doing, nor do they show up for holidays - my brothers and sisters live within 20 minutes of my house AND they are frequently near my house (they have businesses and property near me). This has put a big strain on my marriage and my relationship with my husband and kids. At first I felt blessed to be able to let my mom move in with me, even though I would sacrifice a great career to be able to care for her (she has dementia). But after two years of hearing her talk nothing but good things about my brothers and sisters (according to her they are the most wonderful children in the world) and having my neighbors and friends tell me that she is telling them that I am worthless because I do not work, I have had enough. I am crying almost everyday; my migraines have returned, and I now have a host of stress related health issues. I understand she has an illness. I have asked her if she wants to go somewhere else to live, but she tells me she is happy here with us. Has anyone else faced this type of situation? How do you handle it? None of my brothers or sisters want her in their house. I don't feel right putting her somewhere, but I don't know how much longer I will be able to care for her or myself, for that matter. Also, I have periodically ran into people I grew up with and they were surprised to hear that I took let her come live with me, considering they tell me they remember how she treated me as the black sheep of the family, even as a very young child (by the way I am the oldest child - she was in her mid 30s when she had me). I just tell them that she is still my mother, no matter how bad she treated me growing up.

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NGE, your screen name concerns me. Not good enough? Why are you still viewing yourself through her eyes? It sounds to me as if you mother has emotionally abused you all your life, and is continuing to do so today. You seem to be at the end of your rope, which is understandable, considering what she is putting you through. You must protect yourself, your home, your marriage, and your relationship with your own children. Your home is your home. Your mother can still receive excellent care in an Assisted Living Facility that has a Memory Care or Dementia unit, or a good nursing home. Don't go by what she says; that she does not want to move out of your house. Of course she doesn't. She gets to live there for free and trash-talk you all she wants, while slowly destroying your marriage and your life. Don't spend one minute thinking about what your siblings will think. This is not about them at all. It is about you doing right by your mom (putting her in a good home) and saving yourself. If they want to get all high and mighty with you, tell them to put their money where their mouths are, and take her into their own homes as you did all this time, and see how fast they shut up. If you lose your health, your husband, or your relationship with your own children, then what? Pick up the phone today and make an appointment to tour ALFs and nursing homes in your area, and then consult an elder law attorney (first consultations are almost always free) for the best way to go about making these changes. Remember: your home is YOUR home. Why are you letting your mother run your home? Your household belongs to you and your husband. She lives there only because you allow it. She is abusive to you and backstabs you. You can save yourself and still do right by her by putting her in a good ALF or nursing home. Consult a good elder law attorney, and take steps today to save yourself, your health, and your marriage.
I hope you look at Floridian's post and know that while we want to support caregivers, sometimes that support is saying your parent is way over the boundries and you need to take care of yourself. If your mom is there because of dementia this will only get worse. She needs professionals, you need your life and take care of yourself, marriage and family. Please let us inow what how you are doing.
nge: (I hope, too, that you will consider changing your screen name...makes us sad.) I think Floridian and deb said it all....start working on these changes now because everything seems to take longer than you think.
You also have to remember that our parents grew up in a different time when there were only bad nursing homes available. Now, there is "tiered" care. Your mom may not need much right now, but as things get worse she would not have to move to a different facility....she would stay right there.
I know that a lot of your mom's nastiness is the dementia talking. But it does not make it any easier. She does not get to rule your life, your marriage, your family, or career. If you are a person of faith, the bible says that we have to care for our parents. It does not say that we have to sacrifice our health or accept unreasonable demands.
Take the steps listed above and start taking trips to see some of the ALFs in your area. Many of them are taking on more mentally and physically challenged residents than they used to. I was surprised and how nice they are and what nice people work there. Consider this too, everything your Mom needs is under one roof: meals, medical care, hair salons, activities, transport to appts., memory care, and opportunities for social interaction. Does that sound like a bad place to you?
Thank you all for your responses. I am sorry that my screen name makes everyone sad, but when you feel like a failure, it seems fitting. But since today is the first day of the rest of my life, I am changing my screen name (out with the old, in with the new). Growing up I had the most negative self image, and after moving out and being on my own, I learned to love myself and I had a great self image. It hurts knowing that I put myself back into a bad situation. Yesterday I prayed most of the day for help and I woke up today with a better sense of what is happening. Today I started working on me and my happiness (sounds so selfish). Because of my faith, it is hard for me not to take care of my mom, so I am starting spiritual counseling to help me handle it. Thank you all, again for your support. I will keep you updated.
I'm glad that you are getting spiritual counseling, but given the dynamics of your family I would seriously recommend a trained therapist as well. Working on yourself and your happiness is not selfish. The feelings of being selfish come from the emotional blackmail games that your mother has played on you, and possibly even using religion, via the big three, i.e. F.O.G., that is Fear of making mom angry, Obligation to take care of her the way she wants to be taken care of even if it destroys everyone and everything else in her path and Guilt for not doing so. You are a victim of years of abuse and I'm glad that today you have decided that you will survive. BTW, nowhere in the Bible does it say we have to personally take care of our elderly family members ourselves nor in our homes. Plus, honor your father and mother does not mean as adult children we revert to little kids and obey everything they say. Nor does the Bible teach to put one's parents ahead of one's spouse and children, but in fact says the opposite. I wish you well as you deal with all of this. I would also recommend the book Boundaries in Marriage which has a good chapter on dealing with elderly parents while keeping your marriage intact.
Abuse victims feel guilt and shame because the abuser shifts their guilt and shame onto the victim. They also are very often afraid to abandon the abuser because the abusing person has instilled their own fear of abandonment into the victim, be they child or spouse. For a victim to leave the abuser, in their minds, is to admit weakness or defeat when in fact the exact opposite is true.

I Will Survive, you did not deserve the abuse you experienced as a child nor do you deserve the abuse you and your family are experiencing from your mother now. You are not weak nor are you a failure! Don't waste the emotional energy being angry at yourself for not standing up for yourself like this earlier. Know this, you did not make your mother the way she was when you were a child nor how she is now. You can't fix her to finally be the mother that she never was. Nor can you control her problems. Very likely, she's a personality disorder that was never diagnosed long ago. I also think it would be good to read either Children of the Self-Absorbed or Surviving the Borderline Parent. The only thing you really have control of is yourself and the choice of putting yourself on a healthy path which it sounds like now you have done with your new title I Will Survive. You will more than survive. You will thrive and get your life back. Your marriage will get its life back and your family will get their life back. I hope they all understand that you have been lost in the F.O.G. for over 2 years. This was not a battle that they could have fought for you, but one only you yourself, as you are doing, can stand up and fight. Stay on this healthy path regardless of what your mom does or does not do in reaction.
i know exactly how you feel, im there with my dad. 'poor poor bill' he actually calls himself to people. i raised one kid, when i moved here i had no idea id have to raise an 85 years old! hes still sharp on some things, like setting me up tp complain to people about me. im so getting done with this, everyone in my family and what i HAD of friends thinks im so mean to poor poor bill, well, why wont they take him for a few days and cut me a break! im in so much pain from my back and legs right now, i just want to get in my car and go.no look back, just down the road. ive been superwoamn long enough!! im tired im in pain, and im sick of crying...sick of trying to get this house up to code by myself with him sabatogging me! apperently this time hes mad because i was able to fix the trash compactor. excuse me for not being a preWW11 machinist, im just a stupid girl that went online and saved him money by not having to have a repairman fix his 40+ year old compator that should be tossed anyway..so today, he has been making it a point to spill koolaid and 'drop' strawberrys and candy behind furniture so id have to bend and strech to clean, oh no, nice guy that he is bellowed at me hed clean it up, so he grabs a vacumn.. terrific. we've had that talk too, your not supposed to vacum things like feces, sticky foods, etc... so hes on the phone telling who he thinks is his girlfriend,( shes my age, shes not into him like that and tells him so often) how he has been nonstop cleaning, and all i did when i came back from grocery shopping was yell at poor poor bill...i came home from the grocery store with the kitchen table/chairs everything in the living room!! when i asked why he moved the furniture, because he was 'a whipping boy that mopped the floors and now their wet...'poor poor bills fixing to loose his maid...
when hes bored, he picks on me like that and im so tired of that mess, then i get the 'cut me a break, im still your dad' im thinking ' act like it please then!!' i keep my tounge to myself, but im tired of going in my room and crying and my face all swollen, this is crazy..it would be one thing if he really didnt know what hes doing, but ill overhear him telling jokes about 'some dumb foriegn maid'; but telling a wrong version of what he did to me...its not fair, i know caregiving isnt fair, but if its this bad and mean now, im not looking forward to him later! in his mind now hes just playing a prankster, but im in real pain here, its not funny.the last time i went to the beach for a few days, the house was trashed, of course, so i clean.at first he seems appreciative, until he meets a woman at the lodge he thinks likes him.. now its operation 'get rid of baggage', namely me....im happy to go....i wish he would fid someone else to do my job here!!
Sebring: do not wait for your dad to make these decisions...he never will. Decide what is best for you, then do it. It may take time, but that's okay. Toxic people come in all kinds of disguises...sometimes they even look like family.
its like im came into this him seeing me as the enimy, somebody thats trying to take over so fight! and im really not, certain things are simple,if it works, if it doesnt work, dont yell at me until it does! im not a person that likes to be around fighting, especially when it doesnt have to be so hard! the changes i have done here hes actually liked, and theyve been for the better. but if im not constant compliments telling how super great he is, then im a mean nasty person and dont understand why he wants me here, but only to complain about? im not a high self esteem gal in the first place, i can keep myself ok for the most part here, but when im in a lot of pain its a double 'kick when when im down'. i dont need anybody telling me in good, in fact, it would freak me out if anybody ever did, ive never had compliments TO thrive on, but on that same hand, im not one to gush 'your so great,you are the only smart person in the world' junk, i got too much to do! im very good at trying to talk, making my point by waiting for that split second of he maybe listning to me, but he KNOWS when hes being mean, i just dont get why he'd want to be mean to me when i do all hes asked of me and beyond! nobody else is here cleaning,cooking, shopping, but me. i just feel like if people belive him and think im so horrible, then aint nobody gonna be shocked when i leave...i dont know... he doesnt even have to give me a kind word, just dont be super cruel when im in so much pain. if i goto the docs, theyre gonna keep me at least a few days, who will care for my dog? the house? God only knows what id come back to.not to mention the huge doc bill.i have no insurance.being unhealthys not an option.but my bodys starting to tell me different.im 43 stuffs breaking down.
Congratulations, I will survive, I like the new name a lot. We are survivors and you are moving forward. ( I am so tech challenged I probably couldn't change my name if I wanted).

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