Why do I still feel so much guilt after taking care of my mom who moved in 5 years ago?

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Mom moved in with us 5 years ago. She is 91 (in 9 days). Before that I drove 45 minutes several times a day to help her with step father (invalid). She is just getting old, very easy going and very very happy in my home. I think I'm getting some burnout - depressed, isolating myself, etc. I am taking very good care of her, and I love her so much...but I have this gut wrenching feeling of guilt...even I don't know why. No one in family helps...don't even come around or send cards - haven't for years - my husband is very good about her living here and he loves her too. I just don't understand what "Guilt" means or how to deal with it. I should not feel guilt, but I do.I'm giving her so much love and care and I don't resent her?? Some people call me a Saint....but I sure don't feel like one...I feel like I'm not doing enough.

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Someone, somehow put a guilt button which somehow is getting pressed. On the surface, it sounds like a therapist would be the most help in discovering what is going on with your emotions. Is there some reason that the rest of the family has abandoned her to your care?

Possibly some are calling you a saint because of how sacrificial you are being. Driving 45 minutes several times a day sounds extreme. I worry if this sainthood phrase is not a more positive spin for martyrdom. To me it sounds like you are already burned out and are about to burn up like a Christian martyr at the stake about to get roasted. If you have done all of the caregiving you can realitically give in light of your own health and circumstances (which it sure sounds like) then it is ok to look for ways to change your situation because no one expects you to be a 'super daughter' who sacrifices herself on the altar of caring for her aging mother. That's unrealistic and discounting you too are a person of worth with needs for a life as well unless you don't think your own needs matter. Feeling like your own needs don't really or should not really matter but feeling burnout, depressed and isolated are all such a confused mixture which understandibly creates a sense of guilt. However, if this is the kind of guilt you have, it is false guilt over not being super human which none of us are.

How does your husband and you each feel about your marriage right now?
Crowemagnum is right. Don't discount yourself and your needs. How old are you, if I may ask? Have you outright asked your siblings to take mom for a day or two and expressed your need for a break? They might think the situation is just fine because they don't hear you complaining. Have you checked into elder day care, a center your mom can go to for activities or just to be around others her own age? She could do this 2 - 3 times a week to give yourself another break.
Listen to Crowe, he has got a lot of good advise.

Don't feel as though you aren't doing enough, you are doing what needs to be done. You are doing and no one else is. Don't question why others don't help, they won't so just do what YOU need to do.

We all feel guilt at one time or another, but we work hard at getting rid of those feelings. It's the things our parents have instilled in us, unintentionally yet on purpose. We are only human and struggle with is this right, is that right.........it is all right if we are doing it.

This journey is a long one, and a lonely one but if you can find a little help via an agency for even a couple of days to enjoy yourself with your husband and some "away" time, do it, you deserve it.

You are not alone, not by a long shot but you will have to find ways to fulfill you while taking care of loved ones. YOu may have to create your world inside of moms but you can.

My mom and I garden, well I actually do the gardening mom gives the orders. I've come to enjoy this time because it is ours and even though I've lost the mother I knew, I still have her in the garden and sometimes she gives me a look that tells me she loves me, and it's those times that I get a wonderful feeling inside. Even if she follows it up with ridicule.

Don't feel guilt, just feel you're doing what needs to be done.

We're with you.
SO SORRY...typo. I drove 45 minutes several times a week. 3-4. When there I would mow the lawn, take them to lunch (ramp van with electric chair) just get them out of the house, plant flowers things like that. That was about 7-8 years ago.

Now she lives with me. I think I feel guilty because I can't make her younger - I guess I don't want to face reality.

I will be 57 this July. Marriage has always been good - lately I've been pulling away but realized it and have made changes and we are reconnecting.

Siblings (2) passed away - the one left doesn't live around here or ever call or care. He has alineated (where is the spell check) himself from us. So it is like I'm an only child...grandkids have never came around her.

I guess I just needed to vent. I'm really lucky I still have her. I am also totally freeked out about if she ever dies. Very close.
Lose that word guilt instead use fantastic and good five years is a long time and I hope you use the advice others have given esp. Crowe he is a very wise and caring man you should be very proud of yourself but you do need to do things for you some day you will done with this part of your life and if you can follow some of your own interest now you will be better off when that time comes-I am so glad I had friends from my activities when my husband was here so that when he died I was not alone-even though there were many times I had stay home I was able to get out from time to time and am a happier person now
golfbhard,

I'm so glad for your continued typing and don't worry about spell check. I"ve slautered a few words and collasped some sentence construction which is very easy to do when venting.

I'd say much of what you are expressing is part of the normal transition of facing our parent's mortality which forces us to face the reality of our own plus let's us now that we are joining the ranks of the elderly as they move on.

I am proud of you for recognizing that you had distanced yourself from your husband but now are working on reconnecting. If I were you, I would work very much on reconnecting. If he is one of those very, ultra patient and rather quiet men, his heart might be crying out for this and has been for longer than maybe he can say with words. I guess I'm trying to draw a paralell between the empty nest a couple has once the children are grown and gone, plus the empty next a couple has once elderly parents die. Those are two times that a marriage can either be awesome for each has kept connected with the other or crash for the connection was lost long ago.

Your venting has uncovered two keys to your guilt which you stated. 1. Feel guilty that you can't make her younger. 2. Possibly feeling guilty about not being able to keep her alive for the rest of your life.

Sorry, my friend, but it is not a matter of if you mother dies, but when. I'm glad that you are already face something many times we are in denial of when others can see it so clearly and I bet your husband already has this psychological road map figured out in his heart if not also in his head.

Right now, you have far too much on your plate to get in order before I'd get as bold with my encouragement as Pamela, Austin,, and Secret Sister plus others have seen me do before. I'm not a therapist, but I'd seriously take this whole delima to a trained therapist before your mother dies and for sure once she dies. I think that you are already aware of how tough a road that is before you, but know that you will make it through and that you are not alone as a daughter who has been so super close with her mother that it felt extremely alone, sometimes totally abandoned and often overwhelmingly afaiid about life without mom still on earth, but others have made it through this harder journey as well.

Keep coming here and keep wriiting!
maybe you feel guilty because you didn't take care of her before? but let me tell you...don't feel guilty because before wasn't time for you to take care of her. she could do thing for herself including living alone, but now she is with you and the present is what's important now and you are doing alone just with your husband. so don't turture yoursel mentally
Golfbhard, you sound like a good person who is doing her best. The comments from the caregivers on this thread are superb. I say "amen" to all of it. You don't have any reason to feel guilty. If anything, you need to do more for yourself, to nurture yourself. Counseling would be helpful for you, to help you get perspective. But the caregivers here are already giving you that "reality check"-----you are doing a great job....no need to feel guilty AT ALL. Just enjoy your mother while she's here with you. And come here to visit this site and talk with other caregivers.
SUZANNE:

A therapist would probably say your guilt has nothing to do with your mother. Take enough "me time" to do some deep, honest soul searching. I'm sure caring for your mother makes you feel good and is quite edifying, but it's not going to fill the void created by putting things on the backburner until you completely forgot about them. What was your life like before your mother became the focus or center of your existence?

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