Boundaries...we all learn how important they are in family caregiving....

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Have you received strange reactions from your problem relatives such as Narcissists, Sociopaths, Borderline Personality Disorders...tell your stories!

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This is so helpful I thought I was the only one who felt like this
(3)
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I have read all the books taken courses all on boundaries but it doesn't work with my family living with my 83 year old sister is draining me she is so ungrateful that no one else will help
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I set only certain times to call my parents as mom has AD and dad is the over-stressed primary caregiver at home. I feel bad for them. I do what I can to support, but cannot fix mom's condition nor can I give dad what he really wants which is to have his healthy wife back again. I have a full time job and my own family to keep together. Unless there's an urgent issue unfolding, they only get me for 20 minutes a day after my work day ends. It's hard when dad keeps calling my cell each day leaving voice mails "call back, we want to hear from you". Like he didn't just talk to me last night? Setting time constraints is boundary #1.
Second, my older sister has always been their clear favorite. However, all she does is call out things she sees not going well and never attempts to solve. She assumes I'll jump in and do the work. Comments like "mom nails need to be cut" or "their house needs cleaning". She also complains to our parents about whatever her latest irritation is with me like she's still a 12-year old child not getting her way. Behaviors set in place years ago. So, boundary #2 is only talking to dad directly about their needs - disengaging from sibling.
These boundaries have made a huge positive impact for my peace of mind.
(7)
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After ending the relationship with my dysfunctional family I still have moments of guilt. I then have to remember all the agony from a dysfunctional family. I truly believe it sent my father to an early grave trying to keep mother happy and caring for irresponsible entitled adult children. My own children tell me they feel so much closer to me for finally seeing what they realized a long time ago. I am thankful for the folks here and take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone or need to endure my narcissistic family any longer.
(5)
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Dear Carla,

I hear you. It is a struggle. I feel I only have one mode with my mother and like you said, I don't want to be like that. I tell myself I want peace and harmony and yet I do feel a lot of resentment going back to my teen years. I keep telling myself I'm going to do better but then it feels like nothing ever changes.
(5)
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At this point, trying to set boundaries with my mother results in a total meltdown on her part. She has gradually lost a lot of her abilities - mobility, muscle strength, manual dexterity, etc., although her mental ability is mostly still there. I'm the one she trusts and relies on most, and the idea that I'm not willing to be at her beck and call seems to her to be tantamount to being cast into the outer darkness, helpless and alone. I tried to set some boundaries with her yesterday, about not being willing to wait on her hand and foot every moment that I'm in her house, and she became almost hysterical, crying about how she can't do things for herself anymore, how scared she is about the future, etc. I feel bad for her but honestly, she has a way of asking for/demanding things that really makes me feel like I'm being pushed around, maybe because she was such an overbearing parent in my childhood and youth.

I believe it's her controlling nature, that makes her feel like the world will end if she can't have exactly what she wants exactly when she wants it. She is willing to sacrifice our relationship for the comfort of knowing that I will do whatever she wants whether I like it or not. She doesn't care if I get agitated and want to kill her, but I care. I don't want to be agitated. I don't want to be pushed into being resentful. I don't know how this is going to work out.
(9)
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Great thread, HolidayEnd! Last week, I learned a lot about narcissism and how that's the reason my sisters have made my live-in caregiving a hell. I try not to talk with Sister 1 who's not happy unless she's outraged about something, usually me and outrages that she makes up. My big boundary? I've talked to both sisters that I want to go home. We're in the "just touched on this issue" stage and we'll get together tomorrow to really discuss selling Mom's house and what's to happen (may the gods help me).
(4)
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So true Blackhole. My father had kids later in life, so I was a caregiver since my teens.

My mother is famous for using guilt on us kids. I could have thrown you away, you owe me, I suffered because of you and the list goes on.

I am a desperate people please my whole life, I didn't even know what boundaries were. Constantly feeling hurt for giving too much and getting so little in return.

It's okay to say no and its okay not to want to do all the caregiving. I hope I am getting a bit better about protecting myself.
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Caregiving unearths the saddest stuff. For all parties. It is the true loss of innocence.

Slightly absurd — when you consider that most of us stepped into caregiving in middle age or later. But true nonetheless.
(7)
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My stepmom had a wonderful way of shutting down all of the people who told her what she was doing wrong to care for my dad 24/7 - his siblings, the minister of their church, friends. She would thank them heartily for their advice, grab her calendar, and ask which days they were going to come in to care for him or drive him to the doctor. They back pedaled pretty quickly and shut up. Or some actually found themselves making a commitment for an afternoon so she could get out. Unfortunately they tended to find out it wasn't so easy to care for someone with early stages of dementia (they thought he was just fine) when the lunch gets thrown to the floor when he rages about something or the same question 100 times, or......... The advice stopped.
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