I feel so guilty.

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I love my Mom so much, I don't think she is in bad shape but in no way can I leave her alone. she has a caregiver so I can go to work in the day. I'm either at work or with Mom, I feel like I'm a very selfish person, I have pretty much been alone from the age 20 - now but 2 years ago Mom came to live with me, I did get married for the first time at 53 but its not a normal marriage, we have mom and a special needs son that is 22, he is a joy to have around but sometimes I have the pity party come on and it makes me feel so bad, like I'm a terrible person. My house is tiny and there is not much of a chance that this situation will change soon so we are all cramped into a tiny house walking all over each other, I can't keep it clean because there are so many people, her care giver tries to help but he is handy capped so other than cooking he can't do to much to help but she just loves his company. I want to scream most of the time and all I feel is guilt. I'm either at work or home with Mom, its getting harder to get her to go places so we usually stay in the house. I do have a sister, she originally was going to take care or at least help take care of my mom, now I get every excuse in the world as to why she can't help. I was told when this originally happened that it was best for mom to stay with her due to the support group up there, most of my family live there and I'm the only one here. My sister refused to get Mom help and so many things were happening, she actually came home to mom with a huge black eye and had no idea what had happened, so when I confronted her about not getting proper care she claimed that she did not need it and she could not cover it up. Mom refuses to admit that anything is wrong so we have to dodge the issue and make up reasons why someone is there, its very easy to do but its just another way my sister gets out of helping. I usually do well, but every once in a while I loose it and go off on my sister. Then she tells me how awful I am to her and how I think I'm the only one that does anything. she will tell me stuff like, when I had her I could not do anything wright for you so now you have to do it all. Again just an excuse, I don't know how to deal with all the guilt my sister has more or less told me that its me or a home and if you knew my mom to put her in a home is a death sentence, she is very reserved, shy in a way and very needy when it comes to her kids and family, we were raised that you take care of your family and I truly believe that but you would think that you own sister would help out. she has agreed only because I tricked her to take mom home to see her granddaughter graduate for 2 weeks but OH that took a lot of arguing. My sister even tells me stuff like, meet me at Moms house and I will allow you to go to Gatlinburg for your honeymoon for a few days, its comical (NOT) on her end, she knows that I won't put mom in a home so its like she can pull all the strings just like I'm her puppet. I even get list of stuff not to forget to do, don't forget her taxes, bank, ect its mind blowing. How do you over come the guilt. Like I said, this will continue because she knows that if she dose not do anything I will continue to take care of it all. Its really annoying when you are in this situation and your sister tells you that she is exhausted and can't wait to go on her vacation, in the mean time you are worrying your self to death and have issues getting out of bed every morning, She also makes comments like this can go on for Years!!!! mom is very healthy, in a way its a good thing because I know that if she is not with me its only because something terrible has happened and I do not what anything to happen to her but I just feel so taken advantage of and to try and discuss this with my sister is like beating your head into a brick wall. I'm suppost to act like everything is fine when my cousins and friends are around and she even ask me yesterday why my cousin has not spoke to her in a while that she said DID YOU TURN HER AGAINST ME!!!! of course not, I don't say anything to anyone, but they do approach me on this and I just have to keep my mouth shut. I have been ask over and over, we though you and your sister were going to split the time with your mom, How come we have noticed that your sister never has her and even though you just got married and have your hands full she is always with you. I just say well she likes it here. any advice on how to deal with this situation? I don't feel its fair that I should have the whole burden especially just being married and trying to adjust to married life.

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Thank you, you have made a lot of sense. I really appreciate your comment.
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Of course it isn't fair. Life isn't fair. If it were, your Mom would not need caregiving, and the young man would not have special needs.

As far as I can see, you are not being unfair (except perhaps to yourself) and are not contributing to the general unfairness of the situation. So why are you the one feeling guilty?

Please do not speak ill of your sister to others, but simply tell the truth. "I thought your sister was going to help you." "Sis seems to have changed her mind." Don't make excuses for her or talk against her or try to explains it. "Gee Cousin Mary, I don't really know the situation. Perhaps you should talk to Sis directly." Don't try to turn anyone against her, just get out of the role of defending her or making excuses for her. You are doing the caregiving alone. People can see this. Don't deny it -- that just adds to your frustration.

Next, detach yourself from your sister. Not completely and not so you never talk to her. Just reduce the chances of conflict with her. The reality is for purposes of taking care of Mom you are an only child. Behave as you would if you were literally an only child.

Then, who has power of attorney (financial and medical) for your mom? It certainly sounds as if you should have both.

About you and your feelings -- you may benefit from talking to an objective third party who can help you shed the unearned guilt feelings and support you in your decision making. Please see a counselor, preferably one who is experienced in caregiver issues.

The household situation may need to change in the future. But one step at a time. First get yourself in a strong, healthy mindframe so you can make decisions that are objectively sound instead of being driven by guilt and other messy emotions.
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