My mom has been gone since September. I have only spoken to her twice on the phone. It’s awkward. My brother changed her phone number because he’s a bully. They didn’t give it to me. My calls weren’t even going to voicemail, so I figured the number had been changed. I had to get it from my brother’s son, my godson.
I will no longer justify their behavior. I’m not interested in beating a dead horse anymore or setting myself up for more disappointment, anxiety and depression.
I’m still hurting and angry for being threatened with elder abuse from my brothers because I set boundaries and she wanted everything her way. She always pitted my brothers against me and I did everything in the world for her. She lived in my home for nearly 15 years.
I will not open the door back up on the toxic relationship with my brothers. Therefore I am not interested in going to my brother’s house to see her because he will attack or degrade me. I know my brother. He was never kind to me. We have never had a good relationship.
I called mom once. Did not go well. Very awkward. Wounds too fresh. Of course, she blamed me for everything. My loser brothers do no wrong. They could criticize me but I wasn’t allowed to criticize them. Ridiculous!
Of course, I think about her. She’s my mom. I do love her. I believe she loves me in her own way. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I didn’t have feelings for her. I feel anger but I don’t harbor hatred in my heart for anyone.
There were many times that mom and I were very close. She did many special things. She was an incredible cook. She made Halloween and Mardi Gras costumes, beautiful clothes, homecoming and prom dresses and my wedding dress. She’s an excellent seamstress!
I think there will always be complications in family relationships. No one has a perfect family. I forgive her for things she truly didn’t know any better about.
I needed to know where I stand so I had my husband call last Saturday to ask her if she wanted to permanently close the door and I would respect that decision if that is what she desired. I explained to my husband that I would need closure instead of hanging in limbo if she chose not to speak to me.
She told my husband that she would speak to me. He told her that she was welcome to call me too.
So she calls today. I am struggling with my emotions. I really don’t want to hear about my brother and SIL and how wonderful they are. My God, it’s only been a couple of months. They aren’t burned out. SIL works full time. She gets away from my mom. Plus my mom isn’t going to show her true colors with them. She never has with her sons.
Mom and I have a strained relationship. Caregiving ruined our relationship. I was no longer her daughter. I was her nurse, aide, chauffeur, personal shopper, advocate, cook, laundry attendant, kept her room tidy, etc. I did everything that needed to be done!
Any advice from others would be appreciated.
I am just wondering if the phone conversations will become civil in time or if they just need to cease. Like I said, I am struggling to sort through my feelings. I would never be a primary caregiver ever again. It wasn’t the right choice for me. No offense to anyone that it has been the right choice in their lives. We all have different situations.
I would never, ever want my daughters to be in this position. I never want them as a caregiver to me.
I’m leaving out hurtful details because I don’t want to rehash it in my mind. Just too exhausting.
Okay, I will bring this up in my next appointment. Thanks. Appreciate your help.
Good idea about the notes but also feel like my brother may intercept the mail. Unfortunately, he and I have issues. Don’t even know if he would give her anything that I mailed. He’s spiteful and a ‘know it all.’ He assumes crap. He’s always been a thorn in my side.
Yeah, the telephone conversations (only two short conversations, maybe five minutes) were very awkward.
Ditto for me with my sibs. They never showed any respect for me. Was so annoying!
Yeah, they did what they had to do. Your mom was a survivor. That’s for sure!
We do love our moms. That doesn’t mean that we don’t later recognize things that effected us.
Our kids will most likely find flaws with our parenting. All parents make mistakes just like kids do. None of us are perfect. Not even perfectionist moms! Hahaha
But be that as it may I'm now struggling to overcome that standard she set.
Oh gosh, I have felt those things. Perfectionist moms can screw us up.
Did you read Lealonnie’s posting? She went through the perfectionist mom too. Super perfectionist!
I've also realized that to move forward I have to let my family go cause I'll always be frozen in time at age fifteen to them. No matter what I try to achieve they'll never recognize it or acknowledge it and I have to learn to let go of even caring whether they do or not. It's hard.
Barb....I think it's super scary for NHWM to acknowledge the abuse she's suffered because that will permanently tarnish the Mother image that SHOULD be but never was. Once something is acknowledged, it becomes Real and shatters a dream forever. A little at a time is how she needs to let the reality seep in, methinks. She doesn't have to be bitter or hold hatred in her heart afterwards, if she grieves this loss properly. She just has to come out WHOLE and no longer broken, looking for a mother who never was, or will be, who she needed.
I was lucky in an odd way, me, because I was adopted. My mother never stopped saying how she was cheated out of having children "of her own", yet insisted I was chosen and she loved me, etc. The message I took out of it was that I was second choice....not good enough or what she truly wanted. That, in turn, allowed me to disassociate myself from her and stop expecting her to be "motherly". She'd never give me what I needed, and I'd never be what she needed, so that was that. It's what saved my sanity. And here I am at 62, and here she is at 93, and I'm still caring for her and it's still not good enough and I'm still not good enough but it's okay. Because I'm happy with who I am as a person and haven't allowed HER hateful venom to turn ME into a hateful venomous person myself. So I win, in the end, even though I lost so much along the way.
I so get what you are saying! I have actually prayed at times to forget certain memories. I really have. You know, you think you have it under control, then go to sleep and have the weirdest dreams, sometimes nightmares. They say lucid dreams are helpful. Well, maybe so. Sometimes I wake up drained though instead of rested.
I can’t argue with anything you said. I really can’t. So sad about your friend. Boy, that’s an important lesson for all of us to read about, isn’t it? She could teach us a thing or two.
I think in my own way I was trying to be my own version of Mother Teresa.
You know, how she said, “I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no love in me, and I bring justice, not peace, to those around me.”
Whenever I wanted total solace, I would visit an adoration chapel and read all of her writings, along with some of the writing of famous saints in our church. I found inspiration and comfort. I now see it wasn’t necessarily my path to follow though. All I can say is I was desperately trying to find my place in this world.
I admire Mother Teresa but I can’t say that I believe her words are for everyone. Even deacons and priests have said that not all of us are called or capable of being a Mother Teresa.
I was drawn to her because I viewed her as the ‘ultimate caregiver.’
It’s interesting because she was born into nobility and chose to help the poor, sick and disabled. It was a true calling, for her. Not me! I tried for years to force myself. It made me miserable. My family suffered as a result. That is my biggest regret. I think about it realistically now. Mother Teresa wasn’t married with children! Big difference.
For me, trying to live out her beliefs nearly killed me. I mean, it really flattened me!
Actually, Mother Teresa lived with severe depression. She hid it on purpose because she only wanted people to see the face of Jesus. I get that but even Jesus didn’t hide his suffering. He also allowed help. He fell with his heavy cross three times and others stepped in to help.
So, needless to say, I no longer believe “Give until it hurts.” It wasn’t applicable for me.
Another nun that I greatly admire has a more realistic approach that helped me a lot more. She said, “God does not call us to be doormats.”
Each of us have to find our own truth. Sometimes we are inspired by others. Sometimes we need help finding our way. Sometimes it takes getting lost before finding our way. Ah, that would be me, right? I need to stay on track. My track, instead of being so concerned about my mom’s path.
Unhealthy conditioning does a lot of damage. It really does.
You know I always wondered why growing up I felt lonely and withdrew a lot and then when everyone started moving out and it was just myself and my younger brother I started to dread family get togethers because I would always be so depressed for weeks afterwards. It wasn't hard to put two and two together to figure out why. No one ever gives compliments in my family. I always thought that was weird. They tell you right away if they think your hair looks bad or they don't like the outfit you are wearing but no compliments. Nope, none. Not that I'm looking for compliments but you would think. I spend a lot of time thinking about things that were said and done through the years and it's no wonder I have low self-esteem.
Now since my mom has passed unless I have to see them I don't. I avoid them which isn't hard cause no one really tries to keep in touch unless it's Christmas or there's a family emergency. I also spend a lot of time feeling guilty for how I feel about them. So it's not a happy time of year for me thinking about Christmas coming up cause I truly don't want to spend time with them and I don't care for my in-laws either so it's a coin toss who I'm going to have to bring myself to see on the big day. I don't want to deprive my husband from socializing at Christmas time so I have to choose.
It is exhausting rehashing details in your mind. I agree. I wish I could unplug my brain. I wish I could forgive and forget. I know it's the Christian thing to do. But.......sigh!
Yeah, you used the right word, ‘spiteful.’ That’s exactly what it is. Spite, revenge and just plain mean, right? Same here, I have zero desire to have a relationship with my brothers.
I don’t know if there are solutions to these situations except avoidance or strict limitations. Also, speaking for myself, to let go of dreams.
My tolerance level went down to zero. I hit my threshold of pain, that’s for sure. I ran out of patience. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.
I finally realized I would never be a miracle worker and be able to fix things. I had to surrender. I always thought only the weak surrender. Boy was I wrong. It took strength to let go.
You know, Jada. Two things saved me as a kid. I was that idealist, free spirit kind of kid that escaped with music and poetry. If I wasn’t listening to music, I was at the library reading poetry. Or going to poetry readings.
I love what T. S. Eliot said in his Ash Wednesday poem.
Teach us to care and not care
I was that ‘deep thinking’ kid. Always searching...
They manipulated you and made you give up your job and your pension, which is making your DH work extra years. Which, frankly, will shorten his life.
They stole years and joy from your parenting of your girls.
They stole your time from you.
Your mother refused to accept that you had limitations; when you tried to set healthy boundaries (thought to hire caregivers, get some time for you and your family), she incited your brothers to attempt to bring charges against you.
(She is manipulating your brother and SIL the same way, with tears; if they get tough and present a facility, I'm SURE you'll hear from her about how abusive they are being).
Yes, she has Parkinson's. It's a sad disease. One of my friends, in her early 70s, in now in a wheelchair. She cared for her spiteful, narcissistic mother who lived to be 100; she NEVER said, "mom, enough is enough; I can't do this any more".
So, now, at age 71, she is wheelchair bound; gave up her teaching career and has little in the way of financial resources...you get the picture.
Your mom lived a full, healthy life with your father and everyone else catering to her whims.
No one, my dear, is going to take care of you and your family except you. Please try to stop making excuses for the folks who abused you.
I am so sorry to hear what you’re going through & my thoughts & prayers go out to you. I understand how you’re feeling because I’m in a similar situation.
I used to be close to my mother & brother but he has turned her totally against me for spiteful reasons. I haven’t spoken to him in over 2 years & have no desire to ever have a relationship with him again.
If you ever find a way to have some peace in your life & not think of all the hurt they caused you please let me know how to do it because I’m looking for the same thing.
hugs to you! 😘
Last I heard from my godson was that they were going to keep her there. Mom was crying about being placed in a facility.
She is getting weaker. She has Parkinson’s disease which as you know is an ugly progressive disease in it’s latter stages. Every time the commercials come on with the elderly falling I have to change the channel because I start thinking about her falling. The falls were horrible. She has a walker, suppose they could put her in a wheelchair later. Who knows what they will do?
I don’t think they realize what they are dealing with. I suppose she will qualify for hospice when her care becomes unmanageable. A facility is the only manageable option if hospice isn’t available. I liked the end of life hospice facility that my brother was in. The nurses, social worker and chaplain were all good.
I know that my SIL is not planning on leaving her job. I don’t blame her. She already has 18 years at her job and she is working towards getting her pension pay.
They didn’t care that I had to leave my job.
Your brother and SIL might be able to hold things together knowing that this is a temporary situation, and also because they've hired caregivers to look after mom. How lovely that they're all getting along so famously, isnt it?
Think about what your response will be when it starts to fall apart and mom starts to stir the pot. "Having you move in here doesn't work for me, Mom" might be the best response.
I know you are right. I have to stop my knee jerk reaction. She may not even be telling me everything. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone could be happy at my brother’s house. His own sons avoid him like the plague.
Were you stunned when you heard your mom was happy with your alcoholic siblings? Geeeez, that is mind blowing! I’m glad you were able to let go. I desire to achieve that level of peace in my life.
Thank you for your kindness and encouragement. I do find doing things that I enjoy daily helps me so much. It doesn’t have to be big things either.
I suppose that I appreciate all the things I missed out on before more than most people because I don’t take them for granted. I can take a walk and watch a squirrel run in the park and I smile. I can see and hear children laughing and playing in the park. That brings back memories of playing with my kids in the park.
I do need to remind myself that everything wasn’t great when I get sad over missing the good things. We hear things like don’t dwell on the negative. Clearly, I need to be more observant of reality and be more aware of the triggers that cause me pain. Thanks for this reminder.
You can have a good life without seeing your Mom.
If you go no contact, by your own choices, remind yourself
that it was her, not you, that hurt the relationship irreparably
when you were young. No need to rehearse what those things were. You may not be perfect or even blameless, no one is! AND, no need to let her know you are breaking all ties.
But the things she said were lies about you. Don't believe them.
Longing for toxic abuse from a parent can keep you stuck and in pain.
Your mother's love is broken, she cannot really love anyone, imo.
She may view you as only an extension of herself. And you have broken free. Good for you!
Here is an idea for you. Take a wonderful break from your inner thoughts daily, and just sit with the healing that is taking place in you with every tick of the clock, 30 minutes of peace to you, daily.
So. At some point, the family of the OCD perfectionist has to make a choice: we must choose OURSELVES or THEM. Can't have both. I chose, long ago, to protect MYSELF from the sheer madness, and moved out at 18 years old. Made the decision to NEVER take my mother into my home as an adult, under ANY circumstances, and never have (and never will). Self preservation is a huge necessity with women like this..............it's them or it's us.
You were stuck in the madness for a very long time. You are now OUT of the madness. You are just NOW starting to process the excruciating pain you've been through. The old saying of "Can't see the forest through the trees" applies here BIG time. While you are in the midst of the storm, you cannot see it. You have to get OUT before the truth can come through. A little at a time. If it comes too quickly, it will be overwhelming. So take it slow..........in small bites, and allow yourself the time to SEE the truth when it does come through. Don't let it bury you or send you back into the forest, begging for more pain.
For now, allow yourself to Rejoice. Celebrate. Keep talking with your therapist. Allow yourself the luxury of moving on and enjoying YOUR life. You've done enough.