Does the guilt ever end?


I am the caregiver for my mom. Mom= my biological aunt that helped raise me because my mother abandoned me. She has multiple chronic diseases and has lived with me for the past 9 years. It has been 9 years and a rollercoaster of emotions and health scares. I am experiencing burn out and exhaustion. Anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia. No other family to help besides my husband. It is wearing on him and our relationship. I am considering NF permanently but I feel guilty. I feel like I'm abandoning her the way my biological mother abandoned me when I was a kid. I love her and will continue to care for her just not in home, but I just feel so bad. Some days I don't feel like I have the energy to take care of myself. I feel like I've run out of energy and options.

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You've run out of energy and that is not a fault issue. That's just the facts. Its like when a car has no more gas in it... are you going to blame the car for no longer running? Low energy may be a long pattern going through the ages of your genes. You can't blame yourself for this. I'm adopted and have noticed so many broken r'ships in my own biological family going back generations - you have to wonder whether the energy pattern is bigger than us.  Look into your own health.  Take care of you.

I get the guilt -- I think we all do. It's a heart-wrenching decision, and wrought with self-doubt for so long afterward. With that said, I too felt exhausted all the time, couldn't focus, gained 20 pounds, and just felt awful, for at least a year. I chalked it all up to taking care of Dad, his house and 'stuff,' grandkids, and sibling dynamics. Turns out my TSH (thyroid test) was 10 times the highest normal range. I should have had it checked earlier, and I was definitely headed for disaster. I'm still adjusting -- just started meds a few months ago -- but I know Dad would have been devastated if he thought I let my own health go to care for him.

Ashajia: jeannegibbs gave blunt, but beautiful advice. Yeah, guilt goes with the territory. Please try to focus on answering this one question: what is in the best interest for your mother? Answer that honestly. If you answer the nursing home, that's what's in HER best interest. Then your manner of caregiving shifts to visiting often, ensuring her good care, and helping her any way you can, such as handling her affairs. These are significant efforts!

You have run out of options. You have to take the sensible one that is left. A care facility. That will be much better for Aunt/Mom than being looked after by a burned-out, exhausted layperson who isn't trained in this kind of care. In fact, to continue keeping her from getting the best care available to her just so you wan't feel guilty is pretty selfish, don't you think?

So, your options are to feel guilty for putting her in a care center for professional care
To feel guilty for preventing her from getting the best care to her at this time.

Which guilt sounds more appealing? Sigh. Guilt seems to go with caregiving. It is unearned guilt, of course, but it still feels awful. Since you can't escape the guilt (some counselling might help) you might as well make the decision based on what is best for each of you.

I know you do not mean to insult the many of us who placed a loved one for professional care, but calling that "abandonment" is really pretty critical. My sisters and I placed our mother in a nursing home. There is no way on this planet that we abandoned her.

You'd only be abandoning Aunt/Mom if that is what you decide to do. It sounds like you plan on continuing your love and care and advocating for her.

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