I have been inspired by so many of you here and i have also read from so many of you about the burnout you all feel and because of this I've re evaluated my situation with my mum. She was diagnosed with alzheimer's recently and can no longer drive. I quickly did what i thought was right and picked her up every day,took her to shops,ect. I soon realised things weren't that simple. Mum has been quite distant to me since her and dad got divorced 10 yrs ago. I chose to have a relationship with both parents but to mum,I chose dad,not her and concequently put me in a very unflattering light to alot of people by telling alot of untruths. I would ask her to come over but she'd never turn up ect. Part of it was the dimentia but part was still her. She made my younger sister POA and executor to her will ,which my sister relished. She has control issues and is a little selfish. She has no children and a boozy partner. I told my sister i was ok with her being poa and would support her. Recently, my sister made mention she had a "spare" key card to mums accounts (which i thought was odd) ,never the less I thought it could actually come in handy in the sense that i could use it to get mums groceries sometimes instead of trampsing 3 young children and a dimentia elder round the shops-particularly at xmas. We are struggling financially and cant really afford to fork out $170 for a carton of cigarettes plus shopping ect. To my horror,sister said "no,i can't just let you use it whenever you want for anything you want". Naively, i again explained how difficult it is sometimes to take mum with 3 kids shopping(as shes never even taken mum to the shops ònce) and her response was "cant you just take her to the shops?".. . Yes, she is completely ignorant to the fact as she has no children but it set a standard of what i was to expect as mums carer -not an ounce of support at all,only critisism. My sister said she'd take a day off each week to take mum shopping and cook her meals for the week-that was 2 months ago and hasn't happen once. I also noticed mum didnt have guardianship papers in place so i printed them up and put just myself as guardian (i dont know if its normal to have just one guardian or not) as i didnt really think sister would care and she put up such a fuss about being left out that the doctor wouldnt sign them (she rang the doct and refused to agree with the papers). Ive since seen notes at mums where her brothers and my sister have rung and told her to write down "any pwr of guardian papers must have both girls names on it" and other variations. I then realized the depth of mums untruths had run through her side of the family and noone trusted or liked me. Its early days and this is already having effects on my family. Hubby also works away and is so supportive. My beautiful 2 boys have commented how much time ive spent looking after Nana and why cant someone else. Soooo, I decided (after a comlete meltdown and some emotional moments with hubby) that it wasnt important for me to have my name on any papers. My sister can do the lot and will have to step up. I can still take mum out and arrange to have time with her and the kids to ènjoy and create good memories for the kids with nan rather than only remembering shopping trips they loath. When i can,ill take mum shopping, but i cant bust my ass and let my family suffer. If i was going to get support from family,it'd be different. This is a loooong road were on and its only going to get harder. I feel like ive chosen my family OVER my mum and feel just awful yet at the same time I know I've made the right choice to step back. How so many of you care permenantly for years is a true testament to your strenght. Has anyone else ever done this. Im still feeling quite awkward about my decision.
I cut ties to save my kids the hurt.
You are doing the right thing for you and your family. Be strong. They will kick and struggle once they realize you mean it. They will use every tactic in the book. It will get crazy. In the next year, you are going to hear every lie in the book to get your attention. Some will be obvious, some won't. The biggest lie will be that things will change if you step back in. One important thing I learned early was to not let anyone in my family, or anyone who knows my family members personally, know about ANY detailof my current life, however minor. They will use even the happiest of information against you.
There is a common saying that really annoys me. If children are so darned resilient, then why are there so many screwed up adults?
The hard part is not letting them push your buttons. And, your mom made the choice to give POA and her financial keys to your sister, and your sister chose to accept that plus put up fuss over guardianship, so she has accepted responsibility. And, YOUR responsibility is to make every effort to ensure your children don't have a dysfunctional childhood that interferes with their wellbeing. And YOUR responsibility is to try to keep your family and marriage intact and healthy. And your family wellbeing includes your wellbeing.
My MIL is narcissistic and tells lies and half-truths to everyone. Eventually she has managed to alienate people she hasn't even met! She tries to divide, manipulate, control, all according to who caters to her whims. She bullies, can cry on demand, and, when it all gets revealed, she dislikes everyone except herself and whoever is catering to her at the moment. And she sounds a lot like your mom.
One piece in f advice for not getting into legal trouble: if you are the scapegoat, be CAREFUL. Do not spend her money without annotating exactly what it was for, and keeping a copy of the receipts. Keep them forever. And, if they already don't trust you, be very careful if she falls or gets hurt. Make sure she can't make that look like you did it. And get medical assistance to pick her up from a fall. If you try to pick her up and either fall on her yourself, or injure her in lifting her, and she tells lies, you will be IN.TROUBLE.LEGALLY. I speak from experience here.
The authorities and medical staff and senior advocates will take any accusations from her very seriously. And, if she has historically told stories of your abuse, unfaithfulness, bad behaviors, then that history will count against you in any investigation. Please be careful.
Er. What was hard???
Nikki, relax and enjoy what time with your mother you are able and content to spare her. You have zero responsibilities towards her, but that's not to say that you can't still have a loving relationship; and she is a lucky woman that you wish to preserve it.
So don't feel bad, you have absolutely no reason to.
My family had moved 4 hours away from my parents completely by chance, not for them. As soon as we did, the constant calls started for visits, projects, etc. My siblings live 2,000 miles away.
Both my husband & I worked full time and had two elementary age kids. We were harrassed to visit every weekend. My father started hinting at inheritance, college funds, and making comments designed to create suspicion between me and my siblings. Yet he made my oldest sibling executor. This was the sibling my father claimed to not trust...Over the years my parents both express distrust of their childrens' spouses.
At one point my mom broke her hip during a visit to their house and my siblings immediately accused me of pushing her. Luckily a friend had been with us as witness... All claimed it was a joke. But all made "the joke" separately & both asked doctor for answers as to how it happened. My mother refused to believe the doctor's answer that the bone was probably already weakened and fell out from under her. So I highly suspect she told family members that I pushed her...Since then she has had 6 small bone breaks, all detected due to pain, not a fall or accident. What gets me is that they all still push for me to be the caregiver, while making callous accusations of me being an abuser. I know they don't believe I hurt her or they wouldn't want me around her. They are just firmly indoctrinated in our family belief that I am the default scapegoat and emotional punching bag for everyone. It is more important that my parents have a scapegoat to save their own face. Who cares who they damage emotionally.
Also during our visits they would completely ignore their grandchildren, who were being taken away from playtime with friends and after school activities. As soon as we arrived we were grilled and harassed about not staying longer and not planning on coming back the next weekend... I also rarely saw my father because he would leave for hours on end, to get a break from my mother who needed to be watched 24/7. This was 10 years ago and he still refuses to admit she needs 24/7 care. He refuses to hire temporary help, even though they can afford it.
Whenever my parents (retired) bothered to visit our home, it was like a tornado hit my house. All attention had to be given to them. My children's recitals, etc, were overshadowed by their behavior. My dad would "work on things" in my house that I hadn't asked him to do & hadn't needed fixed. Usually they just didn't work the way HE wanted them to and he'd end up breaking them while "fixing" them. Then I was called ungrateful of his "help". My mom would break things as well, claiming them didn't work the way they were supposed to. If I tried explaining how things work, I'd get yelled at, "I know what I'm doing!" OR my dad would yell at me for not allowing my mom to do things in her failing physical condition. While serving unsafe raw food to my kids, or burning dinner cuz she doesn't know how to cook with gas, or breaking dishes because she is too weak to pick things up, or damaging countertops with harsh cleaning solutions, scratching the hell out of my good cookware because she would cut meat and vegetables in it while they cooked. All the while, my dad telling me I was horrible if I didn't let her do things her way...I hadn't ASKED her to do any of these things. She just wanted everyone to feel like MY family's home was really HER domain.
I was well on my way to being their slave.
The turning point came when I heard my mother try to convince my daughters that she was right and they were wrong...about their favorite color. My father was right there, telling my kids not to argue with their grandmother, that she was always right about these things. It was a stupid issue...I saw the hurt and confusion in their eyes. And I realised this behavior, all of it, had gone on since I was a child. On the same visit, I caught my mother going through our personal files in our office. Her response was,"well, how am I going to ever learn anything? You never tell me anything about your work or finances!" Like it was her right.
I started curtailing the visits and demands. My mother got more demanding. After 6 months of this game, I finally stopped all communication. Then we moved away a few years later. Since then, I have limited communication. But they immediately try to ramp up the level of entanglement and games. I told siblings exactly what happened while I lived near the parents. But they don't seem to care. They just want me back doing what the parents want, so they don't have to deal with them. I still work and have kids at home. One sibling has never worked and all their children are out of college, yet I am still seen as being able to drop everything on a whim.