Just finally truly giving up. And mixed emotions about it.

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Many of you have read my past posts, elderly mother living with control freak brother, me trying to be a "good daughter' and provide what I could as far as extra care for mother for 14 years now. Brother and I recently "go into it" over his lack of care of mother--letting her apartment just get filthy and some concerns I had about her personal care that she simply cannot address alone anymore---and he lost it on me. Screaming and yelling that I am the problem and mother has a great life and he is in control and she's fine--and for me to stay the he** away and not talk to her or "upset her" further. He's done this before, and after a few months, he calms down and lets me back in. This time, no, it's not going to happen. I am not allowed inside his home, I have to pick mother up at the front door. Changed his garage code, so I can't "sneak" in. Won't answer the door if it's me. I give up. I was allowed to see mother on Sunday as it was her birthday. She sat and talked on the phone the whole entire time, so I begged off and left, told her I'd take her to lunch in a couple of weeks. I left. Mom's place reeks. It's filthy, but my standards, ropes of cobwebs falling off the ceiling fixtures, sticky floors, birdseed and feathers everywhere. Open garbage with wet depends in the bathroom--she has 3 aerosol "air fresheners" blasting away every 15 minutes--the air is toxic. The dogs come in her place and pee on the carpet regularly--she just puts a paper towel on it. I can't bear the state of her living conditions. I am also not allowed to do a single thing to help. She's content enough. She complains about brother, and has asked to move in with me. That's a hard pass. I have told her I'd help facilitate a move to ALF, but she balks. She really doesn't WANT to move, she wants sympathy. I find that I no longer have any sense of sympathy for her. Unusual for me, as a fixer, I FIX stuff. She doesn't seem to want things to change. I'm sick of being on the outs with brother (our relationship will NEVER be ok). In essence, I give up. Towel thrown in. Vacuum? Put away. Dead plants can continue to be dead. Urine soaked furniture can become more urine soaked. I feel dead inside from this knowledge. She wore me out. She won. Her manipulation between kids is all over. Nobody else was involved in her care, so she's going to have to accept that she helped facilitate this all. She LET brother run her life, and as much as she says she hates it, I cannot/will not help her further. She's just turned 88. She could easily live 10 more years. I feel sad, but have no more desire to be a part of something that's just been a nightmare for so long. I'm sure I am not alone in this. I guess, the feeling of being a terrible daughter (drilled into me since age 0)....and hopefully that will pass. My depression/anxiety is at an all time high--I just have to walk away.

26 Comments

If I correctly remember your first post, it was when your mother was intent on getting some type of surgery that was questionably necessary. And if I also recall correctly, there was one sibling to whom she listened, while shutting the others out. I thought it was a sister, but perhaps it was your brother.

At any rate, I think you've been battling a lost cause, but like many of us, feel uncomfortable giving up because the individual/sibling in charge is not taking proper care of your mother. It's definitely a challenging dilemma.

At this point, is there anything else you can do? Anything you can change? Any way you can tolerate the situation? If the answers are all no, I think you recognize that this is a hopeless cause, which will continue to cause you stress and anxiety.

Granted, there's the unsettling feeling that you're giving up, but I think it's more of a knowledgeable assessment and rationale that your efforts are going for naught.

One of the things caregivers with siblings face is the recognition that one or more of those siblings is not providing proper care, but the parent won't accept the help that is needed. This creates such a dilemma - how can you help ensure proper care when you're prevented from doing that very thing?

I don't know; I think it's one of the many unsolved or unsolvable aspects of caregiving.

But at this point, you're frustrated, worn out, burning out, and recognize that you can't make changes. So it's time to step back and let things play out as they will.

If you want to cover yourself b/c you have both actual and constructive knowledge of improper care, I would think about what you can do. You could call APS, anonymously, after backing out and literally disappearing, so that you're not the person immediately blamed.

You could ask an attorney how to protect yourself even though you're prohibited from participating or changing anything.

I suppose guardianship and/or conservatorship would be one effective method of intervention, but likely that would result in an outside party taking control. Would that be any better than the current situation? And would it consume your mother's remaining resources? Would it turn her and your brother against you forever?

If I recall there were 4 or 5 siblings. Other than the brother, what's their position on the situation?

If I were in your shoes, I might write a letter to Mom explaining your dilemma, and give it to her privately (obviously keeping a copy for yourself). Separately, I would notify brother that because of the lack of cleanliness, etc., you can no longer visit, cannot help in the house b/c of health issues, and would be available only if your mother needed hospitalization or went into a facility.

That puts him on notice. You want to make sure that you've protected yourself in the event he ever makes accusations of nonparticipation. (Photos of the situations you describe in the house would probably be a good idea as well.)

I wish there were a better answer to these quandries.
I think this might be a lost cause too . I sympathize with you ..However. I think there is one last thing you can do . It will probably ruin your relationship with your brother . However if you think your Mother is in real danger. You need to find a source in your state to report elder abuse. She shouldnt have to live like that.
Just sorry mid.
Mid kid, all of us have been on this journey with you. I am so sorry. I can feel your frustration, grief and sadness coming through your words. Not all in !ife is sweetness and light and you’ve certainly found that out. I know how helpless you feel. I wish I had a magic wand for you. Please take care of YOU now. Come back or PM and let us know how you are. Sending many hugs!
Ahhh Midkid, You are Not a terrible Daughter! You are a Sweetheart with a Heart of Gold! I have been following your story her on the AC for years, and I know how you have agonized, trying to facilitate a relationship with your Mom, your other family members, esp your one brother (she lives with), as well as trying so hard to help out, and to coordinate her care together, to be there for her as a family, and to get her better care through the years. You now know that you cannot make others care, try as you have done!

In as much as you've tried, sometimes walking away is the only answer, or else drive yourself crazy, losing sleep, suffering depression over the situation, you've done Enough.

Unfortunately, the guilt will be the hardest part to get over, but you have no need to feel guilty, for all You've tried Everything over the years. Your brother who Mom lives with is way too difficult to deal with, making any relationship with your Mom all the more strained, and your other family members have checked out long ago, probably for self serving reasons, and now you too need to put yourself first, and let things go, at least for awhile.

Dysfunctional families are So Draining! I was lucky, in my relationships with my parents and 5 siblings, but my husbands family takes the cake in Crazytown! Not once during the 9 weeks that we had my FIL here (he also lived with us for 13 years in our home), dying of cancer and on Hospice, did either of his 2 siblings call during this stressful, emotional time, with offers of support, NO! Did either come at the last minute, to say their goodbyes to their Dad, or even send him a card or little gift, to show him that they even cared about him, or even a phone call to him, that was not initiated by myself or my husband, NO! Did either of them send us a card, a flower, after their Dad died in our home, NO! It's despicable!

Both of them are worthless pieces of Poop, and now that he's gone (died last October), neither have attempted to be in touch, since they've received their inheritance checks.

Actually, his sister did call couple of weeks ago, stating that she herself on HOSPICE, she lives in Big Bear California, and apparently has just had a surgery for an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (ironically, hubby's brother "supposedly" had the exact same surgery last fall, Nothing that these 2 say, can ever be believed, as they are both habitual lifelong liars!), and she also has a fractured back.

She requested that my husband go to her in Cali (from Seattle where we live), to help her with her "final arrangements", help her to arrange selling her home, and to give him some "family heirlooms and jewelry that was their Mothers and their Grandmothers, that she wishes to stay in the family (note her sudden interest in family legacy and all, Lol!), the last of which was IMO, the "bait" to get him there to do her dirty work, as all Narcissistic use, FOG tactics at its finest. However her tricks worked, as she has no one else in the world, and little brother (hubby) has a kind heart, and has Always been the the responsible one of the family, and she knows her would never turn his back on her.

Truth be told, she is a Narcissist, an out of control Alcoholic, and has bipolar disorder, the triple threat of mental disease. she is a pathological liar, and this isn't the first time she has played the "I'm dying" card. I can recall multiple times over the years where she has stated she has Cancer, and is dying, so who know what he will find when he gets there, he leave in the morning, so tune in tomorrow!

So there, there's a little of My husbands Dysfunction family saga, not that you asked, Lol, but hopefully you will see, that you are not alone, heck You've been around here long enough to know that, Lol, but I know it doesn't make it any easier, when you are broken hearted, and at the end of your rope, but maybe just a humorous little distraction for you (you gotta laugh or else you cry). I know, I'm sick and twisted, Lol!

I hope you are feeling better about your decision to withdraw from the stress of it all, if not forever, at least for awhile, as you do need to to step back and concentrate on you, disengage, have a little summer fun, and guard your heart for now.

Believe me, Your Mom knows how much you Love her, you've shown her that throughout the years, in all you've done, and how hard you have fought to give her good care, against all odds. 

GA has some good suggestions, about Mom's health,  home conditions and personal care, if you think that might lessen your worries. A letter to your Mom might be nice too, and you can Always send her cards and notes, to show her that you do still Love and Care! 

I hope you have a better day today, and in the coming days, Love, Stacey
Awwwww, Mid; just read this after I got home from work.

This sucks.

I was going to suggest APS, but I know that's not in the cards for you. Brother could probably lose his EMT license over mom's living conditions; I wonder if he's ever thought about that.......

You've done what you've been allowed to do for your mom. You are not being ALLOWED to do anything else.

((((((((hugs)))))))))
Midkid, yes, walk away. It won’t be easy but do it. I’ve been reading your posts for a long time. You’re good people. Take care of yourself. Let the circus roll on without you.
Midkid, we've all been following your journey for some time now. You've done what you can. There comes a time when you simply can't do more.

Please come back and update us when you can - and hang in there.
Thanks to all of you.

There is no one in the family, after me, who "cares" enough to step in and step up and yes, brother has mother in his grips. Weird relationship for sure.

I DID talk to her, a few months back when brother told me I could no longer come into his home. I have developed allergies to her birds and he refuses to clean the cage. Even taking antihistamines before going and eyedrops before and after didn't make the allergy better. Mother thought I was lying, she lives with those birds and they don't bother her! (Um, constant URI, constant cough??)

Brother cannot stand for anyone to call him out on anything. He has an ego the size of the moon. Mostly, we let it slide, after all, he has done the lion's share of CG for years, but even when offered help, either professional PT or moving mother to better living conditions, he will not allow it. He's not POA and mother hasn't got dementia. So we're stuck.

I am fine with walking away. It hasn't seemed to bother the other 3 sibs, why should I let it bother me?

Saw my therapist today and as always, she is so calming. It will be OK. Honestly? Mother has never cared that much for me, so it's no great loss to her.

Writing her a letter would be like shooting myself in the foot. Brother reads ALL of mother's mail and listens in on phone calls. Usually places himself front and center when someone is visiting...all signs of guilty soul.

Oh well. I can walk away. I can just do lunch once a month.

Sort of does feel like an epic fail, in some ways.
Lunch once a month? Bad idea. You’ll just keep getting sucked back in. Make the break. Maybe someday you can have lunch but for now, get away and stay there for awhile. A long while.

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