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I take care of my mom. In her early 90s. For about five years now. Some serious medical issues, but under control. She gets around, cooks and can do basic things. She tends to be paranoid and accuses me of doing things "deliberately." (This problem extends to external contacts as well) This has been a pattern for years. Last night, she accused me of some nonsense and it wouldn't stop. I got angry, lost temper, swore, and immediately regretted my behavior. I apologize later, but it does no good. This has happened before. Most of the time we get along, and then she gets into these moods. I've completely turned over my life for this and I'm now in my mid-60s. The stress is hard. I'm lucky I can work from home, but I feel as if the stress of this is just wearing me down. The stress is constant. I never know what might set her off. I have no one to talk to about this.



I'm going to refer back to a time when I was under untenable stress for a great period of time. DH had HepC (which now is 100% treatable and really, you never hear much about it now)..anyway, he was dxed with it and we were told it wouldn't ever really be a concern, maybe just some fatigue in time.

Well--40 years after contracting it (IV drug use) he went in for a routine exam and was found to have developed Primary Liver Cancer. Told to get his life in order, he had maybe 6-9 months to live. He was 53, I was 48.

Long story short, he was able to receive a life saving liver transplant (13 years ago) and did 84 weeks of a brutal chemo-type TX. I was there for him, every single day. Worked 2 jobs to keep our heads above water and dealt with 3 kids who were still living at home...it was just survival mode for over 2 years. He was able to work, just dragged himself in everyday.

After the last TX-there was nothing to do. He relapsed immediately and we knew the HCV would come back, and it did, although the chemo had bought him some time. Few years later he txed with Harvoni and was cured.

It was at THAT POINT that I lost it. Just shut down. Constant migraines, crying fits, panic attacks, just a wreck. I had so neglected myself for SO LONG that I didn't KNOW what to do. I had lived with so much stress for so long I had fried my poor brain. Literally.

I really thought, some nights, lying in bed with a racing heart and the whole panic attack thing going on--I'd prefer death to the life I had--and DH was healthy, probably for the first time in YEARS.

It has taken me 4+ years to "calm down". And I am not there yet. Maybe never will be. I was never taught to take care of me. I was taught that was selfish and I had no right to have my own feelings. Basically, no self esteem.

At age 62, I am finally making some progress towards being able to say "no" or to ask for help. Learning to set boundaries.

Looking back--and forward, you better believe I make sure my 4 daughters don't do what I did and burn themselves up in care for others.

In retrospect. I should have taken advantage of the in home nursing respite that was offered, but DH never wanted me more than 5 minutes away from him. I SHOULD have taken short vacays from his care--and I never, ever did.

In the end, it is what it is---but I wish I had had a forum to talk to--and people who cared and actually came in and helped me.

Moral of this story: YOU absolutely HAVE to put yourself first. Or else you'll be useless to your "patient". It's not selfish, it's self preservation!
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Amijoy, you gave some good advice! When you're under stress for a long period of time it wears you down. Every former caregiver I have spoken to has said you must make time for you. I think we need that break so that we can cope with the reality of the situation. Anyway, illness can make someone take it out on the one closest to them. And meds can definitely have side effects that impact behavior. One morning I was watching Joyce Meyer and she said if you need help, get it. Even though I don't want to spend any money on cleaning help, I decided to get it now and then to help me keep up and allow me to do some of the other chores that I have. I found it helps me. I think when someone is ill, and terminal, especially, you can see some very strange behavior, stemming from denial and forms of a coping mechanism.
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There is a point in time when you have to become the strong one, the adult....the mother figure. Use your mom voice, put your foot down, let her know her behavior is unacceptable. Her care plan is your business. Talk to her doctors. Let them know how she is behaving. She might need a med change. Praying for you.
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Midkid, my kids have already said they'll let me know when I'm acting like Grandma -
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Wow. How did so many of us end up with these difficult mothers? I wonder if in another 20 years my kids will be on some site complaining about me?

Some people are just mean. I have come to learn that. They're just mean. Don't know if this applies to your mom or if this behavior is new to her. If it's new, you should have her checked out for a UTI, maybe some cognitive loss. Your patterns with your mom are long ingrained..don't know how much you can "change" at this late date. When you get super angry--just walk away!!!

Her living with you, expecting care and being a pill, but not allowing you to have ANY say in her healthcare is frustrating. She should allow you to be her advocate. I remember so well hauling my mother (and usually about 3 of my own kids too) to the Dr. b/c she was "so very sick" and we'd finally get in to see the Dr. and he'd ask how she was and she say "Oh, not so bad". I just wanted to strangle her. Then she wouldn't get the care she needed and she'd complain about that.

YOU NEED A BREAK!! You live with a difficult person and you WORK at home with that person hovering around.

Think about leaving for a weekend or just a night and making that be a priority. The sad truth is that many CG's die before the person they're caring for. I just had a friend who has multiple health issues and has been on the brink of death a dozen times--lose her husband. He just wore out. Everyone thought he'd live forever, but he lived to care for her and it proved his undoing. In fact, last year I had 3 friends lose the "CG parent" and the "needy parent" kept on going....in all 3 cases the parent that died was, to all concerned, healthy and strong--(but extremely stressed.)

Don't be so hard on yourself. I am a pretty calm person, but nobody can push my buttons the way my mother can. I don't live with her and I am 100% in charge of the amount of time I spend with her. But I will still get a migraine, almost 100% certainty when I spend more than 2 hours with her.

You take care of YOU.

{{Hugs}}
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I think her doctor would be the person I’d talk to. Let him/her know ahead of time the behaviors she’s exhibiting so you can sort of guide the exam. If she doesn’t want to go maybe make up a fib that she has to go to keep her Medicare insurance.
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It may be and I suspect so because it's far from normal behavior. But she is highly defensive and lets me have no say in her medical care.
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Hi I agree you need to try and find time for yourself even a little bit
Are you sure this is not dementia as my Mom used to do this
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I understand. Most of us have been in your position and most who say they have never been are lying through their teeth. 😁

I care for my bedridden husband, and handle everything else including finances. At the age of 65 and not all that well myself, I’ve had to go back to work 20 hours per week. I work with young children, most of whom have no social skills, aren’t potty-trained, have parents who complain about everything, and are so low-functioning they can’t even draw a simple face when I show them how. (They are not special needs) I need this job to keep our house and pay bills. I’m exhausted and crabby. I get witchy with hubby for no reason. I sulk and yell. Then I feel like crap. Then I feel like I didn’t ask for this life. Then I remember he provided for me and our kids and gave us a pretty good life. But, I want the life of those perfect Seniors on the television ads!

If Mom is becoming more and more unreasonable, call her doctor. She may need to be tested for a urinary tract infection which can make seniors really loopy. There are no real symptoms until it gets so bad they need hospitalization. My mom had chronic ones. And she got off the wall angry and combative. For their own safety, the nurses at-her facility had her tested every month.

If you have no help, find some. Research home health. Maybe a house cleaning company, landscaping company, something to help you. Put Mom in respite care for a long weekend and go sit in a nice hotel on the bed in your underwear and eat pizza and watch TV. Mom won’t be happy, but YOU will be!

Don’t take it out on yourself. You’re human, for heaven’s sake!
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