It can be hard to feel good about yourself as a caregiver. Today something happened that really bothered me. I took my mother to church and out to lunch. When I got home, she started talking about how I needed to get out and get a job. I told her I had a job working on the computer. She said that I needed a real job, maybe one like my SIL had gotten recently. I told her I made more than that, so why would I do that? Besides, working at home made it possible to be with them. I wouldn't have been able to do it otherwise.
She told me that it had been a mistake to take me in when they did, but that I didn't have anywhere else to go after the divorce. This was crazy, since I am not poor and could have gone anywhere. She had begged me to come home to take care of them so they could stay in their home. Believe me, it was no favor to me to come here.
Then she said that they hadn't needed me, that they would have done just fine without me. The past three years of cleaning, cooking, transporting, calling 911, settling my father's estate, doing all the legal and financial work, and devoting most of my waking hours to taking care of their needs were invalidated with that one statement. I don't know if she was protecting her own ego or if she is just delusional. All I could think is "You ungrateful ..."
I still feel angry about it. It is hard being a caregiver. It is even worse when the ones you care for have no idea of the sacrifices you've made and demote you to the level of pointless. It would be great to walk away tomorrow if she could make it on her own, but that would be a mess. She is not able to do anything but wake up and feed herself.
I sure get tired of her saying the things she does. I started feeling crazy, wondering if I had been valuable, or if she was right. Then I realized that what she had done was invalidated me -- a terrible thing to do to the only child who pays any attention at all.