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Hello, my name is Melissa. I'm 33 and I have been taking care of my great aunt for 9 years now. I also have 2 children both girls 9 and 2 and am expecting our first boy in February. My aunt has a laundry list of ailments, dementia, heart problems (has had a quadruple bypass), trouble getting around due to a stroke 5 years ago that also led to her being on blood thinners, and 2 years ago she had a rectal tumor removed and was further diagnosed with colon/rectal cancer although she refuses any tests to see if everything was removed with the tumor or if I'd has progressed at all. She lives with my husband and I with our soon to be 3 kids.

I am currently struggling with a lot of different feelings. I'm angry all the time. My uncle (her nephew) who lives nearby can not help at all as he recently lost a leg to diabetes, and my mother (her niece) moved to Florida and has no interest in coming back to new Jersey to try to help. I'm angry at them, and I have sever resentment towards my mom who is able bodied just chooses to ignore the issue. My aunt is getting more and more abusive towards me, she says horrible things about me in front of my children she tells them I hate them and want to give them away. Which of course is not true, but she uses it as a way to lash out. My husband and I are miserable and her living with us is a huge source of tension in our marriage. She also interfears in how we raise our children. We punish and she goes behind our backs to undermine us or just flat out tells them they don't have to listen to us and our rules because we/they are stupid.

The thought of putting her in a home consumes me with guilt because I know she won't last long in one. But it is getting to be too much. Between doctors appointments (she sees 4 different types of doctors monthly) and blood tests which have to be done bi monthly I feel like I have no time to get my own stuff done making my own appointment or for my kids is hard working around her schedule. I have notice to do after school activities with my kids.

This was not the life I thought I would have. I thought I would get to enjoy my children while they were small and doing things with them. I though I would get to enjoy my marriage but again I can't because we mostly just fight due to the stress of our situation. I'm miserable and probably depressed I have been diagnosed with anxiety issues in the past and just feel like I am at the end of my rope. I just want my life back I want to be able to take my kids away for the weekend or be able to leave the house for more that an hour at a time. I just want to live. I want to be happy and I don't know how while I am in this situation.

Sorry this was so long I hope that joining this community will give me the support and positive thoughts needed to push through.

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Never put honoring anyone or anything else above honoring your marriage, your children and yourself!!!! When you get the focus of where the primary honor needs to be aimed your intimacy with your husband (and I'm not talking about sex) and your closeness with your children will improve.

It's a fierce battle that often needs a professional therapist to provide objectivity and practical advice. Sort of like having a baby doctor through the whole journey from pregnancy to delivery for in a very real sense you are in labor pains to given birth to a new life, your new life!

Along with honor your parents, the Bible also talks about leaving your parents and cleaving to your spouse. Some parents twist that around to say when they are close to death you leave your spouse and children and come cleave to mom or dad until they die. Believe me, there are more ways to leave than just physically walking out the door. However, if things don't start to change, that is the risk you'll be taking. This may be hard to believe but one can even feel like a single parent although married in some relationships where the other spouse has basically left the family emotionally although physically present.

Ya'll have done wonderful, but actually far too much in 13 years. How anyone could be that patient I can somewhat understand for I went down that route before I learned about boundaries and stopped trying to fight my wife's war mainly with her mom. I had also reached the point at that time that I wanted my life back but did not know how to define that. I got myself some therapy, set up some boundaries for my household and when they got broken, which they did, my therapist gave me some concrete consequences to respond with. One consequence was me calmly just taking the boys away for several days and nights.

That is not where we are right now, but we were there and it took some work in therapy to get out of there.

I'd look up the thread hear about emotional black mail and one about how honoring one's parent gets twisted around with less than good motives.

Take care. Do something nice for yourself today. Take your husband out on a date this week and next weekend do something fun as a family.
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Melby, you made promises to your husband when you married, and to your children when they were born....to love and protect and nurture them. Those are sacred promises and they are the ones to keep. You may feel guilty (although I wonder if what we feel is a mixture of regret, sadness, anger, frustration and we choose to label it guilt) at getting her the 24/7 care that it sounds like she needs.

But I assure you that if you continue this way, the regret that you will feel at not being there for your family, at them being subjected to this atmosphere, at not being able to nurture your marriage....it'll be far deeper into your spirit. Because this is something you can keep from happening.

You and your husband have been so terrific about caring for her since you were in your 20's. But this idea of honoring one's elders/parents leads to dishonoring our spouses and children....I'm sorry, but this is an incalculable cost that no one should be expected to incur.

One day, my youngest, then a young adult, pointed out to me that she needed time with me, with me totally present. I'd be distracted by feeling the need to not leave my mom alone (who was more than fine to be alone, but unhappy at the idea). My daughter was loving but quite firm. In a rush, I felt quite foolish that she had to point out the obvious. And to this day, I regret all the times I wasn't entirely present for them ( sure could've used cmagnum's perspective back then).

I bet if you tell your husband that you need to reclaim your family, he'll be right there helping you set up Plan B. Take care of yourself.
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Your very first and most important priorities in your life (and your husband's) are your children - present and yet to be born. Then your husband (and you for him) and then your own mom and dad and then way down the line, your aunt. She has more immediate family than you who are refusing to help. You can still help her but not let her ruin your marriage and your children's peaceful atmosphere at home.

Get your great aunt out of your house! Immediately get to a counselor if you feel like you can't do it without help. Any counselor worth his/her salt will tell you that you've taken on more than you can chew and it's not fair to your children and your husband. Let the professionals deal with her. She has dementia - she needs PROFESSIONAL care. She can't help her bad behavior, but you can help her by getting her into a setting with people she can't hurt like she's hurting your children.

Hugs to you - you're a terrific person! Just put your children and your marriage first.
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PLEASE put your needs and the needs of your sweet family first! You kids will never be this young again and you need to relish every moment with them! Your aunt has already lived her life...your priority is your nuclear family and your mental, physical and emotional health. I have been caring for my mom for 3.5 years... she has dementia along with other issues and thus far has managed to live alone, with caregivers coming during the day. I am so blessed to have found great caregivers to help but the emotional stress of managing EVERY aspect of Mom's existence has taken a toll on me. I am the poster child for stress eating and have gained 30 pounds since she's been here (NOT her fault but the stress is the root of the problem). My youngest daughter just started college and my eldest is engaged....I have had to set up healthy boundaries with Mom so that I can be mentally and emotionally(not to mention physically) present for both of them...Mom is not my top priority, as much as she would like to be. I am currently looking at Memory Care centers for her due to incidents that have happened in the past month that have forced me to re-evaluate her daily care. I have always said that it would kill her if I put her in a facility but not doing so could end up causing more harm to her...and me! I have done my research and will choose the best facility for her needs and rest assured that she is cared for 24/7, even though it may not be her first choice. However, she no longer has the mental capacity to make those choices and in order to preserve her health and safety and MY sanity, I feel there are no other options at this point. I am dreading the day we have to tell her and it will be H*LL for a while but ultimately there are no other choices. PLEASE try to put yourself and your family first even if it means getting caregivers a couple times a week. Your kids and hubby deserve ALL of you. Before you know it they will be out of the house and on their own. It happens in a flash! Savor each moment with them now.
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You have got to try to get over the guilt and start putting yourself and your family first. Let this be your focus. As Babalou said, it's time for professionals to take over the care of your great aunt. You are too young for this and your family deserves your full attention and care.

Does your great aunt have any resources that would pay for NH or ALF stay? Or maybe she could get qualified for Medicaid. You need to do whatever it takes to get her out of your house. The only guilt you should feel is not putting yourself and your family first...

After 4 years of caring for my mother in my home, I recently had to place her in an ALF/small group home because she needed 24-hr monitoring. While I feel some amount of guilt daily about this, I know that I cannot have my personal life and health destroyed in trying to be there 24/7 for mother...

We understand your pain here. Take care of yourself!!! Whatever it involves, just do it....
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People who post here often say "i can't put her in a home because she wouldn't last long in one". I wonder where this false belief comes from.

I'm curious also why you value the happiness of your elderly aunt over the mental health, present and future of your children.

If she's anything like my mom and her cohort of folks with serious medical issues at her NH, she will be far better cared for there than i, a non medical person could possibly do at home.
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