The Easy Way Out

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I. Hate. This. My mother has used me as a crutch for her disability (hearing loss) since I was 10 years old. I had to be her ears/translator for doctors appointments, meetings, the phone, the door, transportation, shopping, and EVERYTHING ELSE. High School, College, and Professional years have all been disrupted because I always need to tear away from my life to supplement hers. I was considered intellectually gifted, now I feel that her extensive family network massaged/groomed my 'gift' into being her crisis worker. My mother has always manipulated me to take care or be around her for one reason or another. She'd have other relatives call and stage a crisis so that I could gallop into town to save her. It turned out she only needed a ride to the grocery store, and didn't want anyone else to take her. She has a history of refusing help from others because she only wants me to do it. "She sure loves her daughter" they say. They have no clue what the dynamic is. I never got married. All of my romantic relationships turned out to be awful because everything I try to do rests on my mom's contingencies. I have no children of my own, and my clock is almost up. Any attempt to live up to my potential or even take care of my own health is considered 'selfish' and lectures come in from family on what I should and shouldn't be doing. She had high blood pressure. High cholesterol. Refused to take two pills a day. Against all the hypertensive crises she's had, she still maintained a diet of candy, potato chips, soda, and coffee until she finally suffered a stroke a few months ago. "Take care of your mother", family says. "Why wouldn't she give me a g*dd@mn break and do basic sh!t to take care of herself", I shreik inside of my head. No one sees while she was in good health: I suffered sexual abuse at the hands of family members, and she did nothing to protect me. I had to study up on it and fend for myself. I grew to need several major surgeries requiring extensive recovery time, and all requests for her to help me during those times were easily waved off with some dumb excuse. I think of all the major achievements I was able to secure, and not once was she ever there for any of it. No graduations. No honorary or recognition ceremonies. No public speaking events. "Look ma! I did it"! "Good! I need you to help me figure out my insurance. Call this number for me..." -or- "Mom, I know it's Thanksgiving, but I'm too tired to drive there. It may not be safe". "Oh, just make sure your doors are locked when you are driving. You'll be fine. See you in the morning". That's the standard dialog. To everyone else, she's sweet, considerate, and easy-going. To me, she's a bossy sponge. I love her, but I've tried so hard to maintain distance my entire life. The closer I am in proximity, the more she says from me. I worked hard through my own illnesses as an adult. Kept them to myself because I learned she would never care the way a mother could. Chronic pain for 6 years. I finally get out of that, made it through the depression, the PTSD got medically cleared, started a healthy routine that involved less of me tearing away from my life to help my mother and more focus on myself. My weight improved. I became stronger. I was staying hydrated, for Christ's sake. Then she has a stroke. Wouldn't call 911. She called me. Turned out she told family who tried to help at the time that she was waiting for me. That I knew what was going on, and would help when I got there. She chose ME over 911 to "save her". My life has been hijacked. I'm to suspend my little bit of progress to perform the duties of the husband she never secured. This while attempting to work. I don't want to lose my career. I've worked hard my entire life for this ONE thing that's my own. I dreamed of the position I have the entire time I was in graduate school. Now, it's hanging on a thread. My performance is questionable because I'm bombarded by HER needs. Monitoring HER meds. Taking her to HER appointments. Talking to HER doctors. Protecting HER. "Thank God she has you"! Who the hell do I have?!?! If I have to put her in a nursing home, that comes out of MY savings. Respite care, that's MY savings. "Good thing you didn't have to leave a family at home or even a husband". How can I ever find the time to establish those things if she always finds a way or reason to screw things up more? In the hospital, she was an ideal patient. She was a fall risk and SUPER PROMISED the staff she wouldn't get out of bed on her own. When she got home, she decides to get up alone at 1am. Didn't call my name for assistance or ring her assistant bell as she had for hospital staff for 2 months. She waited until after she fell. And guess who was blamed by her docs? And guess who sat there not taking any accountability? I want out. Suicide seems like an easy way out of the guilt and obligation. I am already simmering in hell. I hate waking up. "But she's so sweet..."

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777, About 911, you said 'I didn't know she was having a stroke.... I've tried the 911 route before and they were always false alarms'. It was just like The Boy Who Cried Wolf! The result was a consequence of HER OWN actions, not yours.

Big HUGS - take some time alone and away. Call a relative and say you have a appointment on whatever day, and they need to cover or find someone who can. The appt. is of course with yourself.
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I am chiming in here about hearing loss and deafness.
My husband of 37 yrs lost his hearing in an accident when he was three or four. It damaged his eardrum and crushed the bone behind his ear. That bone is an important part of his hearing. Because he always wore a hearing aid it was assumed he heard. Nope, he explains that what he hears is static like a radio and turning his hearing aid up may help him distinguish the words. But believe me he misses usually the word that changes the whole meaning of the sentence. He has lost sound in the bad ear and the other maybe 20%.
People who are hard of hearing feel very isolated. Trying to carry on a conversation with a group of people is very hard. If we go out, I try to make it just one couple so it's more one to one. My husband can read lips but people losing hearing later in life Don't have this ability. Those who r born deaf are taught how to deal in a hearing world. A friend of mine was taught to talk at 2, which is the age most of us are verbal. A friend of hers came into the program to late to be taught. She of course signs. They are well adjusted, married with grandchildren. But when someone comes into deafness later, it can be depressing. Even though my husband has dealt with his problem for almost 70 yrs, he gets depressed. TG he was talking when his accident happened. Yes, I lose patience. Mainly because he assumes too much. Not so bad early on but now he misses too much to assume. One minute he tells me he Didn't hear something the next he swears I said something. Can't have it both ways. And...he is stubborn. Lately I have noticed he is hearing less. And he just had a check up. Not looking towards total deafness but it is coming.
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Caretaker777; How are you? Anything new to report?
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I get it - priorities! I was 60 before I started writing....
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Mally1,

That's great! 

Just said how school takes up all my time if I'm not working. I'm presently getting A's, so you can understand all my concentration is going to that. I have a game plan, so the writing will have to wait.

Keep up the good work!
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Ceecee, I wrote 20-30 minutes a day, about 5 days a week, and finished and published a 276 page book; then the sequel. Now am doing the third..... why don't you try that?
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Hi Caretaker777,

I don't know if you've read my posts, but I am going through it too; the only difference is I had been feeling 'trapped' between both my paternal grandmother and mother; they'd act like a package deal when I'm around, and especially if I didn't speak up for myself which I have been in the last couple of years. And in your case, your mother is deaf which makes that harder. I understand something about the deaf population, because part of my job is to assist my supervisor with helping to get them employment. While the hearing impaired or deaf may receive more sympathy from the public, my firsthand experience has been that just about one after another has been very, very impatient even when looking to provide help. I only say this because I understand the frustration they go through in looking to communicate (I don't know ASL, but will write down everything) but everyone may not get that part for someone close in dealing with this type of abuse every day, not to mention all the other issues.

But listen, I noticed you like to write. I like to write as well; keep doing that because I'm sure you know that is a great outlet. Though I'm sorry you are going through all of this, I love the way you write. I could tell you are a writer and you can go far with this book of yours. I have over 100 pages of a novel myself...unfortunately, I put it down for awhile due to all that is going in my life...especially school, and so it is unpublished. But you have me thinking about it, for sure! :)
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Caretaker, I relate to much of what you have written. My mom's docs would ignore everything I said. They wanted me conveniently there to handle things. They knew I understood medical terms, insurance claims, etc. Her sisters were very critical when I expressed displeasure over my situation. After my mom passed away one of her sisters and her daughter showed up uninvited at my home - 1300 miles away. My aunt wanted me to take care of her. She was 90 yrs old. Her daughter said "you took good care of your Mom and you have plenty of money. I said no and sent them on their way. Again, I was criticized by the family. I've got my own life.

Barb is right. Go home to your life you've worked so hard to establish.
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We, however, can tell you that for the sake of your mental and physical health, you need to leave.
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I'm so happy you're talking to us, sorry I haven't been around earlier today.

How long do you expect this latest "acute" phase to go on? - based on your experience of earlier acute phases, for example.

They're not taking you seriously, are they. Seems to be a bit of a pattern. Well, it needn't matter - as long as you do.

Supposing, I don't know, and God forbid, but something happened that took you out of action for several weeks - you broke both legs, you were in an induced coma, the classic alien abduction scenario, whatever. What's the back-up system for mother's life support?

I am reading, as it happens, a book I've been meaning to get round to for ages; it's called "Wilful Blindness" and it's by a lady called Margaret Heffernan. It is even better than I thought it would be when I first heard her on the radio discussing her subject. I haven't yet but I will soon be telling everyone I know to read it and pay attention.

The chapter I'm on at the moment - 'The Cult of Cultures' - examines belonging and dissent. Just taking a sentence more or less at random: "Enemies and outsiders tend to be demonised and dissenters are subjected to immense pressure to conform. Dissent is rare and difficult because self-censorship mostly expunges it and because consensus and unity are deemed the ultimate good."

Earlier in the chapter, Ms Heffernan described experiments using MRI scans on subjects choosing objects that matched, and what happened when the subjects were a) required to pick their own; b) told what everyone else in their group had picked; and c) told what the computer had picked.

Long and disturbing story short: the desire to conform is not only a matter of social conditioning. Not conforming makes your brain hurt. Not supporting the accepted version is painful. It is amazing what your brain can exclude if everyone else does.

Your whole social group admires your and your mother's set up. It's marvellous! They won't be beaten! They're fantastic. Look at all you've achieved! Isn't that incredible! Haven't you proved what a brilliant team you both make!

How much do you suppose they want to hear the reality of what you've been through?

Your mother's nurses and therapists are not yours. You are not their patient. Your mother is. Do you think they want you rocking their patient's boat? Unless your illness or injury pose a threat in some way to your mother, they ethically and culturally can't encourage you to withdraw - plus, they don't *want* to. It would cause trouble and difficulty. They are not the people for you to turn to.

You say your own therapist is ready to throw in the towel, did I understand that right?
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