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Feel Helpless and Angry
Hello, I'm New: Part time caregiver for my mother, with congestive heart failure . She was always loving, easygoing and kind but she has become (understandably) very irritable, moody, and takes her anger out on me. As an example, she now wants to move to assisted living because she can no longer tolerate the heat and cold temperatures in her apartment (it IS awful and we cannot seem to get anything done about it), and when I told her we would have to look into it to see if Medicaid covers Assisted Living, she told me that I do not understand, she is going to die in that apartment, and I am mean. I sit here in tears because her illness has been very painful for me. She has been in and out of the hospital, she has fallen and been and out of Nursing homes and she has suffered.
I love her and don't want to see her suffer, but I am limited in what I can do. She keeps saying "do you want me to die in this place?". The truth is, I am trying to rally up my brothers to help with all of this but they don't really do anything. I feel so helpless here and it hurts to see her suffer. It seems like I fail her at every turn. She is so angry with me so often that I feel badly about myself. She does not take it out on the others so much though she is starting to get angry at them now, too. But most of the time it is me. getting the brunt of the anger and I try to understand the hardest.

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Mike you might find that going to therapy yourself might be productive. It must be so very frustrating to be doing your best and not have your efforts appreciated!

Is this how your mom treated your dad? It might be a very bad habit she's gotten into (treating men as incompetent ). It sometimes gets passed down from generation to generation.
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You know her better than I do! - and I completely understand that you'd want to go gently with any efforts to change her outlook at this time of her life. Whatever works best for you, I'm just glad you are doing something to take care of yourself. Best of luck with it, come back and vent if things are getting you down (this is such a nice safe space for it), and do update.
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Country Mouse I really appreciate your comments and your input but I gotta feeling that if I ask my mother to go to therapy or support group with me that it would make her feel bad that I had to do something like this because of her and in her twilight years I don't want to make her any more upset than she already is with me at home so I think I'm going to just go the route and try to deal with this on my own unless it's suggested by the professionals that it would benefit me I'm doing this for me not for her so but if I tell her that I don't think it would be that positive for her so I appreciate the input and I will keep that in my mind
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Ok. Well. That's interesting. So she didn't deny it, or tell you not to be silly, or any of the other defensive things that your typical narcissist/bully might say? This is good! If you tell her *you* would find it helpful if she could go with you to a support group, do you think she might bite? A happier atmosphere would be good news for both of you. Best of luck, please update.
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yeah I just called a support group today to go to I don't know whether she would be interested in doing that or not and answer the second question I have told her how I feel and she doesn't feel like she's doing anything she says I don't know that I'm shaking my head and sighing and and everything else that she's doing I don't realize I'm doing it is what she says
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Mike, this might sound a really stupid question. Have you ever told her how hurt and frustrated you feel about her attitude towards you?
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Mike, have you considered counseling for the two of you?
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thank you so much for your input it does help a lot unfortunately my mother has no means to support herself for live on her own for financial reasons and she won't go live with my sister and brother in law she just wants to live here and its my fault because I made the decision and 05 to buy the home to take care of them because I didn't want anybody to go to a nursing facility unless absolutely necessary she's only negative with me everyone else she is cheerful and happy and does her best to help other people I just feel so bad because she's so angry with me and I don't know what else I can do to make things better so I guess that's where the frustrated part comes in and I love my mother a lot and will do anything for but the negativity towards me has got to stop somehow and I just don't know how to make that happen
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Jackie, I am sorry you're going through this. You sound like a great daughter.

To answer your question, yes, you do see your sibling's true colors when it comes to dealing with an elderly parent. My brother did absolutely nothing, I didn't mind being the caregiver to both my parents, but he would to "visit"(he lived 1200 miles away) once a year for a week and spend no time with them.

Never asked if I needed any help. Back in 2010 I guess you say that I had a mental breakdown and had to be hospitalized. I had just gone through having my mom in one hospital for scheduled surgery and than dad starting have chest pains and had to go into another hospital 25 miles away, so two parents in two different hospitals and no help. I got through it, but add in I was caregiving for both of them at this point in time for 2yrs with no help, and I had a mental collapse about two weeks later. I was in the hospital for about 4 days.

He said on the phone to me "I'm so disappointed in you"... he was skiing in Colorado....LOL. Not "OMG what happened, how can I help, I will come there".....NOTHING.

Mom and dad are gone, I want nothing to do with them. This is just one example.

So I feel your pain, the people who should be there to help aren't.
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Mike, what else to do is to accept that your mother is a very negative person, at least toward you. That is how she is, she isn't going to change. Let it roll off your back.

OR

Decide that you really don't want to live this way for another 10 or 15 or 20 years (!) and help your mother find a different housing situation.

There are lots of other details, such as getting her evaluated for depression or anxiety, having her pay rent or board or some part of her on way, stop giving her things she doesn't appreciate, and others. But the basic choice is between giving her a free ride and accept the fact you aren't appreciated, or helping her to find housing apart from you.

What feels right to you (for the next, let's say, 15 years)
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no its my home I bought it and OH 5 to take care of my mother and father and my father died December 24th of 08 and my mother volunteers 3 days a week at a center for seniors she help seniors out so its just everything I say to her is negative and I'm to the point where I just don't know what else to do I'm going to search out a support group I think but I pay all the bills all she gets a social security so she uses that for her medication but everything else I pay so I I just don't know what else to do
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mike, do you live in your mother's house or in yours? If in her's and she is so able to be able to drive around then why don't you move out and live on your own? Has she ever been evaluated for depression?
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hello my name is Mike I'm a caregiver for my 81 year old mother I've read a lot that you people have said and I think I have just a little different situation that I could use some help with my mother is healthy still drives ibotta 2015 Chevy Cruze for her to drive around but everything that I do and say she react negatively with you the long side or the shaking of the head and it just feels like everything that I do is not appreciated how can I deal with this and a better atmosphere than what I am right now
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Thank you all. She does not have the means nor the health to move. She needs to live near us so we can help her as her condition renders her not capable of fully taking care of herself.
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I'm not sure how your state operates, but some states do cover assisted living and/or Memory Care for those who qualify. I would explore the requirements in your state. Does her doctor say she needs assistance with things like meals, bathing, medication, etc.? That could also make a difference. I would check with your counsel on aging, social services, etc. to find out what your options are. I would suggest having her evaluated to see what level of care she needs. She may not be in a position to properly evaluate herself.
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My mother likes to say things about going to visit her house. I tell her that she has a telephone and she can call and make those arrangements. She never does. Your mom needs to make her plans now, before it is out of her hands. I agree that moving south, is not going to help. I am in Tucson and we are cold, because it is 46 degrees. :)

Will your mother go willingly to a NH? But your brother is going to have a lot of paper work to do, to arrange that. My husband worked about 60 days on his mother's medicare and insurance papers.
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Some years ago, a lovely elderly couple and I were talking and they said to me "don't ever get old'. I, half understanding what I was saying, said to them, "if I live long enough I will get old (to me getting old meant looking old). How little I knew what they were really saying to me.
Thank you all for your support.
Jackie
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CM, why don't you tell us how you really feel? Loved it! I'm going to have to learn to talk your language. :P

Jackie, your mother is still competent, so has first say in how she handles finances. What she says overrides your brother unless the doctors declare her mentally incompetent. If your mother needs a new place, then she has that choice. POA gives the authority to act as an agent for the person, but does not give authority over the person unless they are legally incompetent.
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fume seethe rant gnash *§@!¡**!**!! curses…

If your brother is so [expletive deleted] busy that he hasn't got the [expletive deleted] time to take care of your mother, then what the [expletive deleted] did he think he was doing accepting the [expletive deleted] POA in the first place? May I ask?

Calm calm calm. There we are, better now.

So would it be fair to say that your mother wants you to have moved her into a more comfortable and suitable apartment some months ago and nothing short of your achieving that is going to soothe her? Which, by the way, you are unable to do because she chose to give the necessary authorities to somebody else?

I am so sorry for the grotesque unfairness of the position you're in, and the anxiety and sadness you must feel about your mother. It is bloody awful and a crying shame. I agree with so many others: you will somehow have to try to excuse her terrible temper with you. She is ill, in pain and frightened. It's not you she is angry with.

Your brother has accepted responsibility for your mother's care. It is his and not yours. You may choose to support him in this if you wish but until he learns to keep a civil tongue in his head I can't for the life of me see why you would want to.

While he continues to neglect your mother's material wellbeing, let alone anything else, he places himself in an extremely false position. If I were you I wouldn't be angry and frustrated. I would be incandescent with rage and calling down the Wrath of God (as represented by a lawyer) on him.

Calming down again: your mother, as she is competent, is free to revoke your brother's POA and appoint you instead. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO AGREE TO THIS. You should approach the idea with extreme caution and think it carefully through. However, if you decide that you do wish to take charge of your mother's care and that it is a realistic fit with any other commitments you already have, perhaps that is the offer you could make her. Responsibility without power, no - who in their right mind would accept that? If she wants you to take responsibility, she will have to give you the power to fulfil it.
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You are so right, Jackie. Ailing parents do show the true nature of people. My brothers show little consideration to my mother and none to my father when he was alive. I was so reminded of this the other day when we went to my niece's wedding. At the reception, I stayed with my mother. She was confused and having trouble working her way among all the people. My brother spent the entire time talking to two men at the reception. And I wondered why didn't he even talk to his mother. Why didn't he take her and introduce her to friends? Was he ashamed because she has dementia? Or was he so self important that he had to deal with manly things.

I thought about how some of us live for the convenience of others. We accommodate them, so they can live their lives without bother. I think of the excuses I give my brother -- he has a job, he has kids. But the truth is everyone has a job and his kids are mostly grown. This is not true for every man, but I believe many do feel that doing the caring is woman's work. If your brother is anything like mine, he has plenty of times to do fun things with his family, but he is much too busy for his mother. If you are like me, I grow weary of living to my brothers' convenience. (One lives far away, so gets a free pass because of that.)
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I meant that my husband works 14 hours day x 7 days a week. Workaholic.
My brother works 8 hours a day x 5 days a week. But, his life is always more complicated, more strained than anyone else. He actually yelled at me for having to have him repeat himself twice. And told me to tell my husband to take her to the doctor. I don't take orders from him and I am not going to talk to him. it is useless to try. I will find a way. Sorry for the rant.
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Spoke with my brother yesterday, yuck! He is such a control freak. He is refusing to take her to the doctor now, yet he has POA! He also said "why don't you have her come and live with you?". How do you all deal with these kinds of siblings? He has one bedroom; I have three, but I cannot do it for private reasons. I wish I could. Now my mother is very angry with him for not returning her phone calls, for "bailing" on her and he is trying to put it all onto me and my husband. Now HE is truly nasty and critical. He is the only one who "has a job and is a single parent wth shared custody of his 9 year old. I told him, my husband is almost 70 to my brother's being only 50 and works still on 14 hours per day x 7 days a week. I hate what has happened to our "family". We had a family when all was going well. Now we are ripping each other apart. Do any of you find that people's "true" nature comes out when there is a crisis?
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Of course she does not mean to be verbally abusive and yes, you would give everything you could to take her pain away. That is very understandable. She is your Mommy. :( If she was not ill she would never treat you this way. Know in your heart she loves you Jackie but she is ill, confused and frustrated. She actually needs you now more than ever. I know in my heart that she is a loving Mother to you and always has been and that what you are going through is upsetting because this is not the person who raised you. But Jessica is right in that you need to understand that her verbal abuse is directed towards you but simply her way of expressing her frustrations. Yes, it is verbal abuse but it is not in any way verbal abuse towards you to make you feel bad. I can visualize what you are going through...I really can. Hurtful words come out of nowhere. It does hurt your good heart but your Mom doesn't mean it. My Mom is 90 and thankfully is independent (for now) but she has said some things to me in the last few months that have hurt terribly. At first I feel very badly but then I realize she doesn't really mean those words.

What you and millions of others are going through is a very painful transition. I understand and I keep you and your Mother in my prayers. We are no where near perfect human beings but I would say with what you are going through....you are pretty darn close:) And remember....find a little humor if you can in all of this. My last little lady got a hold of the Oregon State Lottery and said she was being held hostage and tortured. Of course the lottery contacted the Oregon State Police who opened an investigation with the Las Vegas Metro Police and of course all turned out well but though bittersweet, the family and I had to have a little laugh over it. Surely the Oregon Lottery is still shaking their heads about that call. I am moving on to three new clients in the next week and I find it an honor and a privilege to take care of these sweet seniors. Bless you Jackie.
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Amen Jessie....so well said and so true. This is verbal abuse and sometimes it is best to not listen to the cruel words that are spoken and try to just understand the person is frustrated and is taking it out on their loved ones. I've learned to shut out the verbal abuse and sometimes those demands of "I need it NOW" are definitely not necessary and can wait until tomorrow.

None of this is easy whether you are the caregiver for your loved one or a caregiver for someone else's loved one. I am done beating myself up. It is not that we have become jaded and insensitive to the ones we care for but we have to understand what is truly necessary immediately and what is not. You are a good person Jackie and I do hope your siblings will help out now. Yes, our loved ones will apologize at certain times and at that particular time they mean it but five minutes later they are screaming "I hate you." You are strong girl. I admire and respect you. Jessica is right in that it is not always necessary to listen too much. Use your judgment regarding her circumstances. The last patient I took care of consistently complained and at first I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off only to find out that most of her complaints were not life and death. We are here to help you. Keep being the good woman that you are. Hugs, Elle.
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She has a severe heart condition and the heat is horrible and is a detriment to her heart health. We called the City and they called the Landlord. So, yes she can die. She has never been an abusive person; she is suffering from Cognitive Impairment due to her heart condition and is not 'herself'. Also, as Elle said it so well, when we are in a lot of pain and suffering, our personalities change dramatically. I understand this and I love her. Yes, I have heard about FOG and that group. My mother is not an abuser, never was and never will be. It is her illness talking. I get angry too and my voice gets loud. I am no angel. And I have gotten very irritable when I haven't felt well. I am just an imperfect human. It would not ruin my life to have her come to live with me, but it is not doable for other reasons. You see, I don't consider my mother a burden. Actually, I wish I could only give back a small percentage of all that she has given me throughout her whole life. She has been a wonderful, loving Mom and I have been one lucky woman. If I gave the impression that she is nasty, I did not men to. There is nothing limited about my mother. If I had the resources, I would give them ALL to her. She gave so very much to me ... money can never repay that kind of love.
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Jackie, You are wonderful to be so patient with your mother. From the sound of things you are being emotionally abused. Your mother does not have the right to do this, no matter how ill she is. It is not your fault that she is ill and lives in an apartment that doesn't suit her. She will not die if the temperature is too cool, since there are plenty of warm clothes and blankets to put on. She is angry at not feeling well and taking it out on you.

My mother is much like yours. One of my mother's most horrible habits is demanding that I do something RIGHT NOW. If I say I will do it tomorrow, she starts yelling and asking if I want her to die. She catastrophizes all the little things. For example, we ran out of orange juice. I told her I would pick some up at the store when I went the next day. She got mad because she was going to die of low blood sugar. Of course I knew there were 100 other ways to bring up her blood sugar. Her "I'm going to die" is really just trying to bully me into doing what she wants. It is quite cruel.

We often talk about FOG on the group -- fear, obligation, and guilt. Talking about how they are going to die if we don't do something employs each of these things. We fear that they will die and feel obligated to do something and feel horrible guilt if we don't. When your mother does this to you, realize that there is nothing wrong with you. She is being abusive. Just let her words roll off. If she is cold, maybe get her a blanket to help her stay warmer or bring her a sweater.

There is only so much you can do, given her limited resources. You might be able to find her a smaller apartment that has a better HVAC system. Most AL communities would probably be out of her reach, and I imagine that moving her in with you or family would totally ruin someone's life (the family that took her in).

Sometimes the best thing to do is not listen too carefully to complaints, but to use your own judgment about her circumstances. If you get the feeling that certain things are okay and livable, they probably are.
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Oh, by the way, my brother DID say he has noticed changes in her that "might" be early dementia or what is called Cognitive Decline. I wish I had been imagining it. My denial is strong. It hurts. I am losing her and I wish I had a better way to show her that I love her than all this constant chaos we seem to have. Thank you.
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Thank you, Elle. Your post made me feel so much better. It is true. She has, at different times, said "Im sorry for treating you so badly". Then, we have a day like today, and I am trying, and she is angry and nothing I really can say or do about so many of her problems which is frustrating all around. I tried calling my brother and he was just totally nasty and sarcastic with me. I told him that we needed to talk about things like POA for her, her condition and need to see a doctor and the fact that she won't go anymore, etc. There is no getting through to him. So I will keep on keeping on and try not to take it personally. I think all of us could do better by her IF we worked together, but we don't and that is the reality of it. It seems that when our parents get sick/when anyone gets chronically ill/many people bail out and run for the hills. Again, thank you for helping to alleviate my feelings of guilt. I do get frustrated. I do get angry. I am human. But, I do love her. This is all true. I am an imperfect human being.
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Jackie, You are a lovely person to take care of your Mother during this difficult time. It is okay to write your true feelings here. It is a form of therapy for you. I agree whole heartedly with geewiz. Often the ones who are loved the most are treated very harshly. That old saying of "you always hurt the one you love" remains with me when I am care giving for a client. You feel like you cannot do anything but you are doing more than you know by simply taking the best care of your Mother as possible. It is hard on you and yes there are feelings of guilt. I have had them myself but I remind myself that we are human being first and we to get hurt when lashed out at while trying to do the right things. I know so many people who can't take it and "throw" their loved ones into a state run facility just to get out of the situation. Many kudos to you for hanging in there and not placing Mom into a nursing home where she would end up being ignored and abused. So it seems to me (and I am sure others here) that you are doing the best you can and though painful at times, you have a lot of love for your Mother and are determined to help her regardless of her behavior. You are right in that it is hard getting old and being ill. Mom knows this and it is her mental and physical state that she is truly angry at....not you. It is okay for your voice to get loud at times. Do not put so much pressure on yourself feeling guilty about this. The frustration on both sides can be unbearable at times. I've seen many a family member yell at their loved ones when the individual is too ill to walk to the bathroom or keeps getting out of bed and falling. It's normal on occasion. I think that all of us here whether we are caregivers to our own families or to members of other families can say we have all experienced what you are going through so know you are not alone. This is a time of pain and frustration for both you and your Mother but know she loves you and stay close to her. Hoping your brothers will become a little more involved but it is true that usually one sibling ends up being the main caregiver. If possible find a little time for you to do something you enjoy. You need a break even if it is just for one day to get a massage, go shopping or just sit in silence and read a book. For now please know we understand what you are going through and it really is okay to feel that frustration. Do not feel guilty. Easier said than done but really, you are human and you have feelings as well. Take good care of yourself and know that there are people here to help you. I thank God each day that I found this site. Wonderful and helpful people. Hugs to you.
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Thank you all. Only PT said she is in early dementia. Thing is that brother has POA and the rest of it, she refuses to do. She has very little money/minimal and no will. She is still "well enough mentally' that I cannot force decisions on her such as where to move. Thing is that we cannot afford to put her in Assisted Living if Medicaid does not cover it. She does not reason these things out. I feel bad because I cannot help her, do love her and realize she is suffering.
Geewiz: you are right. I think she is closest to me and so I hear it all; the problem with that is that my brother doesn't believe me as she will not tell him what is REALLY going on with her and how bad it is. He has issues that I beg him to let go of but he wont. Now she is angry with him because he doesn't return her calls, is stopping taking her to doctor, etc. I am ill and too sick to take her. The only thing I have been good for is to try to coordinate things, do the research, talk to her, send food over, I did cook but she did not like my food, etc. I have feeling of guilt for not doing more, and frustration, and confusion over "is it dementia or not?" . Only the physical therapist said it once to her alone. Not the docs so my brother will not listen. I tried to tell him once but he ignored me. She suffers from congestive heart failure, pretty bad now, falls a lot, seems to have dementia (conversation confuses me as she is all over the map when we talk, she forgets what I told her the day before, ... I just don't know anymore). I feel so guilty posting my feelings of anger, but she accuses me of being mean and nasty and I am only trying to help her and doing it with respect. But I do get frustrated and my voice gets loud at times. So I realize this. Getting old is hard. Getting sick is hard ... everyone has left her ... and she is lonely and too ill to go anywhere. She is almost 88 years old and keeps saying "I am going to die if you don't get me out of this place". She would hate a nursing home. I feel like I can't do anything. She won't have people in .. public and private is very expensive. We have someone go in once a week to clean, my husband brings food in, and my brother WAS taking her to docs. I get her things she needs as much as I can. Thank you all. I know you are dealing with much more than me so I appreciate you all taking the time to respond. So sorry about your husband ...
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