Angry at having to care for my mother, even in nursing home... is this normal?


I wanted her to get help, but being an only child I am fed up taking care of my mom. I have to go every day and I am sick of it. We do not get along and I cannot live my life. I am getting increasingly resentful.

Is this normal?

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Your resentment is normal!

Why do you have to go to the nursing home every day? Is it out of Fear of making your mother angry, a feeling of Obligation, or you will feel Guilty if you don't? Sounds like emotional blackmail at work to me and it has you lost in some deep F.O.G. Your mother is narcissistic and her personality can't be fixed or controlled. You didn't make her this way, but you can chose a healthier path for yourself by setting boundaries and sticking to them.

From what I've read of other posts of yours on other threads, it is harming your life, your family and you. That is not fair to you or to them.
Helpful Answer (9)

Hi All, I am in the same situation and as I read all of these kind, thoughtful and heartbreaking posts, I keep thinking we have to be careful that we don't lose our own lives in the process of trying to do the right thing. I like the reference to boundaries and I know it's nearly impossible, because with deteriorating old age, there is no schedule that can be set... also things are said by parents that come out of fear, but they are endlessly powerful to the recipient anyway... no matter why they are said. I'm going to meet with a therapist for the first time today for myself (I checked in with my insurance company and didn't realize I have that benefit. The insurance monthly premium is ridiculously expensive and it occurred to me that I should use the benefits if they can keep me from being fully institutionalized for my craziness). It will give me nearly an hour to speak about my heartbreaking circumstances with my mom, without burdening my family and friends. Not sure what she will say, but it's the one thing I'm doing for myself today. So, although I can not do anything about my mothers random demands, all of which I want to respond to and satisfy, I'm going to try to do one good and healthy thing for myself every day. Not having done that yet... I'm not sure how it will work, but just want you all to know... you have inspired me to come to this idea. Thank you for sharing your stories, because they are so closely related to mine... and help me to not feel ... badly (cranky, selfish, like my life is falling apart while at the same time I can't seem to save my mom's life...). I hope you find one good thing to do for yourself too.
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(((((((alex))))))) -are you sayng that you have to take her for daily chemo treatments for the next 2.5 weeks?
If so, is there other transportation that could be arranged on some of those days? This is very hard on your and your family.
My mother is borderline personality disorder, narcissistic and very demanding too, but I have learned - out of the necessity of looking after myself - to say no to her, to ignore many things, and to detach from the resulting anger.and criticism. As you probably realise, you will never please her, and you cannot make her happy Nor can you take away from the pain of her situation. Having cancer is nasty, and any one who gets it has to deal with that, and I am sure it is very difficult - but no one can do it for us or take away the anxiety, sense of loss or physical discomforts.
Boundaries are needed when dealing with this kind of person. Yes, anger is normal. You are being expected, by your mother, to do too much, and you are expecting yourself to do too much. Can you cut yourself some slack, and attend to your own needs and those of your children? Your needs and your children's needs are at least as important as your mother's needs - even if she has a terminal illness.

You say you have to go every day. Apart from the transportation to chemo -why do you have to go every day? Because she gets mad if you don't? My mother is 5 hrs drive away, and I go when I can, which is n ot as often as she would like. She is 100, and in an ALF and well cared for there, even if she complains all the time. It is several months since I last saw her though we are in communication pretty well daily.
If you need permission not to go every day, I will give it to you. My daughter has two children and lives a few blocks away, but I have never expected that kind of thing from her, nor would I even if I were ill. She has her own life to live and her own respoonsibilities.. We do not see one another daily - but when it suits both of us. She has helped me a few times and I have done the same for her and her family.
Try to achieve a betterr balance in your life, but don't expect your mother to like it. That you are getting resentful says to me that you are being used - that is no good for you, or for your mum either. It is enabling unhealthy behaviour in her.
Good luck in establishing some boundaries. (((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))
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After joining this website, I am still struck by how many people -- mostly women -- are in the same situation. I have ready many books on emotional manipulation, and I still find it hard to set boundaries. Parents seem to have the ability to get us to do so many things that are not really good for us. My own mother (whom I see daily), continually says that I owe her for all the times she drove me in childhood. I have a son, and I expect no such thing from him. It's hard to determine where to draw the line, I think, because we love our parents and want to help them. But if you are feeling the way you do, you are probably going beyond what is reasonable. I have one question (and I pose this to myself often) -- Do you feel gratification from helping/visiting your Mother? I often feel depleted, exhausted, overwhelmed with demands that never seem to end. I now to errands/chores for Mom two afternoons a week. I feel good about these boundaries, and she seems ok with it, too. So setting boundaries isn't all that bad! I hope you can find some peace, so that you can enjoy your own life. She is being cared for where she is.
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Like you I am an only child and I cared for both of my parents when they were ill. However, I had a loving relationship with both parents who would do anything for me. I understand that all only children don't share that type of a relationship and it appears from the tone of your posting you may not have such a situation during your childhood. However, if you can't visit your mother without being resentful,please don't visit her. It isn't good for your mother and it isn't good for you. Perhaps a cousin or other relative who has a better relationship with your mother can step up.

There are 3 types of only children: those that are loved and adored by their parents, those that are resented by their parents and those although surprised by parenthood adjust and love their children. All only children are not the same.
Just try to do what is best for you and your mother. Clearly visiting her isn't the correct path for you.
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Our ancestors rarely had to care for an elder. People didn't live to be as old as they are now back then.
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I used to see my mom every day too but had to stop. I was losing it. It was affecting my health and well being. My whole family was affected. I was resentful that they did not want to help take the burden off me after saying they would take turns visiting. I think I was angry about the illness and the fact that my great life was now in turmoil. I am still angry as my mom is near the end of her life. It is a hard reality that no one wants to face. Stop beating yourself up about it. Visit on your terms and leave feeling good about it. That is the only way it will work. I had a great relationship with my mom. I miss her terribly. She does not know me but there is still something there when I stroke her hair or face. I want to blame somebody but there isn't anyone. It is what it is. Hugs.
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Lizann---HOW could you say that? Lillian 41 is right and sorry to rain on your parade but, you are wrong! You should NEVER tell someone it is his/her DUTY. It sounds like you may NOT have a parent in a NH. DO YOU?? I find it hard to believe you have lived through these experiences that we have and do each day. Otherwise, you would NOT say what you did above. An apology is in order.
Parent/child relationship dynamics----think about that for a minute. You do not know how that dynamic "plays out". Every parent/child relationship is different. Some are VERY BAD, some, not so bad and some okay. It is NOT our DUTY to make ourselves sick, to be abused yet another day by an abusive or narcissistic parent, to be drained with "wants" not "needs" until the life is sucked out of us and we no longer care about life or death We are here to HELP each other..not make others feel ashamed, guilty or any other negative feeling.
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Ohhhh Alex((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) you have BPD yourself, and are working on it. You have my greatest admiration. You are the first person I have"met", albeit on line, who has that condition, admits it, and is trying to do something about it. I believe it can be inherited too as there are a number of people with this condition, or, similar in my mother's family, while the others are as normal as apple pie. I know she struggles with emotions, anger, anxiety, trust etc, and that spills out in her relationships, and makes life harder for all of us. She does not acknowledge her illness. I thank God every day that I do not have that condition. It sounds like it makes it harder for you to set boundaries with your mum, and deal with her emotions, yet, from my experience, that is what is needed. Will she be happy - no! Will she bitch, yes! Can she adjust to you doing things your way and not hers - to a degree, I think she can. You can tell her that you can't do whatever it is anymore - no explanations or justifications are needed, - or, simply do what works for you and - set a limit. Tell her that this is what you can do, (you don't have to explain yourself )and if she complains when you come you will not stay - and then walk away if she complains. For example, restrict your vists to a couple of times a week. Arrange other transpoprtation for some of the days of the week. Practice what you will say to her in the mirror before you see her if need be, You know how she is going to react, plan how you are going to respond. If your doc has given you any meds, use them. I am thinking antidepressants and /or anti anxiety here (occasional use) I may be off the wall here - whatever you doc recommends. I always felt mother would benefit from those. You have all the more reason to take special care of you with a family and marriage to manage, and your mum. Please take at least some small steps to take the pressure off you. Your needs are as important as hers. Your mum will likely be unhappy for a while, but you should not be sacrificing yourself to her condition. You need to focus more on you and your family, How far away your mother is should not determine how often you visit her. If my mother was 20 minutes away, I would not want to see her more often, and would have to set some firm limits according to what I could manage. I saw a counsellor yesterday on related issues, as the issues from childhood with a BPD mom who refused to accept any responsibility for her condition, are still with me, though not as bad as they were, and she (the counsellor) agreed that I will be dealing with these issues the rest of my life. You have a double whammy of a BPD mom, and being BPD yourself ((((((((((((((hugs))))))))).

Lizann - if you were not brought up by a mother with a personality disorder you have no idea what you are talking about, and pressuring alex to do. In any case, she is not saying she wants to ignore her mother, but that seeing her is very stressful. Reducng the number of visits is totally reasonable and acceptable.

lillian41 and teachergear Right on!

alex - look after you - your marriage relationship, your children and then your mother - in that order and let us know how you are doing!
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alexandra - no need to apologise for your feelings. Yes, you have put up with much mental abuse. So do what you have to do to look after yourself. Your mother did not parent you well - you have to learn to parent yourself. I have had to cut of communication with my mother at times - the longest was for a year, otherwise I have done it for a few months at a time. She was only diagnosed a few years ago aged 96. I had diagnosed her unofficially many years before. My sister has a similar condition, but not acknowledged or diagnosed; however, the destructive behaviours are there. I give myself breaks to give myself time for healin., as I could not heal while being on the receiving end of continual abuse. Do you also have some feelings of anger regarding inheriting this condition? I think in your shoes I would. Protect yourself, and work on your issues and healing. I haven't seen mother since May, and if she dies before I could see her again, I would have no guilt. I have put up with so much garbage over the years... I understand.
jeanne gibbs has mentoined Pauline Boss, a psychologist, who recommends that those who have been abused by a parent do not do any hands on caregiving, but oversee it at arm's length. This is pretty well what I have arrived at.

Quote "Taking care of someone who years before was abusive or neglectful of you is beyond what is expected of you. Caring for a family member who was or is physically or psychologically abusive is dangerous. These are justifiable reasons for not being a caregiver... Other people can do the hands on work ...Your goal is to be humane, but also to prevent yourself from being hurt further." This is from "Loving Someone Who has Dementia", pp163,164, by Pauline Boss PhD.

Remember the last line - to prevent yourself from being hurt further.
Love and hugs I so understand. Joan
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