How can I be my best to everyone and still feel good about myself?

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My aunt is 76 and has had 2 strokes. I live with her in the house I grew up in. My
mom died when I was 6 and I was raised by my grandma. Both of her sons are dead, she has 1 nice granddaughter and 2 great-grandkids.She recently fell and broke her hip and is in a N. H for rehab.She thinks she may be released in a week or two. I also have medical issues (glaucoma, cerebral palsy, and other neurological disorders I was born with, as well as recent ankle problems requiring possible surgery).She yells at me a lot lately b/c my housework is not as "perfect" as she prefers it and I make a lot of mistakes in performing tasks that she wants. I was never a good cook and she holds that against me b/c she was excellent at it complains that I never paid attention when she tried to teach me (which isn't true). Her granddaughter is PERFECT in everything .She is an E.R. tech and training to be a paramedic. My aunt also babysat her great-grandsons age 1 and 10( and still does with my help). She is currently in a N.H. for rehab.She is progressing and may be released in a couple of weeks. I am frustrated b/c I feel useless and incompetent compared to some other family members. I had to quit my teacher aide job to care for herbut I get disability from my old classroom teacher job, so it wasn't too hard financially, just that I am SO bored during the daytime. How can I be my best for everyone else and still feel good about myself? Sometimes it doesn't seem worth living because I have nothing to show for myself. I haven't done much more than fail at everything I ever attempted. I don't think I am good enough to be anyone's caregiver because I was always told by family that I could never function in the "real world" by myself. I don't really have a social life outside of my church family and a few school/work friends that I still keep up with. I am active in my neighborhood association and act as secretary at the monthly meeting.

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Sounds to me your only real failure is a failure to accurately see yourself and assess your good qualities, then believe it is true. You may be suffering from a clinical depression that will not cure itself without help.
For example: Your aunt, who is needing care is no longer able to babysit your cousins. In reality, hasn't it been you babysitting. mostly? Someone, maybe even yourself must have done a number on your mind, I am guessing, and you believed it? Who would take advantage of you in that way? Start by saying "NO" to the babysitting, not for you to do it, and especially not for your aunt to do it!!!! This situation is untenable for you.
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call your local area agency on aging and check out their in home programs, she may be eligible for someone to come it-it will give you a needed break.
You must care for yourself before anything else or you won't be able to do anything for anyone. I know this can be difficult. Everyone is different and we have to accept those differences. Speak with her and tell her you are aware she doesn't approve of how you do things but that you are doing your best. It's good you have each other but you have to learn to work together. Praise her for her accomplishments of being a great cook etc. to me family is important, and I know everything doesn't always get solved by conversation. I feel talking about issues is a good way to come up with a compromise, maybe she doesn't know how you feel; if you tell her it may make the difference. good luck
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Honey, you have got to grow a backbone and set some boundaries.

Your aged aunt, bless her heart, needs to be in a care facility, like it or not. This caregiving thing is going to put you in your grave and I am not making that up.

Her needs are only going to increase, her comprehension decrease, and your ability to keep up will go to zero. Who will take care of her when you are in the hospital from exhaustion and collapse? It's not "if" that will happen, but WHEN.

You can honor this elder by working with social services to get her into a care community that handle anything her aging and decline can throw at them.

This is going to be hard, because it sounds like the family has been used to you being the "Ruth" in the family and doing all the care work anybody needs.
That was probably fine when you were 35 or 45.

Your young cousin's family needs to make other accommodations and it is NOT your responsibility to figure that out for them. You have been there for lots of people for a long time, without much reward it sounds.

It's time you take care of you. If you were my best friend, I would tell you to get the "bleep" out and establish yourself as a separate person.

I would call the county social services to get help for you to become independent. I would call the area agency on aging to request a social worker to come do an assessment on aunty. You both need different kinds of help to get the ball rolling.

It sounds like you need a lot of support to get out from under everybody else's burdens. I am so sorry this has happened to you. You deserve to decide and define your own life and see what the world has out there for you. It doesn't have to be like this if you want to change it. Come back when you need support. We'll root for you. Remember - "can't never could and won't never will". One step at a time. Focus on what you CAN do and in a year's time you might amaze yourself.
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I'm back again. I forgot to mention that I am also responsible for getting my little 10 year old cousin up and ready for school on some days when he stays overnight. My aunt has been watching him since he

was born, practically. Due to his parents' work schedules and his 15-month-old brother, he often spends the night here and I have to wake him up for school. (It's easier to wake up an elephant! )
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It sounds like you were given a dose of things to deal with when you were born, and that you were dealing well with them. At 52 you need to have a life and friends. I know that CP and other neurological disorders can make it more difficult than if you didn't have them, but it sounds like you were doing a good job until this latest brow-beating by family. One thing I wonder is if your aunt is brow beating you because she needs you and wants to keep control. If you think that is the case, don't let it get into your head.

I think your extra church activities you enjoywould be great. And I think that your aunt and family members could cover things so that you can participate in them. You need your own life, not just one they carve out for you. I know you do owe your aunt, but that doesn't mean every minute of every day. Work something out so you'll have enough time for enjoyment.
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Gospel, you should understand that your Aunt comes from an era in which most women didn't work outside the home and we're supported by husbands. Was this true in your Aunt's case? Does she have retirement savings a pension? She was able to care for you, I assume, because there was someone supporting her.

How are you going to fare financially if you are not engaged in a paid job from here on in? Do you have a pension? Retirement savings?

If aunt cannot be left alone for more than an hour she needs more than one caregiver. Have you looked into what programs she may be eligible for? Is there adult day care? Does she have the funds to hire some in home help (cleaning, laundry) so that you could get out more.?
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I only used the word "allow" to mean that she doesn't mind being home alone while I go to church because she knows how important that is to me. But if something comes up like a meeting after church or a special event then she gives me a hard time about the fact that I stayed too long. She has a potty chair but isn't completely able to use it by herself, and she wears Depends.
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I am a"volunteer" only in the sense that I already live here and everyone expects me to do it since she always took care of me when I had major surgeries and helped me with all kinds of personal and other tasks so I guess this is like repaying her for being there for me.
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How much is your Aunt paying you for your caregiving duties or are you a volunteer? I'm made curious by the word "allow" in your post.
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Sorry but having trouble with the post cutting off too fast. I also have been teaching Sunday school for many years.Now I spend most of my time watching tv with her, reading, or doing things on the computer in addition to regular housework. I am dreading the day she comes home from rehab because I know that the routine will start all over again.
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