tgengine Asked February 2017

I have become a mean person since being a caregiver.

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I used to be positive and outgoing. But now 3 years into it I am becoming bitter, angry and short fused. I say every day I will make a change but it seems to be worse. I don't mean to but it is over whelming. I try to remain cool headed, I don't get out of control, it is just the snide remarks I tend to mutter, my going off and cooling down out of the area and just my own blood pressure rising. I generally don't say anything if it is not what I agree with, much better than saying something. Does anyone else experience this? I do realize I don't have a lot of years left with my parent and I try all the time but it is the little things that bug the crap out of me. Mostly it is having a house full and no time alone with me and my wife. I have to now schedule weekends away from the place we have built for us. Dinners out are getting expensive. We had 2 hours to ourselves and I made a very nice meal like we used to do and it was heaven.... for 2 hours..... I work at home so there is not a lot of time away from all of it. Trying not to be angry but this whole situation of me being the care giver has turned me that way. I am trying to see his side of it but it goes right into the way he thinks it should be and not the way i want it to be. Feeling like a child at times.

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cwillie Feb 2017
Our life situations and experiences are worlds apart TG, but I can relate. I'm cranky and irritable and I can't even remember what it is like to be a positive person anymore, I'm starting to doubt that I ever was. I wonder who I will be when this is all over, and it isn't a good feeling.
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Rainmom Feb 2017
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Not that I've become mean - it's more of having lost my up-beat nature. I've never been the perky sort but I was a positive person and always looked on the bright side. You know - the half full vs the half empty. I feel like most of my sense of humor is gone as well - the thing my husband always said he loved the most about me.

I looked after my mom six years; my dad as well for the first two of the six years. I loved my father very much and he was easy to look after - he tried to make it easy. My mother on the other hand, was very difficult and a nightmare her final three years - especially when the dementia really kicked in and she became impossible to reason with, mean - saying cruel and hateful things to me when I was the only one of her children helping her, the continuing attempts at manipulation, demands for attention, lying - need I go on?

Moms been gone five months now but the hits keep coming - a recently discovered journal that was written when she was still in her "right mind " but took a swipe at each of her children.

I kept thinking that with enough time some of the old me will return now that moms gone. But now? Honestly, I'm beginning to wonder. I miss the old me.
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staceyb Feb 2017
I hear ya TG, and our situations are not all that different either! My husband's Dad has lived with us for 13 years, and my husband has 2 absent siblings, who live out of state, out of mind, and have never in all these 13 years, offered to help out in any way shape or form.

My husband, the youngest, was always the only one involved in his parents lives (me too), with us bringing our children (while they were kids and throughout their growing up years) to their house nearly every weekend, which was a trek, as they lived about 35 miles from us, and keeping them included in all of their activities and all of the holidays. One weekend day, every week, so my husband could work around their house, doing yard work, and fixing things, his siblings still absent.

My husband's dysfunctional parents, and his Dad, a Narcissist, both held a carrot over my husband's head for years and years, as long as I can remember, his parents telling him that one day, the lake house would be his, didn't happen, as his sister (an evil bipolar Alcoholic) charged up 5 different Credit Cards in his Mother's name to the tune of 68 thousand dollars, and their house was about to have several Liens put upon it, so they sold it, and payed off the creditors, but did not press charges against the daughter, allowing (enabling) her to get away with just one more financial blunder after another, which screwed them out of more and more money! They also promised my husband many thousands of dollars in inheritance, money they inflated and never really had, as they wanted to look like the Carrington's or something, inflating their holdings to appear more than they were, just normal people, with a normal amount of investments, nothing earth shattering. But still, put on the table as an incentive to take care of the Old Man, and give our lives up to him, it is So Not Fair, what they did to my husband.  

My husband would have seen to and taken care of his Dad for NO MONEY, but to have it shoved in your face for So Long, and to then find out that his other siblings already helped themselves, and screwed their parents out of many many thousands, is just sickening! And then when you do put your life on hold, you do tend to expect a little of what you have been told will be your inheritance, and you work to take care of him, in your home, giving up your life, through illnesses, Cancer, as he declines, and aging, and still he hangs on, and you become resentful for what you've been missing out on, and missed opportunities you could have taken advantage of, it all so dang frustrating!

So, We're Done! We've had enough, and are now in the process of finding him a nice Assisted Living place, near where we intend to live, as we are probably going to sell our home in this upswing of the housing market, and to hell with his money, his promises, his d*mn Carrots, it No Longer holds the appeal it once did. Too many strings attached, Too many broken promises, Too damn much taken from us, without regard for Any of our own feelings , wants and desires!

All those years before his wife passed away, (MIL had been very sick with Severe Enphecema), he would corner my husband or myself, and begged us to live with us, when his wife passed, as it was assumed she would pass before him, and did. Of course we said Yes, as he made it so abundantly clear, that he just could not live on his own, couldn't cook or clean or do anything. And in all the time he has lived with us,  he rarely ever speaks about his wife, as it's all about him! Never once looked at old home movies, or picture albums, it's weird!

So now finally, the subject of us Needing to begin thinking of our own lives, our own hopes and dreams, and us wanting to accomplish some of them, before something happens that we cannot, and you know what he says? "OK, as long as it's decent", and then he says, "what happens if I run out of money, are you going to just dump me in the street?". So you see, he's never been concerned At All, with anything to do with our lives, only himself. No mention of All Those Many Thousands, he's been holding over my husband's head, only himself. The Carrot only worked so well so long, until my husband finally "Saw the Light", and it's taken these past 2 years, for him to get up the nerve to "disappoint" his Dad by telling him that One Day, we may need to settle him comfortably into Assisted living, but when he finally does, "CRICKETS"! Not the reaction my husband thought would come, not the "But I wanted to leave you a healthy Inheritance", Nope, it's all about him and his own creature comforts. My husband feels Completely let down!

Frustrated? Oh Ya, my husband is on the verge of a complete breakdown nearly every single day, in dealing with his Dad.

There is Zero appreciation, Zero Thanks, nothing, it's all about him!

And me as his wife, I've sat back, supported my husband, and stayed out of it, to the best of my abilities, as one more oar in the water only leads to more confusion and frustration, more arguments between my husband and I,  it's just not worth it.

My FIL is beginning down the road to Dementia, and my husband cannot deal with it, At All!

Besides having a dysfunctional relationship with his Dad All his life, no hugs no affection, little attention, as all of that was given by his Mom, my husband has no patients for his Senility. He simply cannot handle it, and it causes so much bitterness and anger in him. Like you TG, his BP is on the rise, and If we don't make the move now, my husband is likely to have a Heart attack or Stroke! It's time, we've got to change this scenario.

That doesn't mean that we will abandon him, but we need to get him settled into a nice place, where he can watch TV all day, have his meals, and let him consume his life, all about himself, somewhere else, so that we can get on with ours.
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freqflyer Feb 2017
tgengine, I know for me the problem was the lack of sleep.   Always sleeping with one eye and both ears opened, even though my late parents were under their own roof and I under my own.   It was the dreaded telephone calls, that would send me into major panic mode.

The phone calls were mainly can you drive me here or there... but at the time I was working full-time so I took time off from work which made the environment at work not feel so user friendly.   And the weekly "Dad has fallen", to which after dusting him off to check to see if 911 would be needed.   About 1 out of 5 times it was.

I don't do well with very little sleep.   I become a bear.   I would turn on my sig other when he would say "good morning".   This wasn't me, I was always a quiet sort.   No vacations for 7 years.   No movies for 7 years.   No eating out for 7 years.   Just too nervous we would settle in our seats at the movie and a call would come through that Dad fell.   Mom couldn't hear on the phone so there is no recommending call 911.... [sigh].
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AmyGrace Feb 2017
Wow, you are in a bad spot. Is there any other choice besides having him
 live with you? Maybe you could contact "A Home for Mom" for other solutions. My sister and I were fortunate enough to have our mother in IL, then AL, then a NH rather than live with us. We loved her, visited often, but there is no way we could have lived with her. The lack of privacy, the responsibility, her negativity and expecting us to amuse her and fill her day and give up what we wanted to do would have ruined our marriages. Understand completely how you feel, no privacy, etc. Hope you can find another solution!
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Patticake2 Feb 2017
I have asked that too many times that same question. I feel crabby and I don't want to talk to mom and it is t her fault she has dementia. This group helps a lot.
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TG, have you given any thought to the idea of counseling? I know that a couple of us had suggested that talking your situation over with a trained therapist might yield good results.
Here's the thing; you sound hopeless and helpless. That's sort of indicative of depression. Depression is a treatable, curable illness. But you have to take the first step and talk to someone (other than us) about what "hurts".
Go see your internist, if nothing else. Tell her/him what's going on in your life. Don't make light of it. Tell your doctor how much this is getting you down and affecting your ability to enjoy life.
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JessieBelle Feb 2017
tg, me too. I have been reduced to a person that crawls off to my room to chew my teeth. I am so irritable all the time. I'm not fit to shoot. It helps having a rabbit. She looks at me like, "You mad AGAIN??" She is a little bit of sanity in a crazy world.
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Linda22 Feb 2017
Ok, tg, forgive me if I sound a bit strident, but this hits home with me. here's what you do about the Super Bowl - you get some good snacks in the house for Dad. You tell him that you and Mrs. T will be going together, as a couple because you'd like an evening out with your wife. Then when your friends get after you about where your dad is, how much they love him, why didn't you bring him with you - you put your arm around Mrs. T and tell them nope, you wanted an evening out with your sweetie. And smile. Then you move the subject - greet another guest, go find a drink, whatever to signal that topic is closed. Then you relax, have fun. Yes, Dad will be miffed, but going out with your wife only, as a couple is a normal, reasonable thing. And seriously - do you relax and enjoy when you're at a gathering with your dad? Or are you in constant watch guard mode? And please note that no one else's parents will be at that party.

I did this - Mom was miffed, I got stinkeye from her. And it took us going to about three gatherings without her before people stopping asking why she wasn't there. Each time, i answered that I wanted an evening with just my husband. You know what? It sent a powerful message to my incredibly patient husband, that I'd draw that boundary and carve out time for us.

Your dad is able to get out and develop a social life - you are not obligated to take him to all of your gatherings.

Having a parent living with you does not mean you are always a trio. Draw this boundary. Should you feel misplaced guilt about trying to have couple time, ask yourself how often your parents took THEIR parents with them to social events. And ask yourself if your parents did a fraction of what you are doing to give him an excellent quality of life.

This will be a difficult first step, but I assure you that each subsequent time, it will be easier and easier for you.
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Kimber166 May 2017
TG is using this forum to vent, release anger, get advice and understanding because so many of us have had family boundary issues. TG reminds me of my sister's wonderful MIL - she is 80, still working (literacy tutor) 30 hours per week. One son lives with her, and she has a second son (not my BIL) that mooches off her along with live in son. She cleans up after live in son and grandkids when he has them, and gives both of them her entire social security and pension paychecks monthly ($3-4,000) and lives off her tutoring. She is angry about the situation, feels like her home is invaded, angry that both sons constantly ask for money (they claim grandkids need it so she can't say no), and angry at herself that she can't kick the one out or shut off the tap to both. She KNOWS what she needs to do, she CANNOT BRING HERSELF to do it.

I mention this because i think TG is in the same situation. If he can't/won't take our advice i'm glad we can at least be a place for the poor guy to vent his stress and have an audience who understands him. Maybe we help him lower his BP and be kinder and more patient with the team of deadbeats in his house (dad, daughter, son in law). So TG - we're here, we'll support you, but all of us are secretly praying for a happy ending - dad on his own, kids out on their own, you and your wife enjoying umbrella drinks by the pool and lazily planning what to do for dinner.
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