What if I can't pull out of this resentment phase of burnout?

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I cared for my Dad through a terrible cancer battle at age 60, and watched him die a painful death, just after giving birth to my daughter. As a new Mom, I needed support, and struggled with postpartum depression, but support was not there-I WAS the support. My Mom was dependent on my Dad, and she declined in his cancer. Both were in and out of the hospital at the same time. I am an RN and was the POA. I received no help from my only sister, who must be going through her own form of grief and is full of anger and will not help me care for our Mom who is end stage. I am pregnant again. And I am bitter, depressed, and angry. I feel robbed. My Mom is a waif, a child to me. She has learned helplessness and will do nothing for herself(although this could be seen as withdrawling from life, she has been this way her whole life). She is manipulative, offering guilt trips. Her quality of life depends on me. She is sucking me dry. And I am angry. And argumentative with her. And then I feel guilty b/c I am angry and argumentative with a helpless dying woman. I have made an appointment for counseling. We do have actual bedside caregivers caring for her, but I am the one managing it all-bills, her home, caregivers, food, the dog, nurses/physicians, etc. I feel like I hit a brick wall. I have nothing left in me to offer. My husband is great support but he is fed up also. I try to pull empathy and compassion (I had it before) but its not there, I only find anger and resentment. I avoid talking to her b/c I struggle to converse without the resentment behind her. Every doctor/nurse feels she should be Hospice. She wants to keep fighting, but always refuses to go to the hospital. When she is confused it leaves me to make difficult decisions b/c she is refusing but also made her wishes known to keep fighting. But I just don't have the fight in me anymore. Im the one ready to give up and without me advocating for her, she would never live. Have I hit the point of no return? Is it possible to have any quality relationship with her before she dies?

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Top Answer
Sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. Who has durable and medical POA for your mom?

Hate to put things so bluntly this morning, but your mother about fits the definition of a borderline waife mother. People like her manipulate others with Fear, Obligation and Guilt. There is a good book about this, Emotional Blackmail: When People in your life use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to manipulate you. You didn't make her that way. You can't fix her. nor can you control her. All you can really do is take care of yourself and put yourself on a healthier path which you definitely need with being pregnant again. I commend you for going to counseling which is part of getting yourself on a healthier path.

My step-mother is dying from pulmonary fibrosis and does not want to go to the hospital or a nursing home, but would rather die at home. She is a fighter and has already lived past the 6 months the doctor gave her to live. However, she is receiving hospice care at home.

I am glad that you have the support of your husband. What does he think needs to be done?

I hope your counseling session goes well today. You are in my prayers. Love and hugs!

Regardless of what Mom wants, I really think Hospice should be called in..if the doctor agrees. They will be wonderful physical and emotional support for you, your family and your Mom. Your primary responsibility is you and your family. A little more distance from Mom right now would be good for you and that precious baby.

Hopefully counseling today will give you some relief and help make those tough decisions we all face in caregiving.

Hugs and prayers!
Thank you for your support and thoughtful comments.
I have medical DPOA(in our state, legally medical POA and not be shared and this has caused a war with my sister), and share financial, etc DPOA with my sister.
We have my Mom on a Hospice "bridge" program, and they are there to bridge my Mom over to full Hospice when she is ready. They do come out to the home to try to symptom manage to avoid hospitalization, but at times their hands are tied b/c they can only treat to a certain extent without consent for Hospice, and b/c her periods of confusion are temporary, I can't decide at that moment to make her full Hospice. The hospice nurses totally empathize with me and have talked with her numerous times of the benefits of Hospice. She just sees it as a death sentence, b/c my Dad died quickly after he went Hospice(she misses the correlation that our family lives in denial and utilizes Hospice only at the time of death). She wants to see my second child and wants to be able to go to hospital to get antibiotics, etc-which would be fine but when the time comes she doesn't want to go and its a huge production to get her treated. I feel alot of ethical pressures, but I think next time at the first hint of refusal, I will walk away and if the consequence is death, that was her choice.
Cmagnum-it is really ironic you suggest she may be waif BPD. My MIL is Borderline, but very abusive and nasty. We've been in counseling for that and I'm in support groups for it. Through this process, a lightbulb has gone off and I've questioned if my own mother is borderline, but very quietly, without anger and shouting. She is so very manipulative in her sickly sweetness, but there is always a guilt-trip under it. I know everyone grieves differently, but it never sat right with with her reaction to my Dads death. She was loving the attention she received through it. Her disabilities were true, but in his living years he enabled her learned helplessness. She was quite capable of helping with bills, making phone calls, etc. And when he died, she refused to lift a finger-and I suppose I took over the enabling role. I have alot of friends who are also having babies, and I am sad when I watch their mothers help them through it. My Mom offers me nothing, she is so childlike in how she talks. She loves her grandchildren, but it is our chore to get them to her so she can be happy and have quality of life. B/c I am currently a stay at home Mom, she thinks I just have all the time in the world to cater to her needs. I found I have to make up illnesses for myself-its the only way to get off the hook with her to care for her needs. My husband and I actually moved back here to care for her, and unfortunately to get back here he took a terrible job with long hours, less pay, weekend hours, etc. Which offers me even less support. We are both so bitter for choosing to move here. I catered to her, I should have told her if she wanted my help she needed to move to me.
I feel like I lost myself and my life in her dysfunctional way of life...
kynsella11, sounds like while your mother was dependent upon your dad that he was codependent upon your mother and thus was an enabler instead of someone who set healthy boundaries which would have been better for the family and a good example for you.

I don't know if you have ever read the book, Understanding the Borderline Mother, but it has a chapter on the borderline waif. The writer also is very descriptive of the borderline queen (the mommy dearest type) and the borderline witch who are so cruel. I'm convinced that my MIL is a combination of the borderline queen and witch. It does sound like you lost yourself in trying to survive her dysfunctional way of life and now you are fighting to get your life and yourself back. Also, there are two other good books. Stop Walking on Eggshells and the Workbook for Stop Walking on Eggshells. I hope your counseling session goes well today.
Kynsella, hugs and hugs to you across the miles. You have made so many sacrifices and are a wonderful daughter. You have done so much and the well is dry. If she qualifies for Hospice I would think it a good idea to get them on board now; as things can change quickly.

A lot people think of it as a death sentence when truly it is not. And since you have been through this before, their job is to help and keep the patient comfortable and support the family. If she refuses, this could be to her detriment. It's so good you are going to counseling; I hope they can help you through this. So many of us have been on the receiving end of the guilt trip mothers who were catered to and enable by their husbands. And when husband is gone, we are left with the end result of the dysfunction and all the responsibilities. My heart goes out to you and will keep you in my prayers.

Blessings to you and take care of yourself and beautiful little one on the way.
3pinkroses, I wonder if these enabling husbands of our guilt trip moms grew up with a guilt trip mom themselves and that is where they were trained for that enabling role?
cmagnum - interesting question - never really considered that before. I don't remember my father's mother that well as she died when I was young. All I ever heard was how wonderful and sweet a person she was and my father was the same way. In my poor father's case, I think he didn't want "to deal" with the ramifications of not responding to my mother the way she demanded. But, I don't know if my grandmother gave my father the "guilt trips" - she was sickly and could have done this to him as well -
cmagnum - just hit enter before finishing lol - glad you brought that question up as I still to this day struggle with how he enabled her. Seems like a generation of men who allowed and enabled wives to take such advantage of them.
Cmagnum, interesting thought. In my father's case, my grandmother was as laid back as he is. Someone noted when she died, that none of her 16 grandchildren ever remember her scolding us for anything (and I deserved it a time or two!). However, his father abandoned the family when my father was young. My grandmother worked very hard. I think my father wanted us to have a stable home life, so he just let my mother get away with some awful behavior. After one of her rages, she would be fine. I think he just focused on that.
ok...i don't even know you or your family members, but I'm very concerned about YOU the caregiver. I am certain you've done your level best for your mother AND to keep peace AND to be a supportive wife AND to be a good mother to your own AND EVERYTHING else that pops up that requires you to be the "glue" that holds everything and everybody together. There's your validation and validation is something we all need. All validation really is, is someone that says, "I understand". Your husband has one wife; you. Your children have one mother; you. Your husband and child have no options. You are irreplaceable. Now...let's talk about "toxic people". Even toxic people have families. Even though sometimes we wonder if they really have a heart, a brain or even a conscience. Toxic people have toxic relationships. They poison every relationship they have with manipulation, deceit and lies. I understand your situation. My father was a master. There comes a time when you MUST DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND for your benefit as well as your family. YOU CAN NOT BE A DOORMAT UNLESS YOU FIRST LIE DOWN. Stop being your mother's doormat. It doesn't make you a better person to allow others to violate you emotionally and mentally. I think one of the biggest mistakes we all make at some point in our life is TRYING TO REASON WITH AN UNREASONABLE PERSON. You can't do it, never done it and never will. Look in the mirror. When you see that giving, sacrificial, kind person looking back at you, give her permission to have BOUNDERIES. There is no shame in telling a parent or anyone else that you've done your best and now you MUST concentrate on your husband and your children. You see the irony of this is that your mother feels that if you really love her, you will let her manipulate your life, your mind and your feelings. And YOU FEEL that if your mother really loved you she wouldn't treat you in such a cruel, manipulitive way. One of you is resonable and the other is not. If you have options...and it sounds like you do through Hospice or a "facility" use it/them. You are entitled to live with the LIBERTY

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