I know this may be an unusual question but I am looking for a way to come to terms with things that have happened in my life.
My grandmother became sick when I was 7. I was very close to her and my mom took care of her for many years (off and on for 15 years total). My grandmother had a lot of medical issues that required very painful surgeries and because she was from a small town with limited medical care and we lived three hours away in a larger city, she came to our home to recover after each surgery.
My grandfather helped a little when she would go home but they often did not get along. He was often a hateful man and I can't really blame her but she would never fully leave him.
My uncle lived 1 mile from my mom and he never helped. Nor did his wife or their children. Both my cousins were older than me. They always had excuses from social activities to the situation being "too depressing."
I spent tons of time in various hospitals growing up. Once, my grandmother was hospitalized for 3 months straight. I did my elementary school homework in hospital rooms, high school homework -- and yes, even college assignments. I sat in doctors offices for hours with my parents and grandmother.
I wanted to be there and I loved her, but as I got older I started noticing things I did not like. My mother was not in good health. She was severally visually impaired (glasses like coke bottles), had a ruptured disc, bouts of anemia from heavy periods, and later we discovered renal insufficiency. Her feet would swell like crazy. Yet, all I would ever hear from my grandparents is how they did not want to go into a nursing home.
My mom would ask my grandmother why her son (living just a mile away) would never come and pick her up to take her to his home? Why he couldn't stop in to say, "hello" and my grandmother would go into rages. She would scream and yell and I started wondering, "how can someone this 'sick' that needs all this care have such strength to throw these fits?
Once after a surgery, I helped my mom take care of her and never left the house for 2 weeks straight. It was during the summer, so there wasn't any school.
My mom once got up, cooked a meal and said all my grandmother had to do was warm it up but she was going to take me out shopping. My grandmother had a fit and ended up throwing herself on the floor. We went anyway.
If my mom was sick and didn't say hello soon enough, she had a fit.
She had moments where she was truly a loving, giving kind person but she was always looking for that miracle pill that would make her 16 again.
By the time I got to college, I had to take a leave from my job to help but was still carrying a full college load. I remember she was getting sicker and was in Intensive Care. I begged my mom to just let me stay home because I desperatly needed to study and she had a fit saying how could I not be there? I HAD been there at that time for the last 13 years. I was so mentally and emotionally exhausted that I broke down in the middle of a college class sobbing.
When my grandmother died, my mother had little to do with me or anyone for a year. I was once so mad that I asked her, "do you wish it was me that died instead so you could have your mother back?" She came close to hitting me.
I have told my mother over the years that it was not right what we were put through (my dad and myself were right there through it all and my dad would work a manual labor job and then come in to sit hours in a doctors office because my mom did not drive (eyes).
Mom has told me she has not one regret and would do it all over again. I find that bothersome after she knows how I feel. By the time my grandmother died, I was up to 3 ulcers. I also had health problems and was a nervous wreck.
My husband now is a caregiver for his father who still lives in his own home but has small help from a helper and hospice has been call in but does precious little. My husband is responsible for getting perscriptions, groceries, meals and does an hour commute daily with 3-4 visits to his house. Our 8 year old daughter says she rarely sees daddy. My father-in-law has always been hateful and resentful (wasn't real happy his granddaughter was born a girl and reminds us of such but says now it's okay). He throws food, curses at my husband, threatens him and the list could go on.
My husband says his dad educated him and fed him. I told him he would have had less debt with a long-term student loan. He feels he is "honoring" his father as is commanded in the Bible. My mom took the same approach.
This current situation is reminding me of my childhood and I find myself more angry and wondering, "why do these people even have families if they are going to worship their parents?"
How much do you feel should be taken into consideration when you caregive? Do you feel your spouse or child should endure it with you? If so, how much? Am I just a cold person? Is something wrong with me?

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I completely understand what you are saying, and I don't think you are "wrong" in the least. You have to have a life of your own. If you let them, some seniors will consume your every breathing moment. My 75-year-old father is in ill health (my mom died years ago), and he is living with my husband, 8-year-old daughter and me. I am an only child, so my daughter and I are his only living blood relatives. He can walk, prepare simple meals (such as pour cereal from a box) and toilet himself. I established early on that there are boundaries. If he has a true emergency, that takes the lead. However, if he wants me to run an errand that can wait versus something I have already scheduled for my child, she takes priority. My dad wanted me to stop being her Girl Scout troop leader so I "could devote more time" to him. He has every need taken care of--maybe not at the second he wants it, but within the same day. I told him no--my daughter needs me. She will never be this age again, and I am not denying her a childhood. We will make this balance work, but not at her expense. He also wanted me to stay home from a family vacation and let my child and husband go 1,000 miles without me. Again, I said no. His doctors have said he can travel (in fact, they encouraged him to). We are taking him with us. He does not want to go, but I told him that without a medical reason, there is no reason for him to deny me a trip with my husband and child. (It is our 10th anniversary this year, too.) Yes, my dad throws tantrums, but I can, too. It's hard to listen to and stressful, but I am not giving in. Quite frankly, my daughter is better behaved at 8 than he is at 75. However, I can deal with it. His needs are completely taken care of. He has to learn that he can't always get his way the minute he dictates an order. (An example--I "need you to go to Arby's right now" when there are plenty of other foods to eat in the house.) My poor mom lived with him for years and knew what he was like. Before she died, she even told me not to let him run me over, and that I needed to stand up to him, or he would dominate everything forever. Like you, I am not in the best of health. I worry that he will put me in an early grave and I won't live to see my child grow up. I am doing everything I can to be here for her.
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When a person marries they leave father and mother and cleave (Bible terms) to each other. Yes, they respect and help parents but their family wife, husband, children come first. This is the bibical order.
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My mom recently went to live at an assisted living facility with memory care. I just couldn't take care of her - she was very demanding, and very needy. My elderly aunt told me to think twice before bringing her to live with me because it would only get worse. I feel so much better now - I visit once per week (I still work full time even though I am 64 years old). I feel I am entitled to a little bit of peace in my life. I searched long and hard for the right place for Mom - its quite expensive but we sold her home to pay for it. Now I worry less about her, and feel I can spend my attention on my husband who didn't think my mother was part of the marriage bargain - neither do I - its not fair to him.
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Wow, quite a story. Sounds like you still have A LOT of issues with your own childhood, what your experienced with your mother, the lack of attention to you maybe, the lack of gratitude, and your mother putting your grandmother first.

Now with your husband, all I can say it is his relationship with his father, who clearly sounds like he has dementia or some kind and should be in a home. I say that because it mirrors my father's behavior before he went into a NH home, then he plateaued and is now there long term, not accepting of his fate.

I guess all I can tell you is to talk to your husband, tell him how much you see him suffering and see if you can get him to lighten up his load of caring for his dad. Hire a caregiver to come in one afternoon a week. Use that time to go out to dinner or a movie with each other, or just sit down to dinner at your own home and have a conversation. Sometimes it is the little things that can help people see the light and then they want more of their own life back.

I have been caring for both my parents who live down the road, (Dad now in NH), but I do all the laundry, the groceries, meds, haircuts, church, listening to all their complaining etc...My Dad has nasty angry dementia but now on the right meds, is calmer, (sometimes)! My Mom - she didn't care her parents as they aged, her sister did for 40 years!!! Can you believe that! My Mom led the life of a socialite and now she is excepting me to to do EVERYTHING for her. There's no magic bullet but my husband said to me about 6 months, "I want you back, honey. I don't want us to lose our 50's with you being so miserable and exhausted. I miss you...." he was right and I started making some changes in my schedule. I now put my own family first. It's still very hard but no where was it written that I had to give up my life (which is what you did and what your husband is doing now), because they fed us and educated us, so that our parents can ruin our adult lives. He your FIL doesn't get a lunch, tough. He'll live. See if you can convince your husband to go over just once a day, or hire someone to do it. I hope this has inspired you to change it up.

xoxoxo -

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My story is as long and painful as yours! I won't go into details because really, as I heard once, it really doesn't matter what people DO. The details aren't that important. It's more WHY they do them. I would say to you that this whole thing, which is common as the sun rising in the east, is about the lack of proper boundaries in a dysfunctional family. I totally agree about living life in the Word, but I know there are so many abusive people who will twist the Bible and take things out of context for their own purpose. That's why it is so important to really get to know the whole Bible - a daunting task - and prayer is important to when reading and digesting God's meanings. The first commandment is also the most important and if we can get this one right, everything else would fall in to place. Love God with all your heart and all your mind. Have NO other gods before him (and that includes your parents). I would urge you to get into a good Christian counselor (I stress the word 'good'. There are many bad ones, Christian and otherwise out there). You can honor your parents in many ways, but giving them your everything to the exclusion of your spouse and his/her needs, your minor children, who God gave to YOU to raise (and He expects you to do that well) is not right. There is a lot of manipulation of God's dictates to His people, including things like 'submission'. (I have a close family member whose sister in law currently is going through a meat grinder emotionally and we all fear for her physical safety because her very fundamentalist Christian pastor has advised her to 'submit' more to her abusive husband, saying that her 'strength' is what's ruining their marriage! He has left out the part in the greater context where Christ tells wives to submit and tells husbands to lift up and honor their wives, loving them as their own bodies as Christ loves His church. So it gets very twisted up in many ways when humans start fitting singular passages or words to their own purpose.
God LOVES us. He doesn't want us to be harmed or abused or mentally at the end of our ropes. If a parent is demanding and pushing an adult child to this extent, this is not Godly behavior and that adult child is NOT obligated to do whatever that parent wants. Honor your parent by holding your tongue when you could really unleash it, by making sure they are safe and have good health care and are well fed and clean. Be as kind as you can be. But you do NOT get 'points' for allowing anybody - ANYBODY - abuse you.
Helpful Answer (7)

I got sick of hearing my mother-in-law come to the table for breakfast, DEEP SIGH, and as whatever she wanted to eat was placed in front of her, would intone, "Al, please kill me. I want to die!" I know too many people fighting to take their last breath wanting to live because they have young children. I kept answering, "I will not let you waste one more minute of my time on my way to eternity. If that's how you feel, toddle down the driveway with your walker, lay down in the street and wait for a garbage truck to run over you!" (Now sulking with a puss on, she would repeat her initial statement. I would replay, "I don't care." It took several times before she gave up because, previously, I would remind her how much she would be missed and all the people who love her. No more rewards for bad behavior. Why don't we keep slamming our hand in a car door? Because it hurts!
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The bottom line here is that no matter how much you don't want to do it or say you can't care for someone, you end up managing somehow because there is no other choice other than just letting them fend for themselves & die on their own. I nearly drove myself to an early grave but I finally found a balance. I'm lucky because my parents have enough money to manage.

This is a huge problem in this country & will only gets worse. We have an aging population with limited resources & to make matters worse we have lot's of technology & drugs to keep us living way past our expiration dates, even if we are miserable the whole time. Every situation is different but people DO get old & sick & need care. Someone has to tend to their needs & it's usually a family member unless they are rich enough to afford paid care. There are people with no family, friends or money for caregivers, they often end up on the street, sometimes it's their own fault but often not. Either way, it's a problem we face as a nation that is not going away.
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We are all human which means our capacity is limited. When you have done all you can, and then your health, your other family obligations, etc. start suffering badly, then it's time to put the older relative in a good facility. If everyone has to make compromises, then so can the patient. This is why there are really good care facilities. I am a Christian and I am all for caring and self sacrificing, but I also believe that God raised up professional caregivers to do that job when we no longer are effective.
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Thank you frustrated2 for your thoughtful insight. As a devout, lifetime Athiest, I get a little annoyed at what seems to me like total nonsense and excuses for generally being bad humans.
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Terim, thank you so much for sharing your story as I know that cannot be easy. Thank you too for the compliment to my mother, yes -- she is a very compassionate woman.
I never wanted all the attention to myself. I'm an only child and was not neglected in that way at all.
I have a young child at home (8) and will not bring a man in who has cut himself with a knife, put a gun to his stomach and threatened harm to others. I will not expose her to herpes and the serious infection he is carrying in his urinary track and on his legs. I know if he got violent and killed her or us, he would walk because he is elderly and can easily turn off and on his "confusion." I cannot justify putting a small child in any danger such as that.
I think it is beautiful you took in your abusers but I would have been visiting them in prison had I been raped. I just could not fathom having a rapist be it my father or grandfather around my children.
I remember a case in the news from a couple of years back about a mother who went to care for her elderly father. He had been in some sort of trouble with the law in the past and had some guy living with him that had been a sex offender. Almost his entire trailer park was filled with sex offenders but this grandfather told his daughter they were all swell guys who would never harm his granddaughter. Sadly, the little girl ended up dead.
I am all for helping family when they have had surgeries, recovering from an illness, etc. but when they have the strength to yell, scream, throw fits, attack people (and yes, that was all done in my house growing up), then they need to be heavily sedated so they don't hurt themselves and others. If that doesn't work, they need to go back home or to a nursing home.
No parent raising their child would ever put up with being cursed at, attacked, threatened or outright bullied in any way. Most likely years ago the child would have been disciplined by spanking or some other punishment. Not every parent has dementia or Alzheizemer's. Neither of my grandparents did. So why is it okay for the elderly to treat their children in such a manor and get a free pass because well...they are elderly and gave birth 50 or 60 years ago? Why should young children see their parents talked to in such a horrible way, threatened, hit and outright abused? If a spouse was doing such a thing to another spouse we would be told to remove a young child from such a situation because it was dangerous to their emotional and physical well-being. Yet when it is an elderly person abusing a mother or father, we are told that is character building so children do not learn to be shelfish.
Yes, children need to be taught the world doesn't always revolve around them but their has to be a better way than seeing someone die in front of them for years, seeing their parents abused or being afraid of the same things being done to you.
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