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I help my parents with whatever they need done. My Dad has a chronic, progressive lung disease and my Mom fell and broke her hip just over a year ago. During Mom’s recovery & rehabilitation, I handled things for both of them. Paid bills, handled transportation & appointments, supported Mom through rehab and physical therapy, scheduled other family members to stay with Dad on different nights, did housework & laundry, cooked meals, etc.. After Mom came home, I noticed that others came less & less often. The better she got, the less they came. I still helped out because she couldn’t lift and is still a fall risk. My Dad’s condition is still just getting worse.
What I have noticed for a while now is that Mom & Dad treat me rather dismissively when I’m there unless I’m doing something for them but when I stop by and other family members are doing an occasional visit, they are warm & welcoming & chatty with them. I tried staying to visit them yesterday after taking my Dad to an out of town eye appointment and they both ignored me, even cut me off while talking and started talking to each other. My brother called, (he lives out of state and calls every single day to talk about his issues), and it was totally as if I wasn’t even there. I left. Does anyone else experience this?

Yes, plenty of others experience this. It’s a dynamic you can’t change and a wasted emotion to be angry or resentful over it. Many times people overlook the one who’s always there and get excited over those they don’t see so much. If I were you I’d be less available, you’re training your parents to only depend on you and as their needs grow, it’ll become too much for you in every way
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Stilltired Jan 22, 2021
I’m actually not training my parents to be dependent on me. I did and do what is necessary and no more than that. I’ve deliberately done less & less as my Mom’s health improved. I encourage their independence and backed off on everything that they can do without assistance.
I don’t resent other family members but it does hurt when I’m treated badly and the other family visitors are treated so nicely.
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I don’t think that it makes a bit of difference if you cut back.

Some parents pick their favorites and that’s that.

They let it be known that the others are the favorite and if you call them on it, they will deny it profusely and become annoyed that you brought it up.

In other words, you offended them, and they could care less if they hurt you.

They will want you to feel as if you are wrong to question or point out their behavior.

It’s very common in many families. It usually doesn’t change.

We have no power to change others behavior. We can only change our reaction to it.
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Stilltired Jan 25, 2021
I did cut back, way back. I’m only there when necessary now and it’s been this way for months. Pretty much everyone else works and I’m currently unemployed due to the pandemic, so I still do what is absolutely needed, like taking Dad to appointments and assisting with laundry (their machines are in the basement). I help them with other things like finding resources. Recently, I applied for caregiver assistance for my Dad through the VA so that Mom could earn a stipend for the daily care that she gives Dad. He can be quite difficult.
I think that some people misread dismissive as nasty - they are not nasty to me. When I walk in, it’s “could you check the laundry?”, that kind of thing. Kind of treating me like a hired hand but without pay. When others come, it’s a visit with courtesy. I think that many are right when they answered that the others who visit infrequently are treated like the prodigal son because my parents may fear that they won’t come back if required to help out. Whatever it is, it is not pleasant.
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I would start backing off. Let them call you when they need something. If you can't do it or don't want to do it suggest they call another child, if that is possible. If Mom calls and asks where have you been, be honest and tell her that they seem fine when your there to do something for them but when you just come to visit your ignored. So, you thought maybe it was time to back off a little.
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penniesforlove Jan 23, 2021
Thank you!!
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My mother treats me exactly the same way. Less respect then a servant. Nice as pie to other people. Right as rain to my siblings too. She is not capable of having a conversation with me or even a civil word. The closest she comes to a normal conversation with me that isn't about complaining or how she has more illnesses than any person in history, is start carrying on about politics. Of course I have the burden of being her caregiver as well. She never cared for me my entire life, so it's not new. You're not alone. This happens all the time.
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Stilltired Jan 25, 2021
My Mom & Dad talk with me, it’s just that their first concern when I’m around is what I can get done, especially my Dad.
Their first concern when others stop by is “how are you?”. Hence I only go when necessary. It has upset one of my sons as he thought that I was abandoning them. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am not enabling them and leave everything that they are capable of doing for them to do. I only do what is absolutely necessary.
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Yes, same here in our family. I think the caregiver is usually least favorite. In my opinion they deserve the most thanks, but will probably never get it
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Read the post about family scapegoats. Welcome to the club.
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My brother cleaned out my folks place, by himself. Out aim of a job that took half a year! He lives 3 1/2 hours one way and works full time, has a special needs teen. Oldest bro was no help. Folks were hoarders, my Alz mother moved in with me across the country and he was left to care for Dad who ended up placed in a NH. Dad refused to be placed in a facility closer to my brother and so he stayed this After driving down to run errands for Dad and then clean house, drive back a 7 hour round trip back home for six months he only received insults from Dad. After all was done, Dad was even insulting to my SIL who came the distance to visit. He ignored them, cranked up the tv, only wanted the food given to him, put food in his mouth and complained that “people always talk to him” just when he puts food in his mouth. So with signing in and walking to his room and back it was a 20 min visit with my brother defending his wife and stating she should’ve been treated with more respect. Shouting match. The next week, my brother tried to get my Dad to apologize but instead was told he was visiting too much. Dad refused to acknowledge any rudeness or lack of appreciation on his part and so that has ended the visits and personal assistance from my brother. I’m not sure what Dad thinks is going to happen. There is no one else to visit or help. I’m across country with mom. I asked my brother if he thought he was tired and short with Dad and he said this is the way he had been treated the entire time. Dad keeps his phone off often because he is eating or watching tv and doesn’t want to be interrupted. He was a grumpy, angry, unappreciative person his whole life, so I guess this is how some end up? He had mom live with me but never helped out financially before he went into the NH, rarely calls and then it’s a 5 min. conversation. I guess my point is, it’s not you, it’s them. This is the legacy some leave.
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Mary9999 Jan 25, 2021
Describing your father as "he was a grumpy, angry, unappreciative person his whole life" reminds me of something I read once. You are pretty much the same way as an old person as you were as a young one. I don't think the OP's parents are going to change; it sounds like they are narcissistic and have been most of their life. Sad realization.
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Yes, but it was like that for me my entire life. I only just saw it now. If this is you too, you might want to read up on narcissistic parents in case it applies. If so, you will learn a lot to help yourself.
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Yes yes yes! It’s absolutely galling! It’s like the Prodegal Son isn’t it? It’s a difficult
one as you are probably closer to your parents emotionally so stepping back may affect you. But I recommend you do. However, as expectations are there that you are the caring one you will get judged by everyone else as being uncaring. I’m afraid you have to decide what you want. I have stepped back and lived with the guilt but looking back I was raised to care for others whereas my brother was raised and admired for putting himself first. A real gender bias that my mum acknowledges but still think is ok. It kills me to be treated unfairly so I have had to decide any intimate care is now payable to a carer by her. I realised I was never going to be loved more by doing more and in fact she would always show more positive regard for my brother no matter how little he does. I also think there is a contempt that creeps in when you do these servitude chores? As if you put yourself in this status and they treat you with contempt? It shouldn’t be like that but it sounds like your parents see your siblings as their children and you have been reassigned a carer i stead of daughter. Up to you but start preserving yourself. Good luck I feel your pain xx
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Daisy9 Jan 25, 2021
It's because we are female. The male is usually more valued. My younger brother, the golden child, was a liar, thief, and always in some sort of trouble, but he was always preferred and as a child, called "poor little (name)". What? Why was he "poor little..."? I was the responsible, obedient child always trying my best, but never good enough. As an adult I helped my parents with anything I could, but when Mom lost her health she ran to live with my brother, whom I'm sure used her for housekeeping and cooking as long as she was able, then probably abused her too. When she became disabled he placed her in a nursing home; thankfully a good one. He taped or listened in to my phone conversations with her so I could never find a way to give her the phone number for elder abuse, though she would never have admitted he had ever done anything wrong. She KNEW about some of the abuse (toward me) he handed out when we were teenagers and young adults, and therefore knew it was not physically or emotionally safe for me to visit her at his house, but blamed me because I did not visit her. Mothers of Baby Boomers were/are the worst for this type of behavior! I wonder if parents ever think of the legacy of abuse they leave for their children.
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Imho, I get it; I really do. I was my mother's out of state caregiver (moving in with her). I was treated less than kind by my mother. And why was that? That was because I was the one who had to inform mother to take her medication, to eat and drink what I had prepared so I was "the bad guy." I noticed a difference with my one sibling. He was not going to do the caregiving, flew all the way across country when our mother was on her death bed and before that, got treated nicely by mother. Prayers sent.
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penniesforlove Jan 25, 2021
I totally understand 🌹
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