My parents divorced many years ago and my mother lives alone, a few hours from me. My brother died many years ago so I am the only one to assist my mom. I go to visit her almost weekly and it is so distressing. She doesn’t bathe regularly and recently lost significant independence when she lost her drivers license because of her eyesight. She needs cataract surgery but has decided against it even though I have made appointments for consultation. Every thing I do she becomes resistant to. She remembers events negatively even though at the time they were positive. Her words to me are occasionally sprinkled with comments like “at least you did one thing right.”
I cannot convey how deeply these events hurt me. I have been watching out for my mom for many years. I am scared, deeply sad, and angry. I defend myself when she says mean things. She hasn’t always been this way but occasionally I have reflected that she would throw in a zinger even when I was growing up. I recently set up a caretaker to visit her once a week. It is still new so I don’t know how things will go for the long term. She still lives in her home and refuses to go anywhere else or closer to me. I get so frustrated everytime I visit. She will tell me that her dirty hair looks great and her eyesight is fine and she failed her drivers test because they were flakes. Often during these conversations I start to raise my voice and find myself yelling telling her I won’t listen to it. When I leave I feel immense guilt which is almost debilitating. It is a cycle that had happened over and over for about 2 years now. How do I continue helping my mom without the intense cycle of emotions while getting her necessary medical and personal care?