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I have been a caregiver for some time now. I sadly, have lived with my mother for 20 years. It is a long story I will not get into here, but all comes from dysfunctional family issues. My mother has relied on me since I was very young as a single parent. I played the game and bought into it. Co-dependency and guilt.

My mom is turning 92 next month. A rich brother wanted her to move into his condo 10 years ago. She did not want to go. I stood by her side. Since then, I have taken care of many things, as many of you who are caregivers understand. I have been estranged from all of the siblings now. It did not start out that way. I have a sister and who started all of this and continues to gossip with the sister in law. Basically, they think (as well as my mother) that if I live there, I should do EVERYTHING! My oldest brother said he spoke for the rest of the family that if I live with mom, I should take care of the day to day. He thinks I have a great deal with free rent!

Caregivers, please tell me where the day to day ends? I am confused and burnt out. I get zero help from all siblings. I had a man at the hardware store today, tell me that my family members are in denial. That they justify which makes them not have to feel guilt. I have six siblings-4 older brothers-2 sisters and I am the second to the youngest.I bust my buns and lost out on a good professional job offer (Radiology) 9 years ago, because I was the one who went to the hospital to see what was going on with my mom. The rest rarely set foot in the hospital. It is always me, on top of taking care of my mom's shopping, meals, cleaning, yard etc. It is 24/7. My friends think I should get the house, but my mother does not. I do not want it, never did. But, realistically, it makes sense since I have given up much of my working life. I almost 57 and I have not had steady work for 10 years. I returned to school to train in MRI after an injury and the economy crashed. I have not been able to find work and have suffered a broken shoulder on top of a foot issue which has been 3 years of being in pain, but still taking care of things for mom.

I think the worst part is, my mom complains about me being there, instead of thanking me for doing what I do when I do not agree with her. She said I would not have to anything for her if I was not there. It is funny because she gets everything done, so she thinks she is independent. She would have to pay someone, but she will not. She does not pay me either. I get money for food, but not for gas or time.

So, I am ready to leave and go out of the country to live and work. A counselor tells me that I need to prepare myself for what might happen. Guilt? I am not sure I will feel it, only sad that it has to end this way. My siblings plan on putting her in assisted living, as they would never do what I have done. Several have spouses and pensions and my mom makes excuses for them, they have houses, families, etc. and they are busy...blah..blah.. So, me the single, previously footloose person, does not deserve happiness or help?

I am the educated, worldly person in the family and I did not want to see my mom in a facility. I wanted her to stay in her home like she wished, but never thought I would be abandoned completely because of selfishness.

The worst part is that when I leave, my mom's and my relationship will never be the same. She blames me for her unhappiness and illness. She has always been a negative person. Married my father, who never provided and so the bitterness carried through life.

The only thing I can look forward to when my mom is gone, I will have no knowledge or indirect contact with my siblings. They are like pack animals. They stick together. I sent emails asking for help and I was attacked. I give up. I need my life back.

I told them in November via email, that I was going to Mexico for a month and what mom needed. My sister in law came back in attack mode and I shared and said things that she did not want to hear. But I needed it off my chest. She is a blabber and she and my sister have caused problems because of it. She tells my aunt (not hers) all kinds of lies.

I am so tired of all of them, including my mom's garbage. She never stood up for me when I stood up for her, and now she has taken sides. She calls me names that have been hurtful and regretfully, I have said things back. So, the damage is done and to protect my sanity, I have to go. It is frightening because I do not have work and the only way it may happen is by me leaving the country to work.

If you are still reading, thank you. I know this is long, but after the battle with my mom today, I am tired. Oh, I forgot to mention, that they all go to my rich brothers for any holiday-like Mother's Day. He and wife have always entertained and the rest expect it. My family are takers. They let me take care of my mom and they let the rich brother entertain. This is the true definition of dysfunction.

Any takers?

Peace!

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WOW..you sound like my sister .. i can only tell you Run cause no one will ever understand how hard it is to stay... and give everything up for your parents and they are never happy ...its like its your job to do what your doing ...i say thank you for you work and wish you all the best when you can run out ...you will always be the bad one no matter what .... sending you a big Hug
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wow ...sounds like my sisters story ...only i can tell u is RUN... get your life back even if it will be very painful to get back on your two feet... and i say thank you for all u have done i do feel your pain !!!! send u a big hug xx
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I know now from hearing from friends of my mom, that I am glad I am no longer around. With her brain injury and dementia, she has become angry, awful and mean. Some friends went to visit her and all she could say about me was that I was a low life. When they asked questions, she really had no answer that made sense. The siblings fed her so much negativity about me, that is what stuck in her demented brain.

How would a mother never want to see any of their children again? Even if I was some type of ex-con rat, wouldn't a mother still love their child? I was always the one she burdened with family issues. I was the single one who was free and chose this life. Then she turned on me. For me, I know my siblings who did this to her and twisting her demented brain, they will pay.

I wish I had left before this all transpired but I didn't. My plans to leave in the fall happened. It was just not the way I had planned. I cried last night when I read the email about the things she said about me, because it is still a HUGE slap in the face that hurts, for all I sacrificed, but I know it is not her speaking, it is her twisted mind.

I also believe the sooner she passes, the better for her. She can move on to the other side to a happier and peaceful existence because she appears to miserable now. I still love her because she is my mom, but not the one I knew before.

Life is a journey and though there is pain, there is joy too. In my journey away, I find happiness daily and in the moment and the many experiences of the kindness of strangers almost daily, out of the U.S. We have a very dysfunctional system and family unit stepping outside and away, one realizes how sick it can be in many families. Mine takes the cake!
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SHHH, how did your mam come to live with you? Was this supposed to be termporary after you dad died?
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You say you don't have a job yet. I would work on getting one lined up and take it from there. I would think your counselor would want to support you in taking charge of your life and making yourself happy. Hmmmm.....oh well.

I'm not one to feel guilty over doing something that I know is for my best interest. I guess I'm lucky that way as it seems there are a lot of guilty people on these boards. I have been told by many that I am caring, hardworking and devoted. I would go to any length to help my loved ones, so when I arrange for my loved one to get care AND ensure that I am doing what's right for me.....it's a win win situation.

I recently learned of a new book called Super Brain. It's by Chopra and Tazi, who are Alzheimers experts. The book is about how to re-program the brain in 30 days for health, spirituality, and growth! I'm curious and intend to check it out.

Sometimes, I think we tell ourselves the same story for so long that we start to believe it...even when it's not true. I choose to believe that I am worth a lot in this world and that great things are in store. I think my loved one would want that for me, so I have no reason to feel guilty for making it happen.
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radiator81 I'm so glad you updated us. I'm sorry for the great losses in your life, but it sounds like you've found a new normal that is much healthier for you, away from your dysfunctional family. Hugs and best wishes to you in your new, healthier life.
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I am in the Original Poster. My mom fell in July and suffered a sub-dural hematoma. After 2 weeks she has burr hole surgery. Not sure if it was the right thing, but it was not all my decision. The siblings got real ugly and turned against me as well as turning some relatives against me. They tried to evict me out of my mom's house and turned my mom against me. My mom really was not competent after the surgery to really rationalize or make any decisions. I am a medical person and had many conversations with the doctors regarding what her prognosis would be.

So, the choice was not mine to leave at that point. My sibs did not realize they have to follow law when it comes to eviction. I got enough time to make some plans. So, I boxed up my stuff, have some friends taking care of things and I am enjoying myself out of the country. I am lucky to have this time for my healing journey. I have not seen my mom for 4 months as the sibs kept her from me telling lies. She was fine before they tried to evict me.

If you have an ugly family like mine, do not expect help. It is a hard road. I do not regret how I helped my mom, but I regret how it ruined my career which was somewhat lucrative, but now I am too old and skills lost. So, I am now taking some time for me and it has been great. I feel happy most of the time and get sad when I think of the loss of my mom.

Make sure you are willing to make the sacrifice, because it is huge and no one can understand, unless they are doing it. My sibs made up all kinds of lies. I even had to call the police on them with the neighbor. They turned by mom against me in her vulnerable state, demented and brain injured. I know my mom is not the person she was and that hurts, but I know it is the injury and disease. I know I had the best of times with her and the sibs are trying to justify and make up for what they didn't do, which is guilt. Now is my time. My mom is 92 and her days are numbered.

I wish all you caregivers peace and no regrets if you choose the tough road.
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I agree with blannie, I gather from your profile that your mother is living with you. Is that correct? If so, then you need to get your mother out of there. How did she end up living with you to begin with.

Good mothers and good grandmothers do not rule their adult children and little grandchildren. Sorry, but that sounds very self-centered to me. It is also emotionally abusive of you and your husband.

You are a grown woman and do not need to walk on eggshells and have your children walk on eggshells around your mother. Your self-esteem sounds like it is dragging the floor. I hope coming here will help your self-esteem.

What does your husband think about all of this? For sure he does not feel that his MIL should be treating his wife and children like your mother is. Is he afraid of her? Sorry, but my definition of being a saint does not include being a doormat for some controlling person. Both you and your husband need to stand up together for each other and for your children and tell your mother to get out, if that is your house, and get her own life. Otherwise, if it is not your house, ya'll need to leave and not look back. Your mother will likely never change now or later not matter how much you or anyone else does for her. Love, prayers and hugs.
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sorry only copped now the post I answered was from 7 months ago wud love to know how u r now, and wud love thoughts from anyone x
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no one gives a d*mn simple as, my family are the best, my brother understands me the best, I just want to be left alone, not worry about everyone else all the time, I need to concentrate on my children and my husband(who I wish wud think of me) but more so myself who I neglect, time and time again, life is way too short for this stupid sh*t, such ungratefulness and greed, live life as much as u can when u can, no one knows when it will be snapped from under u, rip dad, u mad thing, miss u so much xxxxxx
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Ssshhh your top priorities should be your OWN immediate family - your husband and children. Your mom must be pretty young - she can take care of herself. Get yourself out of there while your mom is still young enough to establish some new habits. You don't owe her your life! You owe your own immediate family - your CHILDREN a good life and care and a mother who is focused on them and not her demanding, dysfunctional mother. Get out of there!! You'll get a lot of support on here to do that.
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god, I know how you feel, maybe not as bad but not far off! only difference is I am 36, mother of 2, 14 and 4, and my mam not only rules me, but now is trying the same with MY children, she is a good woman, but I need a life, whatever about giving mine up dinn, I am not going to allow it happen to my kids. my brother lives around the corner, no family living with him, good bloke, but she thinks the sun shines out of him, I adore him, but I so wish I could feel control over my own life, without feeling like I always need to ask permission for everything, after all I cud be living in Australia now but gave it up so my OLDER brother cud live his life in America, don't get me wrong, my mam and bro are brill people, but I so wish I cud leave with my husband(who is a saint obviously) without feeling guilty. I wouldn't mind if my mam wasn't so controlling, but we literally cannot move without negative comment, I want MY kids to have fun, not be nervous of bringing friends in, but how can they do that, when I as their mother, feel nervous doing anything out of my mams routine and way??? I adore my mam, I adore my kids, I adore my husband, stress is making me ill big time please help
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It's about balance....balancing the needs of your whole family, you included. In many families, the caregiver is a cornerstone of the family, being a parent, spouse, child of an elderly parent. You must stay healthy and sane to take care of anyone. And caring for a parent doesn't mean you personally have to do it, but that they are cared for by someone to the level of their needs.
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With every road we take there comes a time when we must
decide whether we should continue on the first path we chose,
or whether we should choose another route.
Most people eventually ask themselves the question.
Each one of us will ask the question at a different point
on our own individual road.

Caregivers we tend to avoid asking the question until so worn out we can hardly move. Our work improves one's quality of life. That is a remarkable gift.

However, care giving can become all-consuming. As your loved one's cognitive, physical, and functional abilities diminish over a period of years,
and demands grow, their ability to appreciate it diminishes.
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s often seems a series of grief
experiences, watching your loved one disappear.
Choosing other arrangements does not mean that you are a failure. It simply means that, given who each of you is, other options will probably work better for your family.
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Caring for a person can often seem to be a series of grief experiences as you watch your loved one’s memories disappear and skills erode.
The person with Alzheimer's/dementia will change and behave in different, sometimes disturbing or upsetting ways. For both caretakers and their patients, these changes can produce an emotional wallop of confusion, anger, and sadness.

As the disease advances, your loved one’s needs will increase and your care giving responsibilities will become more challenging. At the same time, the ability of your loved one to show appreciation for all your hard work will diminish. Care giving can literally seem like a thankless task. With every road we take there comes a time when we must decide whether we should continue on the first path we chose, or whether we should choose another route. Most people who are caring for an elderly person will eventually ask themselves the question. Each one of us will ask the question at a different point on our own individual road.

As caregivers we tend to avoid even asking the question until we're so worn out and exhausted that we can hardly move. Many of us believe that because we long ago committed to personally care for our senior, we'd be breaking a solemn promise by looking for help or handing care off to someone else when we've reached the breaking point.

Many of us don't even realize we've reached that breaking point until we collapse. By then we have a whole lot fewer choices than if we had begun looking for alternatives earlier. The one who often pays the price right along with us is our elder.
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Frustrated3, thank you. You sound very much like me. Enough is enough! My mom does the same thing. She can be very unkind, calling me names and putting me down. Tells me how well the other (older siblings) have done, owning homes etc. I tell her I could have owned many things if I wanted, but I am NOT materialistic. Instead, I chose to help her and gave up my life. Now my sister and she are talking behind my back and the meanness is getting really bad. I am not taking anymore of this. I will hopefully get a job one way or another, or may take early retirement in Mexico where they treat their elders better and families share in care.

Today I spoke with the counselor and she knows I am at the breaking point. She told me I know what I need to do. So, hopefully something transpires. In the mean time, I hope to get rid of things and downsize even more, and get my will done so I know that the sibs will get nothing.

It is sad to see how self-serving the sibs are and how my mom has turned against me. That hurts because I have had to do l the heavy lifting, the dirty work so to speak, where sibs only have to do the fun stuff. Yes, very painful, but I can change that for me and I deserve it. You do too. I hope you can make a change also.
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I can understand your long post because, well, you've had enough. Now time for you to live your full life and let the siblings step in and do their dance. Enough is completely enough. I have a similar issue with my siblings in that no one is willing to step up and help and not only that, my Mom is also rude and unkind and mean to me at times, but of course not all of the time. I do not wish to continue living like this in this situation.
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I struggle with the sibs being clueless or selfish and I feel it is the latter. There has never been any mention of being paid for what I do, from them, or my mother. Truly amazing.
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Everything above stated... just do it. You've did an outstanding job already... big kudo's to you (shame those siblings weren't so helpful) no need to feel any sort of guilt... your turn honey...your turn. I'd say more but...burnt too
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Only you can decide. You have nothing to feel guilty about, your sibs do! But that is the nature of the primary caregiver --you assume all the responsibility and sibs take it for granted.

If mom has money, then arrange for her respite care or in home caregiver if all sibs are not willing to give you a break. Introduce new caregivers while you are around for a week so they can learn the routine. Then head to a long deserved break to Mexico for 30 days if that is what you want and take that time to unwind, relax and plan out your next move...sort out your finances, home possibilities, etc. give yourself time. Give new caregiver the sibs phone numbers in case of emergency and tell all you will be out of the country. Check in with caregiver (not mom) if you must once while you are gone.

It's time to place mom or arrange for care and you to move on with your life. Yes, mom will be pissed and angry, but if she truly loves and appreciates you she will get over it eventually.

You are not responsible for moms happiness nor her care, especially if she has the means. You have sacrificed 20 yrs and that is more than enough.
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Such wonderful and consoling answers. So good to get a variety and yet the same guidance from you all. And Blannie, you are not the first to say they suck. In fact, I have heard words I cannot post online!!
Thank you all.
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radiator, I suggest telling your counselor that you really don't need a warning about how you 'might feel' (REALLY???), but what you DO need is assistance and encouragement with a PLAN. Put the wheels in motion to find work, living arrangements and/or care arrangements for your mom, etc. If you don't want to, or can't take on the logistics of your mom's situation, then notify your siblings via email that as of such and such a date, you're 'outa there' and as of that date, their mother is 100% their responsibility.
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Wow, your family (to put it bluntly) sucks. Get out while the getting out is good. Take care of yourself and don't look back. Build a "new family" of friends and find a job that can support you. It will take a while to find yourself again because you've been beaten down for so long by the very people who should have your back.

Maybe a caregiver's support group would be helpful. Because anyone else who is a caregiver gets what you've done for your mom and what total slackers your siblings (and their spouses) have been. I feel sad that your own mother is so selfish and uncaring towards you; that has got to hurt. But that speaks to who SHE is, not who YOU are. You are a gem. A real honest-to-goodness gem. And your mom will realize that when you're gone. And your siblings will too, when she starts calling them instead of having you take care of things. And that's only fair. And delicious. :)
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Thanks all. It is nice to know that this forum is available and that caring caregivers who know how hard it is to do this job, and that it is a support system.

Yes, the bottom line is I feel used by siblings and not appreciated by my mom. And if I could go backwards I would. I have pretty much lost my career and skills, and feel beat up.

Jessebelle, I think you are right. When I tell her I am leaving, she goes in to a mode of doing nothing for the day, but sleeping in her chair. I think it is her way of being in denial. I know she is scared, but so am I. She has family and I do not. I blame my mother as much as my siblings. She caused a lot of the problems by not asking for help. She likes to pride herself in being independent, but realistically, she has been dependent on certain children. And now that the 3 males who used to help out (6-10 years ago) are not doing anything, I stepped in. My sisters have never done anything but the fun stuff and she makes excuses for them. My body is suffering for it, as well as my mental state. I worry about my health too. She told me she does not appreciate what I do and that is what hurts on top of the names she calls me. How can one continue when they know they are not appreciated. Yes, the financial part is scarey. She has divided her will 7 ways. One brother works 5 miles away, but never calls or visits, and sees her 3 times a year at the rich brothers house. He and his wife give about 150.00 dollars in gifts in a year. And nothing more.

Yes, I am tired of being used and unappreciated while their lives go on and they prosper. It is not fair, but they do not care. People are truly self serving. My only solace, is that I am younger and I may live to see their children do the same thing they did to their mother and sister.
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20 years! It makes me angry that you were not appreciated more. I do think that many people see that we don't pay rent and think we live the life of Riley. They never stop and ask themselves if they would want to do it.

Something that bothers me is how we can be hurt financially. I honestly don't know how much people expect. Today I did my own work in my room and was called lazy. I just took it, knowing that I had been working since I woke up, getting my own work done, doing the laundry (3 loads), going to the grocery store, then cooking dinner. This was said by someone who sat in front of the TV all day. Lazy, hmph!

My mother talks of how she plans to live 10 more years. I can't do this 10 more years, so I know your need to escape. Chances are that she will be worried when she thinks you are really leaving, but you do have to think of yourself. You have to be able to pay your own bills when she is gone. I have such a hard time understanding how a mother can become so self-centered that she doesn't stop to ask herself what is going to happen to the caregiving child when she is gone. Many don't, which puts the caregiver in a hard position.

I have great hopes that you'll find a job that you like and will start tucking away those social security points. Maybe it will pay enough that you can start saving some money. I hope you won't have to leave the country. Thinking good thoughts for you.
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You have done an incredible job and it really makes me both sad and mad that you have given your life for your Mother with nothing in return. You have no reason to feel guilty. Pack the bags and go!

At 57 you are young enough to find a job and enjoy the rest of your life. Yes, it is nice to take care of our parents but NO where is it written you give up your life, health and happiness for anyone. Take care of yourself now knowing you have been a dutiful daughter and enough is enough. Your Mother should be very proud of you. Your siblings can never repay you for what you have done and that is a rotten shame.

I wish you tons of happiness, peace and rest! You deserve it. There will be a period of adjustment that may not be easy....but how easy have the last 20 years been?
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I am only 7days into caregiving and I already feel like you do. Now I'm scared. It is too hard. I think its time to take care of you and move on.
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Unfortunately, she is not a caregiver counselor. I had one but was limited with visits. I like this gal, but she tells me I need to reckon with what the outcome will be. This is what scares me, as there is no going back. Yes, I am more than burnt out. I am cooked. When you get no recognition or appreciation, it messes with one's psyche.
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Your relationship with your mother may never be the same after you leave her, but it is not so great now, is it?

Would feeling guilty be worse than feeling used?
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Listen closely to your counselor and take notes. You are burned out badly. Ten years ago you were younger, it wasn't as hard, but now may be the time to hand over the reins.
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