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Hi,


I wrote in June 2020 about being a full-time caregiver to my elderly parents for almost 4 years. My mom has been diagnosed with BPD many years ago. My older brother did nothing though he lived very close to them. I am the scapegoat & he is the golden child.


https://www.agingcare.com/questions/has-anyone-just-cut-run-from-crazy-unreasonable-parents-459528.htm


I did leave, stopped caregiving and maintained low contact. My brother takes them grocery shopping & to doctor appointments. That’s it.


I only made medical appointments for my parents & spoke via phone a few times weekly. Both parents have above average cognitive abilities. (No dementia/Alzheimer’s)


Every time I spoke to them, they wanted me to return as caregiver. My brother was just too busy working 24/7. I was too lazy & was not doing anything at my own home according to mom.


I have asked repeatedly if they had named a POA since 2016. They claimed they hadn’t. My brother said he hadn’t. I told them they should. It didn’t matter who, but they should do it.


Before Christmas, my dad went to the doctor with my brother. There was some cause for concern but the doctor would watch & wait. My dad was nervous about it, so I read the doctor’s notes in dad’s online account. There I saw the doctor had noted my brother as DPOA. I was shocked. I phoned my dad & he said he didn’t know what that was. But whatever it was is his business. He’ll do what he wants.


I believe my brother was named DPOA 20 years ago when they completed their will. With COVID lockdown in our area, I doubt this DPOA was set this year.


I have gone from low contact to no contact temporarily. I don’t want to overreact. However, my intuition tells me they wanted me to do all the work for free because they knew I’d not want to if I knew they kept this secret.


Has this happened to anyone else? I feel like breaking all contact to be honest.


Thanks.

"I commit to something they ask. Then I regret it when I think more about it".

I was there. I am getting better at "No". Also at practicing the art of delay: I'll think about that, I think I'm busy, have to wait & see, let you know. Some stall time to let the trigger response have time to fade & reason prevail.
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MMasonSt Jan 2, 2021
Have this down pat, for many years, at work. For parents, need to practice this. I have to look at them as sneaky co-workers, unfortunately.
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Perhaps you need to work out what will make you feel that you are appreciated by your parents, and/or by you brother?. Is being appointed POA the acknowledgement that you feel you need from your parents, or is it some other recognition of your importance for them, and their love for you? Is it acknowledgement from your brother of how much you are doing? It’s good advice to stop taking responsibility if someone else has the power, but what do your you and your parents want? Or do you want a good reason to quit and run from a difficult situation?

This sounds like a classic communication issue. Can you get everyone involved to discuss it together, with a counselor if necessary?
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MMasonSt Jan 2, 2021
You would think counseling help, but it’s a problem of them not wanting it. Have asked repeatedly. I suggested a few times we go to a priest for advice since we are all practicing Catholics. They change the subject or don’t answer. If I press, they leave the room.

The issue is some people expect a daughter to do all the caregiving for free. On top of that I have dishonest and manipulative parents and a sibling. I fell for it for a few years. They will keep trying to get back the goodies any way they can.

Not everyone has honest intentions or are good people deep down inside.

Thanks for saying I have to decide what I want. I have to wake up from the fact that dysfunctional family dynamics are at play. Mom has a very bad case of borderline personality disorder (psychotic episodes & delusions) dad appeases her to keep the family together & brother has a touch of bpd or is taking out weird mom & dad relationship & painful upbringing on me. There are a lot of variables to think about and strategize for possible outcomes. Sounds like I’m at work figuring out how to have a successful project.
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Ha! My mother was so sexist and out of touch that she appointed my oldest brother who was a drug addict POA!

Where is the logic in that insanity?

When I asked her why on earth would she give him that responsibility she said, “I wanted him to feel important!”

Is that crazy or what?!

I did all of the ‘heavy lifting’ in caregiving while my brothers did nothing!

She would have never discussed anything with me about what she decided to do.

I was treated like a servant! I was expected to do as I was told, not question anything and that she and my brothers were entitled to all of their secrets.

When I found out certain things I felt used and as if I wasn’t important enough to be consulted on anything.

I am relieved not to be the caregiver anymore. I let them take on the responsibility that I had for 15 years in my home!

I used to think that mom appreciated me and I suppose on some level that she did but she regards her sons as superior.

It’s ironic that a woman can be so sexist! Mom truly feels that men know best about life and they should always be the boss!

How is it that she justified bossing my father around and undermining his decisions? Oh, I suppose cooking and caring for the house squared it all away!

Family members can become baffling and puzzling, can’t they!
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Jada824 Jan 3, 2021
Baffling & puzzling in an understatement! They want all the control....let them do all the work that goes along with it!

If i sound bitter it’s because I am.....I wasted years of my life that I can’t get back to say nothing of the stress involved.
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I'd go with your intuition here. I think they are looking for a free, and generous, caregiver. Your brother has shown that he is not it. He has set limits and I would not blame him for that. But you are free to set your limits. You stated that they are mentally competent so I doubt that they truly don't know about the DPOA issue. Never assume responsibility without power. It is a nightmare. As for your mother's comments on how you spend your time? Well, how would she actually know? And what business is it of hers? Keep in mind that someone with BPD is not really playing with a full deck - I'd ignore her evaluation of you. Sounds like she is trying to make you feel guilty. Since they are competent they should be able to make their own care arrangements. I'd stay distant.
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MMasonSt Jan 2, 2021
Thanks for that. Setting firm limits and boundaries is what I need to adhere to. I have to teach myself to consistently resist the pity party from my parents and brother. That’s been a downfall of my emotions overtaking my reason. I commit to something they ask. Then I regret it when I think more about it.
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I agree that they wanted to keep it all a secret so you would continue to do all of the work. I was in the same situation.

My sister talked my mother into removing me as POA and giving it to her. At first I was insulted. So now, I remind my mother that my sister has to do anything even a tiny bit related to money. Which means she gets all the phone calls and paperwork and shopping and medical appointments. My mother can't call me screaming about madeup problems, because my sister wanted to be in charge and Mom agreed to it.

It Is LOVELY. My sister isn't speaking to me, so she can't try to make me do anything. I just remind Mom that she wanted Sis to handle it.

I wasn't happy about it at first. It's hard because caregiving becomes your whole identity. And there's fear because you don't know how other people will react and you expect to be blamed for being a bad daughter.

Letting go of hope that family relationships will improve is hard, too. I didn't want estrangement from my sisters, but couldn't justify letting them treat me so badly. Continuing to do the same things and hoping they would change wasn't reasonable anymore. They had no motivation to treat me better as long as I was doing what they wanted.

I am grateful for the pandemic because it is giving me a break from my toxic sisters. I am working on healthy boundaries and this is giving me a rest from my family and experience with living in peace. When the pandemic is over I will be better able to maintain boundaries even though they won't like it, because I will have the memory of living in peace and knowing that it is possible.
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rovana Dec 31, 2020
Very wise words.
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Yes, I had this happen to me also. I was doing all the caretaking for a few years with no help whatsoever from sibling.

When she could no longer control her finances due to dementia he took over then started to tell me how to do everything. I then told him to do it himself if he didn’t like the way I was doing it.

Long story short, he blocked me from seeing or speaking to my mom and would yell at her if she did. I found out a year later he took her to a lawyer had her sign DPOA & amend her trust 100% to him instead of the 50/50 way she had it for 20 years.

Its now been 3 years since I’ve been able to see or speak to her, she’s 98 years old & lives across the street from me. 4 days ago he had 8 people at her house during the pandemic where my state is stay with your own household. Today she was taken in a rescue to the hospital.

My take is do not care for anyone unless you are the POA
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MMasonSt Jan 2, 2021
That’s terrible. Am so sorry that happened. I can’t believe how greedy some people are.

I would feel like suing my brother if that happened to me. It makes me angry he muscled you out of the picture for her money since you wouldn’t obey his wishes. I wish elder law would make these immoral actions illegal/criminal.
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My two cousins have BPD. I have been told the one does not take her meds and at 64 is erratic. The other cousin has successfully held down jobs with no problems. Last one being a well liked teacher. He is 68.

There is not much u can do. Dad and Mom have given ur brother the responsibility of their care. And actually, if they can still make decisions for themselves, brothers POA means nothing.

The only thing you could do is ask APS to evaluate the situation. If they find Dad can deal with Mom, nothing u can do.
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MMasonSt Dec 29, 2020
Thanks for your answer. It’s hard to let go, but choices in life are sometimes painful. Am sure most posters carry a heavy burden with aging loved ones.
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Thanks for your responses! I don’t have any type of POA. I wasn’t clear with my question - the emotions preceded the words.

My parents are immigrants and need help understanding what doctors tell them. I interpret. That’s when they understand what needs to be done.

The issues are much more than that. My mom has severe BPD. She has paranoid delusions, dissociates, threatens me and my dad, cries and screams when she doesn’t get her way. She seems like a street person with schizophrenia sometimes. She has no social life because she cannot be near many people. She shuts down - she can become catatonic.

She belongs in an in-patient setting for a lot longer than she has been. Why she is not in one is a whole other story. Being near her is a nightmare pure and simple. I worked very hard to be accepted to a far away from home college at age 18 to escape her. I came back in and out of her life as she needed. Each time I do, I suffer severe depression. This last caregiving episode was too much. It’s taken me 6 months away from her to feel normal.

My brother has BPD too though he can function with a job that is repetitive for the most part. He has problems thinking logically about a lot of things for himself and others, including healthcare for my parents. He was in charge for a few years and failed to help them out. He didn’t pay attention to what the doctors told him. It made what should have been minor medical problems for mom and dad into something more serious.

My dilemma is that my brother is incapable of being POA in anything but name only. Their medical decisions will pile up like old newspapers at an unattended home. If no one does it, my mom & dad will die sooner. If I am too involved in mom’s life, I suffer tremendously.

A lot of this is my dad not facing up to the fact that she needs to be in an in-patient psychiatric unit of a hospital for a good part of each year. If she goes, he’ll be without a wife and companion. The other part is my brother will look less manly and capable to our relatives if he loses the title.

It sounds crazy and implausible. It’s true though. Am probably not making a whole lot of sense here. Am always upset about the unfairness of those two with bpd and my escaping that fate. There are no easy answers here.
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rovana Dec 31, 2020
Firstly, I would suggest not worrying at all about what family or anybody else thinks. These are serious issues and should be dealt with rationally. Worrying about onlookers' opinions is a waste of energy. Is your dad competent enough to make decisions for himself and mom? If so, brother's DPOA is not yet applicable. However, I would not undertake the burden of care without POA/DPOA for both of them. No power = no responsibility. Dad needs to understand this. And all the ramifications of giving DPOA to someone who is not really competent to exercise it. And what his wife's situation would be if he were not able to care for her. The realities of aging in the US (I'm assuming you are in the US) not the old country. I'm guessing that there is a cultural thing going on here. Male has to be in charge. NO The person who does the work is in charge!
Regardless of HIPPA, you can give information about their situation to medical providers - sounds like doctor has no real idea of home situation if language is a problem.
Your mother deserves whatever medical help she can get. Your dad has the responsibility to put her needs ahead of his wants. That is what marriage vows are about. Can you talk to him openly, bluntly, about his and mom's situation?
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I don't read anywhere that Mason mentions being Medical POA. Only that she/he made Medical appts and can access the portal.

Mason, be glad you don't have POA. Some people think it means you are at their beck and call. And its far from that. You are assigned to handle finances and medical when the person can no longer do it for themselves. If your parents are cognitive and can make informed decisions, then the POA is not in effect unless immediate. Let brother have the responsibility. TG my Moms estate was just the house but even that caused problems. Being a POA can be overwhelming.

I can see no problem in helping where needed. If they can do it themselves they should. Looks like to me you are capable of setting boundries. You tell them and brother what you are willing to do. Make it known you will not put up with demands or verbal abuse. The first time it happens you will walk away and not come back. If you don't think this will work with them, then keep doing no contact. If they have money, they can hire people to do things for them.
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This — and worse — has happened to countless contributors on this website. So, you're in good company. However, I agree with AlvaDeer that it seems a little confusing as to what you want the outcome to be. Or, are you just shocked and hurt to find out that you are unceremoniously no longer in control? Do you *want* control? If so, why?

Your parents deny or don't remember assigning a DPoA yet you say YOU are their MPoA. If, as you stated, your brother was assigned DPoA 20 years ago but your MPoA was created more recently, then you are still the MPoA (and only if your parents are mentally incapable of making their own medical decisions). Creating PoAs has been totally feasible during covid. Perhaps your brother just told the doctor this so that he/she would share info or allow him to make a decision on your father's behalf. You said your father had some cause for concern at his doc appointment...do you mean physically or cognitively? If your dad doesn't know what DPOA is, then he may have cognitive decline. Honestly this all sounds like a lot of drama without any clear purpose. What is it you think ought to happen in your parents' best interests? What do you want your level of participation to be?
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MMasonSt Jan 2, 2021
My dad has physical issues. I’m mad because I was lied to.

I have to really think of what I want here. My parents and brother have been a milestone around my neck. They NEED things and help from me urgently. When I needed help urgently, I was ignored. I have to think of a strategy to respect myself by setting firm boundaries. No is a good start.
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Do you WANT to be POA? Is this POA for HEALTH or for Financial, or for both? Do you speak to your brother?
You seem not to be getting along with your parents nor with your brother. In that case, yes, I would withdraw from any and all care. I would send a lovely note one a week or once a month.
It sounds to me as though you are willing to be "drawn back into care" I hope that is not the case.
Off what help you WISH to offer. Shopping, etc once in a while. Your parents are both mentally capable of deciding what they wish to do with their own lives. And I think that you should be as well. You have your own choices for your OWN LIFE to make now. Don't be drawn into the drama, and certainly don't allow yourself to be used. Do only what you WISH to do.
Hoping for a better New Year for you. That will start when you come to peace that your brother is the chosen POA whether this was done 20 years ago or yesterday. That's the way it is and the way it will be. The secret is out.
To be very frank, the outing of this is FREEING for you. Is it not?
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MMasonSt Jan 2, 2021
Thanks for your reply! Ultimately, it is a kick in the behind for me to stop giving to a bottomless and ungrateful pit.
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