I am so grossed out by my husband's elderly aunt that lives with us- her flaky skin and her hair in her bathroom she stares at us all the time it's uncomfortable and I can't watch her eat because she sticks her tongue out so far before she takes a bite - We don't share food because she fingers it - does anyone else have this issue? I thought I read a discussion about this!
When I have to clean the toilet, or the bathroom tiles, or the floor again after he has dropped his urinal/missed the bowl/ for the 4th time in a day; when the first thing I smell in the morning is old age home; when I haven't been able to have a dinner party for 3 years; when I cannot leave the house for longer than 30 mins at a time unless my daughter or husband is able to "babysit"; when our lives revolves around him and only him, then yes, I get resentful.
THE POINT IS: and yet, I still do it. And yet, I still put his needs ahead of my family, despite the fact that it has impacted so awfully on my family. He made no attempt to take care of his old age, expecting his family to do it... and that makes me resentful... and we have a right to feel this way. We are already invisible and unseen and unsupported by our family; don't belittle or judge our feelings as well. Don't cut off the one space we have to be "real", because you are looking after "loved ones". Many of us here are not looking after people we love, and YET WE STILL DO IT.
For those of you who are angry with those of us for being human, tired beyond beleif, resentful that we had no choice, I would like to ask you to practice just a little of your compassion for those of us who are trapped in a prison from which death is the only way out.
Of course we feel guilty. Of course, we feel that we are not nice people when we admit these feelings. But the point of this forum is to support each other not vilify those of us who acknowledge that we are failing.
Case in point: when he is in hospital I have all the patience for him in the world. Why? because then all I have to do is visit him and let him feel connected. I don't have to feed/change/wash/clean/ him. He gets a far more compassionate me when I do not have to deal with him and his energy 24/7.
Would I do this to my kids? Do I want them wiping my bum, cleaning up my feces, knowing that my kids and grandkids would feel like I do now? Not a chance. I would never move in with my kids, and will never expect them to do this for me. I am working my butt off to make sure that doesn't ever happen, so that they have choices of what to do with me when I get that old.
Being grossed out is a natural reaction and very few people aren't, so there's no sense acting like it's odd or mistaken to have a natural reaction, or pretend it's pleasant and dignified. Every person doing caregiving of any stripe or variety has to be honest with themselves about their limits.
We can drive ourselves crazy with "shoulds" and "ought to" and "what must others think". These are not the motivators of good quality care. Yes, we will all get old and die, but not everyone is cut out for caregiving. Not everyone is cut out for parenthood either, and will have children for the purpose of future caregiving.
I already expect that when I am very old I will probably be gross too. I hope that I'm not aware of it so I don't have to be embarrassed. I don't expect my kids to pretend it's not gross & unpleasant and I hope they bring in the help that's needed to do those care tasks for me to spare themselves.
I suspect that your feelings of being “grossed out” might stem from a similar source—your inability to escape from an environment filled with your husband’s aunt and no longer your own.
The guilt of feeling these things is tremendous. I find myself increasingly disgusted by some of the habits my mother is developing, yet I've never been able to verbalize it. Shame on you for shaming the people who are simply trying to find out if their feelings of disgust are normal. I agree that we should all strive to be compassionate selfless beings in the care of our loved ones, but the reality is that we all have disgusting sounds and smells at times. None of us would be human if we pretended to enjoy the more difficult aspects of care-taking. Please keep your lofty judgements to yourselves. This is a forum for venting, not public shaming.
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