Ill try not to br too whiny with details, but a few days ago it was suggested to me to create boundaries between myself and my aging parents. Mostly my mother. Yesterday I feel I completely failed this task as she walked all over me and I felt totally swallowed up my day. By 7 o'clock I was finally free to go get my own tasks done only to be giving the look and verbal guilt that there was no reason for me to go out that late.
and somehow someway the whole ordeal will be twisted around into it being my fault and my decision.
Most of my decisions she treats as poor decisions, with a hefty topping of guilt and that I'm selfish. She also said yesterday one of my favorite lines she says to me, "I wish you would act like a normal person"
30+ years... I still don't know what that means. Just that I hate it. (I don't do drugs, smoke, drink, go to bars, date, steal or anything. I like sci-fi and art and plan to go to a convention in one month that I know she disagrees with. She will pressure me not to go, and if I do cave to her wish, it will be my fault)
I am the care taker for my parents. A sh***y one at that.
I cook, clean, shop, tried to help with bills, repair, laundry and errand run.
my mother is disabled, cannot walk, or reach for things, is overweight and loosing her memory (although she'd argue it's me). She communicates by screaming her words and pain very vocally.
she recently came home from rehab after heart surgery and has done EXACTLY what I knew she would... all the progress down the toilet and a refusal to work on her excesses at home. But I suppose it's my fault too whIle im at work 10-12 hours a day.
my father has developing dementia and the most awesome case of apathy. He doesnt do anything without being told how, only wants to record tv and buy movies, and doesn't clean up after or himself. Also overweight but is loosing weight until my mother yelled at him that she can't keep buying him new pants if he keeps loosing weight. Right after complaining his pants look like shut and he's a bum.
I live with them . Now thus is where everyone attacks me and says move out.
I have no money. It's all student debt. And my own insurance. I need a second job to move out. Which technically feels like a third job. My mother says they can't live without me and they need me and love me.
if I wanted to hire help, i must fit the bill.
they promised me everything when they died, because I'm so financially f*****d (When it's going all to my sister and her beloved children)
but other thing is, they've almost never helped me financially. That's why I'm in debt, I did it all on my own so my sister can have it all. Anything I did get, my sister had to have equal + grandkids.
my sister if you must know says, "hang in there"
Anyway, 1) they will never die and 2) I know I won't get anything. I'll be in debt from their medical expenses or something I'm sure.
Wow. I'm sorry. I ranted.
anyway, any suggestions on how to create boundaries? Maybe I don't understand what boundaries really means. And I'm going about this all wrong.
All boundaries are doing is making my family suffer. But without them I am suffering and all alone.
There are too many stories on here of long term caregivers just getting the boot and becoming homeless and penniless the day that caregiving duties are done. It your parents are actually safe to be alone for 10-12 hours a day then that could be a looong way off,.but that is starting to sound iffy right there given the mental status and unreasonableness. Do your best to remember they are losing their reasoning abilities and they are not being reasonable, and you may not be able to expect them to be. 7 PM is not late. You ARE a normal person. They WILL blame you for their memory problems rather than acknowledge that they have any. They may be too fearful of how they could manage on their own while you attend a convention, and honestly that could be very realistic, but they would probably never admit that; it's much easier to tell you that the convention is stupid. Dad's apathy is probably dementia-related frontal lobe dysfunction, which shows up as a lack of initiation ability.
There is also no way you should be stuck paying for respite or home help, let alone their medical or other expenses with your money. They should be using their assets because at some point they will probably need Medicaid...if they actually have any assets. You don't say if you are privy to finances, and in this situation you really should be. Don't feel bad about not having set boundaries or even about deciding to stay in the home if that is what will work best for now - it is not easy to do with ones own parents, and this dementia care stuff is unfamiliar turf.
I feel for you.
Depending on the state you live in.perhaps you can get "help-in-home" care via medicare/ medicaid. research and find a reliable "elder care " lawyer.
It is an investment for your own protection. I don't know how old you are. but your life is ahead of you.
You have to be "selfish" and consider your own well-being.
Forget about whatever your parents have promised you financially.
They could change their minds anytime.
So, you might be doing this mainly out of care but you're hoping for some financial help. But you also said you think you won't really get anything.
Are you killing yourself with something that isn't going to help you, financially, maybe even hurt you, financially? Once, again, I'm not suggesting that you're only doing it for the money, but there is no reason not be look at this with a practical view.
All I'm saying is that it's not too late to change this. You don't have to keep doing this. If you're really not going to get anything from them, maybe it's time you just give up on that - just tell yourself quite honestly that you're not going to get a dime.
Then, readjust what you're doing. Don't ask permission, announce it and start doing it.
Remember this - hope doesn't change things. Just because you hope for a little something at the end doesn't mean you'll get anything but more bills and a feeling that you've missed out on a bit of fun in your life. If you're here to vent and just get it off your chest, that's fine - we do all need that. If you really want something better, though, you have to make something better happen for yourself.
i work in banking. Its better but not great. I used to work in retail with hours all over the place. This job is much more predictable. theres room for improvement, i just must continue to prove myself... which is hard too because after 3 months of doing that, i missed the goal by like 1%... but i suppose thats corp america for you.
Anywho, yes i graduated. In Graphic Design. Im talented in my craft, but dont have the spine for it. I couldnt throw enough people under the bus to get ahead, so i got ran over... and told by bosses that "i talk the talk but i don't walk the walk" (amongst orher much worst things)
college aide, and talent agencies, and job placement never helped me. (im talented, proffesional, but non hireable) They never knew where to put me.
besides, the bank pays me more or the same as any graphic design position did. Thats how little i was valued.
college loans cant be lowered. Theyre actually very low. health insurance is a cost (no benefits to save their bottom line.) therapy is a new cost. Car payments. I need the car for my job when they send me to other branches. (i dont complain about doing it)
Anywho, im at an impass i think. And ive made poor decision with my heart and not my head. So i guess i just keep fighting on and hope for the best.
After dealing with it for all these years, it's up to you to decide how bad you want things to change. You can't change them, but you can change your response. It's hard to do. I've got relatives I've had to just give up on having a good relationship with, just dealing with them as best as I can.
You'll have to see what works for you but you have to start with doing your best to ignore what she says as much as you can (very, very hard, I know) and just get the work done. Take a heads-down-get-things-done approach and try to make it as efficient as possible and try not to let anyone interfere with that, where possible.
While it's a hard thing to do, remember that "practice makes perfect" - don't be too hard on yourself for not just finding a way to deal with this, right on the spot. I'm actually in a class, right now, where we're learning to deal with our aging parents' behavior. Yes, it's taking an entire class to help some of us. So, you're doing it on your own, remind yourself of that.
That's another thing - keep reminding yourself each day that you're doing your best. If you screw it up or they don't go along with things, wash it clean for the next day - just start again and do your best - it's trite to say "take things one day at a time" but there's not a lot more you can do.
Here's something else - if you can find any way that they can be helped by a stranger, like for in-home physical therapy or such, where you can find financial help that would pay for it if their situation is dire, take it. Sometimes, they'll go along with a stranger where they won't do things when you try to get them to do it. However, some won't go along with it regardless who tries to work with them, so it's a trial-and-error thing.
Basically, life is short - sit down and think about what you need to do so that you don't look back at this part of your life with many regrets and resentment. My mother is much better about me doing my own thing than yours is but she can be pretty critical of the choices I make to attend a movie or attend audio events. Sometimes, I just smile at her and say something like, "well, I'm off, now, see you later" and I just kind of leave with it rather than turn it into a discussion/argument.
You say you have a job. What kind? Do you enjoy it? Is there room for advancement?
Your student loans can be modified with help from your college, I believe. Did you graduate? Are you using your college placement and counselling services to their utmost?
If you want to hire help, you must foot the bill? No. The help is for your parents. They foot the bill. Or, they pay you. But they don't get your full-time-job services for free and the pleasure of their company, that's for certain. So there's one boundary: labour costs money, whether it's your labour or somebody else's. Respect the monetary value of your time, and insist that your mother does too.
I don't know how student loan repayments are structured in the US, apologies, but I'm guessing they're not designed to bankrupt you; so if you had no home and no parents where would you be living? How would you manage financially on your full-time wages? Can you go back to your college's student support office and ask them to help you with a personal budget? What's this insurance you're paying for for?
You sound very down, and I don't blame you - when you're in a situation like this it's hard to see beyond it. But you're young, you're employed, and you're qualified: look forward five years and the prospects should be a lot brighter. Best of luck, and stop resenting your sister - it just doesn't help.
Sounds like your parents are blackmailing you by making you help them so that you can get part of the inheritance, if any should they need to use the money for assistant living/nursing home. Pack your bags, stay with a friend or go to a homeless shelter and start your life over. Your parents won't be alone, they still have a daughter who they will browbeat into caring for them.
This used to describe me. I shudder to think of that time and it wasn't so long ago. The first step to change is admitting this. (After all, what's the point of saying we want to grow if we're not going to be honest with ourselves about where we are now?) I say this because many of you reading this probably do not know what your boundaries are. They should roll off your tongue like the alphabet. Your boundaries are your values. Boundaries are representative of how much or little you respect yourself. Boundaries are your friend.
2. Decide what your core values are.
Who are you? What do you value? Figure out what, exactly, you're comfortable with and what you aren't. For example, I don't like to talk on the phone during work hours, so when I'm at work I don't accept personal calls until after 5pm. In my relationship, I value and expect monogamy, quality time each week (so at least one date night a week) and 100% honesty at all times. Once you get clear on what matters most to you, then you can take bigger step of communicating this to others.
This is key: Instead of creating your boundaries around a difficult relationship in your life, you must make your boundaries about you. For example, my boundaries with my limited phone time is about honoring the fact that I tend to get overstimulated due to a busy writing schedule. This boundary is to decrease my stress level and not about avoiding others' phone calls or distancing myself from loved ones.
3. You can't change others, so change yourself.
Gosh, we all want others to change, right? I mean, that's part of the human experience. We get into arguments with our spouses hoping, wishing, demanding even...that they STOP being difficult. We get mad when our moms call us five times in a day. You want your co-worker — that one who is so negative — to treat you with more respect, etc. The list is long.
We cannot change others. We are not responsible for what comes out of their mouth, the daily choices they make or their reactions, etc. The bottom line? Since you can't change other people, change how you deal with them. As Dr. Cloud says in Boundaries, "They may be motivated to change if their old ways no longer work."
4. Decide the consequences ahead of time.
So what do we do if anyone pushes our boundaries (because they will)? Decide what the consequences are. For example, if my boyfriend cheats on me after knowing monogamy is a boundary of mine, I leave the relationship. If a friend of mine calls me repeatedly during a time-frame I had shared I would not to be able to talk, I simply do not answer the phone. The best way to figure out your own boundaries and consequences when people cross them is sitting quietly down with yourself and making this all about you. (Remember: boundaries are about honoring your needs, not about judging other people's choices.)
Write it down.
5. Let your behavior, not your words, speak for you.
A new boundary of mine is that during the work hours, I don't take personal calls. I am a person who thrives with structure. People have and will continue to test this boundary. What I don't do is present them with an ultimatum. ("If you call me again during the work day, I absolutely will not be speaking to you.")
You present your boundaries clearly to people and then let your behavior do the talking. So, if anyone calls me continuously during the day, and they know my boundary, I simply do not pick up the phone until after 5pm. People WILL test, push and disrespect your limits. You'll know you're getting healthier when this doesn't get an emotional reaction out of you. When your boundaries are your core beliefs, you will not get riled up if you are tested.
6. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
The biggest part of boundaries is HOW clearly you communicate them. You can have the most healthy set of boundaries on the planet but if you do not communicate them clearly, you are going to create some really confusing relationships, both for you and everyone else involved.
One way to quickly get someone to question your character or authenticity? Say one thing and do another. Sometimes we're afraid to confront others with truth in love or relationships. We're afraid to tell people what we really want, to admit that we hate going to certain restaurants, or have trouble spending time with a friend's toxic cousin, or hate when a boss dumps deadlines on us at 6pm on a Friday. We conceal our true feelings because we're scared of people's reactions. The more you ground yourself with your boundaries and values, the more you'll be able to be very clear in your communication!
Get ready for your life to change because it will.