Holidays, caregivers & visitors~ Any advice?

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So - as a caregiver - in the home - I am often the subject of much family criticism. As is often is the case for many caregivers. Nobody helps, but may come here - for a visit - but then takes over the house and do what they want when they want - then watch my every move while coming up with judgments - criticisms. This goes through the rumor mill within the family and I am left feeling so down on myself.

Not only are my parents ungrateful me being here and taking excellent care of them - but I try to please those who visit. A plethora of unsolicited opinions are rendered -and I try not to but - feel less and less worthy of respect. In this family, it seems I am unwelcome to think feel or have a boundary that insists on basic respect. If I calmly state a boundary - my parents often mock me (and any emotional pain they inflict) and others look at me like I am a bad person for stating that I prefer my mother not yell at me (as an example).

I am trying very hard to get out of this situation and let them deal with the stress of it all - they can all do so much better and if I am so awful they can step up.

Feeling very worn out, downtrodden and worthless today on Christmas. I tried so hard to make it a great day for those who visited and my parents. My dad said the most cruel stuff to me - my mom too- and one visitor (family) said I should let these constant comments go...IOW: no boundaries - though my therapist said it is the healthy thing to do despite family denying the scapegoat to have rights and kindness.

I cannot understand the outright audacity of visitors to take over the house - tell me all about myself and yet have said "sorry I am not in a position to help out" when I said I needed some help...in the past. And yet - I am wrong because I don't want to be yelled at.

Anger and being upset is a normal emotion - but only for them. I am not allowed to do anything but say YES ...

thanks for listening. It is a tough holiday.

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Flyer: "Next time other family members start to criticize how you are taking care of your parents, hand them a key to front door, don't say anything.... then go get your suitcase. Tell them good-by and wish them well, don't say anything more.... then drive away. I would love to see their expressions."

Sadly, after a few times of these same people have bee here, they have had blow ups, yelling and tears because of my parents behaviors that sometimes affect them - such as being unrealistic and challenging the logistics of reality. Their resulting behaviors from my parents actions are acceptable & fine when it is coming from them. I have soothed them and told them it will be ok - and yet if I am worn out or don't sit and chit chat when they come to visit, I am a horrid and incapable person. Not one of these people is cut out for it because they don't want to be impressed upon. They want to remember mom and dad as something they never were nor are and want to re write history while creating a fantasy. That may be all they can do - but FFS they have no grounds and really DO NOT nor will they understand that all the self care in the world cannot remedy the gravity found in caregiving - difficult parents. They cannot know nor do they want to evolve to try and understand in this family.

The last time a mentally ill sibling came here and ent on a screaming tantrum ending in telling me to GET OUT my time here with my parents is DONE - and told me they are going to assisted living because I am EVIL - I packed up and walked out and she started screaming that I was abusing and "killing" my parents because I was leaving them......

I have to pause at this lightbulb juncture.

So she went on to slander me to all she knew in an effort to recruit people to destroy me any way they could. Nice.

Eventually she cut everyone out. Now she is slowly showing up here when I am not home. I am terrified of her.

I will leave and not come back next time. Great advice.

Blannie - I have been trying so damned hard to find work FT - even my own business - hard to be hired after staying at home and then divorced and in 50s - this is the reality of trying to get work - but I AM TRYING SO HARD to do this so I can leave ASAP. I am being very very serious about that. I want OUT as the level of care and their stubborness (sp) is taking it's toll on my health now. I am feeling more at peace at times because I am trying hard to leave with finding work - and made a comittment to myself to do it. Overall it is sad because not all families would do this to a caregiver - but it is MY family that DOES.

CDN - thank you so much. I find there is respite in shared experiences. Because you "get it". I definitely find myself feeling like a victim and I have got to regroup and stop that nonsense. I have to find my own life because this is not it - it's time. And it is very very hard because that means I will be completely alone. Being here is not an alternative anymore.

L South - the cruel jokes are not funny IMO. Stress buster pills? How about a nice massage coupon or something appreciative? I had a few cards and I expect nothing so I am not disappointed on that nte. My dad gae these family members big checks and he gave me 2 oversized shirts (1x, 2x) and I wear a small. I don't want his money but they dont' pay me. I have a prn job. that is not available FT. It was a slap in the face when one thinks about how freely he gives the handiman money to do something I do on a reg basis. Or the cleaning lady who comes in once in a while while I do all she does not plus those daily cleaning of pooped on sheets, medication runs and pill dispensing.

I wonder if I would be like this as I age. I can't say - I hope not and I know I would never put my kids through this hell. I am used to being alone and I don't want to live in a NH or ACF. I would rather expire over asking for help. But I suppose that's something else to handle...right now it is me in a sea of a s**t sandwich.

BLAH
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I can identify with this because I have always been the 'fixer'. When I put down some boundaries and told off some relatives who were spreading lies about me, they decided that they would not even help the little bit that they were. Guess what one gave me for Christmas - some stress buster pills! I thought, 'well MAYBE if you helped out some, I wouldn't be stressed.' The nerve of some people just floors me.
My parents are grateful to a point - but they also seem to think that care giver means servant. I have started getting people in to help - the kind of people who will not judge everything that you do, but understand just how hard it is. I have people who are angry at me - the Christmas cards were not as many this year, but they are the ones who will have to answer to a higher power. I would say to get your parents into an assisted living center or let the little prima donnas come and do the hard work that you do. I'm looking for my chosen family too, and hope that I can find it. Any care giver needs respect.
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Dear Scaredtaker,

Sending you love and hugs. I'm so sorry your family is not more supportive and appreciative of your efforts. It is very disheartening and discouraging. I too had these frustrations. Everyone treated me like a doormat. Growing up I was very sensitive and was desperate for praise. I didn't even know what boundaries were.

Please know you are a good person and you have a right to lead your own life. You did what you could for your parents. It's okay to step away and say no. You have to protect your own mental and physical well being.
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I'm so sorry your holiday was ruined. It sounds like it's time for you to break free from your toxic family and build a new "chosen family" who values you and all of your good traits (and it sounds like you have a lot of good traits!). Please work on finding another way to support yourself independent of your mom and dad. Let them find help that they're happier with than your support (which I KNOW they won't find). But call their bluff.

Good luck and keep us posted. {{{{Hugs}}}} and Merry Christmas.
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Scaredtaker, pack a suitcase to keep on hand for yourself. If you have a family member or a good friend who is not too far away that you can count on at the drop of a hat to house you for awhile, set that plan in motion.

Next time other family members start to criticize how you are taking care of your parents, hand them a key to front door, don't say anything.... then go get your suitcase. Tell them good-by and wish them well, don't say anything more.... then drive away. I would love to see their expressions. Stay with that family members or friend who is ready to house you.

Yes, the family will call you every name in the book, but aren't they already doing that? Let them see how it is take care of much older family members that aren't grateful for your caregiving.

Ok, I know that might be impossible for you to do, but note that almost 40% of caregivers die leaving behind the love ones they were caregiving. Those are terrible odds. Then what? Your folks might decide to move to senior living, or someone else in the family will step in take care of your parents.

Also note, not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver. I know I wasn't so I just took care of the logistical stuff from my own home. My parents managed on their own in their home since my Mom refused strangers in the house. I had to practice saying "sorry, I can't possibly do that" over and over until it felt natural.

Your screen name picture is pretty much on target for many of us who are or were caregivers to our parents.
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