Well, my relative told me off for sleeping too late. Not only that, but I complain - A LOT. She hates it when I give my elder an attitude whenever I submit to my demands.

Though I resolve to sleep at least 11 PM or earlier starting tonight, I still resent myself for always acting as if I'm babying her. I feel like each day, taking care of her is emotionally like taking care of a baby. I have what I call a "Caillou mindset."

If you have watched the show CAILLOU, you'll understand. For those who don't, the titular protagonist whines when he doesn't get his way in the first season. For instance, when he was banging on the drum, his mother admonished him to stop. But he JUST WANTS TO PLAY. Golly, do I ever feel like him too, despite the criticisms regarding him as a total brat next to Dora Winifred Read and Angelica Pickles.

Well, I have EFT, guided meditations, exercise (including Oxycise!), and prayer to curb the complaints. (And sleeping earlier would help me lots. I also have to save money on buying a recorder to ease stress as playing a musical instrument does so.)

But what else should I do to bend over backwards for my elder and do it while warding off the "Caillou mindset?"

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Talfonso, it takes courage to look at yourself like you are doing. I am glad you did because I see the complainer and unhappy person in myself whenever I am with my mother. I feel misunderstood, unloved, criticized, and even verbally abused. I am supposed to drop everything and bow to the queen, listen to her talk non-stop, including to her put-downs, sarcasms, and all that crap. I can't challenge her on anything no matter how nice I put it or assertive I am or whatever. I feel trapped and I feel like I am watching my life being ruined by her. Carving out some space for myself every day and willing gratitude really works. Thank God, Mom lives in her own place and I have mine. If she can't do that anymore I will not be near her. She's impossible already to be next to.

Are you seeing a counselor? I am, and that is most helpful. Maybe you feel unloved and uncared for? If we can get a little love and support from others it is a little easier to take these difficult times, caring for our darling vampires!
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It's not always easy to keep your "trap" shut!
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I do love her, but sometimes I feel so annoyed and pestered by her demands. Even when I do something as useful as just mopping the house. But thanks for the advice - I just need to have more gratitude in my life.
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Talfonso, your complaints are probably all justified, at least from your perspective. But even when we are right it isn't always smart to say what we are thinking out loud. I assume (because you are taking care of her) that you love your grandmother. Is that true? And that she also annoys you sometimes. If you complain every time she annoys you, that might interfere with her understanding that you love her. Both ideas are true, but if you talk about one way more than the other, she may get the wrong message.

Another reason not to complain all the time is that it is annoying to other people. Grandmother annoys you, or something else in the environment annoys you. You complain. That annoys Grandmother. Now you are both annoyed and in bad moods. That is no fun!

Another reason not to complain all the time is that it gives people the wrong impression of you, and makes it harder for them to relate to the "real" you. From what you have written you sound like a loving, caring, conscientious, and smart person. But complaining a lot makes you seem like a brat. Sure, all of us can be a little bratty sometimes, but it gives the wrong message if people see you mostly as a brat.

But your complaints are often valid, and they are what you really think. So what are you supposed to do with those thoughts? How about writing them down? Keep a special notebook just for your complaints. Don't show it to anyone! Do you think that might help?

Some people also keep a gratitude book or list. Every night they write 3 things (or 1 thing or 10 things -- whatever they decide on) that they were grateful for that day. It can be "lovely sunshine" or "a nice room to be in while it rained." If you keep a complaint book, maybe you should keep a gratitude book, too, so you don't give yourself the wrong message! That one you could show to people if you want to, or keep it private.

About your sleeping late: I have a disorder called Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder. It is kind of like having jet lag all the time. My body's internal clock is all messed up and I have to work at sleeping at somewhat "normal" times, for social convenience. I'm going to share some tips I've learned from a sleep therapist (yes, there really are people who studied and earn their living helping people do the natural act of sleeping!)

1) If the change you want to make is big, don't try to it all at once. If you are going to bed now at 1 am, don't suddenly try 11 pm. First try going to bed at 12:30 for several days, then midnight, etc. until you work your way back to the time you want.

2) It is often more helpful to focus on when you get up, rather than when you go to bed. (That needs to be done gradually, too.) If you force yourself to get up a half an hour earlier, it should be easier to go to bed earlier, too, because you will naturally be more tired.

If your sleep cycle is really far from what you want it to be, it can take a very long time to reset it. But it can be done, and it is worthwhile.

Jeanne (68, cared for husband with dementia and now mother with dementia)

PS. You can come here and complain if you want to!
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