How do I keep myself from going mad?

Follow
Share

My mom, who has been back home for 3 weeks with 24/7 care after a stroke, calls me 20 times a day (though I block the calls while I'm at work) telling me she needs me to cancel the aides because she doesn't need them. NO amount of reasoning or logic gets through to her. I feel just terrible for her, because she lives in a small apartment and it is very claustrophobic with an aide there 24/7 but there is no other option. She was twice as miserable in the SNF. I just called her and screamed and sobbed and told her there's nothing I can do about the fact that she had a stroke and that she needs care. She cannot hear it or accept it as reality and insists that I need to tell the aides not to come. Today I started sobbing and screaming and told her to shut the f*ck up and hung up on her. Of course I feel terrible, but I am losing my own mind due to all this and other stuff in my life. Her boyfriend and I visit and take her out 2-4 times a week. She has TV but won't watch it.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
71

Answers

Show:
From my own experience, you accept the idea that you have fallen off an emotional cliff and you need to save yourself first. If that means getting her back to skilled nursing until she improves, so be it. If that means medicating her obsessions so you can have a decent night's sleep, let it happen.
Otherwise you die first.
Helpful Answer (12)
Report

LOL Sorry, but your meltdown sounds a lot like me! You can't reason with crazy, and the people who tell you to tune it out or ignore it have probably never gone through it. Sorry. ((HUGS))
Helpful Answer (11)
Report

One thing I do when my mother is telling me she does or doesn't need something is tell her that she'll have to talk to her doctor about it. I tell her I am only doing what the doctor said to do. In your mother's case, tell her the doctor said she either needs a SNF or someone to be at home with her. Which does she prefer? One or the other, not neither. She may be happier with the caregivers when she thinks of the alternative.

If you ever find yourself getting to the point of yelling, just hang up or walk away. We all get angry, but showing it makes both them and us feel bad. I absolutely hate myself when I yell at my mother, even if she needs yelling at sometimes. Hanging up or walking away to cool down is much better. When it comes to yelling at them, don't do it. You can stop yourself.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

Xinabess, I have read many of your postings. Some may consider this tough love. I want you to feel better - I am the adult child of alcoholic parents and extended family too. Please go back and look especially at your earlier postings this year: https://www.agingcare.com/discussions/so-sad-scared-and-depressed-about-mom-196156.htm?cpage=1. This predates your mother's stroke. It detailed your mother's hoarding, denial, alcoholic lack of self-care, fecal incontinence in biohazard conditions and complete inability to face reality BEFORE the stroke and rehab. You discussed your enmeshment. Your fear of her dying, your inability to enforce boundaries and limits. A lot of caregivers have given you love, support, positive feedback, ideas, and suggestions. For your own sanity, you need to read your own postings and delete your name from them. Read it as if you were reading someone else's experience. You are a smart lady with your own children and job to consider. Please don't keep trying to fix your mother. She is drowning and will happily drag you down with her for the thirtieth time if you don't get out of the pool. Print out your postings and share with your therapist. I had a therapist tell me that I had as much trouble being honest about my mother as she did. With love I tell you that you deserve your own life and your children deserve you as a mother for them - you need to give yourself permission to be a separate person or you will perpetuate this cycle with your own family. I wish I could hug you and tell you how worthy of self love and care you are. I worry for you - your mother chose her own path long ago. "Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers". My mother denied my abuse at the hands of my stepfather because "she couldn't handle it". Don't be that mother for your own children, please. Give your self permission to heal. Find a social worker or hire one as part of the Medicaid spend-down. 40% of caregivers die before the person they caregive. It's higher than that for the enmeshed. Please.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

Thanks all. I would love to medicate her, but she won't have it, unfortunately. It's really sad and hard because it is totally understandable that she would feel imprisoned in her current situation. I would too. Plus, she just got a bill for $16,000 (no joke) for her last two weeks in the long term SNF unit. Her Medicare coverage ended when they transferred her there. She feels like nothing about her life is in her control anymore, and it's not. At the same time, she's driving me crazy. But how can you be angry at someone who is losing so much all at once?
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

Xina - your moms refusal to learn to use a kindle may be because she suspects, fears or realizes she can't. A few years back my mom had been complaining about her TV. Mom really didn't watch regular TV often but did use it hooked up to a DVD player to watch movies and other tv series we had bought for her on dvds. Anyhoo - screen was too small, sound didn't go loud enough etc. So hubby and I buy mom a new, larger, stereo equipped tv - surprise her with it and hook it up. Mom practically had a total meltdown. In trying to talk to her as to why she was upset I couldn't get a single reason that made any sense. But we unhooked the new tv and put the old one back. A few weeks later mom apologized- well, as close as my mom ever got to apologizing for anything - and admitted she was afraid she wouldn't have been able to work the new tv. Then about a year ago I noticed mom wasn't reading - which was totally off as reading was my mothers biggest passion. I could tell mom wasn't even looking at her favorite magazines that I took her regularly. I took mom to an eye specialist for her cataracts- that doctor said she still had vision considered legal for driving (btw - no, she hadn't driven for a couple years). So I thought maybe mom needed new glasses - off to another doctor. Nope, he said her glasses were fine. This dr however, suggested that if she wasn't reading it was because she had either lost interest in it or couldn't comprehend what she was reading any longer. After doing some "testing" of my own - giving mom a letter from a friend to read etc - I determined the doctor was correct - that for whatever her reason my mothers not reading had nothing to do with her sight. My point as it relates to your mom? I'm sorry to say this - but perhaps your mothers loss of cognitive function is worse than you think. Sorry to be so blunt but accepting this will make all the tough decisions you're having to make on your mothers behalf- well, they will become a tiny bit easier.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

Xina, next time Mom calls growling, think of yourself laying your own ears back... the visual of an animal doing that can bring a smile to your face.

Or many of us here have imaginary helmets that we wear for when we need to bang our head against the wall. That reminds me, I need to clean my helmet and paint that wall !!

Some of us have found "agreeing" with our parent can help if you think they won't remember that the next day. That way, they feel better, and you feel better [win-win]. "Yes, Mom, we will let the Aides go next week" [but you don't].
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Xina, try not to dialogue with her on the phone, at least... tell her something and if she starts to go on and on, say "Oops! Have to go..." and hang up. Then phone off hook for awhile; if you always say something (not a lie) before hanging up, she won't be able to say you "hung up on her". I do this and it works.... I get angry at how needy my mom is, too, but that doesn't help; what does is to set a limit to what you are willing to do for and with her (i.e. visit 2X a week, talk to her 1X a day, etc. ). Find your own limits/boundaries and do your best to stick with them. On an airplane the flight attendant puts on his/her mask first so she can live to help the others.....
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

xina - in many ways my situation with my mom was similar to yours - for a while. After a bad fall mom was moved from IL to AL with a three week pit stop in rehab in between. Mom hated rehab so much she would have been willing to move to a garden shed to get out of there, so she accepted the AL move. That move was one of my bigger mistakes as the rehab staff was telling us she needed 24/7 care but I didn't agree - after all mom had been doing okay in IL with a part time caregiver- it just seemed to drastic a step to a NH to me. Then, even with a private caregiver in AL mom fell twice in her first ten days and I was told we had to move her out due to her needing a higher level of care. Next stop - the nursing home. Mom fought this with everything she had in her but we were able to get her there - it was a beautiful place, her own room with private bath, all her own furniture and things - even a sliding glass door that opened to a private, landscaped courtyard shared with only five other rooms. Moms first night was hell - one of the worst of my life and for the next six weeks things didn't get much better with my mom calling me nonstop, alternating between cruel/vicious and pathetic/sobbing. Mom was doing her best to get kicked out - accusing the Director of sexually abusing her and the staff of stealing from her. Mom was also pretending to have fallen almost daily, trying to make me think she wasn't safe there. Mom wanted me to rent her a regular apartment where she wanted to live alone. Never mind mom couldn't change her own soiled Depends without covering the bathroom and herself in poo or that she couldn't get herself from her wheelchair to do anything - not even dressing herself, let alone cooking, bathing, etc. Finally mom accepted an apartment wasn't do-able so she moved on to living in my basement. With no exaggeration- I was very close to an emotional breakdown. Every morning I found myself in tears before I'd even poured my coffee - I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep - and all day long the phone rang - either mom, the nh, moms dr, moms insurance co, the pharmacist etc. I ended up at my doctors and he prescribed an anti anxiety med for me. He also recommended getting my mom into see a geriatric psychiatrist- a suggestion I had seen here, probably from Babalou, lol! I was able to get my mom seen fairly quickly and had come up with a therapeutic fib to get her to go. I told her she was being screened for a new med to help with memory. The psyc did a medication overhaul and over the next month meds were tapered off and new ones started. At the end of the month my mother was 1000x easier - more her old self and in no way a medicated zombie. I realize you believe your mom would be resistant to this approach- seems like you are too - BUT - I strongly urge you to think it through, see if you can come up with a way to make it happen. I honestly believe I would have had some sort of mental and/or physical collapse had I not gone the psychiatric route.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Xina, I have been following your postings, my gosh you do have your hands full. Believe me, I know the frustration.

My Mom [late 90's] was also very stubborn. Her doctor insisted she have caregivers around the clock as there was no way my Dad [in his 90's] could take care of her. When I brought Mom home from the hospital she was running around like she never was in the hospital [she had a major fall and had a brain bleed], wow talk about a fast recovery. On the 3rd day the caregivers left as Mom was being very insulting.

I've gotten angry on the phone, too, with my parents, especially my Dad who was trying to guilt me into driving them, he would say he would start driving again. That was a big panic button with me. It wasn't until Mom had passed that I realized it probably was my Mom chewing on his ear about needing to be driven somewhere.

You wrote that you and your Mom's boyfriend take her out 2 to 4 times a week. You need to cut that back. If the boyfriend wants to take her out, then let him... if he doesn't drive, then he can hire a taxi. Your Mom needs to settle into her new "norm" until she gets better.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions