Mom asked me to move in to help her four years ago. I am the only single kid, and I moved from another state so I have no social contacts here. Mom has mild/moderate symptoms of cognitive decline, worsening; painful arthritis, very poor mobility, worsening; severe hearing loss with a refusal to investigate hearing aids; incontinence, and a very controlling, manipulative, spoiled character that has been well-covered until recently. Her filters are failing, and it is not pretty, compared to her once lovely self. Facade or no facade, my mother has been a well-liked, lovely person most of her life, so I have been shocked by some of her self-serving behaviors and essentially feel I am grieving the loss of my mother as well as feeling my loss of freedom.
She is 89 and I am 68. I am a kind and resourceful person, a dutiful daughter, and worked as a health care professional for many years (in physical medicine and rehab), so I know quite a bit of useful info to help, but, she is often stubborn or just plain petulant, like a spoiled, irrational child. It breaks my heart to see her in pain, and then when she won’t listen to good sense, it is beyond frustrating. Given my rehab background, I know it’s best that she do as much for herself as she can, for many good reasons. We established that threshold when I moved in. But after year one, it is clear that she’d rather be served. Not only that, she’d rather that I read her mind and then serve her. All with my old sweet smile, of course. I seem to have misplaced that old sweet smile, lately.
Along with my optimism, sense of humor, and conviction that we can weather anything. We’re not weathering. Or, most likely, mom IS weathering, but I am not.
I am burned out. After four years of 24/7, mostly no time off and little help from 2 siblings who are “busy” and live 5 hrs. away, and in Colorado, I just have to find some solutions.
I have much better circumstances than so many, and for that I’m grateful. But here I am today with a terrible feeling of wanting to either scream or just die. I’m not suicidal, but I am depressed, don’t feel good, and I feel I can’t talk to mom about it. Been there—she doesn’t believe in depression, for one thing (I have a long history of depression and anxiety). She believes it is weakness or self pity. I have the habit of just bucking up, stuffing it, and doing it anyway, with a smile. Trouble is, today I can’t summon a smile. I know when I can’t fake it, I’m in trouble.
I have made attempts to talk with my sister, but she doesn’t want to go there with me re mom’s behaviors. Sis has made it clear she wants me to stay for the duration. And she’s a doctor. Busy, busy. Brother has his own problems.
What I’d really like is to move out and caregive on my terms with the help of other caregivers. Mom has long term care insurance as well as funds. I love my mother very much. She can’t help that her capacities are failing, but she CAN help behaving like a spoiled, entitled adolescent (she has acted like that for years after remarrying and being too self-indulgent).
I can’t take the passive aggressive, manipulative, controlling behaviors on a full-time basis anymore. I’m old! I have nothing to look forward to. Mom has never once asked me about my future after she dies. This is mom’s home, not mine. I’ll have to leave after I manage to empty the house of an obscene amount of belongings which she refuses to go through now. It will take some doing. Another 6 months of my life? I don’t have many left!
A question. Would YOU, a fairly well-adjusted mother treat your daughter this way? No inquiries about me nor any indication she even thinks about my welfare. No encouragement for me to get out and about. Yes, I live in the F.O.G., but am trying to see out to clearer weather! I have ranted some. But please offer comments and suggestions. I have learned so much from you all on this forum which I have read daily for 2 yrs. Thank you so very much.