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Sometimes my heart aches when I think of my mother just sitting there unhappy & lonely, but every effort I've made has brought me only frustration & pain. (This is nothing new, cuz we've never had a relationship), but I feel like such a failure lately. After 2+ years in A.L.F. she wants no friends there, hates the food ect, & only clings to me in an unnatural way. It got exhausting, and I became angry at her frequently, so it felt like my best choice was to resume low-contact. (I say 'resume' cuz many years of my adult life were low-contact with her,... but it was HER choice then). In my 20's & 30's, mother frequently voiced her dissatisfaction with me & told me I was an embarrassment to her. Later she disapproved of who I married & shunned me, especially after my child was born with a disability. Numbness has been my default setting for decades, (felt like a 'surival mode'). I wish I could still be numb,... wish I felt nothing, but some days I feel guilt: for choosing to be 'low-contact' with 90yr old. ('No-win' situation?).

Tiger,

You are obviously a kind, loving, caring daughter, amazing in the absence of your mom's approval, which she held out like a carrot to get you to do what she wanted. Always dangling there in front of you, just out of reach.

It is so hard to relinquish hope of achieving a "real" mother-daughter relationship in your mom's last years. We still crave what we never had. When sister and I placed mom in memory care, I imagined frequent visits with her, taking her places, creating happy memories for us both. I don't know what delusion made me think MC placement would change the dynamic between us, which has been low contact for years, imposed by myself because of Mom's toxic F.O.G. (fear, obligation, and guilt).

Years ago I used to imagine my mother at 90, a sweet little old lady; feisty perhaps but kinder, more mellow than her younger years. Not so. At 93 she's exponentially worse; impossible to share the same room with her much longer than a few minutes without toxicity taking over. I was the first to realize the hopelessness of the situation. If my saint of a father couldn't please her, nor my darling sister, what made me think I could?

As others have mentioned, sometimes the woe-is-me parent isn't nearly as bereft and lonely as they'd have us think. Many's the time I've arrived unannounced at MC and found my mother happy and conversant with other residents. But to hear her talk, you'd think sister and I had condemned her to prison.

Tiger, you didn't create this situation. You cannot fix your mom. Love her by making sure her needs are met. You will never satisfy her wants. Love yourself in the ways you weren't loved and let go of the guilt. Achieving this isn't like flipping a switch on or off. You will have days where you'll feel okay, if not exactly "good." Then other days when guilt comes back to haunt you. It's not a constant state-of-being but a process. And before long, as you begin to see and feel your own worth, the good days outnumber the bad. (((hugs)))
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janeinspain Dec 29, 2018
Hugs to you too. We CAN dance :)
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Today I feel much better after reading all your replies. I thank God for your help.✌
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Hi Tiger, I think sadness - and every other stage of the grieving process - are completely normal and appropriate given what you described. It sounds like you’ve experienced some of the other stages as well. And for many of us the process isn’t linear, as in, go through it once and you’re “all good.” We cycle back through these feelings, hopefully less intensely over time. You cannot change your mom. Like JoAnn, I agree with Margaret. You should on ways of making yourself happy.

Jane
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Tiger55 Dec 29, 2018
Truly appreciate it.✌
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I like what Margaret said. I think your "sadness"comes from a lifetime trying to please this lady or wonder why she didn't love you enough. She has chosen to be alone. She can't expect that putting someone down all the time they will come back for more.

Everyone wants to have a good relationship with family. The sadness comes in when the family doesn't feel the same way. Iam so sorry.
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Tiger55 Dec 29, 2018
That really helps, thanks.
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Dear Tiger, your question covered so many bases for me, that I am going to make a list:

1) I don’t think anyone could be ‘happy’ about a parent being in a care facility. Relieved, yes, glad that they are getting good care, yes, but not ‘happy’. At least a bit sad.
2) Your mother is at least to some extent choosing to be unhappy and lonely. If only your visit changes that, then she is still going to be unhappy and lonely for a large part of her day. Your contact with her is never going to be for most of the day, because you are not going to move in there yourself. It will never be 'enough'.
3) There are sometimes posts here from people who have watched their parent after they had apparently left, and have found that in fact the parent was much more sociable and cheerful than they thought was the case. Difficult parents are often good actors. They can also be manipulative - ‘if she thinks I’m miserable, she is going to have to come more often/ take me home’ etc.
4) You are grieving for your whole life experience, not just for the way things are now. You have plenty to grieve for. Your mother had many years to change things. You cannot change your long term experience, or blot it out, or pretend it never happened. The past is the foundation for the present.
5) Lastly, I think that at some level you may be like me. I always hoped that I would achieve a decent relationship with my own father. It never happened, even though I went 12,000 miles to see him towards the end. All he could see was me as a representative of my mother and grandfather (both long dead). He had kept and showed me the reproduction that he faxed to me on my mother’s death, of a soul in torment, entitled ‘Revenge Pursued Beyond the Grave’. I asked him why show it me, and he looked astonished. His words were ‘I should think that’s obvious’. When he died, there was just a vacuum. My sisters and I were just gobsmacked to think that the result of it all was just nothing. Years of our lives. My advice is to do what you need to do for your own self-respect, but do not feel obligated because it will achieve nothing. Don’t end up like me, wondering why you bothered.

I’m sorry if this last was a bit bleak, but please look after yourself and your own happiness. Plead ‘not guilty’.
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Tiger55 Dec 29, 2018
So much wisdom, thank you for your help .💞tiger 55.
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