How do we keep from feeling so mean?

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Today has been a typical day. Mom got up pretty late and went to fix her normal breakfast. I reminded her to take her pills. A few minutes later I reminded her again. A few minutes later the pills were still waiting. ARGH! She finally took them, turned on the TV, and set her dirty plate under the TV. GRR! I went shopping for groceries and did a few tasks. It was a beautiful day. I came home to find her still parked in front of the TV, watching some preacher. I told her it was a gorgeous day, so she ought to get out and enjoy. She couldn't. She was sick. (She has been sick 24/7 for the last 10 years even though she isn't.)

I reminded her about the pimento cheese she had in the refrigerator. She said she would eat it for her (late) lunch. I came back in a few minutes later and she was making soup. She forgot. ARGH! (Okay, I know, part of the disease) She takes her soup, sits in front of the TV and eats, then puts her dish under the TV with her breakfast plate.

One thing I know is that if she doesn't use it, she'll lose it, but I can't get her to do anything. If I ask her to take her dishes to the kitchen, she gets upset and cries sometimes. I try not to sound mean, so that is not it. She just wants to be waited on, even if it means she is not going to be able to walk soon.

How do we keep them living and moving without feeling so mean? I know my mother is avoiding people and life, but she just can't do that and keep living. She thinks I am the meanest thing in the world, I'm sure, and I feel that way myself every day, though I know I shouldn't.

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I try to keep my head up with my mantra "Every new day is a new beginning." Silly me. Quickly my mantra degrades into "Every new day is Groundhog Day." I try to stay in her corner, though, because she needs someone there. It is a lonely corner. Her two living sons don't seem to care about her at all. One of them -- her golden baby -- has become quite rude to her. It makes her upset when she calls him and he is so short with her. He doesn't have any social skills, so I don't think he realizes how he makes her feel. I think he may have a touch of his father's Asperger's. That is the only thing I can figure. Either that or he's a jerk.

Today I woke up and decided to spend some time with her. My mother's memory slipped the past two weeks. Remembering to take her pills even after being reminded is part of it. Today I decided the dirty dishes under the TV and the clutter in the rooms were not going to bother me. I would just sit and keep her company as much as we could stand. It worked pretty well.

Caregiving does take a heavy toll on us. We have to watch things that don't make sense. For example, my mother puts towels all over the toilet frame and on the floor. I don't even ask her why, because I know the explanation will be that something is wrong with the floor and wind is blowing through it. I just pick up the towels to keep things safe and wash them. Then she puts them back down -- what a trip hazard. Everything I say to her has to be said three times, so she can hear and comprehend. And, of course, everything she says to me has been repeated for years -- not her fault, she's making conversation. Still it takes a toll to live this way.

Somehow I don't get depressed. I think it would be called despair. I know that most of the people on the group know the feeling. It is like trying to work through a mental maze that has no exit that is big enough for both her and me. Sometimes I wonder if I'm still sane or if I ever was. I know I'm tough enough, though. I just don't like having to pull myself out of a situation in order to keep things going. It makes me feel like a case manager, instead of family.
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JB, there comes a time when you just grit your teeth, accept what you can't change and just let them be. Some days I could get my mom to do things and cooperate, some days I couldn't. On the days I couldn't, when she resisted me, I let it ride. As long as you suggest but don't badger it's cool. Now, that's not saying that sometimes you have to get a little more tough. Sometimes my mom didn't want a bath one week. Ok, I let it ride. The next week if she resisted, I had to cajole and prod her a little, telling her how nice it would be, how warm and refreshing, etc, and then she'd usually do it. If they want to avoid people and life, hell, LET them. I don't want to be around people and life atm either and I'm only 48. lol I can only imagine how I'll feel if I make it to my 80's or whatever. I don't like people telling me what to do NOW, I'm damn sure not going to like it when I'm old. The elderly aren't stupid. Disease or no disease they know what they want. Other than sheer necessities that have to be done, leave them alone and let them live out their lives as they please. If they want solitude and don't want to be around people, so be it. I've never been the most social person. I like being a loner. I'm most comfortable in my own surroundings, in my own element, alone or around a handful of people I know and trust completely, nobody else. I can only imagine what I'd feel like if my boys pushed socializing on me when I was elderly, or took me to some day care around strangers. God for freaking bid. Gah, I'd rather be dead.

I went with my mom's vibe. Life was a lot smoother that way. You can't force people into being and doing what you want no matter how 'good' your intentions. Just let them be and go with the flow.

My mom left dishes on the floor and all that crap, too. I simply picked them up and washed them. The end. What's the point in saying something about it when it's just going to happen over and over again? You'd be frustrated and bitching around the clock. Again, accept what can't be changed...it's all part of the daily routine...
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Jess, Feeling mean = guilt, and I know you know that. You weren't being mean at all getting her to take her meds which she needs. I'm sure you have a ton of pent of resentment. The dirty dishes under the TV would drive me up the wall when she is capable of making some soup. Arrgghhh!

And refusing to do anything for herself, or trying to get better. I've walked that walk with my mom alone for over three years now, the prior seven with my dad before she wore him out and he got brain cancer and died.

He took her to therapy all the time after her knee broke on three separate occasions. She quit. Bought her weights for strength training, an exercise bike, helped her every step of the way, but she'd have nothing of it.

When she moved in with us, my brother made her promise she'd work on her walking before he went back to Europe. Ha-ha-ha. My dad couldn't make her do it, and I was mean to even suggest it. She loves being the victim and will do nothing to help herself, nothing!

Now she's wheelchair bound in an AL and resents the h*ll out of me to take a weekend off and will do nothing to help herself again in regards to making friends, speaking up for herself if somethings not to her liking, etc. She tells me if she doesn't like something and has me speak up for her. I'm so sick of it. It's always poor widdle me with a kick of piss and vinegar....and guilt.

I struggle with the same stuff daily. It's horrible, isn't it? I go up and down with good days and bad days. It does wear you down. Just know you're not alone in feeling 'mean'. You are NOT at all. Parents resent the role-reversal, as I'm sure I will someday too. (Hope not!, but who knows?) YOU are doing your best in a very difficult situation. Hang in there knowing you are not alone.
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Hi, JessieBell! You are far from alone. Please do not feel any guilt. The fact that you are there is the most important thing. My mother used to drive me crazy and it was either a case of losing it or finding some coping device. I have been know to drive out in my car and swear till the air was blue about things. I then felt better, no one heard me and I had given vent to my frustrations. My mother sits in this chair with a blanket over it with is nothing short of a 'pit'. It is filled with old paper hankies, crumbs etc. We call it her 'nest' and tell her that to be comfy in her nest we must tidy it each day. We have encouraged her to put the hankies in the bin, shake the crumbs out of the blanket and vacuum around her. On a good day she will do it herself and on a bad day we move her to another chair till her 'nest' is clean. it is the only way we can get her to be comfortable. I feel, as an ex teacher, as if I am dealing with Kindergarten sometimes but it seems to work. The other mantra I keep repeating to myself is that my New Year's Resolution is to bring good karma to her days. It has worked so far this year but I do feel for you. I had a long chat with her doctor yesterday and he was very supportive explaining to me what causes some elderly people to behave like this. You can only do your best at the end of the day.
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This is a very tough problem. It sounds like your Mom has tuned you out, and isn't listening. I find taking these intractable problems to my shrink is very effective, if you could find a good one they are invaluable. Sometimes stepping back and taking some respite time helps. Also I find answers come after I have taken a long walk. I start to see the other person side, and I find better ways of dealing with the intransigience.

I hear you. I hate when I am nasty after a tough week, or when I have a headache. I try to remember that my caregiving is my gift to my Dad. It is an act of love. I concentrate on the love, and I become gentle and happier. I focus on me and my gift, not the annoyance, and things are better. I learned from a shrink a long time ago. You can't change other people, you can only change how you react to them.

I wish I could be more helpful, as you have given me hope, courage, and great advice. I am grateful for your wisdom and generosity. I know you will find a way.
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I was out of the house most of the day today. It was great to be around people who liked me. :D
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Oh Jesse we are so alike and have the same mum! No matter what you do its not enough. I DREAM of winning the lotto getting a new car a live in nurse and just drive and drive and drive. Yes i understand how you feel inside I go to my friends 3 times a week to watch a "horror movie" thats it thats my respite? thats the only time i swtich off KINDA? 99 per cent of the time I am wondering how the hell is this going to be resolved is my life over now? I mean mum could have this for years more?
My mum is just like yours wants to sit around and do nothing and i let her as im done trying. Its sad and so hard to watch but thats how theyre happy and safe so let them be like your mum excercise and fresh air are paramount to thier health but you cannot tell them this its just not going in. No matter how much it hurts let her be ive had to for my own sanity i only get her out to town about once every 2 wks so thats all i can hope for.
The less oxigen they get the more they will decline but what can we do if i try and get her motivated to go for a walk i get nothing but "abuse". Im a bully a nag leave me alone? what can you do?
Stop feeling guilty and get out more i just go now and even if it means a walk in the pissing rain here i have no choice once she gets in a mood i just leave then she dosnt seem to remember and we start again.
Chronic stress is dangerous look at me a ministroke at our age?? If you have any money go to yoga i cant afford it but i know its great for stress! HUGS to you off now to fix washing machine,cook dinner,have a bath,wash mums hair and feed the cat and wait for him to come home so I can RUN OUT THE DOOR for my movie night!!!!!! " What a life". You look back and start to really appreciate the normal life we used to have! My friend is bringing me "out" to dinner in a few weeks i am hysterical with joy i never get out to do things like this gosh get dressed up and go out like normal people? I do feel when I do go out that im on another planet AHA so this is what its like to be FREE!!! X
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Cdjtired, all I know is that I'd be heading for divorce court. No man will ever put that load on my shoulders. I'd see him in hell first. And the reason this happens to women is because they allow it to happen. There is a word called 'NO.' And also, 'I'll be damned' and 'HELL NO' and 'It's YOUR mother' and 'You're not putting this on me' and 'I'm not your servant'...and ALIMONY.
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Oh, and if a man threatens to divorce YOU because you won't take on this role, and that's anyone in general... Good Riddance.
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Cdjtired: You've done your share of care for MIL!

Time to grow a backbone and take control of "your" life!! Stop letting these people walk all over you..

Make a plan.. Either put MIL in a NH or get scheduled care for her, present info to husband and SIL and keep walking..
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