How do you know when its time to step back from being a caregiver?

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I agreed to give up my job and move in with my mother for a year so she could rehab and hopefully be able to be somewhat independent again. My father passed from cancer and my mother has not recovered. She has since had a stroke and given up the will to do anything but sit on the couch. Granted she had severe R.A. But didn't want to try meds or go to doc or seek rehab .. She can not walk now so she just sits all day. I've never been her favorite but regardless after my father passed I wanted to stay and help if I could. I was remarried in may and my spouse has been wonderful but now it's becoming stressful .. Mom acted like she was on her deathbed but she is just disabled and Depressed. I did it all for a year but had to seek outside help eventually because it was wearing me down and making me ill.. Now I see my spouse only 3 days a week. Every time I talk about going on with my life she wants me to feel guilty. She says how she will be broke and there will be no inheritance if I do not help.. I've tried to explain its not all about her all the time but she says it is right now.. There are two other ladies who she pays to stay with her when I gone and they are tired of her cause she is so stubborn and will not try anything to help herself .. My spouse has been so understanding but when do we start our life? My mother may live for five or six or ten more years? She will not leave her house and I agree about nursing home care where we are at its the worst.. Any advice as to when I should say I have done all I can do and go back to my life . I will always be here for her but I want to live at home .. Am I wrong ? What would you do?

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You've done more than enough. Sacrificing your marriage will devastate you and your husband and this still would not help your mom.

Tell her you don't care about inheritance - the money is for her care. She can pay an in-home agency or move to assisted living. Let her know that you'll help her with the change but that you won't sacrifice your life anymore than you already have.

She's guilt tripping you and that's control. The only person who can stop this is you. Please seek counseling if you can't do this alone. Counseling isn't a sign of weakness - it's a sign of strength.

Keep us updated if you can. We're with you.
Carol
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Choose now, either your mother or your husband because you can only make one of them happy. If inheritance is more important than your husband, he should depart now with good reason. If a relative threatened to cut me out of the Will if I don't cater to her whims, I would be out that door faster than a cannon ball. Only YOU can stop the cycle of her abuse by choosing your mate and not her purse.
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NOW would be a good time to tell her you've done all you can, move in with your new husband full time, and make your own life.

My widowed dad pulled out the "but I don't want to spend your and your brother's inheritance on care for me" card every time I brought up the subject of moving him to AL. Most of the time I quietly said "that's your money, for your care" or "you always said you were saving for a rainy day, well look around you, 'cause it's pouring." Once when he was being particularly nasty I just snapped and told him very loudly that a plan in which I bear 100% of the burden in order to preserve an inheritance that goes 50% to my do-nothing brother was absolutely unacceptable to me.

My SO and I moved dad to a very nice AL last Friday, and we're greatly enjoying having our home and our lives back to ourselves. It was the hardest and also the best decision in a very long while.
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If you are old enough to get married, you are old enough to stand up to your mother. She can hire another carer or she can go to care center, but she cannot count on you to take care of her. Visit her? Do nice things for her occasionally? Certainly. Give up living with your husband fulltime? Absolutely not.

The vast majority of middle class people die broke, and leave nothing or very little to their children. We are living much longer now, and the medical costs to keep us comfortable are out of the roof. So if she brings that one up again, hug her, and agree. "Isn't it sad, mother, that all your plans to leave something when you die may not work out? That is happening to lots of elders these days. I really don't expect an inheritance and won't blame you if that's the way it works out."

You are allowing your mother to blackmail you. Is that what you really want for yourself? For your husband?
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I would say "mom, I can't do this anymore". I would offer to help her make other arrangements, but I would give her two week's notice that i was returning to my own life. Listen to the wise posts above.
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Look at your marriage vows.

Most traditional vows ask this question first of the groom and then of the bride.

"And now, solemnly promising before God and in the presence of these witnesses, wilt you [speaking the full namel have this ____ [speaking full namel, to be your wedded wife or husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the sacred estate of matrimony? Will you love ___, comfort __, honor __, cherish __, in sickness and in health, in prosperity or in adversity; and, forsaking all other, keep yourself only unto him or her so long as ye both shall live? Do you so declare?

Notice the the key word that asks "Will."

It's not a maybe or if I feel like it or if it fits with other things in my life at the moment. It's a "I Will" covenant! That is a very serious commitment!

An emotional part of forsaking all others keeping yourself only for each other for as long as you both shall live means their is to be an intimacy of heart and mind as well as body that takes preeminence above all other relationships in your lives which includes your parents.

Your are married now and have made some very serious promises. Here's one of those situations where the rubber of the promise hits the road. Your mom may wish you were still her little girl, but you are a grown woman who has done a grown up thing called marriage.

Her wanting you to still be a little girl and emotionally blackmailing you like a slave is her problem and she is not going to change. The only person who can change is you.

Love and honor the one you have promised to live with for the rest of your life and have a life with apart from mom!

Honoring her does not mean that you put honoring your marriage or honoring taking care of your self last.

If you choose to put honoring your mother before your marriage and yourself, then the intimacy of your marriage will decline and the relationship will die for your husband will come to feel that you are not fully married to him but divided between two people and he will be right. You don't want that to happen.

Remember, you are married to your husband and no one else!!!

Look up the articles her about emotional blackmail, get counseling if you need it personally and or as a couple and get yourself free from this emotional dance that you are in that will never end unless you stop dancing with mom and dance with your husband.

Choose today which way you want to go!

Today is either the day in which you take a step toward emotional freedom or a step backward into emotional slavery.

Frankly, there is only room for two people in a marriage, but not three even when that third person is your mom living inside of your head. While we know that is true physically we somehow sometimes miss that is true emotionally as well.

This is serious and probably the most serious statement that I've ever written about marriage and not having third parties involved in people's heads.

I sincerely hope that you will make the right choice for you and your husband. I'm not saying this is going to be easy for your mom is not going to like this one bit and will try to hoover you back in with likely more fear, obligation and guilt that she's ever unleashed before. But you and your husband together as a team are just going to have to stand your ground in your commitment to each other, dam the torpedoes of your mom's F.O.G. (fear, obligation and guilt) as well as take no prisoners in the pursuit of keeping your marriage in tack for frankly it is under attack.

Much love, many prayers and big hugs!

Do something nice for you today and do something fun with your husband today as well!!!
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Is her depression being treated?

It sounds as though she has made HER choices, and now you have to make yours. To live your life, or hers.
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You mum is frightened of being alone and the only way SHE can see out of that is to keep you close to hand. Hence the guilt trip she is placing on you.

You however are the problem here not your Mum. I am not being cruel or nasty at all because I have been there done that too and I know many others on this site have been too.

We ALLOW the guilt to infiltrate our lives and then do things we really don't want to do in order to have a quiet life.

Of course, as you have subsequently found out your life isn't quiet - it is uber stressful and I can understand you wanting to live your own life - that is perfectly right and normal.

Now all you have to do is face your mother stand up to her comments and NOT TAKE THEM ON BOARD. As others have so rightly said before me - your money is for you, her money is for her ...we simply cannot expect an inheritance - well we can but we are not being rational here! If you can't face it alone I am sure there are professionals who will help the transition - it is going to be a bumpy ride though so forewarned is forearmed

That being the case just tell her she has a choice A) living alone here which she cannot do or B) Assisted living or a care facility because she will be among people her own age and they can share memories of past eras.

Don't take her arguments on board. Just repeatedly say this is not a discussion about options it is a choice you have to make a or b

Don't argue with her or this will turn unpleasant.

Just say we agreed to me coming to support you for a year and now that time is up Mum...you have two choices, you either A) stay here alone and pay for people to come in or B) to go into care and enjoy your life among others the same age. - yes of course we will visit you once or twice a week but I need to have my own life now with hubby. Which do you want to do a or b?

When she starts with the guilt trip - and we all know she will - repeat the previous lines ..start with this is not a discussion it is a choice you have to make a or b?

Then she will bang on about the inheritance....because the wriggling will have started. Your reply? And thats what that money is for Mum your well being, so which is it to be a or b?

Then she will say you don't care

Yes I do thats why we are making the decision together - if I didn't care I would just walk away so which option do you want to go for a or b?

Then she will become childlike and say neither I want you here - whine whine....Well that wasn't one of the options Mum I am going to live my life with hubby so you have to make a choice a or b?

Dont waiver stay on the A or B choices and don't let her tilt you off kilter. Stay focused.

Your final option if things turn very ugly is to inform Adult Protective Services or whatever they call them in your area that you intend to leave the house on .... and give a date .... and that she is vulnerable frail and cannot live alone. She will not make decisions but you have a life to lead and you intend to lead it - explain that you have put your life on hold for a year and that you cannot and will not do it any more because it is not working FOR YOU. Then on that date go and enjoy your life dear lady. Feel no guilt - many would not have done a year. Meanwhile she needs to see a doc to get some antidepressants.
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Hummngbrd, depending on your own age and health, one of the best advice I got on this forum was when someone wrote to me saying "tell your parents you are too old".... she was right, a senior citizen should not be caring for older senior citizens.

In the pas 6 years I have aged to a point where I can't even recognize my previous self. It's been one medical issue after another due to the stress. My Dad will mention inheritance to me, and I rather him and Mom [they are in their mid-90's and doing fine for their age] use THEIR money to make THEIR life easier for THEM. Like hire people to do the yard work, cleaning, etc. Dad finally had a light-bulb moment the other day saying he will need to hire people.... you think???
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Hummingbird, what I did was move my mother in with myself and my partner - we all sold our respective houses and bought the one we're in now.

DON'T DO THAT!!! It doesn't work. You'll get sucked in to your mother's needs, your lovely husband will drift off, and you'll end up in a heck of a mess. So don't do that.

But possibly what you could do, is look near your and your husband's home for better residential care than you say is available in your mother's location. Then you move home - and home being where the heart is, your home is with your husband - and your mother moves to supported accommodation somewhere you can keep an eye on her.

And if she won't, then you vote with your feet and you GO HOME. You make reasonable accommodations for her, you provide a reasonable amount of support, you work out a pattern that suits you. But your life is not all about your mother, whatever your mother says. You couldn't solve all her problems even if you gave up everything, so stop trying to.
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