How do I handle being the black sheep of the family who now is mom caregiver and can do nothing right according to her? -

How do I handle being the black sheep of the family who now is mom caregiver and can do nothing right according to her?


My mother's favorite has always been my older sister. My sister lived with my mother for almost thirty years. I married had three children and a career. During that time my sister never paid mom any money toward bills. I divorced and became persona nongrata in my mom's eyes. My ex was mom's secondary emergency contact and I was written out of the will. My sister was mom's caretaker. Mom lived in a house that had mice throughout it and it was filthy. When I would try to intervene I was told to stay out of it. Mom didn't want to upset my sister.

Mom lost most of her eyesight due to macular degeneration and during this time my sister took over as her POA. My sister became a hoarder and used mom's money and charge cards to feed her habit. My sister was on SS disability because she didn't take her insulin and had a diabetic sore that wouldn't heal. Her doctor deemed that she was not able to work. In December my sister had a massive stroke. She is now a permenant resident in nursing home. She has her cognitive abilities but there weakness on her right side.

Mom is 89 and can't care for herself. She reluctantly came to live with me. When mom moved in with me she told me that my sister would yell at her for bring incontinent. She apologizes for everything. I tell her that she is 89 and she does not have to apologize for anything.

Mom is not pleasant to be around. I don't seem to do anything right for her. My sister is all she cares about. Mom doesn't act mean to me when other people are around. She doesn't now or ever has seen how unfair she has been to me.

My sister calls mom from the nursing home. Whenever she does mom gets very agitated and takes it out on me. Mom's BP keeps dropping. She had fallen and was in the hospital a week. I tried to talk to my sister about calling and upsetting mom. I told her that mom hasn't felt well and was in the hospital. She got on the phone when I left and screamed at my mom for not telling her about being sick. Mom's BP went down to 79/48. Her BP is telemeded everyday. The visiting nurse called me to find out what was going on. Hoe do I explain that my crazy sister is making mom sick?

I have had to block the nursing home number. I'm afraid if my sister calls while I am at work and screams at mom again it could kill her. Mom's response is that she is my daughter too. Mom is mad at me all the time now.

I am not coping very well with any of this. I am appalled with what my sister did to my mom. I'm angry at my mom for the way she continues to treat me. I'm livid for being placed behind my ex in her life. I'm angry that I don't have a life anymore.

I know I should let it roll off me. I can't let it go. I feel like I am losing it. There is no one but me to take care of her. I don't know what to do. How do I get past having a mother who doesn't care about me? How do put this anger aside?

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I think when reading all of this there is at least some comfort in knowing people like us are not alone and this is not so rare as one would think. That in and of itself helps! I am a Christian so I try to keep foremost in my mind that my place here on earth is to be doing God's will in my life. So often we 'should all over ourselves'. I 'should keep my mother in my home', I 'shouldn't be upset or let her get to me'. A mother 'should love her daughter, right?'. All of those shoulds compel us to do things that don't make a lot of sense. I think it is natural to want your mother to accept you, respect you, love you, see the person that it seems most of the world can see but the person who raised you. It goes to the core of self esteem and loveableness. Years ago my counselor/shrink said to me "you will have to learn to accept that your mother will never really love you in the way that you need her to". I had punished myself in an abusive situation with a husband for 13 years who treated me just like she did, evidently unaware that I was trying to recreate and right the most hurtful relationship of my life - the one with the one person who was supposed to care the most. Once I realized that I am not unloveable and that it was my mother's and my ex's problems, and not mine, life became fuller, so much better, success in every area of life more abundant and I ended up happily married to someone who treated me with the care I did deserve.
I suspect that you are still trying to 'show' your mother you are a 'good daughter/person'. I suggest that you draw boundaries and take care of her, as this is what we ought to do to 'honor' our mothers/fathers, but you do NOT have to serve yourself up. She doesn't have to be in your home, either, for you to do that.
In thinking of the term black sheep, I think more I am the 'scapegoat'. In the Bible, the scapegoat was loaded down with the bad stuff and cast out into the wilderness to die and be alone. By heaping all the garbage on the scapegoat, the rest of the herd was 'clean'. It was symbolic, but think about it - as that person, if all the family dirty laundry and baggage is put onto one person, then everyone can 'agree' that it's that person, not them, with the issues. They then can all not have to look at themselves or their doings or behavior, because of course, it is all the fault of the scapegoat. Usually, being so hurt and cast out and over burdened, we have to find other places for support and ways to figure ourselves out because we can't find it with our families. In the end, as it has been for me finally, can come freedom because the rest of them all stick together, refusing to look at anything they do. I have been called crazy by my mother, told I need a psychiatrist, etc. and yet I am the ONLY family member who has ever sought counseling! I have done the work and have put an unhealthy, dysfunctional childhood and family life behind me. I think it drives my mother crazy that she has no control over me now and no ability to get to me either. When you stop caring really what your mother thinks or says, it is easier to just let things roll off your back, still do what needs to be done, but not keep putting yourself up for an insult or a fall. Do things for her because it's what's right but not to get her approval or thanks. Get on with your own life and just hand her issues back to her as they are no longer yours.
Helpful Answer (11)

I completely understand what you are going through. When I was 5 years old, my father was working for the government and he died in an airplane crash. At the same time I became seriously sick with the whooping cough. My mother spent about the next 15 years as a single mother supporting her, my brother and me.
Even though mother favored my brother throughout all this time right through my adult years, what I remember is all the hard times that she suffered taking care of all of us. All my life I have lived with and have accepted that I am the "black sheep" of our family. My favored brother has not been here to help me take care of our mother during the last of her elder years. I must say that this is a mistake that both of them have made. What I am waiting to see, when the time comes, will my brother be here to help me when God decides to take mother.
The past 2 years I have been my mother's Care Giver. Her dementia seems to be getting worse through passing time. She doesn't want to live in AL or a Nursing Home. She is presently living in an apartment for senior community living. Unless she passes away hopefully in her sleep, I know the time will come that we will have to move her to AL or a Nursing Home. We all only have "one mother". It is very hard to (detach) not abandon oneself from our mother. It sounds to me that you are in a point in your life that you need to seek urgent help/care for your mother. I highly suggest that you do this before you become seriously ill. If you don't know where to start looking for help, please get in touch with Care Giving in your area. They may suggest that you need a Care Giver come to your home 2xs per week to give you some time to yourself. From what you have said -- it sounds like your mother needs to be moved to either IL, AL or Care Home. Since I don't know your financial situation, you may need to discuss this with them also. Does your mother have any VA benefits from your father? If it is at all possible, you need to obtain all the financial statements to any money that your mother may have. Tell them everything you are experiencing with your mother and that you need help. I know you feel like a "very lost and hurt sheep". Even though He is very busy, please pray for God's help and he will show you the way. My prayers and thoughts are with you as you go through this particular journey in your life.
As it is said, "This too shall pass". I hope I have helped you. Please know that you are loved.
Helpful Answer (10)

First, put your mother aside. Detach. I don't mean abandon her or never help her again, but for heaven's sake, what is she doing in your home? If you don't have a life anymore, it is because you willingly gave it up. Take it back.

There is no one but you to take care of her -- really? There are no group homes, no assisted living facilities, no nursing homes? How is it your sister found someone to take care of herself?

You are doing what you chose to do. There is no law that you have to do this. No one is holding a gun to your head. You are already the black sheep. It is not like your reputation within the family depends on this.

If you don't want to do this, don't.
Helpful Answer (9)

Dear Kady0302, please know that you are not alone in this. So many of us are -- or feel like -- the black sheep of families wherein our siblings who do little or nothing are golden, and seem stuck with that demoralizing label in our families no matter what we do. And it's truly amazing how many black sheep end up as the caretakers of those very members of the family who are golden to one another.
I think both the answers you've received so far are excellent; and really, they are saying the same thing in different ways. Jeannegibbs is the soul of good sense who expresses herself directly, and EvaLynnPearl is also giving good advice and expressing herself empathetically, but they both are telling you that excellent, appropriate help is out there, and you can change your miserable circumstances by reaching out.
Never mind the golden sister, never mind the lifetime of blacksheepness. Do the responsible thing for your mother and, at the same time, for yourself, by involving professionals.
There's a whole world out there, including the world of this blessed website, that doesn't share your family's opinion of you. Although the internet makes us relatively anonymous, it can also free us to be recognized as who we really are by people uninfluenced by our family dynamics and our pasts. I respect and admire your efforts to take care of your mother, and I will respect and admire your efforts to improve your situation as soon as possible now that you know you've hit your limit.
Helpful Answer (9)

Get a therapist. A good one, one who will listen, and teach you forgiveness. He or she will will be your best friend as you work through your justified anger and bitterness. He or she will give you boundaries and coping skills that will enrich your life. You need solutions, fast. Good luck and bless you for caring and loving both your sister and mother. Your a hell of a person
Helpful Answer (4)

Dear Kady0302
You're definitely not alone, as you can tell if you've spent time on this comforting website. Fitzgerald has some great gems of advice and consolation. It is so true when she wrote "So many of us are -- or feel like -- the black sheep of families wherein our siblings who do little or nothing are golden."
It's quite baffling to me how my mother idolizes my brother and sister who rarely visit her and do nothing for her. Yet, my mother treats me with irrational disdain and seems to despise me most of the time as I spend my life caring for her. Apparently, this sort of ironic situation is quite common. I know one thing. If you don't take care of yourself, no one else will. You have to be strong enough to help yourself. Believe me, I know that it isn't easy after being worn down for months caring for someone who abuses you. All us "black sheep" struggling to maintain our individuality as we serve our aging parents are really the incredible and golden ones.
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With respect to everyone here, mother is never going to change her mind on how she thinks. She thinks the way she thinks and the only thing that any one of us has control over is how each of us thinks and we react to other people. They cannot make us feel, say or do anything, we allow it to happen. I do not talk, text, video or otherwise contact my sister. She is not allowed in my home. She does not exist to me, however, I do not hold my father to that rule. He is allow to talk to her as much as he wishes and if a miracle were to occur and she were to visit him I would have no objections as long it was away from my house. I was able to put aside all my anger for her and my childhood this way. I would not allow her to contact my father if she were abusing him, because my rules would just cover him for his safety like they cover my family. it is just that simple.
I have never held my parents up to my rules for safety and living, I have let them live by their rules. He now lives with me, but I use the same standard that unless it is something that interferes with his health or safety I leave the decisions of his life up to him. I would recommend the same thing for anyone who is a caregiver. In Kaday0302's case, her sister is a threat to her mother's well being so needs to be blocked from the phone. Mom cannot make this decision on her own so it is up to the caregiver to make it. It does not have anything to do with the past, present or future it comes down to what is in the best interest of the people involved.
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UPDATE: Mom went to the hospital on Sunday. We came home yesterday. She is end stage CHF. Hospice is here. It's only a matter of weeks/days til the end. I asked her today if she loved me. I also said that I have made mistakes in my life - do you forgive me for them. Her answer to both was of course I do. At least I will never have to wonder about that.
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I have learned one great trick in dealing with my mother and it has helped me so much. I just say "yes Ma'am" or "I understand" to everything she says. I do not fight with her anymore, I do not feel the guilt "as bad" because I just let her have her feelings and I do not try to change her mind. It was so hard for me to learn to do this in the beginning but it has worked wonders. I have done things that my mother did not want me to do and when she complained I just said "I understand" and kept on going. This refusal to take the guilt has helped me more than anything and I just did what I thought was best. We have a much less strained relationship and she typically forgets whatever she was mad at me about. This really freed me but it is hard to get in the habit of. I agree with some of the other posters that you should find somewhere for your mother to live other than at your house. Although it seems like the right thing to do most of the time it strains the relationship to a point that is harmful. Best of luck to you and I know that we will all be thinking about you. Keep coming to the site as it really helped me to know that others are having the same issues.
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Just a thought here, in some cases the person afflicted with the disease recognizes his/her disability. The caregiver is the one that is "handy" and so they are the ones that get the abuse, as the caregiver is resented for being there and having to do things the afflicted person wishes they could do for themselves. In other cases, the person may have been hateful all their life and you (the caregiver) can never "fix" that. Be a duck, and let it roll off your back as suggested above. Seek another "home" for the afflicted. Visit and be sure they are taken care of properly. Drop in at various times (not regular, expected visits). Know that you are human, subject to all types of emotions and that you are doing the best you can. Please seek help, there is help. I love the care that each of the folks here offer for these tough situations. I see myself in so much of the writings, and you all give me strength to do what I need to do. I make mistakes. It's O.K. You make mistakes too, but it's O.K. too. Blessings.
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