I'm my mother's primary caregiver, but I'm mentally ill, and siblings don't want me to ask for help. - AgingCare.com

I'm my mother's primary caregiver, but I'm mentally ill, and siblings don't want me to ask for help.

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Almost three years ago, my father passed away; three months later, my partner of 18 years passed away as well. My partner and I used to go over and see my parents every weekend for well over a decade, despite the fact that we lived 80 miles away; I have continued to see my mom every weekend ever since, but it wasn't long before depression kept her from leaving the house, so I began to take responsibility for getting her groceries, doing her laundry, checking her mail and mailing out her bill payments. I have spent over $10,000 to date. I've asked her to put me on her checking account so I can pay for her groceries directly from her account, as well as pay her bills (which has become increasingly difficult for her), but she has repeatedly refused my requests. I suffer from severe depression, and though I am on medications for it, I routinely claw at or beat myself in the face (often until I get a black eye or swell an eye shut), have sobbing jags which can last hours, and I frequently consider suicide. I am unemployed, and I may have to sell my house soon so I have enough money to keep taking care of my mom. I have three other siblings who've been conferring with me on mom's care--they consider themselves the "reliable ones" (I have 4 brothers and 4 sisters, most are out of state), but only one of them has truly helped out, and unfortunately she's been dealt a terrible blow which will greatly limit her ability to help. My brother, who lives in LA (I live in Arkansas) has adopted the "fake wallet pull" method of assistance ("Don't worry, I'm gonna get this! Hey--put that money away! I mean, I totally don't mind getting this! You don't have to--awww! Thanks! I totally would have gotten that!"), but he's really bossy and condescending considering all he's done is talk a lot on the phone about what he's prepared to do. My other sister uses the "I'm just soooooo busy! Work is SUCH a b*&ch!" excuse for never helping out. When they're comparing notes via the "text-tree" we're on, they tend to ignore my actual observations of mom's condition and reports on her mindset and suggest they can get her to do things I've failed to get her to do time and time again (grant POA, add us to her checking account, etc...). They have accused me of being confused and mis-seeing things (including when mom got a shut-off notice from the electric company--I had to photograph it at a later date to prove it really existed, yet they keep talking about it as if it were a manufactured crisis). They believe they are the only ones capable of getting anything done, but they mostly just talk about what "we" need to do. Well, tonight I snapped at my brother after I told him about asking mom to put me on the checking account so I can stop spending my own money on her groceries, and his response to the group was that "we don't need to ask to be put on her accounts". I told him I was the one who'd been doing all the work, and to quit using the word "we". I suggested that if they thought they knew what was best, maybe they could step up and do what I'd been doing. He shared my message with my sisters and began to dress me down in a series of increasingly lengthy, hostile texts, until he eventually told me he was going to strip my contact info from his phone and unfriend and block me on social media. A long time ago, my father came to our house out in the country and spent the day with me--we had lunch, he went fishing at our pond, and we talked for hours. As he went to leave, he began to work himself up, and rounded on me with anger and hostility and said "I don't care WHAT you've got planned for the rest of your life--that's all OVER! YOU--YOU'RE gonna have to be the one to take care of momma! The others CAN'T--they're too busy! It's gonna have to be YOU! GOT IT?" Then he stormed off and drove away. I told my brother this years ago, and he told me what our dad said to me was BS, that no one got to tell me what to do with my life. Well, tonight he told me I couldn't tell them I was taking a break and letting them help for a change--he said I was using her care as a weapon to get back at him. He was telling me it always has to be my responsibility. They're all married and working professionals. They're smart and they and their spouses make good money. I'm nearly at the end of the money my partner left me when he passed away--he was in deep debt and his estate had to be split between me, his daughter, and his nephew. It wasn't a fortune. Mom's broke (aside from her monthly SS check) and in debt to several home shopping channels, and her house is in a crime ridden neighborhood and in bad disrepair. I'm scared and now I'm totally alone. They get to feel like I don't deserve their help now, justified in their continued refusal to acknowledge that I'm in way over my head. Tonight I've seriously contemplated suicide, but I know I have to be there for mom since no one else will be. What do I do?

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I spent an hour and a half writing an update, but an errant key-press deleted everything I wrote. Life seems to get some kind of thrill out of pointlessly keeping me from making any kind of progress, no matter how meager--it's like an elementary school bully who keeps pushing you down then pointing at you and laughing.
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CR, how are you doing? Let us know how you're doing.
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Draw your boundaries in close. The relationship withvyour Mom is as she defined it:
. I have spent over $10,000 to date. I've asked her to put me on her checking account so I can pay for her groceries directly from her account, as well as pay her bills (which has become increasingly difficult for her), but she has repeatedly refused my requests.
REPEAT: SHE has repeatedly refused my requests.
That defines the relationship-She refuses to cooperate so you can help.
That means she has refused your help.

The more important relationship is between you and your mental health.
Stop immediately going over there, tell Mom to call on others for help.

Present yourself to your mental health doctor or the E.R. right away.
Please stop hurting yourself.
You Don't Have To Do That To Yourself!

I am going to go now. Will check back with you after you return from the E.R.
I have been reminded that this website is for informational purposes only.
Even though there are mandated reporters and people who care about you very much, no one here will have the ability to intervene to prevent or call 911 in case you decide to act on your irrational thoughts about suicide.

That said, please seek help. Then, when it becomes true that you "will not act upon suicidal thoughts or feelings" and "will no linger hurt yourself as you have described", tell everyone here.

In the meantime, keep talking to the caregivers who can help you through this difficult time. I wish you the best, take care of yourself, and hugs, so many hugs, from a friend-a cyber-friend, in cyber-space, but the caring is real!
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I think Lovesdad only meant don't tell her until they get to the bank, not don't tell her at all! But I agree anyway that this is not the way to go about things: crystal clear transparency is vital in everything to do with powers of attorney, proxies, etc. - unless you want the mother of all messy wrangles down the line.
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Lovesdad, having mom sign POA without informing her what it is is ILLEGAL and would constitute financial abuse of an elder. I think you know that.
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Do not let your siblings bully you. Stop talking to them this instant! You are the caretaker, not them. Do not call them, do not speak to them. You are on your own. I just dealt with this myself for 4 years. Do not ask them for advise. You are on your own. Take your mom to the bank and get a poa, they have them. Sign it at the bank with mom with you. Use her money for her bills, not yours. Do not tell your mom your doing the poa, just put her in the car and go to her bank. Call her bank first and ask if they gave poa. If not get one at staples of office max. Again, do not tell your siblings and dont let your mom know what you are doing until you are in the bank with poa in hand. Its the only way snd i would never tell my siblings ever. Stop communication withbthem, they dont care!
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Thanks, Babalou. I looked back and saw she didn't live with the mother. Thank goodness! That will make this easier to work through. One thing I would do is talk to mother about hiring an assistant to do tasks with her, e.g. shopping, cleaning, doctor appointments. Of course, Mother would have to use her own money.
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The OP states that she lives 80 miles away from her parent. She is not POA. There would be no grounds to charge her with abandonment.

She needs to call the AAA and APS and report that her mom isvin need of care that she can no longer provide.
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The best option for you first and foremost is to get yourself to at least a psycologist and start on therapy. Then call the Department of Aging for your mother and Job and Family services to get yourself out of there. I would still talk to an elder attourney and see if just simply walking away will or won't get you an abandonment charge. There is no good enough reason for you mother to be that selfish to take all of your money for needs and then spend her SS check on her shopping networks. Your siblings don't matter at this point because they haven't pulled their heads out of their butts and tried to help you out.
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cr, I feel so much for you. The few things you said gave a big glimpse at how your life has gone. The good thing is that it can turn around. No matter what your father said, you are not the family dumping ground.

Your siblings are most likely never going to help. They don't want to and they don't have to. They may give you some lip service, but it doesn't mean anything. In their eyes, they are glad you're dealing with it so they don't have to be bothered. I would just cut them out of the plan altogether unless they start to show more interest.

I see that your mother has old-age decline. Is her mobility okay? If it is, she can go shopping with you and write the checks or make the charges herself. If she doesn't want to do that, she can let you use her charge card. It isn't your job to support her. You are not her husband or her SS check.

Next, don't think about hurting yourself. I have a feeling it is the people around you who are making you feel so small and angry. Are you living with your mother? If you are, I know you probably can't afford to move right now. I would get to a psychiatrist soon, though, to see what can be done about the depression. It is so treatable and you deserve to feel better.

The best solution I can see right now for you is to get back on your feet emotionally, then find a job or apply for disability to help you break free of this. You need to work on you right now. I don't know enough about you to know the things you enjoy and what may help, but you could work through these things with your therapist. I just have a strong feeling that you've been beaten down in your role in this family. They don't have any power over you and how you feel anymore. Your siblings' relationship to their mother is between them and her. You are only responsible for yourself and what you do for her.

If my brothers were to unfriend me on FB or block my calls, my only response would be meh. Who cares? It would be nice to have their support, but it's not there. You have to work at things on your end and forget about things that only hurt. I do have a feeling that you have a lot of family baggage to work through and hope you can get into a new light on the other side of it.
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