My mother is 83, 84 in a week, alcoholic, smoker, lives alone. We are reaching the point of burnout. How do we help her and keep our lives?

Follow
Share

She's alcoholic. I'm an alcoholic, twenty years in recovery and this is very antagonistic to her and I've had many periods of estrangement. I'm sidelined. Recently she's allowed me 'back in' but has reverted to form, and the abuse started again. She's in the hospital and the rage is terrifying. Maniacal.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
8

Answers

Show:
She sounds like a narcissist Hardie. Have you read much about narcissistic mothers? Sending you positive thoughts.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I'm going to say this as the adult child of two alcoholic parents, both of whom ended up with dementia: I think it's ok to walk away.

My mom has been sober for 31 years. But her dementia personality turns out to be a lot like her drinking personality. I can hardly bear it some days. It triggers me all over the place. Her dementia is likely caused by the years of drinking, and compounded by dialysis, which she gets for kidney disease.

If your mom has been drinking this whole time, I'd be really surprised if she didn't have alcoholism-related dementia. It's only going to get worse. Nobody springs back from dementia, as far as I know. You have a right to protect yourself from her alcoholism, and you have a right to live your life free from abuse.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

The rage is a life long thing? And is saved for selected targets - namely, those closest to her?

Your sister is coping by staying away. This allows her not only to avoid getting bitten, but also to avoid spending a fortune on therapy.

I do not blame your sister. Whether by accident or design she has found the only answer that works if the situation is what is sounds like.

Speak to your therapist. Ask for specific advice on what you should do to protect yourself. Mention borderline personality traits, if not outright disorder. It sounds to me - thousands of miles away, not knowing you or your mother, just picking up signals - as though getting involved directly in your mother's care will not help your mother but may cause further damage to you. You need to detach, it's important. But I do urge you to get professional input to support you through this.

Do not allow the hospital to bully you. You are *not* responsible for your mother's care, whatever they try to pin on you. It is up to them, with all their expertise, networks and resources, to develop and implement her care plan; and they will do the job just fine. Nothing terrible will happen to anyone if you step back.

Take deep breaths, please keep in touch. Hugs and sympathy.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

She's in hospital for urinary tract infection, cellulitis and possible respiratory tract infection. She was admitted last Thursday following 24 hours in. A&E. Last Sunday when I was in visiting she flipped, very agitated and aggressive, I just 'disappear' when that happens, asked her to stop or I'd have to go, she just told me to go and I  did. Rang the ward the following day and told them I was concerned, that she was agitated and aggressive, a daily drinker and committed smoker. The nurse said quite quickly that they had seen no evidence, I said, she might save it for me. I get so I can't go in. The fear is overwhelming, I go to a therapist weekly, costing me a fortune, I had been doing well, I thought we'd been doing well, but this rage is a life long thing. I was so bad the other morning I had to ring the Samaritans. My sister who really has been doing the lion's share of the care seems unable to believe my distress, I've tried repeatedly to get her to meet me, she doesn't refuse, she just sidesteps and sends her husband. 
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

When my mother acted out in the hospital, her care team recognized that it was something more than a urinary tract infection. She had psychological testing and it was determined that she had dementia and could no longer live on her own. They walked me through the entire process of getting her admitted to a nursing home. Perhaps this is what you should hope for with your mom if the hospital thinks this would be in her best interest.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Hello Hardie,
It is so heartbreaking to love someone who is so infuriating and frightening. I am sorry. But I want to say how fabulous that you have maintained your sobriety. Having loved many alcoholic family members, I know that your sobriety is the single most important thing in your life, without it, you have nothing and can offer nothing.
Your message doesn't really give specifics. But if you (or she) are able to afford a drop in caregiver 2-3 times a week that can be an enormous help.
Even if it is just a 2 hour visit (we used Home Instead in our area, because they offer all levels of help), and someone to run an errand or toss in a load of laundry, it is a break for a day that you will not have to go over there.
My suggestion is to limit the time you spend with her if it is toxic to you. She may be having neurological damage showing from the years of drinking and that can cause major personality dysfunction.
I'm not sure how much you are willing to be involved, but this hospitalization may be an opportunity to get guardianship over her. That would allow you to manage her finances and other issues.
Best of luck to you and remember to take care of yourself
Margaret
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Alcoholism makes people very angry after years of drinking. Scarey stuff. What can you do for her? Probably very little. Let the professionals take over?
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

What put your mother in hospital, Hardie?

I'm sorry for any pain and suffering it involved, of course, but it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise if it compels your mother's health and care professionals to come up with a practical plan for when she's ready to be discharged.

Remember that you can love your mother and still recognise that being responsible for her welfare is beyond you. What discussions are you having with her care team?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.