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I am battered and defeated. Tired of the same problems that my mother just ignores and brushes away. She doesn’t deal with the consequences so she doesn’t care. I’m left to clean up the mess. Sometimes figuratively sometimes literally. Oh sure, she feigns concern and promises change but in a day or so she returns to her old bad habits and nothing ever really changes. And before you ask, no. She doesn’t have dementia. Not that any Dr has been able to determine. So I’m left to decide......her or me? Don’t be so quick to respond. Many on this forum have called others selfish and heartless and unloving for choosing themselves and their families over their elderly parents. It may seem like an easy answer but it’s not. One answer causes guilt, confusion, shame, and loss. The other dooms you to a life of servitude (some say slavery) and loss of other family and friends. Not to mention your own health concerns. But still I read people on here saying “you’re a saint”. “What a good daughter”. “You are so kind and loving”. So what is it then? Huh? Not as easy to answer as you thought? Right. That’s what I thought.

Oh my...I remember walking in your shoes and man did they hurt!

Seriously, I have said this over and over, I am all about family but if it means to be a doormat than it is not worth it. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball, but if you decide to walk away from a mother who doesn't or can't deal with cleaning up the messes she makes you are not being selfish...I repeat; you are not being selfish! Because at the end, we have to save ourselves and we can not change people. That is a fact!

Sad to say, I spent years cleaning up my mother's messes until these past few months. She thought after my dad died in 2014 that she at 71 yrs old she could handle her finances...well she was wrong! She got so far in debt that she couldn't see past it and my BF and I live with her in my family home. I, like you was at a crossroad...I had a choice help her out of this one last mess or walk away!

I sat my mother down and told her, you have to file for bankruptcy and there is no other way out..oh by the way, I am not paying for it! I went on to tell her, If I decide to help you that we now play by my rules! I take over your finances and I am cleaning out this house. If she didn't want to go this way then I and my BF will move out and she can go down with the ship and she wasn't going to be able to move in with me after she lost my dad's house. She agreed! She filed bankruptcy and lost her truck and my brother's truck because only her name was on it...she had loans on both trucks and a visa card with a 9,000 dollar owed. In total she owed a credit union 11,000 dollars and another 7,000 dollars on 3 other cc. I know I seem harsh...prehaps mean, but I had to let her know I meant business.

You my friend are at a crossroad and here is the questions you need to ask yourself, "what can you live with and who do you love more? I may sound selfish, but whether it is a boyfriend, friend, or family I always say, "I love me more!" Now, I am sure I might get haters for this, but someone once told me "we teach people how to treat us." If I don't love me, who will? Plus, I am going to be with me for the rest of my life!!

No one hear can make your decision, but if your mother refuses to help you clean up her messes then she has made her choice and you need to make yours. Just remember sometimes we just have to walk away from people and that includes family!

I wish you the best of luck!
Hugs!!! Lots of hugs!!!
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Momsgoto Jun 25, 2019
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. I am very definitely at a crossroad.
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Society definitely shames us with impossible standards. Others' well-meaning attempts at consoling us fall on ears that cannot take their words with a grain of salt, because we're too overwhelmed not to get angry at anything they say.  (Like: "Oh, you shouldn't feel that way" or "you're an angel.") My husband's behavior pushes me to the brink, and I hope that I can continue to handle all of this, as society only allows us a couple of choices that are socially acceptable.   (Martyrdom and sainthood, i.e. being a doormat, being the most acceptable.)  Very few people speak the truth about this out loud.  Anytime I share how I feel, I am apt to be "corrected" to remember " just think how much harder he has it." No, he is regressing to a child, well-provided for with not only financial provider, meal planner, maid, gardener, but accountant as well. So, here's the thing, I care for him, 72,  my 28 year old partially dependent son, and my 94 year old father, but I refuse to be their entertainment director.  By the time I've handled a full time job, and all the other obligations, there is nothing left of me. So, I go off to work out (swimming clears my mind like nothing else,) I play harp at home and out with friends on gigs, and I read and go out to eat with friends. And I refuse to feel guilty about any of it.  I cannot take him because he is embarrassing, and I cannot handle that; it's as simple as that. (I'm hearing the chorus of "oh, you shouldn't feel that way.) A society that would have us empty ourselves completely, and then keep on giving is just not for me, and I'm one of the least selfish people I know, but it's time to take care of me.  Keep in mind all the good comments from people here; when you have been drained, how can you give anymore? Your family deserves some of your attention and energy, and frankly so do YOU.  You deserve some time and energy just for you.  It took me 50+ years to learn that.  For those around me who wish to, go ahead and whisper and shake your head at me for taking care of myself.  I will continue to.  I pray they never have to walk in my shoes, and be pressured to meet impossible standards. Signed: Tired Human (Not a Saint, Not an Angel)
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lealonnie1 Jun 26, 2019
So well said, perfect!
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What you are asking is impossible for anyone to answer for you......but many of us have been there or heading in the same direction. I personally have no interest in being a saint and feel I AM a good daughter.....but I'm sure mom feels otherwise. She's 89 and difficult....always has been. Always got her own way and circumstances are now dictating differently, she is in rebellion mode. I have no patience for her her antics and passive aggressive attitude. I feel at this stage in my life, if I were to become her full time caregiver, I would NOT be kind and loving. I don't have the perseverance , the resilence, or the stamina to deal with her, especially at her age and stubbornness. It would not be a healthy situation for either of us.

Please don't think because you chose the path to do what is best for you and your family that it anyway diminishes you as a caring daughter. It only proves you have the insight to know your limitations. Some of us have the capacity to enter caregiving with our LO with an open mind and a full heart......I'm just not that person and I no longer feel torn. It IS a difficult decision, and only you know what's best. Don't be coerced to take on more than you are capable.....and after careful deliberation you will know what gives you peace.
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lablover64 Jun 26, 2019
I couldn't have said it better. It doesn't matter what others think. What matters is whether you feel you can maintain a positive relationship while being their caregiver. If you can, great - but if you can't, it is no favor to them for you to try to do it. It doesn't mean you care less, it means you know what you can handle and what you can't.
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Very sorry for all you are going through. I do think that it is time for you to seek professional help, because we here on this forum are likely not qualified to help you comb through all the issues here, and come to any conclusions. That makes any "easy answers" impossible. Your choices are perhaps not as clearly etching in stone as you think nor as black and white. We all suffer guilt when we feel we are not up to fulfilling our loved one's or societal expectations. That is we feel guilt if we are not psychotic. Accept your feelings of guilt as a sign you are a decent and caring person. And we all suffer confusion about where to draw the line between "servitude" and simply turning our backs. Depression, with its hopelessness and despair, makes choices seem as though they are clearly "either/or" but in fact they are not. A good licensed Social Worker or psychologist can help you identify what you want and need in your life, and what you will have to give up any hope of controlling. This person is trained to help you map our a direction. Anger is often easier than pain, and I think that it covers what is really there, which is GRIEF, and despair. Grief that we are being let down by those we love, and that we feel we are letting them down as well. Despair that there is anything that can help. I hope you will seek help. I am 76, and there have been three times that I have sought and got help that was honestly invaluable to me. I wish you luck. I can hear the pain you are in, and want you to know that I recently read, in a book about a woman who IS a psychologist, who in a time of deep trouble went to another, an anecdote told by one of them....that feelings come in like weather systems. They are either more or less devastating and last either longer or shorter periods of time. But they will change, just as surely as the weather does. Good luck to you. So sorry for all you are going through.
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Momsgoto Jun 25, 2019
Already see a therapist. Every month or so.
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I honestly feel like the whole elder care matter is a catch-22.........damned if you do, damned if you don't. Until they pass away, we're guilty, we're worried, we're fighting inner turmoil and battles, we're trying our best to be everything to everybody & feeling like failures to ALL. I won't call you (or myself) selfish or heartless, nor will I call you (or myself) a saint. We're mere mortals trying to do our best and fighting what seems like (and often is) a losing battle. My 92 y/o difficult-as-hell mother is now in Memory Care with a giant staff to look after her, and STILL having chronic issues after less than ONE WEEK being there. The PA called me yesterday to say she now has a compression sore on her tailbone from sitting in the wheelchair too much. I about lost my cool, let me tell you. I feel at the end of my rope, as an only child and the only person who does anything for her, and I'm exhausted, frankly. She was without a phone for 6 days and to hear her tell it, it was the End of the World. Little does she know what I went through to get the phone installed as quickly as it was.

I don't think there is any way to escape the guilt, confusion, shame & loss, but there IS a way to escape the servitude & slavery that comes with having a parent living inside of your home. Choose wisely. And best of luck.
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NavyVet90 Jun 27, 2019
OMG, your mother sounds just like my 95 yo father.  He is an extreme narcissist who went to assisted living a year ago.  All his life he has expected everyone to immediately drop everything and wait on him.  Heaven forbid he doesn't get his way.  The day after my parents moved in, he was bitching and hollering that his phone didn't work.  I explained to him that the facility doesn't include phone service and I was working with the phone company to get it hooked up.  He was so mad, said well it should have been done already, like it was MY personal failure.  It took several more days for them to activate the line.  The way he carried on, you would have thought I was torturing him.  This was after 2 full, long days of coordinating with movers and unpacking and setting up their rooms for them all by myself.  My legs were so swollen after being on my feet so many hours.  Then the third day, I had dinner with them in the lovely dining room.  All he did was complain about the food and service.  (Very fussy eater, demands instant gratification.)  He is impossible to please.  When I got home my BP was 208/98.
I refuse to feel any more guilt over a situation I cannot fix or change.  He brought it all on to himself with the way he treats people, and then wonders why everybody runs in the other direction.  I have had to go minimal contact, as I will not let him put me in the ground like he did my mother.  I feel like I've aged 10 years in the past 18 months.  Some people just don't deserve the sacrifice and servitude of family after a lifetime of toxic dysfunction.  No matter how much you give and do, they don't appreciate any of it.
Therefore, don't feel guilty.  You've done more than enough and more than most.  Do what YOU need to do to live YOUR life.  It's a matter of survival.  Please take care of yourself; your health and your needs matter.
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Never expect others to make changes, one must make changes in his/her own life.
Caregiving is the toughest challenge I've had in my life.
I'm 79 my husband is 73 and had a motorcycle accident 15 years ago which has now traveled into dementia. We were just married 10 years.
I 'm lucky I married a sweet, considerate,smart guy so I had ten years of a fabulous marriage. Now I deal with Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
There are many day when I want to pack up the dog, three cats, drain whatever is left in our bank account and disappear. What prevents me from doing it is Dr. Jekyll shows up and we talk about the early days of our love and marriage.
Is it tough? you betcha and the tunnel I'm looking thru is very dark.
I just stay in the moment and connected to my family, my girl tribe and continue to stay engaged in the world.
We are broke, it's all gone but..I refuse to let the disease rob me of any joy in the years I have left.
rwriter
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NavyVet90 Jun 27, 2019
I can totally relate to the feeling of wanting to disappear.  I fantasize about divorcing my entire dysfunctional toxic family.  My 2 siblings are no help, not even moral support for my burden and stress.  I am just waiting for the day my 95 yo mentally ill father finally dies and then I'm going to salvage what's left of what was supposed to be a simple, quiet retirement.  I have to take care of my own health issues.  Hang in there.
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so, before I read ANYTHING else about you, not your previous answers or your profile....

You DO realize, don't you, that you have NO (NOOOOOOOO) legal obligation to support your mother in her attempts at "independence"?

Really?
Independence?

Let her give it a try. Let the equivalent of US 911 come and get her.

YOU, dear one, are not responsible for supporting her in this endeavor.
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Momsgoto Jun 25, 2019
Thank you for your kindness. I do realize that. It’s a very hard choice to make.
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I'm going to  post again on this, because this is so good that I saved it from another site:
"If I could wave a magic wand, I would take away from everyone the guilt and stigma of placing loved ones outside the home. Making that choice and taking another step in losing the one we love is hard enough without adding a huge burden of guilt. I have fought the guilt for the last 2 1/2 years, since I placed my husband, and I still fight it. But rationally, I know that he is probably better cared for and certainly is safer than he would be at home. When I continue to visit, shop for his needs, pay bills, do paperwork and phone calls, take him to doctor and dentist appointments, I am still caring for him.  I have not run away. And there is no sensible reason that a loved one's disease should emotionally and/or physically destroy not just the person who is ill but another person as well. I know that without placement, I would have been in danger of being destroyed. Everyone has a different limit in that regard, but when the limit is reached, we are not failing our loved one. We are doing the best we can for them and us in the middle of an awful situation. Finances are another issue, of course -- but if we could only say "no" to adding guilt to this already dreadful life situation!" -Carla Tracy
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vlibowsky Jun 27, 2019
What a wonderful answer.  You and I have a lot in common.  I placed my husband a year ago and find myself always trying to explain to his family members that I am still taking care of him.  They are not supportive and act as if my promotion and move for work contributed to him having a stroke and now dementia.  I struggle with trying to still live life, I am only 53 but when I do something I feel guilty because he cannot do anything any more.  Stay strong and thanks for sharing your story
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Do know also that many platitudes you sometimes see such as "You are a Saint" are said to comfort someone clearly in pain. Those platitudes, even when well meant, can make someone who just yelled at Mom for making a mess feel not like a Saint, but like a criminal. We are all flawed. I don't put the Saint label on people, because Saints are often Martyrs, not a good outcome for anyone. There are people who suffer throughout their lives taking care of others who are not deserving of their care. And there is a odd kind of "payment" that can come with that. That payment is hearing people say how wonderful they are. When the truth may be that they may simply be too terrified to make movement in their own lives for themselves. And no matter how often they are told how "wonderful" and "selfless" they are, they feel like failures. Something that the narcissist being cared for is only too happy to reinforce for them. I read below that you are "seeing someone" monthly, and I am glad; hopefully that person is not listening to the same stories over again, but is stopping you and having you truly examine your choices and be responsible for those choices. The awful truth is that sometimes there are no perfect choices. We just have to do the best we can. I can still remember that day that my own shrink stopped me from telling my same tragic story once again, or the latest chapter in it. She said she did not want to hear more on that subject, but wanted to hear about my plans moving forward. I was stunned speechless and furious. I felt as though someone had taken the scrabble board I had all worked out and thrown it in the air. It was the beginning of moving forward. She later told me it is the point when half her patients do not return to therapy. I wish you luck. I don't know how long you have been caregiving, but my guess would be a while. You may know already within yourself what can change and what cannot. Moving into your own life will be no easier than what you are doing now, but it will be "different" and there will be true rewards in self esteem and inner peace. You will not need ANYONE to tell you that you are a Saint because you will be just fine with being a functioning flawed human being, whose successes you earned the hard way and are thoroughly proud of.
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jacobsonbob Jun 27, 2019
Very well put!
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Would it be so bad if she had to suffer some of the consequences of her actions? Could you take of few days off of cleaning up her messes figuratively and literally?
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Momsgoto Jun 25, 2019
Well, I do that sometimes. But it is there for me when I return
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