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I travel across country 4 times a year to stay for a month and visit with my siblings and my 91 year old mother who has vascular dementia. She has 2 caregivers and before 3:00 pm she’s pretty alert and acts almost normal but she has a hard time finding words and completing sentences. She constantly has issues, I deal with one and 10 minutes later she needs something else done for her. She begs me many times on each trip to take her back home with me. I have two siblings who live 15 minutes from her but they don’t do what I do for her. I was groomed to be a caretaker at a very young age and I’ve been doing it since I was 12.
I’m burnt out and exhausted. I had cancer 14 years ago and going through chemo was easier than the guilt she makes me feel when she clings onto me and calls me mom by mistake.
I'm returning home in two days and the severe guilt is setting in. I can’t take her with me as I could never put my husband through the torture of being with her. She been mean and miserable towards him for the last 25 years.
Must she die in order for me to be free?
I know the next time I come back she’ll be much worse so I feel guilty for being so angry and impatient towards her.
Help me please

Shell, you haven't done anything wrong. Why do you feel guilty?

Because you're not acceding to your mother's very unreasonable demands? She treats your husband like $hit but expects to live with you?

Your mother has "made her bed" by favoring one child over the others. She is unreasonable in her lack of flexibility about where she lives (a nice AL near you would be a good deal easier for all concerned).

Please give yourself credit for visiting several times a year. ((((Hugs)))))
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Shellroc2977 Jan 21, 2020
Hi Barb, You’re right about her flexibility . She refuses assisted living saying she can’t afford it but she really could . She wants her way and her way only . It doesn’t matter that she’s sucking the life out of me .
Im in control of my life .
thanks for your support
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Well, I am going to say something a bit different from the rest of the crowd: I personally DO believe mothers like this need to pass away before the guilt and the feeling of "not enough" will end for daughters like us. For us to finally feel free. Being groomed to caretake a needy parent and to be the adult while they are the child creates a no-win situation where no matter HOW MUCH we give it feels insufficient ANYWAY, so we lose. Every time. No matter what.

Picture this scenario: mother begs you to take her home with you, you cave in, say okay, take her home. She gets worse and worse daily, begging for more and more, making you feel like you have to quit your job and devote 100% of your time and energy to her. You realize that even if you were to do that, it STILL wouldn't be enough and she'd STILL want more. Partly dementia, partly dysfunction, partly self centeredness. You ask yourself WHY you took her home with you to begin with since you now feel WORSE than you did when you saw her 4x a year.

My mother is 93 living in Memory Care and has introduced me as her mother for the past 3 years now. She plays the guilt card hard, but I'm not buying it. She makes me feel "less than" for the past 60 years of my life and has honed it to an art form. The dysfunctional dynamic between us will not end until she passes away and frees me up from the web once and for all. It is what it is. I do what I can and that's it. As an only child, I pay all the bills, make all the decisions, take her to all the appts, the ER visits, the rehabs, the specialists, etc etc. And still it feels inadequate.

I just wanted to let you know you're not alone with this; lots of us suffer with the issue. You're a good daughter, as am I, whether they see it and acknowledge it or not, WE need to see it and acknowledge it. And recognize our humanity and lack of perfection in the face of our mother's demand for it. It isn't doable, reasonable or warranted.

And finally, our mothers are suffering dementia. Meaning nothing about their behavior is reasonable or sensible. Yet we are expecting reasonable and sensible behavior FROM them. Why is that? We need to put that notion aside and accept the fact that they don't even know WHAT they want......so how are we supposed to give it to them?! Right?

Be kind to yourself. I will do the same
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Shellroc2977 Jan 21, 2020
Hi, I cried when I read your message of hope. I know now that when she dies I will finally be free . Whatever I do is never enough for her.
i feel bad for you being an only child, it must be such a burden and stressful . I have two siblings who show up but not the way I was trained to do.
we are in a torturous situation.
God Bless You !
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No, she doesn’t have to die for you to be free. It only feels that way because this has become your lifestyle. Make a positive change for you and your husband.

You have the power to free yourself. Please stop over extending yourself beyond your capacity to have peace in your life. Doing whatever you determine is your best is enough.

Blessings to you. Sending you a million hugs!
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Shellroc2977 Jan 21, 2020
“You have the power to free yourself”.
Thank you so much . I needed to hear that and the hugs too!
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She lives alone at 91? with the exception of 2 caregivers and siblings nearby who don't do so good for her?  Maybe she's lonely and needs to live with others her age if that's possible, and needs more help than 2 caregivers provide.  Maybe you could find something while you're there that would work for her that's close to your siblings so they can still help and visit.

Sometimes telling them something like 'ok, I'll be working on that' or 'yes, that'd be nice; we'll talk about it later,' etc. can comfort them. 

It may help you, too, to get her into a new home with more help and companionship for her.
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Shellroc2977 Jan 21, 2020
Hi, Thanks for your advice . I’m looking for a 3rd caregiver now . Getting her into an assisted living will be hard since my brother is against it but I realize that’s where she should be .
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No she doesn't have to die, what about placing her in a home closer to you? You can visit her on a regular basis and will also have 24/7 care. She doesn't have to live with you to be cared for.

You are suffering from False Guilt, you have done nothing wrong.

Good Luck!
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Shellroc2977 Jan 21, 2020
Thank you Dolly. I never knew there was such a thing as false guilt .
Many blessings to you .
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You are doing ENOUGH for her. If she moves, it should be to an assisted living facility NOT, NOT, NOT into your home!

I strongly suggest seeing a therapist to learn how to free yourself from feeling guilt. (the guilt feelings are normal, but you do need to learn how to let them go because it sounds like you have no justification to feel guilty).
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Shellroc2977 Jan 21, 2020
Thank you . I get back to California in a few days and I’m going to search for a therapist.
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Please, always keep in mind that true guilt is based on facts, NOT feelings. Sounds like your mother started early on the emotional manipulation of your feelings. Taught you to feel guilt, when in fact there was no cause for guilt.  It is hard, very hard, to shake off a lifetime of brainwashing (which is what this kind of thing is), but keep in mind that in fact you are not guilty.  Several things to consider: your husband comes first and your desire to protect him and your marriage is honorable.  And when your mom asks you to take her "home" - where actually does she think "home" is?  May well be someplace in the past. You cannot roll away the years, the disease, etc.  She will get worse and you cannot change that. You cannot confer happiness on anyone - that is something we must do for ourselves. Sounds like your mom failed to understand this, but it is not your fault, nor can you fix it. Actually you are very generous in your visits. You are doing what you realistically can in a bad situation, with no good choices. Put away the "guilt" - it is  not helping nor do you deserve it.
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Shellroc2977 Jan 21, 2020
Thank you for this support . I feel guilt lifting as I read these responses.
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You are doing 1/3rd of the caregiving in a year. That is more than enough if you have siblings and caregivers. How many siblings? You are doing more than your part, so the guilt is killing you. There just is no being rationale where guilt is concerned.

There are really great caregivers on this forum who caregive from a distance.
That is doable, and nothing to feel guilt about.

So many feelings, sorry you are hurting this way.
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Shellroc2977 Jan 21, 2020
Hi, I have 2 siblings 15 minutes away . My sister hates my mother and my brother is so self centered when he’s there he has my mother wait on him . I’m feeling so much stronger due to these messages .
thank you for yours .
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For what it's worth deciding not to take her home with you is an incredibly good decision to have made. I think you need to do less. 4 trips across the country a year is too much. Skip 2 trips and take a vacation doing something you've always wanted to do.
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Shellroc2977 Jan 21, 2020
Yes, I want a vacation with my husband without having to talk to her twice a day !
Thanks for your support .
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Please try to understand that you are a human being with human limitation of time, of money, of what you have to give and to whom. Please try to. You are not a Saint. I love to say that saints get shot full of arrows, then prayed to for eternity to "fix" it all for us humans. We do the best we can. It hurts. But it isn't guilt. Guilt is for those who purposely and with malice aforethought maim, injure people. That is not you. You are a human being with limitations. And it hurts. If you need to cry about it, that's fine. Just cry about it. And go on doing the best you can. We lose them while they still live. It is a terrible thing to witness. It is like witnessing torture to those we care about/care for and being helpless. You are feeling helpless. Use different semantics. You have NOTHING to be guilty about.
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Shellroc2977 Jan 21, 2020
Thank you so much for your words of support. Yes, I’m watching her disappear and it’s sad . I cried really hard today and it felt so good .
Hugs to you.
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