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
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)))))
Im in control of my life .
thanks for your support
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.
thank you for yours .
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!
Thank you so much . I needed to hear that and the hugs too!
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.
You are suffering from False Guilt, you have done nothing wrong.
Many blessings to you .
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).
Is it a mistake that she calls you Mom. Maybe not. I think at times my Mom thought I was her Mom. Her face and voice would become more childlike. To me it was a compliment because my Gma was a pretty woman. But she died when my Mom was nine.
Not sure what u can do about the guilt. I think there is always one child that feels this way. Out of 4 kids it was me. Maybe being a girl and the oldest had something to do with it. Because my brothers never seemed to have any guilt. Being the oldest it was me who got the dirty look when something happened to one of the others. Why? Have no idea since my Mom was a stay at home mother. One time I was 50 miles away. But, I was the one who stayed in the same town and was there for everything. At 70 I am still overseeing a disabled nephew. Wish I wasn't. Do I feel guilty I try not to.
I guess tell urself ur doing as much as u can. I agree, she needs to be in an AL or LTC.
Hugs to you.
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
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 !
Thanks for your support .
So let's not feel guilty -- we're doing our best. Our moms' expectations are unreasonable: I assume it goes along with the rest of their dementia. I try to think of how I would react if a toddler tried the same tactics and not let it get to me. Good luck, honey.
I can relate. My mom also controls with guilt and pity.
You need firmer boundaries. There are many books about this. Counseling may be helpful too. I need it. It is never healthy to do anything when motivated by guilt.
** Also see the topic “saying no to a parent”, on this site.
This was posted in Dec by Barbbrooklyn. One good book is mentioned there, by myself and others. Those authors say that feeling guilt is “your problem”, not the problem of the manipulator. The only thing you can control is your response to what she says. Even knowing this, it’s still difficult to change family dynamics that have been going in for decades. Too many people sacrifice their own lives as caregivers. This may be ok if you chose to do so. No one says you have to do that.
Your life matters too !