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I have been the sole caregiver for my mom for 6 years. Why do I feel like I am disconnected from her? Sometimes I feel like she is my patient and not my mother. Our relationship wasn't the greatest when I was growing up but, I know I love her, but don't see her as my mom sometimes. I feel so guilty for feeling this way. Am I wrong?

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My mother is a physical and mental mess, at the ripe young age of 74. Won't get down off the cross and go to a doctor. Has so many excuses for everything (her whole life, but so much worse now) that she gradually froze out all her friends.

So.....enter ME. Daughter. With all the attendant twisted pressures that accompany that. Did I mention only daughter? Only child, in fact.

I am a walking, talking bundle of mom's genetic material. And she's too special to get a diagnosis. Too narcissistic to get over herself and find out what I have a good chance of succumbing to in 20-25 years (based on her trajectory). Real nice, huh?

I feel disconnected because my primary take on all this is Screw It. Mom spent her whole adult life treating everyone to her "shoulds" and her life lessons and how-to advice on everything -- but primarily health management and getting affairs in order, as they say.

Now that it's time for mom to take her own advice, she's proven herself to be an A-1 hypocrite. And everyone thinks I'm The Golden Ticket, because I'm THE DAUGHTER.

I feel disconnected because......it's either that, or I go on an epic rampage. My disgust at all this is beyond words. The pressure is sickening.

Thank your lucky stars you feel disconnected. That means your psyche is functioning well enough to buffer you from the sad reality of your "life." And mom's "life."

This crap sucks. It really does.
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Is your mother the " mom" you grew up with? No, neither is mine. She's a patient to be managed. She still knows who I am, but sadly, she is no longer the person who taught me all I know about how to manage a patient.

You ( and I) are in limbo- mourning. The person we knew is gone.
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Part of transitioning through adulthood is accepting our parents as human beings with lots of faults and quirks of their own. For some of us we discover that although we love our parents, we may not like them. Their dysfunctional ways of dealing with things come to the foreground. Their lifestyle choices often catch up with them and become the source of pain and illness. They become depressed when they perceive they are losing control and parts of themselves. Many don't know how to adapt to change so they waste their precious energy fighting change rather than accepting it.

Compassion fatigue in their caregivers is often the result. I had an episode of it after my inlaws were pushing all the wrong buttons every day not listening to a thing my husband or I said to them. I snapped and withdrew because I was so angry and went on a good long vacation and didn't communicate with them at all until I returned.

Compassion fatigue is a symptom that you are giving much too much of yourself to another person. Your mom is like a person who cannot swim and is drowning. She will pull you under to save herself. It's basic instinct. Pull back.
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Isn't it strange how caring for someone can make us feel bad about ourselves because we are not gracious enough?
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I don't think you have anything to feel guilty about. It sounds like you're emotionally shut down where your mom is concerned. You're body could be trying to protect you.

Maybe you had some emotional wounds when you began to care for her and now they're like scars. It's not right or wrong. It's just the way it is.
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Disconnected, or as I say it detached, is a survival skill.
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I feel disconnected to my Mom a lot of the time after only 1 year of living with her, so 6 years must be much more of a challenge, and you should not feel a bit guilty. However, I know how guilt can creep in. Be aware of the guilt but then let it go, you are there for her, she is fortunate to have you.

I am kind and sweet to Mom, but she is at a bitter part of her life and has a lot of discomfort and pain, plus many disappointments in her life. She manages to be appreciative on occasion, which I am starved for! This morning she got angry at me because I answered a question on her behalf. She found it rude; she blows up any error I make, and I am putting my life on hold taking care of her. When I feel connected to her, its easy to get my feelings hurt. So, I disconnect. The important thing is to find ways to be connected to yourself and life. Today I sat in the sun. That's a nice connection!
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zena, I feel that way most of the time about my mother. I have times when I decide I am going to try harder to be sweeter to her. I did that this morning. She reacted like she didn't like me and didn't want to be bothered with my talking. Then I realize that maybe it's not me. I'll keep realizing that until the next time I decide I am going to try harder to be sweeter to her.

If you really look, you may see that it isn't you. You have been giving her so much for the last six years, which is quite a lot of caring you have shown her. You may be suffering from compassion fatique. I know I am after being with my mother for six years.
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I am so sorry that you are feeling this way. I can totally relate to what you are going through. My mother passed away two days ago at age 96 after lingering for 9 months in a residential care facility from cancer. Before that she lived in my home for 4 years where I was her sole caregiver. Many times I felt the way you are feeling. I felt I had to disconnect to protect myself from some aspects of her personality that I had a difficult time dealing with and the feelings like her life was taking over my own. Now that she is gone I feel a tremendous void not because I miss her presence but because all those days and weeks and months of worry about her are now going to have to be replaced with something else. Please don't feel guilty about how you feel now. You have to protect yourself and your own state of mind during this difficult time. Just try to take care of yourself as best you can and know that you are doing the best you can possibly do.
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Take that disconnection as a blessing. It keeps you from being manipulated and allows you to see things for what they really are.

If she complains about it, just say "We were never close, but I'm all you have right now. Might as well make the best of it."
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