Mom moved in with us 5 years ago. She is 91 (in 9 days). Before that I drove 45 minutes several times a day to help her with step father (invalid). She is just getting old, very easy going and very very happy in my home. I think I'm getting some burnout - depressed, isolating myself, etc. I am taking very good care of her, and I love her so much...but I have this gut wrenching feeling of guilt...even I don't know why. No one in family helps...don't even come around or send cards - haven't for years - my husband is very good about her living here and he loves her too. I just don't understand what "Guilt" means or how to deal with it. I should not feel guilt, but I do.I'm giving her so much love and care and I don't resent her?? Some people call me a Saint....but I sure don't feel like one...I feel like I'm not doing enough.
I think you need a support group, boundaries, look at the thread on this site "the power of emotional blackmail, get a therapist, look for somewhere else for your mother to live and thereby reduce the stress that is causing this ulcer.
Right now you are in a very unhealthy emotional dance with your mother. It takes two to dance. So, choose how much longer you want to dance and then take steps to proceed accordingly. If you choose to stop the dance by setting boundaries, be prepared for her not to like that, but you need to do that in order to stop the dance and protect yourself from being used further.
Good luck and let us know how things progress.
my mother is 92 and she is very negative..she lives with me And rarely thanks me for anything All she does is complain. My brother rarely takes her over night which I would love for him to do as I need a break. She is jealous of my friends and my boyfriend. She calls him names behind his back to me and it upsets me that she does this. I really like this guy and he is very kind to my mother..I feel like I am getting an ulcer because of this situation. What can I do? I would like to run away but I own the house we live in...maybe I need a support group.
Well, I am glad that you are in such a very good mood now and wish you well with your stress relieving techniques. Let us know if we can ever help you with your down days of being on guilt trips. I wish you the best!.
Sorry, but I thought you were 55 from your profile. Not that it matters, but I'm 57.
It does sounds like you are the 90% 24/7 caregiver for some very old parents. Are there any other options that you have for their care other than you doing this 24/7? That is very nice for you to do, but flying solo as a caregiver could put you in an early grave for 1/3 of caregivers die before those they are caring for.
I am also wondering on a practical level how well prepared you are at 54 for your own retirement one day?
Thank you for your reply, my mother has been this Italian gunslinger most of her life at least that is what I hear from all my brothers and sisters, I don't remember her being that way. But than again I was always a very happy go lucky living on the edge kind of girl. Nothing every got to me or bothered me, I always seamed to find the best in any situations.
Lets see what kind of help do they need from me, lets just say because I'm here I do it all. Cook, Clean, Care, Comfort, Coddle, etc. They are both 90 years old both use a walker (have wheelchairs don't use them) ? I do 90% of everything.
I sometimes think I should be on meds but that will be my last resort, a therapist would cost money and time I don't really have, this is why I deiced to look into a site like this. I see so many other people going through the same thing I am going through so I thought maybe this would be helpful on my bad days.
Thank you so much for your kind heart and loving response, more later.
By the way I am ONLY 54 years old not 55 although lately I am looking and feeling 60. LOL
Has your mother always put you on guilt trips or is this something new?
What type of help does your father and mother need from you?
At 55, you should really have a life of your own. Are you currently working?
You sound very depressed and in need of both a doctor for meds and a therapist for emotional support to overcome these guilt trips from your mother and creating some healthy boundaries for your own well being.
We are all equipped with what we need to find freedom, peace, and love within. It might take helpers: counselors, spiritually wise friends or clergy.
In the last 5 years I went from being a happy person to a depressed and angry daughter who wanted to wake up and be somewhere else. That state of mind was pathetic and toxic so I changed! One friend of mine who was used to me being submissive is outraged that I am happy! Bye bye to that one. Don't need it.
Prayers and confidence that you can find your way back to joy.
I'm glad the insight was on target, but I am not phsyic! My perception comes from both observations and experiences in my life as well as in the lives of others.
I'm glad things are going better not that you are not as emotionally enmeshed in the drama of your mother's decline which means you have a bit more of your own life with some emotional boundaries and most likely other people (particularly your husband) may well feel that you are more fully present both emotinally and intellectually when around them.
Keep working through those emotions and keep writing here as much as you want to write.
Isabel you understand as I realize you all do. I am so glad I found this forum, I had been thinking about seeking a cargivers group, but haven't seen one listed in our paper...so this is it. I think just knowing I am not alone and there are people who understand because they are living it too. Thank you all! I can't remember all the names but everyone who commented. I hope I can help out others on this board...dialoge helps.
You really need some serious "me time" either to reflect, take up a hobby, read, meet with friends, whatever. I joined a local women's group where we talk about everything BUT caregiving - it recharges me.
Guilt is useless emotion because it lacks motivation or creativity and saps your energy. I think when caregivers say they are "feeling guilty for not doing more" what we are really saying is that we love our parents so much and we know that the inevitable is just around the corner. There is nothing we can do to stop it so we go into overdrive to try and make them happy.
I was burning the candle at both ends and found that there was not much left in the middle. Take care of yourself first and everything else will fall into place. (PS: ya' got a good hub there)
A therapist would probably say your guilt has nothing to do with your mother. Take enough "me time" to do some deep, honest soul searching. I'm sure caring for your mother makes you feel good and is quite edifying, but it's not going to fill the void created by putting things on the backburner until you completely forgot about them. What was your life like before your mother became the focus or center of your existence?
I'm so glad for your continued typing and don't worry about spell check. I"ve slautered a few words and collasped some sentence construction which is very easy to do when venting.
I'd say much of what you are expressing is part of the normal transition of facing our parent's mortality which forces us to face the reality of our own plus let's us now that we are joining the ranks of the elderly as they move on.
I am proud of you for recognizing that you had distanced yourself from your husband but now are working on reconnecting. If I were you, I would work very much on reconnecting. If he is one of those very, ultra patient and rather quiet men, his heart might be crying out for this and has been for longer than maybe he can say with words. I guess I'm trying to draw a paralell between the empty nest a couple has once the children are grown and gone, plus the empty next a couple has once elderly parents die. Those are two times that a marriage can either be awesome for each has kept connected with the other or crash for the connection was lost long ago.
Your venting has uncovered two keys to your guilt which you stated. 1. Feel guilty that you can't make her younger. 2. Possibly feeling guilty about not being able to keep her alive for the rest of your life.
Sorry, my friend, but it is not a matter of if you mother dies, but when. I'm glad that you are already face something many times we are in denial of when others can see it so clearly and I bet your husband already has this psychological road map figured out in his heart if not also in his head.
Right now, you have far too much on your plate to get in order before I'd get as bold with my encouragement as Pamela, Austin,, and Secret Sister plus others have seen me do before. I'm not a therapist, but I'd seriously take this whole delima to a trained therapist before your mother dies and for sure once she dies. I think that you are already aware of how tough a road that is before you, but know that you will make it through and that you are not alone as a daughter who has been so super close with her mother that it felt extremely alone, sometimes totally abandoned and often overwhelmingly afaiid about life without mom still on earth, but others have made it through this harder journey as well.
Keep coming here and keep wriiting!
Siblings (2) passed away - the one left doesn't live around here or ever call or care. He has alineated (where is the spell check) himself from us. So it is like I'm an only child...grandkids have never came around her.
I guess I just needed to vent. I'm really lucky I still have her. I am also totally freeked out about if she ever dies. Very close.
Now she lives with me. I think I feel guilty because I can't make her younger - I guess I don't want to face reality.