My Situation Has Not Improved

Discussion in 'Caregivers' started by RunningOnEmpty, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. RunningOnEmpty

    RunningOnEmpty New Member

    I am alone in a room typing this. My situation has not improved from my last posting regarding my mother and her care. Some of you know me from my post regarding another situation in Addictions where I was contacted by an ex. (*For those of you having replied to that post, yes..I heard from her a few weeks later and put my foot down. Said there was nothing I could do, I did not get her in that situation therefore, I was not the one to bail her out. I repeated the options, once again refused and I said there is nothing else I can do until "you" choose to do it).
    Here, on this post board, in this room, writing to this board another situation still at hand is taking control of my life and I can't take it anymore.
    My depression now is at an all time high and I feel like I'm walking on thin ice, cracking beneath my feet even with the slightest breathe.
    To reinerate: I am 45 soon to be 46. Here in my mothers home leaving behind my own and my own family (as she flatly refuses them in "her" home, because it would make "my" life easier is the bottom line)to care for her. She is functional at 86, suffered a few mild strokes, no longer drives, widowed now 3 years, this year makes 4 after a lifetime with my father. I don't get along with her. Never have. She has been the one source to ruin much in my life. This is not resentment or is the truth. My happiness was not to be, non acceptable all my life and I had to fight tooth and nail to rise above that. When I did, it was still not good enough, right enough and someone, someplace, even relatives that were far removed from the family or contact, God..even strangers, faired better, did better, were nicer looking, taller, more direction, better jobs, better get the idea. Dad on the other hand, was always a smile away. Always one to ask how life was treating you, how was your day, and pat you on the back with a congratulatory comment for the slightest endeavor. For those triumps that may have failed, he was there with a comment as simple as, "Don't worry, tomorrow will bring along something else". Mom on the other hand, ignore you. Flatly ignores your pain, joy, laughter, tears, happiness.
    I have a very good relationship of 3 years. A 11 y.o. daughter that is a very good kid, making A's and B's this year...3,000 miles away. They are not allowed to come here to help mother flatly refuses on all counts and said she will throw all of us out. I am with a woman in my relationship that is a professional administrator, holds a good job, actually holds down the fort all on her own back home to include our daughter. For her to come here, she would find work in no time, the child would be 5 houses away in school, and there would be time to juggle and balance all that needs to be done. The key factor here: I would be happy. Get the picture?
    I have not been doing well since here. This will be the 4th month now. I've looked for work, but with the situation at hand, she makes life so miserable and refuses any kind of social assistance (tried and she turned them away, locked the door, called and cancelled or told them I was trying to run her life) order to compensate. She never talks to me, there is no conversation of any......of any kind. It is a pounding on the door to take her to the store, or standing by the only phone in the house to listen to my conversations with my daughter or wife. If mail comes for me, she will throw it in the room on the floor even if I am sitting here on the computer. I am living out of suitcases still, can no sleep anymore and am up all hours of the night sitting on the porch just to "breathe". She will not talk on the phone if I am here, as I've witnessed her in conversation only when she thinks I've left for awhile, walking in and hearing her say negative things about me.
    I am here all the time except leaving to look for work, working on the computer looking for work, going to the local store or such. I have no friends or contacts in this state any longer, therefore I am not socializing in any form which is so NOT like me.
    Since I've been here, I've maintained the yard, grass is green and cut again, planted flowers and pulled up the dead ones, took care of all her animals 3 cats and a small dog, to include grooming, vets, etc. I've cleaned this entire house and do so 2x a day (usually very early and very late) because I am highly allergic to the cats, I can't breathe..when the house is not clean. I've painted the inside of the garage, put out money I didn't need to spend, and such. It is not like I sit here and do nothing.
    She refuses to shower. It's been 3 weeks. She is clean, takes sponge baths....but trust me, needs a full shower. She lies to me, tells me she took one at such and such she hasn't. One time, she just sat in the bathroom and ran the shower..telling me she took one.
    My mother is very verbally and emotionally abusive. She was to my father, I lived it and witnessed it all my life. She was to me...nothing I did was right and my happiness was not worth noting in any fashion.
    Why did I come to help her? I felt obligated to her in some way. I know she is old and I respect that 100% and the emotions that come from aging and losing her husband, my father after so long. I know being alone is horrible..I've experienced myself many times and being 86, it can be detremental. Yet, the options available, she flatly refuses. She will not socialize at the Senior Center, go to church, nothing. The few people I had come over...she refused to have them back in her house....this included a priest from the catholic church, yet she talks about God all the time.....not right.
    I am trying to find night work here, easier for me all the way around until I make the deciscion to return home, but even in that....I am growing ill. My depression here is bad...heavy...very heavy as is this house and the lack of life in it. *if I do her laundry with mine at the laundry mat...she will rewash all her things. I stopped taking her for lunch on the weekends. I grew tired of hearing you make negative comments about people within hearing range...often ones of prejudice. I was not raised that way...what happened? Or she will talk to a waitress or someone she is familiar with and hug them, tell them how wonderful they look or are to her and for the rest of the day, that is all you hear. She will not so much as "pat me on the back"...
    I was very ill the other day. Stress. Attacking every part of me now. Body aches, chest pains, throbbing pains in my head, blood pressure soaring, not eating right at all...and not the healthy way I am use sleep....permanent frown lines on my brow. I laid down in this room on the bed for about an hour..mid day. She opened the door and said, "You NEED to take ME to the store now!" and I turned and said, "You are going to have to wait, I don't feel well at all and can't even see straight" She said a few cuss words and slammed the door. How old am I? 10? 12?
    Other siblings you ask? No. They cut themselves off from this family about 20 years ago. Have I tried to contact them.....yes. Do they show concern? No. Last word I got was "Good's your problem" and that was it.
    My partner is a wonderful woman. She is staying very strong at home and speaks to me nightly on line or the phone and is fully aware of the situation. She will no longer speak to my mom since she flatly refuse her and our daughter to come out. She has agreed that it would only make my life easier, happier and God forbide there be some happiness around to benefit "me". And, the little girl? My daughter will ask me online or in snail mail: " What did I do to grammy? Why is she being like this?" and I have to find answers to convince her, it is not "her" fault.
    I am tired. My soul is tired, do you understand that comment? Those of you reading this? My soul is hurting.
    I can not put her in a home, there is not money and I will not put her in a state operated facility, it is not a point to be made.
    Do I leave. Do I pack things up and tell her I need to leave. My partner tells me she is helpless being 3,000 miles away should something happent to me and I am only human, it will take it's toll and she will be damned if she looses me to something or someone that doesn't give a damn about me. She is right. This, here....this place I am in is very unhealthy in all ways. I am not like my mother. I am nothing remotely like her. I love people, love to socialize, love to smile and laugh, go happy.
    Someone recently told me my mother is bitter and as an abuser..she will not change. Being old< does not mean she has to be nice nor would that alter her outlook on life or the companionship she has not...she will push that away too and then point blame. Another told me a week ago that my life and health and my own family is important, as my mother would be only too glad to see me fall seriously ill alone out here with no one to help.
    Do you know how hard it was to hear those things though it were as if they were pulling out my own thoughts and images.
    I've offered for her to sell the house and relocate with me to an enviroment with life, senior availabilities, new environment....flatly refuses. Her last comment, of which I heard her on the phone to a nieghbor was: "I don't want to be in that house with that woman, the one he lives with. I don't like her"...that woman. That woman. That woman bent backwards for her when she was ill and has been nothing but kind, helpful and attentive. That woman..wrote letters to mom, send cards, gifts....all disappeared. She trashed them.
    Yet, for those of you that read my story about the ex in addiction? My mother will open the doors for her should she come, what is wrong with all this? A woman that destroyed our relationship, is not a drug addictive, has been with how many? But....this woman is welcome.
    Do you see what I mean? Her basis for this? The ex has a history with me, was part of this family for 12 current partner..only 3 and doesn't mean anything to her.
    That was not the case when my ex was trying to reconcile with me here before all this happened.....years ago. My mother......added to destroy that, lying to her constantly to the point niether my ex nor myself knew which was the truth anymore. Nice, uh?
    Long story, I apologize and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I am sure you can fill in the blanks had you lived in a situation similiar..I am spinning my wheels here...I would have been working again full time had I stayed home, the offers were coming in. Here, with the way I look now, it would be a miracle I even make it through an interview...worn, circles under my eyes, drained looking, lack of sleep, lack of everything happy or remotely pleasant.
    I came out to help her and instead have been thrown into a depressive nightmare. I should have just flown out for a week or two..lied about having to get back for work or something. Instead, I drove 3,000.....well, had to, there was no other car here at the house.
    I'm sitting by an open window, it's dark out at 6:38 pm. The cool air can be felt even through my sweatshirt. My head is pounding, my temples hurt to the touch, I look in the mirror across the room and I don't even recognize the reflection. My eyes have grown dark....what the hell happened to me?
    Please don't think me cruel. As I said, I respect(ed) her for being my parent....I lost that seeing and witnessing what she is capable of. Four conversation of any kind....none. Not even a good morning...she walks past me, ignores me unless she needs a ride or a phone call made or the trash taken out.
    What topped of this letter tonight...yesterday her grown cat slipled past her legs and ran out front. No big deal. He is an indoor cat, yet once in awhile just runs out, rolls around on the grass, walks under a few parked cars in their driveways and works his way back and wants in.
    She started cussing at the fact he ran out...I was watering the lawn. I put down the hose and called to him following him as I've done a thousand times before as he was working his way back in my direction flaunting his tail..purring. She comes out in her robe (which she has had on for 2 weeks now....)and yells at the top of her lungs for him to get back in the house..a few neighbors were out not paying much attention. The more she yelled, the further the cat would run and away from me. I walked up to her, took her gently by the arm (I don't hurt her) and said, "You NEED to stop yelling at him it only makes him scared and he runs. He will run in the street and get hit by a car. Leave him alone, he is right here and I will get him"
    Easy enough. To the point. Even for her. No.
    She pulls her arm away from me and says, "You SOB, get your hand off of ME you are nothing but the devil himself you worthless thing!!" and went inside.
    I stood there. The neighbors heard that. The cat was sitting at my feet purring, looking up at me. it time for me to leave?
  2. tom-r

    tom-r New Member

    This is something like my folks went through with my great aunt. Whenever they had made plans to go out of town she would throw fits and call 911 so she could go to the hospital and keep them in town, she was 88 years old.

    My folks did what you need to do and that is put your foot down and tell your mother that if she doesn't start helping you out by doing what you ask of her then you are going to leave. You came home to help her of your own free will and you can leave at anytime also.

    She is acting like a spoiled child and she gets her way by acting that way, you need to show her that she isn't in control of you and that you are there because you love her. But that doesn't mean that you have to be demoralized in the process.

    When she chalenges you on whether or not you will leave the only way that she will know that you are serious is when you grab your bags and leave. It will be hard to walk out but you have to do it or continue being treated like you are right now.

    If you do what I have shown you she will either come around to your way of thinking and you will be happy or she won't be willing to change and you will still be happy because you are out of her control. Just remember that you made an effort to help her and you said that she is of sound mind so she can deal with things until she sees the light.

    I know this sounds harsh and it might be, but nobody deserves to be treated like she is apparently treating you, it will only make you sick and run down. There should be some local help available while you aren't there to maybe check in on her from time to time.

    Well it isn't going to be easy but if you continue down this road you are going to lose your family and that should be your number one priority in your life.

    Sorry, but I hope this will start you in the right direction to recover your own life, Tom

  3. peterle

    peterle New Member

    I have read your message several times and what stood out to me , are two words : MY DAUGHTER... Your mother acts a lot like my grand mother did. WHy ? I always thought that life formed her that way.....But who knows. I had to choose between taking care of a parent or beeing there for my daughters and it was what my parents themself had taught me , helped me in the decission making.. "We take care of our young first... " 3000 miles are a good distance but, you did it allready once, you can drive these miles. I could not ,there was a big ocean between here and there. But also you have a wife and a bond you have to strenghten and just maybe..Should you and your lady decide it would be best to live a bit closer to Mama, you can live in the same town but NOT in the same house. Go home !!!! Talk things over and make a decission together, but be in your little girls life in person,a hug is so much better then a phonecall. I still am telling my kids that their young ones come first,before them or their partner or any one else,as long the kids are still in their care and they are their support and protectors, THe time comes far to soon when they go out on their own and I do not think you can ever make up for time missed.At least thats what mine tell me, their father was a truck driver and on the road 4 to 6 weeks and home 2-3 days. Pretty soon they learned to go on without him, he never was there when he was needed. I am a great grand mother now,and maybe the day when my children might have to make this same decission is not to far down the road. But my advice to you is , simply : GO HOME !
    [This Message was Edited on 01/27/2004]
  4. Rosie03

    Rosie03 New Member

    Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother......hope this isn't out of context. You can't do your mother anymore good, considering your state of mind; if your partner still loves you, go home; If I were in your shoes, I'd tell the neighbors I'd done all I could and ask them to call the authorities if they saw her wandering around. I guess there are no easy answers, but I agree with the post before mine, you should go; not because you don't love your mother, but because you can't help her; Don't punish yourself, either; your sibblings obviously aren't. You might call them after you are home and tell them it's their turn, better yet, write them a note; Good luck, best wishes.
  5. escondido123

    escondido123 New Member

    It seems to me you have 3 choices:

    1. Let your mother and siblings know you are leaving, set a date and then do it.

    2. Move your family to where you are, help your mother as much as you can and let the chips fall where they may.

    3. Keep on doing what you're doing until you get so sick and depressed you won't be able to help your mother anyway.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but you can't keep doing what you're doing and expect to get a different outcome. If you don't get help this will drag you under. You are obviously suffering from major depression so you can't even see straight, so I would suggest getting yourself to a doctor first and see how you can take care of yourself first. Depresssion can take over your life, don't let it. Take care of yourself, Pat
  6. peterle

    peterle New Member

    I keep rereading your posts and wish I could hug you and comfort you...
    I want to share with you what gives strength to go on. I had missplaced it for a while and tried to solve ,push, pull, punch and kick my situation into shape on my own. But I am NOT superwoman ...I tried to be.. for I am "Mother" that always was the one that held the family together. Now I was tired, confused, hurting and having to make decissions that I always had avoided to think about, and never letting my guard down,for showing weakness... I was loosing ME, and I was neglecting my body and soul. I was to stuborn to ask for help. Yet the day came when my guards came down and I cried for the first time since the beginning of this situation. and on that same day one of my daughters gave me a small card and what is written on it had given peace and strength before; so I know it works. It was just shut away from me until I was ready to admitt I could not single handed change things.... So here it is and maybe it will help you also : I am sure you know what to do with it :
    God grant me the SERENITY to accept things I can not change;
    COURAGE to change the things I can;
    and the WISDOM to know the difference...

    You are not alone, and may peace of mind come soon your way.
    [This Message was Edited on 01/30/2004]
  7. Strsd

    Strsd New Member

    Really no words can express the feelings I got when I read your post. You have gone way beyond what love and duty require in my opinion. Your mother sounds very manipulative and the only answer to that is to set boundaries. A very good psychologist told me that for a similar situation I was going through before my Mom was diagnosed with AD. It doesn't sound like your mother has AD but I'm sure no expert. Would it be possible to talk to her doctor and get his/her help in putting your mother in a better situation based on her level of physical and mental health. You really do need to think of yourself and your own family. Scars caused by this can and will last forever. Your young daughter needs to have good memories of you, not just ones where you are stressed to the max because there is no good answer to the problem of your mother. Seems to me that you've done the best you can and no matter how good you try to be to her, it will never be good enough. You only get one chance at life and you need to live yours. I'm working on taking my own advice and am praying for both of us.
  8. paintergal

    paintergal New Member

    Wow. Where do I begin?

    First let me say I can identify with your problem. I won't go into details, but believe me - about 90% of your story could be mine. So if you're thinking - "She doesn't know what she's talking about. She doesn't understand what I'm going through," think again. I'm not known for my warm and fuzzy posts at this site - sometimes my replies can be brutally honest. So here goes.

    It is my opinion that people don't put themselves through painful situations unless there's a payoff for them in some way. For instance, take my parents when I was young. My father was an abusive alcoholic and Mom was bipolar. Neither one of them should have gotten married, but they did anyway and had major problems all their lives. Each one needed the other and expected their needs to be met even though both refused to admit they themselves had a problem. My father needed a "Mother" to take care of him and Mom needed a provider to keep a roof over her head. Meanwhile, they had 2 kids (my brother and I) who had to live through all this crap day in and day out.

    I think you are getting a payoff for staying with your mother. It actually might be a real payoff - maybe the inheritance? Maybe you - like I did for years - keep trying to please your Mother hoping one day she will change and finally see and appreciate all the things you are doing for her. Believe me - this will never happen. Maybe your payoff is having other people think you are the "nobel child," who even after sacrificing everything that's meaningful in her life still remains at her Mother's side only to be berated and ridiculed daily. Or maybe you're trying to show up your siblings as being uncaring or cruel. I don't know what your reason is. Only you can answer that. I think, however that your sibs were smart to get away and stay away. They understand that neither they nor you or anyone else can change their Mother's ways. And they won't allow her the chance to get to them to play games like guilt trips, manipulation, etc. Plus, they know you're weak and you will do the job for them why pitch in taking care of her? Why should their lives be ruined, too?

    When my father died in 1995, Mom just assumed I would give her a call and invite her to come live with me and my husband. WRONG! I knew what she was like and I didn't want her destructive influence in my wonderful life 24/7 after escaping years ago to get away. Like you, I have overcome many difficulties in my life and have built a wonderful home with a wonderful partner. And I refused to allow her to wreck that. Why in the world are you letting your Mother do that to you? Not just to you, but to your partner and child who need you, both who appreciate you and who fill you up with positive emotions and happiness. Why are you crapping on them? Believe me, they are feeling this, too and are obviously very understanding. They don't deserve this treatment. For years, MY payoff with MY Mother WAS the actual inheritance (didn't want to piss her off too much) but mostly the need to prove I was a worthy daughter who needed approval from her Mother. I finally realized this one day and a heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I discovered that there was NO sum of money that could make me agree to something I knew could ruin a contented life I had built with my dear husband. I realized I had nothing to prove to anybody. If she (or others) did not understand my side then, so be it. I did not need their approval. After all, they weren't volunteering to take care of her, were they?

    So, I explained to my Mother that I could not invite her into my home, but I would be happy to arrange for suitable accomodations to see she was well taken care of in the event her life should take a turn for the worse. And I stood firm. After awhile, she began to learn that I could not be manipulated anymore. And she finally agreed to my terms of care for her. She gave me Power of Attorney and I did my very best to do as I said I would. She got the very best care in the end. And I came to visit her often to see how she was doing. It was a difficult time for me because she succumbed to dementia and suffered a great deal in the end. But I was there for her and the final words that passed her lips on her last day on this earth day was calling my name.

    Your Mother continues to test you and she knows she can get to you. It gives her a feeling of power when she knows her power is limited. Don't allow her to get to you. Fight it. Blow her off. Whatever you need to do. Tell her, "I love you Mom and I want only the best for you, but we must come to some type of agreement where I can continue my life as much as possible. If my family that I love cannot join me here because you won't allow it, I cannot stay. If that means leaving you to fend for yourself, then I guess that's the way it hs to be. I'm sorry." Personally, I would recommend suggesting having your Mother move to where you and YOUR family live, not uprooting them to come live close to you and your Mother. After all, she is the one who needs to be accomodated. She should be the one who should not impose upon you and your family. She should be the one to recognize this fact and agree to make life as easy as possible for you. Maybe there is a nice little apartment or board and care or assisted living facility near you that your Mom can live at. Like I did with my Mom. Check around and be creative. If there is no money left, I would seriously consider a state facility - but in the state YOU live in so you can visit her as often as you like and still be with your family. When residents are visited often by family members, I have noticed they receive better care by nursing homes. Just FYI. Even if you went to check on her every day for an hour, you would still have the rest of the day to live your own life. What are you waiting for?

    Lastly, your post is a long one. Many of us have read it. I think you should print it out and let your Mother read it. Print out all the replies to your post and let her read those, too. Let her think about how you feel if you can't find the words to tell her yourself. It doesn't do you any good to pour your heart out to us. We can't change your situation. I would let her read your thoughts to get a sense of how her actions are affecting you. Be prepared for outrage because that will be her initial reaction. She will pour on the guilt trip like you've never seen before. Don't give in to it. Be prepared to leave if the two of you cannot reach an agreement of some sort regarding her living situation. Don't bring your siblings into this, either. This is about you and her. Be strong. Get back to the ones who love and care about you. Don't wait any longer. You don't need her approval to have self respect. Get going.

  9. tom-r

    tom-r New Member

    I want to say that if you don't get a reply to your post that I appreciate the thought and time that it took for you to put it in words. If that didn't hit home then it is his choice, I agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote.

    I watched my folks have to deal with my great aunt that tried to pull the power thing on them, like fits and then call 911 whenever my folks wanted to go out of town, they finally told her to go ahead, that they were still going to go.

    They went and she did the 911 thing they didn't come back until they wanted to and she didn't do it again.

    Thanks again for the post, somebody will get help from it, Tom