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Am I becoming hard-hearted, or just looking after myself?!

kingmidas1962

Registered User
Jun 10, 2012
3,535
0
South Gloucs
It's another marathon post! Sorry!

As many of you know I am weaning mum (85, carer breakdown) off me ... starting off with two days a week 'off', now working up to three and will see how I go from there.

Mum's up and down, some days good, some bad. She isn't taking up any offers of things that might help her - social activities etc, counselling and so on. I asked her if she had thought about contacting the counselling organisation her GP recommended. She said 'I've thought about it' (but done nothing). I have already tried to 'set her up' with a counsellor, and a psychologist. Mistake. She saw the counsellor once and the psychologist twice before she told them she wouldn't be continuing. I am now leaving it to her. If she doesn't, she doesn't.

I'm getting up to my 4th weekend day off in a row and although she hasn't quite twigged yet she is starting to resist it (which I expected) and start to negotiate as to why I should see her.

This Saturday we are seeing my MIL - she lives 45 miles away and is not in the best of health, herself. We used to see her and my FIL regularly until he died 3 1/2 years ago - thereafter we used to go and see her as much as we could until the problems over the last year and a half with my parents which meant we neglected her a bit, I feel.

MIL gets lonely and doesn't have the best relationship in the workd with her daughter, my SIL. I am quite concerned that my SIL is heading for carer breakdown herself, because she has a job, a husband, and my MILs care to be responsible for ... I was nearly there myself until I put the brakes on.

I don't have to justify not seeing my mum and having time to myself - or giving my time to someone else, like my family. I never did, but it's taken me a while to realise that. But the negotiating starts.

(names have been changed to protect the innocent - haha:rolleyes:)

Me:
'We're going to see Janet (MIL) this weekend mum. She's not been well at all'
Mum:
'What about Sharon (DIL)? Why can't she go?'

Me:
'We haven't seen Janet in quite a while. I think its about time we did'
Mum:
'Doesn't she have carers going in? She has someone visiting her already. Well I expect no one will be around FOR ME. I wish I had someone to visit nearby. I shall have to spend the day on my own' (sad face :()

I know she finds doing new things different, so I offered to phone a taxi (she finds it hard to make phone calls) for her to go and visit one of her other sisters but all she said was 'I'll see if I can sort something else out first' (in mum-speak that means she wont do anything)

The difference now is that it doesn't break my resolve. Sometimes I think I'm being cruel, then I get a grip on myself and remind myself how it used to be when I saw her
Every.
Single.
Day.

I actually don't think she can stop herself doing it. when she was first ill (and carer breakdown is AWFUL, don't get me wrong) I leapt to attention all the time, and was by her side constantly because she WAS very seriously mentally ill. I wish, with hindsight, that I hadn't even in the depth of her illness because it feels like I have really made a rod for my own back. Having said that I have to cut down on my visiting now, albeit gently, for the sake of my own sanity.

I just wish it wasn't so HARD! I wish she didn't try to trip me up at every hurdle.

I wish lots of things - we all do ....
 
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loveahug

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
1,071
0
Moved to Leicester
kingmidas I don't think you really need any respnses to this post do you? You know, really, that you cannot make your mother happy because for that to happen you would have to reverse what life has done to her in the past. If she could see past her own misery you can bet she would be immensely proud of her daughter. So take it as read that you did a good job, are still doing a good job, at the same time preventing another carer from breaking down (YOU). You, like so many on this site, are a shining star and I stand in awe of you all.
 

CollegeGirl

Registered User
Jan 19, 2011
9,525
0
North East England
You're not hard hearted, KingM, not in the slightest. You are protecting yourself from your own possible carer breakdown.

You are doing exactly the right thing.

If your mum had had a broken leg, and couldn't do anything for herself, you would naturally have been there for her, to help her. As she got better, the help that you offered would gradually decrease until she had fully recovered, whereupon you would both get back to your normal routines and lives.

I know that what your mum went through, she might never fully recover from as from a broken leg, but you should be able to get to a point where you are comfortable with the amount of time that you devote to her, which also allows you to live your own life.

This is a perfectly reasonable expectation. You are not, after all, proposing to abandon your mum!

Stick to your guns, we are all behind you xxx
 

kingmidas1962

Registered User
Jun 10, 2012
3,535
0
South Gloucs
Sometimes I just write posts to get them out of my overcrowded head! And sometimes I just want someone to say 'it's OK. You're doing fine'. The person who might've said that in the past would have been mum, ironically .....

I still have self doubt - that I'm being unkind ... and the devil on one shoulder pops up saying

"...she might not live much longer and you should be making the most of her"


The angel on the other side chips in, saying ...

"...you have to look after yourself!"


So, always torn - but beginning to be much more sure that I am doing the right thing.
 
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garnuft

Registered User
Sep 7, 2012
6,586
0
"...she might not live much longer and you should be making the most of her"
I have this Angel too....my Devil says 'Yes and she could live for another 10/15 years too' :eek:
My Mam is 86.

My Mam has the same script as yours, Peter is an only child and if I try to use visiting in-laws (88+90) as an excuse for Mam to go for lunch at my sister's instead of mine, she says 'Am I not invited like?'.:mad:

Err, no Mam. You have six children, she has one and needs a fuss making of her every now and then.

When sister's husbands visits his childless, widowed sister who lives next door to Mam, she says 'He never calls in to see me though!'

Err, that'll be because you never give him the lickings of a dog, hate his guts, spread awful made up stories about his dead Mother's infidelity...etc. :eek:

I always ask her how often my Dad visited her mother without Mam being there...
'Don't be daft!' she says 'Why would a man visit his mother-in-law on his own?'.

Infuriating, even with all the love in the world....bloomin' exasperating.

Much sympathy. X
 

Noorza

Registered User
Jun 8, 2012
6,542
0
King King King sighs..... The constant self questioning, I know it so well particularly when I come under attack and fail to remind myself how much is the illness, the confusion, the fear and how it is not about me.

The posters here are so brilliant and pulling you up by the bootstrings and focussing on the things you do not the days you need to be you. Listen to them they talk so much sense.

I can so relate to you, I really can.
 

kingmidas1962

Registered User
Jun 10, 2012
3,535
0
South Gloucs
I could quite happily slap myself sometimes, I really could ... but this is the place to come when I doubt, and need to know I'm doing the right thing.

I'm not being an attention seeking prima donna (well, maybe just a little :):):)) but I have no one else - literally - to tell me I'm doing the right thing.
 

Rageddy Anne

Registered User
Feb 21, 2013
5,984
0
Cotswolds
Look after yourself, you're so precious and what you can manage to offer is so valuable. Someone said to me that you have to do what you do " with a happy heart", and for that you must have a chance to recharge your batteries. Sad old ladies need you but just can't help wanting more of your time than you can manage...you're doing very well..I do so hope you can find a happy heart. Hug.
 

CeliaW

Registered User
Jan 29, 2009
5,643
0
Hampshire
I agree with other posters so I won't repeat it but just say "Be reassured you aren't being unkind"

What I did want to say was how about taking a different slant on this... you do a lot for your Mum - why not ask her to do things for you? Just a random thought but it could make her feel useful... Mum, I never get time to bake these days - do you fancy doing some for me? I used to love your treacle tart... OR . Knitting...ironing..mending things..
Just would shift the relationship a little and might help you and also help her to feel better about herself.

There is also a volunteering website that you could maybe show her -

helpfromhome.org/our-projects/help-from-seniors

Depends on your Mum and I do realise I may be way off the mark xx
 

kingmidas1962

Registered User
Jun 10, 2012
3,535
0
South Gloucs
I agree with other posters so I won't repeat it but just say "Be reassured you aren't being unkind"

What I did want to say was how about taking a different slant on this... you do a lot for your Mum - why not ask her to do things for you? Just a random thought but it could make her feel useful... Mum, I never get time to bake these days - do you fancy doing some for me? I used to love your treacle tart... OR . Knitting...ironing..mending things..
Just would shift the relationship a little and might help you and also help her to feel better about herself.

There is also a volunteering website that you could maybe show her -

helpfromhome.org/our-projects/help-from-seniors

Depends on your Mum and I do realise I may be way off the mark xx

It is the loveliest thought that I could generate her interest in something - anything. At the moment she just isn't sparked by a single thing. She has a default setting of 'can't be bothered'.

I do like the look of that website though - definitely worth a try. As much as she drives me nuts, and frustrates the hell out of me I wont give up trying and I wish she could see that. If someone was rooting that hard for me I'd want to give something back. But that's me, not her!
 

tiggs72

Registered User
Jul 15, 2013
142
0
It's self preservation! You are entitled to some life back - if u flipped this round to one of us asking you would be the first to say it's not unkind. You deserve a break and your kindness shows through your other posts and yr advice to others.

I have taken a step back from the amount of rushing around I did from dad purely because I couldn't cope and my old dad never would have wanted that.

Enjoy guilt free you time x
 

Wiltshiregirl

Registered User
May 17, 2012
4
0
My friend is quite similar: bored and lonely, sighs a lot, everything is wrong, every day is 'such a long day', she hankers for excitement, etc etc... but can't do anything herself to change things. I think this is a symptom of Alzheimer's but knowing this doesn't always help. She's really reliant on me for company and 'entertainment', and for going out and doing things, and hates any other suggestions of things she could potentially do to brighten her days, and so if I am not around, she suffers. And then she moans even more about what a long day it's been... I am around a lot but every now and then I have other things I have to do, like things with my 7 year old (plus I am a single mum, which doesn't help), or work things, and sometimes, quite frankly (like today) I just need a break and a day to myself.

But then when I don't make time for her, or I am a bit irritable (like today), I can see the effect it has on her, and it's not a good one. Plus all the time I am doing other things I am worrying or feeling guilty about her being on her own and being miserable. I love her to bits and I get how low she feels and why but I just can't always deal with it the way I should when she's all moany and self-obsessed. So then I just have to remove myself for a while because at that point I haven't got a lot to offer her. I know it's self-preservation too. I know I have to have time by myself, but I struggle with it a bit too.

welcometothefray.blogspot.co.uk
 

CeliaW

Registered User
Jan 29, 2009
5,643
0
Hampshire
Both situations have their difficulties and every person on here has a different trigger or breaking point as we all know from the many varied posts.

I hope both of you find workable solutions for what troubles and distresses you.

Take care xx
 

CeliaW

Registered User
Jan 29, 2009
5,643
0
Hampshire
Indeed .- that's why it behoves us to show compassion and understanding in each individual situation - irrespective of our own.
 

Mamsgirl

Registered User
Jun 2, 2013
635
0
Melbourne, Australia
KM I have absolutely nothing of use to say. The fact I know I'm being manipulated is a trifling thing compared with my sad, lonely little mother's demands couched in the language of pressing needs. My resolve to separate wants from needs crumbles, as that (worst adjective you can think of, and then some) angel gets all mouthy on my shoulder, and the devil on the other one mumbles something about chocolate and wine later. Actually, my angel's a bit of a bully, every time my devil tries to suggest something sensible, like best conserve energy for when Mum truly needs it, the angel sticks her fingers in her ears and loudly 'la,la,la,la,las" till the poor devil stops :) Clawing back a day here and there is all I've managed, but it's at least in the right direction....I'm buddy breathing on the responses here:D, hope you don't mind KM.


Wiltshiregirl I am struck by the goodness and the sheer humanity of people such as yourself who care for someone even though they have no moral or legal obligation to do so. Thankfully you're not alone in putting your compassion into action - a number of threads on TP are about similar relationships - because what a cold, barren world it would be without kindness for kindness sake.

Toni x