Emotional detachment


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
I remember that it was my mother who first told me that C........ and her sister had put their mother in a "place near the seaside" and only went there twice a year, this was long before there was any question of "putting" my mother anywhere, and at the time I thought (and probably said) that it was a terrible thing to do. I don't think we'd ever have done that with ours, in fact were only quarrelling about which of us she should be nearer to. I knew that the time might come that she wouldn't remember who we were, but obviously the longer you put off visiting the sooner that time does come.

C........ was very keen to advise us what to do with ours, based on her experience.

Anyway we couldn't put our mother anywhere without her consent (or the social worker's).

Lila13 said:
I know someone who says her mother is in a very nice place where they visit her twice a year, "she can't remember who we are anyway". Well, that's their relationship and what they can deal with. I don't think there are any rules.


Registered User
May 25, 2006

joanne try not to feel guilty
I watched my mum for years trying to look after my nan it broke up her marriage and nearly broke her she was the best mum to me but she made me promise that if she had suffered the same condition that I was not to give up my life looking after her (just inform social services and walk away she said!!) but it is not that easy and when unfortunately she was diagnosed five years ago I tried to do what I could for her but I am aware of my promise so I try not to feel guilty and because I love my children so much I have made them promise the same thing as I would hate them to struggle with the same guilt
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Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
hazel said its
It's self-preservation.
Yes it sure is . I have not seen my mother like that so I can't say what I would feel , even with a positive & negative relationship we had in the past , but self preservation sound right .Reminds me of the song we are a self preservation society , can’t remember the rest of the song, roll on 11 June to give you a really ((hug)) xx


Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
jenniferpa said:
If I had to classify myself as anything it would be Fraud. From the outside I appear to be a dutiful loving daughter, but that's just my role at the moment. I don't feel like that on the inside.
You are being over harsh on yourself here, I think Jennifer. I don't think you are a fraud at all. If you were a fraud, you would wash your hands of your mum's affairs, and her crises, such as they were/are would not tear you up at all. Everyone knows that when your mum went in to hospital, you did exactly the right things to try and make sure she was OK. A fraud wouldn't have bothered. A fraud would have let her mother take her chances. Doing the dutiful thing is a loving act whether you feel full of love or not, I think. In fact I think I would argue that carrying out a dutiful act when you don't feel loving is, paradoxiacally, a more loving act than one which is carried out when you do, because it is harder. (Get out of that one:) ).

I suppose if there is a way in which I can identify with what you and Joanne are saying it is around the sense of dread I sometimes have, of having to go in to see my mum. I keep a much closer eye on her now than I used to, but it isn't easy, I often have to really force myself to go and see her. I know that I can't just slip in for half an hour like my brother. I always have to stay a few hours just to make sure that when I leave, I have an image of her being comfortable. But this may be more to do with feelings of guilt about not being able to look after her 24/7. Then again it is also something to do with the fact that I don't feel the homes give the quality and consistency of care that they should do and I have to go in to see what has gone wrong today, and put it right.

Recently I have found that going to see her does, as Sylvia perceptively noted in one of her posts to me, make me feel better.
If I put on a cheery face for her, she often responds back in the same way. And she has had a habit, on recent visits of saying how dear I am to her, or calling me her Debs. This of course makes me feel happy for the moment, and then, when I go away, I feel guilty all over again for having left her in the unstimulating and unpromising surroundings of Fawlty Towers Care Home With Nursing.
Friends often remind me that if I had a family or spouse, I would not have nearly the amount of time spare to devote to my mother. I simply would not be able to give her as much energy as I do. It would be a mistake for you to say that your feelings are numb because you are a fraud, I think. I reckon it has much more to do with the fact that your loyalties are divided and also because the impact or nature of dementia is something very few of us know how to deal with emotionally. We all feel robbed, cheated and appalled.
Joanne, we all do what we feel we can cope with and if there are times when we have to back off, then so be it. Don't let it eat you up.
Love Deborah xx
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Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
Bruce said:
I really believe that until a person has been through the fire - and become more than singed - they really cannot tell others how to cope.
Perhaps unintentionally, Bruce touched on what I was thinking as I read your post - I think you are emotionally 'burned out' (temporarily?) and the scar tissue which dulls the pain is a necessary survival device.

When my Dad died (years ago) from cancer, I went through a similar period during his illness and thought "well, I am doing my grieving now, and I shall be better prepared for it when he dies." But I wasn't, it still broke my heart.

When the inevitable does happen, don't let that Guilt-monster get to you. What good would it do? There's no point in wishing to change anything in the past, life doesn't work that way; you can't go back there. You have done everything you could for your Mum while she was still your Mum, she will be unaware of any change of how you feel now.

Hang onto that black humour :cool: , it's another survival device.

Best wishes