Feelings of Guilt


Registered User
Jan 10, 2008
Three weeks ago my mother's mental state deteriorated to the point where I was terrified to leave her alone (I work full time). Amongst other things, she accused me of starving her. She said she would tell "the authorities you have been abusing me". She accused me of stealing the sheets on her bed, her credit card - the list is endless. She became absolutely paranoid that the woman next door was spying/plotting against her. She upended everything in her bedroom drawers (and mine) and threw the contents into the middle of the room and then accused me of doing it and "trying to drive me mad". She started wandering around at night looking for her bedroom, touching all the doors in the house and asking me if they were the same. Most alarmingly she locked me out on two occasions and left her electric blanket on full (I think all day - certainly it was so hot when I got home that night I was only grateful it hadn't started a fire). She is 88 years old and a mere six stone but she was so aggressive towards me that I confess that I was afraid of her - me a strapping 51 year old!

I was at my wit's end and only thanks to the intervention of her doctor and the community nurse (and a lovely lady from the Alzheimer's Society) were we able to get her into a secure unit for a full assessment. She is settled now and on medication but the first week was a nightmare; she climbed up on a windowsill, threw all her clothes in the shower and claimed she'd been raped.

So, now that she is safe why do I feel such immense guilt? Logic and commonsense tells me I couldn't have done anything else because she was a danger to herself, yet still this awful feeling that I have somehow "betrayed" her persists.


Registered User
Nov 16, 2007
East Midlands
Hello Robert,

awful feeling that I have somehow "betrayed" her persists.
No..you know haven't betrayed your mum..you've done the right thing for her..you could not have carried on as you were.

Guilt is something we all suffer from here..but try not to!

Step back for a minute and think how dangerous it may have been for your mum if you hadn't sought help..

Am sure others will come along to reassure you, too..

Love gigi xx


Registered User
Apr 1, 2008
Please don't feel guilty ,you honestly have nothing to feel guilty for your Mum was a danger to herself.She may be very unsettled where she is but she was also from the sounds of it the same at home.Thankfully you got help when it was needed.

Of course you was afraid of her even though she is only 6 stone,firstly she's your mum we I think have an inbuilt fear of our Mum,also when they are being agressive and I have been on the end of aggressive men and women funnily enough it's the ones that look like they've got nothing to them and are incredibably frail that either pack the strongest punch or are seemingly stronger and it takes you by suprise.Please don't feel bad of feeling scared of her is what I am trying to say.

Please try and take peace of mind from the fact she is somewhere she can get help for the illness although at the moment it feels like the worst thing in the world.

take care xx


Registered User
Nov 7, 2004
Hi Robert

Not being an expert I cannot answer your question, but I can tell you that I felt the same way as you when my mum had to go into an EMI home because I could no longer leave her on her own as she was doing dangerous things.

I suppose it is just a normal human reaction when this happens to the one you care for.

So, if it is any help you should be pleased that you are a good person who cares what happens to mum.

You know in your heart that you have done the only right thing and that there was no other choice.

I found that, given time, the guilt and feeling of betrayal faded as even the deepest darkest parts of my mind were unable to contradict the fact that I had done the only thing for mum. There were no other viable options.

Best wishes


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Robert.

You are feeling guilty because your mother is in a place you would prefer her not to be, and you are the one who is responsible for putting her there.

But you could not have done anything else. You are unable to cure her, you are unable even to stabilize her, and you are unable to keep her safe. It is not your fault she has this dreadful condition and you took the only possible steps to help her.

Even so it is a source of great sadness to you. Sadness is OK, guilt isn`t.

I do hope now she is getting the professional help she needs, her behaviour will be stabilized.

Take care xx


Registered User
Mar 19, 2008
west sussex
Hi Robert
I too am fairly new to this site but I have found it invaluable. Similar situation although my mother has only been verbally aggressive so far. She has times when she is quite lucid, bit forgetful but relatively okay. However, I was worried sick when leaving her at night etc. She is about to go into a wonderful EMI home. Nope, she doesn't know yet and I know I am going to face an almighty battle. Guilt for sure cos I am the one responsible for putting her there BUT it IS the ONLY option. Everyone on this site will tell you not to feel guilty. You are doing it because you love her and that is what you have to hang onto...it ain't easy but you can only do the best you can so that she has the best of everything, which at the end of the day is your love.
Thinking of You


Registered User
Jan 1, 2007
Newcastle upon Tyne
Dear Robert,

Welcome - me too, been through all the guilt feelings over the past few months. If it's any consolation it really does fade with time. I used to visit my Dad in his care home and it would tear me apart because I had to leave him there and all he really wanted was to be back at home. Now he probably doesn't even remember his home and, like your Mum, needs care 24/7.

I have to admit it's worse when he is having a good day and we sit and (sort of) talk and there is a glimmer of the old him - but those days are getting fewer and fewer.

The guilt must be a natural insitinctive reaction because it comes to us all even though we know we are doing this for the best.
Best wishes.


Registered User
Mar 8, 2008
Hi Robert,

Another guilty feeling one here too! My Dad went into nursing home on Monday this week and today is the only day I have not been to see him and I feel eally bad about it! However my Sister and Brother went and they said he seemed really content.
I agree with Grannie G...it is really a kind of sadness we are feeling but it does consume you for a while.
Just remember you are not alone;)


Registered User
Jan 10, 2008
Thank you

Thank you all so much for your wonderful words of support/empathy. They have helped me tremendously.


Registered User
Jan 20, 2008
Hi Robert

You've already had some really excellent advice and replies but from one who is also going through terrible guilt feelings, I am gradually learning that as carers we can only do so much. There comes a time when we have to put our trust in the professionals who deal with this horrid disease day in, day out.

We haven't abandoned our loved ones, we've done our best but we DO need help. My mum has been in a home for nearly three months now, but she spent 10 months in an acute ward at the local mental health unit and to be honest with you, it was the most hideous time. She also made some shocking accusations about the other patients and staff which really upset us all. She did calm eventually, but the transfer from hospital to care home seems to have set her off again and my guilt trips are coming thick and fast! But, thanks to family support, the care home staff and the fab people on this site, I am learning to deal with it. And you will too.

There will be good days too Robert - good luck and keep posting - you'll be surprised how just letting it all out helps!



Registered User
Aug 21, 2007
Hi Robert

Here's another one going through the same thing, I placed Dad in a care home some weeks ago. Sadly he keeps being admitted to hospital so we have to keep going through the trauma again when he doesn't go where he think's he's going (home) and then after a few days back forgets home and settles down again.

He's back in hospital again just now so I'm looking forward to the same unrest when he's discharged.

Don't feel guilt, you're doing the best and right thing, there's only so much we can cope with as 'untrained' carers if you see what I mean.

AJay xxx


Registered User
Jan 10, 2008
Feeling low

Went to see mum last night. The previous visits have been very difficult as she didn't remember who I was or that she lived with me. Sunday was lovely; she was bright and cheerful. Last night she not only had a cold but a urine infection and I got both barrels the minute I arrived. It is "your fault I am here", "they are stealing from me right left and centre" and "I expect you would be happy if I just died".

I know it is the infection, the illness and the fact she is not feeling well talking but it still hurt and (once again) I spent the evening in tears. I've stopped ringing friends because how many times can I expect them to put up with my woes?

Sorry to rant but I just feel truly desperate about things today.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
I know it is the infection, the illness and the fact she is not feeling well talking but it still hurt and (once again) I spent the evening in tears.
Hi Robert

Please believe that it is the infection talking. My husband is the most lovely, laid-back person you could ever hope to meet. Through eight years of dementia I never had any bad behaviour or cross words from him -- until he got a UTI! He was a changed man, one I didn't recognise.

I hope they'll soon get your mum stabilised in the unit, it's so hard to cope with when you care so much.

Sorry to rant but I just feel truly desperate about things today.

You're not ranting, you're just telling us how you feel, and we all understand. We're always here, and we don't get fed up, so come back to us whenever you need support. We can't take away the problems, but we do listen.

Best wishes,


Registered User
Sep 10, 2005
Hello Robert

Sorry you're having such a rough time of it at the moment. I haven't any experience of caring for someone with challenging behaviour such as your mum's ... although I find my mum challenging at times with her attitude and general contrariness.

Keep you chin up. There's always someone here to listen. You mention not calling your friends anymore - this is when you find out who true friends are. Meantime, I think you'll find many on here.

Take care x

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