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I am a dutiful daughter.

Long-Suffering

Registered User
Jul 6, 2015
425
(Someone on another thread suggested we need our own sub-board, or a tagline for our posts, and it was very funny...I'll have a look, unless someone else beats me to it.)
It was me. The board suggestion was "I am in a dysfunctional relationship with someone with dementia". I think my tagline was "Caring for formerly abusive parents who do not deserve it".

A sense of humour is essential to avoid going nuts.

LS
 

irishmanc

Registered User
Jan 14, 2015
64
Manchester
i doubt if I am in a category all to myself here but so far I haven't come across anyone who is prepared to say it. You see I don't like let alone love my mother and can't remember a time when I did. I have spent my entire life trying to please her, trying to get her approval, hoping for encouragement or at least a loving word or gesture. She never gave any affection to her two children but demanded we kiss her goodbye and goodnight. My father despised her and if she made a friend she soon alienated them. She was never on speaking terms with the neighbours and found fault with everybody. She's the type who takes pleasure in others' misfortunes.

To be fair she took care of our physical needs well; it was our emotional needs that were ignored. We were well fed and clothed and the house was clean. She took us to the doctor when we were ill and we were given Christmas and birthday presents that were reasonably thoughtful. However, Christmas Day would turn into a war zone because she was expected to provide Christmas dinner. Pans would be slammed around in the kitchen as she demonstrated her distaste for "having to do it all". From the day we left school she ceased to buy her kids a present no matter what the occasion; we had money handed to us instead though we were, and still are expected to buy her something delightful.

So you get the picture I hope. Having grown up in a house where I never felt valued let alone loved it left me as an adult chronically depressed and often suicidal. In my 40s I was finally prescribed an antidepressant which probably saved my life. I distanced myself emotionally from mum but visited her most weeks even though I hated it. And I made sure her grandchildren (whom she does love) visited as well.

After being told a few years ago that I was the source of all the misery in her life (and not for the first time either) I decided I'd had enough. For 9 months I stayed away and I felt freer and happier than I'd ever felt. And then she needed a triple bypass and I was sucked back into the situation because my brother couldn't cope. He is older, single and has mild Autism.

Now mum is in the middle stages of AD and I have recently placed her in a CH. it was the best establishment I could find within a 15 mile radius. I would like to say AD has made my mother more mellow but this part of her personality remains intact. She still knows how to cut me to the quick with a single word.

I know she frets when I go away because she trusts me to make good decisions. She'd sooner die than admit it of course. I worry about her well being, take her things she likes to eat and magazines to read. I am a good and dutiful daughter.

I suspect there are many of us who have not had wonderful, loving, doting parents and I think I would not be alone in saying that we are sorely tested by the behaviours associated with dementia. When mum wails "why did this happen to me?" I can't help but think "karma" silently to myself. Of course I know karma has nothing to do with it. One day not long ago she actually said "perhaps if I'd been a nicer person this wouldn't have happened". It was the only time I have ever heard my mother say anything self deprecating in her entire life.

So if I don't have quite the same level of compassion and loving acceptance of my mother's mental challenges as most of the members here demonstrate, please try to understand why.

I will continue to ensure she gets the best possible care and regular visits because, and I reiterate, I am a dutiful if not loving daughter.
You've raised so many interesting issues here. I am an only child raised by a mother who was more focused on and interested in her job than in me. Oddly, since she became ill (Parkinson's and vascular dementia), she has become kinder and more loving and has even apologised for how she treated me as a child. I really value our relationship now in these final years and it has been a comfort to me in dealing with her illness. I guess people are quite complicated and it sometimes takes us a lifetime to figure each other out!
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
LS! Yes! I remember now, it was you.

Moderators! Are you out there? Make us a board for ourselves!

There's probably a way to do a signature and you could use your tagline, or something like it. One of these days when I'm procrastinating my mother's endless, wearying, soul-sucking paperwork, perhaps I'll look into it.

Come to think of it, we could have a board for soul-sucking paperwork, too. (Or is that covered under the legal/financial one?) I've not read Dante in years and years but will have to see if that is one of his levels of Hell...

Okay, back to Andrea's thread now, and apologies for the diversion.
 

Tubbsy

Registered User
Sep 5, 2010
110
Surrey
Wow, I admire you so much for being so honest. I have never had a good relationship with my mother and never liked her; she is a snob, judgemental, arrogant etc and nothing I did was ever good enough. She slagged off everyone, including her friends and always thought she was better than all of them. She had an easy life as my dad was a high earner, my brothers and I went to private schools, holidays abroad, he took her to the Savoy, bought her designer clothes, handbags etc so she never had to work. He just wanted me to be happy, she wanted me to marry a doctor or a lawyer. I married someone I loved, and still do, 26 years and 2 kids later, who works hard but we struggle..you know how it is. Anyway, I too am beng a 'dutiful' daughter feel but it's hard as I can't help but feel she never showed me 'love' and sometimes I feel like she's putting me though all this deliberately.....how ridiculous is that?
 

AndreaP

Registered User
Aug 19, 2015
75
Adelaide South Australia
Gosh there are a lot of us aren't there? Yes we do need our own sub forum I think as members who treasure their parent(s) can probably not imagine how we could feel the way we do.

As someone else pointed out all the literature refers to "your loved one". Excuse me? This really annoys the hell out of me. Do they honestly think every family is happy and functional?

I try to take the attitude that there is a soul lesson in this. My belief system is that to evolve the soul needs to suffer to learn. Therefore I should be grateful for this experience; it's made me stronger and I have overcome my desperate need for mum's approval which was no small feat. I no longer need anyone's approval but my own and that's a good place to be.

Mum's also had to learn that her behaviour has had consequences. She isn't fussed over by her family and we visit out of duty not for pleasure. I think she senses that although I doubt she understands why. She probably believes that we are the selfish, ungrateful creatures she always knew us to be.

C'est la vie.:eek:
 

patsy56

Registered User
Jan 14, 2015
839
Fife Scotland
Wow I really didn't think there were people out there like me. Disfunctional families. I think in my mothers case it went back to the war and she was evacuated away from her parents. But before that he M+D ran a hotel. Her brother was older than her and actually was in the war at the end.

My father's dad was drowned during the war and brought up in boarding schools or with a mother who was so distraught he really also had no "love".

I think they didn't know how, and now mater expects me to love her as a......dutiful daughter.

Sorry but I can go through the actions.........I left home at 19.........
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,101
Suffolk
I did actually complain at a meeting about the use of the term 'loved one'. To be fair, they stopped using it.

BTW, I admire you good ladies for the way you get on with things. I managed to cop out of caring for OH 6 hours away! However, there are times when I hated OH but....it's the disease!
 

Pear trees

Registered User
Jan 25, 2015
441
Andrea P, your last paragraph about the consequences of your mum's attitude sums up the situation for so many of us who 'care' for their mums purely out of duty.
 

looviloo

Registered User
May 3, 2015
463
Cheshire
I think most people's families have an element of disfunction, some more than other's. Andrea, you are doing wonderfully well under the circumstances and the complicated nature of your relationship with your mum. Even though I have always been close to my dad, and do what I do because I love him, there is also a large feeling of 'duty' and it's that which gets me through the hardest times... because that's when I feel the most detached and can cope better.

If it had been my mum I was looking after, then my situation would have been more like yours. And I honestly don't know if it would have been better or worse... probably neither. It would have been equally as difficult but in a different way. Everyone's situation is unique, but we can still (hopefully) help and support each other!

You ARE a very dutiful daughter and you deserve a great deal of credit for that :)
 

Angela T

Registered User
Jul 13, 2014
187
France
I agree it's not necessarily better or worse caring for an abusive parent.

Some things are harder - I feel angry that I have to step up for a mother who has caused me nothing but pain, but at the same time I have distance from her which helps me at times.

I would have found it harder to see my father, whom I loved, degenerate with Alzheimer's (he died suddenly and in "good" health 8 years ago) but we would have had a closeness which would have cushioned us through some of the bad times.

Like grief, each situation is unique, and no situation is easier - it just has to be dealt with.

But there are many, many daughters having to step up for narcissistic mothers who were not loving or supportive. I always thought, and said, that I would never be able to be there for my mother in her old age - but like Andrea and many others, I am.

When it comes to it, we have no choice!
 

Boldredrosie

Registered User
Mar 13, 2012
244
Andrea you are not alone. I care because it is the right thing to do and my mother has nobody else. But I'm not going to pretend I'm **** a hoop about it.
 

Sianey

Registered User
Mar 23, 2015
103
Yorkshire
At least we all know that we have done our best, and I think our spirit will be good in the end. I think we are the sort of people who would help a stranger in trouble well within reason and some just walk on by.

It's amazing how many people as my husband puts it have crawled under their stones.
 

patsy56

Registered User
Jan 14, 2015
839
Fife Scotland
It will be 5yrs this saturday since dad died (cancer) and I am dreading it, I am going to visit , take her to Tesco's run in car but I an dreading the "memories" bit.........I am going to take her some tablet, and new chocolate biscuits I have found.

And not sure if I read here or somewhere one of those "adult" colouring books that are all the rage and sister is getting felt pens so easier to colour.

It might give her an interest
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,176
South coast
((((hugs))))) patsy. Anniversaries are always hard. Will your mum remember?

Ive been wondering about the adult colouring books too.
 

Bullrush

Registered User
Jan 30, 2016
6
Twin!

i doubt if I am in a category all to myself here but so far I haven't come across anyone who is prepared to say it. You see I don't like let alone love my mother and can't remember a time when I did. I have spent my entire life trying to please her, trying to get her approval, hoping for encouragement or at least a loving word or gesture. She never gave any affection to her two children but demanded we kiss her goodbye and goodnight. My father despised her and if she made a friend she soon alienated them. She was never on speaking terms with the neighbours and found fault with everybody. She's the type who takes pleasure in others' misfortunes.

To be fair she took care of our physical needs well; it was our emotional needs that were ignored. We were well fed and clothed and the house was clean. She took us to the doctor when we were ill and we were given Christmas and birthday presents that were reasonably thoughtful. However, Christmas Day would turn into a war zone because she was expected to provide Christmas dinner. Pans would be slammed around in the kitchen as she demonstrated her distaste for "having to do it all". From the day we left school she ceased to buy her kids a present no matter what the occasion; we had money handed to us instead though we were, and still are expected to buy her something delightful.

So you get the picture I hope. Having grown up in a house where I never felt valued let alone loved it left me as an adult chronically depressed and often suicidal. In my 40s I was finally prescribed an antidepressant which probably saved my life. I distanced myself emotionally from mum but visited her most weeks even though I hated it. And I made sure her grandchildren (whom she does love) visited as well.

After being told a few years ago that I was the source of all the misery in her life (and not for the first time either) I decided I'd had enough. For 9 months I stayed away and I felt freer and happier than I'd ever felt. And then she needed a triple bypass and I was sucked back into the situation because my brother couldn't cope. He is older, single and has mild Autism.

Now mum is in the middle stages of AD and I have recently placed her in a CH. it was the best establishment I could find within a 15 mile radius. I would like to say AD has made my mother more mellow but this part of her personality remains intact. She still knows how to cut me to the quick with a single word.

I know she frets when I go away because she trusts me to make good decisions. She'd sooner die than admit it of course. I worry about her well being, take her things she likes to eat and magazines to read. I am a good and dutiful daughter.

I suspect there are many of us who have not had wonderful, loving, doting parents and I think I would not be alone in saying that we are sorely tested by the behaviours associated with dementia. When mum wails "why did this happen to me?" I can't help but think "karma" silently to myself. Of course I know karma has nothing to do with it. One day not long ago she actually said "perhaps if I'd been a nicer person this wouldn't have happened". It was the only time I have ever heard my mother say anything self deprecating in her entire life.

So if I don't have quite the same level of compassion and loving acceptance of my mother's mental challenges as most of the members here demonstrate, please try to understand why.

I will continue to ensure she gets the best possible care and regular visits because, and I reiterate, I am a dutiful if not loving daughter.

Gosh, this could be me almost word for word! Thank you for allowing me to breathe a huge sigh of relief. We are not alone.
 

Bullrush

Registered User
Jan 30, 2016
6
On the nail!

It was me. The board suggestion was "I am in a dysfunctional relationship with someone with dementia". I think my tagline was "Caring for formerly abusive parents who do not deserve it".

A sense of humour is essential to avoid going nuts.

LS
I like this post - so true!
 

Alwaysmethat

Registered User
Jan 30, 2016
1
Stevenage
Thank you

i doubt if I am in a category all to myself here but so far I haven't come across anyone who is prepared to say it. You see I don't like let alone love my mother and can't remember a time when I did. I have spent my entire life trying to please her, trying to get her approval, hoping for encouragement or at least a loving word or gesture. She never gave any affection to her two children but demanded we kiss her goodbye and goodnight. My father despised her and if she made a friend she soon alienated them. She was never on speaking terms with the neighbours and found fault with everybody. She's the type who takes pleasure in others' misfortunes.

To be fair she took care of our physical needs well; it was our emotional needs that were ignored. We were well fed and clothed and the house was clean. She took us to the doctor when we were ill and we were given Christmas and birthday presents that were reasonably thoughtful. However, Christmas Day would turn into a war zone because she was expected to provide Christmas dinner. Pans would be slammed around in the kitchen as she demonstrated her distaste for "having to do it all". From the day we left school she ceased to buy her kids a present no matter what the occasion; we had money handed to us instead though we were, and still are expected to buy her something delightful.

So you get the picture I hope. Having grown up in a house where I never felt valued let alone loved it left me as an adult chronically depressed and often suicidal. In my 40s I was finally prescribed an antidepressant which probably saved my life. I distanced myself emotionally from mum but visited her most weeks even though I hated it. And I made sure her grandchildren (whom she does love) visited as well.

After being told a few years ago that I was the source of all the misery in her life (and not for the first time either) I decided I'd had enough. For 9 months I stayed away and I felt freer and happier than I'd ever felt. And then she needed a triple bypass and I was sucked back into the situation because my brother couldn't cope. He is older, single and has mild Autism.

Now mum is in the middle stages of AD and I have recently placed her in a CH. it was the best establishment I could find within a 15 mile radius. I would like to say AD has made my mother more mellow but this part of her personality remains intact. She still knows how to cut me to the quick with a single word.

I know she frets when I go away because she trusts me to make good decisions. She'd sooner die than admit it of course. I worry about her well being, take her things she likes to eat and magazines to read. I am a good and dutiful daughter.

I suspect there are many of us who have not had wonderful, loving, doting parents and I think I would not be alone in saying that we are sorely tested by the behaviours associated with dementia. When mum wails "why did this happen to me?" I can't help but think "karma" silently to myself. Of course I know karma has nothing to do with it. One day not long ago she actually said "perhaps if I'd been a nicer person this wouldn't have happened". It was the only time I have ever heard my mother say anything self deprecating in her entire life.

So if I don't have quite the same level of compassion and loving acceptance of my mother's mental challenges as most of the members here demonstrate, please try to understand why.

I will continue to ensure she gets the best possible care and regular visits because, and I reiterate, I am a dutiful daughter

Hi Andrea

I don't know if you are still visiting this forum as I have only today registered & then read your heartfelt rendition of your experience.
I'm my mothers only child but my father already had 5 children by his first wife before she died. He then met, and married my mother when she was pregnant with me in the 1960's. The eldest 3 children at that time had either already married and left home or did very quickly after he brought my mother home. This left my sister, brother and then me in the house with mum & dad. Unfortunately when I was 13, my dad died suddenly then my mother threw my brother out the house for his behaviour. So, for the most part of my life (I'm now in my early 50's) it left my elder step sister who is 5 years old than me, my mother & I living in the family home. My parents doted on my sister & we're always overly supportive of anything she wanted to do and were always on hand with kind words if she was upset or something didn't go right for her. When it came to me, the opposite was & still is true. My sister has never been able to do anything wrong and I cannot do anything right. I have a lot of examples of this that I won't bore you with at the moment, but suffice to say, this complete alienation of me by especially my mother, has left deep wounds & has made me completely resent, distrust and dislike my sister. I was sexually abused on separate and non related times when I was 13 & then again when I was 15 but I didn't tell my mother about these until I was in my 40's, and her immediate remark was "nice weather we're having...". I've had a bad marriage and have tried to commit suicide on more than one occasion and continue to suffer with clinical depression. Despite this, I have supported and been there for my mother for over 30years. My sister moved away sometime ago and visits her step mother once every three months, normally to get money or something else.
Although mother had her dementia officially confirmed mid last year, in hindsight I truly believe she has had the disease for around 5yrs or so, given her behaviour in that time.
She has the memory loss and is getting progressively worse at her own personal care, including hygiene, housekeeping and nutrition. I go to see her at least once a week as she is still in the house and doesn't get out much. The thing is, she's always been a split personality type, one minute lovely, the next nasty but over the past few years, her viciousness and hurtfulness has increased dramatically, ostracising people that are only trying to help and that care for her to the extent there is now only me that genuinely cares and asks nothing in return? This venom has culminated yesterday and today with her accusing me of stealing items from her home and telling me not to call her again? I have to state I do not and would not take anything from my mothers house without her permission or request. I do not have anything to do with my step sister as, apart from the reasons I mentioned earlier, the last time I asked for her support, the only thing she could suggest was that she moved in with my mother which is something I really don't want as I believe she will use it to her own advantage & would do her utmost to completely block me out? Mother has now said she doesn't want the lovely lady from social services to visit again. She has been offered a deep clean for three rooms which she has also refused. She eats food that is completely off (when she remembers to eat at all) and has now decided the diagnosing doctor doesn't know what she's talking about...

Please can someone....anyone help with how I am meant to cope? I love her, despite her obvious and complete favouritism towards my step sister but I just don't know what to do. Please can someone help me?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,176
South coast
Hello alwaysmethat and welcome to Talking Point
She has the memory loss and is getting progressively worse at her own personal care, including hygiene, housekeeping and nutrition. I go to see her at least once a week as she is still in the house and doesn't get out much. The thing is, she's always been a split personality type, one minute lovely, the next nasty but over the past few years, her viciousness and hurtfulness has increased dramatically, ostracising people that are only trying to help and that care for her to the extent there is now only me that genuinely cares and asks nothing in return? This venom has culminated yesterday and today with her accusing me of stealing items from her home and telling me not to call her again? I have to state I do not and would not take anything from my mothers house without her permission or request. I do not have anything to do with my step sister as, apart from the reasons I mentioned earlier, the last time I asked for her support, the only thing she could suggest was that she moved in with my mother which is something I really don't want as I believe she will use it to her own advantage & would do her utmost to completely block me out? Mother has now said she doesn't want the lovely lady from social services to visit again. She has been offered a deep clean for three rooms which she has also refused. She eats food that is completely off (when she remembers to eat at all) and has now decided the diagnosing doctor doesn't know what she's talking about...
Im afraid that what you are describing is absolutely typical of mid-stage dementia. 2 years ago I could have written every word - except the bit about a sister as I only have a brother who is the apple of mums eye and has only been to visit her once in the past 2 years.........

Mum also accused me and a good friend of hers of stealing from her, said she didnt want us in her home, sent the friend a really horrible, nasty letter, refused to have anyone help her, got into arguments with the neighbours and could no longer cook, clean, go shopping, change her clothes etc etc.
It came as a shock to me as this was previously a loving, caring mum. It sounds like dementia has only made your mum worse, though. I would like to say, though, that this phase has passed. After mum went into a care home she settled and although she still has her moments, the paranoia has passed. Im not saying that she will turn into a loving mum, but the worst will go.
(((hugs))))