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I am a dutiful daughter.

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
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.
I grew up with a similar lack of affection as an only child but my saving grace was a wonderful grandma who taught me compassion and understanding until I was packed off to boarding school at an early age.

I later discovered that my Mother had had a miserable childhood herself with various events making it difficult for her to relate emotionally. That helped me to understand and so I managed to move across the bridge and care for her for 4 years - all thanks to my Grandma who died many years ago! often there have been events in the past which make people who they are, events beyond their control - not easy to live with but perhaps a little easier for knowing it was hard for them too.
 

theunknown

Registered User
Apr 17, 2015
416
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.
Andrea, I'm responding to your original post, which appeared quite a long time ago. I want to say that you're not alone in your emotions and experiences. The fact that you're on here, and haven't cut your mum out of your life, makes you a caring/responsible daughter - in my experience it means that you've tried to create a loving relationship, but it hasn't been a two-way thing. You can love your parent, whilst not liking them. If you didn't have a great mother/daughter relationship, it's never going to change. Don't allow it to make you feel guilty about the relationship you have now.
 

Bigreader

Registered User
Jan 22, 2016
26
I can hardly believe so many TPers have the same difficult relationships with their mother and yet continue to care. Over the years that I cared for my mother I often asked myself why I did it and didn't just walk away and let the authorities deal with her. Never did I find an answer. Where does this word 'duty' stem from and why do some of us possess it and others (siblings etc) don't?
After my husband died this time last year I began to really resent caring for my mother because, apart from our difficult relationship, I felt it was interfering with my ability to grieve. In the end I had some counselling which helped me to put her in a 'box' in my mind, as a separate situation to deal with at certain times, but not 24/7. I was just getting the hang of it when she died. Of course this would not work for those who live with their parent and I have the greatest admiration for those who do.
Several of you have figured out the reasons why your mother was so difficult to live with. In my case, my mother was a Daddy's girl and went straight from that to a husband who treated her the same. She never had to bother her head about anything serious. They were practically joined at the hip so I never saw my mother on her own to develop a grown up relationship. I once asked her why I was an only child and she replied that she preferred dogs.
Yes, I have been a dutiful daughter, but I doubt if I'll ever figure out why.

BR
 

carrieboo

Registered User
Feb 1, 2016
110
herts uk
This is my first post too... comforting to realise there are quite a few of us with 'difficult' mothers. Mine was also spoilt rotten by her mum and dad. She married my dad at 21, who also treated her like a princess so she never really grew up. She suffered from her 'nerves', my nan always said she was sensitive and 'highly strung' and had a sort of breakdown when I was 12 and from then on our roles reversed, I became the parent and she the child (which suited her just fine). Unlike some of you, she was never cold or judgemental, rather suffocating and needy. She still tries to get me to tell her I love her every 5 minutes! I've always felt the absence of a 'proper' mum, one you can share your thoughts/worries with, my mum has always had a horror of 'bad' news and will start fake crying at anything she doesn't want to hear/discuss. So... she now has severe problems with short term memory, my lovely dad died in June which has made things much worse. I've tried discussing it with her but mostly she denies there's a problem, says it's just old age (she's 76) or she cries, or tells me I'm cruel. Her gp picked it up during an appointment about something else and referred her to the memory clinic but when they phoned to triage her she told them to ****** off! On the one hand she knows she can't manage because she needs me to sort out all her day to day stuff - finances, the house, shopping, medical appointments - but she refuses to get any help. It's driving me mad and really feel at the end of my tether. I phone her every day but try not to see her more than twice a week to preserve my sanity! I will do my duty but the truth is I dont much like my mother and I never have. She has always been very self obsessed, everything revolves around her. I still have 3 kids living at home, one still at school, I run a business, have 2 dogs to walk and a community role which takes up approx 1 whole day a week yet I know she thinks I should see her every day. Feel better for having typed all that!
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
Hello alwaysmethat and welcome to Talking Point


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))))
IMO the 'nasty' stage can almost be the worst, but in our case too, it did eventually pass. Personally I didn't get too much of it, but my mother would say the most awful things about my sister and daughters - I found these almost more upsetting and hurtful than anything directed at me. She was sometimes so nasty to my poor brother too - he had always been the Golden Boy (but not of the Invisible variety - he did loads for her.). On one occasion I was deeply shocked to hear my usually robust and jolly brother breaking into racking sobs over the phone, after she been vile to him.

You can tell yourself 'it's the dementia, she can't help it,' till you're blue in the face, but that doesn't stop it hurting like hell at the time.

Almost the most awful aspect was that her pre-dementia self would have been so appalled and mortified at her own behaviour.
 

lorraine381

Registered User
Jan 28, 2015
7
East sussex
Amazing!!

Funny I've just signed in and found other carers articulating how I feel. I agree it is very brave and honest of you to say exactly how you feel especially as its assumed we would gladly want to sacrifice our lives to care for parents we may feel neglected/abandoned or abused by (I know there are many more). I often feel the same but also guilty for feeling that way, wont bore you with my lifes details, but you have made me feel 'no longer alone', relief, that its ok, I'm not a monster just a dutiful daughter just like yourself, trying to do our best.

Thank you so much for being honest x
 

Cherbills

Registered User
Feb 1, 2016
6
Feeling the same

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.
My mom is in late stage dementia and My husband and I have been living with her for 2 years, giving up our own lives and not living in our own home. I also never had a close relationship with mom and have many resentments towards her. It is so difficult, and keeping her home is becoming difficult but I promissed my sister who passed 2 years ago I would take care of her. It is a difficult time for all of us and I am burnt out, and having a rough time dealing with it. Don't know what to do anymore
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
11,297
Merseyside
Funny I've just signed in and found other carers articulating how I feel. I agree it is very brave and honest of you to say exactly how you feel especially as its assumed we would gladly want to sacrifice our lives to care for parents we may feel neglected/abandoned or abused by (I know there are many more). I often feel the same but also guilty for feeling that way, wont bore you with my lifes details, but you have made me feel 'no longer alone', relief, that its ok, I'm not a monster just a dutiful daughter just like yourself, trying to do our best.

Thank you so much for being honest x
Welcome to TP :)
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
Taking care of someone doesn't have to mean that you, personally, are a 24/7 hands-on, live-in, caregiver and do all the work yourself, forever, until they die, or you die trying.

I felt that way, and bet many here have also.

I think many of us have promised to "take care of" someone or "never put [someone] in a care home" and then found ourselves in a situation where we have to make a decision that we feel, conflicts with that promise.

I think that's a really difficult place to be, and there are no easy or quick answers.

In some ways I think this would be harder if there were a warm and close relationship with the person with dementia. But in other ways, some very subtle, it's probably just as difficult to deal with this when you don't feel close to that person, yet are faced with the situation all the same.

The best comfort I've had in some of the most difficult moments is simply knowing, because of the people here on TP, that I'm not alone in this situation. Thank you all.