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Struggling relationship with my mum

Debbie J

Registered User
Mar 23, 2020
15
0
Scotland
Hi.
My mum is caring for my dad who has dementia - she is 82 he is 86. Their relationship has pretty much ceased and mum is very resentful of my dad. I find this incredibly hard to deal with - she constantly tells him what he can / cannot do and speaks about him (in his presence) in an unkind manner. My siblings and I are aware that mum is not understanding of how this impacts on the illness itself and those around. It has become increasingly difficult for me to communicate with mum and her attitude and manner in way she has now started speaking to me are beginning to drive a wedge between us. This situation is becoming sad .
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,221
0
High Peak
Your mum is 82 herself and now she find herself caring for an 86 year old. That's probably too much for her. She's also having to come to terms with 'losing' her husband even though he is still there.

Although I do really understand your concerns, it's very easy to criticise when you are not the one living with it 24/7. She is entitled to a decent life too but I imagine she's not getting much. When did she last have a proper break/holiday? Does your father have carers or is it all down to your mum? Do they have a cleaner, etc?

I think your mum needs help. I'm not surprised she's struggling.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,837
0
Victoria, Australia
The thing is that nobody decides to be a carer. It is something that comes upon someone, sometimes gradually without you even noticing it and sometimes there is a crisis and the caring role is suddenly thrust upon you. Nobody ever asks you.

Both can be very difficult to deal with but believe me, caring can be the most exhausting, frustrating and thankless task you could ever undertake. Your mum is 82 years old and that one single thing could be making her totally exhausted. Demands upon carers can be constant and unpleasant and when you think that this has not only ruined his life but hers too, it is quite understandable that she is feeling angry and resentful and wondering whatever is she doing with her life.

If she has been caring for your father for sometime, then she might be feeling burnt out and needs a break. I think she also could do with some understanding and kindness from her family. I am sure that might help build a few bridges.

I have been a carer for over eight years for my husband. I have resented him, hated him, felt angry that my life was stolen from me and I bet that I am not on my own in having those feelings. And if anyone had ever judged me for feeling the way I did, my anger would have moved up a gear. Try seeing what your mum is really feeling and just remember that when dementia walks in the door, it is not just the patient who suffers.
 

Jan Jan

New member
Aug 23, 2021
1
0
As someone who has been forced into caring for an elderly parent with dementia, I can sympathise with your mum. I am much younger than her but I find it physically and emotionally exhausting. Unless you are the caregiver 24/7 you have no comprehension of this. Your mum needs a break. Can you look after your dad for a few weeks and let your mum have a rest away from the house? This might help, and it will help you to understand exactly what her life is like.
It will also give your mum chance to see how she gets on without your dad. She might find that she misses him, or that she enjoys the time to herself. or maybe put your dad into a care home for a few weeks to see how they both get on? One thing is clear their current situation is not doing anyone any good. and if nothing changes it is not likely to improve. I hope you find your way through this.
 

imthedaughter

Registered User
Apr 3, 2019
802
0
You've not said anything about how capable your dad still is or what his needs are (and to be fair, you may not fully know, as I'm sure your mum is doing loads which may be hard to see on the surface) but if it were my parents I would try to get dad into at the very least respite and give mum a break. That could give her space to look after herself and become less of a carer, and if dad needs full time care (you could get involved and find out from the home which takes him for respite the truth of how severe his needs are and if they can cope with them) a residential or EMI home really would be kindest to them both. I don't say you should look after him as I don't wish this caring on anyone not being paid to do it - it's exhausting.
 

Debbie J

Registered User
Mar 23, 2020
15
0
Scotland
Your mum is 82 herself and now she find herself caring for an 86 year old. That's probably too much for her. She's also having to come to terms with 'losing' her husband even though he is still there.

Although I do really understand your concerns, it's very easy to criticise when you are not the one living with it 24/7. She is entitled to a decent life too but I imagine she's not getting much. When did she last have a proper break/holiday? Does your father have carers or is it all down to your mum? Do they have a cleaner, etc?

I think your mum needs help. I'm not surprised she's struggling.
Mum is struggling and I am aware of that - my brother shared caring responsibilities over last week enabling mum to travel to her sister in law for a break. Dad is at dementia centre 2 days a week - and carer comes three afternoon per week - I do understand mum is losing her husband but our old dad still flickers when they are not together. Dad asked me after a particularly unpleasant verbal tirade from mum (which I did witness and subsequently removed him from) ‘how did it all come to this?’
Mum gets plenty of help and she has myself and sister living within 2km who help with shopping etc. The main concern is that she is resentful and very negative which makes her dealing with dad tricky and impactful not only on their situation but also on family relations .
 

Debbie J

Registered User
Mar 23, 2020
15
0
Scotland
The thing is that nobody decides to be a carer. It is something that comes upon someone, sometimes gradually without you even noticing it and sometimes there is a crisis and the caring role is suddenly thrust upon you. Nobody ever asks you.

Both can be very difficult to deal with but believe me, caring can be the most exhausting, frustrating and thankless task you could ever undertake. Your mum is 82 years old and that one single thing could be making her totally exhausted. Demands upon carers can be constant and unpleasant and when you think that this has not only ruined his life but hers too, it is quite understandable that she is feeling angry and resentful and wondering whatever is she doing with her life.

If she has been caring for your father for sometime, then she might be feeling burnt out and needs a break. I think she also could do with some understanding and kindness from her family. I am sure that might help build a few bridges.

I have been a carer for over eight years for my husband. I have resented him, hated him, felt angry that my life was stolen from me and I bet that I am not on my own in having those feelings. And if anyone had ever judged me for feeling the way I did, my anger would have moved up a gear. Try seeing what your mum is really feeling and just remember that when dementia walks in the door, it is not just the patient who suffers.
 

Debbie J

Registered User
Mar 23, 2020
15
0
Scotland
Please believe that we do support mum and I do realise dementia affects all relationships . We had to coerce mum to take respite last week - we see the impact it has on both of them. She has dad in day care twice week and carer come in 3 afternoons to enable her to meet up with her friends. The resentment and spiteful accusations being made by her though are extremely hard to take - hard to hear mum say how much she hates dad, her life and wishes he was no longer in her life - that sucks all round - to be honest if wasn’t for dad I would be reluctant to call.
 

Debbie J

Registered User
Mar 23, 2020
15
0
Scotland
You've not said anything about how capable your dad still is or what his needs are (and to be fair, you may not fully know, as I'm sure your mum is doing loads which may be hard to see on the surface) but if it were my parents I would try to get dad into at the very least respite and give mum a break. That could give her space to look after herself and become less of a carer, and if dad needs full time care (you could get involved and find out from the home which takes him for respite the truth of how severe his needs are and if they can cope with them) a residential or EMI home really would be kindest to them both. I don't say you should look after him as I don't wish this caring on anyone not being paid to do it - it's exhausting.
Dad is probably 5 years in his dementia journey - his mobility is ok and walks with stick , he maintains control of his personal care. Mum in control of cooking and dispensing medication - 5 days a week she has external cover - dad at care centre 2 full days and 3 afternoons covered by carer coming to house. Financial situation shared by sister and I and we have viewed care facilities for full time care for future - she is unwilling at this stage to proceed down this route - he is on waiting list for 2 homes. We are assisting to the best of our ability but it’s not always recognised or received well. Am struggling when I hear that we don’t live with it 24/7 but the resentment and negativity certainly do ripple out to those trying hard to be supportive.
 

thistlejak

Registered User
Jun 6, 2020
243
0
The whole situation is very sad and is obviously distressing you.

Have you considered that your mum might be depressed - understandably so to some extent as her life partner is not the man she married or expected to spend the rest of her life with - she might be struggling with anticipatory grief , what is the rest of his life and hers going to look like?
The other thing is , is it possible that she might be struggling with her cognition? MIL was absolutely vile to FIL but she did have Vascular dementia - he had Alzheimer's.
Could you get her to go and talk to her GP about the situation?

You say she is not understanding of his illness - there is a link on here somewhere called 'compassionate communication' - it is useful to explain how to minimise stress to all concerned. I am sure someone will put it on soon.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
854
0
From what you have said, I think that it's unlikely that your mother's attitude is going to change and so your options appear to be moving your father to a care home or moving him in with you or your sister. I think that you need to push ahead with one of these options now.
 

Canna

Registered User
Jan 24, 2022
24
0
@Debbie J , I really feel for you. I supported my mum (I live next door) to care for my dad when he had terminal bowel cancer. She was vile to him, and about him; she hated the dirty clothes and the dirty sheets (which I changed and I washed). She said he smelt, she wouldn't sit in the room with him, she said his mind was going (it wasn't). I was doing a lot of the caring as well as dealing with all their life admin. We frequently had the ambulance out for Dad, and on one occasion he was unconcsious on the floor in the living room, and she was trying to corner one of the paramedics in the kitchen to discuss flower arranging.

One of my most painful memories was Mum turning to me and asking 'what was I doing to make my family so miserable?' I went home and howled, because this wasn't my caring mum speaking, or the loving parents I'd always known.

At the time we were almost certain that Mum was developing dementia, and in retrospect I wish I'd known how dementia affects empathy, as I'm sure this was changing her personality. I wonder if your mother may be suffering in the same way?
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
12,847
0
Merseyside
As someone who has been forced into caring for an elderly parent with dementia, I can sympathise with your mum. I am much younger than her but I find it physically and emotionally exhausting. Unless you are the caregiver 24/7 you have no comprehension of this. Your mum needs a break. Can you look after your dad for a few weeks and let your mum have a rest away from the house? This might help, and it will help you to understand exactly what her life is like.
It will also give your mum chance to see how she gets on without your dad. She might find that she misses him, or that she enjoys the time to herself. or maybe put your dad into a care home for a few weeks to see how they both get on? One thing is clear their current situation is not doing anyone any good. and if nothing changes it is not likely to improve. I hope you find your way through this.
Welcome to TP @Jan Jan
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,528
0
South coast
heir relationship has pretty much ceased and mum is very resentful of my dad. I find this incredibly hard to deal with - she constantly tells him what he can / cannot do and speaks about him (in his presence) in an unkind manner. My siblings and I are aware that mum is not understanding of how this impacts on the illness itself and those around. It has become increasingly difficult for me to communicate with mum and her attitude and manner in way she has now started speaking to me are beginning to drive a wedge between us.
Whenever I hear stories like this a bit of me wonders whether the spouse is beginning to develop dementia too.
 

Yankeeabroad

Registered User
Oct 24, 2021
80
0
Hi @Debbie J and welcome.
I would take the suggestion that your mom might be developing dementia to heart. My mom could be horrible to my dad (with dementia) and in retrospect this was the first symptom for her. She was also very good at covering up/hostessing and blamed many of her failures on my dad. And she never wanted to leave my dad’s side despite saying horrible things to him. Fast forward and she has declined much faster than my dad and is near the final stages while he is still living at home (with a caregiver 3x week).

We were very late in getting a diagnosis for my mom (the neurologist never officially gave her one) due to a sudden family death and the pandemic which then left us in a state of crisis for 9 months or so as we tried to keep up with her rapidly deteriorating condition and ensure proper oversight for my dad.

I know it’s frustrating dealing with your mom when she’s like this (been there and experienced the outbursts myself). Does anyone in her social group experience this as well (might have to take them aside and ask confidentiality)? If this is a total personality change, do get her examined.
 

Debbie J

Registered User
Mar 23, 2020
15
0
Scotland
Your mum is 82 herself and now she find herself caring for an 86 year old. That's probably too much for her. She's also having to come to terms with 'losing' her husband even though he is still there.

Although I do really understand your concerns, it's very easy to criticise when you are not the one living with it 24/7. She is entitled to a decent life too but I imagine she's not getting much. When did she last have a proper break/holiday? Does your father have carers or is it all down to your mum? Do they have a cleaner, etc?

I think your mum needs help. I'm not surprised she's struggling.
Hi @Debbie J and welcome.
I would take the suggestion that your mom might be developing dementia to heart. My mom could be horrible to my dad (with dementia) and in retrospect this was the first symptom for her. She was also very good at covering up/hostessing and blamed many of her failures on my dad. And she never wanted to leave my dad’s side despite saying horrible things to him. Fast forward and she has declined much faster than my dad and is near the final stages while he is still living at home (with a caregiver 3x week).

We were very late in getting a diagnosis for my mom (the neurologist never officially gave her one) due to a sudden family death and the pandemic which then left us in a state of crisis for 9 months or so as we tried to keep up with her rapidly deteriorating condition and ensure proper oversight for my dad.

I know it’s frustrating dealing with your mom when she’s like this (been there and experienced the outbursts myself). Does anyone in her social group experience this as well (might have to take them aside and ask confidentiality)? If this is a total personality change, do get her examined.
 

Debbie J

Registered User
Mar 23, 2020
15
0
Scotland
Hi @Debbie J and welcome.
I would take the suggestion that your mom might be developing dementia to heart. My mom could be horrible to my dad (with dementia) and in retrospect this was the first symptom for her. She was also very good at covering up/hostessing and blamed many of her failures on my dad. And she never wanted to leave my dad’s side despite saying horrible things to him. Fast forward and she has declined much faster than my dad and is near the final stages while he is still living at home (with a caregiver 3x week).

We were very late in getting a diagnosis for my mom (the neurologist never officially gave her one) due to a sudden family death and the pandemic which then left us in a state of crisis for 9 months or so as we tried to keep up with her rapidly deteriorating condition and ensure proper oversight for my dad.

I know it’s frustrating dealing with your mom when she’s like this (been there and experienced the outbursts myself). Does anyone in her social group experience this as well (might have to take them aside and ask confidentiality)? If this is a total personality change, do get her examined.
 

Debbie J

Registered User
Mar 23, 2020
15
0
Scotland
Thanks for your feedback here - it’s a lot to think about and to be honest am unsure how on earth I would even begin to broach this with mum as she is unreceptive to almost any suggestions re - dad’s care and her well being. However one for discussion with my sister and brother 🙃
 

JD55

New member
Mar 10, 2022
5
0
I have a 91year old mother with vascular dementia and heart failure , she angers me , exasperates me , makes me sad too as she is not the mother I knew , she does nothing for herself any more , I got to the point where I suffered from severe stress and exhaustion which has got a couple of family members to go in to her occasionally to give me a break . I got carers in at teatime to ease the stress and give me a bit of time to myself but they were useless , had a nightmare with them so cancelled them altogether . I am 67 and have medical issues of my own so totally understand what an 82 year old is feeling when trying to look after her husband , family who don’t do the caring day to day don’t understand the pressure and what it takes out if you - be a bit more understanding please.
 

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