The burden of guilt


Registered User
Feb 27, 2006
I feel as if I've been at this "guilt game" forever, and it's certainly been many years - and we're talking decades, all revolving around my mother. Yet I still feel it would be disloyal to say too much about that, so I won't. I have people to unload to, so I'm very lucky there, and I have already been able to communicate with some wonderful people through TP in private messages. But this has been one of those days when my mum has not ceased to complain at me because she's all alone. She's not alone at all, she has a lovely lady there, but the only time my mum admits she's nice is when she's trying to say "at least someone is", meaning not me. I won't go into things, but the awful fact is that in some ways it's taken AD to free me just a little, in that from the day she became a danger to herself and others and officially needed care (she's still at home, luckily - Direct Payment working again), I became suddenly psychologically more free to lead my own life. And I know there's nothing wrong with that - on the contrary. Yet there's still the guilt about it, because I can't cope with her for long any more, and if anyone had told me just five years ago that I could turn my back on my mother when she feels she needs me the most, I would not have believed them. In some ways, TP makes me feel even guiltier. I read about so many people in far, far worse situations than mine, coping so magnificently. More guilt, and I know it's such a wasteful emotion, and perhaps self-indulgent, but ah, well. I'll stop now, but I just thought I'd start a new "guilt thread" to see how others are coping with their own.


Registered User
May 24, 2006
Jeanette I bet your history and mine are probably identical as are our views on the disease and its effect on our mothers

All thats left is a kind of duty but you need to care yourself too


Registered User
May 14, 2006
Dear Jeanette,
Don't feel guilty as I'm sure you've done your best. No one else is actually in the same situation as you, so you can't compare your self with them. Your mother is ill and is probably frightened when she has strange symptoms. It is common for dementia patients to want to go "home" when they are home, or feel that they are all alone because loved ones, who may have died years ago, aren't about now. Some people can cope with looking after a relative in their own home, but you don't need to feel guilty if you can't.
If you take on too much and become ill, then your own family and work will suffer. Some one outside the family may find it easier to be a carer because they can see things from a detached point of view.
I'm an only child and have always been close to my mother. I've found the dementia very hard to deal with and even if she didn't need nursing care, I know I wouldn't be able to cope with her at home with me. At least now I can just visit her, rather than worrying about chores and jobs in the house.
Try not to take hurtful comments to heart, as it is only a way of trying to be in control again. Regain control of your own life and do something for yourself! Think positive!
Best wishes
from Kayla

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Dear, dear, overly guilty feeling Jeannette,
If you had turned your back on your mother, you would not be in contact, you would not be making all the arrangements & doing all the things you are certainly doing. You would be outta there!

Think of it as being on a plane when the oxygen masks drop. The first thing you are told is to put your oxygen mask on first and only then put it on others who require help. When you leave after a visit YOU think is shorter than it should be, you're putting your oxygen mask on.

And yes, some people on TP appear to be saints but I'm sure they would be the first to say how they get down, they get angry, lose patience, etc etc.

As for me, I have my up & down guilt days. I try hard to throttle the guilt monster but that thing is like a hydra - so many heads. Right now I'm not feeling too guilty but I also make a conscious point of not thinking about the "should haves, could have, why didn't I haves". That way lies guilt, guilt, more pointless guilt.

We just do the best we can and trudge on through. Keep your chin up.



Registered User
Feb 27, 2006
Such good, helpful sense

Dear Helena, Kayla and Joanna,

Thanks so very, very much for your kind replies, full of so much common sense and gentleness. You've already helped me feel better, and I'm going to try and make myself log in next time the "hydra" snakes round and remind myself of your wisdom.
I suppose it's been a generally crappy day all round this end, which hasn't helped. But as I've said, you have, so thank you again.

All very best to you all.