What if you don't like/love them?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by magpie, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. magpie

    magpie Registered User

    Jul 21, 2006
    This is my biggest problem. We were a large family and a close family when we were young, - perforce. But we were undisciplined, disorganised and constantly in conflict, largely due to my Mum’s chaotic parenting, which was selfish and manipulative, playing one against each other - though the dealer always won!

    We didn’t feel neglected or abused, mind, (well, kids don't because what they know is all they know), though she hit us a lot, and sometimes, amongst all the mess, we had good times, but there was a lot of violence and aggro, and as soon as we were old enough all of us moved away - far away - from the mayhem that was family and especially from the monster that was Mum. Of the four, one became an alcoholic, one broke off all contact, one travelled the world looking for another home....
    ...I stayed straight and now live a mere 80 miles away, (Ha! easy peasy!) So now dad’s gone and Mum’s in need of care, it’s down to me.

    I’ve spent all my working life caring for people and I understand that you don’t have to love personally in order to care. Needs exist; it’s more than merely duty to meet them,it is simple humanity. I’m okay with the fact that that this is something I have to plan to do, that part of my life must now be given over to it, and so I don’t feel resentful or angry. I almost expected it I think.

    But....I still just don’t like her, so it's hard. The disease - as so many of you say - doesn’t rob her of her personality - I wish it would! In fact it just seems to magnify the worst bits. I ‘m better off than those of you that mourn the wonderful person your loved one used to be - that is dreadful beyond imagining for me ( I think of my lovely partner, and it terrifies me) But Mum is - as she always was - an annoying, manipulative, nasty, bitter woman who, if she didn’t need my help, I’d walk miles over glass to avoid, but I still feel her pain.

    So what do I do? I already know, I already do. I look after her. I do my best.

    But I need people to hear this and to understand that not liking - not loving - someone is hard too.
  2. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    Flesh hearts vs Stone Hearts


    I heard you and I completely agree that not liking - not loving - someone is hard too, when it comes to caring and dementia or anything.

    Magpie, coming from one who mourns "the wonderful person"...but also being one who has a not so wonderful mum....I don't think you are better off. You will be hurting just as much as any of us, the hurts maybe different, and sometimes they might even be worse, but even when you don't love them/like them, I think when they are your parent, the hurt is just the same.

    The Problem with being the Child of a Manipulative Mum:
    Despite your mum being, well not the ideal mum, if you're like me, the little girl in you still wishes she had been the ideal mum, still wants a mum she can rely on, still wants to feel loved by her mum, still wants to swap memories of neglect and manipulation for warm hugs and unconditional love. The little girl in you will still be mourning her mum, and in fact..in ways you have always mourned not having your mum but now the reality will be hitting home that you will never have your mum, never had her. This hurts a lot...in a different way to mourning someone you loved and who loved you back...but it still hurts the same amount.

    The Problem with having a parent who has Dementia:
    I have found that in having to deal with Dad's condition, I am constantly taken back to my childhood, constantly trying to remember who he was, constantly remembering who I thought he would be now, from the perspective of the little innocent and naive girl I was then. It gets very confusing when the person is there in front of you but you only have conflicting memories of who they were to define the real person, the current person under the disease. It also gets quite painful bring up old memories of things that you pushed to the back of your mind a long time ago, to protect your sanity. The happy memories hurt but so too do the not so happy memories. So again the hurts maybe different but I think these things are just as painful either way.

    The Problem with Digging up the Past:
    I imagine that this disease in your mother will have the same effects on you, it will take you back to your childhood, it will make you question your perceptions, was the child right or is the adult right, is the child too forgiving or is the adult too harsh? If your mum is like you say a master manipulator...as is mine....you may also have the problems I have in not being sure of what reality is, is she the evil witch or are you just a confused, selfish, ungrateful child, or is reality some kind of compromise in the middle? The problem with manipulative mum's is that they steal any certainty from their children, the best way to control someone is to make them feel insecure and needy afterall. The best way to escape a manipulative mum is to choose the reality that they are the evil witch and not ever trust them again...even if that is or is not entirely true. Its the only way to protect yourself, it allows you to put up a wall.

    You however are going to have great difficulties in caring for someone and still maintaining that wall you have put up to protect yourself. You know and I know that when that wall comes down, she can hurt you again...and she will and then you will be angry at yourself for not being tough and mean enough to stop letting her hurt you and you will be angry at her for being her, but at the same time you will know that there is no choice it is not in your nature to be mean and so you are just going to have to bear the pain. The same suckful situation she always put you in.

    Why I think I can empathise:
    I think I can empathise a bit however, because even though it is my Dad who is dying, since his decline I have also had to do a certain amount of 'caring' for my mother. Giving her emotional support because often it is all "too much" for her, letting her intrude into my homelife so she can visit Dad more easily. A lot of this caring is sadly, 'fake' caring on my behalf....performed by me as I see it in the best interests for Dad that I keep his and my enemy close. Mum has POA afterall and can dictate the terms of his care, the spending of his fortune on his care or her frivolities, access to him and the funeral arrangements (i.e. she holds all the cards, whilst I am bluffing). I am constantly fighting with the little girl in me however, who believes her mum is not all that bad, who thinks I am being mean and cold and maybe a little bit evil, seeing demons where there are only shadows..the little girl who feels sorry for mum, who wants to believe that underneath it all her mum is actually not bad. The adult in me knows better however from experience...the strain of this constant inner turmoil to say the least is exhausting.

    If I am right this is what will make life caring for your mum difficult. You will have a constant battle of trying to care for her appropriately whilst one side of you remains so angry at and hurt by her that you will wish her dead and then feel very guilty about that, and the other side will never see any sense and just wants to run into her arms and believe that she really does love you afterall.

    Don't sell your hardship short...this role you are taking on will be hard, very hard and will break your heart just as badly no doubt...and think about this...perhaps breaking hearts of stone, hurts more than hearts of flesh??!

    [Apologies if I have barked completely up the wrong tree with my perspective. I tend to analyse things to death, and go a little too deep into how people think and behave at times and make the stupid assumption that how I see things is how others do too. If none of the above applies to you, feel free to disregard what I have said....but don't disregard your own pain, it is real, it is justified.]

    Best of luck,
  3. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    Magpie hello,

    For what it's worth I don't think you should care for her.

    People with AD are frequently pretty horrid to the people around them, demanding, chaotic and manipulative so if you put all that implies on top of somebody who's real character is that already you have a pretty poisonous cocktail of unacceptable behaviour.

    My son and daughter have had similar experiences to you and have to a great extent cut themselves off from their mother. My daughter, like you, does want to repair the past and build bridges so visits very occasionally and does telephone whilst my son keeps contact to a minimum and really only contacts me. I do not blame either of them and think they should get on with their lives. A different situation as they have me to pick up the immediate pieces.

    You know how bad all this is going to get, how it is going to impact on your life so I really ask myself why on earth you are doing this? Guilt? Pity? Remorse? probably does not matter what it is but I would do like my kids do - do the absolute minimum to salve your conscience or do a complete runner from the situation and let the state take care of the problem - Your mum would probably enjoy being in a home.

  4. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006

    Please do not take this the wrong way but in another post you said " if you told Monique she had AD she would curl up and die " would that not actually be in effect the kindest way to end her turmoil

    As to manipulative /demanding non loving Mothers .......thats mine
    years back if you had told her she would land up in this pitiful state or she could see herself she would have swallowed a bottle of pills ......now her disease means if you say she is ill or has a problem of any sort ......she is violently agressive /nasty and claims she is perfect and its the rest of the world thats mad

    For my sister and I if telling her meant she would curl up an die we would all be spared the inner turmoil

    Duty to a parent is pretty much all that ties us to trying to deal with things and currently putting her in a home wont solve matters because in her " lucid days "she would be screaming blue murder and somehow reek all kinds of revenge

    But the shell I built to protect me from the hurt she inflicted will only crack and soften when she dies .........i know many people who only when a parent like this dies do they actually become a whole person not always walking in the shadow of fearing what the parent would say or do to wound them next

    Thank God I have a loving relationship with my children and grandchildren which i deeply cherish

    One thing is certain no matter how horrible they may have been AD is an awful end to a life
  5. jarnee

    jarnee Registered User

    Mar 18, 2006
    #5 jarnee, Jul 23, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2006
    Quote from Magpie,

    OH YES, YES YES. !!!!!!!!!!!

    My mum was this way. She didn't have AD, but died of cancer in March. I stayed with her and sat up at night with her towards the end and I am soooooooo glad I did. At the end, she was a frightened, dying woman and it really would have taken a heart of solid granite to turn away from her, despite all of the quote above sounding like an echo of my childhood.
    Magpie, you sound like a wonderful, well balanced person. It must be dreadfully difficult for you. My mum only needed me for a short time towards the end and my dad (who has AD) was always a wonderful person & my idol, my hero !!! (I also believe its true....he is deep in the depths of AD, but his basic personality is magnified and it makes me love him more each day)

    You mus do what you feel is right for you:- care for her, a home & visit, or wash your hands....you decide !!
    it won't be an easy choice so make sure its one you can live with

    Good luck

  6. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    What if we don`t like/love them?

    Hi Magpie

    My mother was a selfish,cold, unloving mother who had time for everyone except her children. We were kept clean, fed and watered but she didn`t understand the importance of love and warmth.

    When she developed AD, I just couldn`t abandon her as that would have meant I was carrying on the cycle and I vowed the only way to mend the damage she did was to make sure that I behaved in an opposite way to everything I disliked about her way.

    On one visit, to her Care Home, she actually asked me for a hug. I was shocked. The mother who had never, ever hugged me, was asking me to hug her. I did, but there was nothing in it.

    Anyway, I did what I had to do, my conscience is clear and when she died I had no regrets. I never felt as I wished I could, but that can`t be helped.

    Hope you can find a way to cope. Grannie G
  7. linda a

    linda a Registered User

    Jun 13, 2006
    Im so sorry

    this is so hard for you i hope your able to get as much hands on help and support as you need,that way you will be able to stand back a bit, are you able to have help from members of the family they must know how things are and how they have been,if she has been like you say all these years, the one thing people say to me is you have to put your self first,and if you dont care for your self you wont be able to look after anyone least of all your mum who you have so many problems with,and boy do i know how hard it is my husband is not easy that is why i read so much on hear,but help is what you need you dont have to do this on your own and you have a life partner as well all the very best for times to come Linda
  8. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005

    I agree with what Grannie & Jarnee have said - in effect, you won't be able to create a loving relationship with your Mum (if you want to, that is) until AD has changed her character into - virtually - a different person. By then she will be pretty far gone.

    What Nat & Michael have said is harsh and unpleasant to read - & I agree with them.
    It would be completely understandable to me if you did NOT take up this burden personally, and instead focused on getting her cared for by health and social professionals. Dementia doesn't only destroy the sufferer, it also ruins careers, the health of carers, and their relationships with long-suffering spouses and children. I think everyone should consider the broader picture in a case like this.

    Best wishes
  9. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    But that's a whole different ball park. I think if I sat down and explained what having AD means - all the information I have gathered about the illness (mainly from this web site but a few books as well) and told her the prognosis she probably would.

    I have no right to condemn to death anybody who wants desperately to live. (Quite apart from the fact I do not want Monique to end her turmoil by my inflicting the wound - I love her - well the person she was and of course we have baggage - and I have to be able to live with myself. I need - for me as much as her - to do as much as I can for as long as I can - or to a point I cannot see any good reason to continue...

    If you truly believe a certain action is going to result in the death or mental destruction of someone then you really need to have a pretty good reason for going ahead with that action. That is somewhat different from deciding not to give to beggars, to charity or to give up all your free time to nurse a mental patient for whom you have no lasting emotional bond.

  10. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Magpie, I so feel for you. I posted a while back about being 'Grateful for the long goodbye' - which I knew might be difficult reading for some... but a realisation that my past relationship with my mother was so far from ideal and only now - because she is vulnerable and less manipulative (in 'my case') - am I finally 'gaining' what I craved in childhood - praise, a hug, acknowldegement .... in essence it's still all on her terms.....

    Only my childhood has long since gone - but I am here and hopefully, a pretty decent 'citizen' - in spite of her - not because of her - and still desperately loyal to her ...... as you say, 'That's all I had' - so that's all I knew - why should I have ever thought different.....???

    I read Nat's posts with awe. I know that I could not have coped with my beloved, adored, publicly celebrated 'dad' dying in this b**t**d way..... I only 'cope' - as far as I do - with mum's 'demise' because of the sense of detachment that her emotional void in terms of me as her child has created..... much as I still crave the attachment... was never there, was never thus...... sometimes, I believe it actually makes it easier......
  11. Bets

    Bets Registered User

    Aug 11, 2005
    South-East London, UK
    #11 Bets, Jul 23, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2006
    My husband and I will have been married for 43 years next month, very happily for the first thirty-five. For various reasons (dementia probably being one, although I didn't know it at the time) we drifted apart several years ago and I no longer love him. However, as Michael says, "we have history together". Just because you do not love someone it doesn't mean you don't care what happens to them. He needs me and, until and unless I absolutely cannot cope any more, I will carry on caring.

    I have found this forum very supportive, helpful and interesting since I discovered it a year ago, but one thing I find hard to swallow is the assumption some people have that we are all caring, however difficult things may be, because we love the person concerned. Love doesn't necessarily have anything to do with it.

  12. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    Bets hi,

    I think you wrote that very well.

  13. Bets

    Bets Registered User

    Aug 11, 2005
    South-East London, UK
    Thank you, Michael.

  14. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    And even if we do love them it shouldn't be assumed that we can love and care 100% 24/7/365. That seems to be the assumption made by so many of the professionals who order us around and don't listen and accuse us of neglect.


  15. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Michael and Bets
    I have been mulling this one over in my head since last night. I can accept that being 'in love' has nothing to do with it, but what word would you use to describe that thing that motivates a person to sacrifice their own life, freedom and happiness to care for someone who probably does not know them any longer, never mind appreciate them. What is the motivation? Duty, guilt, common decency,belief in promises made?
    Love Helen
  16. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    I wouldn't have spent so much time travelling backwards and forwards for someone I didn't mostly love. I might say I'll come once a month, perhaps, depending on distance.

  17. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    I think you ask too simplistic a question as things are never that black and white.

    Firstly, what was the relationship? Parent/child, child/parent, spouse?

    Then, how was that relationship in the past? Good, bad, close, distant?

    What is their condition now? early stage, mid stage, late stage?

    Does the carer live with them? Or are they in a home?

    How are they when you see them? able to walk, able to sit, able to crawl, only able to be in a bed?

    How can you communicate? speech, touch, etc

    What is their behaviour towards the carer? passive, violent, etc?

    Do they know who the carer is?



    My list - for my particular case - would be love, promises made, sadness for a lost future for someone who deserved better, and [if there is one] to kick sand in god's face to say - "you may not give a hoot about her, but I'll do everything I can to minimise the effects of the damage you have done to her"
  18. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Brucie,
    Others were avoiding using the word 'love'; you just reinforced what I thought I was trying to say, "Duty, guilt, common decency,belief in promises made", on the whole these do not suffice.
    I have never understood the word "love" - shied away from it in fact. Still don't understand it, but know that something binds me to my children, parents, husband and brother - and it is not a mushy feeling of adoration, but something I hope that will make me stand by them as long as they need me, in the same way as Bets and Michael do their partners.
    Love Helen
  19. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    And as an after thought, 'love' is just a word, and actions speak louder, so who cares what we call the thing that motivates us to be there for another human being when they need us?!
    Right, I've ended my own discussion. So will get back to stripping wallpaper!
  20. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Magpie, I've felt compelled to come back to this thread - lots of room for self-analysis :rolleyes: ....as well as trying to help....

    Certainly for me, one motivation is doing what I do for mum because I know it's what my dad ('gone' through death) would have wanted me to - or would have done himself had he still been here......

    On another note.... fascinated by Amy's 'thinking out loud' on motivation.... thought I'd share an incident which happened at work last week which seems so relevant to this thread ..... injured bird outside office... (young, fluffy, looks like it just tried its first major solo flight and wasn't quite ready) ..... office comes to standstill....social workers 'hardened' to the worst of children's suffering are teary-eyed.... RSPCA advice is sought.... a cardboard box and the fledgling is removed to the nearest clinic - where we will never know its outcome.... but that whatever, we did our best for a little life who was struggling and needed help...... no-one, but no-one, could have walked past that little traumatised being and NOT done something to help.... no love, no duty - I think just the best of human nature 'doing what we do' for those who are vulnerable and unable to help themselves......

    Now, Brucie's made me cry.. so I'm off too!!!!

    Love, Karen (TF),

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