Falling short and Feeling like a Failure

by Cynthia
(NC)

Before my dad passed away 15 years ago, I told him that my only sibling and I would take care of our mom. She was 77 at the time. The truth is that I am the only one who has taken care of our mom. In the beginning, things consisted of caring for her for 6 weeks after an automobile accident put her in the hospital. Also, going to her doctor visits with her.


The next step was taking her everywhere she needed to go because one wreck too many demanded that she stop driving. As her eyesight diminished, I began to pay her bills for her. Six years ago my husband left me and the divorce process was one more thing to deal with. (Six years later I'm still going through it, but that's another story.)

My mom had several eye surgeries and other minor surgeries and I was right there for her. I would try to limit my work hours so I could spend time with her.

The time that I spent driving back forth to her house while trying to work and do life became very time consuming and difficult because didn't want me to drop in and make sure she was okay, she wanted me to sit there with her for hours.

Then she had a back surgery 18 months ago that made living alone impossible, so into my house she came. I gave her my master bedroom and bathroom so she wouldn't have to walk down the hallway.

I moved into another bedroom and continued to give her the care she deserved until she recovered. As time has gone by, I have needed to work as much as possible which she does not like.

I have held off on working full time even though I need to financially. I get up every day at 4:30 so I can get myself ready for work and make her a full breakfast which she expects.

I do everything for her while still
taking care of my house inside and out. I studied and became a certified personal trainer and the entire 6 months that I studied for the exam, she would make negative comments .

She adamantly refuses outside help. She wants me to report when I am coming and going which I resent. She will not eat lunch until I return home around 2 pm and make it for her, and will complain that she is hungry.

Even if I make lunch and leave it for her she will say she did not see it. On my one day to sleep later - and by that I mean 7:00 - 7:30 am - she will come into the bedroom and tell me that she has been waiting for me for 2 hours to get up.

And did I mention my sibling? Yes, he lives 1.5 miles away at most. He does not work. He is an alcoholic. She is his enabler. He does absolutely nothing to help. Nothing. And he gets a pass from her.

Yet he gets is critical of me when he talks to her. He usually makes a negative comment about something or other and she likes to complain to him when I get exasperated with her.

Today it was "well, it's not as bad as it could be". Wow. I have stood by her side through thick and thin for 15 years and that's what I get. Their unhealthy relationship has been brought into my home. My home is no longer my refuge.

My work is my refuge. My feelings are strong and I could get lost in my anger and resentment. And that makes me feel like a horrible person and a complete and utter failure.

I should be patient and loving it takes everything in me to just hold my tongue, at which I also fail miserably at times. I tell myself this is a season and I don't want any regrets. I pray constantly about my attitude but still fail.

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Light at the End of the Tunnel
by: Sadie

Dear Cynthia, my heart goes out to you it really does. But you are so very hard on yourself, why is that?

Just reading your post back for a minute: 'I am the only one who has taken care of our mum, taking her everywhere she needed to go, I was right there for her, I get up at 4:30 every day to get myself ready for work and cook her breakfast which she expects, I gave up my master bedroom and bathroom for her", I could go on (and on) but still you feel you are a failure and falling short.

Who in your life taught you that whatever you do is not good enough because someone has. All this taking and taking and demanding and expecting and who is taking care of YOU and thinking how you are feeling. Anyone?

Up at 4:30 every morning, seriously this would cause me huge exhaustion even without having such a difficult person to care for.

A lot of this behaviour from your mother sounds like coercive control and I wonder if she might be a narcissist. I think the first two lines of your post are clues to what is driving you to endure this appalling treatment and if you can get some help in addressing this and being honest with yourself about where all these punishing shoulds oughts and musts are coming from you will find your way through to addressing this situation in a way that works for you.

If others do not like that then they must learn to live with it. I wish you the very best Cynthia and I hope you can see that there is plenty of falling short and failing here and it is most definitely, absolutely, unequivocally not coming from you!!!! If I could swap places with you for a month I would, she would be begging to have you back! Take Care

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To Anonymous
by: Cynthia

To Anonymous angel who posted such a kind response to my post....Thank You from the bottom of my heart. You have lifted my spirits.

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Thankless Job
by: Anonymous

You have done so much above and beyond, I’m surprised you sound coherent enough to even write this. Your brother is worthless. Many of us have worthless siblings. Even the ones who say they care, do nothing tangible to help.

Words mean nothing if they are not backed by truly supportive actions. I just want you to know that I read your entry today, you are heard, you have my sympathy and I feel your pain.

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