I am Losing a Sense of Who I Am

by anon
(nsw)

I care for my mum who is 88. She is mentally alert, but has no friends or family of her generation.


It is so stressful being the only source of her social interaction. I have to tell her about my phone conversations and about everything I do. I feel as though I am suffocating - sometimes I don't want to get up in the morning - I can't just do what I want - I am still a child in her eyes.

My sister only visits occasionally, and I resent her freedom. I am feeling desperate as I am in my 60's and I am afraid this may be my last decade of good health, and I am trapped here.

Am I selfish? I notice that it is so often the poorest, or loneliest person in the family who gets the role of carer. See, I am getting bitter and twisted!

Does anyone else feel like me?

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Who am I?
by: Anonymous

Thank you for all your comments.........they seem to be written by me about my emotions as a caretaker of a 94 year old parent (good health but hearing and sight problems) ...resentment, guilt,life passing by,stress....responsibilities handled alone when others should help..

Thank you for letting me know I'm not a bad daughter ...that I'm wore out and stressed dealing with a full time job, grown children,
no help with care taking from my sister, a parent who wants to be the only one in life..to meet all her needs...so much that I have stopped seeing friends and feel regrets when I go anywhere without her.

I've rewritten my comments on this page and deleted so many time...I'll just send now with a thank you!

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Misery Loves Company
by: Anonymous

Just found this entry, and I so empathize with your story and every reply here is in the same boat as us. Misery does indeed love company, in a good way, because it's so helpful to read that eventually we all go through a lot of similar things on this journey called caregiving.

My mom is 92 and she only has a few friends left at her age level. Both my brothers and their families live far away and there's only a couple of cousins that still call now and then to find out how mom is doing.

Of course, of the few friends she does have, none of them can drive anymore, and where their children are sometimes I wonder, because I'm the designated Tour Group driver. I will drive my mom to her friend's house and find something to do for a couple of hours while she visits, then pick her up when she's done.

She is getting so attached so me as her connection to the world at-large. When I do go out, usually on Sunday that has somehow been deemed my "day-off", she seems a little miffed about it.

It's so hard to shake off guilt and trust my judgement regarding maintaining a life of my own, when there is just me in the trenches. It takes a lot of strength and courage to grant myself a life and happiness beyond the caregiving role.

It's much easier in the short-run to give in to all her maternal tuggings, but in the long-run it actually destroys our relationship. She seems to live more and more in the moment, so that all the things I do for her each day are lost in what I'm not doing for her right now.

It's ironic that the hardest part of taking care of someone is learning how to keep taking care of yourself. My mom doesn't realize that in order to give to her the best I have to give, I have to give to myself first.

In her mind, she sees me as being unhappy with taking care of her and I'm desperately trying to get away from her all the time. But in actuality, I want to take care of her, but in order to do it, I have to get away from her now and then.

It's crazy and all mixed up, but I have to keep it straight in my mind all the time that what I'm doing by maintaining a life of my own, is the very thing that is enabling me to give her part of it.

So, find a way to give something to yourself that nurtures you, gives you something to look forward to, and gives you something to do, other than caring for your parent. It will do you both good, even though you alone, will be the only one who knows it. That's the hard part.

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l know how you feel
by: sally

I m 48. I am living with mum. I am all she has. She gets worried and anxious about me going out which I don't do.

My life is passing me by, feel really down and sad. Emotional mess

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Still Alert: Then Able to Get a Life
by: No More The Only One

My Mom is 91 and is alert, friendly and needs social life. But for about 2 years she was leaning entirely on me for all her support; most of it emotional.

I finally realized to let her find her own resources: I stopped being so available emotionally. I stopped being resentful and hurt.

I drove us both to exercise class and gave her a little more time to talk to the people at the senior center and other places we went. I stopped feeling guilty that I wasn't her happy puppy dog.

I was who I was and I let her know she was responsible for her own happiness as long as she was able to do that. I was and am there for her appointments and so on, but I made it clear in every way: body language, and firmness that I had a life: work and time to myself.

She was mean at first and tried to humiliate me in public. I stood my ground and my calmness. She changed. She has respect for me and found other people who liked making a fuss over her.

Try a different approach if the one you are using isn't working. Have faith and be creative and open to what you really want and deserve. Use every resource in your neighborhood.

It is amazing what you can find. Be glad your Mom is able to be alert and mentally still sound enough so you can have some of your life left.

I enjoy my mother much, much more and she respects and loves me more. This was a formerly physically abusive parent, mind you.

Best wishes. Believe.

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Take Care of Yourself too
by: Anonymous

I can relate to what you are saying. As I have been in the same position in some respects. I am in my middle 50's though and my older siblings are in their 60's. I have always been my mom's caretaker because of proximity.

Anyway, I finally started refusing to tell my Mom things about myself or where I was going. She doesn't like it and can make me feel miserable. But I have stuck with it and she is not as nearly demanding as she once was.

I have told her to get out and socialize or call people her age on the phone. That she needs to find another outlet besides me. She doesn't have very many friends either, but she doesn't try to keep the ones she has had. I decided she can either try to be a friend and make new ones or sit at home and mope.

I just can't be her only outlet. And yes I resent my siblings their freedom. Why they don't have to report into Mom every move they make is beyond me. Yet I'm expected to do this. I decided I would start patterning my life after their life when it comes to my Mom. And guess what, I am happier. She still expects more out of me, but I do feel more freedom and it is worth the snide remarks etc. from my Mom. Good luck with your mom and know that I am on your side.

It is hard to change our habits with our parent, but it has been worth it. Mind you I still struggle to get my freedom, but I feel better because I am assertive. Take care.

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I Hear you Loud and Clear
by: Sandi

I too am in your exact shoes. I am 59, retired to have some fun in life...I am married and my husband welcomed Mom...BUT...as you, my sister and brothers are occasional care givers when it doesn't screw up their plans. You are not selfish, you are human.

I totally feel the same way you do. I want to get up and do what I want to do. My Mom has a little money so I do pay someone to watch her now and then when I can't get a sibling, but it is hard.

I fought with my sister about "her" having my Mom...she gives me the "you are the one that wanted her". I am a Mom, I hope that my child never feels that way about me, but on the other hand I hope that my child does not bear this burden EVER. I love my Mom, I intend to see this through as long as I can handle her. My Mom has dementia...so I am not sure how this will end.

But I don't want to sit and hope she dies so I can have a social life. I try to live ONE DAY AT A TIME and it works for me for the most part. I remember when I was younger thinking that "when my Mom dies I don't want to be here anymore". We were so close.

Now that it has been thrust upon me, it seems different. But, I love her and I have to remember that on a daily basis, and again, take ONE DAY AT A TIME!!

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YES I DO
by: Wendy

Hi in response to your question. Yes I do.

But I don't agree that it is the weakest who seem to end in the caring role. I think it is because we are the "strongest" because we care and we can empathize.

What I have just realized today is that I have a fear of "shining", in that others may sense that fear and are able to manipulate me.

What I am doing from today onwards is to shine as a carer but I am going to show others that i have an individual light and from today this is going going to GLOW.

I am giving you permission to GLOW only you know what that is.

Love Wendy x

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