I Will Not Do This to My Kids!!!

by Linda
(New York)

I have had enough. I am the younger of two siblings. I have had the sole responsibility of dealing with the care of my parents.

I assisted my mom, then in her early 80's with the care of my dad who suffered from Alzheimer disease. After he passed in 2007, I became her caregiver.

I managed care in her home, took care of her finances, eventually cleaned out her home, sold her home, moved her into my home. She has lived with me for three years.

She has become progressively demanding, stubborn, and abusive. She has a mild case of dementia and must move about with a walker as she loses her balance.

I work full-time, have a husband and three children, 16 and twins 11 1/2. I do have help in the home during the day to assist and part-time on the weekends. She is abusive to the help and has begun to hit when she can't have her way.

There is absolutely no spontaneous activity in my life. I must plan every detail of it. There are no weekend getaways and it takes an act of congress to plan a yearly vacation.

I am so tired and have begun to resent and hate the woman she has begun. So of course, I feel guilty about that!

There are no easy answers.

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I understand
by: jb

I posted before my mother moved in with me. She now has and it's been almost a year. I wrote the following to express how I feel. Perhaps some of you can relate. I'm with my mom 24/7 with perhaps 45 min alone a week to run to Walmart because she throws a fit if someone comes to sit with her. I could do that anyway, but I'm treated so badly for days it's just easier to keep the peace. I live in so much fear that this could on for years and then I will be her and the last good years of my life will be gone. It makes me sad deep in my soul. It's a terrible existence for both people.

I've never given much thought in my life to little birds trapped in cages. I think about them at times now because that's where I live – in a cage. Little birds trapped behind their bars have an advantage over me because their wings are clipped. At first, it must be difficult and even painful at times for them to realize they can never fly again. Resignation though must set in eventually to their little brains and that is followed by acceptance that it is the way it is. The fight is over.
I'm envious of the little birds with clipped wings because mine have not been. My wings flutter uselessly while they ache to send me soaring beyond the bars of my cage. My existence is not natural and my wings know that. My fight never ends.
Who is my captor? I do not know. Fate. Destiny. God. The devil. A combination of all? Quite possibly. My captor is very cruel. It didn't hide my cage away in a dark closet where time might erode at the memories of daylight and starlight and fresh evening air, of conversations with happy people going about their lives. No, my captor likely rejoiced in putting my cage in front of a window where my eyes sadly watch as life exists beyond the bars of my cage. I am forced daily to remember my former life of freedom that has become a shadowy memory. The pain is so great at times just thinking back to when it was so simple to walk out my door into the sunshine to go where I wanted and do what I wanted that my heart actually hurts from the absence of that every day action.
I'm not alone in my cage. My captor gave me a companion and one might think that is a good thing, but once again my captor was cruel in the selection. I recognize this companion's physical form. Though weathered with age and with a body no longer performing, my companion is my mother. Of all people, this companion should bring me happiness, but physical recognition of this woman is all I experience in her presence because this person is not really my mother. I don't know who this person is that creeps around in her body.
I envy my companion's existence in "our" cage. Where the lack of spontaneity and the daily mundane rituals bring her comfort, they tear at my soul. My wings keep fighting. I envy that she is content with dinner at 5:00 PM sharp each and every day. Not 4:59 or 5:01 to add some excitement to the day, but 5:00 PM. I envy that she is content with nightgowns on by 7:00 because you never go out after dark. She's wrong if she thinks the boogy-man lurks in darkness. The boogy-man lives in our cage. I envy that she instantly forgets the nasty, mean words that come out of her mouth because they echo throughout my head forever. I envy that her own wings have accepted they no longer fly. Her soul no longer yearns with goals to accomplish, places to see, places to go, people to meet. She is content being confined by the bars of our cage. I am not.
I am a 24/7 caretaker. Every day is on the job training for a job that changes daily, yet remains constant at the same time. What may be an acceptable act or phrase one day can become a screaming fit the next. You just never know. You can never anticipate or plan. It's a job that is stealth in silencing your own voice because you learn there is price to pay for individuality or wants. When you accept this job, you foolishly don't realize it puts you in a holding pattern. You circle and circle and circle and never land. If this job had an end date in sight, tolerance might possibly be more attainable. Waiting to reclaim your own life would be a goal worth waiting for, but not knowing.....
There is great fear living in this cage. The fear is fluid, not a solid predator lurking outside the bars you can see. There is no evil doer who is going to reach inside and harm me, yet I feel the arms of the predator surrounding me more and more every hour. The predator is time. As the calendar changes from one day to the next, one week to the next, one month to the next, I realize what a dangerous predator this really is. It steals life and breath. It steals your soul. It forces you to ask the question, "How long can this go on? When will this end?" It plants the fear in you that time will continue to pass, that you will become the stranger in the cage and that is terrifying. It steals your own health, aging you faster with stress and headaches and anxiety attacks you've never experienced before. I've told my own daughter that I will never do this to her. I don't want to be this ghost of a person someday, but will I know when life begins to leave me? Will I have the mental ability to follow through on the plans I have set in place now for myself? Or will she be me someday, living with a familiar stranger she slowly begins to hate. It won't be me she hates, I know that, just as I don't hate my mother. She will hate the situation, the helplessness of it, just as I do mine.
Wishing a love one death is pure honesty, not the feelings of selfishness I suffered with prior. For a long time I struggled with the realization that I must be a horrible person when my thoughts would stray down a dark path. I felt shame when at the late hour of six in the morning and I hadn't heard the bell ring yet summoning me to bring coffee, I felt the giddiness of the possibility that perhaps "today is the day." Or the disappointment that followed realizing it wasn't.
No matter what anyone says, this is not natural and it is no life to live. I've been shamed by many for my comments and all I can say to them is "you just don't know." This is no Rockwell painting with Nana sitting on the porch sipping sweet tea as bright sunlight slowly fades into a pink and blue evening sky. Most of the people shaming me have been those who had the ability to share the days with others, those who had the ability to go back home to their lives. They helped with it, they didn't "live" it and there is such a difference. People who live this day in and day out likely understand the words I am speaking. Many people tell me, "It's your turn to take care of your parent just as they took care of you." Yes, my mom did take care of me as a natural part of life, a natural part she wanted to do. There is nothing natural about taking care of a parent, nothing natural about changing diapers and wiping butts of an adult. With a child you have the ability to reason with them or put them in time out for misbehavior and explain that their actions are not acceptable. With an Alzheimer parent there is no comprehension of what you want to explain or any retention of words you speak. A small child can't knock you over or give you a black eye. Yes, there is a difference.
And the poor, dear person who is just existing until death knocks on their door. Your heart breaks for the humiliation they now suffer, their inability to clean themselves, the profanity laced words that are hurled out of their mouths – words they would never had said before this unrelenting disease began to ravage their brain. The only saving grace is that they don't know and they will forget quickly anything done to them or said to them or the words they say themselves.
Someday... I don't know when.... the cage door will open. Hopefully my wings will flutter and carry me away back to life, to noise and silly ideas that make me laugh, to find my own individuality again if that is possible. Someday... I will fly and touch freedom again.
But the bell has rung. Today is not the day.

I walked away.
by: Anonymous

My mom is a hateful, selfish, controlling ass and i refuse to be part of her life anymore. I read all these stories of these wonderful loving children giving up their families, children, careers and homes for these nasty, horrible, selfish people.

I'm sorry but our grandparents were not like this. They were kind, sweet, appreciative and contributed to their families when when they had to rely on others. They were the crowning glory of our families. What is wrong with these parents of ours???

Will Not DoThis to My Kids Either
by: Anonymous

I am 62. Mom moved in with me & my husband 16 years ago. The first 10 years were okay. The last 5 have not been fun.

Mom was diagnosed with COPD 5 years ago. She has been hospitalized a couple times because of the COPD and a few other issues. I get that the COPD has zapped her energy, but she has become very needy, does not want or try to do much for herself.

Her mind is still pretty good for a 90 year old but she is very argument with me about things.

She resents when we go and do things without her but she is not able to go along and frankly I don't want her with as I need time away from her.

This last year has been especially challenging. My hubby recently retired and we both are beginning to feel we are being cheated out of enjoying the retirement we worked so hard for.

Not ready to put mom in a home but getting very frustrated with the whole situation. I am thinking about Lifecare for myself if I am the last one left as I don't want to do this to my children. Mom views living with us as her entitlement.

I never want to expect that of my kids.

I won't do this to my kids, either!
by: JB in Mn

I know exactly what you're talking about. I moved in to care for my mom after my step-father passed and she was left alone. I hate to say it, but I am slowly coming to hate this woman.

She has enough dementia starting that she shouldn't be living alone, but refuses to admit that she needs to move out of her house. I rage internally because what it amounts to is that she is able to maintain her independence because I have given up mine.

There is no concern that I might not be happy, no consideration about what freedoms I have given up to do this. I haven't been alone in my car to run an errand in a year. "I'll go, too" and along she comes. When I said one time I wanted to do something by myself, she tore up her grocery list and threw it in my face. One time!

I will never, never be so selfish with my daughter that I expect her to give up her life to care for me. I will not do that to her. My mom is financially secure and could go to the nicest of places, but she is rooted to this house and it's going to take me completely wiping out any conscience I have to walk away from this and say, what happens, happens.

I haven't reached that point yet, but I am close. I'm sure people think I'm terrible, that it's a child's duty to repay the years they gave you, but oh my gosh, it's hard.

I understand!
by: Anonymous

I so understand your feelings of anger and hopelessness! I don't know how you manage a job, a family, and a parent in need of care!

I am in a similar situation, but I am a widowed 62 year old with no kids at home. I am taking care of my mother, too. I, too, will NOT do this to my kids!
Best wishes!!

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