Losing Myself

by Deb
(Michigan)

My mother in law has been living with us for two years. She has some dementia and doesn't walk well. We took her out of her apartment to live here. She was an alcoholic and chain smoker. Her apartment was a dump.


She no longer drinks or smokes but is still just a filthy person. She hoards food. I find it in her drawers with spoons stuck to it. She spills coffee all over the carpet and just leaves it.

She makes messes on her toilet and floor in bathroom and leaves them. She goes to day care and complains she does nothing there. I call the staff and they tell me she refuses to go to activities. I am fed up with all of it and have slipped into a deep depression. My counselor doesn't think she should live here anymore.

I resent her terribly and I don't even like her anymore. She also has a very stinky cat with her. Her room stinks like cat poop and urine. Yuck! I just can't take anymore. My patience is gone. My marriage is suffering and I don't recognize myself anymore. I feel guilty for the feelings I have and feel like running away.

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Losing Myself
by: Chris

Deb,
I can definitely relate to your frustrations. My fiancee of five years moved his parents (both in mid 80's) into our home approximately a year ago.
There was never a discussion with me on this decision and how I felt.

His father has a severe case of dementia and his mother has Alzheimer's (which seems to be pretty stable at this point. She is mainly forgetful). Both require constant care and cannot be left alone for more than a minute.

Initially we cared for them on our own in addition to working our own full time jobs. My fiancee owns his own business and can be flexible with his time.

We quickly realized just how demanding it was going to be. His father is unable to walk for more than a few feet at a time (on a good day), is incontinent, unable to change and bathe himself. We cooked all their meals, ensured medications were in order and clothes and bedding were neat and clean. Before my fiancee started on his quest of caregiving searches, I was tasked with cleaning his father's soiled depends. My fiancee couldn't "stomach" such a tasking.

Our discussions are now focused primarily on the care and entertainment of his parents. We are lucky if we can go out for more than three hours to spend time together. When we do, the talk always steers back to his parents.

In addition, I'm noticing that my fiancee spends a great deal of his spare time surfing the internet (Craig's list and care.com) for (female) caregivers. He is never happy with their performance. Especially if the woman happens to be over the age of 50 and has less than a perfect body shape. He appears to go above and beyond for the younger caregivers and never finds fault in anything they do.

I get the sense that he is enjoying this "shopping" for the perfect caregiver online. I have lost count of how many woman have come and gone in the last year. Some of them of a very questionable nature might I add.

I too feel like I've lost myself and that I never really knew my fiancee. I can't fathom dealing with this constant parading of women in and out of our home indefinitely. This could go on for 10 plus years. I do believe my only saving grace will be to leave the situation and give myself time to exhale and learn who I am all over again.

I've considered whether I'm being selfish and abandoning my fiancee in a time of emotional need. But, I feel I have sacrificed my self-being in this process. I don't know if my venting has helped you in any way. But, this helps me as I don't have many friends and my immediate family lives several states away.

I guess losing myself is just too much of a sacrifice..especially if the person you are sacrificing for doesn't respect or appreciate you.
I wish you luck in whatever you decide is best for you. Take Care
Chris

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Save Yourself
by: Anonymous

Dear Deb,
My heart goes out to you, you really do sound as if you cannot take anymore 'rocks in your backpack'. I once heard someone say, 'if nothing changes, nothing changes'.

My hope for you is that you are guided to the steps to take to better your situation. I'm sure it will be hard to do at first.
Write back and let us know how it goes for you.
mary santa rosa ca

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