My Brother Doesn't Get It

by Katie J
(Clemson, SC)

I am a 52 year old married mother of 2 - ages 21 and 25. My mother will be 80 in Dec. 2011 and she has vascular dementia due to a stroke plus she has always had some kind of emotional illness since I was the age of 12-13. So, with her emotional illness and dementia combined I have my hands full.

My mom and I have never been close due to her over-reactions, paranoia, and tears. I used to so want to speak with her about the struggles of being a teenager in the 70's and she would start to cry before I could express myself or tell me she didn't want to hear it and put her fingers in her ears. I learned to seek answers elsewhere.

Yet, she taught me so many valuable things - such as true respect for others and to not judge based on religion and sex and race. She taught me the values I hold dear to this day. But she and I so struggled - she hated me to disagree with her in any way and I can still hear her words in my head today -

"One day you will have a little girl and I hope she treats you just as you treat me!" and "You are so ugly when you cry - look in this mirror- look at your face and how ugly it is!" And, she has always wondered why I don't like to cry or be around her when she is crying....

My older brother does nothing to help with caring for her because he doesn't want to see the illness mixed with the dementia. If he did see it then he would have to help and he has no desire.If I didn't have such a caring wonderful 21 year old daughter then I would be totally alone in the care of my mother. Yet my daughter wonders how I can be so nice when she is so mean to me.

My concerns are so varied and I am so new to this that I don't know what to even ask of anyone. I guess it just helps to get some of this out and to TRY and express myself. I think this is the beginning of finding out more about who I am and what I am able to do. I just hope that somewhere inside my mom she knows I only want to be her advocate and to make sure she is okay. It hurts that she has always been so matter how often I have tried to reach out and be close to her. I wish my brother understood and would accept that I could use his help. I guess I just can't count on it though, and I have to be responsible for my mom's well-being on my own.

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I Understand
by: Christine

I think I also may have your mom, right down to the fingers in the ears. My mother has always relied on her husband for everything, even now when that is not in her best interest. I don't like my mother very much (even healthy) but I respect her values and those she helped to instill in me.

Now, because of stroke damage, she is even more difficult then before, yet she is still my mother. My father has become impossible...he can't fix his wife, but his efforts harm her. I try my best, but I'm not always the good fairy god-daughter. My heart is with you.

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