She's Sailing.... I'm Failing....

How I wish I had taken the time to study the situation and done things differently.

I would not have moved in, I would have moved nearby. I would not be locked in her life 24/7, I would've come over on an as-needed basis. I would have scheduled a week out of the month to stay here and get all her doctors appointments and shopping needs done. I would have a life of my own.

It's too late now to move back out. I've been here one year and it's one year too much. I have an underlying stress and anxiety that never leaves me no matter what I do. I wake up with it, I go to bed with it. It's from watching my life slip away in the years to come. I feel myself sinking into a chronic depression.

Everyone has an opinion on what I'm doing. My mother's friends think I'm fulfilling my duty and they give me that thoughtful nod when they see us together, as if everything is how it should be. This sets right in their world.

My friend's tell me, put her in assisted living, get someone else to come in, move out. My mother doesn't want to leave her home, she doesn't want strangers in the house and she would feel abandoned and lost and hurt if I moved out.

I tell myself I have to find a better way, I have to find something that works for both of us, I have to do something, anything, now, because I'm desperate as the time goes by. It's not so much that I've been here a year already, it's that I see things only getting worse.

I see me tied down here even more as time goes on. I see the last best years of my life spent being angry and resentful. I see what was once a good relationship with my mom when we had distance, disintegrating with the closeness.

Sigh....another day in front of this screen, typing out my feelings, looking for answers. Another day of mundane errands, and calling on services, and what's for dinner. Another day where the hours go by and the time on my own life matches the ticking of the clock.

Usually, I write in with encouragement and hope for all of us, but today I feel defeated and without direction.
Tomorrow will be a new day, but today is today, and unfortunately it has only just begun.

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burnt to ashes
by: helena

I cried when I read your story some parts are identical to mine.A mother living in her own place refusing to give any consideration or flexibility to my life that she is stolen.

I too lay awake crying, stand outside tempered,sometimes wonder how to get through the next few hours. It truly is the worst situation of my life. My mother and I never had a good relationship but I though we could find some closure to our differences and have a closeness.

How wrong was I.

Instead the past two years of slavery has made me realize the cold hard woman for who she really is,self centered and manipulative,It has really stirred up too many emotions inside me.So finally I have told her what a horrible selfish person she really is and also told her what ever respect that I had for her has now been destroyed.

Do you think that made any difference NO Her response was "I'm sorry you have such a low opinion of me"And now I'm dealt even more silent treatment.We are barely speaking. Honestly!

If my daughters said this to me I would be devastated and try to correct there thoughts. But not her, She is definitely a narcissist. Hang in there and know your not alone.look on the internet on youtube for a method of therapy called "tapping"it seems to be making me feel emotionally stronger.

Best wishes and know your not alone and that are a beautiful person.

I feel your pain
by: Anonymous

I totally understand where you are coming from.

I made a total of 4 trips back to Kansas from Washington to check on my ailing mother.

Unfortunately the last trip had me displacing my life... moving truck, storage units, car rentals, extended airport parking, car transporting and extended stay hotels. I took a one way ticket on Xmas day back to Kansas. My mother was in CICU and it didn't look good.

Fast forward, I've been looking after her while unemployed 9 months now. Finding a quality job in my field is more favorable in Washington than Kansas. This long lapse in work doesn't look good on my resume and good jobs are hard to come by these days.

So yes, I too feel resentment towards my mother for screwing my life up and yet I feel awful for feeling this way. There's a little part of me that thinks she manipulated a way to bring me back to this god forsaken place I came from.

A lot of us want to escape our pasts and move forward. I feels like a prison here. There is no prosperity here for me. My friends are all up in Washington and I have nothing in common with my siblings family.

My mother would never put herself out the way I have for her. As much as I want to be there for her I know that if I don't make a drastic change soon this will become the new normal. I'm crowding 50.

I'm not ready to give up on my pursuit of happiness. I don't think I'm a selfish daughter. I've bent over backwards trying to help my mother for as long as I can remember.

I was always the "errand girl". In grade school she would send me once a week to the grocery store with a list that included a carton of cigarettes and check. (You couldn't do that today!)

I've made the decision that I have to repair my career and get back to work first. This will probably mean moving out of Kansas.

Next, once employed I will make sure there is an extra bedroom and bathroom set up for mom. If she doesn't want to move out of state then she has made her decision. Maybe then she will think about assisted living or some other assistance.

I can no longer put my life on hold. Time waits for no one.

You deserve a chance at happiness! Make it happen because no one else will! Good luck!

To: Changes are in Order
by: The only child

I continue to read and get this advice. It only adds to my turmoil and resentment. My mother is financially able to pay for a part-time caregiver but refuses to do so. She has fired more caregivers than I can remember.

I have found out the hard way that you cannot force a caregiver on a parent that does not want one. My father is in a nursing home because my mom will not allow strangers in her house.

Maybe that just says a lot about my parents relationship. I feel and cry for (she's sailing, I'm failing). The answer is not as simple as calling a caregiver. I owe a large bill now for a caregiver that my mom refuses to pay for .

Thank You So Much For Your Support
by: Anonymous

I am the writer of "She's Sailing...I'm Failing".

I just want to thank all of you who responded to this post. It almost makes me want to cry because the heartfelt caring that I feel from you is like putting my head on your shoulder and hearing you say, it's ok, we understand what you're going through.

I didn't realize my sadness behind the anger until I read your responses and the tears come from the exhaustion of making this situation work, and making this situation work, and making this situation work every single day.

My brother lives a couple of states away but today he is driving in to be with us for a few days and he's going to try to talk mom into going to stay with him for the month of August. It will be interesting to watch this dynamic and see how it turns out.

I know it's only a band-aid but maybe the time will give me some new insight and rejuvenation. I haven't been alone with myself for almost a year now and there is never any time to absorb and think.

So thanks for being there. I know, that you know, exactly how I feel and no one here on this forum judges us or looks askance at what we say. This is the only place I feel safe to truly express my feelings.

Today you've given me what I need. Thanks.

Feeling Unhappy about the Prospects.
by: Renata

At times I felt that I would die before my parents whom I was caring for.

But my dad died, and I miss him. While he was alive and lived with me (with Alzheimer's), I did my best.

I didn't know it was our last five years together. But I made it with no regrets.

I pray that God makes you happy personally so that you don't care about what other people think and change your thinking to see how good you're really doing. I hope they can make those tough choices like you have when their time comes.

But don't be fooled, you're living the real life! Though not for much longer... from the way it sounds. Get help if you need it. Thanks for sharing.

Time for Some Changes!
by: Changes are in Order

I read your story and having been placed in the same position as you I can safely say when you feel anger and resentment towards your loved one it's time to get some help.

The first thing you need to do is enlist the help of a caregiver to come in so many days a week for say four hours to start each day and give you a much needed break. If financially she can pay for her own care then look into having someone there such as a live In caregiver who doesn't have to pay rent but offsets that with providing care for your Mom.

You would be surprised how many caregivers are willing to do this. Just start out slow with a few hours each day for a few days a week and see the difference in how you feel.

When it's your mom or dad you feel obligated to caring for them but never to the point that you lose your entire identity! If your mom was thinking clearly she wouldn't want you to give up your whole life. Please consider this.

I'm Right There with You
by: Cindy

I'm the daughter-in-law who made the mistake of letting her husband open their house to his mother. She and I have a minimal relationship (she lived in another state and never traveled).

Now, she is in my house 24/7/365. Every time I hear the walker scrape across the kitchen floor, or catch a whiff of the odor from her room, or clean food spills off of the table, floor, and living room chairs, I get a burst of anger and resentment.

Within the first 24 hours of her residency, I knew we had adopted a toddler who needs to have all her meals fixed for her, who makes messes and doesn't clean them up (although she is quite capable). On top of her sharp tongue and whining, she never says Thank You -- for anything.

Yes, I am resentful and it's too late to change our situation. Maybe we can find solace in knowing that we are not alone in this.

Dear Failing
by: Anonymous

You are exhausted, completely depleted, your distress came out of my computer screen and puddled on the desk. I feel for you!
I also understand completely.

I wake up exhausted. Before mom moved to a care home I felt like I was no longer her daughter (i felt like a slave or a caregiver volunteer). There is still a lot to do for mom even in the new place but it will settle down into a routine sometime (I hope).

Mom too did not want to move from her home of over 60 years. At first everything that my brother and I have done for mom she didn't want to do but did it anyway and then was happy about whatever change we did. We would say 'mom, we are doing the best we can.' Moving to a care home was no different, she really did not want to go but she went and guess what? She is flourishing!

Mom is stronger and more alert now. Mom and I shared lots of tears the first 6 days she was in her new home but finally I had to say one day before I was leaving to go to work, "I'm going to decide to have a great day you can decide what kind of day you are going to have." and mom said, "Decide to succeed!"
I feel so for you 'Failing' I hope my story helps you in some way.
mary santa rosa ca usa

I Feel Your Pain!
by: Anonymous

Oh my goodness... I did much the same as you and my life HAS passed me by! The "closeness" (proximity) to my mother has guaranteed that I am and will be homeless and penniless for the rest of time except for the very small income I earn with an online job. The sisters who have done nothing to help her and have maligned her and avoided her for the past years are now inheriting what was meant to be mine...

Two years with her have wiped me out and almost finished me. I am a nervous wreck and own nothing but a few boxes. Having been conned out of everything by a lying and scheming self serving sister who has actually conned my "mother" out of a huge fortune too, has now slyly edged her way back into the mother's life, knowing that once again she can manipulate the family money...

I discovered inadvertently that I had been disinherited and ALL HELL broke loose (not from me but from the mother who after 2 solid years of criticizing and mentally abusing me and practically holding me almost as a prisoner (she is totally whacked, demented and an alcoholic on top of it) decided that she had obviously exposed to me who she truly is... For this I was told I needed to know she has never gotten on with me or loved me and we should never have been part of the same family, not ever...

I wonder why I bothered to do the bed pans and care for her after her alcoholic trip into the garage (which broke her hip and left her completely unable to care for herself... Never saw a sign of the sisters.... Never got an ounce of encouragement...

Hope it works out better for you than it has for me... I can't even afford a motor vehicle, let alone a home so am living temporarily with a friend of someone I know until I can work my way out of what the past 2 years with my "mother" has created in my life, plus the loss of everything I had to an outrageous, lying, manipulating and self serving sister...

Starting over in a country I had left and where I know no one other than the "family" is pretty impossible and and has reminded me why I left in the first place. No longer in a position to leave again and continue my life in the US as my Green Card status is now "lost" due mainly to some pretty spiteful and malicious actions of the "sister" who now stands to inherit both her and my
share of what was left by my father with pretty clear intentions but was entrusted to the mother. Who would have thought a woman could do this kind of thing, and smirk about it! I am stunned, totally stunned!

A Few More Thoughts
by: Third Sister

Try to figure out how much you can do for your Mom without feeling resentful and angry, and then figure out creative (or not) ways to stop doing things that really push you over the top. I am much more content now that I've stopped cooking for my Mom.

She's eating a lot of microwave meals and prepackaged salads now, but so be it. Cooking for her was too much for me. I'm always tired in the evenings, she keeps her house much too warm for me (especially when I'm slaving over a hot stove), and it was exhausting scurrying around preparing, serving, and cleaning up after meals while she sat in her chair watching TV. It really burned me.

I found a creative, if cowardly, way out. I have become a vegan. I offered Mom a few samples of my new cuisine (brown rice, tofu, steamed veggies) and she said she'd eat that only if she were starving and there was nothing else available. So I cook for myself and she makes do with what she buys. I still take her grocery shopping and put her groceries away, and I go out to eat with her occasionally, but her meals are no longer my responsibility.

Another thing I'm considering for Mom is a handicapped van with a lift for her scooter. She is able to drive, she just can't get in and out of the house/store safely on foot. I don't know if this will pan out, but if it does, there are lots of errands that don't really require my attendance. The library, the hair salon, minor grocery shopping, etc. This could potentially be a big help to me, if it works out.

I'm also considering a senior helper for a few hours once a week or so. I hate to clean up after anybody but myself, so maybe it's worthwhile to spend that money. My Mom doesn't want anybody else there either, but at some point if it becomes too much of a burden, you have to say "Mom, we'll be able to enjoy each others company a lot more if I'm not always running around exhausted from cooking/cleaning/laundry/errands, etc." anyway that's what I'm gearing up to do right now. As soon as I get back from the grocery store - Mom is out of low-salt wheat thins.

You're Failing....I know
by: Third Sister

I couldn't help but respond to your post. I have felt the exact same way at many times in the year and change since I moved closer to help out my mother.

First, stop agonizing about what you should have done. It might not have made any difference. Even if you weren't living with her, she could have you over there every day attending to her every need, unless you find the courage to say no. If you do find that courage, you can exercise it even living in the same house, although granted it's more difficult when she has access to you all the time. Also, it's probably a fantasy to think you could squeeze all her doctor and shopping appointments into one week per month. If you're the only driver, you don't really have that control.

Can you start seeing a counselor to help you figure out a game plan? I'm seeing one for the last few months. Are there any family members who could step up and handle some of these responsibilities?

I finally moved both Mom and me to the community where two of my sisters live and both of them help with Mom's errands and appointments, one more than the other. She didn't want to leave her home either, but I told her I wanted to move to where we could get help from other family members (once Mom stopped driving altogether) and she eventually gave in.

Now I live two doors down from her. I still see her every day, sometimes several times a day. She still calls me to take her to the store when I took her shopping just 3 days ago, and my sister took her out for errands yesterday. Still, it's much more manageable with support.

One thing my therapist told me is to get away at least for a long weekend once a month or so. Can you do that? Can your Mom manage without you for a weekend here and there?

Can you get a job or join a club or a gym so you have a reason to get out of the house on a regular basis and can get some of your own social needs met? I joined a gym a few towns away and that's been a help to me too. You feel less trapped if you have somewhere to go.

A few little changes are keeping me sane, for now. If you tell us more about your situation maybe we can be more helpful to you. I know it's rough. Believe me, I know...

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