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Caring for parents and elderly relatives - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

Caring for parents and elderly relatives

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Jessie, that's a very difficult situation to have had to deal with. In a way, I can well see how you would want to prove to yourself (even if not to your mum) that you were NOT like her, ie, you did NOT renage on what you considered to be your responsibilities, and in a way, one could say that by insisting on caring for her as you did, you emphasised your difference from her in an unarguable way.

Your post also raises the very difficult moral issue of just why some people are selfish in the first place! (Or, of course, unselfish - though I suspect a lot of unselfish people have been 'trained' to be unselfish by selfish parents!)(I still hold that 'Selfish parents havce unselfish children, and unselfish parents have selfish children'!!!).

There may have been 'extenuating' circumstances as to why your mother was as she was - was she treated badly herself as a child, etc? Or perhaps she was just 'badly brought up' - ie, never taught not to think about herself only?

But whatever the reason, if she could never bring herself to behave non-selfishly towards anyone else, including her daughter, then I can't see that a person like that deserves much consideration for others (as they don't feel consideration themselves!), and that no one 'owes' them anything.

But you resolved the situation in the way you saw fit, and I hope that brought you peace of mind, if nothing else.

Kind regards, Jenny
I fell into caring quite by accident, having moved in to rehab my mum following a brain tumour plus look after my disabled sister. It was supposed to be short-term, to help with rehab but rehab is now not an option as mum's very physically dependent. So now I'm in a bit of a quandary, there are things I want to do with my life - have kids, change career and it's difficult to see how I will manage it all. I suppose it can be done. The issue I feel more and more strongly about is although mum is in remission, her brain tumour will come back, it's just a question of when so I want her last few years of life to be comfortable and happy. Although I sometimes feel resentful at the situation we're all in, it is what it is. I can't control what might happen to mum but I can control how comfortable she is.
"But whatever the reason, if she could never bring herself to behave non-selfishly towards anyone else, including her daughter, then I can't see that a person like that deserves much consideration for others (as they don't feel consideration themselves!), and that no one 'owes' them anything"

Correction! You'll see that in the paragraph above I wrote 'deserves much consideration FOR others'....which should, of course, be 'FROM others'. Hmm, Freudian slip???? Hope not!


Frito - very, very difficult one. The problem with 'waiting' for developments is that they may never happen, or may happen after years and years and years, and then we get that terrifying situation that my generation got warned about in posters 'Life is what passes you by while you're doing other things'......

I know you say your mum's brain tumour may get active again, which is very true (and annoyingly, docs do - or can do - very little to give any accurate predictions other than statistical), but then again, it may not. Or, if it does, then new treatments that arive all the time may change her prognosis. I don't know what treatment she got for her original tumour - I assume surgery/chemo/whole brain radiation even? - but these days there are an increasing number of anti-cancer drugs around anyway, and a big push now to make them able to get into the brain (which is, as you'll doubtless know already, protected by the blood-brain barrier that only allows small molecules through, whereas a lot of anti-cancer drugs are large molecules, so don't get through into the brain itself). Plus, again as you probably know already, brain radiotherapy has improved dramatcially, and instead of just drenching the brain in radiation (whole brain radiation) which can itself cause brain damage of otherwise healthy, non-tumourous brain tissue (resulting in neurological damage to the patient), the docs can now target the radiation very, very specifically only at the tumour itself, thus causing far less damage to the ordinary brain tissue, which means they can use more radiaton than they would have felt safe to use formerly.

So, the general situation is that even if your mum's tumour returned, the treatment she could have may be significantly more effective than previously, so her prognosis would not be as poor, and she might live longer than you think she would be able to do now.

All this is by way of saying that 'waiting for the worst to happen' before you get on with things in your life that are important to you may keep you waiting for far longer than you might think. 'Too late' are the worst words to hear.....

Wishing you all the best possible in such a difficult, and sad, situation, Jenny.
Frito I bet your Mum is so proud of you Image
Caring doesn't mean you have to give up on all the things you want out of life but what it does mean is that you have to look at your own priorities, decide which comes first and arrange the rest around it Image
Jessie, that's a very difficult situation to have had to deal with. In a way, I can well see how you would want to prove to yourself (even if not to your mum) that you were NOT like her, ie, you did NOT renage on what you considered to be your responsibilities, and in a way, one could say that by insisting on caring for her as you did, you emphasised your difference from her in an unarguable way.

Your post also raises the very difficult moral issue of just why some people are selfish in the first place! (Or, of course, unselfish - though I suspect a lot of unselfish people have been 'trained' to be unselfish by selfish parents!)(I still hold that 'Selfish parents havce unselfish children, and unselfish parents have selfish children'!!!).

There may have been 'extenuating' circumstances as to why your mother was as she was - was she treated badly herself as a child, etc? Or perhaps she was just 'badly brought up' - ie, never taught not to think about herself only?

But whatever the reason, if she could never bring herself to behave non-selfishly towards anyone else, including her daughter, then I can't see that a person like that deserves much consideration for others (as they don't feel consideration themselves!), and that no one 'owes' them anything.

But you resolved the situation in the way you saw fit, and I hope that brought you peace of mind, if nothing else.

Kind regards, Jenny
Jennie]genuinely[/u] believed that without her control of me, I could not function.

Her psychiatric diagnosis was rare, and yes, she had suffered brain damage during childhood but that condition was not noticed by anyone - she had top grades in school & a good job with multi-national company - until in her 80's when she finally had a brain scan after car accident which showed ancient damage. Her psychiatrist said to me: "she's utterly fascinating from a professional point of view". Research Psychologists analysed her for a couple of years before she died & said she was a 'true' psychopath & extremely intelligent.

I paid to see a private Psychologist who analysed me & said I was a typical child of such a mother, abnormal high levels of empathy, discernment, ability to "look below the surface". He said I would always have difficulty with communicating because others take much longer than me to see the underlying difficulties.

Her after-death brain research confirmed all previous diagnoses. She had spent her life with "dementia" and had adapted and learnt behaviours which fooled people, but a few years before her death developed altzheimers, i.e. memory loss. and she was no longer able to fool people. All extremely sad. She was never really selfish.
Gosh Jessie, thanks for sharing that. That's really a very moving story, and I suppose, like none of us know what goes on behind other people's front doors, neither do we know what goes on in other people's heads.

Seeing it as a complete outsider, what you've told us strikes me as her seeing you in a different light when you undertook your caring role, and eventually, you seeing her in a different light.

It seems you can now understand and accept that there were complex reasons behind some of her behaviour towards you. I really hope you now have a more "peaceful" feeling about your relationship.
Gosh Jessie, thanks for sharing that. That's really a very moving story, and I suppose, like none of us know what goes on behind other people's front doors, neither do we know what goes on in other people's heads.

Seeing it as a complete outsider, what you've told us strikes me as her seeing you in a different light when you undertook your caring role, and eventually, you seeing her in a different light.

It seems you can now understand and accept that there were complex reasons behind some of her behaviour towards you. I really hope you now have a more "peaceful" feeling about your relationship.
Thanks so very much for your reply, it's lonely here in my unusual circumstances!. Yes I do feel peaceful towards her even though at times my (immense) anger surfaces at the injustice and loss of much of my life, my father's, my daughter's, life. My mother was seriously ill and few realised it. The most irritating thing for me is remaining family who remember her as "good old Auntie ....." lovely Auntie..." etc as they recall the illusion. I meekly smile.

My father in his 60's tried to divorce her (in emotional abuse terms, he "woke up") but whoever he spoke to she would follow behind & tell them he had dementia & not to believe a word he said. She was extremely plausible & his stories sounded ridiculous.

It's so easy to label someone as "selfish" "dominant" etc. etc. There can often be deep and serious reasons for why they behave as they do. If we read in the papers of an abused child we all say "oh, how awful.....the parents etc. etc." but rarely do we focus on the extreme emotional damage to the child. And when said child becomes an adult, a mother-in-law, we expect them to suddenly abandon their hurts. IMO psychological abuse is far far worse than the physical abuse which often precedes it.

In retrospect, I've lived an odd life believing in the illusion of a lovely mother and an angry father when in reality it was the other way round.

Now I'm trying to enjoy starting afresh and it's not easy!!!!
I'm so sorry you are feeling lonely Jessie, loneliness gives us too much time to dwell on the issues that trouble us.

I suppose as carers, we all have to face our own type of loneliness. I used to jet off around the world on business and pleasure, had more social invitations than I knew what to do with, had a decent disposable income, nice clothes, weekly manicures...all that sort of stuff. And it was great because I'd finally managed to extract myself from a fairly abusive (mostly psychological although some physical) marriage after almost 30 years, and I was actually enjoying myself and feeling some sense of achievement.

Well, how things can change......I've been caring for my Dad for almost 9 years and yesterday I went to see the surgeon about an operation I need to have on my foot which I've been putting off and putting off. I won't be able to go outside for at least 3 weeks and I am quite literally struggling to think of someone who might be able to help me out. My kids will cover the first week, but they both have jobs to do and live some way away - after that, well I just don't know. Notwithstanding trying to sort out cover for my Dad.

At least I had 5 years of being "me" rather than an abused wife, and now a carer with all the trials and tribulations that brings, so I'm a lot more fortunate than some. But hell, it can a lonely life.

I hope Jessie, you can start to rebuild your life and find some contentment and happiness, really I do.

x
I hope Jessie, you can start to rebuild your life and find some contentment and happiness, really I do.
I second that.
Thank you jessie, for telling your story.

PS - ladybird, have you contacted social services? they should organize help while you are recovering from your op.
Jenna, I don't want to insult you as your post may be entirely genuine, but it does come across a tad like an advert! We tend to be a bit suspicious here, as every now and then someone tries to sneak in a bit of commercial advertising for a service.

Apols if this is not so, but I expect the mods here will check it out just in case.

Cheers, Jenny