[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/phpbb/session.php on line 585: sizeof(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/phpbb/session.php on line 641: sizeof(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable
Anger - Carers UK Forum

Anger

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi,
my mother-in-law lives with us, she has dementia and is bed ridden.
In September we had a scare when she was hospitalised with pneumonia. Everyone thought she is not going to survive, but luckily she did. Since then she needs more care than before.
Our relationship has never been great, language barriers (she is from Pakistan, speaks not English I am from Germany),cultural differences etc.
I have carers coming in 4 times a day doing the hard work. So I really should not complain about anything.
Work wise it is not that bad.
I feel guilty whenever I leave the house, cannot stay out too long.
She believes she cannot speak. So I have to interpret her hand movements/gestures in order to find out what she wants. Whenever she claps her hands she expects me to come in and attend to her wishes. On some days she claps again the moment I leave the room. Lights on, lights off, TV on, TV off, Drink, drink again, where is my son, what day is it, forgot why I called you.
I go into her room so many times even when she is not calling me. Just to show that I am there and ready to do whatever is necessary.
But whatever I do we will never ever come to a point where I feel satisfied that she is happy with the services received. It will always continue until I get angry and then even the smallest thing will upset me.
(example: The hair was freshly plaited. I come in the room, she has the hairband around her writs, causing swelling to the arm around it because it is so tight. I want to take the band off and do the hair again. She fights me for taking the band off her wrist. I take a new one and do the hair. After that I take the band off her wrist against her will, because it is strangulating. She will lift her finger like you scold a child and look very angry and will say one single word "Naughty woman" - I know this is ridiculous to get angry about that, but I do.)
When I get annoyed I make sure she has everything she needs and then I put a door between us for 30 minutes until I am calm again.
My husband, who only comes home on the weekends explains to me that I have to learn to ignore her constant clapping. She does not do this when he is around, by the way.
I relax a bit on the weekends, because she behaves nicer when he is around. Monday I start the week with good intentions to not let her get to me. She has dementia and I am supposed to be reasonable and understanding and friendly. But this only lasts until afternoon. Then a small things puts me in the anger-hamster wheel again.
I should be better, I should behave better and I feel so incredibly guilty.
I do everything for her, I am 24/7 around her, I cook for her, clean for her, wash her clothes, give her shower, comb her hair twice a day, bring her food, feed her on days when she is not able to eat or drink, I organize her carers, GP, Psychiatrist, Social Services, financial things, I order her medications and administer it. I do everything. Why can't that be enough. Why does she push me to the limits again and again, or why do I let her push me?? My youngest child has recently moved out and gone to University. I am all alone with my mother in law and my anger.
Does anybody have an idea how I can better manage my anger. This is not right.
Dear Regina

No it's not right, it's wrong. That's my opinion. I, too, have my MIL (Mother in Law) with dementia as my caree (person I care for), but not like you! My husband died some years ago, and her surviving son lives in the USA and is divorced, so there is only me. (My son is at uni) (and I would NEVER EVER EVER want him involved in any caring at all!)(and I pray God I won't go the way of MIL!).

However, my MIL is a 'sweet old lady' compared to yours! Yes, maybe the dementia makes things a lot worse in her behaviour, and that isn't her fault - but you say you've never had a brilliant relationship with her and I suspect some of that may be because of the cultural differences in your background??? And that can't change, can it?


OK, have you heard the phrase 'done a number' in English? It's 'slang' and simply means, I suppose, 'brainwashed'....and I feel that is what is happeing to you. You have been 'brainwashed' to accept that you MUST have your MIL at home with you, that 'putting her in a home' is 'unthinkable'!

Well, whenever I hear in this country (usually said by politicians!) how immigrant communities are much 'nicer' to their elderly folk than 'the English' are, and never 'put them in a home' but look after them themselves at home, I want to shout 'NO! It's the WOMEN who look after the elderly people! NOT THE MEN!'

And I fear that is what is happening now to you. To be blunt - if your husband wants his mother to live at home, then HE can stay home and look after her and YOU can go off to work and earn money! (And, oh yes, get your own life back!)

And, speaking personally, I don't care what the cultural norms are, whether your husband's family is from the Planet Mars, you DO NOT have to put up with this total sacrifice of your life.

Angry? I'd be throwing plates at your husband!

Sorry, I think it's grounds for divorce if he does not either give up work to do what you do....or like it or not, your MIL has to go into residential care that specialises in dementia.

You can't go on like this. You just can't. However sorry you feel for your MIL, your life should not, in my own personal opinion, be sacrificed to hers. If your husband doesn't see it that way too, leave him.

Wishing you ALL the best possible - kind regards, Jenny

(Sorry if I've been blunt - but you sound totally at the end of your tether!) (ie, ready to break into pieces!)
Hi Regina
I'm not sure if the course is still being trialled but I did a trial course that AS were offering on here which was CBT on your responses to dealing with dementia. You can't change your MIL or her illness but you are in control of your own responses . The course makes you analise your own responses and consider alternative ways of responding and thinking. Perhaps something like that would help you deal with your own negative emotion of anger , a very normal response that many carers feel by the way.
Oh dear, I was probably being very harsh on your MIL in my first post - I expect when she was a wife she was treated badly by her own mother in law.....but that still doesn't mean you should put up with what she is handing out to you! You say you never had an easy relationship - was that because her son married 'out' (which, yes, can be difficult to reconcile for any mother, whatever 'out' constitutes for one's background!)? Or was she a 'difficult person by nature'? Or was it a cultural thing - ie, that mothers-in-law in Pakastani culture habitually give their daughters in law a hard time (etc etc etc).

How long has she been living with you, and how long have you lived as you are now, stuck at home with her while your husband is away all week (and thus escaping the brunt of it - however hard he may be working!)?

I ask because what we can put up with for a bit, is not what we can endure year after year after year. I notice you say 'luckily' that your MIL survived pneumonia, but really, you know, it is the other way round, isn't it? My poor MIL with advanced dementia now (in a care home, but not bedridden), does NOT have a good 'quality of life' and it will only worsen (she is 92), and really, the dreadful truth is that the 'true kindness' would be if she went to sleep one night peacefully, and did not wake up. Her life is NOT going to get better - just the reverse.

What do you see happening with your MIL in the future? Is the plan for her to live with you until she dies, however much worse she gets? (My sister in law and her sister nursed their mother to the end - but she lived next door, not with either of them, so they could shut the door on her at night....she wasn't in their houses non-stop - but the end was 'grim'....she ended up, poor poor soul, just lying in bed staring at nothing....it was awful)

Does your MIL have a DNR notice on her for if she is hospitalised again? (DNR - Do Not Resuccitate - so if she has, say a heart attack, the doctors will not perform cardio-pulmonary resuccitation, but let nature take its course)?

Is your husband - and any other family your MIL has in this country - completely dead set against his mum being in a residential care home? I don't know if there are Muslim-oriented care homes in the UK (I know there are definitely Jewish ones, as the mum of a Jewish friend of mine was in one, and it had kosher food, and kept Jewish holidays and celebrations, etc etc), but that might be a possibility. (Though, as I said in my first post, the cultural 'norm' may well be for wives and daughters to keep looking after the elderly parents)

IS there any other family to help? If you could share your MIL out between other daughters in law or daughters, that would make a HUGE difference to you! It would mean, say, you could have every other week 'off duty' and get your own life back. Sharing-the-care is 'life saver' for many people (a friend of mine used to do that with her elderly father, until her sister refused to have him again!).

My essential point, however, remains - I see no valid reason why your life should be sacrificed to your mother in law. You have become her 'slave' in essence, and have no life of your own, and your husband seems to expect you to put up with it (even though he does, I fully concede, encourage you to ignore her clapping!!!!!) - but even if you did ignore it, it won't go away, and, like I say, her behaviour is not going to improve alas.

I know that guilt plays a huge, huge part in this - I felt DREADFUL when I finally 'broke' and agreed that my MIL should go into residential care - I felt it was so awful for her, not to have a home at all, and for me to refuse to have her with me any longer. But because I was the ONLY PERSON around to look after her, I did it. You have your MIL all through the week, no escape, even if you do have carers coming in, and she is NOT your mother. You don't love her - and where there is no love, then the sacrifice that 24x7 caring requires is, I truly believe, impossible to make.

I do wish you well, I'm really sorry for your poor MIL, who is in a bad way certainly, and I'm sorry for your husband working so hard away from home - and I'm certainly sorry for you! - but this situation really can't continue the way it is, unless your MIL's doctors give you clear indication she is unlikely to be here in this world for longer than the coming year ahead. If she realy is that life-limited, then maybe 'coping strategies' will make it possible for you to manage your anger - but if she could go on for years, then I personally would say that it is either a question of residential care, or you walk out.

Kindest wishes, Jenny
jenny lucas wrote:Oh dear, I was probably being very harsh on your MIL in my first post - I expect when she was a wife she was treated badly by her own mother in law.....but that still doesn't mean you should put up with what she is handing out to you! You say you never had an easy relationship - was that because her son married 'out' (which, yes, can be difficult to reconcile for any mother, whatever 'out' constitutes for one's background!)? Or was she a 'difficult person by nature'? Or was it a cultural thing - ie, that mothers-in-law in Pakastani culture habitually give their daughters in law a hard time (etc etc etc).

How long has she been living with you, and how long have you lived as you are now, stuck at home with her while your husband is away all week (and thus escaping the brunt of it - however hard he may be working!)?

I ask because what we can put up with for a bit, is not what we can endure year after year after year. I notice you say 'luckily' that your MIL survived pneumonia, but really, you know, it is the other way round, isn't it? My poor MIL with advanced dementia now (in a care home, but not bedridden), does NOT have a good 'quality of life' and it will only worsen (she is 92), and really, the dreadful truth is that the 'true kindness' would be if she went to sleep one night peacefully, and did not wake up. Her life is NOT going to get better - just the reverse.

What do you see happening with your MIL in the future? Is the plan for her to live with you until she dies, however much worse she gets? (My sister in law and her sister nursed their mother to the end - but she lived next door, not with either of them, so they could shut the door on her at night....she wasn't in their houses non-stop - but the end was 'grim'....she ended up, poor poor soul, just lying in bed staring at nothing....it was awful)

Does your MIL have a DNR notice on her for if she is hospitalised again? (DNR - Do Not Resuccitate - so if she has, say a heart attack, the doctors will not perform cardio-pulmonary resuccitation, but let nature take its course)?

Is your husband - and any other family your MIL has in this country - completely dead set against his mum being in a residential care home? I don't know if there are Muslim-oriented care homes in the UK (I know there are definitely Jewish ones, as the mum of a Jewish friend of mine was in one, and it had kosher food, and kept Jewish holidays and celebrations, etc etc), but that might be a possibility. (Though, as I said in my first post, the cultural 'norm' may well be for wives and daughters to keep looking after the elderly parents)

IS there any other family to help? If you could share your MIL out between other daughters in law or daughters, that would make a HUGE difference to you! It would mean, say, you could have every other week 'off duty' and get your own life back. Sharing-the-care is 'life saver' for many people (a friend of mine used to do that with her elderly father, until her sister refused to have him again!).

My essential point, however, remains - I see no valid reason why your life should be sacrificed to your mother in law. You have become her 'slave' in essence, and have no life of your own, and your husband seems to expect you to put up with it (even though he does, I fully concede, encourage you to ignore her clapping!!!!!) - but even if you did ignore it, it won't go away, and, like I say, her behaviour is not going to improve alas.

I know that guilt plays a huge, huge part in this - I felt DREADFUL when I finally 'broke' and agreed that my MIL should go into residential care - I felt it was so awful for her, not to have a home at all, and for me to refuse to have her with me any longer. But because I was the ONLY PERSON around to look after her, I did it. You have your MIL all through the week, no escape, even if you do ave carers coming in, and she is NOT your mother. You don't love her - and where there is no love, then the sacrifice that 24x7 caring requires is, I truly believe, impossible to make.

I do wish you well, I'm really sorry for your poor MIL, who is in a bad way certainly, and I'm sorry for your husband working so hard away from home - and I'm certainly sorry for you! - but this situation really can't continue the way it is, unless your MIL's doctors give you clear indication she is unlikely to be here in this world for longer than the coming year ahead. If she realy is that life-limited, then maybe 'coping strategies' will make it possible for you to manage your anger - but if she could go on for years, then I personally would say that it is either a question of residential care, or you walk out.

Kindest wishes, Jenny
Dear Jenny,
Harsh or not, I really enjoyed reading your answer.
I assume I will not be able to act on it. I will most probably not throw plates at my husband or divorce him.
But it has done me so good to hear also anger in your response. So maybe in a reasonable world, it is understandable that I am not always happy with the situation. My husbands remarks make me feel that my reactions are not normal, that I am being funny.
My MIL used to be a friendly woman, very respected in her family and loved. She has done a lot of great things in her life, raised 6 kids of her own and adopted 2 more in times of war. She helped so many people in her neighbourhood.
She has been with us (with a few travel exceptions) for the last 13 years. For the same 13 years my husband is a weekend husband only.
I shower her for the last 6-7 years. We need carers for the last 4.
We have a DNR in place - theoretical. My husband makes remarks here and there that impost he still wants all medical care given to her. I believe her quality of life is not great.
The Plan is everything will stay the same. Residential care is not an option. Two of my sisters-in-law come 1-2 a year, so I can go and visit my mother in Germany. I really cannot complain. They do what they can.
So I most probably will soldier on, be angry or maybe find a CBT or counselling to cope with it.

But I must say your reply had made me fell so good!! I will keep it and read it on a bad day.
And maybe someday I will be courageous and break out of here.
Thank you.
Looks to me like you need to do some research into nursing homes. This situation will not improve, it will get worse. It is like living with an abusive partner, or a bully for a boss: there is no logical reason for putting up with it, so why not plan your way out of it?

Attachments

The only power MIL has over you is the power you let her have. If neccessary wear ear defenders to drown her clapping out. Decide on some "me" time, maybe after lunch, and takr an hour or two off. When the carers come in, you go out for a walk. You have every bit as much right to a life as she has. What happens at the weekend? Do you and your husbsnd go out together for a good time? Ever? Do you count at all in this marriage? Time to get tougher with your husband and insist he treats you like a wife, not a domestic servant?!
Regina - have you discovered the Alzheimer's Society website, and in particular their forum - Talking Point? The website itself is very good, but the forum is an even better place where many, many people who are looking after relatives with dementia share information and advice and support each other. I have found it invaluable as I am caring for my mother (with dementia) at home (on my own, but with some carer support).

You may find it worthwhile looking at this, or even posting a similar description of your situation there. There are people there who have experienced so many different types of scenario in caring for someone with dementia and there is usually a lot of very good advice.

I hear what the others are saying, but for someone who may be 'stuck' with a situation for whatever reason, or, like me, who chooses to care for someone at home (whilst I can still cope with it, that is!), there are ways to try to cope with situations and behaviours. The key thing, sadly, is that their behaviour will not change, it is the carer who has to adjust and adapt to the situation. It's very, very hard. I probably won't be able to do what I'm doing for many, many years (mum is 90, but who knows, she could go on for many more yet), but certainly without the support of people on Talking Point, I would probably have given up already.
Scally wrote:Looks to me like you need to do some research into nursing homes. This situation will not improve, it will get worse. It is like living with an abusive partner, or a bully for a boss: there is no logical reason for putting up with it, so why not plan your way out of it?
Dear Scally,
thank you for your advice.
And thank you for taking the time to read about me. That helped.
Regina
Maz1963 wrote:Regina - have you discovered the Alzheimer's Society website, and in particular their forum - Talking Point? The website itself is very good, but the forum is an even better place where many, many people who are looking after relatives with dementia share information and advice and support each other. I have found it invaluable as I am caring for my mother (with dementia) at home (on my own, but with some carer support).

You may find it worthwhile looking at this, or even posting a similar description of your situation there. There are people there who have experienced so many different types of scenario in caring for someone with dementia and there is usually a lot of very good advice.

I hear what the others are saying, but for someone who may be 'stuck' with a situation for whatever reason, or, like me, who chooses to care for someone at home (whilst I can still cope with it, that is!), there are ways to try to cope with situations and behaviours. The key thing, sadly, is that their behaviour will not change, it is the carer who has to adjust and adapt to the situation. It's very, very hard. I probably won't be able to do what I'm doing for many, many years (mum is 90, but who knows, she could go on for many more yet), but certainly without the support of people on Talking Point, I would probably have given up already.
Thanks Maz,
I will try to get advice from Talking point. Good idea
Regina