Ready to quit caring - don't want to, but can't stand it :(

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi all,

Been a long time since I was last here, but here I am, asking for help again...I wish I'd been able to be a support here too. Sorry, but I'm going to ramble here, as I don't know where to start or finish.

I'm a carer for my Mum who's 75. I'm 36 now, and an only child and she is single and Canadian, so no other family. Due to how she is, she also has no friends either - I am the only person left that will go anywhere near her, despite being the one she attacks the most. I am also a single mother myself to an 8 year old. I pushed really hard to get help for her, and finally got a diagnosis of Addisons disease in September (needs steroids), also getting her two visits from Care UK a day rather than once a week as it was. Thanks for all the help and advice I got here back then.

But that is only the beginning of the problems. Mum and I have always had a 'difficult' relationship, and since the age of 6, I've felt responsible for her - she's alcoholic and did get diagnosed 'personality disorder' a couple of years back, which has been named as something along the lines of bipolar, but is not treated. Recently her endocrinologist mentioned this disorder, and said her steroids would/could trigger some form of mania, if she were officially 'bipolar'. But I don't know where to go with that. I want to talk to her GP, but he's already talking of taking away her sleeping pills, which would be terrible for her, as she has awful insomnia.

Things have been getting worse and worse. Before the Addisons, I took her to the GP to 'test' her for dementia - a laughable and very embarrassing process, which of course she sailed through - but I KNOW she's 'going' in her mind - she gets names wrong, forgets important things, dates wrong, can't use the computer anymore (computers fault of course!). She completely denies she's behaving abnormally.

She's always been brutal emotionally towards me, but over this last year culminating this Christmas, she's been like a demon in her attacks - bitter criticisms, demands (holding hand out and shouting 'pepper!'), cutting down anything I believe in, love, enjoy... Of course, she's my mother, so treatment like this has always been somewhat 'normal', for which I've depended on the love of my Dad and friends and son to counter in my life.

Becoming her carer, in hindsight, was the worst thing I could've done. She now orders me about at everything, shouts at me continuously, puts me down, while all the time saying how I hate her and never spend time with her - quality time, as she calls it. Thing is, I don't want to! She's so horrible to me now, that I just want to do what I have to do to help her and go, or go somewhere else in the house.

But I know it's her illness - the combination of the Addisons, the steroids, the pain she's in, her deteriorating mind, and this personality thing. And I DO still want to help, but feel helpless. I feel in my bones that this bipolar thing is what needs to be treated, but I don't know enough about it to know what to do. And the thing that makes me think I'm wrong about it, is that she can just about control her behaviour in other company, especially my sons - she adores him. But her irritability is now beginning to come out at him now too - she yelled at him over xmas dinner that I'd slaved over all day, that he was 'ruining christmas' by not eating his food... he ended up in tears, and I decided enough was enough. Her behaviour is now intolerable, she is tyrannical and intensely scathing, and it is so very hurtful, and will be now affecting my son, which I won't have.

I hate to say it, but I lost my cool. I snapped. I took my son, his father and myself back to my home (two doors away) and left her to seethe, I couldn't have cared one bit if she had fallen or was even dead at that point. I was furious. But I know I'm the one who's always been the grown up in this relationship, and I should never have let it get out of hand like that.

But I can't carry on like this. I'm 36, some would say 'early middle age' even, and I've done nothing with my life. I've hidden behind my Mum's illnesses and fixing her trail of disasters all my life, and I don't think I can do it any more. I'm still extremely angry and can't seem to help reacting like a hurt daughter rather than a reasonable, calm, caring human. She cannot stop verbally attacking me. She's very intelligent, and uses this to also try to confuse me as to others that I love - last night insinuated that my father abused me!! He did no such thing, and I'm again furious with her - she's always been terribly jealous of my very loving relationship with my Dad. It's got to the point that I jump first and think later - I'm terrified of her.

Her worst fear, and mine for her, is to be left alone - she's like a child and feels loneliness terribly - but I feel this is the only way I can deal with this. I will have to bear the guilt of abandoning her to her worst fear if I leave, but I don't know what else to do! She needs some sort of reassessment of her mental health, but I don't know where to start!! When I say 'leave', I mean as a carer, not as a daughter, but at least then when she asks something of me, I have the CHOICE to do it or not. I started a PhD three years ago, which has been on hold as she has deteriorated, and I can go back to that and also get a part time job hopefully to pay for living while I study. There is a life waiting for me out there.

I'm really sorry for this rant, but if there is ANY advice that can help me either stay as her carer, or to leave smoothly, getting her some help in the process, I would so appreciate it. I'm determined to gain strength from this experience, eventually, but right now I'm just so angry and helpless. I'm sure, karma or no karma, I don't feel like I deserve this. And I don't want, or rather, I won't have, my son seeing me treated like this, and thinking this is 'normal'. It turns out her own mother was abused as a child, which explains her own issues with her own mother, and her lifelong behaviour issues, but I don't want this generational scarring to continue onto my own son. The Buck has to stop somewhere and I will not allow him to carry this on, if there's anything I can personally do as a Mother myself, it's that.

Has anyone got any advice about bipolar or dementia, or even just the mother/daughter strained relationship difficulties??

Wow, I have blurted, haven't I? I'd better stop, or I'll be here all night - being a touch typist doesn't help lol!

Thanks for listening/reading, I just feel bloody desperate.

Lina xxx
Hi Lina

I am a carer for my Mum although she doesnt need as much help as yours, my Mum lives alone up the road and I do all her housework, take her shopping etc. I am an only one and never got on with my Mum in fact we had a terrible relationship, she was pure evil to me at times and other people noticed. I hardly saw her at times then she had a stroke this was 5 years ago and since then I have seen her everyday in fact I dont have a life of my own right now, its dammed hard having to care or her when she was so horrible to me but I do it for my Dad hoping he is looking down on me, lets face it if I didnt do it who would?

Just lately I think my Mum is getting dementia and I can get really angry at times with her, she can be so nasty and speaks her mind ever so loudly when we are out to the point of embarassment.

My hubby lost his job on Friday and I can see shes now thinking I wont be taking her out everyday or hubby will be tagging along

Your not alone! x
As one who cares for a mother myself,I too hear where your at.In my case my Mom gets frustrated by her mobility limits,some days,but snaps out of it.Oh we have our disagreements ,as is the stuff of life,we sort these swiftly.

I see myself as an "Enabler".I "Enable" my mom to get out and about,to blossom as she does when she is out.To be the person she can be.Fun,outgoing,and a true child f the High Street.

Her place of Worship:Debenhams.House of Frazer etc.Thats fine with me.She loves to browse,to buy,to enjoy.

She,really,is low maintaince.Oh she gets bad days of depression.But,we get over that.


I get grumpy,angry,and dam-angry at times.I get angry at "The System".Government,OFTEN FURIOUS at the local Clowns in the Council.(Of whom we seem to have too many)

I can be a right swine at times and I know it.

So,I hear you loud,I hear you clear.


The greatest prison can be the four walls.For carer and Caree.


So,thats where I start from.


I dont feel anyone should belittle,insult,rubbish anyone else.ITS NO EXCUSE OR JUSTIFICATION IF ITS A PARENT BEING A RIGHT NASTY SWINE TO THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER.EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO BE RESPECTED FOR WHO THEY ARE.

I do not excuse or ever accept that anyone,be they parent or whoever,has any right to be insulting or abusive.


I,myself can be one right moody grump.I know it.But I dont INSULT.BELITTLE or rubbish anyone.

The often very intense carer/caree relationship can be one which evokes very strong emosions on both sides.I think it can be good to bring a third party in to hear what the issues are.it can help.
Hi Nilla and Maxi, thanks for your replies.

I think the mother/daughter relationship itself can be a demon to get to grips with, let alone becoming carer/caree! I feel for both of you, and can relate too.

Nilla, I cringed when you said she speaks her mind so loudly in public - ditto. It's so hard to keep face with all that, let alone the personal attacks. You said "let's face it if I didn't do it who would?", that's exactly my problem now. I'm feeling completely stuck between a rock and a hard place - either I tolerate this abuse or I leave her to whatever social services do with her (which will NOT be to her liking!), and have to live with the guilt I've been trained to live with all my life.

At the moment, leaving seems to be the lesser of the two evils. I can face the guilt, as long as I don't have to face her.

Maxi, you mentioned getting a third party in, do you know how I could do that? I considered dragging her along to Relate at one point, in desperation, but I'm truly too embarrassed, and also know she puts on a great act of hard-done-by-victim when questioned, with me being her worst victimiser and tormentor. I don't know if I have the strength to keep on fighting this one.

I'm ready for 'out'. Who in their right mind, needs this? Ugh, it's horrible.

Lina xxx
Audrey, thankyou so much, that was such a sweet message - and very helpful too. I have a different GP to my Mother, and my GP is fantastic (and because of that, nigh on impossible to get hold of!). I realise now, I've heard it said you should talk to your GP if you're a carer, and I never have. Maybe she can help... I will write her a letter tomorrow - it's the only way for me to get hold of her, as it's months before an appointment can come up.

Also, the mental health team, I hadn't thought of that. I will get in touch with them too tomorrow, if anything, they may be able to advise me how to behave and act in this situation, as I'm really at my wits end.

Other than that, no support really, not at hand. My Dad is doing his best from 60 miles away on the phone, but he can't help really, as she would go ballistic if she laid eyes on him, let alone accepted any help from him! Friends, well, I try to keep them convinced I'm OK - I so hate asking for help, and then don't feel I deserve it, like I'm just whinging...

Oh, it's poo.

Thanks again, that's been a big help.

Lina xxx
Hi Lina, what a horrible situation your in, first a big hug coming your way, my mother was an alcoholic, and delighted in playing one against the other, she managed to alienate all my step sisters, and only came alive when there was trouble, took a long long time to see behind the women at what was inside. She would call at all hours, tell us how we never loved her, etc.
She was a bully who enjoyed what she did, not saying this is the same as your mum, but sounds similer. Guilt, how much do you want, took me 30 odd years to say enough is enough.
You cannot blame yourself for reaching that point, the one thing you say that comes across is you will not let it affect your son, kids pick up more than you realise, the longer you let the bullying continue the more harm it does to you and your family. Sometimes you need to walk away for your own sanity, speak to your gp, and let him know you need a break, at least several weeks, he should be able to help sort care for your mum with social services. Then step back and take a long hard look at the situation and its affect on you and your family, there are no hard and fast rules for alcoholics who suffer with mental health problems, i used to say its the alcohol talking, she does not mean it, i was wrong, she enjoyed it, and felt it gave her control, i no longer feel guilty for walking away and saying enough is enough. My heartfelt wishes go out to you, when you can step back and look at it from a distance, you will see the answer and the way forward.
Some good advice here. Very nasty situation, but ultimately you are the person with the power here, not her, I suspect she is using emotional blackmail and upping the stakes when she finds it is ineffective in a final attempt to establish power and control - a sort of battle of wills. You can either use your own power to negotiate a desired solution, or pull out completely. Either way, clear markers need to be set down - no carer - no person - should have to tolerate this kind of abuse from a family member, and you are completely within your rights to hand over to social services and walk away. Good luck, and well done for sharing your situation so eloquently and calmly.
Hi Lina,

Well done you for being so open about your situation, I'm having sort of similar problems but can't get them out yet.

You've already had lots of good advice here and I'm sure you've got an idea about your next step. You need to consider your responsibilities and prioritize them.

1. You. You need to take care of yourself or you will leave yourself unable to care for anyone.
2. Your son. nuff said.
3. DaughterMother relationship. Do you still have one? I would guess it wouldn't have deteriorated as quickly if you weren't acting as carer too.
4. CarerCaree. Are you still able to give the best possible care to your mother?

Something has to give before all is lost.
You talk about walking away and that isn't the worst possible scenario. Carrying on with things the way they are now is.

Lots of people walk away. I dismissed my mother many years ago. After an attempted reconciliation (about 10 years ago) I realised she was a stupid, ignorant horrible person. I haven't regretted it, but I have been blessed with an angel for a Stepmother.

As I have recently found out, you might not find the answer on these forums but help, love and support is overflowing.

Whatever you decide to do, remember, you're right.
Hello Lina,

New year, new start................definately new ground rules for your mother.

My mum died in January 2006 having suffered many years with dementia. Dad thought she was "being stupid" and kept on drinking. OH and I retired to the old family home to care for them both, despite OH already being disabled in an accident...................Four years on, OH has had five cancer ops and we are in a LA ground floor flat, dad is in sheltered housing in the same town on the other side of the river from us.

Dad receives personal care daily from the LA homecarers every morning to get him showered, dressed and breakfasted before his medication. I do everything else for him, but on my terms. He used to go to daycare which let me do the housework while he was out, but it cut into his drinking time, so stopped it. I cook for him daily along with us portion it into containers and freeze it, transferring it to his freezer when I deliver his shopping or go to do housework. When his attitude gets out of hand I just walk away................returning when it suits me. No longer have the calls in the middle of the night because he has fallen as if he is on the ground he is too heavy to lift so last twice he was in hospital as he fell drunk and hit his head.

Social services occasionally phone to say they are short staffed and can I cover a carer shift, but the answer is always "No"..........as much because Dad doesn`t want me showering him, but he sees it as the thin end of the wedge that I may be left to do it all again.

Sometimes he even asks which "hat are you wearing today?.............carer or daughter".

I used to worry about what people think, but a dear friend told me "people who know you know better, people who don`t know you don`t matter".

I even surprised my self when dad announced on Christmas morning he wasn`t joining us for dinner with my friend and her family when my response was "OK", and not my usual tirade about him spoiling the day for everyone. The older parents get the more childlike they become in some cases, but that doesn`t mean the children have to take on the parental role and make themselves old before their time. You have your own important parental role to ensure your son is happy and not abused by his granny.

A carers assessment for yourself would also be useful, that way social services are aware of the situation from your point of view and you have the right to be just a daughter if you want and let them deal with your mum`s day to day care.

Do not be afraid, you are not alone.

Take care
Meg
Lina,

You must do what is right for you. This is a very difficult scenario and any decision will be a difficult one. I wish I could help you more.

My little brother is an alcholic. When he has decided he is going to try to rile me, I just don't respond. He can be nasty and I just tell him it is sad as deep down he is a lovely man. If I send him love, it seems to destroy his plans of anger. Don't know if that may help in the meanwhile?

Good luck and sending thoughts and wishes to you xxx