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relationship with caree breaking down - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

relationship with caree breaking down

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
"On the other hand, he wants me to be his safety net and interface with the NHS/SS as he has always avoided "authority" and will simply tell them whatever they want to hear in order to get rid of them. Then he expects me to sort out the resulting mess.

And it's that - being handed a mess to sort out due to his behaviour. That. That's what does my head in. That's why I want a bit of control. "

Just stop sorting out his mess for him then. Say no to him.

He's being like a teenager - wants all the privileges of 'indepdence' without any of the respnosibilities (eg, the midnight phone call to say he's missed the last bus home and hasn't got the taxi fare and can you come and pick them up form the night club!!!!)

I'd call his bluff.

You mention PTSD and childhood - if he gave you a crap childhood for whatever reason, then if you give him a crap old age in return, he can hardly complain. (Well, he will, but the point is you won't care!)

Think through the worst that can happen to him, and if you can live with that, go for it.
This probably doesn't help much but - SNAP! I feel the same about difficult mother. 2 things I've picked up from elsewhere that do help me cope, as well as the wonderful and necessary advice of other posters on this forum, of course.

Firstly, FOG. Fear, obligation and guilt. That's what we are made to feel. We feel those things because of all the stuff loaded on us since childhood. We probably took way too much responsibility for other people's stuff from an early age. I learned not to do it with my own children - they are v independent and capable as adults - and I don't get burdened with other people's stuff at work nor in my relationship with husband. However, my mother is a different story - AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

I also read somewhere about how some people can push your "hot buttons". It's a kind of passive aggressive game they play - whether entirely intentionally or just part of elderly cognitive decline, who can say. Either way it can be dangerous for us. This sounds quite lame now but it's worked for me countless times. When mother has just done/not done/said/not said something provocative I imagine a control panel in my own head and say to myself "no buttons for you today, mother". Then I do a little "phew, lucky escape" dance.

As long as you're there on the end of their string they can play yanking you about to their heart's content. Being cold in winter and having dodgy wiring are v v v v v hard things to ignore. Yet carers can and do die of our own stress-related illnesses. The solution? Who knows but sharing the problem helps maybe. Your posts made me laugh out loud in places. Laughing helps.
Well, I've told Dad that I'll charge him for attendance to sort out the electrician/plumber etc. I don't need the money - it's more of a marker. Social visits not included, of course.

This last week I've been round once with electrician, once with my plumber and now, today (while I was in the middle of something else important - always the way!) had to dash round to let landlord's plumber in.

I'll have to come to terms with the ritualised speech (the same phrases repeated from day to day), forgetfulness, vagueness and tendency to start talking over me, as he forgets to listen and is really talking to himself. I can ignore the constant complaints that "I'm not myself lately" or "I can't give in to this; I must get better" or "This is all very sudden. I wonder if it's to anything to do with old age?" (he's nearly 90.) I have tried telling him it's not at all sudden and it's been going on for nearly 9 years, but he doesn't listen. These ritual patterns of speech are really to himself. He hardly really communicates at all, in terms of any meaningful conversation. If he tries, he loses track very quickly and starts fiddling with something.

There's not really that much to do. This week has been odd. Mind, it really doesn't help when the plumber asks how long it takes the boiler to shut down after it's been re-started! No, I don't leave here. Yes, I could ask the care assistants to check, if it's important. No, I'm not going to ask every care assistant to increase the boiler pressure every visit. I don't think they're trained for that sort of thing. :P
Your Dad is so lucky to have you. It's not unreasonable to charge him for the time you spend sorting out avoidable problems.
I found juggling elderly parents' needs was so draining and time-consuming I had to give up my successful professional career. It meant my stress levels were easier to manage but it has made me much worse off in purely economic terms.

My Dad used similar "self-talk" to yours. I wonder if they are making themselves carry on living, despite daily struggles. He's doing well still to be in his own home. Don't underestimate the cost to you, hamsterwheel. When your Dad eventually dies you'll look back on this time and wonder whether you were the daughter you wanted to be. Tell yourself daily that you ARE doing your best - but v good idea to get objective feedback to help make the best decisions right now and save regret in the future.

No detail, no matter how small, is too trivial to share with fellow seafarers!
I would develop answering 'ritualised' things to say....eg

Him: I'm not myself lately
You: Oh dear, well, maybe you'll pick up again in a day or two.

Him: I can't give into this, I must get better.
You. That's the spirit, Dad! I'm sure you'll see it through.

Him: This is all very sudden. I wonder it it's to do with old age?
You. Well, you are 90, Dad! You've done incredibly well to get this far!

The idea is to be 'vaguely sympathetic' and confirm what they've said, as confirmation is what they want. Or to be vaguely encouraging in a 'Gosh, 90 years old and still got your own teeth!' (or whatever!)

It may sound a bit 'patronising' but the key thing is to 'echo'/reflect them, tell them what they want to hear, and have a 'pat answer' you don't have to think about, commits you to nothing, has the least 'irritation' quotient for you and is simply a 'phatic' response that actually means nothing at all. DO NOT get into debate, LET ALONE disagree! No point at all, least of all for your blood pressure!
:lol:

thanks, Jenny. Funnily enough, I started down that road today, before I read your response. I just need to get used to it, I guess.
It comes easier with practice. Be kind to yourself, you are doing your best in difficult circumstances.
Glad it raised a smile! :)

The trick now is not to let him push your buttons, and to 'float' across it, as best you can. He's looking for reassurance (because it's probably pretty scary being 90, when you think about it - the hour glass is definitely emptying by then!), and I would say your role now as a daughter is to provide that reassurance in the way that he craves it.

Can you spend any time with him 'draining his memories' so to speak! I did this with MIL while she still could, and got as much 'family history' off her as possible, including going through old photo and getting names and dates and places down as much as possible.

In a way, I think as people get 'very very old' it is comforting for them to look back and think of all the things they've done in their life, and feel they have come 'full circle' perhaps.??
After all, they have little to "look forward to" and can only "look back".
We recently attended the funeral of my sister in law, which included pictures of her through life. I was fine until there was one of her at my in laws house, when it was hot and sunny (1976!) she was very pregnant, baby due any minute. I was a little bit pregnant, my husband looked handsome, his parents were still fit and well. That photo made me cry - I cowardly didn't look at any more - I was the last one left, we were all so happy then, with so much to look forward to. Both our "bumps" are now over 40!
I also remember my grandmother saying sadly she was "the last one left" of a family of 12 children, she was the youngest except for her brother who went to New Zealand and she never saw him again.
I suppose I'm saying he might enjoy going through photos, might not. Even asking who it is on a photo might upset him, but might be an opportunity to share happiness with you. Tread carefully.
jenny lucas wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:20 pm
Can you spend any time with him 'draining his memories' so to speak! I did this with MIL while she still could, and got as much 'family history' off her as possible, including going through old photo and getting names and dates and places down as much as possible.
I tried that, about 5 years ago. Unfortunately, my father is always vague about such things (has been all his life) and any information he gives is unreliable. I always had the impression he didn't like his family much. :cry:
In a way, I think as people get 'very very old' it is comforting for them to look back and think of all the things they've done in their life, and feel they have come 'full circle' perhaps.??
He quite likes remembering being in the RAF for a few years. Apart from that, his favourite memories are all distinctly dodgy by subject - the Irish employees in one firm all supporting the IRA, or having friends in the main criminal gang in West London, or not giving anything away to the police under interview, or the way one friend stole from the firm he worked for the longest, or... well, a wee bit different to most memories. ;)