Newbie help my mum is driving me mad

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Hi I'm new to this and feel I'm at the end of my tether. I didn't get on well with my parents growing up and although I have 4 siblings I am geographically closer so I have always been the rock since my older sister died (who was closer to them) My Dad died last year and Mum is 85. I have no problem doing things I.e I want to but I have got to the point where I feel I can't cope with her. my mum drives me mad and I feel I don't like her. I deal with it by keeping my visits short, taking my husband etc. My sister is dependant on Mum and I have recently had a massive row with my sister and so we are not speaking. The problem started with moaning mutterings while I had invited them out for lunch (neither of them drive). The mutterings and moaning is typical in fact everything I have arranged for mum has always been complained about this is from arranging a stair lift for Dad to having a blind fitted. It was my sisters anniversary recently of her death and I have never been able to go to the graveyard with Mum and dad in the past although I did used to do it but I found I couldn't see their grief while mine was inside me so I had to stop. This gave me great guilt and regret and guilt is a big feature of how I feel every time I walk out of my door I'm thinking mum would probably like to come. The other day I felt strong and offered to take Mum to the graveyard. All the way up in the car she drove me mad justifying and excusing herself for asking me to take her to the Hospital afterwards where my sister had an appointment. When we got out of the car she saw my flowers and said oh you've got some flowers have you - that felt so intrusive to me. We got to the graveside and she fussed with her flowers for ages and once she was finished I placed mine down and said I'm putting mine here. She immediately picked them up and I was really annoyed and repeated I'm putting mine there Mum! I hated her touching my flowers. Then she started saying about how long since my sister died and started to cry and I was fighting the emotion myself and I couldn't comfort her ( because I couldn't cry with her) then she stepped back and stumbled and I grabbed her arm to stop her falling and said Mum! She said don't be angry with me - her saying that bothers me because I feel found out as I do feel angry most of the time really. I felt the row with my sister which was totally out of control was my self destruct button being activated but now I know it wasn't and I'm scared of how bad I feel and don't think I am fit for this caring job and although I have asked my siblings and husband what to do it seems my only option is to continue. I'm not sure this is best for me or my Mum. Two siblings live abroad and one 2 hours away the other is dependant. I feel I must not expect anything from them and that this is my problem. My doc has recommended CBT I don't know if this will help I want a desert island at the moment and relief.has anyone else experienced this?
Hi - it sounds like you're having a really tough time of it. You can get a referral for an assessment of your mum's needs if you ask your GP. If the assessment shows she needs support then carers can come to her home for things like getting up, dressed, washed, meals, tablets, that sort of thing. Your mum needs to know you propose to do this in advance of seeing the GP, so you do need to have a conversation with her as calmly as possible. It really depends on what sort of care she needs. There's obviously a load of history between you and your mum which produces strong negative feelings which you both recognise. That makes things difficult for both of you and it doesn't sound like there's going to be any resolution of those feelings any time soon. CBT appears to be "the in thing" at the moment. As far as I can tell, it's available widely. It does have it's limitations in my opinion. It gets you to question how you think/react to things in an attempt to become more self-aware and perhaps change some of that thinking. Glass half full or glass half empty? As your feelings sound very deep-seated I would ask them if they offer any other services, even if you have to do the CBT 1st. A counsellor might be more appropriate so you can talk confidentially in depth.
One thought that occurred to me as I read your troubled post is that I wonder if some bereavement counselling might help you think through some of your tangled emotions in respect of your sister's death, and her relationship with your parents, and yours with them and her....

My local hospice offers bereavement counselling (free - but I know they always are grateful for donations), and you may find similar near you perhaps?

'Ordinary' counselling may also help of course, but there may be a charge? A friend of mine has counselling and it costs £40 a visit, so I know this is not cheap!
'Ordinary' counselling may also help of course, but there may be a charge? A friend of mine has counselling and it costs £40 a visit, so I know this is not cheap!
If you have been referred by your GP you can get a course of counselling sessions free. You only get 6 of course and if you want more, then there is a charge. Quite often larger employers will offer free counselling sessions too.
You can't be forced to care. It's as simple as that. For various reasons my role in mum's life was more care organiser, than care giver. Carers came in three times a day, to wash/dress/feed, whilst I'd sort out anything that needed sorting, money, the new fridge, raspberries that needed picking, the flowers etc. etc. First step for you must be a Carers Assessment, and a Needs Assessment from Social Services. Make sure you insist on a face to face carers assessment, which should be done entirely separately from mum. Why is your sister dependent on mum? Why does mum need a carer anyhow? No need to answer any of these questions if you don't want to.
Aaah Trimstone, I feel your pain. You definitely need a lot and lots of support. I can see you are about to brake. Loosing your older sister and dad is a very big loss. of course you wouldn't be able to carry on with Mum, now one is able to do that. As our fellow carer said, speak to your GP to get you some support, try the church community if Mum is/was involve in any. Girl, you need some strong support and am sure we all here will do all we can, every little help.

Big Hug!
Thank you so much for the replies and advice. A friend of mine said she had successful bereavement counselling some time ago and I feel a bit scared of opening up that wound which still feels raw even after 20 years but perhaps that is something I should try. I do remember the strong feelings of panic that I would have to be her replacement as far as my parents were concerned and that I didn't have the right relationship with them. My children helped when they were small as they were a distraction. I have always felt uncomfortable with my parents unless a sibling is present and then I relax. I had a past bad experience concerning a sibling in my childhood which I can't tell my mum about which is definitely causing this barrier with her there is nothing I can do about this. My husband says I'm a different person when I'm with my mum. I don't tell my mum anything about me it feels private.

Mum doesn't need daily care yet but she needs support with bills household tasks company gardening being taken shopping and the many doctors and hospital visits for fortunately trivial health problems she is type 2 but is being managed with medication. We live close by so she calls a lot and expects me to be 'just passing' so can I do this do that. She must be aware I'm feeling stressed but I assume she thinks she is asking too much of me hence the constant justification for asking me to take her here and there. My sister is dependant as she has no means and lives on benefits although she lives independently any social occasion lunch or shopping trip mum or us family pick up the bill. I have fallen out with this sister as I couldn't be spoken to badly in that way anymore while doing something kind for her. This has added further strain. I am at risk of falling out with all my family I feel. My closest sister insists it's too far for her to make a regular visit to mums yet she makes arrangements to see friends in the same area at the drop of a hat. I can't influence this or control this so it's hard to accept. That's why I say I can't rely on them and this situation won't change. My brother lives in Middle East until next year and does not call mum. Mum does not seem to worry about this as they all have a reason for not calling or visiting. Mum is going to my sisters in France for 10 days so that is good. That is the sister who was staying with Mum when we had to rush in to hospital to see Dad in an emergency and Mum called me to take her and my sister was still in her dressing gown when I got there and said she wasn't coming with us. It's the typical thing where the closest one gets all this and the ones that live further away get the niceties. I do think this problem is about me and I just don't know how or resolve it and worry about my health over this as well as being completely the wrong person to be helping Mum. I will investigate counselling further rather than CBT I think. In the meantime I will be seeing Mum today but my hubby has said he will be with me from now on although this isn't always practical. My stomach feels knotted already but I will keep trying. I'm fed up of moaning I want to be happy.
You won't be happy till you resolve this situation.

I'm going to be blunt - have you and your husband ever thought of simply moving further away, just like you sisters have, and so that would automatocally take you off the 'duty roster' for your mum. What then happens to your mum is not your SOLE problem, which it seems to be 90%.

You say your dependent sister on benefits is also living independently. That doesn't quite square! Where does she physically live? To be blunt again, she is the OBVIOUS person to look after her mother. She lives on benefits as it is, and so is I assume 'jobless' (is she looking after young children though, perhaps?). So looking after her mother would be an ideal job for her.....

It seems to me supremely ironic that of all the daughters your mum has, you are the one who has always found her the most difficult, and yet YOU are the one who is landed with her care!

I am very glad that your husband is so supportive of you, which I feel is essential for you right now.
Hi Jenny

We have thought many times about moving away like everyone else did but as work for us both is important we will still be closest so we feel we will just have further to travel to look after her. It may help if we move a bit further away though because I feel trapped in and always 'just passing' I will reconsider this. Yes I agree it sounds as if my other sister is ideal to look after Mum but only if she lived with Mum which she and Mum both don't want. She is not reliable and does not drive, understand banking, bills but she does show love care and company to my Mum she has no money for bus fares etc. Yes it would be a weight off my mind if she did live with my Mum though! I feel whatever I do wherever I go I will take this problem with me. Thanks again for talking it is helping a great deal:) Image
Hmm, seems to me your mum doesn't want your sister living with her, but is quite happy to rely on you instead....

In many families there tends to be a 'sacrificial lamb' who is the one on whom all the 'tough stuff' descends, and whom all the others in the family blithely assume will always go on coping with all the cr*p they don't want to handle.

I do get the feeling you have been cast in this role.

Trouble is, while you put up with it, all the others will happily go on letting you be the sacrificial lamb!

I know you face the dilemma of thinking (I paraphrase!) 'oh hell, no one else can do what I do for mum, because of all sorts of reasons that make great sense to them, and if I don't do what I do do for mum they won't get done, and mum will suffer....'

What does your mum think about you doing 'everything' and your siblings almost sod all? Or does she not care because she's glad (grateful even??) (the two don't always go together!) you are doing it, and she isn't about to rock the boat! It does sound from what you've said that she is aware at some level of the demands she's making on you, as you say that she always justifies why you have to do whatever it is she next wants you to do....

But but but but....the tough truth is that while you go on doing everything, everyone else in your family will blithely accept it. 'We get the behaviour we put up with' is a horrible truth, but true all the same, alas. We cannot rely on others volunteering to ease our burdens - we have to put them down, and walk away, and see what happens.

What, do you think, would actually happen if, say, you simply 'left' the scene? Can you describe what might be the reaction of your siblings and your mum?? (obviously don't answer if you don't want to, I'm only putting the question to try and challenge the assumption that seems to be made in your family that good old muggins - that's you! - will keep on doing whatever it is that you are doing.....'

I'm not saying it's going to be easy to 'rebuff' the role of sacrificial lamb because it never, never, never is easy to put one's foot down in life! But think about what would happen if you did put your foot down, and then you can explore the 'worst case scenario' and see just how bad it might be??