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My mother won't help herself get better. - Page 3 - Carers UK Forum

My mother won't help herself get better.

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I know where you are coming from and I know that there isn't much that I can do, I just don't want her to pass away (it won't happen for a while but we know it is coming) and to feel like I didn't do enough to save her or help her!

My mother has always been a tricky woman- very opinionated and likes to play the victim. She is horrible to my father and me (well my guess is) because we are closest to her and she knows we will always be there. However it doesn't make it right...

It just really hurts and I feel like I will never have my mother back.
We can't save our parents from themselves. That's the tough, tough truth. We can keep hoping against hope that we can, that there is 'something', some magic wand' that we can wave if we REALLY REALLY TRY hard enough - but there isn't.

Acceptance is a hard thing to do.

If you look at the 'stages of grief' you will see that it comes last (long after anger and denial and other stages) -

One of the things that makes 'acceptance' hard, I believe, is that we often conflate it with the term 'agreement'.

We fear that if we 'accept' a situation that we are 'agreeing' to it. That we are, perhaps, 'approving' it. That it has our consent, our cooperation - our collusion.

But that is NOT what 'acceptance' is about. It is about recognising the 'external truth' of a situation, that is beyond our power to change. It's a kind of 'acknowledgement', a looking it in the face, almost, in a way, a 'confrontation without adversarial action'. We 'look' at the enemy (in your case, your mother's alcoholism and disability - and her underlying personality from what you describe - and all that goes with it), but we 'do' nothing. BECAUSE we 'accept' that there is nothing that we CAN do.

Reaching acceptance gives us a kind of peace. Not complete peace, obviously, for acceptance does not rule out regret and pity and sadness and, indeed, grief. You grieve for the mother you do not have, for the mother she 'could' have been, had her underlying personality not been 'warped' (and by what, I wonder? Though 'personality disorders', if she does have such, are complex and often unfathomable, and may not be related to life experiences - or maybe they are, no one ever seems to know!) (Look up Personality Disorders on the Internet and you may find resonances with your mum both pre-and post-alcoholism) (and what 'makes' someone turn to alcohol in the first place?).

But however 'limited' the peace one arrives at upon acceptance, it is better than the fruitless striving to help when help is impossible.

At 22 one can think the world can be changed (it would be sad if at that age you didn't think that!), and that by effort of will, by REALLY TRYING that you alone can make your family happy.

Accepting that you can't, that your mother is in a mental place you cannot reach, cannot affect, cannot change, is sad - desperately sad - but it is the truth, for all that.

That said......how actually the best way for you to behave when in her company, may be quite different. ie, being 'passive' (as 'acceptance' often seems to imply) may not, actually, be what you 'should' be doing? (This post is long enough, so I'll stop at this point!)

(Do remember I'm no expert, just someone older than you - loads older! - and 'just another forum member'. Take everything in that context. Some of what I say may 'ring true', much may not.)
I would hate to be horrible to my family. Under those circumstances, I'd just ensure she has what she needs, and forget about wants.
She won't take her meds and won't accept help. I feel as if she is slowly killing herself... and she has rejected all help the doctors and her family have given. She fell at the weekend and has fractured her rib (suspected) but won't even take any pain killlers for it. It is just not very nice to experience... I feel like if i grieve for her that I am allowing her to slip away (if that makes sense- it is very hard for me to explain how I am feeling).
You are grieving! For what you never had, a mother daughter relationship that you feel is ' normal'. It's very difficult because you feel in limbo. My circumstances are different to yours, but I'm going through ambiguous grief, for my husband who has vascular dementia and suffered strokes. He's in a nursing home slowly declining. My point is you must allow your emotions to happen, look after yourself, because you don't, you won't be able to cope, regardless. It's very painful and emotional. You are important!! You certainly deserve some life, for yourself.
Yes, definitely mourning/grieving. The more you can understand your own feelings at the moment, listen to them, and be kind to yourself, the better it is for you, and also mum.
Hi msmith
I had a friend who drank herself and self neglected herself to death over several years. It was absolutely heart wrenching to see and yes there was little I, or anyone else could do. She had no family and refused all help and social services. It was very distressing.
Whatever your Mum is doing is NOT YOUR FAULT.
You have done what you can. You now need to look after yourself physically and mentally.Try counselling and http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk which supports families of alcoholics
Hi there, I would suggest you see your own GP and tell them everything you've just said here. At the very least, it's a good place to start and I'm sure they will be able to offer some help and good advice....maybe worth a try?
Regards, Phill