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New and exhausted! - Carers UK Forum

New and exhausted!

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Good Morning

Not like me to post anything on a forum - I'm a 'coper' - but feeling pretty desperate today.

I have been looking after my Mum since January 2015 - well actually I have been looking after since I was 11 but that's another story. Mum has suffered various oral cancers since 1986. Lots of surgery and finally, over Xmas 2014, radiotherapy. She is 79, now completely nil by mouth, and a few marbles have left her mental bag so to speak. She is very vulnerable to infection - pneumonia, ears, tummy etc etc. We only seem to go a week or so between infections.

So - why am I now so low? On Friday we visited a large London hospital to see a Macmillian Speech and Language therapist, as arranged by Mum's consultant. She took an instant dislike to me and was very put out when I took exception to her discussing her budget issues with Mum instead of discussing the issues Mum is having with her body and health. That speech and language therapist has made me feel completely worthless and like I'm getting it all wrong. It was like being under some kind of Nazi interrogation. Yes, I can complain, go to PALS, but eventually she was extremely good with Mum so I am reluctant. So i'm just sucking it up but it has made me feel like I am doing it all wrong.

So after the appointment Mum asked to go to the big Marks and Spencer hypermarket nearby. Mum loves to shop now (apparently this is what attendance allowance is for and as it is paid to her there's nothing I can do). She had a great time and then tackled Sainsburys after. We then went home happy and she was great.

Then 2am in the morning she woke in agony. 6 hours of negotiations with 111 and emergency doctors later, finally someone came out. Severe ear infection. Doctor was good but couldn't believe that mum was fine the day before. Inferred that I had missed something. So no sleep for two nights as I watch mum like a hawk. Now just waiting for GP practice to open tomorrow because Mum is so poorly.

My relationship with my Mum has never been good - my brother is the Golden Child and I am the Scapegoat. There have been periods in my life where I have cut all contact with them for my own well being. My brother is currently living in Mum's home for £100 per month (including bills) and has only visited 4 times in 7 months (he's 1.5 hours away). She gives him money, and because he has just been away on holiday this week, she has been vicious to my husband and I. I have given up my career twice to support Mum. Apparently this is my duty and my choice/fault. And I do agree that my Mum is my responsibility but I just wish she was also my brother's responsibility and I could have some time off! I have reminded him of this once which resulted in him not visiting for 18 weeks and me getting hell off Mum.

My GPs are great and I am going to make an appointment to speak to them. Carers Assessment - never been offered. An assessment of Mum's needs - she's still registered as living at her home address which is another local authority to here so can't have that. Pay for someone to sit with her - not on carers allowance and she wouldn't have it anyway. She expects me to do it 24/7 because I get Carers Allowance and I only get that because of her. Stand up to her? She's so poorly and I can't cope with the guilt!

I am exhausted and so despondent. I feel like I am failing and that medical professionals think I am too. Completely alone (husband is good but it working all the hours to make up for my loss of income) and no practical support at all.

On a positive note Mum has beaten cancer again. But the price is so high (infections and nil by mouth) and selfishly my life has gone. Time with friends and my grandchildren vanished. Professionals seem to have their fleeting opinions but never see or ask how I am, the workload I carry out every day, or how truly vile my mother can be - it's like a sport to her - see how many days it takes to break me.

I haven't had a proper nights sleep since January, my husband now sleeps in the other room as I have to get up in the night to Mum. It's shit.

There is nothing that can be done or said. I've just got to ride it out. But at least I've told someone now.

Thank you for your time.

Keep going everyone.
Er, sorry, but WHY is your mother YOUR responsibility?

She isn't, actually, legally, anyone's responsibility but her own, or, if now lacking mental capacity, the responsibility of the state.

To be honest, I think you have done QUITE ENOUGH for her. Yes, she's very ill, but your life is important too, and if she's treated you as badly, or even half as badly, as you've described, she doesn't deserve your care.

Parents can be bullies- it's sad but true - and they can treat one offspring 'wonderfully' and another 'hideously'.

I think you and your husband deserve to sit down and plan to withdraw your care from her. She can live with your brother (in her own home), or in a care/nursing home, but you've done enough, and you've taken enough.

If she were grateful, appreciative and FAIR to you, then you might want to continue to care for her, but since she' isn't, then why on earth should you? Sounds like she's brainwashed you into making you believe she's YOUR responsibility - she is NOT.

Talk to your husband, and get your life back. Your mother's had things her own way quite long enough, and irrespective of her ill health, she's used up all your goodwill.

One of the saddest, saddest things about children who are bullied and brainwashed and illtreated by their parents is that they sadly continue to hope after hope after hope that if they do 'good thigns' for their parent, the parent will finally love them and say thank you. It never happens. Never. Please, don't go on letting yourself be so illtreated. How DARE she insult your husband, after all you're doing for her. How DARE she?!

You are NOT responsible for her! She does NOT deserve your anxiety over her!

Be strong, tell her enough is enough, and withraw your care from her. Tell the NHS/SS you are no longer involved in her care, and get on with your own life.

Grrr, on your behalf!!!! Jenny.
Thank you Jenny.

Not quite ready to give up yet - close but not quite yet.

You certainly hit the nail on the head. You just wish you could find the secret ingredient which makes them see you differently and be a parent. Think that ship has sailed however.

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

Enjoy this lovely Bank Holiday weather!

I hope I was able to show you your situation, and your mother, in a light that would, I think, strike anyone who read your opening post. It's desperately sad that your mother is the way she is (ie, a not nice person), but so it is. You're not responsible for her moral character either, and wanting her to be a good mother, however ardently you've hoped for it all your life, won't make her one - as you say, that ship has sailed. She has to face her own karma now, the one she's woven all her life, by mistreating you and, to be blunt, mistreating your brother as well - doubtless he's the selfish, spoilt-brat person he is now because of her bad parenting - doting on a 'golden child' is just as bad parenting as scapegoating the good, dutiful child.....

In practical terms, even if you aren't (quite yet!) willing to let her take the consequences of her years of mistreating you, and face her own karma, then why not still sit down with your husband and 'plan ahead' on a Plan B basis, that is to work out what will happen, and how, when and as (and if) you do finally choose to reclaim your own life, and wash your hands of your mother.

What are the practicalties of withdrawing your care from her? You say she is still registered to her own home, but that her son lives there - so where does she live? Has she moved in with you? If so, then I think it's a case of working out how to get her back to her own house, alerting her GP there, SS, etc etc, (oh, and your brother - on the other hand, he'll probably change the locks to stop her being able to get back in.)

You could, finances allowing, actually hire a private ambulance to take her home. You could deliver her to her nearest A&E. Or you could just insist she goes in your car and you drive her back to her house, get her indoors, and leave her there with your brother. (You could not tell her beforehand, if absolutely necessary)

Don't, for a moment, expect her to agree to any of this! The only thing she'll 'agree' to is you continuing to spend your life looking after her, while she insults you and your husband and, as you say, sees how long it will take to break you.

Don't expect SS to do 'anything' until they actually have to. Time and again on this forum we read of folk who had to withdraw their care from their elderly parents, in order for 'something to be done' - eg, removal to a care home (would that be an option for your mother? Financially, she will probably have to pay for it herself, if she owns her own home, though the house nowadays need not be sold to pay for care until after she's died - I think that's the case now)

I would think that simply planning Plan B with your husband will cheer you up. If we know we have an 'escape route' that we can resort to if we want, then it makes us feel less stressed.

I would also recommend standing up to your mother and having some 'show downs' with her. If she insults your husband, tell her to be quiet, and you won't listen to her. She's bullied you for years by the sound of things -another member here firmly recommends assertiveness counselling, to help you understand that you are being bullied, and why, and to enable you to stand up for yourself, decide for yourself what you will, and will not, put up with any more, and basically to enable you to take control of the situation.

If you do continue to look after your mother, it must now be on YOUR terms - and her behaviour has to change. She won't do it voluntarily - but if you tell her that she changes, or she goes home, she may change her behaviour.

All the very, very best with it - you've taken more than enough. Kind regards, Jenny