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New to the Forum but sort of not a proper carer any more - Carers UK Forum

New to the Forum but sort of not a proper carer any more

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Basically an overview of my life:
My mum is paraplegic and has been since she was 40 and I was 16, this was 15 years ago now.
Her condition is complicated and I can not even remember the name of it which sounds bad doesn't it :-??? It is not life threatening but she has a regular neurologist that is in charge of her treatment.
She also has also got Euler danlos, fibromyalgia and a few other issues.
Originally it was the other parental unit and myself looking after my mum, with me being in full time college.
Then my mum started to get use to her situation, enrolled in college then uni and life went on.
Then 8 years later and 4 years into my first permanent job (in the area I had qualified in) it was just me (with my OH of 7 years providing a supporting role) and a carer team was put into place for while I was working, I provided the rest of the care with eventually social services taking away more of the care hours and my OH covering when I was a work. Leaving me with just 2 hours on a Saturday or Sunday to do a food shop. I had to book 6-10pm off to visit my friends & godchildren at least 3 months in advance and my annual 4-5 day camping trip off 6 months in advance and it had to be no more than 3 hours away so no more festivals. They were determined to make me quit my job and make my mum blame me for the lack.

My mum & I ended up at each others throats half the time, she wouldn't ask my brother to help and was spending all her money on one of the carers and yet for increasing my rent further and further. I felt trapped with no social life at all, my brother becoming more and more abusive towards me on his visits and my mum now believed I was being selfish for not quitting my job.

My partner and I were planning our wedding and my mum even hijacked that.

Finally my mum did the ultimatum of you quit your job or I move into sheltered accommodation all on my 28th birthday plus just before my wedding that I was paying for with a loan because she had invited loads of extra guests, so I said no I am not quiting my job as I have to pay for "your" wedding.

Best thing to happen to us, after my brother attacked me on his next visit for being selfish (from the lad 17 months younger than me who has not lifted a finger for our mum unless alot of cash backed it up), both tried to ruin my wedding and after not speaking to my mum for 2 months after my wedding because of the abusive texts she sent to my super sweet OH. My mum had to then cope with the carers she was provided (far far more hours now) and bit by bit we started to get there.

She took the michael at first with my having to make multiple trips to her bungalow 30 mins away at stupid times at night to do daft things and occasionally still does, but now thinks before asking for McDonalds and never calls after 12 at night unless its an emergency.

She realises now after a scare that getting a heavily pregnant woman (me) to lay laminate in your bedroom, hallway and dining room one day by emotional blackmailing her is an extremely bad idea and actually takes breaths and listens to me occasionally when she is speaking :lol:

I lost most of my friends as a carer, also now have a toddler and still work fulltime so pretty much still have no social life but can pop to the shop when I want, we occasionally go for meals and I also have choices :)
I see my mum most weeks and I am her emergency carer, but it might I got to have my baby boy and he brings us all together xx

PS accept my brother, that little monster emigrated :D
And this is the woman you want to go on holiday with?
Just what I was thinking!
Hi again Cat
My apologies for being a bit short last night. I should have given you a proper "Welcome to the forum".
What a time you've been through. I am glad you have found a nice husband and have a lovely boy now.
What caring duties are you left with now?

Cat, of course you are a proper carer. Carers are defined by caring having a significant effect on your life. Surely that applies?!
Your mum sounds like a bully, who really doesn't care about anyone else as long as she gets what she wants. Have you ever had counselling, looking especially at your relationship with her? I'm very resilient and resourceful, but ended up on the edge of a nervous breakdown when in quick succession I had a life threatening illness, then mum broke her leg the day I had major surgery, I found my husband dead in bed 18 months later and 3 months after that had a head on smash that left me disabled, but with my mum still feeling sorry for herself demanding me to do all sorts of things for her when I was waiting for two knee replacements. Throughout it all I had a son with severe learning difficulties. Counselling made a huge difference, made me see that the only control she had over me was the control I let her have, and that I wasn't a little girl any more, where being "good" was doing what mum wanted. I learned how to say no, and how to set my priorities, so that I too could have a life of my own. It took time, not an overnight fix, but I think it might help you "manage" your mum a lot better.
Cat, it sounds like gradually you have learnt how to stand up for yourself, and resist your mum's overwhelming 'will' to make you her 'handmaid'

At 16 you were incredibly young to face this 'family disaster' of your mum's paraplegia and health collapse (and a dad who left, am I reading that correctly???). An age where you were very vulnerable to what might be called, perhaps 'imposed survivor guilt'.

When disaster or tragedy strikes a family, as it did yours, when illhealth or disability is involved, the 'healthy' members can react in different ways. Some, like you perhaps?, can feel 'responsible' as if you 'must' do everything you can for the disabled member, maybe because you feel 'bad' that it is them who are disabled, while you are hale and healthy. Or maybe, alternatively, like your brother perhaps, you can veer in the other direction, and think 'Nothing to do with me, mate!' and basically wash your hands of any hint of helping out.

I'm wondering too, whether there was that old toxic family issue - the 'favoured child' issue? So often in dysfunctional families (even without illhealth/disability involved in the mix), a parent can favour one child over another, and the unflavoured child gets all the cr**p and the favoured one all the goodies. Ironically - bitterly so often - it's the latter who does the least, who cares the least, who pays the least attention, who 'lvoes back' the least. While the former, the unflavoured, strives constantly to win the love of the parent that 'only wants' the other child's returned love.

BUT, that never happens .The favoured child never bothers with the doting parent, and the parent goes on neglecgting the child that forever seeks the withheld favour...a real toxic mess.

Sometimes, it is because the favoured child actually reminds the doting parent of themselves. 'They're so like me!' they think - not realising, ironically, that BECAUSE they are 'so like them' they are automatically as selfish and uncaring as a parent who dotes on one child and neglects another obviously is....

Anyway, no idea if this was/is so in your family - the good thing surely is that your waste-of-space bro is out of the picture and out of the country.

And, of course, that you called your mum's bluff and yes, she DID move into sheltered accommodation and lo and behold, you've got your life back. Hurrah - and hurrah for your lovely OH and kiddy. Your life is coming together and you WELL deserve it.

Please, whatever the relationship now with your mum, always remember - however sad, however tragic her paraplegia is, her poor health, they are NOT 'your fault'.

I know you're planning on a holiday with her later on, and I hope that works well for all of you - but I also hope that you and your OH get your OWN holiday as well at some point this year.

(Apols if none of the 'analysis' above has any relevance to you!)