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Walking away entirely - anyone done this? - Page 4 - Carers UK Forum

Walking away entirely - anyone done this?

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Oh dear not a martyr,
Please don't leave. I read Mrs A's comment as maybe your​ parents have settled to a better extent, can continue without your constant input. This forum is not judgemental on any thoughts and decisions made.
Also, you have helped others you know. It's so much easier to cope with the negatives in life, whatever they are, knowing you are not the only one who feels the same.
So, please reconsider staying. For yourself and others.
I believe that ultimately, we are all responsible for our own happiness.

I shall always love my youngest son, but he has severe learning difficulties which means I can't care for him full time. So I've compromised, and I'm happy with that. Not happy of course that he has SLD, but happy that he has his own home which he loves, he speaks to me every night, and comes home alternate weekends.
I loved my mum dearly, really miss her, but we had totally different personalities. She told me that when I was growing up, she had visions of me in a smart suit as a solicitor. Instead, I married young, learned to drive a steam roller, motor bike, shipped steam engines round the world, I even ran a national lorry club for many years.

All the time balancing all this with bringing up a family, and caring for increasingly elderly frail parents.
There were two significant days when my son was young and at his most hyperactive, that I drove away from home to go shopping, and nearly never went home again. I knew then that I was too tired, it was all too much, and gradually started to learn how to be kinder to myself, as well as demand more help from Social Services.

I'm sorry you were feeling really bad last night, the Samaritans are always there when everything gets too much, but it wasn't fair to blame someone on the forum for tipping you over the edge.

Have you thought about going away for a few days, by yourself, to get completely away from things, and listen to what your head and heart are telling you about the current situation? I find this really helpful, especially now I'm widowed and have no one close enough to share my real feelings with, apart from my counsellor.

There are no rights or wrongs when caring, everyone is different. It's really important that you set your own boundaries, working out what you can, and cannot do. What makes you happy, gives you personal contentment and satisfaction? For me it's sewing and gardening. If you can get more "good" stuff into your life, the "bad" stuff becomes more bearable.
Things do sound harder in black and white don't they? If you were chatting away, we could qualify our comments if you appeared upset, and/or clarify them? I do understand. I used to call my father every morning at 8am to prompt him to take his tablets.This got to the stage where my whole day was ruined as he was so bitter I would not step in and care for him - I was caring for my much older husband.

I agree with the comments that you have to put yourself first. I did not visit my father in hospital and he died there. Partially because I do not drive but also because he was so truly horrible to me the night that the GP had him taken into hospital, I could not face him, and was going to go with a close friend. He has also said when in hospital that I was his carer and lived over the road and i had to let the staff know that this was NOT the case. He also said that I had to cancel my next cat show as my job was to take care of him.
Would you feel guilty if your father died in hospital and you had not gone to see him? I do not although I feel sad.
You sound very depressed and if you need time to rest and recoup and gain some strength back. I for one would never judge you for walking away but if you do, then please write to the GP saying that your father if allowed home, is a vulnerable adult. I had to do this with my father as no way could I step in and care for him.
You main responsibility is to yourself - your health and your happiness. I am sorry if this offends some and sounds selfish.
Just to say I've nearly left this forum several times! (I might call it 'flouncing off' in my case!). In the end I took a deep breath and stayed. .

We are all 'emotional' here - it goes with the territory. Things pass.

Our relationships with our parents are so often very, very fraught, and they are very 'long-term'. They've been there all our lives, after all.

In my own situation, I acknowledge that a MAJOR part of my 'anger' when I 'inherited' my MIL needing me/my care, was that I felt 'OH dear God, here we go AGAIN! Another person 'collapsing' on me!'.

Though I loved my mother fiercely and devotedly and incredibly gratefully (for she and my father taught me how to love, even though they did not love each other - rebound marriages for both of them, sadly - war generation - they loved me and my bro totally), she was very 'difficult' to grow up with, having huge MH problems. I was her emotional carer, and often her physical one too, as in 'she took up my time'. I could make no decision about my life without thinking of the impact on her. She sought her happiness in me (and my bro). (etc etc, I know I'm not the only person here with 'needy' parents in that sense, however loving they were, parents we have to 'parent' ourselves.)

So that was the 'mindset' that instantly descended on me when I realised, to my horror, that my MIL was utterly depending on ME to look after her, and there was just no one else to help, or share, or consult or anything. It was just going to be 'me and her' for the rest of her life....for years, and years, and years. My life would STOP to keep hers going.

So I do understand the rage! And it was not as if my MIL was a 'horrible person'. She isn't - she's lovely, and has been a great MIL to me for 30 years, helped me through the nightmare of widowing, and so on. It was 'just' that she needed someone to look after her as she got dementia.

It's that 'dependency' that is so 'unbearable', and if you add in any 'dysfunctionality' into the mix, any 'bad behaviour' by the parents - Helena's father sounds appalling, for grim example! - then the whole caring business can just go down through a hole in the ground.

In the end, personally, as I've said before, the KEY determinator into whether one is going to do 'anything at all' for ones parents is whether they were good parents in the first place. If they weren't, well, this is karma-time come round then, isn't it? We can be sad they were lousy parents to us, but not guilty that we don't look after them when they decide they need our 'service'.
PS - by 'lousy' I don't mean things they couldn't help, like MH or physical infirmity, but things like selfishness and narcissism (and sometimes down right cruelty.). The 'nasty aspects' of someone's character being dominant.
Hi - how are things doing now, a couple of days later?

Have things settled down at all?

Sometimes, when there is a family 'whirlpool' near us, we just have to stand back, and not get sucked in.

I do this myself sometimes. My brother and SIL have 'complicated' lives, and whilst sometimes I'm fine - and even enthusiastic! - about 'diving in' when I visit them, I also know that there comes a point when I have to say 'Enough!' and wade out of the swirling emotional waters.

Kind regards, Jenny

PS - things usually do seem a little easier, and more 'copable with' in the bright light of day. Late nights (and pre-dawn sleeplessness) are so often the darkest times.
I do hope you are OK. The important thing is to know yourself and what you are able to do. I am angry with myself at the moment because I have had to say to other relatives that I can't continue to do as much for my aunt. I wasn't doing nearly as much as others on the forum but I had reached the limit of what I was capable of. That's all that you are doing. Take care.
Jessie, I hope that triggers your aunt into finally paying care-workers to come in and help her!

I agree that there comes a point when we just know we can't do more.
Agreed. Some carers have been driven to a nervous breakdown because they tried too long to do it all alone, often, I suspect, because the caree didn't want anyone else involved.
Frailty is the price paid for old age. It's no one's fault, it happens.
Increasing frailty needs increasing help, until the kind help of one person just isn't enough any more. Care cannot be forced on someone against their wishes (sometimes I wish it could). Carers cannot be forced care either.
According to my eldest son, "If you don't look after No.1, then you can't expect anyone else to either". It's taken me over 60 years to realise this, but it's true.
Hospitals are only truly interested in carers as a means to getting their hospital beds back, they will say and do whatever it takes, as they are under extreme pressure.
Social workers are also under extreme pressure, so they then transfer that onto carers if they can. Especially if the client has under £23,000 which means their department will have to pick up the tab if they can't coerce a carer to care.
Refusing to care, under such pressure, is incredibly difficult. Ultimately, like it or not, elderly vulnerable adults are the responsibility of Social Services, not their relatives.

Im sorry I haven't read other peoples replies so sorry if my reply overlaps but it seems to me you are a very sensitive kind person. Of course you love your parents and want the best for them as deep down they want the best for you. My mother is very demanding and once a few years ago when like yourself I was working long hours in a stressful job and trying to help her, I just broke down in tears and explained to her I couldn't keep up. That I wanted to provide her with the best care but I was so overwhelmed, my mother is by no means selfless, but I think she didn't realise just how much pressure her demands on me was causing. She said when you feel this way just say to me you are going away for a few days holiday abroad and we will pretend you aren't available. Well it didn't last but it did make me feel better that she offered and that she simply hadn't understood quite how much pressure she was putting me under.

What I'm trying to say is could you have a real heart to heart with them and say you want them to be happy that you try your best but could you come to so compromise? Ask is there some arrangement they could live with where you need not be on call all the time? That sometimes when you visit your mum you just go for a coffee and you, yourself don't do any caring. Maybe you go to a gallery or knit together or maybe she tells you stories from her childhood. Also distraction is a great tool with both the elderly and children, if a conversation gets too difficult just say " ooh is it hot in here" " oh did you hear a funny noise" just something to change the subject.

My worry is if you cut them off you will punish yourself later in life and I want you to be happy and I want them to be happy. If you liked them once you can find that like again. Try and share things that make you both happier. Maybe they sense your with drawl and worry you will leave them, which will make them more clingy.

Please be super kind to yourself, take proper breaks and keep the lines of communication open with them, the carers and your friends open for as long as possible. May I wish you the best of luck. Whatever you choose you can change your mind at anytime and remember whatever you do, you are a good person.