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I am caring for my 79 and 80 year old in-laws. I take care of them 7 days a week. My daughter-in-law is also here, which I am so thankful for because I can go to the store and shop like a normal person instead of running to get my groceries at an olympic pace. My ex, whose parents I care for, works a job that requires long hours, and in some cases, weekends. Usually, it is only one weekend day. However, "Don" always manages to "need to go to work" both weekend days (and yes, he is at work - he's a workahaulic). Point is, he will not spend an entire day with his parents -it's too hard (his dad is on hospice, his mom has alzheimers). However, aside from having a break when I take mom to the doc and a volunteer from hospice is here for dad, I'm the only one who takes care of them. Don is no help at all. In order to snag even a few hours at all, I have to check with his "schedule". This morning, Don had a choice to work or not to work and I kind of hoped that maybe, just maybe, I'd get a real breather. But no, Don HAD to go to work, for at least 3 hours. I was soo pissed. I didn't yell (I can't - Don can't take it right now), I was quiet. Don could tell I was angry (come on, folks - these are HIS parents, not mine), and when he asked me why we couldn't talk when I got "like this", I sweetly replied, "I'm a bitch." He just huffed out the door. The times I tried to talk to him, he would tell me I was just bitching at him and he can't handle it with the new job and his parents ill (I know, I was working 2 jobs when my dad got sick), and it's like I'm supposed to just baby him, but my needs - I feel like hired help without the pay. If I were having sex with Don (which I wont anymore) - I have to sleep on the couch 7 nights a week with a baby monitor in case Dad needs help during the night - Don cant, he HAS TO GO TO WORK. Anyhow, the bottom line is that if we were having sex, I'd feel like a maid/whore. Now I just feel like hired help. I wait on his parents. I have to schedule time off. I am not allowed ot get angry. Allowed - can you believe that?! NOT ALLOWED!!! I didn't know I needed to ask permission to have any emotions! I need input. I can't leave, I have no place to go, my daughter-in-law is living with us until my son comes home from Iraq and she is 6 mo pregnant with their first son ( and my first grandson...), I am on disability, so my income is limited. In other words, I am screwed. Any suggestions as to what I can do to stay calm and not want to bounce hard objects off Don's head?
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Hello Sharon:

I know the feeling... How do you get it through their heads??? Yet, others, seem to think it is okay if we care-givers never get a break or have a future for some reason. So, during this care-giving time, it is very important to plan ahead and use this time to improve, understand and care for ourselves...

It is also helpful to take time to write down your feelings in a journal. This will clarify the major issues. One issue that I am hearing is that Don doesn't show much respect for what you are doing for him and his parents. It is a common issue with many of us in care-giving situations and perhaps the most aggravating...

Also, it is good to start setting boundaries with those that will walk all over us. Set some time aside for yourself and tell Don in a reasonable tone that you need an hour or so a day. Make it convenient for Don during the evening when he is normally home or in the early morning before he goes to work. He should be agreeable to that and from then on make sure that you are flat-out unavailable during your times of the day. And, stick with it! Use that time to go for a walk, journal or, perhaps, take up meditation or yoga. I have found, on occasion, that it is interesting to just sit back and watch what happens when we begin to establish boundaries. There will be resistance from Don, but don't let it anger you - just keep dogging him! - and don't back down!!!

Once you start getting time away, you will truly began to feel empowered. Next, you can work towards a whole day off. If he starts to get upset, tell him calmly that he does not need to get upset, you find that ineffectual and walk away. Keep us posted. And remember, after all, he would be lost without you!

Good Luck and Take Care, Glenda

[This message has been edited by glenderella (edited 10-16-2005).]

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