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Hi Everyone

 

This 'issue' for want of a better word has been bouncing about in my heads for months and months and no matter how I try to talk myself into just forgetting about it, it doesn't work. So here it is in all its long winded glory....

 

Let me backtrack a bit and explain, my mother wrote me a letter before I got married (it was the first time I brought hubby with to meet her properly) and the letter pretty much made clear that she had looked after me for 16 years, so what do I have to say for myself. It cut deeply, but most of what ma said during that difficult time did. I took care of her by myself for over 8 years, as well as working full time and doing housework, errands, everything. The decision to place ma in frailcare was because I couldn't meet her needs anymore, and it put it mildly I was rather broken physically, mentally and emotionally.

 

So now I keep thinking about that '16 years' thing. Is that how its supposed to balance out, do my obligations end toward her once 16 years is up then - once I've 'paid off my debt to her'? I guess she never thought about that.  On the heels of those thoughts are the fact that my mother may not have wanted a child when she got pregnant with me (this is based on history and documents since found that shed quite a bit of light on things). She was having a lot of fun and didn't want the responsiblity (she wasn't a teenager, she was in her early 30's when she had me) A vague and disturbing memory has me going to the lounge where my parents were drinking and me asking my mother when she was going to stop drinking so that she could make me something eat. I don't remember how old I was, but I was apparently too young to make something myself.

 

The Social welfare services were going to take me away as none of my parents were working, after they visited my mother twice she went and got a job in order to make them leave us alone. There was also talk of adoption, which did not happen.

 

With that as a backdrop I reflect on her letter and if she really feels that I 'owe' her. From my perspective I didn't ask her to get pregnant with me, I certainly didn't want her drinking while pregnant with me, or smoking for that matter (she stopped smoking when I was about 17yrs) So who owes who here? I made her have to clean up her act and get responsible. When the tables turned and I found myself the parent and she  the child I wasn't resentful in the beginning. Obviously after a few years the resentment builds to epic proportion and her deeping needs and dependency on me even when she could still do a few things herself made it 100 times worse. Placing her in frail care was a train smash.. but it did finally work out and she seems to have grown accustomed, though she still says she doesn't want to die there. Sometimes I feel we are both resentful of each other and so where will there be healing?

 

These days I dread receiving text messages from her, there is always something wrong or something I have to do, or money that she wants. She complains bitterly that all her government supplied pension goes towards the frailcare and that money should be HERS to spend as she pleases. She doesn't get that full half of my salary goes just for what she needs and that sometimes that makes getting through the month very difficult. Trying to explain to her means a dull expression of "So?' I took care of you". Yeah, I think I brought myself up a lot during those informative years.

 

Resentment, the gift that keeps on giving, and giving some more.

 

Thanks for listening, I feel better getting that all off my chest....

 

Sq

May the best ye've ever seen, Be the warst ye'll ever see. May the moose ne'er lea' yer aumrie Wi' a tear-drap in his e'e. May ye aye keep hail an' hertie,Till ye're auld eneuch tae dee. May ye aye be jist as happy, As we wiss ye noo tae be.

May the best you've ever seen, Be the worst you'll ever see. May the mouse never leave your pantry With a tear-drop in his eye. May you always keep healthy and hearty Until you're old enough to die. May you always be just as happy As we wish you now to be.)

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Wow Sk, this is the first time you have revealed so much about your upbringing..I think many of us were born at times to our parents because it was the socially correct thing at the time.. My mom too, had tremendous difficulty in coping etc... fortunately with lots of difficult work my mom and I were able to resolve and heal these dysfunctions later on in our lives.. but it truly wasn't easy.

 

It is a societal belief.. conditioning that says we haver to do for them since they supposedly did for us...and many boomers today have bought into this belief system. It is we that have to change for they may never be able to do so. We must strengthen, let go, surrender and take care of our needs first so that we are better able to care for them.

 

It is also important not to see yourself as the parent.. unfortunately at times during the caregiving process we get hooked into it but we need to keep it in the proper perspective.. We have choices in any given moment how we want to view the experience and the situation.

 

I am including a link to Byron Katies three podcasts with Oprah Winifry.. while it addresses parenting etc and life, I think that you will come away with a deeper understanding the choices we have..

 

http://www.oprah.com/article/s...80811_oaf_oss_bkatie

 

let me know what you think... richest blessings angel

 

g

Hi SKwirl, Boy do I get what you are saying regarding a mom who was not there emotionally and sometimes physically. I too have had to make a choice to turn things over to my brother (although my mother lives on her own) there are still worries and concerns. I am sorry if this sounds cold, but people have to earn my respect, even parents. Sad that sometimes things aren't as we would like but this is called life and I put in decades of energy and received only abuse in return. Thank you for sharing your persoanl story.

Hi Gail

 

Thank you.... I checked out the article but haven't looked at the videos yet. I don't put much stock in 'self-help' people because I often find an individuals experience and learning doesn't always fit everybody... but no harm in having a look and gleaning the good.

 

Choices choices. I'm the first one to say we always have a choice, but I also know that you can be pressured into making a choice... either by well meaning people who need you to fit into the place they have set aside for you, or by not so well-meaning people that simply don't want to be inconvenienced.

 

With ma, I did feel as if it was just "expected". No-one thought for a moment that I would decide otherwise and half of me simply fitted in with that expectation. Family, friends not once did they ask "Are you going to?". I do recognise though there was a part of me that was determined to not leave my mother without help out of loyalty, and in a big way that she would finally properly love me - what I've been trying to get her to do since a young child. Well it didn't work. I got her to need me... but I'm not 100% sure about the love part. I pretty sure she does in her own way.. but its the kind of love that is 'taking' not 'giving'. Which in that respect isn't true love, love isn't selfish. I guess I'm still working that out.

Hi Onelifetolive

 

It doesn't sound cold at all! I completely agree with you. After spending yourself bankrupt in helping others the compassion and understanding for others selfishness gets worn very thin....

I have decided that I won't accept my mother treating me badly anymore. She was sending me loads of 'very unkind' text messages, and I finally wrote back that if she insists on hurting me like this I will not answer any of her messages. After several weeks of not answering her she finally got the message (no pun intended) and started texting decently again.  For eg - she blamed me for her getting divorced from my father  - now she is alone, regardless of the fact that he was an alocholic all their married life, beat her occasionally, spent all the families money on drink and made her life a living misery). Thats when I finally put my foot down.

 

These days I'm not going to break/bankrupt myself getting to her and attending to every wish and whim. Legitimate things I will attend to, the other stuff I ignore. She likes to exagerrate and make out that she is practically in prison (total lie) and that her life is total pits (it could be a whole lot worse). All that 'I want I want I want' stuff I just side-step. I refuse to be drained dry of all love and energy for my mother. She only does it to me too. Her niece that visits her semi-regularly is a 'star' and her 'favourite' and she would never dream of saying any nasty things to her. Me on the otherhand is the reason why she is there (not the MS at all of course) and I deserve to made as guilty as possible. Yes, I'm feeling rather sarky today....

 

Respect is most definently earned and I suppose getting that precious and fragile balance right between my mother and I is a work in progress .

 

Have a good day!

Sk

well said SK...

 

when I was in NYC this past month, I had the opportunity to meet with the aid that helped my mother  in the last year with me. It was an incredible meeting.. My mom has been gone almost 7 years and it seems as if it is only a few.. the aid, Juleen and I had become very close and she was working with me this time on my new business.

 

We reflected back on the times. It wasn't until the last few months of my mother's life that she was able to express unconditional love to me. Juleen shared how my mother was so hard on me but that my mom would have talks with her always saying nothing but wonderful things about me... but she had never told me all along.. there was a dynamic from that generation that existed where they just couldn't express their love appropriately.. they were from the depression etc and had lots of negative belief systems that they  had difficulty working through... even though she shared this after so many years, it was still further healing for me... it was good to hear

 

take care

 

gail

Hi Skwirl:

 

I do know where you are at. I too, was a “surprise” child and often wished for a mother that could show her love and acceptance. She had, as Gail brought up, lived through the depression and was also a second-generation immigrant. I do believe it was not that my mother did not love her children but that she did not, perhaps, treat us all equally and was quick to point out any imperfections.

 

During my caregiving years, I spent a lot of energy resenting the fact that my family seemed so unaffected by the different health concerns of my father. Furthermore, my siblings all lived out of state which further distanced us…  In addition, one sister did not talk to me for over five years and treated me very rudely. I was shocked when she did not come to visit our father during his final hospice care. However, when she passed away from cancer approximately a year after my father, I regretted the fact that our anger (stemming from birth) kept us from making peace during our lifetime.

 

Unfortunately, resentment can eat a person up and even possibly sabotage one’s own health. It also colors one’s perspective. I think it takes the conscientious removal of that “resentment” lens to gain more understanding of one another in this world and to provide more opportunities for healing. I say this because I know firsthand the damage resentment can cause and have been working on letting it go for a long time now.

 

Skwirl, you have a point about choices. I just heard a speaker on television saying that when she had to make a choice or decision, she would choose the one that is uncomfortable versus resentful. I get that now after many poor choices resulting from my choice to hang on to old resentments…

 

Anyhow, enough of my babble! Whatever you do Skwirl, don’t be too hard on your mother or yourself… We know how much your sacrifice really is and how thankless it can be at times. We are surely here for you. Remember to breathe…

 

Hugs, Glenda

 

I am not sure I did say that all that well, Gail. What I was trying to say is that it is really difficult to change family dynamics. And, from my personal experience, it doesn’t work well when anger is omnipresent. In my situation, it caused me great pain.

 

However, the boards are a great place to share feelings… I was just trying to say that I have been there Skwirl! In looking back, I wish I would have turned my thoughts and emotions toward acceptance and understanding by stepping back and trying to look at the situation from a different perspective.

 

Last edited by glenderella

I hope I didn't come off sounding too negative in my post. I guess what I was trying to say is (and this is reality for some) if someone close to you has been neglectful and or abusive and they now want you to turn the other cheek and help them because "they" are now vulnerable I don't believe that a body has to do anything for an abuser...I know, slightly off topic here, but things like this do come in to play in caregiving for a close family member sometimes. I turned things over to my brother because I was ailing from the stress of trying to care for the abuser. No. I cannot do that anymore nor should anyone have to do that. Unless of course they wish to and not out of

 

 shear guilt that has been laid on them. I reserve my tender loving care for those in my field and loved ones who are respectful...But that's just me. Again, don't mean to put a negative spin on the topic here, but it is part of reality and I understand a person if they are able to forgive the abuser. I wish I were that strong, but I am not. I am learning from all of the posts here and that is a good thing.

Hi Glenda. Gail and Onelifetolive

 

I do understand... though familes may appear at each other's throats on TV, when the episode is near the end they all show just how much they love one another.... If only real families worked that way.

 

I fully expect that even with a lot of time and effort my relantionship with my mother will never reach that "ideal place" where she gets me and I get her kind of thing. We may find peace but it will be relative I suspect. I also know I could never spend copious amounts of time with my mother anymore. 30minutes is enough to make me want to pull my air out, so I do the visits in small bits with is better for both of us.

 

Gail, I'm really glad that you did hear how much your mother really thought of you. All healing is greatly appreciated....

 

When it comes to abuse and having to take care of the very person who abused you - that is where I draw the line as well. Mother, father doesn't matter, with abusing their child they broke all bonds, disobey all rules and made themselves their own version of "monster". I have no compassion for such people, no understanding and no pity.

I once asked myself that what if the family on my father's side tracked me down because of my father and using familial obligation on me and guilted me into taking care of him in his old age - I decided that I would refuse point blank and if they called me "useless daughter" I would turn a blind ear and ignore them. He made his choices and no-one stopped him from his actions all those years ago, family or friend so as the ones who silently condoned his actions or simply didn't care they can take care of him because all they see is the good side of him. I think that's fair overall.

 

When all is said and done I have to be able to look myself in the eye and decide if I accuse myself or excuse myself. With stepping up to the challenge of taking care of ma, I can honestly say I did well. In taking care of myself during that time I was terrible, and now the tables must balance a bit. I wish to look back at this time and not regret... and that I suppose is the most tricky of all...I still sometimes have bouts of regretful feelings because of feeling just a bit used, but I hope those will decrease.

 

I hope everybody has had a good weekend

 

 

Hugs Sk

Hi Skwirl:

 

I have chuckled about your comment regarding TV families since you wrote it… I must admit an addiction to a couple of soap operas because of the family dramas and how they are all intertwined over the years. I just love the long-standing feuds! Pathetic, eh?

 

At least the soaps have a somewhat understandable plot whereas in most families the issues become so muddled and unclear over the years that it is very hard to return to a place where there is trust. It is hard to understand how parents can hurt their children; however, there are many stories which show otherwise…

 

I think your attitude is very healthy with regards to becoming a caregiver for your father. We have to know what our boundaries are and insist that others respect them!  I, too, credit you with the wisdom to stand behind such a decision Skwirl!

 

Hugs, Glenda

TV Families are way more easy to understand!

 

Finding that place of trust again is the really hard part, and I salute those families who have achieved it.

 

In other families (like mine) I guess all you can do is the best you can. Things aren't going to mend themselves, I certainly don't see a reconciliation between my myself and my father, but I may just be able to reach a comfortable arrangement with my mother - you never know

 

Hope everyone has a good day

Sk

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