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TopamaxKillsMe 03-22-2008 06:05 PM

Am I a terrible daugher? Am I selfish? Am I a bad caregiver? Am I crazy?
I feel like I am.

I come from a very manipulative, dysfunctional family. I left Florida when I was in my early twenties vowing that I would never move back here. I lived in NY for about 7 years and then onto Los Angeles for 10.

My mother was diagnosed w/ Multiple Myeloma while I was still in NY. She lived with my father for practical purposes (even though they were divorced). My father died and neither of my siblings offered to help even though both of them lived in Florida. My mother's health deteriorated and I left LA and moved back to Florida to take care of my mother.

My background is in entertainment marketing and I have not been able to find a decent job here. I take little jobs that barely pay my bills on top of taking care of my mother. She doesn't carry any resentment towards my siblings even though she knows I do, especially my sister who has been horrible towards us both for years. I have told my mother that I do not want to see my sister and to tell me if she's coming over so that I can make other plans. She never does this so I end up running out in a tizzy last minute or hiding in my room, holding my bladder, thirsty until my sister leaves.

I have never been so miserable in my life . I feel that my mother doesn't appreciate anything I do for her. She is constantly telling me that she took me to the doctor when I was a little girl and that it's my duty to take care of her.

My duty. What about my brother and sister's duty? That's suddenly not an issue when she bends over backwards to get them to even come and see her let alone lift a pinky to help. My brother and sister have a house, retirement money and are doing a lot better than me. I have over 100k in student loan debt, credit card debt (much of which I've accumulated here), care payment. In LA I was making enough money to get by, here I'm just drowning and feeling very depressed about my future.

My mother's health has improved since I came here but she will constantly tell me to put her in a nursing home. Something I don't want to do because she doesn't have a lot of money in social security and I would imagine that she wouldn't be in a very trustworthy home. Plus she spends so much time at the cancer hospital. Who will take care of her?

I know this sounds really terrible but I am being honest here because it's killing me. I have ulcers, I have horrible neck pain, anxiety attacks, I've had epilepsy for years so I have my own health ailments that I'm trying to deal with on top of my mother. Sometimes, I wish she would just go. I know that if she did, I would be devastated and grieve for a very long time but I also know that I would feel this huge weight lifted off of me.

I feel like I'm suffocating.

Does anybody have any advice? I'm really going crazy here. I'm in therapy and he helps but not enough. Today for example I just wanted to get in my car and drive. Not pack, I have no money but just go...out of here, anywhere. I can't think clearly.

Phoenix 03-23-2008 04:47 AM

Re: Am I a terrible daugher? Am I selfish? Am I a bad caregiver? Am I crazy?
Hello T,

Your mother taking you to the doctor as a child was part of her parental responsibility.

Although it is cavalier to put others before yourself, doing so, in certain situations, could do more harm than good.

A famous actor once said that "a man's gotta know his limitations."

Today you have a responsibility to yourself; getting the necessary help for your specific situations.

Your mother has become your responsibility because you have chosen to make this so.

Is it the right or wrong decision; that truly is for you to decide.

In the grande scheme of things, if the current arrangement is worsening your symptoms, serious considerations may have to be made.

If neither your brother or sister will take the initiative, maybe a call to them may be necessary.

Remember that you are no good to others, unless you are good to yourself first.

Take care.


mary09 03-24-2008 06:32 PM

Re: Am I a terrible daugher? Am I selfish? Am I a bad caregiver? Am I crazy?
Hi Topamax,
I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma. First of all, you are none of the things you are asking about.....not a terrible daughter, not selfish, not a bad caregiver, and you're certainly not crazy. You remind me of my uncle at this point in time, some different circumstances, but same situation.
My uncle comes from a family of 10 children. He never married and remained living at home with my grandmother. My mom (his sister) lives overseas from him, and we do what we can to help. My mom flies back and forth every 3 months to try and give him a break, and spends hours every day talking with him so he can let out his feelings. There are 4 other siblings all living 10 minutes within him and my grandmother. My grandmother is 94 years old and is in late stage dementia. To make a long story short, I will say that I think its one of the most horrible ailments a person could have. Because he was living in the house, it just sort of "happened" that he became her caregiver. AT the beginning, everyone would come and go, but as things got worse, and she needed constant care, the visits grew less often, and the bitterness and resentment grew to the point where people cannot bare to be in the same room together. One of my aunts has not seen my grandmother in almost a year, and she lives about an 8 minute drive from her. I feel so sorry for my grandmother....her mind is just tormenting her. She is so old, that they will not even offer her care in a nursing home, the only choice they are being given is a mental hospital. The thing with dementia though, is that "sometimes" the person, can be themselves, and that's what makes it such a hard decision. My uncle goes 3 to 4 days with no sleep, has so many health problems now of his own, because he has put himself last. The thing is, his family allows him to do it. Some may say it's his choice, but if you're the only one who will do it, I dont think it's that black and white. Because when you're the last one there, you end up being stuck with the final choice of whether or not to care for the person. Very difficult and heartbreaking decision. I dont know what's worse for him, his exhaustion, his depression, or his bitterness at the family who continues on with their lives, and gives them an hour or two a week of their time while he lives this "hellish" life as he calls it. I guess I'm telling you this story because I know that you probably feel backed into a corner, and angry because you are there. You obviously love your mom, and I can tell you, if I was in your situation, I'm sure I would feel the exact same. Not every one would make this choice, and it says alot about your character. Unfortunately, knowing that you're a good person, doesnt help pay the bills, doesnt help feeling depressed, or doesnt help your anger towards your siblings.
What is your mom's prognosis? I'm sorry about her illness, truly I am, as my mother has had breast cancer twice, and this particular illness has struck my family so many times. Are your siblings open to talking about this? Can you sit them down and tell them you need their help? Make a schedule? If they are willing to come and visit her more often, you could get some time to yourself. Please whatever you do make sure you do not get 100% involved so that you absolutely lose yourself. In watching my uncle, it is easy to do, and not an easy thing to fix.
I wish you all the best with this and hope things will turn around, and you can get some help.
Keep posting, this is a great place for support.
****** :angel:

PunyDeb 04-10-2008 04:27 PM

Re: Am I a terrible daugher? Am I selfish? Am I a bad caregiver? Am I crazy?
Your mother will be better off cared for by caring strangers--they do exist--than by a daughter as resentful as you. Truth hurts. You did not indicate that your parents were abusive in your post. My late husband died of cancer. I am just now 50. I loved him every day of his life, and I would give anything to still have him in my life. I never resented a day of his care.

If you are not comfortable caring for your mother, don't. There are strangers who are loving and will do so. Call Hospice. They're wonderful.

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