Frustrated and grieving

Hi. Some of you might think I sound like a horrible selfish person. That’s how I think of myself a lot of the time. I am not so much looking for advice but I need somewhere to vent.

Up til a couple of years ago I rented a flat, went to work, had a normal life. I wasn’t well off but I got by and was ok. My dad got ill and my mum was never used to looking after other people. I ended up being at their house all of the time and had to cut down my work hours. I wanted to spend the time with dad while i could. Eventually I gave up the flat because it was not worth having to fund the rent each month when I was never there. After a hard 2 years, dad died recently.

Now I am left with mum. She has no diagnosis of any health problems at all. Yet since I have been at home she has come to rely on me to do everything in the house. I have had to do everything with sorting out dad’s estate, his clothes, everything . She just sits back. She will never even thank me or say the house is nice and clean, or the lawn looks nice when I cut it.

I know maybe she is grieving too in her own way but her and my dad did not seem that happy together most of the time. She was not kind to him during his illness and made some nasty comments, like he was just a nuisance to her. She has never been like a nurturing person, not even with me when I was young. That’s just how she is and she won’t change or take any responsibility for her life or for anyone else either.

I do some work part time and see friends of my own sometimes, but I feel limited now in what I can do. I worry about mum being ok but when I am home with her I just feel unappreciated. She takes me for granted so much. I don’t want to become resentful, like she seemed to resent my dad. But nothing would get done in the house unless I did it.

I just wish things would change but I can’t see right now what would be for the best.

Hi Donna,
Welcome to the forum, feel free to vent away.
You aren’t a horrible person nor are you the only carer feeling as you do.
You say you aren’t looking for advice, so I’m holding back on saying more, however, ask yourself one question, do you want to carry on as you are? If no, then we can make suggestions and you pick the ones you’d like to try.



Thank you Melly. No I don’t want to live the way I am living right now. Every day I seem to want to do something different, and I go through so many ideas. My head flits from one thing to another. I am all over the place since dad died to be honest, I kind of don’t trust my own judgement on things. I think losing a parent is one of those momentous things you have to deal with in life. I can’t seem to get past that.

At the end of the day it was my choice to move back home. I am glad I did, because it gave me that time with dad. But everything has changed now he has gone and mum just seems to drain me.

She was never houseproud but she is much worse now. For instance every morning I clean round the kitchen after breakfast. I always go out a few hours every day… When I get home I have to clean the kitchen again before I can start cooking the evening meal because she has left mess everywhere from being back and forth getting herself drinks, sandwiches and whatever else she wants during the day. Tbere is always crumbs, dirty plates and cutlery over the worktop. The cooker is a mess. She just leaves it all. It isn’t as if she is incapable. It drives me mad!

Thanks Honeybadger. You are right that she has shut down, but this is not really a recent thing. It has always been in her nature to ignore anything difficult and let other people deal with it. For example she would never come with me to see dad when he was in hospital. One time he was in for a total of 8 weeks and she refused to come with me that whole time. She wouldn’t even help by doing his wshing when i brought it home. It ws like she just passed all the responsibility for him on to me. She is a strange character in some ways but I feel it’s unkind of me to feel that way about her.

You CANNOT be forced to do ANYTHING for mum.

If she can’t be bothered to tidy up the kitchen after herself, then she needs to EMPLOY someone to do it for her. (I suggest taking a few photos “before and after” to show mum what she’s doing). However, it’s unlikely to change her behaviour, which she is probably incapable of changing at her age, it’s just the way she is.

It’s not “unkind” to feel that way about her. Sometimes it takes writing things down how you feel, honestly, that you can pinpoint the problem. (Years after my mum died I realised that she had agoraphobia. How did I never realise that all those excuses, it was too hot/cold/windy etc. were just a disguise?)

Bowling Bun, I agree she is incapable of change now. Also, you’re right that it can take a long time to see a pattern in someone’s behaviour even though you’ve known them so long. I spent much of my younger life feeling let down at crucial moments by my mum. It’s only this last 2 years I’ve come to understand it’s all about the responsibility thing. She just can’t seem to handle it. When her own mother was elderly and was becoming frailer, my mum left my aunt and uncle to do everything. So why should I expect any different? I keep asking myself what dad would say I should do, or what he would want me to do in this situation.

You should do whatever feels right for YOU.
We can’t change other people’s behaviour. Maybe think how you can live your own life, in a place of your own, and then but keep an eye on mum?
After my husband died suddenly, I just couldn’t concentrate on anything, and had to write important things down. I too would flit from one thing to another constantly.
Maybe think about writing things down in a diary of sorts. Look at all your options, the things you really like doing, the things you’ve always wanted to do, but never quite got round to, to start with. Then go away somewhere quiet, on your own for a few days. Sometimes it’s easier to think straight without the distractions of every day life. I’d recommend self catering, then it doesn’t matter when you get up, go to sleep, or anything in between. Listen to how your body is feeling, what it is telling you. I found this really helpful.

If there’s nothing wrong with your Mum except laziness and slovenliness then tell her she’ll have to get off her arse now and again and help out if she wants any of your help.

Maybe set up a rota, (you could weight it in your Mum’s favour initially and then gradually increase her contribution) for washing up, laundry, housework, cooking, shopping, gardening - I’m sure you’re well aware by now of how much you’re doing, but when you start to document it, it sounds like even more.

It’s time to stop this one-sided arrangement, no-one should be a slave or skivvy to a parent who just can’t be bothered.