Wjen I was young my mum had major depression and other illnesses throughout my childhood. I found my role was to be the worrier and fixer trying to be a better daughter. To the extent that I became obsessional that if I didn’t do things better she would become ill. If it’s not Health it was her marriage woes I’ve never felt free whereas my brother’s role was to be independent and achieve for himself. She has never stepped up in pivotal moments in my life and now she is alone as my father died and she abdicated any responsibility for caring or sorting funeral to us children. Every time I meet her it’s abiut her never me and I now realise it has always been this way. The resentment and fact I don’t find caring for her enjoyable or easy is screwing me up. I feel she relishes being the doddery old lady I hate it! I feel bad that I’m not like other carers saying ‘oh my mum has always been there for me and now it’s a pleasure to return the favour!”
Welcome to the forum.
Well, yes, I’m sure there are carers out there who profess to enjoy the role. I think we have even had a few on here but for the majority of us it is not something we find easy. Even those of us who have a complacent, co-operative and grateful caree feel exhausted, desperate, anxious, trapped and resentful. Also lonely, and guilty. All of those feelings, and more, come with caring.
Caring is made even harder when the person you care for is not someone you like very much and with whom you have never had a close, loving relationship and who doesn’t appreciate what you are doing for them or have a clue about how badly it is affecting you. Nor seem to ‘give a toss’.
Carers who find themselves in a caring situation which is destroying their own health and mental well being are often surprised and relieved to hear that actually, they don’t have to do it at all.
No one has to care for another adult, no matter what the relationship or the health of the caree.
There is no law that says anyone has to care for a parent, spouse, sibling, adult child or best friend!
You could walk away tomorrow, never see her again and get on with your own life. You could become more and more involved with looking after your mother until that’s all your life consists of. In the middle of those two is a path we could help you find which suits you. Any caring you do at the moment is because you have chosen to do it, (and understandably there are many complex reasons why).
You do not have to.
Keep posting. There will be lots of questions for you, all designed to help us help you. Have a think, How much do you want to do for Mum? I mean really want to, not feel you ought to. Could be nothing, and that’s OK. Could be a little or a lot. It is your choice.
Do you have any hobbies or not? I love reading and work part time. You cannot carry on anymore, that is obvious.
During my first year of caring, I secretly kept a diary (I wrote in it at night etc when everyone was in bed). I started to chronicle my emotions in it after my mom who is a licensed therapist suggested it once. This is a useful guide on what is available across all areas of Britain.
It is worth reading.
Think about what is best for everyone. If you do visit care homes, prepare well. This is a good source of information on British care homes, http://www.carehome.co.uk. Make a list of questions to ask and observe carefully. Read inspection reports too. Talk with care home staff. Make notes. Pay attention to your gut feeling. It is a big decision to make so arm yourself with information.
Welcome to the Forum. I think many of us feel as you do.
I cared for my mum until her death. And I felt frequently trapped, resentful, even bored. That is not to say that I did not love her but many of us are reluctant carers. It is why sometimes we need this Forum, so that we can let out what we cannot say in real life. There is a very good book on the subject too which might be useful:
I wonder if counselling might help you to decide how much care you wish to do for your mum? You have the choice not to care if that is what you decide, or to partially step away.
Anyway, I hope you find the Forum useful,
Agree totally with the previous comments . Your feelings are normal and this is a safe place to let off steam. I always slightly envy people who say it is a pleasure to care for someone they love! I do not love even like my husband but for me caring is the only way I can keep my home and my cats and I do my very best within the constraints imposed by his 'non medical compliance).
I do not enjoy caring for my 80 year old husband as he is a very difficult old man and was very controlling and unkind for a huge proportion of our marriage - he is a lot older.
All I can suggest is to try and find some sort of life outside of caring. For me, it is running a Book Club as I love reading and have made friends which has led to me joining Wine Club. I also joined Meet Up and go to their pub quiz - husband always has to come too unfortunately. I also had a Carer Befriender who really helped as she was non judgemental and phoned every couple of weeks.
Please remember most of us do struggle to care and find the compassion needed so do not ever feel guilty - all any of us can do is our best.