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Question
Posted by: Sharon | 2012-07-10

My mother

Hi Cybershrink

It is me again.
I feel so depressed true as God I feel like just killiing myself sometimes. My GP put me onto Cipralex 20mg per day and I am living on Urbanol although he told me to be careful they are addictive. I do not know where to go or what to do. Where do I go for real help? FAMSA? She cannot see what she does wrong and I am so angry and hurt about things in the past, I resent being left to take care of her. It is so hard it seems to easy doesn''t it. I am confused. She is also hurt and confused I know. Last night she made a decent supper because I told her you are a great cook - are you too ill, have you lost interest, are you too tired - she said " none of the above" . All is well. I am so stressed from work too. I said to her 3 x I am looking forward to watching the comedy ''Til Death at 9pm. She makes no effort to go to the toilet or to make coffee during the adverts or when the other programs are finishing. The split second it starts she starts banging in the kitchen and making coffee. I ignored it at first but missed the dialogue. Finally I was so angry I just exploded literally. I said to her you stomp over my feelings, you cannot understand it is important to me. You do not listen you do not care it is only all about you selfish. I walked to my room and slammed the door off its hinges. I cannot make her see that what is important to me deserves consideration. She just says I go on about nothing. She does not want to split the pitiful food allowance coz there " are detergents to buy" . I think to myself you can stress and replenish the bread, the porridge, the milk, the sweetener, the jam, yoghurt and fruit you mow through yourself to see how it feels. Please help me Cybershrink I feel like I am going to kill her or myself. I live in the Blouberg area. I really do not have a lot of money at all I am struggling. I earn a good salary so people automatically think you can afford things - not true. I would be at a Psychologist today if I could afford it. I cannot take off work either. I have to sit here with a Chesire smile on my face as it is. Things are so bad at home I think she may contemplate suicide. Her life is a failure. I do not think it is my job to try and fix it. I do not know how many years to live she has left and I am certainly not making them golden. At the same time I am getting older and more and more despondent and resentful. The little things blow up because they carry the weight of the big things that lie behind right? I am also having nightmares.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

If you insist on carrying with you all the hurts and resentments built up in the past ( however valdily earned at the time ) its like carrying a large bundle of hurt in your backpack. Put it down and leave it behind. There's absolutely nothing useful you can achieve, to benefit yourself, by blowing on those embers and keeping the fires of your anger alive.
There are many people in a situation like yours. Either as an only child because there is, literally, nobody else, or because all the other children are irresponsioble and selfish, many people end up having to mtake responsibility for aging parents as the parents become more annoying and less adaptable, and one's resources are strained.
Its important, too, to recognize that when a person gets old, not only is their mental flexibility declining, like their physical flexibility, but they WILL NOT be able to see things from your point of view, and may become inceasingingly child-like ; self-centred though it looks and feels like selfish. Expecting from them what they literally cannot deliver is another recipe for frustration and unhappiness, like shouting with anger because it gets cold in winter, or rains in summer. It does, and we simply have to live with it.
Pleased to hear with a scrap of encouragement she managed to make a nicer supper last night - I hope you gave her, and will still give her, loads of praise for doing so, to encourage more of that.
From your description of the TV episode ( ironical choice mof film ? ) it is NOT that she chooses to trample over your feelings - she didn't think of them, didnt realize you'd feel so strongly about a minor film, or that what she may have intended as a kind gesture in making coffee, was not only not appreciated but made you furious. It sounds as though just as for age-related reasons she may under-react to your concerns, you may be significantly over-reacting to them, and creating bigger crises than are strictly necessaery or helpful.
So you did tell her you were looking forward to watching that film - did you actually tell her that it would outrage her if she made coffee or went to the toilet during the film ? DOn't expect her to mind-read your expectations ( this is a common cause of problems within marriages - "but he should have KNOWN that I wanted X!")
Yes, you feel very angry and resentful that you have been left with responsibility for caring for her - is that really HER deliberate fault, or just the way things turned out ? DId she really plan to ensure that this would happen, so that you would be inconvenienced and upset ? Because you are behaving as though this were the case.
You admit you "earn a good salary" - where does all the money go, as you seem to be stressed by the cost of a tin of jam ? Do you have medical aid at work ? If so, see a psychologist to work through all these issues so bothering you. It should be practical to handle them better, for the sake of both of you.
You mention that you think she may consider suicide - isn't that a tragic state of affairs ? Did she look after you adequately when you were a child and growing up ? Or were you so abused and neglected that it seem to you appropriate that she has ended up in this way ?
Lisa makes good points. Make sure whether your mother qualifies for any state pension or similar benefits. Explore the Communicare possibility, too.
Getting her properly assessed by a psychologist or geriatrician may be useful, too. There are psychological techniques by which you can help to shape her behaviours, but it makes a big difference whether she has the mental capacity to do what you want and is simply not bothering to do so, or if there are perhaps increasing limitations on what she is actually able to do.

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4
Our users say:
Posted by: Frank | 2012-07-10

Your Mother...What a B!TCH...

Reply to Frank
Posted by: I hear you | 2012-07-10

I want to suggest something that I did once when my Mother in law did the same thing to us. It is not convenient, but it worked....
Take your cereal to work, get to work 10 minutes earlier and have breakfast at work.
have a good lunch (at work). Buy a salad or whatever you have for dinner on your way home and eat that for Dinner.
Have ONLY the BASIC groceries in your house (very basics)
Buy only 2 cleaning things. Dishwashing Liq and Handy Andy. NOTHING ELSE. Everything can be cleaned with that.
Put your TV in your room and watch what YOU want. Make your room comfortable so you enjoy being there, relaxing there (read, TV, whatever)Do not argue or fight, just walk away.
Yes, I know what the question is " Why should I have to live like that in my own house?" the answer is.... it will prove your point and things will change. Good Luck

Reply to I hear you
Posted by: Liza | 2012-07-10

The first thing you need to do is make your mother apply for a state pension. If she''s 100% financially dependent on you she''ll definitely qualify. This will at least help out a little more each month.

Secondly - I gave a great hurrah when you said you live in Blouberg. There is a social housing organisation called Communicare and they have social housing complexes all over Cape Town. The retirement complexes are for active pensioners who can still look after themselves. The accommodation is in the form of bachelor flats and they have special taxi''s to go shopping etc. The only thing is - your mother has to be receiving that state pension to apply. The waiting list is also not as long as the waiting lists for nursing homes.

My Dad stayed in one of their complexes in the Brooklyn/Ysterplaat area and the places are quite nice. It might not be in the best neighborhood, but the security is excellent. The rental amount is also not market-related, so those who have less income, pay less rent as well.

It might also be worth your while to go see a counselor with your mother. Kinda like marriage counseling. Just to help her see that you really do have reason to be upset at her selfishness. It could also help to keep a list of all the selfish things she does and to then show her that list once it becomes longer than a page. What she obviously doesn''t understand is that when you get upset, you''re not all that upset by the one selfish thing she did just then - it''s more the continuous accumulation of upset that finally becomes too big to keep inside and then you explode. It''s the last straw that broke the camel''s back.

Good Luck
Liza

Reply to Liza
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012-07-10

If you insist on carrying with you all the hurts and resentments built up in the past ( however valdily earned at the time ) its like carrying a large bundle of hurt in your backpack. Put it down and leave it behind. There's absolutely nothing useful you can achieve, to benefit yourself, by blowing on those embers and keeping the fires of your anger alive.
There are many people in a situation like yours. Either as an only child because there is, literally, nobody else, or because all the other children are irresponsioble and selfish, many people end up having to mtake responsibility for aging parents as the parents become more annoying and less adaptable, and one's resources are strained.
Its important, too, to recognize that when a person gets old, not only is their mental flexibility declining, like their physical flexibility, but they WILL NOT be able to see things from your point of view, and may become inceasingingly child-like ; self-centred though it looks and feels like selfish. Expecting from them what they literally cannot deliver is another recipe for frustration and unhappiness, like shouting with anger because it gets cold in winter, or rains in summer. It does, and we simply have to live with it.
Pleased to hear with a scrap of encouragement she managed to make a nicer supper last night - I hope you gave her, and will still give her, loads of praise for doing so, to encourage more of that.
From your description of the TV episode ( ironical choice mof film ? ) it is NOT that she chooses to trample over your feelings - she didn't think of them, didnt realize you'd feel so strongly about a minor film, or that what she may have intended as a kind gesture in making coffee, was not only not appreciated but made you furious. It sounds as though just as for age-related reasons she may under-react to your concerns, you may be significantly over-reacting to them, and creating bigger crises than are strictly necessaery or helpful.
So you did tell her you were looking forward to watching that film - did you actually tell her that it would outrage her if she made coffee or went to the toilet during the film ? DOn't expect her to mind-read your expectations ( this is a common cause of problems within marriages - "but he should have KNOWN that I wanted X!")
Yes, you feel very angry and resentful that you have been left with responsibility for caring for her - is that really HER deliberate fault, or just the way things turned out ? DId she really plan to ensure that this would happen, so that you would be inconvenienced and upset ? Because you are behaving as though this were the case.
You admit you "earn a good salary" - where does all the money go, as you seem to be stressed by the cost of a tin of jam ? Do you have medical aid at work ? If so, see a psychologist to work through all these issues so bothering you. It should be practical to handle them better, for the sake of both of you.
You mention that you think she may consider suicide - isn't that a tragic state of affairs ? Did she look after you adequately when you were a child and growing up ? Or were you so abused and neglected that it seem to you appropriate that she has ended up in this way ?
Lisa makes good points. Make sure whether your mother qualifies for any state pension or similar benefits. Explore the Communicare possibility, too.
Getting her properly assessed by a psychologist or geriatrician may be useful, too. There are psychological techniques by which you can help to shape her behaviours, but it makes a big difference whether she has the mental capacity to do what you want and is simply not bothering to do so, or if there are perhaps increasing limitations on what she is actually able to do.

Reply to cybershrink

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