Critical Comments

How to Let Criticism and Stressful Comments Roll off Your Back


Last updated: September 12, 2011
Water Wings

How often have you heard the advice, "Just let it roll off your back"? Pretty often, if you've read much of my work here at Caring, because I seem to say it a lot as a de-stressing tactic, whether in quoting an outside expert in caregiving or psychology, or when offering my own ten cents. I said it just last week in my post about how to cope with relatives who heap extra stress on caregiving.

In the comments on that post, someone asked for help on just how to do that. Good question!

How do you let criticisms roll off your back? How do you ignore busybodies who create chaos, not help? How do you make yourself impervious to the stress?

Try these self-psyching ideas:

  1. Ask yourself, frankly, if there's any truth in the comment.

    Better to get this part out of the way first: Deep in your heart, do you know it's true that, say, you can't continue dealing with Mom's incontinence without help? Or that your partner might benefit from a different doctor or therapy?

    Most, but not all, criticisms are unproductive. But sometimes we're annoyed by truths we don't want to hear -- and that's important to be able to recognize.

  2. Try to parse out what it is about the annoying comments that's so annoying.

    Even when comments are unproductive, asking yourself why, exactly, you're so bugged can reveal a useful nugget to work with. For example:

    • Is your sister lack of action rather than her words that really gets your goat? That cues you that this isn't about you, but her, and should make it easier to ignore (or point out).

    • Is it that she's your older sister and her criticisms make you feel like a fifth grader again? Then you know it's really about your own insecurities, and you can draw power from remembering that you're a fully functioning, competent grown-up now.

    • Is it that the comments are so relentless? Then you can tune them out by picturing the speaker like the grownup voices as heard by the kids in the old Charlie Brown cartoons: "Myah-myah-myah-myah."

  3. Run through a quick self-praise list.

    After taking a deep breath, remind yourself of an inventory of all you're doing right: I'm looking after Dad. Dad is happy and safe. My husband loves me. I have three great kids. I have dear friends. I always balance my checkbook. Last week the doctor praised me for how well I've been helping Dad manage his blood sugar.

    Sounds corny, but actually articulating your strengths, blessings, and skills is like putting up an invisible shield against the slings and arrows of outside offenses.

  4. Smile and keep moving.

    The best way to skip past hurts is to not stop and dwell on them. Arch your brows, frown, or smile, whichever suits you -- and then move your mind and body onto something else. Sound hard? It gets easier with practice.

  5. Turn the tables.

    I love this tactic, from a wise reader of that same post: "Play dumb, like their 'wisdom' is an offer to volunteer," she suggests: 'Oh, wow, thanks so much for your help! Those are some great suggestions! You know what?... I'll take you up on that! You can stay with Mom a couple hours this Friday, so I can go to a doctor appointment! That will give me some much-needed help - thanks SO much! "¦ You're a lifesaver! Boy, I didn't know what I was going to do about Mom during that appointment until you volunteered! Thanks a million!' Then hope they either put up or shut up."

Good luck!

Anything else the thicker-skinned can share with the rest of us?

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38 Comments So Far. Add Your Wisdom.

Anonymous said 12 months ago

Problems with sister . Caring for Dad since I retired. (7 years). No help from sister, other than stress. She wants Dad to go to a nursing home. He is 96. She harasses me and his 24 hour live-ins. Most don't last more than a few weeks due to her interference. She is mean to them and constantly criticizes them and me. Dad lives in his own home and I live next door. It is in a beach community and at the start of the summer she commences to start all kinds of problems to try to use the beach house for her, her family, and many, many guests that she invites to stay in Dad's home. He has a life estate in the home, but she constantly refers to the house as "my house".. The latest incident was that she terrorized his "new" caretaker by telling her that she is not to use any of the dishes or cups in the house because of "infection" She is trying her darndest to get the caretaker to leave so I will have to send Dad to a nursing home . There is an apple tree on the property and the caretaker took a few apples that dropped on the ground into the house. My sister saw the apples and told her not to touch the apples because the tree was "her" tree. I try to keep the peace in the family, but it is really becoming intolerable. I am a senior citizen myself. My sister is 15 years younger than I. I am at my wits end with this situation. If I hand over the care of Dad to her, he will suffer. Her father-in-law came to live with her and her husband and he was dead in 6 months. Any suggestions??? a caring daughter.


about 1 year ago

To my last comment on "Religion" of dictating Relgion from my daughter mostly, & sometimes my son. If you could send this to my email, I won't lose the comments. I'm afraid I will miss this link on this particular situations on here. Ok? Thanks.


about 1 year ago

You know, I try to figure out the best way to deal with people who preach to me about religion. My daughter has always went to Church since she was a teenager. She is now 43. We don't go to Church, but that doesn't mean we don't have faith, & believe in God, cause we do. I think she is trying to get us into Church. She quotes the Bible to me on Facebook, & email. I don't talk to anyone about their Religion, & wish they (meaning my oldest son as well) would stop their preaching to me. They don't do it to their Dad though. My husband & I have a very happy & solid life & neither of us talk about our personal life, I wish my kids would respect us more also! I hope someone can come up with a good talk back idea. Thank you very much.


about 1 year ago

Wow, this would have been useful the year I had/chose to become my Grandmother's guardian. Worst year of my life, but Grandma was delightful because of the 3 minute loop her dimentia brain was on. To make myself feel better about all the crap with family, I'd walk out of Grandma's room for a bit, then when I returned it was like she hadn't seen me in years! That was nice, and she loved my giving her manicures. Her nursing home which a hospital sent her to so I didn't have to remove her from her home, that was fortunate, was great. Charged a lot for Balmex, but it was worth professional care. I suggest building a network of support for yourself, I did with her condo association, care givers, social worker etc (they loved her because she was fiesty and funny). I created a separate world from the family who had no clue, yet had plenty of advice and critism. And I did employ the tactics listed here, as well. Turn Tables is situational! Think before you do it, and remember there no point in arguing with irrational people, NONE To the woman hiding in her room, I grew up hiding in my room it's awful being afraid all the time. Honestly I hope you find the strength to move out. Are you sure it's helpful to her to have you so miserable you're stuck in your room? Everyone handles it the best they can. But irrational people cannot be resoned with, yelling at or with them doesn't help you. Good luck everyone!


To: OmyAchingBack Wow! You have really pinpointed my mother's personality to a "T"! I always assumed she was suffering from the same mental illness I have - bipolar disorder but your answer is a replica of her behavior. The only problem is my mother will not go to a therapist (I have suggested a lot) and the one time she did go with me for my therapy session in 90's, after speaking with my mother and I, my therapist told me in my next session to not bring my mother back as she (my therapist) was beyond help. My therapist also said if I did not break away from my mother that in time I would be dealing with her for the rest of my life. How prophetic and profound. I will definitely go to Half Price Books and chose a few books on Narcissism so at least it may be a comfort to me to understand what it is and why it is. I thank you so very much for your time, suggestions and compassion. It really helps.


about 1 year ago

For Caretaker with Serious Illness, Is it possible your mom has Narcissistic Personality Disorder? It also causes highs and lows like Bipolar, but is often misdiagnosed. As Narcs age, they don't get better. Totally different from strokes, the Narcs don't suddenly change. They've always been critical, constantly put down their kids, no one can ever possibly measure up, and the entire world is picking on them. They are the ultimate Me Me Me. As they age, and find it harder to acquire sympathetic ears, they crank up the Viper Mouth to the few people left in their lives. Ironically, if you get fed up and respond, it only brings out far worse. They do not care if they verbally slice you to ribbons. After all, you dared to challenge them and hurt their feelings, so you deserve to be punished. Does any of this sound familiar??? Their children either move away as far as they can, or wind up reduced to questioning their every decision or idea. Spouses are half crazy and have a huge variety of physical illnesses from the stress. To keep you off-balance, narcs question you about everything, right down to "why did you feed the cat that type of Kibbles?" or "What did you do with my blue shirt?" (without bothering to look for it. They can also be charming...until someone steps on their toes. If any of this sounds familiar, please start to get some help by reading up on Narcs, some books are written specifically for the children of narcs. Narcs do not change (you'll read why), but these books can through a light in your heart about your situation, and what you can do to live beyond it. Best wishes to you.


about 1 year ago

I worked for a Council on Aging, and let me assure you nothing is going to change the critical siblings. The further they live, it seems the worse they are. But I often hear a lot of guilt, too, when they're sniping long-distance at the sibling who's trying to manage everything alone. Self-praise is the best thing you can do, assure yourself you're doing the right thing for your loved one,and give thanks that Sis DOESN"T live around the corner. she wouldn't be helping anyway As for the selfish local siblings that tell you what to do, they may be so terrified at the prospect of losing Mom and Dad, they can't watch the deterioration. So they make dumb suggestions and have tons of free advice you don't need, trying to stay connected without having to witness the day to day horrors, knowing you're the one who truly can handle it. I see brothers do this to their sisters constantly, even when they're in their 70s and the mom is in their 90s. You can't change the way people react to pending loss--we either handle it or can't. Remind yourself that when it's all over, you did the right thing, and can live with yourself. THEY will have many regrets. Ms. Scott's suggestion about at least considering if the criticism is valid should also be taken seriously by some who have crossed the exhausted caregiver line into total martyrdom. . As an in-home assistant, I saw way too many instances of people with serious health issues taking care of spouses or parents who would have been a handful for a healthy young person. There comes a time when it IS in the best interest of the failing person to allow some help. Yes, I said ALLOW. People may be waiting to help you, but you're insisting it has to be done a certain way, at a certain time, and you inspect everything when you get back from a five-minute run to the store, raving with anxiety. And then wonder why the grandkids didn't come back to help again. I saw an 80 year old women struggling to keep an 80 year old spouse from going to a nursing home, e ven though he fell constantly in the shower, left pans burning on the stove, urinated all through their home, etcetera. Her daughter begged her to get fulltime care for him, and she wouldn't budge. She wasn't a martyr, she just didn't know it was a battle she couldn't manage by herself. ( At 55, the daughter had a very good job she'd earned in another state and a disabled grandchild herself.) Not all nursing homes are bad, evil places, and they safeguard against the dangers my client was creating for himself. There are at least three sides to these commentaries :-), and it actually helps you if you can understand where the other parties are coming from. Usually its from people who cannot deal one-on-one with the loss of parents. Pat yourself on the back for being the strong one. Hugs for all of you :-)


I grew up in a terribly dysfunctional "family" - my father was an alcoholic, my mother and father beat each other up constantly, my brother and when we were single digit ages saw this and ended up beating each other and for the most part it was as I grew older and dealt with the anguish and codependency part of me. My mother lived with me several times over her younger years from jobs losses or I invited her and always ended up in terrible yelling/screaming matches. She had highs and lows and you never knew what you were going to face when you got home. She was a saint when you needed help (a sucker for a good cause) and then ruin her generosity by attacking me when her freaky mood or one word triggered her to be an aggressor. My first marriage was torn apart because of her behavior and my codependency of not wanting to ask her to leave. So my ex left me. I don't blame him. How ironic now that my mother and I have come down with the same illnesses of course at different ages - her in her late late 60's and me at age 47. We both have non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver cause by "fatty liver disease". Basically being overweight, fat develops and plugs up the surface of the liver and for that period of time prior to developing cirrhosis, the liver starts to develop nodules of scar tissue. This disease causes a lot of side illnesses such as congestive heart failure, little veins called varices that burst and bleeds in the esophagus, CBC panels that show every count on it is off, anemia, pancreatitis, spleen enlargement (bad pain), ascites (water retention in the upper abdomen making your stomach look like your 13 months pregnant) and I could go on Right now, my mother is a slight bit more ill than me so I have been her caretaker for the last 3 years. I have bipolar disorder on top of all this and need stability but for the time she and I have lived together it has been nothing but a shouting match, me suffering from such depression that I have considered suicide, watching my mother lose more of her faculties over this period of time. I have now totally isolated myself from her by not leaving my bedroom and I rarely go out. If she needs something she will call, but a few weeks ago I told her that I needed quiet, serenity and stability and I was not getting it from living with her. I also yelled that if she would not stop her bad behaviors such as moodiness, nasty comments, criticisms non-stop, extreme demands, and non-stop questioning of who I was talking to or where have I been, etc. I would pack up and leave never to be seen again. I am in so much pain physically and emotionally I do not know what to do. My psychologist said I need my own place and I understand that and want it, but my mother does not want to move until she has passed. I am trying to respect this, but how much can one take? I have 1 friend who lives outside of San Antonio. I had to go on permanent disability, so I have no contact with the outside (seriously) world and no hobbies. I have no self-esteem and no confidence and now I cannot seem to trust anyone. The only people I trust are the doctors that I have been with since my diagnosis and there are SO many doctors I see!! Lastly, I wonder in my mind what will happen to me when I am too sick to care for myself? My brother has been out of touch since 1988, I have one aunt (my mom's half-sister) and 2 cousins (one who is like a vulture flying over my house waiting...) the other cousin I have had a good relationship with, but she is a free butterfly and does not stay in one place for very long. I have no children and did this on purpose because when I was told I was bipolar, I did not want to pass this on to any child I might have. I needed to vent, and thank you to anyone who stuck with me through this long, grieving post. I have tried every one of the suggestions listed above along the way and unfortunately not every article/blog post will fit every situation. If anyone reading this has any ideas, I would ask you please let me know as I just do not know how to care for myself, my mother and live peacefully.


Anonymous said about 1 year ago

Only challenge with #5, is if you turn the tables on someone who NEVER follows through. Many times my brother in law has made a suggestion of what should be done about an older brain damaged brother's care (always in front of their father to show what a "caring" brother he is) but if you ask him to do it, then it NEVER happens. My wife has become the full time care giver for the older brother. In a recent snow storm, he said to hie dad that someone should really go check on the older brother and quickly followed that up with suggesting that my wife should be the one to drive the hour in the snow.


Anonymous said over 1 year ago

HIlaryC, my mom does not lash out, but over the last 4 to 5 years, she has done or said some incredibly hurtful things to people around her, but in her mind she always has an incredibly ridiculous version of the story that makes her the victim. i.e for months she promised the use of a small cabin she owned to one of her granddaughters when they moved back from out of state and would need a house to live in while their new home was constructed. When the date came for them to move in and they were actually in their U-Haul van on the way to the cabin, she denied she ever had promised. To make herself, look like a victim, she concocted a story about her granddaughter leaving their suburban in the cabin's garage, and how she had to crawl on her belly under the suburban, because there was something she needed on the opposite side of the garage. When my brother came by the next day,there was about 5 feet between the back of the suburban and the garage door that she could have walked through. When this was pointed out to her, the response was "well, someone must have moved it." Even in stories we have heard for years about her childhood etc, the stories have changed so that she is the hero or was somehow wronged.


Anonymous said over 1 year ago

I have 3 points I would disagree with in the article. 1) in the first bullet in #2, the (or point out) would only lead to a huge argument since obviously the sister in the example thinks she has the right answer, 2) the problem here then leads to the person thinking they are correct and you are agreeing with them, no matter how stupid the comment (my father-in-law has been enabled this way for years by his children), and 3) in #5, this might work with most people, but my brother-in-law (younger than my wife by about 8 years) no matter what the request, his response (especially if his dad is around), is "boy I would REALLY like to but I am just SLAMMED", so my wife is always stuck with care for her dad, her mom and their older brain damaged brother. Actually, if his dad is around, he usually turns this around by saying WE should really do this for the older brother, of course the WE is really my wife because when it comes time to actually doing something he is just SLAMMED, and his father has enough dementia to not question it.


over 1 year ago

Thanks so much for your insight and advice in such an encouraging and understanding way. Your advice makes sense and rings true. As I work w/ dad's physician, I told him yesterday of my brothers' request and he supported my taking him to a local psychiatrist to evaluate dad: possibly putting him on a new or increased dose of antidepressant as they are able to prescribe. I DO want the best and most beneficial care for dad, and it's encouraging to have it be noticed and praised. I feel guilty blogging to get that from someone other than family, but I guess every long term caregiver needs that . I'm no different. Thanks again.


over 1 year ago

Daughter-to-a-Dad - Please take heart. You have NOT been missing symptoms. If your father is on Zoloft, that is treatment for depression. Your father may be depressed, HOWEVER, the other symptoms that you mention - short term memory loss, shuffling gait, incontinence, all flag me to dementia of some sort - don't forget AD is one type of dementia. Sometimes men are unable to cope with the aging of their male family members. My own brother couldn't cope with the 'hospital psychosis' that our Father had when he was in the hospital for a time, so I basically had to pul 24 hour shifts for multiple days in a row because the big burly guy couldn't cope with a Dad trying to get out of bed and go to the kitchen (thought he was at home), or working on putting pills in a weekly pill minder (all air movements, like a dog running in it's sleep). Take your Dad to the Psychiatrist, then get the records from the Psych to show your brother that your Dad is truly in dementia. Maybe it is time for the Zoloft to be replaced with something else. Trust your instincts as an RN. You are doing great!


over 1 year ago

Well, I guess I'm looking for a place to vent. Had a conversation with my oldest brother the other night. Diplomatic and friendly, he basically told me that our dad maybe doesn't have alzheimers, but is possibly just depressed. He subtly inferred that as an RN, I should have known that and gone out and sought a proper evaluation of dad. I told him how I took dad to his physician and at that time, dad was alert, followed directions, dressed and undressed himself. The physician told me I was doing a good job. The physician also said that he doesn't see evidence of dad having dimentia, only severe memory loss for dailyEncouraged me to get him in more social situations and activities. This is about impossible to do when Dad requires someone to initiate any conversation which ends 'flat' with minimal or no response from him. Dad has always been quiet, reserved and passive. He has bouts of confusion which frustrate him more and he then begins to wander trying to figure out what he's looking for, is sure he's headed for whatever he thinks he's looking for. I'm sure many can relate and understand. He has significant memory loss to the point of which he cannot remmeber was he ate 1 hour ago, nor whether or not he went to church that same day. Anyway, my brother went to some symposium that three 'expert' physicians spoke at., informing people that many times elderly patients are diagnosed w/ alzheimers when it is truly depression. He now wants me to ("spend some of dads assetts") (as if I've been holding out on getting dad the care he needs), arrange for Dad to be seen by a clinical psycologist, so that proper antidepression meds can be prescribed for Dad. We have him on zoloft which we began 3 years ago when Dad was becoming withdrawn, had a shuffling gait and was sleeping much of the time. These symptoms are back again, but worse. Is it alzheimers? He's withdrawn, apathetic, has no interest in anything, has to be reminded to eat his meal several times throughout it, and he sleeps as much as we will allow him to. I'm frustrated to realize that my brother is of the opinion that as a nurse who works in an ICU (for the last 20 years of my life) I don't know what I'm doing as I care for dad throughout his periods of confusion, incontinence, daily activities of daily living. My brother is of the opinion that I am keeping dad back from receiving needed socialization, interaction, stimuli. Now also that perhaps I've been accepting these awful and evident symptoms of severe depression: calling it alzheimers. That makes me SICK of heart to think that this may be true. And here I was thinking my husband and I were doing a good thing by taking dad in, feeding, clothing, bathing and loving him. Any information/support/encouragement would be appreciated. Thanks.


almost 2 years ago

(anonymous) Well it is dificult to change a person,specially if that person is depressive,the solution is to conditioned her staying to seek profesional help and call it for what it is psychological help so she can cope with her health and depression


almost 2 years ago

Take a vacation for a week or go to help another family member for a week or two and let your siblings take over for that week (or two, three, four). They quickly learn what you've been doing when you're there all of the time. So if your parent says you don't do anything, they'll know the truth.


almost 2 years ago

The mind and the body has to believe anything you tell it to, or none of the processes will work. Apparently if you were unable to let it roll off your for back for years, then it will take a process for it to roll off in one The mind has to think what the body is feeling, together, because sometimes the body remembers hate and the mind wants to forget but if they are not on the same page, it will not happen. The body has a memory as well as the brain, the body has receptors that hold on to chemicals that are released from the hypothalamus in the brain, that matches any emotion that one has and it travels through the body, so the body has to feel whatever the mind thinks. If the body has bee trained to be upset for years and then the mind wants to automatically change, the body is not prepared yet. But there are things we can to to change this process.


almost 2 years ago

My older sister ( 74) developed Parkinson's and Lewy Body dementia 6 or 7 years ago. Her four sons are scattered around the country and have families to care for. My younger brothers and I decided the only answer was for us to care for her as long as possible. In February, we moved her to a memory care center, where she is well cared for. Her sons were feeling so guilty about having her placed; a lovely social worker reminded all of us that we couldn't make her happy anymore, but we could keep her SAFE and Comfortable. That's the best advice we ever got and we are grateful for what we could do. It was long and difficult for six years but now we are able to visit and know we are doing the best we can. Any care we offer another soul is what is needed - not perfect, but what we are able to give. Guilt is only useful if you have done something wrong, not useful for "judging" difficult decisions. Blessings to all of you who make the effort.


over 2 years ago

To Haleema, I also strongly believe in karma and know how it can turn back on you at any time! I've witnessed it so many times! However, the eldest sibling "wrote the family off" over 20 years ago! We are not in "her social circle"! Personally, I wouldn't want to be there! There is no excuse for a sibling who choose to be estranged from the family for so long only to show up with it is time for the Estate to be settled. Then to discover that the Estate isn't "set up" as they feel it should be - bring on a ridiculous lawsuit because of their "hurt feelings!" Just because the "eldest" believed it was THEIR DECISION what to do with our parents estate doesnt excuse the 20+ years of "not being in touch with the family"! "Family Lore" as it was presented in Court was such a crock! That was when Will's did not exist! Mom wrote her Will while Dad was still living and they both agreed on what they wanted done! It was the Court system that got tired of the eldest siblings filing of Motions after Motions (a second job in their life - the list of the number of times listed as "Plaintiff" was shocking!) that it was decided to ingnore the wishes in my Mother's Will! Not only that, missing bank accounts which I have copies of signatures cards, trying to protect my brother's Estate - went to the eldest sibling because the Court decided! I'm sure it is a "practice" done to "oil the squeaky wheel" instead of enforcing the law! Yes, our deceased parents would hope we would find peace and love. But when there has been no love shown from the eldest sibling for over 20+ years, could you honestly say a promise you made to your Mom about the wishes in her Will be done as she set up ("and make sure that #*)@### doesn't get a red cent"!)! We all knew a lawsuit was going to happen! It was the eldest siblings' "style"! It was talked about for years prior to either parent becoming ill - during "family meetings". The eldest was never a part - never "called for family meeting"! Sometimes, we just happen to have certain family members that we wonder if they really are "family" - I wanted a DNA test done! It amazes me how the four of my family members were "grounded and had common sense" and then the eldest was way out there in outer space!


over 2 years ago

My mother's comment when she heard anyone talking about someone else was, "There is so much good in the worse of us and so much bad in the best of us that it behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us" She didn't make that up, just quoted what she heard someone else say. None of us are exactly alike. God made us who we are and He has equipped us to hear Him, read His Word and allow Him to keep working on us. That's a big job right there! ☺


over 2 years ago

I appreciated both pages of suggestions and comments, especially the comment by Robertson. It is difficult. I was once told by a clinical pschologist to leave my mate because he was emotionally selfish. I told her I could not do that because he had done nothing Biblical to warrant leaving him. But if he had, I would have to consider forgiveness. She looked at me like I was from outter space. She even passed her thoughts to my doctor and rheumatologist, who also faced me with, "If you choose to stay with him, there's not a whole lot more we can do for you." But, here it is 15 years later and we're still together. He has not been intimate with me for around 7 years (after I had a mastectomy). He said it was too confusing. Nobody said it would be easy. Its not as though I'm without sin.


over 2 years ago

I read some of these comments and my heart goes out to all the wonderful caregivers. But I must add that there is too much sibling rivalry when it comes to parental care and death wishes/or wills. People, life is too short. Even if we reach a century. Is it really worth it to be angry if a sibling is not doing enough? Should we scratch and snarl like animals because one sibling gets more than another in a settlement? We are all too guilty of greed and selfishness. We cannot love a sibling if we count everything he/she did or did not do. Some people lose an opportunity to make good with parents and the universe, by not being around in their parents' time of need. That is THEIR loss. They will one day grow old too and karma is a cruel dispenser of justice. In the mean time, do what has to be done for parents. They did their best (sometimes in the worst of circumstances) for us. And I honestly do not believe that a deceased parent would mind if things did not work as they planned. What matters most to a parent is that the family love remains intact and there is PEACE.


over 2 years ago

reinforcing what is in the article, but hard to remember when i am overwhelmed and really tired. thank you.


over 2 years ago

Until people "walk in our shoes" - they have no idea of how tremendously exhausting caregiving can be! My brother and I took care of our Mother in what turned out to be the last month of her life. We were told 3-4 months on May 13th (Friday) - same as our Dad - Friday, August 13 - that Mom was terminal and there was nothing else they could do for her. There was no way we could get the "older sibling" to come see either parent in their last days. Her "social calendar wouldn't allow it"! The selfishness shown by the eldest sibling was the "icing on the cake" of how she treated the entire family! Too bad, she missed out on the most treasured moments! After Mom passed, she didn't hesitate in filing a lawsuit against my brother (Executor of Mom's Will). She had thought during the last month of Mom's life, we took her to her banks and had our names put on Mom's accounts! Little did she know and even though the Judge refused her Petitions for checking things out - she later found that Mom set things up after Dad passed in 1994! This was 2005! Unfortunately, my brother had to change a court hearing date due to bladder cancer surgery. He really hated that she would find out! Two weeks later, I'm named as a Defendant as well - she knows the Court Systems very well - what that did was cause the Court to appoint an Administrator (another lawyer) to Mom's Estate! Fraud committed, missing accounts, and her filing motions after motions - caused the Judge to go against Mom's Will and gave her more than Mom had set up! I'm still fighting over it and it's been going on since August 2005! When my brother unexpectedly passed and the Administrator was appointed, it was unbelievable the amount of collusion going on between the attorneys just to get the Estate closed with an "altered document" with my signature! Even my attorney told them all that "it was done after the fact". They all knew I was standing my ground to make sure my promise to my Mother - "Make sure the wishes in my Will are done as set up"! The stress of dealing with the corruption, fraud, and the Bar Association seeing "nothing to investigate" even though I was Mom's organizer and my husband was her CPA for over 25 years has taken it's toll on me! I have Mom's orignial bank statements, Will, etc. and the proof of the fraud, the "altered document" could not have been signed in front of my attorney's wife who notarized it because there was nothing on the page - she has a day job somewhere else and I even have the hotel bill to proof the date the notary put in (I left blank) that I wasn't even in town! So, I'm still fighting! My brother's estate is another mess! It couldn't be settled until Mom's Estate was settled. As soon as the Judge ignored my plea of "asking for time to find another attorney due to the fraud and collusion taking place" and providing evidence - he closed Mom's Estate and my brother's Executor immediately closed my brother's estate before I could get an attorney in that state "caught up with the facts" even though I wrote a letter to the Court in that State! Now, still fighting in both States and under a tremendous amount of stress, I was having medical problems. After months and months of tests, Ultrasounds, etc., it was discovered that I have a right frontal brain lesion with insignificant growth since October 2004 - I didn't even know that then!! My husband of 37-1/2 years "can't deal with it all" and we seperated two years ago. The beginning of October of this year, I was served with divorce papers. Thanks - I needed more stress right now! Instead of helping me with the Courts and having to do physical therapy for over 6 months - now I'm dealing with a man I don't even recognize any more! I didn't know we got to pick and choose which vow we wanted to honor and when! We were high school sweethearts and even married a month before graduation because it was a year after his proposal and I wanted to get married on the same day the following year! We have two children - our son was 17 years old when we lost him 18 years ago in an auto accident (not his fault, wrong place, wrong time). Our daughter has given us two beautiful Grandsons! My husband takes our daughter and Grandsons on trips - leaving me out! I raised both Grandsons from infancy until age 3 - we have a very close relationship which is being "held hostage" by our daughter! I get my Grandsons sport schedules from my ex-son-in-law. It makes my daughter very upset that I talk with him but like I tell her - "you won't email me their schedules and he is the Father of my Grandsons"! So as I go through this divorce and still trying to keep up with fighting the Court systems - it is so overwhelming! There are days I'm so glad I have a physciatrist and psycholist helping me - otherwise, staying in the garage with the car running and going to "sleep" sounded like my only way to get rid of the stress! Then I remember the promise I made to my Mother and how my brother and I were determined to make sure her wishes were done as she set up in her Will! Some days are overwhelming, some days are determination. However, I don't think I will ever forget what my husband has done! I can "forgive" but I don't have to "forget"! I cannot allow him to stress me out, there is enough of other things going on! I just cannot believe at one of the worse times in our lifes - we made it through losing our son and staying together - that was the worse nightmare any parent could live through! We are never supposed to bury our children! I thought if we made it through losing our son - we could make it through anything! Think again! I'm just stunned!!!!! So, as I said before - "until others have walked in our shoes" their comments and opinions are just statements! We do what we feel in our gut what needs to be done and we shouldn't allow guilt through other people's words cause us to second guess ourselves! Hugs and Prayers to all!!!!! We all need them so very much!!!!!


Anonymous said almost 3 years ago

My mom and dad made a promise many years ago that they would always take care of each other in the end and never put each other in a nursing home. Last month I realized that my father (who has 1/4 of his heart working, Vascular Dimentia, diabetes, kidney failure, incontinence and can't walk) needed to be in a nursing home. He originally went in for rehab but can't walk on his legs due to almost non-existant circulation. The problem is my mother cries terribly every night. You see my mom found out in May that she had cancer in her lungs and liver. She's been undergoing chemotherapy and is very week. My dad needs 24/7 care. (He's 80 and mom is 65) I've been there with her through everything. I do have 2 brothers and niece who all do nothing. I try to explain to her that when she made this promised to my father years ago she never knew that she would be sick. It's heartbreaking but my dad is getting the care he needs. And when friends say (and have said) that they can't believe she put him in a home I get so angry. How is a woman who is battling her own desease suppose to take care of a hospital bedded man who can't walk and has dimentia? She's been taking care of him for 30 years (since his open heart surgery) and I try to remind her that she DID live up to her bargain by the 30 years of care she gave him. She had to concentrate on getting herself well. People should always be careful what they say because they only know the basics of what a family deals with. Thanks for your website and helping this caretaker vent.


almost 3 years ago

While I was in the 3 year period of caring for my husband after his stroke, and was just devastated by all the changes in our lives, the only time when I though that I really couldn't handle it was when we were told that he needed to have Open Heart Surgery. At that point, late one night (he went to bed fairly early) in a prayer, I told Heavenly Father that I really couldn't take this additional burden. Heavenly Father gave me a split second glimpse of how devastatingly bad my life would be having to live with myself divorcing a man that was doing the best he could. That split second was so unbelievably awful, that I asked forgiveness and told Him that I would deal the best I could with whatever came along. When my husband passed away after his surgery, it was nowhere near as devastating as the split second had been. I know that I did the best I could and that Heavenly Father made sure that I had the spiritual resources I needed to go on. Of course, nearly a year BEFORE my husband passed away, I needed to caregive my parents as well, and am still caregiving them. My caregiving load has been difficult over the past 5 years, but it is satisfying knowing that I am doing the best for my family. When a sibling criticizes me, I work very hard to recognize that the comments are well-meaning, and that the criticism is most likely coming from a sense of guilt for being unable or unwilling to assist. We were never promised that life would be easy, only that we would learn and it would be worth the journey. Remember that the destination IS the journey.


almost 3 years ago

I believe when i made my wedding vows i meant exactly what i vowed and still do. What a horrible idea to think of your self and ignore in a sense the needs of your loved one. It gets hard, yes, and when others don't understand or seem to care to help or think of you, one just has to trust the LORD to see your thru. He cares about you even when it seems no one else does. i know without GOD'S love and help i would be a basket case . When things get too hard i just call on HIM and he answers my prayers. i could have shed tears when my hubby turned to me, as i was helping him with his shower, and in a sad voice said, "i am so sorry to put you thru ALL THIS!". i told him i loved him and that I only get crabby with him when he doesn't mind me. We both laughed then. i have prayed that GOD will allow me to always be able to take care of him and never have to put him in a home. I trust the LORD with this, and i can have peace of mind. i know others have worse problems THAN MINE, but i would encourage to take them all to the LORD in prayer. He understands and gives peace we need. He is 95, and we have been married 62 years in March.


almost 3 years ago

This is good advice if you can just remember and put it in practice. My ex boyfriend told me that my mother knows which buttons to push to get to me. I am slowly learning to just ignore the constant criticism, but since I grew up hearing it, I'm afraid that it has left a mark on how I deal with people. I guess that if you know what to expect - some negative remark every day - it should make it easier to let it go in one ear and out the other!


almost 3 years ago

Well, I have been taking 'green' language lessons (greenlanguage.com). It has paid off in many ways, most of all in dealing with siblings in the care of Mom and Dad, which I am responsible for. At times, it's difficult, since I am the youngest of 4 children, and the nearest in age is 4 years older than I, the oldest 7 years older than I. Pretty much my whole life has been being a long stemmed rose in a stiff breeze - being whipped this way and that. I am the caregiver, because I know our parents as an adult, since I was the only child at home during high school, and spending oodles of time with them as an adult on vacations. It is a surprise to them sometimes when they try to 'guilt' me or 'logic' me into doing things their way, rather than looking at what would work with Mom and Dad the best. I use the positive 'green' language and am able to keep clear about the needs and wishes of Mom and Dad. Makes me feel better about myself as well.


almost 3 years ago

@NCR1: I'm by no means a Physician, but spent 30 years of my work life in Social Work. Have you mentioned this to her Dr.? Sounds like depression of which a lot of elderly folks have, as us younger ones too. My friend who is a Caretaker for her Father was deeply depressed. He is now on medication and doing much better. At least he is smiling and joking a little.


almost 3 years ago

How about how to let my Mom's behavior roll off my back? She will mutter for hours about how she is "a lonely old lady, no one cares...." This happens every day, even right after an outing, pleasant time with me. She lives with us, but cannot find happiness in any activity. Of course, I understand that her memory of any event is gone as soon as it is done. But it is so wearing to not be able to escape her constant muttering and notes about how miserable she is.


almost 3 years ago

Wishing you all the best :)))


almost 3 years ago

@ Oldladygolfer: 1st, you need to determine if your husband really needs nursing home care or if his needs can be taken care of within your home. The best place to start is to contact your local Council on Aging. They are full of great resources not only for your husband, but you as a Caretaker as well. I would contact them first. The name is different in every area, but look up Elder Care Services on the Web in your area. And I'm confused as to why your children would want your Husband in a nursing home, yet they aren't doing anything to contribute to his care? You do what's best for your husband and you! And it sounds like you guys need a good in-home assessment of needs.


almost 3 years ago

My children think I want my Dear 87 year husband in a nursing home-I do not get help from them-how do I deal with this problem ?


almost 3 years ago

HilaryC-- you are absolutely right, great addition, thanks.


almost 3 years ago

I don't get any grief from my family or friends re: my 93 yr. old Mother's care. However, my Mother has these lashing out moments at me. A few times, she has called, lashed out at me, and hung up. At first, it made me cry hysterically. I was thinking "as POA, I'm doing the best I can". Why is she doing this to me? Then, Mom would call me later like nothing happened. However, being the "victim" of her outbursts, her comments would stay on my mind for a long time. Well, after a few of these lashing out episodes, I can now let it roll off my back. I came to an understanding that lashing out behavior can be part of dementia, as well as the aging process. The other day, Mother had another episode and I was able to hang up, after she was done of course LOL, and move on. I finally was able to treat it as "well, she'll be fine the next time I speak to her" and it worked! Next conversation was wonderful, I wasn't harboring any negative feelings.


almost 3 years ago

awesome! wish I knew this then! but maybe it can help my sister who has my dad now! thank you soooo much!!


Anonymous said almost 3 years ago

My Mom is always commenting on how my sister hardly ever really helps her. The house looks it. And my sister has a bad atitutde most of the time. My sister has alot of health problems her self. And my Mom is 91 and cann't live by herself anymore and my sister has no where to go. My sister is older then me ha. I told my Mom write a note about what she exspects of my sister and give me a copie too. And don't let this problem stay this way any longer. What else can I do?


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