about 7 years ago
Frustrated Beyond Belief with my 80 year old Mother with Mid-Dementia
PLEASE, SOMEONE, HELP ME!
As all stories are, this is a long, involved one but I shall try to make it as concise as possible.
I am nearly 56 years old. I am an only "child." My parents have always been very controlling and manipulative though I love them very much and have always aimed to please.
My Dad died very suddenly and unexpectedly in June of 2009, leaving my mother, who is in mid stages of dementia, living on her own. She is very deaf (hearing aids will not help her due to nerve damage) and has very little short-term memory.
Dad left her extremely well off, but she is very confused about where her money is, doesn't understand investments, etc. It has taken me some months to catch up and learn about all this, as my parents never spoke to me about these issues prior to Dad's death. Because Mother cannot handle it alone and doesn't understand her finances, I had to "take the reins" for a time to figure things out and learn what is what. She was extremely uncomfortable having me pay the bills, get her mail, etc, but she is entirely incapable of doing it herself. Finally she flat out told she doesn't trust me! She was not specific about WHY or how she thinks I'm going to "cheat" her. She is very paranoid about her possessions and her money. This is not new, but has gotten much worse in the last year since Dad's passing.
In May of this year my mother had a very serious car accident. She was driving and turned left in front of oncoming traffic. She was saved by the airbag but broke her pelvis resulting in a 10 day hospital stay.
During her hospital stay she began an argument with me, stating that all I see when I look at her are dollar signs; that I just "can't wait" for her to die so I can get my hands on her money, etc etc. etc. She was very angry because she thought I'd put in the psych ward, which I had NOT. She was on a regular ward after leaving the ER.
Though it's true my husband and I have hit extremely hard times, I certainly have never looked at my mother with "dollar signs in my eyes" or wished for her death. Though my mother does have early-mid stage dementia, this is not a new theme for her, though it has seemed worse during the last year. I should probably state my mother was also an only child, as was her mother and HER mother before that. My mother never learned to share and is admittedly a selfish person.
Again, I'm trying condense a life-long story ~ suffice it to say my mother has always thought the worst of me (I have no idea why as I was never a problem child) and she always felt I wanted to keep her at arm's length, which in some ways I do/did, because she often says entirely inappropriate, hurtful, and cruel things to me. I have never argued with her, never stated my feelings, or responded much to her hurtful comments primarily to keep the "peace", though staying quiet has cost me dearly. In fact, my best friend tells me I've been quite the doormat my entire adult life. My husband agrees.
After her hurtful comments to me when she was at the hospital, I blew. For years and years I've told my husband and best friend that I've remained calm and collected my entire adult life, but I could feel I was finally on my last nerve and I often said when I blew I was REALLY going to BLOW. And I surely did. I snapped. It was even a physical feeling, if you can imagine it. All the years I'd kept my mouth shut over her cruel comments came to a head at a VERY inappropriate time with her in the hospital and all ... but I simply could not help it. I told her I'd had ENOUGH of her hurtful comments and I was leaving and I did. It was quite a scene. In the hall I just fell to pieces. I felt I'd lost my Dad last year and now my mother, too. I'd tried to please them my entire life to no avail. A nurse gave me a sedative. I mean, I really did snap.
Upon leaving the hospital after a 10 day stay, my mother went to a nursing home for rehab due to the broken pelvis. I visited three times during the 3 weeks she was there because she continued calling me names; continued to state all I am interested in is her money, etc. etc. This hurts me greatly and causes me terrific pain. She has stated to doctors, staff, friends, and investment bankers that she doesn't trust me. She has no Power of Attorney, no health proxy, NOTHING because of her belief I am out to "get" her.
After the nursing home, she went to an assisted living facility for what I assume is a temporary arrangement. She arrived there July 6th. I haven't been.
Finally, while she was still at the nursing home (about a month or so ago) I wrote her a letter telling her how her untrue statements and thoughts have hurt me deeply. She has often looked at me and said, "I could just PUNCH you" (completely out of the blue!) but then expects me to take her to dinner and act as if nothing was said. She tells her friends how I once was thin and beautiful, but now I've "chosen" to be fat pig. She tells people she doesn't trust me and I'm only "in it" for the money. Then she tells me other daughters visit their mothers in the home every day. She wondered why I so seldom visited.
Why in the world would I want to sit and "visit" when she does these things to me? It seems she just wants a punching bag and I will no longer be one. As I stated before, this is not new. She has been like this for 30 years or more, but it has gotten worse since Dad's passing and her auto accident.
ANYWAY, I wrote the letter (this was in June) giving specific examples of how her statements and accusations have hurt me and asked she think about my letter and contact me when she wanted to talk about them. These were all instances that occured within the last year. I did not rehash history but kept the examples recent, brief and to the point.
She didn't call for a few days, then called about something else. I asked if she'd gotten the letter. Yes, she had. Silence. She said, "Well, aren't you going to say anything?" and I explained that I had expected HER to talk about what I had written. She said she would NEVER do that. She offered no reason why. Angry and hurtful words were exchanged and she hung up on me.
About 10 days later, I called her (July 4). She was obviously agitated and irritated with my call. She said she couldn't talk. I gently asked if she meant she "couldn't" or "wouldn't" - she replied "Both." She said her hands were shaking and she was so upset and she could feel her blood pressure "go sky high" ...... when all I had done was called and had barely said more than "Hello, How are you?"
We had a very brief conversation and left it that she would call me when she was feeling better.
That was July 4. It is now July 29. I have no idea what on earth to do. She gets so agitated and upset when I call; but yet she tells friends (who then tell me) that I have abandoned her in her time of need, which is NOT the case.
I have to admit, things are much quieter and more peaceful without the drama and hurt my mother can conjure up, but I am uneasy leaving the situation alone, being I am her only family and she is old. She is still at the assisted living facility. I simply do not feel I can talk with her meaningfully. My last several attempts were rejected. Her standard comment is "I just can't deal with it". Additinally, I will not set myself up for the emotional turmoil and emotional beatings she has doled out for most of my life, but more recently this past year.
Any suggestions? Am I a hateful daughter for wanting some peace? Should I just leave her alone as it seems she wants? As I said in the beginning, she is a very controlling, manipulative woman and I feel she is still trying to control and manipulate by not calling me. Many years ago a similar event occured. She shut me out and would not call me. I finally relented and phoned her .... but nothing was resolved. It continues to be unresolved 30 years later.
After my "snap" at the hospital during the argument my mother initiated, I simply do not feel the same. I feel almost nothing at all except guilt that I am not "there" for her (though she seems to delight in doing things that drive me away) and sadness that I will never have the mother I always tried to please and always wanted, and always hoped to still, someday, have. Now I don't even really care anymore.
I have purchased several books, "Toxic Parents" among them. That book seems to describe our relationship perfectly. I cannot afford to see a therapist, though I know I could surely use one.
Thoughts, suggestions, would be so greatly appreciated. I am adrift .... and know she is still controlling me because I am allowing her non-action to upset me so much. Arrrrrgggghhhhhh!
I'll be happy to answer questions if it would make the situation more clear. I'll do just about anything for some help, validation, reassurance, ANYTHING. HELP!