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I don't know where to begin. I have a mother who is crazy. I have known she was crazy since I was about five years old...that is when I became aware that she was "different" than other mothers. She is extremely Paranoid, and that skews her perceptions and hence her responses. Her responses are negative, volatile, and reactive. She was very abusive to me and my siblings when we were growing up (beatings, black eyes, broken glasses, kicking, biting, punching, even came after my sister with a butch knife once). My dad was a sweet ineffectual man who was an alcoholic. He didn't stand up for us or protect us. I ran away from home twice, that did no good, they sent me right back to more of the same. I told my teachers, youth leaders, etc., that did no good also. This was a time in which everything was kept in the closet. I won't bore you with the horrible details of the things that happened to me growing up.

My mother got religion after I left home. I say religion, rather than God because she behaves far from a Christian and it did nothing to improve her or her disposition. She uses God as a platform on which to decree HER will. She "saves" and "unsaves" us at will, depending upon whether we totally agree with her or not, or do her bidding. Aren't we glad she isn't really God's handmaiden! I realize God has nothing to do with this other than He created her.

Fast forward...she is now 90 and weighs 70 lbs. She is starving herself, not taking her medicine, won't pay her bills, choosing instead to give her money to "God's work". She does not have the ability to reason or connect the dots. She is the most uncooperative ungrateful person I have ever met and can be very vicious. I would just walk away and not look back, but I don't want my siblings to have to deal with her alone, and even though she never seemed like a true mother to me, she's on my birth certificate as such. She is living in substandard conditions. None of us can take her into our homes because she is not livable...she won't shut up or cease and desist, ever. She would likely burn our home down on purpose...she is that demented. She does things like enters heavy traffic without looking, won't listen to any of us when we try to help her. Her plumbing is shot, her roof is caving in. She refused all of our help around the place over the years, refused the help of the workmen we sent. She prays for our dogs and friends to die. She calls us up, berates us and hangs up...says she never wants to hear from us again, and a few minutes later calls back and does the same thing again. I had to have her blocked from my office number.

She refuses to sign a power of attorney, refuses to move from her home. About a year ago we started the process to try and get some jurisdiction over her through the courts. She says very inappropriate things and lies about us. She told her bank my brother was stealing from her (he's not), told her doctor I said I hate her and will have nothing to do with her (I didn't). It's a continual barrage of drama.

We are trying to get her into a care facility where she'll be safe. My dear sister-in-law has been wonderful, and she has done a lot of the leg work, finding a place for her, getting Medicaid approval, etc. My brother now has conservator-ship and has filed with the court for approval for her move, and we are awaiting their very slow wheels to turn.

I am most thankful for my wonderful brother and sisters. God may have shortchanged me greatly with decent parents, but He shined upon all of us kids when He gave us each other.

So this is where I am...as my mother sinks deeper and deeper into her mental illness and dementia and frustrates the hades out of us kids, I realize she will not last forever. What will I feel then? Will I even miss her? Is there anything to miss? I am afraid of the emotions I will experience when that time comes...will I feel anger? Relief? Loss? I really don't know. Right now I don't think I could stomach a funeral and listening to people saying good things about her. I imagine I will do whatever brings the most comfort to my siblings as they are ultimately what is most important to me.

My son got married June 30. He wanted to invite his grandma but was afraid to. We never know what she'll say or do. I told him not to. She ruined what she could of me and George's wedding. She was a pain at my daughter's wedding. I told him to first protect his wife and not let anything ruin their special day. I told him my mom can't handle the attention being on anyone but her and this day couldn't be about her. (I told her it'd be too much for her and she agreed.) I told my son to bring his wife by to meet his grandma some time after the wedding, to make their stay very short, to bring a couple of pictures, no more, she can't handle too much, and if she started saying/doing something inappropriate, to get his bride out of there quickly!

Most people can't understand what it's like to go through something like this. They have good parents, parents who were there for them, parents that didn't wreak havoc in their lives. I read how everyone misses their mom, misses their dad, etc. I don't even know what that's like. I do miss my dad some, he was the easier parent but he was in no means an acceptable parent. I think sometimes we whitewash one parent because we so desperately want one good parent! But when we grow up at some point we have to come to terms with how they let us down and failed us and then let it go. And it's really okay to let it go, but it's not good to let it continue. That is the hard part. When they get old and need you, what can we do?

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Kay, your story is so painful. I have worked with many clients over the years who have come from homes such as yours. How difficult it is to deal with the onslaught of all those feelings...those of being robbed of healthy loving parents, of feeling unconditional love, of being hurt so deeply as a child and adult, and now with your mother's aging and approaching death. I am just so very sorry that this is your story. How blessed you are with great siblings...that is the good news. I had a client (adult woman in her 50s) once whose story was very similar. I asked her to write her mother a letter that no one, including me, would ever see. (that she would or could destroy it when done with it) and then to highlight phrases that were particularly difficult for her and bring it to the next session assuring her that I would only ask her to refer to it in the session. She left saying she has nothing to say to her mother any more but would try. I knew she would as I had been working with her for a while. She came in a week later with 24 single spaced typed pages with tiny margins...she said she could not stop writing and that it was quite cathartic to just say it all with no limitations, rules, (even rules about spelling or choice of language, swearing, whatever). She asked me if she could spend the session reading it to me. It took many sessions as her tears flowed profusely so many times but it was very healing for her. Telling our stories to someone who does not judge us and who accepts us is healing. I pass that on to you in case any part of that appeals to you. I have found that writing letters to whoever (for example-I wrote many to my Dad when I was in therapy many many years ago. He abused me as a child and was an alcoholic and that has helped me to just identify the pain with no rules i.e. say what I want. I suggest to people when they are done with the letters to burn them and compost a plant with the ashes....something good can grow out of them. I am big on ritual as a healer also.

I write to Bill all the time also...when I am lonely, missing him, want to share....and that kind of letter helps also. I wish I had a magic wand for you. I know you do also. What i can say is that with all that pain in your past...including your losses....you have become a phenomenal woman...not just a survivor but one who thrives. You are generous, insightful, perceptive, caring and wise. I think I would call you a wounded healer....and I do understand how wounds, especially those deep wounds in our childhood, besides hurting us can also lead to us being perceptive and compassionate if we allow them to. I wish you peace, Mary

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Kay, my dear, my heart goes out to you. There are no words to explain the "why" of situations such as yours, and I am so very sorry sad.gif

I think Mary's suggestion about the unsent letter is an excellent one; you'll find an article about that, along with several other resources you may find helpful, on my site's Death That Brings Relief page, if you are interested. (I've read the book, Liberating Losses: When Death Brings Relief and recommend it highly; if you click on the link you can read Amazon's description and reviews.) See also my Open to Hope article, When Grieving An Abandonment. ♥

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Thank you both for your responses. I hesitated to write this, but I felt it was healing just to get it out. Normally I don't talk about it with "outsiders" (outside the family) because most people have no comprehension and think it's horrible to say anything unkind about a parent, no matter how true. My desire isn't to judge or hate her, but I have spent my entire life trying to be there for her, continually forgiving, while carrying the balancing act of protecting myself and my children. I just know as she ages, and Dementia takes it's toll further every day, I will lose her and honestly have no way of knowing exactly what I'll feel when that happens. I rather imagine I will have a lot of different feelings, all of them valid, all of them okay. I am very thankful us siblings can and do talk to each other on a regular basis and get together at least once a month, and we "vent" as needed...we have stayed in close touch by email, using "reply to all"...my one sister doesn't have a computer so I read her the emails and the rest touch base with her by phone. My siblings are a godsend. It is why I wanted to have at least two children and not an only child, I couldn't imagine my world without my sisters and brother. The brother wasn't close to the rest of us, being so much younger and always busy, but the last couple of years he has made more effort to get to know us and see us from time to time. This week I go to my sisters' reunion (along with my daughter and niece) and I so look forward to it! Sometimes we say "okay, we need a break...no talk about mom this weekend" and that is good too. :)

Marty, I will read that link you sent me, I appreciate it so much. I have searched the internet for forums for people who have parents that are whacked out and I haven't found any that were viable and worthwhile. This will be of immense help.

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She has been through a lot and gleaned a lot...I don't have a mother, I never did. When I became a teenager, I had to be the parent. She once put a rifle in my hand (she was drunk) and told me to go on and shoot her. I rolled my eyes, put the gun down, and tried to talk to her, like I was the parent and she was the child...I must have been about 16 or so.

My mother is a despicable person. I have accepted that I can't change that. But it may or may not be her fault...or anything inbetween. I know she's really messed up and I think it must really suck to be her. I try to have pity on her. I try to do the responsible thing. I try to help her if/when she'll let me, however much she'll let me. I try to respect her wishes when I can. Her living alone in these substandard conditions are not one of those times. It has gone too far for that. Her mental state and the condition of the house has gone too far for that. Sometimes people must be saved from themselves...Alzheimer's patients are some of those people. My mother is one of those people. I don't try to argue with her, it gets you nowhere. Correcting her gets you nowhere. I hope and pray she will be made right but I know that won't be in this world. Maybe then I can like her.

The author you directed me to...she has gleaned some things through her experience. I can relate to that. I don't think God makes bad things happen to "build our character" but rather we encounter difficult things in life and they are part of what shapes and molds us. I think those are often the silver linings to the clouds. Like developing more empathy, compassion, patience, forbearance (now THERE's a good word!).

Lately I have been taking care of my son's dog, Skye. I think I've had him for about seven weeks or so. Skye is a beautiful Siberian Husky that is old and crippled and incontinent. His paws turn under and he is woozy and he falls a lot. Sometimes he feels crotchety towards Arlie. Skye is the sweetest most loveable dog that ever was. It's not his fault he has a neurological disorder and is getting old. Between the two dogs and two cats, I feel like I did when I was back raising children. I find myself having to get real patient and caring, and slow down and just help them the best I can. That's not a bad thing. It's funny, I never thought of myself as a compassionate person...GEORGE was compassionate...I thought he was compassionate enough for both of us, I was the "tough love" one. But I've found the older I get, the more it is developing. Maybe part of it is knowing our own immortality, and knowing we will be there ourselves all too soon.

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I just ordered Liberating Losses, thank you for pointing it out to me! I think my sisters will benefit from it as well.

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She has been through a lot and gleaned a lot...I don't have a mother, I never did. When I became a teenager, I had to be the parent. She once put a rifle in my hand (she was drunk) and told me to go on and shoot her. I rolled my eyes, put the gun down, and tried to talk to her, like I was the parent and she was the child...I must have been about 16 or so.

My mother is a despicable person. I have accepted that I can't change that. But it may or may not be her fault...or anything inbetween. I know she's really messed up and I think it must really suck to be her. I try to have pity on her. I try to do the responsible thing. I try to help her if/when she'll let me, however much she'll let me. I try to respect her wishes when I can. Her living alone in these substandard conditions are not one of those times. It has gone too far for that. Her mental state and the condition of the house has gone too far for that. Sometimes people must be saved from themselves...Alzheimer's patients are some of those people. My mother is one of those people. I don't try to argue with her, it gets you nowhere. Correcting her gets you nowhere. I hope and pray she will be made right but I know that won't be in this world. Maybe then I can like her.

The author you directed me to...she has gleaned some things through her experience. I can relate to that. I don't think God makes bad things happen to "build our character" but rather we encounter difficult things in life and they are part of what shapes and molds us. I think those are often the silver linings to the clouds. Like developing more empathy, compassion, patience, forbearance (now THERE's a good word!).

Lately I have been taking care of my son's dog, Skye. I think I've had him for about seven weeks or so. Skye is a beautiful Siberian Husky that is old and crippled and incontinent. His paws turn under and he is woozy and he falls a lot. Sometimes he feels crotchety towards Arlie. Skye is the sweetest most loveable dog that ever was. It's not his fault he has a neurological disorder and is getting old. Between the two dogs and two cats, I feel like I did when I was back raising children. I find myself having to get real patient and caring, and slow down and just help them the best I can. That's not a bad thing. It's funny, I never thought of myself as a compassionate person...GEORGE was compassionate...I thought he was compassionate enough for both of us, I was the "tough love" one. But I've found the older I get, the more it is developing. Maybe part of it is knowing our own immortality, and knowing we will be there ourselves all too soon.

Kay, this is an amazing post. You are an amazing person!

Mary

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Kay, my dear, your insights are astounding. I think it was Socrates who said that the unexamined life is not worth living ~ and yours is anything but that. You are a shining example for all of us. At some point in your life you may not have thought of yourself as a compassionate person, but I think all our members would agree that you are one of the wisest, most patient, caring, and compassionate people we've ever known, and we are blessed to have you in our midst . . .

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You guys are too kind. Actually, I was just telling my neighbor about both of you today...YOU are the amazing ones to me!

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In that case, Kay, "it takes one to know one." Tonight I got a letter from a friend who is also a columnist for my publication. The sentiments in it brought me to tears and I had a hard time even believing what she was attributing to me. But I have to accept what she said because she is a truth speaker. I think you must accept the sentiments we on this board express about you because we are speaking truth. :)

Peace,

Mary

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I take what you and Marty say as truth, I've never known you to speak anything but! :) Just saying, I feel the same way about you guys.

You know, I have had my share of hard places in life, and quite honestly, I wouldn't trade them. They have made me who I am. Why God has chosen me to go through some of these things I don't know, but I'll take it as a compliment...after all, He thought highly of Job and look what he went through! That isn't how I've felt at the time I was going through it though, it's easier looking back and seeing the whole picture. I have known people who have never had anything hard in their life...the hardest thing they've encountered is what color of nail polish to use, seriously! I wouldn't want to be them, it makes for shallowness and self-centeredness. I know, we all look back and think, "If only I could have xxxx back, life would be good again." But in reality, we don't know what would be. The unknown truly IS the unknown.

There are things worse than death, and my sister Donna has lived it. Her husband was cheating on her so she filed for divorce and left him, discovering shortly thereafter that she was pregnant. She was working full time and going to school, while caring for a three year old and a four month old, when she had a car accident. She was 25. It killed her three year old and left her quadriplegic. My parents had custody of the four month old and were raising him and they and myself were taking care of her and the baby and my little sister. Then her ex kidnapped the baby, who was then four years old. We didn't see him for a year and when we got him back, he was like a wild animal...the atrocities he had gone through had really affected him. My parents then adopted him. Speed by a few years...my mom placed Donna is a nursing home and talked badly about her to her child because my mom was jealous of Donna for being his birth mother. I told you, my mom was/is really something. Donna has lived imprisoned in her body for 45 years now and had her children stripped from her through no fault of her own and a mother who instead of loving her, has not spoken to her in over 20 years. Donna's vocal chords were badly damaged in the emergency treatment following the accident, so it's hard to understand her when she talks. But I have to tell you, even though she went through years of wanting to commit suicide (but was unable to do so), she finally accepted her condition and life. Donna is an amazing person, she is an inspiration! She is still intelligent, beautiful, even though she doesn't think so, and has a wonderful sense of humor. She can still speak fluent French, even though we can't understand her. She is thoughtful, and a tremendous person. And finally, in spite of the years my mom has poisoned Donna's son against her, finally, he is getting to know Donna for who she is and shed the bias he has been fed. The biggest smile I have ever seen on Donna's face was when she saw her son, for the first time in years. He is my brother, but to me he will always be her son as well.

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I take what you and Marty say as truth, I've never known you to speak anything but! :) Just saying, I feel the same way about you guys.

You know, I have had my share of hard places in life, and quite honestly, I wouldn't trade them. They have made me who I am. Why God has chosen me to go through some of these things I don't know, but I'll take it as a compliment...after all, He thought highly of Job and look what he went through! That isn't how I've felt at the time I was going through it though, it's easier looking back and seeing the whole picture. I have known people who have never had anything hard in their life...the hardest thing they've encountered is what color of nail polish to use, seriously! I wouldn't want to be them, it makes for shallowness and self-centeredness. I know, we all look back and think, "If only I could have xxxx back, life would be good again." But in reality, we don't know what would be. The unknown truly IS the unknown.

Kay, I agree. Pain strengthens us and deepens us. I went through childhood abuse also and it made me more perceptive and aware. I have since worked with many women who were abused...putting to good use my own work that I have done and continue to do. Shallow people miss out on a lot in life. They seem to always want more because of their own emptiness. I am wiped out. 2 days of Voice. I did in 2 days what usually takes a good week...tomorrow I do a 6 hour Soul Collage workshop. Should be good, relaxing, healing. I am ready. I am making it through this horrendously packed week but by the skin of my teeth. Today a friend stopped and I just started sobbing...overwhelmed. She gets it. We ended up goofy, laughing, and being a bit nutty before she left...she is on the last of many cancer treatments. We have walked together all these months. Time to quit. Peace to you, you phenomenal woman. Read that book by Maya Angelou...Bill gave it to me as a gift once and I read it every once in a while. It is very good...very short. Mary

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It's ironic that we finally got my mom accustomed to the idea of going to an assisted living home that we chose for her and then they decided she needed dementia care and didn't have room so now she's still living alone. It would be much better if she were in assisted living than living alone but they won't take her because of the liability since they figure she needs lock down.

We have her on a waiting list for two places...she won't consider just any facility (she insists on a Christian facility and she's the judge of that) so that narrows it down considerably. I hope we get an opening soon. It has been an eye opener to me that so many are in this situation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi kayc,

I just read your post, the above replies are fantastic and hope they help you, I'm sure they will.

I too suffered chidlhood abuse, my father was an alcoholic, violent and mentally abusive, I was adopted and he said some terrible things that took me years to be able to say it was him, not me at fault.

You wrote me such a wonderful response to my post that has truly helped me, I just want you to know that.

I have often wondered why does God put so much pain in to some people's lives and as you say others are deciding which nail polish to use!!! oh to have the worry of which polish to use! but as you say, I wouldn't want to be one of those people.

I wish I had words of wisdom for you but my mind right now is a mess, take care and look after yourself, big hugs.

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I took my mom out to dinner last night. I swear, every time I see her, she is worse, it is escalating so fast! We met someone who lives down the street from her...her reaction to my mom's living on her own was disbelief. Of course, I couldn't very well talk to her candidly with my mom there. My mom was spilling her guts, all of it erroneous and lies, and the other two appeared shocked. I corrected my mom a couple of times but most of the time let it go as she doesn't take being corrected very well. She'd say my dad has been dead 60 years (it's been 30) and none of her children have anything to do with her because she's a Christian (not true), and no one cares about her, etc. Good grief! She said my brother didn't care about her and I reminded her that he just brought her checks by (he's always doing things for her). I asked her how her day went and try to steer her in positive direction, but it's tough because she's so negative and keeps saying nasty things.

When we got back to the house, she refused to let me into her house, refused to let me help her, and since she hadn't heeded my advice to leave her house unlocked (she has nothing to steal and she's always locking herself out of the house or losing the key), I was worried she wouldn't get back in. I tried calling her all the way home and she didn't answer, so I pictured her sitting out back praying. She's truly nuts. FINALLY she answered the phone and I could hear her praying, but it was so faint I could barely hear her, she probably had the phone turned around (mouth to earpiece) or something, she forgets to hold it right. Then she hung up. That's okay, I just wanted to make sure she was in her house and she was. I thought, I can't take this kind of stress, it's too much! I need her to be safe inside a place that will watch her!

As soon as I walked in my home, the neighbor shows up, going on and on about how his daughter bounced her rent check. I said, excuse me, I need to walk my dog and go to the bathroom, I'd been gone all day! He watches for me to go by and then immediately shows up? I don't need that. I've asked him to call before coming over. He thinks his daughter's overspending her bank account (she's 37) is a problem? He should have my mom to deal with. I don't feel very sympathetic right now.

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One thing I've noticed, if someone has a parent that is mentally ill, they can't talk about it. It's the giant elephant in the room. They can broach Dementia somewhat, although even that comes with some unspoken shame or something...but esp. mental illness. When you don't have the perfect mom, you have one that has been a pain all your life, one that torments you, one that embarrasses you, one that lies about you and your siblings and everyone you know, one that is hostile and uncooperative...it's like it's a shame to us, like we must be defective or something, to have a mom like this. After all, everyone else's mom bakes cookies and sews and is nice to them! What happened, what did I do to deserve a mom like this? When I was born, no less! I was an innocent little baby, how is it that God chose to give me this person for a mother? And now, nearly 60 years later, it's not any better...it's worse. A mom that has never appreciated, never been proud of her children (she should be!). Never recognized how fortunate she is.

Honestly, I don't know what to make of her, don't know what to do with her. It's a quandary, still, I try to pay honor to her but it seems hypocritical, honor to what? Honor FOR what? All the same, she's my mother, even if I never would have picked her, even if I'd trade her in gladly. I'm supposed to be grateful she didn't have an abortion? They weren't legal back then, and she got a husband who stuck by her and treated her well...if she hadn't, she might have. That's a scary thought! Us kids, we've learned to laugh about it, having her for a mom, we laugh about her "saving and unsaving us" at will. We laugh about her getting my little sister a card that says "For my sweet daughter" and crossed out the "sweet" part. What kind of a mother does that?! We took in stride the horrors she put us through as children and teenagers.

Now my mom is 90. People are horrified that she still lives alone and they look at us like we must be some kind of ingrates, what kind of children are we that neglect our mother! They don't know we've spent a year trying to get legal jurisdiction to try and move her to a safe place. Her house isn't inhabitable. She uses a bucket because her plumbing doesn't work half the time. She buries it in the back yard. Oh, but we aren't supposed to talk about that! Her roof is held together with moss. They don't know my BIL drove three hours to put a new roof on her house at his expense and she turned him away. They don't know she's turned away every workman we've sent, every attempt we've made, to try and help her.

It makes me want to cooperate gladly when it is my kids' time to tell me I must move, or do this or do that. Whatever they say. They are my kids, they have my best interest at heart.

How sad it must be that she can't recognize something as simple yet profound as that!

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My dear Kay, I'm so sorry that this situation continues to impact your life, and I cannot imagine how totally helpless and misjudged you must feel. Clearly your mother's mental state and bizarre behaviors place tremendous pressure on you, and it is evident from your posts in this thread how easy it is for you to get caught up in explaining and defending yourself as the good daughter you've always tried so hard to be.

In my concern for you, I took the liberty of discussing your situation with a colleague at Hospice of the Valley, who is a social worker, to see if she had any suggestions for you from her perspective in social work. I'd like to share with you some of her ideas, and of course you can do with them what you will. Some of them I'm sure you've probably thought of and maybe even have tried already, so please bear with me.

The first suggestion is that you might consider getting into some short-term, in-person counseling for yourself, simply to give you an additional sounding board and a safe place to unload this stress. In the words of my social worker colleague, you need to let yourself and your mother off the hook for how far you've fallen below the mark of the "ideal parent-child relationship." This is truly an issue to be faced and mourned. As my colleague correctly observed, it sounds as if your mother has had personality and/or mental health issues most of her life, and it is not unusual for children in such families to interpret this as somehow their fault or their burden to be borne.

With regard to your mother, one option is to anonymously report your mother to Oregon's Adult Protective Services for unsafe dwelling and potentially harmful behavior toward herself.

Another option is to consult with a Geriatric Social Worker, a specialist who can offer experienced support and advice on how to deal with your mother's situation, help you to feel less helpless and alone, and assist you in exploring whatever services are available to you that you might not know about already. You can find a geriatric social worker by contacting your Local Agency On Aging (AAA), or you can ask your family physician, hospital, senior center, social service agency or religious community to suggest a geriatric social worker they have worked with in the past.

So to get the support you need and deserve, Kay, what I am suggesting is a two-pronged approach:

1) Find some short-term, face-to-face counseling to help you not only strengthen your resolve and your coping skills, but also to mourn the significant losses you've endured, and

2) Obtain some expert information about your mother's safety and wellbeing from an eldercare specialist.

At the very least, please know that we feel for you, we care deeply for you, and we are always here for you. ♥

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Yes, you're right, I've already been there, done that. And I don't feel in any way that I am personally flawed or have let her down...quite the contrary, I think my mom has six wonderful children that have been amazing and she has not deserved them. I have wondered about our "luck of the draw" in getting her as a mother, although I know there's no more answer to that than there is in getting an answer as to why I happened to have the kind of luck that my husband died so young.

I balance my mom's bizarre responses and behaviors with judgment/withholding judgment, unsure exactly what she is/isn't responsible for...I am glad that there is one mightier than I who holds that position. I have to deal with her neighbors' responses, etc., people that have no clue what we've been through. I guess I should just let all that go, yet it's hard when I watch my sisters go through it. I remember two of my sisters driving 2 1/2 hours to see her, just to be accosted by my mom's neighbor for not doing more for her. ???!! It's hard to watch their pain when I know the true story.

Us siblings have been a tremendous support to each other. There is no getting around the pain she has inflicted in all of us, but we've done the best with what we have and are.

She has been reported, we have had to go through the courts, however, and the wheels of the powers that be are unfortunately very slow. They first assigned her an attorney who fought us at every step and turn...now even she has come to understand what we're up against. We only want her safety.

I'm not sure what I feel about her but I accept that I will have conflicted feelings, that is both understandable and normal given the situation. As far as geriatric help, I don't feel the largest part of my mom's problems are from that, but rather from her mental illnesses, which have been life long and she's never received help for them. Her recent evaluations are the first she's ever allowed. Our society is one that would rather pretend mentally off people do not exist, or get them "out of the way" (lock them up)...but even then there is far less capacity for mental patients than needed. Most are not dealt with as long as they are not deemed to be a harm to others, and even less as a potential harm to themselves. It is relative...how does one predict who is going to be a harm? We've just seen that displayed as the young man that went on the recent murder spree in Colorado. Our society is one that chooses to turn a blind eye and pass the buck. We will all be relieved when a spot in a dementia care facility opens up and we can at last have her safely tucked away, whether she hates us for it or not. We are used to her hate. At least we will be able to go to bed at night knowing she has heat, food, medicines, and someone to watch over her.

I write here for two reasons...both to give place to how I feel and what I am going through, and so no one else who is going through something similar need feel alone in their experience.

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I write here for two reasons...both to give place to how I feel and what I am going through, and so no one else who is going through something similar need feel alone in their experience.

I know that, Kay, I just wanted you to feel felt, and to know that you are being heard.

I so appreciate your openness and honesty, and I am gratified to know that you consider this a safe place for you to place your burdens. As I think you already know, your presence here is highly valued by all of us. You are, and have been for a very long time, one of our site's most precious treasures. I'm so very sorry that you have a mother who fails to recognize how special you are ~ but I hope it helps to know that we do. We most certainly do, dear Kay.

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I have spent a good share of the day doing some research, and I've found out that my mother does not at this time display Alzheimer's, but Lewey Bodies dementia. I will learn all I can about it. One of the things that I find puzzling is that my mother, who has always had Paranoia, and now the paranoia seems to be worsening...the Lewey Bodies dementia accounts for that. I'm not sure if that's a coincidence or if there's a connection between people who have Paranoia developing Lewey Bodies dementia. I cannot see where her geriatric doctor is prescribing anything for this but I know that they do where they feel it will help...in some cases there is no help. It does mention it escalates rather quickly, as we're observing. The doctor's concerns mirror our own.

I've come to the conclusion that although I grew up with a horrible mother that was deficient in her parenting skills, that has little to do with the elderly confused person I see now. They are separate issues. I've had counseling, I've spent my life dealing with what my abnormal background meant to me...I've recognized that the lack of normalcy in my early life hurt my ability to judge normal from abnormal, particularly in choosing relationship partners. There is valid reason I have had a difficult time picking a right partner for me. With George, I pretty much lucked out...but then, my own intuition was right too. I am learning to listen to my own intuition. Instruction from Dating and Relationship Experts has helped. Making the decision not to date at this time in my life was a relief to me and to my children, who thankfully, have been more discerning than I have been in my history. In other words, my background has contributed greatly to my demise in my life, but ultimately, it is my responsibility to make wise decisions and it is to that end I endeavor.

At this time, with regards to my mother, I have two goals: 1) to see her safely being cared for so she is as healthy and comfortable as possible and 2) to be able to forgive her and bury the past atrocities as much as I humanly can. I would endeavor to focus on the positive with regards to memories of her, but I have very little positive to focus on...most of my childhood memories are clouded by her abuse of one nature or another. It would help to know that this is due to a lifelong mental illness for which she is not responsible. I have not seen her take measures to improve herself, ever. I have never seen her trying to find out what is wrong with her or accept responsibility for herself, or admit anything...indeed, that is unlikely to ever happen at this point. Understanding that she is in a Catch-22...those who are mentally ill seldom admit it or seek help...thus, perhaps it is part of their mental illness that makes it difficult for them to do so.

Perhaps my siblings and I's pattern of coping, which has been to laugh and/or vent, is about as good as it gets. I thank God every day I was not raised an only child...if nothing else, my mother gave me some wonderful siblings that have more than made up for the parental lacks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I ran across an article that helped me (it was posted regarding Lewy Bodies Dementia) http://www.uiowa.edu/~centrage/archive/pubs/Newest%20Versions%20-%20pdf%20format/Coping%20with%20Violence.pdf

Tonight I will see my mom, I hope to employ some of the tips they shared. It's given me a bit more empathy and patience with her. I think if she had been a good mom and then gotten that, it'd be easier to understand "it's just the illness". But being as she has always been this way and the dementia has only worsened it, it's a little harder to distinguish the illness from her. I'm trying to view it as "she was a horrible mother but that's neither here nor there"..."now she's just an old person with this horrible disease."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kay,

Sometimes there just aren't words - you are indeed a woman of strength. I want this poem and attachment to be my words to let you know that you are in the right place when you share with those of us who have chosen this forum. enna

A Women of Strength

A woman of strength,

Has courage to face the day,

And the confidence,

To handle whatever comes her way.

A woman of strength,

Has so much love to give,

And more compassion,

It gives her a reason to live.

A woman of strength,

Can face trouble with more hope,

Face adversity,

Always finding the strength to cope.

A woman of strength,

Can take the bad with the good,

And learn from it all,

With a sense of pride that’s understood.

A woman of strength,

Can conduct herself with grace,

Hold her head up high,

And dignity always has its place.

A woman of strength,

Can face almost anything,

And can look forward,

To what the future will possibly bring…

{©2008 Jan Brooks}

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Marty,

That article is good. I can relate to the person in the article...all except for the last part where her mother listened. My mother doesn't have the ability to reason or change, that has been long gone. She didn't practice much of that even when her brain would have been capable. I no longer try to figure out if I love her or don't. It doesn't much matter. I pity her. I try to be there for her. There hasn't been much to love. It's not like she was a wonderful person up until she got Dementia...that I could handle. All of my life she has been abusive and negative. It's a little easier now in the sense that now I know she's not capable of anything else...whereas earlier she could have made more effort and chose not to. But those are her choices and not mine, I cannot change her. I can also relate to the grandchildren not wanting to come by. If I can get my kids to see her once a year I'm lucky...but I don't blame them. They choose to avoid the uncomfortable...what I would choose if only I could.

I'm okay, but my mother never will be, not in this life. My only hope is that when she does pass away, she will finally be "made right" and free from this miserable existence she's lived in all of her life. Maybe then I can get to know the mother I never had or knew, the mother she was meant to be but never became here.

In having my pets euthanized, I make the determination based on their quality of life and pain...but we can't do that for humans. My mom isn't in physical pain, although to hear her tell it she has everything wrong with her. But she is in extreme psychological pain and always has been...and that pain has deepened recently. I can't make anything right for her, so I too hope she passes soon. Until then, I hope she is safe and hope to have her needs met. I can visit, bring food, run errands for her, but I cannot make her happy or whole.

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