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Thread: The mistakes I made...

  1. #31
    Guest
    Ahhh...the dreaded family gathering! Do your relatives think you are mean to your husband because you get mad at him? God forbid a woman ever get mad at her husband of all people! Really Marie...how DARE you?! I know what you mean, we've talked about this one...

    I feel like that in another way too, in addition to my first post, not being able to explain to my family, about WHY I can't be more present for them. (God knows if I can't explain things to sane people here, I certainly can't explain ANYTHING to the fruitiest of the fruits at home!) In the beginning, I tried to, without telling Ray's personal business. The eldest control freak, told me oh you don't have to explain, I will just accept what you say (like I was GOING to explain that personal stuff anyway...NOT!!...just TRUST me.) Then she turns around recently and screams at me...I don't understand why you can't blah, blah, blah, blah....!! Now, I got confused...huh? but, but, but, you said you DIDN'T WANT me to explain in detail just last year!

    I have learned from this, there is no right answer with some people. Whatever you do or say will be wrong. If you never got mad at your husband, you'd be accused of coddling him! You get mad at him and your'e an evil bitch! Just will always depend on who's company you are in and what mood they happen to be in that day!

    Thanks for the book recommendation! I will read that book! I need it! And guess what?...I AM angry!

    I am feeling more and more like I am truly not alone with these feelings. Sad that so many can relate, but the good part is well, we're all here and let it out!!

    Peace! Carol

    ps. the irony of all this is that it got started because I really am not able to do as much as my sisters for my parents, but now, because BS is mean to my mom, I'm going to HAVE to do more, that I really DON'T have time to do, to keep her away from my mom. They are far more equipped time and energy wise to take care of my parents, but then there is that meaness thing that I can't allow to happen. Funny, you do what you have to do, because you HAVE to do it, but just how much CAN you do, before you break? I don't know...I doubt anyone here knows that answer, because you all do what you have to do too.

    [This message was edited by X on 06-02-04 at 10:38 PM.]

  2. #32
    Setting Boundaries - Lesson 1 - by Kendell

    A) Let me guess. You are a very sensitive person - always there for the other person, and taking care of yourself last. When someone insults you by suggesting you have been less-than-whatever, you don't say "you idiot - I rock!" , you say to yourself "could they be right"? Trick number one of the evil oppressors is to put you on the defensive by being offensive and making you question your abilities and capabilities. Don't let them do this. Take a good look at who is telling you that you're "less than" and what their actions are showing you about their character and do NOT let them make you question yourself. You are a good person who cares - you are also human and as much as you'd like to do it all for everyone, you have to set some limits cause you're still just one person.

    Second - that "NO" word? Use it! Yes, yes , I know - you'll be called every last nasty name under the sun, but do not let yourself be guilt-tripped into doing something that would be putting your own health at risk. After all, if you lose your health, how can you help anyone? Find your voice, and stick to it.

    Sounds like you're already starting to do all this on your own, though. I think it's a process - once you recognize you're being treated badly and decide within yourself "no more", then it carries from there. I made a whole bunch of assumptions here and please know I will gladly beat the crap out of myself if I have said anything that offends you.

    Also, some of this is hard to do in the situation you're in. Dealing with jerky siblings when you're caring for a parent is rather like dealing with a jerky ex-husband with whom you have a child - the decisions would be easier if they weren't there, but they unless they remove themselves, or are forcibly removed, from the situation, you don't have much choice. Since I don't know just what your mother's problems are, or what level of care she may need, it's hard to make suggestions. It would help if there were a routine set up as to who were responsible for what part of her care. That is easier said than done. If nobody yet has DPOA for her for financial and healthcare, then that is a must-do. If there were a crisis, you definitely don't need major infighting with these siblings.

    Reluctant to go on cause I don't know what's going on in your household or if I"ve already stuck my foot in my mouth 12.7 times per paragraph, I shall stop there. If you'd ever care to email me, feel free to at javaluver2003@yahoo.com.

    One last thing - whatever happens from here on - I took care of my parents for eight years while also coping with ongoing health crises with Debbie, and a few other family members who were having problems over those years. I'm living proof it's possible to do it, but I surely wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I came as close as I ever care to finding out what my breaking point is.

    Take good care of yourself - Kendell aka Melissa

  3. #33
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    kenmore wa
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    222
    I don't know that they get mad as much as aghast that I don't "recognize" what he has to deal with, the other thing is the not working for money means I am not really doing anything. Because I am not working we save the amount we would pay a pa. Our son does the heavy stuff now and on the whole everyone is good--just clueless about how life is. I really don't think a person who doesn't live it everyday could really get it. Like Kendell said--I confess to being a person who doesn't say no but I am learning. It took a few reads for me to ralize I wasn't doing other people in my life a favor by hiding my feelings. But it is pretty tricky going. I actually haven't talked about sci life in the 28 years I have lived it til I got on this board. My husband and I talk openly but the different perspectives have been really good for me to hear.

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made of us."~~Sartre

  4. #34
    Guest
    Marie, I am aghast myself! To think that there are actually people who think you do not "recognize" what your husband has to deal with after 28 years of SCI?

    I understand about the your not working for money so you "must not be doing anything" part. I work full time and so does Ray, but he's been sick a lot and much of the time he is in pain as well, and going to work just kicks his ass for the rest of the evening, so naturally he needs more from me than an AB husband would. My sisters don't reconize THAT. They seem to think, they MUST or they would not say the things they say, that my day is done at 4:30 when I leave the office. Nope, my second job is just beginning. A job I would not let anyone else have, and the only way I would give it up would be if Ray were healed. I don't know what they think I do all evening. Your'e right, no one can fully understand it, unless they live it. It would be nice if my sisters would just trust that I'm not trying to "get out of" caring for our parents. Seems the husband in the wheelchair would be a big clue, but like you said, some people are clueless!

    Also, Ray's sister and her husband used to have a really bad habit of asking Ray to run errands for them! This was back when he was in college full time (a job in itself!), plus dealing with SCI. They seemed to think because he did not have a paying job, that he somehow had all this free time! So yes, I understand that frustration! I do hate it so that work is not valued by most unless is earns $$$.

    Hang in there! Carol

  5. #35
    Guest
    Goodness no Melissa! Nothing you said offends! It's like you opened my head and looked inside though! You are so right, when all "this" started, way further back than I even like to think about, I kept thinking "yes I CAN do this"...I only put a stop to doing too much when it started affecting RAY's health. I'd initially put SOME limits on what I could do, but found I later, I was faulted for that. The main problems started because my very controlling oldest sister grabbed the reins of this horse and decided it was HER ride. Well, she bit off more than she could chew and wanted the rest of us to pick up the slack. For instance, outside help could have been gotten long ago, but because my dad did not WANT it, she gave in to his whims, instead of insisting he get help or do without. WE (my good sister and I) were in no position to try to convince him, because SHE had put herself in charge, and HE let her. He only listens to the evil sisters. WE try to tell him something and he does not want to discuss it. If it were me, I would have just said, "Daddy, we can't keep on like this. We have GOT to hire some help." He's in his right mind. Oh I wouldn't let them starve to death, but let him see just what a hole our help left when not received for a few days. Might have changed his mind about hiring someone sooner. But, SHE would not allow that, and WE allowed her to push us...to keep the peace. Looking back, I truly see where the situation I'm in is all my fault, because I allowed it to happen and didn't say no. I did not even start saying no at all, until I sat blubbering on my doctor's table and I could not even go to the doctor alone, Ray had to take me, and then because all I could do was blubber, HE had to tell the doctor what was wrong with me! My doctor said, "I know it's hard, but you have got to learn to say no."...I remember thinking..."he is crazy..."no" is not an option here, but I will take the Zoloft and that will fix it! "...but, he, like you, were right...sometimes it's no or die. Zoloft is NOT enough!

    I hope you don't mind, I'm going to print out your Boundaries Lessons and give them to my good sister too! You make so much sense...are you a counselor by trade? If not, you should be!

    Oh, and the DPOA...my controlling oldest sister has that! Scary thought, eh?

    The situation is that my dad has always been sick, bad heart, diabetic, multiple surgeries, two of which were by-pass, broken back (but no SCI), extreme pain, severe depression. My mom, has Parkinson's and some dementia. My dad has always taken care of her with our help. Now, he just can't do much as he recently almost died from a staph infection near his heart and is just not bouncing back very well. So, it's really a rough situation, and I often feel torn between caring for my husband and my parents. And my sisters are more able to do it, they just want it to all be "equal" and they resent me because I can't contribute my "quarter"...there are 4 of us.

    It's all even crazier than I've said here...I could not begin to describe the bizarre dysfunction in my family! And if I could, there is not enough space on the entire internet! I think it all boils down to some people are just selfish. All my life I have been the one who got things done, and now I've got to admitt I can't do it ALL.

    Gee, this is long! Whew! I feel better though! Thanks Melissa! Your'e going to have to hang out sign and start charging us by the hour now! God love you, you've released the beast! And it talks! Thanks, thanks, thanks! Carol

    edited to add: let me clarify..my mom has only been sick 10 years...SHE took care of my dad all their married life before she got sick. Just wanted to give her the credit she deserves!

  6. #36
    Originally posted by X:

    Goodness no Melissa! Nothing you said offends! Whew! It's like you opened my head and looked inside though! Humblest apologies - I will refrain in the future. You are so right, when all "this" started, way further back than I even like to think about, I kept thinking "yes I CAN do this"...I only put a stop to doing too much when it started affecting RAY's health. I'd initially put SOME limits on what I could do, but found I later, I was faulted for that. Sometimes you can't win, you can only figure out the best of the imperfect solutions available. The main problems started because my very controlling oldest sister grabbed the reins of this horse and decided it was HER ride. Well, she bit off more than she could chew and wanted the rest of us to pick up the slack. For instance, outside help could have been gotten long ago, but because my dad did not WANT it, she gave in to his whims, instead of insisting he get help or do without. WE (my good sister and I) were in no position to try to convince him, because SHE had put herself in charge, and HE let her. He only listens to the evil sisters. WE try to tell him something and he does not want to discuss it. This sounds very familiar. I had a schizophrenic, drug addicted , totally hygenic impaired sister living with my parents. She lived in her own reality. Even though my parents knew that completely, they seemed to be more inclined to listen to her delusional ramblings than anything I said. I have no clue why that was. Maybe they just try to avoid controversy and stick with whatever person they have decided in their minds is the "one in charge", but it can be aggravating. If it were me, I would have just said, "Daddy, we can't keep on like this. We have GOT to hire some help." He's in his right mind. Oh I wouldn't let them starve to death, but let him see just what a hole our help left when not received for a few days. Might have changed his mind about hiring someone sooner. Even though your father is in his right mind, probably he is also scared of what might happen to himself and your mother in the future and is trying very hard to hold onto their independence - even though that can turn out to be a self-sabotaging way of dealing with the situation. My parents always figured ,when I tried to tell them that they needed more help than I could give them, that if it was getting to be too much for me I should just take a vacation and not worry about them and they'd be fine. NOT! It's partly about denial - denial of health issues, denial of loss of independence, denial that the children they raised and always took care of are changing positions and are taking care of them. But, SHE would not allow that, and WE allowed her to push us...to keep the peace. Looking back, I truly see where the situation I'm in is all my fault, because I allowed it to happen and didn't say no. I did not even start saying no at all, until I sat blubbering on my doctor's table and I could not even go to the doctor alone, Ray had to take me, and then because all I could do was blubber, HE had to tell the doctor what was wrong with me! My doctor said, "I know it's hard, but you have got to learn to say no."...I remember thinking..."he is crazy..."no" is not an option here, but I will take the Zoloft and that will fix it! "...but, he, like you, were right...sometimes it's no or die. Zoloft is NOT enough!No is the most difficult word in the English language to learn to use for some of us. I learned it with my sisters, but I do not claim to be an expert at it. Don't be too hard on yourself - you were working with your own personality and principles - unfortunately the people you were dealing with had their own ideas. It is a process to learn that not everyone is as willing to compromise and work together as you are, but once you realize that you've won half the battle and NO becomes easier with time.

    I hope you don't mind, I'm going to print out your Boundaries Lessons and give them to my good sister too! You make so much sense...are you a counselor by trade? If not, you should be!Print whatever you like - if it helps that makes me feel great. I am not a counselor, but thanks for the compliment. Usually I think it's just easier to look at where someone else is coming from and see what they don't always see cause they're too close to it. In my own life, I have plenty of my own blinders. I dunno if I'd be a good counselor - I"d always be concerned that I had just given them the worst advice ever and would be single-handedly responsible for the ruination of their entire life.

    Oh, and the DPOA...my controlling oldest sister has that! Scary thought, eh? YES! AAAAARGH!

    The situation is that my dad has always been sick, bad heart, diabetic, multiple surgeries, two of which were by-pass, broken back (but no SCI), extreme pain, severe depression. My mom, has Parkinson's and some dementia. My dad has always taken care of her with our help. Now, he just can't do much as he recently almost died from a staph infection near his heart and is just not bouncing back very well. So, it's really a rough situation, and I often feel torn between caring for my husband and my parents. And my sisters are more able to do it, they just want it to all be "equal" and they resent me because I can't contribute my "quarter"...there are 4 of us. You will never, ever, never change someone else's mind until they're ready and willing to open their mind and heart and see it for themselves - sometimes that never happens. Seems many people would prefer to live in their own self-absorbed little fishbowls. You can only follow your own values and do what you can and try not to let them hurt you. They can resent you all t hey want, it doesn't change the situation you're in, or make you capable of giving more. It means you're going to have to find a way to "let go" of your sisters who cannot hear you and continue on your own path as best as you are able. Listen to those who truly love and support you and don't take the others' comments to heart.

    It's all even crazier than I've said here...I could not begin to describe the bizarre dysfunction in my family! And if I could, there is not enough space on the entire internet! I think it all boils down to some people are just selfish. All my life I have been the one who got things done, and now I've got to admitt I can't do it ALL. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Better slowly than never, eh?

    Gee, this is long! Whew! I feel better though! Thanks Melissa! Your'e going to have to hang out sign and start charging us by the hour now! God love you, you've released the beast! And it talks! Thanks, thanks, thanks! Carol Dang, I can charge for this? Like I said, if anything I say helps someone else, that is reward enough. And you're welcome, welcome, welcome

    edited to add: let me clarify..my mom has only been sick 10 years...SHE took care of my dad all their married life before she got sick. Just wanted to give her the credit she deserves!
    Last truly coherent thing my mother ever did was to express her concerns to me about what was wrong with my Dad. Once she felt I would handle things, she seemed to relax and I saw a definite progression in her Alzheimer's Disease. Once a caregiver, always a caregviver. I bet your mom still takes care of your dad in any way she can.

    Take care - Melissa

  7. #37
    Guest
    Melissa (Kendell)

    As usual, you are just a godsend! You really have a talent for putting things into perspective. Thanks so much for your help!
    Your words have really been a comfort to me and have helped me sort out my thoughts in this "trying" time.

    All of you who have replied here and in my other "bitching" threads! have been great to support me and give such wonderful advice and I appreciate you all! You've all been such a help to me. I'm going to be out of pocket for a while computer-wise, but did want to come here today and tell you all thanks and let you know how very much I appreciate you! You are all angels in my book! Thanks for caring and for being there!

    Hope to see you sooner than later!

    Carol

  8. #38
    Hope you come back soon,Carol. It's been a pleasure talking to you. I"ll be looking for you and wishing you well in the meantime.

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