estrangement from mother/family

DCROY9633January 31, 2012

I am in the center of much confusion and pain. The problem is, I'm 53 and have allowed others to control me my whole life -- parents, husband, boss, etc. So just who am I? I feel like nothing but the product of other people's desires to please themselves. I have never learned how to live my own life free from the encumbrances of controlling personalities. But now feels like a good time to start!

My mom is 84 and in dire need of a caregiver. Because I feel her need so acutely, and because I am sometimes afraid of trying to meet my own needs, I have recently agreed to move in with her and become her all-in-all (chauffeur, personal care expert, psychologist, you know the drill. Everything included for one low price!)

But I have lived with her as a "trial" for the last 10 days and it has indeed been a trial. I am totally overwhelmed. I have schizophrenia and already find it difficult to maintain mental stability even when alone in my own apartment. But the caregiving responsibilities have been conferred upon me by siblings who want to live their own lives. After all, I am disabled and do not work and therefore should be available 24x7, right? Wrong. All these years I have tried to prove myself a loving daughter. I have given her support, financial help, appreciation (which she craves) but now things are so much worse because she can't hear, can't smell anything, couldn't see till recent cataract surgery, has trouble speaking, yet still adamantly refuses to change her lifestyle in areas that must be changed. I have discussed this with her to no avail.

My life feels like it is spiraling out of control. Anxiety is at a peak all day, every day. I can't sleep. I am in a rage but trying not to show it. I keep thinking I can conquer the mental & emotional problems and make this relationship work. There are way too many demands on me, and will be even more if I go ahead and go through with my statement that I will move in with her and be her caregiver. But with her it is all-or-nothing. It all has to be her way. I am in my 50's yet she constantly comments on my lack of earrings, lack of makeup, need of clothing that makes me look smaller, need of a hobby, need of a man, etc. I can't stand it anymore.

So: I am considering estrangement, total and complete estrangement. I guess that for me, too, it is all-or-nothing. I learned it by example. I plan on packing all my stuff up at her house, taking it all back to my apartment, and then living in peace. I will refuse to answer emails, cell phone calls, cards and letters, pleas from relatives, family get-togethers and finally live in peace. At this point, I have no emotion about the separation. I am at my wit's end. Is this a bad choice?

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From what you wrote, and knowing yourself as you do, I have no idea why you accepted the caregiver roll in the first place -- even on a "trial" basis. However, you did do it "on trial" and the trial period has verified it's no-go. Other arrangements will have to be made for mom because you can't do it. No problem. That was acknowledged as a possibility going in.

What I don't understand is how that translates into a unilateral decision on your part to estrange yourself from everyone beginning at once. Sorry, but that's weird. Given your personal situation, which I don't know the whole of, I can't say whether it's a "bad choice" or not. It does seem like an overboard response, however, and I have little doubt the rest of your family will see it that way, too.

Your life. You get to handle it your way.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 4:17PM
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