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Warning: Unpleasant Thread - Anger and bitterness
Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2014 4:13 PM
Joined: 5/11/2014
Posts: 3

HI everyone, I tried to read some of the threads to see how this topic has been dealt with. but it was too depressing even just reading the thread titles. I need help and direction with coping with all the bad feelings I have towards family. And please, forgive me for whatever annoys you, I know you can and probably will.
Just the highlights:

My mom had Alzheimer's and dementia. She passed away December 29, 2013.

I was her sole care giver, until the last month of her life. I gave her excellent care. She never had bedsores, or gained or lost extreme weight, or had symptoms that I didn't notice. I watched over her the way a parent watches over a newborn baby. Doctors and nurses frequently commented on what a great job I was doing, and on what a good son I was. Even in her last stages, once every six weeks, or so, Mom would say something like: "Everything here is so beautiful. thank you for everything you do for us. I love you." My God, what a blessing! I could find the strength to go on after that.

She had in-home hospice care for the last 3 weeks of her life. I could have placed her in a facility, but I would not. She deserved better than that, and she never would have deserted any of her children. i had promised her that I would always take care of her; that I would always be there for her. Even though the last ten day's of watching my mom die was devastating, I kept my promise to her and i can live with myself. (That sounds so selfish -  to only reference my mom's illness in how it affected me, sorry)
I have family. They only participated minimally in her care, except for the last two weeks, when they were there around the clock. Two of them are struggling financially, but two of them are well off. they could have seen to it that I had whatever I needed to make taking care of Mom easier. But they didn't, and i never would ask them for financial help. I did try for close to two and a half years to get them to be the children to my mom that i thought they should be. my expectations were basic: spend time with Mom, bring her flowers or candy and something to eat and watch a film with her. Anything above that would have been wonderful. They visited off and on, and things were as they should be. But it never lasted for more than a few weeks. I finally gave up trying to make them be more than they were. I didn't have the energy to fight that battle, as well. You should also know that my mom was a kind, sweet person. She was wonderful and there were no issues between her and her children. It sounds silly, but she had a personality like Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith Tv series. People of that generation practiced what they preached.

Since I was her champion, and her caregiver, and I am just an average man, I am the one who feels anger and bitterness towards her children. I held them to the standard that i held myself to, if i could do hands-on care of our terminally-ill mother, then, surely they could do their part. But, of course, they didn't. And I don't have the energy to confront them,  I don't see any value in it, either - they will not change their personality and the war is over. But still, my memories remain vivid. When I have to interact with them I am civil and cordial, but still there is all that negativity boiling right under the surface. I am writing this on Mother's day. One sister wanted to come over for some help with her phone. i could not have her in this, my mother's home, on this day of all days. I told her i wasn't able to do things today. truth is i didn't want to see her face, or hear her say something about Mom. She could say it at Mom's grave site, but i know she didn't go. (This is how horrible it is inside my head.)

Here's the question:
How would you suggest I deal with this unhealthy state of mind? Since i am not going to confront/discuss my feelings with them, how can i learn how to forgive and/or forget? I might have to see a therapist. i really don't want to spend what little energy i have on therapy. but if that seems to be the best remedy, then I'll probably just go that route.


Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2014 5:47 PM
Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 553

I have seen a counselor for the past two years while I was the caregiver and now I am the grieving widow. Sard passed dec 15 at the age of 67. It was the best thing I ever did . It is a good fit between her and I . IAM an RN and it was hard for me to go that route at first . Has hospice contacted you for the grieving end of this? They should have. They call me ever so often and told me that they would keep in touch for the first 18 months after sard's death......please use any resources to vent cry and whatever... Sometimes everyone needs a little help!!!!!! Stay strong   Pauline
Still Waters
Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2014 5:53 PM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092

Do you think you would feel better if you let it all out and confronted them? I have the same feelings towards my sibling. I have kept in inside for years now. People don't understand how or why I have not let loose on her. So I am considering it. Maybe it will make you (us) feel better. What do you think?
Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2014 9:53 PM
Joined: 5/11/2014
Posts: 3


Yes Pasnurse, hospice has contacted me twice.i guess counseling is the answer. Thanks.


Still Waters, I definitely think that sharing your feelings with your sister would be helpful .Holding them in is only eating away at your soul. But, you really have to consider what is to be gained and what is to be lost by confronting her versus reaching out to her.


What do you want from your sister? What can you realistically expect? If she were sensitive and nurturing, you wouldn't be having these feelings. I do not think that people change, and nothing can be undone. A dramatic, bridge burning lashing out will most likely only create even more stress for you as you are likely to damage or lose whatever fragile relationship you still have with your sister. When it is you who are the injured party, and it is you who should be receiving support and comfort, you are most likely to only receive indignant, defensive responses, and self-serving excuses.


I do suggest that you calmly, in a matter-of-fact way, reveal your feelings, and let your sister make the next move. All that you can do is let her know that you feel hurt and sad. The rest is beyond your control. Been there. Good luck.

Still Waters
Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 4:40 AM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092

I don't have any kind of a relationship left with my sibling since she abandoned us when my mother got sick. So I feel like I have nothing to lose. I thought that if I confronted her and made her feel like shit, it would make me feel better. That's really what it is all about for me. Feeling better. I know it won't change anything. But the question is, will it make me feel better? I don't know. Maybe a little (?).
Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 9:11 AM
Joined: 8/12/2013
Posts: 158


I've just read your post and I'm deeply moved. It seems to me that there are very few people that are capable of care giving as you have done. In my case I found that I neither had the time for interruptions in 24/7 daily care year on year.

 A repeated comment I hear or read is: "I want to remember them the way they were." I understand that to to mean, THEY find it too painful to observe the effects of AD as it progresses. Sadly some don't ask themselves; "How much more painful it must be for the sufferer?"


Recently I asked our daughter: "Would any of the grandchildren like a copy of my book; "Alzheimer's Care My Way". Her response: "They would find it too distressing, and want to remember her as she use to be." I understand their mind-set, but they're  the losers as I pray that they never have to confront AD later in life.


Though my wife has long since passed and I live alone the decision I selfishly took to care for her on my own, especially in her final five years has enriched my life immeasurably. Those were special moments in time; a chance to provide tender loving care. Remember, few are privileged as you have been and no doubt as time passes, and it's time to reflect, your family members may 'think: if only, or I wish'.

Might you not feel sorry for them? You have learned. When the going gets tough...........

King Boo
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 8:51 AM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 3444

Hello Dave-

My heart goes out to you, and to your pain.  Even though I am sure it seems like an eternity since your dear mother has passed on, @ 4 months out, you are still deep in the early days of grief and loss.

4 months after the loss of my mother, I was not seeing straight, though I was also filled with plenty of anger and resentment at 1 sibling.  I was barely functioning.


You are very wise to recognize that your anger at family is becoming all consuming, and therefore must be dealt with before you can recover from loosing your mother.  I do believe that a therapist would be a good route to help you come to terms with what did, as well as what did not, happen. 


I see that despite your great pain, you also have a clear view that there is little to be gained by a big confrontational scene and plenty to loose. "There is little to be gained, and plenty to be lost", I believe you said. 


  While many of us have family members that fall way short of being supportive and loving, unless things that happened are so atrocious that we don't mind not having future contact with them, there is little to be gained by a major confrontation. 


That is not to say your feelings cannot be communicated at a later date; I would just advise it not be at a time when you are raw and ragged, from the Alzhiemer's journey and the very recent loss of your mother.


Dave, I have found what I call "other worldly" people in my family.  They just rationalize that "oh, Mom/Dad's OK, King Boo has everything taken care of", and in their own, self absorbed world, continue on with their daily.


It's not right. . .it's not fair,. , , but it is what happens.

I do feel that although, one would think family members would be more considerate, I do not feel that it is fair for them to read my mind and anticipate my expectations.  So I have been pretty verbal about letting them know what I need from them.  Of course, they often still fall short, our family dynamic being what it is. . . .but at least I know they consciously refused.


At a future date, sometime later in the year, after you have sorted through your pain with a therapist, a conversation with each sibling individually may be helpful.


I am not sure I will ever forgive one of my siblings for not coming to my mother's deathbed, but it helped somewhat for me to tell him how upset I was that he blew us off.(this conversation happened a full year later).  His response was regret filled, which certainly did not un - do his lack of action, but did give me a view into his thought process about why he didn't come

dj okay
Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 2:08 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 1840



I will add my vote to the other recommendations for counseling.  I believe you should be able to get free counseling with a hospice social worker.  The feelings you are having are not uncommon for family caregivers, both before and after losing a loved one to dementia.


I'd also like to add a note regarding forgiveness.  This is something that has recently come to my attention through study on the subject.  Forgiveness is for US, not the person that we forgive.  When we harbor resentment and bad feelings (however justified they are) in our hearts, we do damage to ourselves, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically.  It just isn't healthy to have that kind of feeling bottled up inside.  Forgiveness cannot be dependent on THEIR reaction, it must be something we do within our own hearts.  In other words, we have to learn to let go of it.


I'm not saying it's easy.  A counselor can help you reach the point of forgiveness.  But you will feel much better once you get there.


A note on "forgetting" as mentioned in the old adage "forgive & forget:.  "Forget" is not humanly possible for something as significant as these type of issues.  But just because we can't totally forget the behavior that caused the hurt, doesn't mean we have to let our minds and hearts dwell on the subject.  Think of it like ejecting a CD before it gets to the last track on the album that you just don't care for.  You know the song, you may even remember the words, but you don't let the player get there.  You just don't want to hear it again.  So in the sense of forgiveness, you CHOOSE to "not remember" instead of being able to forget the wrong completely.  Don't think forgiveness is dependent on your ability to "forget" the hurt.


I am speaking from a perspective of experience in this matter.  My brother moved to Europe two years before my mother passed away.  It is just him and I so that left me totally holding the bag, so to speak.  Just because my mother was in a nursing home didn't mean that I didn't need and appreciate anything that he could do, including visiting her.  There was a lot of resentment for quite some time but I eventually learned how to forgive and put it behind me.  I felt so much better when I did.  It took me over a year to get to that point, so don't think it unusual that you still feel like you do at this time.


I hope this helps.  I'll be interested in hearing how you're doing in this regards.


My sympathy in your loss and best wishes for your grieving season.

Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 11:03 AM
Joined: 5/27/2013
Posts: 37

Just my two cents on the matter .....I agree 100% with the advice from DJ Okay!!!!  I know exactly how you are feeling Dave.  Unfortunately, a lot of us here do.  But, what I've learned is that I have to have peace in what I DID for my mother and not worry about anyone else.
Take care of yourself.  Hugs!!

Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014 8:29 AM
Joined: 5/15/2014
Posts: 2

Although I am a nurse, I am in peds so know very little about the last stages of Alzheimers.  My mama cannot write her name, has very poor short-term memory, is hateful to one one day and someone else the next. She and my daddy raised 7 children and we are all involved and see to it that someone is there 24 hrs a day, how do we know when she is really going down?  She is still eating pretty well but has had a bad choking attack a few weeks ago...can you who know please enlighten me? I need to be prepared.  our daddy died last summer and he was hiding her disease pretty much from us.  my husband and I lost our 27 year old daughter and a nephew of the same age to suicide so I have to have some cognizance of what to expect so I am not blindsided..cant handle that.  thank yall so much!
Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014 2:10 PM
Joined: 12/1/2011
Posts: 73


As others have said, forgiveness is for you, not for the other.  I had similar feelings toward my sister (still do).  Someone told me that harboring hate is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  Forgiving does not mean forgetting or that you even want the other person in your life again.  Just please stop drinking the poison so that you can heal.

one daughter
Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014 11:22 AM
Joined: 1/30/2013
Posts: 1980

 I'm as stubborn as my daddy was. I am my father's daughter. Forgive & forget...Never! My oldest brother made the last 3 Year's of my Daddy's life pure miserable. 

 The other brother is making my life pure miserable since the day I lost my daddy a little over a year ago. They hardly ever participated in their lives & when they got sick, it really got worst. I have no respect for either of them. I sleep fine @ nite. There is no love lost. Yes, I am very resentful & I don't plan on changing. 

Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014 12:00 PM
Joined: 11/5/2013
Posts: 138

Still Waters - I have a brother I have not spoken to in over 15 years.  Sometimes you just have to let it all go.  Telling him off would take that could be put to better use.


Last time my Daddy spoke to him was over 10 years ago.  Mom was ill and the time.  He turned the conversation into something that was all about him.  He gave Daddy a new phone number (said he was moving).  Daddy called him about a week later and left a message.  Brother never called back.  So when Mom passed away, we never called him.  He knew she was sick but never bothered to call and check on  her condition.  Too bad for him.  Yes, I could have called and read him the riot act.  But what would that have achieved?  I needed to put my energies into caring for Daddy. 


Just my opinion...let go of the anger toward Sis.  Direct your anger at the disease...this is what helped me become a better caregiver for my husband.

King Boo
Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 10:51 AM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 3444

Jane GF-

I would recommend that you post under a new topic under Caregiver's Forum which receives a lot of traffic.  Unfortunately, your questions will get lost under another thread, particularly under the Loss forum

Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014 5:54 PM
Joined: 8/7/2012
Posts: 218

I have a similar situation as you.  I tried the hospice group grief support but it wasn't for me.  I needed one on one because of the same situation as you and my anger was enormous.  I have been seeing a female psychologist for grief therapy and helping me with the feelings I have towards my family.   It doesn't make everything OK, or back to normal as "normal" will never be again, but it is helping me tremendously. 


So, I urge you to try whatever you want to begin with and if it doesn't fit for you try to seek one on one therapy.


Good luck and hugs.



Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2014 8:08 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 799

During the whole time of my mother's battle with dementia I had a lot of anger with so many people.  Family members, friends, doctors, etc... 


Everyone is different in how they are able to deal with it.  I do agree with everyone who suggested therapy, but that isn't always easy for many people due to various reasons, one of which is cost.


I want to share how I dealt with it.  I constantly wrote it all down.  I would spend hours at a time typing away.  I have written "articles" that never went anywhere.  For me it was therapy to get it all out.  I am not nearly as angry as I was.  Every so often I read the things I wrote and I understand my anger at the time, and luckily have let it go.


I suggest writing it all down.  At some point you might want to share it with your siblings, or maybe not.


I still sometimes wonder if I should rewrite my "articles" and see about submitting them somewhere.  People out there really don't understand how the caregiver really feels - what we need, what we want!


I am very sorry for your loss.

His Daughter
Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 9:19 PM
Joined: 6/25/2014
Posts: 2270

Dear Dave,

I am so sorry for your loss and know that all of us here understand.  I have been caring for my father for almost 2 years now.  I have two siblings, a brother and a sister.  Neither of them have participated in any way.  To this date, they have provided no help with or for Dad, or any support for me.  I too, know EXACTLY how you feel.  

I went through such anger and rage for about the first year of my caregiving, in regards to my siblings.  Dealing with this disease is difficult enough, but then we are forced to deal with all these emotions, surrounding family.  It is way more than any one person should ever have to handle.

My answer was to write. Currently, I am on Chapter 47, of the book I never wanted to write.    My book is brutally honest, and I haven't held back on any of the specifics about my siblings.  At one point I referred to them as "the siblings from hell."  But, I am hoping that it may help you to know, that you:  1) Are not alone  

 2) Are one of thousands of us, dealing with this disease and loss, who is angry at non-participating siblings  and  3) Your feeling are honest, real and justified.  

Caregivers, by our very nature, are loving, considerate and thoughtful people.  Far too often, we almost feel guilty about having these difficult emotions relating to our family.  We suppress, deny, excuse and try to ignore the bad behavior of our siblings.

I wrote a chapter called: Am I Enough?  It was the nagging question that went over and over in my mind.  After all the many years of child rearing, time and expense, is just one of my father's children showing up "good enough"?  The anger I felt was in defense of Dad.  

Dave, I tried everything to get my siblings involved.  Nothing worked.  The only thing you can change is yourself and you already know YOU did the right thing.  So, I will give you the the one simple word that I wrapped around myself like a shield : ACCEPTANCE.  I say it over and over again when I need the help.  Acceptance doesn't mean I have to approve of something.  It just means I will stop emotionally fighting, what is. I accept that my Dad is dying, my siblings won't come, rarely call and lend no support.  Do I approve, heavens no.  But Dave, I accept the fact that my siblings are horribly self centered people. And I can promise you they will be at Dad's funeral with their hand out, wondering how soon they can get their inheritance.   

Do you need to tell your siblings how you feel??  Give yourself time to heal, know you did the right thing for your mother, understand that it won't change them and maybe when you're ready, write them a letter.