Difficult relatives

Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
Because if you don't have one, it's probably you.
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  • JacobsenJacobsen Shipmate
    Tush, Doc Tor - difficult is always other people. :hushed:
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    Because if you don't have one, it's probably you.

    I have one and that exposed my emptiness and nastiness as much as ever. My lack of compassion, hardness of heart. I couldn't deceive myself so easily.
  • JacobsenJacobsen Shipmate
    @Martin54 - you may be guilty of all these things, but that doesn't mean your relative isn't difficult. Mine is in a care home, which is the best solution for her and for me. However much I might wish to be the saint who can do the impossible, I'm not. A life sentence for sororicide would benefit nobody. And who would take her out to lunch then?
  • PantsPants Shipmate
    I have one. I so have one.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I am currently providing companionship to my difficult non-relative. This consists of listening to her swearing about the bitch of a nurse who came out on a Sunday to wrap her legs, but spent more time talking to me and was rude about the royals. The nurse is on team P not team D because she doesn't like the behaviour of D. She is in no way a bitch. D thinks we were talking about her. There was a bit, along with the absence of dressings, the slipperiness on the kitchen floor of the nurse's YakTraks. I got a bit wound up because D complained that I had moved her plants from the table I needed to clean - long story there involving undoing window box fixings and moving an indoor water feature so she could have her plants protected from the snow, because whatever Lola wants, Lola gets. The nurse talked me down.

    Also, she has been doing to me what she does to her son. She knows I have a bad back at the moment, and would prefer not to be standing for long. She knows I have spent much of the morning standing to do the washing up (see TICTH comment about dishwasher), and kneeling down clearing up her heaps of abandoned tissues, 'cos she saw me do it.

    So I sit down with the computer, and suddenly she wants scrambled egg before her son gets up. Then she wants tomato ketchup for which I have to go downstairs and get a new bottle. Then she wants me to find her suit jacket, which I have told her several times is not here. Then she wants me to look at some shoes in a catalogue. Then she wants the skirt she ordered some time ago but cannot find (buried under newspapers) and for which she has looked everywhere. Each time waiting for me to sit before the next need. Now I am not trying to work, but her son is, and she breaks his line of thought every time.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Oh, forgot, she didn't want the nurses to come when they did (always in twos, now) because they stopped her listening to NIgel Fargae holding forth about Russia and Novichok. (Can't be bothered to correct typo.)
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Penny S wrote: »
    She knows I have a bad back at the moment, and would prefer not to be standing for long. . . . So I sit down with the computer, and suddenly she wants scrambled egg. . . . Then she wants me to find her suit jacket. . . . Then she wants me to look at some shoes in a catalogue. . . . Each time waiting for me to sit before the next need.

    To which you reply: "Yes, in a moment, when I've finished what I'm doing." Or: "I can't do that now, but perhaps Sonny Boy can do it for you." No? I'm not surprised.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    Completely agree with you there Miss Amanda. I'd have a list ready to hand with ten phrases like that and just randomly reply with any one of them. There are many ways to say, "No". I know this is a safe place to rant about this but it has gone past the point where it is causing you more trouble than you deserve.
  • Penny
    I'd be inclined to employ the old maxim You can say what you like so long as you do it with a smile and don't swear: so how about something along the lines of "Some people listening in to our conversations might say you were being an awkward old bitch but I'd never say that" and see how she responds.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Ooh, I like that.
    She only does the demand thing to me when he isn't here.
  • Define yourself as a vulnerable adult, ring social services and tell them you are being emotionally and financially abused and could they please help you. And write a letter to your MP saying the same thing.
  • JacobsenJacobsen Shipmate
    What Doublethink said. After all, anyone who is going through what you are, is vulnerable. No question.
  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    @Penny S , wondering how you are getting along but I don't want to start a big discussion that you might find difficult. So just reply as you are able.

    I have troubles with relatives but can't post about it. It sure isn't easy. I am missing out on what I could be sharing of their lives and yet the pain of interacting with them is too big a price to pay. No fun and surely not where I expected to be at this stage of my life.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Thanks for asking. Catch 22 persists. Deemed to have capacity, so can veto any opening, including referral to the local "Evergreen" Unit - for which read elderly and geriatric medicine, which just might have enabled some change and the equivalent of the denied power of attorney, enabling the restoration of her home to a place I could conscientiously evict her to.

    I'm sorry to hear of your situation* - reading of the small sample we have here, and in another place I know makes me realise how extensive the network of people with such troubles must be.

    At a pre-general election meeting last year, social care for the elderly was the dominant subject from the audience - I didn't feel I needed to contribute my pre-prepared piece.

    * (You are on the prayer list.)
  • HelenEvaHelenEva Shipmate
    Best wishes to you both. My family are (broadly) lovely and even so after a party with them on Sunday for seven hours I was ready to scream so I can't even imagine what you must have to cope with.
  • JacobsenJacobsen Shipmate
    Seven hours? That's too much altogether. I used to retire to bed after four. :grin:
  • HelenEvaHelenEva Shipmate
    I was READY to retire to bed after four...
  • <primal scream>

    I have an elder that I would like to consign to an ice floe.

    No, not really. I just wish elder would accept that if she doesn't want to go into assisted living, she's going to have to arrange assistance in her own home, and either way, it's going to cost $$$ and she can't expect to lie in bed and smoke and have her friends change her diapers for the next 20 years. I had to resort to holding her prescriptions hostage to get her to agree to private home care*. And I feel like a shit every time I set a boundary, but it has to be done. Which is followed by tears and "just call the funeral home" and "why is everybody picking on me?". Maybe because you're sick, frail, weak and disabled, and refusing much-needed help? Because you can't walk and keep falling out of bed? Because you're so weak and your hands shake so badly you can't even open a can of cat food? Because you refuse to switch to a pharmacy that delivers because "it costs more"? Because we had to call the paramedics THREE FUCKING TIMES before you went to the hospital with what turned out to be a life-threatening bowel cyst about to burst AND even then, you LIED to the paramedics and told them you had a UTI when you knew it was actually a kidney infection and you were in kidney failure? Because you never took any responsibility for your health and now your lifestyle chickens have come home to roost and you still won't take any responsibility?

    I'm completely fed up with this irresponsible petulant baby behaviour. I offer to set up online grocery ordering and delivery and the response is "I don't like that grocery store." I've offered to pay out of my own pocket for physio and rehab and got told no. And it's not like I don't have enough of my own shit to be dealing with. And now I'm going to hop on my bike and go pick up more prescriptions, hopefully for the last time, because they're going to get delivered from now on. Right? I'm sick and tired of being a caregiver; I want to be your friend. I'd like to think you'd prefer me to be a friend as well, so why are you putting us both through this shit when you could fix it all with a couple of phone calls?

    ---
    *Public home care is slightly cheaper, but less reliable and far from sufficient (two baths a week? Really?). We wait weeks for an assessment, they set up a care plan, the carer shows up, and then she says, "Oh, I'm feeling so much better, you won't have to come any more" and they close the file and we have to start from scratch all over again.


  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Are you sure you don't know my encumbrance? Mine turned away the paramedics twice when we called them to lift her off the floor, in accordance with instructions for dealing with fallen old ladies, and had to be weaselled into it somehow by the community nurse team. (Which tells me that it is common for fallen old ladies to refuse help.)
    I did not realise exactly what second childhood involved. Nappies, cleaning up, food analogous to baby food (why doesn't anyone produce elder food in pots and sachets?), got all that. But Violet Elizabeth Bott screaming and screaming until she is sick, food refusal, petty grievances, that I was not prepared for.
  • Maybe they can share a floe.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I have my eyes open for a large block of expanded polystyrene - floes unlike in the current state of the climate round here.
  • You can buy 2" thick 4'x8' sheets of extruded polystyrene foam in a hardware store. That's sufficient to float up to about a 300lb relative.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    I think I might take to the floe or the foam myself if I had to put up with some of the things people describe on this thread.
  • Neither of my parents were easy people, to put it mildly, but we were incredibly lucky that they were both properly independent almost right up to the time of death. But I have vivid memories of a grandparent who lived with us: manipulative, devious, a stranger to the truth, and alcoholism to top it all off.

    Still, reflect on this: my priest Godfather's mother was so difficult she was expelled from a nursing home run by nuns :astonished:
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    D's son apparently had a discussion with her last night. "I was crying. I don't know what I've done wrong. What have I done wrong? What have I done to hurt you?" (That's me.)

    I have not explained. Not even suggested she have a very hard think about what she is doing. She sees everything as us doing to her, not the other way round.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Penny S wrote: »
    "What have I done wrong? What have I done to hurt you?"

    You could easily hand her a list, if you have enough paper at hand to write it on.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    It's very difficult to think of anyone else if you're in pain, depressed and/or confused. It's even less fun if your carer is in pain and/or depressed - just ask my daughter.
  • I have a son who hasn't talked to us for over two years. His main gripe seems to be that we had the audacity to emigrate and leave him "abandoned" (he is in his 30's). But it isn't just us he is not talking to, he has cut himself off from all the rest of the wider family, much to their confusion. We even offered to pay for him to come and visit us - nada, nilch, diddley-squat. To be honest, I have ceased to get very worked up over it.

    What I have found, though, is that it is quite amazing how many other people we now know who have a similar experience. It's only been when we have talked about our son, that others have said "oh yes - the same thing has happened to me."
  • RdrEmCofERdrEmCofE Shipmate
    Penny S wrote: »
    D's son apparently had a discussion with her last night. "I was crying. I don't know what I've done wrong. What have I done wrong? What have I done to hurt you?" (That's me.)

    I have not explained. Not even suggested she have a very hard think about what she is doing. She sees everything as us doing to her, not the other way round.

    You probably have a person with BPD on your hands there Penny. You need to get some support, or she will drive you nuts. There are some good books on how to lovingly care for BPD's without losing your own poise and sanity.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Penny S wrote: »
    "What have I done wrong? What have I done to hurt you?"

    You could easily hand her a list, if you have enough paper at hand to write it on.

    Or drily say "Alphabetically, or in order of importance?"
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    RdrEmCofE wrote: »
    You probably have a person with BPD on your hands there Penny. You need to get some support, or she will drive you nuts. There are some good books on how to lovingly care for BPD's without losing your own poise and sanity.

    That may be the case, but we don't attempt to diagnose diseases, mental or physical, over the internet. Desist.

    DT
    HH
  • I read these entries with interest.

    Though my mother could be a difficult woman, she was a tough but very good mother, and she had the good grace to die when it was time. I've just returned from a five week visit with my father (ca. 800km away) who turned 91 during my visit. He has always been rude, gruff, selfish, but of late has discovered "please" and "thank you". Only once did really I lose my temper, when he could not decide on breakfast and said "I don't give a fuck." I went to the kitchen, poured a large brandy, and sat in silence, because I don't trust my temper when challenged like that. I then went back to the living room (brandy then dispatched), and read him The Riot Act. He knew that he had committed a major offence, because he was silent for the rest of the day. Later in the evening, he said that I hadn't said a word all day (he's deaf as a post, so how the hell could he tell?). I reminded him of the morning exchange; "I don't recall saying that." Well, yes he did, because I can tell when he's lying: the mouth purses and he can't look me in the eye. All that said, compared to some of the stories here, I'm getting off very lightly. He's still living at home, and I live in dread of his moving into an assisted living facility because of his fundamentally antisocial nature. Booking the floe for one of us. I don't much care which one of is on it.
  • I'm happy to report that after repeated threats of assisted living, she's started taking initiative and accepting professional help. Her infections have cleared up and she has a bit more energy. Prize takeaway: her explanation for why she refused repeatedly to go to the hospital was, "There's no point in going to the hospital if I don't know what's wrong."
  • Penny S wrote: »
    D's son apparently had a discussion with her last night. "I was crying. I don't know what I've done wrong. What have I done wrong? What have I done to hurt you?" (That's me.)

    The Dowager's version was 'I don't know what I ever did to anyone, to deserve having to live here' (perfectly nice care home, but not her home) <rolleyes>

    Mrs. S, better off than many posting here

  • Thank you Doc Tor.

    My family were very difficult. My mum was mentally ill and fell out with everyone. Won't go into it all. It isn't a laughing matter - well some things I can laugh at now 30 years on. It caused hurt, feeling of being unaccepted and inferiority complexes. Family problems can be very difficult, whether caused by illness, old age or just plain selfish stubborness.

    When relatives get older and more difficult it is heart wrenching and exhausting. Sometimes it isn't their fault, sometimes it is. But often difficult to tell without a proper medical diagnoses.

    I don't think you can do much except keep contact where you can. You can always punch the pillow - I've murdered a few in my time - I always buy cheap ones! Saves money.
  • Well, some adult children wrote an...interesting obituary for their own difficult relative--their estranged mom.

    NOTE: Anyone here who has trouble with their own adult kids, or is an adult kid wistfully hoping for better times with their adult relative, might want to prepare themselves, or skip reading it.

    "'She will not be missed': Woman's abandoned children get the last word in savage obituary (Yahoo).

    This page has a more complete copy of the obit, though you may need to zoom it, due to small print. "‘World Is A Better Place Without Her’: Minnesota Woman’s Obituary Goes Viral" (CBS local).

    The sharpest sting is in the last few lines.

    I don't know whether or not this was a good thing for them to do. I understand doing it, though several factors would've had to be different for *me* to do it. I do hope they live far away from where their mom lived. Otherwise, they may get a lot of rude attention on the street.

    BTW, the most recent Yahoo comments are pretty favorable.
  • An update on a previously mentioned DR.

    15 years ago she gave up smoking and became evangelical about it. I have never smoked so I'm not sure why she thought I needed to be convinced of the evils of smoking.

    A few years later she gave up drinking and again became evangelical about it. I've always drunk alcohol in extreme moderation, so really didn't need to have my ear bent.

    Then she did an Alpha course and recommended we should get involved in church, not our own church, where we are ordained elders, but her "more Christian" church. (She had never set foot in our church but "knew" it was less Christian than hers). The church thing seems to have burned out with her.

    Now she has decided that she, and we, are working class, but that we have betrayed our working class roots. This, apparently, is a very bad thing to do. She is morally superior to us because she has remained true to her working class roots. She has lived all her life in the leafy suburbs, in homes which either her parents owned, with a mortgage, or which she (thanks to an inheritance) owns outright. We remain inheritance-free and financially less well-buffered than she is, so I'm struggling to understand her concept of the class thing, or what exactly she thinks we do that is so reprehensible. Ho hum.
  • (She's not so much a DR, as an extremely tiresome one. )
  • FirenzeFirenze Purgatory Host, Host Emeritus
    Hows about next time she visits you entertain her in the kaleyard* where you can sit huddled on turf stacks, a piece of sacking over your head to keep off the rain, drinking tea made of bark. Tell her she’s convinced you of the need to be Authentic.

    *What do you mean, you haven’t got a kaleyard? Stop making difficulties.
  • We do have a kaleyard! And a tattie patch! But no intention of inviting her to visit any time soon.

    On a previous visit she planned to come to church with us wearing a T-shirt with BOLLOCKS printed on it. When we said that she wasn't coming with us dressed like that, she quoted Matt 6:25 at us, and told us we didn't understand the Bible, whereas she understood that God did not care about clothing but her soul.
  • That does sound tiresome! Turfstacks in the kale yard (I googled) sounds like an eminently sensible approach to me.

    My own DR has been rather on a roll lately, likely prompted by an upcoming family event, - retelling events and discussions endlessly to make me the villain, and him the man more sinned against than sinning.

    But I’m slowly getting round to thinking that I can’t change it, and it’s a waste of energy to care too much.

  • But I’m slowly getting round to thinking that I can’t change it, and it’s a waste of energy to care too much.

    :smile:

    I keep praying for humility; I'm tying to see stuff like this as an opportunity to develop it. I'm going to be really old before I get very far, I think, which seems a shame.
  • Just when I thought my DRs had finally settled down or, if that was too much to hope for, that age alone had brought the nastiness to a halt, here we go again.

    A relative I keep in touch with for Christmas, birthdays, etc, has been in poor health died at the end of July. I found this out because one of my siblings dropped it into a conversation on 28th August with the immortal line "You asked if I'd been in touch with X: well, X died at the end of July. I decided not to tell you at the time."

    No reason given, nothing. Just a bald statement which, when I got my breath back and questioned, only got that they felt there was no "need" for me or the family black-sheep to know. Not to tell me is bad enough but to lump me in with a sociopathic, amoral narcissist :rage:

    And this charming sibling is the one I have bent over backwards to give practical help and endless emotional propping-up, frequently at considerable cost (in time and financially) to myself :rage:
  • Christmas this year was celebrated at my parents-in-law's house, as it is every year. This has both upsides and downsides, but I go along with it because, on the whole, it works okay. I don't get away with not cooking - I get sent 'suggestions' of what I need to bring, to accompany the meals throughout the day. Never mind. It's not a big deal. But here's the other thing from this year, and this, I can't succeed in convincing myself isn't a big deal. Myself and my husband were given, by the parents-in-law (ie: his parents) a joint Christmas present, of an item which was patently and obviously intended for him, and cannot possibly be of use or interest to me. This irks me. I've been around for well over twenty years in the family - they know me and my interests plenty well. They must have known this wasn't my sort of thing. Okay, it was a bespoke item, and can't have been cheap (not that he asked for it, or anything) - but I would've been happy enough to get a bar of dark chocolate for a Christmas present, if that was as far as the budget stretched, after this other thing - just a gesture, just something, which recognised that I'm not merely an extension, an appendage, an accessory, of their son! I can handle being an afterthought, I reckon. I don't like the idea that I'm a non-thought.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Anoesis, that's terrible. My late in-laws used to give me useless little things, but at least they (okay, she) took the time and trouble to give me something she thought I might like.

  • Anoesis, I propose you as the winner of this year's Christmas in-law competition.
  • Not so fast: I have a stepchild who, well into their 30s, made a point of us all sitting at the table (mine, our place, I'd cooked) to distribute gifts to everyone ... except me. When my late-lamented point out the omission we got the response Oh, the present is for you both - so we were to share the bottle of favourite scent and the jumper?
  • Wow, that thing of being expected to 'share' a 'joint' present when it's clearly not meant for both - that's awful! Hard to feel the love in that situation!
  • Not so fast: I have a stepchild who, well into their 30s, made a point of us all sitting at the table (mine, our place, I'd cooked) to distribute gifts to everyone ... except me. When my late-lamented point out the omission we got the response Oh, the present is for you both - so we were to share the bottle of favourite scent and the jumper?
    Your share was to admire, I can only suppose! The competition reopens ...
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    My brother's in-laws have been making a point of not giving him a Christmas present for more than three decades now. I don't understand that kind of behavior.
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