What to do when family give up
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11-05-2015, 08:59 AM
What to do when family give up
Sorry for the long post.

I'm not sure what to do with someone who refuses to try to live.

I have a parent who has stopped trying. About 5 years ago it got worse. She's visibly aged 20 years in the last 5. She loves the negative attention she gets from her family.

After an accident broke every rib on her left side, things got much worse. She refused to move, do the required physical exercises, anything. Her muscles have slowly atrophied ... now she looks like a skin-draped skeleton. And still refuses to move or exercise.

More time laying around meant more smoking. Now her COPD is aggravated to the point that she can't walk down the hall without breathing hard. Lungs slowly filling with fluid. She will not follow the doctor's orders to move around.

She eats poor quality food that aggravates a colon condition and causes pain. She receives a monthly intravenous treatment for the colon probem... when a simple change of diet would allay most of the symptoms. She loves calling up family and friends after each treatment to whine about how terrible it is.

Throughout, I've cajoled, begged, bribed, ordered, raged, and guilt-tripped in attempts to get her to move around. At first I was saddened by her behavior. Then I became very angry. Now I realize that I can't force her to live.

My brother gave up on her years ago. I hate to do the same thing. It doesn't help that her family often find me at fault. "If you'd help her stop smoking, she would." "Why don't you get her out of the house?" "You're nearby, go over everyday and make her exercise!" Apparently I'm responsible for her actions.

A therapist suggested that I might be enabling her behavior. So I tried not helping with the household to see if it would motivate her. No; on on two different occasions my other parent (who has mobility problems but works 12 hours a day to support them) hurt himself trying to get through the junked up home. She almost lost the house because mailing a check is SOOO much work.

Underlying this behavior is her belief in an afterlife. If there's something wonderful just ahead, why should she worry about here and now?

If she isn't willing to help herself, there's not much I can do. Maybe because the situation seems so unsatisfactory, I feel like there should be a better way to handle it. Advice?
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11-05-2015, 09:24 AM
RE: What to do when family give up
(11-05-2015 08:59 AM)mecanna Wrote:  Sorry for the long post.

I'm not sure what to do with someone who refuses to try to live.

I have a parent who has stopped trying. About 5 years ago it got worse. She's visibly aged 20 years in the last 5. She loves the negative attention she gets from her family.

After an accident broke every rib on her left side, things got much worse. She refused to move, do the required physical exercises, anything. Her muscles have slowly atrophied ... now she looks like a skin-draped skeleton. And still refuses to move or exercise.

More time laying around meant more smoking. Now her COPD is aggravated to the point that she can't walk down the hall without breathing hard. Lungs slowly filling with fluid. She will not follow the doctor's orders to move around.

She eats poor quality food that aggravates a colon condition and causes pain. She receives a monthly intravenous treatment for the colon probem... when a simple change of diet would allay most of the symptoms. She loves calling up family and friends after each treatment to whine about how terrible it is.

Throughout, I've cajoled, begged, bribed, ordered, raged, and guilt-tripped in attempts to get her to move around. At first I was saddened by her behavior. Then I became very angry. Now I realize that I can't force her to live.

My brother gave up on her years ago. I hate to do the same thing. It doesn't help that her family often find me at fault. "If you'd help her stop smoking, she would." "Why don't you get her out of the house?" "You're nearby, go over everyday and make her exercise!" Apparently I'm responsible for her actions.

A therapist suggested that I might be enabling her behavior. So I tried not helping with the household to see if it would motivate her. No; on on two different occasions my other parent (who has mobility problems but works 12 hours a day to support them) hurt himself trying to get through the junked up home. She almost lost the house because mailing a check is SOOO much work.

Underlying this behavior is her belief in an afterlife. If there's something wonderful just ahead, why should she worry about here and now?

If she isn't willing to help herself, there's not much I can do. Maybe because the situation seems so unsatisfactory, I feel like there should be a better way to handle it. Advice?

She sounds like she might be suffering from depression. It is really hard taking care of an aging parent--and it's easy to blame yourself when things aren't going as well as can be expected. It sounds like you're doing everything you can be doing to try and ensure her care and are often met with resistance. Area agencies on aging can be helpful in providing information re: your mom and her care.

http://www.n4a.org/

I'm not sure where you live but you can find one in your area here:

http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/P...Index.aspx
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11-05-2015, 09:29 AM
RE: What to do when family give up
Wow... You're not giving us an easy one there....

....

Dealing with my SO's mother is similar to what you're dealing with - better in some aspects, worse in others. It's complicated by her mother being caretaker for her sister - who's 50 years old with the mental capacity of an 8 year old.

Mom just had an artificial knee taken out, due to infection - ect. ect....

The details aren't the point.

How do you get through it? - That's the question.

You can't make your parent do something that they don't want to --- I know from my own 84 year old dad - who still insists on climbing ladders to clean gutters -- with two artificial knees. I know how you feel -- you want to strangle them sometimes.

Try reasoning - it works -- occasionally.

Threats of violence help too.... Wink

Ask other family members for help -- again - reason and threats work most times...

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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11-05-2015, 10:03 AM
RE: What to do when family give up
How old is this person?

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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11-05-2015, 10:29 AM
Re: What to do when family give up
Early 60's.

Oh, I've threatened and carried through. Her family undermines such things with their coddling.

I'm fairly certain depression does play a role, but she will not do anything about it. Hasn't for twenty years. She wallows in the shit that is her pity-party and tries to drag everyone down with her. Several of her family members behave the same way. She will not get medical attention for mental problems. This is the one that allowed me to be exorcised as a small child rather than see a psychologist.

She copes through various addictions. When I was a child, it was drugs and alcohol. It morphed to gambling, back to drugs, then to online games. After the accident, she attempted alcohol again but her failing body couldn't handle it. Currently it's staring at a TV while chain-smoking all day. Anything to avoid dealing with reality, it seems.

Thank you for the resources. I'll check those out shortly.
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11-05-2015, 10:37 AM
RE: What to do when family give up
You cannot change another person. If they want to change you can help but they must be the initiator.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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11-05-2015, 11:20 AM
RE: What to do when family give up
(11-05-2015 10:29 AM)mecanna Wrote:  Early 60's.

Oh, I've threatened and carried through. Her family undermines such things with their coddling.

I'm fairly certain depression does play a role, but she will not do anything about it. Hasn't for twenty years. She wallows in the shit that is her pity-party and tries to drag everyone down with her. Several of her family members behave the same way. She will not get medical attention for mental problems. This is the one that allowed me to be exorcised as a small child rather than see a psychologist.

She copes through various addictions. When I was a child, it was drugs and alcohol. It morphed to gambling, back to drugs, then to online games. After the accident, she attempted alcohol again but her failing body couldn't handle it. Currently it's staring at a TV while chain-smoking all day. Anything to avoid dealing with reality, it seems.

Thank you for the resources. I'll check those out shortly.

And why do you want to intervene? She's over 60 and this is her chosen path. Is this messing with you personally or can you avoid it impacting you personally?

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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11-05-2015, 11:37 AM
RE: What to do when family give up
Oh shit! Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. My mother eventually committed suicide when I was 17 years old. Like your mother, mine went through booze, drugs, and chain smoking.

The first thing you do is protect yourself. Tell your siblings that even though you live close, this is not your problem, you are not an enabler and they can piss up a rope. My sister and I had that chat and she backed off me. We became best friends after that.

The next thing to do is recognize that all self-destructive people cannot be saved. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a majority with severe and long term depression can't be saved. I know it sounds inhuman but there comes a time when you need to step aside and let things run their natural course. You cannot allow her to pull you down with her and she will do that if she can. If she decides she wants to get well and get out of the hole she's dug, she will call you. She knows you are there and are willing to help and you don't have to remind her.

Your father cannot be having a good time. Be supportive of him but do not become entangled in his relationship with your mother. He can deal with it as best suits him.

Many of us grow up despite our parents, not because of them. You shouldn't feel bound to save her. I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear and I am sorry for that. Especially if you have a family of your own, you need to protect yourself, and your family, from your mother's sickness.
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11-05-2015, 11:45 AM
RE: What to do when family give up
(11-05-2015 08:59 AM)mecanna Wrote:  ... Now I realize that I can't force her to live. ... If she isn't willing to help herself, there's not much I can do. ...

Unfortunately, I think you may have already answered your own question. All you can do is try and if she won't respond then, ultimately, it isn't your fault.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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11-05-2015, 11:46 AM
RE: What to do when family give up
It doesn't sound like she has any ambitions to live much longer. You mention an accident breaking ribs - in many older people something like that serves as trigger to head towards the exit. If it is aggravated by other physical pains and ailments, bad habits become the only enjoyable thing in life.

If you force her to discontinue the bad habits, there will be nothing left for her at all. It's not the way to go if you must get involved.

The only way to make progress is to show her joy and pleasure - and that should be very hard under the circumstances.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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