Trying to be strong

Finding Peace
Finding Peace
@finding-peace
one month ago
12 posts

Hello all! I hope everyone that reads this is doing well. 

I am writing this because I am in need of some advice. I will want to warn anyone that reads this that there will be intense emotion in this. I don't mean to attach the emotions and I am sorry if I overwhelm anyone.

Okay, deep breath and here is my story:

About six months ago my mother reached out to her older sister and they started talking. They had not seen or talked to each other in sixteen years. We were all relieved that they were finally able to have each other back in their lives. As the months passed and my mother talked more to my aunt, it started becoming obvious to us that something was very wrong with my aunt's relationship with my uncle. Things got worse when my aunt's daughter was placed in a care facility. Her daughter is 40 something and suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of 12. She was placed in a care facility because she is diabetic and was not receiving her medications. After that, plans started being laid for my mother and I to go and see my aunt. Last month we finally made it to Utah where my aunt, her daughter and the husband live. It was horrible. My aunt weighed 98 pounds, only ate peanut butter sandwiches, had not showered in a month and was not changing her clothes. So, long story short, my uncle had a protective order taken out against him and my aunt is now in Oregon with my family. We are in the process of getting her daughter moved to facility here in Oregon. 

Now comes the feelings:

My aunt has dementia, is very mean and rude to me, fights us at every turn and threatens to walk away all the time. I am at my wits end. I try and try to help her, to include and welcome her and she hates me. The other day I had to work and I was hugging everyone and saying I love you. Well it was her turn and she ignored me for a minute before saying, "Well they must have bribed you." (by they she meant my parents) and gave me a hug. I was so hurt. I have tried so hard to make her feel loved but she will tell everyone in my family that I hate her, give her mean looks and ignore her. Okay I admit, I am ignoring her now because I am so hurt but I do not give mean looks and I certainly do not hate her. She is my aunt! I have not seen her in sixteen years! I want to have a relationship with her but she has put up so many walls against me and only me. I want to cry and scream and just melt away. I hate my life right now. I am so depressed. Smiling has always been something that is easy for me. Now, it is hard to find reasons to smile. Like real, genuine smiles. I fake them all day long but my heart is not in them. I am just wearing a mask for my family. I have started to have very mean thoughts toward her and I hate myself for it. The only person who sees the horrible way she treats me and stands up to her about it is my brother. 

I am at my wits end. I am frustrated and hurt. I want to be able to look at my aunt and not see all the mean and horrible things she has said/done to me. My parents say I need to be understand and strong. They say she cannot help what she does. I don't believe that. I think she is doing this because we have no boundaries set up with her. I know she has left everything behind, that life is hell for her right now but I do not think that she should be allowed to treat me like this. I am trying my best to not allow myself to fall into the deep hole of depression but it is hard and I am failing.

I also want to add that I can feel the hate radiating off of her. I takes all my strength and willpower not to be overwhelmed by it. When she touches me I feel like I have been punched in the face. I feel sick to my stomach almost all the time and the only time I feel relief is when I go to work and am far away from her. I take walks when I can but I am feeling weaker and weaker everyday and can not walk as far. I am worn out. 

Thank you for reading this. I love you all. 

michelle
@michelle
one month ago
211 posts
@finding-peace:

Living and caring for a person with dementia can be very taxing on family members. In later stages personality changes can be extreme. Based on what you described, your aunt is in the advanced stage. You can not expect any normal behavior from her and her husband MAY have been completely overwhelmed by it too. You didn't mention any physical abuse from your uncle except maybe negelect? I take it he is very old?

So, let's put the disease into perspective, which would also explain why she was earing only peanut butter sandwiches and lack of hygiene, if your uncles was totally overwhelmed too. And I'm not justifying abuse from him, if there was any, rather than the inability to handle and take care of your aunt and cousin...who put your cousin into care, your family or state agencies?

A description of some of the advances of deterioration:

"The first symptom of dementia is usually weakened short term memory. We forget what has happened hours or minutes ago, but have no trouble remembering what has happened years ago. This may be the only symptom for a long time, and it is perhaps only the affected themselves, who are aware that something has changed. That lesson may be hard, and there will in the first phase of dementia be much frustration and sadness with some developing depression. Since this can worsen the symptoms of dementia treatment is important at this stage. Later in the progression the patient is no longer aware of the condition which might help the patient but make is all the more difficult for the next of kin."

"After some time, the surroundings may notice that the patient is more hotheaded and irritable, has easier to tears or appear absent minded and with loss of initiative. Emotions and personality changes too, and the patient may lose social and sexual inhibitions to great embarrassment and discomfort for the surroundings. This is due to the influence of frontal brain lobe and may be more or less pronounced, depending on the type of dementia."

"Fatigue is a dominant symptom, and together with the reduced ability to concentrate may gradually lead to the abandonment of leisure and social life. Even television and books are difficult to handle as the continuation of the content is lost. Finally, the ability to perform even daily routines such as cooking and personal hygiene is lost."

I would advise you to abandon any expectation of your aunt acting normally or to expect any gratitude from her for your kindness or rescue of her. If she is directing negative attention onto you, perhaps you should only volunteer to help in her care by doing the things that support her and your family like cooking meals, shopping and running to the pharmacy. Let your parents/brother do the hands on part. And do not take her behavior personally. Keep your distance and quit offering hugs, if you cannot control your absorption of emotions she generates.


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I was abandoned by wolves and raised by my parents.
michelle
@michelle
one month ago
211 posts
A note on how to help yourself thru this stress inducing situation....breathe to stimulate the vagus nerves. This will give the immediate affects of years of meditation:

Breathing and stimulation technique of the vagus nerve

The following exercise uses abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing; when this type of breathing is carried out, air is carried deeply into the lower part of the rib cage. Breathing must be done slowly and deeply, with which an adequate use of the diaphragm is made.

ProcessInspire by the nose calmly counting mentally up to 4keep the air in the lungs counting to 6And expel it again counting up to 4, but when expelling it, we will do it as if we were fogging some glasses to clean them, that is, slightly contracting the lips, so that when exhaling, the vagus nerve is stimulated.

Both inspiration and expiration should be slow and deep. You can do the time you want, the ideal minimum would be about 7 or 8 minutes. As much as possible do it every day. In a stressful situation, for example, before an exam or job interview, the results can be surprising.

This simple practice, performed regularly, not only gives us a natural abdominal breathing but also stimulates the vagus nerve, allowing us to enjoy and collect the benefits of mental relaxation and the process of meditation that we do next.

There are other ways that help stimulate the nerve:

LEARN MORE:
https://tinyurl.com/y3f9mj4h


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I was abandoned by wolves and raised by my parents.
crystalsage
crystalsage
@crystalsage
one month ago
227 posts
@finding-peace. I'm sorry to hear about what you are going through. That is a rough situation.

It sounds like you're not just picking up on her emotions. It seems like you may be reflecting to her as well. It would explain why she has chosen you as a target. It is not you she has a problem with. Some people have a hard time truly seeing themselves. I wonder if a part of her knows you can pick up on her energy.

I have learned a new trick. Well it's not actually new. It's just new to me. If I hold my palms up as a sit, whether meditating or not, I release even the difficult energy. I noticed it when I was meditating. I got frustrated because I could feel the energy that needed to be released but it was just cycling through me. It wasn't until I turned my palms up that it left. I had them up for about 20 minutes. Then my hands got warm and heat was coming off of them. After that all those heavy vibrations were gone. Forgot to mention I was also focusing on the energy I wanted to release. I would saw try that.

I hope you find a solution that works for you.
michelle
@michelle
one month ago
211 posts
crystalsage "]

It sounds like you're not just picking up on her emotions. It seems like you may be reflecting to her as well. It would explain why she has chosen you as a target. It is not you she has a problem with. Some people have a hard time truly seeing themselves. I wonder if a part of her knows you can pick up on her energy.

I have learned a new trick.....

@crystalsage I too, had thought of that happening. (also good tip/trick)

@finding-peace perhaps, finding a state of indiference to aunt's remarks/emotions will cause a change in her reaction to you, since there will be nothing for her to pick up on; if crystalsage is correct.

Before my dad died, he had dementia and there was one time when he did not recognize me and his reaction to me was one of, I think, fear as I bent down to kiss him good-bye.

Other times he could show great agitation to any who would try and interact with him. Yes, this would cause a reactive thought in me and I suppose my family but, one quickly shoved that thought aside because he literally was not himself.


--

I was abandoned by wolves and raised by my parents.

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