Ugh, Argh and Sigh

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by meowbunny, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    As I posted in Watercooler, I've been working my tail off lately. For the past few weeks, I've been staying with a woman who has vascular, paranoid dementia and Parkinson's at night. On top of that, I'd committed to staying with 3 elderly beagles starting last Thursday, who need to be taken out or given medications every 2 hours. This pretty much precludes me from going home to take care of my cats. So, I asked my daughter to stay with the dogs at night for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and I would take care of them during the day and feed the cats and clean their box on her way to work in the morning.

    I hadn't been home since Thursday and was barely there previously. When I got home this afternoon, I almost cried. The cats had no water for at least two days (glad they like drinking out of dirty toilet bowls). No wet food for who knows how long. The cat boxes hadn't been cleaned. BG had peed on the kitchen floor and that was completely dry. The sink was full of dishes. I'd asked her to empty the dishwasher last week and she said she would. There was a broken plate, silverware and two dirty camp cans on the floor. You get the picture. I almost started crying.

    Honestly, I was so exhausted from sleep deprivation, I just walked past everything and laid down and slept for about 3 hours.

    When I got up, I didn't say a word about the kitchen, not even the cat pee. I just started cleaning it. All I did was ask her to clean the box and it created a very nasty scene. I honestly was shocked, surprised and hurt at her reaction. I thought she was growing up, willing to take responsibility for her actions. I was back to dealing with her at age 13. I was actually shaking while standing at the sink. I didn't know the PTSD was this bad but as her volume increased, so did my shaking and there was actual fear that the violence was going to start anew.

    On top of that, she's been staying at my house off and on for the past 3 weeks, partially to help me and partially to get away from the drama at her apartment. The reality is she has done very little unless I specifically ask her and even then it has been done poorly at the very best of times and frequently "forgotten."

    I love her. I truly do but I can't take the piggishness of her and the reactions if I say something about it. It doesn't matter how it is said. I can bring it up with humor; I can sit her down for a gentle conversation; I can be sarcastic; I can be angry. Doesn't matter. Her reaction is the same. It is somehow my fault and then the ugliness starts. I'm so tired of the defensive reaction to anything said, the aggression, the meanness. I'm just heartsick.

    Anyone have any suggestions what I can do? I want to see my child. I want to be around her but I don't want to spend the rest of my life being angry at her laziness and inconsideration or shaking in fear.
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hugs. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this on top of everything else you're doing.

    I wish I knew what to tell you. Miss KT did similar things when she was living here, and I was at a loss. I hope someone has some good ideas, since I need them, too.
  3. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I'm sorry meowbunny. Suggestions?

    A few dirty dishes is one thing. Neglecting helpless creatures is not good.

    Frankly, I would suggest that she is taking advantage of you. Flopping at your house and leaving it in such a mess is disrespectful.

    If face to face confrontations always lead to drama, how about a letter or an email? Give her time to cool off and think before she responds?

    If it were me, I'd try going out for coffee, out for a walk or over to her apartment to stay connected. If she's going to abuse your hospitality, it's time to lock the door. in my humble opinion.
  4. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    She knows better.

    If she ignored her responsibilities at home one has to wonder how well/poorly she took care of the beagles those nights, too.

    I'm sorry, MB. When they get like that it's been my experience that there is no reasoning because they dig their heels in even further. It sounds like it's time for tough love again and usher her to the door.

    She knows better.

  5. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I think she is taking advantage of you, time to set firm boundaries such as planned visits, not staying with you when she doesn't like the drama at her apt. I think you can still see her and have a relationship but you can't count on her for help. If you don't ask for or expect help from her I think you will feel less resentful and angry. You have to get back to that mental state where you know this is how she is and you accept it and don't expect more. So sorry, I know how upsetting this is!
  6. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    MB -

    I'm sorry she's continuing with this behavior. You've done so much - and then some - for her and you don't deserve this treatment.

    I'm with Jane (she always gives such good advice).

  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I'm so sorry that her actions and reaction brought it all back for you. How terrifying.

    I think GG and Jane said it very well. Time to change your locks and plan scheduled time together and not rely on her for anything at all. She does know better and she was simply using your absence to take advantage of a good thing. How cruel to allow the kitties to go without food and water.

    I know you're also hurting - sending hugs.
  8. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    We talked this morning and, amazingly, she actually listened without a meltdown or getting even a little defensive! I asked her how angry she would be if she came home and found her roommate had left the house in the mess she left this. She admitted she would be very angry. I then went on and told her I didn't want to go back to the anger and resentment of when she lived here. She agreed she hadn't been fair and would try to do better. For now, I guess that's all I can ask for.

    I do understand why she did it. Honestly, part of it really is inherent laziness. If you specifically tell her to do something, she's pretty good about doing it nowadays. However, if you don't say it, it can be ignored until she's told to do it.

    Now, how do I get over the PTSD? I still tremble when I think of last night. I just cannot live with this fear again. It's too hard when you're afraid of the person you love the most.
  9. Wishing

    Wishing New Member

    Sometimes they don't think and it is hard to communicate with someone who is knee jerk reacting. Hugs. You handled it very well.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I am so sorry. This all hurts so badly. I am glad you got to talk to her in what seemed a productive way.

    The PTSd is not going to go away. It is going to take some time, work and therapy to heal. I know resources are tight. Maybe the local churches have some tdocs who volunteer time and can help you process this. I think EMDR might help you greatly.

    Whatever you do, it is time to pull back some and protect YOU first and foremost. difficult child is an adult, and you need to take care of YOU first of all this time.

    don't let her crash at your place if she doesn't like the home life she has created. Change the locks, let her in ONLY when you are home.

    I am so very sorry for all this. I had hoped she had turned the corner.
  11. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    MB, I still suffer from PTSD, too. Rob is the only one who can bring back the "fear" reaction but I refuse to tolerate any kind of attack anymore, period. No thanks. been there done that and will not have it in my life again.

    I have a few coping mechanisms. Good friends to shore me up when I feel like I'm caving into that dark arena again. Just a couple of weeks ago I started painting again- what a joy it is to be reminded of how gratifying that is; escaping into tv or movies or books. A glass of wine helps, too ;) .

    Rob's first therapist likened it to trying to balance two buckets- one on each side. As the bucket is drained on one side, you need to find something that will fill it again so that you can remain balanced. It's simplistic but true.

    I meant it when I suggested earlier that you usher your daughter to the door. She should not take your love for granted........or your hospitality. What kills us with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids is what tremendous manipulators they are. Rob could talk the talk but couldn't walk the walk. Over and over I've had to draw the line and back off until his behavior changed. To me, the proof is in the behavior, not the words.

  12. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    "Now, how do I get over the PTSD? I still tremble when I think of last night. I just cannot live with this fear again".

    I understand how you feel. Up until about two years ago, I would get this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when the phone rang and I knew it was difficult child.

    I figured out that I still needed to do some letting go. I had not detached enough from her. Her behavior still had a hold on me as evidenced by that sick, sinking feeling.

    I still have a physical reaction sometimes. But, it does get better meowbunny. You must remember that your daughter is responsible for her own life and choices.

  13. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I know what that shaking is all about. I hate it. I am so sorry that you even cruised up to that PTSD point. Once you have peace in your life for a long period of time? If you think you fought BEFORE having peace, guess again! You'll fight twice or three times as hard NOT to loose that sense of okay and calm. Your reactions were however totally justified. If someone forgot to feed my boys I would have their head - on a stick.

    I'm glad it was something you were able to sit down and discuss, just keep this as a reminder for those days when you feel like "overdoing" - someone suggested that to me years ago and it's helped me NOT overindulge Dude. (or at least not feel guilty about the things I do do.)

  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I read this yesterday, and I wasn't sure how to answer. The other ladies have done pretty well. I'm trying to remember if there is some compelling reason that she is staying with you, and feel badly that it may be something that I have forgotten. I wanted to suggest that you show her the door, more for your sake than for hers. But I didn't want to say that if there is some reason that she can't leave.

    Can you set aside my ignorance, and remind me if there is something I forgot? I feel badly that I don't even remember if I forgot something... :bag:
  15. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    There's no real compellng reason she's here. She is helping me move, albeit not quite as much as I had hoped and not without some whining but she is helping. Truth be told, when I'm tired of her, I tell her to go home. When I'm enjoying the visit or there is a need to have her here, then she gets to stay. Kind of selfish of me, but it works most of the time.

    Just so everyone understands, the cats did have food. It was just the dry stuff, though. They didn't get their am treat of wet food. The cat boxes being dirty were a different issue. That had me furious. The sink full of dishes had me seriously ticked off. Fortunately, she was in her room with the door closed and I went and laid down so that I had a chance to calm down before anything was said. Maybe that's why her reaction was such a surprise to me and why I reacted so strongly?

    Anyway, I'm not going to show her the door. Yes, she still pulls a lot of the same stuff that got me to tell her it was time for her to move out but now she is here at my sufferance. If I have had enough, I can tell her to go home. Normally, if I ask her to clean up her messes, she does it now with little argument. Yesterday was an exception. So, most of the time I enjoy her visits. She does help me with some things. She is so much more pleasant now than she used to be. We actually can sit and have real conversations.

    Is she using me? To an extent but that's okay. I accept it for what it is. She is maturing and I basically like the person she is becoming. Not everything about her but enough that we can laugh and have fun together. I'm content with that. It's more than we've had in a long, long time.
  16. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    This last post sounds quite different from the first one, MB. I'm glad things are better.

  17. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to hear things are settling. When K, the Korean student was living with us, she tried to pull something similar. She was supposed to let a dog sitter in for Bubba while husband and I went on a weekend for our anniversary. She blew it off and didn't bother to take a key to the house with her when she snuck out at 7 in the morning to get out of it. Nobody leaves my dog home inside the house for days without food or water. That was pretty much the breaking point for us. Bubba would have been traumatized to have no access to outside for potty. He would have figured out the water, and there may have been a little bit of food, but he would have been humiliated to have had to go in the house and have no one here with him for 3 days. He chews himself to the bone when he is upset and alone.

    Hopefully, she will be more kind to you and the pets next time she is given the chance.