Getting her out of my head

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wisingup

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Getting her out of my head
« on: May 26, 2021, 01:55:51 PM »
Ugh - I had a couple of peaceful years where I had minimal contact with uBPDm & only at large gatherings. 

But now she has moved out of her sister's home & into an apartment by herself.  My brother and I are back to being the primary people she will call for assistance. 

She had an episode last Friday - calling in hysterics cause she was having chills & shaking.  Got her to urgent care - nothing wrong.  The next day we had an argument over her being so worked up when she called me.  I was so angry at myself for falling for this, once again.  I do think there was some issue she was having - but nowhere near worthy of the life-or-death tone in her voice.  By the time we arrived at urgent care & the whole time there she was just jolly.  She LOVES being sick & the center of concern.

Ever since, I'm arguing & JADE'ing with her in my head, defending myself & my anger to her and to myself.  Planning the conversations I will have in future with doctors and nurses who insist that I must care for her and why that won't work for either of us.  Planning what to say to her sister and her extended family when they criticize me for keeping my distance from this frail sick old woman. 

It's tough hearing brother and DH telling me to get her out of my head, while balancing the doctor's & my aunt's insistence that she needs help, and of course my mom's hysteria.

I am doing research and working out real practical solutions to get her the care she needs whilst allowing me to stay away.  This is what has to happen.  Just not sure how to calm myself down in the meantime.

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athene1399

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Re: Getting her out of my head
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2021, 03:41:48 PM »
I am so sorry this is going on. It sounds stressful and that she is sucking you into her drama.

In regards to the medical concerns where she needs to go to urgent care, maybe suggest she call a cab or an ambulance. Why do you have to take her?

And with the doctors that want someone to take care of her, why does that have to be you? Can you hire someone to do that? Or put her in an assisted living situation?

It sounds to me like a lot of people and your mother except you to be on call to fix her problems.

What if you stopped answering the phone when she calls?

Maybe start by thinking about what boundaries you want in place and how you think you can best achieve them. And don’t let anyone guilt you into doing anything you don’t want to do.

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moglow

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Re: Getting her out of my head
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2021, 04:12:09 PM »
Hey Wisingup! Unfortunately I don't have wisdom for you, only commiseration and a shared feeling of hopeless/helplessness over similar issues regarding my mother. Also kicking myself in the butt for falling for another of her explosions this week, but that's another story ...

"I am doing research and working out real practical solutions to get her the care she needs whilst allowing me to stay away." This. Continue on - do what you can do and keep breathing your way through. Remember that you truly aren't responsible for her state of mind, NOR are you responsible for changing it. You can't, pure and simple. You can however work towards getting necessary safeguards in place and reminding yourself of the things you CAN change. You can [and will eventually] only change your own reaction and response to her stuff - and yes, that takes time and practice. As Athene mentions above, look to other options - why are you the one who "has" to take care of these things? Why is it placed in your lap and what can you do to remove it?

It's a process, and I feel your pain. We're here with you. :hug:
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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Cat of the Canals

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Re: Getting her out of my head
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2021, 04:51:23 PM »
I'm kind of a broken record on this, but in terms of getting all that negativity out of your head, I find journaling very helpful. Especially for those scenarios you've described, where you find yourself having imagined arguments/conversations/debates in your head. I will literally type (or write by hand if that works better for you) out the imagined back and forth. There's something about getting those words out in a concrete way that feels like I've finally been able to speak my truth, even if it's in private and no one else sees it.

I absolutely agree with the other advice that's been given: are you an emergency healthcare professional? If not, then you really aren't in a position to field your mother's emergency medical calls. (Even if you WERE, it would certainly not be your responsibility to be on-call for anyone 24/7.) I would start channeling Woman Interrupted: "If this is an emergency, I'm going to hang up and call 911." She can take a fun little field trip to the hospital herself and explain what isn't the matter. If it's not an emergency: "You'll need to discuss this with your doctor." See if there's a number for a nurse triage program in your area, and from now on, mom's complaints can be directed to a professional. Stop

As far as the Flying Monkeys: they have no idea what's really going on, so their advice is useless. Take it with a grain of salt. When your aunt pipes up, you tell her, "I appreciate your concern. I am handling it." It's frankly none of her business beyond that. If she's so concerned about your mom, then why doesn't she step up to the plate? The doctors want the easiest solution and that's to push the heavy lifting on someone in the family. A simple, "I'm sorry, but that's not possible." is all that needs to be said. No one can force you to become your mother's caregiver and no one should expect you to.

(There are a dozen other Medium Chill responses you would probably find helpful in the Toolbox guide. I've printed it out and stuck it to my fridge for anytime I'm on the phone with PDmom.  :upsidedown:)

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I can't believe how frequently PD parents use medical drama to manipulate their families.

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wisingup

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Re: Getting her out of my head
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2021, 05:18:37 PM »
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It's a process, and I feel your pain. We're here with you.

Thank you Moglow – that’s what I really needed today – just not to feel alone with the weight of this stuff.  My brother is right with me but it really doesn’t weigh on him the way it does me – he is able to deal with the situation at hand, then move on to other things without ruminating on it.  But taking concrete steps helps me, so I’ve started on that. 

    So far:
    • I’ve been assembling a list of resources for mom.  Things like volunteers who provide rides to appointments and assist with shopping or errands.  She’s likely in early dementia so I’m researching education and services the Alzheimer’s Association can provide.  They have a group of volunteers who will just call to check in a few times a week.   I think she needs someone to speak with her doctors and understand her various diagnoses and medications – that one I’m not sure how to manage yet.
    • I’ve asked my brother to be the one to speak with her – to see which of these services she is willing to accept and cooperate with.  I anticipate that she’ll be difficult and want he and I to do things for her.  And apparently dementia patients famously do not recognize their own deficits and decline, so she may think she doesn’t need help when she really does.
    • I’m going to stop worrying about her loneliness and boredom.  It’s not new.  She’s never tried very hard to fix it, thinks her kids and grandkids should keep her entertained.  Nope.  She’ll have to reap what she sowed in this area.
    • And I put her on “straight to voicemail” on my phone.  Yay for that feature.   :applause:

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There are a dozen other Medium Chill responses you would probably find helpful in the Toolbox guide. I've printed it out and stuck it to my fridge for anytime I'm on the phone with PDmom.


Great advice – I just printed a copy for the fridge.  Maybe I need a wallet-sized one or a tattoo as well 😊

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Pepin

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Re: Getting her out of my head
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2021, 06:19:11 PM »
I absolutely agree with the other advice that's been given: are you an emergency healthcare professional? If not, then you really aren't in a position to field your mother's emergency medical calls. (Even if you WERE, it would certainly not be your responsibility to be on-call for anyone 24/7.) I would start channeling Woman Interrupted: "If this is an emergency, I'm going to hang up and call 911." She can take a fun little field trip to the hospital herself and explain what isn't the matter. If it's not an emergency: "You'll need to discuss this with your doctor." See if there's a number for a nurse triage program in your area, and from now on, mom's complaints can be directed to a professional. Stop
I came here to say the exact same thing.  WI was an inspiration.
NPD F (overt/covert) NC
DPD MIL (covert) VLC
FALLEN GC SIB
GC#2 SIB (covert) LC

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

People who don't bring joy, let them go.

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Sneezy

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Re: Getting her out of my head
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2021, 06:56:51 PM »
What if you stopped answering the phone when she calls?
This is excellent advice.  No guarantee that it will work, of course, but it is worth a try.  When my mom first moved near me, close to three years ago, she had the mind-set that it was up to me to handle every emergency she had.  And, of course, everything is an emergency.  She called me once, crying and carrying on, because she had noticed some chin hairs and needed me to take her to get her chin waxed immediately.  I wish I was making that up, but it's true.  She was hysterical over a chin hair emergency.

The thing is, there are very few real emergencies in life.  And for those real emergencies, your mother needs to call 911 first and you later.  Ask yourself what would have happened if your mother had called in hysterics and you happened to be in a meeting with your phone turned off.  Well, she either would have calmed down and been ok, or she would have called 911.

If your mother is manufacturing emergencies, it will only work as long as those around her agree that there really is an emergency and act accordingly.  If you don't answer the phone right away and jump to her side and join in, well then the "emergency" may very well go away on its own.

This is hard.  You are a sympathetic person and you want to help someone who needs you.  As others have said, remind yourself that you are not a medical professional and the best thing for your mother, in a true emergency, is to call 911.  And if it's not an emergency, than a little space and cooling down period may be best for her (and for you).  Good luck!

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Cat of the Canals

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Re: Getting her out of my head
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2021, 08:46:07 PM »
Maybe I need a wallet-sized one or a tattoo as well 😊

I have very much considered getting various things from the Toolbox tattooed onto myself.  ;D

Switching her calls to voicemail is a really good move. I'd also recommend a "voicemail to text" app. It has done wonders to not hear my mother's guilt-inducing tone of voice when she leaves a message (or several). I still hear it in my head, of course, but it just doesn't have the same power.

I was thinking earlier that neither PDmom nor PDmil would ever call me or my husband in an emergency and wondered why. Then it hit me: we've been in the habit of letting their calls go to voicemail for years! I often don't check my messages for hours after she calls. My husband sometimes waits days.

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athene1399

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Re: Getting her out of my head
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2021, 01:57:51 PM »
It sounds like you are working on a great plan so far with your brother. Dementia is a difficult disease to cope with. I really feel for you, wisingup. 

Have you had any luck getting her out of your head? I wonder if recognizing it as her voice and not one that you need to listen to would be helpful. Like it seems like that voice is there to guilt you into things. That must feel awful.

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wisingup

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Re: Getting her out of my head
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2021, 02:17:47 PM »
Thanks so much you guys.   :bighug:

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Have you had any luck getting her out of your head?

Yes, actually.  Taking concrete actions & making some decisions about how things will go in the future will help.  Knowing that her calls will go to voice mail saves me from that panic when I see her name on the incoming call.  I can take a few deep breaths before listening to the message & think before responding in any way, without her real-time hysteria in my ear.  I will definitely look into the voice mail to text function too - that would eliminate that voice entirely.  "Just the facts, ma'am"

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I would start channeling Woman Interrupted: "If this is an emergency, I'm going to hang up and call 911."

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The thing is, there are very few real emergencies in life.  And for those real emergencies, your mother needs to call 911 first and you later.  Ask yourself what would have happened if your mother had called in hysterics and you happened to be in a meeting with your phone turned off.  Well, she either would have calmed down and been ok, or she would have called 911.

Yes, I like this advice as well.  I did ask if she needed an ambulance this time, as her hysteria sounded ambulance-worthy, but she said no.  The thing I need to do differently next time is say, well OK, if it's not ambulance-worthy, you can get dressed and call an Uber or a senior rides service and give me a progress report later.  This sounds SO harsh to me - I will have difficulty with it.  But for a normal person, they would make darn sure they needed me before asking me to take vacation time & cancel work items to come to their rescue.  Mom panics first & thinks later, if at all.

I'm at that point in life where I'm being pulled in every direction.  My young adult kids still need lots of attention & guidance, I manage a staff of 10 mostly entry-level folks who also need lots of attention all day, & I have so little left to give after that.   What I do have, I'd like to spend with DH, my friends & having just a little fun to recharge.  Spending time ruminating over her & her behavior just sucks me dry.