« Last post by Monroe on April 24, 2014, 12:36:11 PM »
Hi everybody - been gone a while, but still reading. I would like your help in defining love.
I always had a good relationship with my mother - who is now a very elderly invalid. Several years ago (and it was gradual) the personality change began. For fifty years, she was a wonderful, loving mom. At first it was isolated incidents - now it is constant complaints, criticisms, etc. She has become very demanding (we have 24/7 care for her - but she is isolated and still demanding of the adult children's time and attention). My siblings do their share - I don't bear the majority of the responsibility. But I am the one in her cross-hairs. I am exhausted. Still visit because my sweet father is still living. But I am exhausted and dread seeing her, since it will be just more complaints.
Not all complaints are directed at me -- sometimes she just wants to criticize other people and have me join in - which I refuse to do. I don't like it when grade-schoolers are bullies and pick on other kids. I'm not about to join in a gossip-fest criticizing this neighbor or that old friend - or even her DIL. So when she criticizes this or that relative, I just say, "Mom, I think he/she is nice - or trying as hard as he/she can - or I say this is really none of our business. Like when a cousin got divorced she wanted me to ask around and find out why they got divorced. No way in &%$#** am I ever going to do that!!
It's driving me nuts. I want to think that I love her, but I don't feel it. I don't enjoy her company at all. I just brace myself for the complaints, the outbursts of temper - the twisting/distorting of what I say or do - so that she can complain about me later. But I do my duty. I visit 2-3 times a week. I take over little treats. I am all smiles - and never fail to give her a kiss when I leave. I don't tell her what to do - no suggestions from me - the caregivers can do that, as she resents any suggestions from her children.
But I am going nuts. I want to think that I love her. I know I did. I know I love the mother she was. There's just nothing likable about who she is now. But I do still do my duty.
Does love have to include warm fuzzes? If I honor her position as my mother - if I do my duty - If I "hum a few bars and fake it" by always smiling, visiting, taking treats, - even tho it is just on the surface - does that count as love?
Can duty count as love?
I have to continually battle not to feel guilty - but the only way to please her is to spend hours a day with her, and join in mean gossip about the few people she still knows who aren't dead.
Please - I want to love her - how can I feel that I do if all I feel is a sense of duty? Does that count???