Mum loses control

Mum’s always been a control freak. She hasn’t been able to walk properly for many years and when my dad was alive she would sit in her chair and order him around. My mental imagine of her was like a spider, sitting in the centre of her web, controlling everything through the force of her will.

When I came to live here, I was determined not to be swamped and bullied – which did mean I had to use a lot of energy keeping up my boundaries. But recently, mum’s undergone a change; such a strange and uncharacteristic change that it’s taken me a while to fully grasp what’s going on. She’s started asking me “what do you want me to do?” And this for the simplest of tasks. Even, “Do you want me to flush the loo?” Answer: “Yes, please!”

She’s forgetting how to do things that she could do even a few weeks ago. Initially I had to remember to remind her (which was a bit of a headache because I wouldn’t always remember myself). But now I’ve integrated those tasks into my daily routine. It does add to my jobs but in some ways it easier because I don’t need to worry that I’ll hurt her feelings by ordering her around or make her feel less empowered by telling her what to do.

People tell me old people become more ‘biddable’. I have to say my dad never did. He continued to be a wheeler-dealer until the very end: Telling me there was a chap who worked in the hospital who was going to help him ‘get out’. Wink, wink. He was caught several times trying to make a break for it. I know he made it difficult for the staff, but he was always a rufty-tufty working man and I was proud that he clung onto a sense of autonomy, even though he had dementia.

But ‘biddable’ is exactly the word that springs to mind when describing this change in mum. Of course she can still have her moments, flaring up over some innocuous remark that I’ve made or getting upset because her memory loss means she’s misunderstood a situation. But the rest of the time, it’s quite relaxing. I just tell her, do this and don’t do that. It’s an interesting change in dynamics. To approach the centre of the spider’s web and find this shrivelled up old lady. The flipside, of course, is that she’s becoming completely dependent on me!

6 thoughts on “Mum loses control

  1. This is so interesting and so impressive that you can, in the midst of the constant grind of your life with your mum, distance yourself enough to be able to name and describe what’s going on. This clear-headed ability to analyse must surely be part of what helps to keep someone sane and coping in a practically and emotionally very demanding situation. If you can’t stand back and reflect you are more likely to be swallowed up by it. A useful lesson for others, I think.

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  2. So good that you have this blog so others can read and feel less alone

    My dad is like your dad and mum became like my child. She had her moments and said some really funny things about fat people. And i am fat!! But she was so easy

    Dad is very difficult because he has always been so independant

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  3. Interesting…and I’m glad that this shift seems to be making the situation more easy for you. Do you think it has anything to do with her last stay at the care facility? I can imagine they are more “do this” and “do that” and perhaps she somehow realized how much easier it is to do with the flow? Just curious… (((BIGHUG))) and much love and blessings to you for all that you do for your mum. More though, because I treasure YOU for who you’ve been in my life, thank you for sharing your journey and for being an inspiration. I don’t say that lightly…you truly are.

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    • Oh you’re so sweet Darla, I know you don’t find it easy with your mum! But you’re right, I think mum is beginning to enjoy just being looked after all the time like at the care home and maybe in a while, who knows, she may elect to go there full time. I won’t stop her!! Pxx

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