Alzheimer’s Ain’t so Bad after Mother

90 year old Dad returned to the Pink House , exhausted, hot and sleepy from a visit to see Mother, who is still in the Sr. Rehab Center. It must’ve been about 100 degrees F. outside, plus the humidity was excruciating. Later in the day, at 8pm, the heat index was 98 degrees. Poor elder care helper, Helga, looked wiped out, too. It amused me  that someone else was privy to the moods and shenanigans  of Sue, the control freak who called herself “Mother.” I had chosen not to go out in the heat. I just didn’t want to. WHy should I? I was just getting relaxed into my new life.  Visiting mother would have ruined my day. A visit with mother was never fulfilling for me. Visiting her was another exercise in the  futile  attempt to connect with anything good inside her.

I felt no real connection to her. It had taken years of therapy (and at least $20,000) for me to realize how sick she was/is. I was just a normal child, needing a parent’s love and approval, striving to be as perfect as possible, thinking there was something wrong with me, instead of her. If it was me, then I could do something about it. That supplied hope, didn’t it? If it was her fault, well, I would never feel a mother’s love.  As a child, that thought was too dreadful to fully understand and accept.

“She’s like a psychic vampire, isn’t she?” I asked Helga.

Helga looked at me wide-eyed.

“She kept talking about the electric wheelchair,” Helga said. “Then, she wanted me to straighten her closet, and I said we weren’t going to do that right now.”

“She must be feeling better, she’s making demands and ordering you. She thinks she’s in control again, ” I added.

Mother thinks she runs everything within her sight. She’d controlled the home I grew up in and worked to manipulate me into what she wanted me to be for  many dreadful years. No longer was I enmeshed with her. I had my own identity, my own self confidence and ability to do anything I sought to do.

In my years of group therapy, this type of mother was called a “Nazi Mother.” Ungiving, narcissistic, rigid, controlling, puritanical, a taskmaster, with-holding love, abusive, derisive, judgmental, sarcastic, passive aggressive, manipulative, emotionally constipated, and down-right mean–that was my mother exactly. The first time I heard someone describe their mother as a Nazi, I felt a genuine comaraderie.

I knew that she lashed out at me for no reason when I was a kid, when ever she felt bad. My emotions and feelings were not validated. The entire family teased me about my feelings. If I complained to her as a child, my life was made  worse.  Mother would retaliate out  of utter meanness.

This person I would not wish upon anyone. This was my mother.

Now she is an old, mean 84 year old who cannot walk on her own. Her world has shrunk even more than before.