Navigation: POP Community Forums Parenting Your Parents Finding new compassion when you have a history with your parent

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    I’m running into the challenge of not wanting to give my dad more compassion and sympathy because of our history. He has always made his “oh my problems are worse than anyone” and I just can’t seem to find the compassion when he criticizes me and is rude to me. He says that I don’t give him enough space but I’m the only one providing direct care. When he says that he is bored and has nothing he can do (can’t see much and in wheelchair), I try to offer ideas and solutions of which he does nothing.

    But, if you are complaining all the time, I’m not going to keep giving you compassion. Do something about it.

    I just can’t seem to find the compassion. Nor do I seem to want to. My dad always made everything a competition. I only got respect when I, too, became a widow. His is always worse than everyone else.

    And, he’s only been living with me for less than a week. Good Lord!

    Trisha Jordan
    Hi Susan,
    I’ve been going through the same thing with my mother.  She refuses to take my advice and she wants me to take care of her even though she is perfectly well enough to take care of herself.  She has become depressed and seem to have lost her will to even try anymore.  She is ungrateful and criticizes what I do for her all of the time. I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone.
    Here are a few things that I have done to make this situation more tolerable:
    – I make sure I put myself first.  I let her know that I am here for her and will take care of her but my needs come first.  I make sure I shower, get enough sleep, get some form of exercise, eat right and take care of myself.
    – I take breaks by finding others to help me out.  I reached out to my church and have some respite once or twice a week by church members offering their time to give me the breaks I need.
    –  I accept my mom for who she is and have no expectation of her changing her behaviors, if she does, then that is an added bonus. It seems the more I accept the situation and not fight it, the easier this living situation has become.
    –  I try and mentally put myself in her place as much as I can, by creating this empathy of “How would I feel if I was in her shoes”  I am able to have more compassion for her.
    It sounds like this living situation is new for you, give it time and hang in there.  Once you establish routines it will most likely become easier.



    Thank you, Trisha, for your kind and thoughtful response and suggestions. Yes, you’re right that everything is new and some issues are as old as I am. I think your idea of putting myself mentally in her place to create empathy is the toughest part. And, you are SO right in suggesting that we accept them without expectations of changing.

    I will refer to your post again and again to remind myself of these tips.

    Good luck with your mother. I hope that you have more of those “bonus” moments.

    Having been a caregiver to my first husband for the last 5 years of his life, I know and remind us both, of the holy work we do in caring for others. That’s what I cling to through the continual complaints. I know this is precious time…cranky or not.

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