Who needs a funfair.

There is no doubt that looking after the AP is a thankless task. Having her living with us means living life on an emotional rollercoaster. I recently read an article about using kindness to deal with recalcitrant old people and decided to change tactics with her. I thought I was strong enough to rise above all the emotional blackmail and was determined that she would not get to me. For a little while it worked and the LSO and I relaxed. That was a mistake. We then decided to take her with us on a flying visit to our daughter thinking this would make her pleasanter to have around. How wrong could we be. She obviously saw our different approach as a weakness to be exploited and before very long we were witnessing the return of a vindictive, jealous and thoroughly manipulative and controlling old woman. That evening whilst two of our friends were around she decided she would snipe at us thinking there would be no comeback with others there. Why she feels the need to do this is beyond me when all she has to do is pretend to be a sweet old lady but inevitably it backfired on her.

Needless to say this incident did not have a happy ending. When she tried to set us up and make us look bad, enough was enough and to cut a rather boring and long story short she was told that she was out of order and to depart to her room. The AP didn’t like this but nor did I because to do it I was angry, really angry and that left me dealing with a huge rush of adrenaline and cortisol. There is no doubt that she knows what she is doing because the next day she is all sweetness and light and gushingly pleasant which usually makes me want to rush to a bucket and be sick. Previous to this episode she announced to the LSO’s financial adviser who visited us that she had no family left, her son was dead her husband, her siblings and this went on with the LSO and myself standing there. Our visitor was hugely embarrassed and actually said ‘what about us’ to which there was a silence and then the AP said, ‘Oh, of course!’ Heaven knows what that meant and if it wasn’t so insulting it would be laughable, a dear, sweet old lady she definitely is not.

So what now? I guess it is back to living with all our mental barriers in place ready to fend off the next attack. The AP hates the fact that we are uncooperative and rather reticent with her, she cannot cope with it but we have found that it is the only way to deal with her. Certainly the only way to keep our sanity. This is no way to exist in our own home and there must be another solution to our problem other than the inevitable or a care home but what that is I really don’t know. I have come to dislike this woman that we have to look after.

We have twenty days to go to our few weeks of freedom and they can’t come soon enough.

Under Pressure.

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It’s difficult to explain the feeling of being under pressure. Something like a feeling of having your heart squeezed combined with being surrounded by an unseen fog. It feels like you can’t breath properly, you can of course because it is all in the mind. The AP continues to sail on like a galleon oblivious to the hurt and chaos left behind in her wake.

Not only have I a long suffering husband but I now have a long suffering friend who thankfully is a good friend and understands the problems because she also has a difficult AP of her own. She arrived on Monday and has been a breath of fresh air.

A horde of family descended on us last Wednesday which was really enjoyable and ten of us had a very chatty, noisy lunch out but the AP had to try and assert herself by as usual, being unpleasant to me. No, I hadn’t done what I was accused of but still had to take the flack. It did nothing to aid my enjoyment of lunch and if it hadn’t been for the pleasantness of the family, my stoic friend and the laughter it would have been unbearable.

The AP is still implying to all and sundry that I have as she puts it, ‘squeezed in another week’ of her staying with my cousin in Scotland. The extra week was suggested by my cousin and we have gratefully accepted his kindness. I really wouldn’t dream of asking him to have her longer than the usual three weeks but he, God Bless him understands instinctively how difficult things are for us. Given the year we have had both of us are really in need of a decent break. So why can’t the AP just accept the situation with grace instead of harping on and making us feel so guilty.

It is a hugely frustrating situation. A friend asked me the other day if we had expected her to live this length of time when she came to live with us and yes, we had hoped she would enjoy a hundredth birthday and felt there was every chance of it. No, we didn’t resent the situation in the very beginning but what we did not expect was that her real personality would be so different from the person we thought she was or that she would become so self centred and lacking in empathy. It brings up the question of course which is ‘do we really ever know our parents?’ In our/my case obviously not.

Eighteen days to go.

 

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