My mother was diagnosed with stage 3B cervical cancer a few months ago and starts chemo and radiation next week.
I'm having a hard time adjusting to the new reality that we have. I'm trying my best to help out as much as I can but my mother is a stern and hard woman. She is very particular and everything has to be done just so. If I don't help - she yells at me for not helping her. If I do help - she yells at me for not doing it right. She also has started being manipulative, instead of just asking for help. She also often commands me to do things, I have to remind her to use her manners most days. It's really effecting me mentally. I've just become someone for her to take her anger and frustrations out on.
I understand that she is very sick. But how can I keep my mental health during this time? I spend most of my day either anxious or angry (and then I feel guilty for being angry at a person with cancer) and I don't know how much longer I can continue like this. I don't even know if I'm being unreasonable or not
Any advice would be appreciated
My biggest bit of advice I can give to you is to honour your emotions and know that they are completely valid. Personally, I find I easily get angry at myself for being angry towards others for things but it doesn't do me or others any good and it can form a vicious cycle. So in regards to you not knowing whether you're being reasonable or not... there is not right and wrong in this situation. We tend to take out our emotions on those closest to us as we know it'll take a lot to push them away so it can feel somewhat safe to do so. As much as it's a new reality to you, it's just as much a new reality to her. She's been faced with her own mortality and it's something we can't judge with how she reacts to it unfortunately. Make sure you're putting yourself first. Make sure you're finding time to fill your cup. I'd recommend just being open and honest and talking about how you're feeling to anyone close to you who asks. Even try and have an online chat to councellors at CanTeen. They provide help to young people who's parents have been diagnosed. Just don't internalise it, I'm glad to see you've taken step number 1 by posting in here to reach out to other who may understand! Make sure you impliment things in your day to day life that make you happy. For example, when my mother was first diagnosed I made a promise to myself to visit the beach and breathe. Rain, hail or shine. I hope this helps. x
Congratulations in seeking advice - you are in a tough situation.
Do a search through these forums and you will see lots of people who have had to deal with beligerant partners or parents who are going through their cancer journey. There is already a whole lot of good advice posted in these forums on this subject. But again, good on you for reaching out - a really big step in the right direction.
One thing in particular that I would suggest is trying to compartmentalise your time with your mum between that as a carer and that as her daughter. That is, love her to the max when you are there as her daughter, but then become the tough hospital matron when you are there to assist in her treatment - tell her to back off if she over steps the mark. But also let her know which role you are playing at any point in time so that she learns what she can and can't get away with.
This approach also requires you to become as knowledgable as you can about her condition, treatment and responses so that you can work out where to draw the line about what is reasonable, what isn't and consequently when you should hold your ground or give a little.
Just remember the safety instructions given when you are on an aeroplane - if the oxygen masks come down, use it yourself first before you try to help others. You can't help your mum if you are an emotional mess. Take care of yourself first and exercise your mind so that you are in a good head-space to help your mum - and that will often require you to stand your ground and tell her what she needs rather than what she wants.
Good luck and hang in there.
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