Caregiver Stress - Narcissistic Mother

by Sandra
(Delaware)

Caregiver Stress from Elderly Mother

I am 53 - still a very pretty, active female - who moved in with mother (I think I might have made a big mistake!) in 2004 after my wonderful daddy passed away. Mom is very hard to get along with - narcissists want to be in control and use their manipulative attitude to get what they want. I am getting a little tired of her moods. Or maybe she is getting dementia? Whatever it is, I just don't know if I can handle it much longer. Mom threatened if I moved out to never contact her again. Frankly it would not matter to me. Is anyone else dealing with this same situation? Of the 3 siblings, mom changed her will to leave the house to me. I am in the middle of making home renovations and need to decide to stick it out, suck it up or get the heck out. Thank you, Sandra from Delaware. 7/22/09

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Stressed beyond belief
by: Anonymous

I am beside myself today. I can't do anything to please her. Whatever I do is wrong. Whether she tells me or the nurse. I stress to try and take food into her and there is always something wrong. She is always throwing me under the bus.

It is never her fault. I could go on.i don't get any help from my brothers and they were always giving me advice. I take it if I want to.

I can't even go to a football game in my daughters town because my brother won't come and check on her. My husband does a great deal for her too.
It is just a bad day. I couldn't stay very long earlier today. I took in supper and she started criticizing right away. She had me crying and I had to leave.

I just want to quit and can't. I feel like I don't have a life.

This has been going on for 6 months. My brother is always bragging about what they do. Just sick of it

Stressed beyond belief

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I wish I had figured it out sooner
by: RR

My mother is 92 & I am 62. I only figured out recently that she is and always has been narcissistic. My father left her after 29 years of marriage because she was impossible to live with & then she drove my brother away before he died tragically @ 42.

I am all the family she has left & every year her behavior worsens. The loss of love for my mother is where my guilt comes in. If she keeps this up, I will be left with not even one good memory of my mother & that hurts as much as anything else. Reading other posts from children of narcissistic parents, with these same feelings is very encouraging as weird as that sounds.

I envy my friends who's relationships with their mothers were always close. Self confidence for me has always been a struggle but at least now I realize why. And like I said, I wish I had figured it out much earlier in life. I am trying to make sure that I keep a close relationship with my grown children and always remember it's "not about me".

If my mom didn't have "one foot in the grave & one on a banana peel" I'd tell her all about it.
Thanks for listening. RR

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THRU THE SAME
by: Anonymous

I WAS FEELING SOOO ALONE I HAVE SO SEVERE PANIC ATTACKS

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My Mother has sowed the seeds of dishonesty for too long
by: Anonymous

My 94 year old mother has been a manipulative dishonest narcissist every since I can remember.

She lies to everyone about little things in order to control everyone around her but controlling what they think.

She also gets people to withhold certain truths from other people and causes general secrecy and distrust among all of us. She is a master manipulator using guilt and sympathy like conducting a symphony.

But here's the thing.... we are all sick of it. We all hate it. We are fed up with her nonsense. It's not cute, it's not funny and it's not charming. She is just a cheap, cold un-trusting and untrustworthy old widow who nobody particularly likes spending more than a few minutes with.

The con, we will not miss her when she leaves. Constant hustle and the continual games have left us all empty of any love we may have at one point had for her. Sad to say we will not miss her when she crosses over.

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Narcissistic Mother
by: Anonymous

I, too, have a narcissistic mother. I am 70 - she is 96. She had my sister and I not speaking to each other for 68 of my 70 years so she could be the go between gossiping about us and everyone else.

My sister and I are now very close. My mother is the outcast - still can't bring herself to realizing that no one talks to her.

This is what happens when mothers betray the people that depend on them for honesty and forth rightness. No love lost here.

I don't speak to her and haven't for 18 months - my sister, same. My sister and I have become very close and this incenses my mother.

Go figure...

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Tested
by: Anonymous

Wow, reading these comments makes me feel so much better about my situation with my mom. I could have written so many of these posts.

As a child I always adored my mom. I thought I was the luckiest kid to have her but as I grew I started to unpack all the dynamics of moms behavior and how it negatively impacted me.

At 53 I'm still trying to recover from all of her manipulation. Now she is elderly, narcissistic and in need of assistance. She's 90 and going strong, but now needs help with basic tasks in the house.

When my dad died eight years ago, she turned to me to take care of all her needs. She's never had to take care of anything. Someone else always did it. She'd call me five or six times a day at work in a full blown meltdown demanding me to drop everything and fix her complicated problems.

Long story short, eight years after dads passing, my life is in shambles. I've lost my job, my social life and family. She sucks the life out of me and I can do nothing right. She dwells in negativity and can't stand seeing anyone having fun. She sucks the joy out of the room.

I'm getting to the point where I have to break free of her and find outside help for her. I'm an only child and the burden falls on me. Reading all these posts is inspiring me to start some kind of network to help people going through this horrible experience. I've taken care of other people and they are happy and sweet.

This behavior is a disorder. I tell my mom what I need from her and that is just an invitation for her to rebel against it. She's like a rebellious spoiled two year old who has all the power. Time to step away.

I'm so grateful I have a home of my own to escape to. Otherwise I'd be dead by now. I feel like I'm just a shell of a person and trying so hard to not feel resentment and hate towards her.

I'm trying to look upon this as a test, but man is it a hard one which has no good end. It's kind of a lose lose situation.

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Sister Mother in Law
by: Anonymous

Hello I love reading all these comments and what all us caregivers go through. I would like some feedback on my situation as I moved in with my sister mother in law because I had no where else to live at the time and no money to get my own place. They needed someone to take care of her as she has dementia. She is very independent and her physical health is good although mental is in decline.

I thought when I moved in I would just be here at night and have a job during the day. It has now turned in to be a full time job.

It has been stressful I have a dilemma and kind of torn. I think I have been doing caregiving for a long time and I'm kind of burned out and I am ready to move on. I want to move out and find employment so that I would have stability. But it takes money for that and this is my sister mother in law I take care of. But I hope I don't sound selfish but I would like to have my life back. Any feedback would be helpful Thank you Carolyn

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Driving me nuts....
by: Anonymous

It is very helpful to see SO MANY situations that mimic mine - sometimes I feel I am the only one like this.

I love my 96 year old mom, she has been living with husband and me for 8 years since my dad died. But she has deteriorated health wise during past 3 years and is very demanding, controlling, same old story with siblings who do nothing yet she thinks they are wonderful if they visit once a month (they live in same city as us).

I work part-time, have a disabled husband, and it is really getting to me! We cannot afford outside help. She only goes from bed to bathroom to chair in her room - whines and pouts if we don't jump to her requests. Driving me nuts!

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Narcisstic Mother in Law
by: Anonymous

I need help....living with my 96 year old Mother in Law who is narcissistic person. She looks for ways to start fights. The stress is so bad. She does not like me and is a very jealous person.

My husband is caught in the middle and I am trying to not put him in that position. Nothing we do for her is good enough and she looks for ways to start a fight or catch us, mainly me, doing something wrong.

It is taking a toll on our marriage but we are trying to stay strong and united. I need some tips on how to deal with this situation as I cannot just walk away as we live there. We try to be nice and do nice things and she acts like she does not want me there.

How can we cope on a daily basis with her. Confronting her only makes it worse.

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When Mom gets an Attitude
by: Anonymous

I appreciate your concerns and can relate to a great deal of what you wrote.

I am caregiver to my 91 year old mother who wears several different personalities, so I never know who I'm going to encounter on a daily basis. Interestingly enough she has the ability to save those lovely personalities just for me, never when other family members are present.

I have forgiven my mother for years of abuse during my childhood years, and only want to support her needs as best I can. I've found meditation, getting out with friends and staying busy with hobbies helps a great deal.

Mom isn't likely to change her attitude and I value my mental state too much to dwell on the subject. Don't allow yourself to become a victim.

You're doing something wonderful for your aging parent. Remember it isn't easy for them to lose their independence. Find ways to nourish and refresh your mind when possible.

More and more baby boomers are dealing with the same situation, trying to get through those difficult moments. We are not alone. I wish you well and hope you can find strength when needed. Good day!

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Manipulative or just frustrated?
by: Anonymous

When my dad passed away in 2008, my brother and I "kidnapped" our mom from her home in Texas and moved her to live with us on the east coast. She was suffering from clinical depression and could not even function.

After hospitalization and medication plus counseling and prayer, mom the fighter bounced back. She decided to take over the meals and shopping - to this day she says she likes to do the shopping because she looks for bargains.

The house where we were living was too small for two, let alone for three. We ended up buying a home and with part of her benefits after dad's death, she helped us with the down payment, but did not put her name on the title. (She had to let her house go to foreclosure in Texas because she could not afford to make the payments.)

It wasn't long before she was not only bounced back, but she was back in the "mother" mode. I had already lived on my own for six years, then was joined by my brother. Though I missed my family, I had enjoyed my time living alone because I had learned to expand and make a go of it on my own.

Now we were back on turf where there were 3 heads trying to make things work.

Mom doesn't give up power easily. She may not call it that, but she tends to play "queen bee" wherever we are together as a family.

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91 and going strong
by: Anonymous

My only sibling died. He was my mothers favorite and he is a saint and I am worthless especially compared to everyone else wonderful daughters. Other daughters take their mothers on vacation and come and dote on them, clean their apartments, etc etc.

I am 61 and work as a nurse. My mother doesn't know where I work ( or care) so if I say I'm tired it's a contest - she is always more tired,ill,painful, than anyone.

People ask me if she's always been this way and looking back, she was. I had a wonderful father who was the "buffer" for her behavior So we didn't notice it as much growing up. She makes terrible comments to me and my daughter, and grand daughters but is very flattering to my sons.

I moved to another city when I was 27 and spent little time together with her after dad died.

Soon after my Dad died, she got a boyfriend who she badgered until his children called and said she was killing their dad. So she moved to the town where I live . Of course she denies this and says his children "love her" even though there has been no contact in over 5 years.

I would never have more than a 2 minute conversation if there was anyone who would help. I dread any time I spend with her but do it because I think my father would be upset if I just totally cut her off. She lives in a senior complex that is gorgeous but complains all the time.

She treats me like a servant and blames me for anything that goes wrong in her life. Her sister ( my 93 year old aunt) is lovely and loved by all her family. How can they be raised in the same home?

It looks like I am one of many and tell people to watch the Sopranos... Tony's mother is a mirror image of mine.

After reading all your comments, I think counseling would be helpful.

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Ready to disown elderly Narcissistic Mother
by: Anonymous

I am dealing with 86 year old Narcissistic mother. I have just started to understand she is a narcissist.

She is now having health problems where my sister and I have to take care of her. She is sweet to the outside world, telling everyone that no one does anything for her and she is so pitiful.

The more we do for her, the more she complains we do not do anything for her. I wish I had understood this decades ago so I could have cut her out of my life, but now I feel like I am abandoning her in her time of need, but the stress is unbearable.

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Why?
by: raj

I am the second youngest out of 11 children,and I look after my 78 year old mother along with my husband.

I did things in my youth I'm not proud of and caused my mother a lot of pain,and God she has reminded me of that every day. She blames us for her not seeing her dying dad even thought we were children.

I look after her but my other siblings who do nothing are wonderful,I tried to take my life as a child and she reminds me of the fact she wished I had died.

My word means nothing,she acts like a martyr and hides behind her so called God.I feel chocked,suffocated,I do it all and am I tired.She blames my dead father for her hard life,then her children for all that has happened to her.

My husband hates her and is trying to save me from her,but I feel guilty as I do love her,God so tired.

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I Would Like To Share With You All
by: Elizabeth

You are right! These are *amazingly* helpful! It seems that we all (seems to be limited to the ladies, but not to exclude the caregiving men)share the same trials, in every range of the spectrum -

And may God bless ALL of you for doing what you must. I really, really do mean that.

I would like very much to share my story, but there doesn't seem to be any place to "respond to", only these comments. I would very much value anything anyone has to say to me - there are diamonds of wisdom out there, and I need some. I wonder would it be safe for me to go ahead and post my email address as well?

Looking forward to hearing from you :)
EDITOR'S NOTE - we delete any email addresses for safety reasons...when you visit this page look at the Stress section on the list at the left..there are plenty of subject areas to tell your story as we would all love to read them....thank you!

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Caregiver Stress
by: Anonymous

My mother has manipulated people for years to get her own way on everything from the time as a child in the home right up to today.

She is an habitual liar and will do anything to manipulate family and others to get in the mind to torment. Intrudes constantly in the lives of her children to bring us all down through guilt.

Same behavior pattern for years nothing new in now in her elder years. Almost impossible to comprehend!!! Help!!

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Living your Life
by: Anonymous

I understand what your going through. This is my fourth time as a family caregiver. Sister in law had cancer but she was loving and kind to the end. Step father died of heart failure at 90. He was kind all the way through.

His 4 daughters were no help just wanted to put their order in on his material items. I wanted to choke them all but they left and never came back.

Mother in law was next she hated me because I supposedly took her son away. She stressed me out a lot. Then you have my mom. She is killing me. Cares more about her neighbors than her daughter (me). She is rude, selfish,& manipulative to the max.

Everyone from neighbors to doctors think she is funny and full of life. They don't see the other side. I have a sister who walked away and doesn't talk to anyone. When my who had Alzheimer's got really bad she had him change his will. He had some good days and remembered what he had done..his last 2 days alive were spent crying and telling me how sorry he was..I told him the truth I don't care about the money I have a wonderful dad and he is the best grampa there is.

She doesn't know this. My brother had her sign a bank account over to his and her name only (he was mad because I'm on everything/always been there for her and her husband)a month later he withdrew 15,000.00 out of the 16,111.00 she had in that account when she confronted him he slammed the door in her face so hard he broke the door jamb.

She worries about him all the time. He hasn't talked to her in over a yr. She had a son from her previous marriage he hasn't called in years. I'm here for her and she knows it. She takes advantage of that and me and I don't know how much more I can take.

I look like I have aged 10 years in these past few years and it is killing me. I don't have an answer for you. If your like me you have a big heart and that's why your still there. The sad truth is they will probably out live us???

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I too Have the Mom from Hell
by: Anonymous

I am 58 and just in the last 2 weeks got out of the relationship with a narcissistic mom. My only regret is I didn't do it sooner however, I tried all my life and life or illnesses or family members death rejoined us.

Well, all have died close to her including the sister that was the "golden child". My mothers' husband of 48 years just died...she was his caregiver(ouch)watching this from a distance.

Although I was trying to be there for support running them to hospitals and such I witnessed my mom abusing this shell of a man.

She blamed him for getting sick with cancer and leaving her destitute (she had saved over 40,000 in the wall) then rode his @@@ saying he was giving his money to prostitutes and or drugs , the man had had chemo years ago and could not have sex.

After he died 2-3 weeks ago something that tied us all together in this toxic family also died. I began to see the truth about this woman. All my life shes been like this and yes it does get worse, I saw her when as a child pick up my baby brother by one arm and throw him across a room b/c he was crying, he was the scapegoat until he was four when my dad left her with their 3 younger kids, then she looked at me.(ouch)

The hate is toxic even if the child doesn't see it. There is a science study of two glasses of water, one they taped the word love on the glass the other they taped hate, then they studied the crystals forming in the water the love one had beautiful crystals the hate one had jagged and deformed crystals and retarded growth, this is real stuff! words and thoughts are powerful. toxic kills .... I'm out of it!!!

Yes, I feel the guilt but I have a chance to live and I can work on it, but living in that arena of hate, there is no life. This is why many on here feel drained after a day with them, my advice is let go of the dream. You need to have and believe about them they are truly as cold and heartless as a cockroach and they will survive just fine like one.

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You Need To Come First
by: Jeannie

I'm an only child, 51 years of age, and have a 91 year old mother. I live in a different state than my mother. I tried moving her in with me and my husband and children two years ago, but that lasted only 3 months.

I set her up with a new medical plan, made an extension on my house, etc...Bottom line, it was all for not. I lost 30 lbs., and I'm already an underweight individual, and I ended-up having a complete and total nervous breakdown. Then and only then did I realize that I NEED TO COME FIRST!

So...I put my mother on a flight back to her home state and now she is totally alone. She was ALWAYS a narcissist, but I have come to realize that it is a 'no-win' situation for me and that nobody owes their parent anything; certainly not at the expense of their own mental and physical health.

Dis-engage yourself totally from the problem parent and cut-off ALL communication. That's the only way to go. On a side note, I would take care of my Mother-in-Law until the end of time because I have always gotten along with her and she's a sweetie even when she is sick. However, my mother is another type of person. When dealing with a narcissist, I repeat, JUST RUN AWAY!!!

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The Church Lady Side the Devil Side
by: Anonymous

Over the last 30 years my 84 year old mother has repeatedly called the children home "because your father is about to die". We did so, in my case leaving a job at one point to be near.

She has her Christian friends to whom she is the ever patient, self sacrificing, angelic sweet, old lady. Behind closed doors a monster emerges that is sarcastic, brutally cruel, mocking and who flits in and out of a role of "I'm a helpless frail old lady" to "I know how to stick it to people".

I offered to let her move in with me while her house sells. I'm serving her 24/7 as she becomes more and more demanding and starting to realize I cannot do this and stay alive. I'm recovering from cancer myself and feel my health slipping away by this emotional vampire.

And even as I serve her I get reports she calls other siblings "she hasn't lifted a finger to help me" when in fact it is non stop and increasing

I'm inheriting the small house I am in, if I don't take her in I am sure she will cut me out of the will but I'm starting to think homelessness is better than this insanity....

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Keep Praying
by: Anonymous

These posts are suprisingly helpful. To know there are ranges of normal and then there is dealing with someone with narcissit personality disorder. Rather than feeling guilty for being stressed at the "poor old lady" that "you're lucky you still have a a mother in law" etc.. it somehow helps to know I'm not alone.

kudos to whoever made the point....
"Brilliance should have set a plan for their 'golden years', which did not include torturing their children."
Exactly!

My wife is almost 50 and has been tormented by a twice divorced narcissistic mother her whole life, he brother and sister are mostly estranged from the mom (they are normal).

Wish my wife had choosen that path long ago, now her mom is legitimately old and does need some help. Keep praying and good luck to all

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Narcissistic Elderly Parents
by: Anonymous

Person who feels guilt free that they would take parents into home is in a dream world. They do not know the emotional and personality changes that these elderly people go through on a day to day basis.

Mine resented the attention I had to give my young girls growing up in grade school thru high school. Never supported me and them by participating in family events and school events and whined constantly about needing attention for themselves.

I am heartbroken by careless remarks made by people who are not experienced in this and just like to judge others.

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Narcissistic Mom with Stage 4 Cancer
by: Anonymous

I am 35 years old and live on my own in the northeast. My mother has a stage 4 liver cancer and lives in the south. She has had severe narcissistic disorder all my life. The oldest, my brother, has followed in her footsteps. His type of narcissism is a constant violent rage.

My mom is super, super sweet to all her church friends. Even priests call her blessed and come by her house regularly. She is praised by everyone outside the house. Yet, when alone, she is bitter, negative and downright ugly. My father divorced her years ago. Her own family (she has 12 siblings) never come see her or talk to her. She has constantly belittled her children, including me, to no end complaining that we never do enough for her.

It is sad to say that she has been using the illness to lay guilt trips on me. She calls in the middle of the night huffing and puffing and claiming that she is having a heart attack and dying. While I am hundreds of miles away, I am listening to her with high anxiety, stress, fear and sadness knowing there is nothing I can do. But days later, when I find that she wound up in the emergency room, it turns out that she never had a heart attack, but that she worked herself up so much she had a panic attack.

Meanwhile, I drop everything, take all my available vacation and sick leave and go to see her. Indeed, her cancer is at the highest stage and is slowly killing her. But her doctor has stressed the importance that she needs to eat. In fact, he said that her eating may help to slow or even stop the deterioration of her liver. My mother refuses. She claims that she vomits everything, yet no nurse has seen evidence of vomit anywhere. She pushes food away saying that is tastes nasty. She wants people to cook food for her so she can control them. Then when they bring it, she doesn't eat it. I told her plainly that she is contributing to her own death. She even refuses to drink the high calorie supplements!

My mother wants me to drop everything I'm doing, become unemployed, and come to stay with her.
I offered to take care of her if she moves in with me up north, but of course, there are a million and one excuses: too cold, she doesn't like the north, she has no friends, etc.

I don't know what to do. I am not to blame that she may be dying. But, my mother will do everything in her power to make it seem that way. When I even think of her impending death, I am filled with sadness because I do love her so much. It's a horrible, sick disorder and I hate it.

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Narcissism
by: Anonymous

I have been living with my terminally ill Narcissistic mother for the past few months and finally went to counseling after feeling that every fiber of my being was screaming. Within 15 minutes she identified that my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Nothing I do is ever enough, and I am treated like a servant. The demands are endless. I walk on eggshells awaiting the next irrational explosion of bad temper, I ignore the barbed and hurtful comments. Her bitterness and vitriol is unbelievable when things don't go her way as she believes that the world created for her benefit.

Anything that doesn't directly relate to her is of absolutely no interest. Any time I spend away from her is treated as a kind of betrayal. I could go on.

When guests come round she is charm itself and they all marvel at how wonderfully she is dealing with having cancer.

I felt so guilty about not being able to give with more love and I struggled with the realization that I am beginning to hate her.

I would encourage EVERYONE leaving messages here to Google search NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER.

It is incredibly informative, and will make you realise more fully exactly what you are dealing with. You can make your choice about how much contact you are prepared to endure. If you decide to put up with living with a narcissist at least you may feel less of a puppet and a slave.


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NOT Losing my Mind....
by: Anonymous

Thank you all for posting. I thought I must be so horrible for feeling like I want to give up but you have given me some strength and hope.

My mother suffers from chronic pain (which of course none of us can understand) and fibromyalgia (which is the excuse for her lack of memory, lack of understanding...lack of
anything) She martyrs herself, she sees the world only through her own lens. Add to that she's the oldest child - the pleaser - and is always right.

When she moved in with me - I was single. Now I am married with a 6 year old and my husband has had it. It's causing a huge strain on our marriage and she seems to think the answer is to move out and into a one room place that she can afford and get out of our lives. She can't understand what that does...makes me crazy and leaves me guilty...just want she wants I think!

I'm at the end of my tether....and my husband...though black and white in his thinking...is very right in many of the things he perceives and says. He just sees a more black and white ending to the story - she's out and we are a family . I'm trying to balance it all. I'm drained and can't do it any longer.

Reading these posts has been great...thank you all of you.

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1 Narcissistic Mother-in-Law & 1 Enabler attention Hungry Father-in-Law...
by: Heidi

Help.

My husband (only child) and I closed our successful business, moved away from grand babies and all that was home for us to move across the country into to my in-laws house to allow them to stay in their home during their elderly years.
My mother-in-law (84)has ovarian cancer and has been hanging on for years even though doctors cannot understand why. My father-in-law (77) is physically, emotionally and spiritually weaker than my mother-in-law.

I have recently been doing research to figure out why I feel the life literally being sucked out of me. I knew coming in this was not going to be easy. Much to my dismay I believe that my mother-in-law is a manipulative narcissist and my father-in-law is a manipulative enabler & absolute trouble maker, in addition to being a dirty old man. They are the poster children for co-dependency. The aura in the house is very oppressive and toxic.

I am very spiritual, have tools to detach with love, have a fabulously healthy relationship with my husband (who is struggling probably more than I)but living in this toxic environment day in and day out is more than I can bear some days.

They are so full of fear that hiring anyone to care take even for a weekend or a day is out of the question. They are paranoid and have do not trust anyone.

I know I will stick this out and use my energy to be kind and gentle with them but it helps to be able to vent this to others who understand the challenge.

Live, laugh, love

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Narcisstic mother---HELP
by: Anonymous

I am a 53 year old daughter of a 75 year old mother who is hard and difficult to deal with, I'm so glad I'm not the only one.....my other two sisters can not deal with her. I'm the only one...it seems like it is never enough I can do..I work full time and don't live that close to her. I go to see how she is doing once a month and spent the last weekend with her..help...I don't know what to do..She needs a lot of help and I cant give her as much as she needs...she doesn't want to go to an assisted living home...

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Gosh..there are others out there with narcisstic mothers!
by: R

I nearly cried with relief reading these posts. Just knowing there are others trapped in this weird "Alice in Wonderland dealing with the Red Queen" scenario gives me such hope. And the advice has been empowering.

Being manipulated and controlled in your late 50's by your nasty mother is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. The frustration was just building and building, I thought I'd lose my mind.

Thanks for sharing your frustrations and grief..strangely, it gives me hope..and I feel much better. May all continue to find the positive with all this negativity in dealing with narcissistic parents...Whew!

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Where are you now?
by: Anonymous in Europe

I am only now reading your comments and I wonder how you are? I admire you greatly and can empathize with your situation fully. I so hope you are well as you are possibly reading this note.

My husband and I sold everything in the States to come to Europe to take care of my mom. Since I am an American citizen now, I am only here on a visa -- both of us were not allowed to work for the last four years while being here. Now, my husband has to return home to find a job and I am still staying on, actually moving back into my childhood home so that my mom is taken care of better. The separation from my wonderful husband is weighing heavily on me.

My mother is depressed and he was my one ray of sunshine every day. But he does need to go back home so we can keep afloat. I am 50 years old and have no idea if one day -- upon returning to the States -- I'll be able to find a job so I'll get a small retirement. I've taken care of my mom most of my life and for this last stretch, I am hoping to have enough strength.

Your letter truly made me feel less alone. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Caregiver Stress
by: Anonymous

I can relate and understand your situation completely Sandra, and enjoy reading the comments you received from your post. I received my call for help over 15 years ago, and have never left!

My dad showed narcissistic traits while I was growing up. He was in the 4th stage of cancer and didn't know it, when he called and asked me to come home. I moved across country and moved into my family home. It seemed all of the conflicts I had growing up surfaced within the first couple of months, and then he was diagnosed with cancer.

He was given seizure medication and remarkably he turned into the kindest, most loving father I could have ever imagined! I am not sure if it was the medication, or he accepted end of life was near, but looking back, it was the best thing I could have ever done by coming home. I cared for him to the end, faced life head on and resolving old issues!

During his last days, his doctors brought to my attention they observed my mom required care. So I continued on with my care giving role, she is now 96. My mom put up a lot from my father, so the last ten years she has been able to be herself and I have encouraged it. She requires 24 hour care.

We are more like roommates, as our roles have reversed. It is hard when I know I should be working and saving for my retirement. It was my choice to keep her out of the nursing home. I am not sure if there really is a right or wrong way.

Care giving full circle has been a major part of my life. Handling caregiver stress is a part of care giving. My monthly support group reminds me the stress will continue when she does go into a care center. It will be probably even worse.

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I don't want to leave her alone but...
by: Anonymous

I think I am just realizing my mom may have this. I am taking care of her and she is a baby boomer. My brother works a lot and I am a stay home mom who is pregnant. I came to help her and found she was worse and she has been in hospital and rehab for 6 weeks now.

I have been there almost everyday to visit and bring her requests. Sometimes I think she has dementia or it is the meds. She text that she is coming home next week (and she can't even walk).

I am scared of what it will be like. She is yelling at me that I am stealing from her and I only care for myself. She tells people I never help her and I don't visit hardly and I yell at her about if she is doing enough to get well. I am caring for my grandpa who lives with her and I have my 2 girls here to raise.

My brother calls me the martyr but I know she is alone and will have no help at all. I am only here for the family and she is acting crazy and mean. I try to take it but I get to a point where I explode and yell back. I want to move out when she returns but I don't know how she will get around if she can't walk and to leave my grandpa here and no one to help him. I am so stuck and scared. I don't know what I will do.

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My hat's off!
by: Lois

Wow, you're a hero! I feel like I want to give you a medal or something...or at the very least a big hug :) The thought of being a caregiver to my parents fills me with raw fear.

Both my parents have narcissistic personalities although they exhibit in different ways. My father even at 72 acts like a hormone driven teenager and has had numerous affairs, thinking this is perfectly normal. He primps and poses when he sees anything with a skirt, no matter what their age is. Yes, even teenagers. He is the epitome of the "dirty old man".

My mother is the martyr who constantly cries, yet will not take responsibility for her own choice (to stay with him), words or actions. Both are aggressive and can become violent. Our punishments as children rarely fitted the crime.

Unfortunately, neither of them take responsibility for their biting anger when things don't go their way. My father moved out, and only ever returns when he's needing help after an illness or it suits him. We are left with the emotional cripple that our mother has become due to his constant rejection. My mother, on her part, has become extremely hard-hearted and has no empathy for anyone. Her extreme "pride" at having been the long suffering wife and the righteous partner who "never" does anything wrong makes living with her impossible and visiting a chore, as we never know what the "weather" will be like and who will be on the receiving end of her cynicism and bitterness and whether we'll be verbally attacked for some perceived slight, that she "cannot take anymore".

I'm now 50 and although I wish things were different, I have learned to become detached when visiting, from their hurtful comments and just let them get on with it until they boil over and run themselves dry. When they're finished cutting me to shreds, I say goodbye and leave with seemingly no adverse reaction, having learned early on in life that my tears, pain or words will not change a single thing, until I'm "safe" either in the car or somewhere on my own.

At this point I have cried, screamed, or just shut down, not feeling anything (which is scary) for a few days until I get over it. They hate each other and yet cannot move on, preferring to drag us through their hatred for each other and forcing us to take sides, which we can't do as they are really as bad as each other.

My mother has often told me that she expects to come and live with me when she is too old to live alone...promising an extra shiny sum in the will for whoever looks after her and threatening being cut out if we don't. This "carrot" is useless to any of us kids because we know that the price we will pay has the potential to kill us off long before them. I have come to terms with this thought mentally, but emotionally, I don't think I ever can. I live in fear of that ever happening.

How do you do it????


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Narcissistic Brother
by: Anonymous

I took on the job of taking care of my brother, who I think is a NARCISSIST. He just had an LVAD put in his heart, he can never be left alone, I also think he is an energy vampire. He's mean and hates everybody, I know he's sick, but he was that way before the heart attack. I just don't know where to turn.

I'm the primary caregiver, his daughters are always too busy to help. Today I'm so down, I have no energy at all. He drains me of it all, it's so easy for people to give their opinions, but that is all I get. NO HELP.

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Caregiver Stress
by: Anonymous

Do your best. That is all that can be done. A person's health cannot be compromised in order to care for another who is aging and ill. Do not take anything personal from your mother, but be encouraging, loving and helpful in every way and then realize in your heart that you are doing the best you can and you cannot be responsible for her actions toward you. Guilt is a killer and you have to learn to not fall into that trap.

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Elder Care Stress - Baby Steps
by: Brendan

Elder Care Stress - Baby Steps

Hello,

I'm a 40 year old man single and the youngest of 7 - I'm looking after my parents full time I feel I've been left with the hardest bits -
I can identify with the resentment but it does pass...

Because I'm not working, I have more time to help my parents but some days it can be very draining, they have severe deafness and the early stages of Dementia.

We get good days and bad and I take it one day at a time - I've been through the tears and anger....my brothers and sisters have full time jobs and families. I wish we could sit down and discuss it and I've tried, but my sister stated that it's not all about me. They call once a week but it's not enough, plus they make their own decisions plus I wish it was joint ones maybe we're not close.

It would be great if they could drop over cooked meals one or two days a week and I've tried to discuss a more balanced approach but they leave the house angry and resentful.

I'm still learning to do the best I can but there's been conflict in the family for years and this creates more pressure.

This is a great place to talk

Thank You,
Brendan







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Caring for an Elderly Narcissist
by: Anonymous

Wow, I love reading all these comments.

It makes me feel a bit more normal. I am the oldest girl of 7 and fell into the role of Mary Marvel, taught from the earliest age to care for all of my sick mother's needs.

She is 86 and not able to care for her own needs, so guess who took her in. I must have had an insane brain thought. It's only been two weeks and bringing back a flood of bad memories. She lies in her bed like a helpless old soul telling anyone who will listen to her endless phone conversations about her death.

I set up a procedure that she will be having on her back soon as she has osteoporosis. After she recovers, I made it very clear that she is moving in with my brother(poor guy feels guilted into taking her.)

She acts like she's here forever.
Did you have a key made for me? No, you're leaving soon. My life has been turned upside down in two weeks time. If I have to leave the country to get away from her it is not too great a sacrifice.

This is a great place to let it all out. Thanks for listening. We all have to stick together.

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Caregiver Stress - Threating God will punish??
by: Anonymous

Caregiver Stress - Narcissistic Mother

Please tell her, he already has, I have you living with me.

Yes, mine is all sweetness and light with strangers but angry, throwing tantrums and acts like I'm an idiot when we're alone.

Everyone is so stupid with the exception of herself, therefore, she must drone on to all of us. She feels compelled to tell us what's wrong with everyone else. Solution, she needs to live where we don't have to hear it daily.

I have refuted her snide remarks on several occasions lately, it did stop her dead in her tracks. They forget we are adults and if we were so stupid, why are we self sufficient enough to be trapped caring for them.

Brilliance should have set a plan for their 'golden years', which did not include torturing their children.

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Caregiver Stress - Narcissitic Mother
by: Anonymous

Your mother was probably always this way. As a child, you might not have noticed with childlike assumptions "mommy is pretty," playing in your mind.

Mine always was and still is at 81. Give it to her straight, you're not 14 and you don't need her permission to do anything. If she's threatening to cut you off, ask from what? Caring for her? Remodeling your mutual home, and those expenses? What the heck is she threatening? It's a two way street. Where would she be without your assistance?

It needs to be out in the open. If she's so able, then maybe, you need to move and let her deal with life's reality on her own. You deserve respect as well.

Recently moved my Mother to a Seniors apartment community. It was a hard two weeks of cleaning, downsizing and moving. It was preceded by a nasty lawsuit against her - she lost. Her arrogance, no one is as smart or pretty as she is. It screwed her. Her narcissism during the move and her princess complex about every thing.

Yes, reality is hard. It can be made harder by disrespecting the very people who help you the most. I know, I could care less if I every see her again. I feel like an idiot for helping her wasting much of my money and all my vacation on her issues. Be straight with your mother. She can try to play cute with someone else.

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Caregiver Stress - Same situation too
by: Sherrie

Hi, I have the same situation as Sandra but I am not as active because I have many health problems also.

I am trying to look after an angry mother who has always taken out her frustrations on me and is constantly complaining and when I ask her not to, she says that one day I won't have her to bother me so I should be happy when she is gone. I cannot reason with her. Nothing I do is acceptable to her. If I don't agree with her, I am being ungrateful. And I don't think that there is even a support group in this area so....I am at the end of my rope.

She is now saying that God is going to punish me because I am ungrateful enough to argue with her, and she turns around every thing I say and blames me for anything that makes her unhappy. Some of the other family members only see her for a few hours a month and she puts on her sweetest act and they think she is adorable. AAAGH!

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Caregiver Stress - Thank You Julie
by: Sandra from Delaware

I'm away on vacation & just read your kind note! I do belong to a monthly caregiver support group & when I help others I am helping myself. This is the 1st long vacation (6 days) away from mom/home & I know we will both appreciate each other even more.

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Caregiver Stress - Similar Experience
by: Julie in Tucson

You are a brave soul-like other caregivers we love our elderly parents sometimes more as we remember them to be but now it is tougher than we anticipated.

I feel your frustration as I am living something similar and have found a caregiver support group that helps me deal with my situation.

You might look locally or possibly online for a group that fits your needs-look and try out a few as it takes a good fit to feel comfortable in these meetings.

Best Wishes

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Caregiver Stress - thank you for replying
by: Anonymous

Yup I need to grow up, stick it out, adapt, stop taking things mom says so personally, stop being her go-pher all the time, be there for her & love her but don't give up my life for her. I am sorry your sister made that decision without your input. Family dynamics sure are crazy aren't they. Have a good one!

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Elderly Parent Trouble
by: Anonymous

Elderly Parent trouble -

I applaud your thoughts on this as we have had the same issue (mostly). We have had to set limits and guidelines for spending time (and time away) from his elderly father. Things in the past year have changed with his mood and we both decided sometime ago to try to be good to ourselves. We spent a little extra money and developed a living arrangement whereby he can sit/live in his room without having to venture out into the main part of the house too much. Although difficult at times he wants his privacy as well so this has worked out really well. And of course there are always trips to the doctor and to the grocery store that make things a little tense, however we have the "away time' from each other that we can fall back on....which does truly help. No matter how much we love them we DO need our alone time....

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Elderly Caregiver Stress - commented on my own page
by: Sandra

Elderly Caregiver Stress
It's me - a miracle - as usual - I need to stand tough - ignore mom's mood's as they go up & down -I know I am here, where I am supposed to be - I cannot let other people's moods affect my barometer. Just wanted to say I'm digging in my heels - this is my home too - I have found my fun side and will cultivate that today!

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Elderly Caregiver Stress - Stick it out
by: Anonymous

Elderly Caregiver Stress -
It is probably best to stick it out. My sister (the eldest)was named executor of my parent's estate and I have no say on any decisions made. She decided to put them in a nursing home. I just have to accept what she decides. There is a third sister who just gives in to the eldest. I am the middle child. If I did not have to work (and my husband did not object), I'd have them in my home. At least you have a voice now. I am sorry you feel so trapped.

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