I've had It

by WhippingGirl

My mother (a textbook case of narcissistic personality disorder) is 75 and in good health. She lives in an upscale retirement community that she really can't afford (gotta keep up with the Joneses) which includes an assisted living wing, although she doesn't require that or most of the amenities they offer.

She constantly complains about the cost and when my husband and I have offered to help her set up a budget, she basically brushes us off. We live about an hour apart, and I have one brother who conveniently resides 3000 miles away. I was the object of her psychological and verbal abuse growing up while my brother could do no wrong.

She and my father had a terrible marriage and divorced when my brother and I were young adults (father remarried).

Interestingly, my brother has had little to do with Mom over the years...he is basically self-absorbed and considers it a grand gesture to call her every few weeks. He is a professional making a good living, divorced with no kids. I am married and have two children; my youngest is in college and recently developed some potentially serious health problems.

This has left me with little in the way of left-over emotional resources.

My mother is very intelligent and has all her mental faculties but never hesitates to badger me with ridiculous questions and problems rather than make ANY effort to resolve anything herself. Today she called me SIX times in about 30 minutes. When I try to answer her, she interrupts and talks right over me or argues with me.

She constantly says she doesn't want to be a "burden" and then proceeds to burden me constantly with petty problems and doesn't listen when I try to assist. Despite my being middle-aged, she sees me as a child in desperate need of her wisdom and guidance and up until the last few years, she would regularly dictate to me and berate me, completely disrespecting any boundaries I'd attempt to set.

I see her once a week and have always helped her with insurance issues, taxes, etc. My brother hasn't been out here in three years despite getting 5 weeks' vacation each year. He has been to visit our father who lives a few hours away and will be visiting him next month but not our mother.
Instead, he wants her to drive to see him, which she is more than happy to do.

Despite claiming she doesn't want to be a burden, that is exactly what she seems hell-bent on doing. I'm angry because I'm expected to be there for her despite the way she's treated me over the years. A few years ago, I finally had enough after she threw a tantrum at our house when I asked her to stop telling me what to do and how to do it. I distanced myself, and she eventually got the message, although I feel she's been seething all the while.

My husband has said he admires me for even speaking to her at this point, but even though it's her own fault, she has no one else except some superficial friends. She has alienated so many people over the years.

I don't mind helping her in a reasonable manner, but I'm sick of her manipulative behavior. She acts completely helpless in the most absurd situations, and I don't have the time or energy to deal with her most of the time anymore.

My brother has even laughed about it, thanking me for "taking one for the team" while he's on the opposite coast. He could make more of an effort even from there but he chooses not to.

Now our mother is talking about going out there to visit him and that all she wants for Christmas from us is a plane ticket out there. He could easily afford to fly her out there and I pay for her cell phone every month and help her in other ways financially while my brother does nothing. If I could buy her a one-way ticket out there, however, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I'm sick of her and of my brother and even my father, who has been in good health overall for his age (81) but looks at the glass as half empty and loves to complain. He is married to a woman who has made certain that my brother and I know our place - behind her and most of our other relatives. That's another story, but in a nutshell, they are all emotional vampires, and I resent it.

I guess I just needed to vent, and I can see that I'm not alone in this situation.

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I think our Mom's are twins
by: Crazy Issues with Mom

Hello fellow Whipping Girl. I thought I had written that letter until I got to the last part! My mom is 92 and is also classic Narcissist, plus I am guessing Bi-Polar, and Borderline Personality Disorder.

There are times I am so mad at her the moon wouldn't be far enough away from her if I could get up there. Other times I cry at the loss of the mother I used to have fun with in the 1980s and 1990s. These days I realize how much I love her and how much I have to forgive.

Do you see a counselor? I finally started going this year. Keeping it a secret from Mom. It has helped me a ton!! I am more confident, calmer, have a clearer perspective, enjoy the objective professional support, and feel so much better. Today the therapist said she noticed how much calmer and happier I am despite of the increasing challenges.

Get all the ear support you can and toss around ideas to cope with others. It helped me a lot. I am shifting from being unable to deal with my own feelings and allowing my mother to use F.O.G (fear, obligation, and guilt) to manipulate me or to allow keeping herself in denial about her aging challenges.

I am thinking of myself as her managing care for now and am looking for helpers: currently signed up for Elder Helpers. Try this out: it is reasonable and may take the neediness pressure off of you and your mother might love the new attention of strangers.

My mother is charming to strangers but she too has burnt all the other bridges by her own behaviors. I feel sorry for her. It's so sad. I am all she has really. My brother does nothing at all. My sister is too poor and has her own troubles as a blind senior living on her own down in Florida. My father happily remarried.

Think about ways to create your own inner space that is safe, peaceful, joyful, and loving to yourself.
Use humor, your imagination without saying your wit because that will make your relationship worse. Take a step back and give yourself a hug and figure out how to save your sanity. Set limits that YOU can handle.

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