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I'm an only child of a very self absorbed 81 yr old woman. We have a stormy history.She is sweet and caring yet has moments of complete narcissism. Listening to her talk about herself constantly drives me crazy!!! I feel trapped and all I want to do is run away. I feel guilty because I dont' live with her, I have my own place and I only help her 20 hrs a week. Why should I be feeling resentful and bitter and burned out? She calls 3-4 times a day on my days off with questions, .problems, etc. I need to write a huge note on a poster board in huge letters. "Don't call me unless it's an emergency!" She sucks the life out of me. I hate feeling this way because I don't want any regrets when she's gone. I can't be her daughter anymore like this. I'm her hired hand. She pays me to take care of her and I'm grateful. I am on disability because of physical disability. and can only work part time. Sorry for rambling.....Anyway, I need to look for another job so I can get my life back. It's not that I don't want to help her, I just feel CONSUMED, the stuffing is out of me and I want out. I feel so burned out. What is wrong with me? ARRRGHH.

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93 yrs wow. that's incredible. My mom is 75 and I am 50, she has a lot of problems caused from food/eating. so don't think she will make it to 93. But I cannot work because she states she cannot do things on her own. I had to file for disability for depression which is what I was after 4 years of loosing my savings and house and friends. And I been not myself for 4 years until using this site which has made me a better daughter and person to care for my mom. People have really helped me over come her rudeness. God bless.
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My 93-year-old Mom is in a board-and-care, yet it still seems I spend at least 10 hours a week handling her affairs at age 57 doing "unpaid" work when I must work for a living!
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Thanks selfishsiblings xo
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Amen, Noahbb!
xo
-SS
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Smitty this sounds so familiar except my mom is with me 24/7. You've got to get some help. Someone to talk to. Some counseling something. This board helps me remember that Im not the only one and everyone has given me the best advice and Ive followed it all and feel so much better. I cannot change my mom but I'm changing myself. God Bless you.
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No, we share similar experiences, except my mother is now in a board-and-care 24-hour assisted living care home. She still screams at me when I tell her that she cannot come back to our condo, and I feel bad. I myself am in and out of temporary jobs and must seek permanent work. She is 93, but I am only 57. My heart goes out to those caregivers who feel that they are very absorbed in their guilt-ridden obligations, but help is out there. You just need to know. On way is to contact a geriatric care manager and obtain an elder attorney to help out with your elder's and your legal rights. Once the situation inproves, you will then be able to figure an out for yourself and counseling, if necessary. Best of luck to all of us caregivers or elder assistants!
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Wow! You are not alone dear. This is my life except I have a ft and pt job as well. My mom does not have moments of narcissism, but every moment. Don't let any one tell you that you are just having a bad day, because all we have to hope for once in a great while is a good day.
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Make sure that you follow through with taking care of yourself. Best wishes~
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Thank you Wellington. I do know I did this to myself. I think that's what you are getting at. That is a bitter pill to swallow. I hate to even say it out loud, but it is true, for me at least. But because I agreed to do all this, I can't just walk away from them now. My challenge is to better balance the physical side of things (all the need for care around the clock) and the emotional needs. I'm doing better. I've already written this several times but I decided I have to care about me more than I care about either my demanding Mom and Dad. I care about my family, and my kids more than I care about either my demanding Mom and Dad. I care about my own happiness more than I care about either my demanding Mom and Dad.It's hard, but I do it.

-SS
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Objectively speaking, we are the ones that allow our parent/spouse/grandparent to get to us. If there were no already underlying issues, I don't believe most of us would be as emotionally drained or hurt as we are. My daughter (who lives with my mil and myself right now) has made me see how counterproductive it is of me to attempt to resolve old, hurtful issues with someone who is incapable of even remembering them (I wasn't cognizant of what I was doing). I now am looking deeply into why I feel such a strong need to take care of a woman who always has been an unabated narcissus all of her life. There is a reason why we all are taking on this role. We need to know ourselves to be able to become free of all the anger, resentment, and/or any other negative emotion that we are allowing ourselves to feel.
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*trezure2* - many of your comments are the same experiences that I am having. My mother abuses alcohol, she abused me as a child, she resists help for aging, (eg: a cane), she says that I am belittling her, and I cannot offer practical advice. When she rages at me, I counter with counselor-techniques. This makes her more angry. If I agree with her she's happy, but I'm not because she enjoys picking on those dearest to me and, well, it's just not right. If I agree to fend off a "rage" she will take my agreeing she's right as gospel. She'll hang onto to that and if I try to defend those persons later, she'll call me the liar and enjoy every minute of it. The comment "Well, I am afraid to laugh because you'd be upset" happens with me too. It's a battery of verbal insults and attitudes carefully plotted to unbalance us. Don't fall for it. Read about Borderline Personality Disorders, and Narcissists. You've been patient, but you are burning out your life on something far bigger than you can handle alone. Please find help for you and still know it's an uphill battle, even with counselor techniques. Good luck.
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Thanks Jinx,

It's nice having somone to talk to about this. I live with her (I was supposed to go on military orders but they got cancelled, house went up for rent, etc.) and do the cooking and whatever else needs to be done. It bothers me to no end to watch her writhe in pain constantly and there is nothing I can do, you're right. My sister is distantly judgemental and hardly ever does a thing, although she says she wants to. So, I do EVERYTHING. It's hard not being able to talk to her casually, and we never laugh anymore like we used to. Today, I cracked a joke that would have normally made her smile, and she says "Well, I am afraid to laugh for fear you'll be upset" . It's just ridiculous the comments she makes to me and I am so ready to throw in the towel when I have had nothing but patience. I still have unresolved issues with abuse from her early on, so it's not easy.

Thanks for listening
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trezure, That sounds so difficult! Do you live with her, or near her? What is your sister's role?

Your mother sounds like she needs antidepressants or something. Are you the one who takes her to the doctor? I understand that you want her to take better care of herself, and eat a better diet. I can also understand that someone with depression and dementia would take an innocent comment the wrong way.

I don't know what the whole story is. I wonder if you haven't accepted that she is dying, and that if she wants to eat junk food, it won't make any difference. What I'm trying to say is that you can't save her.

Until she gets on medication, can you just humor her and agree with everything she says? Try to talk about good times in the past, or whatever interests her. Most of all, realize that what she says to you is the disease talking. Of course you're not a monster, and of course you're not attacking her. She's just an emotional mess.

I feel bad for both you and your sister, if she's the primary caregiver. You probably have a very busy life, and do as much as you can. But when caring for an elderly person, there is ALWAYS something else that needs to be done. If she could tell you just one or two things that she needs help with, that she would really appreciate, maybe you could both feel better when going through this HARD experience.
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I have a situtation where my elderly mother is convinced that everything I say to her is criticism. I am losing my mind just being in the same room with her and not even being able to talk to her about anything, becasue the minute I may disagree with something or suggect that she eat somethign other than junk food or not drink alcohol with her 50 different pills, she starts to cry and say that I am attacking her. I am so over being made to feel like some sort of abusive monster that I am just about ready to just cut the relationship completely. My sister treats me like I nevere do enough, also, which makes the whole thing more intolerable.

Please advise.
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I too feel burnt out. I done everything I could possible do for my mother when she starting aging. But, I too have health issues and my husband has serious back issues , I have put my health on the line trying to care of others but, my mom is a a rehab and she may not ever go home. I can get a little rest and start focusing on my own health and needs. It is not easy to work, take care of the elderly and maintain your sanity. My mother is also very stubborn and defensive. One thing I found out is that people will have sympathy for you for a moment and then move on. I'd like to see some of these people in my shoes for one day. Being said I wish all caregivers the best and hope that tomorrow is a better day.
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I feel bad for you and I feel bad for your mom. I took care of my grandmother, who raised me (mother to me). She had dementia. It was hard. In 6 years of me being her sole provider, she never thought of my feelings. I rarely got a thank you. But, I feel if she was in her right mind, she may have. She called me constantly when I wasnt there. I did everything for her, no one else would, not even her children. I took her to the doctors, bathed her, cooked for her, visited with her, assured her, did A LOT OF ASSURING about everything that concerned her. She needed a friend. She's gone now. I had the same feelings you had. Gram wasnt perfect raising me, she called me stupid or a pig when I was grown and didnt keep my home the way she thought it should be. She wasnt always nice to my kids. But I appreciated her none the less. The woman grew up abused sexually and was basically a loner all her life because she never felt love. We never know what makes a person the way they are. Especially considering that back in the day there was no counseling for trauma and emotions. I was her friend. I never measured up. She never realized all I did. She never realized all I gave up. When I left, she forgot I was ever there. She thought I had abandoned her. It's hard. Very hard. But, Im glad I did it for her. I think about how I would feel, if I were here. Your mom may be lonely.....your her family....we always feel closer to our family....I know I do...Im sorry you and your mother are going through this. the truth is, it WILL BE OVER ONE DAY....i wasnt there for my father when he died (I was a teen)...I have carried guilt....I was there for his mom....I did good...I feel little guilt...we always wish we could have done better...but we do what we can do...and I dont regret ONE DAY taking care of Gram...she's gone now...and though she wasnt perfect,, I miss her. It's all up to what you can live with....but DO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF when your not with her...stay healthy, exercise, church?, eat healthy.....keep yourself well...and if your mom can afford it...it might be a good idea to hire a friend/caretaker/helper, to fill in on your off hours.

Last but not least....is your mom suffering from anxiety? maybe she needs medication...If I was alone...and felt I was a burden...and knew I was in my last years....if I was scared for my health (narcissistic)...I would hope my kids would give me whatever medication helps..
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Consult with a geriatric case manager in your area NOW!!
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Oh, btw, I am sole caregiver for my 75 year old father who sexually abused me as a child. Being his caregiver for past 2 years almost sent me to loony bin. Self-care is of upmost importance to you... and its hard to judge correctly where the boundaries lie when you're in a frenzied state. I do think I know what you're going through and how difficult it is. And the answer, for me, lies within, not in making a decision about how/where/who with regard to caregiving for my dad... it was all about making myself strong and solid feeling so I can face the decisions with a clear head. Good luck, sweetie.
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1. Breathing exercises (begin practicing these immediately)

2. Juicing (learn how by watching "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead)

3. Meditative Exercise daily (yoga at home, you can follow videos on YouTube for free, or go for walk)


Doing these things took me out of "full burn out mode" and now I'm back to being able to deal with everything one day at a time (nothing short of a miracle, really). When we don't feel good, its a natural tendency to want to get rid of our stressors, but in order to make the right decision, you should be calm and clearheaded and feeling as level and decent each day as possible. I hope this helps.
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captain, my husband says he looks forward to the day when his dad no longer knows him. He said that then maybe he will be treated with the same kindness hid dad shows to strangers. And I agree that placement isn't for everyone. If it is taking a toll on the caregivers physical or mental health, then it is time to consider.
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as my mom disappears slowly into dementia shes became very sweet. obssessive and maddening at times but i guess she realizes how dependant shes getting and i hear " thank you " at every move i help her with day to day. its out of the ordinary as she used to be a pretty cynical person. this is trippy s**t and i think we who are living it have a special bond.
no offense to people who are faced with placing their parent. thats an inevitable part of the process for most. this is not like child rearing at all..
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It is called being human. Nothing is wrong with you.
Look into assisted living. People think that looking into such a situation is tossing a loved one away. Sometimes both parites are happier because the parent (sometimes, not always) can see the frustration the adult child is going through.
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I told my Mother that I would take her for a mani and pedi today. This was something we loved to do together and both of our nails are getting nasty. She looked at me like I told her she was going to the gas chamber, like I am torturing her. Christine - I do have the finances to put her into AL and so does she so I agree with you. I do not need their permission - thank you for reminding me. It is so helpful to know that I am not the only one experiencing this at this time in my life (I am in my late 50's.) After raising children and finally getting some independence this happened and I am now taking care of a 90 year old with little help from anyone else. God bless all of the caregivers - it is truly a thankless job.
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A little off topic, but this morning at the grocery store, a man in his 60s was on the cell phone. He was leaving a message. "Mother, this is John. I am at the grocery store. If you need anything, please tell me NOW." :)
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my2babies2cg and Hadenough - I hear ya both!! We are all so exhausted of this process. No help, no or little gratitude. All I can say is try and hang on to the things in life that Do make you happy. I find I'm so absorbed in how miserable I am and how much I resent the situation I put myself in, (because I did do this to myself by saying yes, I'll help you), that I can't enjoy the good parts of life and they are right there waiting for me. My wonderful husband, my kids, my house, this beautiful day. What is stopping me?

I HAVE stopped begin treated like a servant though, and you can too by telling them how hurtful it is and stop taking their crap. My mother walks VERY softly around me now. She has backed off on the daily requests, but every day I have to remind her, "I don't want to hear about what happened in the bathroom, I don't care how wonderful my brother's vacation was, I'm sorry you are so tired all the time, so am I. I don't want to hear how she really should do something she's been complaining about for 3 months. I don't care about this stuff anymore. I stopped wanting to make everything right. It's not right and I'm not Jesus Christ!!!!
Whew! I feel better....!

xo
-SS
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Hadenough, do you need their permission or finances to put her in AL?
Just do it, Dear One. Who gives a flying leap what they say?
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This morning I wrote to my absent sibs and told them it was time to put Mom into assisted living. She is wearing me out! I have done this for 2 years now and it is not getting better, I am just getting more tired. A couple of things that I have learned from this website - no more wild goose chases. When I first lived with my Mom I thought that if I could just do everything she wanted she would become the Mom that I used to know. That was a mistake because nothing really makes her happy anymore. She does light up a little when there is some negative news - all the little ladies in the retirement village love the negative news. I am so done, and now when we go out in public she embarrasses me by telling complete strangers how incompetent I am ( I am a registered nurse so I am hardly incompetent when it comes to health issues.) So has little gratitude and acts like a spoiled toddler. I love who my Mother used to be but this new one is a little hard to take and I would not choose to be friends with her. So sad.....but I am just so tired of being treated like a servant.
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I know exactly how you feel my 20 year older than I am husband has done this to me as well, he is just so verbally abusive and controlling, even though he no longer can do much of anything his mind is still there, and is constantly pushing me to do things I no longer have the desire to do, I am basically as ypu say so worn out,it feels like my stuffing has been pulled frm me, just a conversation is work with him i no longer even want to be with him, but he has no one else, so I am stuck, what are people like us suppose to do, I really want a life my own life.... thank for listening also.
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"I can't do this anymore," I say that about ten times a day as I become more and more consumed by caring for my needy and ungrateful mother. Like the rest of us,
Smitty, you're doing the best you can, more. At some point, you need a break from your mother's constant demands. Maybe you could call friends or relatives who could take your mom on "field trips" once or twice a week.
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Boundaries are ESSENTIAL with caregiving. If you don't, resentment, bitterness, sickness and other maladies result in the caregiver. Yes, the elderly become like children - but they don't grow with age, they further decline and their needs increase with age. It is exhausting and you MUST know your limits. Your parent must know your limits and you must stick to it, otherwise they will push you until they get what they want.

Look into support from your community - a senior center, adult care center, volunteer center, any other friends/family who can commit to helping during the week. Commit to your errands for your Mom when you do your own errands.

Your Mom's needs will increase. You need to start planning her long term caregiving. What can you do now to prepare for that?
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