I'm so sick of pride and anger!

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Let's just say my mother isn't aging gracefully. Every attempt I make whether in person or through hired help to help her seems to produce an angry prideful reaction. As if I've deeply insulted her by getting her help and exposing her "weakness". Apparently she'd just rather live in filth and eat McDonald's every day. I'm an only child and I feel terrible saying this but I so much wish I had siblings who could help or take over. My mother and I have always had a difficult relationship where I had to walk on eggshells around her feelings, but her aging is producing situations where I can't tiptoe anymore and act effectively. I always try to be kind and tactful, but no matter how gently I offer her help she finds a way to be angry about it. And as I get angrier I get a bit less gentle myself. She's still competent and no way will she agree to assisted living or a nursing home.


Bermuda siblings or not this is tough. I am main caregiver and my mum is never happy no matter whats done for her. You say she has als/dementia but is still competent? this will not last and she may deteriorate soon. do you have any outside help sometimes just a bit of respite can help us cope better? Just remember shes ill and try not to take is seriously my mum calls me all sorts tells my siblings that I do nothing. trust me sometimes you are better off without siblings can you imagine if they didn't believe you and sided with her? that's even more stress. Try talking to a therapist ive found this helps me as I may aswell be an only child as siblings don't help at all just critizise everything I do.
You could also get your mum to see a geriatrician/psychiatrist and tell him your fears. My mum was never mean until she got dementia and dosnt appreciate me or anything I do. Ive come very close to walking away many times then the guilt hits and all I do to help me is knowing im doing the right thing?
Believe me, it won't get any easier. Set boundaries and walk out, as soon as she becomes belligerent. I saw my mother treat my sister, the way that you describe and it contributed to my sister dying first. Then, what will happen to your mother? I think you need a plan of action, like when will you go over there, what you can help with and if she is is demeaning to you - walk out the door.
Bermuda~Your profile says your mother has Alz/dementia. This is a hard phase to go through. I hope you have a DPOA??? Has your mother made a will or living trust??
I ask because my mother who has what I say is an undiagnosed borderline personality disorder plus Alzheimer's Disease, she has always been a difficult person to deal with,,,confrotational,combative, she is never wrong, but everyone else is...the government is trying to get rid of elders, etc....

When Alz/dementia comes into the picture, there personality can and will become worse. I suggest you google the website for daughtersof narcississticmothers..see if it fits your mother along with dementia.

I changed my approach with my mother once the Alz started to take over. I treated my mother as though everything going on with her was Alz/dementia related. My mother is mentally incapacitated now but she does not think so. I read that people with Alz/dementia do not recognize their condition and will not see that there is anything wrong with them. They do not feel any different than they did a couple years before. How can they feel different than how they think...to them anyway...

We had to wait until mother was diagnosed as mentally incapacitated to activate the DPOA. In the meantime, we had to set boundaries and learn to detach with love. You can google all this info. Hugs to you!!
Thanks everyone for your support! I should really update my profile with some details one of these days. I live in another state from my mother and facing some tough health and financial issues myself so I can't just move there or move her here right now. I've been trying to help her long distance by arranging caregivers and services with the occasional in person visit and lots of phone contact. I do have DPOA but it is only in case of incapacity (like for Shaynemarie) and I don't think we are quite there yet. And yes she has some personality disorder issues - these relating patterns are not new, just now the stakes are raised since she really needs to accept more help or this will become a situation for social services eventually. She's always isolated herself so there are no neighbors or friends to help and she respects no one - especially not her doctors and has no religion so church help is out too. Sometimes the situation just feels overwhelming - she's only 70. What scares me is that I already feel my patience and compassion running thin and I am so early in this journey yet.
Bermuda, there is only so much you can do. Sometimes you can plant a seed -- a suggestion -- and maybe she'll act on it later. With her strong personality and pride, she would most likely oppose anything you try to do directly. It may even erupt in warfare. Sometimes it is like playing a waiting game with pieces falling into place as she lets them. It can be most exasperating.

Your main concerns seem to be that her house is dirty and she is not eating right. Does she stay by herself? A lot of older people have messy houses. Maybe it is because they don't have anyone to clean up for anymore. How long has your father been gone? I notice that she is in independent living. Is that a senior community or a separate place? Sometimes senior communities have household help that many people use and who become friends with the residents. It would be nice if she could hire someone one day a week to come in and do all the housework so she won't have to do it. (Much is gained by suggesting things in ways that make her feel like it is her choice to make her life better.)

The food issue is more pressing. Senior centers often offer mid-day meals that give seniors fairly good nutrition and a chance for social interaction. I wonder if she would be interested in doing that? She might find that she enjoys being around the people her own age.

Answers are difficult. We just have to play things by ear, knowing what our loved ones will and won't do. All you can do is what she will let you do, so don't feel angry at yourself or inadequate. You are up against a difficult problem. Parents are very reluctant to hand over the reins of control to their children. It makes them very angry when the children start acting like the parent. Many don't adjust well to it as long as they have breath to fight. It makes life so unpleasant and we can rarely accomplish what we need to do when they are fighting us so hard. So we just do the best we can do and know that it is not our fault we can't do more.

It is not an easy road you're on. I'm glad you're here, Bermuda. It helps so much to let off steam.
Bermuda, you and I were typing at the same time, so I didn't see your update. This is a tough situation. Still, you can just do the best you can by offering some suggestions for her to consider. Sometimes people can live a long time on McDonald's and a dirty house. It sounds like Meals on Wheels might be to her liking if she would consider it. Caregiving long distance can be exasperating. We hear all the problems, but feel powerless to fix them if our loved one won't listen to us.
Thanks JessieBelle, it's that combination of being aware of all the problems, feeling responsible but powerless too that makes me feel insane. What you describe about making suggestions and waiting till circumstances are right for her to accept them is about the only thing I've found that works. Still things often go too far. Her dirty house is really a hoarding house - so bad that some caregivers I've hired refuse to take the job. Not bad enough that she can be declared incompetent and put in a home though. Meals on Wheels she's refused to even consider setting up, her steady diet of fast food is apparently "just fine". Still it's been about a year since I pushed MoW maybe it's time to bring it up again. Detachment is a tough thing to manage!
Just throwing a big THANK YOU out there to SHARYNMARIE for her directions to DONM. I found this site to be very helpful to me. It sure described my mom to a tee. I feel like I can now understand her a little better, especially her narcissic injuries and rages. Thank you thank you thank you
Bermuda, maybe you could bring things up in a way to make her think she thought of it. Lead her to make the decision to get help and just say if that is whay YOU want. Do YOU want me to arrange it? Somehow, let her think she is the one making the decisions and she will go along with it much easier. Worth a try.
bermuda - and momsonlyhope - sounds like you both need to learn to detach. My mother is narcissistic and has borderline personality disorder, and has recently been diagnosed with paranoia. She is 101 and her short term memory is failing. though her physical health is pretty good. I have POA and live 5 hrs drive away and am 76 so my energy is less than it was. The road to success with your mother is for you to learn to handle the stress. I have found as I age I have to protect myself more as the stress takes a physical toll on me. The DONM site is great and there are other resources online. My mum is in assisted living, complains a lot, is still very independent and doesn't accept suggestions well at all, but I do say what I think, as tactfully - sometimes firmly - as possible, and sometimes she takes the direction, but I emphasize that it is her choice. I have a sibling and she has similar mental health issues and tends to make trouble, so a sib is not always a good thing. There is a good book and workbook called Stop Walking on Eggshells - Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder: by Paul Mason, Randi Kreger: ...It is worth getting.
Yes, aging brings additional issues - both for her and for you. My health did and still does suffer from the stress, so I am detaching more and more, and also realising I may have to make some hard choices that she will not like. If it comes to that, I would consult various family members before I do. I activated the POA (finances) and Personal Directive (Health and other personal choices) this summer with the blessings of the family and her lawyer after mother tried to fly to eastern Canada on her own, misplaced some money etc, She doesn't like it and is now telling people that I have total control over her money which is nonsense. All I do is look at her bank statement once in a while to help her when she gets mixed up. She still writes cheques and uses her credit card etc. as usual. If the time comes when she can't handle her money I will help her as needed. Some of this you just have to swallow, but I do get tired of explaining it to the well meaning people she complains to.. No good deed goes unpunished! Sometimes you just have to let it happen until there is a consequence. As your mum, Bermuda, is competent, it is her choice, Please let go of the guilt. Narcissistic/mentally unhealthy people manipulate by FOG -fear, obligation and/or guilt and suck you into unhealthy interactions. Don't act out of FOG. Detach yourself. You have not nor are doing anything to feel guilty about. Be kind to you. A psychologist, Pauline Boss recommends that those who were/are being abused do not directly care for their abusers. Be humane and see that they get the care they need as much as you can, but do it at arm's length, and see that there is no further harm is done to you. Childhood pain/anxiety etc. tends to get triggered in these situation for those of us who have been abused. (((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))) this is a hard road. Come back and let us know how you are doing,

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