Guilt over Mom going to a nursing home.

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Mom lived with myself and my 2 teens for the last 8 yrs. When Moms COPD progressed and she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, she decided it was time for Hospice. when we noticed she was sleeping alot, and her moods changed faster than Indiana weather, I started paying attention to her more. We noticed she was falling asleep standing up, sleeping all day, up all night. Bad irregular bowel movements ( I knew cause someone would yell the toilet was stopped up again ), not eating more than finger foods, and couldnt stay on topic, got mad at us because she didnt understand what was bieng said to her.... Id ask her if shed taken her meds, and she started not remembering, and would double dose. Shed become anxious and started taking meds from the comfort kit from hospice, and she would double dose it in front of me. Myself, the hospice team, and my sisters felt she wasnt safe at home ( hey , I have to work)... we had Mom placed in a nursing home. Now before you label me, understand that Mom and I had been dicsussing the fact that her health was getting worse, and she told me several times she wanted to go to a nursing home, to be around other adults and play cards etc.
So we get Mom into a nursing home, and ya , you guessed it, she HATES it. Her roomate was a piece of work , Mom asked for a new room. Now the nursing home isnt bad, not state of the art, but the staff do care. I talked to Mom yesterday (after she kicked me out of her room , then asked me to come back) and told her she could either cont to feel sory for herself and stay in bed, or she could get up and see what was offered. She seemed kind of indifferent.but did come out of her room for about 45 min..
I understand that she feels betrayed, alone, and scared, but what can I do ? I check in with her and talk on the ph, when we go see her , she lashes out, and the nurses tell me she mostly stays in bed. I asked the social services if they can encourage her to get up, and come out of her room, but the cant make her. I feel bad, shes my Mom, shes not hapy, she wasnt happy at the house either, and made us all miserable....please dont suggest I go see her more, a person can only handle so much negativity,,,, i dont want to pull away either, then shel feel abandoned....


3931 helpful answers
Please allow yourself to drop the guilt. You've done all you can, and continue to do what you can. You said your mom isn't happy, but she wasn't happy at home either. That's the whole point. She won't be happy until she decides to accept her situation. No one can force her to change. But you don't have to let her ruin your life. Phone and visit when you can, and then try to detach from her controlling behavior. You may want to try some counseling so help you accept the fact that you don't need to feel guilty.
Take care of yourself,
Well, I am going to try a label anyway. How does loving, caring daughter fit? I agree with Carol: drop the guilt. But after reading "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia" by Pauline Boss, I have a little different persepctive on guilt. It is a "normal" part of caregiving. If you'd kept your mom home and she'd continued to take her pills incorrectly and she continued to be so confused and she continued to want to meet people to play cards with you'd feel guilty that you hadn't placed her in professional care. And either way there is an underlying guilt that the time you are devoting to her diminishes what you can spend with your teenagers. Your mom may not have dementia but she certainly has mental confusion.

The guilt is irrational, of course. You did not cause your mother's health failures. You did not cause her confusion. But instead of spending a lot of effort trying to convince yourself of that, accept that a certain low level of feeling guilty is likely to continue. Dr. Boss suggests pushing it into the background and going forward with what you have to do. Try to make decisions based on what will be best for all concerned rather than what will make you feel less guilty.

You can't make perfect decisions, because this is a highly imperfect situation. That is not your fault. You are dealing with it with love and compassion and thoughtful, careful decision making. Please push the guilt aside enough for feelings of pride. You are doing an awesome job!

Be good to you, you deserve it.
Thank you for your encouragement...I really wished the family understood as you do. I cant tell if they dont want to talk about the situation or if they dont like my decisions. I forgot to mention, Mom also has alzhiemers, and shes a narscistic/bipolar. She tells everyone that I wont let her into the house to get her things, so when she does come over , whoever brings her is in defense mode.... I specifically asked an aunt to only bring her over when Im home, so they dont "acidentally" take my things. That didint turn out well....
Im trying to let myself relax, and learn to breathe and sleep again. The good thing is, the kids are becoming more relaxed.....
Good for you shortmomma , It sounds like you and your family are benefiting. In my experience, with a BPD narcissistic mother, things I say can not go well quite often. It is your house, and you have the right to keep it secure, and only allow who you want when you want into it. If they don't like it, too bad. Usually they don't like much for long anyway, and easily find thigs to criticise. Glad your kids are becoming more relaxed. Be sure to give yourself space from your mum and any other family member, or other person, who is critical. You don't need that stress. You are doing the best you can, within the circunstances. No one should expect more. I know narcisssists do expect more, but that is where you have to draw limits (boundaries) and do what is reasonable.Breath deep, and do some thngs that are fun and good for you. You deserve it! (((((((hugs)))))

Keep in touch and let us know how it goes.. It is not a piece of cake even when they are in a facility.

Saw Mom last night, it was a very short and sweet visit. She complained the whole time, when her dinner came the kids and I excused ourselves, and left. She didnt tell me bye, kiss her foot, nothing. Stopped by the nurses station and chatted with her nurse a bit. Apparently Mom has told anyone that will listen that I kicked her out. All I could say was wow... I know she has to be angry at someone, but damn, Im the one whos done everything for her. I made my suggestion of re evaluating her depression meds, and encourage her to attend activities, and we left. I feel that Im going to have to really detatch, and let Mom just be a bitter woman. Oh and I think Ill be changing the locks at the house, so I can have to peice of mind knowing she isnt in the house rummaging around while im at work.....
Shortmomma, you are doing the best thing for your mother. As Jeanne said guilt is irrational. My mother is in a facility as well and dealing and losing the guilt has been a process; especially if they have narsicistic behavior. You do reach a point where you finally realize that your mother is in the best situation for the care she needs.

As with my mother, she is never happy no matter where she is. I did visit her a couple of days ago and she is in the right environment to meet her needs. There are so many different workers coming in an out all day - activities going on, etc.

I finally am accepting that I am doing the best I can do for my mother. And I hope you will too. My mother is on additional meds for the personality disorder and it has made a big difference. I've learned that guilt serves no purpose - doing the best you can does. Hugs to you and take care.
shortmomma - you got it - change the locks on the house, really detach, and let her be a bitter woman, if that is her choice, She is in charge of her own choices, her own feelings. I know it hurts when you have gone out of your way to help, and are the one who is there for her, only to have her complain about you.
pink - you too- you can never do enough for,or do right by a narcissist, and to keep someone like that in your home, poisons the atmosphere. There are trained staff where she is, who can more easily not take things personally, and go home at night and forget the difficulties of the day.

To both of you and others - guilt serves no positive purpose. I am getting better and better and better at looking it in the face, deciding it doesn't belong in my life, and telling it to go back where it came from. It is never God who condemns, He convicts, so you know where the guilt comes from.
I would like to thank you for the commetns about guilt. I find myself trying so hard to make my mom happy, but it doesn't seem to work. My life consists of working full time and caring for her. In an argument she actually said "Oh..what did I raise?"
All because I was asking her to help find a solution, to get her more help because I was tired. I then guilt sets in because maybe I shouldn't have asked, or could have asked differently, or shoul dhave left and not raised my voice. And of course the guilt if I insist she goes into assisted living and is not happy...but she's not happy in her home either. I guess it's a damned if you do, damed if you don't situation.
(((((((hugs)))))) kasey. If your mum is narcissistic, you will never be able to make her happy. In fact, no one can make any one else happy. Each of us is responsible for our own happiness. Some people are narcissistic from birth, and some get more narcissistic as they age. It sounds to me that your mum has been narcissistic all long, and, as such, she will have used guilt a lot on you. FOG - fear, obligation and guilt - are tools used by manipulative people to get others to do what they want them to do. They are unhealthy and destructive elements in any relationship. In a sense it is "damned if you do, and damned if you don't". That is part of the game they play. Then you lose and they win - they aren't being treated right! But you can "win" in a different sense. There is a great website called "daughtersofnarcissisticmothers" (google that phrase) with information about narcissistic relationships. I saw myself and my mother there, and found it very helpful. It is important to learn about narcissism, in order to validate your feelings, and to make changes to protect yourself. You need to set boundaries for self protection. You are working hard to make your mum happy - to no avail. I have walked in your shoes and tried too, and to be that daughter that she wanted. It was never going to happen. So I have detached and distanced emotionally, and I am happier and healthier. I knew I could never take her into my home - the stress would be far too much for me. She is in the ALF of her choice, will be 100 in May and has been pronounced healthy, has aides coming in 4 times a day, and complains bitterly about them all the time. She goes to the ER for tests a lot, they send her home and the results are always normal. She wants my involvement in her every thought, and her support in fighting home care to give her better treatment. One major crisis was undercooked oatmeal. She calls it senior abuse. I call it life. I have disengaged from most of this, and simply do not respond for my own self protection. I choose the issues that I do get involved in, and they are few of what my mother complains about. I will oversee that she gets the best care available, but I will not get dragged into her games. I can't afford to. The reality is that no situation - no facility - no arrangement - no person is perfect. Everything can be criticized, and she does that. She can turn a hangnail into a crisis, and, after the fact it is even funny, but not at the time. Narcissists will do anything for attention, as that is what they crave, not for the problem to be solved. Hence your mother really doesn't want to solve the problem you very sensibly tried to discuss with her. They need control,and use anger, and manipulation to get the illusion (for it is an illusion) of control. You can't win in terms of making her happy, better to accept that, but you can win in terms of making your own life better and getting rid of the guilt. You have a busy life with a full time job, and caring for your mum. It helps if you change your expectations of her. She will not behave like a "normal" sensitive person - she can't. So simply decide what you can and can't do, and make the arrangements you need to make. I very much doubt that you will get much good out of trying to discuss it with her, as you would with a normal person.She won't like it you making changes, but she doesn't like much anyway. I realised that there was no point in trying to "work things out" with mother, so I simply make my own decisions, (often after bouncing it off a trusted friend), and act accordingly. I am going nto suggest that you do the same, and regain peace in your life. The continued stress of dealing with people like our mums is hard on our health. I am 74 and have had health issues the past few years related to stress. No more, I can't afford it, and, truly, no one can. Good luck and come back and let us know how you are doing. Joan
Joan, thank you so much for your sound advice. I am surprised you saw the narcissism! I have read up on it a little. The book "Trapped in a Mirror" is very good. I think I will re-read it. I am also going to sit down and decide what I am willing to do and what I am not will to do. The FOG...fits her to a tee. Thank you again! I will come back in a few weeks with an update.xoxo

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