Mom has lost the concept of others.

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This is just a mini-vent, because I needed to talk to someone. My mother is in mid-stage dementia. She has always been rather narcissistic -- a lot of take and a little give -- but she has descended to a point of complete narcissism. She is now mad at everyone because they don't pay enough attention to her. It is a irritating situation for me.

The past week has been the worst. My cousin lost his wife of 45 years unexpectedly. It was heartbreaking, because they were always together. I did the things I could do to let my cousin know how much I cared. My mother got mad at me because she and my father had been married for 64 years, so her grief was more important. I didn't realize there was such a thing as grief competition until this week.

For Thanksgiving, her grandchildren played with friends, instead of coming inside to be with her. I've been hearing about that one non-stop for 3 days. I told her it was normal for the kids to play, which just made her mad. I wondered if she thought they should all be gathered in a circle around her. I don't know what she expected of them.

Today I woke up sick, but I was going to still take her to church, wasn't I? No? Well, could I at least drive her there and pick her up? She kept on at me until I took her to church. I decided it was better than to listen to her narcissistic whining for days to come.

I realize that, in her dementia, she has lost all sense of other people. All of her vectors are pointing to herself. If family and friends are not serving her needs, then something is seriously wrong with them. Her grandkids are rude, her children are not doing right, her friends must be on vacation. Of course, I know her and know she hasn't given anything to anyone ever, so I try to let the words pass on by. Really, I am thinking that she reaped what she sowed, and she should be glad that she still has one person paying attention to her. Being that one person, however, is not easy. I have never dealt with pure narcissism. It is an ugly thing indeed.


I just wonder how you turned out so nice!

My parents didn't do a perfect job, but boy, I never had to put up with what you do! My father could be difficult, during and after his drinking days, but he loved us and would come through when he had to.

How do you keep your sanity? People who train troops to resist brainwashing should take lessons from you.
Jinx, I don't know if I kept my sanity. Sometimes I think I'm totally crazy, but just haven't realized it yet.
I feel for you. JessieBelle. I'm caregiver to my 78 year old mom. She's never had any real or lasting empathy or concern for others that I can recall. I remember when I was little she told me that before I was born she wanted to get pregnant because a friend of hers was going to have a baby and she was pissed off that she was stealing all the attention. She also told me having me was her "insurance" that she would have someone to take care of her when she got old. (And as usual, she set her aim on her target and hit the mark.) The dementia diagnosis has been hard for me to accept. It's so hard to differentiate what is truly a symptom of the disease, and what is deliberate manipulation. I went home today for the first time in almost a week. She was really doing good while I stayed there, but today she was laying the guilt on me as thick as she could. Or was she. Ugh. *sigh*.
((HUGS))) to you.
That is a lot you are doing for your mother and you have tremendous patience, hang on in there. Take her criticism lighly and brush it aside. Try not to take everything she says to heart. Although that is easier said then done, this will help you keep your cool.
Jessiebelle I hear you, hang in there you're doing a great job...

Angels19 at this point I have to accept everything my Mom does and says as the illness or I would be arguing all day! I keep reminding myself that she "isn't doing it on purpose"!
JessieBelle, the only out-and-out narcissist I know is - thank God! - not my responsibility; so although her quite astonishing selfishness (including that competitive grief you mentioned - this lady's loss of her husband was so much more important than anybody's else's could possibly be) gets right up my nose, and - much worse - hurts people I love, at least I don't have to live with it.

But something you said really caught my attention, there: "I don't know what she expected of them." Well, no, exactly. The thing is, I doubt that these people know what they expect, either. What would be enough, in their wildest happy dreams? The answer is that nothing can ever be enough.

So if you can't win, why play? The hurt that caring caregivers like you, and everybody else afflicted with narcissistic dependents - they are bloody dependant, after all! How dare they risk being so bloody ungrateful? - seems to come from loving the person enough to want her to be happy, no matter how unattainable that might be. It's such a cruel trap.

I'd give anything to get my sister-in-law's leg out of it, but short of cutting it off… What, if anything, do your friends and family do that you really find helpful and supportive? I'd welcome the advice.
I realize that little can be done at this point. I just try to keep myself emotionally removed from it, but I admit it is wearing. I seem to be okay inside, but I look at some of the things I'm doing -- pulling in to myself more, not getting out as much -- and realize that things are affecting me. So each day I wake up and say I'm going to do something to get me away from it. And then it rains -- sigh. It has been raining a lot here the last couple of years. (Seems like a cruel conspiracy at times. :)

My brothers lead their own lives with their families. That is okay with me. My mother is not to the point where she needs 24/7 care yet, so I can come and go as I want to during the day. When she gets to the point where she needs too much, I will look into a NH for her. We have three here that are social settings, instead of institutional. Two have memory units. I really hope she can stay home, but I know she is likely to end up in one of the two units. I don't depend on my brothers for assistance, because I know they don't have the time and inclination for more than short visits. They might surprise me, but I doubt it. It is okay. I've learned to just let people be who they are and not expect much.
JessieBelle, my mother is like yours, horrible, mean to her grand kids, too. Everything has to be centered on her, everyone, including her siblings have to centered on her. When you visit with her, you cannot mention friends or she will find a way to start a pity party. She has outbursts and pounds on doors, screaming if the person on the other side doesn't respond quickly enough, broke her hand recently. We had to remove her car to prevent her from driving off like a madman in the middle of the night in a rage to one of our houses, because we didn't talk on the phone long enough with her. Wow, that was a trick. I totally feel for you. She won't go to senior center, she expects her children and sisters to entertain her constantly. She forgets the activity within two minutes of being home and feels like no one ever visits her or takes her anywhere. (by the way, what happened to my car?) she is running on exhaust fumes, but refuses to settle or rest. I dont think there is a home that would take her without using drugs and restraints. And then she has a sweet moment. We have in house daycare and she is much more well behaved with them than us. So I would advise bringing in help.
Jessie, Like I have said in other posts, I have been there done that. My husband, mother, and sister are all like that in various degrees. My husband is self centered and my mother has no compassion for anyone. Sister is in to herself. My mother wasn't always this way and dh has always been that way. I say with a loving heart, that you should put your mother in an assisted living place and you go about having a good life. Only visit her once in a while. Life is too short to live like you are doing.
Today started out great. I got my health insurance all sorted out and paid. I received such a sweet surprise gift certificate. I started plans to decorate for Christmas. The day went to hell from there. This evening I was left to wondering if it was really me. I found an article online that is from Psychology Today. If anyone wants to read it, just google "Mother Damned-est" and it should come up. The article had to do with difficult mothers. I related so much to this article, because my mother doesn't fit into the simple models we see for narcissism or BPD. I wanted to let others know about the article if they might want to read it.

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