Struggling with being kind to my mom who I don’t like is killing me.


I’m 58 years old. Mother is in nursing home. We have been estranged twice over the years. We are very different people and she often told me in the past how she doesn’t like me. I think it’s because I’m a lot like my Dad who she divorced years ago and hates. I’ve had therapy and learned Mother is a narcissist and very manipulative when allowed. I learned to keep my boundaries which is helpful but it is killing me to visit her and fake concern and compassion for someone I truly detest. However, she is 86, bedridden and needs my help so I keep up the charade of the caring daughter because I can’t just walk away when she has legitimate physical needs. I have learned her care at the nursing home is better when I am involved so I keep going back even though I’d rather be beaten! I don’t know how to check on her and provide for her needs but not be sucked into a relationship it’s her. I feel cruel if I don’t linger and spend time with her but having a relationship with her is causing so much internal rage I am drinking too much for any release I can get. Feel like a simmering pot ready to blow. Only other family member is my sister and she refuses to visit but one every other week which isn’t really any help.

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Just answered a post very similar to yours.

I think so many of us can relate. I, too, tried to do so much for my mother and found out that she was mocking me behind my back and complaining about my "interference" in her life. Shoot, I can certainly step back, and frequently do, when she overwhelms me with her self centeredness.

Sounds like sister has the right idea. Don't visit so often. Don't do what makes you feel trapped, manipulated or angry.

Don't drink away your emotions.....therapy is harder, but the best money I spend every month.

How do the staff at the NH feel about her? Do you get sideways glances, or are they forever annoying the heck out of you by saying what a lovely lady your mother is?

The reason I ask is that you are trying to ensure that your mother's needs are met. I expect you are absolutely right to believe that the NH performs better on physical care when a concerned and conscientious relative is keeping an eye; but you are also trying to meet the emotional needs of a narcissist. Are you familiar with the expression "a hiding to nothing?"

Your mother's emotional needs include praise, approval, lightweight affection. Her idea of people who love her is people who wholly comply with her view of herself.

I should think you are complete crap at that part of the job. Whereas a pretty, lively, innocent young aide, or even a less-favoured hard-bitten aide who nevertheless gets to go home at the end of the shift, will be able to keep up the "charade" at no personal cost to themselves at all.

And if it is more on the sideways glances side of things, then whose fault is it if nobody likes her? Not yours!

Keep a check list of the things you monitor which are of material benefit to your mother's care. When you visit, check those things. The bit you find painful is likely not of benefit to your mother and you can stop doing it.

I like Sue's approach. Stop pretending to be doing anything that's beyond "pro forma".

There's a book out there called something like "will I Ever Be Good Enough?"

Totally agree with Barb and Veronica.
I think your mom is lucky she has anyone being an advocate for her. Your sister has the right idea checking in on her once every other week. Why don't you get with your sister and set a schedule where each of you goes once every other week on alternate weeks. That way someone is there once a week. Don't look at this as a loving daughter faking it. Look at it as a job, going in for a short visit to make sure your client's needs are being met. Your sister probably doesn't have the stress and rage you have because she's figured out how much she can do for your mom without ruining her own life. I get the feeling you resent your sister when you say she "isn't really any help". She probably is able to set boundaries so she isn't filled with internal rage like you.She might be able to support and help you with the unnecssasry guilt you're feeling.
Please take care of yourself . You deserve it!

Totally agree with Barb. You don't have to destroy yourself fulfilling what you feel are your obligations. Neither of you like each other so why continue to fake it. Doubt whether Mom enjoys your visits either.

Go back to therapy.

You can go to care meetings, bring treats for the staff, stop in and visit with your mom for 10 minutes. That's all you have to do. Don't feel like you have to fake it.

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