My parents live with me and my mother is extremely manipulative when we're alone together. How do I handle her manipulative behavior?

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Mom is 80 years old & extremely manipulative. Both Mom & Dad (83) live with me. I told Dad she was manipulative & he said she couldn't be. Classic example: we went to dinner and Mom was using her walker. She was fine during dinner, but walking out, she got within 10 feet of the car, started crying, stating she was in agony, couldn't go on and wanted her wheelchair. I had to move the car, get the wheelchair out and wheel her 6 feet all the while she was moaning. We got in the car, and I said, "so, we're going home?". She was perfectly happy and said, "no, we're going to costco". She was able to get into Costco fine with the walker, and puttered around for a couple of hours in the go-cart. She moans and groans and cries when we insist she walks for exercise (20-30 feet walks) if it's just the 2 of us, but if there's company, she's quiet as a mouse.

Dad say's she can't think manipulatively, and refuses to confront her on this behavior.

Am I nuts or what?

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A reasonable amount of self-defense is warranted here. I agree with others who say, "If she whines, take it away." No one with any sense would allow one of their children or a friend to treat them this way. Just because she's your mother does not mean you have to let yourself be verbally and emotionally abused.
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It has helped me immensely to find this site, and particularly this discussion.  My 81 year old mother has been a manipulator all my life, and when I was suddenly widowed with three small children 17 years ago, I knew better than to move closer to her.  Now that she and my stepdad are increasingly frail, I have moved them closer to me, since other siblings refused to help with their care--having been alienated from mother years ago.  This is the third week my mother is spending in bed, claiming she is fine while there, but that getting up makes her sick and weak.  My son called EMTs five days ago, and they would not even transport her, telling her sge had not had a stroke, etc.  Next day, when I could finally talk her into a doctor's appointment, doc told her same thing.  Now that she has been evaluated more than once, I simply recognize that her "good" behavior is exhausted, and she has fallen completely back into her lifelong ways.  So Yes, I have decided to set firm boundaries, be as kind as possible, and I refuse to be manipulated.  It truly is a case of staying one step ahead.  Thank God for school teacher experience, and lots of time spent with small children!  It all helps.

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One thing that I have seen with many older people is that personality traits get more pronounced as people get into their eighties and nineties. If they were immature and had a tendency to be childish when younger, they will be much like a spoiled brat when they get older and lose some of their independence. When I was a child my mother used to tell me we were going home when I would pitch a fit in a store, so now the tables are turned. When she starts to argue with me and embarrasses me in public, we just leave the store and go home. I really think that in many cases it is manipulation and a way to control the person they have to depend on - kind of a way to show you they are still the 'boss.' The bad thing is that when people like this use illness or discomfort as a way to manipulate, it is like crying wolf as they may really be in distress at some point and no one will believe them.
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lisakmann, you're not "nuts," but are you sure your Mom is not having intermittent pain is the first thing that came to my mind. Also, what would happen even if your Dad were to perceive or be able to see that your Mom is potentially manipulative? Is walking a prolonged distance the problem for her, perhaps? If so, would it help to plan for shorter walks for her? How often is it happening? I can't tell because you only shared one example. That is an eye-opening example, but not enough to know what else your Mom may be doing that concerns you. I guess nothing in your shared example makes it clear why she would want to go to Costco. Did she not want to go to dinner in the first place? Was Costco her destination objective? Maybe that is what I am missing? I wouldn't say she is manipulative based on that one example, though I agree with you that there is something wrong. Is she becoming mentally confused and just contradicting herself without being aware of it, perhaps?
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I agree with Crow....my mother is just plain mean (oh I mean BPD) and my father has battered 'person" syndrom. It saddens me to know so many of these dysfunctional families exist. I thought (hoped) mine was the only one...........
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oh, before the days of wonderful diagnostic names, therapist called people whom we now know have BPD just plain mean people of which the male population part of this group are almost all in prison
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Sorry, I'm not as on top of things like I sometimes am. It does sound like NPD. However, the borderline witch and the borderline queen mother both behave very much the same and often have enslaved, codependent husbands as seen with my MIL and FIL. I've never seen a man so enslaved and psychologically emasculated into basically nothing nor a dominating, abusive wife who thought God died and left her in charge with such hatred toward men while all along proclaiming everyone is equal and being so big on making sure she and her family were in church every Sunday and reads her denominational devotional every morning.

I tend to view my MIL as a borderline queen mom with a lot of witch in her. However, a good case could also be made for NPD with some strong BPD traits. It normally takes one narcissistic parent (mom) and a passive parent (dad) to raise a child who become one of four different flavors of BPD. Narcissists are supreme invalidators and people with BPD have an extreme sense of being invalidated which they have been.

MY FIL recognized the game and told my wife and her twins sister that he saw it but that he could do nothing. I know that feeling and the enmeshed, co-dependency that keeps one locked in. It take a lot of work and therapy to get out of that.
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Crow, I am surprised you did not bring up Narcissistic Personality Disorder!

Lisa was your mom always like this even when you were growing up. The one who ran the show and dad was obedient...like my mom and dad...as others say the pair. That pair strived against me, their only child...go figure...good parents support their children...okay wrong rant. Yeah he is always going to side with her like my dad did, they get whipped...yes co-dependent was the right term a previous poster mentioned. A few posters said they recognized 'the game' ...yep my 86 year old mom can still pull that 'game' out as well. I have been telling her that I have her game figured out and she always tells me there is none...yeah right. Narcissists LOVE THEIR ATTENTION...and will do anything to get it...so beware!
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Sounds like your mom may be the youngest child like mine - used to getting what she wants if she has a hissy fit. I am considering getting counseling for a co dependent relationship. If you suspect that you may have the same with your mother, counseling to learn how best to deal with her moods should be of some help.
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I understand where your dad is coming from and it has hardly anything to do with loyalty or his generation. It's plain sad and something most wives would never put up with and many husbands would not either, but usually it takes some counseling to get to that point. However, at some point the abused gives up and never realizes that actually they hold all of the power because the abuser is actually dependent upon that person's willingness to be abused plus other things like my MIL with my FIL.
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