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A lot is discussed about the elderly being abused..but how does someone deal with caring for a person who was abusive for decades even when young and still is? When you offer help to someone who goes for the throat immediately. This is ingrained and not caused by aging. Do you ever say to yourself "I can't take any more of this?

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You lost me Maggie Marshal. Nowhere have I mentioned assets...I am well able to take care of myself financially and wouldnt even think of using my sister's. Did you maybe post your reply to the wrong place?
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Oh Miss Sandwich! WooHoo..you made me laugh! Thank you for making me laugh......"a real life fireworks show in shoes"! You just described my dad when he decides to flip on his crazy switch!

Thank you again to everyone on this board who have been supportive and helped me accept the fact that at a certain point, there just is no pleasing some of them and you have to keep your own ship from sinking.
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Of COURSE you say that to yourself.

When you are no longer concerned with preserving his/her assets, you will step back and start spending this person's assets for their own care and allow Medicaid to step in when the assets are depleted.
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Wrong...as I said, I've backed off and haven't been to see her for a week and a half. I have not gone back for more. Someone else is helping her this week. I am taking care of myself, gone back to my own activities and friends.
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You are letting your sister abuse you. She abuses you because you let her. You keep going back for more. People like your sister will suck everyone around them dry. Give your sister a list of agencies that will send a professional home health aide to her house. But get yourself out of her line of fire. Good luck!
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You know I understand how you feeL. No matter what I do or say my sister puts me down. It's. Impossible to help her even though she needs help badly but won't admit it. But even with all of this, I feel so sorry for her, sitting alone in her recliner, never wanting to go out and not wanting anyone to visit. But her niece is going to stay with her for a few days next week, and I'm hoping that a different person may be able to do something where I couldn't. In some cultures the whole family pitches in and the elderly remain at home. They are cared for and respected. So sad it doesn't happen everywhere.
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Chris60, what you said really resonates with me. My mother isn't nearly as outwardly nasty and abusive as yours, but relate totally to the difficulty of feeling obliged to care for someone to whom you feel neither affection nor attachment.

The problem, as I see it, is not so much that we are programmed to believe that we're obligated to take care of elderly family members. The problem is that our society offers so little in the way of alternatives. I absolutely don't believe that adult children have the obligation to care for parents, and as for being a "good" daughter, I could care less. Honestly, even the words "mother" and "daughter" give me the willies at this point. I have not positive associations with either word and a whole lot of negative.

So what am I doing here? Desperately searching for the exit as my last best years tick away while I tend to my mother's needs and wishes. I haven't left because there's simply nobody else to pick up the responsibility, and no money to hire the help my mother needs. If she had sufficient income, she'd have been in assisted living 5 years ago. She's have had no choice if I had not been here to help her out. I do it because there's no alternative. I hate her for putting me in this position, but I still do it. I have a sister who helps quite a bit, but I like my sister too much to dump the entire burden on her. I don't tell my mother I hate her for stealing my life this way. I do tell her when she does or says something unappreciative or disrespectful, though.
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I can sense your distress, confusion and exasperation. The main problem here is that many of us are programmed to meet familial or social expectations that "good" children look after their elderly parents. My mother suffered from mental illness but refused help for decades. When she spent a while in hospital for tests she was finally diagnosed as depressed. The fact that several of the nurses threatened to resign rather than have to deal with her revealed that I had not been imagining thingds. As a child I looked after my younger brother, cooked, cleaned and shopped and basically fulfilled her duties. Mum had mastered the art of manipulation, criticism and the royal snub. When I left home she kept hoovering me back to be snubbed and ridiculed or do her work and bidding. Ironically she could jump through hoops to serve my brother but expected me to wait on her and listen to her marital woes. I hated feeling obliged to visit her, and was shocked at the expectation when she became sick with Parkinsons that I would be her primary carer. Five days with her was exhausting and enough to cave my head. When I pulled away and left the chore of caring for her for my sister I was dismissed as selfish. Mum's final comment was to remind me that I was so ugly that Dad had cut me out of all the photos and old films. I visited her shortly before she died and was glared at by the nurse's aide as if I should be ashamed for failing to provide care. Little did that woman know that I had already pandered to my mother's needs for over forty years while mine were denied or dismissed. If only outsiders learned to recognise that some parents literally make their children sick and not all families are mutually supportive, warm and loving units. Ultimately it can take more strength and courage to walk away from a bad relationship than to stay and keep others happy. It becomes extremely difficult and complicated to feel obliged to care for an elderly parent who had failed to care for you. This is a common story and something that all people should consider before having children under the guise that those children will love and care for them. Some people lack the personal skills and character to be good parents. It is difficult to feel obliged to care for someone to whom you feel neither affection nor attachment, and whose behaviour continues to trigger negative reactions. Good luck deciding what is best for both you and your mother.
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Sandwich you have just described my sister, especially re: the OCD. When my Mom and other sister were alive and living with her, the whole house rotated on her moods and demands, even when I was very young. They all tiptoed around her(plus add an alcoholic father to the mix). When I was 16 I argued back and my Mom yelled at me! Even now sh, after doing her shopping for her, she dictated to my daughter what shelf to put the milk on ...etc.
she's mad at me now because I told her I wasn't visiting just to do grocery runs and to stare at the walls. So for me and my daughter its break time. Thank you for your reply.
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That's narcissism. It's a cluster B personality disorder and there is no medication for it. There are other problems that usually come with it like anxiety and depression or OCD that can be treated, but not the actual disorder.

There is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that might work over a period of decades of real effort, but narcissists usually believe the world is the problem, not their thinking and behaviors. Getting and keeping them in therapy is rare.

A narcissist with dementia is a real live fireworks show in shoes. It is unimaginably stressful for any caregivers. Other family have usually moved on, choosing their own sanity over the narcissist. But there's one of us that sticks around to make sure nothing bad happens and so on. If we don't look out for ourselves, nobody else will.

You won't get any thank yous. No interest in your wellbeing. Just more expectations and demands and disparaging remarks and kicks in the shin.
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This is my sister. She's 91. I'm 78. But there are a lot of pretty well off nieces and nephews that have distanced themselves...partly because she didn't welcome them in the past either, mostly because they don't want to be bothered, but now I am tired of hearing her praise them (they haven't visited in years) when my daughter and I who have helped her are constantly being put down.
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Just remember, it does not have to be YOU to take care of her.
You get to have boundaries and be treated with dignity too.
If mom is far gone enough not to understand that, she probably needs to be in a care center.

Narcissist parents program into their children a life-long sense of obligation, a feeling everything you do is deficient, and guilt over not doing enough to please them.

When you feel like you've had enough, you stop and detach.
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Thank you all. Right now I'm stepping back for a few days. We shopped for her, removed trash etc and light housework. She can get around her house with a cane, and to the bathroom and she said although she can't get in the tub, she can wash up. Said she can make meals, although she eats very little. I have to get some other family involved here or I'm going to need care myself!
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Gaughran, you are putting your own life on the line. Usually there are other care solutions, however poor they may be, but we don't want to consider them. If you died tomorrow, what would happen to dear Mom? Implement that plan then. You are sure not alone in finding yourself responsible for a venomous relative. Large group of us here. Good luck.
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Gaughran, you are not at all alone. If someone is physically putting you in danger, it is too bad for them but you get yourself out of there. If it is just crap that is being dumped on you because your presence and forbearance is totally taken for granted, you may be able to set limits or modify the behavior by briefly withdrawing...if someone is otherwise cared for, just not going and visiting every single day will make a difference too. Sometimes even people who were wonderful all their life will get confused and need to be in denial and so resent and complain about the things people do for them, so they don't feel bad about their loss of abilities or the fact that someone else needed to do for them. Not being alone does not make it all that much easier, but maybe it helps to confirm it's not you, it's them!
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I was feeling guilty for feeling the way I do but I'm glad I'm not alone. I am willing to do things for my sister but when I offer to help her walk or shower or do her paper work, I am immediately criticized and called names, and this was just on a phone call. My daughter who has asthma cleared her apt of old trash papers spoiled food, and she was accused of "running around her house." I'm 78 myself and had palpitations after just talking to her.
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This is a slippery slope type of situation. I care for my mother in my home.She is an aging narcissis with multiple health issues due to aging. She was not a "mothering" type person,and I walked on eggshells around her when I lived at home. It is generally not recommended by the medical/psychiatric community that a person takes care of someone that was abusive towards them ,mentally or physically. My mother was emotionally abusive and almost several times just to the edge of physical abuse.I see a therapist and I am on antidepressants because of her living with me but I couldn't stand to be around her with out that support. Sometimes the sight of her makes me almost start to have a panic attack,just so many triggers.She has no one else to take care of her, she is an only child and I am an only child with no children.I have had to set and KEEP firm boundaries with her to make our living situation work but it ain't easy.How long can I keep this up? I have no idea but I know if it were not for me her living situation would be bleak.
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Yes, you say to yourself "I can't take any more of this" and you limit your exposure to the person as much as possible. And if the person is mentally able to process the information, you make it clear to them why you're limiting the contact and what they need to do/not do to earn the right to have contact with you. I have stopped my mother short and said to her "I don't have to be here, you know." when she has made some snide or disrespectful comment to me. It backs her off very quickly, because she knows if I walked out on her, she'd be screwed.

I support the idea of arranging care as Babalou said, but it seems like many elderly either can't afford to pay for care or refuse to part with their money, so arranging care may not be practical unless you can afford to and are willing to pay for it yourself (I wouldn't). Hope this helps.
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You arrange for care for a person like this, you do not do hands on caregiving.
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