Let's just say my mother isn't aging gracefully. Every attempt I make whether in person or through hired help to help her seems to produce an angry prideful reaction. As if I've deeply insulted her by getting her help and exposing her "weakness". Apparently she'd just rather live in filth and eat McDonald's every day. I'm an only child and I feel terrible saying this but I so much wish I had siblings who could help or take over. My mother and I have always had a difficult relationship where I had to walk on eggshells around her feelings, but her aging is producing situations where I can't tiptoe anymore and act effectively. I always try to be kind and tactful, but no matter how gently I offer her help she finds a way to be angry about it. And as I get angrier I get a bit less gentle myself. She's still competent and no way will she agree to assisted living or a nursing home.

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Trust me, it would not be easier with siblings. It would be much more difficult. I have a sib that is just not nice at all.

kathyt1, that was a great answer, to facilitate his decisions, not make them. I have to remember that. My mom says "I'm not a child" or "I'm not stupid". I try to help her and I guess that sometimes I do make the decisions for her. It's been hard but I've been allowing her to do more these past few days and it has helped her to feel more in control of her life. Thanks to this site I have learned that.

Maybe it is a control issue. When your mind and body are failing one clings to control. I allow my Dad full control. When I realized my job was to facilitate his decisions, not make them, things got easy. I suggest in the form of a question. Then accept his answer. He will think about it for awhile, and often, not always, he will come around to my way of thinking. I do exactly what he wants, and he trusts me. Sometimes you just have to step back, and see the big picture.

Emjo and others who have posted such wonderful information on this site, thank you. I have written many times on here about my narcissistic mother and it is always good to hear from those who have lived with such a parent and understand how hard it is to deal with them. I have read many of the books mentioned on this site. They opened my eyes and answered many questions I have had about both of my parents.

For all of those who even think they have a narcissistic parent, please read and reread as much material as you can get your hands on. The layers of fog will slowly fall away and you will see through clear eyes.

Bermuda, I know how you feel. Yesterday my mom told an insurance agent that I treat her like a child. I asked her what made her say that and she said she was just kidding. I told her that I always give her options when asking a question. That I don't wipe her ass (like my sister in law used to). That I don't get into the shower with her (like my sister in law used to) and that from now on I would let her do things on her own (she lives with us).
I guess that I let it bother me and I really shouldn't have. She could have been talking about me or she could have thought I was my sister in law but it did bother me. So, last night I let her walk down the stairs without holding onto her (her just holding onto the railing) and told her that I didn't want to treat her like a child and hold onto her. She gave me a dirty look, so what.
I'm going to start letting her do more on her own. The things that I was helping out with like putting away her dishes or getting her a glass of water. It's probably a good thing since she needs to stay as independent as possible....right???

It's tough when you don't know who is speaking to you most of the time.
Take care.

I have had this for a long time, I don't remember where I found it, all I know is I refer to it ALL the Time, it is excellent and if we are open and honest to what it says we can free ourselves, perhaps for the day, but we can read it again tomorrow.

Where did you read this article on Detachment, Madeaa? I'm going to save this for my own personal archives. Excellent post. It's similar to something that Dr. John Bradshaw would write.

Here is a little bit I found on detachment that I read and reread and reread

What is detachment?
Detachment is the:
* Ability to allow people, places or things the freedom to be themselves.
* Holding back from the need to rescue, save or fix another person from being sick, dysfunctional or irrational.
* Giving another person "the space" to be herself.
* Disengaging from an over-enmeshed or dependent relationship with people.
* Willingness to accept that you cannot change or control a person, place or thing.
* Developing and maintaining of a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life.
* Establishing of emotional boundaries between you and those people you have become overly enmeshed or dependent with in order that all of you might be able to develop your own sense of autonomy and independence.
* Process by which you are free to feel your own feelings when you see another person falter and fail and not be led by guilt to feel responsible for their failure or faltering.
* Ability to maintain an emotional bond of love, concern and caring without the negative results of rescuing, enabling, fixing or controlling.
* Placing of all things in life into a healthy, rational perspective and recognizing that there is a need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities of life.
* Ability to exercise emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on beyond a reasonable and rational point.
* Ability to let people you love and care for accept personal responsibility for their own actions and to practice tough love and not give in when they come to you to bail them out when their actions lead to failure or trouble for them.
* Ability to allow people to be who they "really are" rather than who you "want them to be."
* Ability to avoid being hurt, abused, taken advantage of by people who in the past have been overly dependent or enmeshed with you.

What are the negative effects not detaching?
If you are unable to detach from people, places or things, then you:
* Will have people, places or things which become over-dependent on you.
* Run the risk of being manipulated to do things for people, at places or with things which you do not really want to do.
* Can become an obsessive "fix it" who needs to fix everything you perceive to be imperfect.
* Run the risk of performing tasks because of the intimidation you experience from people, places or things.
* Will most probably become powerless in the face of the demands of the people, places or things whom you have given the power to control you.
* Will be blind to the reality that the people, places or things which control you are the uncontrollables and unchangeables you need to let go of if you are to become a fully healthy, coping individual.
* Will be easily influenced by the perception of helplessness which these people, places or things project.
* Might become caught up with your idealistic need to make everything perfect for people, places or things important to you even if it means your own life becomes unhealthy.
* Run the risk of becoming out of control of yourself and experience greater low self-esteem as a result.
* Will most probably put off making a decision and following through on it, if you rationally recognize your relationship with a person, place or thing is unhealthy and the only recourse left is to get out of the relationship.
* Will be so driven by guilt and emotional dependence that the sickness in the relationship will worsen.
* Run the risk of losing your autonomy and independence and derive your value or worth solely from the unhealthy relationship you continue in with the unhealthy person, place or thing.

How is detachment a control issue?
Detachment is a control issue because:
* It is a way of de-powering the external "locus of control" issues in your life and a way to strengthen your internal "locus of control."
* If you are not able to detach emotionally or physically from a person, place or thing, then you are either profoundly under its control or it is under your control.
* The ability to "keep distance" emotionally or physically requires self-control and the inability to do so is a sign that you are "out of control."
* If you are not able to detach from another person, place or thing, you might be powerless over this behavior which is beyond your personal control.
* You might be mesmerized, brainwashed or psychically in a trance when you are in the presence of someone from whom you cannot detach.
* You might feel intimidated or coerced to stay deeply attached with someone for fear of great harm to yourself or that person if you don't remain so deeply involved.
* You might be an addicted caretaker, fixer or rescuer who cannot let go of a person, place or thing you believe cannot care for itself.
* You might be so manipulated by another's con, "helplessness," overdependency or "hooks" that you cannot leave them to solve their own problems.
* If you do not detach from people, places or things, you could be so busy trying to "control" them that you completely divert your attention from yourself and your own needs.
* By being "selfless" and "centered" on other people, you are really a controller trying to fix them to meet the image of your ideal for them.
* Although you will still have feelings for those persons, places and things from which you have become detached, you will have given them the freedom to become what they will be on their own merit, power, control and responsibility.
* It allows every person, place or thing with which you become involved to feel the sense of personal responsibility to become a unique, independent and autonomous being with no fear of retribution or rebuke if they don't please you by what they become.

What irrational thinking leads to an inability to detach?
* If you should stop being involved, what will they do without you?
* They need you and that is enough to justify your continued involvement.
* What if they commit suicide because of your detachment? You must stay involved to avoid this.
* You would feel so guilty if anything bad should happen to them after you reduced your involvement with them.
* They are absolutely dependent on you at this point and to back off now would be a crime.
* You need them as much as they need you.
* You can't control yourself because everyday you promise yourself "today is the day" you will detach your feelings but you feel driven to them and their needs.
* They have so many problems, they need you.
* Being detached seems so cold and aloof. You can't be that way when you love and care for a person. It's either 100 percent all the way or no way at all.
* If you should let go of this relationship too soon, the other might change to be like the fantasy or dream you want them to be.
* How can being detached from them help them? It seems like you should do more to help them.
* Detachment sounds so final. It sounds so distant and non-reachable. You could never allow yourself to have a relationship where there is so much emotional distance between you and others. It seems so unnatural.
* You never want anybody in a relationship to be emotionally detached from you so why would you think it a good thing to do for others?
* The family that plays together stays together. It's all for one and one for all. Never do anything without including the significant others in your life.
* If one hurts in the system, we all hurt. You do not have a good relationship with others unless you share in their pain, hurt, suffering, problems and troubles.
* When they are in "trouble," how can you ignore their "pleas" for help? It seems cruel and inhuman.
* When you see people in trouble, confused and hurting, you must always get involved and try to help them solve the problems.
* When you meet people who are "helpless," you must step in to give them assistance, advice, support and direction.
* You should never question the costs, be they material, emotional or physical, when another is in dire need of help.
* You would rather forgo all the pleasures of this world in order to assist others to be happy and successful.
* You can never "give too much" when it comes to providing emotional support, comforting and care of those whom you love and cherish.
* No matter how badly your loved ones hurt and abuse you, you must always be forgiving and continue to extend your hand in help and support.
* Tough love is a cruel, inhuman and anti-loving philosophy of dealing with the troubled people in our lives and you should instead love them more when they are in trouble since "love" is the answer to all problems.

How to Develop Detachment
In order to become detached from a person, place or thing, you need to:

First: Establish emotional boundaries between you and the person, place or thing with whom you have become overly enmeshed or dependent on.

Second: Take back power over your feelings from persons, places or things which in the past you have given power to affect your emotional well-being.

Third: "Hand over" to your Higher Power the persons, places and things which you would like to see changed but which you cannot change on your own.

Fourth: Make a commitment to your personal recovery and self-health by admitting to yourself and your Higher Power that there is only one person you can change and that is yourself and that for your serenity you need to let go of the "need" to fix, change, rescue or heal other persons, places and things.

Fifth: Recognize that it is "sick" and "unhealthy" to believe that you have the power or control enough to fix, correct, change, heal or rescue another person, place or thing if they do not want to get better nor see a need to change.

Sixth: Recognize that you need to be healthy yourself and be "squeaky clean" and a "role model" of health in order for another to recognize that there is something "wrong" with them that needs changing.

Seventh: Continue to own your feelings as your responsibility and not blame others for the way you feel.

Eighth: Accept personal responsibility for your own unhealthy actions, feelings and thinking and cease looking for the persons, places or things you can blame for your unhealthiness.

Ninth: Accept that addicted fixing, rescuing, enabling are "sick" behaviors and strive to extinguish these behaviors in your relationship to persons, places and things.

Tenth: Accept that many people, places and things in your past and current life are "irrational," "unhealthy" and "toxic" influences in your life, label them honestly for what they truly are, and stop minimizing their negative impact in your life.

Eleventh: Reduce the impact of guilt and other irrational beliefs which impede your ability to develop detachment in your life.

Twelfth: Practice "letting go" of the need to correct, fix or make better the persons, places and things in life over which you have no control or power to change.

Steps in Developing Detachment
Step 1: It is important to first identify those people, places and things in your life from which you would be best to develop emotional detachment in order to retain your personal, physical, emotional and spiritual health. To do this you need to review the following types of toxic relationships and identify in your journal if any of the people, places or things in your life fit any of the following 20 categories.

Types of Toxic Relationships
* You find it hard to let go of because it is addictive.
* The other is emotionally unavailable to you.
* Coercive, threatening, intimidating to you.
* Punitive or abusive to you.
* Non-productive and non-reinforcing for you.
* Smothering you.
* Other is overly dependent on you.
* You are overly dependent on the other.
* Other has the power to impact your feelings about yourself.
* Relationship in which you are a chronic fixer, rescuer or enabler.
* Relationship in which your obligation and loyalty won't allow you to let go.
* Other appears helpless, lost and out of control.
* Other is self-destructive or suicidal.
* Other has an addictive disease.
* Relationship in which you are being manipulated and conned.
* When guilt is a major motivating factor preventing your letting go and detaching.
* Relationship in which you have a fantasy or dream that the other will come around and change to be what you want.
* Relationship in which you and the other are competitive for control.
* Relationship in which there is no forgiveness or forgetting and all past hurts are still brought up to hurt one another.
* Relationship in which your needs and wants are ignored.

Step 2: Once you have identified the persons, places and things you have a toxic relationship with, then you need to take each one individually and work through the following steps.

Step 3: Identify the irrational beliefs in the toxic relationship which prevent you from becoming detached. Address these beliefs and replace them with healthy, more rational ones.

Step 4: Identify all of the reasons why you are being hurt and your physical, emotional and spiritual health is being threatened by the relationship.

Step 5: Accept and admit to yourself that the other person, place or thing is "sick," dysfunctional or irrational, and that no matter what you say, do or demand you will not be able to control or change this reality. Accept that there is only one thing you can change in life and that is you. All others are the unchangeables in your life. Change your expectations that things will be better than what they really are. Hand these people, places or things over to your Higher Power and let go of the need to change them.

Step 6: Work out reasons why there is no need to feel guilt over letting go and being emotionally detached from this relationship and free yourself from guilt as you let go of the emotional "hooks" in the relationship.

Step 7: Affirm yourself as being a person who "deserves" healthy, wholesome, health-engendering relationships in your life. You are a good person and deserve healthy relationships, at home, work and in the community.

Step 8: Gain support for yourself as you begin to let go of your emotional enmeshment with these relationships.

Step 9: Continue to call upon your Higher Power for the strength to continue to let go and detach.

Step 10: Continue to give no person, place or thing the power to affect or impact your feelings about yourself.

Step 11: Continue to detach and let go and work at self-recovery and self-healing as this poem implies.

"Letting Go"
* To "let go" does not mean to stop caring; it means I can't do it for someone else.
* To "let go" is not to cut myself off; it's the realization I can't control another.
* To "let go" is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
* To "let go" is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
* To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another; it's to make the most of myself.
* To "let go" is not to care for, but to care about.
* To "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive.
* To "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
* To "let go" is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
* To "let go" is not to be protective; it's to permit another to face reality.
* To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept.
* To "let go" is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
* To "let go" is not to criticize and regulate anybody, but to try to become what I dream I can be.
* To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
* To "let go" is to not regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
* To "let go" is to fear less and love myself more.

Step 12: If you still have problems detaching, then return to Step 1 and begin all over again.

Apparently anger is a by-product of dementia, and even for some who have no dementia. I wonder if it is just part of the aging process. Don't know.
Hugs to all you caregivers who have to put up with this difficult situation. No one has mentioned getting the help of a Psychologist or Psychiatrist as a caregiver. Why not? You may be surprised at what two or three sessions with a good doctor can do for you. It won't remove the anger, but it may help you deal with this ongoing, uncomfortable situation.

Burmuda, your mother may as well be my own. I am a long distance care giver with a mom that refuses to accept any type of help I try to arrange. I've had to refuse to drive 5 hrs each way just to clean her house. After she finally got the message that I was not going to dust and vacuum her house, do her yard work, house repairs and maintenance, or run her errands, she finally got some home help. It's only 1 day a week but at least it's a start. But rest assured, she lets me know at every turn just how wonderful Miss Melissa is to her (with the implied slight to my daughterly indiscretions). I've learned how to not play into it though and she has backed off somewhat. I guess that's called detaching then? You do need to practice the detaching technique to be able to cope with you mom's inability to accept or refusal of help. Sad to say but I have to "sneak" my way around mom at times to accomplish things that are only beneficial to her well-being. If I'm eventually caught at it I just declare ignorance...but the fact remains that in the end I accomplish what I set out to do. I can't say these tactics always work but for most of the important ones it does. You might want to try some sneaky tricks of your own to get your mom the help she needs. I feel for your plight in a very strong way and I pray that you can find some helpful answers in trying to help your mom. What we see as "doing it out of love" they often perceive as interfering or controlling. Let us know how everything is going with you and your mom.

My Mom was the same way, but she isn't anymore. I had to go thru this same thing for about 2 yrs. 4 weeks ago she had Cataract surgery, she went from being legally blink to seeing 20/30. 2 weeks after surgery, she fell in the house, very bad fall, black & blue arm, and she did not want to go to the doctor! My Mom was a Nurse almost all her life, then graduated as a Nutritionist for a few years. She assured me her arm was going to be fine, my heart sunk to the floor for days. One week later, we had just finished dinner at a local restaurant, I buttoned up her coat, turned to pickup our purses, her arm was in a sling, turned back around maybe 20 seconds had passed, and there she was laying on the floor again. An Emergency Room Dr. just happened to be at the restaurant, gave her a quick look over, and insisted that she go to the Emergency Room for X-rays. Severe broken right arm, cracked left hip, Medivac'd from Juneau Alaska up to Anchorage Alaska, 5 hrs surgery, 7 days Anchorage Hospital. There is no more resisting help from anyone now. There are now 13 people helping to take care of Mom! I sure hope you don't have to experience the Trauma we did to get your Mom to change!

Emjo, I wanted to add to much sympathy for your current situation with visiting your mother. The manipulation around HOW you are allowed to contact her is familiar to me. My mother also tries to make it harder as if she likes for me to have to "work" at it. Perhaps your mother feels more valuable if she can make you jump through a few extra hoops to see her?

Back again after reading all those wonderful detachment posts. Thanks Emjo from me and all those who likely will read and be helped by them later! As I was reading I kept thinking, why is this so hard for me it all makes sense? I think part of it is because I do not believe my mother is a competent adult, I've never believed it even as a child, but she is incompetent in a ways that are very specific so that she never got diagnosis or treatment. She passes for normal under most circumstances. I truly cannot describe briefly what is wrong with her - it would take a multipage document! There's hoarding and also a childlike emotional state combined with extremely high intelligence and big ego. Now that physical frailty and early dementia are added to the mix it is a disaster. She's going to have a full geriatric psych eval in a few weeks and I'm hopeful that this will some how be helpful. You cannot imagine the number of fortunate coincidences that led to that getting set up. I'm still not sure she'll go through with it. Thanks again for all your support and help, I'll keep you guys posted.

Thanks for these Emjo! I will post more in a bit, busy day about to start. Yes "letting go" is very very challenging.

Letting Go - Author Unknown

To let go doesn't mean to stop caring;
It means I can't do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off...
It's the realization that I can't control another...
To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective,
It is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more

Here is something therapist Pauline Boss says, in her helpful book "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia":
"Taking care of someone who years before was abusive or neglectful of you is beyond what is expected of you. Caring for a family member who was or is physically or psychologically abusive is dangerous. ... These are justifiable reasons for NOT being a caregiver."

(Thanks for that Jeanne G - It is a gem!)

Bermuda and anyone with a mentally ill/abusive/controlling etc. parent, I would think very carefully before encouraging them to move close to you, or in with you. Many cannot manage it without a great toll on themselves. There are alternatives. Research your state/county resources for the aging, and social services.

No one should put up with being abused. Take care of you, focus on you, have compassion for others, but do not let them and their problems engulf you.

Love and (((((((((hugs))))))))) and let us know how it turns out. Joan

Here are some points on detaching. I reread them myself, as I find the more I can detach, the better for me and everyone.

Accept that others are responsible for their own choices
Anger – deal with it in a healthy way
Blame – don’t blame and don’t accept blame
Consequences – face them and see that others experience them
Decide what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do
Detachment is not a feeling so much as a choice of behaviours, though the feelings should follow the behaviours. Detachment means you can maintain positive behaviours towards to others –kindness, compassion,
Don’t take on blame, guilt, manipulation, anger - don’t enable
Focus on yourself
Forgive, but don’t forget the need to protect yourself
Grieve the relationship as it was, the hopes that you had, the mistreatment you received
Protect yourself from further abuse
Refuse to be manipulated e.g, emotional blackmail
Respond, don’t react -be proactive
Separate - physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, socially from others behaviours/feelings
Set boundaries
Say “No”
Space – create it between you and them
Try not to take the behaviours personally
Treat others and yourself with love and dignity
You can only control /change yourself – your emotions, your behaviours –do not take responsibility for the others feelings or behaviours
Realise it is a process and that you will make mistakes and get “sucked” in, but that you can learn from your mistakes.
From Stop Walking on Eggshells
When someone in your life has borderline or narcissistic personality disorder
by Randi Kreger
Remember it's Detaching "With Love"
It's important to remember the "with love" part. Detaching with love is not a way of treating someone one else, judging them, controlling their action, or implying approval or disapproval. If the world were a store and someone came up to you looking for the auto parts section, detaching would be like saying, "I'm sorry, but I'm not the sales clerk. I don't know where the auto parts are; perhaps you can find a sales clerk at the customer service counter." It's not saying, "Let me find out for you," and it's not snapping "Do you see me wearing a uniform? No? Then leave me alone!"
Detaching is a method of setting boundaries to protect yourself. It can also mean that you give up the notion that you can control their behavior, and you stop allowing them to control yours. It’s hard. It takes practice. But for many, detaching works

Bermuda and momsonlyhope. I was going to post sooner, but have my own situation here to deal with, and am needing to practice detachment. I came to mother's city to visit her and she doesn't want to see me, but wants to see me when my sister visits at the end of the month. A week or two ago, when we last talked about it, she wanted to see me this weekend, Go figure. It is a rather obvious attempt to manipulate. I am not changing my plans and I know mother will bad mouth me to whoever will listen, then complain that I don't visit her enough. That is how she is. Bermuda, you mention sparks flying. Yes, they do that and you can't let that drive your behaviour, any more than I can let my mother's current behaviour drive mine. I am not going to pretend that detachment is easy, but it does get easier with practice. Pride and anger, indeed. Hallmarks of a borderline personality disorder and narcissism.

First of all I didn't "get" my mother into assisted living. She made that choice. For years I made it very clear that I could/would not take her into my home. At times, I have had that thrown into my face - so be it. I knew it would be too destructive to my life, and no matter where mother was, or what I did, she would complain and be unhappy. We have to work at resting easy no matter the choices they make. It sounds like your mother would be eligible for Medicaid since she does not have much money, but there is no way you can force her to change her situation. If you think she is unsafe in her situation, you could call the agency on aging in her area. I believe you can ask for someone to visit and evaluate to see if she is safe on her own. Others here know more about that than I do. At one point, we hired a 24/7 live in nanny for my mother, as she was very happy in her apartment at that time. It didn't work, the poor lady quit after about 9 months due to emotional/verbal abuse. It was then that mother went into a facility. She lasted 6 months and moved to another one. I then told her if she could not manage in that one, she needed a nursing home or some other type of facility and I was not moving her again to another assisted living.

Sometimes you have no options but to wait till the situation gets worse. Some have been successful in helping their parent to change their mind about a facility. It is not a bad idea to see if your mum would visit some facilities so she knows what is available. In any case, detachment is an important skill in staying sane/reducing stress with narcissism/ personality disorders/dementia. Do remember she is responsible for her choices. She is competent and it is not your responsibility to make these decisions for her. Set boundaries/limits for yourself. We tend to develop codependent relationships with our dysfunctional parent. Melody Beattie writes well about this. She has written a number of books - Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself is one.
Here is a quote from another of her books “I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people's lives, problems, and wants set the course for my life. Once I realized it was okay for me to think about and identify what I wanted, remarkable things began to take place in my life.” ― Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series

I will start another post with points on detaching.

Bermunda~I strongly suggest you read the books and do the workbook that emjo suggests too. Therapy of any type is painful to go through but so worth the work. Hugs to you!!

Bermuda I have 5 siblings and mom has 12, still I am all alone doing this. I hope it works out for you and your mother, its not easy, I am at my wits end. Remember to take time for you.

Bermuda I will post some stuff later - travelling these days and need a nap!

Emjo thanks so much for your reply - Jeanne definitely my ears are listening! I wrote about that control mechanism on Roscoe's thread - I know about it and am in therapy but have yet to find out how to turn it off. How did you get your mother into assisted living? I think I would rest so much easier if my mother was somewhere where she wasn't responsible for her environment but she doesn't have the money to pay for assisted living but for a few months even if she were willing to go. Right now I've got her some in home help but she won't let the person come info enough hours to really do the job that's needed. HOW does one detach?

Momsonlyhope and Shaynemarie, yep I've found the DONM site and it very helpful and validating to read so many with similar experiences! And yes it has to feel like my mother's idea to her.....still sometimes I can't dance around and have to be direct and sparks fly!

Experience is the best teacher -- and someone else's experience is a lot cheaper!

Emjo is kindly offering the benefit of her experience. She is worth listening to very carefully!

bermuda - and momsonlyhope - sounds like you both need to learn to detach. My mother is narcissistic and has borderline personality disorder, and has recently been diagnosed with paranoia. She is 101 and her short term memory is failing. though her physical health is pretty good. I have POA and live 5 hrs drive away and am 76 so my energy is less than it was. The road to success with your mother is for you to learn to handle the stress. I have found as I age I have to protect myself more as the stress takes a physical toll on me. The DONM site is great and there are other resources online. My mum is in assisted living, complains a lot, is still very independent and doesn't accept suggestions well at all, but I do say what I think, as tactfully - sometimes firmly - as possible, and sometimes she takes the direction, but I emphasize that it is her choice. I have a sibling and she has similar mental health issues and tends to make trouble, so a sib is not always a good thing. There is a good book and workbook called Stop Walking on Eggshells - Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder: by Paul Mason, Randi Kreger: ...It is worth getting.
Yes, aging brings additional issues - both for her and for you. My health did and still does suffer from the stress, so I am detaching more and more, and also realising I may have to make some hard choices that she will not like. If it comes to that, I would consult various family members before I do. I activated the POA (finances) and Personal Directive (Health and other personal choices) this summer with the blessings of the family and her lawyer after mother tried to fly to eastern Canada on her own, misplaced some money etc, She doesn't like it and is now telling people that I have total control over her money which is nonsense. All I do is look at her bank statement once in a while to help her when she gets mixed up. She still writes cheques and uses her credit card etc. as usual. If the time comes when she can't handle her money I will help her as needed. Some of this you just have to swallow, but I do get tired of explaining it to the well meaning people she complains to.. No good deed goes unpunished! Sometimes you just have to let it happen until there is a consequence. As your mum, Bermuda, is competent, it is her choice, Please let go of the guilt. Narcissistic/mentally unhealthy people manipulate by FOG -fear, obligation and/or guilt and suck you into unhealthy interactions. Don't act out of FOG. Detach yourself. You have not nor are doing anything to feel guilty about. Be kind to you. A psychologist, Pauline Boss recommends that those who were/are being abused do not directly care for their abusers. Be humane and see that they get the care they need as much as you can, but do it at arm's length, and see that there is no further harm is done to you. Childhood pain/anxiety etc. tends to get triggered in these situation for those of us who have been abused. (((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))) this is a hard road. Come back and let us know how you are doing,

Bermuda, maybe you could bring things up in a way to make her think she thought of it. Lead her to make the decision to get help and just say if that is whay YOU want. Do YOU want me to arrange it? Somehow, let her think she is the one making the decisions and she will go along with it much easier. Worth a try.

Just throwing a big THANK YOU out there to SHARYNMARIE for her directions to DONM. I found this site to be very helpful to me. It sure described my mom to a tee. I feel like I can now understand her a little better, especially her narcissic injuries and rages. Thank you thank you thank you

Thanks JessieBelle, it's that combination of being aware of all the problems, feeling responsible but powerless too that makes me feel insane. What you describe about making suggestions and waiting till circumstances are right for her to accept them is about the only thing I've found that works. Still things often go too far. Her dirty house is really a hoarding house - so bad that some caregivers I've hired refuse to take the job. Not bad enough that she can be declared incompetent and put in a home though. Meals on Wheels she's refused to even consider setting up, her steady diet of fast food is apparently "just fine". Still it's been about a year since I pushed MoW maybe it's time to bring it up again. Detachment is a tough thing to manage!

Bermuda, you and I were typing at the same time, so I didn't see your update. This is a tough situation. Still, you can just do the best you can by offering some suggestions for her to consider. Sometimes people can live a long time on McDonald's and a dirty house. It sounds like Meals on Wheels might be to her liking if she would consider it. Caregiving long distance can be exasperating. We hear all the problems, but feel powerless to fix them if our loved one won't listen to us.

Bermuda, there is only so much you can do. Sometimes you can plant a seed -- a suggestion -- and maybe she'll act on it later. With her strong personality and pride, she would most likely oppose anything you try to do directly. It may even erupt in warfare. Sometimes it is like playing a waiting game with pieces falling into place as she lets them. It can be most exasperating.

Your main concerns seem to be that her house is dirty and she is not eating right. Does she stay by herself? A lot of older people have messy houses. Maybe it is because they don't have anyone to clean up for anymore. How long has your father been gone? I notice that she is in independent living. Is that a senior community or a separate place? Sometimes senior communities have household help that many people use and who become friends with the residents. It would be nice if she could hire someone one day a week to come in and do all the housework so she won't have to do it. (Much is gained by suggesting things in ways that make her feel like it is her choice to make her life better.)

The food issue is more pressing. Senior centers often offer mid-day meals that give seniors fairly good nutrition and a chance for social interaction. I wonder if she would be interested in doing that? She might find that she enjoys being around the people her own age.

Answers are difficult. We just have to play things by ear, knowing what our loved ones will and won't do. All you can do is what she will let you do, so don't feel angry at yourself or inadequate. You are up against a difficult problem. Parents are very reluctant to hand over the reins of control to their children. It makes them very angry when the children start acting like the parent. Many don't adjust well to it as long as they have breath to fight. It makes life so unpleasant and we can rarely accomplish what we need to do when they are fighting us so hard. So we just do the best we can do and know that it is not our fault we can't do more.

It is not an easy road you're on. I'm glad you're here, Bermuda. It helps so much to let off steam.

Thanks everyone for your support! I should really update my profile with some details one of these days. I live in another state from my mother and facing some tough health and financial issues myself so I can't just move there or move her here right now. I've been trying to help her long distance by arranging caregivers and services with the occasional in person visit and lots of phone contact. I do have DPOA but it is only in case of incapacity (like for Shaynemarie) and I don't think we are quite there yet. And yes she has some personality disorder issues - these relating patterns are not new, just now the stakes are raised since she really needs to accept more help or this will become a situation for social services eventually. She's always isolated herself so there are no neighbors or friends to help and she respects no one - especially not her doctors and has no religion so church help is out too. Sometimes the situation just feels overwhelming - she's only 70. What scares me is that I already feel my patience and compassion running thin and I am so early in this journey yet.

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