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Today I had my first appointment with an actual therapist (not a counselor).
Even though one hour wasn't long enough to spew out everything I need to talk about, this woman completely picked up on 2 truly major points.
1) Even ONE of the stressors I have been dealing with over the last year is more than enough to warrant therapy!
2) I have been the "caregiver " for everyone in my family since I was 12 years old!


She asked me what I do for myself?
I had absolutely no answer!!
Hence therapy!! Lol


Caring for a narcissistic LO is a labor of love!


Not because they will love us back, but because we need to love ourselves!!
How do you keep caring selflessly for your selfish LO?


What do you do for yourself?


(((Hugs)))

So many GREAT comments!!

I truly love how we all(mostly all) support each other!!

Just to reiterate, if you didn't grow up with a narcissistic parent that you are now caring for in some manner, it would be almost impossible for you to comprehend the conflict that we fight within ourselves!

You may think it would be easier to cut someone out of your life that has treated you so badly.

That's not the case, because we were raised differently. Raised with a different set of values. And it takes a lot of hard work to undo a lifetime of what you believed to be normal only to find out it was in fact twisted.

We have no "normal" baseline to reference!
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WilliMartin,
Those are great questions!! And difficult to explain (hence therapy),but I'll try.

Growing up, I (like many children of NM) was programmed to believe that you earn love by the things you do! Unconditional love is not just a foreign concept, it's never taught.

It's incredibly hard to to overcome the ingrained notion that I won't be loved if I don't do everything that's asked of me. After all, I was taught that I get love for what I do, not who I am.

I have only recently realized that Mom is a narcissist. I am a work in progress!

You're absolutely right!! If I wasn't here any longer, she would have to make her own way!!

But I am here, and I have to be able to live with myself. I am constantly researching and learning all I can to help me move forward and deal with her narcissism. But it's truly tough when the societal norm tells us that it's abnormal and selfish to disown your mother.

I guess it's a process!!
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Thank you Helenb, I live in hope!
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With regard to Chris's comment that she is planning to gradually reduce the support she give her mother by letting the paid for carers take over:

The pandemic is of course awful in so many ways, but one slightly good thing to come out of it is that my mother seems to have accepted more help from the on-site care team at her AL and is a bit slower to ask us to do everything for her. She even now says, 'If it's not too much trouble, could you get me X when you're next in town,' though what she would say if we said no is easy to imagine!
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My mother is also very narcissistic and we have always had a difficult relationship. Now she is 82 and needing help and Im doing what I can to help her. My friends think Im crazy but my motto is "I need to lay down at night and know that I did the right thing...for me". Yes, Im helping her, but I also need to know that Im not the person she was. If that makes sense.

I admire you! Keep up the good work and definitely find time for yourself!
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2 more questions for you: 1. Why do you keep caring selflessly for your selfish LO, when it continues to suck the life out of you and make you miserable? 2. What would they do for themselves if you were out of the picture? My guess is that they would find ways to take care of themselves or pay for care services if they honestly need it.
I can’t see this as a labor of love. It is more like years of abuse and programming done to you from early age when you were an impressionable child who didn’t understand how wrong it is. Take your life back and make the most of it or you will be left with nothing but anger at yourself for wasting it on those who don’t respect you.
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Thank you Piper. My husband is a good and perceptive man. He forecast that I would be emotionally drained until she moves out, and he was right. He also thinks that when she has gone, I will probably suffer some sort of emotional collapse after years of this stress. He is probably right about that too, but I am seeing that as the beginning of a new and positive chapter in our lives.
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Chriscat,

Let us know when your mom goes to the care home, so we can have a virtual "Chris gets her Life Back" party!

I realize you will still be involved with her care, but having your home to yourself and you and your husband getting your privacy back will be so nice. Your husband sounds like a good guy and you two deserve a life and a marriage without your mother's constant intrusion.
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Thank you Helenb, your kind thoughts are much appreciated. I know that feeling of always thinking everything is my fault or that I’m being blamed for everything. It’s very important to recognise when your thoughts tend to go in this direction, because then you can try to make a conscious effort to overrule them. In your case, you are even finding yourself apologising to God, so do try to give yourself a pat on the back for what you have done in your life, and how you’ve coped despite having a damaging mother. Unfortunately while the damaged person is still present in our lives, they will keep on causing more damage. This year my mother has effectively blamed me for the Covid pandemic, because she’s had to stay home to keep safe, rather than indulge her shopping habit. I’ve received no credit for keeping her safe, for ensuring she has plenty of food and all other requirements and for ensuring we have suitable PPE when we have had to go out. There are only complaints directed at me. When she moves to her care facility in the New Year, I am planning to gradually reduce the support I give her by letting the paid for carers take over. I am hoping that I will then be able to think about myself and my needs for a change. I don’t ask for much, but a moment to breathe instead of dealing with constant demands and intrusions would be nice.
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ExhaustedPiper, you've hit the nail on the head here:

'I sometimes wonder how differently my life would have turned out if my mom was a normal person. Not in terms of success, but in terms of self worth, and somehow never feeling worthy of love. Always feeling like things are my responsibility and my fault, even when I rationally know it's not. It's so messed up.'

Feeling exactly like this has held me back from achieving more in life, although I haven't done too badly in many ways. Yet I feel I haven't made the most of what God gave me because of this conditioning.

Chriscat, my thoughts and prayers are with you and I really wish you well.
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Thanks NeedHelp, overwhelmed is exactly how I feel. I’ve stayed calm through all the rages and insults, as shouting back is of no help to anyone, and have found a way to keep calmly and firmly sticking to the plan. Also, I know narcissists love to start an almighty argument so I’m not letting myself be provoked into this. But all of this is emotionally draining and I’m so tired and anxious. When I see how my mother is behaving, I absolutely know it is the right time for her to go into proper care now, as I think she will only get worse and there might otherwise come a point where we just wouldn’t be able to get her out. The place we have found really is a unique option here, as it bridges the gap between living in sheltered accommodation where you live on your own and just have a warden to oversee the general maintenance of the place, or at the other extreme, a full blown care home. I start worrying about what will happen if the new care place doesn’t work out and she comes back here, but my husband says he will handle that if necessary and that she is not coming back. He is a calm and good man but disgusted by the effect my mother has had on me throughout my life and now just wants to protect me. Thankfully he is not emotionally involved or drained like I am. I’m going to gently let it be known to my mother that this new care option really does offer her the best solution and that she really needs to make it work, as the other options are not so attractive, and my husband would then be sorting an alternative out. I can’t see my therapist at the moment due to Covid, and a phone or Zoom call in the house isn’t possible as my mother could be listening in, hence the need to vent here. Thankfully I don’t feel guilty about all of this, as I feel we are at the point where she is slowly killing me, and it will only get worse if we do nothing.
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Chris,

Don’t you dare apologize or have guilt about your decision to take care of yourself or place your mom.

I nearly died with guilt and confusion over what to do about my mom. My mom is now under hospice care and living with my brother. Previously she was living with me for 15 long years! She has Parkinson’s disease.

My mom isn’t narcissistic but she’s a perfectionist and while I realize it isn’t the same as narcissism, nevertheless she could be quite demanding with me.

So don’t push yourself so hard and burn out like I did. You will feel relief afterwards. Yes, there may be a mixed bag of emotions for a short while but trust me, it’s the right choice if you are feeling overwhelmed.

Be confident with your decision to place your mom.

The place you have selected sounds safe and a nice place to live.

Please ignore any pushback from others not to place your mom. You have your own health concerns and need to look after yourself.

Wishing you all the peace and happiness that you deserve!
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I really feel I needed to read this thread today, and I’ve found it hugely supportive to help stay strong. I’m still working on moving my mother into proper paid for care after over 10 years of her living with us (long saga of her NPD in my various other posts this year). I am worn out and want a life of my own, as well as having some health issues of my own (episodes of severe pain which might be fibromyalgia - I am waiting for a verdict from medics) that I now need to focus on. She initially accepted she needed more care when we first discussed this a few weeks ago, but since then her moods have fluctuated between rage directed at me, silence and sulking, acceptance, self pity, more rage and so on. We have found a nice affordable place that offers her the independence she still wants, but with all meals, outings, household bills and social activities provided, a lovely en suite room of her own and there is even another lady already living there that she knows as an old village neighbour of ours. There is no rush and we are looking at making this happen sometime in the New Year. It is safe and has been Covid free all year. The problem is that I am being sucked into about half of every day now dealing with her various demands and panics about the new place, whilst also trying to deal with my own health care, and it is just exhausting. I accept this is a big move for my mother, but she is just not interested in my health at all. I showed her a couple of pages about fibromyalgia so she could understand what I am going through, but she kept this for a few hours and then passed it back to me without any comment. She is just not bothered. She tells me she doesn’t want to live here any more anyway and that there is nothing here for her, she doesn’t accept I’ve provided any care at all for her for the past decade, and says she has never asked me for anything (the reality is that she bombards me with demands daily). All of this has made me more resolute that we have to make this move into proper care. This extreme self absorption is so difficult to live with and has affected my health. My very supportive husband thinks that when she has moved out I’m likely to crash emotionally after decades of being worn down in this way. He’s probably right, but it will be a good thing as it will be a new beginning. Sorry to go on, but I just needed to get this out...
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Jodi,

You know none of this is your fault. You shouldn’t ever allow anyone to make you feel guilty about expressing your frustration dealing with this situation.

So many posters have suffered horribly from a parent or spouse with this condition.

Psychiatrists have stated that people with narcissistic personality disorders are some of the most difficult patients to treat.

My heart truly goes out to anyone who has been a victim of their abuse.
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ExhaustedPiper: AMEN! You make such an excellent point about self worth and the ability to love ourselves when we're victims of abuse from a narcissistic mother or parent/husband. It's not so easy, is it? Thank God there are tons of therapists and psychologists who DO have lots of familiarity with this personality disorder who can help those of us in need. And lots of us in the same boat who can share our own personal experience and coping mechanisms with one another here on the board.

I can also relate to you feeling like everything is your 'fault' because you've been made to feel that way your whole life. My DH is being operated on right now for pleural effusions. He thought he was having rib pain but it was lung pain he was actually feeling. In the hospital, the doctor pressed on his ribs and asked if it hurt when he did so. My DH said no. AHA, the doctor said, it's NOT your ribs then, the problem is on the interior of your body instead; time for a CT Scan. I immediately said to myself, OMG, it's MY fault: I should have pressed on his ribs myself, as if I had the medical knowledge to do such a thing and diagnose the problem as a layman. Sigh.

People who haven't even heard of this personality disorder shouldn't cast opinions on what those of us going through it are experiencing or suffering. It's kind of like me giving advice about fixing a car when I have absolutely no knowledge of mechanics. I will avoid that thread rather than share useless advice. But that's just me, sticking to subjects I have firsthand knowledge and experience with rather than throwing out hollow platitudes which don't help at all.
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Tothill, I'm glad you had a cry yesterday with your medical provider who is also your friend. It's good to get that release when you are with a truly compassionate person who is just there for you, and genuinely cares. I hope your day yesterday went a bit better because if it.

I had that experience about 2 or 3 times in my life, so I really do get it. I sometimes wonder how much differently my life would have turned out if my mom was a normal person. Not in terms of success, but in terms of self worth, and somehow never feeling worthy of love. Always feeling like things are my responsibility and my fault, even when I rationally know it's not. It's so messed up.

The best thing, I think, is to protect yourself from abuse, but also to make time for the people who deserve your attention and time. Those that do care, like your friend yesterday.

Also know you are FAR from alone. Many of us are victims of narcissistic parents as evidenced on this forum. Reach out when you want to vent or talk. Plenty of us here get it. Sending you a huge hug.
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I have never in my life heard of a narcissist mother. Never.

Where I am from we don't label them. They may be mean or set in their ways but we are to taught to love them and honor them because they are our mother.

Regardless, your mom is responsible for her own actions. You are responsible for your actions as well.

With this being said, you are not suppose to treat your mom the way she treats you.

We are not the one who punishes another.

Someone with a higher power does.

It is called, You reap what you sow.


Blessings to All
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Imho, you need to LOVE yourself. I recently saw something about this subject on social media. The person was loving and caring about everyone else and had forgotten the most important thing - to LOVE YOURSELF. Prayers sent.
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Hi......:)

You wrote a great story.
Can you imagine the Medical Field remotely addressing the psychological damage done to all of us on this site?

Why......was it OK for selfish, narcissistic parents to put their children through YEARS of abuse?

Why, wasn’t anyone watching?????

I lived through it.
I have been damaged in every
way possible.

My puberty, adolescence, adult life.

I have been to therapy.

The “Selfish” parents of the 1960’s damaged their children for life.

Amen.
I treated MY CHILDREN SOOOO MUCH BETTER!!!!
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Most posters encourage you to take care of yourself. I want to encourage you, if you aren't already doing it, get to the Dentist regularly. Get your hair cut or/and colored and your nails (mani and pedi) done regularly. Get enough sleep. If you have a significant other in your life, be sure you make time for him/her. When you go out even, to the grocery store, look in the mirror to be sure what you are wearing looks OK. Oh, and take time to exercise.

Hugs.
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I refuse to provide any form of hands on care for my abusive parents. I do handle some bookkeeping and financial planning as that is my profession.

It took years and $$$$ of therapy to realize that I am a person who deserves love and respect and a life without abuse. Providing care to an abuser is not an act of love for me, it is putting me right back in the firing line.

I met with a trusted medical provider yesterday. She knows my story, she is a friend. I broke down in tears in her office because she offers me the one thing my parents are incapable of offering, compassion and empathy.
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I’m a Christian and was a caregiver to my grandpa (finally had to put him in a VA rest home, he’ll be 102 in December) to come home to help my mother.
I struggle every day.
Joyce Meyer isn’t always my go to preacher but she has helped me a lot to keep things in perspective. She dealt with a terrible set of parents her entire life but with the strength of Jesus she made it through.
You might YouTube some of her speakings on the topic.
If it makes you feel any better I sip vodka in the evenings.
It's not easy, but it’s temporary. Keep that in mind 🙏
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I, too, have been the caregiver from a very early age. My parents were both alcoholics. I learned early on to “not rock the boat” and how to pick up the pieces. They both died relatively young. my father at age 45-from Acute Alcoholism-and my mother at age 56 from lung cancer. They were both smokers also. My parents divorced when I was 8, and I had to be my mothers emotional support, and as her alcoholism progressed, her “manager” too, as well as that for my younger brother and my Grandmother with Alzheimer’s. That was all before age 21-while also pulling straight A’s, working and going to college. I finally hit a wall after my grandmother died, and moved 1000 miles away! Of course my mom finally hit rock bottom and by that time became physically disabled and came to live with me and my husband. No more drinking though because my husband told her, one drink and you are on a bus back to Tennessee. she never took another drink.
I have learned a lot about myself in the past 33 years and one of the things I have learned and believe is that some of us are wired to be helpers/servers and managers. If it is part of your wiring/gifting, then it is not as Taxing as when that is not your gifting. I have taken many psychological tests and always come out on that bent. the Enneagram test also has me as a “helper” gifting. I have learned though how to have boundaries. I think that is the key to losing the resentment factor. I have had to grieve the lack of parenting I had. I have learned how to say no graciously and without guilt.
Now that we are caring for my in-laws, those boundaries allow me to use my gifts of helping/serving/managing without feeling used and abused. I see my husband has other gifts. We compliment each other. So I continue to serve my in-laws-who are VERY self-centered and who were NOT there for us and our children, not to gain their love, but as an act of love for my husband.
Boundaries are key. I also believe that my faith in God and his sovereignty has helped me manage it all and put it in perspective.
Blessings on your journey! I highly recommend doing the Boundaries book, by Drs. Cloud and Townsend, and getting your therapist to help you unpack it.
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Wow ChristServant!!!......it’s 2020 and you are really going to use a racial slur! And what kind of Christian are you behaving this way? Re-read what you posted. I don’t think god is on your side here. You sure aren’t acting very Christian like right now!!
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I often wonder how many men raised by NPD mothers can maintain any semblance of a normal relationship in a marriage?

My inlaws were divorced 20 years after we were married--and he died 17 years ago--so they'd been apart over 30 years by the time he died. To talk to her, if he can up (and he always did) she talked as if the things he had done to her had happened yesterday. The anger was just incredible and I still find it amazing how she can remember that Christmas of '83 I gave her a crappy gift. (A pair of cloisonné earrings that I would have LOVED). She made a big point of throwing them away. Ok, be that way. BTW, they cost over $200 and that was a LOT in '88.

Fear of disappointing her, hurt at never, ever being good enough and the worst thing of all--marrying me, have left her so bitter and unkind. DH has tried his best to overcome this--but he is still so deeply ingrained in his thinking that he is a piece of Sh$t---which is what she calls him, and always has. A 3 yo boy may not know much, but he knows what THAT means.

I'm married to a sad, broken man. It's hard and frustrating at times, b/c he covers his hurt with sassiness and what he thinks is 'funny'. Our kids alternately adore/can't stand him. At age 68--he's finally starting to come to an understanding that HE is not at fault for anything his mother does. He has walked away and I don't know if he'll go back. He will, to support his sweet sister, but not for his mother.

How grateful I am that none of her kids got that gene. I guess all her siblings got pretty bad before they died. We're not close, so I don't know.

I'm going to pat myself on the back b/c this has not been an easy marriage. I am committed to it, but it would be so nice if she weren't a factor at all.

I'd say he's stayed in the 'relationship' purely out of guilt, certainly not love. Maybe some obligation, but mostly guilt.
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My mom is drifting into this self-focus as she ages. I keep it in balance while she is pretty "mentally balanced" and considered "mentally competent" by having lost of time away from her to pursue other interests. I expect that as she becomes more dependent and self-focused, she will need to live with us and we will also need to hire additional help.

Mom lived with us for months when my husband retired from the military and we had moved out of state. She did not abide by our "lifestyle rules": no eating in bed (we have oh so many ants on the property looking for crumbs), daily shower and washing hair several times a week (my husband is Japanese descent and personal hygiene is a huge issue as well as mom's odor), keeping decent hours (we're morning people and mom likes to be up at all hours after midnight), and keeping her "stuff" confined to her bedroom and bonus room/sitting room (her stuff ended up in the bathroom, the patio, and threatened the living room).

We handed her a set of "house rules" and she finally decided it was time to find that condo that she promised she was going to move to ("I'll only stay for a few months until I find place"). Of course, we had to do the heavy lifting of moving her stuff into her new home. She is happier living according to her own whims, even if she and her place are a little odorous.
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Having an narcissistic parent is one of the most cruel things imaginable. The mental and sometimes physical abuse is constant and done so in a way that is slow, methodical and purposeful. As I am finding out, I was programmed from the beginning to be the fixer. Hard to undo that programming. I have a nephew that I am watching the same thing happen to. Dysfunction and mental abuse is an understatement but those terms can only be acknowledged after the damage is done. The best way to describe being a child of a narcissistic parent it is like losing control of a car. You are in the car, you know what is happening, you are turning the wheel, slamming on the brakes and willing it not to happen but then 'BAM". No matter what you were trying to do in those few moments before the crash were fruitless. The grip that a narcissistic parent has on you is not unlike a cult leader. You will do anything to make them love you, acknowledge you and say they approve of you but none of those thing will ever occur because that is where the conrol lies. Escape can be just as mentally tortourious as staying becasue you are constantly worried that they cannot make it without you but what is really happing is you are still looking for something that you will never receive, and it is unconditional love from the narcissist. I am in the same situaiton but I have slowly started working to accept the fact mother will never give me what the child in me so desperatly needed. I had to look inward to accept this and outward at the love I do have from others in my life. It is hard for a child of narcissist to finally accept this but once you do, it is freeing and allows you to focus on your own life and those that really do love you.
In closing, remember, your mother will never change but you can change how she controls and affects your life. It may feel like torture but talk to someone to work through those feelings. Your heart and mind will eventually acclimate to the new, and much more postive, state of being. You will start to realize you have the power over your own life and the world looks as it did when you were a child. Full of adventure and excitement, not dread and worry.
Good luck and know others know exactly what you are going through. You are not alone.
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I agree with all the suggestions for self-care made here; my counsellor keeps reminding me that in a crisis on a plane you out your own oxygen mask on first so that you can help others.

I don't actually know whether I love my narcissistic mother - I feel an uneasy mixture of frustrated affection, sadness, pity and resentment towards her. My life was certainly easier when she lived 150 miles away; now she is 5 minutes away I can't stop thinking I ought to be round there providing company for her - even though it's not my problem that she has never made friends easily and rejects most attempts to get her to join in social activities in her AL (of course these are currently suspended because of the virus). I guess I was conditioned from a young age to believe her well-being was my responsibility, and it's very hard to shake that after 50+ years. Like lealonnie's, my mum has never been independent and has always relied on others, which of course gets worse as old age takes its toll. I just never thought I would end up being the one to take on the role - or rather, my husband, as she prefers him to me. That causes stress of a different kind!

I have to admit that I dread my mother living on and on, not able to be happy, and expecting us to make up for that for her. If she lives as long as my grandma, I shall be well over 60 by then!
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Reading these comments are so helpful to me. I too also have a narcissistic mother. I grew up feeling unloved while watching her dote on my brothers. She never wanted girls (had 2, and 2 boys). Imagine growing up knowing this? Yet I am the one she always confided in with all her problems since I was 12, telling me things a 12 year old should not be told. My mother was never there for me when I needed her to lean on, although I tried to be the good girl. My brother, her golden boy was always in trouble (including jail time). Now she is old and has some form of dementia, the only one she can count on is me!! She calls me anytime during the day or nite without any concern for me. If I try and talk to her about my issues she always returns the conversation back to herself. My sister and brother do nothing for her (her golden boy passed away). So, because she is my mother, I am handling all her affairs trying to keep her from being taken advantage of. I am tired of being the go to daughter , but I don't want to just turn my back on her. She is not wealthy, but lives in a condo, which I made sure all the payment were made on the mortgage, so she does have a decent roof over her head. A caregiver does come in most of the time several days a week, but it is hard to have reliable help. My mother wants to live with me and my husband, but that is the one thing I will never do!! I am learning with the help of my wonderful husband to not let my mother drain me dry physically, and emotionally, its hard, but I'm doing it. I'm so happy for this forum, feels good knowing there are people like me, that we can share our thoughts and suggestions with and pray for.
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I do it out of a sense of duty, and the knowledge that she has no one else to look after her. She is in the MC unit of her ALF, but I took care of her every day when she started declining until I could get her into the facility. She was the typical narcissistic mother, but my basic needs were met, so I can make sure her basic needs were met. I check on her health, make sure she has everything she needs, and I feel like that is the full extent of my duty. We have never had a close relationship—even her lifelong friends have told me I am giving her more attention than she ever gave me—so I’m handling that part the same way I have for years. I am scheduled to FaceTime with her once a week, if she doesn’t feel like it, or wants to argue the whole time, fine, we’ll try again next week. I just tune out the criticism and negativity.
During the time when she first went into the facility, she was very hostile and abusive toward me, so I didn’t visit her for a pretty good long time. I kept in touch with the staff and came in if she needed anything, but left quickly. When I finally did come for a visit, a nurse commented that she hadn’t seen me before and I felt no guilt in telling her that mom and I are not close and I didn’t plan on visiting much, for both of our mental well-being. If you need to do the same, I want you to be guilt-free as well. Find out what your interests are and indulge them. Reward yourself—every visit to mom ended for me with a cupcake from the luxury bakery down the street. Take care of yourself first, make sure her needs are met, then tell yourself that you are enough and you have done enough.
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