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I'm new here, I have been looking for a place to connect with other caregivers, but I haven't been sure where to find the right fit because of how my mother is. Though, having just been reading for a few days, it seems like there are others here dealing with similar mothers or people like my mother. My mother has NPD, and though most narcissists aren't diagnosed, I know this is what she has. I've spent my whole life dealing with it. At the end of August this year she went into the hospital and was treated for AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia) She had her induction Chemo, which caused other problems, and we learned that she has MDS (Myelodysplastic syndrome). She now has Interstitial Pneumonitis, Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is oxygen dependent and has developed a Pulmonary Embolism. These are all things she is under care for. In a couple of weeks we will be going to Stanford for a consultation to talk about if she is or would be able to have a bone marrow transplant, to cure the MDS. Needless to say, she has a host of crap going on right now medically. I live at home and have become her caregiver. My Dad isn't much help, for a few reasons. He's not very clean, so I don't trust him to do a lot because I fear him infecting all of us or making things worse. My Brother is also no help, nor are we on good terms or do I trust him or feel secure that he'd take care of things properly. He's always got an agenda, and it's difficult to trust someone who you fear will steal from you or put his own interests ahead of the needs of the moment. My folks can not afford an outside caregiver to assist me, nor would they ever allow it. Being that I live here I really have no say. That being the position I am in, it's a bit pointless to discuss options in those areas because there just are none, and I accept that part. Having learned about NPD in recent years, I've been on a path to get my emotional well being into a better place. It's been a difficult and slow process. I've learned to set boundaries, learned a lot of ways to avoid things since I can't go no-contact, and in the last year things had finally gotten to a mostly reasonable and tolerable place. Then this medical crap happened, and the whole shebang changed. I've been dealing with everything, and I do mean everything, from the family trust, to cooking to being involved in her medical care in every way, to cooking and cleaning, doling out her medicine, etc all of it. I have been having moments of utter hitting bottom. I could explain how toxic she is but anyone with a NPD person in their life will know. At this point, the hardest part is the rollercoaster. She's surviving on her medications, her white blood cells are extremely low, has had to get blood transfusions, and I just feel like her body is dying, but her spirit is so fierce. I really hate her some days, not because of the illness, but because of how she is to people, to me. Part of me wishes she would just die, and there is a load of guilt for feeling like that. Then other days I say to myself I really don't wish she was dead, I just wish she wasn't so mean cruel hurtful and toxic, I wish she would just change. Anybody who knows what dealing with an NPD person is like knows all too well that they will never change. I think right now what I fear most is the knowledge that she is going to die without the transplant. The transplant itself is a very risky thing but she's decided that if they will do it, she's going to do it. I don't know what I want, while I don't want her to die, her dying would also feel like freedom. Not just from the recent caregiving, but freedom from her as she has always been. The rollercoaster of emotions is harsh right now. While I don't wish her ill or dead, because that isn't who I am, the anger hurt and frustrations of everything for the past 40 some years, it does crop up those thoughts that I wish she would just die, and I hate it. The biggest fear though comes from all of this. I will lose my mom, and though she has never been the kind of mom I have always needed and wanted, loving, affectionate supportive, caring, the only chance or hope that I have left - that hope that some day maybe she will (though deep down I know really she never will) dies or will die with her. I can't contend with that right now. It comes and goes and it causes debilitating depression for me. I have to force myself to get out of bed, and care enough to take care of her. It's so hard because I have no one to talk to, and telling people about how horrible she can be but still caring because she is the only mother I will ever have, it does make me seem like the crazy one. I don't know where to go to talk about the overwhelming feelings. I can manage the caregiving fine, and it is out of obligation, and love because while she is horrible, I do still love her, but I hate her so much too and I have so much anger. It's just, so hard and I needed to get it out I guess. If you read this, Thank you. :)

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I grew up with my Mother and older sister having NPD, one younger sister with Schizoaffective Disorder and one who is Bi-Polar, OCD, and severe paranoia. No one understands mental illness until they are in the eye of the chaos and drama of it. My mother put me through hell my entire life and when I finally put my foot down with her, she stopped talking to me. I had stopped talking to my oldest sister and younger sister ten years ago and the sister I was closet to last year. While I felt terrible about, my life is so much better without the constant stress. and drama. I'm not sure if there are any around where you live, but have you thought of seeking out a NAMI group? I know they have support groups which may be very helpful to you in your situation. I completely understand where you're coming from and it's tough. Don't forget about you and your health, you need to focus on yourself too. Best of luck to you.
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Darkjewel - What really resonated with me was your holding onto the hope, even knowing it's a lost hope, that your mother will change and become a loving mother to you before she dies. And your fear of giving up that possibility, even though you know in your heart it will never happen that way. I saw that in my own family, with my mother and my siblings, and it was/is very sad. (It didn't affect me because Mom chose me as her mini-me, and her narcissistic source, and I was so desperate to get out from under the control and manipulation that I rejected her "mothering" from a very young age." Even now as her caregiver I'm unmoved by her "pretend" affection and gratitude, knowing how fake it is.)

What I would recommend for you, if you can possibly find the time for it, is some therapeutic counseling. It did a lot for me in trying to establish boundaries with my mother in the early stages of caregiving. If you can't find the time or energy right now, then at least keep coming back and talking to us and letting us talk to you. We're always here and ready to help another struggling caregiver.
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Do the best you can and forget the guilt! Guilt will Only pull you down. Do what you can do and remember to be good to yourself.
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Dark Jewel, you sound so sad. I haven't been where you are but your pain reaches right out through the computer. Please know that people here can relate to your story so keep reaching out. God Bless!
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Darkjewell,
Thank you for joining us during Christmas, and I hope you can find time to return.
Also, I hope that Stanford can give your Mother what she needs to feel better.

You express yourself very well, and your feelings are so understandable. Please feel welcome to come back. I am not dealing with what you are, but I read your post, and considered how hard it would be to reconcile all those thoughts and feelings at once.

Take care of yourself.
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Welcome Dark Jewel,
My mom is/was a narcissist also. It never seemed to bother her to say mean things-you're too fat, your hair is ugly, etc. She always had the best. She thought of herself as a queen. She was jealous of me because I would take the attention away from her.

I loved her as a very young child but it didn't take long to see the situation for what it was. I grew indifferent as a teen, then just ignored her as an adult. I, like you, always wanted the warm, loving mother that other girls seemed to have. That wasn't happening.

I noticed her dementia around 5 years ago. Since I'm an only child, I was the one to take control of the situation. She is going into stage 7 Alzheimer's now and the narcissism is pretty much over. She's so out of it that there's no way for her to focus on herself.

Please loose the guilt. I had to. We are the products of our mother's upbringing. If they wouldn't have been the way they were, then we wouldn't feel the things we do. It's OK that we aren't dripping with love for someone who could cut through our emotions with a carving knife. We are doing the "right" thing by caring for them but we realize (and are thankful) that we aren't LIKE them. Be glad that you turned out so well IN SPITE of being raised by a narcissist. Feel bad for her that she's incapable of all the love that we can give so freely. Thank God we're normal.

Of course you want an end to her suffering (both emotional and physical). Nothing wrong with that. And it's OK that you get mad at her indifference, nastiness and self-centered ways. Nothing wrong with that either. When she passes, you will grieve for the mother you never had, so will I. But the silver lining to this cloud is that WE are good people and we need to recognize it and nature it.

Let us know how everything works out.
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DarkJewel, the book that started me on the path to freedom was called Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud, and I just found a website they have too. Those resources might be useful while you are at the hospital killing time.

What I've learned and you know academically is that people with NPD are not capable of change. I had to let go my fantasy of having a mommy, or even a mother. She was always missing something important inside, which is why I spell it "mthr." Once I let that ideal go, I needed to respect her adult choices. If she wants to live in squalor, that's fine. But I do not visit anyone living in squalor, so I would not visit her at her house nor would I clean it.

The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference. Respecting adult choices, even bad ones, shows reverence for our parents. Allowing them to live with the consequences of their choices is another way of allowing their choice to stand.

If your mthr wants your father to take care of her, fine, she picked him. If she tells you to leave, or to move out, fine, do. Take her at her word. If she says she will kill herself for any reason, believe her, and call 911. The best way to let our narcissists know that we respect them is to believe they mean what they say.

I know these are hard words to digest, but they saved my life and I found freedom. I have taken care of mthr 5.5 years now in a memory care close to me. I pity the old woman who ran off every person who might have had an interest in her life. She will never be my mommy.
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((((((hugs))))) You are a good person - a very good person. One of my "themes" about my narc mother and sis are that they really don't know me. They have created a "me" that serves their purposes. Their loss! Your mother's loss too, not to see what a wonderful daughter she has. We have to give up those dreams of our narc mother ever being loving in the way that we need it. They can't do it. My relationships with extended family and non blood "relatives" have helped me so much. Hope you have some peace today.
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You sound so bereft I just wanted to sent you a cyber hug this morning
(((HUGS)))
Sorry that it's not quite as good as the real thing.
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I wish you a new start in 2018, too; and better health for your mother.

Maybe a bit more work on those boundaries, hm?

Big hugs to you, and peace this Christmas day.
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I just want to say thank you for the replies. It's been a rough couple of weeks, and I haven't had much time to look back. Today is Christmas, and there is no tree, no homemade anything, it's like any other day. Christmas has always stunk badly for me, because of how she is, but this one is worse.

Glad - I would love to try adult day care, and Mom would probably love it, a new platform and new people to scoop into her web. However she's Neutropenic (sp?), which means she has zero immune system so any little bug could kill her, which means she is strictly forbidden public contact, to minimize possible infection. For me that means I am also unable to get away, because I have to look out for signs of neutropenic fever. On occasion, I do manage to get away (when my Dad is here) to grocery shop for a little bit which is wonderful, but I always feel guilty for feeling so good about getting away. The suggestion is great though, thank you :)

chdottir - Thank you for your kind thoughts, understanding and well wishes. I'm so appreciative that you replied. :)

Dorianne - I have peeked over at the thread you shared, I just haven't had much chance to speak up over there yet. Partially because what I have read over there is so similar to my own junk going on that it feels almost heavier when i start to read things. I do believe it is a good place to go though, just, in time when I can handle reading more and when I can do so without reflecting back on the same things I am or have experienced is probably what I'll do. It's hard when what you read reminds you of your own situations so much that it brings it back to front and center, and you're trying to cope in the moment. I'll get there though. Thank you for posting the link, it is much appreciated. :)

Whirled - Thank you for understanding, and I am so sorry you are dealing with the same or similar issues. I don't think you should feel guilty for admitting feelings, but boy do I understand and relate. I saw a video recently that helped a bit for the briefest moment or so.. It was a therapist talking to a woman, she was talking about how she felt about herself. She was calling herself stupid and fat and ugly, and all the things she had heard or had drilled into her head from others as she was growing up. It was difficult to watch but it got better and had a powerful feel good moment at the end. The therapist said to her, do you think you are stupid? Do you think you are ugly or fat? And at first he came off as a bit hard and pushy, but as she began to get upset.. I think she'd said "I don't know" (my memory of the video is a bit fuzzy here) or something like that I think. But then, he told her to look to her side, and envision herself there as a little girl, asked her to see herself, really see herself there looking back at her. She did that and then he said to her, do you think she's stupid? The woman said No! How about ugly or fat? Again she cried a bit and said no. The younger her sat there looking at her, but you could see she wore the expression of a damaged hurt and broken child. Then the therapist asked her "What would you say to her?" The woman looked at her younger self, and said "I'd tell her she is beautiful, and sweet and loving, smart, and determined, and kind. I'd tell her that she is perfect, just the way she is." and then after that the video faded to black (I think) and a message came up. It said we should try to be kind to ourselves as though we would if we were talking to a child (again or something like that) But the message was clear. We are so much harder on ourselves because of the messages that others have drilled into our heads, the labels and burdens they have placed upon us.

It's so much easier said than done though. But, when I think of the guilt I face nearly constantly, and when you mentioned feelings of guilt, I thought maybe the sharing of the video (to the best of my memory) might help some. If only.. for the moment to remind that we are often too hard on ourselves.

Anyway, to all of you who replied, thank you so much for the kindness, and thoughts and for taking the time to reply. It means so much. :)

For me, I want to be a good person. I don't want to hate my mother. Sure I wish she was a loving kind warm mom. Part of me knows deep down that she never will be, but because I choose to be a good person, I also choose to deal with her crap. It's messed up I know. It hurts like hell, but I don't want to ever be like her. I tolerate a lot, and sometimes her words really impact me heavily. So there are days I wish I could just run away and days I feel angry and spiteful. The hardest days are when she tells me "You'd rather I was dead so you can have my money." or "I don't know if I even want to live because of you!" I know it's the NPD, I know it's the damaged part of her, but when she spews the venom, while I am busting my ass trying to help her, to run the house, manage the bills, do everything really, it's a shock to the system and cuts exactly like the knife she intended to wield. It's such a shock that in the moment when it happens, I have no tools for how to respond. Part of me is enraged, part is wanting to brush it off, but deep inside, the fact that she says that comes off to me like she genuinely believes me to be the way she says. That is the part that kills me inside. To think that she actually thinks such horrible things of me, that I am capable of the things she cooks up, that's the hard part. The part that crushes me to nothingness.

So here I sit, Christmas morning, typing here into this forum. It began with a nightmare about her being dead and waking up because I swear I could smell a super hot cast iron skillet. it was like some sort of wake up alarm like the house was on fire in my head, so my senses cooked up that hot metal smell to alert me to wake up. And what's the first thing I do? I look up how to write a eulogy for someone you hate but love.

Gee, what a great (sarcastic yes lol) start to Christmas. I just really wish today was already over. Soon enough it will be though and I can just move on to tomorrow.

Anyway, I do wish that your (all of you who might see this) Christmas is better, full of happy moments, and good memories. We leave for the Stanford consultation to see if bone marrow transplant is possible in 2 days, so I may not be back to read for a while. But I hope you all have a healthy and better 2018. Thanks again for reading :)
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I echo what everyone else has said. You are NOT alone in this, and we understand!! Vent here anytime you need to. We have to vent sometimes; if we keep it bottled inside, it does no good except to destroy your own health.

You're also NOT a bad person for feeling the way you do. My own NPD mother has just about every health issue in the book EXCEPT for cancer, but she keeps on going! I've been told by my father for over 40 years that "Mom could die, mom could die..." which was always used as a guilt and manipulation tool. Sick.

The other day I had to talk to my father (hadn't spoken to him in awhile), and he updated me on my mother's health conditions, and then he laughed and said, "But her heart is great, so she'll probably live to be 100!" My heart actually sank when he said that. And, I feel guilty even admitting that on this forum, but it's true. :( So, I understand where you're coming from.

All you can do is try to take care of yourself, and if things get too bad, then try to get outside help involved. (Easier said than done, I know.) You've done more for your mom than most people in your situation would have; always remember that! You're an awesome daughter!!!
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DarkJewel - there is a whole thread for Caregivers and Dysfunctional Families here:

https://www.agingcare.com/discussions/The-Caregiver-Dysfunctional-Families-149068.htm

Lots of participants there have NPD family members, and I know you will find some support there. I have only been participating a few weeks but everyone has been amazing. Don't worry about reading back through all the comments. Just jump in.

You are not alone.

And yes, I do know how you feel, wanting it to be over, but not wanting it be over before you get resolution. Feeling like the worst person on earth if you tell "outsiders" how terrible your mother or your situation is, because they don't understand and think all families are loving and kind.

Again, you are SO not alone.
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DJ, welcome. There is nothing more difficult than being the caregiver to a parent that continues to decline before our very eyes. Then narcissistic to boot is even more to tolerate. It sounds as if you are doing all the right things, establishing boundaries and sticking by them will make it easier.

Have you thought about adult day care for mom? It would give you some much needed respite. Just do not spend that time doing for your dad.

Others will stop by to offer you support.
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I am so sorry. You are being incredibly strong during a difficult time. I would feel angry too. Best wishes!
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