My husband and I moved from Utah to Florida to take care of Dad and Mom who is on dialysis and can barely walk with walker. We moved here 2-1/2 years ago because Dad had cancer ... and died last August. Since then things have gotten even worse with Mom. She's a narcissist and I knew it would be rough when we moved here, but Dad needed help too and my sister who lives only 4 miles away from them refused to care for her so we moved. We were able to cope and help them through the cancer til my Dad died, but now with Mom it's far worse than I even thought it would be. She's arguing with my husband, escalating into screaming even in the driveway, trying to grab car keys from him etc. Then she retaliates by going in her room and refusing to eat or come out or speak to anyone. She's threatened suicide and I've had to hide her pills. One day she took the car and drove away even tho she can't walk and has macular degeneration. We had to call the police for which she's never forgiven us. I cannot say my husband is blameless in all the fighting because she is able to push his buttons and he has poor self control and will yell back at her. Huge blow ups happen about every week or two. I'm stuck in the middle. She also forces us to take her somewhere pretty much every day she doesn't have dialysis, all of which requires a scooter, walker and much commotion about what she will wear and when she wants to leave and where we will go. If we don't take her somewhere she sulks and gives us the silent treatment and it's back to the room and refusing to eat. She manipulates to get what she wants. The latest was she wanted to go on a cruise for her 90th birthday even tho dialysis staff clearly said 5 days without dialysis is life threatening. Still she persisted, and tells us we can take her to dialysis at 5 am, then drive four hours to ship. Tons of phone calls, she can't see the numbers, lots of work to finally find one possibility.We would have to wear masks in the ship at all times and be tested three times, cannot get off at ports, plus VERY expensive. Then rush back to dialysis as soon as we return. I dared to say to her that we didn't like it .. and that escalated into more screaming between her and my husband and holed up in her room again. She says her 90th birthday, of which she will only have one, is now ruined. My sister will only give us a break once a week for about five hours then rushes away. Because of my religious beliefs I just can't make her go to a home, but our life has gotten so depressing and sad, constantly walking on eggshells and I'm trying to keep things from combusting. Last week she stared at me and said I was mean and greedy and she didn't like me, and I can't even remember why but had something to do with her being mad at my husband and she wanted me to take her side. She had accused him of taking her van without permission which he didn't do. I've been trying to find counseling or therapy but everyone that takes insurance is full and private pay is like many hundreds of dollars per hour. Does anyone have any ideas that can help us? We had dreams of traveling in our motorhome when we retired, but now it sits in storage because we can't go anywhere. I can't blame my husband for his anger. I've dealt with her my whole life and cannot begin to recount the ruined holidays, vacations etc because of her but I know it's not fair to him to put this terrible life on him. I know he has anger issues but who could blame him? She's not his mother and she's ruined his life and retirement, he also sees that very inconsiderate to me most especially. Treats both my sisters far better. It's me she hates the most. She's determined to live every possible day she can and wants everyone, most specifically me, to cater to her every demand. It's hard to explain a life in few words, but hopefully you may have some ideas?

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All of you are SO much help! Hearing your stories makes me realize how common these things are .. and that I'm far from alone. And, yes, it's true that we're being abused. She abused me when I was small and let my many father's abuse me too. It's hard to admit that to myself...and for some reason I didn't realize she still was being abusive as I'm 68 years old. Not a child, but it seems in many ways I'm still that kid that's afraid of her.
But the ideas you've given me are great, and I'm going to read them all again and write them down so I don't forget them! It's funny that I managed huge apartment complexes and owned a business consulting firm, but can't seem to stand up to my mother. Yet having read all this, when I went in to give her the nighttime pills tonight she started in on me again...crying about how innocent she was with the most recent fight with my husband and how "I didn't do anything about it and let him get away with it" and how she now had no where she could live anymore that wasn't miserable, how her birthday and cruise were ruined she couldn't leave her room ever again, etc etc. But I had read this from all you guys so I stood my ground and told her I wasn't divorcing my husband because of her fights with him and that she needed to quit feeling so sorry for herself ask the time. She was shocked as my insurrection and tried to make me feel bad .. but I stood my ground. Your advice helped! The ideas here for gardening, reading a book about boundaries are so helpful! A facility would be great, but money is an issue and she would accept nothing but a very expensive one if she even capitulated. She has always refused to discuss it, but actually brought it up herself tonight while crying and feeling sorry for herself. As monstrous as she can be, I still feel sorry for her alot of times because she not only makes everyone around here miserable, but ruins her own life as well..while trying to punish everyone for their perceived injustices against her she actually punishes herself, it's very sad. But thank you so for giving me some new thoughts, directions, book to read and skills to learn. I'm hopeful! 💕

This is the deal breaker:
"She's threatened suicide and I've had to hide her pills."

A nice board and care can keep her, after her assessment in a behavioral unit.

I agree with funkygrandma59.
YOU ARE BEING ABUSED! DON'T ALLOW IT! Stand up to her; for your sake, your husbands and hers.
I know it's hard to do, because I had to finally do it myself. I am 69 years old, a Navy Vet, retired Law Enforcement, and disabled. And I am still, physically and mentally afraid of my now 89 year old mother.
About a year ago she took my wrist and twisted it so hard, it was sprained and I was bruised for over 2 weeks. She has called me horrible things and accused me of making her life "A Living hell."
She is in a very nice Board and Care. She has 24 hour professional care, 3 meals a day, gets showered about every 2 days, all (11) of her medications are administered and logged, she has her own room, TV and is surrounded by things from her home. She is only 2 miles from my home so I can see her and take her to all her doctor appointments. Nothing I can do for her is going to make her a different person than she already is. Although medication did help tremendously.
If she starts to be verbally or physically abusive, I just tell her I will not allow her to treat me that way and I leave.
We are all doing our best to help our family members. Please remember that allowing yourself to be mentally harassed and abused is not good for anyone.
God loves you, and you are not required by any religion that I know of, to put up with this abuse.
I hope this helps you. This site can give you an amazing amount of information and helps you to realize you are not alone in this struggle. God Bless.

You need to place her in a facility asap. Your mother will ruin your life and your marriage if you let your religious views over ride you doing what is right for not only you but your husband.

Guilt breeds resentment and it never gets better. Religon is great for guilt trips and in reality the universe doesnt care if you sacrifice your life and bend over backwards to do what your mother wants. There are no rewards for being a martyr.

My grandma lived with us for 20 years and there was so much tension vetween her and my dad it was not good. And she was not even a narcissist which is even worse. Guilt Kept my parents from placing her in her own place in assisted living. It ruined all three lives because they could never really enjoy each other's company fully the way they used to before she moved in.

Your mother could live past 100 as another poster's mother is turning 101 and has lived with her for 10 years. Are you willing to do this for that long?

Stop jumping through hoops for your mother. That cruise thing was just insane and you know what she probably would have found something to complain about if you actually did make that cruise happen.

Take a page from your sisters book. She is choosing self preservation and not ruining her life for your/her mother

Why would you think "there are no answers for this?"

You are here with us now, and hopefully other caregivers can help you change your thinking. But you need to cooperate in changing your attitude, or you will continue to be a part of the problem.

We understand, and can see how difficult this situation is, as it would be for anyone! We do have some ideas for you.

Let's start small. Your mother is succeeding to play on your sympathies and concerns.

When she is out, have someone clear her pouting place (her room) of all the food she has hidden in there. Well, you can have it removed, or just leave it there...but knowing she is eating may help you to worry less?

Do you live with her?

My daughter just read a book called Boundries by Cloud and Townsend. Its written with a Christian out look. My daughter is not a Christian but said the book brought up some good points.

Its no longer what your Mom wants but what she needs. She needs you more than you need her. You are an adult not a child. Honoring a parent does not mean you take abuse. So she sulks. She can't go on a cruise because she needs dialysis. She can't go on a cruise because COVID is still among us. You are playing into her little game. You need to set Boundries. What u are willing to do and not willing to do. My MIL wasn't a Narcissists but she was passive-aggressive. She couldn't play my FIL and she so tried to play her sons. Each responding to her a different way. I never gave into her. I never gave into my girls when they didn't get their way so why should I my MIL.

Disable her car. Take her keys and hide them. Report her to DMV. Isn't Fla strict about Senior driving? I remember my MIL had to be tested, at least eyesight, every so often. Her doctor should report her. Not just for MILs safety but other peoples. When her license is taken away. Get rid of the car. Out of sight, out of mind. I may even park that camper on her property and use it for a place to "get away" if ur living with her.

If Mom lands in the hospital and then rehab, have her evaluated for 24/7 care. If found she needs it, then tell them that she needs to go to LTC because you can no longer care for her. It would be an "unsafe discharge" to send her home because there would be no one there to care for her. If u don't have POA I would try to get her to assign you. If she refuses, explain that without it the state can take over her care and she will have no say.

The thing my daughter learned from the book is you are not responsible for how someone responds to you by telling them "No". You have a right to say "No". You do not have to explain why because "No" is a one word sentence. By giving excuses it leaves you open. Like "sorry I need to pick up my daughter" then the person says "well after you pick her up" then you say "really can't do it then either" then the person says "how about tomorrow". It just becomes a circle with you finally saying yes to something you don't want to do. When the word "No" would have been so much easier.

Your husband is your #1 responsibility. You deserve a life. Time for Mom to go to an Assisted Living if she can afford it. Tell her you can no longer be there for her. The constant fighting and her wanting it "her way" is too much. Your marriage is primary and husband is not happy nor are you. Put her in respite for a week or two. ALs will usually do this. Go on vacation telling the staff you only want emergency calls. That you will check in with them daily. If u leave a phone with Mom, block yours. People like your Mom put on a good face for other people. Mom may find she likes being waited on. 3 meals a day she doesn't need to cook. Aides helping her. Socialization, activities, and entertainment.

My DHs attitude when his Mom and Dad moved to Fla and then Mom was alone? She wanted, at 67 both with health issues, to move 2 days drive from us, day and a half from other son and a day from 3rd son. It was her choice to remain in Fla, away from family, when FIL passed 3 yrs later. He understood why she wanted to stay, but don't expect him to pick up and leave our family because she wants him to move down there. And that is what she wanted him to do. She even approached me thinking I would talk him into it. I told her would never happen. I had my two girls, grandson and my Mom. She said "bring Mom with you" I said "no, she has her Church and friends here" MIL then says "we all need to compromise" Yes, everyone but my MIL.

From your description and story, you are not taking care of your mother, nor your husband, nor yourself. You sound like three miserable people devoted to making each other progressively more miserable and hateful. Can’t “make her go to a home”? How about freeing her from your constant presence, restrictions, and fights to be with other people, with professionals to take care of her medical needs as a matter of course, rather than continually making a big deal of them, so the three of you can start to enjoy each other’s company and companionship again? Find a change that will let you all actually love and care for each other again. Caring for a loved one should be a thing of gladness, even if the work may be difficult. Caring, and taking care of, your mother doesn’t mean you have to shut out all of God’s helpers to do it all alone.

I also know of no religion that forbids the care of a parent outside the home!

Yes, we need to honor our parents. BUT....there are many, many people out there who have turned their lives into FT CG and they are slowly going insane with the constant work and demands. And the ingratitude.

I know a lot of kind, sweet elders who are grateful for all the care given for them. We don't talk about them on here b/c they are not 'problems!' It's our narcissistic, angry, entitled elders that are making us crazy.

Your mom's 'plan' to take a cruise is, pardon me, dead in the water. Cruise ships are TIGHT and anything other than a walker would be awful to be dealing with. We took an Alaskan cruise a few years ago and my poor DH was ready to jump overboard by day 3. I'd never, ever take another one. We aren't drinkers or gamblers and it seemed like every other soul on that ship was. We had a BIG suite and even with that we were climbing the walls. Her health issues may make her unable to be allowed on the ship---they do not want to deal with someone of myriad health issues and are not equipped to handle them.

Mom is not the boss of you and you are allowing it--even letting it amp up b/c you will engage with her. When my mom gets 'lippy' with me, I treat her like I would a recalcitrant grandchild. I say no. If she persists with whatever crazy idea she has, and starts to escalate with it--I give her a little hug and say "I'll come back another day when you feel better". And I'm gone.

I can do that since she doesn't live with me. But I can defnitely be the one in charge.

Just b/c mom 'wants' doesn't mean mom can 'have' and it's obviously not out of meanness on your part.

Demi, please read, reread, and read again FunkyGrandma's second paragraph.  Those were my thoughts as well.   

I don't pretend to have psychiatric or psychological insights, but I think that being afraid, or uncomfortable, or otherwise being reluctant or unable to stand up to someone berating someone else enables that unfortunate behavior.   

While I know you're in a difficult spot, spend some quiet time alone and try to determine why you're not able to stand up to her.    If you can accept that, then think how to actually do so, and create boundaries.  Decide when you will stop listening to her, and walk out, or ignore her.

You can also create a compromise that meets your needs and hers halfway.   It does occur to  me that she's not only manipulating the situation, but creating a potential one which is not only unrealistic, but unsafe.   Thus she takes control, puts you on the spot, and … you know the rest.

I can understand that dialysis could provoke a restlessness and desire to get away.   Perhaps you can address that, such as after 1 dialysis session, by going for a drive in a lovely area, or someplace relaxing.   And instead of unreasonable trips, find ways to integrate shorter trips.  If she complains, you can explain that you're trying to accommodate her, but that long trips are NOT realistic, and are out of the question.   If she pouts, let her.

When I read of older adults behaving like this, I think of children stomping their feet and throwing tantrums when they don't get their way.    They need to be weaned off this behavior, and although unfortunate, that seems to apply to some elders.

Now, go read a magazine, plant some flowers, daydream, or just take a break before you approach her.

You can honor your mother and see that she is provided for without ruining your peace and your marriage. Never do you have to cater to her every wish.

Reach out to her primary, they will have a social worker on staff to help with getting assessments and finding the right facility.
She is acting like a spoiled child throwing temper tantrums demanding trips and outings. Tell her NO.

I live by the bible too but knew I could not physically care for my mother. She has an apartment in a senior community. She has PT sitters to help in-between family visits. Her primary does home visits. She wants for nothing and is well cared for.

Get her moved and get the RV going!

You say that you can't put your mom in a home because of your "religious beliefs."
I know of NO religion that states that a family member must tolerate the abuse of a parent. NONE!!!
Your mom is using and abusing you, and you are letting her. Why? You say yourself that she hates you the most, so why in the world do you feel obligated to live with her and care for her? From those of us looking in, it makes absolutely no sense.
And if you are stuck on the "honor your mother and father" part of the ten commandments, you can still honor your mom by placing her in the best care facility she can afford, so you and your husband can get back to enjoying your retirement, and get your motorhome back on the road. That way she will get the 24/7 care she needs, and you can once again start honoring your husband and your marriage. Do you honestly think that God would want you losing your marriage over your mom? It's not fair to either of you what you're putting up with in your current living situation. Things need to change, and you already know that, that's why you reached out.
I just hope that you are open to hearing what we all have to say, and will make the necessary changes to make your life happier and healthier. God bless you.

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