This is just a mini-vent, because I needed to talk to someone. My mother is in mid-stage dementia. She has always been rather narcissistic -- a lot of take and a little give -- but she has descended to a point of complete narcissism. She is now mad at everyone because they don't pay enough attention to her. It is a irritating situation for me.
The past week has been the worst. My cousin lost his wife of 45 years unexpectedly. It was heartbreaking, because they were always together. I did the things I could do to let my cousin know how much I cared. My mother got mad at me because she and my father had been married for 64 years, so her grief was more important. I didn't realize there was such a thing as grief competition until this week.
For Thanksgiving, her grandchildren played with friends, instead of coming inside to be with her. I've been hearing about that one non-stop for 3 days. I told her it was normal for the kids to play, which just made her mad. I wondered if she thought they should all be gathered in a circle around her. I don't know what she expected of them.
Today I woke up sick, but I was going to still take her to church, wasn't I? No? Well, could I at least drive her there and pick her up? She kept on at me until I took her to church. I decided it was better than to listen to her narcissistic whining for days to come.
I realize that, in her dementia, she has lost all sense of other people. All of her vectors are pointing to herself. If family and friends are not serving her needs, then something is seriously wrong with them. Her grandkids are rude, her children are not doing right, her friends must be on vacation. Of course, I know her and know she hasn't given anything to anyone ever, so I try to let the words pass on by. Really, I am thinking that she reaped what she sowed, and she should be glad that she still has one person paying attention to her. Being that one person, however, is not easy. I have never dealt with pure narcissism. It is an ugly thing indeed.
So anytime she won't eat something now, I'll just say I'm going to give it to the possum.
We've had a couple difficult mornings.. Mom has panic attacks occasionally and today I was told by her that I just walk away when she doesn't feel good!!! I told her what she needs to do when she feels this way. She doesn't like my solution to the attacks.. She wants me to call 911..I reminded her I awoke with her at 4am and settled her down then continued to sit with her for 4 hours. Sorry I had to get up to go to the bathroom!!!!
I think we were awesome kids and are pretty awesome now.
My mother is not the stereotype narcissist. She never cared much what she looked like or accomplished anything on her own. She isolated herself with my father, who didn't demand much of her. One would never think of her as a narcissist to look at her. She looks like a humble country woman of humble means.
I believe that I am lucky that I came home if only it gave me understanding of where things went wrong. I married a man that was like my mother. That was a real awakening for me. Today I went out to lunch and met a nice man who was friendly and caring and knew that that was the type of man that I needed if I were to ever be in the market again. Life starts new every day. :)
Oh... okay. Poor me! It is funny how her stories evolve to put herself in a central noble role. I do hope she doesn't start telling this one around. It would be embarrassing.
"Either develop complex and constricting coping mechanisms to maintain a relationship with me, at great cost to your own outlook, imagination, and values, or suffer ridicule, disapproval, or rejection."
I chose and continue to choose the latter, as I will not sacrifice my values. My sister, probably along with a genetic predisposition to the illness our mother has, has chosen the former.
There was one point in this article that bothers me.
"Difficult mothers should be distinguished from abusive mothers, whose children exhibit abnormalities in brain development that can impair the ability to regulate emotions, engage in social interaction, and organize memories. "
I find the above statement to be uninformed. I will disagree with anyone who says a narcissist is not abusive. They are emotionally, verbally and sometimes physically abusive. I don't know where the line between difficult and abusive is drawn by this author, but it is very clear to me that narcissistic mothers are abusive. It is also clear to me that at least some people brought up by abusive mothers do not suffer from the abnormalities in brain development described in the article. If the author is defining abusive mothers as those who chain their children to their beds in the basement, beat them, and deprive them of food and social interaction, I think the statement stands, but abuse can be much more subtle than that.
However, over all I found the article worthwhile.
I am glad that you are firm in your decision that when it gets too much you will place your mother in a facility. Good luck in the meanwhile, which will get more and more difficult. (((((((((((hugs))))))))))))
No answer, just empathy. My husbands one grandmother rarely asked for anything, but was a giver all her life even giving what little she could to others in the end in her kindness and sunny attitude...and lo and behold, when she need others they came out of the woodwork to help and comfort her because she had been so generous with her time and talents. The other grandmother? And my mom? ...no. They were, are depressed, sad, woe is me, poor me, nobody cares about me, why aren't others doing for me, I'm old, therefore others owe me to help me.
Doesn't work that way. You did what you did and will continue to do because the nagging and attitude isn't worth it. Such a shame. Next time, call her a cab.
This is genuine enquiry, by the way, not any kind of criticism.
No, I'm not about to crack, everyone. No need to post "Caregivers who crack and do horrible things to parents" article. :) I'm avoiding my mother today. After a peaceful day yesterday, she is angry again today. So I'll do my own work and rake leaves. To venture close to her would be inviting abuse.
That was the most disrespectful remark I can remember hearing in my life. Even a slave gets that much. I realize in her mind she still sees me as that 16 year old girl who should be grateful for shelter. She didn't see how it conflicted with the tasks of running the household and taking care of her. She has never been able to understand that I pay my own bills. It seems to be too important to her for me to understand that I owe her.
I later thought of the answer to the question of what more do I want. It would be love and respect. It is something that was always missing from the family. It isn't enough to just feed and house a child. You have to let them know they are loved and respected. The same is true for a caregiving adult child. (I could write a book myself.)
She's in a NH now. Do I feel guilty about that? Not a bit of it. I visit. And after every visit I leave feeling depressed. My mom is determined to leave this world as miserable as she was living in it, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, I can do about it. Nobody can do anything ENOUGH for these types and people need to recognize that and lose the guilt. I'm a big enough person to feel pity and compassion for her, I am warm and loving when I see her, I try and soothe her as best I can when I'm around, but do I love my mom? Maybe on some level because she's my mom. Do I LIKE her? Hell no. Never have, never will, and I don't feel a bit of guilt about it. When my mom dies, and God willing it'll be sooner rather than later, I'll grieve.... I'll grieve for what I NEVER had, not for what I lost, because frankly, I'm not losing too much of anything except someone who went out of their way, time and again without mercy, to make me as miserable as possible and derived great enjoyment from doing so. Hard to feel too sad about saying good bye to someone like that. I feel sorry for her, that she missed out on so much good by taking such great enjoyment in dishing out all that's bad. But it is what it is...and nothing I ever could have done, no amount of good I could have shown her, and I did try, ever changed a single thing. With these types, no matter what you do or how long you try, it's lose/lose any way you slice it. Accept that fact and guilt flies out the window...which is such a sweet, sweet relief.
Establish boundaries when you can!
Same here, wonderful surprise this morning made me feel so good! Then the rest of the day became a downward spiral!
There is no point is getting angry, harbouring old hurts or driving yourself into an early grave .Try laughing out loud when she rants, walk away when she aggravates you and remember one day you may be in her place.