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I find it hard to fathom that my 88 year old mother could be so mean, manipulative, judgmental, intrusive. I now see a side of her I did not know existed to this extent. The boundaries are skewed, she will open my mail and read it, listens to any and all convos. She will jump at the opportunity to try to belittle me, lay guilt on me. She blames me for just about anything that is not right. Example- dining room light switch not working. I discovered it,so therefore I broke it, I have forgotten to mail letters or lost them, never get it right at grocery store. I fix her a hot nice dinner every night guess what? No gravy? Meat is tough, vegetables undercooked, food is cold. Laundry is gray, not white. Nasty nasty. No she has not been diagnosed with dementia. I am seeing that she likes to belittle me and then hope I will squirm. Sounds ridiculous but the woman can get ugly.
I live with her, take care of her. I am really starting to dislike her. As soon as I express my displeasure or ask her why she is so ungrateful she blows me off, feigning ignorance. Extremely HOH, has had many falls and was very sick recently. She is recovering and I take full credit for weeks of caring for her in all the ways she needed care that you readers all know about. Because she is my mother I hold my tongue but am getting ready to blow or else go go go. Not sure where I would go any where but here. I am trying for the first time in my life to put myself first. I have been a caregiver all my life, ( retired RN) and this toxicity is poisoning me. And I'm not going to let it.
Any words of advice on how to handle this dua ersonaity( sweet cute little grandmother/ nasty b*tch).

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oh and by the way i am still sort of procastinating on my psych intake. its hit and miss. i went there to see person for intake since we been missing phone calls. She was in meeting the only to do apts. So here i am again holding card in hand 9now i have her name and number. But of course when i think to call I dont have card on me. ha hey ha. im going to try and get in there before year end. I know i need the help. also adjusting to increased hours on job. nights 12 hrs shifts. and right now im in an anxious snizzy getting ready to visit my son.cause im not organized at all. Is that part of the narcisstic syndrome? :) anyways thanks for listening, much love and peace to all!
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Brixton, i so understand your plight. you have a good heart. Aside from all the other good advice i have read. i understand your need for immediate options. if your mother is okay to be alone for a few hours try and find a job in area. That will decrease your dependency on her and build you up some getting a way and having your own pennies. Also, amputations are usually followed by severe depression. her lashing out could be part of it. Another thing that helped me is realizing that my mother was narcisstic. Check that link one of the first ones gives a description. When you figure out the nature of what you are dealing with you can wrap it up and put it in a place in your head that sought of eases the effects of the abuse. Well that knowledge and other advice got me to a better place. just be realistic. until you can do better for your self understanding the nature of the monster can help you deal with it. its a process. Was for me, and slow work, because we get trained and programed to be their suckers and when we pull away the programmed guilt comes in. Then you have the love in your heart. then you have to reprogram your heart and mind with the new knowledge and understaning so it takes time. I am still struggling but making progress and feeling alot better. There is bitterness at times because i see how ive been manipulated and im hooked in and fall for the maddness sometimes before i catch myself. Then i see the destruction to my family for same. how my sister who has been her assistant has become just like her. And how all that is hindering her care as she ages.
So hang in there. I also prayed a lot still do and have prayer line i resort to regulary. What done is done. you just move on from her. Try and start with estabishing some financial security for yourself. Also tell her about her self. That helps me because they seem to think you dont see their ugly. sometimes it works for me and my mother quites down some. i feel bad ; sometimes it doesnt and i feel stupid for trying to be logical and expect reasson when it was never there. They cant say or admit they need you or ever did. Lot of pride and self centered stuff.
Anyways wish you the best. hope this input helps. just sharing what has worked for my crazy head. im still at it. Im growing it gets better, i get stronger. Still hurts evry now and then.
Wish the best.
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Good choice, Brixton -- helping from a distance!
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Jeannegibbs. I didn't make a mistake, i made a choice based on love for my mother.
Now my choice is to find her help, get a job and move on ..living from a distance.
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Thanks Garden artist fir your input but therapy. .good therapy takes a long time. I am looking at the immediate picture right now and that's making sure I'm safe. Thanks.
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I know my mom has undiagnosed mental illness. No, she won't receive help. And yes, i see the underlying issues. But i am the only child. .no father, brothers, sisters, etc. And i just couldn't let her go through this lifechange by herself. Will look for social services/ va benefits, etc to help step in and give me a respite.
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You could also benefit from looking at the underlying issues:

You knew what your mother was like but you voluntarily moved back there.
You were in an abusive marriage, but you did get out.

Do you see the beginning, or an existing pattern here?

Have you thought about some therapy?
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Brixton, it was a big mistake for you to do what you considered "the right thing." Going back into an abusive situation was self-destructive. Now that you've realized your mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. Extract yourself from this situation.
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You need to walk away from this situation, Brixton. Your mother is mentally ill. She needs the help of professionals. Get a job and leave.
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I am 42. An only child. Unmarried,Two months ago I found out my mom was getting a leg amputation. I did the "right thing" (so I thought) by resigning from my job, giving up my apt. and moving to her house -1000 miles away from me to help her through this difficult time.I discovered she was hoarding and there is a mice problem. So the first month I enlisted her friend(who lives an hour away) to come help me clean and organize. Then when I wasn't even finished yet with the house and also getting a county permit to install a wheelchair lift on her porch she discharged herself against medical advice. Had a neighbor pick her up and drop her off! I have been at her beck and call for the last month. I came to help not become her servant. I didn't realize she would make me so miserable. Non stop ordering me around, yelling at me..and then when I dissent she tells me that she didn't ask me to come here,(she did!).I also have to take care of her puppy. Who is adorable but more responsibility. On top of all this I found out my moms roomate is a heroin addict. She uses in the house. I had a huge blow-up with her and she is now staying at her dealers house -until presumably I leave?! I have explained to my mom the consequences of her roommate living there, She doesn't want to hear any of it. She dismisses and yells at me,etc. My mom has been abusive my whole life and in a way I knew what I was getting into..I guess I forgot how her abuse effects me negatively. This is very toxic. She wont get a CNA because she doesnt want a stranger in the house. I told her Im going away for Thanksgiving to my cousins. She cant wait til I go and tells me so. I feel awful. Awful because she needs help and awful because now I have no place to live or job and once again I have to work my way up and out. In 2012 I left an abusive marriage. Im getting depressed and feel helpless.
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omg! i think i just read what im going through with my 86 year old mother. she is controlling and manipulative. I hate to say this but Im not sure when she changed from the loving mother/grandmother she use to be. she is down right nasty and hateful to people.. not only me. its so embarrassing at times. I dont do enough for her in her eyes at she always praises my brother who does nothing. I cook clean and care for her. he just goes to the fast food chains and buys her junk food and he is a god in her eyes. I tried to be the best that i can be. i feel at times it is affecting my marriage. she would love nothing but to have my husband out of my life. she has accused him of lying and being abusive to her. i know this is not true my husband would not hurt a fly. he is a kind gentle soul. i too feel overwhelms and exhausted. im hoping that the dr will put her on some meds to help her chill out. i hate saying this but its the truth. she will not give me a break. we have hired a part time person to come in and help for just a few hours a day...now she has informed me that i must pay for it. i have no idea where she gets these ideas. but i will not be paying for her care. i have to take a step back and think of my family (husband & grown children). she thinks i should not spend so much time with my children that live out of town. that is is not fair for me to go and her sit at home. she is not able to travel and one of my children live 5 hours away by plane and the other 1 hour by car.
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Missleal13,
Denial of dementia is not uncommon. Even if your mom will not allow you to accompany her to her doctor's appointment, you may still send him information about her condition, so he can know what he's dealing with. Perhaps, he can't provide you with info, but he can accept it from you.

Also, if you mom's driving is dangerous, you can file a Request for Driver License Review with the DMV of CA. You can request that it be kept confidential and they will not inform your mom who made the requests. Sometimes the doctor does this. I think the form is DS-699. It can be found, along with instructions online. I would encourage you to be proactive about that, since she could end up hurting herself or innocent victims on the highway.
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Thank you so very much for the great info , my mom won't even let me go to the doctor anymore with her. She is trying to independent but it's scary. She won't let me drive or anything. She's messed up her BMW pretty good and it's a sweet car....luckily hasn't injured herself yet. I'm going to read the link you gave herein. Thank you xo
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Hey Missleaf13, I saw your post at the tail end of an old thread. I hope others will see it too, but if you don't get many responses, you might want to post your own thread with your own question or comment.

It sounds as if you do have your hands full with your mother. You say that she has been diagnosed with dementia. I might read a lot about this condition, in order to learn about how her behavior is not really something that she has control over. It's quite common for people who have dementia to be unruly, resistant and even hostile. I've seen it before with my loved one. She was very nasty acting and we couldn't figure it out. It was later determined to be dementia. It is very challenging to care for a person under those circumstances.

Have you discussed her condition with her doctor? Sometimes medications for depression and/or anxiety can help their mood and make them happier.

I have read that with dementia patients, we have to let go of the idea that it is manipulation. Their brain is damaged and though it may seem that they are trying to push our buttons, they are ill and we have to understand that. If you feel that your mom is abusive and you are not able to stop that, then I would explore what other options you have. Is there anyone else who could take her? There are also Memory Care facilities and nursing homes that may be available.

Considering how upset you sound, I would certainly seek respite care for her immediately, so that you can take some time away for your own peace of mind. Have you been able to do that? Everyone needs a break under those circumstances. I wish you all the best.

Here's a link to an article about your topic that was previously published on this site. I hope it helps.

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/dementia-behavior-manipulation-154554.htm
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missleal13, is your mother being treated for her psychological problems that started in 1996?
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Hello all, I came to this website looking for answers and comfort, probably like all of you and I want to thank you for sharing your situations and sadness. I am not a caretaker to my mother, but live one mile from her. I am 46, never married and no kids....I find myself stuck and here for her slow decline into dementia . Like everyone here, I'm sickened by the psychological abuse and feeling of worthlessness. I had it out with my mother the other day ,Ruth is her name and she called me mean names and also a f -in bitch ; for no reason other than asking her to turn left (we were in the car..) I can't and couldn't take it anymore , because it's constant. She even gets an evil look in her eye and on her face. Scares me. She keeps abusing me to keep me down. I finally let her have it verbally. I told her she was a mean , old and nasty hag and was sick of her bs and hurtful ways. I told her she's making me hate her. I secretly have thought that I wished she would die in her sleep. She can't hurt me anymore if she is dead. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's imagined this. Ruth went into menopause in 1996 and was a changed person. I hate it, I hate who she has become and am so friggin angry. I miss the loving mother that raised me and my sister. Where did she go? Now there is a hateful passive/aggressive woman that tries to constantly manipulate me. I have zero self worth and I am starting to hate myself. Help
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Joaniej,

That is a wise choice. At least you recognize the trigger of her making you angry produces the knee jerk desire from that pain to want to shake some truth into her as well as vent it out. I wonder if there is another way to direct that energy or defuse that bottom some? That's a timeless question.

My wife has used something called mindfulness which is something like when she feels triggered she diverts her mind to some already chosen pleasant memory and thinks about being there instead of where she is. I had a therapist who tired to teach me this. I had no trouble thinking of a very peaceful place to be, but I could never go there in my mind like my wife is able to do. I don't have that therapist anymore. I got the feeling hat she was trying to teach me something that is helpful but was not confident in how to teach it.

This may be an old, already tried idea, but have you ever written a letter to your mom after any of these times of your anger being triggered? I found writing a letter to my mother to be helpful which I burned after going over with my therapist. The sad thing about letters that you write and then burn up or tear up is that when you hit another layer, it's time for another letter. I'm just wondering if there may be some ways to redirect stuff for your own benefit when you hit those times when emotionally you just feel like giving your mom one of those eye opening moments of truth.

What about art? Some find drawing, coloring or both helpful. I think I'll stop thinking for the moment.

You are both strong. Keep up the fight to be addiction free. Keep up the battle to survive this deeply flawed world world we live in for giving up such a good fight is not a good option for us or for others.

Take care and do something nice for yourself today or at least this weekend.
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Thank you magnum. I have thought long and hard and realize that telling my mother would do nothing except to cause her terrible pain and suffering. It's one of those things that will die when My sister and I die. It would be cruel to tell mother now. It is a part of my past sometimes when I get angry with her I feel like shaking her and saying how could you not have known that he was tormenting us in our own home. I and my sister left home as soon as we graduated from high school. I went away to school and she just high tailed it. Truthfully I worry about my sister more than I worry about myself. Just stopped to see her today. And she is ok. I envision in my head that she is in really bad shape but she's ok, she is very strong. I guess I am too. I have struggled with addiction, her too but mine worse than hers. Somehow we manage to survive in this crazy unfair world.
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Joaniej,

Sexual abuse is very sinister, extremely destructive and very likely way under reported.

I am sorry that you had to grow up in and with such a hell on earth plus seeing your mother bullied by him, which probably part of his strategy to keep her clueless, and yet resulted also in her becoming like him in some ways. I just have to wonder given how sharp a mother's perception is, if on some gut level she didn't know something was wrong, but she couldn't put her finger on it and his bullying kept her so terrified that she froze? We will never know. So, my asking that question is probably pointless.

The idea of wanting someone to see the truth that they have been living in another world trying to stay away from might make us feel better, but then I have to ask myself what good is knowing that now going to do now?

Some think that a person's whole life flashes before them right before they die. I don't know. But, I do think that people will know the truth at least right after they die. .

There are some anonymous support groups online for victims of child abuse which can be very helpful and supportive.

My wife and her sister were abused by their mother and her weak father was powerless to do anything. My wife shared with me about one day when he told them in private, "I see what you are going through, but I can't do anything" The poor man was as much a victim of his wife's abuse as his daughters were of his wife's abuse. Yet, I found myself marrying into that abusive family system. My MIL in her late 80s now talks about how mean her parents were to her, but she has no self-insight into her past abusiveness nor her present and they only reason she misses her dead husband is that he's not around to do for her which is her view of what men are for. I goes without saying that she does not like me, never has and yet use to demand that I call her mother for to her she was my mother now that I'd married her daughter. Over mom's final years, I finally began to come to terms with things about my own mom. In the process, my wife opened up and shared some shocking history that she had never told me before about how her mother abused her.

My wife has fought long and hard in individual therapy and group therapy to get where she is today and still is in therapy. This is why I encourage her that for our own sanity, we can't have much contact with the land of Oz, emotionally speaking, where her borderline queen mother is also the wicked witch of the west and poor Dorothy, my wife's twin sister, is so deeply enmeshed that's she's quit counseling, but maybe one day she's discover the way home to Kansas like Dorothy did in the wizard of Oz.

I wish you the very best in your own journey toward detoxing from the toxicity of your past and its continuing lingering in the present.

Take care!
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When people talk about sexual abuse, it is no joke. It is pervasive, sinister, cruel,sick, twisted and it can quite literally ruin a life. It permeates into everything and everyone. Life does go on but the joy of living is weighted with shame, self destruction, depression, anxiety. I have had counseling but I think it changes the inner core forever in so many ways. I guess my mother was a victim too. But she became in some ways like him. Controlling in a much subtler way.
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Thanks for the input garden artist and frantasciap. Nurses can be a little weird. There is definitely some pathology there with the 'caregiving'. A need to be fulfilled. Being 'the nurse' has always carried a heavy weight. I have always been the go to person for any and all ailments, diseases, surgeries etc etc. it has worn me out. I am now retired and have tried to separate myself from all the drama. It has played a huge part in why I am stuck here today. They call me 'the angel' etc. it's enough to make me want to puke.
my father abused my younger sister and I when we were young pre teens and teens. It was wretched. My sister blamed me years later, saying, why didn't you help me. I told her that I was just as scared as she and didn't know what to do to help myself or help her. We suffered terribly. And both of us have lived with the psychological aftermath of this trauma. My mother was clueless. He bullied the crap out of her, he was mean.he died in 2001. My sister did not go to the funeral. I didn't have the guts to do that. But anyway all these years later those secrets still reverberate. I look at my mother and resent that she did not save us. To this day she speaks of him and Zi cringe. Other siblings don't know what occurred. They speak of him with fond memories. He became a church elder and they all talk about him glowingly. If only they knew. So you see it's all a big heap of crap. I have suffered so much and now here I am still stuck in it all as a result of what he has done. So unfair, so twisted, so perverse. If I were to leave, I don't know what would happen. She has no money, he made sure to leave her with so much debt including an 80,000 second mortgage, minimal life insurance. She makes it monthly but just barely. So she couldn't even pay for a NH/ assisted living, doesn't qualify for medical assistance.
So when she gets nasty with me it really pisses me off. None of this is my doing. I just happened to be here when she started going downhill. My kids are on their own, I have no pressing issues not to be here to take care of her. I've often thought, what would she do if she knew the truth, the agony he put us through. But I envision her falling into a heap of old skinny bones and completely destructing. But I would love her to know the truth.
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I should add that obviously what I wrote is just my opinion - I tend to be somewhat pedantic sometimes.
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Eddie really summed it up and CMagnum added the exponential factor in his first post.

I suspect this behavior really has existed for years - it doesn't just happen overnight since this is more of a control and manipulation than dementia issue, although it could be compounded by the dementia.

Perhaps it wasn't realized or it's become more profound now that caregiving roles have entered the picture, as Joanie herself kind of speculated.

Joanie's mother also has fertile ground in that nurses are predisposed to care for people. So Joanie, you're primed to be used by her.

I did some research on caring to the extent that it falls in the realm of being pathological, which unfortunately sounds so ominous. The research was done about 10 years ago; I can't find the links to the good articles I read at that time.

But the gist of it was that generally people in nursing and care professions are predisposed to caring to a higher level than nonmedical people - that's generally why they chose that profession But it can pass a boundary and become a greater need if not compulsion, especially if it turns into a situation that the carer can't extricate herself because of the need to continue caring, even in a toxic environment.

And that can happen to adult children who aren't in the medical profession; the research just suggested that some in the profession might be predisposed to it. However, I certainly don't think it's the norm but that family dynamics factor into the situation as well.

The obligation to care transcends the need to escape and be true to one's self; the caregiver stays in the situation despite wanting to extricate herself. And with a manipulative parent, it becomes even more toxic.

Joanie, it's pretty clear that you're unhappy if not miserable. I think it's also clear that your mother isn't going to change, so your options are (a) change your attitude (b) get out of the situation by making other arrangements. and you've already started on plan (a), so you're taking a first step.

Don't let her guilt you into relaxing your determination; this could become a battle of wills.

As a nurse you must know what this kind of long term emotional stress will do to you.

I think it's also important to recognize that you owe your mother the responsibility of finding care for her, whether it's you or in a facility, but you don't owe her the responsibility or obligation of martyrdom.

I hope you can keep the courage to move forward before the situation destroys you. Good luck!
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Joaniej, I am sitting in the living room right now with my manipulative momma.....67 years old and thinks the planet owes her a favor (I am an only child in my late 40s)! I share a house with her and my teenager daughter. My secret is the Grey Rock method, which can be used to deflect narcissistics and psychopaths. Make myself as dull as a cross between a rock and Charlie Brown. Also, I envision the buttons on my back being covered by teflon. She would get a kick out of pushing my buttons to get a response so that she can play the victim (in her mind, negative attention is better than no attention).....I don't give her the satisfaction these days.
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Joaniej,

I'm glad you found us and that you know that you are not alone. Keep returning to vent and update us on your progress. Feel free to tell the secrets. That helps them lose their power. I don't think anyone has lost an ear from listening to dysfunctional family stuff. That is particularly true on the dysfunctional thread.
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All of these comments are so thought provoking, not the least being the writer who mentioned that this controlling behavior has usually been there all along. In thinking, you are right, it has always been her ability to manipulate my emotions. She knows exactly what to say to bring me to halt for whatever reason. It has taken a lifetime to realize and now to not let any of it affect me. I do believe my awakening has all been brought on by the role reversal which has taken place with her serious illness, Er visits, hospitalization a, picking her skinny a** up off the floor, cleaning up her messes etc etc. she is feeling better now and trying to take her control back. Well guess what? It ain't happening! Example: my son just the most beautiful wedding, I am showing her some of the first photos coming posted on FB. Every single photo she had a criticism. I took the FB back and told her if you cannot find something nice to say, then I will not show you the photos. The suggestions about what to say when she sticks her nose up at meal time are so appreciated. I am going to use every single one. Sorry if I seem scattered. I am typing on my phone and really need to use the desk top. I can't see what I'm writing, can't refer to the names of the writers. I am new here so still learning. You are are all a Godsend. Reading your comments helps so much I am not alone.
If I push back she will be very angry and then as a writer said, she will crumple, cry and become poor poor pitiful me as the song goes. I will definitely not feel guilt when she is gone. I will be relieved. The stupid, mean, manipulative dysfunction will come to an end and I will be free. I know In reality I would never just go. I am not that irresponsible even though with every ounce of me I would like to. I was feeling pretty hopeless last night when I wrote that. I have a very strong recently realized faith. I feel very strongly that I will be ok better than ok. There has been suffering( dysfunctional family stuff that would curl your ears). And the suffering is over, now it's making up for all those years of depression, shame, anxiety, substance abuse. It's over now and she is NOT going to stand in my way or try to keep me down any longer.
Thank you all for listening. No more hidden secrets.
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I take care of my mom because:
1. I am her only child
2. I was raised to be responsible...no matter what the cost is to me
3. We live states away from any family
4. I finally realized that she has never made me feel like I measure up
5. If I put her in a NH? then I am a failure as a daughter/person
6. I don't want to see her hurt/unhappy
7. I learned co-dependency from her growing up
8. I have not completely broken my own co-dep cycle
9. I feel sorry for her
10. She is my mother, I do love her, and I have no choice...that I could live with

Yes, her brain is being physically changed which causes allot of odd behavior, but some of this stuff, I do believe, she could do differently if she really wanted to. She claims that she "can't help it", tells me that I 'will just have to be patient with her", and all the talk in the world will never convince her otherwise.
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Ashlynne, I"m glad that you felt free to vent the full intensity of your understandable deep anger arising from a lot of pain!!!! I"m sorry for what you went through, but you have seen the light about your plight in life and are doing something about it!

The only way a narcissist can survive is with a slave plugged in. That just shows how dependent and weak they are despite all of the smoke and mirror shows of power. They do want to hoover us back in, but we don't have to dance with them again.

I've glad you are taking care of your own health and that the NH is taking care of your mother's safety and food needs.
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Many of us are conditioned to accept evil, manipulative narcissistic b*tch mothers almost from birth, so we know nothing else, and the "buttons" are installed at that time. Whey do they push our buttons? Same reason a dog licks her privates ... because she can!

It's all about control and narcissistic supply. Once you cut off the supply and pushing buttons doesn't work any more they fall apart, get weepy and threatening, anything just to get back at you for forgetting to put up and shut up, jump through hoops, that you're worthless, nothing more than a servant who can't do anything right to be used and abused at will.

Took me over 60 years to realize it. These days I ensure she has all she needs at the NH and that her bills are paid but, other than that, I've pretty much walked away for the sake of my own health.
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Oh, I just figured out why I do not like the FOG model. It hints that the person is weak, and that weakness is what their problem is. I see that in some caregivers, but not in most. In most situations I see a sensitive person with a lot of character trying to do a tough job.
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