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My mother has always been self absorbed and resentful of my handicapped father, who was a saint to put up with her and struggled with his own care needs to avoid her verbal abuse and ridicule. She plays martyr for "taking care of him" and he gave in to her whims to keep her quiet. I am now left with a 91 year old toddler who refuses to admit that her memory is failing and insists on going grocery shopping even though it is beyond her capabilities, both physically and mentally. I have been getting her grocery list over phone, ordering online, picking up and delivering to her which has worked out wonderfully. She has been in her senior living independent apartment, which is beautiful, with maid service and meals during COVID so I offered to take her to a smaller grocery store today for an outing. Her health is perfect, other than arthritis. I have been in and out of the hospital with pancreatitis and had major Whipple surgery, and now more complications. I am 67 and have been helping my parents for over 30 years, as a single parent.


I have been happily remarried for 12 years. My dear husband who is 70 , also had a major heart attack with emergency triple bypass 2 years ago. His recent blood work came back abnormal and when I told her this, she smiled and said , "Well I've been a widow for 8 years." No compassion as usual. When I got remarried she was very angry, because I would no longer be at her beck and call. When we take our one or two week vacation, or to visit our grandkids out of town finally after COVID vaccines, she tells me that I am selfish, even though we have invited her along, which she has always refused. She has told me that she hates my husband. I have decided that there will be no more phone calls. I have sent a schedule as to when I will be calling for her grocery list and when I will be delivering. It will just be a business arrangement. That is the only way I can survive.


I don't want to hate her but do. I have one brother who has removed himself from her life 8 years ago due to her nastiness and verbal abuse. My nightmare is that she will live to be 100 but put me in the ground long before that. She even refuses to listen to her Dr. who wants to start her on anxiety meds as she also is constantly nervous and second guessing and challenging everything. The grocery store trip today was a disaster...took her over an hour to pick out 5 items, (I just delivered 125.00 of groceries to her 4 days ago) ...she lost her keys IN HER PURSE and took 20 minutes to find them because she refused to let me help. I found them immediqtely because she zipped them into a compartment after I told her I could hold them for her so she wouldn't have to look for them. All this was my fault because... Of course...


I even got chastized and blamed, after she told me she was looking forward to an outing but I MADE HER GO! Sorry for long post. I still am having chest pains 8 hours later...thanks for letting me vent!

My heart hurts because I have only just accepted that so many posts like this one could have been written by me. It is so deeply ingrained in me that I am not entitled to my own life or feelings. My mother is about to go into care, less than happily, because I just can’t cope anymore. I have nothing more I can give her. She resents that, when I was widowed, we didn’t become roomies. Instead I hung onto my own house, eventually remarried and had children. I have a wonderful family. And spoiled her plans. I know logically that her expectations are amplified by advanced dementia, but they still make my heart hurt.
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Reply to Anabanana
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wow, I could have written this exact post.
I think our NM actually DO shorten our lives. We end up with stress-induced diseases; cancer, uncontrollable high-blood pressure, auto-immune diseases and more. Our NM stay relatively healthy! After all, they put all the negative energies upon us. We are abused, neglected, hated, used, demoralized, and more. Yet, we keep going back. I have posted so many similar situations.
Everyone keeps telling me to walk away. The love that I desperately need and want will NEVER come from my NM. I am truly starting to believe that if we (you, me and all other's in our situation), do walk away, set some firm boundaries, and do our best to stick to thiose boundaries..... then.... we might actually feel better - both physically and emotionally.
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Often go shopping with my mother with dementia. Sometimes with another sibling, sometimes just the three of us--Mom, Dementia, and me. Every time we pass the salsa shelf, I remind her we have 3 at home. You should have seen how much sour cream we had in the refrigerator! I've learned to just let her buy certain things, like paper goods. They're cheap, and have no expiration date. Keep my powder dry for the other things that would be a problem.
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you sound like an amaaaaazing daughter.

it's terrible how she treats you.
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TY, just know that she will up the ante. She will make herself fall or become ill and attempt to force you to show up.

Don't fall for it. Hospitalizations can be managed by phone.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Thank you everyone...I just mailed off a 3 month calendar of when I need her grocery lists ready so I can order them online and drop them off....with a letter telling her that I will not be visiting her anymore beyond that. I tried a delivery service but she was also nasty to those people and the doors are locked to her complex at 4 so I eneded up having to pick them up anyway when they called me. I also made it clear that from now on ours will be a business arrangement only . My husband and I have scheduled 2 vacations in the months ahead as well. The idea about not telling her anything personal about me or my husband is a good one. I will do that. She is upset that my brother and I have a relationship....no surprise there.... I have read that narcissists triangulate siblings. My dad apologized to me on his death bed that I would have to deal with her..but told me to do only the bare minimum. She made his life a living hell and yet she brags to everyone how hard she worked to take care of him. Thank God I had one wonderful parent, my dad... Her own Dr told her that she was a lot healthier than me and she laughed. Momster...( mom + monster) I pray a lot and my friends and church family is very supportive so I am lucky in that regard. I only hope that she passes on while I am still somewhat healthy enough to finally enjoy freedom from this toxic presence . Thank you all for being so affirming. People do not believe me when I describe her behavior because she is an Academy Award level actress in her senior apartment community but the trained staff there see right through the facade. So far, she is behaving there ..I told her a nursing home is in her future if she doesnt tow the line there . Keeping you all in prayer...we all have a difficult journey.
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MountainMoose Apr 16, 2021
I am so relieved for you and your husband! It takes a lot of strength to back away in the face of such cruelty. May you and your husband enjoy your new life! *hug*
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I totally agree with others that say for your own well being to stop caring for her.

Your mom is a selfish woman. You deserve better for yourself.

The stress has already taken a huge toll on you. It will NOT get any easier. It most certainly will become harder and harder to tolerate.

Take a break so you can see the situation for what is truly is. You’re too close to it right now. When you step away, you will realize how insane it has become.

If your feelings have become so jumbled that you are questioning your every move, please do yourself an enormous favor by speaking to an objective person, such as a therapist.

Speaking to a professional was one of the best things I did for myself.

Best wishes to you.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Please do walk away.

It's incredible to me how adults can be so darn selfish and petty after living long, long lives. How can EVERYTHING be about them?

When I told my mother I had stage 4 lymphoma, she looked at me and said "Well, your dad will be happy to see you". (He'd passed 15 years earlier).

I did not hear one peep from her for the next 9 months as I treated and did what I had to do. She never sent a card, called me on the phone or inquired how I was.

Post chemo, when I began growing back my hair, I did drop by to see her. Her response to my 'fuzzy duck' hair and pale skin was "oh, you used to be so pretty". I was so hurt, I just got up and walked out. Didn't bother to talk to or see her for months more.

I see her when I want to and no more. I do for her what I want and no more. She still can find that tender spot and stab me, but good. Doesn't do it to any of the other sibs.

I only hope that I have NOT done anything like this to my kids. It's a great worry.

I don't hate her. I just hope I live long enough to stop caring about what she says or does and how she runs me down to the other sibs.
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BlueEyedGirl94 Apr 16, 2021
I am so sorry that she said those things to you!!
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How are you supposed to not hate someone who abuses you?

Let her hire someone to order her groceries. Or hire them for her, with her money. In your shoes, I would use her funds to hire a Geriatric Care Manager and go on a LONG vacation.

I just went back and read some of your other posts. It sounds to me like your body (chest pains, asthma attacks, pancreatitis) is telling you STOP!!!!!!!!!!!.

Please give yourself a "pause" for at least 3 weeks to reassess why you are committed to contining this abusive relationshiop. Consider seeing a therapist or other mental health professional for support
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Please read and re-read BlueEyedGirl94's response. I learned the very hard way about dealing with narcs, my two sisters.

I read numerous professional articles about dealing with them and to a professional they all state essentially to walk away. If you can't just walk away and must deal with narcs, give them facts and walk away. If you stand your ground in an argument and win a battle, they will make danged sure, by hook or crook or lies, you WILL lose the war. You cannot win.

Your mother's being taken care of and she's relatively healthy. For your own mental, emotional, and physical health, walk away. If you just can't walk away for your personal reasons, then cut WAY back on talking and meeting with her and set strong boundaries. Fulfill any basic tasks and walk away.
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tygrlly1 Apr 16, 2021
Thanks...see my post above. Bare minimum business arrangement from now on. You have all helped me to realize that I deserve to become empowered to take back my life. Thank you!
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First, stop trying to get someone with dementia to acknowledge they have it. It's like reasoning with a toddler having a meltdown. There's absolutely no point to it.

Your job is to make sure your mother is safe and has proper care. It is not required that you do it. Your brother needs to kick in with money at least to pay for the groceries she doesn't need, and you should order them to be delivered.

Your contact can consist of snail mail, so she knows you're still overseeing things and can't harass you in person. Send superficial notes that talk about the weather, and get updates on her health from her AL's staff.
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tygrlly1 Apr 16, 2021
Yep...thats what I just did..see my post . Ive done that before but she has always pulled me back in to stop her "poor me tirades..im so lonely " and all the other bs . She's dead to me after yesterday and her reaction about my husband. .
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If I am reading your ages correctly, you have been providing care since she was younger than your current age? Time to tell her you have decided to be selfish the rest of your life.

Many if not most people with dementia or cognitive decline are in denial, so it is not surprising your Mum is too.

Follow your brother and step back.
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tygrlly1 Apr 16, 2021
Yes....because my dad was in a wheelchair and I knew how nasty she was to him, I started helping them when they were in their 60s..(I am 66 now) ...I mainly did so to provide a buffer for my dad and stand up for him and provide some companionship and love that she would not. My brother bought my dad a computer so he could keep in touch with his relatives in California and she got rid of it while he was sleeping . That was the point at which my brother cut ties. Our childhood was not normal..but dad was always very loving toward us, which she hated. I just wished he would have allowed us to help him get a divorce so he could have enjoyed his final years.He had a very strong faith and did not believe in divorce unfortunately. I miss him tremedously. Thank you for your reply..it helps !
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You cannot reason with a narcissist. They exist in their own reality and the rest of us exist only to perpetuate that reality for them. I only have experience with one true narcissist and I truly believe the behavior only gets worse as they lose control of everything else around them. Any ammunition that they have they will use against you. They will drain every single bit of energy that you allow them to have to sustain themselves and not even blink an eye.

The only thing that keeps any of our family from outright hating FIL is that we finally understand that narcissism is a personality disorder. I think it is perhaps the most deceptive and the nastiest because it is disguised as something else. It masks itself as something that they can 100% control. To us they seem like the most evil people on earth - how can any person ever be so self centered, so self involved, have no empathy or the complete inability to feel or understand anything about anyone else? How can they be like that? Just HOW?? Why can't they ever even once make it about anyone else? Why can't they love people? Why wouldn't they change their behavior if they knew the results would be better? Why can't they see that their behavior makes people despise them? WHY WHY WHY?

And then finally it clicked - it doesn't make it easier and we still question every day why....but at least it clicked that it's not US. It's him. And he is never going to change. HE is broken. It IS all about HIM, because it is all about him. He is the one that is broken. Its not us that don't measure up to his expectations. HIS expectations are wrong. He doesn't love us because there is something wrong with us....he doesn't love us because there is something wrong with HIM.

There is something so freeing about not caring anymore whether you make them happy. Because you can't. No matter how hard you try it is ALWAYS going to be wrong. No matter how perfect, no matter if you do exactly what they want. It is always going to be wrong. When you find it in yourself to stop caring and just do the best that you can and be ok with that. Do what you feel is necessary, put some space there. Don't give her free rent in your head. Have groceries delivered. See if you can find a periodic companion for some respite.

If you let her get to you in one thing, then it is another and before you know it...she is in your head all day long.

Parting words. My SIL is FIL's caregiver - lives with him. Her son is getting married several hours away. FIL cannot travel. We are all going to the wedding. We are hiring 24 hour caregivers. She is already so keyed up waiting for the shoe to drop that I'm very concerned she will not enjoy the wedding. FIL's concern? Why didn't they plan the wedding here so you wouldn't have to travel? That way you wouldn't have to leave me and you could just run to the wedding and take care of me? (Never mind that 99% of his needs are because he refuses to do anything - not because he can't......)

Take care of yourself. Your mother is never going to make sure you take care of yourself. She is not concerned with your well being the way you are concerned with hers. You have to take care your mental well being too!!
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MountainMoose Apr 16, 2021
Wow, preach, BlueEyedGirl!!!!

While I was Mom's live-in caregiver, my two sisters were narcs and they would gang up on me. It was traumatic. Mom died two years ago and I haven't spoken to them since.

Yesterday I made myself go through an audio recording of one sister grilling me with questions (to verify a quote to I'm writing to them in my Will). My sister would ask a question, but every time I started to answer she'd say, "No, you're wrong" then sling another question. I had forgotten how horrible dealing with them was. About an hour later, a dear friend stopped by. I scared him terribly when suddenly I burst into tears and ran out of the room sobbing, completely re-traumatized.
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I’m tired just reading this. Please think about what your brother did, it was self protection. You’re in need of protecting yourself, this is affecting your health, both physical and emotional. Don’t let her take that from you. At the least, stop telling her anything about your life that she can “use” Talk about the weather and the most innocuous subjects possible. Silence is good too. Consider being less involved. The dementia will progress and eventually force change, it’s not on you to make change happen or oversee her. When I type “take care of yourself” it’s truly meant and so important
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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Ordering online is great!
No need to pick them up and deliver!

Have the groceries delivered to her porch. imo.
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For your own health and that of your husband, please take a long break from this narcissist.
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