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My mother is 83 years old. My dad passed away in March 2017. He had dementia and could be very difficult. The honest truth is that both of my parents had always been extremely self absorbed, self centered people with grandiose delusions. As a teenager, I would butt heads with them regularly, not just teen rebellion, they were absolutely unreasonable and difficult. Fast forward to now.


My mother sold the house and moved into a 55 and older apartment complex this past March. Some of her former neighbors also live in the development and have done everything possible to make her feel welcome. She has a lot of pain from arthritis, but truthfully, I feel like she has just given up. She had shoulder replacement surgery about 3 weeks ago, and after the surgery went to rehab. She was in one of the best rehab places in the area, but still did nothing but complain the entire time she was there. I felt badly for her and visited nearly every night, did her laundry, retrieved items from her apartment and brought them to her...I also work full time at a very stressful job with a 45 minute commute each way. I am married and have two sons, who will be going back to college this weekend.


Every single time I visited, she complained nonstop, it is so difficult to keep hearing nothing but negativity over and over. She called me at work last week to tell me that the nurses aides took forever to respond and she “feels abandoned, here and at home”. Well, I lost it and told her that she better not be directing that at me, I had been there nearly every day, and then said, “I am at work, I have to go “. I have 2 brothers, one lives an hour away, the other lives 2 hours away. I live closest to her, about 15 minutes away, so I am stuck with the grunt work. She later apologized, but it really sounds so hollow. She knows where her bread is buttered, she doesn’t want to get me so upset that I will stop dealing with her altogether. She was released from rehab yesterday, and has an aide 24/7 to care for her. My husband, who is retired, picked her up and brought her home, helped her get into the apartment, met with the aide, etc. She didn’t want him to leave, but he was not going to stay there all day. Tonight, I came home from work, my husband, our older son and I picked up dinner and went to her apartment. I wanted to meet the aide and see how everything was going. Well, more complaining...she’s in pain, she has a bug, had the runs all day, blah, blah. She wanted me to listen to all of her phone messages that were left while she was in rehab, write them all down, and do various other ridiculous things. All the while with the whiny suffering voice. Then she started with the “nobody has time for me”...once again, my blood boiled and I told her that I have been running myself ragged and she was inappreciative.


I should not have lost my temper in front of the aide, but no matter what I do, it is never enough. I am exhausted and disgusted. My husband tried to calmly explain to her that I am worn out, but I don’t think anything gets through to her. I am finding myself wishing she would just die and leave me in peace. The fact is, her health is actually good, no illnesses or conditions like cholesterol or high blood pressure..nothing. It sounds awful, but I don’t want to think of what the future will bring. My nerves are so shot, I have a splitting headache and my heart is still racing. How on earth do people deal with this nonsense. What kind of coping techniques do you use when you are at the end of your rope? I decided I am not going back to visit until some time next week...I just can’t...I cannot take it. I am actually afraid for my own health at this point. Thank you for allowing me to vent.

Just found this site and can’t stop reading! It’s amazing how many people are suffering as they try to care for aging, demented parents. Ive felt alone so many times. When I try to share with most people I get “you’re lucky you still have your mother,” or “96? Bless her heart!” They don’t know how exhausting and demoralizing a complaining, Whitney, self centered parent can be. My mom is getting harder to deal with by the day. Refuses to use depends, criticizes everything, accuses caretakers of stealing stupid things like paper sacks. I can barely bring myself to visit her. Once a week is about all I can stand. My brother and sister also pop in so she gets regular visits. But it’s still it enough. I used to take her on drives, shopping, to lunch but not anymore! I feel for her at this stage in her life but am not willing to take the abuse. It makes me sad and depressed and that’s spilling over into my marriage. BTW my MIL IS 93, lives in her home with help from her kids and she’s the dearest, kindest, most uncomplaining lady. What a difference from my mom. And sadly, my mom is the Christian. But I guess it’s not all her fault. Dementia is anterrinle thing.
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You have to get a thick skin I guess. Hard I know. My Mom was easy but she had her times when she got mad at me. Since I was her caretaker and the only child she could and did count on, it hurt. She has Dementia so I had to chalk it up to that.

The other thing, is walk away when she starts. Tell her sorry Mom but I don't deserve this. I would never allow her to move in with you. There r others here who will tell you not to do this.
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marianiki Aug 26, 2018
Oh I know it’s hurtful, and yes, dementia does bring out the nastiness in some people. My dad had dementia, and he could be beastly at times. Other times he was quite jovial. My mom doesn’t have dementia, this is her natural state...immature, narcissistic and demanding.

And hell no, she will NEVER move into my home. I absolutely will not have that and she knows it . She once snapped at me when she was feeling sorry for herself...”you’ve made it quite clear you don’t want me to live with you”. She said this with the suffering voice and in front of my husband and kids, thinking she could guilt me into caving in. I just replied...”Yes, I did.” She didn’t know what hit her.
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Oh my. I could have written this. My heart goes out to you and to be honest, my anxiety level just shot up reading your post. My mother is EXACTLY the same. I have no siblings, so it's all on me. The only advice I can give is to distance yourself as much as possible, for your own sanity. It came to a point where I just had to set some boundaries. Mother tries to run right through them of course. I do what I can for mine, but I've come to realize she'll just never be happy no matter what. Hang in there, take care of yourself, get enough rest, eat well, and know you're not alone in this!
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marianiki Aug 26, 2018
I feel for you, being the only child. At least my brothers will step up (when I tell them that I am losing my mind!). And you are right, she will probably never be happy, nothing will be enough, ever. What kills me is if she were at least pleasant, people would want to be with her. Instead, she carries on, and all I have is a huge sense of dread on my way to a visit. And I am disgusted and depressed when I leave. She has no clue of the effect she has on me and my brothers. I will always remember never to behave this way with my own kids. I am completely different from her and don’t see that happening, but I told my son, after my eruption last week, “please let me know if I ever do that and stop me”. My son was so sweet, he told me that I am an amazing mom, and an amazing daughter, and “even if grandma doesn’t appreciate what you do, I want you to know that I really do.” That reduced me to tears after an already emotional night. So it looks like I am doing SOMETHING right...lol.
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You are doing the right thing by cutting back on the visits. No need for you to have to go every day. You have to take care of you too.

It sounds like your mom has friends there that she can call on, but it's her choice as to whether to reach out to them. You can't make her.

My mom pulled the, "You don't love me anymore" card on me last week when I suggested that she take the bus from her facility to Walmart to get her own toiletries, etc. since I wasn't doing enough, apparently.

I get that as parents age, they often get self-centered and/or dementia makes them that way, but for those of us who have narcissistic parents, it seems like age just exacerbates the selfishness already there. They truly don't have any empathy.

As far as coping, I'm trying to let go of any expectations that my mom will change, but also to remember that her happiness is NOT my responsibility (they train us to believe that it is). I've also set limits as to when and what I will do. If not, my mom would run me ragged all the time. Mind you, it is a work in progress. I still have days where I want to pull my hair out.
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marianiki Aug 26, 2018
You are so right about narcissistic people and advancing age. None of this is new behavior, it’s simply worse and all the time. I have to say, I have felt better just not seeing her for a few days. She is an emotional vampire, sucking the life force out of me...lol. I know I am not alone in this situation. It’s good to be able to vent to people who truly are in the same boat. You cannot really say these things to people who can’t relate, you would sound like an awful person. Prayers for all of us!
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