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I have Complex-PTSD due to years of all types of abuse from my family. I have been the stable member of a family of narcissists and/or high functioning alcoholics. My father had a legally written Medical Directive that was hidden by my mother and ignored by one of my brothers who is/was a physician. This brother was acting in erratic ways for 10 years, was fired from a long term job, and did not follow my father's DNR. My other siblings backed him, my father took all power away from them eventually, and I carried out the DNR. I had avoided conflict whenever I could with my family. My father and I were close, and all my siblings and I were successful in our professions until my brother started displaying bizarre behaviors. Like most people with Complex-PTSD, I played my scapegoat role until I watched my father suffer for almost a year. That is when memories and feelings came flooding back to me. I have been in therapy for 5 years, but I need to hear the opinions of others. My mother has had serious mood swings for 50 years but refuses medication. When she is angry, she speaks to me in a very cruel way. I have been distancing myself from her slowly. Now my brother, who was living with her, has lost another medical position and went back to his house about 70 minutes away. My personal family is a very happy, normal family consisting of two retired teachers (my spouse and myself) and my son and his wife. I realize now that I truly detest my mother who is just mean as others have described her. She lives in our family home and it is filthy. She was never this type of housekeeper until the past 15 years. She is a hoarder. I have had three heart attacks and have COPD due to second hand smoke and asthma. I never smoked. My father passed away 7 years ago, and my physician brother has slowly destroyed all my family relationships with lies because I was asked to testify against him in an ethics hearing. I did not, but I am afraid of him. He second wife, a nurse, has left him. He is my mother's favorite child. My father loved all of us for who we are. I was by myself when he died. He warned me they were all weak , and I probably would be. Recently, Mother has been ill and stayed in my house for 5 days but had not spoken to me except through cruel texts for over three weeks. We assist her financially each month, but my family and I want nothing to do with her. She is 89, but that is young for her family. Most women live by themselves until they pass away at 100 or even older. I am the youngest child, and am 63. Please help me with suggestions that are moral and kind for my mother but will protect both my mental and physical health. My heart attacks are not due to blockages but are related to stress diagnosed at 14 years old. Thank you for any help you can give me.

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Thank you, jeannegibbs, for caring and giving me a smile today!
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Keep in touch here, Scapegoat. It is good to see someone heading in the right direction and we'll like hearing about your progress -- even if there is a little backsliding now and then!
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Thank you to each person who answered. I have read some of the books, but will order the ones I have not immediately. I am going to insist that my mother tells my brothers the truth about what she and my older brother did to dad and what the situation really is. She admitted it to me. If she refuses, I will cut off all contact completely. That is our family's problem. We don't tell the truth. We skirt around it to pretend everything is okay. It's not, and I will no longer live with stress. I will then turn her situation, with pictures of the house, over to elder care in the nearest city. I would like to enjoy retirement with my immediate family and my friends. You have all convinced me I have the right to do so. I appreciate all of you !
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One of the hard things I had to come to terms with my own narcissistic hoarding mthr is that I hated her actions but I loved and respected her office of "mother" even if she were a bad example. I think that may be where you are.

The only way i could help her was to step back. I was enabling mthr to live poorly because I rescued her from her natural consequences. When I stopped, really stopped not just 3 mos stopped, she turned the corner on her own, not physically, but in attitude. She started taking care of herself in some way instead of making me feel guilty for her lack of happiness. Maybe it was because I refused to listen anymore. I did not allow her to visit, I did not talk to her, I did not accept her mail or boxes and I did not send them back, I threw them away unopened. Maybe it was the action that prayer has on the one praying not the one prayed for that worked on me. Whatever it was, removing myself from contacting her and helping in any way was actually what aided her the most. Please find a therapist who understands no contact so you can discuss the reality of allowing your mother the *dignity* to determine her own future *without* you interfering in her life. The book Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud is where I started.
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Oh. I guess I was reacting to this statement: "I realize now that I truly detest my mother." But whether you hate her or not, your goal is very appropriate, in my mind. Turn her care over to professionals and have only minimal contact with her. I don't know what is available in her rural area. I would start with Snoopy's suggestion and contact your county's Area Agency on Aging. They should be able to tell you where the nearest case managers are located, or how to hire a social worker, or what agencies to contact.

I think Department of Family and Children Services focus more on protecting at-risk children, but the Agency on Aging could advise you on that.

I think you are definitely on the right track. Stay strong!
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I appreciate the advice from everyone, but I have to clarify one thing. I do not hate my mother. I am numb and despise her behavior. I just want to find a way to protect myself and my family against a very narcissistic mother who has lost her way of life and refuses to follow the financial plan my father set up for her. I don't want to be around her, and want our relationship to be purely a monetary deposit each month into her bank each month. What organizations are available to help an elderly, difficult person who lives in a very rural area? I want to turn her in to the organization, and give them the reasons for my refusal to care for her. My father left her a specific piece of property in addition to her other property. The special piece of property could be easily sold for a large amount, and she could be placed into an assisted living center. I wish she had been a real mother, but I had a great deal of love from grandparents and teachers at boarding school. I don't want to hurt her, but I don't want to have any type of a relationship with her. She can spend the rest of her life in comfort while she convinces people she is such a sweet person. The rest is between her and God.
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Scapegoat123, I am so glad to hear that you are in therapy. People from dysfunctional families deserve all the support they can get! And I am also glad that your own family life is happy. That can be hard to achieve under the circumstances.

My question is why do you help her? Why not just protect yourself?

One of the best caregiving books I've read is "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia" by psychotherapist Pauline Boss. Some of it is applicable to caregiving situations that don't involve dementia. She writes that it is a very bad idea for someone who has been or is being abused to care for the abuser. She also acknowledges that many such people are reluctant to abandon their abuser. She says this for those people: "I encourage some kind of continued management -- often through a social worker -- to make sure that caregiving team or the nursing home professionals are treating your family member well. This may be the best you can do given your history together. Such minimal attention, however, eases ambivalence, anger, and guilt, and overall, fosters your emotional growth." (Ask your own therapist about Pauline Boss.)

I suggest that you give your mother minimal attention, for your own emotional growth. Maybe instead of giving her money each month (where on earth did that come from?) you use the money to hire a professional case manager, and oversee Mother's care through him or her.

She spent 5 days with you while she was ill? I'm sorry, but that is just crazy. Whenever I hear "oh, but nobody else could do it" I wonder what you think happens to elders who have no children or none of their children are local? If she didn't have you, there would be another solution. A case manager could arrange that.

You are the closest relative to her home. Is that supposed to obligate you? If it does, I suggest you move out of state! Really, geographical proximity is a lousy reason for caring for someone who has abused you and whom you say you hate.
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You do not owe your mother or your siblings anything at all. There is no reason for you to be in contact with any of them. Block your mother's texts. Don't worry about her living conditions and live your life with your loving family to the fullest.

I am basically estranged from both my parents. They make me out to be the bad girl, but I know what I lived through and I know how they continue to treat me. I do not care what other people think of me. It is my job to keep myself safe and I do that.
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I appreciate both answers ! As I have explored this site, I have discovered that narcissism appears to be a problem for many caregivers. My therapists has been working on boundaries, but my mother has driven many people away, and I am the closest relative to her home. My father could balance her until he became ill at 84, and he warned me she would be very difficult to help. She lives in a very rural area that has few resources. Can I contact the Department of Family and Children Services?
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I am sorry, Scapegoat. (I think it's time for you to stop being the Scapegoat, by the way!)

I would contact your county's Area Agency on Aging about getting any possible help for your mom, to begin with. Also, is your therapist helping you with setting boundaries with your mom? If not, maybe it's time to consider working with someone else. You definitely deserve better! Hugs and blessings to you.
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Bringing this question to the top....

There are many threads on the forum about dysfunctional family dynamics, I hope someone chimes in with helpful advice but you might want to search for some of the previous posts as well.
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