Dear Friends, I have posted here a lot, and some of you may already know my circumstances: I am POA for my 91-year old narcissistic mom who has vascular dementia, Alzheimer's, and a host of other health problems. She lives (unhappily) in memory care. I live a half-day's drive from her facility but fortunately 2 other family members, (full-time employment status and families of their own) help with her care. Church members (God bless 'em) pick her up and take her to church once a week. Once or twice a month I visit Mom for several days at a time to take her to her doctor's appointments. I believe it's necessary to take her to most of these myself as I believe there is no substitute for seeing and communicating with her doctors face-to-face to assess Mom's needs.
I've gone low contact because of longstanding issues between us. My focus is primarily on Mom's medical care, paying her bills, and managing her property. I try to minimize personal contact like visits and phone calls as much as I can. She has an abusive nature; a full spectrum of narcissistic behaviors that will never go away: lying, gaslighting, guilt-tripping, manipulation, slander, etc. Some of her conduct requires far too much cunning (ability to plan) to attribute to dementia. My apologies to those who believe otherwise; there's too much evidence to the contrary.
Despite this, I'm finding it necessary to respond to medical crises more often than I might wish. She is, after all, quite aged and these events keep happening more and more. I find myself balancing a tightrope of protecting myself and appropriate response to her needs. Care-taking duties have taken a substantial toll on my physical and emotional health.
That being said, one of the most wearing aspects of personal contact (which I minimize as much as possible) is Mom's proclivity for negativity. From soup to nuts, nothing is right and it's all my fault. You cannot redirect. Starting a constructive topic is pointless; there might be a 2-second pause before she takes up another complaint about some other circumstance that doesn't conform to her exacting standards; an endless loop of negativity. No one else exists on this planet. No one else has needs, problems, or heartaches. It's all about her. No joke; if I died today, she wouldn't blink but fume about who would take her to the dentist. In fact, on the event of my father's (her husband's) death, she was taken to see him for the last time. Afterwards, as Mom was escorted out of the nursing home, she pondered aloud, "What will I do now that my father is gone?" and immediately began a tirade about all my deficiencies.
Mom has now contrived an arsenal of slander against me, a convoluted mix of fact and fiction to discredit me to friends, family, and strangers alike. She will openly admit she "needs me." Shocking how she can treat the one who does the most with such contempt.
Some say I ought to "enjoy" Mom while she's still with us. Excuse me? Enjoy what? Others say warm and fuzzy moments (when Mom says or does "cute" things or lets an "I love you" slip) should sustain me. Sorry folks, those watercolor memories ain't happening.
I wish I had the conscience and the resources to go "no contact" and never look back. Believe it or not, I've evolved. Gone is any ambition to "win" Mom's love. Gone is the hope for the mother-daughter relationship I never had. I learned to mother myself decades ago. One thing for sure. It's made me strong.
If anyone out there knows how to break the negative loop, even for "the moment," please pitch in. Your suggestions are much appreciated!
Thanks so much for listening. If it wasn't for my friends here, ....well, I don't wanna think about it!