I'm helping to care for a Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcicisstic, ungrateful mother. She has always been abusive to me (verbally and emotionally). I am a Christian woman (age 52) who is fulfilling my obligation alongside my brother - we both take turns. We take all meals, do all shopping etc. She is of sound mind - this is nothing new - she has her mind and will try to pit one of us against the other. I have overheard her talking to friends on phone about how I don't do enough. I have a husband who is great and 3 grown and flown kids. Just feeling low. I'm tired of being abused.

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I'm a Christian too. But no where did Jesus say to let people abuse you. Do what you can. Work with your brother. Don't completely reject her but do a lot less. Do it for your own sanity.
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Reply to tevincolorado
lealonnie1 Feb 8, 2021
Amen. It irritates me no end to hear about "Christians" doing "the right thing" by taking care of parents, etc. What about Jews? Do they not 'do the right thing'? Yet you NEVER hear a person say "I'm Jewish or Buddhist and therefore, doing the right thing taking abuse from my mother." I wonder why that is? Maybe b/c it makes no sense.
wintergal - atta girl statements to say that you're doing a good job at getting and accepting abuse? I think not.

Please please check out this thread for caregivers whose parents are narcissistic. You will find a lot of support there.�
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Reply to polarbear

Wow - your mom is 92? Is she living independently? In her home or apartment?

Either way, does she have physical limitations making you and your brother have to do so much for her?

If she has always been abusive to you and you feel you are doing things for her out of obligation, then perhaps you can seriously cut back on the length of time your spend with her? Sounds like there is nothing positive about your time together. Meet her needs, excuse yourself, and leave.

I can see why you'd be feeling low. Providing care as consistently as you do is a big job, a lot of responsibility, etc. Even harder to someone that is as you describe your mom. Talk about a thankless "job"! Obviously, you already know that she will never appreciate you. So be it. Accept it and let her say whatever mean, unfounded things as she has already done. She's not going to change. Don't let her get under your skin and hurt you anymore. Easier said than done BUT you are doing a lot and deserve to feel good about it.

Hopefully you and your brother are on the same page and don't fall for her attempts to pit you against each other. Don't argue when she says anything negative. Don't engage. Just have a pat phrase or two ready to respond with and move on.

Glad you have your husband and 3 grown kids to enjoy.

If it's a bit too much with mom, maybe try to get a helper in there for a day or two a week so you can see her a little bit less. Try setting some boundaries. What are you NOT willing to do? What behaviors can you just NOT tolerate?

Take care of yourself!
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Reply to againx100
Nothingleft Feb 7, 2021
My prayers are with you!! So sorry!! I know what your going through!!
"Atta a girl" for putting up with her. There are a number of members in your position that have learned to walked away or trying to set boundries. As long as your brother and you both understand that she is "pitting" you against each other, then thats a good thing.

Let her say whatever she wants to say to her friends. You and God know you are doing your best by her. Always boundries though. She may not like them but u need them for your own sanity. Narcissistic people only think of themselves. They have no empathy for others.

Those who are Christians are taught JOY ... Jesus comes first, then others, then yourself. But we can give too much of ourselves. Our husbands and children are part of those others. They should be priority. Even over Mom. Bible also says you leave your parents and cleave to your spouse.

At 92 there may come a time Mom needs more care than u can give. Do not take her into ur home. We don't need to physically care for a parent. Just find a place that they are safe and cared for.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Atta girl, if you are happy within your faith, happy within your life, happy within your SELF. If that's the case, you are doing it just right, and you are the one upon whom the sun does shine. If that's the case, read no further! You GOT this. As the young like to say "You're 'woke'".
If, however, you are feeling down more content, then there are things to consider. Are you the one who will sacrifice yourself for others even in the face of their being ungrateful? That is to say have you chosen for your own reasons/beliefs to be obligated to someone who never felt obligated to YOU in a loving way? If so, there are a few things to consider.
Yoy say your faith guides you in this, but faith also guides us to require no thanks. I am not a person of faith, so if Mom couldn't say "Gee, thanks! This is lovely", I couldn't do the visits.
There is another view on this, and my friend was given it by her psychologist when she had provided for a spoiled girlfriend for many years, then herself became ill; the girlfriend marched away. The shrink told my friend that SHE herself was "the one who broke the contract". She had volunteered herself as the "caregiver", she had promised to take care of everything, BUT now she needed care herself. Shame on her!

We tell the world who we are, what we need and how we can be treated every day. And the world is listening. If we are the one who gives care to others despite their bad behavior, enabling them to be cruel without any consequence, well, they WILL be cruel without consequence, and we will have enabled them to be so.
I find in life that most of what we do we do to makes US feel good about ourselves. We give without expecting return, for our own reasons. Some of us were taught as children, by narcissistic parents, that this is our role, and we go on with this role throughout our lives, hoping that eventually someone will tell us we are good, worthy, appreciated. Usually that doesn't happen. Only the help of a good psychologist can help us see our way out of this cycle of abuser and abusee, sometimes.
You have your faith, and your faith dictates, you believe, this obligation, which you fulfill. As to poor Mom, she's led a life of misery and unhappiness, she will be forever unable to be grateful. Others will believe you have done this for your own reasons (which you tell us you have). It is easy enough for ANY of us here to save our keyboards and just say "Wow, you are so great." But would that really help? Because it isn't us you really need to hear from. It's a Mom who you are waiting to tell you that you are a worthy child, she's proud of you, she loves you. And we can't make that happen.
Goodness is always to be admired. Kindness is always to be admired. So I can tell you that you are a good deal more good and kind than I myself would ever be capable of being. You have provided for need in another human being. That should bring you a good deal of inner peace, given your beliefs, and I hope that it does. If however, you find you are fulfilling your faith, and helping others, and are yourself unhappy, I would suggest a few visits with a therapist to form some healthy boundaries and some modes of action that can make you happier, while still true to the principles you espouse.
I wish you the best of luck. Do try to remember, your Mom has her habits. One of them is complaint. She is on the phone and really just talking. It's a habit. She's unhappy, and grateful just isn't her thing. It isn't what she does.
I hope my post to you doesn't sound mean, but will awaken you to seek out things to make YOU secure and happy within yourself, without need of a Mom's appreciation, a Mom who, I am sorry, likely doesn't have it within herself to change.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

Where in the Bible does it say that you are obligated to care for your aging mother, let alone a verbally and emotionally abusive one? It does say to "honor your father and mother," but that is very different than being obligated. You can still honor her from afar. You have to do what is best for you and your mental health. And if that is stepping back and letting mom hire some outside help to come in assist her, then so be it. No one, I mean no one, deserves to be abused in any way, shape or form. The fact that you have allowed this abuse to go on for as long as you have is concerning to me. You deserve so much better. Please don't use the fact that you are a Christian, to justify putting up with her abuse. I believe that's called being a martyr, and I can only hope that that is not what you want to be. I too am a Christian, and both my parents were very abusive to me(won't get into now, but I have on this forum before)for many, many years. I chose for my own mental health's sake that I had to completely cut ties with them, if I was ever going to be the person that God called me to be. Yes, I forgave them both as that was part of my healing, but never did I ever feel "obligated" to care for them as they got older. It didn't hurt that I lived many states away by that point either. You have to do whatever you feel is right for yourself, and your family, but please don't blame the fact that you're a Christian, and are "obligated" as a reason to continue putting up with her abuse. You might need to seek some therapy to get to the bottom, of why you've allowed this abuse for so long. I wish you the very best going forward, and I'm sorry that I didn't really give you the "atta girl" you were probably looking for, but sometimes it's better to just get the truth instead. God bless you.
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Reply to funkygrandma59

You don’t owe an abusive parent anything.

If you wish to be charitable, you can help her find another caregiver or suitable placement.

Have you spoken to a therapist to help sort out your feelings about caring for your abusive mother?

I know that you are a Christian and I fully respect your faith.

Just to clarify though, I am not speaking about a counselor such as a pastor at your church.

Speak to an objective professional therapist who is trained in psychology.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

If you are, as you say, just feeling low, I am happy to remind you to look ahead and remember that this too will pass, and that you and your brother are linking arms in a worthwhile project. Your mother perhaps enjoys complaining, and perhaps she and her friends are the sort of circle who would rather compare hardships than cheer one another up.


I cannot say "attagirl" to someone who is banging her head against a brick wall and finding that it hurts. Do you and your brother ever talk about alternative options? Does he feel the same as you do?
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Reply to Countrymouse

As soon as you know more, this will all be temporary.
We often need to get to the end of ourselves before making changes.
There is no guilt in that.
Start now, by taking an abrupt break. Have someone else take your turn.
A real break. Seriously.

You've got this!
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Reply to Sendhelp

"Atta Girl" for reaching out!
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Reply to Sendhelp

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