How do you care for your parent when they have always had some form of mental illness?

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How do you continue to be a caregiver when your parent has always had some form of mental illness...in my case Narcissitic Personality Disorder. My mother has always suffered from this and now trying to be a more closely caretaker is bringing me down. No one is realizing I cannot take care of her by myself. She is crafty and her aging just makes is all much worse. More and more calls from neighbors to the police or paramedics with her stunts. They say she cannot be alone but I cannot tolerate to be around her. She refuses to go to a nursing home, so now trying to find someone who will at least come and check on her a couple times a day at least to give her her psych meds. There is no one to help me. I have been of work for almost a month on FMLA and it seems to be a waste of my time, since she can do many things by herself...(she just tore apart the patio cleaning it ...an 85 year old pushing and pulling couches and vacumns...) mental illness in an aging parent..HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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You do have to protect yourself, so I'm glad you are looking at options. Aging doesn't give us the right to abuse people. Mental illness is not the fault of the ill person, but it shouldn't ruin the lives of all who try to care for that person. I'm glad you can talk with a few caregivers on this site who've gone through the conservator process. It is a lot of paperwork, but you may have to do it.

Take care,
Carol
Dear dear gvergrl, when you talked about being 50 and realizing you have been held captive all those years and finally realizing that you do have an opinion, i really understood the feeling. As i said before, my mom was almost an angel compared to you gal's moms but she has her own set of issues that made growing up in her home very strange and damaging.
When i moved her into my home it was the year i turned 50. I started remembering "things" from my childhood that i had forgotten. And not just my childhood but throughout the years.
Life was just plan horrid when she first moved into my home. Between her coming to terms with loosing her independence and her home, well, she didn't know how to handle this in a sensible way but only in her warped, paranoid way. And i reverted back to the way i had felt living in HER home all those years ago.
So i was almost a basket case.
That is when i earnestly began to pray for God to change me as i knew that she wasn't going to change. And that is when all the memories began to flood back. And so i realized that she wasn't a mean mom who hated me, but that she was mentally ill. And boy did that put things into perspective. i have been able to handle things so much better now.
My husband constantly told me "you are not that little girl anymore" and "this is YOUR house". And i began to take that deep into my soul and that was like a balm to the hurts and it strengthened me.
i read somewhere that if you had a bad childhood you need to go through a morning process in order to heal. I haven't done that yet but i know i need to. I think we all need to morn for the little girls we once were. We need to cry for those hurt, confused, lonely little girls. And we need to morn for the women that we never became. i know in my own life there was so much potential for greater things than what i accomplished. i am just a shadow of what i could have been. And so i need to morn for that and then put it away.
Knowing that my mom couldn't help herself i guess makes it somewhat easier to except. But it doesn't make the pain any less.
I think in time that we will be able to except ourselves as we are and thank God for our lives just as they are. I know that we are strong because of our pasts. And it is this strength that enables us to carry on. i feel so blessed to have you gal's. For the first time in my life i am able to talk about my mom. You gal's understand and so in talking about our feelings i think we are helping each other heal.
Remember to be kind to yourselves. Peace
We all get a little ill from stress and sometimes don't even know the cause. So, there is nothing wrong with us when we " wig out" a little. I hear caregivers have lots of stress related illnesses. The trick is to make time for ourselves and to not feel any guilt. I am working on that issue full time!! When you feel tired, stressed and generally out of sorts, look for something that makes you happy. Me, I get on this site, call my daughter, a friend or just go to the library. I love to read, so that is my escape. Mom does too, so she loves it when I come home from the library with large print books for her. Sure has saved us a lot of money. Books are expensive. Want a good laugh? Read anything by Janet Evanovich. She makes me happy. Good night to all and remember, we are all in this together!!!!!
Lroye.... Please forgive me when I say this, but I chuckled when I read your post because I can't tell you how many times I used to get criticized so I simply told them, "I'll make you a bet. You can have all of mom and dad's money if you can go a week with her. No joke." People used to scoff at me and my husband would tell people how serious I was if they thought they could do it better.

Fortunate or unfortunate (depending how you look at it), my parents have the money to keep them in a nice assisted living facility. As you can guess no one took me up on my bet. Go figure!
Seems we all have a lot in common here. I know the exact same thing about an over controlling mother with paranoia thrown in...got the same thing. My parents had me almost scared when I was younger to do anything, until I broke myself from that, after my b/f died when I was 25 and saw how life was so short. In the past ten years I have not gone anywhere because I had to go over there every Sunday for the past 10 years after my father died taking her shopping, she would not let you deviate from that day. A couple of years ago I wanted to go to Wisconsin for about 5 days and she blew a gasket called the family in to discuss that like I could not go, unless someone was around only to make sure that there was always someone around for her in case something would happen to her...she was healthy as a horse then. I still went, but after that was not about to go through that assault again. My cousin and his b***h g/f have a big mouth on trying to say I should live with her, even though I have tried to explain what her psyche does to me. In the beginning of those 10 years I gave a lot of time to my mother and her demanding ways since she did not have my father to her beck and call anymore. I started to get sick and have migraines. I went to tons of doctors nothing would help. I finally figured out what it was after 6 months - it was her - once I realized that all my symptoms ceased. Now that I know all this, this last stress full event she has placed me in gave me the same as the previous poster a bad cold and cold sores, less severe than what I suffered 10 years ago. I found a book in the library "If you had Controlling Parents" it is a good read and in many cases very insightfull.
Has your Dad ever talked about what he believes are his religious obligations with a moral theologian? I did and what an eyeopener! I was piling all sorts of obligations on myself and I was just plain wrong. If this is a matter of what he believes the Bible says, then maybe talking to someone who actually knows a lot about the Bible, might help. Sometimes people forget the Bible wasn't written in modern English. The way it is now, he is actually enabling her bad behavior and not getting medical help.
i am so sorry that you are so stressed. i know how difficult it is to take care of a parent with BPD. People with this disorder wont allow anyone to take care of them. It is such a complicated thing. My mom has this disorder. i just except that there are things i can do nothing about. talk to your moms dr. if she is out of control or totally unsafe perhaps she could be declared by a court and placed in a facility. Call home care agencies and see what services are available. Is your mom on medicare or medicaid?Try mental health services in your area, adult protection services. Hang in there, you will find a wealth of knowledge on this site with all the other caregivers.
Dear piratess, my heart goes out to you. I agree with yearight, in feeling sorry for your stress.

I can relate, as my Mom was just diagnosed with "a serious personality disorder," (of unknown variety). So, we're still awaiting further diagnosis. I can relate to both the stress side of things, and the craftiness. I can also relate to a Mom who likes to move heavy furniture (mine has back pain which make it worse). She also like to vacuum - in the middle of the night! I'm finding the illness "comes and goes" with my Mom. She seems to do fine with some people, and in some circles, but does just terrible around me and my family. I don't have a bit of advice, as I'm new to this type of thinking and am looking for answers myself. But just want you to know you're not alone.

I petitioned the court, and was granted Guardianship, and Mom declared a "Legally Incapicated Individual." How sad for her! We have only recently received a diagnosis after a referral to a Geriatric Assessment Clinic. I suspected Dementia, but could get no confirmation. She passed all the tests. When they told me she had a PD, it threw me for a loop. Although, in looking back over a lifetime of ups and downs with her, I can see where they got their diagnosis. She is also being treated for depression. They are giving her some medication for this, and it seems to have made a difference in the way she behaves. Mom seems less angry and combative. That could also be due to the boundaries I have recently been practicing and putting in place for my own "sanity" and stress levels around her.

I was wondering, what is FMLA? Sounds like things get very serious if you have police and paramedics involved at times. Does she end up in ER? I think I'd be feeling the strain from that as you are. What does her Physician say? Is she seeing a competent Geriatric Specialist, and does he/she have a treatment plan? Additionally, I've heard there are support groups for those who have to deal with loved ones with these types of disorders. Have you found one near you? I will be looking for your posts, to see what you find out there.

yearight gave good advice, when she said, "Hang in there." Don't lose yourself while caring for your Mom. There have to be some answers for you and your Mom. So sorry you're struggling. Will keep you, your Mom, and your situation in prayer. Take care of yourself in the process.
Hi Gals,
Oh yes it is something else, she has driven me crazy most of my life and she is not done yet! Yesterday I found her in the garden pulling on plants that are okay instead of weeds....she could not stand that I was starting to take care of the garden and has to have her fingers always over mine. The other day I had a Home Depot bag and some merchandise and the receipt for a return she had the receipt all crumpled up and shoved inside the bag, good thing I found everything. If I don't want something touched I have to hide it from her. She will not go into a nursing home, she says I am trying to kick her out of her house. I went to an attorney and learned about Conservatorship as you have done. But that is a real mess, I am saving that for last. If she pulls another crazy disruptive stunt and not take her meds she's gone! She is sooo stressfull. I have been over there everyday for a month. I have run the whole gamut of phone calls and places and got to many dead ends. The only thing I have is a psychotherapist that comes every week to her..and they just bullshit talk...yeah that's helpful. A social worker who knows her whole story and some in home care help on tues/thurs 4 hrs a day...so let see. I set up her med boxes which she likes to play dumb about, but if she trips up again...it will be conservatorship. She is a very devious person inside, even though people think little old lady!
By the way, I heard it's not a drive to crazy, but a short walk. I was wondering if you've ever experienced feeling ill from being around your mother? It's hard for me to explain this feeling, but it's something I physically feel when things don't go well with my Mom. Even though she's the one with the diagnosis, her disease makes me "feel" as though something is wrong with me. No one else makes me feel this way. Is that strange or uncommon?

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