My elderly mom is terminally ill...and a narcissist. She wants to remain independent as long as she can, and I'm very supportive of that. However she wants to be independent when it suits her, but she also gets mean and nasty, and throws her own pity party if I actually do something good for myself, or have fun. I know it's all about her need to control, and I try to set boundaries, but it does get very old very fast. (I am working with a counselor to help with strategies and venting).
Mom always complains about "controlling adult children who try to run their parents lives", yet my sibling and I do nothing of the sort. She's still cognitively fine, and there is no reason for us to be more involved.
Her biggest love and focus is her money. It would seem that is truly all she cares about, and that her children and grandchildren and now great grandchild mean very little, if anything, to her. She says very provocative things frequently (she will tell her doctors that her family wants her dead; and that the vultures are circling, waiting for her to die to get their hands on money they didn't earn). I call her every night to check in with her, but it's basically a one sided conversation where she talks about how awful adult children are, how awful grandchildren are because they have lives and can't come over to see her whenever she thinks they should. (The grandkids are married, have very demanding professional careers in health care, one has a child, one has a house, etc.) and they are very good about getting over to see her every couple of weeks or so, but it's not enough for her.
I go to every doctor's appointment, run errands for her, take her places when she doesn't want to drive, etc.
She spends her life dangling "participating in her will" over everyone, and saying " with the stroke of a pen" she can change everything and leave it to anybody she wants. And she's made it very clear that she will be furious if anybody spends her money on x, y or z.
I just don't know how to remain the dutiful daughter during this phase of her life. She's always been difficult, but became so much more so after my father passed away, and then her cancer diagnosis.
I made a promise to my Dad, who was a wonderful and loving Dad, that I would always be there for Mom. He knew how difficult she was. I think he'd be surprised at how much more difficult she is now.
The problem is if you call her on her bad behavior, she says the most vicious and hurtful things and always makes it all about her. Walking away is not an option, but she is exhausting and I am open to hearing about how others have dealt with a parent like this. I am practicing mindfulness, make sure I eat well and get fresh air and exercise...but I hate that I feel like I'm doing this out of duty, rather than love and caring for my mom.