How do I convince my Narcissus Mother to clean her bedroom?

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My parent's home desperately needs new siding and windows. The house was built 40 years ago. The siding and windows have never been replaced. My father has the money for the work & supplies.

The problem is my 74 year-old (possibly)N mother refuses to clean her bedroom. The workers will have to enter the house to replace the windows in her bedroom. While the rest of the house doesn't look too bad, her bedroom looks like a hoarder's. She hasn't slept in there in years. The floor is cluttered with all kinds of items. There are heaps of clothes, shoes, bits of paper, KMart bags, and etc everywhere.

I just offered to help her clean. I said we would start small and just do a little bit everyday. Then when spring rolls around we will be ready to have someone come in.
She not only refused by ranted and raved for several minutes. She tried to turn it around on everyone else. Then blamed my dad for being too cheap to buy new anything. The one thing I have learned from this site is to not engage in an argument with her. So I just backed off and walked away.

She has never been big on cleaning the house. I was often too embarrassed as a kid to bring friends home because it was always a mess. Dad is tired of fighting with her since she argues about anything and everything.

Does anyone have any suggestions for convincing her to clean? I've even tried pointing out their house is the worst looking on the street, but it doesn't matter and just causes her to argue.

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Ah, that helps clarify things. Doesn't make the situation any easier to answer, but at least it is clearer.

I am so glad that you have discovered the disfunctionality of your family life is not your fault. Great discovery! And good for you for planning to move out on your own. Excellent!

Now, the next discovery is that not only are your mother's problems not your fault, they are not yours to fix. Sorry. I, too, feel sorry for your father. But the relationship in this marriage has been established over more than 40 years. I don't think it is something you can fix no matter how much you'd like to make it better.

Unfortunately, the house is not yours to fix, either. Apparently the horder's room does embarrass your father. If the stress of letting workmen see that room is greater than the stress of the house looking shabby from the outside and losing resale value, I guess that is his choice to make.

I think your best bet at this point is to focus on you, and on undoing the damage that living with your mother's disorder has done. Put your energy into making the purchase of your own house a reality. Continue your reading (and practicing) self-help materials, Consider seeing a therapist if you need a turbo charge to your efforts. Be kind to your parents. They both deserve sympathy. But don't take on the futile role of rescuing people who do not want to be rescued.

That's my take, anyway. It will be interesting to hear from others who have dealt directly with these issues.

Best of luck to you!
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Oops! Sorry I updated my profile. I just registered and didn't see the link to post a profile.

NM means Narcissus Mother. I believe my mother has a personality disorder.

My Dad will not schedule an appointment with the construction people with the room being so bad. I told him today to just make an appointment and mom will just have to deal with it, but I know he won't.

Thanks for the response, though. I often question myself if there is some other way to approach her.
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First, what is an NM? I'm not familiar with that acronym.

You haven't filled in your profile, so a little more information might help. You refer to it as "their house." Do you live there?

Do you just try to help them out some, or are you a caregiver for one (or both) of them? What are their impairments? Any dementia, copd, chf, etc.?

I certainly understand that you'd like that bedroom cleaned out. The siding event sounds like a perfect incentive for getting that done. Telling your mom that you would help her and you'd take it a little at a time sounds like a very good approach. The only thing wrong with it is it didn't work. Sigh. :(

If she is a hoarder, be glad it is confined basically to one room. If the problem is that the room is unsanitary (dirty plates, clothes, rotting food, etc.) then I guess the issue is worth pursuing. But if it is "just" cluttered and messy, perhaps it doesn't need fixing against your mother's will. If this is your parents' house and neither of them care, maybe you need to try not to care, too. So the siding people will come and have to see the "storage room." If it were your house you'd be mortified and traumatized. But the cleanliness of that room is not your responsibility, so try to detach yourself from it. Apparently it will not humiliate your mother and your father doesn't care. Be glad to be getting the siding and windows done!
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