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Mom only wants to starta fight, no matter what is said. I can make the most simple remark, like yesterday when I ask her to remove the :"info grid" from the tv so we could see the program. I have always tried to respond nicely when she makes a nasty comment but am finding it harder to hold my tongue, then we really get into it. I don't want this kind of relationship. I fight ending my life on a daily basis and don't know how much longer i can go on. I go to therapy when i can afford it but my only real friend just died and i have no one left to talk to. I am already supposed to have called her this morning, "God forbid she call me" I need some help emotionally today. and every other day. Mom is still capabable of living on her own at 90 but i try to go up twice a week even though she lives with my sister. their relationship has hit rock bottom. We used to adore her, now it seems to be all hate and tolerate.

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If she is in pretty good shape physically, why can't she be left alone for a few hours at a time? Who is with her while you are at work? What is stopping you from getting some relief for short periods of time? I think there may some details missing from your description.

How about dropping her as a subject of discussion when you are out with friends? Come here to vent, where other people understand what you are dealing with, and truly get away from her when you are with friends.

Or do you mean you'd like more alone time in your own home?

And you brought her to live with you because ... ?? Lol, I think many of us act first and think later when it comes to these kinds of decisions.

Does she ask you about the details of your life because she doesn't have one of her own, and she is living through you vicariously? If that is it, and she isn't being controlling, would it be burdensome to give her some details? "Oh, mom, I had the most fabulous chicken dish, baked in cream and seasoned with blah, blah, blah." or "What a day we had at work! First the copier broke right before the big meeting and blah blah blah." When you don't feel like sharing, who called was "a friend" or "it was business." You don't know when you'll be back, but you'll peek in on her and make sure she is sleeping comfortably.

You can set the boundaries here. You decide how much and how often you want to share of your personal life. You decide when you are going out with friends. You decide how much time you want to spend alone in your hobby area or your room and how much you want to spend with Mom. You volunteered to share your house but you don't need to volunteer to be a victim.
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this site helps so much to see that i am not alone. i am the 60 year old old child of a 91 year old mother who can be controlling, overly protective, and suffocating. we have never really gotten along but when it became clear she could no longer live alone i decided to have her move in wiht me. i have been divorced for 14 years and so it is only US. she is in pretty good health physically so i t hought she would make friends here or get involved in something but instead she stays at home and waits for me to come home from my job. the only time we have been apart in 2 years except when i am at work or church is when i take her to get her hair done. 1 or 2 hours once a week in almost 2 years is not enough time to myself. she thinks she is the victim and she has probalby been unhappy her whole life. she thinks she has given her life to me and that she is a help to me by living here. she does her share financially but she wants to know where i am every moment of the day. who called? where are you going? what did you eat when you went out to dinner? when will you be back? i feel so guilty griping but am i so unhappy. i am an 8 year breast cancer survivor and i worry about the stress. also my arthritis has worsened lately. she is healthy except for high blood pressure and her short term memory problems. i feel so alone and my few friends are so tired of me complaining. many dont understand and say how lucky i am to have her with me and so healthy. i never had children so maybe i would understand more if i have been a mother. i am not even sure if i like her anymore. i have given up on ever having a good relationship with her. if we could only have some peace andi could get some relief for short periods of time.
csosadandangry
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ajashadenough, learning that your mother is a malignant narcissist says it all. I have worked with many individuals such as yourself. I will share a story that most recently breaks my heart. An family caregiver, I will call her Star, took care of her mother for years. She lost jobs, she neglected her health. Her mother made sure she was available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
If Star went to work, her mother would call the police and report her for elder abuse, abandonment, or even show up at her place of employment. She would take a taxi, come disheveled and make a scene.
she was perfectly able to take care of herself. She did not want to be alone. Star had 2 sons in college. As dementia set in and incontinence became a problem, Star, with alot of support, encouragement and courage, moved her mother into assisted living. Once she was there, it was realized within a few months she needed a locked unit. she had personality disorder, start of dementia and would cause terrible problems for Star by going to the house everyday.
Star moved, as she lost her house. She was just starting to live her life, free of her mother. She was away from her mother less than a year when she discovered that she had Stage 4 lung cancer with mets to the brain and bone.

I share this story with you for a purpose. There was a study that the Alzheimer's organization did, that showed that 50 % of family care givers taking care of someone with dementia dies before the person that actually has the disease.

Well, that is just one disease. I am sure that if they did a study on someone that provides care for a narcissist they would find the stats to be even higher.


Narcissists do not have feelings for anyone but themselves. They do not care if you are sick, or hurt or anything else. It is all about them. If our sister and you were smart, you would place her in a nursing home and visit only when you have to. There is a group that has narcissistic mothers on yahoo. It will help you so much. I hop you will check it out.
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Besides medication, suicidal ideations are one of the ways emotionally-conflicted individuals cope with tense situations. They don't make you feel any better, and the problem will still be there until you address the underlying causes. Instead of leaving or having a heart-to-heart, you've chosen to engage in a sterile battle of wills fraught with bantering, huffing and puffing, snide remarks, and emotional blackmail. As time goes on common sense will be very uncommon between you two. You're both reacting, not responding; and she'll continue to push your buttons because she installed them and knows exactly where they are. Remove yourself. Enjoy your life for a change, and leave a phone # behind for when she's ready to love you all over again. Good luck dear sister.

-- Ed
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I agree it may be time for the nursing home or assisted living. Please don't do anything rash. Just think to yourself as I do, This too shall pass. Please take care of yourself. If you have to see mom only once a week or every other week then so be it. And then for only an hour or two. I am very grateful that my Mother was a really sweet mother to me when I was a kid.
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silvercreek, you are being far too hard on yourself. After working 10-11 hours in a day, I would not want to see anyone myself, but need some rest. Has your mother always been demanding. Either way, you need a healthy boundary for your own well being.
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Have to agree with madge1. I strongly encourage you to find a good ALF or Nursing Home to care for your mother. You have fought a good fight but now it is time to give in for your own good and let those trained to care for her do it. You Mom obviously has some degree of dementia and is most likely not aware she is being so mean spirited.

Wishing you all the BEST!!!
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I drive by the nursing home every day after working 10-11 hours. I hate it because I don't even stop to say hello to my mom. She keeps the room so hot, it will almost take your breath away. The door is almost always closed, so the room is so stuffy! I have suggested sitting in the beautiful living area out front or outside in the swing, but that does not interest her. However, I have been known to sit in my car outside her window and talk to her on my cell phone. Our family and she gets a big laugh out of our little tradition. We try to get her as often as possible for a 3 day weekend. Recently, we went on what we call our "sister trip". We stay in a beautiful suite and cook our meals in the kitchenette. The down side to this is we are so afraid she is going to fall and hurt herself. We are all in poor health, so it is definately a scary situation. She is very demanding and it takes the whole village to and part of the next to take care of her. But in the long run, we love her deeply and will be devestated when she is no longer here. I just wish I could be a better daughter and not have all this guilt hanging over me. Gotta love her cause she's the mamma!!!
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Hopeful, I am so glad your mother is doing better without her medications. I think that seniors are sometimes overmedicated or are left on medications that were appropriate at one time but are no longer helping. So, good for your mother!

Unless you have experienced the debilitating effects of clinical depression, you really can't grasp what a huge benefit the right antidepressant can be. It is not a happy pill. When it works right it just makes you feel more like yourself, instead of that some gloomy stranger you don't even like has invaded your body. Taking walks is absoutely excellent advice for someone with depression. Any regular exercise is beneficial. But when you are feeling that life isn't worth living it is hard to convince yourself that taking a walk would be worth doing. If you have a partner or caregiver who is part of your therapy she or he may be able to coax you on a walk, but if you don't have that support, or if the person you are living with is part of the problem, it is not realistic to say "take a walk or get a pet and you'll snap out of it." Sometimes getting the right medication (and often trial-and-error is needed to find the right one) can at least put you in the frame of mind to think, "I matter. I'm going to take a walk for my health." Sometimes it is best or necessary that the drug treatment come first, and then talk therapy and life style changes have a realistic chance of being effective.

AJ, I encourage you to continue with your prescribed medications as directed. If they don't seem to be helping enough, they might need to be adjusted or changed. Please talk to your doctor. Take a little or a long vacation from Mom. Get back with your therapist. If you don't have insurance, talk to the accounting office to see if there are any financial programs you would qualify for. You are a valuable individual and you are worthy of effort to restore and protect your health. Exercise and eating right are very beneficial for depression, as your therapist no doubt has told you. Do what you can along those lines. You are worthy of good care! Keep the crisis hotline number handy, and carry it in your purse or pocket. Do not hesitate to call it if you have thoughts of ending your life.

Know that you can feel better, and that you deserve to feel better. Hang in there, AJ!
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One thing I am learning is how "not to behave". Hope I just have enough brains left to remember this in the coming years. yikes.
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DT: here! here! on your comment, "we can choose our friends, but not our family" which makes it even more difficult to completely disengage. I also chose to be a caregiver, but, this does not mean that I am obligated to take whatever bad behavior family can dish out.
Lately, I just want to throw in the towel. But there is no place to throw it, unless you can just turn your back on a loved one....which I cannot.
So, I play the Polyanna "happy game" and try to find one thing in my day to celebrate. I take breaks when I can and return to the interests I had BC (before caregiving).
My biggest fear now is giving all this time and energy to caregiving when I need to be thinking about how I want my future to look. I told my Mom one day, when she was feeling sorry for herself, "I won't have a 'me' to look after ME when I am in your shoes."
Ya' just gotta take care of yourself, protect your physical and mental health, and do just enough to ensure that your family member is safe and clean. How much you want to give after that is up to you.
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Ouch!!! Your mother and mine could have been separated at birth they are so much alike! I have been looking after my 94 year old for 11 years now, for the first couple years I had to go on anti-depressants just to keep from breaking down and crying. Still feel that way sometimes. I think the biggest thing is the disallusionment I suffered seeing what my mom was really like. I say really like because her behavior was well masked, though I look back now and see that it was always there if one knew what to look for. When my dad was alive she took it out on him a lot, he was able to absorb a lot because he was a narcissist too, in a different way, and he just let all family relationships just roll off. I do not ever remember my dad hugging me spontaniously, mom not much either. Her OCD made us (my sister and brother but me in particular as she "latched onto me" from an early age) feel as if we were "in the way" ,more than we were a member of the family. She also has Zero imagination, and I do not believe anyone can imagine what lengths that goes to . Living with my mother is like living with a not-too-bright 7 year old. I look back at her behavior when I was smaller and a teen and I wonder how I could have been so stupid as to come back here.

I moved from California where I had lived for nearly 30 years back to the midwest to look after her and left everything familiar and friends I could 'let down my hair with', and have made no real frilends since I have been back here so I have no one to talk to either (that is why I am here...) I have been coping because I am in reality a very eccentric person and rather than let the average midwestern personality take over, I magnify all my eccentricities and fly them all like a banner, just to maintain my individuality. I 'tune out' my mother as often as I can, and spend a lot of time in the basement doing my hobbies that I put on the shelf for several years. More than that I really cannot tell you right now, it is one day at a time and I take every opportunity possible to even just "tune into myself" and keep myself separate from my mother's absorbing ways. There is another blog on this site that is "I love my mother but I don't like her", bring that up and do some interesting reading - you are not the only one. It is no shame to admit you do not like your mother. You can chose your friends, you can't chose your family.
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Other suggestions for you: Our church has a "Sisterhood of Speed Scrabble" and ladies of all ages get together every couple of months. We also have a bookclub and just finished "Eve's Daughters" by Lynne Austin--a wonderful and highly recommended book about 4 generations of ladies--a daughter Susannah, her mother Grace, the grandmother Emma and the great-Grandmother Louise and-- all of their trevails. Please keep us updated. I am so thankful for this site! {:^)
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I would encourage you to get off of the depression medicine, and instead start walking, get a pet, volunteer somewhere (ie reading to children, or having them read to you, assembling packages for the troops?) My mother was on depression med, and suffered some of the side effects (i.e. dizziness & constipation) and it made her so relaxed, all she wanted to do was sit around and watch tv, or sleep. She was having a hard time thinking clearly and making rational decisions. Of course the dementia and her Aricept medication also added to her problems. Now the doctor has taken her completely off of her Welbutrin and Aricept (it was started too late for her). She is eating healthier meals, has physical therapy every day, and because of incontinence, they took her off of diuretics (no coffee or tea) My mother was at an AL, we tried to have her live at home until she wanted to kick the caregivers out, and she is now at a conv./rehab hospital--with an opinionated roomate, but one who is involved with the activities--and my mother is happier than I have seen her in 5 years--who would have thought? If you do not have long-term care ins. and/or money is an issue, perhaps start an adult co-op with friends with loved ones w/ similar issues?
Places to drop off/meet for an hour or two: a park, restaurant, someone's home (trading off every week or two). You can have lunch, two adults could stay with the elderly, while the other two take off for a few hours. You could trade co-op hours like we did when our kids were young. That was going to be my next try if mom's rehab/conv hospital didn't work out, and I was planning to go to the Senior Center to obtain names. Mom would never go to the Senior Center where "all the old looking folks lived", but now that she is amongst "them" at a Conv/Rehab she is seemingly doing much better. Have any of you heard of the co-op idea, and has it worked? I was beginning to get desperate and entertained the idea for awhile and was just wondering if it was do-able.
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Mom44, " feeling guilty when I don't meet her every need as she sees it." That statement is packed with F.O.G., i.e. Fear, Obligation and Guilt. As you have come to see with boundaries, it is not up to you to fix her emotional state, etc. She needs to deal with her own emotions herself and you are not her mother. Your mom sounds typical of some personality disorders where they split one child off as all good, i.e. your brother, and split the other child off as imperfect. I'm sorry you are on the bad side of her seemingly black/white thinking.
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So interesting to read all of these responses, and so helpful to know that I am not alone. My Mom came to live with my family after my Dad died. She worships my daughter and my husband but doesn't find much good to say about me. My brother has told her that if she treated him the way she treats me he would never come to visit. He is the one with the good relationship with her, however, he doesn't live with her. But he has also helped me see that it is OK to set boundaries. I struggle alot with feeling guilty when I don't meet her every need as she sees it. Funny that she doesn't see that my family would like me to be a part of their lives, too. Well, I said all that to say, "You are not alone". Keep remembering that. Another thing. You said that you have a difficult time holding your tongue. Me, too. And then I feel terrible afterwards. It doesn't help to lose my temper. When I am able to answer her politely but firmly and hold my boundaries, afterwards I feel a sense of accomplishment, like I behaved like an adult, instead of giving into being childlike, which is how I often see her behaviour. And the advice about getting time away is good. I am going to an art retreat this weekend. My husband encourages me to get away, to spend time with other women because he know that I need it. I know you said that your finances are limited, but maybe there is something you can find that would help you get away and meet new people. Churches sometimes have weekend events. I go to a scrapbooking retreat with my daughter twice a year. Many times the same women are there and we have gotten to be friends. They are wonderfully encouraging. Also, sometimes there are caregiver support groups through hospitals or community resources. Reach out, don't struggle by yourself!
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ajashadenough, just had to respond. I am so sorry for your pain. When cmagnum responsed about your Mom being a narcissistic handful, that hit a nerve with me. I have the same problem. I thought Mom was just great too when I was young. When I had children this began to unravel. And now she is 81 and a horrible old crab. Nothing has changed but me. I recognize it. I am trying to deal with her at the present and through wonderful advice from this site, I am making some progress. Read all you can about narcissistic personalities. Sadly, they will suck you dry. maybe it is time for Assisted Living or a Nursing Home. I just don't feel we have to give these selfish parents the rest of our lives. They have done enough damage. Many will tell to forgive and forget. That is good, but a narcissist doesn't care about your feelings. You just have to disengage.
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ajashadenough, I read your profile and see that your mother has been a narcissistic handful during your entire life and that you are married. What does your husband think of all of this. I bet he is fed up with it too. I'm sorry your finances are so limited because therapy just for your well being is needed. Many therapists have a sliding scale for people with limited income.
The suggestions from jeannegibbs are wonderful and I hope you will follow them. Remember that you did not make your mother the way she is. You can't control her narcissism. Nor can you fix it. All you can do is to pick a healthier path for yourself regardless of what she does or does not do and that includes your sister too.
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I have the same situation. My mother has always been critical and over reacts about everything. There's a possibility that your mother may need treatment for depression or anxiety. If you can get her to go to an adult daycare, this would help all of you. Seeing others who are much worse off than she is may make her appreciate things more. You mentioned that you go to a therapist....maybe your therapist could meet with you, your sister and your mother to try and sort out the situation. At least the therapist could back you up and let your mother know that you have some boundaries and need some space and respect. Good luck - it really is tough to deal with constant arguing and bad attitudes.
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I wish we could edit our posts. I meant to say that your mother MAY NOT be treating you this way deliberately.
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First, AJ, sincere condolences on the loss of your good friend. That has to be a very sad and difficult milestone in your life. Allow yourself time to grieve.

If you used to adore your mother and now she has become mean and nasty, that probably means that something in her physiology has changed. Does it help at all to know that she may be doing this deliberately? Personality change can be a sign of dementia or other disease. Has she had a thorough exam lately? Knowing what causes this behavior won't make it go away, but it does help some people to take it less personally and to distance themselves from it.

Perhaps it would help if you gave yourself a little respite -- a vacation from Mom. You say that she can take care of herself. Why don't you tell her that you are feeling very sad about the death of your friend and you need some time by yourself. You'll call next week. She might be mad, but what else is new?

While you are taking time off from Mom, don't isolate yourself. Walk around in a mall. Talk to other friends. Email someone you haven't contacted in a while. You deserve time to yourself, but you don't necessarily need to spend it alone.

Come here and vent or chat each day, or more than once a day. It can help to know that others are having similar experiences.

Look up and copy down the suicide prevention line or the crisis center helpline in your community. Place it in several handy places. If you feel you are fighting to not end your life, CALL one of those numbers, so you won't have to fight alone.

Take good care of you. You are a worthy, unique individual. No one can take your place on this earth. The mother you adored, the mother you had before disability took her true self from you, would want you to have a happy life. Take care of yourself. Call upon whatever resources you need to do that. You deserve it!
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