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This is hard to put into words, but my mom shows signs of being a narcissist. (It's always about her, no sympathy for others, etc.) Another odd thing I find about her, and this is really hard to put into words, but she seems to think if it's not happening in her bubble, it's not happening. If I'm not visiting her, then I must be working and nothing else. (Because nothing else should keep me away from her? Other than I have a husband, a house, hobbies, friends?) She tells me what I should be watching on TV, what I should pay attention to in the news (she assumes, because she doesn't see me reading the paper or listening to the news that I'm not doing it?) She constantly accuses me of being negative and nasty. Thing is, if I speak to her for an hour, she will pretty much hold a monologue, and anything I'd get in edgewise she wouldn't listen to. When she talks, it's only about how much the family has disappointed her (I'm the only family she's remained in contact with), how much she is annoyed by her friends, how stupid everyone else is, what's wrong with society, the government, racist things, telling me how much money I should make or pointing out jobs in the paper (like I should get an IT job for the county, and I don't work in IT, and she thinks that I have a bachelor's degree qualifies me for anything aside from being a doctor) that I should pursue and so on. I have come to the conclusion I am someone who she thinks should be her taxi and shopping service, and someone to sit there and talk at. Yes, I mean at, and not to, because she does not listen to a thing anyone says. She latches onto a word or phrase and twists it into whatever she wants it to be. (And it's worse now as she gets more and more signs of dementia, which she is smart enough to fake away at the doctor's.) Every time I finish a call or visit with her I feel totally drained, like the lowest scum on earth, like a huge disappointment, and I'm tired of feeling that way. How do people cope? Some days I can boost myself, or my husband does, and tell myself I do all I can, but I still feel like every time I deal with her I've been put through the wringer.

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Understanding this suffering is what I'm doing and with sadness in my heart. Mom is doing all of the above and more. I don't need her and she hates me because of that fact. Also I am one if 6 kids and why do these parents have so many children. I am still confused by the behavior, almost like I think I'll wake up and she'll not be this way anymore.
I am moving out of state to where 2 siblings live close by. By making this move I am leaving 2 siblings who will be living with mom or very close by. She has started outright attacking my character and love for her. I'm 46 last week, and I'm distancing myself but sadly she is 83, yes she kept on having kids!! Now she has started accusing my nephews, her grandsons of horrible sexual things. I can't make her think reasonably. She is really convinced of these bad things happening in her home. These boys are awesome but their mom had a nervous breakdown and has needed the financial support of mom because she's divorced and the father is a deadbeat addict. Soon I'll live away but the feelings of responsibility won't go away. She will call me and make up things to share with me. Oh joy! She claims to be deaf so that way she doesn't have to listen to me. It's a REAL physical condition,oh no, she can't hear. Unless she is eavesdropping on the grandsons. Ok so if anyone has advice on the accusations of sexual acts in public by the boys, which is completely outrageous, I'd appreciate it.
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It has taken years for me to finally just interrupt the monologues and terminate them. they used to last for 45 min to an hour and I would hold out the phone and always felt that was so disrespectful even if she didn't really know what I was doing.
getting my mother into an assisted living really helped. she was very isolated and didn't have anything to occupy her mind besides worry worry worry.
I can so relate to all these stories about our mothers. I wonder what it is with that generation of women and they are so self centered. and they get so much worse when they are older. it is hard to love someone that puts you down but is a sweet little old lady to everyone else.
I am working on myself to remember that my mother may not be with me much longer (even though I think she will live to 100, another 17 years just to spite me!) Ha. I keep talking to myself that she is really just a little old lady now. I'm not a little girl anymore whose mom is narcissistic. it's very hard. it's just very hard. I empathize totally.
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My mom is exactly like the described above. However, she moved from Florida and is transitioning to my state. She has been in my sister's home for 3 months now and is making no strides to finding a place of her own. She constantly drives my sister nuts. She can't get away. I try to visit, but I refuse to get caught up in all her disrespect and negativity. What can my sis do since they are in the same house?
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My mom is exactly like the described above. However, she moved from Florida and is transitioning to my state. She has been in my sister's home for 3 months now and is making no strides to finding a place of her own. She constantly drives my sister nuts. She can't get away. I try to visit, but I refuse to get caught up in all her disrespect and negativity. What can my sis do since they are in the same house?
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Yes, if you're family then the narc will resent you. If you're not immediate family, then the odds of her being able to manipulate, charm, or just coast by appearing harmless are higher.
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Pam, I think it has to do with image. They have one persona with their children and spouses. These people see who they truly are and aren't as likely to stroke their egos. They have unreasonable expectations of these people in regard to keeping them happy. As there is no way they can keep this parent happy, there is constant criticism and negativity. With the rest of the world, they have to keep up the public image and in return, they get the adoration. Because they have so few expectations from these people, they seldom disappoint and so get the smiles and lovies.
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Pam, because the farther away from her you are the more she values you. She is negative to those related to her unless one of them is the Golden Child. Then she treats the Golden Child like royalty. You and the nurses are not her flesh and blood. Her grandchildren are not as closely related as their parents are.
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Why is it they only do this negative stuff with some children and not with others? My MIL is very critical with her daughter and younger son. With me, I get the smiles, so do her grandchildren. She is polite to the nurses and aides. Maybe it's because we don't stay long?
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Heidi, hang tough. You aren't a bad daughter for wanting to avoid such abuse, so don't even think that way. We have this mandate to "honor" our parents, you know, but I think more and more about exactly what that means. We wouldn't allow them to go without food or care, but we aren't required to let them destroy the fiber of our lives through pettiness and selfishness, even if it's unintentional. So the advice about setting limits is perfect. You fulfill your duties but protect yourself. Isn't it all just soooo complicated? (See, I have sibs who think I'm a heartless B for not submitting to the verbal abuse. Another wrinkle....)
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Limit your contact. Like others have said. She doesn't *need* your company nor does she truly appreciate it. So see her a lot less. Call her a lot less.

I am doing this myself with my mother who recently moved to an IL apartment 3 hours away from me.

You don't say where your mother lives, if alone in her house or in a retirement facility, but if possible, let her social life revolve around the people where she lives and not around you. The fact that she talks AT you and not with you is a definite sign that while she might want you around so she can control you and talk at you, she won't be any worse off if you are around her a lot less.
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It's hard enough to go thru normal life with a mom with NPD, but it takes a different twist when they are elderly and the normal aging issues come in to play.
Control is the key word - control the frequency of visits, control the length of them, control the setting. Don't call before you go to bed because if the convo goes south, you affect your much needed sleep. I used to call every day (Mom's in NH) or every other day, but I'm exhausted and stressed right now so I space it out. My sister and I do a tag team approach so that one or the other calls - right now, she's calling daily to give me a breather as I'm the local kid on call. Ditto on leaving or ending the call if things get unpleasant. Sometimes I think she knows full well what she's doing, other times I things this behavior is so ingrained, they do it out of habit. Remember - you are not responsible for her happiness, she's determined not to be happy and there is nothing you can do to make her happy that's reasonable. The only way to make such a person happy is to do everything they want which means you devote your life to enabling her to have the life she wants for her entire life. Nevermind your spouse, kids, your own health - Mama comes first. It turbos with elderly NPDs because now they have limits, people telling them no and the kids are saying we can only do so much. While they're elderly, we're aging too and our own health issues need our full attention. We have spouses who need more of our attention. Nothing you do will be enough so focus on what you and your family need and tell Mom you are doing what you can and that it has to be enough. Makes Mother's Day tough, doesn't it? But knowing nothing will be enough, I rest easy getting flowers, doing what I can and then taking a nap...
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Wow, Heidi, I have a very similar situation. The monologues? Check. All about her? Check. I used to let her just ramble on endlessly, but lately I’ve started just interrupting her. Like I jump in literally mid-sentence, because she never stops to ask about me, I just butt in with some related question that redirects her to another topic or moves her forward on the same topic. I never used to do that. I do it politely, but I still just jump in. It gets her off balance for a second or two, but she soon recovers and is back rambling on…..

Also, I’ve started just saying, “Well, I’ve got to go shopping/to the post office/to the bank/other legitimate place, so I have to go”. She almost doesn’t notice, and goes on for another ten minutes, but then I just butt in and say, “Okay, well, nice talking with you, take care…”and end the call. It’s a small change, but I never used to do that.

I always have something else to do while talking with her, like surfing (here!) or folding laundry, or getting stuff ready for dinner, or dusting, etc. When I’m not really participating in the conversation (because it’s a MONOLOGUE), I have to have something to occupy my brain or it would explode.

And finally, I just reduced the frequency of the calls, very gradually, and sometimes I just wait for her to call, since her MO is to expect a call from me. Hopefully some of these things will help. I truly know how frustrating it is to have these ‘conversations’ with a narcissist.
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OMG, Heidi -- are we living parallel lives?!? Lol. Yes, the only thing that helps is distance. The more you can get, the better. When dealing with a narcissist, absolutely nothing else works.
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Agreed, stay away. When you go to visit and things become unpleasant, excuse yourself and leave. Staying there only makes it ten times worse. My husband would say " I don't know why you are so negative today, but I'm not buying into it. I think I better go now" and he would leave. She would call and apolgise. They KNOW they are picking on you; don't let them.
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Limit your contact with your mom. You know she's self-centered, spiteful, mean, and nasty and you have no obligation to live in her bubble.

There are just some people who are capable of sucking the life force from us. They're called psychic vampires or emotional vampires and you're right, they're exhausting.

When you're on the phone with your mom, in your mind, commit to a length of time that you'll stay on the phone with her and then when you've hit the limit you've set for yourself get off the phone. You don't have to keep listening to her for as long as she wants to talk. You have to protect yourself.

Detach. Realize that your mom isn't going to change, that this is who she is, and refuse to allow her to dump all of that ugliness on you.

Is there a time of day when you know she can't stay on the phone for long? For example, my aunt is a very difficult woman to speak to. All I do is hold the phone and she talks and talks about herself and her family. She lives in AL. So I call her when I know she's about to go down to dinner. It's an escape hatch. I've done my duty by calling her but there's a built-in limit to the call.

Try to take steps that alleviate the effect talking to your mom has on you. Distance yourself emotionally. There's no reason to continue being held hostage to her warped personality. She obviously doesn't care about your feelings so don't worry about possibly hurting hers by doing what you have to do to care for yourself.
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