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Mom now and always has been a textbook narcissist whose conduct falls into the very high end of the spectrum. At 90, her mixed dementia compounds the the problem to a degree that makes her utterly repellent, driving friends and family away. No one can stand to be in her presence longer than 10 minutes and here I am, her daughter functioning as her POA and chief caregiver. I went thru years of therapy dealing with the fallout of her behavior. Recognizing she will never change, I chose low contact, which up until Mom's recent dx worked fairly well. Now that she has mixed dementia and living in memory care, I struggle with how much contact to maintain. The narcissism remains unabated; if anything it's worse, and now that she has a disease she cannot help, for the sake of compassion should I increase my contact? To risk more contact with Mom seems perilous. I am very, very careful of my own emotional health. I've kept my visits and phone calls are minimal. In MC, Moms physical needs are being met. She feels superior to all the residents there and insists she doesn't belong there. Not surprisingly, she is miserable in her new digs and blames me for it, waging a war of character assassination on me to anyone who will listen. I've resigned myself to it. I don't even challenge it because it does no good. Again, to those who've been down this path, how did you manage? If you had a do-over, would you have done things differently? I'm looking for a balance of compassion but not at the expense of my own emotional health. Mom has inflicted a world of damage on me, and though I'm much stronger now, I'm extremely wary of giving her more.

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If your presence and your sacrifices somehow make Mom's life better, there MIGHT possibly be some value in increased contact. But it will not make anything better for her, and it will make things harder for you. What is the point in that?
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Thx Amber - Good luck with the meds. I think there can come a point where they are the best option. Mother was over 100 when she first took them and they have made a great difference. I think she should have been put on antidepressants a long time ago, but she resisted. "Nothing wrong with her - it is everyone else." You know the drill. She is awake in the mornings and sleeps after lunch and again after supper through the night. I do not feel she is not overly sedated. She is in final stage of vascular dementia and sleeping a lot is typical of that anyway.

You have to look after your own mental and physical health, especially when dealing with difficult people. That really has to come first. Agreed, there is no reason for you to be miserable too. I never thought I would still be care giving at 80, but it looks like mother could go on another couple of years. Life has to go on for us anyway. ((((((hugs))))
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Kimber,

Yes, indeed; good ideas. To maintain a "low-impact" contact, I send Mom books thru Amazon (yes she still reads. Comprehension is another matter altogether) and I send cards. She likes getting things in the mail and will call me some times, asking if I was the one who sent her these things. I tell her yes. The next time we talk she's forgotten. ("Somebody sent me this book, I don't know who.") Tears I pity Mom, I truly do, and mourn the mother-daughter relationship that never was. Every day she walks deeper into the woods and never comes back.
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golden,

I am so sorry you have to deal with this kind of anguish, especially at 80! Hard enough as it is at my age. (BTW, I was married to a BPD for 30 years. I totally get that). I have learned the hard way to run from toxic relationships and environments as fast as I can.

Next week I'm taking Mom to her neurologist to look into meds for depression and anxiety, hopeful that something can be done to relieve her without sedating her too much. I have never been one to seek meds first, but given Mom's advanced age and complexity, I feel comfortable seeking relief for her by chemical means. IIn this forum I have read so many accounts of medication success. Maybe Mom can be helped. But if she can't, then there's no reason why I have to be miserable, too. Thank you so much for sharing your similar situation. It's very comforting.
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Hi Amber - welcome. I understand your predicament. My mother has borderline personality disorder and narcissism and I have struggled with the same issues. I have been in therapy off and on all my life, Once mother was in a facility, I decreased contact. I was quite burned out from dealing with the lifetime BPD, then the added problems that vascular dementia brought. Once she was medicated (it took a year in a geri psych hospital and increasing delusions and hallucinations before she complied) she was easier to be with, but I was still not ready for more contact. I have some PTSD from childhood emotional and verbal abuse which can still flare up. I am POA, care give at a distance and only see mother a few times a year. When she was at her worst, I stopped answering phone calls as they were very abusive. I have a sister who is the golden child and has problems similar to mother which makes things harder at times. They tend to assassinate my character to one another and others who will listen. I have had to let that go - whatever! Due to the medication (an antipsychotic and an antidepressant), mother is more content than she ever has been. She has been in the ALF about 2 years and I am starting to feel safer in her presence,. She is now immobile and has to be assisted in everything except feeding herself, and she is more mellow,though the "old" mother still comes out sometimes. She is 105 and I will be 80 this year, so it has been a long haul. I am beginning to consider visiting more often,

My advice is to do what is good for you. She will be who she is regardless of what you do. As you know, what you do will never be enough or good enough. She is now cared for by others and may well develop some relationships there. Give yourself a well earned break. Have compassion for you too. Just because she has a disease and can't "help it" (to a degree) does not mean you have to subject yourself to more abuse. I think her life will go on much the same whether you visit more often or not, and seeing her more often is hard on you, so spare yourself. ((((((hugs))))) Let us know what you decide.
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Save your sanity - you pity your mom due to her diagnosis but the impacts to you really haven't changed. Don't give her more - but if you are looking for ways to connect - maybe send her cards vs calls/visits. It likely took you years to recover so don't go down that path again.
(my mom is a narcissist but not in a nursing home)
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