I am 66 years old and hoped to move to a small condo in a retirement community. My mother kept saying... Yes we'll move and she would consider an assisted living facility near the condo.

But she refused to look at any of the brochures or real estate.

She demanded that I stay with her on her house to help.

This went on for about 6 years, and I grew more and more depressed by her not letting me move out.

Last April she fell once again at home, but this time she was left unable to stand or walk and became totally incontinent. She would need 24 7 care.

I felt like the ground had opened up beneath me..... She didn't even seem upset, but I saw my future go out the window. She would need help with everything. The SNF admitted her to rehab, which I thought was ridiculous. It was a medicare bed, which was very lucrative fot the SNF. There was no way that this fragile, demented, bedridden, incontinent woman would benefit from any kind of rehab.

I pleaded with the palliative care nurse at the hospital to evaluate my mother for hospice.... But she refused, saying that normal aging doesn't qualify for hospice. She recanted when I called back to complain that vascular dementia is a terminal illness, and not part of normal aging.

I am so aggravated with my mother for leading me on to believe that we'd move, while she really was just stalling and had no intention to carry through with plans to move and downsize to a more suitable area for me....... It was more convenient for her to lead me on, chauffeur her around and do the house work.

Now she has passed away and I am left with all the headaches she left behind, and a future that I feel was stolen from me.

Vascular dementia can be so insidious that I really did not know that her gait and balance issues were a sign of dementia...... I truly thought these issues were from osteoarthritis of the knees and a past hip fracture.

I am so resentful and depressed now that I am left holding the bag. I find it hard to enjoy anything anymore. I was consumed by her during life with caregiving, and finding facilities for her.... And eventually making arrangements for home hospice.

I can't believe I was so naiive to trust this narcissistic mother that had her wishes carried out at the expense of mine. And that went on for years, before her mind deteriorates to an unbelievably low state.. Like a child demanding juice and when she was about to soil her diapers.... Progressing to delusions and hallucinations.

I am so angry with both myself and my late mother for believing any of her lies......and just helping her in her house. She had no regards to what was appropriate for me, just to stay In her house and help her.

Now I am left with grieving and also feeling great resentment. Towards my late mom

I am left with all the affairs she didn't want to deal with.... Selling the house if possible, her disorganized papers which I tried to explain to her years ago had to be put in some order for me to deal with... As she was getting up there in age and someone would have to carry on after she passes away...... She always refused any help with this.

Now I am grief stricken trying to deal with all her affairs after she passed.... And not caring that things should be put in order for me to carry on after her death... Including never selling the house.

I find myself no longer being able to enjoy things I once did, and wasted time dealing with a baseline stubborn mother only caring about herself.... And not even realizing for all the years that she was using me...... realizing that her mind and body were deteriorating and she needed someone to lean on.

I cannot move on without great resentment towards her, and naiivity on my part. I feel like she has sapped me of any pleasure or plans for a desired future.

Does anyone know of ways to become happy again after being led down this garden path by a mother who whose main concern was herself?

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Forgive me for going against the grain but you are only 66 - your life is not over. You have to take responsibility for YOUR choices too. How could you expect a woman in her 90's (with dementia) to undertake the overwhelming process necessary to sell her house and move? Most elderly people want to remain in their homes, it's perfectly normal and natural. The fact that your mother was elderly and had dementia has a lot to do with why her choices weren't sound ones. You could have organized her papers, initiated repairs, and took steps to move out at any time.
Your relationship with your mother sounds very co-dependent. You are an adult who is perfectly capable to take charge of matters but you allowed her to define your life. You even blame her for choosing the time of her death! I know my words sound harsh but you have to look at your complacency over the years. Don't be a victim, be a warrior!
I lost the last 7 years taking care of my 98 year old mother. She passed late February, and I am saddened and overwhelmed with the task of dismantling her home, to empty decades of disorganized accumulation, sort through scattered documents, and sell it. I keep my eye on the light at the end of the tunnel, that this time WILL pass - because of course it will. The lawyer does the legal work, Goodwill and donations and maybe even a mock "Estate" sale will help me empty the place, and the realtor will facilitate the transfer of ownership. After that, I am free to start anew.
What I'm trying to say is don't ruin your future by holding on to the past. Grieve but don't blame. Accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can. You are still young and can make a great life for yourself if you WANT to.
I truly wish you a future of peace and joy and love.
Helpful Answer (15)

I think your note to us reflects how much you are living in the past. You are not even dealing with a very messy present that requires your attention, and part of this living in the past may be a way to avoid confronting having to deal with this. Hire an elder law attorney, get that house sold, and it seems like then you can do just what you were begging your Mom to do all these years, move to a Senior Living place. You are free.
You may require a little professional counseling. I suspect right now you are looking at all of this together until it is like a gigantic puzzle thrown into the air. You need to address goals one at a time, and will need help organizing this.
I wish you the best of luck. The past is done. You did what you could and your Mom had it her way. She was lucky in that. Now is your time. You have some quality years ahead.
Helpful Answer (9)

I’m going to venture to say that your mom picked the perfect time.
Being quarantined, less friends, less outings, less distractions. Sometimes God does for us what we can’t do for ourselves. Forcing you to GO THROUGH this, work through it, understand it all and finally release and accept it. Cry it out-creating room in your body for the fresh and new you desire. Get a therapist and voice your feelings. And voice them again and again for a whole year if needed. Get perspective. “Acceptance is the answer to all our problems.” Accepting the family we had and the family we wished we had.
Grief needs to be expressed and released and you are doing just that. Take the advice of a good therapist and rest and heal. And start adding joyful things into your life. Turn on music and learn to paint. Volunteer somehow. Be accountable. Make a list of things you might like to do. (Dance lessons, piano lessons, tap dance, get a pet, start a yoga practice-online classes for everything. Try to get your writing published? Make a fat big crazy list). Somewhere on your path your grief will subside and your joy and peacefulness will overtake your life.
sending you love!
Helpful Answer (9)

You have started to help yourself by writing your post to this forum. You have identified in detail what is troubling you. The past is the past. The future is what you make of it. If you dwell in the past it will be your future. Move on and try different paths in your life until you find the right one.
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BurntCaregiver Apr 2021
That's right, Ricky6.
Getting on this forum is a good step towards regaining one's life. I know it's helped me very much.
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Narcissistic mothers have a way of sucking us SO dry that we're often left with nothing but anger and resentment over all that's been stolen from us. Selfishness and self absorption to THAT degree takes a huge toll on us, along with all the manipulative ploys used to keep us mired in FOG...fear, obligation and guilt. Its not so easy to let go and move on after they pass away without therapy as a roadmap to find happiness again.

There is a discussion group here you can join or just read the posts, if you'd like. "Caregiving for a narcissistic mother. Do we do it out of love or out of years of guilt and programming?"�

Wishing you peace and happiness now....this is YOUR time to heal and find your inner happy place.
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SEAGULL9 Apr 2021
Thank you for your response and wishing me healing and peace. My mom passed in early March from advanced dementia. She passed away on home hospice with me as the primary caregiver. I watched her dementia progress rapidly the final year of her life, and I don't think she even really knew who I was towards the end. The images of me feeding her from a baby bottle and her in diapers haunt me.

I think back to my childhood........ I am only now beginning to see the pattern....... It sounds small but I grew up in queens ny and desperately wanted to be a girl scout...... Since there were so many kids there, they said that I could join only if my mother agreed to be a girl scout volunteer..... She refused as she just didn't want to..... So I wasn't allowed to join..... Looking back I say she couldn't have even done that for me? If I had a problem, it mattered most how it upset her life.......... I really only recently began to learn about narcissism........ I really didn"t understand all those years. I was an only child and I wanted brothers and or sisters....... She refused to have any more children as she said then we can give you things......... That was an excuse....

What about the loneliness this child feels?..... How come all my friends have brothers and or sisters? One even told me how she would have hated not to have brothers.

In her advanced age she did it more and more and I came to research the phenomenon..... Narcissism...... Lacking empathy and putting herself first.

I finally understood..... True narcissistism and in a woman I tried to help and care for in her advanced years. She wouldn't let me out of her sight without becoming upset....... Even the hospice nurse said when I left the room to get some warm water in a basin., that my mother repeatedly kept calling for me even though the aide was right with her.

I am truly heartsick now that I have learned what I never knew about narcissism..... My therapist said that my mother was like a noose around my neck.... Another said she was like an allergen being blown into an allergic person's face and unless they left they would never heal..... I am so upset now that I have learned what was really wrong with my mother that I feel this oppressive gloom.... It's not missing her now that she's gone...... It's going along with her for many years only to use me up and leave all the problems to me that she didn't want to deal with.

It is really a rude awakening when you learn this..... And find yourself as I said before holding the bag.

It hurts to remember her in pain and resentment, but I feel so drained now and have so many problems that she left me with., that I truly find it hard to find enthusiasm in anything anymore. I would so like to heal some day but right now feel so awful that I am afraid that irreparable damage has been done. I pray that I will get the strength to move on happily some day, but now all I can feel is deep resentment.

It"s also interesting in how you put it.... About draining someone dry..... As my therapist said to me that you cannot be with your mother 24 7, and if you try, she'll drain you dry.
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You regain your zest for life, by not looking backwards and looking forward to a new beginning. You can't undo what's been done, or not been done. You can only move forward one step at a time.
You chose to stay and care for your mom, and I'm sure you did a great job, so allow yourself time to grieve, and then slowly but surely start taking baby steps to reclaiming your joy. It's there. You just have buried it from all your years of caregiving.
You're still young at 66, and you have so much of your life left, so please don't waste it dwelling on what could of, should of, or would of been. That's a waste of time, and it will get you nowhere fast. Get out there and start enjoying life again. And you may have to go see a therapist to work all these negative feelings out, so when the joy comes, and it will, you will be open to experience it. God bless you as you now start your new life.
Helpful Answer (8)

You're not alone, my friend. Many of us have been or are currently in your situation. You had a choice and chose to be your mother's caregiver and to let her control your life.
What's done is done though.
You are still here. You are alive and you are whole. Don't let yourself think otherwise.
I was left in a similar position myself. My father left me in an enormous mess when he had a stroke and passed away at 91. He left nothing in order. In fact, I didn't even know what his checking account number was or where he kept any of his paperwork. He was very secretive and never bothered to update anything.
I made some mistakes sure, because I was flying blind. I got through it and managed as best I could to settle his estate and it got done in the end.
You did right by your mother and that should be what helps you regain some joy in life. Maybe she wouldn't have done the same for you and if such is the case, you're a better person than she was and that's something.
Being a slave to caregiving is not your life anymore. You've been freed from Pharoah (your mother). Stop letting your experience define the rest of your life.
It is good that you found this group. The people here in this forum help. Even if you just need to vent about your experience because that too helps a lot.
Hang in there and do the best you can settling her estate because that's all you can do. No one can do better than their best, and it's good enough. God bless and I hope you find some joy to your life.
Helpful Answer (8)

Your hospice organization has grief counselors.

Therapy can be a blessing in teaching you how to to heal and takencontrol of your life's direction.
Helpful Answer (7)

You have a lot of pent up anger and resentment in you. I'm not sure if this is part of your grieving or not. I don't know if you even want to grieve her passing, there doesn't seem to be any room for grief. You're too consumed with your victimization in the past and your inability to look to a new beginning. NYCmama has it right. Go back and read her post. Forgive your mother, forgive yourself and begin your new life. You've always had choices throughout your adult life, and you have a choice now to continue to resent or to break free of that negative attitude and embrace the future.

I wish you luck.
Helpful Answer (7)

As an RN of 40 yrs. an only child who was at every rodeo for her soon to be 94 year old mother........ I am now 62 and presented w an autoimmune disorder. I work full time and the day is nearing that I will move out of state or something. I feel for you and my best suggestion is to grieve that which you feel you have lost and be Thankful to God you are free. Reading this site I realize many parents did not plan for their old age. It is absolutely selfish to NOT plan. We are all going to die and at 94 I don’t suspect my mother and her ailments will improve. Yes she has her right mind. But deaf as a door nail w hearing aids and my BP is high and where I once was normal weight I am 50 ponds over eating to cope w the stress. I have asked her to go to assisted living. A nice one! So be happy that you can now define the rest of your years. I am going to have to move or die. And it is very painful to watch this and triggers all the caretaking I did of her and my father as a child. I believe in God. However. I am not sure how much more I can take. Good Luck. Live free do whatever you wanted to do
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bundleofjoy Apr 2021
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