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My malignant narcissistic dad passed away suddenly a few months ago and my mother has turned into a completely different person. I flew out to be w her the next day and coordinate everything as she was very much in shock and confused. Plan was to move her back near me ASAP but then Covid hit and we were stuck at my house with my husband. We have been together for 8 straight months and she has fought with me about everything possible. She is high risk for Covid so hubby and I had everything delivered, WFH and stopped seeing everyone to keep her safe. She looked at it as prison and said she had to tip-toe (when we were the ones that had to!)


She kept saying she wants to go home to Nevada so finally I brought her to her home and she keeps picking fights w me! Wants me to leave her here and go home but how can I when she is not thinking clearly and should not be out in Covid? She doesn’t know how to use a computer to order online or pay her bills (I do all that now) and won’t heed advice from family or Drs telling her it’s not safe. She just keeps going on and on about how I’m controlling her and how others are going shopping with masks so why can’t she? She was supposed to sell this house and move closer to me and now just wants me to leave her here alone with no friends, family or support within 3000 miles because she needs time alone. Has two cars and won’t sell one so it just sits. She’s gotten in my face and just says things under her breath and tonight she pushed me! The fights have been intense and when I tell her what she did, she denies and said I’m crazy and she never said those things. Today she tried telling me her had fireplace is different and wanted to throw away the rocks at the bottom. I told her it was like that and explained WHO could break in and change it while she was away? But that just made her more mad. I put my foot down saying no way she’s ruining it and it caused a giant fight all day and again at night. Screaming at me and crying. Saying her life is over and she has no one when I’ve given up my own life to try to pay her bills, pay off my fathers debts, work with lawyers, even talk to her drs about what’s happening. Even if I try to tell her that it’s not healthy to eat ice cream and cookies it’s me controlling her. I keep saying what am I getting out of it? She thinks I’m just trying to hurt her. I’m losing my mind at this point. Haven’t slept in months, lost 15 pounds and shake when she starts up. Now... she’s not herself— very forgetful, very depressed and she’s very angry (45 years of emotional and verbal abuse from my father) and I would give her my own beating heart if she needed so how can I leave her alone knowing she can’t take care of herself?


She wants me gone and says I’m the reason she’s confused, so as much as I need a moment to myself and want to honor her wishes, I’m so afraid to leave her here alone!? Any insight is appreciated. I’m tired and our relationship is at risk. :( I’m very worried about her and want her to pack up and move near my hubs and I but she says she is not ready. I’ve seen she cannot take care of a whole house and two cars and stay safe and sane in Covid and so it’s much harder for me to manage from thousands of miles away. On my last nerve here and don’t know what else to do. She doesn’t want help — sees it as controlling. Even if her idea is ridiculous and I’m trying to protect her, she just sees me as saying she’s stupid and incapable.

Recent widow here (as of 6/18/20), age 63. Wow ... you are all in such a rough situation! Your mom is extremely fortunate to have you!

Before going further ... is she physically unable to perform any necessary normal activities? Has she been diagnosed with dementia? Does she need 24/7 care, for whatever reason? If the answer to any of those questions is YES, please just take whatever you can use, and disregard the rest.

*******

NOW. Even though California is pretty locked down, I have been able to gain support from online support groups for widowed people. From them, I've been reassured as to what's normal (for us). Here's some of what I've learned:

Confusion and shock are very normal. "Widow's fog" or "widow brain" is very real ... and it does not go away on any specific schedule. For me, it's now an off-and-on thing. To my dismay, others report that this on-and-off stuff can go on for years (...yikes...).

The "too many vehicles" issue is VERY common (ummm ... I have 3 on the property, but I only drive the 1 that works). I'll dispose of the others eventually, but that's not on my current Top Ten ... and I've been here at home this whole time. Many widowed folk keep 'em around for ... awhile.

Digestive upset? Loss of appetite? Craving only comfort foods? Nausea and vomiting, especially in the early weeks? Again ... normal (for us). This kind of grief is *physical*. Digestion/nutrition issues are classic symptoms. But ... it does have to be watched.

Needing to be alone? Some (like me) do need our space, while others feel the need to have someone around at all times. I've been home on my own this whole time. This often sucks ... but I NEED it if I want to keep my head at all straight. Sound like you *all* could use some respite. If she cannot stay home in NV ... Is your mom able to spend a night or two in a hotel room on occasion? I'd suggest a stay in senior respite (if she'll accept that), but ... COVID-19.

COVID-19 makes awful situations soooo much harsher than they would be otherwise. Memorials and funerals, for example. Also, I've been unwillingly "released" from caregiving, but there are not many places to go, and mundane activities can be a legitimate hassle.

Speaking of caregiving ... "release" can be yet one more traumatic insult, like a form of PTSD. That's definitely true for me ... and my husband was a sweet man. We had our issues, of course, but we were equals in marriage before his illnesses took over. His attitude throughout it all was far better than mine would be if our fates had been reversed.

Recovering from the loss of a "malignant narcissistic" spouse? I can't even imagine (...shudder...). Grief therapy is most likely needed here. I'm looking for therapy that's both affordable and effective, myself.

Sorry about the length. I feel for all of you! Please keep us posted!
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K102938 Aug 17, 2020
Thank you and sorry for your loss as well. None of this is easy... I never even have had a chance to grieve my father whom I did not see for 7 years. But that is another story.

She sees a psych that she’s been seeing for 18 years. He asks me to go too. Only been once a few days ago and when I bring up what he said, she calls me crazy and said he’s hard to hear with his mask and accent and brushes off his advice.

It just kills me she keeps starting my motors up by not being able to use reason and picking on everything I do for her. If it’s not that it’s something else someone else did to her. Or Covid. But it’s always negative. The other day all I said was “oh, well, they touched my phone so now I have to disinfect it”. She told me to stop complaining and that all I do is complain. I can’t even talk anymore!
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What would you like the outcome to be for mom?

I assume you'd like her to be safe, well and cared for, right?

The thing is, does that line up with what MOM wants?

What does her doctor say about her mental and physical state? Has she been diagnosed with dementia?

Has she sought any psychiatric help or counseling since she's been widowed?

I can only imagine that at least part of her anger at you "controlling her" is that she might feel like she's been let out of prison since the death of your dad, and then you come and start telling what she can and can't do! And COVID just complicates it all.

I understand that you are trying to help her, but the sad truth is that unless she cooperates, there isn't much you can do to force her to go into a facility, move near you or accept in home care.

But talk to her doctors. They may be able to guide her and she may accept what they say, because hey, you're just a "kid", right?

Why can't she eat ice cream and cookies?
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Beatty Aug 17, 2020
Or maybe a Grief Councellor?
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K, she sees a psych doc who is aware of her condition, yes? And an internist who is aware of her physical condition and her lack of self care, yes?

These folks have the ability to deem her in need of someone to be in charge of her life.

As worried as you are of her, she is not incompetent. You need to let her doctors know that you are leaving and that if they think she is need of guardianship of conservation ship, they need to take action as you need to conserve your own help.

I think your therapist, if s/he said "you cannot heal someone who doesn't want to be healed" about your mom, was sending you a powerful message.

You cannot heal your mom. Only she can do that.
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K102938 Aug 17, 2020
Yes and thank you. Will let them know of my leaving when it is time for me to go home. I thought I could overstay my welcome till Nov and have her house sold by then but I think her timetable does not match mine. Kills me I’ll have to leave her here. Tired of goodbyes...
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I think the magic of having a little space between you worked.

I got 'oh it's you', woe is me & complaints when I visited my Mother frequently in rehab. When I dropped back the visits, she was actually glad to see me.

How far is it to go home? How long were you planning to stay?

Even two nights in a hotel then re-visit would be cheaper than returning all the way home then have to come out again, yes? I liked that idea someone floated. Gives your Mom a little time & space. May help you too? You may gain confidence she will be ok for a while - or if definately not, you will at least know for sure.

You could take the two days as time out for yourself. Listen to music, watch tv, accept what the present situation is.
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K102938 Aug 18, 2020
Love this and had suggested to her that I’d get a hotel for a week or so. She was like “oh that’s so stupid. Waste of money. Just go home.. I’m fine. I’m not stupid you know”

It’s two flights to get home so not easy to get back and/or forth.
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K, has mom been to see any of her doctors since your dad's death?

It sounds like this was a very traumatic event for her; she needs and deserves support during the stressful aftermath of this event.

I have not lost a spouse, but I have at times found my relationship with my eldest daughter strained during the pandemic. She too believes that I should stay indoors and not expose myself at all to public places, even with a mask.

My husband and I are 67; we both have some underlying conditions that make us more at risk. And in NYC, where we live, the numbers were very scary just a few weeks ago. Nonetheless, I felt that fresh air and exercise and brief shopping trips (masked and gloved) and a weekly socially distanced meet-up with a close friend was important for my mental and physical health. I had several screaming conversations with her until she backed off and realized that I had a right to take chances, whether or not she approved.

I urge you to get your mom to her doctor and get a qualified medical opinion about what might be going on with her and what THEIR recommendations are for her treatment and an opinion about whether she can live alone.
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K102938 Aug 17, 2020
Been to her psych. But won’t listen to him when he said it’s not safe in her city and that she may not have the best reasoning skills right now.

Has her primary dr tomorrow. Going to write a letter today and drop it off about all my concerns. Hate going behind her back but I’m at my wit’s end and I’m just trying to god everything to keep her healthy and safe.

She’s all I have left and I’m trying my best but keep falling short.
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You must make some allowances for the stress that she's under. You describe how the conflict between the two of you is making you feel. Do you really think that it can be having no effect at all on her?

You're telling her how to live, what to eat, and that she's crazy. I'm not at all sure it is ridiculous that she sees your attitude as controlling.

Back off. Give her space. If you're concerned about how she will manage without any support, get in touch with her Area Agency on Aging and find out about local services.
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K102938 Aug 17, 2020
Never did i say she was crazy. Here or otherwise. My husband and I have seen her mood swings and aggressiveness and rage and frankly, it’s taken it’s toll on me and I have to vent. Of course I think of her feelings but let someone whip you everyday and bait you into fighting and not listen to reason or doctors or logic and see how your mental state suffers as a result.

she would never allow any services to come over. She doesn’t trust anyone in her house. She’s scared and paranoid and fearful of everything. Every second she things there is a leak or something changed or someone stole something while she was away. It’s exhausting to keep reaffirming and just get baited into an argument. I risked our lives on a plane to get us back here. Now I’m stuck here trying to keep my job and her life afloat. But she wants normalcy and to go out — don’t we all?
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At first reading I thought that maybe you may need guardianship for your mother, then assessment and placement. I cannot tell from what you say if you think Mom is failing mentally with dementia or if she is more in a state of depression. Which can often manifest as anger and anxiety. She had someone who dictated everything and now she is at loose ends.
In either case, Heaven forbid you take her into your own care or move her against her will.
If she is not demented and is capable of caring for herself, then leave. And stay tuned. Call daily. Get someone to check on her even if paid to do so.
She has asked you to leave. At this point I would do so, making it clear you cannot drop everything should she want you back. Clearly, this is, as you say, changing your relationship and doing her no good.
If she chooses to shop, then let her. I am 78. I am masked and wash up and do what I must do to live my life.
Unless you believe there is dementia involved, move home, and stay tuned.




You do recognize your mother is unsafe alone. You do recognize she will not accept your care. It is no easy thing, nor a certain thing at all if a Senior can even respond to questions in court, to get guardianship. And Mom will almost certain not assign you POA. You may have little choice other than to go home, and let the chips fall as they may; you sort of see where they are going.
Wishing you the best of luck going forward.
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K102938 Aug 17, 2020
I am worried dementia is involved. Asked her dr to conduct a cognitive assessment and dig deeper. Her psych says she is of sound mind and he chalks all the rage up to her anger and depression of what my father inflicted. Either way, she has shown me she is very confused.. doesn’t understand what mail means, everything is a catastrophe and even writing a check is challenging sometimes. I’m just so worried and tired and need a miracle to
life this Covid to take a little off the plate.
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Looking down at all the answers and your replies it seems to me you are looking for something that won't happen. You are looking for Mom to change. Apparently she has been seeing a psychiatrist for a bit? So this is unlikely. She has been life long with a problematic person who is now gone, and she is lost without someone to boss her about, as well as used to fighting, which is what she wants. You say she is what you have left? Then what you have left is quite a large problem with very little upside. I think you are wanting her to change. That is the one thing I can guarantee is unlikely to happen. In fact things will get worse.
I wish the "guilt" posting would be eliminated. I have yet to meet a felon on this site who with purpose and malice aforethought did grievous harm and now feels guilty. Grief is the word. You aren't a felon. You also aren't a Saint and cannot fix everything.
Your Mom now needs evaluation. Whether that is done by the ER DUMP in which you drive her to the ER and refuse to take her home until they deem her suitable for discharge on her own, or whether you demand her MD and Psyc person get her evaluated, it needs to be done. What is happening NOW otherwise can go on for decades, worsening by the day.
After evaluation decisions have to be made. Who will be her conservator and where will she be placed? What are the assets. Who will be the guardian--you or the State (which will appoint a fiduciary which will work just GREAT in all likelihood. Certainly is for my bro's ex partner.
There are few choices here. Mom is alone, unsafe and failing. She will need placement and evaluation whether started through APS, through her docs, or through an ER DUMP. If you need details on how to do that I am your girl. I was a nurse, and know what it looks like.
It is time for you to go home and have a life. Your Mom needs care. This isn't getting her care, nor is it helping her, nor is it giving you a life to live. Covid is quite honestly the least of it in all this. Covid will be with us until we get a vaccine and we will have all to do the best we can. I am 78. My partner is 80. We recognize that Covid is going to take MANY elders. We well may be among them and have set our house in order. It's here. It is going nowhere for now. But there are things here that can be addressed one way or another. Not everything can be made nice, good, agreeable or even fixed so that there is no grief. And certainly this is one of those cases,I think.
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K102938 Aug 17, 2020
I could never leave her at ER and just DUMP her there. She has been through far too much for any human to suffer through and it’s what I can’t shake — she deserves better. That is what I’m trying to give her. She kept saying she was going to leave him. Psych kept saying it’s her choice to leave or stay and she’d always make an excuse why she couldn’t leave him. No money, he wouldn’t let her.. etc. Now she has some money and no one is holding her back and coming home w me seems like a distant memory. She says it’s too expensive to live near me - it’s pricey but I did the math and she can afford. She won’t settle for a 1 bedroom so has to pay more as her expectations are not reality. Anyway, I’m rambling. All I know is she wanted to come home and be with her family but as of late and since Covid, she says she wants time alone to have her own thoughts and then she’ll sell. Psych told her to set a date to do it by but she is very vague. I’m guessing time might start when I exit the house?
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First, don't tell her ice cream and cookies are no good. Let her eat them, and join her, play her favorite music.
In fact, make her a milkshake, add some ensure with it for more protein.
Do get her out of the house for a bit.. Do let her wear a mask. Do keep the hand sanitizer in the car. Go order some food from her favorite restaurant, drive, pick it up, and take it to a park near home, and have a picnic.
Do get her out of the house for a fun moment. Take the precautions, and say:
Mom let's be a lil daring and get some take out and sit outside. And if you dont' feel like that's safe, sit outside in her back yard.
She needs to be able to go through her emotions, and you need to be there and go through them too.
Dad was abusive, but she stayed with him, and she probably misses him.Tell her it's okay. Find some happy moment with your dad. Find something happy or funny. There is always a LITTLE bit of good in everybody. You just need to find it, or ask her what drew her to dad in the first place? Mom what was dad like when you first met him? How did he propose, and were you surprised, or did you know he was going to propose? Make it a nice easy conversation while you are eating your Chinese takeout in the backyard, or in the park, or on the porch of the house - next door... I don't know.. find a fun place to have your takeout, and breathe. detune.
Find a fun movie on tv or netflix, just sit, have your hot fudge sundae and watch a comedy or something.
Both of you will get through this, let it flow.. Perhaps, her attitude will change too.
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K102938 Aug 18, 2020
I’ve done all these things. I’ve gotten her favorite take out both at my house and hers. We watch Honeymooners and I Love Lucy. I bought and burned all her fav 60s songs and made a playlist to play in my convertible and we took road trips listening and singing. We went to parks and sat on benches and laughed at the chipmunks. I got her Kahluah and milk and we go to Sonic to get milkshakes. I bought her books to read while I WFH on a daily basis. We got her favorite pastries. The issue with the sweets is it is ALL she wants so I try to quell that with healthier options like Choclate rice cakes and fruit. We do all these things and FIGHT still. I feel like folks make me out to be a monster and I’m her warden. Yes, I’m trying to keep her safe at a time when she is not clear-headed but I’m trying so hard to show her how amazing life can be when she moves back home w family and friends nearby as she only had my father out here in Nevada.
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It looks like to me if Mom is not in the early stage of Dementia, she has has a Psychotic break. That your Dad ruled her life and now that he's gone she has no idea what to do.

Her Psychiatrist sees no changes? He/she is in the position to have Mom put on a 72 hr Psych hold. This way labs and tests can be run. Since you are seeing her doctor tomorrow write everything down. Everything u have to do for her. Hand it to the receptionist and ask her to ask the doctor to read before he sees Mom. She needs a full evaluation to rule out something physical. Her Psychiatrist should be able to handle the mental.

Since you didn't see Mom often, I would say that Dad covered up her problem or just didn't acknowledge there was one. In early stages people suffering from a Dementia are able to "showdown". Meaning they realize something is wrong and are able to compensate for it. But the brain tires and usually late afternoon they "sundown" and then the signs of Dementia show up. I do not agree with those who say go home. If you lived around the corner or a few miles away, I would say leave her alone but check on her. But you don't live around the corner. Go with your gut, there is something wrong and you need to get these doctors to help you determine what it is. Don't leave until ur given answers. And when u them have her doctor/doctors sit down in front of her and look her in the eye and tell her she cannot live alone and why. Don't allow them to leave it up to you.

At this point treat her as having a Dementia. Do not argue with her. Tell her you will leave when you know she will be OK on her own. You may want to ask the doctor if she can be given something to calm her down. I hope you have POA. If not, I may try to have her assign you. Ask her Psychiatrist if she is able to do it. If you can't get POA you may have to get guardianship. Its expensive but Medicaid allows the use of Moms money for this.

You really need to get her doctors to understand where you r coming from. That you live miles away and can not leave her to her own devices. She is in danger of hurting herself and in my opinion the doctors could be held liable if they were told and did nothing about it.

Please keep us informed on how this plays out.
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K102938 Aug 17, 2020
Thanks for your advice. Definitely trying to put pieces in places should I have to leave but if she keeps on me like this, I’m afraid I won’t have a choice. Lost a lot of hair, weight and thinking capacity of my own these past 8 months and I fear I may end up needing mental assistance. Tried therapist and she only told me you can’t help those that don’t want to be helped. Can I say that did not help?
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