You've all heard me whine before. Backstory: Mom is a 92-year-old with mixed dementia, mid-stage, with narcissistic personality disorder. The dementia was diagnosed 1-1/2 years ago but symptoms observed for 9 or 10 years. Mom received extensive testing from a neuropsychologist and staged 5 - 6. Dad was ill, in denial of Mom's dementia, and both refused help. Dad passed about the time of Mom's diagnosis when we placed her in memory care, which she hates. I am her POA and primary caregiver, though sis helps enormously. Mom sees me as the scapegoat demon child ever since I refused to be her primary source of narcissistic supply. I am nothing to her but an occasional means to get what she wants and the source of all her problems. She does not love me and has told me so. Her toxicity forced me to adopt a low-contact strategy to preserve health and sanity. Friends here encouraged me to emotionally distance myself. Excellent advice.
Here's my dilemma: In distancing myself emotionally I seem to have lost my compassion. Don't get me wrong. I see to her needs (Dr. appointments primarily), everything else from a distance if at all possible. Wonderful sis takes up the slack in furnishing outings, visits on a regular basis. Mom is less hateful with sis. Mom's endless complaints hit my armor and bounce off. They make you wait 30 minutes for breakfast? Too bad. Is the coffee weak? Oh, well. Are you bored, despite a minimum of 2-3 outings a week of going to church or taken out by myself or sis, or facility-provided bus outings)? Cry me a river. She's never satisfied and always a victim. Craves pity and attention. Totally self-absorbed; emotionally a 2-year-old.
In distancing myself, I feel better. Blood pressure has gone down. Sleeplessness abated. Anxiety-related health issues improved. But I hate myself for being so cold hearted. I feel no compassion. (Mom was forever and always manipulative, self absorbed, and abusive, compounded now by dementia.) Sometimes I hate myself for wishing she would die. I'm afraid if I soften my heart toward her, the anxiety-related health problems will return. Does it all have to be one way or the other? Help