Anyone who comes to visit or help or clean or entertain this 80 year of woman only hears how bad she has it and that no one helps her. Both are factually untrue. She is extremely well cared for. It is impossible to bring someone to socialize with her because they feel they can never do enough for her. She had 2 hospital stays and my sister, an RN, overheard her telling aide that her'daughters are mean to her.' It is exactly the opposite. How to stop the victim mindset?

You know what? There's nothing you can do to change it. Some people are what I like to call "professional victims". They usually start off as martyrs earlier in life then graduate to professional victimhood as they get older. I don't know your mother, yet I don't feel sorry for her because I know the personality type. My mother is like this too. She's always been a very negative person and a downer since as long back as I can remember. People like this thrive on pity. It's like a drug to them. They love it when people feel sorry for them when they're going on about how supposedly hard their life was or is even if it's the farthest thing from the truth. They love talking about how ingrate and terrible their kids are even when it's not true because they like it when people get angry over it, once again feeling sorry for them. Just try to ignore it and not let it bother you. There's nothing you can do about it. All you can do is to try to not let the negativity, pessimism, and narcissism get to you.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
NobodyGetsIt Aug 17, 2020
Very well put "BurntCaregiver" - been there, done that. The narcissism aspect seems to be the worst to deal with. There's no winning with them or having a mature discussion so in that case it was NO CONTACT from me from that point on and I never looked back.
I have to say I'm pretty shocked at a lot of these responses. My mom was diagnosed 15 years ago, and I've been the hands on care-giver for the last three years. She was always a martyr, as someone mentioned, and now there is a lot of "poor me" happening.

The thing I've tried to keep foremost in my mind, because of course, it drives me crazy - not remembering anything nice: meals, trips, visits, phone calls, animal interactions, etc. - is that for her, it's all real. She is in the moment, 100%. She has no long-term or short-term memory, so when she whines that the cat never comes to her and that it doesn't love her it's because at that moment, the cat is not in her arms. I have dozens of photos where he is.

She has always had to fight her low self-esteem and self-worth, and this is a manifestation of that. For her, feelings are facts and sometimes I need to work through that with her and remind her of the facts. When she says "I don't remember any of that (the nice things) " I remind her she also doesn't remember who I am, where she lives or what she had for breakfast.

It's hard, but it demands compassion. Remember what she feels in that moment feels like it's been that way forever. For my mom, when she's having a good moment, it's been a "great day" and when it's a bad moment it's "terrible day."

Take a walk. Take a breath, and remind yourself, for your own sake, that FEELINGS are not FACTS. The fact is she is confused, hurting, scared and that can translate to angry and manipulative. But at this point, she's not going to change, can't change intentionally. You can't change her, and you can't change how it feels to you, but you can change how you react and what you do next. Sometimes all you can do is agree and say "that sounds tough."

Much love.
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Reply to jshdoff

I’d just like to add an example of my mother’s unbelievable levels of self pity and distortion of the truth. She walked out on our family when I was 15 and didn’t come back. Ten years ago I moved her in with us when she was widowed from her second marriage. Nowadays she will fix me with an accusatory look, and say “I lost you once, but I’m a survivor”, as though her behaviour in the past was my fault. When you are faced with these levels of narcissism and self pity there is nothing you can do to correct the lies, but to quote some of the experts in this area I go “gray rock”. Look it up if you need to. It’s a very effective tool.
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Reply to Chriscat83

You can "Never Stop" the victim mindset. Some people get victimized when they are young and some how they go through life being the "Forever Victim" just so they can victimize someone else.

I had a therapist tell me there are 3 kinds of people in the world:

1) people who were victimize, but see themselves as survivors.
2) people who were victimize and see themselves as victims.
3) people who are predators.

Now, the second group see themselves as victims use their victimize (poor me) to victimize others; therefore, they become predators!

Just something for you to think about!

My mother had a good life with my dad, but if you ask her she would say, "he was awful and her life was h3ll." She loves to play the "poor me" so people feel sorry for her then she uses and abuses the very person who believed her sob story. And somehow my mother is "Always" the victim!!!! The problem (no matter what it is) is "Always" someone else's fault!!!
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Reply to Shell38314
Isthisrealyreal Aug 16, 2020
Sounds like my mom.

I just quit trying to help her unless it is convenient for me or an emergency, then she can tell everyone what a rotten daughter I am and be some what telling the truth.
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They do it for attention. Like a two year old having a tantrum in a grocery store.
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Reply to ZippyZee

My mom told doctors there was nobody to take care of her so we got put on an elder abuse list and had to have surprise home visits and inspections. Of course we passed. This was a woman who could shop at Walmart for 3 hours at a time, with two grown children taking care of her.

My 95 yr old mom is now on hospice in a memory care facility. We had a window visit yesterday. She barely spoke and stared fixedly at some point in space. But when she did talk, she would tell fragments of persecution stories: she wanted to do something but there weren’t enough chairs, the women would not talk to her, and so on.

My point- some folks just act like victims, as a way of being.
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Reply to lakin1013
keepingup Sep 14, 2020
Thank you for your story. Sounds like your mother and mine could be twins.
According to your profile, your mother has dementia/Alz. That being the case, you can't argue with her or change her 'victim' mindset, or even get her to stop telling lies to others about how horrible her life is. In her mind, it IS horrible, or she enjoys the attention she gets from SAYING how horrible it is. Some people love complaining so much, it's all they can do 24/7. That is my mother; no matter HOW much is done for her, it's never enough. The dementia has worsened her behavior in that regard, to the point where nobody can tolerate her for more than 1/2 an hour.

It is what it is. Don't try to change it, just smile and walk away. I highly doubt others are believing her stories anyway.

Good luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
CantDance Aug 17, 2020
I got you beat, Lealonnie. No one can tolerate my mom for more than 10 minutes! ;oD
Keep, I took my father different places. Later, he told people, nobody takes me anywhere. It's like, what's the point?
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Reply to Lvnsm1826

Keeping up, maybe you should step back and let her thrive or fail all on her own. She couldn't possibly think less of you girls, so don't worry about that.

You must protect your own wellbeing and honestly, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about what you do or don't do for her.

Great big warm hug! You matter as much as she does!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
keepingup Aug 16, 2020
Oh, thank you. I needed to hear that. I will pass it on to my sister. You are very kind🐈
Sadly, as we age, we seem to become 'more' of what we already are.
Sans dementia...we just get more intensely 'us'.

My grandmothers were just adorable and sweet and interested in everything about their grandkids and great grands. My kids do not appreciate the blessing that is for them--they were lucky!

Neither my mother nor my MIL give a rat's patoot about my kids and definitely not about my grands (their great grands). They are 100% concerned about themselves, other people are def on the periphery of their mindsets, and it has always been that way.

My mother is just happy to be fussed and catered to. My MIL is simply a mean old woman who hates everyone.

There's absolutely nothing you can do with a 90 yo who acts 3. we just keep boundaries really tight and we (DH and I) rarely see our mothers. Our kids can do what they want--visit them or not. (Mostly not).

The saving grace is that my grands don't GET that they are as important to their GG's as last weeks recycling. Seriously, they don't miss what they never had.

DH has spent hours trying to talk to his mother about the positives in her life and she simply refuses to listen. She actually stated that her PCP had said she has had the worst life of anyone she's ever met.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Midkid58
keepingup Aug 16, 2020
Thank you. We are singing the same song. Maybe I read too much Oprah, but I keep thinking a little gratitude would give her peace of mind. She really has a very comfortable quality of life.
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