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My mother is moving here to Montana to be near me. She has been living with my brother and his family in Colorado. She has completely alienated everyone in the house to the point that the only person who will speak to her is my brother.
She is moving into a retirement village near me. It's a 30 minute drive in good weather.
Her mental capacity is fine, however , she is a full blown narcissist. Even though she knows that I am still completely overwhelmed with unexpectedly becoming my Aunts caregiver, she chose NOW to move closer to me! I assume it's in part because I am giving my Aunt attention.
She hasn't been happy anywhere for 20 years.
I'm her only daughter (3 brothers).
She has always lived vicariously through me. Her constant criticism of me makes me crazy. Everything from my curly hair to my bath towels are too big! Really??
I'm sure some of ya'll have been thru this. How did you deal with it? What works and what didn't?

Can you send ME some of those 'too big' bath towels? :)

Come up with a list of rules that you plan to follow when dealing with your mother. A list of negotiable rules and a list of non negotiable rules. The negotiable rules can change depending upon the situation and your mood of the moment; the non negotiable rules can NEVER change, no matter what. Then SHE needs to know the rules, and that they are not open for discussion.

You will visit her on X day during the week and stay for X amount of time.
You will call her at a time you pre determine
If/when she gets nasty with you, you will either hang up the phone or leave her presence. That is a NON NEGOTIABLE rule. After a while, even the dumbest person on earth DOES get the message that you mean business! Criticizing you or how you look is NOT acceptable behavior if she would like you to visit her or to stay in her presence physically or on the phone. You are not a punching bag or a scratching post, so it's not okay for her to treat you that way.

The idea is that you make her aware that YOU are in charge of how things are going to proceed. So make up those lists as YOU see fit and then stick TO the rules like GLUE. Women like this look for cracks.......chinks in the armor......that's when they pounce. Make sure to have NO cracks or chinks for that very reason!

Also, read up on narcissistic mothers and coping techniques to deal with them. Gray Rock is one technique I wound up learning about here on this site from another poster and it's quite effective! Imagine yourself being a gray rock; in other words, having no emotion, no reaction, no nothing....just sitting there in front of her as a gray rock would do. When a narc gets NO reaction, no fuel, in other words, they move onto another victim. Read about it, it's good stuff!!

Wishing you the best of luck setting down boundaries for yourself and making your life more tolerable now that mommy dearest is moving close by.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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You can’t start a new thread and expect different answers from us. A lot of us have been to hell and back and will say whatever it takes to convince others not to fall into the same fiery pit as we did.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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You will find ur not the only one. You will be told to set boundries now. 30 minutes doesn't sound like much but the daily drag of driving it everyday gets a little too much. So, from the beginning u lay the rules down.

I cannot be here everyday. I have a life.

If there are things you need, make a list and I will bring them when I visit.

One phone call a day. You don't want to be hassled 24 hrs a day. Maybe pick a time, like 7pm. After dinner and before u relax for the night. Don't allow her to complain. Since she made the move, thats what u can say "Mom, please no complaints, this was your decision. Lets talk about something else" If she continues to be negative tell her good night.

Same when u visit. You don't need to be there all day. She needs to adjust and make friends. The one thing u have going for you is this was her decision. You didn't force her.

People can only get away with things when you let them.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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rovana Jan 28, 2020
Why would you want to spend ANY time with this woman? She is safe, cared for, competent. I'd say you have no obligation whatsoever.
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Your Aunt isn't there yet and problems are surfacing. I imagine that this is what your husband is concerned about and why he is not in favor of you moving your Aunt near you.

If you are already having issues with your mother how do you expect to care for both of them? There will be no Happy Holidays, no Hallmark moments, just a lot of stress and aggravation. Your mother will make sure of that.

Boundaries need to be set for the both of them. There are many good books on Amazon that will help you with setting boundaries, I would suggest that you obtain several of them. I would also recommend books on codependency such as Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. Good Luck!
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Reply to DollyMe
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You will need to say NO. “NO mother I can’t possibly do that”.

You will need to ignore the phone when she calls and let it go to voicemail.

You will need to put yourself first. Your physical and emotional well being is your priority. You do not need to take verbal abuse from her or allow her to make you feel guilty and like a horrible daughter. Learn to walk away while saying “I’ll come back when you can be nicer mother”.

You can do it! You can set and enforce boundaries.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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I have three brothers. I cared for mom as the only daughter. I giggled when I read about the bath towels, my mom did not like large towels but it was a legit reason with my mom. She has Parkinson’s disease and large towels are heavy and hard for her to manage. Actually any older person can lose muscle mass and objects become too heavy for them. Hair? Well my mom is a fashionista, so she criticizes everyone’s looks.

Why are you moving mom near you? Or your aunt? I cared for my my mom in my home for 15 years and many years before that when she was still home. When she was at her home it wasn’t nearly as bad. When she moved in with me she acted like I lived with her instead of the other way around.

I posted on the other site about your aunt. Let me ask again. Does your aunt want to move near you? Will she have any issues with moving? Think very carefully before you continue with this. It won’t be easier.

You will be even more involved with both of them. Your husband isn’t on board with it. Every marriage takes a hit in caregiving. Mine did and I discussed it with my husband and he agreed. I had an emergency situation. Mom lost her home in Hurricane Katrina, otherwise I could have given more thought to the situation. If my husband wouldn’t have agreed I would have made other arrangements.

Personally, I think that you are setting yourself up for disaster. I am not being critical, just reading the writing on the wall as I see it. I truly hope that I am wrong. I don’t think your mom will change. I just hope she won’t make your life miserable for you and your husband because she doesn’t have to be living with you to do that. Set those boundaries. Make yourself unavailable if she starts any foolishness.

The one and only thing on your side is that your relatives will be in facilities. Thank God for that.

I wish you all the best.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I can only wish you the best. This site has a LOT of narc parents we're dealing with. You already KNOW her issues, so at least that won't be a shock to 'discover' when she starts acting up.

She's not living with you, that's a good start.

Being open and honest when she acts out. Set boundaries along the way, as needed. Sounds like she pretty much kiboshed her previous living arrangements-so you know she's going to be the same when she moves close to you.

Pace yourself and don't do more for her than YOU can handle. we see CG after CG go down in flames, so to speak b/c they are doing too much. Sounds like she needs a 'family figure' in her life, and you can do that w/o being her only friend.

Don't even try to make her happy. Some people cannot feel happy or grateful--it may be a personality issue, IDK--but I know my MIL (who is 90!) will state emphatically that she has not had a happy day in her life.

When she criticizes (and this, I GET, my mom is very 'backdoor' with her critiques--always has been. My only line of defense these days is to leave when she gets in a mood.

Good luck. This is a great site for better advice than mine!
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Reply to Midkid58
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cherokeegrrl54 Jan 28, 2020
Oh midkid you ALWAYS have good advice!!!!
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I haven't dealt with that exact situation, but, I have known narcissists. If that is her trouble, it's very difficult to be happy with them in your life. Some people cut ties and leave them alone. If that's not possible, you may have to seek counseling to help you cope. It can be very draining. Be prepared to be met with complaints when you walk into the door. They are rarely happy, so, I'd try to go on a day that you won't have to stay long and arrange for a facial or massage when you leave to detox your mind. lol

My experience was that it was best to limit the contact, compliment them a lot, agree with them verbally and then do what the hey you want when you leave. You often get more from them with honey than vinegar. And, if they think it's their idea, it's better. If they think you are worried, upset, they like it, so you can fein worry, to make them feel better. Agree with what they say, even when you don't. Don't trust what they say and don't rely on their word. Always keep in mind they are likely to stab you in the back, but, never tell others, because, they are so good at lying, others may not believe you. Just some things I learned along the way with those narcissists that I have dealt with.

I'd also keep in mind that sometimes narcissists have cognitive decline too. They become even more difficult to deal with and sometimes family doesn't realize what is happening because they have always been cross and confrontational. I'd just keep that in mind. If someone has dementia or cognitive decline, boundaries don't mean much to them and getting them to co-operate, isn't very easy.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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Plan for the future. What happens if she starts needing help with the activities of daily living? Will she hire a caregiver? What if she needs a facility? What is the long-term plan (if there is one)? I hope she doesn't expect to move in with you?

You have three brothers (like me; I'm also the only daughter). Do the other two brothers have any plans to be involved? Why doesn't she move near one of them?

Remember, all it takes is one medical event, or one fall, and your independent mother won't be independent any longer. Since she knows you are involved with your aunt, won't she also expect you to be involved with her?
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Reply to CTTN55
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rovana Jan 28, 2020
With a narcissist, you just have to do what you must to protect yourself. She may expect this or that, but it is OK to just say NO. Remind yourself that you have the power.
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