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Where is it written that you have to give up your life to care for your 90 year old mother, to the degree that you "cannot" go visit your son? Change your mindset immediately. Arrange for in home caregivers to do all YOU'VE been doing for the woman, and then take a nice vacation!

My mother was always a difficult woman to deal with, so I set things straight from the get-go that I'd be doing NO hands on caregiving and both parents would live in Independent Living, then Assisted Living as needed. It was still very draining for me, as their only child, to manage their entire lives, but I did so, for 10+ years. What saved my sanity was setting very strong boundaries and not breaking them.

Decide what you're going to do now to take your own life back and stop jumping to mother's every demand. You've done enough. Good luck.
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In your profile you say that your 90 year old narcissitic mom is "stealing my life".
I would say that there are several ways to look at this. In fact, you may be giving your life away to her.
I would suggest a strong therapist. One that will shake you up enough to truly examine that at a certain point we must take control of our own lives and stop blaming parents who were inadequate.
Your son is now grown. He sees you once a year. He may be used to this being all he can get from you, and some day he may be writing the Forum.
We make bargains in life. We decide what we can give and what we can get in return. There is something that we get for sacrificing our lives and our families on the altar of narcissism, and we have to delve deep to find out what that something is, and if our bargain is still working for us. And if it isn't, it is time for the hard work of changing habits that are destructive.
This sounds a whole lot of tough love, but be certain, it IS love. I want to shake you up enough that you really consider changing your life for the better. I want you happier. This is your one life, your one chance to make a whole and thriving relationship with your son. You CAN do it. Your mother has HAD her life. Is it time now for yours? Only you can answer that question.
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Cp31979 Jan 2023
Gosh with friends like u, who needs enemies??? Is this really a support site???? Goodness….
You said “I’m the only child of a narcissistic mother. My father passed 10 years ago. She is now 90.
I have one adult child and I want so desperately to be able to go visit him, but have unfortunately been unable for several years. He comes home to visit every Christmas. It just feels as though my mother is stealing my life and my time. I feel guilty anytime I take time for myself”
Of course you’re tired all the time! Anyone in your position would be. You’re allowing your mother to steal your life, it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s nothing to feel guilt about, you’ve done nothing wrong, other than neglect your own health and well being. I bet that son and others would love to see more of you. Can you gather the courage to change this unhealthy pattern and stop allowing your mother to control your choices? I sure hope so. Your life matters too, we only get the one, enjoy it before it’s gone
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Try to get some exercise. Go out for a 5 minute walk a few times a day to get the blood moving. Yoga might help reduce some anxiety.

If you are living in a s**t show situation like the one I’m finding myself in, it is the constant stress that is causing your fatigue. The brain can’t handle it.

I hope you feel better.
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TouchMatters Feb 2023
I know. I can't handle it either.
I am 71 and still get out there and jog, slowly.
If I can do 20-30 minutes 3-4 x / week, I feel good.
Still. I need to do much more. I feel I am losing the anxiety battle.
The more stress(ors) we have the more we need to do personally to 'keep up' and try to maintain some equanimity. It doesn't seem fair to have to keep working so hard and diligently 'just' to maintain our self . . . but we do... or I need to. I agree, yoga, movement, dance, stretching - any movement is better than no movement.
I suggest that you 1) get therapy and 2) get your Mom into assisted living or memory care or get full time caregivers for her.

You haven't stated if your Mom is able to take care of herself or not. Either way, you need to get out. Go and experience freedom again.

I put my Mom into Memory Care one year ago. During that time, instead of using her walker full time, she is primarily in a wheelchair and only uses her walker to go to the bathroom at night. Her memory has gotten significantly worse. Her incontinence is worse.

I just took her for her annual exam. The doctor said that she is actually in better health today, than she was one year ago. Her circulation is much better and her blood pressure is better.

Me? I feel better too. I have more freedom knowing that she is in capable hands. In addition, if she makes me mad, I can walk out and know that her needs will still be met.

So my advice to you is change the situation so that you are a guest, not a doormat. It is very possible that both you and she will be healthier because of it.
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My advice is to find some respite care for your mother for maybe a week. Then go see your son. Your mother will be just fine.

Personal experience: My son lived and worked in France 2018-2019 and I told him when he left that I was going to visit him. (I moved my mother in with me in 2017.) In the end, I never pulled the trigger on finding substitute care for my mother, worrying that she would not be cared for properly or something might happen.).

I totally regret not just going to visit my son and see Paris and where he was living and working. I can't get that time back and my mother would have been just fine for a few days.
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Natasana Jan 2023
I love your perspective and insight.
My mom has been in long term rehab. Since before Christmas. She would guilt me all the time about putting her in a nursing home/memory care. Now that she's been there six weeks I am amazed at how well she has adjusted and am looking at long term placement there. The rehab./ Nursing home Is close to my home so I visit her four days a week for a couple hours each time and my sister visits her on Sundays as she lives an hour away and works full time. The nursing staff love her there and the activities director gets her out of her room for various activities.
I am slowly recovering from the stress of having taken care of her in my home for 3+ years. When she first moved there she would always ask to go home, but now that has stopped. As her memory worsened and her physical ability decreased, I took on more and more, the stress and responsibility just beat me into the ground.
The guilt keeps us all locked in a downward spiral of self destruction. You have a right to live your life. At the very least look into respite care. The freedom you will feel to live your life, take a break, or go on vacation will amaze you. Don't let guilt ruin your life and health. You will still be involved making sure your loved ones needs are met. You haven't abandoned your loved one. If you don't do something though you will have abandoned yourself.
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Time to begin reclaiming your life. Set some boundaries and have others provide the care you have been giving. You are burnt out and need to take care of yourself.
Helpful Answer (7)
Sadinroanokeva Jan 2023
If only it was that easy.
Your mother, being a narcissist, is stealing YOUR life. DO NOT allow your mother to ruin YOUR life. As a narcissist, your mother will ruin you mentally, emotionally, and physically, and she will have no qualms about doing this to you. Narcissists cannot show compassion or empathy, so do not expect this from your mother. You need to put your mother in a nursing home or an AL facility as many on this forum have suggested and then you need to move on and live YOUR life. While in the facility, you can go and visit her as often as you want. DO NOT feel guilty about putting your mother in a facility as your mother does not feel guilty about causing your mental and emotional pain. This is not about your mother’s survival; this is about YOUR survival and being there for YOUR son. People who are living with narcissists should run as far away from them as they can and never go back to them. Narcissists are very toxic people and being around them will cause their toxicity to affect your life. I’m urging you to do what’s right for YOU. I have been down this path before and I’m advising you from my own experience.

Good luck in finding peace and happiness.
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Daphne131 Feb 2023
There seems to be false understanding about “putting a patent in AL or nursing home.” It is unlawful to do so without consent of the parent. They still have legal rights even if they have dimentia. It is only after two doctors, one who has cared for parent over seven years, to first certify with their signatures after a full exams ruin and testing that parent is either a threat to him/herself, or others, or unable to complete five daily living acts.

only after a certification from doctor can an adult child taker over alll the rights of the dimentia patient.

Merely bc one has dimentia does NOT mean they are a threat to their own safety or that of others. Having dimentia also doesn’t mean a person cannot handle their own affairs. That is outdated, last century misthinking to say bc one has dimentia the adult child can now take over all decisions for the dimentia victim.

Yoy see there are differnt stages of dimentia- mild, moderate, severe. My mother’s doctor signed a document that mother can still make all her own legal decision and reside alone (with us visiting ensuring there is food and transportation to medical exams even though she has moderate dimentia.Dementia is no longer an automatic sentence to Assisted living or memory care.

And duties of adult children remain sometimes even worse/more time consuming to not only the parent placed into a home, but your time and energy then also become needed for facility itself for you to complete updated paperwork and applications for financing, medical exams, clothing, late night telephone calls to calm the parent who was taken from their home and meetings with them. The grass isn’t always greener for you placing parent into a home or care facility unfortunately.

Who cares that parent cannot recall dates, times, who they last saw when and similar. They don’t need to recall these as they don’t work nor engage in their prior social events. Take dials off oven/stove, knives and give only microwave if you feel it’s safer. Get parent dimentia fiddle items off Amazon or something to do. Get some Blink cameras for home to ensure you can see parent in living area to know they are up and to have backup intercom if phone goes out. Have home companion once a week for 4 hours to give some help or be present/do shower. We also have an Amazon Alexa Show at mother’s home to “drop in” on my mother, so she can see us, and we can see her. You can also add important dates, routines like speaking date, time, current events, med reminders, exercise, breathing times, jokes if you want to cheer up and inform them without you being present as much. This enhances their lives and yours. You can do all this remotely on your smart phone Alexa app.

This way you still have enough work- provide groceries, handle mail/bills that are not on auto pay, and transportation, laundry, cleaning and less of the daily stressful interactions with a often nonsensical person. Call morning and evenings but don’t always go over. It isn’t needed daily if they are not suffering from SEVERE Dimentia which means they cannot speak, dress, feed themselves. That is when serious family help is needed daily.

To miscatorgize dimentia as all the same with need for assisted living outside the home isn’t always healthy for the adult children either. If all dementia patients were institutionalized there wouldn’t be enough rooms or beds available for them.

And placing into AL isn’t any safer for falling necessarily. My mother in law feel twice in assisted living with aid standing next to her and coming out of shower. There is no way to stop falls, only to reduce falls.

Don't Judge loss of general memory so badly. It really isn’t needed as much if one is mostly home bound. That doesn’t make the parent unsafe necessarily. Anyone automatically dictating “You need to put them in assisted living” is acting with too much out-dated judging. Mild and moderate dimentia parents in US can be at home depending on safety.
Stop trying to please her. You never will.

Start pleasing yourself - doing things that are good for you like visiting your son.

She won't agree to or be pleased by changes Do them anyway. So she gets angry or upset. That's her problem.

Realize you are in FOG - fear, obligation and guilt created by your narcissistic mother. You need to get out of that and would benefit from some therapy to do so. Find a coda group and/or a therapist. They will help you.

The guilt you feel is false guilt brought on by not meeting the unrealistic expectations of your mother. I think you know in your heart your will never meet her expectations. Not because you are not a good daughter and caregiver, but because she will never be pleased no matter what you do. Pleasing her and getting her approval is a lost cause.

I know this is difficult. I had a narcissistic mother too but I refused to give my life up to her. Step out for yourself. (((((hugs))))
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