How do you deal with a mean spirited mother when you have given her the best quality of life?

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I am 61 years of age and still working a demanding yet fulfilling career. I have always been a great daughter. I have been invested in my mother's care all of my life and more recently since her open heart surgery during May 2009. We had hope that following her surgery that she would recover to the point where she could return to her home. That did not happen. She was in one facility after another starting in Pittsburgh and then I had her transferred to my home area in Maryland. She was discharged from a chronic care facility the end of October 2011 and I had her moved in with me and my roommate. I have in-home care to help us out. She has never been a "people" person unlike me and my now deceased father and still living brother, who by the way is of absolutely no help. My mother is given the best of care under my watchful eye. She has doctors in our area and I am very vigilant. She has a trach but is doing well according to her cardiologist. I am taking her to visit her home in Pennsylvania for four days next month. All she does is complain, complain, complain. My roommate bless her heart took her to two doctor's appointments this week so that I could get a full week of work in. My mother is spoiled and never smiles. Everything gets on her nerves. It is difficult living with her. I have always had my "space" as she lived in Pennsylvania and I lived in Maryland although I did visit her every month and many times more regularly as she aged. She is now 86. Her mind is very keen. I come home from a very hard day of work and the minute I step in her room I hear negative negative negative. I can tell she doesn't like it that my roommate took her to those two doctor's appointments but too bad. No one can imagine the great care I give her as well as my roommate. I took three months off from my career when she had her heart surgery and slept most of them in my car at the hospital parking garage in Pittsburgh so that I could be extremely involved in her recovery. People always comment what a great daughter. Well, I am now depressed and want two little vacations this year to the beach and NYC. I deserve a few days away. For her its all about her. I have taken her on countless nice vacations over the years. She adores my brother who lives in Pa. She never says that I deserve a vacation. When she was 61 I was taking her on trips and spoiling her. She really expects me to give up my life until she dies and that is perfectily ok with her. Is this truly love? I don't think so. When I see my Goddaughter, age 26, a few hours on a weekend I can tell my mother is not liking it. In fact, once I took my Goddaughter into my mother's nice room to say hello and she ignored her feigning a headache! I told myself I will never again subject my Goddaughter to that! My mother gets pissy with with inhome help and my roommate. She is unhappy but then she never was a joyful person. I am sick of it. I just needed to vent today. I will continue to do my best while having the most healthy life I can have for myself. I will not retire before I am ready. My career helps me to maintain my sanity. This is not how I envisioned my life to be. I never had children and thought that at my age, I could enjoy life. I have no real pleasure because I have two jobs, my career and my mother. All of my life I have protected and taken care of her and even listened as she constancly complained about my deceased father. She should be ashamed of herself. Yes, I know she is 86 and her years are now limited. But so are mine. Oh,by the way, she has said she will kill herself if I ever put her in a nursing facility. She does not have to worry, I would not do that. She will remain in our home. We even bent over backwards and set up a beautiful room for her. She got mad at me when I surprised her and brought back a few of her things to decorate her room when I last took her to Pa. Instead of smiling and thanking me, she felt I did this behind her back and she did not appreciate it! I hate all of this! I would appreciate some emotional support to my e-mail. Thanks in advance.

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Hi musiclover1,
Your mother is controlling your life way beyond what is necessary or good for you. For your physical, mental and emotional health it's time to look for a nursing home. Of course, she'll complain. But she complains anyway. Your roommate sounds like a big help but you have no time to yourself. You deserve vacations and time away, which your mother won't "allow."
Letting your mother control you isn't helping either of you. She would appreciate your visits more (maybe) if she were in a nursing home and you were there when you could be. If not, what's new? You say she's mentally sharp, but she seems to have gotten more self-centered and controlling over time. That could indicate a form of dementia.
Whatever the reason for her behavior, I think it's time you got outside help with her and had some life of your own. Did you realize that 30 percent of caregivers die before those they care for? Please don't become one of them. Take care of yourself,
Carol
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Boundary setting is one of the most crucial aspects of being a caregiver. We are treated based on the strength or weakness of our boundaries. Many elderly people have no boundaries and feel like they are entitled to all of your time. Being a caregiver is challenging enough, but when you become an indentured servant in your own home, it's time to consider and look into making some changes. I concur with Carol. None of you can risk your personal health and emotional wellness, nor should anyone have to take abuse. Verbal abuse is detrimental to the human spirit. Begin the process of looking into alternative living for your loved one.
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I think most of us on this site want our parents to be safe and happy. Many of us would place our parents in our homes if it happened to be possible. Sometimes it is not. How could I place my smoking parents in my home with my asthmatic child? They would not stop smoking, and my child would be very ill due to the second hand smoke. Also, nursing homes have been around for a long time.The first ones that were established in the 1800's . That does not mean they are always the best choice. My great-grandparents were born between 1870 - 1884. Out of all of the the great-grandparents, only one was placed in a nursing home, and that was because she was mean a snake and argued with everyone. My family still visited her regularly and tried to be loving. The other great-grandparents died at home with loving care. We can't judge each other on this site. Each person is different with different circumstances. I have volunteered in a wonderful nursing home. I am currently hunting for one for the extreme future that will allow my husband and me to stay together and to have my dog. :) If I find one, I may start with a down payment and prepare ahead. I took care .of my father and will take care of my Mother when she is ready and needs me. Let's build each other up and not make people feel guilty.
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Oh yes! Undercooked oatmeal = senior abuse!

"Don't be too available" is exactly right. Some one asked me how I got out of making arrangements for my mother's upcoming birthday, as I have done those things all my life. I figured I had time-off coming. Someone else (i.e. my sister) could do it. So I wasn't available, didn't take the bait, didn't respond to the guilt trips, kept focussed on me, and what I needed to do for me (still playing catch up on that stuff), and frankly, and I know only those who have a narcissistic parent will truely will understand, gave myself permission to n ot even go if it was going to be too stressful. Sig other was shocked, but his family is normal. I didn't go to my father's funeral, (and I was close to him), as my sis and mother were so nasty to me around that time, I couldn't have handled it. Instead, I went alone, across the country, to see him a few days before he died, and that was a gift, and I had peace, and so did he. You have to do what you have to do, and you can't do what you can't do. The "normal" social rules do not apply often, when dealing with narcissism or personality disorders. My youngest son had been dead a few months aged 23, and I was visiting mother, She said to me that she wanted to have someone over for tea, because it was easier for her when I was there. I said no, as I was in no shape to socialize. Heavens, I could hardly remember to brush my teeth, but she went ahead anyway, and called this person and started to invite her over for tea. I repeated that is wasn't going to work for me, and she got upset with me, and said I was rude. I left, and didn't stay with her again till recently.When she was mad at the hospital for not treating her as she felt she should be treated, she also got mad at me and said she noticed how my son got preferential treatment when he was in hospital (dying), and she didn't. Their cruelty has no bounds. I wish I had said what was on my mind which was "Wake up and smell the coffee, mother! He was a young man who had been assaulted and was dying, you are a crabby old woman who has nothing wrong with her. except that she wants attention."
I would advise any one thinking about taking a narcissistic oparent into their home to give it very serious thought. They truely are toxic, and the stress is very hard on you. I had not realized how hard it was, until I distanced myself from it.
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guilt makes us do things that we would tell friends are not in their best interest. It's easy to give advice to others. I am in a similar situation. I am now moving my mother to a siblings house. She is angry and lashing out at me. I too have provided excellent care and also still work in a demanding job with long hours. I am finally letting go of the guilt and taking my life back. It is hard work and some days I feel like the worst daughter in the world. Hang in there.
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I completely understand. MyMom is the same way. Its like some rule that only they know, that now they have full permission to treat us like crap, even tho we are the only one that will step up and take care of them. I have no advice for you, sorry. My Mom got so angry, she began overmedicating her self, and we had her placed in a nursing home, mostly for her own protection.Are any of us happy about this decision ? no,,, but shes safer now
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(((((hugs)))))) musiclover. There is no doubt that you have been are are giving your mother excellent care. There also is no doubt, in my mind anyway, that your mother is manipulative, and narcissitic and taking advantage of you to the fullest extent that you allow it. Many of us here with a narcissistic parent have found good information on a websit called daughtersofnarcissisticmothers. Just google that phrase. It is important to understand narcissistic behaviour to be able to protect yourself. I agree with Carol about it being time to find a suitable facility for your mum.
Shortmomma, don't feel bad. It really is the only workable solution Your mum is cared for, and you have a decent life again.You may find some encouragement for what you have done on that site too.
Personally I knew I could never have my mother live with me as she would have ruined my home, and my health. As it is, I still find any contact with her quite stressful.
Guilt can rear its ugly head over these decisions, but it is guilt originating from childhood and placed there by your narcissistic parent in order to control you. See it in its true perspective, and don't let others use FOG, (fear, obligation or guilt) to control you. Make rational adult decisions that take everyone's welfare into account - like you taking vacations, but making sure your mum is well looked after, or like placing her in an ALF or a NH.

I take what Carol says about 30% of caregivers dying before their charges, very seriously.I am 74, my mother is coming up 100 and healthy, though she fusses a lot, but everytime they run tests she comes out A1. She goes to the ER and they send her back to her ALF. She had a hip repair under full anaesthetic last summer, because she was so strong. I have developed a couple of health issues from the stress of moving her, and dealing with her. I retired from a job I loved because I could not deal with her and keep working, and have been fighting to get my health back. Look after you, first and foremost. The stress can creep up on you

Do let us know how you make out. We are rooting for you! You are not alone in being a good caregiver of a parent and receiving no appreciation.
Joan
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Emjo, excellent advice......you are right on the money. It's narcissism.
Madge1, I disagree with one thing you said: it's the mother who has taught the daughter that she (the mother) can control and abuse, not the other way around, even though Dr. Phil says "you teach people how to treat you". That's hogwash! How would anyone teach people to treat them in such an abusive manner -- why would they want that?
Musiclover1 - and it's interesting that you chose this name, because for me, music is the only thing that saves me - I hope you will thoroughly investigate this site and read all the posts on narcissism. You will see yourself, and myself, there........I can SO sympathize with you because you are exactly where I am right now.
If you can realize that you will never make her happy - and are not responsible for doing so - you might be able to make some headway. This is what I am learning right now. They are too old to change; they've been like this all their lives; no, it is not increasing dementia that's causing it, they just get worse with age. Most of them don't have anything really seriously wrong with them - it's just the way their personality is.
I think for you and I the goal is to regain our lives from a mother who believes she is owed, and deserved, whatever she wants, in the way she wants it, when she wants it. These people believe that they are better than others and should only have the best. They even talk about their own best friends with disdain!
I am learning also that the root of this whole problem is their own insecurity - they fear not being good enough so to give themselves importance and be at the top of the ladder (so they think, for they hate to have anyone see them in a less than favourable light) they denigrate, criticize and judge others to make themselves feel better.
Nothing you do will make her smile. She's miserable in her own right so just let her be!! Why should we kill ourselves "serving" them and jumping through hoops for them? Let them be miserable if that's what they want! My mother has driven away countless friends by her behaviour. There's always a comment or judgment so that she can "win".
It's very complex and deep-rooted but it's all about control and being in charge.
Now it's time for you and I to be in charge, voice what we don't like and won't put up with and set limits and boundaries -- and if that isn't suitable, well then there are always nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Once there, they will soon see that it isn't always about them and they will complain even more.
Too bad!!
I can tell you that I have learned an enormous amount from all those who have posted on this site. Also, do your homework and do some research on narcissism and visit that site that is suggested above - it's marvellous and really spells it out for what it is.
Bottom line - you're a GREAT person - you're kind and good-hearted - the Lord is watching and, last but not least, IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S HER!!
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I really don't WANT to put my mom in a home. The facility she is currently in for rehab is suggesting to me that she cannot care for herself properly and that they are concerned for her safety. I'd love her to be able to return home but truthfully she needs an aide to stay with her during the night. The cost is roughly $15.00 per hr. and the shift is 7 to 7. This is through an agency. I'm fearful of having someone I don't know come into her home without being screened, bonded and drug tested. She gets up all night. On top of that I have to worry about how she will get her meals. If she goes to assisted living, they have someone on call during the evening and provide three meals per day. I have tried in the past to live with her. It's impossible to live with someone with no boundaries!
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Well it's a new day and I have a new thought as to how I'm going to approach this problem today! I'm going to do what I can for my own peace of mind and not to please anyone else today. If mom is not happy today - so be it! I have decided that at the end of her stay in rehab, we will take the advice of the professionals and put her where they say she needs to be - if she insists on going home without an aide - so be it! I can do no more! I am stepping down from my soapbox beginning today! If she falls again, so be it! It simply is not in my control. I'm done! I've been trying to please for 65 years and it ain't happened yet!
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