My 81-year-old mom has dementia and is narcissistic. Is anyone else dealing with this?


My mom has now moved in with us as she can't live alone any longer. Probably mid stage dementia. Her narcissistic personality disorder has always been challenging, but with dementia it's like throwing gasoline on a fire. Is anyone else dealing with this?

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Oh wow. That is an awful thing to be facing. I recently brought my mom into my house to live. My boys (young adults) and I soon found ourselves in an intolerable situation of witnessing her daily tantrums, calling people cruel names, vying for constant attention and her constant wishing (out loud) about things like having a hurricane come and wipe us all out. All her life she has been a negative person who behaved like a 4 year old thinking she was the most important person in the room and all her little minor (self-induced) problems trumped every one else's real tragedies. I don't know if she has gotten worse or if I just became more hardened to her antics. I think it is a little of both. When she moved in to our home and cause so much stress, I decided to stop babying her childish demands: which made her even more viscous. When she realized she was not getting the attention she commanded she disowned me and my kids (verbally) and called the police to come get her. That was it for me. She is out of my home and I will never have her back. Social workers stepped in and helped her get her place back. She gets social security and will be okay. There are people who get paid to take care of people like her and I have resolved to let them do that. I have to look out for my and my family's well being. I don't feel guilty one bit about "abandoning" her and that is a big surprise to me: I brought her into my home because I thought it was the right thing to do as a daughter - to take care of my mom. And I was willing to sacrifice and do things for her because I love her. However there is a limit. My limit was reached when her actions and words started to erode my metal and spiritual well being.
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Reply to thundergirl

It's so helpful to read everyone's comments and to know we are not alone in this journey. I am a Registered Nurse as well as a Nursing Home Administrator and have been Administrator in 3 different Dementia Facilities so I have seen many, many different family dynamics dealing with all forms of dementia.
My mom is 85 and has a text book case of Narcissistic Personality. She is also (and always has been), mean, hateful, vengeful, deceptive, negative, and sarcastic.
One of the best books available is 'Will I Ever Be Good Enough". I strongly recommend you read if you haven't as soon as possible. The hurt and the emotional neglect that the self centered parent leaves on their children can destroy their lives if the children allow it or accept it. It took many, many years for myself and my siblings to finally accept that we are important, we do have worth and that our parent has a mental disorder. Some of us had to just walk away and maintain a casual, long distance relationship that of course was one sided. Mom didn't seem to care and we seldom heard from her. Mom's dementia has escalated to add paranoia to the above list of attributes. We are all stupid (even though we are professional people), stealing from her and plotting against her. She was under investigation for physically abusing her companion while he was in the dying process. We hired a wonderful outside agency to care for her in her home since she ran all of her family off but she refused to let the agency in her home. Finally she ended up in the hospital and from there into a Care Facility. As stated by some of the others here, don't give up your life. I know that sounds selfish but it won't be appreciated anyway and in most cases it will be expected. There are others that can take care of mom and not have to be abused by her. My mother is as sweet as honey in the facility, calls all the staff sweetie and honey and actually says 'THANK YOU' to them. Two little words that we NEVER heard one time come out of her mouth at home or to us.
Don't feel guilty that you don't rush to her side to care of her, she really would prefer someone else anyway. Stay strong, assertive, healthy and know when to walk out of the room.
On a positive note, my sister and I have been praying for over 20 years that mom would find some peace in her 'miserable life' and if dementia can be a positive thing then it has been in this case. Her fits of rage, hatefulness and her attitude that the entire world is trying to 'screw' her have diminished drastically as her cognitive abilities decline. Maybe she will finish her journey on this earth in peace and if a miracle happens she may even be thankful for the life of luxury she has been given. Last week she told me 'thank you for calling' and even said 'I love you' after I told her I loved her. In 63 years I have never heard those words. So, keep staying strong, know your own worth, if you don't know it then please make every effort to find it while you can still enjoy the blessings of life. Just because your mom gave you life does not mean what she said or how she treated you is the truth of who you are or who you can be. Leave the care to someone who is competent, love and care for her from a distance and maybe her dementia will bring about some positive changes. If not, it is what it is and she will leave this place in the manner in which she lived and there is absolutely nothing that you can do to change that.
God Bless everyone of you who are going through this. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
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Reply to momsadvocate

My mother has always been somewhat of a narcissist and now has moderate dementia. It is depressing helping her because she not only doesn't appreciate my care, she takes every opportunity to tell completely fictional bad stories about me and my family to every one who will listen. I have tried to keep up my boundaries and do the right thing regardless of consequence. I have also lined my legal ducks in a row. My therapist said a wise thing in that I imagine all the craziness lives on a crazy planet which is separate from where I live. That way, I can deal with it without having to live in it.

I have tried to get her involved with people and activities but she does not like people and has given up the only thing she enjoyed, crocheting due to bad eyesight. I take her out shopping and to the park and she has a health aid that takes her out to eat and keeps her company during the day. I tell myself every day this is the best I can do and not to feel guilty, that she is lucky to have me in her life.
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Reply to greenie

Yes, and it is incredibly difficult. Since I am the only person willing to care for her, she has turned on me, and says terrible, false things and yells profanity and slams doors very hard, etc. She lives in her own home, can get around, but does not want any help (but needs it), which is only making things worse for her. I live an hour away and work full time, I try to keep tabs on her, don't know what I will do when she really can't live alone. I won't give up, but have had to step back because of her insults, false stories and unwillingness to accept help or direction. She does not care about my time, and if there is anything negative that happens in my life, she seems very gleeful about it. I won't give up, and am concerned about her, but the siblings won't help, the other neighbors are elderly, and her husband passed away. I understand that she may not be doing this on purpose, but it is still a very difficult situation.
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Reply to Catann

Unfortunately it doesn't get better it gets worse. It's very hard to deal with someone who is only self aware, add mean and hateful to the mix and it's going to bring you down, way down. My mother is the same way. I tried keeping her home when my father passed and it was complete insanity. She ended up in a nursing home for medical reasons and we tried it at home a few more times only to have the same result. She was completey miserable in the nursing home and drove us nuts. By the grace of God we were able to get her into the nicest memory center I have ever seen. The staff are wonderful. Just got back from visiting her and she is again her negative, mean, nasty, self serving self. I actually found notes in her closet today saying When I die I want you kids to know how awful you have been.. I left there so angry, she was talking hateful about my deceased father who was nothing less than her servant. I feel your pain, I truly do. My advice for what it's worth would be to place her now sooner than later. If I had it to do all over again, I would have never, ever, lived with her and allowed her to beat me down emotionally , physically. I know that we are supposed to keep in mind it is the disease, but my thoughts are yea the disease intensifies it, but its always been this way and I cannot be responsible for her happiness, because she has never been and never will be happy no matter what I do. Good luck to you.
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Reply to Sylvial

Greenie, it those stories that cut to the core, they hurt and make you just feel so crazy after all you do for them. The problem though I found out the hard way was these "stories" can become "others" truths and can land you in hot water. Been there done that and I refuse to give my life up and be placed in danger from her telling someone I am trying to poison her, kill her, not feed her, the list goes on, usually a story begins if I didn't make yet another cup of tea and donut for her upon her whim and desire, or not make her breakfast quick enough. No thanks mom, no can do no more,
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Reply to Madeaa

Both my parents were somewhat narcisstic. Aging issues can make this worse. Strong boundaries help. Please do not give up your life, daily routine and things that give you joy. Are there other siblings that can help? Possibly take Mom for a period of time and give you respite? Unfortunately you are a captive audience at this time. Hugs and prayers
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Reply to Liz123

I totally empathize with all of you. Some of you may have already read my posts, and know that mother is narcissistic AND Borderline Personality Disorder. It's so hard to be nice to a person who never thinks you do enough, no matter what you do for them. Even harder are the personal attacks, stories, and the fact that she has no friends because she can't get along with anyone. For me, pulling back has been a helpful tool for self preservation and my own sanity. Eventually she needs me for something again, and will be nice for a short while before the "real self" comes back. You have friends who understand here, and it is safe to vent your anger and sadness. Accepting that she will never change, because she thinks her way of thinking and behaving is right, has been the hardest thing. Giving up hope on the loving mother-daughter relationship has been so difficult for me. Take care of yourself.
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Reply to getnstrong

My mother's dementia and her ugly negative narcissistic personality has spread to my children, her grandchildren. Specifically, my daughter who also has NPD. I couldn't stand it any longer and cut them both off completely. It has ruined my life. My daughter has just started having children so I don't see my grandchildren now. My mother is the cause of all of this family disharmony. I hate her so much. I have been angry and depressed for a long time, been in therapy and tried every single activity in the book to distract me from the nightmare but nothing works. I believe dementia is caused by heavy metal toxicity (lead and mercury) and we in this country need to force the medical community to research it more and set up detox clinics or we as a country are doomed!
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Reply to MECK1234

OMG, I read so many of these posts and in some ways feel better because I'm not alone in my misery I live with my narcissistic mentally unstable mother. She has lived with me for a bit over 4 years now and if I had to do it all over again, I would not have had her move in with me - or at least I would have made it temporary. I would have looked at other options at the onset. Now it is more difficult to deal with (moving her out of here after she and my siblings have all gotten quite comfortable with the situation). For anyone out there contemplating allowing your mentally unstable parent to move in with you - don't.
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Reply to kk5565

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