My mother is a narcissist who was never really there for me if it didn’t suit her needs. She attempted suicide when I was 12. I was the one who found her and got help. She moved out to live with her BF, later to become her husband, when I was 14 under the guise of my brother and I needing a more fatherly influence. My dad moved back in at that time whom I’m very close with to this day. She divorced her husband of 35 years in her mid 70’s (he was approaching 80) because she “did not want to have to take care of an old man and use whatever financial resources she had left on his care and well-being”. He supported her and treated her like a princess their entire marriage. I moved her in with me and my 21 year old son (I’m 58) 6 months ago (seemed like a good and necessary idea at the time). Things became much more difficult over time, especially in dealing with her anxiety and other mental health issues (she has untreatable lung disease and early dementia too). She went in to what we thought would be short term care to address her psych issues and get her meds right. I have since been advised by every doctor who had seen her that she can no longer get the support she needs at home and needs 24/7 care and supervision. She completely disagrees and begs and pleads with me to “bring her home”. I’ve told her we are going by the doctors recommendations and will make changes if/when appropriate. Now she verbally attacks me saying I put her in there and I’m the reason she can’t return home. She called a few weeks ago and I answered “hi mom”. She replied “f*** you” then told me she’s onto my schemes, that all I wanted was her furniture and this was my plan all along. She leaves many messages saying the same stuff. I’ve stopped listening to her messages. I should also mention I have a brother who is like an appendix. Does nothing and only causes problems. I’ve been the only person on this planet who has taken care of her and looked after her well-being since she got sick about 5 years ago, sometimes to a fault which is something I’m working on. Setting boundaries that is. I’m guessing now she is contrite and apologetic but that’s just her manipulative ways. It won’t last if she doesn’t get what she wants. I told my brother three weeks ago I am washing my hands of my mom and turning her over to the facility or county and he can step up or not but I’ve had enough. I should also mention I am in recovery with 2 years sober and cannot risk my sobriety for anyone. So I have not spoken with her for 3 weeks and counting and I feel much better as a result. I do have a profound sense of sadness for her and the situation she’s in, although I do believe it’s the safest and best place for her well-being. I just can’t deal with the verbal attacks any longer. I say it’s just words and it doesn’t bother me but that’s just not true. It weighs very heavily on me at this point. She was never really there for me growing up and I feel, and have been told by everyone who knows the situation, that I have gone above and beyond for my mom and have nothing to feel guilty or bad about. At this point, I’d be ok with never speaking with her again. Only time will tell. I’ve received advice to contact her once in a while but I know it’ll just be more attacks and accusations. Plus it brings up a lot of the stuff I drank at to avoid having to deal with. I’ve also been advised by others to cut her off, at least for the time being. Cutting her off seems so cold. I’ve tried to engage but she makes it very difficult so this appears to be my best option. I also started therapy to help navigate through this. It’s hard to see the forest from the trees at the moment and I am second guessing myself. I will not, however, play the victim card. My life, my choices and my consequences but WTF!

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Robert, I think you've made a wise decision to go "no contact" at this time.

It sounds like your mother doesn't respect boundaries; her mental illness PLUS dementia makes it impossible for there to be rational discussions.

In time, with proper support and meds, she might be more easily visited. It is not necessary for you to tolerate abuse. An abusive phone call? Click. Abuse during a visit? See you when you're feeling better, mom".

For now, maybe sending a card every few weeks?
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My dad is 94 and in skilled nursing. I am his legal guardian.. His dementia is getting worse. I don't call like I used to because it only agitates him. If I call him, it starts him calling, and calling, and calling. Then the "get me out of here!" starts. I've discussed this with his geriatric psych and she's in agreement. I need to stay away. However, my siblings can call and they have pleasant conversations with him. I get all the crap because he knows I hold all the control.. I don't feel bad or guilty. I know his needs are being taken care of. And my life is much more peaceful. You need to do what you need to do to take care of YOU. Don't feel guilty. Boundaries, boundaries, BOUNDARIES!! Going to counseling about this all these years has helped. I have 9-1/2 years sobriety and would never let him get me to the point that I need a drink. Do your readings in 'the big book ' and take care of YOU.
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Congratulations on your 2 years of sobriety!!! You treat your sobriety with the 'one day at a time' mentality, so that's how you need to treat the situation with your NM too............with the one day at a time mentality. Don't tell yourself you will 'never' speak to her again; just that for TODAY you will choose not to deal with her & the chronic venom & BS she dishes out. If you try to use the 'never' and 'forever' words, you tend to overwhelm yourself with the finality of the decision you've made (right?) whereas using the 24 hour approach is a whole lot easier on the brain and on the heart. I know from where I speak, unfortunately. I have a narcissistic mother AND a very addictive personality (gee I wonder why?) with 13 years of sobriety this time around, and 9 years the last time around.

"Last time around" I thought it would be a good idea to 'drink some wine' while on a trip to Italy with my teenage son for 2 weeks. Yeah, no.........the alcoholic mentality that says 'what harm can it do? you have 9 years of sobriety under your belt' is the same mentality that GOT me into the doors of AA to begin with. And it took me 7 MORE years to get BACK to AA after making that superbly bad decision about 'drinking some wine' in Italy. Live and learn, right?

I moved my parents back to Colorado to be near me in 2011; I am an only child so the choice was non-existent. My father was a dear dear man and my mother came along with the deal. He passed away in 2015 and mother is 94 and still alive, living in a Memory Care ALF with pretty advanced dementia these days. She was put on Cymbalta 2 weeks ago and has pretty much turned into a different person........much softer and less anxiety ridden and venomous. She even told me she 'missed me so much' the other day, which truly floored me. I really hope the new meds will salvage a tiny bit of this relationship before she passes away so I won't have a horrible last memory of our final time together.

There are some times I'd love to have a drink, to tell you the truth, but it's not an option. If I have to hang up the phone to save my peace & sanity, I do. Whatever YOU have to do, do it. Your sobriety comes FIRST. Otherwise, YOU may make a foolish decision to 'drink some wine' one day and boom, off the wagon you go. Back into the clutches of a dark place you don't want to return to.

Your mother is safe & being cared for in a facility that's staffed 24/7. You've done enough. Call the director of nursing once in a while for an update on your mother's status, if you so desire. Send her a card once in a while, if you feel compelled to do so. But stay out of her sight and off of the phone; erase the voice mails or listen to the first couple of words to get an idea of her 'mood', then hit 7 if it's ugly. Let the SNF know you'd like to be informed if she passes away, and that's that.

It may sound 'cold', but this is your LIFE that's on the line here. Not all mothers should have had children. Not all mothers are warm & fuzzy creatures who have their children's best interests at heart. Some are mean & nasty & drive their children to drink & use unhealthy substances to cope with their ugliness. Now is the time to say ENOUGH to all of it, my friend.

Wishing you the best of luck moving forward.
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disgustedtoo Feb 2021
Sounds like lealonnie1 had/has a very similar situation, so I would heed her advice! Good advice in general anyway, even if mom isn't a narcissist or there was a wagon to stay on. Sometimes we just have to say no. Maybe another day or time, but not right now!
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Congrats on the 2 years recovery! Hang on to that!

"...seemed like a good and necessary idea at the time..."
You know those expressions, "the road to H is paved with good intentions" or "well laid plans of mice and men"... Obviously there was a reason for those expressions.

"I have since been advised by every doctor who had seen her that she can no longer get the support she needs at home and needs 24/7 care and supervision."

No matter what SHE says or thinks, these are experts advising you, so you've done the right thing - no need to feel guilt. You tried having her in the home, needed help. You sought the help and they said she's beyond what you can provide. No need to beat yourself up OR let her browbeat you either. Best to leave the care to those who can provide what she needs, just be the oversight.

Since all her calls are verbally abusive, have you considered blocking her number? Talk with the staff regarding this and let them know that if there are any medical or other issues, they can call you, but you'll be blocking her phone calls because of the abuse. They've seen it all and more. They'll understand. Just knowing she called and/or left a message will get under your skin. Best to prevent it, at least for now. If she "improves", you can reconsider.

I see you one brother and raise you another! I've been doing 99.9% of what needed doing, when mom was still in her condo and after she moved to MC. Six years. Verbal abuse, physical abuse, can't or won't visit mom, from the brothers, even though she is a fairy princess compared to your mother! The only thing I can say is that my life was MUCH less stressful when I more or less cut off contact with the two of them. Getting angry that they weren't helping, visiting or even listening only impacted ME, so I managed to let that go. I can't make them visit mom or help, so I just took care of everything and visited her often, before the virus locked us out. I didn't concern myself with the two of them anymore. (love the "appendix" description!) She just recently passed, so when the paperwork is done and the "checks are in the mail", I am TOTALLY DONE with both of them. Who needs that kind of crap, esp from a family member. Nope.

" she is contrite and apologetic but that’s just her manipulative ways. It won’t last if she doesn’t get what she wants."
You are correct. Many people do this. "Walking on eggshells" until some time passes and then we're back to the usual. My ex was like that. It's usually just a ruse, until they think the wind is blowing their way again, then it's back to the "usual." Don't buy what she's selling. It's all part of the "game", but it can't be played if you refuse to participate!

Given what you've said about your brother, it isn't likely he will take on the role. If at all possible, cut off contact for both of them, at least for now, but remain the "contact" point for mom and the facility. Block their phone numbers. Work with staff and explain the situation with her. Caring doesn't have to be done at home.

Even though she may not really deserve a caring loving son, she has one and he can try to ensure she gets proper care, even if she didn't do it for him. You are not her, you are BETTER than she is/was. No contact removes the worst of the abuse, but still allows you to "care" in your own way. If given enough time you still feel overwhelmed, then it might be time to throw the towel in.

Although others said it will only get worse, it may not, it may get better. Dementia affects every person in unique ways. There are similar symptoms, but the overall picture is different for each one. Some mild mannered moms become whirling dervishes. Some mean nasty moms become sweet old ladies! Some of the things I've seen and heard from my mother were typical, other things threw me for a loop! So many times staff would say how sweet she was and I would ask who body-snatched my mother?? Your mom could become "better" in the behavioral sense, as time goes on.
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499HopeFloats Feb 2021
Very, very well said.

My thoughts and prayers are with you in this very difficult situation. You are doing exactly what is needed to keep yourself safe and give yourself a chance to thrive. You were dealt a hand, throughout your life, with many pitfalls, and you are strong!! Many congratulations on your ongoing sobriety!!

Would it help to see your status with your Mom as your *daily* choice for no contact, rather than as a “forever” decision? Giving yourself a chance to adapt to your own needs, as they become apparent, could be your best strategy.

Your mother’s perceived needs *cannot* supersede yours. What your brother is/isn’t doing *cannot* be your concern as much as *your* needs are your concern.

My husband presently is in his second month in a facility. Although he is haranguing me daily about wanting to come home, I’m reminding myself he is the love of my life, he is safer where he is, I am safer without him here, and his condition has presented ongoing impediments to his loving interactions with me. He’s usually paranoid and belligerent now.

Be well. Persevere.
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marymary2 Feb 2021
Fab answer. I never thought of it the way you put it - to have one's own needs be the concern, rather than the lack of help from siblings. Wishing you well in your situation.
I went through this with my mom. The first few months after moving in are rough. It took my mother about 5-6 months to calm down and stop yelling at me on the phone.
Is she safe? Is she receiving proper care? If yes, then relax. You did good.
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My own decision to block my mother’s phone number and not have contact was a result of a lifetime of abuse I just decided I wasn’t willing to have disrupt my life anymore. The verbal abuse during her old age still causes me emotional distress. I manage her affairs but don’t visit or speak with her. I do have helpful family that will visit when necessary. Don’t feel guilty, and stop looking for affirmation from others about your decision to stop speaking to her. You need to do what is healthy for you. And you know she is in a facility that is keeping her safe, fed and clean. You haven’t abandoned her or left her in a bad situation. The facility has a way to contact you if there’s an emergency. We feel sad because it’s sad that we don’t have the loving mother-daughter relationship we all wish we had. But that will never happen. So go and make healthy relationships elsewhere and insure your sobriety. You have done more than enough to get her to this place.
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seekingjoy Feb 2021
Such a great answer. Thank you. I hope the original poster takes what you have said to heart.
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“Ok Mom, seems like today’s not a good day to talk, I’ll call you in a few days.”

Rinse and repeat as needed.
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I have not spoken to my Mother in SEVEN YEARS. Do not feel guilty. Think of not speaking to your Mother as "self-preservation". A Geriatric Case Worker took care of everything and now my Mother is safe, warm and fed in a Memory Care facility.
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Your mother is never going to change. She has dementia on top of her mental health issues. Her needs are only going to increase. There may come a point where her dementia is so advanced that she stops being hostile toward you, the person who cared for her, but no one can predict when or if that will happen.

You have accepted reality while she is not capable of accepting reality. My advice to you is to continue not speaking to her, continue to protect your sobriety (congrats!), and continue doing what is best for her, which is residing in the longterm care facility.
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