Narcisistic Mom (88) refuses to move out of motel after what was supposed to be a brief stay. Any advice? -

Narcisistic Mom (88) refuses to move out of motel after what was supposed to be a brief stay. Any advice?


Hello to all, particularly adult children of narcissists. I've been lurking for several months and finally feel safe enough to ask my question. Apologies in advance for what will be a long post.

Background: Mother, 88, is and always has been an epic narcissist, paranoid and OCD. I am 51, an only child, and have one son.

Mother's house is on a riverbank and over the years the river has been increasingly flood-prone, causing her to have to leave the house for a few days or weeks until the water recedes. In December 2013 the flood was so bad that all the nearby homes were heavily damaged. Mother went to the local chain motel, received about $70,000 for her claim, and hired a contractor she knows well to do the work.

It is now July, and she is still in that motel. The insurance is not paying her motel bill--she is. The work on her house drags on, and I suspect the contractor is milking the situation. A couple of weeks after the flood, I asked her when she thought she'd be able to move back home. "Oh, by the end of this week," she said. Every time I ask her, her answer is always the same. The motel managers are very nice, but whenever they see me they ask me how much longer she is going to stay. I learned that motels' liability is different for "guests," who stay a short period, and "tenants," who stay a month or more. I'm sure they are thinking about that liability (what if she falls?), but they feel sorry for her and let her stay.

Compounding the problem: I came here from out of state 5 years ago to be near her and moved into another house she owns that's also on her property. 2 years later, I met a wonderful man and we got married. Knowing that Mother doesn't do transitions well (and neither does my autistic son), my husband and I decided to keep living in our separate houses for a while to help everybody ease into the change. One night, my husband and son got into a row when my son dropped the "F" bomb, and my husband backhanded him. I immediately called my son's father and told him what happened, and he and my husband, son, and I all talked, apologized to each other, and agreed there would be no more cursing or backhanding. Since then we 4 have been happy with how we resolved the situation.

Mother, however, went ballistic. She went all over town telling anybody who would listen that she knew all along my marriage was a mistake and that I should get a divorce. At this, I decided it was time to go. My son and I moved in with my husband, whose house is about 35 miles from Mother's, and I began keeping a "caring distance" from her. All four of us even met with Mother and her pastor, but Mother wouldn't budge. She met with me and my husband, held our hands as if in prayer, and begged us to continue living apart. We told her that we had already lived apart more than a year and that it was time to blend our families. We knew it was useless to bring up her gossip, as she would have denied it. She continued to insist that I move back, and my husband and I decided to let things gently slide, hoping she would give up on us and rent the house to someone else.

In April, I offered to move her things into my former house so she could continue to live on her own property while the work on her house was being done, but she refused. Instead, she suddenly rented out the house, but continued to stay in the motel. Her house is still not ready. She's afraid that mold under the house will affect her COPD (her only health problem--she takes no meds besides her inhaler and O2). She said the estimate from the mold company was too expensive, so she wants to have one of the neighbors "bomb" the house for mold. The contractor continues to drag his feet.

I also suspect she's afraid to go back home because her neighbor who used to clean her house abandoned her own flood-damaged house and moved away. She won't hear of the idea of living anywhere else despite the growing dangers. I suggested looking into raising up the house a few feet, but that requires many permits and a long process from the county, plus a huge expense which she now can't afford due to bleeding her money away on the motel and contractor. Naturally, her take on the situation is, "Well, I'd be more comfortable going back home if you'd live in the house again." Do narcissists take classes in how to be manipulative?!

I really believe her judgment is impaired. I want to protect her, but I don't want to incur her wrath or feed her narcissism. Should I try to do something legal to get her out of the motel? Should I call someone to check the contractor and determine if he's ripping her off? Should I grit my teeth and do nothing, as I have been, because every time I try to talk about it she either waves me away or accuses me of trying to control her life or grab away my "inheritance"? If I even have one any more--she's threatened to disinherit me many times over the years whenever I don't do as she wants. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading all of this!

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Marcelle [thinks: how do I put this..?]

I want to say "well done; compared with many children of NPD mothers you're doing a remarkably good job on boundaries."

But then, as a child of a non-NPD mother, I think "hang on. In what parallel universe is it a reasonable and acceptable act for a woman to sit holding the hands of her daughter and son-in-law and urge them to separate?"

I still think you're doing well! - I'm just scratching my head at this latest craziness from an NPD mother. WHERE DO THESE PEOPLE GET OFF???

So what do you about her barmy living arrangements and lackadaisical attitude to chasing her building contractor? It depends on how much authority you have. And the less authority you have, the less responsibility you should accept. So, seeing as I'm guessing the answer is "none" then that's how much action you take. None.

By all means have a cool analytical look at what her future needs are likely to be, including such issues as POA, accommodation, assets and income, all that; and if you are at some stage likely to get lumbered with administering her affairs, see what you can do to make that less of a prospective nightmare. But while she's running the show? Forget it. It's a hiding to nothing if ever there was one.

I'm sorry, just to add my two penn'orth, about "The Slap" - it must have been a shock for you and very upsetting for your son. But your other half had a lot to learn, and he did learn. It's all good. Best wishes to the three of you.
Helpful Answer (1)

I'm glad that Danashel mentioned the hitting part. I seem to got stuck on that and couldn't really concentrate on the rest of your story. What a relief that Dana mentioned it so that you can elaborate on it.

Your mom is still of sound mind. She can do whatever she wants - as long as she has the funds to cover it. I'd just have a talk with the motel managers that your mom likes it there and if they ever need to contact you for emergency, here is your number. Your mom still has the other house to fall back on - worse comes to worse. The contractor will fleece her. And if your mom ever, in the future, needs your help, just remember you always have options. And one of it is NOT to have her living with you and hubby. There are other places she can go to. Just don't ever mistakenly invite her to stay with you for a weekend or a week. She might refuse to leave. Then you're stuck with her, trying to find a way to get her out and into ALF or those elderly communities.
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Marcelle: that is a relief to hear, that the unfortunate event led to greater understanding.
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My son is ASD/PDD-NOS and my mother is a narcissist. Make a list of priorities or you won't survive.

Mine are, in order:
Home is a sanctuary from life
Mom is safe

Mom had to be relocated to my state of residence, into a senior apartment, now in the care center for her safety. This was really hard to do, fraught with anxiety and stress, but she is safe, clean, and the best looked after she's been in her whole life. Win!
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Danashel, I understand what you're saying and believe me, it was a very tough situation. When it happened I told both my husband and my son that their behaviour was unacceptable--my husband for using physical force and my son for using profanity. They both realized that their emotions had gotten in the way, and they apologized to each other. I called my son's father because I keep no secrets from him and I wanted him to know what was going on. He agreed that both had let their emotions carry them away, and when the four of us met, we were able to iron out everything and carry on with a much better understanding of the importance of respect of each other. My husband took a workshop on autism and has developed a much deeper understanding of my son's condition, realizing that he cannot react to my son's actions the same way you can to a neurotypical child's actions. It was a scary and painful situation, but we are all stronger for having gone through it. It looks terrible written down, so I understand your reaction.
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I can't get past your husband striking your son for cursing, and you calling his father.
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Walk away and let your mom do what she pleases. It seems as if her motives are to get you and she back living together which is why she wants your marriage to fail.

Walk away from her and her nonsense, let her figure it out, and start your life with your husband.
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Bow out of your mother's life.

And from what I see, narcissists don't take classes in how to be manipulative -- they wrote the master lesson plan.

Inheritance? Ain't gonna be nothing left, when she is done. Count on it.
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I know contractors will put a halt on a project if mold is found because it could be a health hazard for his workers..... could be he is waiting for your Mother to hire a professional company to remove the mold.
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If Mom's in a motel, then she's eating out a lot, not having to do housekeeping or yard work - maybe being away from it all, she's realized that it was getting to be more than she's up for.
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