Mother with various health issues is sending me into a breakdown. - AgingCare.com

Mother with various health issues is sending me into a breakdown.

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My mother is 63, lives alone and suffers from severe panic attacks, agoraphobia (she cannot drive anywhere alone), hypertension, and arthritis and I suspect is narcissistic. I have no siblings. She has no other family or friends. It's just me to help her. She has various errands and appointments multiple days a week. She refuses to make them all on the same day. One errand turns into 3. She and I have a very toxic relationship. She has taken my purse and locked herself in her room with it so I can't leave her house. She has laid down in the driveway and dared me to run her over. She has slapped me in the face and bent my thumb back so far it dislocated. She goes on seemingly endless verbal tirades and then texts me and acts normal. She rants about things that happened years ago. She tells me I am abusive because I strongly resent taking her to run errands and am not always cheerful. She says that I'm the reason she can't get better. The other day I asked her, "What if I got offered a job in another state?" She said "You're threatening to withhold help. That's elder abuse. I'm recording you on my phone." She has no regard for me or how things affect me. I have 2 small children and a full time job. She doesn't care if it affects my kids or my job so long as she gets her errands ran. She tells me I don't help her enough. I don't spend enough time with her. I start to wonder if maybe it really is me and I'm the problem. I cannot stand her and I feel bad for feeling that way. When I know that I have to see her that day, I feel sick and hopeless all day long until I'm finally done with her for the day. If I tell her no, she finds a way to make me and control me. She would not be above hurting herself and saying that I did it. And who would believe me over her? She would take a taxi to my house and sit on the front porch and I believe that the cops would believe her. She has a way of manipulating people and making them do exactly what she wants. I feel hopeless and stuck in this. I feel depressed over it. I will be dealing with this for another 30-40 years probably! i don't know if I can keep on like this or I may end up in a hospital myself. Is there anyone who can shed any light on this? Please?

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Heather - I finished reading your post a little bit ago but I've spent some time trying to get my thoughts in order - you see, my mom is a lot like yours. Mom is 89 now and under hospice watch in a nursing home. For the past month I've been consciously working on forgiving her. I mean, that's what we're supposed to do, right? Thing is - I can't. There is just too much, a life time of manipulation and mental abuse. And you know what? I'm okay with it - the not being able to forgive. Maybe someday when I'm older I'll feel differently, I don't know. So for right now I'm concentrating on not being angry and that's as good as it's gonna get. But you, my dear, are going to have to make some of the same tough choices I've had to make over the last six years if you hope to ever get your life back, never mind even trying to let go of the anger and the forgiving. YOU have to take the first step. Go to Adult Protective Services and tell someone about your situation - do it to protect yourself. Also, if you can record your mom and save any texts. Then - call your mothers bluff. Refuse her something- anything - and see what happens. Don't answer her phone call - I can't tell you how freeing that is. Just this past December I told my mom "no" - I wasn't going to drop everything and run over. I felt like I could fly! It doesn't happen overnight - freeing yourself from this abuse and torment, but it will never happen unless you take the first step. YOU are in control of YOUR LIFE!
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Wow!

My first thought, and it is the first thought I would have had when I first joined this discussion board several years ago, is "Why on earth are you letting her control your life?"

Since then very experienced and smart posters have taught me a lot about toxic relationships, and about how the "victim" gets enmeshed int he situation. I'm sure some of these smart people will be along to offer insights and advice.

What I can say is, You need OUT of this relationship, the sooner the better. You need to focus on being a mother and on being an independent adult who supports her family. You need to drop out of the "enslaved daughter" role, for the children's sake, your sake, and actually even you mother's sake. OUT. Now. Or as soon as possible.

Poor Mom. Panic attacks. Agroaphobira. High blood pressure. Arthritis. I sure wouldn't want to trade places with her. And under other circumstances I'd sympathize with her. But she is an abuser. No excuses. My mother has severe arthritis and high blood pressure. Sweetest person in the world. Several family members suffer from panic attacks. I know two women with agoraphobia . None of these people are abusive. So, no excuses for your Mother. She is, most likely, suffering from some sort of mental illness. That is sad and too bad but unless she is diligently trying to treat and overcome that, no excuses.

I suspect that you are going to need a lot of support to rescue yourself and your kids. This has been going on for decades and you actually believe she can control you. So, get yourself to a counselor or therapist who will be on your side as you work through this. (And it will be work!)

You are not hopeless. You are not helpless. You are not stuck. You can take charge! You probably will need help.

Is moving out of state feasible? That is pretty drastic, but the situation is drastic.

Others will offer more specific advice. Just know that the people on this forum are on your side!!
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Interestingly, I have just come from a website recommended for people needing to deal with narcissists.

But I don't think I'm suffering from 'broken leg syndrome' when I then read your description of your relationship with your mother and immediately start jumping up and down, pointing and yelling "NARCISSIST!!! ALERT!"

Seriously. Your doubts about whether you are in the wrong, your mother's ferocious determination to control you, the absence of other appropriate relationships in her life, her absolute lack of concern for your needs...

Wow. Get help! You will find establishing healthy ways of dealing with your mother almost impossible by yourself, because you have been trained since birth to believe that your mother is right and you are wrong. And if you ever do make progress, your mother will knock you back so fast it'll make your head swim.

But you are right, and she is wrong, and she is the crazy one and Not You.

Your mother is 63 years old, i.e. not old, and what she has wrong with her amounts to the square root of naff all. No harm will come to her if you separate yourself from her. And no harm will come to you if you do it carefully and under supervision of skilled advisers, and then you will be free.

Holy crap. This woman slaps you in the face and dislocates your thumb and you're still worried about her..? The power of the Narcissist, right there.

Get help. Come back here, too, and vent away. You will find knowledgeable support and advice from others who've lived with similar loved ones.
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Oh, and by the way -

People with agoraphobia do not leave the house, even with their daughters. Your mother does not have agoraphobia. She has a very nasty case of feeling entitled to have you at her beck and call. The poor dear.
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Contact your Area Agency on Aging and tell them there's a vulnerable adult (your mom). Then go NO CONTACT with her. Change your phone number, cut off contact, and get support for yourself and your daughters (if they've witnessed mom's tirades and acting out against you). Your mom has made her own toxic bed of misery and she'll have to lie in it unless/until she's willing to get help. Narcissists aren't usually open to getting help or changing. So in order to save yourself, you have to get away from her extreme dysfunction.

I have a good friend who has a mom who did horrific things to her as a child and into adulthood. Through lots of counseling, she's finally finding herself and discovering that she's a loving, caring, wonderful woman, not the horrible loser her mom told her she was throughout her childhood. She's now been 'no contact' with her mom for 18 months and I can see her blossom into her own healthy lifestyle. You can do the same with counseling and support from this website. You HAVE to do it for your daughters - you want to model healthy relationships and you can't do that with your mom in your life.
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Heather, I would do as Jessie, Rainmom, Babalou and Churchmouse have suggested, that you go and sit down with your Local APS, and tell them everything that you have mentioned here, including her manipulative ways in which she has threatened you. You must have others whom you have spoken to, who can back you up, including your Daughter's and your husband. You are dealing with a very sick Mom, who has obvious Mental illness. They may even be able to have her hospitalized for a period of time to evaluate her and get ger the initial help that she needs, but first save yourself and your Daughter's from further witnessing her abusive nature or you may end up with rebellious teenagers on your hands who will attempt to manipulate you too. All teenagers do to some degree anyways (IMO), but they could soon see you as a doormat, and they will soon become even more disrespectful. I'm sorry you are dealing with this, but you must make the first of many steps, to save yourself and your family.
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Dear Heather, I'm 63 also and don't consider myself old, although i will take the senior discount when it is offered!

Your mom is young, in the scheme of things, and probably has 30+ years agead of her. Are you prepared to do this "dance" for 30 years?

Your mom is mentally ill. Maybe you've never conceptualized it that way before, but there it is. You need, for starts, to get yourself to a therapist to understand how to undo the damage, how to set snd maintain boundaries with her, aka detatch with love, and how to avoid falling into the same patterns of behavior with YOUR children.

This is NOT normal behavior. Your first obligation is to your children, yourself and your marriage. Your mom is an adult who should be caring for herself.
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Heather, I'm going to suggest ( and I'm hoping others will tell me if Im9right or wrong) that you go to your local Adult Protective Services offices and talk with someone there. Your mother is in need of protection from her own destructive impulses and deserves to get the psychiatric care she needs.

I would go entirely no contact with her.
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Please save yourself! Your first responsibility is to be the healthiest, calmest, happiest you possible. Next, your two young children NEED you to be your best so they can grow up to be healthy and happy. Are you married? If so, your spouse deserves better, too. Your mother is manipulating you! It is not elder abuse to want her to consolidate her errands. You are under NO obligation to run errands for her At 63, she should be able to call a taxi or Uber. I believe that you reap what you sow. She sounds self-centered. In my opinion, at this stage of your relationship, she should be helping you with her grandchildren, enjoying this precious time. 63 is not old and she is going to burn you out way before she really needs you. Set some boundaries, try to get her some psychological help, and take care of yourself and your precious family!
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Churchmouse took many of the words out of my mouth. First off, 63 is not an elder, so you can't be charged with elder abuse. Don't worry about that. Your mother is a year younger than I am.

I agree that you need to get away. When you have an abusive parent, it is okay to move and change your phone number. I have a feeling that she would be out of her house doing for herself if she runs out of food. I had panic disorder with agoraphobia twice and had to fight to get out of the house every day. But I made myself do it and it didn't kill me.

There are people with panic disorder who feel they always need to be with their "safe person" when they go somewhere. You apparently have been chosen to be that safe person. I can understand that. However, you have to be able to choose when you can go and how many days per week. You are doing a service for your mother, so she can't be the chooser of how you do it.

Considering the abuse, I would even question rendering any assistance at all. Shame on her. She doesn't deserve you. Maybe you should sit down with yourself and decide what you can do for her, if anything at all. Let her know what you can do and when. If she doesn't like it, tell her she'll have to hire another safe person. And stick to it or it won't mean a thing!
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