Narcissism and my terminally ill Mother. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Narcissism and my terminally ill Mother. Any advice?

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I'm so exhausted, I can barely write this post, but I'm in desperate need of some answers, help and/or support.

Hi! Here's a little of my story:

I am a 47 year old single female and I am the daughter and only child of a narcissistic mother.

My mother is the epitome of a narcissist.

Since I was a child, I have been trying to deal and cope with the emotional, mental, and in my case, financial abuse that comes with having a narcissistic parent and my relationship with my mother has been very contentious my entire life. I knew in my early twenties that I had a narcissistic mother, but I had no resources or support to help me deal. I basically have just been going thru life appeasing her and taking the abuse.

Due to a recent loss of employment and finances, I temporally moved in with my mother and step-dad. I have been living there for about 6 months.

I am now have entered the single most strenous challenge of my life: My mother had be diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer and is terminally ill. It has only been 2 weeks since her diagnosis and I'm already in verge of a breakdown. My blood. pressure has now elevated to 194/112.

After a small stay in the hospital, she was sent home with bi-weekly home health care until her appointment with the Oncologist to discuss the next plan of action.
Since then, my enabling step-dad (who panders my mother and facilitates her abuse towards me and has no clue about narcissistic behavior or just is in some kind of denial) has self-appointed me, along with the home health nurses, as one of her "FULL-TIME" caregivers.
As expected, her typical behavior and abuse has continued but on a grander scale.

Today she has been screaming that she was in agonizing pain, (I am not minimizing any pain she is having whatsoever, it breaks my heart to know and see her in pain). She refused to go to the hospital because she does not want to "sit in the waiting room all damn day".
My dad called the Oncologist and he suggested we bring in Hospice. The doctor called the hospital to make the arraignments with Hospice.

I told my mother that arraignments have been made for someone to come in and take care of and manage any pain she was dealing with. She then went into a total rage of screaming and demanding that my dad call them back and cancel. By law, she legally has the right to refuse any treatment

Since then I have been summoned to my room by my dad for upsetting my mother. Although they both treat me like a 5 year old, I was secretly happy to get away from the whole situation. I do not know if my dad consented (his usual course of action) to her and canceled. I have since been told that he did not call them to cancel and I'm sure she will consent to Hospice once they are here as she is a totally different person around others.

Meanwhile, as I'm writing this, my dad came to tell me that my mom wanted to see me and give me a kiss. I went downstairs, sat beside her and told her that I was there for her, that I loved her, and that everything was going to be ok. I put a cold towel on her head to calm her down a little. She started to tell me something but I could not understand what she was saying. I asked her again what she was saying and she then yelled, "A PUFF, P-U-F-F-. GET ME A GOD DAMN CIGARETTE'. Are you serious??? I couldn't believe it. It then hit me....she didn't want me there to give her a kiss or whatnot, she wanted a God damn cigarette.

What pains me in all this is that my step-dad, (whom I love dearly) does not get it whatsoever. He will not concede to the fact that he married a total narcissist and that I'm not, "sick in the head' as he puts it for even suggesting the fact. To add salt to the injury he just make things worse for us by yelling, questioning and demanding things from me and then proceeds with giving me a guilt trip if I don't comply.

I now am in my room, anxiously awaiting for Hospice in hopes of some help for not only my mother, but for me as well.

Please, I am open to any comments, suggestions, and resources anyone can give me. Also if anyone would like to send me some Xanax via Western Union, feel free to do so :)
Thanks for reading!
~~~Kimberly

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Another only child of a narc/borderline/bipolar mother here. I'm 44.
I am proud of you for voicing your will to survive. You are strong and you can get through this, but you have to be smart about it.

Learn this quick: you NEVER tell a narc what you are GOING to do unless you actually wanted sabotage. They only need to find out when it's happening and they can't stop it, or after it's over. That's just the rule of the game. E.g. my mother's suicide attempt on prom night. Or her throwing up nonstop on my wedding day.

This means you do your own apartment and job finding and TELL THEM NOTHING. When you get a place, start moving your things in bit by bit. Unless you can pull off a big move all in one day.

It is very much like separating from a domestic abuser, because in a way, it is. You have to be very secretive and careful. Don't tell them where you are going, don't give your address, get a separate private phone number they will never know. I know - this feels wrong and insubordinate. Out of line even. It's about your survival as an individual. This is not a standard issue parent/child situation regular families deal with, and we've been programmed our entire lives to comply. COMPLY!

Do not let your mother's health status persuade you to stay, or even be nearby. It actually has no bearing on anything. There isn't going to be some heart-wrenching good-bye moment near the end where she apologizes and asks for forgiveness, and tells you the things you've waited your whole life to hear. There won't be hugs and hand holding, and love in the air. And I'm very sorry. We don't get these moments as advertised on TV.

Having had to do this myself, I can say I'd rather live with the roaches than with a narcissist. There's spray for the roaches.
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kpachis, let Hospice handle her. She may throw them out at the first visit, my FIL did, cursing like the sailor he was. The pain will change her mind in a few days, as it did with him. You should be sainted for going through this.
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As someone who was in a similar situation till recently, I can hazard a guess that if you'd had any other viable options other than homelessness you would have taken them. It was a deep fear of mine while I lived with my mother that while I was there her condition would suddenly worsen to where my moving out would equal her having to go to a nursing home - the pressure to stay would have been unbearable. You are lucky that your stepfather is there, so at least that is not on you. I would encourage you as others have already to develop a laser like focus, so clear that there is no question that you must do what it takes to get out of that house and stay out of it. It is essential for your mental and physical health. It also is really the only way for you to have a safe containment from which to help your mother in a way that works for you. It's hard to be genuinely giving when you feel like a slave or a prisoner who has to give to earn their keep.

While you are there though, build in your boundaries in time rather than space. You don't really have space as your space is in their house. How do they act when you shut the door to your room? But you can create zones of time where you leave the house or where you do activities that they can't / or don't want to interfere with. And there's always Xanax but I suggest you keep your wits about you.
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Until six months ago you were employed and living independently. How temporary is "temporary"? How long were you planning to live with your mother and stepfather?

Her diagnosis was a fortnight ago. So you didn't move in to take care of her, and presumably you didn't bargain on this terminal diagnosis, either.

I'm not disregarding her diagnosis, but just for now I'm not concerned about your mother: what about you? What are you planning to do? You're 47 and you need a job and a home. I'm 51 and I need a job and a home (very soon) too, so I'm not criticising - I'm just pointing out the obvious bends in the road ahead.

You need to get out of there. You say your father/stepfather is an enabler - well, did you want to join the club? What benefit are you hoping you might be able to persuade your mother to accept by living there as her dogsbody/whipping boy/running joke? And by the way your stepfather seemed to handle the cancellation drama better than you did: your mother has the right to refuse treatment, but she doesn't have the right to insist that someone else makes a phone call. Saying 'yes dear' and doing nothing might be a very effective course of action. Picking the wrong battles, standing up in the firing line for her inevitable rages (wouldn't you be angry, in her shoes, regardless of personality issues?), bringing your own hurts and distress into the situation - it's all adding fuel to the flames.

It's not as if you can help her with clinical or nursing care, either - she has a husband and visiting professionals for that. And in any case God knows if your b.p. is rocketing that high then your own health is precarious and needs proper consideration, not an incredibly stressful environment.

Get somewhere to live. Get a job. Get out. If you need advice on financial issues, find out what help is available from local not-for-profit and citizens' advice organisations. Once you've done those, you will be far less vulnerable emotionally and practically and then you can come back and support your mother with the necessary boundaries in place; but your staying there does nothing to help her and is disastrous for you. Leave. You don't need anyone's permission, you don't need excuses or to level accusations at anyone: just do it.
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Kpachis~I am so sorry your mother is terminal and that you are dealing with so many emotions. Your step father was wise to not cancel hospice.

Your mother sounds like mine. My mother is a border line personality disordered narcissist. She is sweet as pie around people outside the family...however, within the family, she is not just a terror but a tormentor.

I realize that you are against the wall right now, a position that is very painful and uncomfortable. No matter how hard it gets to stay in your room...provide boundaries between yourself and your step father and mother. The ideal situation would be that you move out....do you have other family or friends who would welcome you in while you sort this out??

In the mean time, there is a site called daughtersofnarcissiticmothers. There is much info on this site about setting boundaries and detaching with love.

Detaching with love does not mean you learn to not care about a person, it means that you learn to see the games a narcissist plays and you will no longer be a part of those games, you emotionally detach from the crisis. This also applies to your step dad guilting you. It is harder to learn this when living right in the situation but it can be done.Being there for your mother is one thing, but dealing with the abuse and fear, obligation and guilt (FOG) is unacceptable if one wants to be healthy.

I suggest letting hospice handle your mother and step father as much as possible and only be available for what is within reason for you to do. In the mean time, try to get out of this living situation so you can have more control over setting boundaries, limiting time around them. It does not mean you are a bad person by setting limits, it does mean you are healthy emotionally. Hugs to you and stay strong!!
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Sorry, no Xanax here, sweetie! ;-)

Kpachis, that must be so difficult! Losing your job, financial difficulty, having to move back in with your parents, and one of them a narcissistic mother. Your stress must be off the charts, and your BP reading is proof of that.

It sounds like you are well aware of what a narcissist is all about. But even then, it must be so hard and jarring emotionally when you respond compassionately to her, as a normal person would, wanting to give her a kiss as you thought she wanted, and she just screams for a cigarette. This is both the narcissism and her nicotine addiction that are speaking here. She is probably also staring down her death in the not too distant future, and all that is just narrowing her focus to just her and her needs.

She will not change, as you know. I do believe that the only solutions are boundaries that protect you. As in, when she goes ballistic, you turn and leave the room.

But the real solution here is for you to get out of their house. As long as you are in their house, they will see you as a child and their personal ‘slave’. You are no spring chicken, and this is already having a very real impact on your health and well-being. If I were in your shoes, that would be my number 1 goal, ahead of everything else.

Are there any other arrangements you can make for housing – staying with a friend, renting a room in someone else’s house, church assistance, low income temporary housing for single women, etc.? Be creative, there are other women in your situation that do find assistance. Perhaps someone on this board will have other suggestions as well.

Best wishes for you, you certainly could use some!
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