How do I get my narcissistic mom to accept her disabilities and the fact that I am not equipped to care for her? - AgingCare.com

How do I get my narcissistic mom to accept her disabilities and the fact that I am not equipped to care for her?

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My mom is only 59 years old. She has a rarer disease called progressive Supranuclear Palsy. She lived with my 2 sisters through most of their adult lives and was removed from their care in July 2012 for neglect by protective service workers. They of course have a different view of the happenings which I now can see they may have had a point because nothing anyone does for my mom is ever enough. Nonetheless, when she was removed the worker called me to ask if I would be willing to take her in. Without hesitation, i did so.

She was with me until she had a TIA in February. It was the hardest challenge I ever had to face in my life. I work a full time job have 4 children and a husband. My mother wanted all my time and no matter how much I did or do, it was never enough and is still never enough now that she is in a NH. I am lucky to be able to work from home most of the week and she would accuse me of hiding in the room from her when I was actually doing my job. She would bend over in her wheelchair and fall numerous times throughout the day in which it took me 30 to 45 minutes to get her back in when I was supposed to be working. I am 98 pounds and she is 120 pounds of dead weight. Most days I felt like I was run over by a truck. She pooped herself alot and would completely cause a poop massacre all over the bathroom and rather than thanking me for cleaning her and the bathroom all i would get was I deserve to have a cigarette I am stressed. It was always held over my head that I would not buy her cigarettes and that was because she sat there blowing smoke in my kids faces and would drop the cigarettes and burn everything in sight. She got to the point that I could barely leave the house without coming home to her on the floor and yelling at me for leaving her when it was her own fault she would fall for trying to do things she knows she shouldnt be doing. It is pretty hard to stay in the house with 4 kids that are in school and have activities on top of everything else a mother needs to get done.

Now she is in a NH due to the fact that the VNA basically told her she does not keep herself safe and her care is beyond my control. I know they are right and I wish mom would understand it too. I constantly get calls from her crying, blaming me for her being there and that I abandoned her. Now she says she will just get her own apartment and leave the NH since i dont want her. I try to make her understand that it has nothing to do with me not wanting her, but that she requires more care than i can give. She says how hard is it to just give me my pills everyday? She does not remotely accept the fact she is compeltely disabled, wheelchair bound and unable to do anything for herself. If she were to leave the NH and get an apartment, she would not last a day on her own, but I also know she is too much for me to handle as i need to be a mom, wife, and work. The way she treats me fills me with resentment, and my children resent her for the way they have seen her treat me after everything I have done for her. I hate that I feel that way, but I just cant help it. As soon as my grandparents needed assistance she did not hesitate to send them to a NH and never even tried to care for them so why does she blame me for everything when she didnt want to be bothered with her own parents? I tried hard..very hard and it is still never enough. I am trying to get her to understand she needs to be at the NH and she needs the care but she doesnt want to hear it. I understand it is hard for a 59 year old to lose their independence, but how do u get them to understand their disability and accept it? Any advice or support would be very much appreciated

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Narcissism is the epidemic of our time. Loving your Mother and being detached is healthiest for you and her. She might not understand that but consistency is key. All the best to you. And remember, you are an amazing beautiful daughter, she is fortunate to have you in her life.
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I visited a lady in the NH who had AD and Borderline personality disorder. Almost every visit, I would say, "Nancy, your life sucks." It always cheered her up. Don't try to tell her things aren't so bad, just agree that her life sucks, and isn't that sad. Because it DOES suck to get old and to go downhill like that. Even if she wasn't a nice person.
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Agreed! You can't make her accept her situation nor can you make her happy. You can`t "fix" her. My mother is narcissistic and has Borderline Personality Disorder. She blames everyone else for her problems - many of which she created. She is never satisfied for long with what anyone does for her and is negative continually. though she has much to be thankful for. I don't like seeing her unhappy and angry but I cannot change her. As Tinoose mentioned all you are responsible for is seeing that she is safe, well cared for physically/medically. I have had counselling over the years to help deal with my feelings and I would recommend it for you. having a narcissistic mum is very hard. Also google a website - "daughtersofnarcissisticmothers". Many have found it helpful. The games they play are demoralizing and exhausting. Be aware of FOG - fear, obligation and guilt as they use these to manipulate people. Her threat to leave the nursing home is just that - a threat, but it is her choice if she wishes to try that.
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You are not responsible for getting your Mom to accept her disabilities... It is her choice.
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Hang in there ... you just got some great advice. Your mom has been relying on your sisters for so long, she won't give up easily, but she has no right to take you down with her. I have a similar struggle with my npd mom. Just for kicks, you can ask why she put her parents in nh when she complains ;-)
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Wow! Just for the four people that responded so quickly to my post so far I feel so much better from the support and understanding from everyone. It sure has been and still is a rough journey. I have been minimizing my visits in an attempt to get her to get used to the place and meet people and frustratingly enough my cousin's husband whom is a widower has now found solstice in sitting up at the NH with her all day and night which completely backfired my attemps at getting her used to the people and meet friends. I have kindly asked him 3 times to limit the time he spends and once my mother gets a hold of him and guilt trips him he tells her what i said...It is a vicious cycle!
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One thing that I had to accept with my mom is that while I am responsible for making sure she was safe, had a roof over her head, and care (and that it didn't mean that I had to give up my life to give these things to her-- she was in an assisted living home), I was NOT responsible for her happiness. That was a tough one for me to accept, and the guilt just overwhelmed me most of the time.

Although our situations are definitely different (my mom is mentally ill-- schizophrenia, and has early stage Alzheimer's and dementia, but physically she is very fit and able), she too tried to guilt-trip me into doing what she wanted. The only thing is, no matter what I *could* do, it wasn't enough. Plus, it wasn't ME she wanted, it was my brother and my sister, and both of them have pretty much abandoned her. So I knew going in that I was never going to win.

Personally, I think your mom already knows that she needs more than she can get from her kids and that she had reached the point where she needs professional help (i.e. expert nursing care). She's probably desperately horrified about her current situation, and it is sad, but she'll have to learn to accept and deal with it on her own and perhaps with some assistance at the nursing home (do they have counselors/therapists that she could talk to?). I think as long as she knows that she's getting to you, that you're struggling with the guilt and trying to get her to understand, she thinks there's still a bit of hope that she'll be able to "turn" you and get her way even if it cost you everything you have.

Take comfort in knowing that she is safe and is being taken care of around the clock (this is a BIG deal, a HUGE accomplishment!) and start taking time for yourself and your family again. It feels "cruel," but I think you need to distance yourself a little bit for the time being. If she had Alzheimer's, sometimes the nursing home will tell family not to visit for about 4 weeks or so, so that the patient can adjust to being there, adjust to new environment and routines. Family visits disrupt this because they 'remember' that they don't want to be there, etc. Even though you didn't say that you mom has Alzheimer's I think she has to adjust to her new home, too. She WILL eventually settle down and perhaps even see the benefits of being in nursing care, especially if the social director(s) can get her participating in activities and life at the nursing home. If she's still reaching out to you, she won't accept what is actually available to her. I guess I'm "lucky" that my mom can't pick up a phone and call me all the time (her dementia is too bad so she doesn't know what the phone is anymore). I think your extra challenge is that mentally, your mom is still "there," and so she can continue to try to manipulate, etc. I'm not sure what the answer is on handling that, and I hope the support you find here and elsewhere will help you come up with something. But know that you've done everything that you could, you've done exactly the very best that you could do, and exactly what she needs even if she doesn't see it that way.

Prayers and hugs for you and your family, Popstark. Hang in there. It's a rough journey, it is...
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Popstark, your mother is where she needs to be. I know someone with SNP. He is in the final stages at home, but requires total assistance from strong caregivers and family. I feel for you and your mother in dealing with this disease. I do not think that a woman could handle it alone as it progresses. I guess the only thing you can tell your mother when she asks to go home is what you are already saying -- that you would not be able to provide the care that she needs. It is the truth.

Often our minds take a while to catch on to what is going on with our bodies. If our mind is fairly clear, we feel like we should be able to do the things we used to. We don't realize how much ability we have lost. And we don't realize that a good night's sleep is not going to bring it back. The dementia complicates it further, so your mother may never understand why she can't go home. It is sad, but there is only so much one person can do. I know there is nothing we can do to make it better, but I hope you'll come back and let us know how things are with you.
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She is too much for you to handle as you need to be a mom, wife, and work. (She sounds like too much for a daughter to handle even without the other roles.)

How do you get her to understand her disability and accept it? I don't think that is going to happen, at least not through anything you can do. She is who she is and her attitudes are what she makes them.

It sounds like it is time to detach with love. When she calls up crying say, "I'm sorry Mom. It sounds like you are very upset right now. Call me back when you are feeling calmer." Don't subject yourself to her stressful attitudes more than absolutely necessary. Try to maintain a pleasant relationship with her, but stay away from the unrealistic demands.

I am so glad she is finally at a place where there are three shifts of people to deal with her!
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