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I have been trying to care for my mom for 8 years. 5 1/2 years ago my dad died. She lives an hour away from me and will not move unless I take her into my home. She has the funds to pay for a wonderful life in assisted living. There are several options near me. She refuses by saying that she wants to give her money to her children when she dies and she does want to "go to a home". We have toured the facilities. My mother in law lives in one of them. But my mother will NOT consider it. So I suggested hiring help in her home. "NO!, I thought my family would do these things for me. No one loves me. No one wants me."
I used to say that is just false. But now I'm feeling like "Yeah, you're right. no one would want to be around someone as negative and impossible to please as you. I am at the end of my rope. I am a grown adult 60 years old! This is too much for me. But I am the only caregiver she has left. Everyone else has given up. And I don't blame them one bit! In fact, I admire them.

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Momsgoto, I remember my parents telling me that I am going to inherit a large sum once they pass.... I looked at them and said   "the way I feel, you both will outlive me",   as I was so physically and emotionally exhausted being a senior citizen myself.

I would have rather they use that money and move into something that was elder friendly, as their own house had too many stairs, and both were fall risks. Plus at 90+, Dad shouldn't be out on the ladder cleaning leaves from the gutters.   Mom, also 90+, refused caregivers and cleaning people.

My parents, as are a lot of elders, usually are in denial of their age and their ability to manage a house.   And these elders still view us as the "kid" thus in their mind we are still 35 years old, and what do we know :P

I did what Barb above had suggested, see a therapist.   The therapist did teach me that whatever decisions that my parents make, my parents have to take full responsibility that come with those decisions.   Thus, if my parents wanted to live in their own home, let them as long as they are clear minded, and what happens, happens.... it's not my fault.   Boy, it wasn't easy, I was still a nervous wreck.
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If you think setting boundaries is the answer, you have not met my mother! lol My mother is declining but still taking care of her home. I know it is hard but she refuses any option except the one she wants. Which is to live in my house. I look for the signs but her house is clean and all is in its place. she is very obsessive about this. If I bring her some dinner in a container, the next week she has it sitting out and constantly reminds me to take it with me. She doesn't want things "sitting around". I have noticed that she isn't taking care of herself. I have repeatedly asked her if she needs help and offered to take her to get her hair done. She wants me to come down and wash and fix her hair. I can't keep driving for two hours (an hour each way) to take care of all the things! If she lived closer I could do more. But when I say this she comes back with, "well can I live with you?" She will not accept my feelings on this and dismisses any feelings my husband may have. She expects me to just tell my husband, "Tough! my mother is moving in." She always says "You only have one mother." In my opinion, I only have one husband, and one family of my own, and one life!
If you only knew what it is like to keep her on the meds she is taking now. It is a constant argument. She doesn't want to spend the money for them. Refuses to get the medicare prescription plan, refuses to buy all she needs. I get them filled and then she won't pay for them. Then what she does have on hand she keeps asking me if she needs to take them. Thinks she really doesn't need them. So adding another drug would be insanity by definition. She makes simple tasks complicated on purpose and then says, "well, I'm old and you need to understand that."
I have been in therapy for two years. I set boundaries. I even hold them. But she always finds a way around things. She once had me come to her house because her basement flooded and she wouldn't provide a mop. I had to use towels to soak up the mess on my hands and knees!!!!! And when I asked her to buy one for the next time, she said why?? I don't want that sitting around. So you see what I'm dealing with. I told her I wouldn't be back if she had that happen again. And I haven't. But the next time will be something different and the story repeats itself. She had me hanging ceilings, landscaping, fixing molding, sealing cracks, painting, etc. No more! I have set that boundary. But she is always testing the fences. It's is utterly exhausting.
I see that at this point it is a battle of wills. She wants her way and she will do whatever it takes to get in my house. I cannot let this happen. She will literally destroy me. She's halfway there already.
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momtogo - it is exhausting dealing with a narcissist and continually having to reinforce boundaries. Believe me there are many of us here who experience that. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder and narcissism so she used to rant and rage a lot. At age 104, she is medicated and bedridden and finally manageable. I found for my own survival, I had to say "No" more often.

You cannot please someone like that. It doesn't matter what you do, they don't want to be pleased, they want attention. You are her "narcissistic supply". I found I have to detach and distance. Personally there is no way you could get me to mop up a basement flood on my hands and knees with paper towel. Sounds like you set a limit on that kind of thing. Good for you.

Yes, there will be a crisis one day. Then the professionals can make some decisions for her. e.g she cannot live alone any more. Under no circumstances let her stay with you. I refused to let my mother stay with me. She would have ruined my life.

Your mother is pushing your guilt buttons from what I can see. Narcissists use FOG - fear, obligation and guilt to manipulate people.

"She just shrugs and says, oh well if no one wants me then. " That is pushing your guilt button. Don't fall for it. Just say "Yeah, that's right, mom," or whatever shows her that you are not playing her game.

False guilt comes from not meeting the unrealistic expectations of others, real guilt comes from doing something wrong, which you are not.

Read around and you will see many stories of similar situations. We all learn from one another and reinforce our resolve to have a sane and healthy life. Absolutely your husband, yourself and your kids come first!
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I have a very good friend that is a narcissist. With boundaries, it is one of my oldest surviving relationships. But she was convinced that when she is too old and ill to live alone, she would move in with me and my husband. Um, that would be a no. Recently, she told me that when she was ill and infirm, I could build a house in my backyard and throw toilet paper through the door once a week. I smiled and replied that if she was old and demented, I'd put her in a nursing home and tell her she was at my house....You cannot reason with entitlement. You cannot fix dysfunction or narcissism. The only person who controls your behavior is YOU. And the last time I looked, slavery was outlawed in the post civil war period:)
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I told my mother outright that I could not do certain things because my health would not permit it. She finally accepted that. Sometimes you have to stop doing what you are doing and let her experience the consequences of not getting help somewhere else. For example, "Mom, i can only come once every two week as my back injury requires that I rest. Also I will not be able to take out the trash, lift groceries, or mop the floors anymore. If you like I will help you find someone who can, at your cost.

"Detaching with love doesn't mean that you stop loving the other person. It means that you make a decision to back up and stop putting all of your time and energy focusing on someone else. It means not allowing the drama of someone else's addiction to destroy your life."

"Givers have to set limits...because takers rarely do."

momsgoto - there are lots of references to detaching on this site if you click on the 4 lines, upper left and type "detach"or "detaching" in the search box.

Here are some pointers regarding detaching:

Accept that others are responsible for their own choices.
Anger – deal with it in a healthy way.
Blame – don’t blame and don’t accept blame.
Consequences – face them and see that others experience consequences of their choices too.
Decide what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do and communicate it firmly..
Detachment is not a feeling so much as a choice of behaviors, though the feelings should follow the behaviors. Detachment means you can maintain positive behaviors towards to others –kindness, compassion.
Don’t enable the unhealthy behaviors of others.
Focus on yourself.
Forgive, but don’t forget the need to protect yourself.
Grieve the relationship as it was, the hopes that you had, the mistreatment you received.
Refuse to be manipulated e.g., emotional blackmail, guilt
Respond, don’t react - be proactive.
Separate yourself - physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, socially from others behaviors/feelings.
Set boundaries.
Say “No”.
Space –create it between you and them.
Try not to take their behaviors personally.
Treat others and yourself with love and dignity.
You can only control /change yourself – your emotions, your behaviors –do not take responsibility for the others feelings/behaviors/choices.

Realize it is a process and that you will make mistakes and get “sucked” in, but that you can learn from your mistakes.
...
#1 Look after yourself. You need time and energy and space to deal with them

#2 Detach emotionally - counselling and books e.g, a book and workbook about Walking on Eggshells" is good and other resources for those with narcissistic parents like various websites -.google narcissistic mothers

#3 Set up the boundaries according to what you think is right, and what you want to or can do and let her know clearly - maybe putting it in writing would be helpful - you do NOT have to do it all for her. Look after her needs, if you choose to, but not necessarily.
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Momsgoto, I'd advise you to not spend time trying to get your mom to accept it - she may never accept that you can't do everything she wishes. Another member of this forum (Jessie, I think ) summed it up beautifully - some parents want to be in the child role, as in having absolutely everything taken care of for them. But they also want to be the authority figure calling the shots on when, how etc. So freedom of choice with absence of responsibility.
My sister is engaged in a similar struggle with our mom (in NH). Simply, our mom's physical needs exceed my sister's decreasing ability to personally take care of those needs. Factor in our mom's excessive and unreasonable demands (physical and emotional) and living together once again is not possible. I really suggest that you draw boundaries now, stick with them (yes, over and over and over). We opted to find a great AL for our mom and use her funds (our future inheritance) so that we could heal and focus on our own families. Good thing too - a year later, my husband became ill and I was enormously grateful to be able to focus on him, knowing my mom was also cared for. And don't let anyone give you the "you only have your parents for a little longer ...you should do X". Many of us have nearly lost spouses and children .... life is fragile for all. Hugs. You can do this.
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Momsgoto, I don't suggest this, but on time I broke my upper arm when I fell and was out of commission for quite a few months.   Couldn't even drive.

The physical therapist said it was time for me to put away the sling...   I explained the situation with my parents and their constant need for me to help.  My parents understood the visual of the sling.  The therapist understood, and said go ahead and wear the sling whenever I was around my parents :)))

My gosh it worked, that sling stopped my parents from wanting me to drive them all over hill and dale, and for taking them to all those doctor appointments.   Thank goodness for Peapod on-line groceries and delivery.

I thought for sure that would have been a wake-up call for my parents that they need to hire help, to blow the dust off their wallet.   As soon as I was able to drive six months later, it was back to the some old, some old.
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I remember back when my Dad asked me to resign from my career so I could spend more time driving him and my Mom all over the countryside, go shopping or to take them to doctor appointments.   I looked at Dad and said "Dad, did you resigned from your career to take care of your parents, or to take care of my Mom's parents?"..... I knew his answer would be "no", and he never asked me again.

Then I had to remind my Dad that his parents had about 12 relatives [sons, their wives, and a gaggle of grandchildren who had driver licenses] who lived in the same County who were able to share with the driving, chores, etc.   My Mom's parents also had about 10 relatives who were available.   Hello, there is just "me" to do what those 10-12 were doing.

I was tired, and also very resentful.   My parents could afford to hire people to help them... people 30 to 40 years younger then me.
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Moms, there is a thread on this site called "Is it normal that she's so negative?". It's by and about a woman of your age whose mother thought that her daughter should do everything for her and who should just "take" the verbal abuse she dished out. Gradually, through therapy and encouragement recieved here, she learnded to say "no, I can't do that"; "no, that doesn't fit into my plans", and "I couldn't possibly do THAT".

Your mother is treating you as her personal slave. Perhaps she has some cognitive decline and doesn't realize how old you are, or perhaps she's always been narcissistic and expected others to do her bidding. Whatever it is, only you can stop the cycle of enabling by saying "no". Be prepared for your mother to guilt you from here to kingdom come and to bad mouth you to all who will listen. Just smile, nod and grit your teeth.
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"" I have offered to take her to the dr. I have prompted the discussion with her primary care. She just perks up with him and says I feel fine! Then he says there is nothing he can do. You can't force someone to take drugs!!! """

My mom pulled this. I used my cell phone to video her and her home which had become a hoarders paradise and dangerous to try to walk thru. Her Dr. saw how she talked, acted and lived away from her office. You might consider doing that.
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