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My mother... is a difficult woman. We've never had a great relationship. I feel like she's going to destroy my marriage, because of how difficult, demanding, & ungrateful she is.


I "rescued" her from a narcissistic husband, about 2 years ago, which meant I had to bring her to my property. I bought a large camper for her to live in, so she wouldn't be in my house... She's eternally ungrateful, demanding, demeaning, and absolutely resistant to everything that could improve both our lives. It seems like she purposely does "little things" to create drama, or to rebel against boundaries I've set. She doesn't pay attention to anything, because she doesn't care about anything, or anyone, besides herself. She acts like she expects me to fix all of her problems & bow to her every demand.
We constantly have to do stupid things, like "fix" things on her cellphone, or her tv settings, or her AC thermostat. Not because she actually can't, but because she seems to enjoy "getting help".


I'm a nervous wreck because of her. I don't want this position. I wish I could send her away but she's still functional enough to live on her own. If I put her in government housing, it'll be worse because she is too irresponsible with money.


She has my husband going to the store multiple times a week, which is wearing on his sanity. We live in the country, so going to town, to a store, takes up a lot of time & he just wants to be able to come straight home from work. (I don't do shopping because of my anxiety issues). She can't drive anymore, so she can't take herself, and our city doesn't have any good public transport. I'm not even sure if what they do have, services the area we're in. Additionally, she can't be trusted with her own money. She will blow it & then expect us to cover her for the rest of the month, which we cannot do. She doesn't even contribute to the utility bills, but uses just as much as we do.


Last week, I told her that he would no longer be making multiple store trips & would only be going on Fridays, from now on. (He had been going on Mondays, too, to get groceries for his disabled aunt, but that is no longer necessary). When I told her this, she said, "Whatever" & sent a huge list anyway. (I had asked her to keep the list short that day).


Friday came around & her list consisted of 2 items. I asked if she was sure that's all she needed. She replied, "I guess so"...


Well, today, she sent a huge list. It's Monday.


I don't even know what to say to that, because I already made it perfectly clear, when I told her before.


The issue, I think, is that she doesn't pay attention to what I say, because she DOESN'T CARE. And if I try to explain, she just gets passive aggressive & sarcastic. Defensive. She has always been this way.


I don't know how to tell this woman anything because she seems to fight all things that make sense. She seriously got offended because we want to do shopping only one day a week!


I want to tell her she'll have to wait until Friday, but then she wouldn't have enough food & medicines to get through the week, so I can't do that.


Any ideas on how to deal with this woman? I'm very close to just running away & leaving her sitting in that camper...


I already barely had anything to do with her, before this. I don't like her. She's so hateful! (Always has been).


I am truly just waiting for the day that I can let a nursing home take her. I'm SICK of how she's treated me, all my life!

You're dealing with a mother who suffers from dementia & previous brain injuries, so in reality, she's incapable of living alone or doing things in a 'normal' way any longer. If she's always been a PITA, well nowadays, she's MORE of a PITA due to the dementia. I know because I have a mother like yours............who's always been very very narcissistic and passive aggressive BOTH, and now, with dementia, she is 100% insufferable. Part of it is that she doesn't care; part that she doesn't pay attention; part that she has dementia and part that she's narcissistic. Put it all together and what you have on your hands is a giant chit-show!!! No kidding. At least my mother lives in a Memory Care ALF, thank God (but swears she does NOT have dementia and doesn't belong there; it's the others who are all 'stupid morons', she's perfectly fine). So as an only child, I am the only one to deal with her histrionics and nonsense, but it's on MY terms b/c she does not live in my house. Nor will she ever live in my house.

She refuses to make a list of what she needs from the store, yet says she's in 'desperate' need of ALL sorts of things, one million things to be exact. For months on end I told her, mom, if you can't and won't make me a list, then I can't and won't buy you anything. Period. She played SUCH an incredible amount of head games with me, with the staff at the ALF, with everyone who'd listen, lying and making up absurd stories about this 'list' that didn't exist, that finally, I went to Wal Mart one day. I bought everything I could get my hands on; toothpaste, mouthwash, anti perspirant, shampoo, conditioner, face cream, and on and on. I dragged over all the bags to the ALF and gave them to the care giver who came to the door; told her HERE, put this stuff in my mother's room, it's the stuff she 'desperately needs but won't write a list for'. Know what the gal said? "Gee, I was just in her room and she doesn't need anything." I thought my head was going to explode at that moment.

Anyway, get your mother placed in a Skilled Nursing Facility on Medicaid if she has no money, or in an Assisted Living Facility with a Memory Care wing if she does have money. She doesn't get to live in a camper on your property anymore, it's no longer safe to do so. You don't want to wait until she wanders off in the middle of the night, or burns the camper down, to realize she's not capable of independent living anymore AFTER you're faced with an emergency!!!!

Tell her, mother, I can't do this anymore. Your doctor has ordered you to be cared for by professionals now, and that's what we're going to do. That's what I'd do. And expect her argumentativeness and contention to GROW by leaps and bounds as she ages and as the dementia worsens. There is NOTHING my mother won't argue with me about, nothing. Even yesterday, I said how hot it is outside, well it's FREEZING COLD in her room. I said, yes well, it's easy to keep a small room cold but not so easy to keep a large house with cathedral ceilings cool. I don't have a SMALL ROOM she hollered, I have a LARGE APARTMENT. Then it became time for me to hang up the phone and wish her a good night.

You can get the ball rolling NOW to apply for Medicaid or whatever you need to do to get her placed. In the meantime, the word No is a complete sentence. Nothing will be 'worse' than having her continue to live on your property and to make you so anxious you can't even go out to the store. Start focusing on YOUR life now as there's plenty of it left. Your mother has lived HER life, and it's time to get her placed now so you can begin the rest of YOURS.

Good luck!
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agingmother4343 Aug 29, 2020
I 100%agree! You need to get her off your property! Things will only get worse. They will not get better.Trust me, I know.
Find an AL that will accept her income as rent.

I moved my bipolar, narcissistic BLPD mother into AL 8 mos ago Just prior to pandemic lockdown and I can sleep at night now knowing she has a roof over her head and someone kind is there to help her 24/7. And it’s not me anymore!

I have boundaries in place which helps me through each day. I screen all her calls. I do not call back the nasty messages. Only the very rare nicer ones.
she calls everyday stating “I need money” which she does not.

i say to myself “blah, blah, blah, Ofcourse you do” & “what else is new” just to give myself a reminder of my boundaries.

do yourself this favor and remove her from your property ASAP!!

I was having panic attacks and anxiety whenever in my abusive mother’s presence and now I feel much healthier that she is in AL.
i feel for all of us in this very unfair position.
good luck!
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In your profile you say you have "no choice" but to care for her.

Yes. Yes you do.

As stated by others, the boundaries are YOURS, not HERS. Unless she has dementia, the short grocery list is a test of your resolve.

Let her run out this week. Let her figure out that she can get something delivered from the pharmacy. Let her call 911 if she has an "emergency".

You were big-hearted but misguided to take this person onto your property. I think it may be time to tell her that you abd your husband will no longer be providing any assistance at all.
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Ridiculousness Aug 24, 2020
She does take meds for dementia & does have some cognitive issues, due to previous brain injuries. So it's hard to tell what's going on. I truly think it's because she doesn't pay attention, because she doesn't care if she's a PITA.
Maybe she got Friday & Monday confused, solely because she doesn't pay attention.
The pharmacies here don't deliver to our location, but the meds aren't as big of an issue as having to go to Wal-Mart & actually shop for an hour, to get all her requests.
I don't think it will help to send her away. If she spends all her money & doesn't pay her utilities, she'll get evicted for that. She used to spend all her money & my grandmother would bail her out, but grandmother has passed, now.

We've been quite firm with the boundaries, actually. I've refused to take her to the doctor on days & times I told her not to make appointments for. We've refused to shop for her before.
But it's like EVERY new boundary comes with some sort of issue, with her. I'm constantly creating new boundaries.
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In the last few years of her life, my mother sometimes called me a “bully”.

To be clear - I never bullied her. In fact, much as you are doing, I bent over backwards to treat her with respect and to maintain her dignity in what was a rough time in her increasing dementia. Often - like you - this bending over backwards frequently made things exponentially more difficult for my own family and me.

I discovered the concept of “boundaries” way too late in my caregivers journey - but I did eventually learn of their value and put some to work. My mom didn’t like it. At all.

So if “Bully” was synonymous with “Boundaries” in my mother mind by being told “NO” on occasion - then yeah, I guess I was a bully.

Sounds like if you and your husband are to survive your mother living in your backyard - literally - and be dependent on you to maintain her dependent independence - you’re gonna need to bully up, too.
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Reply to Rainmom
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Stand firm on your boundaries. Shopping is Friday - if she has a list on Monday, it can wait...you may have to put up with some grief about it a few times, but she will get the message and if she doesn't, she will have to deal it on her own.

Fixing small things IS very annoying - I do it all the time, and there really is no way out except to make her wait until it is convenient for you to do it. My mother learned how to do some things on her own simply because I would not jump.

I normally rail against this statement, but words cannot hurt you unless you let them. Some people use words in a war-like fashion, so ignore them and move forward with your own life, disregarding what they say. Not an easy task since I truly believe words have great power, but in this instance I have chosen to ignore them, and you can too.

Set boundaries as you need them, and do everything you need to do to keep them. Some people have been taught that we will not keep those boundaries, so they push and push and push, but eventually she will learn that this time you really do mean business - the boundaries are our way to maintain our selves. If you have trouble keeping them verbally, try walking away for 1/2 hour or so. Set a timer if that helps - but don't engage in any way during the time out. It is like dealing with a child - you have to teach her your boundaries.

You and your husband have been generous so far - let that be your legacy
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When you rescued her from her choices did you get any type of agreement in place about how long she would be staying or how much she would be paying? If not, now is the time to decide what you are willing to do. You are not obligated to pick up where grandma left off. Your mom is a grown woman and she has made choices that have consequences, unfortunately someone has always stepped in and protected her from paying the price for her decisions. Do you want to be the one that takes the consequences for her for the rest of her or your life? Seriously think about this and what it could cost you to do so. Are you willing to lose everything so she doesn't have to do what she doesn't want to?

If she has dementia and brain injuries you are going to have to take the lead and ignore her when she pulls the "I am your mother" card or the I got confused business and you do that by preemptively stopping it by implementing rules and boundaries and consequences.

Thursday you tell her that you need the weekly shopping list for tomorrow, remind her that anything she doesn't order will have to wait until next Friday. If she has to go with out she will stop if it is a game and my money is it is a power play at this point.

Sit her down and tell her that she has to pay her way to live at your house and set an amount. Then collect it from her. No excuses, she pays or decides where she wants to move in 30 days.

If she starts throwing a fit, tell her you will not be treated that way and you will be back later and leave. Do this every single time she is nasty. Doesn't matter if she ever gets it, you won't have to be subjected to her nastiness. But you will be surprised how effective it can be to say, enough, I refuse to be treated like that! Then leave. It gets easier to ignore the drama that is guaranteed to follow any boundaries that you place and enforce. My dad usually has a medical emergency and I say I will call 911, that is not what he wants so it passes quickly, because I don't buy into it.

I would also contact the local area on aging and get a needs assessment done. This will help you understand what you are really dealing with. Be prepared for what is called showtiming, meaning that she will miraculously be able to do things that she can not do now or two minutes after they leave. They know about this behavior and take it in to consideration. They will help you understand what help and level of care she needs.

Most importantly, you and your husband need to decide what you are willing to do for her and create a united front. She battles one she is taking on both of you and she needs to see that. Never let her know that she is causing problems between you. As far as she knows it is her against the two of you if she wants a battle.

I wish you would have come here before you "rescued" her. She sounds like she is a narcissist as well and she would have been fine right where she was.

Best of luck!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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She is ignoring your boundaries because you are not setting any. You do as she dictates and then are unhappy about that. It won't be easy to train a woman with narcissistic tendencies, but it can be done.
She has "always been hateful" and what have you done about that? You have taken her into your property? That was your decision and I am afraid you are responsible for it.
It is time for Mom to move. If there is dementia then apply for guardianship and take on her bills, bill paying and etc. If there isn't, then what she does with her money is her own problem.
PS: As far as being "offended" by your boundaries, who cares. They don't belong to her. They are YOUR boundaries. It doesn't matter a pickle what she thinks of them. They are YOURS. It sounds anyway as though offense is something she has always done well.
Or, if you choose, she can stay, and you can complain of it. Because she will not be changing. She is who she always was.
Read more books on boundaries. Get help with them if you must. Boundaries are just that. They are SET in stone. You make your list. If you didn't think of things, then you wait to next trip. And that is told to you gently and firmly.
So just to make it clear. Mom doesn't have boundaries yet. You do as she dictates and that STILL doesn't please her. And no, the slave seldom loves the master.
We see over and over on forum abusive parents who raise children desperate to hear a kind, loving work from them. They train them to do everything they can in hope of hearing what they will NEVER hear "You are good. I love you. I don't know what I would do without you".
Your Mom has trained you. Time now for you to train her. Or better yet, move her to another living situation where she will be very unlikely to train anyone else.
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Has she ever been assessed for cognitive decline? Is it possible that her confusion with phones, a/c, shopping lists and doctor's appointments are the beginnings of dementia?

That would change my answer, and I think you owe it to yourself and mom to get her cognitive skills assessed by a neuropsych team (not just a couple of memory questions at her PCP).

If you've cleared up that question...

If she says "you just want me to die" DONT say, oh no, mom, we love you. Be honest and say "mom, this arrangement isnt working out because of your lack of cooperation and ignoring OUR needs. You are going to need to relocate elsewhere and find others to help you".
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What do you mean by rescued her? Did she want you to bring her to your home?

How can she possibly run out of meds every week? Aren't most prescriptions 30-90 day supply? You need to let her suffer the consequences of her actions...and if it means no meds, then no meds. You say she will run out of food...completely? Of just what she wants to eat? Stop trying to make her happy...never going to happen.

Get her off your property now. If she runs through her money before the end of the month that is her problem to deal with. not yours. Stop rescuing her...that is what got you into trouble in the first place.
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Boundaries aren’t for her, they are yours. They are a fence with a gate, the fence lets in the good and keeps out the bad. Only you can keep the boundaries you set. For example, you set a boundary with grocery trips and now it’s time to keep your boundary. If she doesn’t have enough of what she needs for the week, that’s not on you, it’s on her, and next time she’ll respect the boundary. Or she won’t, but either way, if you keep your boundary firm, you’ll live in peace. If you don’t, the constant turmoil and resentment you’re feeling will remain.
The bigger issue may be that you just can’t have her living this close to you. And if that’s the case, it’s time for a new plan. You aren’t obligated to provide for her old age, she is, and if you can’t take it, choose something else. It will be kinder for you both.
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Ridiculousness Aug 24, 2020
I feel the same about the boundaries. Let her "learn" by upholding them. But it seems she always tries to find a loophole, or it's always something that has a catch, like, when she NEEDS to go to a doctor, but makes the appointment for 8am, even though I've told her she can't be taken until after 12pm. Or, if I tell her, "make the appt for any day OTHER THAN FRIDAY", she'll make it for Friday!

I know that if I tell her "I told you he's not going to the store on Mondays anymore." She's going to get angry & say she somehow got confused (which is likely because she doesn't pay attention).
I feel like i can't just leave her there without enough food and the medicines. Mainly the meds.
I've considered telling husband to get the bare minimum of the list, only the meds & enough food to get by... and then have him tell her, again, that shopping is on FRIDAYS. NOT MONDAYS.
That sounds simple enough, but I know it will still lead to passive aggressive comments & "I know y'all hate me & wish I'd just die." (Which we've never said).

She actively works against all boundaries. Believe me, I'm pretty good at setting them & sticking to them, with everyone else in my life, but she has TECHNIQUES for getting around them.
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I’m working on boundaries too. It is certainly not easy as they know how to push your buttons. How about having a preset list on Thursday with all the things she normally gets. Let her check off what she needs or run through it with her. Maybe get some canned soup as backup and if she runs out of food then give her the soup or whatever the backup food is so that under no circumstances you allow her to disregard your boundaries regarding shopping.
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