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My mother is almost 90, and lost my dad about 1 year ago. She's steadily going downhill mentally, and I'm at a loss. When I ask the doctor to evaluate her, she puts on a huge show and passes the tests with flying colors. Meanwhile, she doesn't know what day it is, can't remember anyone's name, is at a constant loss for words and her behavior is becoming more erratic on a weekly basis. The doctors laugh and tell me she's just fine and in great shape. With me, she's a totally different person entirely! She's extremely narcissistic with no empathy or compassion whatsoever. Which leads her to judge everyone and have no real friends. At the same time, she's been voted the 'resident of the month' at the ALF, and the caregivers think she's the sweetest person on earth. They tell me how 'lucky' I am to have her for a mother, and how they'd love to take her home. This slays me, frankly, because she is THE most difficult person on earth. I'm the 'bad guy' and everyone else is the 'good guy'. I'm rambling, I think, because I'm at a real loss. She is able to put on this tremendous phony show for 'outsiders' but she drains me emotionally every time I talk to her, which is twice a day. Is this dementia? The angry outbursts and yelling at me? The constant cutting others apart and complaining non-stop? I don't know if this is a combination of dementia/early onset Alzheimer's and narcissism or what! All I know is that she is an energy vampire and we're having 'disagreements' more and more lately. Yet she's all that and a bag of chips to the rest of the world. I'm frustrated, and getting angry myself. In the past 5 years she's been here in Colorado, I've done everything in my power to make her happy, to no avail. I know I can't 'make' her happy; that's not possible. But this new and erratic behavior is unnerving me to the point where I dwell on it for an hour or more after each phone call. I know........cut down the contact. But I am all she has (only child) and she's using me as a sounding board/punching bag, figuratively speaking. How do I go about getting this woman diagnosed, or medicated properly? Lately, she's making herself sick and staying in bed over the slightest little ache or pain, and dramatizing everything to the point of insanity. What steps are prudent to take? Thanks in advance everyone, this forum is a life saver for me.

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She is enjoying manipulating you and others, (nice to them, mean to you). It's a game to her that she is definitely enjoy playing. She probably makes mean comments to those she is nice to behind their backs as well.
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Cut down your exposure to the toxic air around her. If you literally saw the fumes coming from another source you would remove yourself from the danger. Realize the harm being done to yourself by what is pouring out of her, and get out of the danger zone.
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Great response, Jeanne. I agree. It's important for family members to protect themselves in situations like this.
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She is in good hands. Be very, very grateful she is not living with you.

You talk to her twice a day? Knowing that will stir up her unhealthy behavior? Are you masochistic?

You are not all she has. She has caregivers who think she is awesome. She has doctors who pronounce her fine. She has a lovely environment where, if she feels sick, she will be promptly attended to.

Reduce your contact. Call once a day. Then drop it to twice a week.

Do not stay on the phone when she is nasty. "Sorry, Mom, I hear the doorbell." Don't do this as punishment or in hopes of teaching her a lesson. Just do it politely to protect yourself. If you are visiting her in person, leave. "Mom I can see you are not in a mood to visit right now. I'll come another time."

You know that it is not possible to make another person happy, yet you continue to do everything in your power to try to make your mother happy. That isn't very sensible behavior, is it?

Accept your mother the way she is. If this is the beginning of dementia she will not be able to hide it from others for very long. If it is narcissism there are no pills that will cure her. She is how she is. For your own sake, you are the one who needs to take charge of your actions and start protecting yourself.
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