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First thanks to everyone who has shared their stories. I realize I'm not alone nor crazy. Actually it sounds like I'm the daughter of a Narcissists mother in some aspect. I think I could have written half of these letters. Same experiences. Hates anyone I went out with and now my husband she tolerates because she needs him to do her bidding. I'm always helping, always there. But never enough or good enough. Parents - Mom 84 (mild dementia), Dad 89 follow me where ever I move. I end up having to pack up their house for them each time with no thanks just accused of throwing or loosing their stuff. Finally they moved into an Independent Living, Dad was getting frail. They also complained everyday about the house so I suggested they try the Independent Living so now accused of pushing them to sell their house. Always there to take mom out, use to take her weekly for hair and lunch, or Dad to his appointments, or a run to the beer store or drug store. Or fill their water cooler, or cut Dad's toes or cut his hair...well you know how it goes. And always right now, although they make it sound like I'm so busy so they say sweetly when ever you can. But if I don't jump right away I get a phone call that day. And with no hello just "Where's my...., you said you were bringing it"... If I don't call every few days or visit every other day it's the same. "Where have you been stranger, you don't visit anymore" Dad sleeps a lot and Mom would not tell him I stopped in. They also tell everyone how busy I am, or when I ask why they didn't call me to take them to an appointment they struggled with I get "Well your busy"..and get a cousin or a helper to do their bidding. They also fight daily and it's very stressful when visiting. I can only manage a coffee when I stop by before I need to leave. And like one lady wrote, everyone tells me how much they like my mom but they don't know what she is really like behind closed doors. She can't stand the residents and wants to move out. Against the advice of everyone I take her around to look at houses. But that's what she likes to do (she will never buy another house) and as a good daughter I take her. I have an older brother (the golden child) who lives too far to visit but supports me emotionally. On a few occasions when I was at mom's he would call and I'd here her say "love you" at the end of the conversation but she never says that to me. When I say "love you" I get the dial tone. You have to laugh...So my father was near the end of his life in the spring. I arranged funeral details, spent hours at the hospital with him where my mother stayed home. Said goodbye to my father, talked about after life. He was ready. But he was released to go home with health workers coming in twice a day to help mom and from there he seemed to bounce back. Over the years there had been many false calls. Actually many goodbyes too. Well last month he seemed to be even frailer, sleeping more. My husband and I were to go on vacation in the summer that was booked and paid for. Do we cancel? (another cancelled trip due to Dad's health) but my brother said go and he sent his wife to be with Mom. Besides I needed a break from the madness. Dad was fine when I left, sitting up going to the bathroom on his own and eating. We figured he would still be around but I had made arrangements should something happen. But of course he past peacefully in his sleep while I was away and I am now the most vile person on earth. I wasn't there for "her". I have never seen such anger or heard such awful things come out her. She wants me out of her life never to see me again. She hardly looked at me at the funeral. After the funeral she left with my brother and continued to say awful things about me and my husband. My brother defended me as much as he could. Remember he wasn't there either but he could have been. But that doesn't matter - I'm the daughter! So mom is flying home in two weeks and to tell you the truth I'm not looking forward to it but I'm the only one she's got here except for a few resident workers she uses or a niece (doesn't like any of them but will use them). The last thing I said to her was "I love you, I'm not angry and when you need me call and I'll come." Something about hell freezes over and that I have never bothered with her before (really??) and get the F out of my life!....so there you have it. I can't crawl back as she would like and the excuse that she's 84 and angry Dad died doesn't cut it. She didn't even like him. It's all about her. Thanks...I had to vent...

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It sounds like you're dealing with a narcissist who's cycle has run its course. You had no control over where you were or when your dad died or where he would be when he died. She's trying to control you and she just needs to suck it up and get over it. If she never wants to see you again, I'd say, "goodbye" and "don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out."
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It's your mother's lost for keeping you out of her life. Do not feel guilty. Especially if you know in your heart that you have done whatever you can to help your mom. Do not let your mom "take you down" that miserable path she is on. Sorry for being so harsh but at her age she will not change. She sounds like she has been unhappy most of her life. Her fault, not yours. Go forward and enjoy your life.
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This is the perfect time to reset your relationship with your mom. Eventually she'll want you back in her life to do her bidding. Wait for her to reach out to you. Be ready and when she calls YOU set the limits. Limit your visits. "Mom, I have Monday free. Make a list of what you want to get done and we can do it all then." After the visit tell her you'll let her know when you're free the following week.
My mom is in independent living and as long as I was available all the time she didn't get involved in activities or meeting anyone. Why should she? She had me for her entire social life. It's important that while your mom is in independent living and capable that she get involved and get her own social life. Don't get sucked back in to the old toxic relationship or you'll be miserable. This is your opportunity to take your life back!
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When I read your post title I thought just what freqflyer said -- grief does strange things to people's emotions. But after reading your entire post I don't think this is strange behavior at all. It is your mom's usual behavior on steroids.

But whatever the reasons behind her behavior, I do think you need to detach a bit more from this toxic presence. Don't abandon her, but set clear boundaries (and enforce them) and cut back on your exposure to her. When she gets nasty, leave or end the phone conversation quickly. "It sounds like you are not in a good mood to talk. I'll try again later."

But ... my mother was not narcissistic. I'm only repeating what I've learned on this forum. People who have been in your shoes will be along in the next few days and give you their advice.
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First, my sympathy on your loss, wagonwheel61.

Your description of your mother could have been written by me. Unlike some folks, I do not excuse bad behavior from senior citizens if they are fortunate enough to have their mental faculties. Aging is tough, yes, but it is no excuse for elders to treat others with a lack of respect and kindness.

My mother is currently in rehab after surgery. Just yesterday she vented her spleen on her nurses, therapists, and me. Today I called to tell her I would be taking two days off from visiting her. (I have been "on duty" almost daily for the last three weeks.) At age 90, she will never change so I need to put some distance between myself and her selfishness.

I am also thinking about starting therapy. I already rely on prescription medication to get through the worst times. I also need to develop a network of supporters separate from my mother and her side of the family, who all specialize in critical judgments of myself and others. They all wear me out.

I daydream of jumping in my car and heading to another state under an assumed named! LOL.  Not to sound glib, but I would welcome a situation in which my mother cuts me out of her life. It would be a relief.

My best to you during this difficult time.
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wagonwheel61, my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.

Regarding your Mom and how she is reacting to you, it could be grief, as the love of her life is no longer there. I know you mentioned that she really didn't like him. It's tough getting older, there are so many things that one cannot do any more. I think most of us would be grumpy at that stage. So I say, let it go, hopefully this angry phase will pass sooner than later.

Now is a good time to set boundaries. Write down everything you do for your Mom, and I mean everything. Now cross off half the items. Now cross off a couple more. When Mom starts calling you and ask you to do something, check the list, if you had crossed that off say to Mom "Sorry, I can't possibly do that" and don't go into detail. Yes Mom will we angry and throw into the conversation the guilt trip.

Since Mom lives in an Independent Living community, there are community buses that take the residents to different stores, Mom needs to learn to check their schedule and use that service. Hopefully she will met some other ladies that she can become friends with. They can all chat amongst themselves how terrible their grown children are :P

In a week or two, call Mom to see how she is doing. But be prepared to hang up the phone quickly. At least you tried.
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What do you say to her?

You've said all that you need to. That you're not angry, you love her, and you will be there for her as you always have been.

I have to say, I think that's exemplary forgiveness on your part. And, surely, enough?
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I never thought anyone but me had had this happen to them. My mom acted the very same way when my dad was dying of cancer. I was there a lot, even after the hospitalizations when they (the family) would all leave once they got dad in a room. The last two weeks he was in a hospice facility and though I lived 50 miles away I was there alost every day. Some days I would go very early in the morning to be with him alone without the disturbance of church people that came constantly. It was like a circus and my dad was the one being gawked at as he lay there suffering and dying. The nurse had to make a 2 person visitor only policy (which I encouraged). The day we were told would be his last I was there for 10 or 12 hours (along with a waiting room of at least a dozen other people). Well by 11pm I was exhausted, told my mother I needed to go home. Dad clung to life and passed the next day when no one was there - except my brother who was holding vigil nearby and had stopped in at Super Bowl halftime when Dad took his last breath.

I went to the hospice when I got this call and sat with my father's body. I had been greeted by the nurse who told me my mother was extremely angry at me for leaving the night before. Well my mother had been extremely angry during my dad's entire illness and demanded a lot from me. No matter that my 29 year old son was going through surgeries and chemo and radiation for colon cancer and I was there for him, his wife and baby, all while trying to work a demanding job in Atlanta.

My mother's anger never let up through the funeral and beyond. She scapegoated me and got other family members on board with her. It got worse when I learned dad had left me a small inheritance. Her toxic behavior caused me and my husband marital problems. He ultimately killed himself and my son died 2 years later of cancer.

I've had lots of therapy and have created boundaries (not that it is always easy) but I am a testament to how toxic family members can destroy your life. My relationship with my dad was precious to me and I'm not at all sure I could have watched him take his last breath nor would he have wanted me to.

Live your life and devote your love to your immediate family and friends. Don't get enmeshed with your mother and good luck.
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I tend to take people at their word so if someone told me to get the "F" out of their life, I would do just that. Maybe you can't do this permanently but stay away long enough for her to feel the consequences of her actions. Just because she lost her life partner does not give her the right to abuse you.
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See a therapist. Find out why you feel guilty for not doing everything your parents tell you to do. You were not born to be a slave to your parent's wishes. It's time to break free.
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