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I just need to vent, thank you for letting me!
I'm 61, my LO is 87 with supposedly beginning stage dementia, but it's beyond that. She's been a narc all of her life - ALWAYS has to be about her. I'm her only child - she's all I have left, I'm all she has left, although we each have a cousin that we no longer hear from.
Today was another fight, and another day of being ghosted. I was trying to pay bills (hers and mine), do the laundry, clean the kitchen, and get her pills ready when she once again told me I had to get the hedge trimmed in the backyard. We live in FL, and it's hot today, so I told her I would do it tonight, and got "yeah, that's what I always hear." I didn't scream, but I lost it and said "just shut up!" She went ballistic. She picked up my dad father's photo and said "why did we decide to have a child"...and even though I apologized profusely, I've been told that she will only answer yes or no to my questions when warranted. This isn't the first time - I've gone for weeks without being spoken to.
I have a new job - full time - beginning online in 1 1/2 weeks, plus I'm going to be adjuncting at nights for two colleges (both online). I was also trying to prep for the classes, but when she wants something done, I'm supposed to drop everything to do it. Yes, I have her POA, but I still don't have the guts to pull it and get her in a home. I've tried so hard all my life to have her love me, but it's never good enough. I hold three degrees, I've worked in very high profile jobs that have given her the opportunity for foreign travel and meeting VIP's, I've always sought her approval and acceptance, most of which ended in tears. If I try to gently correct her memory she screams "I'm not nuts! I know what happened." She hates ALL of our neighbors, she thinks they're out to get her. I listen to constant poison all day long. If she were a friend or colleague, I would not be friends with her - I would stay far away, but I can't. It's my responsibility to care give, but I'm losing myself along the way. I walk on egg shells all the time, and feel like I"m in a living hell.
No, I can't a) leave her, b) pull out the POA...yet, c) apologize...already through tears have tried to do that many, many times today, c) go for a ride - she'll report me missing to the police (yep...she's done that before), d) call a friend (she either listens in, or demands to know who I was talking to and what about). I've wanted to see a certain movie since the beginning of June, and each time I mention it I'm told, "not tonight" or "it's too dangerous to go out at night."
I used to have a full life with friends, golfing, movies, and travel, and I feel like I walk in hell every day of my life. Last but not least, when I tell her I love her she never responds back. She tells me I have to earn her love. I would just like to be told "I love you" someday.
Please don't feel you need to respond. This feels good just getting out to all of your anonymous faces out there. I know that I do things wrong in my life and that I shouldn't have told her to shut up, but I just get to the point sometimes that I can't take it anymore.
Thank you for listening.
Hi prpro88 - This is much too toxic a situation for you. It actually worries me that you could have a meltdown yourself as this continues, which wouldn't be good for either of you. This can't continue. And trying to appease someone who could never be pleased even prior to 'this', is just going to be more frustrating, with no resolution.
Wish I had more suggestion, but do know you are not alone...
Check out the 'solutions' tab above to maybe get some ideas, and do call the ALZ help-line. That number is 1-800-272-3900.
Congratulations on your new job!
Vent away , do everything you can to reset yourself after a go-round with Toxic Mama
Things to consider :
You take care of you first , without you she has no one to oversee her care ; with new jobs and everything else [COVID 4.0] you need to stay strong
Hoping for a "thank you" or even civil behavior from someone with declining brain health and a lifelong history of mental and verbal abuse is so far at the end of a bell curve of possible outcomes you'd have to reset your printer's settings to make it appear.[My parent blamed me for being born and called my grandmother MY mother-in-law , both neat tricks of genetic engineering, patents pending]
Since your mother likes to make scenes , how will you handle her barging in when you are needing to be focused on the screen with your new jobs? Can she go to Adult day care during your work/class hours? I'd guess the answer is "no" because of her personality- but then if she does act up how will you get the situation quickly resolved to not get a reputation or have videos floating around of her acting out behind you that would tank your reputation?
You say you don't want to place her -- but right now you're *both* sort of in a place neither of you would willingly rent right? In a home they can monitor and maybe adjust meds, you'll be rested and more relaxed since you know you can leave after a visit.
You'd still be giving care if she's in a home , and she'd have a happier you and a focused team to care for her.
If I was you , I look like crazy in the next week and a half for places- live in and day care to have Plans B and C ready to roll if needed because your first job is to take care of you and your career.
and one rule of dementia club is try to never correct or educate the PWD , as you found it just set off a storm because it makes them confused or scared.
I agree with Susan, this situation is not sustainable. You are subjected to emotional abuse daily. I have a small taste of this with my FIL, but he was a sweet, timid man before dementia so I know this is the dementia talking. In your case, it is a double whammy for sure - NPD and dementia. And neither is going to get better, sadly.
If it were me, I’d seriously consider placement. It is still a way to care for her, but from with some breathing room for you.
I'm with Victoria2020. Placing her in a home is not abandoning your mom. She will have 24/7 care and you'll be more rested and sane.
Prpro, you've done a wonderful job thus far! Caregiving isn't for everyone and for as long as you've stuck with it despite how your mom is and how full your life is, you have been great.
Why can't you use the POA? Is there something in it that you have to wait for to happen/have approval for, or is there a self inflicted rule you made? I think you'll have to reevaluate that if it's the latter. You're at the end of your rope and it's too unraveled to hang on any longer. For your health and sanity and for your mom, please reconsider about getting her placed somewhere that she can get the level of care she needs.
You are not abandoning her, you are not doing this to her. Dementia has done this to her and it's only going to get worse. Save yourself and her while you still can. (((Hugs)))
I understand about dealing with a narcissist dementia patient. I’ve wondered if there’s an element of it due to the dementia. My mother has presented with many of the difficult dementia behaviors but on a much smaller scale than many here and/or for a shorter time. Nevertheless, I’ve experienced them. She’s always been a kind soul for the most part so that helps me deal. But she was a bit narcissistic before dementia.
When she was stages 4/5 and I was visiting her from out of state, I had an emergency phone call regarding my son. I was maybe on the phone for 10 minutes and she barged in and demanded I tend to her. At that point in our journey I knew nothing much about dementia, I blew my top at how selfish she was being. Of course, I was really stressed before her intrusion but I probably would have lost it anyway. As an adult living far away from her, I couldn’t stand being with her for more than a few day visit. She’d drive me insane with being so opinionated and she was always right. My brother also had this visiting problem. I describe it as “if a door knob can be turned two ways and have the same result, I turned it one way but she would tell me that I was wrong and should turn it the other way.” She could never see any fault of her own, she’s perfect, sweet but perfect. She was also incredibly stubborn. I gotta give her credit as she raised three kids on her own, never remarrying after being divorce since I was 6 mos old. Because she needed so much emotional attention as her needs increased, her caregiver deemed her a “drama queen”.
So I brought her up where I live at late stage 5. My brother gave it two weeks, maybe months, yet we’ve made it two years, working on three. If my mother wasn’t a nice person in general, there’s no way I would still be her primary caregiver. She’s also not ambulatory, that helps a lot. But if she was on the move and being continually critical, she’d be in a facility. I can barely handle what I’m doing now, at least she’s gotten through some more of the behaviors although the negative baggage I hold near to my heart rears it’s head.
I guess my long point is you’re doing a great job. If you can pull your POA card do it. Don’t feel guilty about placing her if you need to. It would be for her benefit too.
I agree with many of the other responses. Feel free to vent and seriously considering an alternative placement for your own sanity. Can you leave her for a few hours and claim you have a "work" thing? Perhaps if it's work related she will let you go for a break.
I have a similar situation. Both parents are toxic, dysfunctional and narcissistic. Add anxiety and depression to the mix and quite honestly I began "no contact" months ago for my own sanity. My father refuses to get my mother help (she's the one with the beginnings of dementia). My mother also refuses help so she is constantly not taking her meds correctly. I am sorry for the situation you are in but know that you're not alone. Read through more posts on here and you will see that.
If possible try to see a counselor (I am) and make sure you do some "self-care" even if it means telling your mom that you have a work meeting and need to leave but then go see a movie. You need to take care of yourself!
It is so difficult to make a decision to take steps to arrange for someone else to give care for a parent to start out with. Then add in the behavior you have lived with for years and I can see why it is frightening to even think of making a change. I can relate to some extent, because I have a parent whose expectations of me were harmful and who has been dismissive of me as a person and my choices for many years. In fact, I didn't realize until the last couple years how the way the parent was treating me was affecting me, and that their way of looking at the situation was not correct.
So while I know how difficult it will be to make changes, I just want to add my support to what you've already received here, and to second the observations of others that a bit part of this situation is not that she has dementia, Ok we see that, but the lifetime of her treating you in this way is not acceptable. You are enough. You do enough! You are worthy of respect and care. I'm so very sorry that your mother is not able to give this to you. She clearly just doesn't have the capability. But you deserve a better life. I hope this helps as you think about making changes to know that.