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Care for elderly mother - Carers UK Forum

Care for elderly mother

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Hello, I just joined this forum after reading posts that pretty much sum up my relationship with my elderly, narcissistic personality, mother!
She has always been that way, in fact she resents the fact I told her some years ago that my children will always come first with me. They are adults and therefore an unnecessary drain on my time when it could be devoted to her.
She complains that nobody is there to help her but refuses help that is offered. She is obsessed with being in control of everything. Recently, my/our doctor told me that she was entitled to attendance allowance and I should claim carers allowance. I told her this, mainly because she pays gardeners etc and I thought she should claim AA. She went on the internet (yes, she does keep up with modern technology at 80) and then went into a tirade at me that I was NOT her carer, I don't do enough for her and that she didn't see why carers allowance would not be paid to her to give to me when she deemed I had earned it.
I could give more examples but, having read others posts, I think you will have an idea already!
Anyway, I shall be perusing other posts a bit more so thank you for being here!
Amanda
Amanda, hi and welcome to the forum.

I think of the sad truths about ageing is that it does not miraculously turn unpleasant people into lovely people! The character we have when young persists in to old age - indeed, often very 'nice' people become 'difficult' in old age, even when dementia is not in the picture. (They don't necessarily become 'deliberately difficult' - sometimes it's more like frustration at infirmity, and, as you will also see as you read around on the forum, a very common 'deterioriation' in extreme old age is to become like 'elderly toddlers' who simply don't realise how 'demanding' they are, and who cease to have the ability to think of anyone other than themselves).

Anyway, it sounds like you have the measure of your mum! So that has to be the good first essential start, on which to base your decision as to how much of your time, effort and attention you allocate to her, and how much you just say 'No' to.

You've realised that whatever you do will never be enough, for her sadly distorted personality is a 'bottomless well' of either distorted need or ravening ego or whatever it is that creates narcissistic personalities in the first place. You could pour out your life for her and it would not be 'enough'. She will always want more and always complain and always feel hard done by and neglected. Those 'distortions' are the frame through which she lives her life, and presumably she gets some sort of malign satisfaction out of it.

It would be interesting to know how your adult daughters see her? Is she all 'sweetness and light' to them (to paint you in a worse light) or does she ignore them (they are simply rivals for your attention which should only be paid to HER) or does she, perhaps most dangerous of all to my mind, select one of them to 'be most like her' (that can happen sometimes - an NP person chooses a child/grandchild to be 'the golden one' BECAUSE they are 'most like me'....and thus can act to dangerous blight and distort that individual)(who knows, maybe that's why SHE became NP in the first place???)

Anyway, wishing you all the best, and it's great you know the set up and the 'games' she plays, and though of course it's hurtful to have a 'hostile mother' at least you are not her 'patsy', and that is the most important thing of all.
Thanks for your reply, and yes, both myself and my brother have the measure of her quite well lol He works, I don't, and therefore I take on most of the responsibility although he is there to 'give me a break' when necessary.
Sadly, neither my brother or myself remember being hugged by my mother as children. I was luckier in that I had my dad hugging me, but he was an old fashioned type that didn't hug his son and my brother missed out. You don't miss what you don't have, and that makes it easier when she is playing her manipulative games.
I did have to laugh when you mentioned my daughters. The answer is yes to all questions. My brother and I invented the metaphorical ladder when we were teenagers, whoever was the last to please my mother the most would be on the top rung of the ladder! This now also applies to my daughters and nieces, my brother and I joke about who is top rung at the moment (he is winning right now because I neglected her while my two week old grandson was in intensive care!)
My eldest daughter asked me how I was able to be a good mother when my own was so rubbish, I told her I always asked myself what my móther would do....and did the opposite lol
The greatest skill I have developed is biting my tongue and not responding to her nasty comments. She continually tries to manipulate us with her so called legacy, we long ago decided that she would leave us nothing and leave it all to the PDSA so the threat of her not leaving us anything is really quite amusing and gives us a giggle or two!
It does help to have a sibling sharing the experience. It helps make you realise that it is not you, you are not the grabbing person she says you are, it is just her way and that is not going to change.
Amanda
"You've realised that whatever you do will never be enough, for her sadly distorted personality is a 'bottomless well' of either distorted need or ravening ego or whatever it is that creates narcissistic personalities in the first place. You could pour out your life for her and it would not be 'enough'. She will always want more and always complain and always feel hard done by and neglected. Those 'distortions' are the frame through which she lives her life, and presumably she gets some sort of malign satisfaction out of it."

Now I know why I am trying hard to change...(ahem) :whistle:
Hi
Just read your post along with many others on here that totally my mother to a T.. Selfish, demanding, ungrateful, nasty, and narcissistic are just a few of the words I would use to describe her. Unfortunately she has always been like this and put herself before everyone her whole life so nothing has really changed. I do ahve a brother who takes nothing to do with her because of her behaviour so it's all left to me.. I thought at this stage in my life when all my kids had left home it would be my time to enjoy but I can't do anything for taking care of her. She can do so much herself but refuses to do it because that's what I am here to do.. and after all she gave me such a good life so I need to repay her for this. (she only did what normal parents are supposed to do) She sits in her dressing gown every single day watching TV and complains she is lonely because she expects everyone to come to her.. I can't cope with her demands anymore and get very angry and frustrated with her and then feel racked with guilt after it because that's not the type of person I am.. Infact I work as a carer in a severe dementia unit but I have more patience for my residents than I do for my mum but they are grateful and nice to me.. I am at the end of my tether and honestly feel like walking away from her.. Parents eh.. Glad I have found this site as it is giving me many ideas and shows me I am not alone.
get very angry and frustrated with her and then feel racked with guilt after it because that's not the type of person I am
I have lost count of the number of times I have come home either literally screaming in my car to try and get rid of the frustration, or the inevitable crying!
My mother says she is lonely, yet has visitors two or three times a week, more than I do. When she answers the phone she puts on her 'weak and ill' voice, then after a few minutes she will be talking normally. She is fit and healthy (for an 80 year old), yet complains she cant do things but if I offer to do things she refuses and then tells me she has made herself ill from doing it and expects me to rush over and look after her!
I dread the day she actually is ill, I doubt she will be believed.
I too would love to walk away but know that I would be the one spending my days worrying and feeling guilty so I continue to bite the bullet.
But it is a wonderful feeling knowing I am not the only one that feels like this :D
Amanda
To all of your with selfish, unappreciative, manipulative, narcissistic demanding parents ....

Look, just STOP looking after them! Just stop it! Why should you? Why do you?

Please, read your own posts back and read them with the eye of a 'stranger' (eg, like me!) and you will simply be open-mouthed with incomprehension as to why you waste your time on them.

There are plenty of deserving people in this world - narcissistic parents are not those people!

You can 'love' them all you like - they will NEVER love you back. They will NEVER change. Accepting that, accepting that you cannot have a 'good mother' is vital, or they will suck you dry.

Walk away now from them. Stand up to them. Tell them what they are. But stop being a slave to them in any way at all!

It's your life, not theirs. Don't waste it on ungrateful people.

Please do this! (No one will help you except yourselves.....that's the brutal truth of life.)
Well that was a bit of a rant!
So what you're telling me is that I should walk away from a vulnerable 80 year old because she doesn't love me? Does that mean that anybody who works in a care home or helps out with a vulnerable neighbour should walk away too?
I have lived with my mother in my life for 55 years, I expect no more than I get. If I want to feel loved then I can go to my husband, children, grandchildren or brother.
I do not feel inclined to exhibit the same narcissistic tendencies I see in my mother by walking away because I don't get what I want in return.
What a very strange and unhelpful post!
Amanda
I don't think selfish, ungrateful, narcissistic people are entitled to any sacrifice from those they exploit and insult.

If someone chooses freely to devote themselves to such people, well, that's their choice, but then they really aren't in any position to complain about their lot!

My sympathy is for those daughters and sons who are browbeaten and cowed and 'brainwashed' by selfish parents who long for a little freedom for themselves, but dare not stand up to their exploitative and ungrateful parents.
Jenny
I think you need to take your own advice and read what you have written, it comes across as very bitter and resentful.
Apparently, anyone that chooses to look after a difficult parent does not deserve your support. Quite frankly, I don't need or want it.
I came to this forum in the hopes of meeting, and talking to people in a similar position to me and maybe even be able to give some support to others, that is obviously not you.
Unfortunately, I don't appear to meet your expectations of the downtrodden slave to my mother and therefore don't need your instructions on what to do with my life, I have had many more years of dealing with her than you have and am more than able to continue to do so with the support of the rest of my family.
I have cried and shouted when my children, husband and work have frustrated me, I do the same with my mother. I did not, and have not, abandoned my children, husband and work because they frustrated me, I will continue to do the same for my mother.
It is a shame that you feel the need to be so negative towards a new member, but on this occasion this new member is not affected by your attitude, as I deal with it on a daily basis from my mother!
Amanda