You may have excellent reasons -- a small town where everyone expects you to deal with her; your love of her and refusal to walk out on her; etc.
But in my months of studying this issue, the best solution seems to be to cut off all contact, and if needed, find third parties to deal with her basic needs - like a nursing home or a social worker, etc. There are ways that nursing home care can be arranged if a person doesn't have the money for it - it's seldom or ever the actual legal financial duty of a son to pay for the nursing home of a parent. Medicaid kicks in (in the USA) when the parent's money runs out.
Beth can speak to this much better than I can, but I think the second best thing is to distance yourself emotionally and try to set limits. I tried this by sending my mother a letter with what the new "rules" would be (I told her I couldn't take her tantrums every time I refused to do what she said, so I needed a day to think about every request she made and I needed her to limit her "requests" to no more than one or two per month; plus I told her I'd have her over to my house for dinner once a month instead of once a week)
She was so furious about this letter, threw such a huge tantrum, and did such mean things to me in revenge, that "no contact" was pretty easy to establish, based on her conduct at that time.
I hope it works out for you! Let us know!
ETA Actually it wasn't easy to establish "no contact" - however, it was easier than facing her because after the letter, she was so furious with me I really thought she might try to kill me. So my fear helped me through the first months - and then I started thinking, well, I could "make up" but why would I put myself back into servanthood after getting out of it! Also, she'd have even more hatred/resentment of me than before, and as soon as she got a chance, she'd make me pay, more than ever before. So no thanks - I deserve to live the rest of my life (I'm 54) and I'm not handing myself back to her to destroy.
I have been NC w/ my NM and her NM for coming up on a year. It's stressful hearing through the grapevine that "my" NC is causing my NM's diabetes to spiral out of control, how it is all my fault. But, since I know it is because of the way she has mistreated her body for years, and also due to the stresses she is feeling from her self made financial catastrophes, all of which she hides from the outside world, I can sleep easy at night knowing I have nothing at all to do w/ her SELF-destruction. It's not my fault in any way, shape or form. I'm not holding the milkshakes, peach cobbler or Poppy Cock up to her lips and forcing her to eat them...and I'm not forcing her to spend like there's no tomorrow during the first week of receiving her SS check, then having to wait 3 more weeks until the next deposit. Now, I DO feel sorry for her because that is a terrible way to live. But, she's been that way my whole life...I didn't make her that way, and I cannot unmake her that way. The only thing I CAN do is distance myself and my family from it, so it doesn't hurt me any more.
As far as reading...I read lots and lots of posts on Beth's thread http://mental-health.families.com/blog/ ... tic-mother
And I downloaded Sam Vaknan's "Malignant Self Love". You can read several of the chapters online w/out downloading, or at least excerpts.
I wish you much luck as you move forward in this, and at least you know what you are moving forward in...I could relate to your statement about having the same converstaions over and over and things getting worse. Unfortunately, as they age, NMs do get worse, not better. So, while "she" isn't going to get any better, perhaps with a bit of research and reading, you can at least better prepare yourself.
One of the most important things you can do right now, you're doing - reaching out for support.
For myself, my NPD mother taught me from an early age to never seek guidance, help, support or ANY input that might interfere with her control.
You are not alone.
I think one mistake I've been making--and maybe mistake is the wrong word--is thinking that if I do this for her and th at for her, then that will buy me X amount of peace for X amount of time. I've realized recently that this is not the case. I could bend over backwards to please her, do everything to try and make her happy for the sole purpose of not having to deal with her driving me up a wall for a day, or even a few hours--but it doesn't matter. Whether I do a lot or do nothing, I am treated to the same moodswings, the non-stop complaining, the never-ending selfishness. She complains about something 50 times and 50 times I try and listen and give good advice, and by the 51st time I'm tired of hearing it and trying to make her feel better when she obviously simply wants to complain and NOT feel better--and if I don't show the same compassion and understanding the 51st time, then I have to deal with her saying that I'm "in a mood" or some other controlling complaint to make me feel like I'm not being a good son. I don't think anything quite gets to me like her knack for turning things around and telling me I'm in a "mood" when I haven't done or said anything wrong, and then using this as a reason to rant and complain about something. For years I used to buy into this BS. Now I just see it as a launching pad for her to take control and dominate and get an upper hand in a conversation or anything else. She is a miserable, awful woman. She has alienated long-time friends (it's their fault...of course)--and God forbid I say anything nice about her old friends. Then I'm a "miserable f**k" and ultimately will get spit on. She doesn't take responsibility for anything. When she had some extra money and bought me something or bought my brother something, it's now thrown up in our faces with "I shouldn't have bought you and your brother (fill in the blank)"--because yes, that $500 she spent on us three years ago is the reason a $30,000 inheritance is gone and she's back to living on her social security check.
I could go on and on with examples, but unfortunately you know what I'm talking about and you've all dealt with this type of person. It is a living hell. It really is. This might sound crazy, but I actually think sometimes that maybe I died years ago and I'm in hell and this is what hell is. Just a constant misery all because of one person who doesn't even realize that she is a living nightmare. I know life isn't fair and everyone has their own burdens to deal with, but this has been a very draining way to live for a long long time. Will therapy help? Will anything? Thanks again for your time.
I forgot to answer your question re: NC. I do have reasons for not having gone NC yet, but I am quickly starting to realize that may be the only option. I'm on forums like this, and asking about other options (therapy, educating myself, etc.) as a last-ditch way of looking at options before going NC. Thank you for letting me know how it was for you to go NC and I truly hope you get to live the rest of your life in peace and happiness and never have to be subjected to the pain and suffering again.
I think you are handling things well for all you have been through. Like an above poster said, we with a N family member are trained not look for help. Its sounds like you still processing what you have discovered regarding NM's and exactly how you are going to respond.
It seems to be based on where we are at and what we can accept-or not-and struggling with what is right, loyal etc in their definition and what it truly looks like in a healthy sense...and then live in the healthy side!!
I feel for you. I struggle too still. I hope you find happiness apart from her approval..
Please contact me if you feel you need additonal help with this problem. All my clients have invariably got false beleifs about themselves and their sense of personal power and I work towards changing the clients thoughts and beliefs, as this is the poblem that is driving the difficulties that one has when dealing with a narcissitic parent, particuarly a mother, the so-called source of all love.
B.Sc (Hons). B.Psych. Dip.Sc.
Principal, Your Online Counselor
Thank you for your message. I may very well be contacting you soon regarding therapy because I don't think I can handle this myself anymore. My brother is in the same boat and we are at the end of our ropes. Thank you for posting a message to me. I will be in touch with you regarding therapy in the very neary future.
(All in a span of 7:20am - 7:45am. All quotes are from her):
Vin, I have to pay the gas company or they're gonna send a disconnect notice. I'll let you call them because I can't take calling them. I have better things to do during the day than call them!
Vin, mom's allergies/arms/leg/neck are KILLING her.
Vin, concrete on the side patio has to get done, but don't paint it until your brother fixes it. I don't know why it looks like that! It really looks like shit! I don't know why you and your brother let it look like this.
Vin, when are you going to get the contractor here to fix the front steps! I can't believe it's been three f**king months since we had him here for the estimate. It has to get done! I don't have the money for it, but I don't work like you do, so I know by now you must have money to get this fixed.
(End of morning segment)
Evening segment after working and meeting a friend for a drink for his birthday. Again, all quotes are hers:
Vin, I thought you'd be back by 10. I taped something for you. Now it's late and mom is EXHAUSTED and wants to go to bed. You get wide awake and mom is exhausted. I thought you'd be home earlier but now it's late.
Vin, I was talking to your brother until almost 8:30 I was telling him about NANCY (note: Nancy is her next door neighbor of 30 years who she was friends with until two years ago). That crazy f**k! And Lori (her daughter) is crazy too! Don't tell me to calm down about it Vin! She's f**king crazy and I'm not going to put up with it! Mom has ENOUGH on her mind! The last thing she needs is to put up with crazy Nancy and the whole f**king crazy family next door! Did I tell you about how Nancy was screaming when I kept calling her a liar! She kept screaming and saying "I can't take you anymore!" Who the f**k is she to say that to ME!? That crazy f**k! And you tell me to calm down about it! Uhhhh! Well that's it, mom's going to bed.
(Five minutes later)
Vin, do you want to watch the show I taped you?? I can only watch it for 5 minutes because I am exhausted. This stuff knocks mom out. Did you have a good time with your friend? (Before I can answer) Your brother said he doesn't see the pollen anymore so my allergies should be getting better. Bulls**t! MOM still sees it.
Vin, only another few minutes of this show. MOM IS EXHAUSTED and can't take it anymore. I was going to go to bed, but I thought you'd be home by 10 and I was going to watch it with you then, but you didn't get home until late.
Vin, I can only take this show five more minutes then mom has to get to bed. Your mother is exhausted. Then I had a bleeding nose when I was talking to your brother and the pressure in my head is killing me.
Vin, I want you to look up a flashlight for me on QVC. Your brother was supposed to buy me a flashlight, but he didn't. So take a look at this one and see if you think the handle is small enough for mom to grab it. I don't know why I can't get a flashlight! Uhhh!! You think I ask for the moon and all I want is a f**king flashlight!
Vin, are you going to buy paint to do the side? I don't know why I can't get a simple job done around here such as paint.
Vin, your mother is EXHAUSTED. I don't know why you put this show on this late. I don't enjoy watching it this late at night. If you had been home at 10, I would have watched it and enjoyed it then. Instead, watching it at this time of night annoys the s**t out of me. I have to go to bed. I can barely move.
(Just before she goes to bed I remind her to call a store and ask about something she had wanted...)
Vin, you always tell me that but you never write down their number! I don't know why you do that. You tell me to call and then you don't write down the number. This is an old story! Well goodnight, mom's exhausted.
There you have it...any comments, thoughts? Please post. Thank you...
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