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I am very sorry about your relationship with your sons. I suspect I may be in your shoes one day. My kids frequently blame me for not running away from the dysfunction, for having so many fears and weaknesses (which definitely affected my parenting), for modeling unhealthy boundaries, and for passing on the dysfunctional genes, among other things.  Two of my kids have already warned me that they are running away from our family as soon as they have the chance.  They also have told me that they have no idea what a healthy relationship looks like, thanks to what I allowed them to witness their whole lives. (ouch!)  But at least they are still communicating with me!

It makes me sad, but I also realize that they are just reacting to the pain and wounds they now carry. And yes, some of that pain is a result of my failure to be a "whole" person when they needed one.

But I also fear that my kids have much more in common with my parents that I would like.  They are largely focused on themselves and their immediate gratification.  And unlike my parents, they have social media to "prove" just how great everyone else's life is, a life I apparently was not able to provide for them. 

I feel for them and understand why they resent me,  Our family seems to have crisis after crisis that gets in the way of fun.  But I also see that my kids lack empathy and insight into the reality that I did not deliberately create their pain.  And they want absolutely nothing to do with making the situation better.  They just want me to be the receptacle for their emotional bile.

It's a role I am quite familiar with.

All we can do is keep moving forward and keep praying, and keep hoping that as our kids mature, they will see the whole truth that we didn't set out to ruin their lives.

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Sorry..that last message was from me! 
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That's all we can do, Splotchy, admit our part and then just be better. I love my sons but they are exactly as you described. I don't want that victim role anymore, so I'm keeping my knees away from their boots... My 15-yr-old grandson is in my life, that's quite beautiful after four years of not seeing him. One day at a time, with joy and love. ~L xoxo
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Thank you for the reply.   I am going to look for that book on Understanding the Borderline Mother.  Oh how I wish I could have REAL peace with my mother.  She is a very mean spirited person.  She is very manipulative.  I am reading about the Narcissistic Parent.  I have so many friends taking care of or assisting elder parents with every day functions. My situation is nothing like theirs.  I wish I could help out with my mom and read her a book or newspaper and help with cooking etc.  I have one sister who right now is the favorite. (that can change at any time)   My mother ties to manipulate everyone around her. She wants to be in control at all times.  As a result of the manipulative tactics, I do not have a relationship with my sister.  I set a boundary with her and she did not like it so she cut me out of her life. (part of the pattern)  My mother does everything she can to keep us a part.  My sister aims to please my mom and she has learned this sick behavior and does it with her adult children.  She plays her two daughters against each other.  She follows my mom's commands/demands because she wants her love at whatever the cost.  

My mother puts me down over the slightest little things.  This week it is my hair style. There are very few people that will come around including my mom's only living sister. When I first read Jen's post at first I was on my gosh, there is another mother like this.  I realized that post was from 2009.   Narcissism is real.  I have been through my own personal counseling for over 5 years.  I learned a great deal about myself.  I learned to set health boundaries in the midst of this sickness. The real problems comes when I set boundaries my mom might cut me off.  She ostracizes.  I am ready for that one as well.   I journal and I have been doing so since my youngest was 5 years old.  He is 30 now. I walk for exercise and Peace.  I pray and I have a higher power that I can go to at any time.  It is a daily struggle but that is how I get through it.  I am open for other ideas but keep in mind my mother is very mean spirited.   Healthy boundaries is all I know to really do.  I do it in LOVE.   I do it with the strength and wisdom that I draw from above.
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I think the problem with narcissists is that they cannot actually respond to love with love, so when we offer it to them, it just sets us up for disappointment. To them, we are just objects who provide attention and fuel, so ordinary relationship dynamics do not apply.  They aren't looking to complete the loop of love by appreciating us or reciprocating; instead all they seem to want to do is control us.

There is a very dark website called "Knowing the Narcissist" written by a self-proclaimed narcissist and he claims that he is just as happy with negative fuel (extracted when he sees his victims confused and hurt) as he is with positive fuel (extracted when his victims cater to him and allow him to control them.)  From the few times I have visited his site, it has become very clear that everything narcissists do is for themselves.  EVERYTHING. This guy even claims that the more empathetic and giving someone is, the more attractive they are as a victim.

He also describes the pattern that his relationships seem to take: 1) seduction 2) devaluation 3) discard 4) hoover and 5) repeat.  My mother uses this exact pattern.  She flatters and idolizes people who do as she asks, dumps on them when they fail to meet her ridiculously crazy expectations, drops them and then seeks new fuel (or tries to get old sources back when she needs something.)  NO ONE is allowed to drop her, however.  When she calls, you'd better answer.

Knowing this now, I actually understand my mother better and realize that she is very, very sick. She enjoys the trauma she causes, even though she would claim otherwise if ever asked.  Controlling others is a way of life, and it's the only way she knows how to cope with life.

From that lens, it's easier (NOT EASY) to tolerate the rages and manipulations.  It's not as personal as it used to be.  I also have had to grieve the loss of ever having the kind of relationship I wish we could have.  Instead, I try to offer it to people who CAN reciprocate.

So about a year ago, I began regularly visiting an uncle who I'd lost touch with.  He was confined to a wheelchair due to Parkinson's and I wanted to help my cousins make his care a little easier. I was initially shocked at how easy our visits were.  I then invited his daughters (my cousins) to visit with my mom and they now realize that not everyone is like their dad.  The contrast gave me permission to be kinder to myself and realize that parents with untreated mental illnesses, especially personality disorders, are a completely different breed.  

Regarding boundaries, my mother hates them and does everything in her power to drive right over them.  It is no fun.  The good news is that she is currently living in assisted living because of a drug addiction so she can no longer inflict the kind of terror she previously had. The bad news is she is almost out of money, so by this time next year, I am going to have a serious challenge on my hands.  I could be stressing over it, but there are too many other things to deal with right now, so I'm leaving it alone.....

Sometimes I think narcissists show us what hell is like as a warning to live differently.  People like my uncle and his family show me what heaven is like, so even though I do not have personal experience with a healthy, loving parent, I do know they exist and that gives me great hope for the future.

I'm sorry I cannot provide any more insight, but just know that others are experiencing the same daily struggle you are, and we understand how challenging it is.  It's okay to take a break and walk away when you've had your fill of abuse.  It's okay to change your phone number or block calls or turn off your voicemail (I've done all of these at one point or another.)  It's also okay to maintain ties if that is what you want to do. 

Please just know that we are here....


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Thank you for sharing in depth with me.  I know I am not alone and it sure helps to know that there is a forum to share with others.   
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Our sweet, beautiful mother passed away 6 years and we were left with a unloving, cold, bitter man.  He is now in AL only because APS got involved--Rehab reported it...thank God!

There are 6 children, we are down to 3 taking him to his appointments.  Two of us live out of town.
He is verbally abusive to us but boy take him to a restaurant and he'll be talking to strangers or flirting with the waitresses (he's 88 with Dementia/Parkinson's)....and no, it's not the dementia making him like that...he's always been a cold-hearted parent and abusive to our mother.

Damn military WILL NOT DEEM HIM INCAPACITATED.  And we have to get a fiduciary with military, once that's determined.  THEN we have to get the guardianship...which he now has no one but himself on the bank account.  How do we pay for this??   I'm his POA and the banker wouldn't even let me reset my pin so I can keep an eye on any suspicious use of his account.

I've told my siblings, he's in AL, gets fed 3x a day, has everything done, so TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES.  I refuse to take him anywhere other than an appointment.
He won't wear the hearing aids--has already fallen several times--his room smells urine cause he refuses the aides to help him to the restroom, he keeps buying lamps, etc...and his nice room will soon look like his nursing home if he falls again...even the ER doctor said that.

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Wow! Where do I start? Mom is 83 and living with me and my family for the past 11 years. ( at the suggestion of my husband who felt we should take care of her). Toxic relationship is an understatement! She brings Toxic to a whole new level! We have never had a good relationship. Controlling, manipulative, disrespectful, selfish, are just a few words I could use to describe her. Jealous of my friends, my husband, my daughter, my success, my happiness, my time and basically anything positive that has ever made me happy. Never good enough in her eyes! Has called me derogatory names such as "whore" and a few other names which are so despicable that I can not even write it out in this blog. I set all the boundaries, she in turns pouts and makes everyone miserable with her attempts to guilt us into making her and only her our ENTIRE life! We take and use all of the suggestions of walking away, taking time for self, setting limits and boundaries but I still have this feeling of suffocation, drowning and anger! I want to scream! A lifetime of misery for me! I should have never taken her in. I know that I can never make her happy and I can never GIVE enough. I have stopped trying, I have stopped caring, my stress is physically taking a toll on me and my health... she is killing me! She has been diagnosed with Major Deppression and Anxiety disorder, was more tolerable on Prozac, refuses to take it. Hard to have sympathy for her when she refuses to help herself. I'm not a cold person, These are coping skills that have allowed me to survive the emotional and psychological pain she has caused. In an effort to control me ( from going to the gym) she actually told my husband I was having an affair and was going to see another man who WAS a friend of mine and my husband's. no shred of truth to this at all! As a result, this friendship ended because he thought my mom was nuts and didn't want to deal with the way she treated him. ( I do not blame him, I run too,)

I placed her into a nursing home when her health became unmanageable for me to physically care for her. The nursing home was short term... I actually felt free of her for 3 weeks, she caused problems at the facility!
She regained strength and returned to my home. I need to send her to a permanent home, but so far she is winning with the guilt trip, despite my inner struggles and knowledge of this IS what should be done,

I really NEED to cry and release some of this pain....I can't,! Physically CAN NOT! No tears! I've tried! Nothing! I know, I know.... Counseling! I am a former Counselor AND have also sought counseling... bottom line... I do all that I can to take care of me but it is EXAUSTING trying to care for a TOXIC Person! So completely tired!
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Unregistered I'm glad you posted.

Sometimes the ones we care for think the situation is fine however if it is not fine with us, the caregivers, something has to chamnge. Sounds like you know the best resolve for you. If it is best she moves into a permanent care home trust yourself. To me, it's sounds like it's time if she is affecting your life in this negative way. This is a balance game. Sounds like your needs are out of balance.

try to nurture yourself, and the tears may come, maybe not, but try to find a way to self soothe, go for walk or lift some weights to get the frustration out, maybe journal, hug a pillow. Whatever it is give yourself some love.

Again it takes a lot of courage to be a caregiver and to even just post on here.

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Mike Gamble
Dear Unregistered:

StrongMaple makes several great suggestions.

Here are two articles that can help you turn your life around:

"Are We Obligated to Care for Aging Narcissistic Parents?"

"How to Divorce Your Abusive Parent ... and Survive"

Last, and most important, have an honest, in-depth conversation with your husband. You need to get him on your side and understand the pain you have to endure every day. Have him read these articles.

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Jen wrote:
Today was a low day for me. I called my mom last night! Ugh! I'm 58 years old and my mother still knows how to push my buttons. She is the most miserable person that I know in my life. She finds no joy in life and is miserable that I'm "living"! She gives me that guilt voice and tone, "Well, have a good weekend!"  The only joy that brings her is someone dying or someone who is ailing in health. She never calls me unless I'm hospitalized and have to recover at home. It takes everything that I have to continue to have a relationship with. I call her and our most recent conversations have been about 5 minutes long with her saying "Ok, I'll talk to you!" She'd love for me to call her every day; I've tried every other and now 2 times a week and it is torture. I drag conversation out of her...WHY? do I continue to do it to myself. I want to do the right thing by you know I'm getting very angry, now with both of my parents. Mom has always been manipulative and had my dad and sister be her footsoldiers in passing what she has an opinion on in my life. Dad used to be the most positive man that I know and he over the years has been drug into her misery camp. I was talking to a colleague today and said,"Forgive me for saying this, but, I've recently wondered if anything happened to her, would I cry?" I know that I would feel a great loss but, I don't think that I would miss the misery and gloom that she shadows over the entire family. We tried talking to her but, she feels like everyone is ganging up on her and that know one loves her. Well, she is not being loveable. She has an opinion about everyone, no one does it like she thinks people should do with certain family issues, my sons are disappointment (and they are good young men), my sister smokes and had abortions that's why she got cancer (mascetomy), we can't have a family get together away because my sister who is 51 and who is not married can't sleep in the same bed under the same roof that she sleeps, her sister in law wouldn't pay for a phone for my 101 grandmother in the nursing home so she felt her duty to interfere and pay for it, every holiday except 1 in the 32 years that I've been married I've spent with them and have neglected my husbands family because my mom was devestated...need I go on.  I've prayed, I've tried to talk with her and my dad rationally about what I felt and it is useless. I continue to have hope because I always believe that there is a chance but, I've come to conclusion that they/she will never change. My dad might if she wasn't around.  My parents are getting older, they live alone and still drive at 79 and 81 and are in reasonable health but they are draining. I don't like her and I'm having so much turmoil wanting to do the right thing for both of us.

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Dear Jen, it sounds like it's time to detach from your mom, otherwise you will find yourself telling this story over and over and nothing will change. Your own serenity and health is what is important, to be there for YOURSELF first. We can't change anyone, we can only change ourselves.


The book that started me on this great journey "Understanding the Borderline Mother." It was an important book for my own recovery. Al-anon meetings also helped me detach.

It all comes to a point one day when we get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Your reaching out today is one step on that path.

Eventually, through detachment and setting boundaries, I had a great healing with my mother before she died last year. I just accepted and realized she wasn't going to change very much, even as she was dying. I forgave her for not waking up and then she kinda woke up! I think detaching and forgiving freed both of us. What a gift these difficult relationships offer us. Bring it all into your gratitude circle, start setting boundaries, read uplifting literature and get well.


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I have the same issue with my mother. Yesterday was mothers day and we go to my grandparents house to be with each other. Now my husband has been helping my grandfather out money wise so he sees how much money he has left which my grandfather knows about, then she starts yelling and cussing at my husband over it so I told my husband and kids that it was time to leave. Then her and I get into it after telling her she doesn't need to speak to my husband anyway she wants to then she says that's not his grandfather (yes it is if he married into the family) then she tells me that I'm the worst mistake she's ever made and raised her hand to hit me (I'm also 26 weeks pregnant) shes hit on me for years until I moved out. I threatened to call the police for raising her hand at a pregnant woman. Then she tells her parents that she was going to cancel the insurance on their vehicle this and that because I drive it sometimes. I don't know what else to do I told her that she wasn't allowed to be around my children alone who are 6 and 4 or my husband and I until she gets the help she needs. I don't know what else to do.
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I'm so sorry you experienced that. Focus on loving yourself and your little family. She may never change: accept that and keep away from that kind of abuse. ~Laura
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