70 Years With a Narcissistic Mother
I have an elderly narcissistic parent -- my mother. The heartache is that I am now 70 and she is 95 and I no longer have the energy to deal with her. Her mind is sharp and she lives on her own but she makes everyone's life a misery who has to interact with her. She has always fit the disorder characteristics: exaggerates her own talents, house, garden, clothes, etc.; a serious sense of entitlement (gets as much as she can for free from family members, neighbors, friends, government agencies, product manufactures, etc.; exploits others (mostly myself and to a lesser degree my husband and brothers); a complete lack of empathy (similar to Hyacinth on "Keeping Up Appearances" -- another narcissistic individual; envies others (neighbors who have pensions. My mother never worked but still envies others who did because they have a pension. Other people's clothes, haircuts, houses, etc . It goes on.
When we retired and moved closer to my mother, at my insistence my mother and I went to a psychologist to see if we could have a better relationship. It didn't work as she can't/won't admit that she ever did/done anything wrong. Calls lies "misunderstandings". Treated myself, my brothers, father and grandmother terribly (the latter two always said that there was something wrong with my mother, that she was "crazy" that her behaviors were not normal, etc.) But we didn't know what it was. It wasn't until about 10 years that I typed her behaviors into google search and found out that there was such a term as a narcissistic personality disorder.
A few years ago my mother tried out living in a senior retirement community. Even though she had been interviewed at great lengh by the staff, she wasn't there but a few days when the nurse called and said "this is not the same woman we interviewed for an hour and a half. She is a completely different person from the woman we met and don't know if you know it or not, but she has several serious personality disorders." For me, that was affirmation of what I believed about my mother's behavior. At last someone in the medical profession could now see her as she really was. I mentioned the nurses' observations to my mother's doctor but he wasn't interested. He probably knew that there wan't anything that could be done. Because of this disorder, she can't change, but I can, and that is what I have done.
I ended up going to a different counselor myself and looked at my two options. Engage with her on my terms. I set the agenda for what I can and cannot do for her, etc. I have tried that for 3 years and again, it has not worked. My second option was to cut myself off completely from interacting and engaging with her. At my age, she continues to abuse me verbally; is jealous of my relationships with my brothers and lies to them about what I do and do not do for her --it's never enough. Threatens to cut me out of her will (that' o.k. with me) and tries to turn my brothers against me (for the record, my brothers and I have never had a cross word pass between us. We have always been close and supported each other and I think my mother is jealous of this closeness.)
I have now begun excluding myself from her life. She has resources to pay people to do things for her around the house, take her shopping and to the doctors. She has taken advantage of my good nature all my life but I have reached the point where I have to take care of myself first, and then my husband and have enough energy left for 6 children and 14 grandchildren whom I love dearly and are dearly loved by them in return.
Thank you for allowing me to vent to people who know the road I've travelled for almost 70 years.