Are You a Caregiver Dealing with a Narcissistic Elderly Parent? 7 Ways to Survive!

elderly parents narcissistic

Do you cringe every time the phone rings for fear it’s your elderly parent?

Does your elderly parent refuse to accept the fact they need help; despite the evidence piling up around them?

Worse yet, do they create unrealistic expectations that send you on a guilt trip, when you “let them down”.

If so, you may be dealing with a narcissist elderly parent!

What is narcissism?

Elderly parents who are narcissist have a distorted view of themselves. They are overly preoccupied with vanity, prestige and power. They lack empathy and have an exaggerated sense of superiority.

Even as things are crumbling down around them…

A father who has held a powerful business position finds it impossible to “take orders” from his daughter to the point where he puts himself and others in danger.

A mother who has always been vain now has a difficult time accepting a walker  because she’s “too good” to use one or it’s for “old people”.

What’s difficult to grasp about the narcissistic elderly parent is that deep down inside they are insecure and have low self-esteem. When they were younger, they over compensated for this by creating a world where they perceived themselves to have power and prestige.

Chances are somewhere in your elderly parent’s childhood life was full of anxiety and uncertainty. They coped by using certain personality traits that helped them survive. These personality traits over time can become deeply embedded, maladaptive and toxic.

As you can imagine, it’s difficult for a narcissist elderly parent to accept changes that come with aging, which at times makes it impossible for them to accept appropriate help.

You may be dealing with a narcissistic elderly parent if …

  • They have grandiose ideas about their life and view themselves as being better than other people. Their grandiosity keeps them from being aware that they need help.
  • Everything they have or do is the best, the biggest and the most expensive. They wrap their self worth up in their material possessions and their status in society.
  • They are insensitive to the needs of others yet insist they are the most generous person in the world often reviewing their long list of wonderful things they’ve done for other people.
  • They are jealous of people to the point where they put others accomplishments down or make fun of them in order to make themselves feel better.
  • They can become preoccupied with physical problems and compete with their friends to have the latest greatest illness or health symptom on the market.
  • They react with anger and rage at the slightest hint that there may be a decline in their abilities or health status.
  • They own your success and remind you over and over again that you wouldn’t be where you are today if it weren’t for them.
  • They see you as an extension of themselves and  regard you as their lifeline to be available 24 hours a day.

Adult Children of Narcissism

When you were younger, you may have been particularly close with your parent. I was very close to my narcissistic grandma when I was a kid. Once I grew up and was no longer adhering to her agenda, we grew apart and she latched on to someone else.

Adult children of narcissist are taught that their feelings are invalid; the only feelings that matter are that of the narcissist and it’s your job to make them feel better about themselves. Consequently, you keep trying to save them over and over again only to be left with your own resentment and anger!

Enter that moment when you realize your elderly parent needs your help!

There comes a time for many adult children of elderly parents when we recognize the need to step in and help. This can be a moment filled with anxiety, apprehension and confusion.

It’s difficult to totally estrange yourself from a narcissistic elderly parent but I do not judge those who do. Sometimes you have to save yourself and your own family. However for most adult children, walking away is not an option for one reason or another.

The key to helping your self-centered elderly parent is learning how to help them without losing yourself in the process…

To survive caregiving a narcissistic elderly parent, you’ll need to learn to set healthy boundaries for yourself and make tough choices day in and day out.

7 Ways to Survive Your Narcissistic Elderly Parent While Helping them!

  1. Let go of the fantasy of ever making them happy in any meaningful way. Focus your energies on the things you can do for them such as securing quality elder care.
  2. Set specific boundaries and make it clear what you can and cannot do for them. Be consistent, constructive and respectful but very clear on setting boundaries.
  3. Lower your expectations of what they are capable of in terms of a “normal” parent relationship. A narcissist is typically unempathetic, controlling, critical and manipulative; you’re never going to change them.
  4. Let go of your anger and understand that these behaviors are an unconscious expression of their life long struggle against their own demons. Struggles that are deeply rooted in their own childhood.
  5. Bring in the professionals to assess and make recommendations for you. You’ll always wonder, if you’re doing the right thing, until a professional helps you understand what your mom or dad’s needs are.
  6. Sometimes it helps to understand the causes of narcissistic personalities. If you can re-frame your elderly parent’s behavior in a way that allows you to feel more compassion, you wont feel so resentful.
  7. Create your own support system of friends and professionals that understand YOUR struggle. Your support system will care for YOU when your buttons are pushed or you feel you want to run away.

 The Bottom Line is This…

  • A narcissistic elderly parent, if left unchecked, can leave you feeling angry, resentful and empty inside. You’ll spend all day trying to make them happy only to find that no matter what you do it’s never enough.
  • Be compassionate and see them in a different light. Let go of your anger towards them by understanding their narcissism is an unconscious expression of their life long struggle and is beyond their control.
  • Practice self-compassion by developing healthy boundaries. Those boundaries include seeking professional help to understand what your narcissistic parent is truly capable of doing for themselves.
  • Empower yourself to care for them in a way that works for you. In a pro-active not re-active way so you can feel at peace with your caregiving duties.

My heart breaks for adult children and caregivers trying to deal with narcissism because I’ve been there; it’s tough stuff. Healing is not as simple as reading a blog post but I hope in some way these words empower you to move forward and find some peace, in your caregiving role.

Are you a caregiver for a narcissistic elderly parent? If so you probably have your own insight and advice. Feel free to share your thoughts in order to help others in your shoes…

For more help, like my FACEBOOK page OR check out my Caregiver Coaching Sessions for one-on-one help!

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LuAnn Smith is a geriatric care manager, blogger, public speaker and consultant. She provides an array of services designed to assist aging families and the organizations that care for them. She provides services and information to empower both individuals and businesses to be the best they can be for the older adults in their care.

Please note: I love to hear from my readers; your comments, advice and tips could help someone else struggling to care for an elderly parent. I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Thank you for understanding!

39 thoughts on “Are You a Caregiver Dealing with a Narcissistic Elderly Parent? 7 Ways to Survive!

  1. The problem with me is I am just now coming out of a severe 20 year depression and I’m not strong enough to care for my impossible Father. I just recovered during that time period from liver disease and kidney failure. Not to mention PTSD. I have tried for 10 years to help him since he buried 2nd wife, etc….so I assure you I know he is too toxic for me at this point. I have had to dump most of the responsibility on my aging siblings and I don’t feel good about that at all. They are not in great health either. I do love my Dad and I even made peace with him recently when I thought he might die. He is narcissistic somewhat and he can make me wish I were dead in 10 seconds flat. Not to mention he was never really a loving Father. Good provider, but no love. His depression, bitterness and anger is more than I can handle. I’m very in touch with my capabilities so I know for a fact that if don’t distance myself I won’t even be able to maintain a job. Can’t find anything online that addresses children that are not stable enough to care for elderly parent so I am stumped. I know I can go back to therapy as I have always been the kind of person that reaches out and tries to improve their life. But that doesn’t keep him from constantly ending up in a hospital, especially since he has wanted to die for 10 plus years and won’t take care of himself. I even found a great independent living place but he still demands every moment of our time. Won’t eat/drink-very self destructive. I am at the end of my rope with him. Breaks my heart. Never thought I would give up on my parent, but here I am. It’s him or me and I choose self preservation. Very sad. I do believe in God so I have to have faith. I just wish I was stable enough to help him! I respect those that can endure and be a care taker. God bless!

    • Thanks for your comment and know that you’re not alone. I was talking with a daughter of an elderly parent just today that set a boundary with her toxic parents so she could save herself. Sometimes that’s the best you can do…It’s impossible to help those who are dealing with serious mental health issue and yes indeed it’s very sad.

    • Dear JL- my mom is similar. I take care of both of them. Dad does not want her sent away. To be kind to him i remind him that she has a really big personality (code for toxic) and there just are not enough of us to bounce her off of. Her doctor has recommended a pschiatrist see her so she can be medicated bc she is so uncomfortable in her own skin and acts out with yelling, and insults. She also says daily she wants to be dead. I cant help you but i can encourage you in that, i dont believe you are giving up on him. I think he should be allowed to “not care for himself” and you stepping aside and allowing it is the closest to honoring him you can get. You are doing a wonderful job even when you feel overwhemed BUT dont try to help him more than he wants to be helped. Consider it honor and smile that you gave him that much!!!Take are of YOU bc you dont want to be dead. Much empathy, YCA

  2. Thank you for not just writing an article describing my narcissitic father but, also giving helpful advice when you are feeling so lost and angry. I wish I could find support.

    • Narcissist are the most difficult to care for because, after all, there’s nothing wrong with them; right? It’s hard to find support but trust me when I say you’re not the only person in America struggling with a narcissistic parent. One of my favorite online communities is agingcare.com People in their forums have been through it all and are very supportive. Good luck to you…

  3. So my first question is, when did you meet my father? You described him perfectly. He is every ‘if…’ you listed.
    Every single one. We have cared for my husband’s oldest brother for 20 years (he is mentally challenged and epileptic), and now that our children are grown and on their own, we’ve added my sweet mom (who has severe dementia) and my dad, who is now also experiencing rapid memory loss. My dad wouldn’t leave his home/property, so my husband, I and my brother-in-law came to his house to help, even though we kept our own house (just in case)

    I now know as an adult what my mom went through their 60+ years of marriage. I see clearly now how he controlled her and used her to care for the house and him…accusing her of flirting (or worse) if she even talked to another man—and knowing my mom, it was purely innocent.

    My narcissistic brother hates that I ‘have control’ over things. (Others would call it responsibility, he calls it control yet would never this work himself) He tries to stir the pot and make us out to be the demons every time he comes around, which of course, is only when it benefits him to play ‘the good son’.
    It’s exhausting. I’m a researcher at heart, so I’m just now starting to learn how to best handle this situation so I can come out the other end content in the knowledge that I did my best. One good thing that has come out of all of this is that my husband and I are more of a partnership than we’ve every been…barring a few bumps now and then. Thanks for your article. At least now I know we’re not alone.

  4. I am definitely in this situation. It is heartbreaking. My mom has stage 4 cancer and is 81. She is still living on her own but I am the only person nearby to help, and I talk to her all the time and go over there at least once a week to take her to chemo, grocery shopping, get her meds, take her trash, hang out with her for a while. But every need that she has she turns to me to fill and I cannot. And if I do not fill these needs quickly enough or well enough or if she still feels a void inside because I failed to make her happy (and she always has a void inside, she never feels loved, and she is never happy) she lashes out at me or concocts some interpersonal drama to use as a guilt trip. (ie you love your pets more than me, you love your friends more than me, the fact that you called me at 8:05 rather than 8pm means that you don’t care whether I live or die). I am a self supporting, hard working middle aged single woman and I myself am overwhelmed. I have no support system for myself. I understand that she can’t help being who she is, but some days — like today — I lose it. I have to take a break. I cannot be held responsible for everything that goes wrong in her life. As it is, I feel like pulling my hair out, calling her every night to listen to her aria of endless complaints. I really feel trapped. I don’t know how to help this pathetic woman, who I actually do love, without losing my own sanity. She went on SSRIs for 3 weeks, it was heavenly, she acted like a new person, I was shocked. Then, she decided she was not willing to handle the side effects and quit, and she is back to being a raving freak all the time. She cannot handle the small stressors of every day life, and it isn’t the cancer (which is stable), she has always been this way. She can do a 2 hour monologue on a small annoyance. And forget about getting a word in edgewise or her ever sincerely asking how I AM or how I’m doing. The only thing that matters to her is her and how hard I try to demonstrate love and devotion although it will never be enough and no matter what I do she will never take any comfort in it, feel loved, or have a moment’s joy. She is allergic to joy. Why doesn’t she get it? How can I be 50 years old and she still, through my 50 years of not filling that hole in her, somehow thinks its my fault she is unhappy and I am hiding the golden ring, the key to her feeling loved?? She keeps trying to get blood out of this stone, but the scary phone call is coming from INSIDE the house. The emptiness is in her, from her, and no one else can ever make it go away. Why would anyone CHOOSE not to take antidepressants when they are that miserable 24 hours a day? Is it just for the perverse pleasure of being more of an asshole to others in their natural state? To torment me?

    • Hi Stef,
      I so feel your pain, and am sorry you have it.
      In reading your post, I just want you to know that I have the same feelings of anger, despair, and all the other crazy emotions that come with an elderly narcissistic mother 🙁
      Interestingly enough, these emotions only present themselves in this mother – daughter relationship.
      I have read books previously, (after my sister commuted suicide), and I needed to understand the dysfunctional family dynamics which included an alcoholic father. These helped explain and validate my feelings and helped me cope through the years. But now I am feeling them again as her expectations are never ending as she ages and suffers multiple disabilities.
      My solution now is to care for myself first and her needs secondarily. Somehow this is the only way to proceed thru it and maintain integrity to myself. I just could not sell myself out anymore.
      Be good to yourself first 🙂

      • Wow Jen!
        Your response is my response, even the same name 🙂
        My oldest sister committed suicide 13 years ago, my Dad was an alcoholic too and I have gained an understanding of why these family dynamics play out with a narssistic mother. Once the the psychologist hinted at narcissism, and I read many books on the subject, I was able to have clarity and gain strength thru setting boundaries. I think that is really the key. Boundaries enable you to keep your distance and offer protection from the constant energy drain. You will never be able to change the narcissist so focus on protecting yourself. Their pain and unhappiness is not yours 🙂
        Love to you ..

  5. Your article is excellent! This is exactly what I went through with my father for 2 years.
    The last 10 months I finally caved and set drastic boundaries. When he would start with the endless complaining about his care, his doctors, nurses, aides, etc., I would walk right out of his room and let him talk to himself. I cared for, cooked 3 meals a day, did all his laundry, cleaned his house, gave manicures, pedicures, and haircuts. He would thank me, but then tell me how I could do better. I had to endure hearing how everyone else is a fool, or stupid, or incompetent. I would leave the room and let him spend a few hours thinking about that by himself. Unfortunately he died angry. I was with him when he died under hospice care. He had palliative sedation because he was so angry and scared. If you learn nothing else when dealing with these type of people is SAVE YOURSELF. You can’t change them or make them happy, so don’t even try. I have no guilt because I gave the best care possible.
    Share this article with everyone you know so they can be prepared. On a happier note, my
    Mother had dementia for 10 years and she was the sweetest, most grateful person.

    • Thanks for sharing your insights Becky. It’s always helpful for others to hear how others have coped with toxic elderly parents. They key is knowing that you did the best you could and letting go of the guilt!

    • Thanks Becky. I am dealing with my father and I have the same feelings. He appreciates nothing and expects everything. It is exhausting. My mother also had Parkinsons Dementia and she is easier to care for than my father , and she is in worst shape than he is. Glad to know I am not alone in my feelings of anger!

  6. I just found this article and I am in awe. My mother lives with us in an in law apt attached to our home. While I try to help her in anyway possible her negativity and need to be the most important person in the family is driving me away from her. When the phone rings I cringe because I know I will have to sit and listen to her talk bad about someone or something. When I tell her I don’t want to hear about it she makes me feel guilty by saying I have no one to talk to. Which is not true the people who she used to talk to sort of avoid her because she is so angry and negative. My husbands sister is my best friend has been for 40 years and my mother used to call her all the time and talk to her and go places with her and me. My sister in law lost her temper one day with my mother and now my mother doesn’t call her and is jealous of her relationship with my children. She thinks they love their Aunt more than her. My daughter worked 2 jobs and went to college full time while keeping an almost 4.0 GPA. When my mother would ask her to go somewhere and my daughter would say no I have homework or I am tired my mother would make her feel guilty. Never taking into consideration the stress she was under and the hard work she was putting in. When I defend my daughter I have to hear Damn it why don’t you ever take my side. My father died 18 years ago and my mother still grieves like it was yesterday. I am not saying she shouldn’t but she should be thankful for all she has. If you piss her off she will write you off and never contact you again. She has done it with her cousin and a good friend. I want to be friends with her but she makes it impossible. I can’t joke with her, I can’t ask her to not do something that makes me uncomfortable or embarrasses me when we are in public. If I do I am always criticizing her and she get quiet and nasty. She doesn’t ask for help even though she has severe RA and can’t handle many things which then makes more work for me in the long run. I see no end in sight and I am feeling the pressure. My blood sugar is all messed up and my weight is out of control. I work a full time job in the health field and have Fridays off which my mother seems to think is her day for me to run somewhere with her. I try to explain that I do have things I need to get taken care of at home to no avail. I just make her angry and she goes off by herself. I feel lost and cheated because this is not the mother I grew up with and I guess I expected (rather naively I now see) that that was who I was going to be helping in her aging years. Not this angry nasty it’s all about me person whom I do not even recognize. The guilt I feel is slowly eating away at me. I am sick of hearing people say just be glad you still have her I would love to have my mom back. Just because she is my mother does not make it easy to deal with her and just because I don’t really like her much these days doesn’t mean I wish her any ill will but some nice words once in a while would be nice. Oh well like this article says I am never going to change her so thank you for letting me vent rant and rave.

    • I say let her go off by herself, as long as she’s safe to do so. I strongly encourage you to take better care of yourself. I know it’s easier said than done but you can’t help others, if you’re in poor health and burned out. Do one thing for yourself today, even if it’s just 60 seconds of deep breathing! Thanks for your comment. It will help others to know they aren’t alone…

  7. Thank you. You put words and meanings to what i am going through. Praise God for you posting this for me!

  8. I am caregiving for my narcissistic mother and it is just hell on Earth. That’s all I can say. Narcissism is a curse out of hell, I wouldn’t wish anyone to have to deal with someone with this personality disorder. I tried going “no contact” with her – not completely but largely – and so she developed a horrible disease. Now I have to care for her. I feel like I’m losing my mind. I don’t know how long I can last. I can never do enough, it is NEVER good enough. She has moments of thanking me and being grateful, but those don’t last. And if I ever need to take care of my own life, or go away for any time, she is angry. If there is some little thing she wants and I don’t comply, she is angry. I could move mountains for her, but the mountain will never be put just where she wants it. Hell, I tell you.

  9. I found this blog post at just the right time. I’m 45 and caring for my 87 year old mother who has COPD and congestive heart failure. My siblings (two brothers and a sister all live out of state). She currently lives alone but the time will come when she has to move in with me and my husband. I dread that day. Despite her poor health, her mind is all there and she takes every opportunity to either subtly or bluntly insult me or hurt my feelings. In the past, she has told me how well her sons made out in life, but her daughters, not so much…insinuates that my husband is cheating on me…comments on my weight (always comments when I gain but nothing when I lose – I’m a yoyo dieter)…what I should be doing for my children (never enough)…how my children are lazy and unmotivated and all the things they should be doing…how my brother’s children are so talented but saying nothing about my children’s accomplishments…the list goes on.

    I dread her phone calls. I dread having to do for her (although I do her grocery shopping, take her to doctor appointments, etc). I’m most mad at myself for never standing up for myself. This has been a lifetime of insults. When I’ve tried to talk to her, she says she’s too old to change her ways or that I’m too sensitive. I’m at a loss as to how to respond except to just keep my distance. A few days will go by and she’ll call me and try to make me feel guilty. I can never do enough. Ever.

    But now as she gets older and close to the end of her life (a year, 2?), I feel the responsibility of caring for her. I’m just not up to the task although I try. I’m just not sure whether to have a talk with her or just keep ignoring the insults and try not to take them personally.

  10. Thank you for your article. My sister and I have lived with our narcissistic parent for 18 years of our childhoods and both of us couldn’t wait to get out of the house. Unfortunately, my sister moved away, and now that my mother is elderly, I became the person she relies on the most for help. She does not live with me, nor could I ever have her live with me. Thankfully she has enough means that she can afford full-time caregivers or move to an assisted living facility. She had a serious fall about 7 months ago, and was in a skilled nursing facility for 5 weeks. She created havoc there and begged and begged for me to get her out, saying these people were criminals because they put light restraints on her to get her to stay in bed, as she kept getting up and falling. The doctors in the skilled nursing facility, as well as her own geriatric-specialty physican diagnosed her with mild cognitive dementia. They advised me to take over her finances, which I did. I took her back to her own house, and hired full-time caregivers after I became the executor of her trust. I now pay all her bills, and she is continually ranting on and on about how she wants the trust back. I take her to her appointments, get her groceries for her, etc. twice a week (that was my boundary.) She has fired 2 caregivers and is now on her 3rd. Some old loyal friends of my parents are now entering a retirement home, and they invited her to join them, in her own unit. She has been considering this for months, has seen the place 3 times, and cannot make up her mind. She is threatening to get an attorney to take me to court and get the trusteeship back. I told her if she did, she would not only lose me as her daughter, but she would not prevail because her doctors have declared that she has dementia. But she knows better than anyone else. I have set many boundaries with her, but she is elderly, and I feel obligated to make sure she is taken care of. However I recognize that I may need to see a therapist who specializes in this area. Do you have a network of references?

    • Go talk to any professional in your town. You dont need help in the brain. You just need a sounding board. Pay them to listen. It is the best advice my own sister gave me. God Bless your efforts. Btw , if she is declared incapacitated by her doc, have him write a statement and record it with your county recorder. She will have no fight if you are oin her trust as her sucessor.

  11. i disagree with your theory that we should find compassion for Narc elderly mothers.. i am going to run for the hills to save myself.. i will lose my sanity if i have to live with her a day longer..my compassion i have for her will be used against me..i know that

    • If you need to go Lynn, dont feel guilty- you deserve your life too. Our parents had theirs. My mom did little for the elderly before her. That is what paid homes are for.

  12. how do I get my elderly mother to do more for herself w/o being mean — she can but will not do the simplest things for herself like she’s a queen who needs all this help when she clearly does not. It makes me so mad because she is able in so many ways but puts on airs like she cannot do anything for herself and needs everyone else to do it for her – the more the better. It is sickening and I refuse to go along with it – my sister thinks I am cruel and heartless – I think if you can help yourself, you should do so to the best of your ability, regardless of age or illness.

    • Having the same problem here. Some things my mom can do for herself. But she will guilt trip you into doing them for her. I actually saw her grin one time after an argument over making coffee in which that is something she can do and does when I’m at work.

  13. I don’t necessarily agree that the narcissism comes from childhood, but that they are born with it, some genetic issue that could be made worse by other mentally ill relatives from childhood, which is probably common. My mother is 90 and has so many of the traits. I am 61 and recently lost two immediated family members within 3 months of each other. I was barely able to think straight, and here comes my mother to stay with me due to her financial troubles. I couldn’t think well enough to wait on her hand and foot and she never told me exactly what I could do to help her while I sleep or what she wants. She blows up because I don’t read her mind. My way is to not respond in anger. She then says I’m too dumb to even talk. If I try to explain myself, then I am said to be treating her like a dog and yelling at her. She can’t see well and won’t wear her hearing aid. Nothing is very physically wrong except a possible hiatal hernia that she won’t go get checked out. If she doesn’t go with another relative next month I’m contacting nursing homes or assisted living places. I can’t take the abuse, and my husband, who could have helped keep her in check is one of my family who died.

    • Check her in sweetie, she is out of her previous mind and you took her as far as you could!!! She deserves nursing care and you deserve your life back. She will think she is in a resort with all the attention she will get. Become her visitor, her champion, her friend that takes her flowers. You did great. God Bless all of your efforts!

  14. It absolutely is Hell on earth. Your reward will come in heaven. Do what you can and check her in if at all possible. Both caring for and providing a care provider for ( your parent) are both” honoring thy parents”. God Bless you for all you could do!

  15. Check her into a care facility if necessary. You are too young to end up with a stress related disability. Caring for and finding a care provider for ( your parents) are both acceptable options. You have “honored your mother” either way. God Bless you for doing what you could.

  16. Thank you so much for this article. The comments though really show me that I’m not alone. Thanks to all of you who shared.

    I have been reading about narcissim off and on for years at a therapists suggestion. Now my cousin and I find ourselves in the position of taking care of our narcissistic mothers. Two sisters who live together. My mother has Stage IV cancer and my aunt has COPD. We are doing our absolute best and it is not appreciated. They swear they are cooperating but continue to undermine what is being done to take care of them and their finances. We recognize the need to set boundaries, to let the insults go, to take care of ourselves first but it is extremely difficult to keep up every day. This weekend I’m taking a break. I keep getting sucked in because this is all so very sad. My mother gets very sweet when she is feeling bad and I forget about the narcissism. I forget. Then some insane issues arises that it drives me crazy. I will keep trying with all these suggestions and reach out for more help to take better care of myself.

    The situation my cousin and I are in is absolute hell, like others have mentioned. We try to let them have some control over their care but don’t know what to do when their actions put us in a situation where it makes things more difficult for us.

    I know that this is all temporary. I know I will be better and stronger as a result of all these experiences. Growing through this is the ultimate challenge.

    • One thing a client taught me recently is the importance of mourning the loss of what was and what will never be, in order to move forward with an open heart. I think this is so true when it comes to coping with a narcissistic parent. They will never be the parent that provides you comfort and expresses wholehearted gratitude. Mourn that loss, forgive them and do the best you can for her. In the forgiveness, you’ll find the peace you deserve. I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful weekend! thanks for stopping by…

  17. What do you do when you have set boundaries many times and the elder refuses to go with it. Also, what do you do when you have brought in professionals for help and they can’t help you or even direct you in the right path to find professional help. By the way, I’m an only child and have a family of my own, but taking care of my manipulative father is killing us all.

    • Sometime there are no answers. I would highly recommend you reach out to a counselor or psychotherapist to help you with your particular situation. In the end, the only thing we control is how we care for ourselves. Hang in there, I know it’s not easy…

  18. Wow I’ve been doing some research on the narcissistic selfish grandparents and parents. For almost 4 years now I have been taking care of my ill and obese mother and narcissistic abusive grandmother. My mother has become quite the manipulator in order to get her way and have her mother cared for as she has stated many times she does not want to do that for her. My father and brother passed away within months of each other which brought me into this situation. I was horribly abused by my father from the age of 3 till I was 17. He was prosecuted and my mother stayed with him and my grandmother reminds me all the time that she suspected something like that but never said anything. Just saying… so you know the two individuals and I am trying to help. When I arrive to help I let my mother know that I was here because of my love for them and that I did not and was not hopeful for that in return. I told them that I wanted to be here to help them but if that one goes away so do I. My grandmother is quite wealthy and thinks that she can waive that carrot in my face thinking that’s important to me. It’s not. Since I have been here I have gotten a divorce from my husband as he decided this was not going to be his retirement plan, filed bankruptcy, living in the basement, have not unpacked my belongings since I moved here almost 3 1/2 years ago, lost precious time with my seven grandchildren and children living in another state. Only to end up at this point understanding that I have totally wasted my time here. Both of them have the money to be placed in assisted-living or a nursing home. I am absolutely positive I will be making those arrangements after the Christmas holidays and then I will return home to be with my kids and grandkids. I’ve had enough! I guess they’ll understand then what their checkbook means to me, zero!!! I have absolutely no understanding of how these two people could be so selfish, ungrateful and feel like they’re entitled to my care and I am expected to do what they want when they want it without much of a delay. I have been very good to them and giving them a very high-quality care since I’ve been here. I am blessed that I have God, it has kept my sanity. He constantly reminds me that in all the years he has not been able to touch their hearts either; so I need not try so hard and get out of his way. I have to certainly agree with that way of thinking. I am excited that I am letting go and letting God take over. I leave with no regrets, and do not plan to look back, I gave all I had to give, I have no more to give! I did not go into great detail of what they have put me through, I have read a lot of the comments and I would imagine most of you already know from your own experiences. I have been the 24/7 caregiver, and with their several long (35 mins. spending time in front of the mirror) nightly bathroom trips, extremely exhausted! I’m lucky to be leaving with my mind, health and my life. – Best wishes to anyone having to endure this situation! I truly believe you can change your life in 5 minutes. I am planning to do that after the first of the year!!

  19. Thank you for your reply. I have found peace with the situation and adore my children for offering up so many opportunities for me to rebuild my life when I go home to Texas in April. Can’t wait to feel loved and appreciated again!❤️️

  20. My mother is definitely a narcissist. I have
    tried my whole life to have a relationship with her, but she insists on making me miserable and constantly tried to pit me against my brothers while they were alive. Because I am the only surviving child, you would think that she would understand that life is precious and change her ways. Unfortunately that’s not how it is. My sons and my nephew (my mother’s grandchildren) are now who my mother plays against me and them against each other. Her on going game is who is in my will. At a family function she happily told me who was getting what when she died. She added with a smirk “You’re getting nothing. That’s because you’ve gotten plenty from me all your life and I know if I left you anything you would waste it anyway.” I just looked at her and replied, “do whatever you want, I have lived this long without it why should I care?” She then said “My boys” (meaning grandsons) “are getting my money, no one else. Not their wives or girlfriends. They deserve my money and my house – not you though” I told her I heard her and didnt care. But the truth is, it hurts very much. It’s definitely not about the material things or money (let’s face it money could help most people right? And yeah I definitely could use a new furnace or pay some bills too). It’s her final insult to me, like I’ve never been alive, disposable and worthless. I have taken care of her following major surgeries, roofing problems, getting good repair people for her (who she fired and hired bad ones who she had to take to court), got her back on the senior bus when her mouth got her in trouble, and this is just the small stuff. I take the abuse and insults, then whine to my kids about it. I feel so at odds with myself and hurt so much. Nothing I can say to this miserable woman will ever matter, nothing I do matters a bit. Just wish there was though.

    • It’s so sad to hear the pain in your words; my heart goes out to you. I’m amazed at the commitment you show in seeing that she’s take care of. It’s one thing to put up with abuse that’s related to dementia but it’s another story, when the abuse is from an ongoing personality issue. I would only ask that you consider committing to your own self-care so you can start healing. You deserve that much. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. Best of luck to you…

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