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I made a mistake tonight. My husband called, and said that my mom had called a couple of times and needed to speak to him, and that he had gone to talk with her. Of course, I was curious about her decision concerning the assisted living, so I asked what went down. She has decided to move out-she wasn’t even in her new, completed room for ONE WEEK. It would be a week this Sunday night. (After all that shopping, decorating, moving furniture, and lugging things back and forth from rooms, not to mention blood, sweat and tears–literally.) She told him that she wanted control of her life again. (Don’t we all?) But she made the decision, given the choices that the nursing home gave us, to go into assisted living. They said that she would have to have 24 hour care if she went home. (She said that she would run away, if she had to do that.) The other choices were stay in the nursing home and get a private room, or go into assisted living. Assisted living afforded the greatest independence for her, but also a safe, beautiful environment. She even loved the food! Now my brother has agreed to take her home. (So be it.) At least it relieves me of any feeling of continued responsibility for her. We told him that we did not think it was a good decision, but since when did either of them ever listen to anyone? She has dementia, and is no longer capable of giving herself her insulin shots and medications (and all that goes with it.) Even before her injuries, she was often shooting her insulin before she took her blood sugar. A very dangerous practice, as she is not supposed to take insulin if she is under 100.  (She told me that she felt like she needed it anyway, and would sometimes shoot it regardless.) She has gone low unexpectedly frequently (and quickly) in the past. i have saved her life repeatedly.

Whether he will get the caregiver help she needs or not–who knows?  He and his teen-aged son will be moving in. I can’t help but think that he is more concerned with not losing the house-our only inheritance. (I am sure that I will be removed from the will fairly quickly, but that is the least of my concerns.)  

My only concern was always for her welfare, and that she be provided for during her life– not money. (It’s a good thing–cause there isn’t any! Just the house, and money is still owed on it.) At least I no longer feel responsible. I did everything that I knew to do, to get her into a safe place. But he just went right in, and undid all that we had accomplished. She told my husband that she did not intend to use her walker forever, and that she wanted control of her house back. (He said that she was referring to the fact that people check on her every 2 hours at the assisted living-something she needs desperately.)  She complained again about how the nursing home staff would nag her about using her walker. It is obvious that she will rebel wherever she is. I think she resented the fact that she needed asssitance in and out of the shower, in assisted living as well. She will no doubt be doing that on her own also at home. And the other day when she turned down her shower, they said that she would have to take one the next time.  (She does not like to be told what to do by anyone. She would often refuse her showers at the nursing home, and cause quite a stir. Passive aggressive behavior.) And yet, this was a woman who often bathed twice a day at home.

I think I was most upset today about her callousness toward my feelings. I realized as I started crying (after hearing her words), that she would never take responsibility for anything that happened between us. I would always be the villan, and she would always be innocent of everything. I also realized that I don’t have any memories of her ever comforting me, or supporting me emotionally about anything. As I cried from frustration, I told my husband that I did not want to hear anymore from her, as it affected me very badly, and I had been doing a lot better today.

So they have made their choices, and they will have to live with them. She is supposed to give 30 days notice to assisted living, so I don’t know whether she will stay that long or leave. I can now truly walk away from this, knowing that there is nothing that I can do to make her stay in assisted living. Nothing that I can do to ensure that she uses her walker, or that she has help in and out of the shower, or that she has assistance with her insulin and medications. There is nothing more that I can do.

Another thing that really hurt me, was her remark that she didn’t realize it was that difficult on me to take care of her, and if it was, why didn’t I just say so, instead of getting upset. (That would be funny, if it wasn’t so pathetic!!!!) I could never  talk with her about anything. When I honestly told her the other day (in a phone call), that I was in tears, and could she please stay out of the new room long enough for us to finish it, and surprise her, she snapped my head off.

Very belligerently she said, “I told you I wouldn’t go in there, and if I told you I wouldn’t, then I won’t!” (You had to be there, and hear her snippy tone.) Then she added sarcastically, ” I won’t even walk past there, unless you say I can.”

(All of this tirade, just because I wanted to surprise her.) No grace from her, ever.

To try and share my feelings with her is hopeless. She has no empathy, or feeling for anything that I might be going through, and she never has.

But this estrangement is not about her care being difficult (though it was); this is about the way she treats me. (She indicated that if she had said mean things, she didn’t remember them.) Well, she did call me “mean, bitchy, and jealous” in our last phone call, but saying mean things is not what our realtionship was about either. It was about manipulation and control. It was about never being able to please her. It was about feeling invalidated by her. It was about always being called “high strung” and overly sensitive. It was about a lack of mothering and nurturing. It was about pressure and expectations. It was about her “prima donna” attitude. It was about everything always being about her.

After I developed a headache tonight, from the stress of it all, I dried my tears, and realized once again that I am free from her. I no longer have to feel any guilt. I have to let it go. I have to let her go. I am truly free from her. I just haven’t realized it yet…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the post. I’ve been through exactly what you just described. Painful.

    I transitioned my mom to assisted living after she had a stroke in 2005. At the time, I was 33 years old and found very few resources to help families understand the benefits of assisted living, evaluate communities and transition their loved one to them. So I decided to create them!

    Maybe some of them will be beneficial to you should you go through this situation again?

    To help families with this issue, I created Inside Assisted Living – a blog focused on helping families evaluate and transition a loved one to assisted living. I was also curious about what other families were concerned with, so we decided to ask them. We surveyed 195 families about their concerns and preparedness and put them into a free report. Anybody can download it off the Inside Assisted Living blog. All are free.

    I hope this helps your readers. We’re all kind of connected in this strange way, so we have to look out for each other!

    All the best,

    Ryan Malone
    Inside Assisted Living

  2. Hello~

    You have a great blog I will add it to my blog roll.

    I am 54 and have a Narcissist for a mother too. I understand completely what you are going through. We are at that point now where we know it is very close to time to put her in a home and she will fight it tooth and nail. She is 83 and hasn’t any roots anywhere for she moves from place to place and has for years. I wish you all the luck in the world just remember not to blame yourself or let her blame you because it’s not you. As someone said Narcissists don’t get sweeter with age they get meaner.She will not change and you will just have to take care of you and yours and try not to let her hurt you any more.

    It is not you!!!! ~ Bless you and good luck ~ sweetcardomom

  3. Thanks for your advice and encouragement sweetcardomom. I will check out your blog also. Bless you also! Sparkle


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