Caring for elderly parent - Mother

Hello everyone, well I and my daughter I would say are part-time carers and only do some of the care work, part of the care work as listed here - goodness what a comprehensive, exhausting list. I’m exhausted just reading it! However, I could add to it…there is a lot you have to tolerate when you are living with an elderly person sometimes. We are talking about my mother who is nearly 88 years old. I am pretty sure that she has what they call Narcissistic Personality Disorder. So I/we have to listen most of the time to complaints, complaints about her body, complaints about me, complaints about a whole variety of people family, friends, builders right back to those who she knew as a young adult and as a child. And I / we have to listen to endless repetition of these complaints. Also we have to listen to accusations and very melodramatic exclamations relating to domestic issues.

One such complaint was about the floor of the shower which had a few bits on it, the reason is because although I did as always clean and dry all 3 walls top to bottom and the glass door, I had jumped out and back in and had picked up a few bits on my feet. She came downstairs, sat down with some intense stormy drama and said “Deborah, you are going to have to change your shower gel”, it is creating marks on the shower". So she took me upstairs. When we got to the shower, she bent down to her knees, with great difficulty as her mobility is limited but she loves to make sure that we see her struggling. Then she bent her head lower and lower and lower, close enough to lick the shower floor. “See!” and pointing. So I bent down to take a look and had no problem in pushing around a few bits of shower gel. She said that it was because she had scrubbed, this was not true. She did then realise/remember, as did I that the glass shield had smashed into the shower (a few years back) and actually broken the white ceramic exposing several bits of the black beneath, but they were not marks you could clean off. She started getting very upset and screaming for me to get out after I asked her calmly why are you getting so upset about the cleaning of the floor of the shower? She never apologised to me. It was just one of many episodes relating to cleaning. I will never think of cleaning in the same way again. You need to know that this house is immaculate but as soon as there is a mark or a hair on the carpet, she will bend down and make a big deal of it. It is very trying. Another example, just once we left a small bit of washing up as she had said it was ok to do it in the morning. This was in the kitchen. I still left everything very tidy, floor clean, silver sink dry and shined. She had categorically said several times it was ok to do this, but the next morning, she went crazy, screaming about the washing up even though it was pushed back just as she had asked. It is very disturbing, we never know when she is going to erupt my 88 year old mother like a volcanic. My mother is the epitomy of paranoia as well, conversation when we have one is littered with her asking a question and then me mentioning something and her claiming she has said something which she has not said and which I have said and then her getting all upset; it is very disturbing. I wonder sometimes am I going crazy too! I talk to friends on the phone, good friends.

My mother thinks that she is always right, that she has thought of brilliant ideas first. She claims that she knew absolutely that the economic crash of 2008 was going to happen. And now more currently, she mentioned that she read about an idea about Coronavirus which apparently Donald Trump had but she claimed that it was her idea and she had it before him! She often talks about friends and people she doesn’t know and about their problems, bankruptcy in particular indicating that they had what was coming to them and that she would have never done whatever it was. Or she told them so, warned them not to do whatever, so it was their own fault. She has lost a few friends in this way, I think relatives too. She has no contact with many of her relatives and hasn’t for decades of time. She thinks that she is a wonderful success and she does have a beautiful house but she is all too keen to rub other people’s nose in their misfortune to show them up. She is a very cruel person and she completely lacks empathy. This being part of Narcissistic Personality Disorder I believe.

Unfortunately I and my daughter are homeless, we were renting somewhere but there were plumbing issues which were not fixed, we returned to live with my mother and then had to stay because of COVID 19, we are still stuck and I have lost my job. My father died when I was a baby, he had a property business, hence why my mother partly has a house however she also frequently criticises him saying that he knew how to spend money but not how to keep it, also that he was a terrible mess, so much so that he could have got in a lot of trouble if it had not been for her. She also frequently still criticises his relatives “spongers”, his friends who would go to dinner with them but forget their wallet, so my father would always pay. So many complaints and I have listened over decades of time…so this isn’t just when she has been in her eighties. Am I a mug?

it’s difficult if you are currently living with your Mum in her house and have no viable means of escape.

I think if it were me, I’d be getting out of the house as much as possible - walks, voluntary work, job hunting etc

Are there enough rooms for you to have your own living room?

When she is being negative, I would leave the room and go and do something else - listen to music (headphones), gardening, baking, anything really …

Does she have any hobbies or activities to take her mind off all the things that annoy her? Is it possible to distract her with any of those?

Does she have a befriended? These can be telephone befriends - someone who can ring her and be an outlet for all her woes - safe in the knowledge that once they finish the call, they haven’t got to listen to her for another week!!


I wrote a reply that disappeared!

Shower causing an issue? It still work doesn’t it? No need to go right that moment, you’ll check next time yo use it. Marked tiles? So what. The faster you attend to things the faster new ones will appear. Been there, done that! Do jobs strictly one at a time. “You asked me to do this, so let me finish it before doing another job”. Say things like " I’ll be out Wednesday afternoon.". No apology. No explanation. Your life, your right. Long term, move out. Housing benefit should cover rent.