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Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am very sorry to know about this very frustrating situation.
I am here.
Hi, thank you for joining the chat
The scenario you depict is not an uncommon one. Relationships with elderly parents presenting personaity disorders is are the toughest situations people may face.
She had been this way my entire life. It is getting worse as time passes. Her husband passed in Sept. and she cannot stand to be alone. She has already informed me that I will be responsible for her care if need be. She demanded. I told her I could not leave my job but she replied "so be it" if you lose your job. She does not care about what I want in my life at all. It's all about control.
You have already set physical distance from your mother, but as you said, it is the mental and emotional chronic abuse what continues over all these years, and that is very painful for anybody in your shoes.
So what else can I do? I feel so guilty if I do not ever call her. As if I am a bad daughter, even though she is not a good mother.
Right, it is very clear that's the way she feels, believes she is absolutely right and will continue to demand it
Yes. That's the scenario. I feel trapped.
You need to come to terms with the fact that it is not your fault nor responsibility the fact that your mother has these serious personality-mental health issues, and that as you said, time will only worsen then, but you cannot and should nto afford allowing any form of abuse, no matter from where it comes.
It could be a parent, a sibling, a friend or a stranger, nobody has the right nor should be allowed to use, abuse nor try to manipulate or control you,and your first right and responsibility is to take good care of yourself, setting boundaries and limits, as much as necessary to keep things healthy and fulfilling in your life, understanding that you r mother is an individual with her own views and issues and you cannot do anything about that, but to offer healthy affection and support as long as she allows them.
Ok, I logically understand this, but I still feel bad. I would help anyone else I know, but I don't want to help her nor do I want to hear the constant grinding of negativity and criticism directed at me: I am not good enough no matter what I do. I have read books on NPD and done a lot of work on this, but I am near the end of the road and I have to make some difficult decisions that I can live with. She doesn't know or think she is abusive. But she is for sure. She will not understand this and do I have to attempt to explain myself to her?
Feeling guilty or responsible for it would reinforce a codependent relationship where you continue enabling further abuse. She could and would continue doing everything in her power to try to use, abuse, manipulate and control you, but you are the only one with the power to allow-enable or not such dynamics.
Yes, you are right. I want to stop this insanity. How do I set some boundaries?
So every time that you have shared your feelings to her, confronted her abusive behaviors and tried to set boundaries, she has systematically denied-dismissed them and perpetuated her abusive ways, right?
She denies any fault and says mean things to me.
if you have already done this, confronting unacceptable behavior, set boundaries and it has not worked, then you just need to set new boundaries and stick to them. For example if she is unable or unwilling to respect you, then you would set a new boundary and make it clear that unless she change her behaviors you would not be able to stay in touch with her, no matter how hard and sad it could be for you, since you need to take good care of yourself and not to enable further abuse, which would not benefit anybody.
As soon as she starts being verbally, mentally or emotionally abusive you confront her behaviors and if she does not stop, you have to leave or end the communication,. period. If you stay taking further abuse, no matter how bad you feel, you would continue to enable her abuse.
She has subtle ways of insulting and abusing that are not direct. For example, she has said that when I come to visit her, I just sit there and don't talk to her all day and she feels worse when I leave her home than if I had not come to visit at all. Of course this is not true. I do make conversation with her to my best ability and listen to her endless chatter. So in the case of the types of remarks from her, is this considered abusive? I find it demeaning.
This is abusive too, but she uses denial, avoidance and justifications as ways to manipulate people and make it seems she is a chronic victim. The assertive response is to remind her of reality, not taking her projections as something personal since her thinking, feeling and behaviors are distorted by her disorders, int hat way regardless of what she states in indirect ways or through her version of reality you would be able to stay calm, without attaching to it and making of it an extra pain in your life.
What do you mean by "remind her of reality" in your post?
When it is openly and obviously abusive you would confront the behavior right away, set boundaries and if she does not change her ways, you just need to leave or end the conversation. That way she would know you are not willing to take any more of that. Obviously she would not like that and tell you many mean things, but that's soemthing you cannot control, thus soemthing you do not need to take in your heart or mind.
Easier said than done. But truthful.
If she states you did not talk to her during the whole day leaving her sad and feeling alone, you would remind her of what really happened, that you were there with her, and talked about this and that, that she mentioned these other things and that you said this and that. Thus it would not be a statement without concrete support from reality, you would be reminding her about what actually happened. If she does not want to acknowledge that, no problem, you would have made your best, ***** ***** responsibility but not to take any abuse or distortion.
Absolutely, this is a toughest scenario, but it is necessary and worthy, otherwise you would end enabling further abuse and exposing yourself to endless torments you do not need nor deserve. This is a process you need to work on yourself, challenging but necessary and it would positively impact other core areas of your life for sure.
Set realistic expectation, in that way you would not be fueling further frustration, since there are many things you cannot control, much better to focus on what you can and should control, namely the way you react to her distorted and abusive ways.
Ok, I will try this. Please understand that she "talks over" me a lot. As soon as I begin to speak and state the facts, she get amped up and grand stands. I do understand your advice and it is sound. I am going to work at this I have to for myself. I am sick of feeling bad and will not let her overshadow my life any longer. I know she will react badly, but I am strong enough to press on. This albatross around my neck has to be freed. You hit the nail on the head. I need to change the way I react to her ways. This is new territory for me.
Absolutely, that's the very core of your work, then time would show you how much you could and want to afford around this relationship, but you would be assertively coping and taking good care of yourself, without allowing it to undermine your peace and well-being. I do always suggest individual counseling for everybody in order to work on effectively coping with life issues, and this is a tough one. please consider sound support as a way to help yourself in this process.
Thank you. I am looking in to counseling for myself. I have had difficulty finding anyone taking new clients in my area. But I am determined now. I feel quite satisfied with your answer. I need to go and sign off, but please know how much you have helped me today. I was very distressed and now I have some solutions, goals and support.
You're very welcome. I do support you and your plans. Please commit to work on creating the reality you need and deserve with the right support. Also consider online counseling in case you do not find a competent professional to support you locally. Take good care and consistent action. Thank you for your trust.