Tag Archives: caregiving

My New Book Is Available!

I have just published my newest book entitled, “The Truth About Elderly Narcissists”.  It’s all about identifying their changing abusive behaviors, finding ways to cope with them while taking care of yourself, coping as a caregiver, as well as things to consider if you opt to go no contact.

 

This book is available in ebook & print formats on my website at:

 

http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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New Book Idea- Elderly Narcissists

Recently I was involved in a discussion about how little information there is available for those with elderly narcissistic parents, including caring for them.  It gave me an idea- write a book on the topic.

 

I have already started writing an outline & have some ideas.  But, I’d like to hear from you, Dear Reader.  I don’t want to miss anything on this topic.  If there is any topic you’d like explored or if you have stories to include, please let me know.  I won’t divulge your name to protect your privacy.  You can comment on this post or email me privately at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

 

Thank you!  I look forward to hearing from you!  x0xo

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What Do You Owe Your Narcissistic Mother?

So many adult children of narcissistic parents struggle when their parents become elderly or ill.  They feel that because these people birthed & raised them, that they owe their parents everything at any personal cost, & the narcissistic parents feed that false belief.

 

The truth is, Dear Reader, you only owe your parents one thing- to honor them.  Exodus 20:12 says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (KJV)  Many people upon reading that verse think that means they have to blindly obey their parents, no matter their age, no matter how their parents treat them.  That is simply not true however!!

 

You must understand what honor truly means.  According to the Merriam Webster’s website, honor in this setting means, ” a showing of usually merited respect : recognition <pay honor to our founder>”  Basically, you treat someone with courtesy & respect when you honor them.  You don’t cuss them out when you get angry, you don’t manipulate them, you don’t abuse them in any way, you don’t lie to them.

 

There is also this little gem in Acts 5:29: “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”  (KJV)  In other words, obey God before you obey your parents.  If you’re like most of my readers, this Scripture provokes a great deal of anxiety in you.  You know when your parents want you to do something for them, they demand it be done in a prompt matter, no excuses!  Not doing their bidding means you’ll have to pay & pay dearly.  Disobeying them can be a daunting prospect to say the least.  However, as a Christian, it is also good for you to follow it in spite of your fears.  God never gives bad advice!  Obeying Him will be more rewarding than disobeying them will hurt you.  I’ve had to do this myself.  Yes, it can be very scary, but clinging to the fact that God is good, loves me & wants the best for me helped me to obey him.  Also, once you do it, it gets easier the next time, then the next time, & so on.

 

Keeping these two points in mind, along with prayer, can help you to decide what you owe your narcissistic, ailing parents.  Do not allow anyone to tell you what to do.  No one but you is living your life.  You are the only one who can decide what you are & are not able to do regarding your narcissistic parents, preferably with the help of God.

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The Benefits Of Feeling Useful

If you’re a caregiver to an elderly parent or grandparent, there is a little something you need to know that will make your job more pleasant & improve the patient’s mood.

People need to feel useful.  Even if a person isn’t physically able to do much, that person still needs to feel like they are capable of doing things.  It can warm even the coldest heart when a person knows they have a purpose.

When collecting firewood for the winter, our neighbor helped out my husband.  He is in his late 70’s & has quite a few health problems.  Not only did he load his pick up full of wood, he helped my husband unload it.  He was obviously very proud of his accomplishment, as he should have been!

When I was helping to care for my narcissistic grandmother in 2000, it was not a pleasant experience.  She was a narcissist, & a very mean, cold, manipulative person.  One day, she wanted applesauce.  I assumed this meant she had a jar on a shelf somewhere, but I was wrong- she wanted homemade.  Since I didn’t know how to make it, she taught me.  That was one of only a couple of nice days I shared with my grandmother.  As we both peeled & cored apples, we talked.  She told me stories about her family as she showed me what to do.  It was a surprisingly pleasant day.  She was enjoying herself as she worked.

Although it’s no one’s job to make another person feel good about themselves, it’s a good idea to let people know how much you appreciate their help or what a good job they did so they feel useful.  It truly brightens their day & makes them feel good.

If you’re a caregiver, it is also a good idea to give someone you’re caring for tasks to do that you know they are capable of handling because a person who sits back & does nothing while others do everything can get depressed.  She may even feel like she has no reason to live, because she isn’t a contributing member of society anymore.  Or, if the person you’re caring for is a narcissist, she will love the fact she has people at her beck & call.  My grandmother was that way.  She had no problem demanding I come do something for her at any time, no matter what I had going on in my life.  One night at 9:30, when I was about ready for bed, she called my mother who had my father call me to tell me I had to get to her home right away.  Why?  Because when I wrote down her list of what medicine to take when, I scratched out something & she couldn’t read through the scratches.  I had to go to her house & explain that I’d made a mistake, that was why I scratched out what I had.  Just ignore it & focus on the things I’d written down.  *sigh*  Obviously it was all about control, but I was unaware of that at the time.

Even a malignant narcissist like my grandmother could be changed (temporarily but it still counts!) by simply making her feel useful.  Giving her small things to do that she was physically able to easily do made a difference in her behavior.

Also, if you give a task, do so respectfully!  Just because someone is older or frail doesn’t mean they are unworthy of respect.  Please & thank you are phrases that go a long way with someone!  And, don’t treat that person like a child.  That does NOT go over well, & understandably so!

Don’t forget too, to say you could use some help.  That helps to make the person feel  useful rather than feeling patronized.  With the applesauce, I made sure to tell my grandmother I needed some help that day since I had no clue what I was doing.  Once she realized she was being useful, her mood drastically improved.

This advice isn’t only for the elderly or sickly, by the way.  Everyone needs to feel like they have a purpose!

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Narcissists Change Their Tactics Over The Years

In my lifetime, I’ve known many narcissists.  One thing they all share in common is that they change their tactics as they get older.

When I was growing up, my mother was the bold, it’s my way or the highway kind of overt narcissist.  She would do anything she wanted to accomplish whatever her goal was, not caring how abusive it was, so long as there were no witnesses.  Now that she is in her mid 70’s, she has become much craftier.  Gone are the days when she would wait until we were alone, then scream in my face, calling me horrible names & accusing me of terrible behaviors.  Now, her abuse is much more subtle.  In fact, unless you’re familiar with narcissism, you wouldn’t even know she was being abusive. And, she likes witnesses.  If my mother & I are in public, often with my father, I can count on her attacking me viciously & quietly.  Barely audibly, she will insult my car, pets, writing or anyone or anything that means something to me.  I have no doubt she is trying to provoke me into yelling at her, so others will see what a terrible daughter I am to my sweet, elderly mother.

My father, the covert narcissist, has always been subtle.  When I was growing up, he feigned ignorance & inability to help me regarding my mother’s abuse, making him sound more like her victim than I was.  I often reassured him instead of him reassuring or protecting me.  Occasionally he still tries this tactic but it’s rather rare. Instead, he complains to me about his bad marriage (something he’s always done) & tries to stir up problems between my mother & I.  He also now enjoys challenging my boundaries & using guilt trips/criticisms disguised as jokes then telling me not to be upset when I confront him.  “Now now, don’t you go getting upset..I was just teasing” has become possibly my least favorite phrase in the English language.

The worst case of a narcissist changing their tactics I’ve heard of though is from a friend of mine.  Her mother was an overt narcissist & her father covert.  Her mother was incredibly violent & vicious to her children.  Her father wasn’t home much due to his job, so he didn’t see a lot. He claimed that he didn’t know just how bad she treated the children (I guess he missed the bruises & broken bones?) & that he couldn’t stop her.

Shortly after her mother died, her father married another woman, who was much like my friend’s mother.  This woman didn’t want him to see his now adult children, & he told them there was nothing he could do about it.

Once she died, he expected his children to take care of him.  They do everything for him from making his bed to cleaning his house to paying most of his bills.  My friend’s father demands this & will go to great lengths to be sure his children do these things & more for him.  Once a covert narcissist, he became a very overt one.

Dear Reader, you need to be aware of these things, because your narcissistic parents will change too.  You need to be able to adapt your behaviors to fit in with theirs if you plan to continue having a relationship with them.

Some things are a given when dealing with any narcissist- you need to have & enforce good boundaries & show them no emotions, for example.  Other things however, you may need to change, such as if your narcissistic mother tries to stir you up in a public place like mine does, avoid public places with her as much as possible.  If your father suddenly likes to portray himself as a helpless old man when you know he isn’t, you will need to let him do what he can on his own.

If you are unable or unwilling to go no  contact with your narcissistic parents, you are going to have to learn to be very firm in some areas, while very flexible in others.  Always be firm with your boundaries, staying emotionless in their presence, providing them minimal information on your life & limiting your time with them.  But, be flexible enough to know when things are changing & your old ways to deal with them aren’t working anymore or you need to find new ways to deal.  Get creative- ask God to help you in that area if you aren’t sure what to do.  Remember Matthew 10:16 “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.” (MSG)

As difficult as it may sound, you truly can handle this.  God never gives you more than you can handle, although it may feel that way sometimes.  Follow His guidance, common sense, your intuition & remember what you know about narcissists, & you will be just fine.  Remember my post about my last visit with my parents?  If not, please read it now.  It is proof that God cares & helps us even with our narcissistic parents.  If He helped me become the much stronger, capable person I’ve become, He certainly will help you as well.

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Lessons Learned & Question Answered

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I thought I’d share some things with you today…

I am gaining a new appreciation & respect for dreams as of late.  All of my dreams seem to have some valuable message in them these days.  I seldom understand them immediately, so I look up various symbols on my favorite dream interpretation site, http://www.dreammoods.com, jot notes down, ask God what it all means & wait for His answer.  It comes fairly quickly & is always eye opening.  God truly speaks to us via our dreams!  You would be wise to start paying attention to yours as well.

I also learned something valuable Sunday while at my parents’ house.  In typical narcissistic mother fashion, my mother tried to shame me for liking a couple of things she doesn’t like.  Obviously, something is wrong with me because I’m different than her yanno!  lol  As she was making absolutely certain I knew this, a joke I absolutely love popped into my mind…

These 2 proper Southern belles were sitting on a veranda, drinking mint juleps & talking.  The one said to the other,

“You see this diamond necklace?  My husband gave that to me when we got married.”  

The second said, “Well ain’t that nice?”  

“You see this pearl bracelet?  My husband gave that to me when our son was born.”  

“Well ain’t that nice?”

“You see that Jaguar in the driveway?  My husband gave that to me for our anniversary last week.”  

“Well, ain’t that nice?”  

“Speaking of anniversaries, you & your husband had one recently.  What did he get you?”  

“He paid for me to go to charm school.”  

“Charm school?  What on earth did you learn there?”  

“I learned how to say well ain’t that nice instead of who gives a ****?”  

As my mother was finishing up her shaming me because I said I kind of like mincemeat pie & she doesn’t, I simply said, “Well, ain’t that nice?”  My mother is from PA- a northern woman through & through- so she just looked at me funny when I said that, & changed the subject immediately. My father, however, is from VA, & thoroughly Southern.  He knew what that meant even though I’ve never told him that joke, so he snickered a bit.  I realized saying that joke’s punchline worked very well for me.  I was able to tell my mother her opinion means nothing to me in a respectful way, & she stopped that shaming thing that irritates me so badly.  I’m thinking “well, ain’t that nice” is going to be said a LOT in my near future.  You may want to try this one with your narcissistic mother too.  😉

Speaking of my parents, I’ve had several people ask me lately why I’m helping my parents out.  Considering how poorly my mother has treated me as I’ve been helping her plus my own health issues, why even try?  I thought I would answer this question here.  I guess it’s because I’m my parents’ only child.  They don’t have any other family they can rely on besides me.  Yes, they can hire help (which I’m working on getting that going- I can do some, but more help would be very nice), but I want to at least try to help out.  This has been a learning experience for me, too.  I’ve come to realize I was thinking more like their child instead of their daughter, & am changing that.  I’ve gotten stronger with setting/enforcing boundaries.  I’m learning new ways to cope with nastiness & gaslighting (such as the “well ain’t that nice” comment).  I’m also getting better at self-care out of sheer necessity.  I’ve found local resources that may prove to be valuable to them as well, so while they are not in dire need of a lot of help at the moment, if, God forbid, that happens, we will know where to turn.  So, as difficult as things are, at least I’m getting some good from it while providing them with the help they need.

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Another Interesting Dream To Share

Good morning, Dear Readers!
I had another very interesting dream the other night, & I thought I’d share it with you.
I dreamed that I was staying alone at a very nice hotel.  Not the most expensive, fanciest hotel, but very pretty & nicely appointed.  I walked through the lobby admiring how pretty it was.  Although I was well aware of the usual feelings of agoraphobia, I was able to manage them, & did it quite well.  I was rather comfortable in this scenario, although a bit nervous.  I had peace about being there.
I was confused when I woke up.  I’m not a fan of staying in hotels.  Never have been.  I prefer my own bed.  So, I went to my favorite dream interpretation site, www.dreammoods.com, & looked up what hotels mean.  This is what the site had to say…
Hotel 
To see a hotel in your dream signifies a new state of mind or a shift in personal identity. You are undergoing some sort of transition and need to move away from your old habits and old way of thinking. You need to temporarily escape from your daily life.
Immediately, I knew what this meant.
Lately, I’ve been going through changes what with helping out my parents.  I haven’t handled it as well as I wish I had because a part of me still feels like their “child” instead of their “daughter.”  I need to remember that I am no longer a child, & do not need to respond to my mother’s games like one or accept being treated like one.  I have every right to step up & set & enforce my boundaries even more now that I am spending more time with my mother.  Helping her is affecting me, & that is not acceptable!  
I thought this may benefit you as much as it has me, Dear Reader.  You too are no longer a child, under your parents’ authority.  It can be difficult to switch your mind set in that way, but it is necessary, especially with a narcissistic parent who treats you as if you are still a child.  Really though, unless you are under 18, the law considers you an adult.  Chances are if you’re reading this, you have your own job, family, home… you are an adult!  You need to act as such & expect to be treated as such.  Most of my fans are in their 30’s & 40’s.  I’m 43.  We’re all grown ups!!  It’s only reasonable to remember that & act accordingly!
Also, this dream showed me that the idea I had of taking Tuesdays off is a good one- it gives me one day a week to myself to relax & recover from the rigors of helping my folks.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking some down time.  Everyone needs to take care of themselves mentally & physically.  I know, most narcissistic mothers have told their children repeatedly how lazy & useless they are, so that is deeply ingrained in us.  If you believe it, ask God to show you the truth.  What He has to say will be very interesting.  For example, He has shown me I’m not lazy- I believe in working smarter not harder.  Basically, this is how cats are.  Some people think cats are lazy, but the truth is they are mighty hunters.  They need to conserve as much energy as possible so they have plenty to expel when they hunt, which is why they sleep so much.  While I obviously am no hunter, I prefer to save my energy for the tasks that are most important to me, as hunting is to cats. 
I hope this has helped you, Dear Reader, as it has helped me.  ❤

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Continued Adventures In Caregiving

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

Sunday was only my second day helping my parents, but it was a really rough one both mentally & physically. So rough in fact, I realized that I can’t keep doing this. I can offer some help, sure, but on a very limited basis. Mentally I’m not very strong anymore. Then physically, I have bad knees so a lot of things are just too painful for me to do. I’ve been doing my parents’ laundry, as my father is now unstable on his feet after his stroke, & my mother claims her back pain is too bad to go up & down those steps. She has been wanting to have the washer & dryer moved upstairs from the basement, but has been dragging her feet on the issue. The next time I see my parents on this coming Sunday, I am going to tell her it needs to be done soon, & if not, then I will arrange to have help come into their home that they can pay for.

In order to discuss this topic with my narcissistic mother, I was given some very valuable advice. Something I hadn’t thought of. Make it all about her. If I told my mother I wasn’t able to do certain things because of my knee pain, she wouldn’t care. But, if I tell her that my knees make me unable to do things, which could cause her problems, she’ll be more interested. And, this winter is supposed to be a bad one with a lot of snow here in MD. I live on a major highway, which means I get plowed in. The highway may be clear, but there is a wall of solidly packed snow created by snowplows at the end of my driveway that means I can’t get out quickly or easily. This would affect her! I’ll just leave out the part that it’s frustrating when I get plowed in. This seems like a very good way to handle discussing things of this nature with any narcissist, I think. Every child of a narcissistic parent knows their parent doesn’t care about them unless what happens affects them somehow.

I have begun researching getting some help to be prepared. I looked into their insurance to see if they have long term care coverage, which they don’t. Long term care coverage is a wonderful thing- it pays for health care workers or nurse to come into their home & help them out in various ways.

Since that didn’t work out, I then found this link which directed me to my local caregiver support network in my county.

http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/AoA_Programs/OAA/How_To_Find/Agencies/Find_Agencies.aspx?sc=–&cc=&#8211;

This has been a very helpful place for me to start. They told me an evaluation would need to be done (free) by a social worker before help can be hired, & provided me that phone number. They also gave me references to local home health care workers (they’re the people who do chores, laundry, & such), a directory of various services available in this state for seniors, info on a caregiver support group & much more. I learned that certain injuries or illnesses may be entitled to specific benefits. For example, my father has a traumatic brain injury, & there are special services available for him.

Here is another link with some good information as well:

http://www.ncoa.org/get-involved/i-am-older-adult-caregiver.html

My father also gave me a paper with some information on it that he got from his last hospital stay, too. Apparently many medical records can be available online & this paper had all the information I needed to access it. This is very handy as I can read exactly what the doctors have said & how they are treating him.

As for myself, I’m realizing that I need to take a day off each week to recover physically & mentally. Tuesdays work well for this for me, so I now plan to goof off each Tuesday. It gives me something to look forward to.

I hope this information helps any other caregivers who may be reading this. ❤

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The Elderly Psychopathic/Narcissistic Parent: The Motive For Caregiving and/or Continued Involvement

Very good & informative article about caring for a narcissistic parent

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October 20, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds you enjoying your Sunday.

I just thought I’d pop in to give an update on Pretty Boy & thank everyone for your prayers.  THANK YOU!!!!  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your prayers, well-wishes & concern for my little man, as does my husband.  🙂

Today makes the third day since we’ve been to the vet & received his diagnosis.  He seems to be doing a bit better.  He is a little more active- more cuddly (like his old self) & he even “killed” the ring off a milk jug lid last night & howled proudly to show off his accomplishment.  I hope & pray this is a good sign, that the liver problems he’s having are related to the diabetes, because at least that is most likely fixable.  

What a journey it is, having a sick pet.. it is like having a sick human baby- they can’t verbalize exactly what they are feeling, so you have to do your best to figure out what the problem is & the best way to treat it.  It isn’t easy, that’s for sure!  But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.. the constant, unconditional love that my pets give me makes any problems worth the while.  🙂

 

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