Good morning, Dear Readers!
It looks like my caregiving days are over with my parents. My mother called me the other day & told me how my father’s health has suddenly taken a turn for the better. He was doing a little light yard work & other things. She asked him if he could resume doing the laundry (she claims her back is too bad to carry the laundry or maneuver those basement steps). She told me he said sure, he can do it, so I don’t need to come by on Sundays anymore.
I’ve been fired! lol
I’m not sure I believe that my father is suddenly doing so much better than he was. It hasn’t even been one month since he had that mild stroke. He’s had really bad dizzy spells & weakness since.
I have a theory on his sudden “miraculous healing.” My mother would rather make him suffer (she knows he won’t disobey her) than respect the boundaries I put up last Sunday.
As I mentioned before, I told my parents last Sunday that I have arthritis in my knees & climbing their basement steps to do their laundry in addition to doing my own thing hurt me. Going in, I knew it would, but didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was. This meant I wasn’t sure how reliable I was going to be in my helping them (when dealing with this situation with a narcissist, turn it around to how it affects them!). My mother has said for years now she wants her washer & dryer moved upstairs, yet has continually dragged her feet on accomplishing this task. I offered to help clear the spot where she wants them, & help get this task done. She said she couldn’t do it, had (lame) reasons why, & deflected off the topic. (When my husband spoke to her on the topic, she even brought out the crocodile tears!) When I said my knees were bad, she shut me out entirely, so I spoke with my father on the topic. I said if they won’t get the washer & dryer upstairs, then I have a number for the county. A social worker will come & evaluate their needs, & let them know what sort of help they qualify for. Even if they don’t qualify, I have more numbers for home health care aides who aren’t very pricey. My parents don’t need much help, so it wouldn’t cost much at all for a little help. My father was all for either solution, & since my mother wouldn’t listen to me, he said he would talk to her. Apparently he did…
When my mother called on Friday, she said my father told her I have bad knees & asked skeptically, “Is that even true?” WHAT?! I told her yes, & as I’ve said many times, I’ve had arthritis in my knees since 2002 when I was 31. She asked if the doctor was talking knee replacement, & I said I haven’t seen a doctor in years about it because I don’t have insurance. She then told me how if I would just lose weight, it’d help. I was shaking at this point due to an emotional flashback. Growing up, my mother was so hard on me about being “fat” (even though I wasn’t), I developed anorexia when I was about 10 & it later morphed into bulimia which I lived with into my teens. At 43 years old, I was shaking with fear & anger just like I did as a child, waiting for her to say the terrible shaming things she used to say to me about how fat & gross I am. Thankfully, it didn’t happen. Instead, she went on to tell me how much worse others in her family have it with their knees & how a knee replacement is no big deal (bet she’d feel differently if she had one!). The rest of the conversation was not any better. Constant snarky, cruel comments followed, criticizing all kinds of things about me. The volume of the criticisms was impressive, even by my mother’s legendary standards.
This is my mother’s new narcissistic rage. Gone are the days of her screaming in my face, calling me awful, degrading names as she did when I was a teenager. Now that she is older & frailer, & I am stronger than her, she won’t do that. Instead, she uses the common weapons of narcissists- invalidation, criticism, gaslighting- as often as she possibly can work into the conversation.
Why the rage? Because I set boundaries. Rather than seeing them as me taking care of myself while also trying to take care of my parents as any emotionally healthy person would, she saw it more as me being disobedient or disrespectful to her. She is so accustomed to being blindly obeyed by everyone, that she simply cannot handle someone not obeying her wishes. I think the plan was for me to continue doing for my parents, & ignoring my own physical pain. She loves to be waited on, just like her mother, & she believes I owe it to her, as her mother also believed of her children & grandchildren.
Anyone who thinks their narcissistic mother will mellow with age is sadly mistaken. Yes, it can happen, but it is rarer than the spotted owl. In my personal experience plus what I have heard talking with other daughters of narcissistic mothers, they get meaner. Just because they don’t scream in your face anymore doesn’t mean they are nicer! Getting older only means their tactics change. They are still as evil & hurtful as they ever were.
On a positive note, I did get an inspiration for another blog post out of that awful phone call that I’ll share tomorrow. It’s full of good information that can help you in relating to a narcissist.