How do you deal with a narcissistic mother who has cancer?
With love and respect. She has cancer. You need to get past
I doubt your mother is narcassistic, but fighting for her life,
or she has been preparing herself for her death. If she is cranky,
teary-eyed, hard on you (the caregiver) then it's all quite normal.
My own mother suffered from Dementia (early signs of Alzheimer's)
and she was very hard on me. I was accuse from everything from
fooling around with her insulin to stalking her. Of course this was
not true, and as hurt as I was I simply would agree with her and
basically "take the beating of verbal abuse." They can't help it
and I dealt with this behavior from her as realizing my mother was
simply a shadow of her former self and had absolutely no control
over her Dementia. This isn't about you, but her. Look at your
mother as a woman first and not just your mother. You've been
together for a long time (good or bad) so finish off the journey
with dignity and if not love (from past hurts) respect and help
your mother die in peace by being there.
I'm not going to go out and say that your mother isn't
narcissistic. She very well may be. I'm not sure what your life has
been like - how old you are, what she's put you through, what
you've put her through... and so on. There isn't really a great and
clear answer to this question in specific, but the most I
can tell you - that anyone can - is to hold your tongue when she
goes on the "world for me, I deserve all" kick, to do whatever you
can to help her be comfortable. There's really not much else you
can do. You're not going to change her this late in the game, I'm
betting, and she's just going to be her. That's it. Don't go
overboard and melt yourself on some fire of martyrdom just to
appease her but don't blow up in her face, either. Keep in mind
it's your mother - you'll miss her when she's gone.
.........Obligatory self-plug: my mother, who was physically and
verbally abusive, bi polar and skitzo [literally] recently died of
cancer... and it matters, very much, now that she's gone..... There
are things you can't foresee feeling, at times - as abstract as
that is, try to keep it in mind. Even though she's narcissistic,
she is a person who tried to raise you. No matter what f-ed up
things she may have done - or things she didn't do that you needed
- she embodies this idea, this "not being alone" in the world,
that's hard to comprehend when she's sitting right in front of you,
being the wacky person I'm sure she can be, judging from the fact
that you felt strongly enough to post this question. Think about
what she means to you, and if she died, what would that do to you?
Do you have hope for her? Do you want a normal mother? Do you feel
like her sickness makes you afraid for that, for the potential loss
of it? Thinking about these things can help you appreciate her in
all her quirks now, before you can't look at her and tell you that
you love her and truly mean it - and be able to see her smile, or
at least know in your heart that you've done the right thing.
- Contact the Cancer Assoc., because there is help for some
assistance in caring for your mother. This will give you a break
and let you get out once in awhile and away from the stress.
- Hire a private nurse to come in every other day or even twice a
week if you can afford it. If not, ask for help from another family
member or a good friend.
It's important that you take all the help you can get from the
Cancer Assoc. Stress isn't good for you and don't feel guilty about
having 'time off' and getting out with friends and enjoying
yourself. If you don't look after yourself then you can't help your
mother. Your mother could well be a narcissist, but, my bet is she
is terrified and treatment for cancer can be hard on a patient. Be
firm with your mother every so often if you feel she is being too
hard on you. She relies on you more than you know and she won't
press too hard for fear you'll walk away. Don't bully her, just be
firm and let her know you have your limitations. If possible try
getting her out into the land of the living even if you have to put
her in a wheel chair.