Has anyone ever had to deal with a family member, specifically a parent that has been diagnosed as having severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder? My aged and ill Mother-in-law was diagnosed by the Hospice team and it is clear that they are correct.
The effect on my family of her behavior has been crippling. Our friends and other extended family members are struggling with us due to our/the health teams actions in dealing with her. They are struggling/upset due to: a.) not understanding, b.) not realizing the manipulation and deceit used by those with this condition c.) pure out and out claims that we are wrong.
I have researched some websites and as much literature as I can muster, but wondered if anyone had any first-hand experience or advice?
Symptoms A person with narcissistic personality disorder may: React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals Have excessive feelings of self-importance Exaggerate achievements and talents Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment Need constant attention and admiration Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy Have obsessive self-interest Pursue mainly selfish goals
^This^ sounds like half the guys I know. Could you tell a few stories of how extreme it is and how it crippled the family.
I will try to make this as short as possible, but include enough detials:
Prior to her being diagnosed with stage 3 b lung cancer, her behaviour was not good, but due to her health we were not forced to be around her/care for her, even though she lives with us. Since her illness and health declining and a few other health issues (broken hip twice, phneumonia, etc.), and that we were told she had 3-5 months to live last November, we elected to try to care for her at home to make the last days as good as possible for my wife (only child) and my daughter (12 1/2 yrs old).
Examples of her behaviour that has created utter chaos/damage. 1.Blatant lies to Hospice staff about her involvment in family decisions. Out and out evil treatment of my wife (saying things like, "having to raise her probably caused me to get cancer" "thank god her dad didn't have to see how big a failure she turned out to be", "everyone can't beleive how good I look with cancer and how bad my daughter looks"
Trying to get my daughter to say wrong/bad things about her mom and me to make her look good.
Ruining any public event we have attended in the last year (weddings/funerals/renunions) by making herself a focus of attention, cornering people and asking them to intervene on her behalf as she "doesn't need to be on hospice, she has been cured"
blatant lies about the care staff, to the point several have actuall quit ( one volunteer said she would never work in this field again due to my MIL claiming that she stole her morphine), such as they slept on the job, stole her drugs, money, drank beer, etc.
When pressed with having to decide to have her go to adult daycare so wife could at least work part-time, she called called adult protective services, child protective services and made claims against us.
When due to her claims and refusal to go to day care on some days, we had no choice but to select an assisted living facility, on the day we moved her she: called and had our cable tv cancelled ( it was the only utility that I didn't have a password on the account), she called the police, Adult Senior protection services, child protective services again, and has since filed charges and a lawsuit for neglect against us because she didn't want to leave.
Has tried to contact all our friends and told them out and out lies that we "hated them" that we are drug addicts, alcoholics, anything she can think of.
Told my daughter while moving that she hoped her shitty parents died and then she would know the "truth".
Refusal to assist with the cost of her care to the point that due to wife's lost wages and her living well past the estimated timeframe. We have exhausted our 401K's, sold all excess items (car, daughters college fund, etc) to allow for us to take care of her in her final days. She has money, not a lot, but enough to assist and if we weren't caring for her, she would have to pay someone else as due to her life decisions she has no family of her own that will have anything to do with her....so it is us. She revels in our struggles and then tries to pacify things by taking wife/daughter shopping or buyng herself expense jewelry (which they refuse and then it made her madder.
Her care was all consuming in that I cooked her 3 meals a day. She was demanding and due to her desire to maintain her weight she was eating more than the other 3 of us together. She refused to ever eat off of paper plates, along with the meals I prepared resulted in at least 2-3 loads of dishes a day. I did her laundry, take her shopping or did her personal shopping for her and if anything was ever not to her liking or schedule she would create some illness related issue to ensure that we either missed a funciton of our daughters or that she would have to miss it as well.
When pressed at her behaviour her response is always the same: "I am sick and this is the least you can do for me".........at a recent funeral of the death of my wife's cousin, a man of 50 who died of cancere.....after the funeral at the dinner she said over and over again "Mark just wasn't as strong as me, he couldn't handle chemo as well as I do, I guess he was weak".......................and I could go on and on...........
I have to agree. There is a huge difference between people pointing out random character flaws and a true disorder that is life disrupting.
Person A may need constant recognition and be overly preoccupied with how they look....but they also go to work everyday, have friends, pay their bills on time and can function in society. You just may not be able to relate to them'
Person B may quit their job to train all day, live in their car just so they can hit the gym so that is where their money goes instead of rent and be physically harming themselves.
I am guessing Person B needs more attention than Person A.
For the record, most people have something wrong with them.
It is the ones who think they don't you have to worry about.
Derek, before her cancer/other illnesses, we just took her as being selfish and mean, but as we could seperate ourselves from her at times, not that big of a deal.......but as we became the ultimate caregiver, and her self centeredness grew, we could no longer escape. The Hospice team were the ones who told us of the disorder and directed us to some professionals for her to be evaluated. we did this just to try and help deal with her, the sad thing is, it has now exposed some of the out and out terrible things she did to my wife in her childhood. Wife is overcame with emotional issues of feeling guilty over not beign able to care for her anylonger and the extreme pain/confusion of her mother telling her that she doesn't love her and never did................
I understood, and agree with your post, if you read the stuff out there, hell everybody's got something and in our/my case, we could deal with it until recently. I personally was not aware of the behaviour associated with the disorder and for the most part would have assumed it was just quirks or "the way she is". But it seems her cancer/illness has amplified some of these traits, the Psychiatrist who evaluated her said the only true solution was total seperation and absolute no contact.......
And Derek I still appreciate the info and advice you provided.
*General comment, the previously listed "symptoms" of narcissm (narcicissm, cissym, cyssym...) seem suspicious to me. I mean that sounds like basically any corporate mid-level manager on up to the CEO or small time entrepreneur.
I wonder if the author isn't a socialist hoping to brainwash the masses away from ambition.
But seriously, Derek, introduce me to this patient.