So do I let my parents struggle, not help, and potentially succumb to Covid?

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Blueberry Pancakes

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I see other threads on this forum about maintaining boundaries with your NPD parents and other family members during difficult times such as Covid-19. Until a few days ago, I was doing fine with not contacting my NPD sister and only being VLC with my NPD parents.
My dad has a computer and uses it mostly for emailing jokes to his buddies. He is 85 and both he and my mother have COPD and mom has dementia. They are both vulnerable to having a very serious outcome if they get it. Until last week, dad was still going into grocery stores and the pharmacy for supplies. He never orders anything online and whenever I mentioned it, he seemed overwhelmed and said he would think about it. As the disease spread, I urged him again and offered to help which he agreed to. He said he actually thought he had made one order that was going to arrive in two days. It was only when I looked into it further that I realized he never entered any credit card info and never completed the transaction. He also said he was looking for adult puzzles to fill time and wondered which stores were still open that might sell them. I explained it might not be good to risk exposure and to search online. He seemed confused about how to use a search engine to locate anything. It became clear to me that my GC older sister is not doing anything to help them. It was clear they are unprepared to shift their habits to an online world. I felt pressure from everyone saying to reach out to the elderly and help those in need. So, I allowed my boundaries to be completely trampled.
I reluctantly stepped right into my scapegoat role. I set up an online profile for my parents with their grocery store and pharmacy in order to get curbside pick up. I also set up a meal delivery profile so dad does not need to got pick up meals. Worst of all, I texted my NPD sister who I have not spoken to in over one year and asked "Can you chat"? I wanted to discuss arrangements in the event our parents get this disease. Her reply back to me was "No. I'll call you later".  That was three days ago. I know she has suffered narcissistic injury due to my NC with her. I know she loved that I texted her, and she was given the chance to dismiss me. I hate that I gave her that option.     
As for all the work I did for my parents, my dad told me I was worrying too much and not handling it well. He told me there was an episode on of Dr. Phil talking about managing stress and I should go watch it, then he hung up. Then, he called back two hours later and left a voice mail sounding very cheerful saying he was just calling because he was bored. I felt like a dog that had just been kicked, then being pulled in closer by dangling a treat.   
Do you let your parents just struggle on their own, then not take responsibility if they die? I knew what I was getting into when I let my boundaries be crossed. I have felt physically ill since my contact with my family has increased. Yesterday, I said 'no more'. Back to no contact and feeling better today. So, I guess I'll just have to forgive myself for disregarding my boundaries?  I go back to disregarding any attempt of contact, and let the chips fall?  Anyone else dealing with these issues? 

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SunnyMeadow

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I could see myself setting up online stuff for my parents as well.  If you have to, you have to. I do what I have to do so I don't struggle too much with the "should I or shouldn't I" thing that plays in my head. I do what feels best to get me out of anxiety at the time. It's probably not the best way I could be doing things but that's what I do.

In the long run, setting up online accounts and orders for them may help you because you might not feel the need for additional contact, you know their basic needs are met. I'm still minimizing contact with my uPDmother but in contact occasionally due to the virus. I feel increased anxiety because of it.

I'm happy you're back to NC, sounds like the safest place to be! Yes forgive yourself for disregarding your boundaries. These are unprecedented times, don't beat yourself up. I'm trying to do the same  :yes:

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Fiasco

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Iíve been through the drama of dealing with my BPDm the last several weeks, which Iíll try to summarize. In my personal opinion though, this has become a high stakes, big thrills game of ďjerk Fiasco aroundĒ.

A few weeks ago BPDm, who is disabled and cannot drive, started freaking out about how to get food. Ok, so far this is perfectly legitimate. I directed her to do grocery delivery and after ďhours and hoursĒ (eyeroll) she had placed a grocery order which was delivered two days later.

Three whole entire days after grocery deliver she is OUT OF FOOD and now canít get a delivery set up. On one hand it is true that there are no delivery spots currently available in her major metropolitan area. On the other hand, wtf did she have delivered? One sandwich? Great planning ahead. Deep breaths were taken.

At this point she is texting every damn day more than once asking for ideas. I direct her to order non perishables from a website which she does not do. I direct her to use door dash and order meals from her favorite restaurants which she does not do. She asks repeatedly for ideas and I snap and say I gave you good ideas and you did not use them so I am done. Deep breaths taken. Much wine is consumed.

A few days later the fever pitch of her hysteria inspires me to order a sizable order of non perishables that are somehow still randomly available to be delivered to her. She CRIES because those arenít the foods she wants. I point out that this is in fact tough shit and maybe she would like to thank me. She is so confused by the idea of thanking me she cries again but then gets bored of it and tells me about her cat. I hang up to drink more wine.

He next day she texts me again that ALL HER PROBLEMS are solved because she had her elderly sibling buy and mail four boxes of food from siblings state and also a friendís son will be shopping for her every week from now on. I cancel my order and drink more wine.

Today she is all exited her new DELIVERY BOY is bringing shopping again. When I tell her she is endangering delivery boy (who is not young, whether that matters or not) by having him shop every week and perhaps she could plan ahead like a big girl and ask for two weeks at a time of food. What does she respond? That itís not up to her itís up to her friend and she doesnít know anything about (insert ethnicity) families.

At this point Iím donít responding to her. She doesnít want help she wants ATTENTION AND FUN. Eff her and her fun.

End rant. Sorry. Ugh.


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Sweetbriar

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Dear Blueberry,

I think if you help them, I mean going there and setting up their computer accounts, that could also risk them getting Covid, as you could inadvertently bring it to them.

Don't worry. Just reset back to the way it was before. You tried to help and, even in the midst of a world pandemic, they could not pull it together to work together with you and help themselves. That is bc they are disordered. So the pandemic has changed everything for all of us, but their disorders remain the same. I am letting my parents be. 

My elderly parents do not have a laptop or computer, or a cell phone. They do not have wifi. If I stepped back into their lives, I'd have to do their shopping for them, endangering me and my family. I would also, possibly have to pay for their groceries and I don't have the $$. I do feel bad for not taking up their cause. It's a very very hard choice. But I know they have a grocery store very close to them and a good pension. I have to trust that my father will wear a mask and wash his hands thoroughly when he does the shopping. I have to trust that he will do his best. It's a horrible position for all of us to be in, but if I go back to them, I will be absolutely miserable, and I might even bring the COVID into their lives.

These are such strange and horrible times. It's just horrible for all of the elderly and immune compromised people in general. But when you add in the disorder and the stress interacting with them, I don't know that we have much of a choice. I think we have to take care of our own lives and immediate families and trust they will figure out how to get thru this.

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moglow

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Be honest with yourself here - you'd have done the same for anyone you felt might be in need and there's NOTHING wrong with that. You see how that worked out with them and know going forward, if they ask for your help you can do what you can [or not] and know the outcome will likely be the same - with or without your help. You have nothing to forgive yourself for - you reached out and did what you could to help them in a difficult time for us all. That they in essence spat on and kicked aside your efforts is all on them/him. Same goes for your sister.

My mother doesn't do anything online, doesn't even own a computer as far as I know. I'm sure she could still arrange for grocery delivery but am I throwing myself under that bus and trying to wrangle it for her? No. We're under a stay at home order and I'm almost two hours away from her on the best of days. It's not logistically reasonable for me to drive over to take care of what she shopping she might need. She'd want it to be some sort of "outing" and that's the LAST thing anyone needs right now.

You do what's best for YOU and stop beating yourself up. I guarantee he's not losing sleep over it.
ďNothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.Ē  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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WomanInterrupted

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Blueberry, you went above and beyond the call of duty, broke NC, got your parents set up for online shopping and got proverbially kicked in the teeth for your efforts. 

You have done ALL you can do - you can't force your parents to use the service you set up, nor can you do it FOR them because it's just SO difficult - when we all know that's BS and it just *isn't!*  :yes:

If they can order stuff from Amazon, Walmart, Target - or even their own pharmacy(ies) - there really is no excuse in NOT being able to use the service you set up, only that they just don't WANT to and expect YOU to be their *supply.*  :spooked:

If you went back to NC, I'd stick with the NC   :ninja: - things aren't going to get better for several weeks, minimum, and you *really* don't need to hear the repeated messages of starving, no food, no meds, you don't care, you're breaking your mother's heart, you're so cold and cruel - you know, all the golden oldies.   :roll:

Please, always remember:  your parents do NOT live alone on an ice floe.  They have a PHONE.  It calls numbers other than yours.  There will *always* be ways for your parents to get the food, supplies and medicines they need, plus rides to any urgent medical appointments.    :yes:

Your parents may feel like you OWE it to them - but you don't.  You owe yourself the gift of peace and quiet as you navigate this Brave New World.  :)

Your parents won't die - and if they stay in the house (HAH!  :roll:) and practice good hygiene (masks and gloves in public, hand washing at home, sanitizing things that come into the home), they're actually at very low risk for catching Covid 19.  :thumbup:

If your parents insist they are FINE and gonna go to the store, to the bank, socialize with friends - don't take the bait.  Keep your NC and let them do what they want to do.  They're adults and you won't change their minds - but they probably want to upset you in the hope that you beg and plead for them NOT to go.    :no: :ninja:

Your parents won't die without your input and/or continued help.  They'd just like you to think they will, so they can sit back and drive you crazy, much like Fiasco's.   :aaauuugh:

Fiasco, I'd fax you a box of wine if I could!   :drinks:

Your mom sounds SO much like unBPD Didi and unNPD Ray - I've really never been more grateful she's dead and he's safely tucked away in a memory care unit.   :yahoo:

About 15 years ago, we had a freak storm that knocked out the power for several days and did major damage to about 90% of our area trees.  Between the downed trees, branches, power lines and utility poles, driving could be dicey until the cleanup got underway.

Didi  FREAKED because they were OUT OF FOOD and what were they going to DO!?!?!?!?   :dramaqueen: :bawl: :violin:

She kept calling and insisting they had NO food, the neighbors were all getting  together with their kids to cook all their food before it spoiled (hint hint   :roll:) while THEY were stuck at home with no food and no power.  :violin:

No food!  No power!  She had to send Ray to the store or they were going to DIE.  :dramaqueen: :dramaqueen: :bawl:

I was over here, knowing EXACTLY what was going on - they were trying to get an invite to stay with us and it wasn't going to happen.  :no_shake:

I could ignore the bleats because Didi and Ray were both food hoarders - the stuff they had in that house could have fed a Mongol hoard, and it wouldn't even have made a dent!   :phoot:

They had a full refrigerator/freezer, a full full-sized freezer in the basement, plus a full chest freezer next to it, plus a full pantry, full cupboards and shelves AND a huge shelving unit, too!  :aaauuugh:

They had real food, plus about every processed and packaged food, AND junk food, too - cookies, candy, ice cream, soda - it was mind-boggling, and when Didi whined they were starving, I didn't pay any attention, and started avoiding her daily phone calls, meant to guilt me into having them over.   :thumbdown: :ninja:

The one that did it for me was HAVING to send Ray out while power lines were still down and in some cases, live  -  to get Teddy Grahams.  :blowup:

Yeah.  Graham crackers shaped like bears.  She opened the box, ate a handful and now she was out, so Ray HAD to get them or THEY were going to STARVE!  :bawl: :dramaqueen:

The Princess HAD to have a new box or bag, every single time.  She just could NOT eat an open product that had been perfectly good just the other day - and this was intentional.  I'd watch Didi smirk as Ray threw out things she'd let get stale, acting like it was her God-given right to waste food.  :roll:

That was only a week-long adventure.  I can't even imagine how  Didi and Ray would behave now, in thinking ALL the rules didn't apply to them and if they were told no - call and scream at ME, like I could magically get their way for them - but they could only get my blocked folder.   :ninja:

I'm very much enjoying the quiet - and showing our house how much I love it by catching up on all those, "One day..." projects I'd set aside.  :)

One day is now - and there are no PDs to harsh my mellow.   8-)

I wish I could share that groovy feeling of happiness with you - but I CAN promise one thing.

We WILL get through this.  We will come out stronger, wiser, smarter, and savvier.  We will be able to categorize what is important and what is bullshit and have NO trouble telling the difference between the two.

Maybe the PDs in our lives can't change and can't learn a thing - but we can, which is why we'll thrive.   :grouphug:

Eventually.   :bigwink:

Until then, there's always rage baking and looking at any recipe that calls for five eggs and saying, "I don't think so!"   ;D

 :hug:

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Fiasco

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WI I swear I can actually feel my blood pressure go down when I read your posts. Thank you so much for the validation, itís much better than wine 😉

Blueberry I wish we didnít all have parents that looked at every horrible event as an opportunity to have some fun with us. Donít beat yourself up over getting sucked into their game, remember it means youíre a good person with a good heart.

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Blueberry Pancakes

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Oh wow, thanks everyone for your helpful insights. 
   
Woman Interrupted "Maybe the PDs in our lives can't change and can't learn a thing - but we can, which is why we'll thrive." I do believe we will come out stronger when this pandemic is done.
Mglow "you reached out and did what you could to help them in a difficult time for us all. That they in essence spat on and kicked aside your efforts is all on them/him. Same goes for your sister." Thinking I was not wrong, but they were is my focus.   
Sweetbriar - "they could not pull it together to work together with you and help themselves. That is bc they are disordered." Good reminder that is not me, it is their dysfunction.
Fiasco - "This is a high stakes, big thrills game". Yes, I think they actually love all the drama. I've been enjoying some wine these days too.
Sunnymeadow "These are unprecedented times, don't beat yourself up. I'm trying to do the same." Thank you.

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Sweetbriar

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WomanInterrupted!!

"One day is now - and there are no PDs to harsh my mellow."

I love that so much.  :yes:

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Seven

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My ILs are “elderly” early 70s. She’s got major COPD (still smokes and doesn’t give a shit) and bilateral total knees. He’s T2D and has a heart aneurysm. My DH calls them to see if they need anything, that we’d drop it off while we’re out (the 1-2x/week that we get out). They’re so nonchalantly like “nah, we’re going to go shopping”

DH doesn’t get upset.  He knows they’ll die if they catch this virus, but he’s like “oh well.  I tried.  She’s going to go away from this earth”

On a side note, FIL has discovered Facetime.  Ugh.

Edited to add: my 89yo uNPD mother is holed up in ILF which is on lockdown.  They are still doing some inside activities like exercising, but she refuses to leave her apartment because her hair hasn’t been done.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 06:53:58 PM by Seven »

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Spring Butterfly

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One thing that's helped me is flipping it around. So if I decided to not do something and someone else felt I should do for my own good and they stepped in took over and pushed me into it how would I feel about that exactly?

Thinking of it that way helped me to realize that medically neglectful others get to choose as adults what they wish to do.

In this case I would have probably verbally offered to set them up and if the offer was rejected I would have to respect their wishes as adult humans to make their own decisions even if it's a decision I don't agree with.

In my situation I offered to drop off supplies on the porch but only when I go for myself which is every few weeks. No extra trips.

Boundaries apply not just for us but for others who are entitled to make their own choices without me pushing myself on them. For me it feels very codependent to do so and I had some serious work to do trying to retire my role as family caretaker. I will caregive if absolutely needed and coordinate hands on care for someone if they wish it but I will not caretake if that makes sense?  For me caregiving and caretaking have some to mean two different things.
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lkdrymom

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You offered and they turned you down.  No more needs to be done here. You can't force them to do anything.  And it is  not your fault if they refuse help.

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practical

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They aren't going to die because of you or because of what you did or didn't do, if they do get the virus and get sick or even die it is due to choices they made, whether it be not accepting help, ignoring any of the CDC or other recommendations or whatever. Keep repeating the 3C Rule: I didn't cause it, I cannot control it, I cannot cure it. I also highly recommend reading the entry in the Glossars about self-victimization https://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/self-victimization

Your mental health is not worth less than their potential risk to contract the virus. And while there is a definite effect on your mental health when you are in contact with them, whether or not they get the virus because they choose to be who they are is unknown. Don't put yourself at risk. You tried, and it - again - didn't work. There is nothing more you can do. It was incredibly kind and generous to try, and please don't beat yourself up about violating your boundaries, the key is you put them immediately back in place once you realized it isn't work, being in contact with them was harming you.

Stay healthy mentally and physically. :bighug:
ďIf Iím not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Iím only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?Ē (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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practical

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Edited to add: my 89yo uNPD mother is holed up in ILF which is on lockdown.  They are still doing some inside activities like exercising, but she refuses to leave her apartment because her hair hasnít been done.
Whatever makes you self-isolate  :roll:
ďIf Iím not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Iím only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?Ē (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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Mathilda

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Just before we had a nearly lock down, I had a call from my parents. My brother was just visiting   :doh: and they wanted to check if I was allright (and since I am NC, they obviously thought this crisis was a good moment to get into contact again, but to their disappointment I did not agree).

But despite NC I did offer my parents to get them their groceries though, after all pdM is 81 and pdD is 86.  I can buy their groceries and drop them in front of their apartment. No need to pdM told me, pdD would get the groceries. Allright, if that's what you prefer ....  :blink:

Once a week I get my own groceries. I go early in the morning when there aren't many people and I go to a small shop instead  of the mall.

The mall has now arranged a 'senior shopping hour' especially for the elderly, it's between 7.00 - 8.00 am.

My parents usually do their shoppings between 16.00 - 17.00 pm, and I never understood why anyway, since it's the busiest time of the day in the mall. But ok. But I did think they would at least be wise enough to go during the senior hour.

Wrong again.
When I went for a walk in the park (very quiet park, hardly any other people and easy to keep distant) today I saw my dad, walking out of the mall, at 4.30 pm. He didn't have a bag full of groceries, but a small bag with only a few things. And I wouldn't be surprised if he had gone to the mall especially to buy some chocolate and a box of his favourite icecream.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2020, 02:52:21 PM by Mathilda »

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NotFooled

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Initially I was trying to help M.  But she didn't seem to take the virus as serious as I was and I have my own health issues.  So Yeah she's pretty much on her own, except for the occasional porch visit and regular 5 minute phone call to check in on her.   Initially I was upset, but now I just feel like there isn't much I can do about it.  At least she is wearing a mask now. 

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p123

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Hope you dont mind me adding to this thread....
My Dad, 86, after weeks of lockdown decided he REALLY needed a haircut. So he called brother (just as at fault) to come around to give him a haircut.

When I pointed out that he wasnt 2m away giving him a haircut and it wasnt the cleverest thing to do his answer "but I dont think your brother has it, has he?". Words just fail me to be honest.