I live with my possibly narcissistic grandmother, she is about 75 years old and has progressive hearing loss. Basically, it's almost impossible to get her into therapy now, and if she is truly narcissistic, I've heard that the personality disorder (PD) doesn't have a good prognosis even in sufferers in bodies better functioning than hers.
All members of the household have all expressed the concern to each other, basically along the lines of "she only thinks about herself". Some of the things she does:
Turned on the radio so loud even the neighbors complained — when we asked her to turn it down, she wouldn't because she said she couldn't hear it. Which is okay, but not at 6 AM in the morning after she woke up. She still wouldn't agree. This is daily.
We bought a new garden hose a few days ago, a long one because we had to be able to water the plants by the side of the road, but yesterday she demanded me to cut a sizable portion because she couldn't lift the majority portion of the garden hose rolled up near the faucet. She should've consulted the rest of the household first, but didn't.
(NOTE: Later, she said to a renovator crew living with us that I also said the hose is too long, when I have never said that either by myself or in front of her.)
- Told me to air dry freshly laundered clothing on a dirty wood pile (that we've been accumulating since the last house remodeling).
I have always had memories, living with her since childhood, that whatever she wants cannot be refused. There would only be escalations and escalations of anger until she gets what she wants one way or the other. I even have memories of challenging myself on how far I can refuse doing something for her.
I just don't want to do the things she tells me to do.
I would gladly be all hands for this house, but I would rather avoid the things that should have been consulted with the rest of the household first.
How can I tactfully refuse or at least delay doing her bidding?
I've tried a lot of things. Some of what I tried include:
Just saying no over and over again, which ends up in continuous escalations of anger (she thinks she's above me and has authority over me since she's older);
Tried stopping communication for a while, which worked but eventually I would have to communicate with her again because we live together;
The grey rock method, which worked for a short while, and I'm continually trying to do now. The problem is that sometimes my feelings get in the way though, you have to understand that she is my grandmother whom I've been living with since childhood. So this is a mixed success.
She pits people against one another, saying to Z that X said or did y while y never happened. Z becomes infuriated in response while X's attempts to reconcile failed, until Z has an epiphany of their own or gets informed by other people or new evidence. (The story with the renovation crew is one little example.)