Narcissistic Mother

As a psychotherapist in private practice, I’m often asked, “What can you do when you have a narcissistic mother?”

It is a poignant question because we’re all an extension of our mother in some way or another. You, for instance, may have similar physical features or personality characteristics that make people realize you are a product of your mom.

But, how do you protect yourself when your narcissistic mother, the very woman who gave you life or raised you, demands you provide her with the unconditional, one-way love that she feels entitled to…no matter how she treats you?

When this is the case, your narcissistic mother may see you as something that she created with the hope to have a copy of herself for her own amusement. Or, she may see you as an object, like a piece of luggage that should serve her when she needs it and be out of the away when she does not.

If so, you may have been treated with such disrespect and abuse that makes it difficult for you to develop any sort of real relationship with your mother, let alone feel the love towards your mom that she expects you to give. To the outside world, everything may have appeared perfect, but behind closed doors? That’s where the horror was released.

Many a narcissistic mother is aware of her demanding ways and believes everyone should treat her in the fantastical way that she sees herself. She may live in their own little world where her accomplishments, real or fake, are of grand proportions that no one else can live up to.

To this day, her expectations of you may be ever-changing and not truly attainable.  If you have a narcissistic mother, you may feel you are never good enough, or that you must compete with your siblings for her approval or affection. And, no matter how much you achieve or strive to accommodate her, you will not measure up to her unrealistic expectations.

Why do narcissistic moms have children?

When a narcissist has a child, it is not for the same reason that others procreate. She does so because she wants that child to satisfy her unmet needs.

These can vary from the need to feel like she will always be loved by you, or the hope she’ll be more bonded to her husband by providing a child, or the belief she’ll never be alone, or to have the illusion of another chance at life and so on.

Some narcissistic mothers essentially want a real-life extension of themselves, only to be deeply upset about the fact that they did not receive that “mini-me” from you. If, due to being a child, you could not meet her needs, your mother may have withdrawn from you or have become demeaning, critical, and manipulative. In short, it wasn’t acceptable for you to be a child because a child is, by its very nature, needy and “perfectly imperfect.”

The narcissistic mother’s love is typically volatile and conditional.   Below are three common roles in which the sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers often find themselves cast.

The roles can be projected by the narcissist onto one sibling then the next and the roles can last for moments or years.  Even more confusing, you may have been cast in different roles at different time in your childhood.  Read below to try to recall what roles you played and when you were cast.

Lost Child

This role involves a great deal of neglect.  Your narcissistic mother was simply not aware of, or interested in, your needs.  You could be sent to school with clothing too big or small, dirty, or unmatched.

You may have been teased by other kids because you did not have enough positive attention paid to you at home to know what was socially acceptable behavior. You often felt unlovable or unworthy because you were not treated as inherently valuable.

Scapegoated Child

Nothing you did was ever good enough. What may have satisfied your narcissistic mother one day could disappoint her the next.

If you expressed you felt your mother treated you unfairly, she might have led you to believe that you were crazy and ungrateful.  The “love” and “thoughtfulness” she gave you through her constant criticism was to be treasured.

If you did something of value and worth, you may have been cut down and made to believe that your accomplishments had no meaning in your narcissistic mother’s eyes.   Or, you could have been elevated and bragged about to the point of objectification.  (See Chosen, Hero or Golden child below.)

Chosen, Hero or Golden Child

To be the Chosen, Hero or Golden child of a narcissistic mother is usually the complete opposite of the scapegoat child. You are worshipped and idolized by your mother from the moment you are born.

You are the one person in her life that can do nothing wrong and every accomplishment, no matter how small, deserves a parade in her eyes. You’re a representation of the best of her, the golden child.

You may become even more important than her spouse in a sometimes provocative and psychologically seductive way.

Lost Child, Scapegoat & Chosen, Hero or Golden Child in a Narcissistic Family System:

Many times, there’s a golden child and a scapegoat in the narcissistic family. The golden child is a “favorite” of the mother’s choosing. Then there’s the scapegoat, the one who gets the blame for everything, the one who can never be as good as the mother or the golden child.

The scapegoat never measures up in the mother’s eyes. She can win awards, get good grades, get into a great school, but it goes unnoticed or unacknowledged.

If it’s noted, it’s usually done so in a way that makes the mother look good, saying that everything the child has learned is because of the mother’s parenting efforts.

The Lost Child will sometimes be relieved to hide from the narcissistic mother and at other times be pulled into more attention getting roles.

Why Don’t Narcissistic Mothers Change?

Narcissistic moms blame everyone else, and too often their children, for the consequences their own self absorbed choices have caused. It often falls to friends and family members to point out the extreme oddity of the narcissistic mother’s ways and recommend treatment. Even when offered help, a narcissist is more likely to be offended than to seek treatment.

Ironically, though the people around the narcissistic mother can identify the source of their suffering, the narcissist does not believe she is the one who should change.

Therefore, it is unlikely your mother sought treatment for narcissism.  In contrast, she may have put you in treatment with the hope that you would become easier to deal with.

Children and spouses are the ones who often suffer most, not the narcissist themselves, because the narcissist doesn’t feel that their chronically self-absorbed behavior is just that. Quite the opposite, actually. The narcissistic mother feels that everyone else is at fault when things go wrong.

As a child, you had to learn from very early on how to please your mother enough to survive. You may have grown up to think that nothing you ever do is good enough and that you are not worthy of the love you desire.

Narcissism, at its extreme, is a mental disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, (NPD), characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, fantasies of success, power, and physical attractiveness that the person may or may not possess, a constant need for attention and admiration, and obsessive self-interest. These are the obvious symptoms that people think of when they think of the term “narcissism.”

There are a cluster of personality disorders, including NPD, that are on the narcissistic spectrum described by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) and they include Borderline Personality Disorder as well as Histrionic Personality Disorder.

These disorders describe different chronic behavioral patterns often exhibited by a narcissistic mother who may not even be aware of how she is treating you.

In sum, the first step in dealing with a narcissist is to identify the repetitive hurtful behaviors rooted in how you were cast in the roles identified above.  Accept that your narcissistic mother is highly resistant to change.  Then, learn how to best respond to her negative behaviors in order to protect your happiness.

Why Narcissists Have Children

Why do narcissists even have kids in the first place?

I’m going to cut straight to the chase on this one. Narcissists do not have children for the same reason that emotionally healthy people do.

They have them because they need more mirrors, more images to remind themselves of how great they are and how they brought someone into the world that is like them.

Unfortunately for the narcissistic parent, this isn’t the case 99.9% of the time because as children age, they develop their own sense of self and their own personality apart from their parents. Then they become more of a burden than a blessing on their narcissistic parent.

Some narcissists become parents out of accident or because of an ill-thought out plan they created to have someone there to love and admire them without having to give it back in return.

They’re looking for the narcissistic supply which they try to obtain from anyone and everyone. They believe that having a child will give them an endless supply because their child must love them and has to be a part of their lives, while they’re young at least.

Narcissists see their kids as someone they can put their name on, a product that they can put out into the world with their branding all over it. They use their children to gain self-esteem and as someone they can easily walk all over. They want their children to take care of them and reverse the roles of how parent-child interactions should be.

Narcissistic parents try to control their children in every facet of their lives.

They try to keep their children from growing up and gaining their own identity, fearing it will lead their children to leave them and go on to live their own lives.

Narcissistic parents try to control their children in four different ways:

  1. Guilt-driven: They make their children feel guilty and making them feel like a burden on the narcissistic parent. They say things like, “I sacrificed my life, my body, for you…”
  2. Dependence-driven: The narcissistic parent makes their child feel that they could not go on living without their child in their life. They tell their kids that they need them and that they cannot take care of themselves, their lives, and their well-being by themselves.
  3. Goal-driven: I like to call this the Tiger Mom Effect. This means that the narcissistic parent, not necessarily the mother (although it usually is), is always striving or making their child strive to be the best no matter what and no matter if the child is truly interested in the goal or not. They live vicariously through their child and ride on the coattails of their achievements. They may say things like, “We have a goal we need to achieve…”
  4. Explicit: This type of control is based on negative repercussions if their child does not do what they want or say. They withhold rewards and give excessive punishment if they do not get their way. This can be very draining on the child because they feel that they can never do anything right.

 

Most narcissistic mothers see motherhood as a burden and like to let it be known how much work it is. They do not take into account that children are not merely mirrors of themselves and that they are actual human beings with wants, needs, and feelings different than their own.

They often pick a favorite, or a golden child, who can do no wrong and grows up with unrealistic expectations of praise and worth. They also have children that are the scapegoats, the ones who all the blame is put on and are never worthy enough no matter how great their achievements may be.

They play the children off of each other for their own amusement, which causes riffs between the siblings that may not be mended easily. The narcissistic parent is always comparing the children and blaming them for his or her shortcomings.

Narcissistic parents treat their children in different ways. They either try to control them, ignore them completely, or engulf them and make it so they cannot develop into their own self.

A narcissistic mother fails to treat her child as an authentic person with wants and needs which may not match up with hers. She is completely self-centered and needs the attention to be all about her no matter what. If her child’s accomplishment is something to be admired, she’ll take all the credit for it while at the same time telling their child that they could’ve done better.

Parenthood is never about anyone else but them. For most people, having a child means having someone to take care of and love, not the other way around. A narcissist cares about no one but themselves and not even having a child can change their mindset.

Narcissistic Types

There are many faces of narcissism. Some of these may not be scientific or politically correct terms, but I feel that if you have a narcissistic mother in your life, you may be able to recognize some of these and nod your head in agreement.

  1. The Time Hostage: Your mom gets mad at you when you need to reschedule but assumes you will reschedule with her and/or repeatedly cancels on you last minute.
  2. The Quietly Self-Absorbed Narcissist: She’s socially withdrawn and odd thinking, with morose self-doubts and a relentless search for power and has fantasies of great achievements.
  3. The Nice Narcissist: She’s nice. She just needs you to agree with her at all times or she won’t like you.
  4. The Victim: She is unable to take accountability for her choices.  She looks at a problem and blames it on something out of her control instead of searching for anything in the situation she can change.
  5. The Attacker: She comes at you with attacks to see if you admit to anything or, as a way of expressing her fears.
  6. The Downer: She is so busy talking about why everything is lacking that she isn’t emotionally present to you.
  7. The Assessor: It is her job to critique how you measure up and point out anything you could improve on, not to give at least equal time to telling you what you do right.
  8. The Credit Taker: She takes credit for everything, whether she deserves it or not. She passes the blame onto others, whether justified or not. She’s always right, never wrong.
  9. The Jealous Narcissist: If you have it, she wants it or will strive to make it seem worth less than it is and devalue it.
  10. The Competitor: She lets you know you may be good but she is better, or prettier, or smarter, or more accomplished than you’ll ever be.
  11. The Operator: She work’s her own agenda at all times. She’s walled off in her plans for you and everyone else whether you agree with her or not.
  12. The Fading Beauty: She is not handling the aging process well and looks at your comparable youth as an affront.
  13. The Beauty Queen: She identifies herself strongly with her attractiveness and may have been the homecoming queen, the best dressed, or known for her beauty.  She’s especially bothered if you don’t try to make the most of your looks.
  14. The Innocent Narcissist: She’s highly defensive and extremely hostile but masks it behind a “poor me” facade of vulnerability.
  15. The Enraged Narcissist: She screams to get her needs met and projects rage without a filter, not caring who sees it. She doesn’t apologize for her actions.
  16. The Vengeful Narcissist: She enjoys inflicting pain on others and getting back at them if she does not get her way.
  17. The Passive Aggressive Narcissist: She sulks and gives the silent treatment and plots how to punish those who don’t give her what she wants. She is vindictive and capable of becoming a stalker.
  18. The Stealth Narcissist: She fakes an interest in other people and their needs and knows that acting concerned with get her what she wants.
  19. The Cruel Narcissist: She is never fair and her discipline shows that. She knowingly causes you pain and enjoys knowing that you are miserable.
  20. The Character Assassinator: She is always trying to tarnish your reputation by lying, exaggerating, or manipulating the facts to make you look bad and to make her look good.
  21. The Stingy Narcissist: Gifts, compliments, advice and money are given, but look out when you inevitably fail.
  22. The Wounded Narcissist: She feels victimized and the world is against her. She needs you to take care of her and aid in her every want and need.
  23. The Disdainful Narcissist: You are treated as though you are less than what she expected, a disappointment or failure.
  24. The Scapegoating Narcissist: Her life would be better if you were better, or whoever she’s choosing to scapegoat was better. And it will not be better until this person changes.
  25. The User Narcissist: She takes advantage of you and treats you as more of an employee than anything else. She uses you to get ahead in her own life.
  26. The Boundary-less Narcissist: There is no difference between you and her, you are an extension of her and therefore she has no limits. She intrudes on your space and looks through your personal belongings. She embarrasses you constantly.
  27. The Amnesia Narcissist: No matter what healthy requests you’ve made, it is as if you have to repeat yourself every time. For example, “Please don’t hug me or kiss me, it makes me feel uncomfortable,” is ignored.
  28. The Needy Narcissist: “You don’t give me enough calls” or attention. She wants more from you than anyone could deliver.
  29. The Time-Sucker Narcissist: You could spend every minute with this person and they would still feel neglected.
  30. The Mind-Reader Narcissist: You didn’t say it, you didn’t think it, and yet they have read into something and insist it is true.
  31. The Clairvoyant Narcissist: You didn’t say it, you didn’t think it, but once they have said it you realize it’s true and it’s usually something negative about them (can cause identity confusion for you).
  32. The Touchy-Feely Narcissist: You are expected to tolerate her touching you however and whenever they want.
  33. The Holiday Narcissist: You don’t exist unless it is their birthday or a holiday where she feels the need for family time.
  34. The Glamour Narcissist: She is all about making herself look good. She buys the most expensive clothes, gets her hair and nails done, and doesn’t care about the amount of money she spends.
  35. The Rockstar Narcissist: She believes that she is the center of attention and it should always be that way. She’s the main attraction and wants everyone to idolize her, even if she really has no talents or reason to be in the limelight.
  36. The World Traveler Narcissist: She brags about places she’s been and makes up stories about the places she hasn’t been, but tells people she has. She has grandiose fantasies about how worldly she is.
  37. The Professor/Elite Intellectual Narcissist: She is brainy and seeks admiration for her intelligence. She uses her intellect to put others down and make them feel stupid.
  38. The Stage Mom/The Promoter: She lives her fantasies through you. She makes you do the things she wish she could [still] do and believes your achievements are her own.
  39. The Fashionista: She tells you how to dress and what not to wear—often when you’re already wearing it!
  40. Miss Manners: She still meticulously points out your etiquette failures– from how you eat to what family events you should attend.
  41. The Publicist: She brags about you to others but is excessively critical of you when you are alone.
  42. The Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde Narcissist: She is nice in public, but mean under her breath or when alone.
  43. The Forever Young Narcissist: When did you become more mature than your mother? How old is she, really, emotionally?
  44. The Hot Mama Narcissist: Sexualized and distracted.
  45. The Lovesick Narcissist: Always chasing that ideal mate or trying to win the affection of her partner.
  46.  The Enabler Mom: She is too distracted with your rebel siblings’ problems or her partner’s addictive behaviors and seems to get a bit of a rush or power out of rescuing.
  47. The Social Butterfly: Everyone in town loves her, she is a generous host, but she can’t be bothered to make time for you.
  48. The Hypochondriac Narcissist: She believes something’s physically wrong with her, you should be checking in on her. And, if you don’t, as luck would have it, she unfortunately has something real going on every once in awhile. Or, it’s nothing a reputable doctor will confirm but she’s fighting off her cancer, leprosy, etc. with special treatments she’s managed to find through her own sheer will to survive.
  49. The Financially-Challenged Narcissistic: She just needs a little bit of help for this umpteenth self created crisis and she’s sorry she hasn’t paid you back yet for the last time you lent her money.
  50. The Martyr Narcissist: Her refrain is “How Can You Do This to Me?”  She tells you that you make her miserable, suicidal, isolated, or some other negative emotion. You are told that, in one way or another, you control her emotions and that if you would just do what she wanted she would be fine.
  51. The BFF (Best Friends Forever) Narcissist: You are her best friend, she doesn’t know what she would do without you, unless she had a better offer, in that case you’ll just have to wait until the next time she’s lonely. You are brought out like a doll when she wants attention then ignored when she doesn’t need it (but seriously, when doesn’t she need it?). This is also a description of what is experienced when someone is another’s “narcissistic supply.”
  52. The Expensive Narcissist: She has ruined your credit through manipulation to use your credit.
  53. The Criminal Narcissist: Some narcissists exploit their children or others through identity theft, mismanagement of trust funds, and fraudulent financial dealings. You may or may not have been the target of her crime, but she doesn’t see the rule of law applies to her. She may have Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is a pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. As if the narcissism wasn’t enough!

Do you have any types to share?

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{ 219 comments… read them below or add one }

Renee August 18, 2014 at 9:52 am

I found myself deep in mourning yet again and am in need of ….. well, I’m not really sure.

Just this past Friday I unexpectedly met up with my husband and younger daughter for lunch …. super last minute. On my way, my husband told me, ‘by the way, your mother just walked in the door.’

My subconscious, initial response was to flip a U-turn and drive in the opposite direction. Gladly, the better of me caught myself and I proceeded, with determination and drive and confidence, to drive straight to the eaterie.

A billion-and-a-half thoughts raced through my head, what if, what if, what if ………. and as I pulled into the parking lot, I knowingly parked right next to her car. This was my attempt to take back my control.

I walked in and found my family. I don’t think my NM saw me. Then as I went to fill my drink, I smiled to her and said, ‘hello’. I was pleasant, approachable, friendly. Insanely I thought, ‘well, if she responds positively, perhaps I could engage her in what great things the children are doing (my oldest was just featured in the paper for a high school program she is a leader in). She looked at me and said, ‘hi’, colder than the boundary of deep space, dismissive, flat affect, I didn’t exist or merit to her. Anyone watching would never could guess that we share dna.

Initially I found it humorous. This empty shell of a woman but so full of righteous with her venom. As my NM’s friend met her and they sat, I could hear my NM’s friend so caringly ask her, ‘are you ok?’. Their conversation of ‘she’ ………. ‘she’ ………. ‘she’. Yes, I was curious of what my NM was so driven to share with her friend, all the horrid things I’ve done to her. Ironically, since she initiated NC over the last 18 months, just what in the heck could I have done to her now? good grief!

Driving back to work, her hatred fell deep into me, catching me by surprise and mercilessly stabbing unexpectedly. I was falling down the scapegoat well, once again questioning how a mother can hate a child so very much.

My friends at work new immediately something was wrong and I could only just hold on until the end of the work day. I was very quiet at home and my family knew something was up … just not sure. It was just too painful to feel, too ashamed to even share how I feel. Now it’s not that I’m responsible for her treatment but just how one person

That evening it volcano-ed out of me. I hysterically, deeply wept it out to my husband. And I’m back here again?????? Again ??????? AGAIN ???????? How can she (my NM)? Why does she (my NM)? What is it about me (my NM)????????? To be so meagerly acknowledged to one’s face. It just struck the soft, vulnerable, loving part of my core.

My husband was very calm and gentle and the words that helped the most were, ‘your mother is sick and this is a disorder she won’t get help for’. There was no other explanation and probably the most healing, acknowledging, succinct, validating words a NM survivor could absorb.

This is my 3rd day after the incident and I’m getting myself wrapped around it and sorted out. I don’t whip on myself for ‘going there’ (an attempt to be kind to my NM). I don’t regret how I handled the situation and myself. I’m getting back on track with another lesson under my belt. Still feel a little fragile but know resilience is just around the corner (happy face).

Reply

Renee August 18, 2014 at 9:53 am

Nice to see you back Cherie!

Reply

Christine August 18, 2014 at 2:16 pm

For years, I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with me and my relationship with my mother. Now I realize that I’m not the one with the problem – she is.

She has demeaned me my entire life, starting with when she told me that she only had children in the first place because she didn’t want to have to go to work.

She has always criticized my looks – either I’m not wearing enough make up, I have too much make up, my lips have a funny shape, I need to do more sit ups, etc. This all started when I was in grammar school. To this day, I won’t wear lipstick because I think I have ugly-shaped lips.

As I got older and started bringing boys home to meet my parents, my mother immediately would flock to his side, apologize for the way I am, feel sorry for him that he’s dating me, then laugh and would tell me I’m “so sensitive” as I would sit there in total humiliation. Most of my boyfriends couldn’t see through her act. They thought she was funny and couldn’t understand why I would get so upset at her jokes.

I have one other sibling (an older brother) who constantly told me, as we were growing up, that there was something wrong with our mother, but I chose not to believe him. He actually was the “golden child” and could do NO wrong in her eyes. He left home when he was 18 and never spoke to either one of my parents again. She still, to this day, my mother talks about him incessantly, how talented he is, how smart he was, etc. She has photographs of him plastered all over the house.

My mother has at least three or four ‘medical emergencies’ a year , and these usually involve some kind of heart attack, nervous breakdown or freak accident that forces my father to call an ambulance, then to call me (no matter what I’m in the middle of, and usually it’s some kind of major event, like Christmas Eve dinner). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven to the hospital and found out that there’s nothing wrong with her, as she sits there smiling at all the visitors that came to her side.

My mother also has an unnatural obsession with sick people. No matter who the person is, if my mother discovers the person has a horrible disease, she rushes to that person’s side, then is sure to make announcements in front of large groups of people about all she “does” for so-and-so in that person’s time of need.

My mother never makes an effort to see me, and often acts like I’m bothering her if I call her. She sleeps 80% of the day, and absolutely detests being woken up out of her sleep. But she doesn’t hesitate to tell anyone that will listen to her that she such an “uncaring” daughter. I’ve even driven to her house before, knowing she’s home, waiting for her to answer the door. Then she’ll call me the next day and pretend like she didn’t know I was standing outside.

This past spring, after I witnessed my mother’s last sob attack, I finally decided to cut her out of my life. We haven’t spoken since then.

I sent my father a text message, explaining why I can’t be around her anymore, and he called me the next day and said he agrees with me 100%, he doesn’t know why she acts the way she does , but wanted me to try and make it to Mother’s Day lunch. I called him back and told him I can’t make it, and he never spoke to me again. I called him on Father’s Day and he hung up on me.

So now my brother left at 18 years old, and both of my parents are out of my life. The only person that understands truly how my mother is (besides my father), is my mother’s twin sister, who my mom also has a bad relationship with (my aunt cut my mom off years ago for the same reasons I did). My aunt and I are very close, and I am so thankful she’s in my life.

Most days I’m fine with all this, but sometimes I get very depressed when I think about my parents. I think she’s a NM and I think he’s an enabler. What’s so frustrating is that both of them think I’m a horrible daughter. I’ve given up trying to have a relationship with them.

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Michael August 20, 2014 at 7:10 am

Hello Christine,

The drama, the quarterly “emergencies”, the rush to the sick (sicker the better) are classics! The narcissist has to be the center of attention (ME! ME! ME!) and will manipulate people and environment to achieve such. I could easily replace your mom with my mom and we wouldn’t know the difference (except for the body, of course). It fascinates me how narcissists are so predictable once you have identified them. Your description of the traits of a narcissists are very accurate.

For a description of the pain and damage caused, Renee articulately describes it. It gnaws at you. It requires enormous strength to let go of a narcissistic mother in part because there is a natural force to gravitate back to maternal love. It’s in every animal species and the early maternal nurturing is an essential element towards a healthy adulthood. Without such, there is a deficiency, a “hole” of sorts and it never fills. There is a feeling of walking as if you are damaged… and you are… but others won’t understand it or acknowledge it. That makes it worst and you question yourself and feel guilty – are you seeing yourself in some of this?

I wish I could tell you the solution but I don’t have one. I struggle with this as well. I have a “no contact” philosophy with my mom – it’s not an overt policy, it’s just that I’m trying to mentally categorize her as irrelevant in my life. But it’s an ongoing struggle between the logical mind and self-preservation versus the emotional need for maternal nurturing. Drives me crazy sometimes!

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Christine August 22, 2014 at 7:11 am

Michael,

Do you find that other people just don’t see your mom for what she is? My mom has everyone believing she is the greatest, most caring person ever….which makes all this so much more frustrating for me.

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Michael August 22, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Anyone that has dealt with and now recognize narcissists would see my mom for what she is and would avoid her. But there are still some who fall for the manipulative games. “She’s so nice… so thoughtful and caring…”. As she’s growing older, now in her 70′s, I find she’s alone more and that kicks her narcissism into overdrive. Just got an email from my mom yesterday.. she’s excited and announces that she’s moving in November (clue: come pack my stuff and move it). I haven’t responded.

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Bridget August 24, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Yes! No one believes me. They see this sweet, caring mother, and she tells them how disrespectful and horrible I am! My mom is hosting my wedding shower because she doesn’t think anyone else can do as good of a job as she can. You should see the amount of presents she alone has bought. I want to be grateful, but I know it is all for show.

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Bridget August 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm

I so relate with everything you just said. My mother only has “chest pains” when she is mad or in a hysterical breakdown. If I don’t respond with sympathy, she becomes angrier, but somehow the apparent chest pains go away. I, too, can never look good enough, or be smart enough, or be popular enough for her liking. She also has me terrified to gain weight. I am so sorry to read your story. Just know you are not alone.

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Grandma In Utah August 19, 2014 at 1:25 am

I just found this page and am hoping to receive some insight.

I feel I’m dealing with a Narcissistic personality nestled in my ex-daughter-in-law.
She displays approximately 37 of the 53 listed traits.
Truly, she’s a very self-absorbed person.

Where this is my “issue” lies with my grandie-girls; one is 15, the other 13 and the story of sadness spans the girls entire life.

They were taken out of our lives for years on end (after having divorced, “mommy” moved to New Mexico, Arizona and lastly to Florida.) She has lied to, severely ill-treated and has neglected crucial medical care on numerous occasions. Though not a hand was lifted, the abuses are many.

My son, my husband and I have spent countless dollars going back and forth in a struggle to “open the eyes” of the court with her shenanigans and finally has joint custody of one daughter (the youngest is the product of an affair she had, but she’s ours none-the-less.)

For brevity’s sake, I’ll not go into the details but suffice it to say, it was a and still is a nightmare.
Fortunately “mommy” has found herself in a particular situation which requires the girls to stay with us (at least until she and her current spouse are able to sell their out-of-state home), she is uglier to the girls when they stay at our son’s as he has 2 step-sons of the same age (she calls them whores and sluts), hence we “share” in this weird state of emotions.

It’s been 2 month’s since the girls have arrived; during the first 2 weeks it was the most conversation we’d had with the girls in years, I had to let the girls “switch-hit” evenings as I could only handle one child at a time with tear filled nights, pouring their souls out to me.

I still find myself struggling not to go back into the “role” of pacifying “mommy” to see a glimpse of our girls, and slowly my fears of being forever taken away are dwindling, but her claws are so deeply entrenched in the girls; they’ve asked no one confront her about such horrid treatment and behavior as they’re fearful of the consequences and possibly that she’ll take them out of the country. It’s sad.

My “now” daughter-in-law is a psychology major (2 semesters away) and is helping to deal with some of the stressors and is truly a gem, but we’re all trying to find a way to deal with this “witch” of a person and help the girls realize they’re no longer “babies” that have to call their narcissistic mother – “mommy” and not be afraid of her. The oldest is wanting to live with dad but doesn’t want to subject her sibling to “mommy’s” ugliness alone.

Their lack of health care has become obvious as my son had to schedule the oldest for surgery (she has a tumor on her knee that was diagnosed 1.5 years ago and left to “drink water” to make it better.) Geez, the stories could go on for a book I’m sure.

I’m frustrated, yet elated to have my girl with us, they’re bright (naturally honor roll … mommy dearest ensured they never drop below 85%) and are so very sweet. The youngest was (and still is) furious after we sat her down and told her the truth about her “faceless” dad that “mommy dearest” said wanted nothing to do with her, the anger she felt toward my son for “not wanting her” was also alleviated when he finally had some face-time to let her know that yes, she’s not his “blood child” but she is his and will always be, as well as her biological dads. She went so far as telling the youngest, that no one wanted her but she did cause she’s always been there for her and “molded” her into who she is. SICK!

Both girls exhibit wounded spirits that even our new friends who’ve never heard the story of our grandies commented on a sadness in their eyes (we recently moved to a new neighborhood a year ago.) I do think they’re losing some of the sadness but, one never knows as emotions are stuffed by the oldest and overly needy-ness from the youngest.

We have approximately 5 months (their house isn’t selling so they signed a 6 month lease for a 1 bdrm apt.) to somehow make a little difference in their lives to help but, what type of boundaries do we make?
All 4 step-siblings (my daughter-in-law’s 2 boys and my son’s 2 girls) are going to the Military Academy here (just started today) and “mommy dearest” insists on being “in-the-know” about every detail (though she’s not paid a cent in the matter.) She texts the girls constantly, if they don’t reply, they’re threatened to have their phones taken away. They are required to text her when they go to bed and upon awakening in the morning by or before 8 am (I’m tempted to purchase a different phone for them and let her take the phones she gave them away but eventually they’ll be moving back with her, it’ll be even more of a nightmare for them.)

Needless to say since school started, I told them if they felt it necessary to text her about their sleep habits they can but it isn’t a rule in my house, especially now with school having started, I said it wasn’t necessary as they’ve got enough to do prior to school.

She’s so controlling, her disciplin is ridiculously off the totally f’d up chart, and she SMILES the whole time with her desire for adoration. The girls told me she texted them right after school today that her new “vanity” license plate arrived …
Wait for it …
EM PRESS
Seriously???

I know many would say go to court again but we’ve exhausted our minds and close to our resources to “bark up that tree” one more time. It has been fruitless as “mommy” had massive disposal income as an exotic dancer. No slam to most in that profession but “mommy” cleared over $50K in 5 months, makes one wonder how that’s attainable with working 6 days a month; so she’s told me (now that’s audacity.)

Ahhhkkkk, with typing this, I’m finding myself even more enraged … I type and delete.
I don’t want this to be a vent but a cry for help with some sound advice.
I wish she were completely out of their lives and not just for a little while.

Thank you for your ear and for your advice,
Gma in Utah

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Renee August 21, 2014 at 10:52 am

Your are welcomed and cared for in this site. You will find many who have been treated and feel the same as you do. There are very wise folks here. Read and absorb. As it has been said, ‘this is a process’. Continue to be a part of this sweet, loving, gentle community. Validation, I have found, has helped me tremendously.

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Cathy Smith August 20, 2014 at 2:17 am

I have just come across this site and after completing more therapy, my counsellor thinks that my mum may be a NM and she suggested I read a book called “The Fragmented Mirror’. So I have started looking on forums to grasp some understanding.
I am fifty- three and an only child. There were no other adults present apart from my Mum and Dad in our family unit while I was growing up
My Father used to ridicule me and wait for a reaction and tell me I was a horrible little little girl and never have any friends. My Mum would say I can’t help you , you will have to put up with it. She never interacted with me and I was sent away at seven to a boarding school. I remember wondering why people washed their hands after going to the loo or brushed their teeth. Basically she was a figure head in my life only. I wasn’t allowed to touch her in case I messed with her hair.
It was when I was a teenager I start to question things. Why she never went to parent evenings or helped with school work. I was just told it was the schools responsibility.
I was about twelve when I was abused by someone who worked for them and asked my Mother for help, she laughed and said his wife would be after me. I was bullied at home and at school and desperate to belong somewhere. I was pregnant at fifteen, I did know how you get pregnant not that she had every told me. I just thought I could be special to someone if we were intimate. When I told her the only thing she said was “the neighbours”. She took me for an abortion without it being discussed futher. I was brought up as a catholic and the boarding school was a convent. They suggested I would be more suited to a school nearer home I was also about twelve at the time and I remember thinking, now I done it, she will be so angry now.
I can’t remember if I tried to end my life before I was pregnant or after. I had thought long and hard about it, I was without friends at school and invisible at home apart from criticism. I waited for a day that I hoped they wouldn’t be too angry. I can still remember the words I would expect them to say if I was successful, “all the things we have to think about and you do this to us”.
Obviously, I didn’t succeed. The school nurse asked if I had taken anything and I said no. My Mum stood behind the nurse and it was suggested I went home. I went to my room and she never asked or came to me. I had taken a bottle of a hundred aspirin.
These are just a few of the things which have made me feel I was a bad daughter and I was to blame for her anger. I have greater understanding now, and even though I am aware it was not my fault I still here her accusing voice and gallery laugh.
She will never have any reason to believe she has any responsibiliy in my growing up.
I moved overseas six years ago, just before I left she told me she have another daughter who was five years older. They were in contact but didn’t tell me as she didn’t know how I would react and that my father who died seventeen years ago always threatened to tell me to hurt her. She said that I was her number one daughter though. She brought out photos laughed, and said I can leave these out now.
I have two lovely girls who will never know of the isolation I still feel, they are well grounded and have good foundations. I am only in contact with my Mother by letter high days and holidays. She is eighty-six and one day I hope to have my freedom emotionally.
I still have a few more hurdles yet but I now know however I try to please she will just expect
and won’t change.

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Michael August 20, 2014 at 7:25 am

Hello Cathy,

Thanks for sharing your story. I think many will see themselves in the pain you are describing. The narcissistic mother will give you just enough “nurturing” to keep you on the hook so you keep coming back. But it’s not “nurturing” or “love”, it’s manipulation so that her narcissism is kept fed. She may be self-conscious of this… maybe not; but it’s up to you to break free of that very toxic relationship. Others outside of a narcissistic relationship will not understand you, compounding the problem.

Your happiness lies with others – let go of that anchor!

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Renee August 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

to my NM~

wishing…………

I wish that you found health and happiness in your life. I didn’t get that wish.

I wish that you could find the courage to face your demons that torture both of us. Didn’t get that wish.

I wish I hadn’t spend a lifetime trying to please a person who could never have been pleased.
I wish my children had a loving, balance grandmother. Didn’t get these wishes.

I wish to not ride the rollercoaster of emotional triumph and deep sadness because of you.
I wish you could see I’m not the disappointment you so brazenly declare me to be.
I wish that you never told me you believed I’m a failure.
I wish that you never told me that I’m the sole cause of your depression, health issues, and strife in your marriage. I didn’t get these wishes either.

I wish your mother and dad didn’t fight in front of you.
I wish you weren’t sent away to live with your grandmother and grandfather and be without your parents.
I wish you didn’t have rheumatic fever as a teen that developed into a lifetime of excruciating arthritis.
I wish your mother hadn’t told you that your birth hurt her so bad that she couldn’t look at or hold you for 3 days.
I wish you didn’t blame me for your lack of self-esteem.

I wish you could enjoy my children for the bright, lovely people they are.
I wish you could sit and laugh with me watching my dogs play sweetly amongst themselves.
I wish you could have been with us when we sprinkled dad near his beloved rifle range. I didn’t get these wishes.

I wish you hadn’t said and done all the awful things to my children that you did.
I wish you hadn’t said and done all the awful things to me that you did.
I wish you could see that you were being mean instead of believing you were helping us.

I wish you hadn’t compared and pitted my sister against me and to let us be who we are.
I wish that you and dad regarded me higher than my sister’s husband.
I wish I had a dad that defended to me to you, even though he knew the truth all along.
I wish I had a mother. Didn’t get any of these wishes.

I wish I could get off the rollercoaster

I wish I wasn’t compelled to write this.

I wish you weren’t my mother.

I wish I could stop wishing.

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Michael August 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Hello Renee, my sister says that she got over mom years ago. She sees mom for what she is and has moved on. To me, I find that stunning. How can she so easily dismiss the void that the narcissistic mother leaves? I’m amazed at my sister’s strength and I have told her so.

So why is it taking longer for you and I to let go of that anchor? We both know it is dragging us down.

Maybe we are dreamers… holding on to a glimmer of hope of a better tomorrow?
Maybe our self-esteem has been crippled to the extent that we believe only mom can repair?
Maybe we believe that we are the failure in the relationship and we refuse to accept that notion?
Maybe…?

My sister says to let it go and move on. I think she’s right.

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Renee August 25, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Hi Michael,

I do envy your sister. I’m not sure if it is strength or resolve ….. maybe we are just a bit more sensitive to things ~ which is a dual-edged sword.

I like your diagnostic query;
if Walt Disney hadn’t dreamed, I wouldn’t get to love the Tiki Room so much!
As I spread my wings into new adventures, I’m reminded of my capablities.
And I’m aware it’s my mother’s own self-esteem that is severely crippled (not ours!!!)
In my heart of hearts, I know that I am not the failure and that there is nothing that I can do to fix her issue. Not that I’m egotistical (sp?) but I just know this, as you too :)

Most days I let it go and I think you and your sister are right. My heart is just one of those softies that aches for all aches of the universe. Sometimes its a drag!! But for me to stop feeling would be to stop breathing.

I think it’s the cruelty that just sinks me ……. even when I see others being treated cruelly, it brings me to tears and my heart cries. Cruelty is pointless and needless.

Both of my children were in the local papers, which my NM is a subscriber. I know that she reads about their triumphs and achievements. Here’s going out on the limb; does it make her sad (and the paper articles aren’t published to make her feel bad ~ which I believe she thinks that I purposefully do it to torture her …. LOL/REALLY) or does it just fuel her venom all that much more? Will never know nor care too!!!

I’m discovering this is just going to be a lifelong battle, kinda like the passing of a loved one. We don’t get over it but get used to them not being with us (of course, those of us with the ‘luck’ of having a NM, we’re better without them!!)

Just another ‘down’ episode. Getting better (actually busy hands, brains, and hearts help a bunch!!).

Love and healing to all~~

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Tammy August 22, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Recently I have discovered that I am a daughter of a NM. My entire life has been a roller coaster of emotional abuse. I was never allowed to have a voice, never allowed to be happy, sad, frightened or even ill. She never offered affection of any kind. My father has been everything to me growing up he took on the nurturing roll as much as she would allow, most of the time they would actually fight over if I should be taken to the hospital. My middle brother and I were the scapegoats and the youngest brother was the Golden Child.

I was always the butt of her mean jokes and criticism. She would even try to get my oldest daughter involved when she was little. She would say things like don’t worry your mom will shut up in a minute. If I was talking and my daughter wanted to continue playing. Over the years I would try to make her accept me but no matter what I did, where I lived no matter what was never good enough.

The last three years she has just had less and less to do with my family. Only inviting us to Holidays or her Birthday and snubbing all of my invitations with very short bitchy responses. The last straw was her snubbing my youngest daughters 16th birthday party. The only person from my family who came was my middle brother. He was two hours late and came with his own Narcissistic personality. Guessing the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The Golden child brother said yes to the invite and then did not show.
My daughter also over heard a phone conversation between my father and my mother, when he was asking my NM for permission to have my daughter, his grand daughter, to their house. She heard my mother tell him ,”No, I don’t want her here.” Because my brother the Golden child was going to be there. This was too much for me and I snapped. I confronted my father and asked him why didn’t my mother love me? He actually was honest and admitted to me that she did not love me. I was crushed for two weeks I have been so depressed almost suicidal at times. I have seen my doctor who is wonderful. My husband and girls are very supportive. I just feel so awakened and for the first time actually free to not care.
Taking off the mask. It’s time to be free, free to feel, free to be real, free to take my stand, free to ask for your helping hand. Look and see, this time it is the real me.

I am working now on recovering from 45 years of abuse and trying to still have a relationship with my dear sweet father with out whom I would not have survived. I am working on overcoming the anger and grief so that I can for the first time in my life experience love the way it should be felt and know that I am worthy of every bit of it. I know this is going to be a long journey but maybe for the first time I feel like my life has a purpose.

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Bridget August 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I had never heard about this disorder until recently, when I was desperately seeking answers as to why my mother acts the way she does. To preface, I am 25 years old, have a Master’s degree and am engaged to a doctor. We are getting married in just a few months.

I have always accepted my mother’s behavior as normal. To this day, I struggle with anxiety and constantly have a fear of “getting in trouble”. I was always held at a higher standard than other children my age. I am all for pushing your kids to become great adults, but it was to the point that if I didn’t receive every award in school, or if I made a B, I would be punished and compared to other children my age and called a failure and a quitter. My mother is an expert at easing herself into my business. She would sit and read every email, instant message, and text message I received, often going through my personal belongings (phone, diary, etc.) I was bullied severely in school, and my mother would ease information out of me to eventually use against me. When I look back, one of the turning moments for me was when my mother found out that I had a MySpace. This was very early in the social media craze, so we had created them at school. One day, my parents told me that while I was at school, a man had called our house wanting to speak to me because he had found my page, and my mother kept going on and on about how he had said vulgar things about me and that she was afraid for my life. She demanded that I take down my page. I was confused, because I knew not to put any personal information online , but I was compliant and removed my page. Months later, I found out that everything they had told me was a lie. I had never felt so betrayed before, and that was the moment I lost a lot of respect for my parents.

I could go on and on about things that my mother did. She easily manipulated my father, which eventually led them to divorcing, and now that I look back, I think my dad eventually saw her true colors and wanted out. I can’t say that I blame him. Many relationships I have attempted to have, were destroyed by her antics. Once I realized that she was the cause of my relationship strain, I began to have closer friendships and was able to be in a great relationship and actually start to enjoy life.

The biggest challenge I have faced so far, is the upcoming wedding. I am paying for my wedding myself, mainly because I know my parents can’t afford it. However, I do feel that most decisions should be made by myself and my groom. It has been a constant emotional roller coaster of wailing, screaming, hitting, and crying throughout this whole process. Instead of moving out during college, I stayed at home to be with her to help her cope with the divorce, and now I can’t leave because there is no way to get a lease for the short amount of time from now until the wedding, and if I moved in with my fiancé, I would be utterly shunned and ridiculed by her. She already calls me derogatory names. She won’t allow me to go to my fiance’s house; he has to come here every time we want to see each other, but when he does come here, she sits in the same room as us. We are 25 and 30 and we have to be chaperoned.

I never know what kind of a mood she is going to be in. Some nights, she is fine and happy. Others, she is laying on the couch, crying hysterically, saying that I’m going to change and become a failure. Most frequently, she is giving me the silent treatment until she blows up and says completely mean, hurtful things to make me doubt myself, my friends, and most of all, my fiancé. She tells me my marriage will fail because I am leaving her. Everyone around me sees how tense and afraid I am all the time. I don’t necessarily feel physically in danger, unless she is in what I call “rage mode”, but I am constantly walking on egg shells trying to please her and keep her happy. I’ve tried so hard to be the perfect daughter. I have a Master’s degree, I’ve worked since I was 16 (sometimes working multiple jobs), and I sacrificed my early twenties to try to be there for her, dealing with ridiculous curfews as a young adult to being made feel guilty for trying to do anything fun that most people my age do.

I just wanted to share my story. There are so many details I could give about how ridiculous my life is, but I am hoping that once I marry the love of my life and can finally live, things will start looking up. It helps a lot to know I’m not the only person going through this.

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Renee August 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Tammy and Bridget,

I’m sad that you are two more innocent victims of this vicious, venomous disorder AND you’ve joined a community that ‘gets it’. You will find nurturing, comfort, validation, information, and moreso, true friendship.

Please read through this website as much as you can. You will quickly see that this is not about you but about manipulation, transparent bullying, shallow self-esteem and exploding egos of people; NMs and their enablers.

The fact that you have arrived and are very articulate about your situation lends to the first steps in YOUR recovery. I can tell you that two of the most helpful articles that pulled me out of the ‘it just has to be me, the bad daughter’ was Parrish Miller’s Narcassistic Mother and Ms. Piper’s various articles ~ and the forum.

I’ve been in recovery myself just only a couple of years and even still, I just exited from another jolt by my NM. You have to do the work, walk the walk, and you’ll most likely slip back into ways that you know ….. not that they are healthy for you but because you are familiar with them. Each person’s recovery timeline, methods, and processes are unique but as you read, read, read, you’ll find many threads of commonality. Commonality you are not aware of yet but will be.

You are not alone. This is not your burden to bear. It is your responsibility for your healing and recovery and we are all here to help. The dynamics of sick relationship is not your fault. What twists it tighter is the idea of what a mother is supposed to be and when we don’t have that, well, it the defect must be us. Guess what ……………. NOPE!!

Gotta race off. You both are on the right path. Healing, Peace, Love

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R.N. August 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Hi all…I too have a NM (Big Time). I made this discovery a few years ago and believe that I have come a long way since then, but I still have a lot more healing to do. The biggest challenge I have is setting boundaries when it comes to my children. She is constantly pushing her way into the “mommy” role with my children (believe me it’s BAD) and when I have tried explaining to her that it hurts my feelings when they call her mom, or when they run away from me when I pick them up from her house and tell me “I don’t want to go!”, etc., etc., etc., (believe me there’s ALOT more….tons and tons of heartache on my part) my NM simply tells me to “stop taking it personal…it’s not about you!”

Anyhow, I am constantly on an emotional roller-coaster. I have come to terms with having a NM, yet I am still so fearful of displeasing my mother. There’s only two conditions when it comes to dealing with her, either 1) walking on egg shells to avoid the anger, or being the brunt of her rage and/or silent treatment.

I am glad to have found this blog…and it’s recent too! I plan on reading and writing regularly. Never done this before so I’m a bit nervous.

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Renee August 27, 2014 at 2:56 pm

R.N.
You are in good company. Sometimes you have to step out of a comfort zone to FIND a safe zone. You are here and will be well cared for by those of us who live it and get it. Read, read, read. Work your process in the manner you’re comfy with. We all walk with you.

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R.N. August 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Hi all…I too have a NM (Big Time). I made this discovery a few years ago and believe that I have come a long way since then, but I still have a lot more healing to do. The biggest challenge I have is setting boundaries when it comes to my children. She is constantly pushing her way into the “mommy” role with my children (believe me it’s BAD) and when I have tried explaining to her that it hurts my feelings when they call her mom, or when they run away from me when I pick them up from her house and tell me “I don’t want to go!”, etc., etc., etc., (believe me there’s ALOT more….tons and tons of heartache on my part) my NM simply tells me to “stop taking it personal…it’s not about you!”

Anyhow, I am constantly on an emotional roller-coaster. I have come to terms with having a NM, yet I am still so fearful of displeasing my mother. There’s only two conditions when it comes to dealing with her, either 1) walking on egg shells to avoid the anger, or being the brunt of her rage and/or silent treatment.

I am glad to have found this blog…and it’s recent too! I plan on reading and writing regularly. Never done this before so I’m a bit nervous.

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B.C. August 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Hello,

It has taken me years to make the decision to break communication with my N.M. The problem is that she won’t let me go. She emails me constantly, invites herself over anytime she wants, drives by my house to see if I’m home, etc. She relentlessly texts my teenage children with guilt-soaked messages, and has managed to turn my 3 siblings against me by crying to them about how I feel that I am “too good” for them and her. With the holidays approaching, I need advice about how to turn down her invitations to family affairs that turn into drunken screaming matches. I can’t expose my kids to her antics anymore…Advice?

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Renee August 27, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Michael told me that because my NM cut me off, that I graduated~~ that I no longer provide the ‘hit’ my NM needs and am of no use to her. That summed it up for me, super clearly! (thanks Michael!!!)

In review, are you certain you have gone NC with her? I think that if you give an NM any morsel of acknowledgement, they are a shark and gobble you up. You mention that she invites herself over … who opens the door? Does she have a key? Perhaps contact your wireless carrier and block her phone number to your children’s. I’d hate to do it but have considered changing my children’s cell numbers (when they were younger and ‘grandma’ would call them, oozing her ick onto them). You really shouldn’t have to change your life but sometimes you might need to take some drastic action.

One thing to really remember, behavior always gets worse before it gets better ….. meaning if you really cut all access to your own family from her, she could ramp up. Hold your ground. My NM overstepped me many times but I still stood my ground. It was as if she had the right to turn a deaf ear to me. I was ready to file a restraining order but thank goodness it didn’t go that far. I’ve even have a note at the children’s schools that my NM or GC sister and her husband are not to have access; pick up, attend events, contact, visit, etc. The principals have always been thankful to have the head’s up.

Once in one of my NM’s fits of ‘your dad’s cancer is worse and it’s all your fault’, with my youngest in the back of her car as they were going out for a lovely day of shopping (uh, yeah, right), my NM was hysterical. I just couldn’t have my NM driving away in that state of upset with my sweet, innocent daughter in the back seat. When I told my NM to let my daughter out of the car, she threw her car in reverse and screamed at me that she didn’t need to do anything I said. I told her to stop the car. She didn’t. I don’t know where I found the strength or courage, and never in a million years would I ever have thought I’d be ‘here’, but I told her that if she didn’t stop her car and let my daughter out, I will call the police, have her stopped and remove my daughter. Well, that rattled her cage and don’t think for a minute I was bluffing! Of course, the story later turned into ‘what daughter would call the police on her mother’! Sicko.

Ok ~ in summary, dear B.C., no means no. NO MEANS NO and you have to stand behind it. I’ve found that I don’t owe my NM an explanation or ‘why’, just ‘no’. no. NO. I’ve kept the conversations short and to the point and cordial.

We all will slip and slide in our recovery. We find balance too. Look back at my posts. I’m all over the road but my NM is out of our lives and we are a very peaceful family. Even our dogs are very happy.

Stay with us. Journey and recover with us. Let us know how things work out for you.

(sorry, in a rush …… didn’t check for typos!)

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arin August 27, 2014 at 11:52 am

Dear all,

I’ve just come across this wonderful site.

I’m the scapegoat daughter of a mother with NPD. I haven’t seen her for three years and don’t speak much on the phone because I get the usual barrage of coldness, criticism etc.

My dreadful relationship with her made me decide not to have my own kids but to adopt instead and I have found a young girl who is going to be placed with me and hubby. We will love and care for her with all our hearts. I know I will make a good mom because I will be everything my mom is not. Crucially, I will treat this child as an entity in their own right who has freedom of thought, expression, and will unconditionally love and care at all times.

The question I have is that how to I stop letting the negative thoughts about my mum flood into my life. Even though I don’t see her I still find myself getting caught up in the cycle of negative memories about what she’s done. For the first twenty years of my life I was confused not knowing why she was the way she was, for the last 10, after finding out about NPD I was both relieved (about knowing it wasn’t me but her) but also tortured by the past. I’ve tried everything but am still in the same rut.

Please help someone, I need to stop going over the negative stuff over and over again so that I can live in the present. I don’t mind thinking about it from time to time, as to block it out would do far more damage but a happy medium would be great.

Yours thoughts would be most welcome.

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Renee August 27, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Sweet Arin,

Stay on this blog. Look back at everyone’s journey and interactions. You will be a fabulous mother. I’m kinda thinking that children of NMs are some of the greatest parents. We give to our children what we were not …… a testimony to recovery.

Again, as with B.C., read, read, read. Read as many posts on this site as you can. You’ll see the patterns. Perhaps a technique someone shares will connect with you. Align with people who get it and support you.

The one additional book I’ve been reading is the Adult Children of Alcoholics. It’s not all about alcoholism but also about family dysfunction. It breaks discovery and recovery into daily ‘bites’ with a resolution at the bottom about identifying illness, health, well-being, and recovery. This book supports Michelle’s material and really breaks issues down into manageable pieces. It’s really helped me.

You are in a loving community that understands. Like B.C., walk with us.

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Anonymous August 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Renee,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. You have very eloquently summed up what I know to be true in my heart: I want to break off communication with my NM but have not stood my ground. I still let her take my kids for the day, still let her guilt me into doing things I do not want to do, etc. I am coming to terms with the complexities of her disorder. I thought that if I stopped going to “family functions” that my message would be clear. I am beginning to understand that my mother has twisted my actions to suit her emotional needs: i.e.. she has simply told my siblings that I am the problem…further estranging me from them. I also find it interesting that you have begun to research the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” books and psychology. I have done this too. My father was an abusive alcoholic who died young. My mother uses this as part of her manipulations, as she holds herself up as the savior who rescued the family from this man. I have been physically ill for the last few days because I turned her down for a “fun family Labor Day celebration.” I haven’t heard from her since and I know this means that she is plotting. Last week she showed up at my church (I am a devout Catholic and she hasn’t been to church in years) and knelt next to me in mass and then proceeded to accost the priest afterward to show how “devout” she is. I don’t know what to expect next and like all others on this board I could go on forever about the nutty things that she has done. Bottom line: I have so much work to do to learn how to deal with this. Thank you for supporting me as I begin this journey. Also, Arin, I agree with Renee about reading as much as you can about this and following the stories on this blog. It is so good not to be alone.

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arin August 28, 2014 at 8:20 am

Dear Renee,

Thanks for your kind words and support. I will carry on reading and learning more, which will remind me of what it’s all been like, and will keep checking out these posts as well. One of the most difficult things has been being told ‘it’s all in my head’ when I know that it’s not.

Thanks again xx

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