Caring for an Aging Narcissistic Mother

by Michelle Piper

Caring for an aging narcissistic mother is hard.

As the child of a narcissistic mother, chances are that when your mother needs you most, your compassion has already been worn threadbare by her ever-changing demands long before she approached her frailest years.

You may have had to tend to her needs for as long as you can remember. She always came first, and certainly came before you. If her needs went unmet, it was followed by a narcissistic rage that could move mountains.

If you wanted or needed anything, it didn’t matter.

Unless, somehow, it served her needs.

But now she needs you due to the challenges of her age. Perhaps just as you’re barely meeting multiple demands of your own family, health or career.

You hoped your aging narcissistic mother’s drive to be the center of attention and make everything about her will subside, at least a little bit. Yet, this is often not the case.

Narcissism can worsen with age, especially when she may need your assistance to help her through her daily life due to illness or the general wearing out process. Caring for an aging narcissistic mother is a complicated process on both a physical and emotional level.

Paradoxically, an elderly narcissistic mother can pull at your heartstrings because you see she doesn’t have the capacity to manipulate or fight as she did in the past as her physical energy or mental ability decreases.

She may become less rigid due to the humbling nature of the aging process. When this happens, it may appear she has “mellowed with age.”

You may have a resurgence of feeling responsible for the lack of closeness with your narcissistic mother. If so, avoid focusing on guilt about, or longing for, a relationship with your mother that never worked as you’d so badly hoped.

An intimate relationship is beyond the will or capacity of a narcissist.

Sometimes, we can’t help our mother as much as we’d wish because we need to protect our own emotional safety. Perhaps you have long accepted you will not be truly cherished by your mother and she’s incapable of respecting your needs. Maybe all you can do is feel empathy from afar because you are too angry when you are close.

Regardless of your mixed feelings regarding your narcissistic mother, you may allow yourself to feel compassion, but not responsibility for, her needs or suffering. It is the opposite of narcissism, after all.

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie January 23, 2017 at 11:53 am

UPDATE FROM MY EARLIER POST….My mom still hasn’t gotten an appt. with her pulmonary dr…..really thought she would get in last week. I still haven’t left the state yet to see her as I am getting things in order around here and waiting for the Dr’s report. No matter what happens, my health and mental well-being are important. Just in the last 5 days I have had some serious melt-downs over her cruelness to me on the phone. After that 5 year separation I said that I will, under no condition, let her do this to me again. So, here’s my plan. First of all I haven’t decided to buy a one-way ticket or pre-determine my length of stay. Once I get there this is my plan. It’s a three-fold one with each piece carrying the same emotional weight.. #1 My mother’s condition…is she more humble in person or cruel or the worst ever? #2 My sister and brother despise each other, both with slight narcissistic personalities, both value money above anything or anybody. How sad. All of us together in one locations..who know what I will be like. Them fighting, me crying. #3 How am I feeling. So with that…..If ANY of these conditions starts to turn BAD…..I’m out of there and heading home. To never look back again WITH NO REGRETS. I truly envy anyone who has a normal mom…because a normal mom would not treat her children like this. I love to work with elderly people and often am rescuing abandoned cats or dogs. My advice. Take care of yourself and do something that allows you to get love in return. My current rescue effort with 8 cats warms my heart and theirs every day I am with them…..I saved their life and they saved mine.


Shelagh January 27, 2017 at 9:25 am

Good luck xxx


Marc May 27, 2017 at 4:41 am

Wow! I feel your pain. My mother-in-law, a narcissistic mother- in-law ALWAYS talking of money non-stop. Her vocabulary consists of: Doctor, Attorney, Lexus, Cadillac, prominent, prestige, $500,000 home, private schools etc. For the lack of profanity, it’s rather boring and self-centered. She’s one of 3 daughters; she’s never worked full time in her life. Her two sisters, one retired from Ford Motor credit and the other from Bank of America always worked full time. In fact, check this out, both of her sisters worked in high school so my mother-in-law could go to her Senior prom which the 2 sister’s paid for her dress! Deep seated problems with money, no formal education, married to a controlling man (deceased). Demands respect from her 2 daughter, one is exactly like her: self centered, manipulative, thinks she’s an Rockafeller on $14000/yr. My wife who is “normal” is my mother-in-law’s go to person for anything related to her: medical appointments, holidays, going to church etc. Ironic, how my mother-in-law has NEVER given my wife a dime yet her “cloned” daughter is always getting money for fear of suicide threats. Things exploded over Mother’s day as we had our daugther’s First Holy Communion service. My NMIL is telling me how much her female cousin is allowed to spend on monthly hair, nails etc. to the tune of $1000/month! I told her to change the topic as we where in Church! She proceeded to tell me where my wife and I where going to send our daughter to school, what kind of job I’m getting (transitioning out of Military) etc. Therefore, I told her this Christmas, DON”T expect us to drive 3.5 hrs on Christmas day to see her, rather the “cloned” daughter can entertain her. She exploded on me threatening NEVER to come back to my house ever again. She is stuck in an ever cycle of despair and materalisim yet refuses to go get clinical help. I’m suggesting my wife and I go to Marriage Counseling just to talk of this issue and I’m suggesting Limited Contact boundaries. I’m fearful she’ll poison our daughter’s way of thinking with her materialism and self-centeredness.

Military Officer dealing with Family Malarkey in Tennessee.


Denise March 7, 2018 at 3:47 am

Boundaries…Just a suggestion, however your Mother-in-law is scapgoating her daughter, your wife. You are your wife’s strongest advocate. Stand firm for your family. And you are right about your children, she will more than likely show extreme favoritism towards one. And her only mission is to cause problems, control and get that much needed narcissistic supply. Good luck. You got this Soldier. Thank you for your Service Sir.


V February 1, 2017 at 10:48 pm

I recognise so many of these stories, finding out about narcissistic mothers recently was like a light bulb moment for me, and explained so much. Finally, it’s her not me! I’m nearly 60 and am the only surviving child of an 90 year old narcissist. My late father was her enabler. My sibling died in childhood, and was the “golden child”, who of course is for ever perfect being dead! I’ve often thought that she thinks the wrong child died. I’ve been supporting my elderly mother’s emotional needs all her life, and now she’s elderly and frail, everybody expects me to support her, it’s so difficult trying to explain I have never had a normal mother, when others see her as being a “sweet old lady”. I live a hundred miles away from her, but she carries on as if it’s just around the corner, she’s been a hypochondriac all her life, and it’s even worse now she’s old. Her favourite tactic is to get someone else to ring me, and tell me she’s ill, and she’s going into hospital, so I have no choice but to come and see her again. I visit every 2 weeks anyway, she’s been sent to hospital so many times, for it to be declared a “panic attack”. She has no guilt about wasting healthcare resources, and none about getting me running down the motorway again, because that was the aim of the game, attention, and then she can ring her friends to get even more attention for being “ill”. Her GP won’t take responsibility for her as she’s in her 90’s so sends her to hospital for the slightest issue. I’m a nurse and she thinks she can pull the wool over my eyes, one day she’ll be crying down the phone, I’m so lonely, I’m so depressed, the next day if a friends visited, her ” depression” has mysteriously gone! She forgets which symptom she’s complained of the day before, so I can often catch her out.She’s a fraud and a phoney, everything is always about her, if I’m ill, she will always tell me how worried she is about “my problem” so I never tell her anymore, as she’s incapable of empathy. She’s recently been hospitalised for pneumonia, and at one point wasn’t expected to live, I feel really guilty writing this, but it would have been a relief if she’d died, she survived, and my endless torture continues. I’m fortunate to have a good supportive husband, who knows how difficult it is, but doesn’t fully get it, when I say I want to go “no contact” he’s says she’s your mother, and she’s old, you can’t do that! He had normal supportive parents so doesn’t quite get it, he still thinks one day she’ll feel remorse, but she’s a narcissist, so it’ll never happen. I say that if your husband is abusive, you’re actively encouraged to divorce them, but if it’s your mother, society seems to say you have to put up with their bad behaviour because a mother’s role is sacrosanct, even if they’re a monster! She tells me constantly that she loves me, as she thinks this will keep me running, but there’s no love there, her hugs feel as cold as ice. My mum has said terrible things about me but conveniently “forgets” these outbursts . She recently told my husband I was always useless, and I’ve only achieved anything due to her efforts! I have a university degree, and have been a senior nurse for years – my mother has no academic qualifications, and I’ve achieved what I have despite her. The only reason I still support her is for me not her, I guess I’m trying to prove I’m not like her, and also all that grooming has paid off, I’m still that child who wants to please her, even though I know it’ll never happen.


patricia February 17, 2017 at 1:27 pm

i went no contact my heart breaks for you


Judy April 3, 2017 at 1:42 pm

I am so sorry for you, but I feel like I am reading my own words. Blessings to you. I understand what you are going through.


Lucy April 6, 2017 at 4:05 am

I too take care of an 80year old mother. Your story mirrors mine. Thank you so much for sharing. I have been told many times what a “sweet lady” she is when I know the truth. Your words really help. Take good care – of yourself.


Sofia May 4, 2017 at 6:59 am

I am so sorry for all of you.

My narcissistic mother is 94 an I am 65. Thank you for your words, you are helping me to support this neverending story and give me the power to set boundaries every day.


Sofia May 4, 2017 at 7:00 am

I am so sorry for all of you.

My narcissistic mother is 94 an I am 65. Thank you for your words, you are helping me to support this neverending story and give me the power to set boundaries every day.


Crabapple May 20, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Ditto! I, too, am a nurse, youngest of 4 and the only daughter , Mom is 91 and enabler dad died 5 years ago. She has sucked me dry and I am numb to her, and perform all tasks like a robot. I do not like having to turn on the ‘numb’ switch but do so to survive. Her needs will never be met.. it is her disorder and finally I am out to
preserve my health. I view my visits and tasks as ‘a job’ and there is a financial reward to it. But I can’t let her negative emotion drag me down. Be strong. Take long walks. Stay rested. You did not sign up to be her daughter.. it chose you.


Gayle Holden June 26, 2017 at 3:20 pm

My narc mil is 95 and has had her hooks into my husband for over 60 years. She is also a hoarder of the most severe type. Her golden child daughter (a clone of her) died 5 years ago from leukemia and her “lost” youngest child, a son, is autistic. He was good for pity and for money. She has spent her whole life baiting and manipulating my husband and he responded thinking good deeds would win him favour . Wrong. He took his mother to court 5 years ago and became legal guardian of his brother. 6 months ago his mother was hospitalized and my husband was finally able to move his brother into a nice group care facility with a private suite for him. He has POA and is disposing of the hoarding mess and preparing the property for sale. My mil is refusing to leave the hospital for long term care even though she needs 24/7 care so they’re stuck with her. Our 30 year marriage is in tatters and I don’t know if we will ever recover from this decades long assault. My advice: sever all contact with narcissistic people, whether they are family members or marriage partners or friends. Starve them of their blood supply. They suck you dry and they cause grief and harm to everyone they come into contact with.


Glo August 3, 2017 at 7:36 am

Wow! I am 64 and my N mom just turned 95. I went no contact 2 years ago. Best thing I ever did. Too toxic for words. I wish I could recoup all the time and money I spent caring for that selfish non-motherly woman. It’s all about narcissistic supply. The more you hurt, the better they feel…

J May 30, 2017 at 7:33 am

They live so long. Because they have no guilt. Sad that you were not relieved and the abuse continues after the grave, no rest assured. She’ll leave it all to the golden child or a grandchild she may never see, and if you work your fingers to the bone taking care of her, she leaves you nothing, because the scapegoat gets nothing in the end. I have wanted to run away into the wild because of my NM and my EF. To never be heard from again. In my dreams, it was the only way to escape.


Christine June 19, 2017 at 1:59 am

Oh my goodness this is me and my mother . I feel your pain . Its relentless . My mother recently had pneumonia and i felt the same way too . Its never ending .


New Me November 7, 2017 at 5:57 pm

I am feeling your pain. We are almost the same story with my mother. She is 80 now and I am 45. She’s gotten so worse lately because of no contact I decided to do for over 6 months now. She’s thousand miles away but she uses narc flying monkeys to get to me. Last week they told me she got lost and already found in another city. I reacted a little about it. But did not do anything. I did not call her or my sister-in-law who is looking after her. So when they knew I didn’t react on their bait, they created another story. Now, she’s in the hospital. The narc flying monkey who gave this message really got into my nerve. It’s so obvious that it is only the money they wanted from me. I got a little bit of meltdown dealing this message. But I ignored her emails so they won’t get anything from me. I let my anger out by talking with my husband about the issue. My mother is quite sick now and quite frail. I know she’s not going to change and will never give me the kind of love I deserve as her daughter. But as part of my healing I am accepting all that. If I am going to help her in any way as she deteriorates, it is my compassion towards her as my mother. Sounds pleaser but a deep empathy towards her past and bad upbringing gives a space in my heart to hold on for a little while until this lost soul passes this life. The spiritual aspect of my life taught me some hopes after this life. I keep the boundaries between her and her flying monkeys though to keep my sanity. It is not easy most of the time but people who have been through with all these experiences prior us and professionals have shed some light and continue sharing their knowledge how to combat this silence illness will definitely lighten a burden on our shoulder.


Christine November 5, 2018 at 8:09 am

I feel your pain. I’ve started changing my response when hearing flying monkey stories. I think as women, and sympathetic beings, our first response is to say, “I’m sorry” and we mean that as a way to say I understand, I feel bad for you, etc to bond with a person, when the message we’re truly intending to send is “that’s unfortunate”. So now when I hear either from Narc Mom or Flying Monkey Sister, I will say, that’s unfortunate and stay neutral. I actually read about this first in a business publication about differences in communication of men and women with “I’m sorry”, and it was men see “I’m sorry” as accepting blame, where women use “i’m sorry” to mean I sympathize, I’ve been very conscious ever since in business and in personal life now to say, “that’s unfortunate” if I am not actually responsible or accepting blame.


ALicia November 12, 2017 at 8:57 am

Your post caught my attention. I’m sorry that you have to endure a NP mother. You are the child who survived, that is wonderful and it should be celebrated! Hooray!

It is wonderful to be able to participate with this site and the people who get it!

I’m going 3 1/2 years of dealing with the discovery that my mother is Narc. I’m not an only child, I feel like I am, I have 2 siblings who I believe to also be Narcs. Narc Land as I call it. My sister has cut me out of her life again and continues to manipulate money out of my Narc mother (but don’t feel bad for my narc mother, because my narc sister pays dearly). They have been doing this dance forever, but now I have stepped back from the drama they want to pull me into. My narc brother was the scapegoat and is mostly absent from the family. He is the reining Narc over his poor family.

My Father died 3 1/2 years ago. My Narc mother is a widow and boy does she play the “Poor Widow card”. She even said to me “I really get alot of attention when I play the “Poor Widow”.” At 53, I’m still shocked at her cruelty and non empathy. The “Sweet old lady” comes to mind. No one seems to understand that she is behind a mask and that a monster lives behind that mask.

I believe that my Narc mother belittled and abused my wonderful Father to an early grave. After his death she called me 10+ times a day with problems and health issues that were fake or manipulated. Before my Father’s death she may have called me once per 2 months. My narc mother is a retired Nurse, I no longer tell her about health issues. I have chronic Kidney stones. She is always calling me to see if I have kidney stone pain. If I says yes, she actually giggles.

Now my Narc mother of 75 has a 90 year old boyfriend. He is a nice man, that is what my narc mother needs, so she can feed off him. This is terrible, but he keeps her out of my hair. He is 90 and she is 15 years his junior and I know this relationship won’t last. I know that when her boyfriend is not here anymore, she will be ever worse X 10. I dread the day this happens, I will want to run. It is like waiting for the other shoe to drop. While my Husband is supportive and listens to my dealings with my narc mother, he says I can’t go NO CONTACT because I am her co-trustee of her estate. Really I don’t care about the estate, I worry about her care.

I have worked hard these past years for low contact and gray rock. In caring for her when she needs it, I will be putting myself right back into Her hell (Narc land). V, this is were the grooming comes in and you have given me a glimpse of the future with my Narc mother. I agonize over this… Does anyone have advice? There is no way she can live with me and my siblings say the same. She will go into a home. The more people (aides) that are involved in her life creates more drama. Drama which I will be dragged into. I keep saying to myself, “Enjoy the moment” but it is hard.

I also struggle with jealousy of people with normal mothers. The Holidays are coming and it is difficult to watch all the love on TV. I want to go into a cave for 2 months.

May peace be with all of you


Sasha August 4, 2018 at 3:22 am

I am 55 and my N mother is 76. I completely resonate with your problem and just wanted to confirm your thought regarding your dad, because similar thing is happening to mine. I can hardly understand how he managed to cope with her for 53 years until finally 4 years ago he escaped into dementia which is slowly killing him now…
So terribly sad and tragic…
Sending my best and take care,


Karen Malliaras February 12, 2018 at 2:09 pm

V- your story sounds a lot like mine. I am 49 my mom is 96. I am her only surviving child. My siblings, my sister died of kidney disease (she was the golden child) the other my brother died of just being on drugs and a lost life or soul. He too suffered from asthma but the drugs he took as an adult would make his asthma worse. My mom never believed that and would accuse me of doing drugs instead. She would tell everyone she could her story of how she had me to replace my sister who was going to live 6 months. My dad, her enabler, died almost 10 years ago. He made me promise to take care of her and I do. I don’t dote on her like she would like. I don’t feed her narcissism. I do the best I can. She told me one time shortly after my dad died, that i made this promise to care of her. I told her, “yeah, I do take care of you but I’m not running over to your house for every little thing.”. She tells her friends and her nieces that I don’t take care of her. How I could be there with her more than I do. I go three times a week to bring food, and such. She tells them how she raised more children than me, took care of sick children, took care of her neighbors, the neighbors grand children, her grandchildren (not mine – I wouldn’t let her take care of them), my dad’s father. She did it all she tells them. Her friends and nieces tell her she lived in a different time but she doesn’t care.

When I had my first child, all she talked about were my two deceased siblings (granted the loss of two children is not easy but she forgot she had a third who was alive and well). My MIL told her, that’s nice but let’s focus on your daughter who’s about to deliver your grandchild. Her reply – Ehh, I already have two grandchildren! After my daughter was born, the nurse said to my mother, you have a beautiful granddaughter tho which she said “I know she look just like my daughter Carol. You remember Carol don’t you? She had dialysis here. Why I practically own this place.” Talk about crazy!! I asked her to leave. She called me a week later and told me how left out her and my dad felt. She said- “we felt like second class citizens.” You can certainly imagine the truth I gave her about her deplorable behavior.

I have learned to separate myself from her and I’ve expected that she never really was a mother to me. Her issues may come from brain surgeries she had prior to my birth but I’ll never know. All I do know and accept is she never had an emotional connection to me and wasn’t good enough or wasn’t sick enough or she was jealous of my personality and spirit. Whatever the case is, I’ve made a good life for myself without her by my side. I celebrate that I have her strong will I also celebrate that I live a different life than she did and I am completely different with my children and people in my life.

She is in declining health now, two serious falls in nine months that landed her in a trauma center each time. The last of which isn’t going to allow her to live in her own home. I’ve placed her in a care facility which she’s not happy about.

I feel sorry for people like me who have to deal with mother’s who are unable to give love to their children or one of their children. It’s been a long road for me but the best thing I ever did was stop trying to have a relationship with her and think we were going to be friends. My mom is a true example of – YOU REP WHAT YOU SEW. I know she won’t live forever and it’s sad to say when she’s gone I’ll feel a significant amount of relief. Just like you will V.


Tania March 18, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Wow, your post is exactly what I’m going through right now. It’s like we’re from the same mother. It’s so hard to deal with the guilt. I have questioned for many years how I will feel when she passes away. Fortunately for me (I guess) my mother lives almost 4 hours away, so I don’t have to deal with her on a daily basis. It’s my excuse…

I see other women with their mothers and they are so close and they do everything they can to help them when they’re old. I have struggled with the fact I have no feelings like that for my mother and have questioned if I am incapable of love. But then I realize I love my two children (both adults) more than anything in life, and they know that, and we have a very close relationship. It’s the only thing that gets me through the days right now as I struggle dealing with my mother and her declining health and consequent demands. I’m sure her friends think I’m an awful daughter for not rushing up to tend to all her needs. But I can’t let that affect my feelings. I know the truth. But it’s still difficult dealing with that guilt.


Pamela Maclean May 15, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Your story is so similar to mine except I’m 53 and have gone no contact for my own health. I suffer from Fybromyalgia which can be the result of long term trauma (makes sense to me! ). Really hard to go no contact but my husband finally understood the narcissistic behavior when my mother stayed with us for a month after the death of her husband. However I don’t recommend trying this!!!


Youcef February 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Hi everyone,

My narcissistic mother is today 58 and I’m 29, I spent all my childhood being her confidant, with her all the time complaining to me about my father, my grandmother, the neighbors, etc etc.. she depicted herself always as a victim and a perfect person surrounded by bad people.

And I had no normal childhood with a caring mother who oriented me, all I was supposed to do was listen to her complaining and be her confidant, comfort her, agree with her that all those people (especially my father) were bad, etc.

Today whenever I meet her she would systematically use a very weak voice, claim that she is exhausted, that life is so hard (to make me feel guilty of not being with her), etc, then when her lover comes her voice suddenly becomes normal, she no longer looks exhausted, etc.. then I would understand that she is making her habitual manners of playing the victim in front of me.

She takes pleasure in looking like a victim and having people’s compassion, but I no longer blame her, her own mother was a narcissist who ignored her and she couldn’t have her attention unless she played the victim, so she kept that pattern during her whole life, even with her little children, seriously impacting their lives without realizing it.


Lucy August 15, 2017 at 11:48 am

Thank you for your words. My 80 yr old mother will be talking to me normally at grocery…as soon as someone is near, she stoops down,puts on a weak voice,then tells strangers how I “never help her.” Most of the time people believe her and I am a “bad daughter.” I found you cannot do this without friends or a good therapist. The resentment will eat you up.


Justme February 7, 2017 at 11:40 am

What a gift to have found this place! My VN mom has just moved to my town, and I have began to doubt my own sanity. Like some of you, my sister committed suicide. I am the only one left and I am beginning to understand the struggle she caused my sister.


Justme February 7, 2017 at 11:58 am

Having relocated to my town, we’ve done the establishing new dr routine. Within first visit new Prmary Care recommends cognitive evaluation. We went to one appointment where she had to answer a long list of questions which she was noncompliance and ended up mad but completed. Only to be told she had to come back two more visits to correctly assess her? Needlessly to say she went home and canceled.
This was a psychologist what kind of dr do I need to get a diagnosis? I have POA, but I’m not sure how much real power that has.


Grendle March 7, 2017 at 4:54 am

Hi Debbie, thanks for your reply. I’m so sorry about your situation. Reading your post gave me a little hope.NC means no contact. My mum is 82 and now has Parkinson’s along with numerous other illnesses. I have just gone NC after they abandoned me after I had my op and I had to get social services to help me. My son has also started emotionally abusing me so I’ve also had to cut ties with him as the continued abuse is affecting my recovery from my operation. I also have a sister who I haven’t spoken to for over a year cos she’s enmeshed in the ‘blame and shame’.My ‘parents’ and my son now collude together to find ways to make my life more difficult. I am devastated at this situation, I love my son dearly(he’s 25) and I can’t get my head round this new abuse. I’m not on Facebook but we could swap email if you like. You do NOT owe your abusive family anything, don’t let anyone abuse you anymore, it’s like slowly being murdered.I’m only in the early stages of NC and it is tearing me apart. I’m living from one hour to the next.When I tell anyone my story they cannot understand why my family would treat me this way. They’ve put my life at risk for the last time, all of them. Thanks for reading Debbie, I hope you’re ok. Wendy


Grendle March 7, 2017 at 5:06 am

Hi Debbie, thanks for your reply. NC means no contact. I’ve already written this once but it didn’t post. I’m sorry to hear about your situation with your mum. I thought mine had mellowed with age but I was wrong. When I came out of hospital after the operation I was promptly abandoned and left to fend for myself, by all my family incl my son. I couldn’t walk properly so I had to get social services to help me. Since then I’ve gone no contact with all 3 of them, including my son, which has broken my heart, but he is now being so emotionally abusive I couldn’t stand it any longer. So I’ve been ‘managing ‘ alone, not very well cos this operation takes months to heal. I’m often suicidal due to years of abuse and now because my ‘family’ abandoned me. I’m only 2 weeks into NC so far so I’ll let you know how I progress. My ‘family’ have put my life at risk for the last time . I hope things are ok with you, my mum sounds a lot like yours; everything judged by how it looks and what it cost. Wendy


Alex March 19, 2017 at 7:56 am

My mother had a stroke at a very early age. I was only 13 and became my mother’s caregiver. I had to assist in all her daily needs and even had to help her shower. I hated every second of it. Those days still haunt me and I often feel guilty. I am 42 now and over these years I have realized my mother is a narcissist. Always expecting me to take care of things without regard for my own family life and career. She will pull and pull until she gets her way. She always expected me to take off work to take her to doctor appointments when my dad could have taken her or she could have taken herself. She still drives. She would say my dad could not take her because he had to work. She did not find me being a single parent to three kids and a full time job as an excuse not to take her. One day I just stopped and didn’t do it anymore. Then she would be passive aggressive in very subtle ways. She eventually moved on to bother my brother. My brother had to take off work to take her because my dad had to work. As if my brother didn’t have to work. All those years she could have driven herself. But she enjoys being catered to and taken care of. Two years ago my father had a massive stroke and now he is more ill than she is. I believe she is jealous that she is no longer the sickest one. But I see that now my father is behaving more like my mother with all the attention seeking. Constantly calling me to go see them and sometimes I do not want to use my free time to go there where there is misery and complaining and negativity. My mother has driven almost all family away because she is passive aggressive when they do not do things her way. She enjoys getting ill so she can go to the hospital and get a break from caring for my dad. Then she wants me or my brother to take care of them both and I do not understand that. Can she not see that we have to work and have car payments and mortgage payments and kids to take care of? She does not care as long as she gets her way. It is a constant tug of war with this woman and she does not regard anything or anyone but herself and her needs. I have recently had to go no contact with them because of her trying to guilt me into something I was not comfortable doing… Like caring for them. I get anxiety and flashbacks and my blood pressure goes up just thinking about it. It takes me back to when I was 13 and I had to carry so much responsibility caring for her. I cannot do it again and I do feel guilty sometimes. But other times I just feel angry and the expectations. She has voiced very clearly that it is my brother’s and my duty to care for them now and I just do not like being forced into things. I could not deal with the 20 calls a day so I called social services on them and went no contact. Social services asked them to consider putting my father in a nursing home since he is bed ridden and it is taking a toll on my mother since she is also handicapped, but they both refuse. Instead they just leave us voicemails with passive aggressive comments like “I hope my phone call doesn’t cause you stress blah blah blah.” I have gone no contact before but only for a few weeks or so, but this time I am going on 3 months. I wrote her a letter to explain to her why I did so and because I wanted her to know how I felt and I know she read it because she has left my brother a voicemail with passive aggressive comments referencing “what has your sister told you about me”. He also went no contact at the same time I did because he had just had enough. She became desperate for attention with neither of us answering her calls that she came to my house and started banging on my door and ticking her keys to my windows. She was not just knocking, but banging. Then ringing the door bell over and over again for about 15 minutes until she finally gave up and left. Then she moved on to my brother and she did the same thing to him. She disrupted his peace and sleep at midnight and again at 3 am with banging and continuously ringing the door bell and leaving voicemails that she had to talk to him and “what is your sister saying about me”. She is not normal and I cannot handle that stress at this stage in my life. She will not dictate to me as she did when I was a child what I should or should not do. She cannot make my life decisions. I am done.


Grendle March 25, 2017 at 4:12 am

Hi Debbie, I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. I don’t think us daughters of narcissists know quite how to react in response to the death of our ‘mother ‘.. I suppose it’s like others have said that we don’t just grieve for our mums but we also grieve for the family we never had and that we deserved. I’m in the process of trying to have a little contact with my son, my mum and her husband have sort of appropriated an apology but it’s, again, empty and they’ve tried to blame it on me for ‘overreacting ‘ but I’m standing up for myself this time and I don’t really care about them now I realise how destructive they are to my mental health.on the positive side, I have a new rescue cat who wants to love me and be with me all the time. The only social media I’m on is Twitter, my name is Wendy Nicola Cain on it so you can contact me if you like.
I’m so sorry for your loss and you are in my thoughts x


M's April 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Does anyone else have a NM who also has Munchausen’s? This has been a life mind bombs and emotional torment.


Christina October 11, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Oh yes, my 81 year old mother has had one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel since I was about 7..well maybe before that but I would not have been aware.
She is extremely selfish emotionally and some how sees herself as the victim…all the time! But, refuses any reasonable help, will not use prescribed treatments. Has laid in bed in pain ( that could be controlled!) has eaten her way up to 400 lbs, hasn’t had a full bath since May 2016 and refuses proper bed baths…thinking that baby wipes do the trick. Yes, she stinks! Part of this is poor cognitive functioning brought on by age but the Princess behaviour is just same old. My Father has Chronic Heart Failure and maybe 2 years left to live – at best. He has shrunk to 135 lbs and she still expects him to pull her out of bed to get to the john! Dr’s have red flagged them as in need of immediate Assisted Living but she has blown it once already with her attitude. We are taking one more crack at another place this week…but none of the family is hopeful. I always knew she was something of a drama queen medically and a selfish …but she is putting our Father’s life at risk with her twisted agenda.


Bertie May 26, 2017 at 12:23 pm

After 25 years, I moved back closer to where I grew up. My elderly mother still lives alone in the same home I grew up in. She refuses to “move into town”. She has several, significant health problems, and has had, for many years. One day, I get a phone call from her. She speaks to me in a calm manner and says that “The ambulance is here, and they are taking me to the ER. I don’t feel right”. I call one of my brother’s. The two of us race to the town they are taking her. Naturally, we are thinking she may be dying.
We get there to watch her walk out of the ambulance and walk calmly down the hall to the ER. She does not have a medication list with her. Nothing. The ER doctor has never seen her before. I run around and call her regular doctor’s office and get her med list faxed to them ASAP. The ER doctor is not happy to have her as a patient and cannot find anything wrong with her. He tells her she should not be living alone and should not be driving anymore. She is to spend the night with one of the kids. Naturally, I get her. I ask my brother if he would please go and get her little dog. Nope, he will not do that.
I ask if her brother (who lives 2 miles away) will go and take the little dog. Nope, he will not do that. And so, with Mom in tow, we go and get her little dog and she goes to spend the day and night with us. The next day, I take her to her regular doctor. The doctor begins the appointment by saying to her that she can “kick me out of the room” if she wishes. I am standing there thinking, what the heck? (I later figure out it’s all about the privacy laws … but more importantly … I find out that Mom has bad mouthed us kids to anyone who will listen. Obviously, the doctor too). In the weeks that follow, I speak on the phone on a few occasions to mom’s home health care nurse (who goes and sees her at her home every couple of weeks). The nurse informs me that my mom has not given consent for anyone to know anything about her and she cannot tell us anything, or really, talk to us at all. The nurse informs me that she will try and get my mom to give permission for them to talk to at least one of us kids about her.
Once again, and for many weeks, I tried to be of assistance to my mom.
Eventually, I just plain stopped.
My mom still lives alone. My mom still drives a car. We know nothing about her condition.
Why did I write about this? I guess just because the blog is about “Caring for Your Aging Parent”.
I guess the only other thing to add is that my mom is like a “hot potato” with regard to the other siblings. NO ONE wants to help. EVER.


Leigh June 3, 2018 at 10:21 pm

Bertie, I feel your pain, and the pain and anguish from all who write. I’m 55, my NM is 72. I’ve grown to see the symbolism in life, and the parallels that can be drawn. Mom is battling another round of congestive heart failure, having not taken her heart medication since before Christmas. “Heart ❤️ disease.” This is round 3. This is her script and the act she follows. Like others, she is a hoarder. Every time she decides to take her health in her hands and repeat the phrase she heard years back, “dead doctors don’t lie,” she winds up getting swollen to the point where her heart won’t function, ends up in critical care, nursing home and thousands of dollars in debt she can’t pay comfortably. Then she starts begging (guilting) me and anyone else who listens for money. She not only hoards things, she hoards and over feeds her dogs. One of her dogs is the size of a calf.

The first two times she decided to play Russian roulette with her health, I went up there with my grown children and anyone else I could pay to clean out her house, and make it liveable, just in case home health workers had to go in there and nurse her back to health. I live 700 miles away so I couldn’t stay up there. It’s been nearly 7 years and she still complains to all who listen that I threw away all of her stuff. Never mind the nice job we did making it liveable for her. She is still furious, bitter, resents me, is jealous of my marriage and my husband’s income, shows no love, warmth or respect and appreciation towards me. She calls for money and that’s about it. I call her to tell her it’s in the bank. I do my duty. I have decided today that I no longer owe her that duty.

Like you, she has removed me from speaking to her doctors. She has in turn put her brother, who she can’t stand, on the list. Her brother recently called me and asked me if I could send more money. I flatly said that I have been sending money monthly for a long time. I then suggested he sell a few extra items on EBay and he can give her some and that my brother can come forth as well. We are all blood relatives, afterall. So this has now transpired into why Mom can’t afford her life. My husband and I have offered to pay off her mortgage so she could live comfortably. We would have also fixed up the house. She wouldn’t do that because it wouldn’t be fair to my brother. We then suggested a reverse mortgage. ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is much easier to guilt it out of me, get her neighbors sympathy and charity, and just keep peddling along until the next Health episode. She wants and expects everyone to afford her a lifestyle that is doing nothing but making her miserable and everyone else who has the misfortune of having to listen to her.

Last week my husband and I called a reverse mortgage lender and asked him to telemarket her without telling her we asked him to call. We just want her to have enough money so she isn’t miserable and she will leave us alone so we can save for our own retirement. He politely called my mother and asked her if she would like to discuss the option. She told him she was not interested and she was leaving the house to her brother! Well, That was all we needed to hear. In essence, she has chosen to go poor so she can leave the house to her brother while my husband and I feather his nest. This was going to be her final slap in my face….haha. I got the last laugh. She was furious when my husband told her we asked him to call. She screamed at my husband on the phone called the poor guy all kinds of names for letting the cat out of the bag.

I have decided to go NC with her. She doesn’t need me. Her brother doesn’t like her and she doesn’t like him; but the “nasty home” she turned her own good mother’s home into will be their happy ever after legacy together. Divine comedy. They were made for each other. Thank God I found out before she drained every last bit of emotional energy from me. He can now take care of her and decide what to do with her dogs. Funny though, he hasn’t insisted she go to the doctor.


Tanya stewart June 25, 2017 at 7:06 am

Hi, my sister and me really need some help with our narcissist mother. She is now 85 and is struggling with walking etc. She is constantly calling for help and claiming that her and my enabling father are ill. My father is ill. He has prostate cancer, but we’re now convinced that she is not telling the truth about what the doctors are saying and is making out things are worse than they are. She recently claimed to have fallen and my sister spent 4 hours in the hospital with her only to find out there was no evidence to support this. This weekend i have been on call to take my doctor to hospital for an urgent blood transfusion but when i call the hospital they know nothing about it. I would be really grateful to hear from anyone who has been in a similar situation and how they dealt with it. Both my sister and me are concerned we will end up ignoring them when they really do need help. Thanks. Tanya


Helen July 21, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Encouraging to see others in this boat. My MIL was so lovely, so it’s especially hard for my partner to understand how much damage my own narc. mother has and can do. I went “no contact” when my kids were growing up – for their sake and mine – but when her husband died I felt sorry for her and was worried that she would kill someone while driving. So i moved her near us (across the country) and now back in the soup. I try to see this new chapter as an opportunity to set boundaries and affirm who I have, but as has been said so many times before, she can look relatively normal to others. Feel like I was damned if I did (non contact) and damned if I don’t (having her here). My mother also used health issues and the loss of her car (a joint decision) as a way to get attention but is wearing us out. I took my partner to a family counselor so we could strategize ways to set limits with her, and it has helped a little but I do resent how draining the constant need for vigilance around her is. In retrospect, the best thing I did was “no contact” for 12 years. It gave me the space to heal and fortify, which I need for this final chapter. I remind myself that there is no way to make her happy and/or better, there is only self-protection. The trick is to take care of yourself without guilt, and that means getting help from others. TTFN


charlie October 13, 2017 at 7:48 pm

My mother is 85 and I am 63. I have finally figured out what is wrong with “me” . I had never heard of narcissistic people/mother. I have taken care/mothered my mother all my life. She is healthier than me. I have chronic pain issues migraines with a Medtronic Pain Pump to help me survive the day. This is so overwhelming!!! I am trying to go no contact. Then she texts me that “your uncle died.” My brother is in 4th stage renal cancer age 66. He was given less than 1 1/2 years this past April 2017. She has been texting me that we need resolve this for his sake so “its not awkward when the family gets together.” I assume she means his death. He understands. I could go on and on. I am going to another psychiatrist this week. I will once again try to heal as she shreds me! I pray he can help me.


Sandy October 14, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Agh its so… whats the word… coming here and seeing yet another discovering this “secret”. All of our lives we were made to feel less than… learned what harm can be done to us simply because we were born to them.
Now that mine is in a nursing home… finally… now I don’t have to be concerned when I would phone and she didn’t answer. Morning, noon, or night.
Fantasizing what it would be like to be able to just walk away, as I am locked in to caring for her, a story I won’t dredge up here again.
What is bizarre is that now that she’s got care 24/7, I should be able to finally feel the freedom I’ve been aching for. The
40+ hrs/wk woman is now taking up much less of my time. I’m years behind in paperwork, keeping the house up, and of course up to my eyeballs in debt… should be a given that I can now complete it quickly and without all those interruptions from a cranky old woman.
I feel overwhelmed at times, not willing or able to do much besides nap inbetween staring at the tv. I don’t know what happened to my life.
And of course– the cranky old bat, now that she’s settled in some, is, according to all the staff reports, “the nicest, sweetest dear of a woman”. How nice. I’d love to tell them of course she’s nice… she’s always managed to be that woman in front of others.
So now I’m supposed to keep smiling, pretend that all is well (it is now, isn’t it??!), and try and forget? all those decades of emotional hammering and sabotage… nothing but smiles and cuddles. I’m so sick of it I could puke.
I’d visit her less often than I do but I don’t trust her. She’s very anxious (or at least she has been) to give her valuables and money away… to others. She doesn’t wish to leave me with a thing.
Its real hard, this caring for an aging narcissistic mother. Am hoping its the hardest thing I’ll have to do in my life. Is it wrong to wish its not for much longer.
And why does the one comment somewhere in here saying they live a long time because they have no guilt, keep sticking with me… how much longer… not a wish I ever would’ve dreamt thinking of making. Harsh.


SA October 19, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Everyone, I have been thru so many of these things with my NM. You are speaking my experiences.

Sandy, you sound EXHAUSTED and STILL IN SHOCK at how things have gone. I’ve lost many years to such inertia / lack of energy as well. Then we feel nuts and guilty for this!!!
I don’t know if this applies to you — please ignore if it doesn’t — i have discovered that i myself have a mild form of bipolar disorder. This explains a lot of my coping struggles and my inconsistent behaviour in handling for my own matters. I blamed it on my trauma and on ongoing problems and on other people. Maybe the problems / people were triggers for my roller coaster ups and downs, but i still needed meds to be “level headed” myself. Emotionally, practically and even intellectually to handle complex thought processes and high stress. I dont know if you may find benefit in seeing a doc for some assistance in lifting your mood and coping level. We do get physically depleted from abuse!!

Back to everyone — We all feel alone in our own bizarre lives, but we do understand each other’s struggles and pain. Our friends and relatives who don’t deal with the same things may give us advice that is well-meant but so very off-target because of the bizarre N abuse. Please forgive your friends and please do not expect yourself to do what you know cannot be done. I have tried, tried, tried and given up on getting them to understand. I have had to go NO CONTACT with friends and relatives to keep that aspect of drama under control in my life. Very hurtful but better than constant torture from the contact. And the unnecessary guilt destroys even lovely friendships as long as we stay in contact.

Praying for you all …


Andrea October 22, 2017 at 2:49 am

My aged mother IS a narcissist. I was her scapegoat, out of five children. Nothing I’ve ever done is right or good, nor am I a likable and worthwhile person, to hear her tell it. The destruction in my life has been huge because of this. Severe depression and anxiety and a sense of not fitting anywhere. Her favorite manipulations include blackmail of anyone who might be my friend and now isn’t as a result; developing a spy system in her large family where every word I speak to these ‘helpers’ is recorded and played back to her like I am the animal in the barn, or the main character in George Orwell’s ‘1984’. Turns out Big Brother was a narcissist, too! Hah! And the rule there was ‘no love’ too. There has never been a word of encouragement; nor has she ever been remotely trustworthy. Nice, eh? I went no contact several years ago and come back occasionally at others’ request, to help her in her last years. More insults and sneers and innuendo that reduce me to tears later. The only positive thing, but very sad, too: the other children are running for the hills. Now that I am not there, they all bear the brunt of her incredibly vicious character and they stay away more than they would if it were otherwise. Sad for all concerned. Last time I saw her, she was still snarling, but sitting in a wet pool of her own urine, unwashed and miserable.


julia October 26, 2017 at 3:33 am

My Mom is in her mid 70’s and has become very ill; she needs me now more than ever before. I am 53, depressed, overweight, sleepless, & agitated; I have a serious case of PTSD. She neither likes nor respects me but calls whenever she needs to be rescued, txts me repeatedly daily, makes bizarre false accusations to my kind and long suffering wife, and assails us angrily until we are forced to retreat from her -wherever and whenever her rants occur; she has very abrupt mood swings. She is a non- compliant patient who does not tell medical professionals the truth. She is passive aggressive, manipulative, angry, & distant to my wife and I. It seems she has been this way forever but gets worse every yr. In the past, she has said and done some dreadful things to us- & to my bro. & his wife. He moved far away to escape her.
Yet, my wife and I do home repairs, help with bills, do errands, take her places she might like to go, & try to be kind to her- because we are decent people & she is my mother. There’s nothing in it for us. She can’t stand either of us & has told us so.
She is nice to her friends and to complete strangers, but tells me privately that her friends are alcoholics,disgusting, hateful people, etc. The way she treats my wife cuts me to the core. I can no longer stand to go near her because I have no defenses against her hurtful behaviors. I want to move away, but I feel guilty & I feel sorry for her.
I have LET her negatively affect my marriage and my health for 24 yrs. & if I don’t stop, I think that the stress she causes us could kill us both. The ONLY wise and correct thing I did do was prevent her from having ANY contact with our child. She does not know her & pretends she does not exist. So, in our real life as a family we are invisible to her. As I am writing this, I think how INSANE it is of me to have maintained a relationship with someone whom I knew was too toxic to be around my kid. OMG.
I have not seen her for weeks, since her latest episodes of anger directed toward us. After we sat 9 1/2 hrs w/ her in the emergency rm. & I stayed overnight to be sure she was safe, she screamed us out of her house, and the hospital rm,. for no discernible reason. She enlisted her friend & my bro. & her gossip mill to stir up More Drama.
Now, she is manipulating my bro. to bring his wife & take care of her. His wife has begged him not to leave her alone with her. She is very deferential to my mother & my mother does dreadful things to her, like throw away her food and clothing when they stay with her; she thinks it’s funny. I think it is dusgustingly cruel and childish. It is easier for me to see & feel when she is mistreating them, or my wife, than when she is being mean to me. I guess I am inured to it after so many years.
They are going to let her destroy their young lives- just like I did. She is trying to use her ‘estate planning’ to pit us against ea. other.
I feel lost in the fog of my ceaseless efforts and her concommitant rejections & unkindnesses.
I have carefully read every comment on this blog, and I wonder why I didn’t sit down & google, “narcissistic mother” about 2 decades ago?
Thx for sharing your stories, it really helped me to read them.


S October 26, 2017 at 9:55 pm

I’m very new to this, even realising my mother is a narcissistic has been fairly recent. We have managed to get on superficially for a year but now my sister is dying she has begun to ring me purely to be vicious. My brother died 11 years ago and I experienced the most brutal rage where she said unthinkable things and even broke my wrust. She then told the family I’d made it up and they didn’t speak to me for 2 years.. I cannot go through this again but as the only surviving child I will be demanded to. I can’t disappear but need advice on putting some boundaries in place. For example I listened to 2 hours of her slagging off my late father on Sunday, then a tirade of how I was grieving wrong. And the usual line when I try to express my feelings ‘life is hard, what about the people in Syria? I could never tell her her faults, but I need to explain that after her aggressive phone call I don’t want to spend time with her. She sees it as my job when losing her children to take her abuse. She says that’s what you do to someone you love and it’s normal. I don’t want to shatter her world but I need to say I won’t take this again. She will then run to all the family to say I’ve been nasty. I didn’t realise until today that they believe her. I’m recovering from addiction and have only just understood the impact she has on me, I am also going to lose my sister, which means nothing in my mum’s view, only her loss counts. I want to scream at her buy the backfire will be hell. Please help if you can!


Ang November 8, 2017 at 6:11 am

I am a survivor of a narc Mother. Although , I have lost a Sister, two brothers and a father due to the mental illness of my mothers doing. they were over taken by drug abuse and alcohol abuse, I am holding her solely responsible for their early departure from this world. for years i thought that there was something wrong with me. I felt unloved, guilty , not good enough and I know my brothers and sisters felt the same, … I now know it was not me, but my mother who was a genius master manipulator who could turn one person against another so easily. Mind blowing , neglect and psychological abuse and able to make it look like it was a brother or sister who was actually doing the abuse. When in reality it was her doing this behind the scene, she would lie , steal and cheat. but make herself look so innocent . not a person would believe me that she would do any thing to hurt anyone else. but so far from the truth. i could write a book and i am sure it would be a best selling book. Crazy shit that she did. still to this day she believes she is a good person. Never see this mother cry. not even at her own daughter and sons funeral. No emotions. but she loves to provoke emotions from others. like anger, sadness , grief. ect its like she gets a thrill from it.


Kim October 29, 2017 at 8:53 am

Hello to all on the road to recovery,
I too, have an aging mother. She is now in a nursing home with all facilties intact. After banishing me for 15 years, she resumed contact with me-after pressure from my brother.
She was the loving, sweet and supportive mother I remembered off and on from my past.
However, after a few months of caring for her, taking her shopping and helping her in any way I could, she started demeaning remarks and even said ” I thought we were on the same level, but I can see you are back to mother and child” in an email titled Friends.
I have now been cut-out again after I spent a week with my brother, (golden child).
I was so angry with myself for falling into the trap. I was a nurse and helping people and showing love comes easily to me. I don’t believe in grudges and ran willingly back to her; I suppose trying to have my mother love me. I never commented on her rude remarks or insults because I know that would please her and give her reason to blame me. I left the nursing home after most visits feeling deflated and would cry on the way home.
The holidays are coming up and I feel sad. I had my mother back in my life, and now it’s over again. She is 88, and just as mean-spirited toward me as years ago. I am having a great deal of trouble understanding that my mother doesn’t love me. She is loving and complimentary to everybody else, even strangers. She oozes love to my siblings.
So, I don’t believe that these people mellow or change behaviour with aging. She has had a grudge against me for many years, without reason. I had struggled for years to understand what I had done wrong. Reading these posts has given me some insight.
I must begin grieving for a relationship that was one-sided and devoid of love by her.
Thank you all for your posts and sharing your experiences.


Anonymous November 7, 2017 at 6:02 am

I realized about 5 years ago that my mil was a narcissist. Prior to that I just could not figure out the wierd hold she had over my husband who is now 62. For 22 years I have watched her manipulate him, turn brother against brother, daughter in law against daughter in law & it just doesn’t end. She is 88 years old now. When I met my husband her husband had just passed away and her ‘plan’ was for her son to take care of her for the rest of her life. She owns a farm and the rest of her son’s told her to sell up. She persuaded my husband (who is not the ‘golden child’) that he should be there for her on the property until she dies and he will inherit it all. He agreed and she paid out lump sums in cash to the other siblings. 22 years on and this 88 year old has given her 62 year old son a run-around for years. She is constantly desperately ill – has had ‘strokes’, ‘ heart attacks’ and every illness imaginable – none of these confirmed by innumerable specialists and doctors, who can find absolutely nothing wrong with her. At one stage to took to bed for over 5 years. During this period my husband and I took care of her every need. Her younger son (the golden child) came upon hard times and him and his family moved in with her (into her house on the farm) – she promptly changed her will and gave him half the property. She then, unbeknownst to my husband had changed her will over and over and completely written him out, although he was her only caretaker. Her younger son’s wife closed off a section of the house and moved her into another section (everyone gasped, how cruel, but now I understand why). For years we cooked for her, cleaned for her, ran her around from hospital to hospital, doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist. Two years ago she had another ‘fake’ illness and took to bed again – we had to bring in full time caregivers, who she accused of trying to kill her. I cleaned out her room during a hospital stay as it was a hoarding mess and was accused of ‘stealing all her stuff’. She then decided she needed to spend weekends in our house in our spare room (the kids are big and have moved off to the UK). This was hell, with all the usual manipulations – being sweet, then throwing fits because no one was jumping when she said jump etc etc. We had a power failure one night and she accused me of turning off her power and trying to deprive her of oxygen (yes, she’s been guzzling oxygen for 15 year for no reason whatsoever). She manipulates and turns her family against each other and they decided she will go live with the other so 800 miles away. She left and bad-mouthed us from here to kingdom come. She has subsequently decided its not so great there as her son doesn’t stand for her nonsense and stands up for his wife and children. She came back 3 months ago for a 1 month visit. She is still here and manipulating and tantruming her way into staying for good. She changed the will so that my husband will get 25% of the farm and all the buildings and business that we have built, and hangs that over our head like a sword of damacles (without saying anything of course). She spends thousand every month on doctors visits and medication and complains constantly that she is a pauper. She has a blood pressure apparatus and takes her blood pressure every half an hour – this has gone on for years – she would phone my husband any time – even 2 am in the morning to rush her to hospital for high blood pressure or come over and sit with her to make sure she is ok. This morning she sat me down and got me to spill my guts about things that I worry about, my children, the future etc. This afternoon she went berserk and told my husband I treat her like dirt and left her alone all day and didn’t even check if she had oxygen. I am just gob smacked. He will not stand up to her. I am ready to walk out of a 22 year relationship. The best year of our lives was the year she was away. Don’t know what to do.


linda November 7, 2017 at 6:30 am

Sorry, forgot to put my name on the last post – anonymous above.. Just so upset have to get this off my chest. Forgot to add that in all the years her son has run around like her puppet we have pumped millions from his business onto the property and built a wedding venue – so our whole future is here – we had no idea she had written him in and out of the will at every whim. So she has us absolutely at her mercy. Her other son’s all went off (I think they just got as far away from her as possible) and made successful lives, own houses and happily live their lives. The youngest son across the road on the farm (in her original house) won’t even take her phone calls and does nothing for her. My husband still runs her around and tries his best to keep her happy and our marriage is miserable as a result. So in a nutshell – the only son that cares for her gets treated like dirt. The daughter in law that cares for her gets treated like dirt. The other son that she spent a year with she has now decided she does not want to return to – she wants to stay here and ‘die’ as she puts it. And to top it all, when she came back a few months ago and promptly made herself at home here, it was meant to be for 1 month, – she declared that she could not remember anything of the last few years or any of the years we have taken care of her – she doesn’t remember us caring for her at all. I feel like I’m in the twilight zone. So 22 years of taking year of this horrible creature, and all she can say is .. she can’t really remember any of that


Laura November 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

I’m in my late 40s and my moms 78. I’ve spent my entire teens and adult life wondering why I couldn’t stand my mom and feeling awful about myself: If someone can’t stand a parent who has done nothing wrong then they must be a bad person right? Then it was a light bulb stumbling upon an article about narc parents. Growing up my mom would try and make me and my brother the center of attention – play piano, constant bragging. And now she tries to do that with my children. I now know why I don’t want anyone to notice me.


Julie January 10, 2019 at 7:39 am

Totally get how you feel. Took me until I was 40 to see I wasn’t the bad one.


Holly December 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm

I am so happy to have found this website and all these comments. When you don’t have anyone to talk to, that truly understands what you’re going through, it is brutal. My mother is 89, verbally and emotionally abusive, carries the victim mentality with her 24/7 and my life is hell because of it. I can’t get into the whole thing now, but she is much like everyone else’s posts of their mothers/mothers in law. I often tell my brother that when she dies, and everybody in the church is crying over her death, I will be crying for a different reason—I’ll be crying because I will finally be free from her emotional and verbal abuse. FINALLY FREE!!! Growing up & for my entire life, I have never “loved” my mother. I never felt loved by her, she never gave hugs or encouragement—all she did was threaten me, control me, hit me with a wooden paddle. She hasn’t changed a bit–in fact, she’s gotten worse. I am 50 years old, and she has not realized that she cannot boss me around, control me or threaten me anymore, even though she still tries & gets mad when it doesn’t work. I remember when I was a teenager, I vowed to never become like her—negative, nasty, miserable, boring, constantly complaining. My father dropped dead on the golf course when he was 67–almost 26 years ago. I swear to God, he was stressed to death with her and that’s what killed him. Lord knows he used scotch as his crutch to deal with everyday life—he was a functional alcoholic. Why he stayed with her, I don’t know. He probably figured that it would cost too much to divorce her. I have realized that many of the things my father used to do I am doing—I hum to myself when I am around her, when she starts complaining or verbally abusing me I walk out of the house & go outside or walk back to my bedroom & shut the door, turn on my laptop or iPad and watch something that makes me smile. She makes my life hell, she is the most ungrateful, miserable, negative, thankless person I’ve ever met. And the funny thing is that people that don’t know her think she is such a “cute old lady”. That boggles my mind!!! If they only knew what she is like!! Since she taught me NOTHING about love growing up, and nothing about loving relationships (because all she was ever concerned about was if I got pregnant, and made sure to let me know every couple of weeks that if I ever got pregnant I would be disowned), I am grateful that I met my first true love in high school and it was his mother, his parents, that taught me what unconditional love really is. My boyfriend’s mother was/is such a loving, caring, compassionate, empathetic, selfless, positive, encouraging and affectionate woman, that taught me all about unconditional love, compassion, empathy and selflessness. I was together with him for a total of 5 years, and I thank God that he put her into my life to teach me those things. I took me a while to realize it–I wish I put those lessons to use earlier than I did—but I am grateful that I did finally realize it. I still vow to NEVER be like my mother—I don’t think I ever will because I am not at all like her to begin with. I don’t want to write a diatribe, so I will just say that I am so happy that there are other people that know what it’s like and that know what I’m going through. I wish I could find a support group of people going through the same things I am going through, to get together once a month to discuss those things & get feedback and support from other people. Only if you have experienced it can you truly understand it. All I can say is that I am grateful for my wonderful dog, Holly—she makes me smile, is so loving & affectionate, and such a wonderful companion for me. I am not married, as my mother has effectively destroyed all of my romantic relationships, so I refuse to enter into another relationship until she is dead. I refuse to let her meet any of my friends or men that I go out with because she will act all happy and cute at first, and then eventually destroy the relationship in whatever way she can. My dog is an EXCELLENT judge of character and doesn’t even go near her when I’m around. My mother is so pathetic that she is jealous that my dog loves me more than her!!! That is the perfect example of how my mother is—jealous of a dog!! I will get through this, but only because I have finally realized that it is not me that has the problem(s), it is her. I am worthy of love—just because I wasn’t worthy of HER love means nothing. I often sit & think about how easy life could be without her in it……….


Just me January 3, 2018 at 8:27 pm

I feel like a prisoner, chiseling my way out of my cell. So many years spent chiseling away at walls that never yielded to my efforts. I am exhausted. My N Mom is 89 yo, and I am her “slave” – for as long as I can remember. My sisters stepped off from any responsibility after the death of our dad. I cope by hiring out as many tasks as possible – paying for the help with her funds. But still I feel overwhelmed. Her “helpers” at the facility where she lives buy into her “grand dame” persona and seem to think I am a horrible, neglectful daughter. They treat me as though I am a danger to her! They’ll say to her – in a suspicious tone, “Is everything alright, ____?” Even though I’m standing right there and attending to her. I am going crazy trying to figure out what she is telling them about me.
She has discarded literally dozens of people who no longer give her N supply. After reading many of the posts here, I now realize how common these behaviors are. But even now I am putting pieces together and seeing patterns that I think I have been in denial of until now. Like how many holidays, birthdays – even my son’s wedding – were “coincidentally” the occasions of her own dramatic events (she fell down…took too much medication…had a tantrum…). Or, she would simply not acknowledge our birthdays, without a word of explanation, at the same time remembering and sending cards to 2nd cousins or her latest friends’ grandchildren (and makes sure to relay this information to me.) Of course these people think she’s so sweet! She even bought a retirement gift for the guy who plunges her toilet. When I was young I was never given a ride to school, no matter the weather. My needs were – and are – invisible to her. I want to be FREE of her manipulation and despicable behavior. But I actually think she’s going to live to be 105. Sigh. My worst nightmare would be that my husband and I will never have peace in our retirement years. That we’ll be too old to enjoy it after she finally dies. I think I have been waiting for her to die so I can live. I need to know how I can start to live NOW. Before it’s too late.


Anonymous March 12, 2018 at 9:33 pm

Oh my word, I really thought I was the only one was thought like this! My luck, mine will outlive me…the stress she causes me. I swear I am going to keel over from the anxiety and upset she gives me!


Just me January 4, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Ok…on a roll…
Her lies are killing me. I have to read between the lines, question, interrogate, fact-check and double check. Repeat and repeat – only to be told that she “doesn’t remember it that way.” She told a whopper of a lie, and tried to get an aide at her asst’d living facility in trouble. I had to get the computer program time stamp results to prove she was lying. Then she stll persisted in telling her lies. The director visited her to set her straight – and she persisted in spreading the lies. When did she quit? When I explained to her that SHE would suffer the Ultimate consequence if they kicked her out for her malicious behavior. Why do I care? I don’t want to have to move her – again. By far, the worst lies are the ones she tells about me. I really do care what others think of me. I don’t want to be thought of as neglectful, esoecially considering that I am the ONLY one who cares for her, does her bills, takes her to appointments, shops – or even visits her. It’s ludicrous. Why would she lie about me, but not about the others who don’t do live to serve her? It’s so confusing.
I’ve been in a terrible funk since Christmas when at the last minute she opted out of coming to my house – but sat and waited until I could clean up, send home the guests, leave my unfurm husband and, utterly exhausted, drive over to feed her and give her gifts. Complained she had to wait all day to get fed.
I feel so “messed with.” She toys with my mind, my emotions and my compassionate nature. I feel like I’m losing it, unable to discern her real needs from her demands. Only after I’ve already resoonded can I see the sutuation clearly. I need better coping skills and learn how not to “jump” every time. Ok…better now. Thanks.


Suze May 11, 2018 at 8:30 pm

I am 65 with a narc mother who is 95 and typical to the disease, she is still completely self involved, though in the case of my family’s dysfunction, insidious and covert. Her selective memory of past conflicts, and just a general fantasy recollection…is amazing. I have been breaking away from her as her primary source/scapegoat since my late teens but always returned to be with my family, hoping for a healthier dynamic. Never happened with my mother. She would only adhere to the boundaries I insisted she observe, meanwhile doing her worst with brothers, alienating their affection, and she had done a real job on me as a girl confiding in me her problems with my father, so unaware of my needs and frantically alert to any of my endeavors toward independence. The whole gambit.
I am no exception to what I read on these ‘daughter of narcissist mothers’ sites; that primal need for a loving mother sends us back to that dry well over and over, and although intellectually we know she will never really love that little girl in us who still hopes some miracle will open her heart, we pathetically still keep checking in, right?
I was so devastated by my mother’s abuse that I ultimately went into the counseling field myself and got help by helping others and finding my true parent in Christ, so I was able to heal enough to form a truly wonderful marriage with someone who knows how to love unconditionally and over the last fifteen years have kept a healthy distance from my mother. I was feeling so much better that I forgot how sick she was, specifically that narcissists NEVER CHANGE. Short story is that she has managed in her advanced adage (and during my happy distance from her control) to get my brothers to move quite far from me, and she is with them. Her golden child, my older brother, unfortunately inherited taking care of her when I vacated the post, and now that he is retiring he is taking her with him eight hundred miles from where I live and they have been arranging (unknown to me) for my other two brothers and their families (my niece and nephews) to also move. It’s my whole family. But since I was OUT (being useless to my mother now), I was not considered.
It has happened very quickly. But it has reminded me that once the scapegoat deserts the narcissist’s assigned role, that primary source is to be disregarded. I am listening to her on the phone go on and on about how hard this is for her and trying to make even this deliberate move to split our family at a time when aging families can benefit from living nearby…all about herself.
I was upset a whole week about this, surfaced old abandonment tapes, but then I realized I had fired her and any of her allies quite a while ago, and this was just a living metaphor for how my mother operates. I genuinely felt sorry for those still under her control.
In my faith I am convinced that one day it will all be made clear, so although narcissists are incapable of being accountable in this life, one day we will all be known. So, that’s my goal, to live in a way that honors the truth without being destructive. I wish all of you the best in this journey to realize the only power your poor narcissistic mother has over you is what you allow. God bless you.


Marie October 11, 2018 at 9:11 am

very helpful post…thank you!


Barbara January 6, 2018 at 7:22 am



Anonymous March 12, 2018 at 9:34 pm

Oh my word, I really thought I was the only one was thought like this! My luck, mine will outlive me…the stress she causes me. I swear I am going to keel over from the anxiety and upset she gives me!


Tundra Woman March 26, 2018 at 9:50 am

Ohdeargawd, some of these responses are so far down the Rabbit Hole of distorted thinking it would take some kinda cyber C4 to reveal the light of Reality but I’ll try: Follow the Yellow Brick Logic.

I’m an old widow, minted when I was 38, had a Cluster B bitch of a Mugger who I NC’d after three decades of futile attempts to have some kind of relationship with the beast and NCd long before the Internet. There’s my CV.

Aging does not creep into your house, hide in a closet and one day jump out and yell “Surprise!” Which means you have decades to prepare for old age if you live long enough and even if you don’t, one does not leave a mess for the offspring to clean up, mmmk?
Our children are NOT a “retirement plan.” They are NOT “care providers.” They are NOT “required” to do jack for you and if you demand they “owe you?” Then you weren’t a parent: You are a fraud. You had children NOT because you loved them but because they were the unwitting other party of the bid’ness contract you contrived in your own head and decided not to inform them of their alleged contractual obligation until it was convenient for you. And it was ALWAYS convenient for you because you always wanted your whims and wishes fulfilled at the snap of your imperious fingers. Now that the natural processes and life events of aging that occur for all of us antiquities have come to fruition, you again whip out that “contract” they never agreed to nor signed on for and demand they de facto give your oversized toddler self what ever you deem-or else. You assiduously trained them from the time they were pre-verbal to fear you and your disproportionate responses/tantrums. You pull out words like “respect.” You make statements like “But I’m your MOTHER/FATHER!” “You HAVE TO (fill in the blank.)

You can demand respect until your last breath, however no one is required to “respect” you particularly when “respect” is your transparent BS go to for “Do it, do it now, do it my way.” Anyone with the right parts can have kids, so that doesn’t make you a Speshall Snowflake any more than a Wedding makes a Marriage. Your kids had no choice about who you spread your legs for nor who you eiaculated into-that’s entirely on you and your decision to be a parent, end of discussion. Stop Blame Shifting. No adult is required to do anything including complying with your demands. Note a demand is not a Request. The immediate response normal adults give to anyone aside from their own partner or employer who says they “have to” is NO-without qualification.

Adult kids lives are busy with their own families as they should be. Any relationship they have with their parents once they become adults is one of a PEER. No, you do not have “rights” to their children. Children come hard wired to bond with their parents-that’s just science and your Flat Earth self can walk to the edge and jump. In NO WAY are grandparents a requirement for those children to thrive so any relationship with those children is at the sufferance of their parents. Our primary responsibility as parents is the protection of our children from all threats. Just because you don’t consider yourself an abuser-abusers never do-doesn’t make it so.

It appears there are an inordinate number of people who have not been told they are now the “groan ups.” Oh but you are. You’re paying the cost to be the boss? You are a bonafide adult. You can have ice cream for breakfast if you want. I am TELLING YOU you are an Adult with all the PITAS that entails-and it doesn’t entail old people who failed to plan beyond YOU, failed to anticipate they’d age and forged your name on an imaginary contract you were never a party to. So with my Sacred Spatula, I convey to you the Oath of Adulthood:
Abra Kadaba and yaba daba do
I now pronounce you a groan up
whoop de do

Put away the things of a child, own your life and FFS, staaapppp with the self-flagellation and ain’t it awful. You have AGENCY. You have a brain and a memory for a reason-so you don’t keep doing the same crap over and over and act surprised by the outcome. If they truly do require “assistance,” call your county Office for the Aging and completely dispense of the bogus responsibility you never had: There are apps for that and you pay for them with your taxes etc.

If you’re tired of being a doormat, stand up.


Dena May 1, 2018 at 9:54 am

Now THAT was powerful! I came here looking for some self help and your words were a strong reminder. Thank you!


Alice June 28, 2018 at 7:13 am

Wow. You nailed it. Thank you.


Kathe October 28, 2018 at 10:12 am

Thank you so much


Mswrkr January 15, 2019 at 8:33 pm

TW, you’re awesomeness is beyond brilliant!

If I should ever be so fortunate to meet, I would bring you my best ☕and in your honor.


Sharon April 8, 2018 at 8:24 am

Dear people with N mothers and mother in laws. I am so sorry for all of your pain. I too am in that category with a N mother. My dad was a true enabler – he tried so hard to love this woman but would not care enough for himself to leave (he did leave for 2-3 years) (best years of his life, I think). I was/am the black sheep/scapegoat, and have been working on standing up for myself – for awhile. I feel guilty for doing so but am doing it anyway. I am in the struggle of trying to decide if I should have contact or not with my mother. My dad died recently. I would visit him and my mother, who often stays with golden child sister would appear to be part of the conversation. So… does anyone have any thoughts on CONTACT or NO CONTACT? Is there anything in the middle? I keep thinking I should write a letter to her but then I know she is NOT able to get it. 2 years ago when I did try again, she told me she wanted me in her life so she would not die alone…. eeee Thanks for your support.


Kathryne July 28, 2018 at 9:00 pm

I feel sorry for all adult daughters who are suffering like myself. My mom almost killed me last year with her demeaning and hurtful sayings to me after I literally saved her life with her brain tumour…served’ her all the time, bent over backwards and after She blattes me for nothing. i landed in the hospital with à part of my heart that had stopped. The doctor looked straight At my husband and said to not let me see my mother again as I might not make it through next Time around. I was angry that she almost mad me die. Then 10 months later….stupid me feels sorry for her and goes back to take care of her since she broke her hip. But now that she is well….well, she went at me again. All day today, heart troubles again…..I don’t deserve this, she has ruined my Life and réputation by her stories. I can’t stand it! I almost died years ago from an illness and my brother died fro cancer. I almost wish I died in their place so I didn’t have do go through all of this. I wish I could be stronger. My husband keeps telling me that my mom is crazy and not let her do this to me, but I keep saying….you don’t understand…it HURTS!!! It doesn’ tu just go away…when will it ever end????


HKC70408 August 3, 2018 at 4:02 pm

I suspect that my mother is narcissistic. When I had my first job, I’d give her half of my salary and keep the other half for myself since we live in the same house which is pretty much normal in our country. I recall she wanted me to give her my entire pay but I didn’t so she literrally threw the money back at me and told me I should give her all or nothing. It infuriated me and decided to leave but she pulled off a drama begging me to stay and even pretended to faint… It was such a HUGE drama. In some other fights we’ve had, still involving money, I asked her what was the problem then tells me I am a heartless person and even made a suicide of threat. Now she’s aging and is diagnosed with kidney stones – the doctor advised her to get an operation. I told to her to inquire about the preparations and options and that I’ll find a way to help her with the hospital bill. She’s been hospitalized before and my husband and I took care of everything. But she does not want to get an operation because she says she’s scared yet she keeps on whining and compalining about the pain. We bought all the meds she would need and I asked her to stop working – she’s running a small food business doing the cooking and stuff which kust right outside our house. But she wouldn’t and she keeps asking for money to the point that my husband is already complaining as there has been times years before where she would complain about her body and since both my husband and I are working, we’d give her money to see the doctor but she never went to the doctor and kept the moneu to herself. What’s worst is we don’t see where the moneu went to. She never buys new clothes or even treat us out for a meal. In fact my husband and I gets to buy every mew appliance we would need when one gets broken and can’t be fixed. We always refund for the repair costs and even the groceries. It is so tiring and I sometimes still hope she’d change but I don’t think she will ever do. I sometimes feel guilty and think if I have been a bad daughter yet when I see her and start having a conversation, I only feel anger and in most cases think she’s lying.


Patti August 15, 2018 at 8:47 am

This is a great article and the comments as well. My Narcissistic Mother is 91 and I’m 62. I’ve been parent to her since I was a child, and woke up after one of her tirades about 12 years ago, setting boundaries which she continues to try to defy. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to keep her at her apartment with me helping two days a week and my friend another. But as your typical, NM, she is always in need of something else and wanting more. I simply won’t give it to her, but it’s exhausting keeping her at bay, if you can call it that. I have a great support system, but as noted in so many comments, the wear and tear on each of us is difficult, causing us our own health and emotional issues. I would have gone no contact years ago if my dear aunt and real mother figure didn’t live with my mother. My aunt passed several years ago, and I do my best to help my mother without giving more of my life to her. I wish all of you the best in your trials with your NM, and hope you are able to live through this and have a good life!


Laurie January 2, 2019 at 2:28 pm

Wow. I just found this site, and feel so grateful. I am 68 and my Narc mom is 97. I moved her to a nursing home in July. I live 800 miles from her (thank god) but have flown to where she lives 7 times this year to research good places, make all the arrangements, meet with her elder law attorney, sell the house, etc.
I’m a retired school counselor, and for decades used all my skills to try to “fix” my mom so I could have a real relationship with her. My most recent therapist (8 years ago) finally turned on the light bulb when, after hearing me rant about my mom, said quietly “She sounds like a real narcissist.” BINGO! No use asking how I’d missed it all those years, just glad for the sanity and relief that diagnosis provided.
Characteristics and moments I know you all can relate to:
Her endless oh-poor-me self absorption about her minor health issues in contrast to her daughter ( my older sister) fighting advanced Parkinson’s disease.
Her utter lack of genuine interest in anyone else, despite great skill at APPEARING to be interested.
Her manipulation of peers in the nursing home to make herself look good, e.g. giving away candies and gifts not out of true generosity, but just to look like Lady Bountiful.
Her seeing nothing at all wrong with filling every phone call and visit with complaints,self-pity, unsolicited graphic descriptions of her bowel issues, and ceaseless negativity.
Putting on her best act for her granddaughters, who think she walks on water.
Saying she will stop calling people who need time away from her, and then calling them five minutes later, then calling them again multiple times, just because she wants someone to talk to. (This despite having multiple visitors weekly, staff who talk with her, etc.)
Basically doing whatever she wants, regardless of how her behavior impacts others.
I could go on and on – I know this is familiar to most of you. When I called her today to remind her of a dental appointment, she essentially vomited a tirade of self-pity, anger, repulsive detail about her bodily functions, and other complaints, as if of course I could fix everything & without a thought as to how her toxicity might make me feel. For the last time, I told her I’m sorry. I say last time because in someone else’s entry above, the brilliant suggestion was made to substitute “that’s unfortunate” for “I’m sorry,” which implies that I did something wrong!
As she does often, with great dramatic flair, she also said today “I just wish I could die!”
It gave me the great opening to say with all honesty “I do, too, Mom – but I can’t make that happen.” She thought I was expressing sympathy. I meant every word.
I am fighting depression over the likelihood of her living many more years – she is very healthy. It makes me feel utterly trapped. If my sister dies before her, which is likely, I’ll probably need to bring my mother to a nursing home where I live. The idea of that almost makes me sick.
I retired 18 months ago, and instead of enjoying my freedom, my new job has become managing her life. I want her to die so badly I can taste it. I’m trying to let go of that wish, as I have a funny feeling it could have a contrary effect, spiritually speaking. Letting go seems wiser – it’s just very hard. Like so many of you, I envy my friends whose parents have already died, or those whose moms are kind souls who elicit tenderness and the DESIRE to care for them as they enter their last years.
Yikes. Didn’t know I’d run on like this. It just feels SO good to vent like this to others who GET IT!! My husband is a saint, and agrees with everything I’ve written here. But I don’t want to put all this on him all the time. So thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who have posted your stories on this site. I only hope even one of you feels the comfort from reading my story that I have felt from reading all of yours! May 2019 bring us all strength, humor, and the resolve to take good care of ourselves.


Another Debbie January 19, 2019 at 2:59 pm

Your comment is saving my life. I too thought it was just me hoping for a way out of the dramatic, forced by guilt relationship with my 78 year Narc mother. My father is the alcoholic enabler. I am 59 and the anxiety she is causing will undoubtably kill me before she ever passes. I am trapped. I am the scapegoat child with a golden child younger brother who lives 2,336 miles away and assures me he is never moving back closer. She is currently engaging all the techniques mentioned above to undermine me and manipulate family (my grown children) and any one who will listen to believe I am a horrible daughter. I naively moved down the street from her six years ago, oh the guilt was strong. Biggest mistake I ever made. Thank you for this space and it is so wonderful to know that I am not alone.


Kit September 25, 2018 at 9:41 am

It is very sad to say, but one of the things I am totally grateful for in my life is that my mother died when I was 18. I can’t imagine having to take care of her now or who I would be now because of her abuse. I have spent the whole of the 45 years since her death unlearning the behaviors I adopted to survive her, but at least those behaviors are not being added to by new abuse. My heart goes out to all of you so much. Just because she’s your mother does not make her worthy of your loyalty. You know way better than she is capable of knowing the marvel and amazing person you are.


Julia New September 30, 2018 at 6:52 am

Fairly recently, I realized I have a NM. I’m a social worker with a meaningful career, an amazing husband and wonderful children. I have a father who loves his 3 children unconditionally and I had 2 loving in-laws. My father divorced my NM after 42 years to marry my step-mom. My NM is also an alcoholic/addict whom I took to rehab when I was 18. I’ve been to counseling on and off since I was young. Nothing has helped more or made more sense than this article and many of the responses. I thought I was crazy and needy, until I realized I was raised by a NM! Just as I wish I had known all families have issues, I wish I’d known sooner about my mother. If I had, I would have set boundaries when I first married, started having kids, started my career, etc. I always tell newly married couples they are the family now and they come first with each other. I apologized to my children and husband for not doing so the first 25 years of our lives together. I didn’t realize NMs are bottomless pits who can not be filled up, no matter what one does. I also didn’t realize how pervasive lying is for a NM, I only knew I couldn’t lie. Knowing narcissists are not simply born that way, makes it harder for me to know what the boundaries are, to set and maintain them!


susan October 8, 2018 at 5:40 pm

Wow, just got off of a call with my N mother. She’s 91, I’m 60. Dad died when I was 12. She’s used it as oh look at all I had to do. I was such a hard worker (which is true). She now says my brother and I did nothing (not true one bit). She was the typical 1950’s housewife in some ways, stay at home mom, didn’t drive, didn’t even do the grocery shopping. Dad handled finances, mechanical things. Dad was the one every one of my friends loved to be around. If it was just Mom around, nope, we’d go to their houses. She would get involved and ‘spy’ on what we were doing. She broke up friendships of mine. My brother was smart enough to play pick up games with guys, so he wasn’t home that much. He is more the golden child, but she rants about him to me. Mom now says she wanted to move from the family home, far away after dad died, but we (“kids”) said no. I looked at her recently and said you were the adult. You could have done what you wanted. Her response “I hate when you say that”. She hates being told or realizing that she made a bad choice. When she did finally make the move from family home into a condo, neither of us gave any advice. Sure enough, now that she no longer likes where she lives, she tries to find someone to blame. Now it’s you wouldn’t help me when I wanted to move from here (I told her to find a realtor). I don’t live there, but 4 hours away. I dared to buy my own home, a two story home (most are two story homes here). Nope, it was part of my evil plan, so she couldn’t come to live with me. That was her “dream”. Never heard of it before her mobility started failing her around 5 years ago. She would keep busy with her extensive gardens; she dug out a ton of flower beds, not planning towards the future. She now expects me to maintain the beds. I’m supposed to also act as maid for her. She did come to visit me maybe 15 years ago. She had me so tense and on edge (plus ruining appliances and furniture – which to her wasn’t a big deal – so what?), that she has not been invited back. She has said look I fed and clothed you, plus she did get a cheap car (that both my brother and I used) after she insisted I sell another car I had. I pointed out that parents are to feed and clothe their children. She didn’t do a thing about my very crooked teeth (I didn’t know what to do or where to go). All she had to do was ask neighbors, but she was concerned about the cost. Dad had left us well provided for – she never had to go to work outside the home. She now holds that money over our heads. Now she tells me I need to go to the dentist – which is ironic after not paying for braces I eventually got as an adult. She volunteered to move me, which was maybe 4 times. When I moved into my current home, I said no. She cried and cried, and I did go get her after the movers were already here. I was just unpacking. She says now I begged her to come every time. Absolutely not true. She would come and stay with me where I lived in other places; it was so bad that I’d invent reasons I had to go into work. Of course, I am making up stories, according to her. We got along great. My brother lives within about 3 miles of her currently; I noticed on my last visit there, he’s beyond irritated with her. He comes to take her to the grocery and church, will make a few brief pop in visits, and he goes home. He also learned, as I have now, not to share too much of our personal lives with her. Any comment can and will be used later as a ‘weapon’ during one of her rants. She was in a good mood yesterday evening; tonight she was ranting about a cable bill. She’d gotten on some plan, then it expired. I did go to bat for her a month or so ago, but it’s back up over $50. It’s all my fault. I just let the phone hang, off speaker, on mute, and I could still hear her ranting away. I keep a journal, and instead of responding to her, feeding her Narcissism for any attention or giving her any satisfaction, I write down everything in my journal as I listen to her. It’s the same litany of things of where she’s been wronged. Parents didn’t let her do this or that, her brother was a golden child. She never had the privilege of learning to drive until her 40s (after dad died). Dad offered to take her to a driving school, but she conveniently forgets that – just how her parents wouldn’t allow it. How she’s helped everyone, no one will help her now. Other friends of hers, they get to go to Florida (one friend actually – her sons have 2nd homes in FL). She doesn’t get to go anywhere. She’s not going to no damned nursing home! It’s my responsibility to care for her. She’ll never forgive me for what I’ve done to her! She never thought she’d be all alone. She now wishes she never had children. She should’ve been to a dentist years ago (I asked her to make an appointment, she said we could just drive there and walk in. I wasn’t going to take a day off of work on a ‘maybe’ she’d get into the office, so it never happened. I’ve offered since then, only to be told I don’t think I can do it now). She has had issues with her shoulders (torn rotator cuffs – nothing can be done but surgery per her doctor – two of them – but they don’t know anything). I should figure out what can be done. She has lost some sensation in her fingers, which I said I’d take her to a trial visit to a chiropractor who says he can possibly do things for numbness in fingers. She hemmed and hawed and said well how would I get there later? Why don’t we see if he can even do something for you first? Nope. Better to cry and complain about it. I’d thought about maybe her coming here for a week, to see how it goes, but after one of her rants, I’m like no way in hell. Every other day it’s a different personality. Someone above said that everyone else thought she was a “nice lady”. Same here, except her mask slipped big time at a condo association meeting. Her friends saw the unbridled rage come out, and they were scared for her (and themselves). I got emails from one of her friends (who no longer associates with Mom) saying your Mom needs psych help. Yep, I know, believe me. Mom took that as a compliment, saying I told you I need help. No, as in mental health help. She wasn’t so keen on it after I explained it. She is angry, bitter, totally pissed off that she’s lost control over her two “kids”. Two friends of mine said wow, she does treat you as if you were 10 years old. Exactly. We are ungrateful, lazy, know nothings – except when she needs help. She also went off on a rant how she doesn’t have any electronic equipment. I got her a tablet and arranged for internet hookup. She had me cancel it and returned the table to me. She just didn’t like it. She thought a cell phone would be easier. I got a discount on a cell phone and gave it to her. That lasted maybe a month or so. It had my area code on the phone. I don’t like that area code. Seriously, who cares? My brother got her two separate cell phones, which he’s taken both away. All were “stupid”. She said again tonight, I’m not supposed to have anything. Well you didn’t like anything. I said I’m not buying you another device, go buy your own. How am I to get there? I’ll take you today. Yeah, she found a reason not to go. It would be something less to complain about. I know I should probably go NC, but she has had good moments, just not enough to erase the bad ones. She is much more mobile; but she moved quickly when she wanted to get to a front window to spy on a neighbor, so some of her immobility is not all it seems. I would almost work out a list of rules before she came, but that would go over like a lead weight. I could try it and see. Just say setting the ground rules for both of us?? Thanks for letting me vent. Such a relief to see others experiencing the same or similar things re: mothers.


Marie October 11, 2018 at 9:54 am

Oh my goodness…Susan it sounds like a parallel universe! I want to be reassured by that but, at the same time, it’s horribly disturbing! My mother is 85 and I am 47…what the heck happened to these women from the 30’s and 40’s? Was it the Depression? or WWII? I am sorry for your suffering but I must say: it is a HUGE help to know that someone else is treated this way by their own mother. It’s clear that part of having a NM is being convinced that YOU are part of the problem. But hearing other people’s story helps you identify how much of what you’re dealing with is the narcissism.
I’m considering a post that “opens the flood gates” and allows me to share like you have…I’ve only recently realized that I have an NM…and the shock hasn’t completely worn off. I’m doing a life-review in my mind and seeing it all through a different lens…and allowing myself to recognize/acknowledge how I would never do or say some of the things my mother has said and done to my own children. As a mother myself, I realize that clearly SOMETHING is/was wrong with my own mother! (My husband has been saying that since we got married 25 years ago!! He’s a smart guy)
Thanks again for sharing


Biret November 5, 2018 at 1:45 pm

Dear Michelle,
I have a question. I dont see my mother nearly a year. She says she is missing me alot. She wants to see me alot. She behaves nicely now but suddenly she becomes horrible. I dont know what to do. Should I tell her she is doing such a kind of horrible things to me or should I keep quite not tell anything and tell some other things to keep her in distance not the reality? Whould she understand what she is doing? Is it good thing to tell her the problem even she wouldnt understand? Because she sometimes asks why I behave like this. Thanks..


Anne Anderson January 4, 2019 at 10:14 am

Thank you so much. My mother is 95 and I am 62. Nobody understands when they have a normal mother. My father was the enabler, and died 2 years ago. I am the only caregiver, and feel so tired. I have gone gray rock, and that helps. It’s a relief to talk to people that understand and don’t think you are mean, and she is “adorable”.


Joe C January 14, 2019 at 11:04 am

My MIL is a narcissist. My wife and I have only been together a little over two years. I knew she and her mother did not get along but never knew the reason or the severity. She developed bladder cancer and was living in California. We are in North Carolina. We went to visit her, partially so I could meet her and partially since we thought this might be the last time my wife would have the opportunity to see her alive. While out there we found out that she had been abused by her “saint” grandson. We were concerned about leaving her there so I, very stupidly, told her to come and live with us. My mother and father were normal loving parents. I never knew any mother who wouldn’t do anything for her children, so couldn’t comprehend that.
She took us up on the offer. We had been married for 6 months when she moved into our home. From day one, it started. My wife hid it from me but I knew there were problems. My wife’s mental state began to deteriorate. She would come to bed at night sobbing. Finally she confided in me. Her mother had been verbally doing the narcissistic thing, that they do. It was bringing back all of the abuse she had suffered as a child. She was never good enough.
We both discovered the name for what she has only since she was with us. Finally after 9 months, I told her she had to leave. I had to do it for the sake of my wife.
I appreciate all of the comments about No Contact. It is difficult though to get that started. My sister in law recently moved across the country to be of some help. She has the same feelings about her mother as my wife. They can’t stomach even hearing her voice at times. I try to do as much for her as I can. My sister in law gets her groceries and drops them off, but has stopped taking her. She has no respect for anyone’s time. She can spend 5-6 hours shopping in a store, and often does, expecting you to either just wait for her or pick her up when she calls. She tells people we know, who think she is a sweet old lady, that she is lonely and her daughters don’t come around to visit. However, I catch her in the lobby of her building all of the time hanging out with the other seniors. It is a control thing. I think we are going to have to go No Contact until her health is so bad, we have to intervene. I find the idea repulsive, since I did not have a parent like this, but I am coming to realize that this may be the only way my wife will survive. My MIL is sending money by the thousands of dollars back home to the abusive and manipulative grandchildren. They are the only ones that really seem to matter to her. She has no use for either of her surviving daughters, the only ones who really do care what happens to her. She had enough money to live out the rest of her life if she watched her spending. At this rate she will be broke in a couple of years. As many have said, these people seem to live forever. She is healthier at 86 than either of us are. She is in for a rude awakening when she runs out of money and gets evicted from her senior apartment. She is not moving in with us or my sister in law. I know there will be those who think we are the bad ones here, but that will just have to be. Thank all of you for your comments. This helps me a lot as I try to be a support for my wife and sister in law.


susan February 6, 2019 at 8:05 pm

Another bad call with Mom. She’s had a cold, which is the end of the world to her. She’s never sick. Just complains. My sibling and I tend to get a lot of sinus/upper respiratory infections, and she has zero sympathy. “You are always sick. You need a full physical”. This from someone who never goes to the doctor. I read on another site that Narcs don’t like doctors because the doctor is in control. Of course, her old doctor, who would dole out drugs right out of his office was the best. Yeah, he misdiagnosed me at least twice. He could’ve also done more for my dad, who died suddenly two years after seeing him. Then he brushed off the death, saying oh he was an old man. No, he wasn’t even 50 years old. He couldn’t even remember his patients when told their names. But yeah he was the greatest according to Mom.
Anyhow, Mom has been ok. I’ve sent care packages as we’ve had rotten weather (I actually like when the weekends have crappy weather – means I can’t do the 4 hour drive!). I cannot go there this weekend, so she’s feeling better and now complaining. She was wrapping up her Christmas ornaments. “I get stuck with all the dirty work”. Let’s see. You applauded when your own mother had a small tree – table top, as it was such less trouble (and you didn’t have to help her with it). But you have to have a large tree, which I put up all decorations. Brother took all ornaments off of the tree, placing them where she said she could wrap them up (has to be wrapped even though just put in a box in the closet in the same room). She was ok with it last night. I called tonight – her voice was muffled, and I said oh is your throat hurting you? No, I’m just sad, and you know why! Oh, Lord, here we go again – the litany of her ‘greatest hits’. She really wanted a big fight, but I held firm. I said maybe 3 or 4 things, each which met with, I don’t care I’m just so sad but you don’t care! Uh, ok. She finally just hung up. This is now her pattern. Maybe a few good days, then the dark days come. I’ve blocked her number a few times; she has actually called me while I’m at work, yelling at me for various things – all of which are obviously my fault. The one that takes the prize is when her toilet wouldn’t flush all the way again. I’ve used her commode and no issues ever. It’s my fault because she thought we’d be together, she’d never be alone. Well, that ship has sailed. Not living with me. Sadly, I think she’d be so much happier with people her own age and activities, like in a senior living center. She keeps saying I’m not living in NO DAMNED NURSING HOME! I’d looked into a senior apartment independent living center near me. Oh, you want just ship me off to xxxx. It’s 30 minutes from me, it’s nice, they have activities, I could come and take you out, do fun stuff. She’s never been about fun. Even when she was here the visit, I’d planned some fun things to do. Nope. We need to work in your house. Not clean enough, need to plant flowers, need to do whatever. I drove her to a festival, took vacation time off, and she said well I don’t want to walk. Every time she says about going to a festival, she would be all excited because a friend said something about it, we’d get there, and she’d say well it’s just a bunch of booths. Pretty much that is every festival ever, with some entertainment of some sort. We then went shopping; I had specific items I wanted, and she insisted I get something else. The something else items were thrown out years ago, as I had zero use for them. Later she said, why did you want that set? Because it had matching drink glasses to my dinner plates. Well, why didn’t you get those? Because you insisted I buy the other crap. You had a hissy fit in the store, and I wanted to crawl under the counter. I just got what you said I should get and left. Again, last time she was here. She wonders why she’s not been invited back – oh wait. I’m just an uncaring selfish person. Very selfish. She’s also going on and on about how she doesn’t know when her hair will get washed, when she’ll get to the hair stylist. Not my problem. She still is mobile enough to do a lot. I’ve seen her scurry across her living room into a front room to see what the neighbors are doing. Then she’ll do the oh I can’t hardly move. I blew out a knee a few years ago, and she was still much more mobile. I still had to drive her to every store around, even though I was in tears because my knee hurt so badly. I was told to buck up, and just deal with it. Life isn’t a bed of roses. I literally hung onto her at one point because the pain was so bad (I did go to a doctor who did help me – it was bad case of bursitis).
Brother is more of the golden child, but not always. He blew up at her, saying nothing is ever good enough for you! You will cause me to have a heart attack at this rate. I cannot stand it. So even with his stop to bring in mail, take out garbage, drop off groceries, he’s had it. Now with the bad weather, she doesn’t go out. He’s had a breather. He’s just dropped off some groceries He’s such a ‘wonderful son’ during these times. Yeah, he stops on his way home from work, and it’s right on his way He picks up groceries when he stops for his own I’m sure he prefers it 100% over driving her anywhere She’s complained to me that a lot of the time, he barely says one word while driving to wherever. She thinks it’s cruel; I think it’s more self preservation. I can’t go there this weekend, and definitely avoiding the next weekend as I’ll get President’s Day off of work. No to the 3 day weekend. The holidays were bad. I got stuck staying extra days over Christmas. Then on the day I was going home, trying to leave early, major delay. I got up and she was sitting in her easy chair, reading the paper. All calm. As soon as she saw me, water works started. I need your help, don’t get mad. Oh – oh. Yep, she wet the bed, just the edge. The edge closest to the bathroom. I’m like how? Well I sat up, and tried to get up, and I had to wait a minute. For what? It’s literally 10 steps to the tile – or less. It just poured out. Yeah down to the mattress. I was like oh hell no. So I stripped the bedding, put it in the washer. I was like first let me take shower, and I put all of the dirty towels in the wash. Then as I’m doing that and trying to pack up everything, she says oh I was hoping you’d make a big breakfast. This was as I asked her if she wanted some toast. I was like no, I don’t have time. Yeah let me dirty some dishes, then have to wash them, and then put away, etc. As it was, I left around noon. She then said oh you’ll be gone by the time your brother gets here (for church). So at some point, I got the bum’s rush out. The relief I had as I drove away was overwhelming, along with a little guilt about how relieved I felt.
At least I can delay any visits there. Go snow, ice, and cold. Sad to say, I’ve also played the sick card. Sorry not sorry.


weeo February 8, 2019 at 9:05 am

Thank you for this article. I rarely comment online but in the past few days I’ve had a huge blowout with my narcissistic, sick mother and my golden child older sister. Last time I fought with my sister was about a decade ago so family drama isn’t something that’s really in my life. Still, even after all these years of feeling good (I live 500+ miles away from them thank God), those two are capable of bringing up severe sadness and a feeling
in the pit of my chest that is like no other. Even my husband, who has many narcissistic traits, doesn’t make me feel 5% as bad as those two women can. And here’s the funny thing; I talk to my mom and sister regularly and we never have issues. They’re kind to me 99% of the time. Over the years, as I left home and empowered myself, their crap treatment of me has diminished substantially because I wouldn’t tolerate any of it.

But funny enough, when an issue arises like it recently did (which has to do with a very small inheritance) they can unleash a torrent of vile insults and abuse towards me with little provocation. It catches you so off-guard because it’s so hard to believe that they secretly still carry around so much venom.

As soon as I called them out for wrongdoing against me, literally asking me to trust them with money and them having other plans with it… they al me useless, a terrorist, disgusting, a witch, evil, selfish… you name it. The tears just start flowing and this terrible childlike pain and helplessness comes up and doesn’t stop all day. Do I carry this around with me? I see myself as a father successful, put together person who lives a drama free life most of the time. I could care less about them. I do feel bad because my mom is ill and I’m chronic pain for years and these days she is daily pain and deeply miserable. I call her daily to see how she’s doing. And I found it so peculiar that a woman so sickly would still harbor so much vile hatred inside of her. Literally the second she is called out for false promises and lying to me (never insulted her) she will unleash all that crap and say such horrible things about me.

It’s so sad. Thanks for listening.


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