Hypochondriac Narcissistic Mother Survivor Story

by Michelle Piper

A reader shares her thoughts about her elderly narcissistic mother and hopes others can join in the conversation:

I am the youngest of four children. My parents were married 61 years, and devout Catholics. Outwardly, we probably appeared to be a wholesome family. In reality, the dysfunction was severe, and centered around my mother, who was and continues to be a hypochondriac and a narcissist.

When I was growing up, my mother was always intensely focused on illness. We had the usual run of childhood infections and fevers, and her reactions to these was usually disproportionate to how serious the illness was.

Or perhaps I should say, whether it was sniffles or a delirium producing fever, she reacted with an intensity that seemed comforting in some ways at the time, but which I recognize now as being part of her NPD.

Fortunately, none of us faked illness to get attention, because that certainly was the time she was most attentive. She could ignore us and be completely disinterested in us at other times.

This preoccupation with health matters began with herself; apparently she was a hypochondriac from an early age, stemming from surviving a ruptured appendix at the age of eleven. She had a number of ‘scares’, such as seeing blood in the sink after brushing her teeth convincing her that she had leukemia. I remember a ‘pilgrimage’ to a Catholic shrine when she discovered she just needed to floss.

When my oldest sister and brother were very little, my mother had a sort of nervous breakdown. Having been a spoiled youngest child herself, having two children thirteen months apart when she was in her early twenties was too much for her, and my father took her on a trip to Florida.

My father was a very sweet person, and I credit him with any normalcy we had, however, he was a classic enabler, and totally mesmerized with my mother. He could have tried to protect us from her, but I’m not sure what the cost would have been. He did what he could to work around her to provide us with family vacations and outings she would otherwise have probably nixed.

There was always a general feeling of not wanting to displease my mother. She could be provoked to anger and drama very easily, and we quickly learned not to press those buttons. She used the silent treatment often when she was angry with us. Being the youngest, I think I got ignored more than anything, which was actually better.

She didn’t parentify me the way she did my oldest sister (eleven years older than me), who was expected to help out and behave well beyond her years. I was allowed to be childish, although I was probably a ‘lost child’.

My brother (ten years older than me) was the black sheep of the family, always pushing my mother’s buttons and almost always in the scapegoat role.

My next older sister (three and a half years older) was somewhat pitiful in my mother’s eyes; she would refer to her as ‘my hard luck kid’. She seemed to think she was always being taken advantage of, and of course, there was blame and shame attached to that. If you were naive, it was your fault for being too trusting. If you had a falling out with friends, you made a poor choice to hang around with the wrong people.

We slogged through many years of this pattern, with periods of being in or out of my mother’s grace, all of us accommodating her in one way or another. My brother was the exception, being the one person who would stand up to her, sometimes with violent results.

Eventually, we all grew up, got married and had children of our own. Although I distanced myself emotionally from my parents during my teens and early twenties, seeing some of the dysfunction most clearly at that point, I grew closer to them after being married for several years, and especially after having children. The desire to share your children with people who appreciate them is very strong.

I lived in the same town, maybe less than two miles away from my parents, and saw them or spoke to them daily. I would have called us ‘close’ at that time. We spent a lot of time with them, and when my mother would criticize my husband, he reacted in a joking way, as if it was a quaint foible of hers, and I normalized this, as well. He would tell her something, and she’d be very skeptical, then when he was proven correct, she’d say “Mike, I don’t know why I don’t trust you!” That got to be a favorite tag line of his.

Her ugly negative nature would surface at times, especially if we were vulnerable. When my daughter was not quite two years old, she got an infection which settled into a neck abscess, and had to be surgically drained. This was the kind of situation into which my mother would insert herself and thrive on the drama, talking to doctors, exaggerating the situation.

When my daughter’s surgeon came to see us after the procedure, he had a smile on his face, saying everything had gone smoothly, and my daughter was fine, and should heal completely. Thrilled with the good news we’d been waiting and hoping for, I turned to my mother, who said, “Oh, sure, don’t let them fool you, they always say that; believe me, your daughter is one SICK little girl!”

My sisters and I always say, no matter how long we know my mother and the things she is capable of, she never fails to appall us, and this was one of those times. I felt enraged, and I wanted to tell her to get the hell out of the hospital, but of course, I did not. My mother was always allowed the most outrageous behavior, and could say horrible things with impunity.

The event that changed everything about the way we viewed our family was when my brother announced that he’d been charged with sexually abusing a neighbor’s son from the time the boy was ten until he was sixteen. Of course, he denied it.

But the kicker was, it wasn’t the first time he’d been accused of such a thing. When I was in all girls Catholic high school, he taught math at the all boys Catholic ‘brother’ school, the high school he’d attended as a teen. His mentor there, a Christian Brother, had two nephews, and my brother was called upon (or made himself available) to watch the boys on several occasions, even overnight.

The boys eventually told their parents that my brother had molested them, and he was arrested. My oldest sister, who was a lawyer by that time, was enlisted to help find the best criminal lawyer in the city. She was also enlisted to go and appeal to the Brother that my brother couldn’t possibly have done these things, which she dutifully did.

In the end, he was advised to plea the charges down to a misdemeanor, and was told to get counseling and given probation, no time served. My father and sister went to court, and when they came home, my mother was hysterically furious with them.

She stayed home through all the unpleasantness, and when they came home and told her about the cherry deal my brother got, she accused them of selling him out, of being lower than snakes and rats. She punished them with silence for a long time after that. And here we were, over twenty years later, and he’d been accused again.

Initially upon hearing it, she came closest to accepting that it had to be true, and I was falsely relieved. Then she went into full denial mode, and she and my father expected us on board, too.

At that point, my oldest sister and I were having a hard time believing someone could be falsely accused more than once in a lifetime, but we were uncertain. We knew he was a hotheaded smart-ass, but we didn’t connect it to being sexually creepy.

We partly didn’t understand child sexual abuse, and we were partly just in denial over our brother being charged with such a thing. It was decided that my next older sister wouldn’t be told, because we couldn’t trust her husband.

She’d married a narcissist just like her mom, and he made no attempt to conceal his distaste for spending time with my parents, which wounded my mother’s fierce pride and ticked her off completely, reinforcing her opinion that my sister was a pathetic doormat.

A few months into the situation, it was decided she had to be told, and she reacted without shock, thoroughly convinced of his guilt straight away. A few months after that, this middle sister finally revealed to me and my oldest sister that she had been sexually abused by my brother for many years, starting when she was about five or six years old (and he was twelve).

At that point, all our denial disappeared, however, she was adamant that this information not be shared with our parents. It would only hurt them, and nothing would be gained, she said. I was the most upset by this, because at that point, I felt my parents and I were ‘close’. I couldn’t imagine keeping this huge secret from them! But I understood it wasn’t my place to out her, so I lived with that secret for several more months.

The idea that my brother’s wife might be deluded into believing him, because the first charges had been kept secret from her, was bothering us sisters more and more. We decided to contact her, and set up a meeting where we would tell her about his past. His wife, however, told him we wanted to talk to her, and he contacted my parents, who called me to their home to speak with them.

I was treated miserably. My mother said, “Who is telling you that you need to talk to (my brother’s wife)?” I said, “Nobody…I guess, my conscience.”

I’m sure my mother wanted me to admit my oldest sister was putting us up to this, so she would have someone to blame. Then my mother said, “I hope your moral rectitude serves you well when you’re looking down on me in my casket!” She also called me ‘Holy Saint Mary with a Halo Over My Head’. I became angrier and angrier at how outrageous it was for them to be mad at me, when I was just trying to be decent, and coming to it quite late, at that, since my sister-in-law could have known nearly a year earlier.

Eventually, I left their house, feeling so unjustly maligned. Shortly after, my parents drove to the state next door (where my brother lived) to confront him, because my mother claimed she felt there was a reason I was so sure of his guilt, something I wasn’t sharing. As if his being charged twice wasn’t enough.

She could have come to the conclusion that I had been abused by him (something, by the way, I have no ‘pictures’ for, but which I suspect could have possibly occurred when I was very young, too young to have clear memories). But somehow she concluded it must have been my middle sister! I think she claimed the Holy Spirit enlightened her!

She asked him directly, and he admitted it, continuing then to pathetically deny he’d done anything to the boys.

Meanwhile, at some point, having had our ‘meeting’ thwarted, the middle sister said, ‘Screw it’, and just called up the sister-in-law, and told her not only about the former charges, but also about her own abuse. The sister-in-law did not exactly express shock. It’s clear to me now that she knew things we didn’t know, even while we felt so horribly guilty hiding what we knew from her. She stayed with my brother; they are married to this day.

All of this ridiculous drama sent my mother into a fury, and she cut us all off, not speaking to us for many months. I put my house on the market and sold it, planning to move, and she found out from the proprietor of the local burger joint. My father went along with this silent treatment.

Unfortunately, my sister did not decide to come forward until it was too late to affect my brother’s court proceedings. He once again made a plea deal to reduce the charges down to a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to a year of work-release and counseling.

My sister did contact someone after his sentencing, and that may have slightly affected the terms of his probation after his work-release came to an end. He wasn’t initially allowed to move back into his home with his wife and eleven year old son, although it wasn’t too long before he was right back with them. He was placed on the sex offender registry in his state and will be on it until 2017.

I almost hate to spend so much time on this crap about my brother, from whom my sisters and I have been estranged ever since. However, it was this whole debacle that caused all of us to seek therapy, and shed much light on the whole family dynamic, and my mother’s narcissism.

A few years ago, my father died, and we had to have some awkward contact with my brother, who came to see him in the hospital and was present at the wake and funeral. Losing my father, my mother also lost her main narcissistic supply, since we haven’t been so eager to play the roles she always set up for us throughout the years.

She struggles to regain control, manipulate us, and rewrite history. She is now 85, and while she seems much sturdier and rather healthy compared to a typical person that age, she’s absolutely obsessed and frantic over perceived health problems and discomforts.

Our biggest problem is to sort out what we should reasonably do for her and help her with, being that she is an 85 year old widow living alone, without buying into the destructive garbage she has tried to deal us all our lives. She is miserable, and for years she has alluded to a meeting she says she wants to have, to ‘clear up some misconceptions’, and she refers to how my middle sister has ‘hurt her to the core’.

This meeting never actually happens, because she never sets it up, although none of us says we would be unwilling to take part in it. My speculation is that she wants to clarify that she had no idea her son was sexually abusing her daughter in her home, and the thing she’s so angry with my sister for is my sister’s remark that my mother was ‘in denial’ about the abuse.

Thus, implying, of course, that on some level she knew, but didn’t want to know. The bottom line is, she puts way too much importance on the awfulness surrounding my brother being the cause of all the conflict between us.

She wants to somehow, in spite of that, reclaim the idea that she was the ideal, concerned mother, whereas even if you took the horror of incestuous abuse out of the equation, she treated everyone miserably. But she was so worried when anyone was sick! It’s just that she was worried about the wrong things, you see!

I sometimes accompany her to doctor’s appointments, or go through some paperwork with her. I try to be available for reasonable requests for help. It’s easy to slip into avoiding her, and while I don’t feel the intense guilt and shame she used to be able to produce in me, I do feel some guilt at times if I haven’t spoken to her in two weeks or more.

My sisters go through the same feelings. We try to take turns, but I am not working and live the closest, so just by virtue of convenience, contact falls to me more often. I’m hoping that this blog can help sort some of this out.

From Mary

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Angharad November 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm

My mother was a complete lunatic! She poisoned the whole family with her incessant needs.
I knew when I was very young that to get away from her and all the crazyness was to get a good education and get out. So I worked very hard despite her attempts to sabotage my efforts. I got a scholarship to uni. As soon as I got to uni I found a counselor to help me work through all the damage this woman had done to me. Again, I worked very hard overcoming years of abuse, guilt and manipulation. I never spoke to my mother again.
I have had an amazing life traveling all over the world studying and teaching. Although there are still times when I hear her voice in my head, I activally turn it off. I have learned to take care of myself first without feeling guilty. I have learned how to say no without feeling guilty. For me, education was the key to overcoming my abused past and creating a brighter future.


Michelle Piper December 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Dear Angharad,
Thanks for sharing how you’ve left the narcissistic mother behind. It’s not easy to do and you seem to have built a rewarding life. Glad you’re part of the ACON community. I see some good tips here:
1. When you hear the narcissistic mother in your head, turn it off.
2. Don’t feel guilty about necessary self care.
3. Say no when you need to and discard any resulting guilty feelings.
Thank you!


Ted October 12, 2017 at 1:22 am

Hey there Angharad,

I would love to talk to you about how you managed to deal with everything. I am on this journey myself, and I wan to inspire others to do the same, so I wanna learn more about other people’s stories. Hit me up in skype – teddy_931130


Ravyn November 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm

My mother is a narcissistic/hypochondriac combo too! She was a nurse for several years. Right after I graduated from college she decided to fabricate every possible medical issue to get her on disability. (united states). She got denied twice and hired an attorney. Always looking for a handout, she completeley overstated a car accident and then reverted to acting like a total child in the mediation room when she didn’t get “her way”. How embarassing. I’m you’re classic OVERACHEIVER – Working on my second Bachelor’s Degree and CPA license. But after realizing that JUST BEING ME IS OK – after I finish this round of school – I am DONE. I no longer live to please her. I still have anger to work through with my therapist but for the most part, I’ve got her number!


Michelle Piper December 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Dear Ravyn,
The narcissistic parent who is a hypochondriac can cause so much chaos for the child. Of the defense mechanisms you could’ve chosen to survive, you picked a fairly positive one, overachievement. I’m glad you’ve added the new self knowledge, “just being me is ok.” The skills you gained achieving your goals plus the self care you show with accepting yourself– independent of what you accomplish– have the potential to create peace in your life. Please keep us posted on your journey.


Agri-T December 10, 2012 at 7:22 am

Hi Guys
I realised 3 weekes ago that I have been in a relationship with a Narcissistic mother ..I couldn’t never understood why I was always in pain, always sad but I was in recovery throuh Al -Anon although I am not an alcoholic. In my mind I thought it was the childhood issues and not realising that she has been incontrol all my life. She would promise to help me financilaly and I would wipe away any bad thing that she did to me, at the moment she is giving me a silent treatment one of too many but I feel so guilty and I would end up calling her. We are going to a see cruise this coming weekend and i am scared my little girl inside is not handling it at all I am just praying that this trip will be ok and I will survive and still have my sanity in check. I could never comprehend the control I live 1000km away the control was over the phone. I am so angry right now but the gulit is killing me more than anything and thank you for this site I will get to understand my behavior as I read more articles..


shelly December 11, 2012 at 5:38 am

Mary I am so sorry for all you through. I can so relate to your current situation of having an elderly NM. Mine is 86 and I battle with feeling sorry for her and giving in to her demands and just being totally mad with myself for being manipulated once more by her. When I hear of my friends mothers dying, I think “why could that not be mine?” I fear mine will live to 100 just to spite me. I feel so frustrated that I won’t feel totally free until she is gone and then immensely irritated that she has this level of control over my life. I understand all the stuff about narcissism intellectually and yet just cant get control over my emotions. She still has so much control in her power to upset me. Look forward to being part of this community.


Mary December 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Thank you, Shelly. I’m sorry you’re also struggling with how to do the right thing by an elderly parent, while wanting to protect yourself from manipulation and harm. My mother used to have the ability to drive me into a state of extreme anxiety, defending myself against her by going over and over some series of events in which I had supposedly wronged her. My poor, long-suffering husband would reassure me repeatedly that I was not to blame. Isn’t it terrible that we think of the relief we would get if they passed away? You are not alone in those thoughts; my oldest sister sometimes jokes, “if she outlives me”, and before my father died I used to fantasize about having a little time with him alone.

My mom can’t make me as upset anymore, and the lack of control frustrates her, but she just doesn’t get to me the way she used to. When I speak to her, it’s pretty much a monologue I’m listening to, and I get bored and annoyed that I have to listen to the repeated health stories countless times in excruciating detail, and of course she never really cares what I’ve been doing or thinking. However, she doesn’t take my breath away with her occasional outrageous comments, and I have no problem telling her when she’s crossed the line. A while back, she commented that my mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s, is lucky, because she’s being cared for and doesn’t have all these responsibilities, and how nice it must be to just be in a pleasant fog. My mother was envious of her. I stated unequivocally that that was not only untrue, it was a mean thing to say. My mother-in-law is early stage, so she’s aware that she’s not so aware, if that makes any sense, and she’s a very sweet woman who is undergoing a lot of anxiety and some physical decline, and braving it well.

The thing that really helps me is a sense of humor, and being able to share it with someone. I have two sisters, and we are all on the same page about my mother, which is another defeat of hers; she would love to come between us. She badmouths each of us to the others, hoping to put a wedge in our friendship. It’s always good to call one of my sisters to talk over a ‘session’ (I can’t call them conversations, since I don’t get to speak!) with my mother. The absurdity of it can make us laugh till we have tears, which is a big relief. One of the biggest jokes has to do with her thinking she’s got some life-threatening health problem all the time, even though exhaustive testing has only revealed that she’s a very healthy 85 year old woman. She’s been telling us she’s dying for over two years now, which is so ironic, since she’s 85! Next time she says it, I’ll have to remember to say, “Mom. we’re ALL dying, if you want to look at it that way!” So Shelly, I wish you the power to laugh, and not let her upset you so much. I’m glad you’re here, too.


Kris December 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm

To the original author,

I understand your frustration. It was sexual abuse by my uncle that blew the lid on the narcissistic mothering in my own family too.

Back when i was a kid this guy molested 3 of us and she knew all about it. She wasnt complicit, but she was aware. Because she knew about it, we didnt think much needed to be done at the time, being kids. But as adults, we discovered that my mom was the front runner in sweeping.it under the rug to protect the family name and talk amongst now adult children from different parts of extended family had us discover victims from years past. We also learned that the guy was not only never incarcerated or in therapy but was working with disadvantaged youth in remote communities alone and my mother knew this.

So when i reported this all to police and victims started making statements, her narcissistic tendencies came out in full force. This was the putting the key in the lock and turning it, i suppose, that sent me looking for answers and in finding narcissism the entire childhood, upbringing, and indeed family made sense.

The snide comments, the statements completely out of left field, the sabotage, the golden child, the scapegoats, the lies told behind our backs, it.all made sense for once.

Its crazy how many people discover the narcissism only when abuse comes to the surface. I would guess that this is because all the behaviors can be somehow excused or written off as personality quirks until we can see straight up in the black and white that the position this person is taking is so perverse and off the level that we take a moment to review everything in aggregate and them… BOOM.


Alicia October 5, 2015 at 11:00 am


It is a relief to see someone with a Narc Mother and life similar to mine. My beloved Father died about a 1 1/2 ago. He was awesome even though we now know that he was trained by my Mother to do her bidding. But he also did his best to protect us and I’m not ready to deal with his enabling of her behavior. He shielded us from alot of her abuse, now that Dad is dead she is worse than she has been in the past (accept when we were children and could not protect ourselves). I am having flash backs of my rotten childhood, stuff I must have suppressed.

When Dad died it was devastating for me, it hit me like a Mac truck. I have always felt that he was the parent who loved me and helped me be sane. Now I’m stuck with the parent who can’t love. Mother said to my Sister. “I don’t see what her (me) problem is, she is not the widow.” She also says “Boy this widowhood really gets me alot of attention.” I’m horrified by her and can hardly look at her, does anyone else feel this way?

I’m 50 and just figured out what Mother is. My sister is the golden child and it took some convincing, but she finally agrees with me that our Mother is a Narc. I’m really angry that my sister and I have not been close for many many years because Mother pitted us against each other. Now we have to talk constantly to keep ahead of our Mother’s drama and manipulation. One minute Mother is faking hip pain in front of my sister and I see Mother an hour later with no limping or pain even mentioned. It is whirl wind of lies, drama and rages. I want no contact but it is hard because Mother does need help. She is going to live forever, there is nothing wrong with her physically. The lying Mother does is mind boggling, it makes me doubt myself, I hate that. My sister who lives across the street from Mother begs me not to leave, it is heart wrenching. Mother drives me and everyone around her crazy.

My sister & I think our Brother also a Narc. But he has little contact with the family, so he is not too much trouble at this time… When I talk about my Narc Mother to people with normal Mom’s they look at me like I’m lying. This is very up setting because there is not anyone to talk to about this. My husband tries to understand, but he was raise by a gentle Mother. When I tell him about my childhood he listens with horror.

I want to see someone for help, but have read that the therapy can be damaging if the Doctor treating you does not understand Narcissism. I don’t want to go backwards. I want heal from this, but I’m not sure it can be done?


Cyn December 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I suppose this sounds cold, but sometimes you have to take yourself out of the game, especially when the rules fluctuate so rapidly you fear you might have what is mentally akin to a seizure. I believe my mother is a Hypochondriac Narcissistic, though she has no current diagnosis that I know of. She once told me if she read of a disease she got it. I remember her being hysterically blind for a week, the cancer not when I was 4 and the fact that she took to her bed a lot throughout my childhood and blaming me for killing her. Not to forget her after dinner shrinks. The funniest episode was when she told me about going through menopause, after mind you, having a hysterectomy several years before, and believing people were out to kill her. I was ever so glad I was disowned during this time period, for it would not have been a stretch for the po po to roll up on my crib and charge me with this “attempted murder”. However, to the point, my family never fails to embarrass me, I would expect no less. After taking care of my father when he was dying, my mother, (who was in full narcissistic rage at the attention he received), asked me to promise to take care of her in her last days. As the dutiful and not yet enlightened daughter I gave assent. Last week, I sent her an email reneging on said promise. I truly do not wish to be anywhere near my family of origin when the matriarch passes. Additionally, I know it would not be in my best interest to be there. Since I am currently, once again, but not forever, disowned, I figured I should strike while the iron is hot. I truly believe my mother does not want me to take care of her, (she was just pissed I took care of dad). Citing the removal of myself and my daughters from the family tree, I state my case of which I’m certain.


Mary December 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Cyn, thanks for your reply. A lot of it sounds quite famliar. Once, my mother faked a ‘catatonic state’. She sat in a chair, staring forward, slumped, and wouldn’t respond to anyone. She let her mouth hang open, and her saliva started to trickle down her chin. Both my sisters were present; I only heard about this later. After repeated futile attempts to get her to speak to them, my oldest sister said, “Well, I don’t know what to do! I know! Maybe we should call Mom’s good friend, M., and get her over here to see if she can help!” My mother’s ‘friend’, M., was not someone my mother would have trusted in the least! Not only that, obviously she wouldn’t want ANY of her friends to see her in that state! So, she got a furious look on her face, jumped up, and stormed off to her bedroom, slamming the door! My sister was brilliant to call her on it. The thing is, she didn’t have to answer any questions about it later. Naturally, we all had to pretend nothing out of the ordinary had happened. That was our pattern. Still, chalk one up to my sister!


Kris December 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm

My mom did something similar. After all the kids had left town, her source of Nsupply was gone, she slipped into a “nervous breakdown”. At the time i chalked it up to maybe a bit of being lost without anyone but my EF to blame for everything which wouldnt work out well.

She would drift.around the house like a ghost most of the time, wringing her hands with this look of sheer anxiety. The psychologist told my dad not to buy into it and if she got too batty to tell her to stop it. Eventually she snapped out of it.

She did the same sort of thing after my sister died. Im all responsive to the pain of having one of your children die and all, but my sister was disowned multiple times, she had both of her kids taken away, she walked around saying that “T is dead to me, i only wait for the police to call me and say she is dead so i dont have to wait for it any longer” – and she got her wish. My sister had hung herself in anguish. She wore that tragedy on her sleeve for 3 years, it made me sick to my stomach. The disowned, written off for dead sister, there was now a shrine to her in a room of the house, where you couldnt find a picture of her no matter how hard you looked before. The service was also sickening, my sister was anything but religious and she held a hugely religious service and had pretty well the whole church attend. Only my golden child sister was allowed to speak, despite that the only people who still had any sort of relationship with her before her death was me and my brother. My golden child sister didnt have any contact with her for years because in a previous suicide attempt my mother went through her jewelery and gave everything nice she had to my golden child sister and made her promise not to give it back because “she might sell it for drugs”; my sister obliged so they werent talking.

The “state” she put herself into both times was i now know just a way of soaking up the rays of attention, or trying to.


Mary January 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Thank you for both of your responses. I’m sorry you were abused by your uncle, and I’m so glad you found the courage to go to the police to report him. I can just imagine the fallout from doing so; after all, you betrayed the family image! I’m also very sorry you lost your sister; that is so sad. Of course, your mother made herself the focal point of that tragic event. Everything is about mom! I honestly think my mother thinks her own suffering over having had her son sexually abuse her daughter is a greater pain than what my sister herself went through. As I said in my original post, she claims my sister hurt HER! In every situation, the person at center stage has to be the narcissist.

I’m glad you ‘put the key in the lock and turned it’. It’s painful to see the truth at first, but then it’s such a relief to understand things better. On a side note, I know a family who lost a young woman (daughter, granddaughter, niece) to suicide, and they were overcome with grief. They started an organization whose mission it is to provide suicide prevention education and support for those affected by suicide. Check out their website if you wish: http://justliveinc.org/


Alicia October 5, 2015 at 11:19 am

Last Spring all 3 of my Mother’s children were out of town. Her cat bite her hand and it swelled up 3x the size. My sister and I were on the phone for a day convincing her to go to the Doctor.

When Mother went to the Doctor, he told her to go to the Hospital to get IV antibiotics. Mother said “I can not go to the Hospital, my children have left for Florida and I will not go to the Hospital without them.” So she ruined all our vacations with her drama of rejecting medical treatment.

I was on the phone constantly asking anyone I could think of to check on her and report back to me. Mother said “I’m really getting alot to attention with this hand thing, maybe I should get sick more often”


ONLY DAUGHTER August 2, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Dear Mary, I realize this is an old thread but I just discovered this wonderful website. I too have a mother with full blown NPD and she sounds just like your mother. Our family also had sexual abuse that was swept under the rug because reputation was the most important thing. Hearing the stories about the blood in the sink and faking the catatonic state made me howl with laughter and understanding. You’re so fortunate to have sisters you can share the stories with. My narc mother is elderly with failing health and it’s pure hell because I’m obligated to help her and I try to do so while staying emotionally detached. I went low low contact 8 years ago but I send her money every month and I think of it as an alimony payment. My husband and other family members wonder out loud when in the heck she’ll just die and leave me in peace. I often wonder what lies she’s told her friends about me being a neglectful daughter and what these people will say to me at her funeral. Thank you Mary for telling your story.


Maggie June 10, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Mary – I don’t think I have laughed so hard in a long time. I only laugh because I can relate. Your lucky you have sisters… My mother has built a brick wall between my sister and I. Truly funny and painful at the same time. God… Mothers – WTF.


Julia February 6, 2013 at 11:51 am

Hi Mary. So sorry for what you’ve been through.
My mother is a narcissist and a hypochondriac as well. She has been playing out high blood pressure and nervous breakdown card since as long as I can remember. More than that, when I was about 12 or 13 she made me blieve that if I behaved badly she’d kill herself and it’d be all my fault. I could not tell my dad or brother about it because I felt sooo guilty. I’m 33 now and never actually got over that fear.
My dad died almost 9 years ago of cancer. For the last years of his life when me and my brother no longer lived with them my mom would make terrible scenes and was always so irritated and could give him silent treatment for weeks. When he died she started telling people how much she did for him and how they loved each other.
My brother who’s married and has two daughters went no contact with her for a couple of years after she diswoned him (not for the first time actually).
And I somehow feel so sorry for her. I know that whatever happens I’ll be the one to take care of her because noone else definitely would. It’s like after all these years I still hope that she may be different. Since my childhood years I abhorred the way she acted and I guess I’m still afraid that I may become like her. I came across this narcissism thing just recently after I started investigating the issue and now am amazed at how I could not put 2 and 2 together before. I’m feeling relieved to know finally that it’s not me who’s crazy. The stories you share hear are so helpful!!!


Mary February 8, 2013 at 9:58 am

In comparison to me and my sisters, you are quite young to be figuring this out, which is good! You have time to grieve the loss of the idealized image of your family, and move on to create healthier relationships with the people in your life. From what I know, your mother will not change. The best thing for you to try to do is to accept that this is the way it is, and learn to protect yourself. You don’t have to go along with your mom’s desire to control and guilt you. It’s not easy, though, having bought into that pattern for so long. My mom makes vague references to suicide at times, always very melodramatic. “I know my Catholic faith should keep me from it, but there is nothing to make life worth living anymore!” I’ve talked to my sisters about calling her on it if she makes a threat. Treating her the way a suicide hotline would, asking her if she’s serious, and warning her that we need to call emergency services, then following up. A little chat with a cop might put an end to that nonsense.

I know what you mean about her relationship with your dad, too. My mom idealizes that, also. She did do a lot for him in his later years, but I know she also put him through hell, and complained about what a burden it was.

At this point, I have the most contact out of the siblings. My mantra is: Be polite but don’t take any shit.

This site is helpful to me, too. I’m glad you found it.


Alicia October 5, 2015 at 11:32 am


Be careful with the suicide threats. My Mother is a retired Nurse. She talks about suicide too, she says “It would make all of you (her kids) happy if I was dead. Then you could have all of my money”

She also talks about killing us, other people and herself in a ways that are untraceable. She says she knows how to do this because of her Nursing training…I don’t know if it true? But I don’t want to find out.


Anonymous July 8, 2014 at 12:18 am

Thank you. It is a great support to read & validating to my experience of NM. I am struggling with my emotional roller coaster, guilt, sadness, anger. My NM is 82 & in good health but to her its always something wrong. My father was killed in a car crash when I was 14. We moved my mothers decision. We knew no one nor had any contact with any family hers or my dad. NM said they gave no support etc, I believed at 14. So at age 55 I have an appreciation of how challenging it is to work through the realisation & pain. There is a very frighten child within whom I’m struggling to support as my mothers behaviour has escalated & is exhausting. I have 3 brothers all living in a different country. Each time I am no longer making excuses for her behaviour and don’t react the way she want, watch out so I guess I’m viewing this as even though her behaviour is cruel, etc I’m experiencing how challenging it’s is to stay in contact with her, I’d like to cut the connection but then I’d be doing what she has done. I’m remembering her not talking to me my husband & 2 children for 2 yrs. passing us in the street like strangers, she was involved in a car crash & when I walked into a&e, it was like nothing had happened & the last 2 yrs nevered happened. Thank you for sharing yr experiences I am truly grateful Therese


Sherri August 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Mary ~ what a difficult subject to face within a family. In reading your story I couldn’t help but wonder if your brother was also sexually abused. The reason I wonder is because he began at age 12 which leads me to suspect it was a behaviour he learned from an adult. It could have been anyone but typically it’s someone very close to the child. Perhaps there’s more secrets there… Regardless , you faced it with bravery and your heart was in the right place. I can’t help but fear for any children he may have of his own or that are left with him.
My younger sister who was always regarded as golden child became an drug addict in her teen years. Eventually my mother couldn’t handle her and she was left with me in a neighbouring town where I live to deal with. The addiction made her behave years younger than her true age and she should have been put in some form of rehab. While she was with me she shared some disturbing information about one my brothers . She claimed he had sexually abused her many times. Shortly after a huge fight and my sisters attempted suicide and a hospital trip my sister went back to my mothers. I severed ties with my mother when she refused to place her in rehab and instead put her alone in a house she had inherited in the city I live. This brother that she said abused her is a step brother to me , half brother to my sister and is married now too. After I severed contact with my mother all my siblings followed and cut me off. They’ll protect that secret forever and call me the liar until the end of time. If I tell his wife she won’t believe me. My mom saw to it that she understood I’m not to be trusted and I cause problems. I often wonder if my step brother was abused by a trusted adult…. Someone close to him. I’ll never know but feel it’s very likely.


Sherri August 13, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Mary ~ what a difficult subject to face within a family. In reading your story I couldn’t help but wonder if your brother was also sexually abused. The reason I wonder is because he began at age 12 which leads me to suspect it was a behaviour he learned from an adult. It could have been anyone but typically it’s someone very close to the child. Perhaps there’s more secrets there… Regardless , you faced it with bravery and your heart was in the right place. I can’t help but fear for any children he may have of his own or that are left with him.
My younger sister who was always regarded as golden child became a drug addict in her teen years. Eventually my mother couldn’t handle her and she was left with me in a neighbouring town where I live to deal with. The addiction made her behave years younger than her true age and she should have been put in some form of rehab. While she was with me she shared some disturbing information about one my brothers . She claimed he had sexually abused her many times. Shortly after a huge fight and my sisters attempted suicide and a hospital trip my sister went back to my mothers. I severed ties with my mother when she refused to place her in rehab and instead put her alone in a house she had inherited in the city I live. This brother that she said abused her is a step brother to me , half brother to my sister and is married now too. After I severed contact with my mother all my siblings followed and cut me off. They’ll protect that secret forever and call me the liar until the end of time. If I tell his wife she won’t believe me. My mom saw to it that she understood I’m not to be trusted and I cause problems. I often wonder if my step brother was abused by a trusted adult…. Someone close to him. I’ll never know but feel it’s very likely.


HK August 19, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Wow, I am surprised, is being a hypochondriac common among N’s? My NMIL is a big time hypochrondriac. Both dh and I are HCP and she will call us over stupid things, and when we tell her that she’s fine, she doesn’t believe us. So, she has taken herself to the ER for the DUMBEST things, I am sure that the staff there rolls their eyes when they see her coming, but when FIL had chest pain, she said it was, “nothing” and didn’t do anything about it! She has had more MRIs done, than anyone I know and they never find anything wrong with her. She thought she had the bird flu, because birds flew over her house?!?! It’s ridiculous. When I told her I was worried about my parents insisting on shoveling snow instead of hiring a service, my mil told me that it was, “good exercise” for my parents (and ftr, my dad is in poor health, my mil is the healthiest one out of both sets of parents). This is a woman who has never shoveled snow in her entire life, everyone else does it for her. She would not believe me when I told her that elderly ppl are particularly prone to heart attacks and angina while shoveling snow, this is very common knowledge, one that a frickin’ hypochrondriac should know, which is what is so annoying about her. She is so extremely ignorant, yet has a know-it-all type of attitude.

The worst part is the one upping. When my father had open heart surgery, my mil was so jealous of the attn that he was getting. She lied and told me she neede to get surgery too, and was upset that I did not go out to lunch with her, while I was helping my mom take care of my dad after his surgery. So, she called my dh to complain that I was being mean and my dh got mad at me, saying that I made his, “poor mom” cry!!! I couldn’t believe it. My dh has since improved a little bit, but is still very much stuck under her thumb. If anyone is sick, she says she is sicker. If someone dies, then she says she she has it worse off than the dead person! She has zero sympathy for anyone else. I had a bad cold one time and she told me she didn’t understand why I was sick, as if she’s the only one allowed to be sick. Did she give me any sympathy, nope, of course, instead she kept telling me that she was more sick than I was.

I just don’t understand. Basically, everything that comes out of her mouth is about her wanting other ppl’s sympathy and pity and about how she’s got it worse off than anyone else. I do not understand this mentality, esp when she does not deserve ANY pity. Her neighbor, a dentist, committed suicide. We asked her what happened, and she said, “he killed himself, I don’t know why, he’s dentist, so he’s rich, if I were rich, it would solve all of my problems!” My dh and I were stunned at her disrespect and self-centered mentality. Her neighbor dies, but she still manges to turn the conversation about herself. She claims she is poor, yet she drives a lexus (paid off, it wasn’t a lease), goes around telling everyone she is poor, but there she is wearing her $20,000 diamond ring. Then she has the balls to ask ppl who she considers wealthy, how much they make?!?! I just don’t get this lady. My dad is a N too, but in a different kind of way. I find that my dad’s behavior is easier to ignore, my mil’s is very calculated, cunning and malicious and so materialistic and greedy. She acts like a 13 yr old spoiled brat.


Coco September 13, 2014 at 10:09 pm

I am the scapegoat child – third child out of four – and from age 9 I plotted ways of getting out from under the control of NM. My only path out was education and earning my own money so I could buy the things I needed for school. NM was always enraged by spending money on my dental, education, clothing etc. At age 12 I got a weekend job. I worked all day Saturday and Sunday for 50 cents an hour. Not only did working all weekend get me out of the house and away from NM, it meant I had a taste of financial control and independence. Reducing my physical presence in the house to night times and paying for my own things minimized me as a target of NM’s as well. I poured myself into school and weekend work as this was where I felt safest and where good work was fairly rewarded and acknowledged. My two older siblings both left the house around age 15 to support themselves – basically to escape NM. Their early exit meant more money for NM as did me working and supporting myself from age 12. I was able to hang in there till 17 1/2 when I completed high school with excellent marks that saw me in the top % in my state and accepted into every university I applied for including into medicine and law. I chose a double law degree. Instead of congratulating me or any of the usual things NM tried to talk me out of attending university. NM was worried about any potential cost to her as well as unhappy that I was being educated beyond her in a way where I would be more capable of challenging her. I knew any promised financial support would not last very long due to NM resentment over spending any money on me, so in the last few years of high school I began working in bar/hotel. I was under aged of course but NM liaised with the local union leadership to have it okayed – NM knew working there meant me earning adult hourly rate, being able to save so I would not be relying on her as much for financial support at university. NM could not care less than as a 16 year old I was subjected to 40 year old men groping me in the bar, endless propositions or witnessing fights, drunks etc. I was able to support myself for one and a half years full time at university, then my saved money ran out. I dropped out for a few years but secured a government job that allowed me to continue to study part time while supporting myself. It took me an extra 5 years to complete my combined undergraduate degrees but I did it. NM refused to attend my graduations and when coerced by others into attending one, went out of her way to ruin it. I never invited her to another one – I now have now had 5. I managed to keep her at arms length from 17 1/2 – the only exception being when I wanted to see my father who was a classic enabler. To see him, I had to go through her. It meant pretending to go along with NM – that was the price of access she levied on me. It would take me weeks and months after being in her house and being forced to engage in NM’s conversational land mines to get my own life back on an even keel. I used to joke if I stayed more than 2 nights I would be reduced to sucking my thumb by day 3 of living with her! Part of me was relieved when my father died as it meant I no longer had to engage in this elaborate but damaging game with NM to gain access to him. NM was found dead in her home this weekend. My overwhelming feelings are of a lightness I have never felt before and a feeling of extra freedom. I know it is socially unacceptable to feel this way on the death of a parent but NM’s gaslighting, scapegoating and other dramatics meant I either became the perennial doormat/scapegoat child or fought to establish my truth and my reality. I am the one that analysed what she was doing, plotted my escape from her from age 9 on and then made it happen over the next 9 years by reducing me as her target. Unlike other siblings I did not need to reduce myself as a target by painting targets on their backs so they would soak up her hostility and time. I used to think the scapegoated children had it hard but you know what, my younger sister who was the favourite child who never had any set personal boundaries and who continued to get caught and recaught up in NM’s dramas and lies, and who could never escape from NM’s influence was dead at 40 from suicide, after miserable years abusing alcohol and drugs. NM always preferred her to me. She would go along with NM’s fanatasies, vendettas and histrionics. In the end she got so captured by them they wrecked any sense of self. Suicide was the logical end for not getting far enough away and exercising strict limits on contact with NM. My younger sister always believed pop psychologies Brady Bunch resolutions and kept throwing herself into NM’s maelstrom while being wildly optimistic that next time the outcome would different. At 40 it finally dawned on her that it wouldn’t be. She committed suicide. NM always liked and preferred my sibling over me because her brokeness and willingness to keep on being drawn into NM’s world view no matter how illogical or silly. I have no idea where my scrappiness, exit strategies and refusal to believe the unbelievable emanating from NM came from. I was always analytical and liked to prove things to my own satisfaction and worked hard on honing the intellectual tools to continue to do it better. Maybe that was a reaction to be lied to by NM or subjected to her campaigns to make me believe whatever it was she was trying to manipulate us all into believing that week? I was the scapegoat child definitely because I had a mind of my own and could analyse what NM was doing and see through the lies. When I was old enough and out from under NM’s roof, I was able to confront her whenever she pulled these stunts on me. As a result I was scapegoated even more with my siblings. Interestingly my older brother whose misery at home I recall clearly also made a significant physical break by moving to another state and ensuring he always lived more than a days drive away from NM. We all knew she would not visit us if it meant an overnight away. He remains the sibling I am closest too and in his own way he tried to protect me. I think the memory of his concern and protection remains the one warm sense of family I have. My two sisters in their own different ways got enmeshed. For families like this with an NM there are no Brady Bunch happy endings where understanding is forged between all the parties. Amateur psychologists who have never encountered the level of maliciousness of a NM or who have no real understanding of the lengths they go to may attempt to get everyone together but fail to realise in these situations the choice for most can be very stark – stay and go mad or cut off all or most contact and survive. Once my father was dead I was able to do what I had always intuitively knew I needed to do. I cut off all contact with NM. It was one of the best decisions in my life. I do not intend to go to NM’s funeral. I would be expected to play a role there in public – yet again – that is too fake and pretending for NM’s sake is something I refuse to do a long time ago. I am not sad that NM is dead. I just feel lighter and even more free. I know that is socially unacceptable to say that but it is my hard worked for truth. To other scapegoat children out there – you will never get a different result from NM, the sanest thing is to get away and cut off all or almost all contact and make your own life happy. I have not gone into the details of NM’s actual behaviour and instances of what she did as I find it boring and pointless to even think about it enough to bother listing it anymore. No raging about it or keeping lists of what she did. Instead I choose to celebrate getting away from NM and staying away and now – being happy her death means even if I happened to drive through my home town there is now zero possibility of me ever accidentally seeing her again. I used to think the golden or the preferred child had the love and attention I was denied. For many decades now I have realised that in fact I was the lucky one as the scapegoated child because I was forced at a very young age to make big life decisions and one of the biggest was not to take on my shoulders NM’s low opinion of me. NM’s maliciousness, lies and manipulations allowed me to see the world with great clarity even at aged 9. I could detect subterfuge long before anyone else. I have great instincts for finding people who are kind, truthful, reliable, generous and keeping them permanently in my life. I acknowledge the damage that has been sustained by all my siblings, not just me, but it does not define me. And now I can even visit my home town with no prospect of running into NM.


ONLY DAUGHTER August 2, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Coco, I admire you for figuring out your NM at such a young age plus doing the hard work to get where you want in life. You deserve the wonderful freedom. Me, I figured it out at 47….12 years ago. I fantasize about the lightness and freedom I’ll feel when she finally dies. I was the only child with no father around and she had me wearing all the hats, golden child, scapegoat, hero, but mostly scapegoat. I’m curious about your final career choice because you must be massively successful. Congratulations!


Nicole November 27, 2014 at 9:45 am

I wish I had found this a long-time ago! I thought I was the only one with a NHM. I am an only child, and dealing with this has been a long ongoing nightmare for years. As I set here, crying and feeling guilty again after one of her patented guilt sessions I see that the problem is hers and not mine. I’ve replayed every major event in my life from my high school graduation, to my wedding, to son’s College Graduation and seen why every last one of them has been an absolute dismal experience. Because she wasn’t the center of attention. She’s now been in the hospital for approximately 4 months (between regular hospital, psych hospital, and rehab) and had every test known to man. Some of them as much as three times. They can’t find anything wrong. It’s awful of me to think this, but my first grandchild was being expected when this started, and I really think that all this was a ruse to take the attention away from the baby and put it on to herself. For the first time, I didn’t go running to her and focused my attention on the birth and finally… finally.. had a warm fuzzy family moment. Of course, I’ve paid for that now by being called selfish and ungrateful. But you know what… I’m at the point that drama free is how I am going to live the rest of my life. I refuse to worry about it anymore.


Michael February 28, 2015 at 10:49 am

Has anyone here ever considered that your mothers or the mother that you are talking about might have a mild form of Munchhausen By Proxy?


Anonymous March 16, 2016 at 4:10 am

Yes we have


ONLY DAUGHTER August 2, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Hi Nicole, wow, I’m an only child of a NM too. It was such a relief to figure it all out at age 47. It took a lot of work but I finally got to the very low contact level and it feels wonderful. NM occupied a lot of my head space for all those years and I wasted so much time and energy worrying about her rages and manipulations. I so regret that I didn’t tell her to go F off when I was 22 years old. Why did I put up with it for so long? I wish that I hadn’t but I’m glad I no longer do. The odd thing is all those years I was a model daughter and was told I was inconsiderate and unappreciative and horrible. Now that I really don’t give a flip about her I get so much more praise from her and I’m told how much she “admires” me. It means absolutely nothing to me now. BTW, like you, all special occasions including engagement, wedding, childbirth of 2 children were met with fury. Christmas totally sucked too. Now she’s been voted off the island and I enjoy holidays and special occasions with my husband and 2 wonderful daughters and we have a great time.


Only Daughter Too August 25, 2016 at 6:39 pm

I’m an only daughter too and spent my childhood playing the role of a 1950’s housewife and confidante to my divorced mother. I would say my older brother was golden, the younger the scapegoat and myself invisible except for my assigned role. There was sexual abuse from one of her boyfriends when I was 15 which I withheld until 18. She told me I was provocative and if it wasn’t him it would have been someone else. I moved out when I was 19. She remarried for the third time when i was 22 and moved out of state. She was either too “ill” or too “offended” by my in laws to attend many milestones…my kid’s baptisms, birthdays, etc. I drove myself and my family and her mother to her many many times over the years. It took me a long time to figure it all out and at 56 I’m still figuring it out. I recognize that I need to protect myself from her as she is still able to sap my energy and send me spiraling downward for days at a time. I have caught her in so many lies and exaggerations and rewritings of history that it’s staggering. I am not sure is she is getting worse with age or I was just too under her spell to recognize what was going on when I was younger. She is ok sometimes but most phone calls center around everyone using her and whatever new illness she is pursuing without proper care and attention from those around her. A family member lives with her now and I cringe at the things she says about this gentle creature. I want to tell him to run for his life. Bottom line, she doesn’t want to do anything for herself and she will say anything to get others to minister to her then complain that they didn’t do it right. She said the family member brought dinner home and watched a movie with her but she knew he really didn’t want to and was only doing so out of obligation. It’s never enough. Not only must you do her bidding, you must do it in the proper way, with the proper intent and the proper feelings. It’s appalling. I used to feel sad that we lived 4 hours apart but now I am glad. I try to keep low contact and sometimes she can still zing me. Last night she hung up the phone on me because I was suggesting she continue some physical therapy that her doctor started her on so she could gain back some independence. That is what brought me to the site, the need for some validation from people who know what you’re talking about. This is not just an “old person” thing. I think the only element of it that has to do with age is that she filters it way less than she did when she was younger. She seems to have lost touch with or no longer tries to couch her manipulation in more normal behavior. I appreciate all everyone has written. It’s a comfort. Best to everyone.


Pauline July 12, 2017 at 3:22 pm

You have made me feel so much less alone – I have been so distressed by professionals and my Mum’s friends who keep saying it is because she is old – I want to scream from the rooftops that it has absolutely nothing to do with her age and I agree with you that maybe the only age effect is that she no longer tries to hide her complet,total and utter sense of entitlement – only to the ‘friends’ who she has recruited to make us all feel even more destroyed than we already are – thank you – I wish you love and peace – I don’t see my mum any more – she is nearly 88 and I have thought she was going to die for well over 50 years – it’s destructive and sad and I have had to let her go – I have chosen my own mental health over my mum’s – be good to yourself always x


ONLY DAUGHTER August 2, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Oh absolutely my mother had that. I don’t think she was actually physically harming me or making me sick but she was constantly trying to restrict me because of imagined illnesses. I wasn’t allowed to run as a child because it might upset my very mild asthma. She was so incredibly sick and still is of course.


Melissa April 30, 2015 at 4:02 am

I absolutley agree with Nicole! I wish I would have know about this condition long ago!
My NHM is only in her early 50’s and it terrifies me to think what she will be like in her old age.

Like Ravyn’s mother, she has tried and is still trying to file for disability in the USA. According to her of course, the reason her claims continue to be denied is because the system is flawed and the courts and doctors are incompetent and ignorant.

She has called me on more than one occasion claiming to suffer from diseases such as Lupus, the conversation always starts off with comments like … “I just thought that you would want to know since it can be hereditary”. As if the only reason I would care about knowing she has a serious illness ( which doctors across the country have all confirmed she does NOT have), would be because it could possibly effect me.

My NHM also LOVES pity. Her new thing is claiming to be allergic/intolerant to pratically everything. All big ocassions and family gatherings are wonderful opportunities for her to bring it subtly to everyones attention that she cannot eat this or that, if someone tries to suggest modifying the menu or worse, flat out asks her to tell them what she CAN eat, she hastly disregards them and the question. She doesn’t want to hear solutions to “the problem”, only pity.

I once snapped at her saying that since she can’t eat anything, there was no hope and the only option was starving to death. This reaction only led her to tell family and friends ( in my presence), that I am having a hard time dealing with the fact that she is sick, and that I am in denial.


NH October 12, 2015 at 9:16 am

I know this is a really old post but I am reading it for the first time and feeling like I’m reading something out of my own life! I have often been advised of whatever the current disease is with the “thought you should know because it is hereditary” line too. AND, any time I express any sort of frustration with the illness drama, it is turned into “She’s having a hard time dealing with the fact that I am sick.” OMG, it is so frustrating!


H. June 26, 2015 at 2:24 pm

I have been searching to see if there is a mother that fits my mothers profile. I was only child of a violent, narcissistic father and a self-absorbed hypochondriac mother. She told me she should have had a boy because they love their mothers more. Yet in public she was a mouse. She related to others in an awkward sugary-nice manner and was spaced out and nervous all the time. Took to the bed and would not function at times, including when I was ten and was recovering from surgery. My dad would fly into a rage and throw her pill bottles at her in the bed. Been in therapy quite a LOT and have made some progress. Had to cut my dad out of my life. Now that my kids are teens they see how she works and now NONE of us really want to be around her. She is also obsessed with things being wrong with her food. She want to go to restaurants but then complains to her S.O. that the food isn’t right and he jumps around trying to fetch her exactly what will satisfy her…its weird. Then she talks about the food issue over and over. It happens every single time. The thing is she still has ailments and is a hypochondriac, but now she is older. It is the age when your parents start having legit ailments and most people step up, whereas I feel that I have finally realized I need to step away. I am fine seeing her every few months but she wants to see us like every week if she had her way. She always whined about her job and wanting to retire. Now she whines about retirement being sad and lonely, and mostly talks about people who are sick or dead. I sometimes feel guilty about keeping with my preferred intervals of time between visits, so anyones thoughts are welcome!!


ONLY DAUGHTER August 2, 2016 at 1:26 pm

I read a book that helped me and it might help you too. Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Anne Lawson. It’s a very pricey book (even the kindle version is $33) but worth it or they might have it in the library. It describes all the different subsets of Borderline mothers and one of them is “waif”, which sounds like your mother.


H. June 26, 2015 at 2:31 pm

If you still read this, I relate to that too! Forget solutions. Its like you are facing a black hole that wants to make solutions disappear. There is almost irritation when an obvious solution is presented. I guess its about the attention.
I have seen my mom eyeing me while I was enjoying a fun discussion with a group of people, then suddenly announce something about someone having a terminal illness, like to stop everyone from enjoying themselves without her. Then everyone looks down and is quiet, because its in poor taste to proceed being jovial, and she is in control of the situation. Whether it is a conscious technique or not, it works and happens all the time with her.


Alicia April 14, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Hello All,
I typed “What hypochondriac mothers do to their children” in Google and found this blog. I am not sure if anyone comes on here anymore. But I certainly enjoyed all these stories. Thank you all for being so candid and sharing so many personal experiences. My mother is a hypochondriac and narcisist; however, because she is also a very beloved member of the local catholic church, people just don’t see her for who she truly is. I have a ton of stories. My father is not quite her enabler or not as much of an enabler as some others, because he does complain to her and sometimes when she is actually sick – he refuses to help her. It’s very very strange. Anyhow, I grew up with a mother that suffered from bi-polar manic depression and it was seasonal. She was sick like clockwork. She was sick from Thanksgiving to Easter – hitting all the major Catholic holidays. By the time April rolled around we were out of the clear, and as soon as the Turkey thawed it was all down hill. Both my parents are labelers, and have labeled all of us (7 children) 1 boy – the oldest and 6 girls I am the second to youngest. Things have always been pretty bad, until they got really really really really bad last year when my sister was diagnosed with AML (Leukemia). Well, since then, my father and mother both have not been getting the attention they feel they deserve and they have been pitting the brother and sisters against each other. It has been a terrible show of force. My little sister has AML and it has been really tough, she went into remission then relapsed and we’re hoping for a miracle at this point. My little sister has always been a fighter and spicy too. Recently my parents, who call millions of times until you answer, did not get an answer from my little sister for some time, and they invited themselves unannounced to her house. She was feeling terrible, (hence why she didnt anwser the phone) and she literrally cussed them out. It’s been tough for everyone, but the family is certainly divided between the 3 oldest children on our parent’s side and the 3 youngest on our sister’s side. The middle child goes in between both teams. But so many of the stories above remind me of my mother and of my father. We endure a ton of abuse. But if you ask my parents, there was no such thing – no way of course not. We endured sexual abuse from a cousin, the sweeping of that under the rug by our aunt. We endure my father’s physical and verbal abuse, and our mother’s emotional abuse and hypochondria and depression. Top that with a nice dose of poverty, we’re lucky not to have had a single person in jail or worse. But I do notice a great deal of competition between the siblings and everyone is an over achiever. I became somewhat estranged from my parents over 4 months ago now and although I deal with the guilt of not going over to see them very often, it’s outweighed by the terrible anxiety I feel about even going to visit. Anyhow good luck everyone, I hope this blog continues.


ONLY DAUGHTER August 2, 2016 at 1:37 pm

Alicia, feeling guilt over a Narcissist is the most wasted emotion on earth. I know because I did it for many decades and now I don’t. Keep reading all you can on the subject and you’ll realize you can give and give and give to a Narcissist and it’s like throwing it down a big black hole. I believe there should be an 11th commandment: honor thy children. Honoring a N parent is again like throwing the honor down a black hole. I used to be so incredibly overwhelmed by my N mother that I felt she would cut open my body and steal my organs if she could.


Linda Ross August 25, 2016 at 9:45 pm

My narcissistic mother ignored all 5 of her 6 kids. Youngest 6th was golden child. Rest of us lost or scapegoat kids. Always moaning and complaining about her health
She died 6 weeks before reaching 80. I remember when one of my sons at 9 having a clot on his brain and hospitalised. She appeared at his bedside excited because people had been so worried for her, making pies and telephoning her. Couldnt understand it back then. She was weird – all about her!. Classic narc!


Mag June 10, 2017 at 9:12 pm

I also typed “My Mother fakes Illness” into Google and this site came up. I thank you ladies for the vulnerable and painful stories. I too have one. I am an alcoholic and had moved away from my mother for years because the pain was so horrific. In short my addiction brought me to my knees and in the end I ended up basically homeless, lost my job and have two dogs that I was unwilling to give up. Needless to say, I moved in with my Mother in another state. I am grateful for her for letting me and my dogs come stay with her for a bit, we have somewhere safe to rest our heads. The thing is, I have been here for three months and low and behold about three months ago my mother seems to think she has bladder cancer – we have been to doctor and are waiting results. She at one time was a nurse ( seems to be a common theme) but now works from home. This is truly one of the hardest times of my life (living with my Mother is out of pure desperation) and I need her to be there for me – emotionally. She is unable to do that – but in this time I am beginning to realize how sick she really is. I have to learn to accept and forgive her – not for her sake but for mine. My father died when I was seven. My sister and I were stuck in a house with a living nightmare. I became the scapegoat and although my sister and I both suffer from alcoholism my Mother chooses to blame me for all of her unhappiness. I now understand her narcissistic behavior. What makes me sad now is that I need her right now and she can’t be there emotionally for me. Being here is so depressing. I feel truly sorry for her. She expects me to live in this city – which once I am back on my feet – I will move. I thank her all the time for her help but it never seems to be enough. Oh…also she is a hoarder! I can’t breathe in this house with all her things and her illnesses. I wanted her to be a caring mother and her letting me stay here is the best she can do. She has nothing else to give because she just can’t. I know she is sad but she is not willing to change. The thing is, I have to LEARN to accept her the way she is and the only person I can change is me. She starts to scream and yell and I don’t have to react anymore – it feels good not too. Thank you for letting me share. I am not alone.. Its hard to put the pain of my Mother into words. Thank you.


Anonymous July 6, 2017 at 6:39 am

I have not seen my elderly Mum for over a year – she is nearly 88 – I feel so much sadness and pain but I know that I have to keep doing this – these pages saved my sanity when I first found them – the year has been difficult but easier than the constant feeding of the monster that would just always take the food and then bite me harder – I love my Mum – I hope on many days that I never see her again – I am so scared that when she dies which she will at some point that I will fall down an even blacker hole. She is still here and she has had us all afraid that she would die since I was a very young child. My Dad was an alcoholic – I’m not sure if my Mum might have been too. my two brothers and my sister are all alcoholic – thankfully some of them have found recovery – I married an alcoholic – my eldest son is an alcoholic but a great gift has been given to me because he is sober just for today so I am lucky. There is so much pain and destruction from a mum who could never be a mum and a Dad who couldn’t do anything either – I wish I could wrap every single woman and man who visits this site in pain in the love that their Mum should have been able to give them – I feel so sad for such a lot of the time at the moment but I also know because I have tewelve step recovery in Alanon that this too will pass and that to love myself is the most important thing for my mental health


Sofia March 15, 2018 at 2:36 am

Dear Anonymous

I am in the same situation with my 94 years old narcissistic mother. I was mothering her most of my life, I was never good enough and she us demanding more and more as she gets older. 6 months ago I had to save myself from this monster as it was imposible for me to continue. It is hard too but I am feeling better.

Thank you all for sharing your struggles, you are helping me a lot and I wish you all the best.


Dee March 25, 2018 at 7:01 pm

WOW! JUST WOW! This post is years old, but it sounds like present day for me. EXACTLY EXACTLY like my 76 year old mother. She focused on all the wrong things when we were growing up, believing then and now she did the best she could. And she probably did, given her own emotional illness. We just always fell into line too. Never wanted to stir the pot or make her mad. However, if anyone DID push her buttons it was me, NEVER my older sister. It took us YEARS to figure this out. YEARS. After my father died, nothing could shield us from her. She can be venomous and mean, yet she can get so upset and frazzled that she breaks down and cries. You can almost see it coming too. I don’t think there is ANYTHING in life she enjoys. She doesn’t have nice word…or decent word for that matter to say about ANYONE. God forbid anyone correct her, criticize something, or have their own opinion. You might experience her screaming at you, physically hitting you, or the silent period. After about a week to 10days of that, she calls as if nothing ever happened. Control is an understatement. After my father died (we now call him “the buffer” and realize his amazing worth way too late,) she continues to try to control EVERY aspect of our lives. She too is obsessed with illness (my first recollection of her “dying” was when I was 8. She was 33 when she was convinced she was having a heart attack and had to go to the hospital.) Something is ALWAYS wrong with her (medically,) UNLESS she’s got something else or somebody else’s illness to obsess over. It’s almost like she enjoys it. It’s almost like she enjoys being the first one to tell us someone else’s misfortune. I always thought Narcissistic Personality Disorder meant conceited and self centered, but I can see now that it is more. She thrives on being the center of attention. I recently read a book on Borderline Personality Disorder and it seemed to be pretty accurate, but who knows. You can probably guess she would never see a therapist because “they’re all assholes,” yet she flocks to doctors and specialists weekly like they are giving out something free. “Setting boundaries” and going to our own therapists has helped a bit, but absolutely NOTHING is going to change her. We know this. She sees nothing she does as wrong and has zero remorse for making someone feel like dirt.


jayne oleary April 2, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Im living with my mother after my dad died. Im 50 and divorced. She has made all our lives hell through constant illnesses that are fake and has always argued with doctors and hospital staff through, as she puts it, there lack of understanding and knowledge of her illnesses. I struggle to speak to her at the moment because I cannot bear her company. Its really really hard!!! Im glad i found this site. I think I need people to help me through this very difficult time.


jayne oleary April 2, 2018 at 5:53 pm

im sobbing and in bits here. I feel so much anger for the stress and anguish she has caused and the years she ruined my fathers life. He died of alzheimers disease and she even blamed him in his last months for the anguish his illness was causing her!!!! I came to live with her after he died to help with the house and give her company, but its proving unbearable. I have thoughts of her dying and it makes me think Im a bad person but I would miss her incredibly. Just very confused and upset. Thanks for reading,


Debbie July 24, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Reading the life experiences of others who lived with hypochondriacal narcissistic mothers and the emotional trauma it causes in their children’s lives helps me know I’m not alone in the difficult journey of trying to care for an 85 year old mother. My mother thrived on emotional drama all my life and it all revoIved around her. I remember when I had my first child, my mother’s first grandchild. While I was in labor, I remember hating seeing my mother’s face. All I could see on her face was fear which made me more afraid. As I grew older I started noticing that any time I disagreed with my mother and she got upset, she would end up in the hospital emergency room. Nothing serious was ever found. I know see that it was her way of controlling me with fear and guilt. My father is now 88 and still taking care of “sick mom”. He has health issues but all the focus is on mom. Through the years I could see that my dad could only stand up to her after he had a few drinks. Then he would say things in anger to her. He was emotionally closed off and emotionally unavailable to my brother and me. He was a good provider materially while we were growing up. I’m sure he did the best he could.
My brother, in his teen years once tried committing suicide and my mom was more concerned about how it looked to others than getting my brother the emotional help he needed, how it affected her was the focus. She was so ashamed of admitting that we had emotional pain that needed to be addressed. Thankfully my brother moved out and in with me and eventually he found a good woman and they raised 2 loving sons.
To top it off, my mom is a hoarder. Her house is one of utter chaos and she refuses to part with anything. My dad, not too long ago was trying to park his car in the garage and came into the house with a box of useless crap and said “ here’s another box of your sh.t”. My mom sat for days in a catatonic state and peed on the floor. We thought she may have had a stroke so we took her to see a doctor. As usual, nothing was physically wrong. I have suffered panic and anxiety for most of my life. It’s very hard to find peace and calm surrounded by complete chaos. I can’t move in with my elderly parents to assist them more and they don’t want to leave their home. Trying to be the “good daughter” to someone who was and is manipulative and controlling is taking it’s toll. I also have a 64 year old husband who has had 2 cardiac events and a nervous breakdown.
My mom is going to die of natural causes due to old age. Part of me wants to then sing, “ding dong the witch is dead” and the other part of me will grieve for what I wanted but never had, a mother who was emotionally and mentally well enough to communicate honestly and share the important things with.
Stay strong fellow warriors and survivors because that’s what we all are!!


Nomers October 22, 2018 at 7:07 pm

Thank you all for sharing. I don’t know why I assumed for so long that my mother was surely the only one to behave like all of your moms! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this, but also heart breaking. When I was little I thought (believed) my mother was always dying. It took years for me to realize how abusive it is to fake a heart attack and to essentially give an 8 year old a death bed speech. Years and years of my mom crying wolf that now as an adult when my husband expresses pain or genuine worry about his own health i start to feel rage and frustration instead of empathy. I feel like that girl about to get manipulated into feeling sorry for someone and to worry about someone who doesn’t deserve it. The kicker for me that made me realize just how narcisstic my mother is, was 8 years ago. I was going through chemo treatment for a very curable disease. I had been feeling very ill from the treatments but forcing myself to do errands and I ran into my mom and dad at the store, and I started to tell them that I was feeling pretty nauseous and my mother totally cut me off and told me she was having the worst stomach flu of her life. I was so angry that she was actually looking at this situation like a competition. Today I had surgery for endometriosis and she and my dad came over to take my kids to school for me because my husband had to take me to the hospital. As soon as I opened the door to let her into my house she broke down in tears saying she was having pelvic pain for days and doesn’t know what’s wrong with her but that it is surely something serious. She had turned what was already a stress inducing morning for me (I hate hospitals) into an even more stressful morning. Today is also her birthday and I know she is feeling like a total victim that I stole her special day. I obviously haven’t learned how to stop letting her get to me.


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