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The Narcissistic Mother

Forum for significant others, family and friends of people with mental illness to discuss relevant issues they face.
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This is a support forum for the family, partners and friends of those with mental health issues. This forum is intended to be a safe place to discuss information, give and receive support and learn about all the issues related to being involved with a person with a disorder. Whilst it can be healthy to express various emotions, please remember to be respectful about the disorder itself. This is a place for constructive discussions, not a venting forum.

The issues experienced by the significant others of those with disorders cannot always be discussed in the other parts of the site in a way that does not trigger those with disorders. Moderators may therefore move threads from other forums into this one at their discretion.

Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby LifeSong » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:08 am

Hi bittersweet,
I understand what you've said here. My mother is similar.
I would cease trying to get people to understand. It is futile. Just select a few people in whom you have sufficient trust, and speak openly with them about your situation.
There will always be people who will side with or believe your mother over you... that's just the reality of living in the realm of narcissism.

For me, I no longer defend myself. I just wait for an opportunity, and then I might say "There are two sides to each story" or maybe "That's only part of the truth" or "Wow. What an imagination" or something like that. Sometimes it has the effect that the person will come to me later and want to talk. Sometimes it falls on deaf ears and then I know that I must give that person a wide berth from me. Sometimes, it at least shuts the gossiping or maligning off and the topic changes. Regardless of the outcome, I feel good that I've made a very brief statement, from a position of poised strength, and sent the subtle message that am not a pushover.

If your mother is truly narcissistic, you will not be able to become free of her various engagements with you unless you are no longer dependent on her - are you dependent? even emotionally?
To be free of her, you need to become free inside of yourself. There are many ways of working on this. When your mother senses (through your words, and actions, and even just in her capacity to sense you) that she can no longer call the shots in your life, I guarantee you that the dynamic between you will change... even if she hasn't changed a bit.

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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Bittersweet » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:05 am

Lifesong,

I'm torn between being glad to know that someone understands, yet sad that you've also been through similar things.
As for trying to get people to understand, you're right, it's futile. Find a few trusted friends and let the rest go. It sounds as if you've found a way that works for you, to give a short reply if you feel it is necessary and maintain your dignity.

Interestingly enough, the more I learn and understand this disorder, the more I am able to deal with my mother. Since I have found this forum and blogs by adult children of narcissistic parents, I have lost the need to seek validation or understanding from people who simply don't 'get it'. People who understand and have been through it don't need an explanation, because they've been there. This has been tremendously liberating for me. Just having a small amound of validation for the pain we've all been through has helped the healing process more than I could ever imagine. It has truly helped me begin the path to being, as you put it, free inside of yourself. Thanks for the words of wisdom.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Journeygirl » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:55 am

I'm so glad I've found this site. My mother is a narcissist and I feel like I will never break free. I am 29 years old and have spent my life trying to get her love.
I bought her a house and went into debt just so she would have her own house. She doesn't care about me at all. When I told her that her husband sexually abused me for years, all she said was "why didn't you tell me during the divorce settlement so I could get more money out of him?" She stayed with this child rapist for years even though she knew what he was doing to me.
When I wanted to do an honours degree she told me I was being selfish because I wasn't working and giving her enough money. I was giving her all my money from my part time job.
When I was a kid (like 4 or 5) she used to hogtie me to my bed when I got angry and bash me up when her husband told her I was a horrible kid. Whenever I got sick she got angry because I was taking the attention away from her.
Even though she has done all this for me, I still feel responsible for her, I am scared of her and feel responsible for her.
Does anyone have suggestions as to how I can break free from her? I feel really stuck and at her mercy.

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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby BlueFlower » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:38 am

Journeygirl wrote: I still feel responsible for her, I am scared of her and feel responsible for her.
Does anyone have suggestions as to how I can break free from her? I feel really stuck and at her mercy.
journeygirl.


Hi Journey.

YOU are NOT responsible for your mother; especially an abusive one. She is a big girl; able to take care of herself. And so are you.

Read up all you can on Narcissistic Mothers. It's a difficult concept to wrap your head around, that your mother was never the mother you deserved to have. If you are looking for a therapist, find one that specializes in treating those bearing the brunt of NPD abuse.

In the short term, give yourself plenty emotional space (away from her) and focus on you. Confronting her will only get you denial, drama, and hatred. Read all you can and then make a decision on what kind of relationship you want with her (if any).

Sorry you are going through this. I've been there. Stay strong!

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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Sappho » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:05 am

First up, let me affirm koalablue's experience ! Just as mine is, was. I have little to do with NM since she has been transferred to care facility. Oh how she loves it - every whim attended to !! The staff confirm that she is self-obsessed.

While all very good advice here is to look after the self, there are times when the grief of never having that proper mother-daughter relationship does overwhelm. I know it is an expectation that can never be met but sometimes it would just be nice to put down that wariness, that having to be alert to NM's mischief ! She is 86 !

Two years after DF's death I am realising that I had little relationship with him due to NM's jealousy and possessiveness. When I began to mature into a woman she became very competitive and this added another dimension to our miseries. I am exploring his history to know him more in death than in life. Having occasional written communication with NM by way of "courtesy" on what I thought was a safe topic, I am still frustrated by her unfair criticism of him and his family even now- yet I am unable to defend him due to her single view - ie her own ! Impossible!!! :cry:

And I'd be interested in hearing if your NM is a misogynist. I think mine was ! She sees women as useless creatures when they pander to men's needs. Of course this is possibly a projection of her self loathing because she did just that ! When men were around she flirted constantly with them.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Psyquest » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:17 am

Wow. Thanks everyone for helping with insight into my own story.

I feel for those of you who feel compelled to do things for their mother because afterall she is old, and after all she has no one else, and after all... well, you feel guilty.

I used to feel guilty. very guilty. I hated her with a passion and yet somehow I felt such dreadful sorrow for her. I would feel so compelled to give her some lovin' even though I didn't love her. I lived far away but would frequently write lengthy letters to her and call her. I would send her big packages at Christmas because an abundance of gifts is a basic necessity to her and she would be let down in a big way if I didn't.

There was nothing in it for me, except to appease my sense of guilt and feel like I was making her life a little less miserable. I loathed calling her because I would have to deal directly with her, hear her voice, let her hear mine, feel so laid bare. But I would eat that bitter pill out of nagging guilt. Seeing her in person was extremely uncomfortable, I couldn't look her in the eye and got very anxious about seeing her. The guilt was driving me crazy. I carried it around for years and I seemed to just sit there doing nothing, festering, balling up.

My mother came to my wedding and a few days before, at my inlaws dinner table, she announced in her delicate, low, hurt, academy award winning voice that she didn't know where I lived because I never contacted her and didn't let her know where I was or what I was doing. The large family that I had such a nice relationship with sat in silence as I sat there like a doe in the headlights. My mother-in-law didn't like me much after that. There were other things too that she did to subtly paint a negative picture of me. She spent quite a bit of time with my mother in law and she (my MIL) thought she was a peach. If my MIL knew about the things she had said and done to me she would be in a state of shock. But of course, there is no way to undo what has been done by that endearing lady who was just so lovely. My MIL still bubbles up whenever my NM's name is mentioned.

I am not sure if it was that or an accumulation of things, but I realized how futile and misdirected my guilt feeling were. I began looking at things objectively, almost like a 3rd party. I had bothered to write all those letters and inform her of all the things I was doing, where I was living, etc and here she was pretending to my inlaws that I was a bad daughter and she was a hurt, neglected mother in order to undermine my relationship with them. She had created such a bad feeling with her own in laws that seeing me so happy with mine must have driven her crazy. She had to screw things up for me so she could feel better about herself. It was a must on her to do list.

There was no point in doing these things for her anymore. My guilt was useless.

My eyes began opening up and I started to see the truth about things. The pity I felt for her was based on false premises. It took many years to shed my guilt because it is so easy to fall back into the old pattern of feeling sorry for them. They really ARE just a vulnerable hurt little spirit and I am cold and callous. As I did start being truthful with myself it became clear that this deeply held feeling was wrong. The hate and resentment I felt for her began to fade away as I liberated myself. I never went NC but I gradually cut her off. I just kept looking at the facts and not getting tricked into feeling pity for her or second guessing myself.

I don't bother with mother's day anymore and I don't do much more than contribute to a gift for her birthday. I don't call her and I only email her very occassionally. I don't shower her with gifts at Christmas, she gets one thoughtful thing and I don't care that she frowns or gets bundle loads from her other kids. I don't feel bad for being so 'cold', I am doing what I have to in this difficult situation that is not my choosing. I believe in justice and fairness, not one-sided relationships.

She is surprisingly well behaved now. She is even looking at me as the golden child now to hurt my siblings when they show any sign of disloyalty. I feel removed and frankly I just don't care. I don't care if she likes me or not or wants to give me the coveted role. The golden child role is a heavy anchor, not a prize. I don't approve of her so her approval of me doesn't matter anymore.

I think this is the best our relationship can be. I accept it and although she misses having me to play with, she has two other adult children to occupy her.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Sappho » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:14 am

Lifesong,
I would like to get your feelings about "life after NMs". I notice how much you have read and study NPD as well as write here with wisdom. Other daughters are setting up blogs and I have a drive to write about NPD. You continue to pass on your knowledge and I feel a pull towards doing that too.

I consider my own writing about it a healthy process but it has been suggested to me that it is not letting go and keeping me attached.

I would value your input. And anyone else's as well...thanks! :D
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Run » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:34 am

Sappho wrote:
Two years after DF's death I am realising that I had little relationship with him due to NM's jealousy and possessiveness. When I began to mature into a woman she became very competitive and this added another dimension to our miseries. I am exploring his history to know him more in death than in life. Having occasional written communication with NM by way of "courtesy" on what I thought was a safe topic, I am still frustrated by her unfair criticism of him and his family even now- yet I am unable to defend him due to her single view - ie her own ! Impossible!!! :cry:



What does 'DF's' mean?
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby BlueFlower » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:20 pm

Sappho wrote:I consider my own writing about it a healthy process but it has been suggested to me that it is not letting go and keeping me attached.

I would value your input. And anyone else's as well...thanks! :D


Sappho:

You should do what you feel is right for you. Personally, I would have NEVER made it had it not been for the input and support from other people with knowledge of Ns. Narcissism is such a hard concept to grasp, esp. when you grow up in the midst of it and don't know any better. I owe my life to those who took the time to give me insight into my mother's odd behavior; and open my eyes to personality disorders.

As for giving advice to others, only you can decide if you are in a strong enough place to do that. Will it feed your own anger or pain and perpetuate it? Or will you get satisfaction by knowing you helped someone understand the pathologically damaging relationship they are in?

Just points to ponder.

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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Sappho » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:22 pm

Thankyou Blue. And I shall ponder. I appreciate what you say about the complexity of the problem which affirms it for me.

I have such a passion for family dynamics that I feel I cannot "not" explore and write on the subject. For a long time I have read about it and worked on myself, and of course still have "collapse" times when I wish it were otherwise, but I gather myself up and keep going.

Learning about it and passing that knowledge on is what I am driven to do. And the reason is as you have found, had it not been for such desire to pass that knowledge on we might not be where we are now.

-- Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:26 am --

What does 'DF's' mean?


Dear Father ie my dad, in net speak.
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