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The Narcissistic Mother

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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.

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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby usr » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:59 pm

Hi, Eight. Thank you for replying to my earlier post. I had written up a long post here, but accidentally lost it in my browser. So here I go again to paraphrase what I wrote:

In a nutshell, I am not good at keeping very close friends, especially as I age. I also seem to be shier and more withdrawn than I was when I was younger. I feel like as I deal with the ups and downs of life, I have had almost all my confidence taken from me.

My mother was hypercritical of me and my younger brother. Our father left the family when I was around age 8. As of today, I am completely estranged from him. My mother had the burden of bringing us up largely alone with minimal financial support. In time as I approached adulthood, all contact was cut off from his side of the family as well. My father had a much larger family, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.

Anyway, I try to set my boundaries with my mother and generally speaking, as a middle-aged woman, if I do not what she insists that I *should* do, she gets angry and often shuts me out of her life by avoiding contact with me for several days. She sometimes does it with a passive-aggressive approach, meaning instead of verbalizing her disappointment with me. She avoids me. I sometimes don't mind the lack of contact, but her behavior often makes me extremely angry. I feel like she wants me to be brought down her level as an angry bitter woman.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby computerology » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:20 pm

Eight wrote:If you had to pick the top three (3) items from this list that you feel did the most damage to you in your life, which three would you choose?


The top one would be:
3. She favoritizes.

The blatant double standard between our golden child sister and the rest of us was infuriating to us all. The worst example of which, that caused me to literally enter a blind rage, was when my parents went out of town for the weekend leaving me and the GC sister in the house. Being the dumb teenagers we were, we both decided to have a party on Saturday night. I brought my band over and we were going to have a jam session. My sister had a bunch of couples over to "watch movies" upstairs. I didnt care about her little party, but she evidently was not having any of mine and demanded that we not play any music as it would interrupt her movie. Her friends found her party exceedingly boring and a bunch of the girls came downstairs to my room where my bands guitarist was quietly playing some tunes. She didnt much like this and kept trying to lure her friends back upstairs, and they kept asking us to fire up the band.

I knew what I was likely in for and I spent 6 hours cleaning the entire house to spotless. When my parents came home, I was lambasted for having a party (if you call 5 friends over a party), while my mother knew my sister was going to have some friends over to watch movies and make out. We were only half a year apart in age.

The second would be:
19. She projects.

My NM really, really enjoys her wine. I wouldnt call her an alcoholic, but when you show up to your friends house unexpectedly and bring *four bottles* of wine stashed in your coat when you only live one door away you know you are after the effect more than the taste. As I got older and got into drinking, and as an adult, practically everyone who hears about me hears that I am a raging alcoholic. One uncle even heard that I was one step from skid row. I lost a job offer because of this bunk. Every girlfriend she met she whisked away (while drinking glass after glass of wine) and lectured them on how they needed to reign in my excessive drinking. Lost a few girlfriends beause of it, because they wouldnt so much as let me have more than one beer in the backyard on a sunny day afterwards.

Number three would be:
23. She destroys your relationships.

My NM would actually actively try to destroy my relationships with women. I got engaged, she took the time to call my fiancee's mother after the engagement party to warn her that her daughter should seriously reconsider her choice because I was always an angry child, prone to violence. Despite that I had lived with the girl for 6 years with no incident, the mother put extraordinary pressure on that girl to keep shopping around and the relationship failed. An especially beautiful girlfriend that I hooked up with months later was urged by my own mother that she could certainly do better than me and that I was filled with bluster about my accomplishments. Another girlfriend was told to reconsider her choice to be with me because she had to "consider the safety of her daughter" (she had a little girl). Pretty well every girl caught this drift in one way or another, always couched in, "Dont tell him I told you this because he would ____ me, but you really need to know _______". What girl wouldn't take such a warning from the very mother that they are being introduced to by their boyfriend seriously - why would a mother do such a thing if it werent true?

--
Those are my three.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Eight » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:16 am

Hi usr,
Isn't it frustrating to lose your post? I've put much time into a post, pressed Submit or accidentally pressed another key, and lost the whole damn thing. A former mod here taught me to save my post to the clipboard to preserve it to prevent loss and I try to remember to do that for my long or thoughtful posts.

How doubly hard it must have been for you to have a narcissistic mother and then a father who left the family - I had a father in my FOO and, though he was absent often, I still saw him occasionally and that helped me.

I understand well the 'silent treatment'. It is a punishing device used by narcissistic people, or just people who want to control others; it can also be an effective tool to bend you to do their will as it is hard to stand up to the silent treatment. Hopefully, with adult maturity, we learn ways to not be co-opted into the needs and emotions of others and can better stand separate and whole unto ourselves.

Do you have 12 Steps groups where you live? Al-Anon, a family support group for those who are involved with people who are alcoholics/addicts, might be a place where you could find real life understanding and a few people with whom you could socialize. You might want to try that. You could find people with whom you could be friendly but not obligated to be close friends. And shyness is welcome there. Just a thought.

Hope you post more, usr.

-- Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:24 pm --

computerology wrote:My NM really, really enjoys her wine. I wouldnt call her an alcoholic, but when you show up to your friends house unexpectedly and bring *four bottles* of wine stashed in your coat when you only live one door away you know you are after the effect more than the taste.

Not meaning to joke about something that is painful to you, but this made me laugh. Probably because it's so familiar to me. My mother was alcoholic, but a very classy alcoholic so this is something she would have done, for sure. She would either make sure that the place had alcohol, or she'd bring her own. Yes, I know that story.
Sorry for your childhood, computerology. Hope your adulthood is mature, and adult, and free now.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby BlueFlower » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:07 am

usr wrote:Anyway, I try to set my boundaries with my mother and generally speaking, as a middle-aged woman, if I do not what she insists that I *should* do, she gets angry and often shuts me out of her life by avoiding contact with me for several days. She sometimes does it with a passive-aggressive approach, meaning instead of verbalizing her disappointment with me. She avoids me. I sometimes don't mind the lack of contact, but her behavior often makes me extremely angry. I feel like she wants me to be brought down her level as an angry bitter woman.


Hi usr;

With N parents, please remember that they have the mentality of toddlers. If you don't do what she wants, let her have a fit. It isn't your problem ( I realize it's maddening to deal with, but go about your business until she decides to behave appropriately...again, she's like a child!) You can try to verbalize your feelings and be assertive; however, Ns don't like this either, but it will make YOU feel better by taking your power back. Her issues are hers. She won't change, but I hope you can realize that she owns these behaviors. There is no need for you to become angry and hateful as well...key here, boundaries. Take a few steps back and ignore her tantrums; and be glad your N is avoiding you!
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby computerology » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:11 am

I just came to a very sad realization...

after the kids left the house our cats (we all had our own cat) all came to unfortunate demises. Most of them were accidentally "run over" by the car on their way into the driveway but mine mysteriously dissapeared less than two weeks after I visited the house and spent a weekend with the little guy. He was the most amazing cat I've ever known, he would walk up to 10km with me and even go camping with me he was very bush aware. I've never known a cat to just know that you were camping and hike 5-10 miles to find you and then meow at your tent and want inside.

My girlfriend (unfortunately but she was just speaking the truth) made me realize that my NM probably had these cats put down. We didnt want to take these animals to the city with us only because they were raised as country cats and we didnt want to force them to adjust to the city life in apartments in our early 20s with our instability, it would have been too hard on them. One by one they kept meeting unfortunate ends mostly with the car and being run over but my NM knew that if she ran over my cat with her car that I'd do the exact same to her so mine "went into the bush looking for me and never returned after my last visit".

That cat was so bush aware that I was very taken aback by that, because he would sometimes go 14 days straight into the bush but he would always come back to sleep, sometimes sleeping on my bed or the couch for as many as 5-6 days after his little adventures.

The moment my girlfriend told me that she figured that my NM had her put down, I turned on slacker radio on my DVD player as she went to bed. The first song that came on was actually the cats favorite song (he'd go nutzoid when that song came one). Its not empirical but I take it as a sign that my girlfriend was right in her assumptions. Slacker usually has pretty crappy music and I have to skip 2-4 songs just to hear something that I like, and I've never heard that song on slacker before and slacker usually repeats a lot of crap I dont like.

I dont want to say what I will do to her if I prove that is what happened to be true in writing. That cat was literally amazing; I've never heard of a cat that will not only go for a 10km hike with you but also camp with you and sleep in your tent and then return with you on a regular basis.

F-ing NMs..... Luckily I'm not as psycho as her or there would be one less NM in the world as of today. :-(
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby usr » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:04 pm

Eight wrote:Hi usr,

I understand well the 'silent treatment'. It is a punishing device used by narcissistic people, or just people who want to control others; it can also be an effective tool to bend you to do their will as it is hard to stand up to the silent treatment. Hopefully, with adult maturity, we learn ways to not be co-opted into the needs and emotions of others and can better stand separate and whole unto ourselves.

Do you have 12 Steps groups where you live? Al-Anon, a family support group for those who are involved with people who are alcoholics/addicts, might be a place where you could find real life understanding and a few people with whom you could socialize. You might want to try that. You could find people with whom you could be friendly but not obligated to be close friends. And shyness is welcome there. Just a thought.

Hope you post more, usr.



Hello Eight,

I appreciate the reply. I have tried therapy in the past, but it was well over a decade ago. At that time, I understood my own situation way less than I do now. It is probably best to seek professional help.

I went to a few Al-Anon meetings about a year ago, however, I felt somewhat more depressed after going to them. I had a hard time connecting with others who had difficult family relationships due to alcohol abuse. It probably is good to go to more meetings and meet other people as going just a few times really did not amount to much for me personally at that time. I live in a larger metro area, so there are plenty of such groups around. I have some scheduling limitations on many days, due to work and family obligations. I will take up your suggestion and try to go again very soon. AA meetings might be more beneficial this time around for me.

I fear my mother will not get better unless she at least stops abusing alcohol. When she did not drink, she still has a difficult personality, however, after drinking, her bad traits seem to be amplified. I do realize a few things, as I age, I do not want to be anything like her. I know I have picked up some of her bad habits, one of them being the "victim." I have tried to face that challenge, by not thinking that way.

I really do despise the "silent treatment" as it feels like someone is playing head games with me and my emotions. I just really hate being ignored by others. I try not to do that myself, but I am sure there are times I have picked up some bad behavioral habits from my mother.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby gratitude » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:29 am

This is such a comprehensive explanation! It's so hard to put a finger on HOW the N mother manages to be so insidious without an overview like this. Even after years of observing my NM, I don't always catch all the tricks as they happen.
I am a 44 year old woman with a fabulous family of my own. My dad was definitely a co-N, but did a good job of protecting me. Still, he had his head in the sand for much of my NM's behaviors. I just lost my dad and am struggling as I watch NM play the merry widow after ignoring him as he was dying.
Thank you for letting me join this board.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby ForumKat » Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:31 pm

So here's how my NM is trying to make my Christmas miserable this year, the first year that told her I wouldn't be spending Christmas with her (since she makes ALL my Christmases miserable…)

She is sending all my gifts to me directly from Amazon, unwrapped. So that when I get a package addressed to me, not knowing of course, if I ordered something or if it's through my Secret Santa exchange that I do with people with Amazon, I open it and I see my gifts before Christmas.

She is the most miserable, passive-aggressive narcissistic person I know. I'm so effing done with her, and then she just can't figure out why. <sigh>

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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby serena318 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:03 am

LifeSong - This is the most perfect definition I have ever read of an npd mother. Thank you for posting it. As my npd mother was extremely high functioning, I could never quite put into words the covert, insidious, soul crushing abuse I suffered growing up. Yet this brilliant writer succinctly did just that. I treasure this paper for allowing me to see the toxicity in my mother, and providing tremendous validation. When anyone really wants me to describe why I am eight years nc with mother, I will ask those I trust to read this paper. Just beautiful.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Eight » Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:18 am

It is beautiful, isn't it? It captures the more subtle elements of the narcissistic mother as well as the more overt behaviors. I too had a high functioning NPD mother whose cruelty and cunning made it very hard for anyone outside the family to see. For a child growing up in a family with a narcissistic parent, it can be crazy-making when you try to describe the dynamics in the family and you are not believed or dismissed as making something out of nothing.
I am glad this thread revives from time to time.

serena318 wrote:LifeSong - This is the most perfect definition I have ever read of an npd mother. Thank you for posting it. As my npd mother was extremely high functioning, I could never quite put into words the covert, insidious, soul crushing abuse I suffered growing up. Yet this brilliant writer succinctly did just that. I treasure this paper for allowing me to see the toxicity in my mother, and providing tremendous validation. When anyone really wants me to describe why I am eight years nc with mother, I will ask those I trust to read this paper. Just beautiful.
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