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My mother - am at wits end.

(75 Posts)
Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 12:22:22

I really do give up.

Shes very controlling and a very definate narcist. Despite this we have an ok relationship... when its all going her way.

For the last few weeks shes been getting worse and worse.
Ive been getting daily phone calls nagging me about things from picking up my dog poo ( the dog is 11... i do know what im doing) to doing washing (again, ive lived out of home for over 10 years) to where i am, what im diong, who im with, why i didnt tell her i was going out etc... etc.

I have been telling her to stop nagging. but it makes no difference. My stock response is not to engage in this behaviour.

A few weeks ago she joined fb. She is not a fb user, she is friends with noone on it bar me ( she threw a strop till i added her... my sister refused) She has no pics, no friends, its not even in her proper name. Its just an account for snooping. Since then ive had daily phone calls about pics, or what ive said, or whos commented and how i know them. just going on and on. She called me sat to ask about a film i had said i was watching. she didnt know what it was, wanted to know what it was about. she had called people to ask them if they knew about said film. I l told her it needed to stop and if she didnt i would delete her.

I have now caused ww3.

Because i said that im ' talking to her like shit' and ' hate her' and she told me me and my child can fuck off. I explaiined that is a discusting thing to say and its terrible and i wont be emotionally blackmailed and the mothers day meal i had planned on hosting with all sibblings was now off. I wouldnt argue so got more and more shit thrown at me. including her husband telling me i should not tell her to fuck off. and then she said she couldnt take it anymore. this was of course after screaming at me for 45 mins.

i text her later the same day to tell her it was silly to argue. but got no response.

Ive text her today, my friend drafted the msg. she has similar mother issues. it was a friendly text, saying am i forgiven, i know you miss me, everyone is coming sunday, see you then.

she replied she didnt know and had i spoken to my siblings.

i said yes ( i hadnt, but since i only canncelled a few days ago and it is mothers day... cant see what else they would be doing.... of note was the fact noone of them had organised anything for her) and they would be here.

i got a cross text back saying i was a liar and had not. she had checked with my brother.

i said i had, i dont know what happened. and hastily text them....

turns out she has organised for them all to do something without me.

I am furrious.

I know what shes doing. its in her benefit to play us off and play the victim. I tried to sort it out sunday, and tried again today. but she clearly doesnt want to, despite me not having done anything wrong.

Im kind of at my wits end with it all and have no idea what else i can do, or how else i can deal with it.

any help much appreciated

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 12:26:35

sorry - forgot, we also fell out last week. she called me 12 times before lunchtime. DD had just got home from being away for a week, so i said:
' please dont take offence, and its lovely you are thinking of me, but you have called loads and im doing stuff, cam you just speak to me once at the end of the day'

she took massive offence, went off on one. I called her the next day and she refused to talk to me. Then, despite me calling her EVERYDAY, this weekend she said she hardly spoke to me and was bearing a grudge.

I tell her she treats me like a child. i am 35 this year. its crazy. She maintains she doesnt. or says im lucky someone cares.

Its suffocating.
I cannot handle living under such scrutinity.

None of it is your fault. She is overbearing and controlling and you have asked her to stop but she continued.

You need to disengage. Stop apologising. Her shitty behaviour is not your burden to carry.

I think you need to disengage, keep her at arms length and try to accept that she will never be the mother you need her to be.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 12:41:49

I know all of this. For the majority of the time we get along and its ok...

but its been building up and up and up and shes got worse and worse with it. It does tend to happen yearly.

Im not surprised by her behaviour, i know what shes like.

Im just a bit stuck, i work sundays, she has dd every other sunday for me. I cant get any other childcare... so. i dont know what i can do.she said she would do this when i took the job. she offered.

So, if i didnt have the job to worry about, id just leave it and not talk to her for a while, ive done it before. However, im a single parent, i cant afford to lose my job over an argument with my mother.

abbyfromoz Thu 07-Mar-13 12:42:26

Your mother sounds like she has a personality disorder. Mine has one too (BPD) characteristics are narcism, not being able to 'Agree to disagree', constant 'woe is me' attitude, strong manipulation including emotional blackmail... The list goes on. All i can say is well done you for being so strong, and try to remind yourself that perhaps she's mentally unwell before taking it on... It can take it's toll on your own me tal wellbeing.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 12:46:50

two fridays ago i was out.... she was away for the weekend. she had asked me to get something and fdrop it off. i said i would do.

She phoned 3 times which i ignored, but did text to say i was out but was getting the thing.

I got more calls about 2 hours later and a cross text askign where this tihng was. I said it was in the boot of my car.

i got more calls and more texts telling me that wasnt good enough, to get round to hers now and that she was fuming, i had lied when i said i was going to do it.

i said no, i wasnt home yet and would get it there when i got home.

the item? some pegs.
she wasnt there for the weekend either. it wasnt urgent.

shes still going on about it saying she cant belive i lied. that im selfish etc.

it makes NO sense to me. none at all, she wont see it from anyones view bar hers. and ive told her to stop and i dont like it so many times. but thats not valid. apparently.

LineRunner Thu 07-Mar-13 12:47:31

She is controlling you through one day a fortnight's childcare.

So a major part of the solution is to come up, somehow, with an alternative arrangement.

The other part of the solution is then to disengage from her, as per advice above.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 12:50:23

yes, she does.
i know why she does the emotional blackmail, its because i no longer react, so she says worse and worse things to get a reaction.

then, for the sympathy of everyone else she then goes' oh, i cant take it why is she so mean, im so upset i cant even talk'

then pulls in eveyone else... unbeknown to me while she was having a go she had me on speakerphone so her husband could hear. he had a go when i told her to fuck off. apparently thats not something you should ever say......
and then shes pulled in my other sibbings to do something with them instead. they are 30 and 26 and couldnt be arsed with mothers day, i organised something, took the day off work and everything. and now im not invited.

it hurts. and is upsetting. and infuritating.

You will never make her see sense.

If you keep trying to make her realise its just going to hurt you more and more. You are taking it personally (which is understandable, shes your mum, who wouldnt be hurt) but you need to accept in your own head that this is entirely her problem.

I agree with abby. It sounds like some kind of personality disorder.

abbyfromoz Thu 07-Mar-13 12:52:33

She sounds like she has some serious issues- you might need to have a serious discussion with her about how her behaviour is affecting you- and perhaps a little bluffing that you don't need that kind of anxiety in your life so if she continues, you will have to distance yourself. It sounds to me like her neediness and desperation to control you (it's her insecurities and a way of 'keeping you close') is the one thing driving you to resent her and wanting to get away! This is pretty serious so perhaps you do need to look for some alternative childcare? Could you get a friend to help out? One of your siblings? I'm sorry to hear what you are going through thanks

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 12:52:36

i know she is. she has helped me with a few things, offered help which i have accepted. that got thrown in my face too. i was told i shouldnt speak to her in that way when she helped me out.

is said i was sorry, that i did not realised offeres of help can with terms and conditions and that i wouldnt accept them again if it gave her carte blanche to treat me with such disrespect.

I have no idea where im going to get sunday childcare from. None at all.

I disagree abby.

A serious discussion cannot be had with someone like this. It just cant.

abbyfromoz Thu 07-Mar-13 12:57:03

Wannabedomesticgoddess- i don't actually think it will change her- but at least OP will have a clear conscience that she has done everything in her power to resolve it, and it will be clear who the one with the problem is.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 12:58:00

ive explained many times to her about it. its almost a yearly argument.
my other siblings have also had the same argument. she is very controlling.

My sister only speaks to her twice as week, scheduled in, because she cant deal with it. mum moans and slags her off. when i brought this up i was told it was noone of my business, even though ive listened to her winge for months and months about how sad it makes her feel etc.

Ah, i cant be doing with this. i tried to draw a line sunday, if she had wanted to, i gave her the chance then.

Ive tried again today. Again, had she have wanted to, she could have chosen to.

But shes not. shes decided she wants to carry this on.

her choice. ive given her ample chances to sort this out.
my next sunday i need cover for is the 21st april. ill try and sort something out......and just leave her to it for a while.

MarianForrester Thu 07-Mar-13 13:00:13

Sympathy from me too- she sounds a nightmare, and you just won't be able to change her.

Put an ad in your local paper/shop/fb for Sunday childcare? We got a lovely retired person for ad hoc childcare like this when dd was little.

CaptChaos Thu 07-Mar-13 13:02:20

Choir ask around to see if any CM's in your area offer weekend care, many do. I personally wouldn't be letting her look after a DC of mine, who knows what she is saying to your DD about you? Has she started sucking your DD into her maelstrom of emotional abuse yet?

You can't be beholden to this vile woman any longer. Talking to her isn't going to help, she just laps up the drama. I suppose I am lucky, my mother rarely phones, and if she does it's just to tell me something wonderful that all her 'adopted' children have done, or her perfect son.

Unfriend her on Facebook for the love of god! What possible purpose does it serve to have her on there? Tell her maybe that you will speak to her at a set time each day, and will not answer calls at any other time from her?

abbyfromoz Thu 07-Mar-13 13:05:37

Ahhh sounds so very familiar. My own mother moans to me about how terrible my sister is and 'if you really cared you would tell her to be nice to me' then if i ever get on her wrong side she says 'lucky i have a spare' (my DB) poor boy :-(
Anyway I think you have made the best decision and i am again so so sorry for the hurt you are feeling. It's wrong and unfair and i just hope you can find some peace with it as i know how emotionally damaging this stuff can be sad

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:06:45

i already have. did it sunday.

She gets the hump if she calls and i say i cant talk because im cooking dinner, or bathing dd or putting her to bed. its like everything is a personnal rejection.
it isnt.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:09:14

i just find it so hard.
its so far removed from how i would be. or how its reasonable to be.

So basically, im now being punished for saying i didnt like what she was doing. its crazy.
im grown up.
im not incapable.

im 35 this year. i asked her at what age she thought i was able to not be nagged about every tiny thing. she didnt answer and said she didnt nag. she does. all the fucking time.

just find it so hard.
its so far removed from how i would be. or how its reasonable to be.

So basically, im now being punished for saying i didnt like what she was doing. its crazy.
im grown up.
im not incapable.

im 35 this year. i asked her at what age she thought i was able to not be nagged about every tiny thing. she didnt answer and said she didnt nag. she does. all the fucking time.

Its very common for people to see the failures of their own parents once they become parents themselves.

My GM is 75 and still gets nagged by her 93 yo mother!!

I have cut them both out because they are so toxic!

teatrolley Thu 07-Mar-13 13:18:43

I think you know what you need to do.

The more you pander to her, the worse she gets. She 'threw a strop' until you added her on FB and then went on at you over every detail that's up there and you telling her to back off or be deleted has 'caused ww3.' There's a good reason your sister refused to add her.

Tell her you'll be contacting her twice a week at set times, like your sister. She will rail against it and throw the tantrum to end all tantrums, but eventually, she'll get over it. If you give her an inch she'll take a mile.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:22:06

oh, no, i saw her faiings long before i was a parent. there was about a 7 year stretch where we didnt talk.

She got in contact when i moved back to the uk and i had dd.

I know what shes like and i know its not right. and i dont parent like it, nor behave generally like it myself.

Im a 34 year old woman. I have lived abroad. i was married to a service man, i have gone through 2 wars with him, ive had high powered jobs, i have a child, a dog, a home, a car. i have friends. i cook, from scratch. my house is clean, i grow veg. Ive never done drugs, maybe only drink a handful of times a year, mever been in trouble with the law. and yet i get treated like a child.

the ' dog poo fiscao' has been a joke. My dog is old. ive been picking up dog shit for over 11 years. Shes called to nag daily as ive just moved house and not picked up the shit for a week. she is convinced the neighbours will report me and ill get evicted. This will not happen. this is the real world. not her fucked up world. i have tild her this, but she then shouts and tells me its beause she cares and im ungrateful and screwing up my life.

baffling and upsetting.

I dont know if thats really how she thinks and she lives life on such and edge like that. or if its just about control.either way i dont put up with it.
and thats why this has all come about.

Sorry Choirace, pressed send too soon

Re your NPD mother, all you can do with this person is to actually cut her out of your life for good. She is not a good parent and is not a suitable grandparent for your children to be around. Some people really should not be allowed access to their grandchildren. That's is probably not at all what you expected to read but she cannot and will not ever be reasoned with. I cannot over-emphasise enough such people's complete and utter lack of empathy for any of their victims. Its all about her all the time, anyone else is of no importance to her whatsoever.

Having a narcissist for a mother is a lot like living under the supervision of a six-year-old. Narcissists are always pretending, and with a narcissistic mother it's a lot like, "Let's play house. I'll pretend to be the mother and you pretend to be the baby," though, as the baby, you'll be expected to act like a doll (keep smiling, no matter what) and you'll be treated like a doll -- as an inanimate object, as a toy to be manipulated, dressed and undressed, walked around and have words put in your mouth; something that can be broken but not hurt, something that will be dropped and forgotten when when something more interesting comes along. With narcissists, there's also usually a fair element of "playing doctor," as well -- of childish sexual curiosity that may find expression in "seductive" behavior towards the child, such as inappropriate touching of the genitals, or it can also come out as "hypochondriacal" worries about the child's health and/or being most interested and attentive when the child is ill (thus teaching the child that the way to get Mother's kind attention is to get sick). Having a sick child can also be a way for the narcissistic mother to get the sympathetic attention of authority figures, such as doctors and teachers.

It's very hard to have a simple, uncomplicated good time with a narcissist. Except for odd spells of heady euphoria unrelated to anything you can see, their affective range is mediocre-fake-normal to hell-on-Earth. They will sometimes lie low and be quiet, actually passive and dependent -- this is as good as it gets with narcissists. They are incapable of loving conduct towards anyone or anything, so they do not have the capacity for simple pleasure, beyond the satisfaction of bodily needs. There is only one way to please a narcissist (and it won't please you): that is to indulge their every whim, cater to their tiniest impulses, bend to their views on every little thing. There's only one way to get decent treatment from narcissists: keep your distance. They can be pretty nice, even charming, flirtatious, and seductive, to strangers, and will flatter you shamelessly if they want something from you. When you attempt to get close to them in a normal way, they feel you are putting emotional pressure on them and they withdraw because you're too demanding. They can be positively fawning and solicitous as long as they're afraid of you, which is not most people's idea of a real fun relationship.

Run for cover when they start acting normal, maybe expressing a becoming self-doubt or even acknowledging some little fault of their own, such as saying they now realize that they haven't treated you right or that they took advantage of you before. They're just softening you up for something really nasty. These people are geniuses of "Come closer so I can slap you." Except that's not the way they think about it, if they think about it -- no, they're thinking, "Well, maybe you do really care about me, and, if you really care about me, then maybe you'll help me with this," only by "help" they mean do the whole thing, take total responsibility for it, including protecting and defending them and cleaning up the mess they've already made of it (which they will neglect to fill you in on because they haven't really been paying attention, have they, so how would they know??). They will not have considered for one second how much of your time it will take, how much trouble it may get you into in their behalf, that they will owe you BIG for this -- no, you're just going to do it all out of the goodness of your heart, which they are delighted to exploit yet again, and your virtue will be its own reward: it's supposed to just tickle you pink to be offered this generous opportunity of showing how much you love them and/or how lucky you are to be the servant of such a luminous personage. No lie -- they think other people do stuff for the same reason they do: to show off, to perform for an audience. That's one of the reasons they make outrageous demands, put you on the spot and create scenes in public: they're being generous -- they're trying to share the spotlight with you by giving you the chance to show off how absolutely stunningly devoted-to-them you are. It means that they love you; that's why they're hurt and bewildered when you angrily reject this invitation.

Also you are also probably caught up in what is termed as FOG with regards to your mother; fear, obligation, guilt.

It is also not your fault she is like this; her own birth family unit did that lot of damage to her. Do you know anything at all about her childhood; pound to a penny she was the centre of their emotional universe and put on such a pedestal.

Your dad is also playing a role here in this overall dysfunction; emotionally unstable and narcissistic women like your mother always but always need a willing enabler in this case your dad to help them. Also he is happy that you are coping her barbs rather than he; he is also acting out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. The fact that he has defended her therefore does not surprise me in the least.

Apart from detaching and ignoring all such behaviours as of now (if you really cannot bring yourself to go no contact with your mother I would suggest you opt for low contact instead and purely on your own terms) I would suggest you look at the website entitled "Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" and also read "Children of the Self Absorbed" written by Nina W Brown.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:26:47

i know.

after the 12 phone calls incident, i dropped some daffs of for her, just to blow it over.... i cant be doing with rows.

she didnt even call to say thanks. i called her the next day and asked her if she hadnt got them. she said she had, but not until 5 and didnt know who they were from.

i said it was a bit rude not to have called to say thanks. who else leaves her flowers.

So, then i was ' talking to her like shit'

cant win. just cant win.

Walkacrossthesand Thu 07-Mar-13 13:29:55

Sounds like your DS has it right - restricts contact to twice a week but still gets invited to the mothers day event NSDM convenes hastily when she's in a strop! If the event goes ahead without you there, make sure your siblings are aware that you aren't there because you're not invited (pre-empt the likely 'choir refused to come...' drama) and try really hard to 'unwind' about it - you sound really worked up. You've behaved reasonably apart perhaps from fibbing to her about having talked to your siblings - no need to fib! and got nowhere. Set your boundaries and stick to them. Good luck!

Walkacrossthesand Thu 07-Mar-13 13:30:08

DS = Dsis, sorry

How do you feel about what I've suggested re cutting her out from your lives altogether?. She and her willing enabler of a H is not bringing anything at all positive into your lives.

It sounds as though your mother is having a good time here. One of the joys of old age (for some) is having the time and opportunity to torment one's adult children. It seems that your dear mama has it down to a fine art. This is a game at which you can never win, she has been perfecting her strategy for years and knows exactly how to rattle your cage.

Your only defence is to refuse to engage. Any reaction from you will encourage her so you need to disengage completely. This will probably mean going no contact...which has it's own problems and difficulties but might well be the only solution in the long term.

I am sorry you are going through this and wish I could be more positive. My relationship with my own mother was similar and after many years I decided to cut contact and have not regretted it.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:35:08

thank you attilla. no, not a surprise at all. i know full well what she is like.

i also understand why shes behaving this way.

it still doesnt make it hurt less or be less emotionally exhausting.
There isnt really a correct way to deal with it, with someone like it, you are damned whatever you do. because, like you say, unless you are doing what they want, then you get shit.

Its my step dad. hes hen pecked, he says its anything for an easy life....

i am furious however that she put the whole thng on speakphone and he listened in..

thats not what you do, is it. thats the actions of someone trying to catch someone out, trying to malnipulte.

cant trust her.

Walkacrossthesand Thu 07-Mar-13 13:39:49

Attila's excellent post describes exactly why keeping on trying, hurts and is exhausting - leading to the inexorable conclusion that it's time to stop trying, which means you can stop analysing, hoping.... Do you think you could do that?

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:40:24

im going to. ive given her two chances this week to draw a line under it.

im not foolish enough to expect an appology or even that she was in the wrong. so a line is the best i can hope for.

its up to her. she obviously wants this to carry on. so it can. she needs to remember ive not spoken to her for years before... and i dont need her. and thats the whole crux. she wants me to. im a grow up and dont and she cant cope with that.

She still works and isnt that old. shes 56 this year.

Hi choirace,

At least you do get the dynamics here.

Re your comments in quote marks, I have relayed my responses underneath:-

"it still doesnt make it hurt less or be less emotionally exhausting.
There isnt really a correct way to deal with it, with someone like it, you are damned whatever you do. because, like you say, unless you are doing what they want, then you get shit"

Indeed and we've had similar happen to us as well with regards to NPD relations. We were thankfully cut off.

"Its my step dad. hes hen pecked, he says its anything for an easy life...."
As I stated earlier NPD women always but always need a willing enabler to help them. This is what she has found in her own H; he cannot be let off the hook here.

"i am furious however that she put the whole thng on speakphone and he listened in.. "

Typical behaviour of such I am sorry to say

"thats not what you do, is it. thats the actions of someone trying to catch someone out, trying to malnipulte.


"cant trust her".
No trust = no relationship

You would not tolerate even a one hundredth of all this from a friend; family are really no different here.

Do consider the suggestions to read the website and book recommended.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:42:50

like i said. ive done it before. for years. not spoken to her that is. two years ago i didnt talk to her for 6 months. in the end people were begging me to talk to her.

its not that im weak and unable to walk away. i can walk away quite easily.

its just, i dont want to have to, you know. this isnt how it is meant to be. But if i need to, to prove my point, again. then i will. because damn shit am i putting up with this.

right - mothers day plans for dd and i, what can i do thats cheap and lovely?

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:44:01

i dont tolerate it. hence being in the shit with her

Lemonylemon Thu 07-Mar-13 13:44:50 is a website that you may be able to find childcare for Sundays.

You definitely need to disengage from her, put the answerphone on and not answer the phone when/if she rings. Tell her you will speak to her on the same terms that your sister does.

something2say Thu 07-Mar-13 13:46:08

I think you are doing a dance with your mother.

She chucks a strop, you placate her.

You may as well teach a dog not to beg for food when you feed him every mealtime.

I advise you to disengage. For your sanity!!! She won't change, you may have to. X

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:47:42

ok, in my head im thinking, shes got till the end of the day to reply, and to come
if she doesnt, then i go no contact for a while. few months and leave her to it.

i refuse to be held to ransom over nothing.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:50:28

somthing, i dont placate her.thats the thing

thats why she is cross.

the other day she started a rant about ' foreigners' i pointed out that her husbands family were ' foreigners' but that didnt go down well. so i said i wasnt going to stand and listen to racist tripe and was leaving.
i did.
she followed me out to my car, still ranting, telling me im naieve and dont know im born.

so then the rant became about me. not just foreigners. i just got in the car and drove off.

if i placated her, i wouldnt be here... it would all be good. i dont and thats why im in this situation.

drjohnsonscat Thu 07-Mar-13 13:51:19

Wow. Choirace this sounds so hard. I have no experience at all but I just wanted to emphathise with you and to say it's awful that you have to deal with this. I'm sure Attila is right - this is a personality disorder and you can't do anything about it apart from protect yourself.

Attila, can I ask what do you mean about the mother being at the centre of her parents' emotional world and put on a pedestal. You sound as though you know a lot about this problem. Is that how it is usually generated? Sorry for hijack but that jumped out it me.

You have to completely disenage because what you're doing with her is still engaging. You have to get off the merry go around. Any action you do either for her or towards her will be seen negatively by your mother; they are true masters as saying, "come closer so I can hurt you again". And you do and she does.

You're right in that it should not be like this at all but unfortunately for you it is. She is not going to change and it is also not your fault she is like this.

I realise that you don't want to have to walk away yet again but sometimes you have to for your own sake.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 13:59:12

i know.

its just rubbish, isnt it, really.

I had planned this big mothers day thing, taken a day off work, brought the meat ( already in the freezer) organised the others...... got some treats in, got the present etc.... lots of effort.

i said i was cancelling after she told me dd and i could just fuck off. THEN she throws in my face how hard mothers day is for her with her mother being dead and how it hurts noone cares to make the effort. i said i did care, and had made the effort, but im not going to when im not treated with respect.

so - she beat me with the same stick that she made me drop. if that makes sense. why, just why would you even do that?

Its just totally illogical.

I have some NPD rellies; I am low contact with some and no contact with a couple more.

I feel that NPD can arise as both a part of nature and nurture hence the being placed at the centre of the emotional universe comment. Some psychologists trace NPD to early infantile neglect or abuse, and some blame over-indulgence and indiscriminate praise by parents who don't set limits on what's acceptable from their children (I could level that charge at both my ILs). Others say that NPD shows up in adolescence.

My Nan was very much the centre of her parents own universe when growing up and she also shows some of these undesirable traits of self importance and lack of empathy for others.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 07-Mar-13 14:10:33

You are a mum too, I hope you can do something special with DD this Sunday.
I hope you're not holding your breath waiting for her to apologise and make everything all right?

She has an audience - her H - and your siblings to play off one another. In Topsy Turvy world she is the victim, she's never asked for anything nor got anything in her life, the next logical hurtful step is, oh she could have done so much with her life had she not had you, blah blah boo hoo.

Pull the phone plug metaphorically speaking. Drop FB. You've tried. Get childcare sorted for DD by April 21st.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 14:11:24

i dont think its either of those with her.

my grandparents were lovely, and most of the time they didnt agree with how she was. my grandmother used to tell me and try and help.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 14:13:49

i will do somethign lovely with my dd.

Of course i will.

i know she wont appolgise, i wouldnt think she would for a second. i am hoping she mans up and draws a line, but im thinking she wont because she has an audience and its in her benefit not to. because then i can be the terrible daughter who ruined her mothers day, ifswim.

If there is a nice country park or a seaside resort near you I would go and visit something like that.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 07-Mar-13 14:19:02

It sounds exhausting and I hope your sibs know where you are coming from.

Hi Choirace

You mention her grandparents, where were your mother's parents when she was a child?.

Re present day detach and ignore; being drawn back into the game only hurts you more.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 14:26:46

no, my grandparents.
;) her parents. they were lovely people.
apparently strict parents, 3 other siblings, she was the second child. no pedalstool nor neglect at all.

You know, i think im just going to leave it. i think id rather it not happen now ayway, it will be fraught and im not having dd be privy to that, mum might kick off and again, im not letting that happen in front of dd.

i have a headache and just want to go the bed really sad

mowzer Thu 07-Mar-13 14:27:43

Can you have your own private mothers' day just for you? Your mum is trying to hurt you, if you can act as though you don't care, really disengage, she wiLl not have won this time.

My mum's a nightmare too, her mum is worse. I'm hoping that by disengaging with her controlling behaviour I can avoid becoming a nightmare myself!

You need to stop relying on her for anything.

My mum helps with childcare, in the past she used her 'help' to blackmail me into spending endless time with her and doing jobs for her. I made alternative arrangements for a while and made it clear I did not need her help. She now looks after the kids twice most weeks for a few hours, but knows she is lucky to be able to look after them as they are lovely kids, and I don't 'need' her to do it!

We still have a friendly but distant relationship, which works for me, she can't hurt me or manipulate me.

Attila, your portrait of a narcissist is very interesting. Thanks for that.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 07-Mar-13 14:30:01

I hope I don't give offence but what better Mother's Day offering for her: Bad Daughter, Poor Mum. She'll be able to exude a whiff of Burning Martyr. The sad thing is, creating and maintaining this kind of determined-to-be-unreasonable-at-all-costs strategy gives her the thrill of combat and victory. Never mind that it stresses you out.

Anyway sorry your head hurts OP try and rest.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 14:35:31

i was meant to be going out this evening, but dont feel like it at all. and tomorrow with friends and i really want to cancel tbh.

donkeys - no offence taken, of course, thats how she wants it to be. then she can get attention from other people. while being ' better' than me

mowzer Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:39

I hope you don't cancel. Do the friends know what she is like? It's not fair that you feel crap, it's not your fault at all xx

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 14:42:48

one does. she worded the texts today. i dont think she quite believed me... she was gobsmacked at the replies i got.

i sort of just feel like hunkering down and making a cosy weekend just dd and i and saying fuck it to everyone else, thats all.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 07-Mar-13 14:44:53

Well why not then but if you cancel ask for a rain-check, make sure you catch up soon esp with helpful friend who knows the full story.

mowzer Thu 07-Mar-13 14:48:28

But you don't want to say 'fuck it' to your friends do you? Go have a good time, show yourself and your mum that she hasn't got you down (obviously she has, but screw that!). Weekend starts tomorrow, cosy in then!

And a good bitch about your mum should help : )

myBOYSareBONKERS Thu 07-Mar-13 14:55:30

Why do you have to work a sunday? Could you change it to a day during the week?

myBOYSareBONKERS Thu 07-Mar-13 15:02:50

also - stop running back to her with flowers etc. It just reinforces her belief that she has done nothing wrong and makes you more of a doormat.

The only way for her to change her behaviour towards you is if YOU change yours to her - stop listening to her negativity and put the phone down, stop going round or leave when she is horrid.

As you say, you are a grown woman - time to cut the apron strings to her and realise she will never be the mum you so desperately hope she will be.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 15:29:54

myboy - not being funny or anything, but have you read anything i have said.

i dont do any of those things.... and i brought the flowers just to draw a line and move on, there is no winning otherwise. its best to just draw a line quickly else these things can escelate very quickly.

I have to work on a sunday as that is my job. I can ask to swap, i very much doubt it will be possible. Those are contracted hours.

i cannot go out tonight, i have a pounding headache. im meant to be at choir, i cant have loud singing. i also dont feel like it at all.

going out tomorrow is with friends. ive got a babysitter so will still go. having a bitch is not going to solve it so i wont do it, plus people dont need to hear crap like that.

Herrena Thu 07-Mar-13 15:48:07

also - stop running back to her with flowers etc. It just reinforces her belief that she has done nothing wrong and makes you more of a doormat.

Actually I agree with this. The fact that you don't do this very often doesn't negate the fact that you have done it on this occasion. It's essentially handing all the power to her, whoch you REALLY don't want to do. It's another version of 'anything for a quiet life', which your stepdad advocates.

I do wholeheartedly sympathise, my M is very similar to yours. She is (IMO) a narcissist and a martyr to boot. However she has an ingrained fear of causing a scene so I suppose I've been lucky there.

Realistically your siblings will know her well enough not to trust her recounting of events, hopefully.

One thing attila said has resonated with me - it was 'look out for them showing self-doubt or behaving reasonably because then they're gearing up to be hateful' or something (DS is whinging so will am paraphrasing. My M had a moment of clarity (or so she said) years ago about what a shit mother she was when we were kids and went on and on at me, BEGGING me to tell her all the ways in which she'd hurt me. I refused, because I felt sorry for her (stupidly) and didn't want to give her a stick to beat herself with.

She has now reverted to nasty bitchy type (as a result of being ill, which does seem to bring out true personality) and I am just so glad that I didn't share all those details with her. I dodged a bullet there, purely by luck. Don't get sucked in if she does show remorse - play your cards very close to your chest.

She sounds like horrible hard work to say the least sad

I haven't read all, sorry, but this sounds similar to my mum and bro's relationship.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said she treats you like a child. my mum was told by a counsellor that as long as she spoke to my bro as parent to child, they wouldn't get anywhere. she talks to him like an adult, they're fine. you probably don't realise you're doing it but ever time she does motherly nagging, the rebellious teenager part of your brain overrides your rational responses. As long as you're aware of that it might help your future communication. I agree she seems very unreasonable and controlling so being aware of that, don't engage (even though you'll probably want to argue!). Deep breaths and tell her you understand her frustration, but maybe you should discuss this when she's had a chance to calm down?
and yay... you have a day off on Sunday, no obligations to anyone! whatchagonnado? smile

mowzer Thu 07-Mar-13 16:09:55

'Having a bitch is not going to solve it so i wont do it, plus people dont need to hear crap like that.'

Um, I see what you mean, but talking to people about crap in your life (ie having a bitch) can be great for making you feel better, supported, believed, and putting it into perspective. Even if all you say is 'my flipping mother!' or whatever. You don't have to burden people with all the details, or slag anyone off excessively, but in my experience people love to know that you have problems too and love to empathise and be kind.

Springdiva Thu 07-Mar-13 16:12:29

I agree with myboy.

Your weakness seems to be that you want a 'normal' relationship with your DM which, sadly it looks like, will be impossible with this woman. So what would be acceptable to you? Your Dsis seems to have got an arrangement which suits her ie little or no contact.

I would lose your phone if I was you and if it was me and I was as angry as you I would really lose it ie chuck it in the river email everyone to say sorry out of contact for a bit, can only be reached on fb and email.

Then it's up to you whether you go online daily or weekly to check what everyone's saying. And you can b r e a t h e and relax as you are now in control, no more nagging.

sassy34264 Thu 07-Mar-13 16:18:56

But if i need to, to prove my point, again. then i will. because damn shit am i putting up with this.

^ ^ This is the problem.

I have no experience with a personality disorder mother (mine is lovely- thank gawd) but i have plenty of experience of personality disorder through my ex.

The very fact that you believe you can 'draw a line' 'prove my point' 'make her treat you better' is going to be your downfall.

You will never ever make her see sense/ your side of things. She is incapable. She isn't wired that way and no doctor, tablets, psychotherapy will ever ever fix her.

My mum made me see this with my ex. The conversation went along the lines of:

Me 'if only he would listen'
Mum 'he won't'
Me 'i know, but if i could just make him hear me'
mum 'but you can't'
me 'but,'
mum 'you can't'
me 'bu'
mum 'you can't'

Big light bulb moment.

You can either put up with it and learn coping mechanisms like your dsis, with the strict 2 times a week phone calls, or you can cut ties forever, but you will never change her behaviour. It didn't change in the 7 years and the 6 months when you cut contact did it?

Sorry that you have a mother like this. Enjoy sunday with your dd.

Walkacrossthesand Thu 07-Mar-13 16:35:15

You may think that you are not trying to appease/placate, choir, but your actions speak otherwise - organising a big mothers day lunch at a time that she's being horrible to you, taking round flowers (flowers don't say 'I've had enough of you and I'm withdrawing') - do you see what I mean? You are not in the zone of 'contact with her ends up upsetting me no matter how hard I try, so no contact is best'. You don't have to explain or justify this to her - she will not understand, and the act of trying simply fuels the fire and makes it take longer to put out. As it were.

DontmindifIdo Thu 07-Mar-13 16:35:54

I think you can't change her to being the mother you want. There's a reason your other siblings rejected her facebook friend requests and didn't get cut out, it's because they've set boundaries and you haven't.

You've given in and bought flowers, been the first to send texts saying "am I forgiven?" - which actually says "I know I am in the wrong, you are to forgive me, not hte other way round". etc.

you a) need to stop relaying on her, alternative childcare is needed. Ask around, you might find a childminder who is prepared to have your DD for the day (I assume her Dad isn't able to cover it. You don't mention a DP/H - could your ex's family help out? Any friends who could help in a push if you ask around - if you can at least get next Sunday covered that buys you time to find something more formal).

Cut her off facebook from you. Don't provide information about your life. Try to avoid needing any favours from her and after the way she's behaved, any requests for you to get anything for her should be met with "no, I'm not going to get that for you." (Really, after the 2nd call about the pegs, most people would have said "get your own sodding pegs." and waiting for her to appologise, you feel you have to run round after her because she's asked).

You said you are worried about what's being said on Sunday, but think back, has she ever slagged off your siblings to you? did you assume they were terrible people or did you take it with a big pinch of salt and assume your mum had done something horrible to make them react like that? If it makes you feel better, phone your siblings tonight and tell them what's happened and that this time you aren't going to run around an apologise. I wouldn't be surprised if they take your side on that.

Good luck - you mainly should focus on the childcare issue, I think that means you have a week and a half before it's next an issue, try to see what you can do to cover that, if you can take away her one bit of power over you, then it will be easier to start saying 'no' to her requests. If she stops talking to you for 7 years, so be it, it doesn't sound like she improves your life at all. (Beyond not having to pay for childcare one day a week). If someone always makes your life harder, it's best to avoid having them in it. You make her life easier by the sound of it, she needs you more than you need her, you will be able to find other childcare options if you put some time into looking!

DontmindifIdo Thu 07-Mar-13 16:43:32

Oh and go out with your friends!!!! You need to let down your hair and have a couple of drinks, tell your friends this - in fact, I bet if you tell them all this, they will amongst themselves start asking around for childcare options for you (if you told me this story, I'd tell you I'd do a sunday on a rota, if you can find 4 friends, that's only one sunday every 2 months they are being asked to do, I think good friends would do it to help you out while you found a formal solution)

My mother is very much the same, I /we haven't spoken for over a year

It's hard, it's not ideal but it's saved my and dp's sanity

I used to get so stressed about her and try to placate her and I just gave up, I'm an adult I know that she has a problem (personality disorder ) and it's her problem that she won't do anything about it and has driven her family away, so until she gets treatment or change I will not engage with her

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 17:28:27

friends are work friends, so noone that could cover my shifts for me.

the appolgising texts were friends at works idea. i said i didnt think it would work, she said it woiuld. but it didnt.

actaully, what my mother has done today, is actually damn right nasty. no two ways about it. delibratley hurtful. that is not acceptable.

i deleted her off fb on sunday. im not silly..... ;)

the mothers day lunch was as much for me as it was her, i am a mother too, dd likes doing things for me, it was a joint thing. It had been organised a good few weeks back before she started getting worse.

forgetmenots Thu 07-Mar-13 21:32:08

Choirace if your mum is NPD she won't want joint anything, she would want to be the only mum at the party and the one everyone is fussing over and praising. Her martyr act will only heighten this. Sorry to say she is probably delighted that now she gets to be the sole focus of attention and a martyr, on Mothers Day of all days... blah blah...

I feel really sorry for you because it's only natural to want your mum to respond like a mum! I'd buy my (very sane) mum flowers if we fell out. But DH's mum - no way. Her response would be unthinkable. The people saying you shouldn't do this are obviously right, but at the end of the day you're sane and treating her like she is a normal loving mum. There's nothing wrong with that except that it's causing you further anguish. I'm sorry that she isn't the mum you deserve.

I didn't believe people like this existed until I met the woman who is officially my MIL. But now I'm a really a strong advocate of low or no contact. Your sister is already doing this. In our case we had to go no contact and stick to it, doing it for a few months and going back only made her worse because she learned how to control our reactions and end the silence. It emboldened her. The period of no contact has been very happy, and yes we get hassle from her and other relations, but it's nothing compared to the every single day of grief we had before. I'm not sure that you benefit at all from having her in your life, and so you have to remember that it's your choice to keep seeing her. You're in control here and you have all the cards. All power to you (and think about joining the Stately Homes thread while you are at it, there are many of us on here).

Hi Choirace. Any update, if you feel like telling us?

Hi op, Happy Mother's Day thanks hope you and your dd are having a lovely time.

cant win. just cant win. This is absolutely true. You can't win with her, and you never will. The difficult thing is in letting go of the idea that things should be different. Of course they should. But they won't.

My mother is a true narcissist too, so I completely understand what is going on with you. It was when I, too, stopped placating and stood up for myself that my mother became so very much worse. It ended in a dreadful, awful row 12 or 13 years ago, since when we have had very little contact. My life has been better and more free without her. Since then, I have been able to bring up my daughters without the stress of her toxic presence in our lives. We now have sporadic email contact and exchange christmas and birthday gifts and cards, by post. And she is now grateful for anything she gets from me. and that is the way I would like it to stay.

I am the only person in the world who has a relationship with her on my own terms. Everyone else she is involved with, including my two long-suffering brothers and their wives, has to play things her way. That is the choice these narcissists give you - it is on their terms, or nothing. I chose nothing. And I am very comfortable with that choice most of the time. When I waver, I come on MN and howl for Attila , because she knows stuff, and gives the best advice on the subject.

It is heart-breaking and wrong, but you either do things her way, or don't bother.

Very best of luck to you smile

forgetmenots Sun 10-Mar-13 14:38:17

Without wanting to hijack the thread (happy Mother's Day Choirace), I remember one of your threads Scarlett on this topic,you sound so robust, well done, really pleased for you. thanks

forgetmeknots blush thank you. It is because I am old now and have had lots of practise

Am not actually robust at all, and have wept buckets over the years, because I love my mother but simply cannot have a relationship with her, which although the right choice for me, makes me sad. And I miss her too. But then I hear from the rest of the family what narcissistic nonsense she's been up to and making their lives hell, and then I am sad for them. But it always confirms my decision was the right one.

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