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To ask how you deal with your narcissistic mothers when non contact isn't an option?

(85 Posts)
Flamingo1980 Sun 13-Nov-16 19:45:33

Spent 36 years being emotionally battered by my mother and I can't do it any more. She's a classic narcissist mother and I find it really hard to deal with her as I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't.
I have managed to emotionally detach myself from her which is positive - she no longer makes me cry but she's likely to ruin Christmas. Again. Any thoughts? PLEASE don't suggest non contact as this isn't possible as believe me if it was I would have done it by now!

FeelingStupid2015 Sun 13-Nov-16 19:52:28

I have nothing to say to help you, Flamingo, other than I could have written the exact same post myself! Bumping for you

ChangingNamesAgain Sun 13-Nov-16 19:53:46

Try out of the fog website for help

Rainydayspending Sun 13-Nov-16 19:56:10

If no contact is not an option but you have emotionally detatched. Just say no to Christmas Day - relegate your time with her to a less intense day. i suggest "treating her" to a meal at a restaurant on 27th.

FeelingStupid2015 Sun 13-Nov-16 19:57:08

Do you have to spend Christmas with her? Do you have other family around to support you? I know it's hard when you have this kind of relationship

wobblywonderwoman Sun 13-Nov-16 19:57:15

I am in a very similar position - it is so hard.

Nanny0gg Sun 13-Nov-16 19:57:53

Seriously, why is no contact not an option?

FlyingElbows Sun 13-Nov-16 20:00:41

There is an American forum called BPDFamily which, while not specifically for those dealing with narcissists, is full of people facing the same issues you are. I found it very useful when I reached the end of the road with my own mother. They go to great lengths to ensure the forum is not hijacked by those with BPD which is unfortunately a common occurrence on other forums and open forums like this. It helps even just to read and be assured that you're not alone. Ultimately there is no magic cure for our situation flowers

Flamingo1980 Sun 13-Nov-16 20:01:23

Pointless gettting into the minutiae of why non contact isn't an option. It really isn't. What I need to hear about are stories from people in a similar boat to me. What helps and what doesn't etc..

PinkyOfPie Sun 13-Nov-16 20:07:22

I am also in a similar position and started a thread on relationships a few weeks ago that was really helpful as it made me realise I'm not alone, I hope this thread does the same for you.

I wish I had the answer but still searching.

I try and keep contact to a bare minimum. But if I go a week without calling the guilt trips are immense and I get lots of "call me urgently" messages and huffy voice mails (there's never anything urgent but my grandad is 83 and I worry that it's something to do with him) and I'm The Worst Daughter In The World.

She never considers for a moment that she's lucky I even speak to her after everything she's done to me. My brothers are her "saviours" because they ring more often than me, but it doesn't occur to her I don't ring because of HER, not because of me, and they call for often because they haven't been through what I've been through.

Mind you she's been avoiding me lately, I suspect it's because she owes me money that she was meant to pay back a month ago. Frankly I'm happy to sacrifice the money for a bit of peace and quiet!

Watching thread with anticipation!

MissOpheliaBalls Sun 13-Nov-16 20:10:32

Just to understand what you're saying - you are 36 - your mother is a total bitch, she hurts, humiliates and undermines you at every opportunity and will do her best to ensure that yet another Christmas will leave you feeling empty and bereft, but you still don't feel you can disconnect ? Have you had any therapy ? I only ask these questions because I've got to the age where I realise that I only have this one life, it's not a dress rehearsal (cliche, but true), and several friends have either died in the last year or are close to death this year.

Please, please reconsider your determination to fuck up your life by keeping this narcissist in it; the hurt and pain these people cause is felt for generation after generation until someone stands up and says "enough is enough". You have my heart felt best wishes.

OldBooks Sun 13-Nov-16 20:33:28

I found things have improved since I had some CBT which made me realise that I didn't have to be afraid of my mum any more. I am not a powerless teenager but a grown woman with my own life. I also had a frank discussion with her about some standout incidents from the past which somewhat cleared the air (although she gaslighted a bit). Now when she visits and comes out with her usual crap (e.g. critical of my weight or parenting or house etc) I call her on it and either tell her in a jokey way or just outright to fuck off. While it has helped that she has mellowed somewhat since retirement, most of the change is in my attitude and refusal to let her affect me.

It is so hard and takes constant mental effort. And I have no idea how to silence the ingrained thoughts that I know is her voice that I have internalised - still working on that one.

Good luck flowers

zgaze Sun 13-Nov-16 20:38:28

I too thought no contact wasn't an option but then one day she pushed me too far and I haven't spoke to her since, that was two years ago. So it can be done! Though it hasn't been without repercussions sadly, she's turned one of my two sisters very firmly against me but ive just had to come to terms with that, as one of my very wise friends said, that says more about her than it does about me. V sad though.

RetroImp Sun 13-Nov-16 20:39:23

Although the OP says non-contact is not an option, sometimes it is as simple or complicated as you make it. You do not have to spent Christmas or any other event with someone toxic unless someone holds a gun to your head.

Tantrictantrum Sun 13-Nov-16 20:39:31

Come down with norovirus just before Christmas. You couldn't possibly risk giving it to her

wobblywonderwoman Sun 13-Nov-16 20:51:26

I reached the end when she critisised me, fakes illness at special occasions - neading hospital treatment for something that turns out to be constipation at my hen party. Constant put downs. Df rings me after I visit to say I've upset her. So I stay quiet and am then screamed at for creating at atmosphere. She hates me. She never wanted me.

Cannot win.

wobblywonderwoman Sun 13-Nov-16 20:51:53

So for typos

PinkyOfPie Sun 13-Nov-16 20:57:38

Tantric I tried that once with my mother and sadly it doesn't work with these types - they come anyway, profess not to care and then blame you if they happen to get so much as a runny nose!

OP FWIW I completely understand how it's not as simple to go NC. With my mother, the way she manipulates the rest of my family (who are very few and dear to me) is quite something to behold and I couldn't bear her turning them against me. That's not the half of it either. There's also the assumption that they will leave you alone. I can guarantee if I tried to go NC with my horrible mother she'd suddenly have a mysterious illness to guilt me into changing my mind. It's what happened when I finally confronted her about the fact that she turned a blind eye to the sexual harassment I endured for years at the hands of my stepdad. She knew it was happening and did nothing She's still with him to this day. The day after I confronted her she had a 'suspected heart attack' because of my actions apparently. Thus ensuring I tread carefully in future WRT the harassment/abuse in case I put her into an early grave. These kind of people are very clever and I don't know about you OP but my mother could get an Olympic gold medal in making everything about her.

PinkyOfPie Sun 13-Nov-16 20:59:15

wobbly I found on the relationships thread about toxic mothers just how common the fake illness thing is. I thought I was either alone or being mean towards my mum! Funny how it always turns out to be absolutely nothing

kerryob Sun 13-Nov-16 21:03:21

Do you have children? Is she likely to spoil their Christmas too? If you do have children & she will spoil it for you do not have any contact with her on that day at least. Protect them from it, and protect yourself

It is possible to cut mothers off it is bloody hard, not everyone understands why you would do it but life is short. Just because she gave birth to you does not mean she has the right to treat you like shit or feel make you bad in any way. Therapy will help, if you haven't had any speak to your gp. This book was an eye opener for me

wobblywonderwoman Sun 13-Nov-16 21:07:06

Pinky .. Good to have a chat. Nobody would believe it. Thing is - it is genuine now but I gave been so hurt I can't deal with it.

flippinada Sun 13-Nov-16 21:11:01

She sounds awful. I think, if NC is not an option for you, you need to minimise contact to what you can cope with. A relative of mine has a very difficult and unpleasant mother (likely a Narc) and they cope by minimising contact and treating her as someone they act as a carer for - kind of like a professional relationship rather than a parent child one. I'm not saying this would work for everyone but it does for them.

Also. disabuse yourself of the notion that you will ever be able to have proper adult discussion with her about this where she will acknowledge what happened and you can move on from there. You can't do that with a Narc.

By the way, I understand this probably sounds unthinkable and unworkable but it's actually ok to say no to your mother. You don't have to spend Christmas with her if you don't want to.

bingolittle Sun 13-Nov-16 21:11:38

In random order:

Speak as little as possible. Tell her as little as possible about your life - she doesn't care anyway - keep it all very bland and shallow. Show no emotion at any point, except possibly boredom. Stare into space during conversation, and use stock responses to what she says whenever possible (my personal favourites are "oh, how lovely," "oh, dear, how awful," "maybe," and "oh, right.")

Get caller ID so that you don't pick up the phone to her more than you think is absolutely necessary.

Have no qualms about being "rude", i.e. calling her on unacceptable comments or behaviour. It's OK to say, "What a horrible thing to say/do" (bonus points for saying it flatly and expressionlessly). It's OK to say "Goodbye now. I have to go," at any point whatsoever during a visit or a phone conversation.

Show no guilt and never apologise unless you actually have done something wrong (unlikely).

Decide what boundaries suit you, and stick to them. You are the one who decides how much contact you two have, and what type. If she dislikes your boundaries that much, she may go no-contact with you, and save you the bother (though sadly this is unlikely). She will behave exactly as badly as you let her behave. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

She will probably behave much more like a human being in front of people who don't know her well. When you have to see her, try to do it with a third party there, too - one she still keeps up appearances in front of.

(Suggestions based on what works for me in a similar situation - hope some of them may be helpful! On re-reading, I can see I just come across as a complete bitch... you'll just have to trust me that I'm actually pretty nice to everyone else in my life!)

Wishimaywishimight Sun 13-Nov-16 21:15:32

Hi OP, I understand NC is very difficult. I could not do it, despite a narcissistic mother and what, for years I thought of as an enabling dad, but am now pretty sure is also a narcissist. Nearly 6 years ago I reached my limit with their endless criticisms, judgements, demands, emotional blackmail etc. I wrote a letter telling them I could no longer live under the black cloud of this relationship (it had driven me to seek therapy but I never told them that - they would have used it as a weapon) and in future I would have much reduced contact with them.

Since then I contact them by text every 8 weeks or so to arrange a dinner in a restaurant, I don't go to their house or invite them to mine, we only meet in public so that they never get me on my own. DH and I either spend Xmas in a hotel or with my lovely in laws. I'm sad things came to this but I was over 40 before I felt brave enough to do this and I really needed to get away from them to save my sanity, they were literally driving me crazy. Low contact works pretty well for me, perhaps it might for you too, best of luck.

mygorgeousmilo Sun 13-Nov-16 22:06:48

Very similar situation. Don't really have an answer, just place marking in afraid. Also NC not an option sometimes when the mother is so incredibly persistent. Mine will quite literally not 'allow' me to go NC no matter how broken down it all is and how much I explain that she sucks the life blood from me.... it's actually easier in my case to let everything she does just wash over me and keep some kind of semi-distance. Christmas, after so many ruined ones, and many years of battling to try and come to us again on Christmas Day itself, she has accepted Boxing Day. Again I can sort of tolerate that and don't have much to get stressed about. Ughhh sorry that just turned into my own personal offload, I'm sorry! Well. There seems to be a lot of us out there with this type of parent. You all have my upmost sympathy, it's exhausting.

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