Narcissistic controlling mother ruining my Christmas(122 Posts)
Without going into the long back story, suffice to say my mother is a narcissist and controlling and I spend as little time with her as possible. I have spent only a couple of Christmasses with her over the last 20 odd years, and she has managed to be vile on both those occassions, so I am delighted when she usually plans to spend them abroad, meaning I can spend them with my good friend and kids, who I consider family, or, even, on my own! At the beginning of this year, however, she had a TIA. She has no lasting physical symptoms, but 'psychological, manifesting as physical' (eg short of breath, weak voice). Because of her TIA she has ordered myself and sister (golden child) to spend xmas eve, day and boxing day with her. I have no way of seeing my friend and kids who live a couple of hours away. I mentioned that I would like to see them eve or boxing day and she hit the roof about my selfishness and lack of concern for her now. That I was needed to do all the 'work' around xmas. Turns out she has invited friends for Boxing Day and sister and I are to prepare the meal for them. I have no husband or children to use as an excuse. AIBU to feel trapped and used? I am willing to accept that perhaps one is supposed to spend three days with their mother, and not see other friends or family. I will state every miserable minute of it.
you are an adult, just tell her you have your own plans. You really don't have to do this.
You are not "trapped".
(And yes there will be fallout but you can choose your relationship with this woman).
She is being controlling again and you are feeeling guilty. You managed to spend most Xmas away from her. Do so again this year and don’t go at all. A whole year is a long time to be milking the TIA and now you know she is just using you on Boxing Day. Lots of guests is tiring for a sick person. If she were really sick they wouldn’t be invited.
'I have no husband or children to use as an excuse.'
You are enough on your own OP. You are an adult and you are entitled to make your own decisions about how you spend Christmas. I have a narcissistic mother as well so I have loads of sympathy for you. I have developed boundaries of steel with mine over the years, thanks to lots of good psychotherapy.
What do you want to do? How do you actually want to spend your Christmas? Spend some time thinking about what you would like from your Christmas break. You offered a compromise where you would see your friend and her children for some of the time, and spend some of the time with your mother - how would it feel to stick to that? Your mother doesn't own you, and she doesn't get to dictate how you spend your time. It was her mistake to arrange for people to arrive on Boxing Day without checking first whether you and your sister were free.
You don't need an excuse, she's a sorry excuse for a mother.
Absolutely don't go. Do what YOU want to do.
You are not responsible for your mother.
Maybe your friend could suddenly have a "medical incident" requiring your "urgent attention".
I'm quite surprised how supportive you are all being! I've been told by mother and sister that this is the least I should be doing 'under the circumstances' but the closer I get the angrier I get. Golden child thinks I am being unreasonable and should be on hand for all three days, yet 'of course I don't think you should miss seeing friend and kids, but can't you arrange it for outside that time?" But no, I can't, as they have other family to visit themselves/work etc. Argh. OK, well, I'm feeling less guilty about my anger anyway...as to what I will do...not sure yet...
So she wants you there to cook, clean and do generally skivvying? Just say ‘sorry I’m sticking to my usual plans thanks’.
justilou1 - lol'ing at the medical incident - good idea!! Wordthe - I think I'm greyrocking generally...its not gone down well at all...not that I f&cking care really but I'm sick hearing how 'everyone' thinks I'm awful and 'everyone' talks about how selfish I am and how I'm probably mentally ill...
I don't wish to sound mean, and I know that you have had years of 'conditioning' at the hands of this woman, but … you sound like you've already decided that this is your lot, to do her bidding. 'Oh I'll hate every miserable minute' … What??? So you're just going to go and let her run your life? I'm a bit cross with you, as you're not trapped - you are free to do what the hell you want and have a happy time. Why martyr yourself by going along with what she's telling you to do? You don't need an excuse - you don't want to do it and that is sufficient. She sounds awful. See your friends and have a lovely time.
'Golden child thinks I am being unreasonable and should be on hand for all three days'
Well, she would say that, wouldn't she?
OP, I know it's tough. It's very easy to look at someone else's life from the outside and say 'just say no FFS'. Growing up with a mother like yours, you end up with a nasty legacy of FOG - fear, obligation, guilt. None of that is easy to shake off. Listen to your gut - you know what you want to do and how you want to spend your Christmas.
I can't recommend psychotherapy enough by the way. Something to consider for next year x
I spent my childhood bewildered by my mother's behaviour. I spent my teens wanting her to love me, my 20s wanting her to like me, my thirties wanting her to respect me. In my forties she started treating my twins the way she had treated my sister and me. I went no contact. I'm sixty now and have thoroughly enjoyed twenty years free of her control. Walk away. You are an adult and are entitled to do as you choose, you owe her nothing.
Oh dear op, you look dreadful (in 5 days), hope you're not coming down with that terrible bug. You obviously can't risk making DM & DS sick. You'd better stay home, eat your favourite foods and put your phone on silent so you can sleep and recover.
Out of interest what’s a TIA? Whatever it is, don’t go to your mother’s. Do what makes you happy it’s your life nobody else’s.
No, OP, just No.
Don’t let this horrible woman ruin any more of your time. Don’t go, stay home and have a lovely Christmas without them.
You'll be miserable if you go, your mum and sister will boss and belittle you and you'll come away feeling far more shit than you'll feel not going.
Just don't do it. See friends, be alone, anything else.
I very much doubt anyone thinks you are ungrateful, mean or mentally ill. Or not people who know you outside of the role your mum has cast you in.
Wanted to add my mother is the same so I have every sympathy for you too. It's a cycle of guilt/pleasing.
I've got very clear boundaries in place with my mother, but only as a result of therapy and a supportive DH. I can't reccommend therapy enough, you really need an objective persective after so many years of her conditioning.
Does it matter that 'everyone' (according to your mother, which really means her) thinks you are awful or selfish ? These are your Mothers words no one elses and it wouldn't even matter if it were all her cronies saying this.
But you would find a lot of freedom by just saying No. Plus, your DM will be able to complain which will make her happy, DS will be the dutiful one which will make her happy. You'll have freedom which will make you happy. Really, saying no is the best gift for you all.
I'm sick hearing how 'everyone' thinks I'm awful and 'everyone' talks about how selfish I am and how I'm probably mentally ill
Clearly "everyone" doesn't think that, otherwise your friends wouldn't want to spend time with you, so let that one roll off you. Just reply "No-one whose opinion I value thinks I'm awful/selfish/mentally ill, so I'm really not going to worry about that."
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