Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Haven't spoken to narc Mother for nearly a week, my strength about not ringing her is waning......(54 Posts)
Anyone who knows me on here knows about the background.
I called her last Weds and we had words. I remained calm throughout. She shouted, wept and wailed. It was over a family party for her sister taht was taking place at teh weekend. My Mother was doing her usual moaning, said she wasn't going to the party as she was the last to find out about it (she has 5 sisters) and she didn't like the words my Gran used when she invited her ("If you can make it you are welcome to come"). Plus, she was upset that it was suprise party and no one organised her a suprise party when she turned 60. Even though she had a pary organised by me and Dad. Then she went on to moan about another sister who excludes my Mum from lunch invitations at her, despite the fact my Mother slags this Aunt off to anyone who will listen and never has a decent word to say about her. Then she moaned about how lonley she is, how no one ever rings her and no one visits her......
I calmly, yet firmly told her she needs to stop being so negative and no wonder the aunt excludes her as she says awful things about her. I told her I had a good relationship with this aunt which my Mother ruined (jealousy). I said I can't balme her family for not ringing/seeing her much as all she does is slag them off and moan. I told her (again) that it is draining to deal with and she needs to realise that instead of crying about how everyone is mean to her, look at how she behaves and chenge her behaviour. I explained they were her family, there was a prty coming up, she has been invited, she should go and maybe even offer to help with the organsing. Instead of slagging off the aunt who always organises the family stuff.
Of course, all of this was met with 'Why should I?', 'I't's not me it's them' and 'Oh so I'm a terrible Mother am I?'
Then she hung up on me.
I know she went to the party as my Aunt texted me to say my Mum stole te show by belting out a Tina Turner number So, I get it in the neck whilst she has the time of her life.
So, i have not spoken to her for a whole week by tomorrow. This never happens, I usually call her every other day. I am holding out, but I know she will be upset and expecting me to apologise.
So, be the bigger person and call her or sit it out and see how long it takes her to call?
Apologies it's so long, thanks for reading.
If you want to ring her, then do so but I'd be all bright and breezy "how did the party go etc etc" if she starts again just brush her off. If she won't let up then I'd end the conversation until she is civil.
OTH if you don't want to ring her, then leave it. You've taken the hardest step by confronting her behaviour. Classic NPD behaviour from her btw
Unfortunately telling a narc to stop being so negative will simply not work.
You need to completely ignore and disengage.
Don't phone your narcissist mother; infact I'd be changing my number so that she could not contact you!.
It's not possible to have a relationship with a narcissist, it just does not work and whatever you do for them it is never enough. They have no empathy whatsoever and certainly have no feelings of consideration for any other person. Not at all surprised to see that her relations have excluded her as they have done.
I can not just never ring her again. Well, I can, but I won't. Perhaps I just need to lower my contact with her. It's just getting too difficult and draining.
So, I shouldn't call her? Even if she doesn't call me for weeks?.....
'It's not possible to have a relationship with a narcissist, it just does not work and whatever you do for them it is never enough. They have no empathy whatsoever and certainly have no feelings of consideration for any other person. Not at all surprised to see that her relations have excluded her as they have done'
I'm in the process of facing up the fact that this is probably true. I went very low contact with my parents (phonecall once a month, the odd text in between) a few months ago and it was really hard, I felt guilty and that the responsibility for contact was 100% on my shoulders. I made it to 3 weeks and felt quite proud of myself. OP, if you don't feel like dealing with her right now, don't. I know that's easy to say but it sounds like the best thing you can do is to put your own needs first right now. How do you feel when you're not in touch with her? Do you miss contact with her? Or do you feel relieved? The answers to those questions may help you to decide what to do
I feel relieved when I haven't heard from her. Like I've had a week 'off'. I do feel like contact is 100% my responsibility. When I tell her she can call me she says "Well I never know when you are in".....
But, after a while, guilt sets in, a feeling that I should call her.
However, I know she will be waiting for an apology, but she aint getting one...
I know how you feel, it's the same with my parents. It's probably worth saying that contact is NOT just down to you - try to remember that, I know it's bloody hard though.
I live in a different country from my parents (partly by choice!) and I used to find it odd that I never ever missed them, not even for a second. Now I know it's because when I don't see them, there's a boatload of crap that I don't have to deal with I saw them last Saturday and spent half of Sunday in floods of tears and being put back together by DP (looooong story!)
Do you/have you considered seeing a therapist or counsellor? I have seen a psychotherapist weekly for the past year and my sessions with her are literally changing my life, no exaggeration. It's flipping hard work and I end up in tears more often that not during my sessions but I am becoming so much more aware of what I need and what I have a right to ask for. I would seriously recommend it if you at all interested.
Does she ever call you?
If not, then your´re in charge of the frequency in that respect.
Once a week, once a fortnight-it´s up to you.
If she doesn´t call you, will it upset you?
Is that why you want to call-so that you don´t find out how long she can "hold out"?
Hi DrN, I remember you from your previous threads. I don't mean to sound harsh but it does seem like you are going round in circles. I think you really need to accept that your mother is NEVER going to change and her reactions and the way she speaks with you is always going to be the same. I think you have already decided that you cannot go completely no contact. You have done really well in your last conversation with her and I think your response was excellent and just as it should be, considering what she was coming out with.
I think it's probably futile to hold back from phoning her, as you will at some point, so why not just get it over and done with, rather than let it fester. Your holding back just won't change a thing, so you might as well have the contact on YOUR terms and you phone her when it suits you and when your mentally prepared to do it. If she starts up on her nonsense again, just try calmly saying, I am not prepared to listen to that and I am going to put the phone down now, bye. And just do it.
My own narc mother hung up on me over a year ago after I stood up to what she was saying, i have not spoken with her since, so I do really understand where you're coming from.
I really do wish you all the best, it is a truly dreadful situation to be in.
Well oddly enough, she has just called me. Very weird for her to do so. It started calmly enough. The normal niceties. Then I asked about the party. Then she moaned about various different aspects, then slagged off her sister, but added in 'I know you'll say I'm being negative but this really upset me' Then she said she was upset that all her other sisters had their children and grandkids with them and I wasn't there. I reminded her, it was all done on short notice and I already had plans to go out with friends, to which she pointed out my cousin cut his trip to Scarborough short to be there.
Then she told me she is very upset with how I am speaking to her and that she would not have dared spoken to her parents like that as she would have had a clip round the ear. I told her not to treat me like a naughty little girl. To which she responded she wasn't, and how dare I use that tone with her.....
I then told her we were going round in circles, and explained I was trying to help her. That I am finding this draining and am struggling with it all. Her response? "Well you can struggle then cause I'm not being nice to them"
She then said that she doesn't want to come to my house anymore as she feels she will always have to watch what she says, to which I said "Good, that's the point Mother"
Anyway, someone was at her door, we said curt goodbye and that was it.
Thing is, she is upset at my attitude, but God I am holding back, there is so much more I could say.
I have realised this is total communication breakdown. I have had to listen to her shit for 35 years and the only time I tell her I won't put up with it anymore she tries to treat me like a child and refuses to take my feelings on board.
I guess this is the end, finito. As far as I am concerned she does not deserve my time, but that all seems so final and horrible. It's awful when elderly people don't hear from their kids and I really don't want to ever be that person who never visits their Mum
Thanks for all your input, it really does help. Everything seems such a mess.
Josie I have tried councelling, but just not sure it's really for me. I'v read loads about NPD and have books and stuff though.
Myhipshurt - you don't sound harsh at all, I completely know I am going round in circles, just I can't see a way out..........
Btw, the only breakthrough we had was that she admitted she was a negative person, but the reason for that was that "They have made my life hell"
By 'they' she means her 6 sisters and her Mum. I actually swore at this point, telling her that was bollocks. It was normal, nit picking large family behaviour. We are talking normal family fall outs here, nothing hellish at all. That'sher overdoing it again.
But there is a way out...... no contact
It is not an easy thing to do, but compare my life now to that I had to endure then there is no comparison. It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, and I still have my wobbles, but I know she will never change. She has ruined so many relationships for me, I will not allow her to continue to have any power over me at all, she's had my best years, she's not having any more.
It can be done, you've just got to really want it and to know that it is your only option. Otherwise you just have to resign yourself to however many years she has left to give you more of the same grief, over and over again. You have to have the mantra that she will not change, because you're only going to continue to beat yourself up about it and it won't actually make any difference anyway, only cause hurt to you and your DH.
MyHipsHurt thanks for your input. I understand what you are saying, but I am not at the no contact stage yet. I am at the low contact stage though, which I wan't 12 months ago so that is progress.
I have been thinking things through lots, and have decided when I cal her next (and it may be a while before I feel I want to) I am going to firmly explain that I am not accepting this anymore. will call her weekly on a Sun, and, if she gets at all negative and draining I will end the conversation. I will make it quite clear that things will only get better if she changes her behaviour. Which of course she won't......I know that.
Oh I so understand what you're going through - I'm currently dealing with almost the same phrases and scenarios with my mother. I've been able to make some small headway by calmly but firmly challenging her on her sulky and hurtful behaviour, but it's hard.
When she says "So I'm all wrong then am I?" the answer is, "No, no-one is all wrong. But what you did <here> is not acceptable."
"I don't care, leave then." - "No, you do care, because it's important. That's a childish reaction and doesn't help us to find a solution that works"
"So I'm just supposed to shut up then?" - "Maybe a little bit, until you learn to think before you say. It will take some work to get out of some bad habits that have slipped in"
"I don't like you - you used to be so nice" - ignore
Other things like this have helped:
"Do you think that is a helpful answer? I find it hurtful, even if you don't notice that it is. Can you say what you mean in a less hurtful way? OR "Is that what you really mean? Because that is really quite hurtful to me"
"What do you want to happen here? Do you want this to be a good experience as far as you can?"
"Does it matter to you if you have a good relationship with ---? Where I can see a problem is ..... - do you want it to be like that?"
It's hard to have no contact with your mother. Managing is better if possible, but I think it's only through talking to her like she's a baby but absolutely not compromising on the good manners and behaviour that you deserve. They just need every tiny step explained and challenged <sigh>
It's hard to have no contact with your mother. Managing is better if possible
How does one weigh up whether the constant, draining effort of managing a narc mother's behaviour is better than the sharp shock and fallout of going no contact?
Depends on the context - the OP has said she's not ready for non-contact so in that case, managing is better, if possible. Sometimes you can end up feeling too guilty and until you can handle that, sometimes its better to manage the narc. But that's just my experience.
I do think the OP calling even once a week is more than enough for managing though - cut it back. Wait for her to call, and if she doesn't, then that's probably a good thing.
That's a very good question puppy.
'managed contact' is better? Who for? Going no contact was incredibly hard and still is, most days I still question it, but it is usually quickly followed by a feeling of utter relief that I don't have to brace myself every time I talk to her or expect a phone call or visit.
Put it another way, I missed having a mother when I was still in contact with her. For me, that says it all really.
My DH, DCs and my own health take priority now and unless she has a change of personality, no contact is the way forward for me.
But you can only do what you feel comfortable with and I think OP has got to that stage now with limited contact, so I wish you all the best and I think it's better to keep your expectations low as far as your mother is concerned.
You're right MyHipsHurt. I know that feeling of missing, grieving even, for the mother I want and I feel I deserve. I think trying to manage your own expectations is the key to sanity. I'm not ready for no contact either, and maybe never will be, but I'm trying to accept that I will never have the relationship with my parents that I would like. It's just not possible
Sorry if I wasn't clear - I meant that it can be hard to have no contact if your whole family is still in contact with each other, and she will be at events where you are etc.
Also in my situation she is still married to my father, and it would hurt him too much for me to completely cut her out, so I have to manage her.
Although you can treat narcs as infants this is an approach itself not without problems.
FWIW yellowteacup I think your father should not be let off the hook entirely here. Usually such men are bystanders within such a dysfunctional unit (people from dysfunctional families end up playing roles) and often act out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He did not protect you fully from your mother's onslaught and has enabled her.
I found the following online excerpt helpful when dealing with my narc BIL who we no longer have any contact with but hear an awful lot about:-
"Essentially, narcissists are unable or unwilling to trust either the world or other people to meet their needs. Perhaps they were born to parents unable to connect emotionally (this is certainly true in my BILs case) and, thus, as infants learned not to let another person be essential to them in any way. Perhaps NPD starts later, when intrusive or abusive parents make it dangerous for the child to accept other people's opinions and valuations. Maybe it comes from a childhood environment of being treated like royalty or little gods. Whatever the case, narcissists have made the terrible choice not to love. In their imaginations, they are complete unto themselves, perfect and not in need of anything anyone else can give them. (NB: Narcissists do not count their real lives -- i.e., what they do every day and the people they do it with -- as worth anything.) Their lives are impoverished and sterile; the price they pay for their golden fantasies is high: they'll never share a dream for two.
Now, it is possible to have a relatively smooth relationship with a narcissist, and it's possible to maintain it for a long time. The first requirement for this, though, is distance: this simply cannot be done with a narcissist you live with. Given distance, or only transient and intermittent contact, you can get along with narcissists by treating them as infants: you give them whatever they want or need whenever they ask and do not expect any reciprocation at all, do not expect them to show the slightest interest in you or your life (or even in why you're bothering with them at all), do not expect them to be able to do anything that you need or want, do not expect them to apologize or make amends or show any consideration for your feelings, do not expect them to take ordinary responsibility in any way. But note: they are not infants; infants develop and mature and require this kind of care for only a brief period, after which they are on the road to autonomy and looking after themselves, whereas narcissists never outgrow their demands for dedicated attention to their infantile needs 168 hours a week. Adult narcissists can be as demanding of your time and energy as little babies but without the gratification of their growing or learning anything from what they suck from you. Babies love you back, but adult narcissists are like vampires: they will take all you can give while giving nothing back, then curse you for running dry and discard you as a waste of their precious time.
It is also essential that you keep emotional distance from narcissists. They're pretty good at maintaining a conventional persona in superficial associations with people who mean absolutely nothing to them, and they'll flatter the hell out of you if you have something they can use or if, for some reason, they perceive you as an authority figure. That is, as long as they think you don't count or they're afraid of you, they'll treat you well enough that you may mistake it for love. But, as soon as you try to get close to them, they'll say that you are too demanding -- and, if you ever say "I love you," they'll presume that you belong to them as a possession or an appendage, and treat you very very badly right away. The abrupt change from decent treatment to outright abuse is very shocking and bewildering, and it's so contrary to normal experience that I was plenty old before I realized that it was actually my expression of affection that triggered the narcissists' nasty reactions".
This part certainly relates to DrN's mother:-
"Once they know you are emotionally attached to them, they expect to be able to use you like an appliance and shove you around like a piece of furniture. If you object, then they'll say that obviously you don't really love them or else you'd let them do whatever they want with you. If you should be so uppity as to express a mind and heart of your own, then they will cut you off -- just like that, sometimes trashing you and all your friends on the way out the door. The narcissist will treat you just like a broken toy or tool or an unruly body part: "If thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off" [Matt. 18:8]. This means you".
"So, yes, it's possible to get along with narcissists, but it's probably not worth bothering with".
Atilla, My God that is all so true. Unfortunately.
I read something the other week, which went along the lines of: abuse can be defined as conveying to a child that they are only valued insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
That just about sums up my mother's relationship with me.
Attila - I know that website. And I know Dad hasn't been perfect here and has certainly enabled her, which has affected our whole family really quite deeply - but the reality is that he's suffering by still living with her (I think he's almost at the point of being prepared to leave her though, which with his strict religious beliefs and at age 80 is a huge deal). He knows and admits his mistakes, so my focus with him is helping him enjoy his last years.
There is no great solution available to Dr N here - no contact is not easy, and contact is not easy. It's all wrought with difficulty. I didn't mean to sound simplistic, because it isn't. My definition of treating narcs as an infant is emotionally detaching and having low expectations of them. And having clear boundaries for what behaviour you will accept is crucial.
Until the OP can cope with no contact - if ever - she'll have to develop other mechanisms for coping, like limiting contact, emotionally detaching, having low expectations, calling her on her behaviour etc. If she was ok with no contact, then the way forward would be easier.
All so true Attila and very helpful, thank you. I have always had problems saying 'I love you' to my parents, even since I was a child, it just didn't feel right. Whereas, my parents used to say it to me all the time - I must have realised that there was something more to it, that it was being used to 'cement' the unhealthy dependency they have on me. I say 'I love you' to my BF and DP all the time and it feels good!
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.