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.
I'd suspected for a while that my mother was borderline NPD but...(17 Posts)
...2 days ago after a session of CBT (my 2nd for depression/anxiety/rages) she bullied me into discussing it - if it's helping and why i am there. I usually know to handle these situations by withdrawing/not giving her ammunition with which to hurt me, but she was in my kitchen & i was feeling vulnerable, my youngest kids were hovering around crying up at me and i revealed something about the past that has really had an impact on my life. This something is huge for me, and in fact something that i am not really ready to discuss with a therapist never mind HER... anyway she bullied me into this situation, it came out and then she responded thus:
"Well i've had bad day too" and flounced out of my house!
it was a terrifying moment within which i realised i was right all along with my suspicions.
she hasn't contacted me since. I don't want to contact her.
I'm posting as i am feeling very upset by everything that happened but i guess mostly because i finally realise that she will never be a proper mum and will never be able to support me and in fact quite the opposite as she causes me a lot of pain. I'm not sure where to go with her as she has a good relationship with my 3 young children. If i am honest i think i would be happy never seeing her again.
Thank you for reading.
It's tough, isn't it? You have a relationshi pto mourn that never was.
Whether you ever see her again or not, at least now you see her clearly for who she is, not for who you hoped she would be (a caring mother). Let that be your chield against her hurting you again: if you don't expect love and caring from her anymore, then it won't hurt as much that that love and caring are not forthcoming.
Thank you Puppy. Thank you for taking the time to respond. You make absolute sense but i think i am in a bit of shock at how she responded because i don't feel TOO bad yet, you know? She lives very close by and is very involved in our day to day lives. Not for much longer though!
I agree with Puppy. With time you will now be able to stop that yearning for a loving, supportive Mother as you know she is not capable. You will also know it is her issue and you will be able to stop trying to please (which I'm sure you know is impossible) or have that close relationship. Once you have absorbed this, you may find that there is a kind of emotional freedom in knowing. Meanwhile, just be kind to yourself.
What the others said. Its not you, its her. I'm sorry she is not the mother you should have, and wish you luck in finding your way in the future.
kaos I can understand how you feel. I realised this about my mother about 2 years ago. I was shocked, I grieved a lot, someone gave me a link to Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers which helped me to understand her more.
Once I was aware of it, I found it much easier to deal with her emotional vampirism and rages. I handle it better now, she hates this because she doesn't get the emotional payback now and it has made her try harder.
Her last rage at me was a month ago when I was 33weeks pg. I could hear the manipulation in everything she said. As a child I never did and she hurt me much more. This time she told me I treated her worse than my dad ever had (who she moved out and left me and my 3 young siblings with because he was physically abusive). I know it's not true, she wanted a reaction from her pregnant daughter. She wanted me to cry so I would need her again, need her "comfort". I called her on it and she said "is it so awful to day these things because I want a fucking sign from my daughter that she loves me? I just want you to put your arms around me and make me feel better". Me, me, me...
She now claims she never said any of those things, can't remember comparing me to dad, maybe I misunderstood...
Being aware helps create the distance. I have a small DD and another on the way and my mother had been a big part of her life. I cant bring myself to cut contact completely but for all our sakes I am limiting it a lot with various excuses.
She actually doesn't care as long as I "play the game" which means carefully phrasing messages to her, calls from DD, just keeping her informed of things in this pregnancy which make her feel important but nothing she can use against me.
The Stately Homes thread may be helpful for you. I joined a while ago but found it too hard to deal with at the time.
Good luck, I think you'll find you're much happier now you've realised how she is and as you start to manage that.
Helen and Aleene thank you.
Hello Kelly what you say rings true and i have been aware that there is a problem with her for some time, and in fact i have read through many of the Stately Homes threads and found them amazing. It was within those threads that i saw my mother and went on to read more about NPD etc. I have been pretty good at handling her with similar methods to those you describe and things have been quite smooth sailing for a while. But of course now i am trying to address some of my own needs (spurred on by the fact that my past is effecting my family) clearly i am feeling spiky and vulnerable and she caught me on a bad day.
still no word from her and when you think about it that is so immature. there is much freedom to be had from her absence and my worry about the kids missing her hasn't materialised yet (of course it will if this continues) but my kids' birthdays are looming and i worry she will turn up unannounced at my son's party which i will be hosting alone as my partner will be travelling that w'd with work. so she is still infiltrating my brain. god this stuff is exhausting. I have been having some good fun calling her terrible names out loud though. Much to my OH's amusement.
kaos I'm not surprised you haven't heard from her tbh - narcs are really just small children emotionally. She's probably waiting for you to apologise!
When that lightbulb flicks on, and you see them for what they are, its pretty amazing. But that's also when a new era of hard work begins, seeing the past in a new light (as you say), and rescripting the future.
puppy is right that you will need to mourn the relationship that never was. You deserved a nurturing, caring mother, but sadly you didn't get one .
beaten i feel so ropey physically and quite tearful but i know that the hard stuff is yet to come.... when she flounced off she left with this parting shot "i saw you being aggressive with DS1 2 weeks ago."
it left me feeling scared of her that she would go to SS or something ridiculous. Now the episode she referred to wasn't my finest hour but it was a breaking point for me that triggered me to go to the doctors and ask for treatment for depression/anxiety etc. even though i know she isn't ever going to be normal i am astounded that she would stoop so low as to throw that at me. of course i am going to have to get used to this aren't i?!...
Sadly, yes. Now that you've confronted her, you'll see her throw anything she feels like at you. She'll do anything to throw blame/guilt off her and onto anyone else, because she can't be at fault.
When I went through this in August I ended up with a bad cold and a hideous cold sore, and incredibly (almost inexplicably) exhausted. Give yourself some extra vitamin B and C and try to get some extra sleep if you can.
It's ok not to have a finest hour (it helped me to compare my behaviour with my mother's). It's ok to need treatment for depression/anxiety, which by the way is a great idea, just be prepared for layers of issues to come out of it.
My mother told me a while ago that she didn't go to events at work with her DH because he's not very intelligent, swears a lot and would embarrass her in front of other consultants/med staff (oddly she doesn't mind mixing with nursing staff).
Our fall out a month ago arose because my step dad said "fuck off" in front of My 2yr old DD and she repeated it. DH wasnt impressed and said "nice one". The next day my mother raged at me for 3 hours (DD & I had stayed at her house), at how she and my stepdad had lost face because of what DH had said and if I was so "fucking ashamed" of my step-dad then why did visit? I reminded her that I'd never claimed to be ashamed of him and my to put her issues with him on me. She sobbed hysterically, said I'd made it up and told me to choose between my "perfect fucking husband" and my family.
The thing that struck me (amongst the lies & twisted recollections of things I'd done/said) was how she was trying to pass the guilt off on me - I wasn't even involved in the original incident and how disproportionate her reaction was to the fall out.
Sorry to vent on your thread Kaos. It's so hard to find people IRL who understand. My siblings eventually started calling saying how upset mum was and I shouldn't cut myself off. She'd bought them all off - paying my dsis nursery fees & buying her s tumble dryer & buying my brother a 42" tv. My youngest brother has been supportive actually but I think it makes him uncomfortable to hear me criticise her.
Kelly I'm surprised you took that for 3 hours?!! Were you unable to leave? That must have worn you out
The thing about narcs is that they get people onside, one way or another (until they see the truth of course). So it is hard to find people IRL who understand.
And the other thing is "But she's your mother. You can't be disloyal to your mother". I'm sorry your siblings don't support you.
Thanks beatenby it's a long story but the short version is that our Childminder let us down drastically last year. We couldn't get another decent local cm at such short notice so my cousin agreed to have DD while I worked. To minimise the impact (cousin lives near mum which is 20 miles from our house) I agreed to stay at mums when DH worked away. I don't drive so would never get DD there when DH was away. I work from home mostly so used my mums study. I had 3 teleconferences booked but had to cancel them all because she just carried on and on lecturing me in her house.
I couldn't leave because I don't drive and I was hoping to get some work done when she left for work but she didn't leave until 11:30am.
We have never been back since. I started mat leave at 35 ish weeks and DH cancelled his trips away until I'd finished.
She hounded me once she realised I had no reason to come back.
The thing that changed everything this time was her trying to play the abandonment trump card again "if our husbands can't get on then I don't see how you and I can be friends anymore". I pointed out that I predicted her saying that, its how she always tried to win an argument (win = having me cry, hug her, ask for forgiveness etc). When I was a child she always threatened abandonment of some kind when we upset her - she'd leave the house and tell us she was going to jump in the river/under a bus because we'd hurt her so much, she'd drop us off outside the local "childrens home" (it was actually a GP surgery I think) and once took an "overdose" in front of us, collapsing on the floor (it was a handful of uncooked rice). We thought she was dead.
Now that I'm a mother I realise how intensely cruel it was to behave like that.
Except this time her threats didn't work and I could see how lost she was when her fail-safe tactic didn't work. She was genuinely upset - no control over me. I just said "well thats your decision" and she said she was just trying to make my life easier. I said she wasn't she was manipulating me and she asked if that was so terrible when it was the only way she could get me to show her love. I said nothing and she accused me of being cold and hard and cruel. I told her I was pregnant and didn't need the stress right now and she told me she was having chest pains and thought she was having a heart attack. See, even when I'm pregnant she has to top trump me for sympathy.
As she left for work she gave me the following melodramatic speech: "i know you'll do well in life and so will (DD). Can I just ask that you send me a text when the baby is born and let me know what you have?".
Anyway, an hour later she text me a photo of DD playing at my cousins house which freaked me out a bit because she said she'd gone to work.
She kept texting, calling, asking if I felt loving toward her, close to her again. Her messages swung from nasty to overly nice. She kept trying to buy me things. Eventually l couldn't cope anymore and told her I was over it and have been playing the game ever since. She doesn't text me daily now because she thinks it fine and I'm using my sciatica as an excuse not to visit.
Step dad still not talking to DH.
Haha! That so wasn't the short version of the story! Sorry
Bloody hell, have you thought about going NC? She sounds like, well a typical narc really. Just so emotionally damaging, and manipulative, and unable to have a rational, normal conversation/relationship with you.
I has thought about it a lot and I know I would be happier but I am worried the rest of my family wouldn't understand and I'd be cut off from all of them. I know she'll have painted DH and I as being unreasonable. One of her last messages said I was a snob, had used her and now decided that DH and I were too good for the family. She'll have told my aunt that & my cousins.
I tried to discuss with the brother who got the tv off her. He turned nasty instantly, took her side. It was devastating.
We are planning to move house again in the new year, a bit further away. She is usually so self-absorbed that she doesn't visit and as I don't drive yet I'll have that excuse for a while.
I read that narcs get worse with age. That worries me but perhaps my siblings will get the brunt of that and see her for what she is.
Join the discussion
Please login first.