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Narc mother and christening

(29 Posts)
NewChoos Mon 10-Oct-11 12:19:00

Have found the relationships board very helpful, following others threads on here, have diagnosed my mother as a narc and it has actually helped with how I manage her. So thanks to all the wise posters for this!

I won't go into the long and complicated history but suffice to say she is selfish, self centred, a bully and generally emotionally manipulative. I went through a stage of distancing myself from her, visiting 1 -2 monthly but from about 15 years ago she has had health issues and so I helped more (hospital appointments, monthly shopping and lunch out etc). My 2 sisters live locally, I am an hour away. 1 sister visits/helps daily, the other 2 times a week and we generally just try and tolerate her unreasonable behaviour by doing a lot of hmm'ing when she is ranting! So we all muddled on until she was then vile, and said very nasty things about me in the lead up to my wedding a few years ago, I told her that her behaviour was not acceptable, she half apologised, came to the wedding but then spoilt parts of the day by behaving badly, refusing to eat/drink food and wine provided/being generally demanding/ being morose. I had to talk to her 3 times during the day and ask her not to be so negative/nasty and this was supposed to be a happy day, please could she try to be happy for just this day (I had asked her this prior to the wedding as well).
Since then I have remained a polite relationship with her, although she continues to shout down the phone at me for things like not weaning my DS earlier than 6 months or not phoning her enough (she tells me she can't afford to phone me - which isn't true she has plenty of money). I generally tell her I am not continuing the conversation if she is going to shout.

I am now planning my DS's christening and I just don't want her there. I have told my sisters, but they think I am being unreasonable and are making me feel guilty (of course I feel guilty but I just want 1 nice day that's not about her! It's such an important day for us and I don't want it ruined). My sister's don't really challenge her behaviour, and they think as she is so old and has ill health we should make her life as nice as possible and ignore her behaviour. But I am totally fed up of her, I think I would cut contact if it was not for my sisters, I certainly don't want her influence too much in my DS's life.

Sorry this is a long post. Would value advise.

JosieRosie Mon 10-Oct-11 12:30:24

Hi NewChoos, I have 2 narc parents so you have my full sympathy! You have every right to feel sick and tired of her behaviour, she sounds like classic narc. Nothing, nothing is ever enough for these people. I think it's completely outrageous that you had to speak to her 3 times on your wedding day FFS because her behaviour was making you so uncomfortable. I can well imagine that you're not looking forward to possibly having more of the same on DS's christening day.

I've been seeing a psychotherapist weekly for over a year and it's helping me so much, but it's bloody hard work! I'm trying to (slowly) get my head around the idea that it's OK to do what feels right for me, rather than what my parents expect me to do. I think the question you need to ask yourself is - if you were to not invite your mum to the christening, would it make you feel better or worse than having her there? Other people (your sisters by the sound of it) will stick their oars in and have an opinion on what you should have done - will you be able to handle that, or will it just make it more stressful for you? It's a rubbish situation to be in and I'm really sorry you're faced with the dilemma. I think you should do what feels best for you, but I'm very bad at taking that advice myself sometimes! smile

TheArmadillo Mon 10-Oct-11 13:34:39

Honestly I would not invite her.

Half the reason these people act the way they do is that they are never made to suffer the consequences. They are continually excused and put up with. It only makes them worse as they know they can get away with treating people like shit.

She behaved appallingly at your wedding - rationally why would you invite her to do the same at your sons christening? All you're doing is telling her what she's doing is ok and she'll continue being invited to stuff no matter how she behaves. And tell her this if you can face it.

Tell your sisters you will not discuss it with them - they have the choice to invite her or not to their stuff and this is yours so is your decision.

Usually the people who are most vocal and apply most pressure for you to capitulate to a toxic person are those that feel trapped by them themselves and are scared of the fallout for them. They are not thinking of you or your mother, they are doing it to save themselves from the consequences - they would rather you suffer than they did.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 10-Oct-11 13:53:43

Would agree with the other responses in their entireity.

Don't invite your narcissistic mother because she will make your son's christening day all about her. You can't have a relationship with a narc anyway; it just doesn't work as you have already learnt.

Website entitled Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers is a website worth looking at. I would also read the book called "Children of the Self Absorbed".

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 10-Oct-11 13:55:27

Nina W Brown wrote that particular publication.

NewChoos Mon 10-Oct-11 14:20:23

Thank you so much for the replies. Really value the support and yes my sisters do what they can not to get any fall out. Also the sister that visits daily can be a bit like her at times (although she also can see to an extent how unreasonable she is as well). I think she will quite enjoy the drama of it all in a way.
I have had to say, if you tell her about the Christening I will cancel it. Otherwise they would just disregard my wishes and tell her. They have already said she can sit by them and they will keep an eye on her but when it comes down to it they won't tackle her behaviour and certainly didn't at the wedding. In fact my sister said mum should sit next to me at the top table so I could help her when she needed to get up to go to the toilet!!!
My plan is not to let her know as it's the easiest option. Maybe a little cowardly but I just don't want to have to put up with the manipulative behaviour.
But I do feel terribly guilty - although deep down I know it's not too much to want one stress free day.

I just want a nice day, without being made to look like a complete B* sad

NewChoos Mon 10-Oct-11 14:26:23

I seriously think she would have interrupted the speeches to go to the loo/have a fainting fit if she could have done!

JosieRosie Tue 11-Oct-11 10:20:46

Good for you NewChoos, you're doing the right thing by putting yourself first. Hope it all goes well and that your sisters realise you have a right to expect a nice day at your DS' christening

HerScaryness Tue 11-Oct-11 13:33:48

NewChoos, remember that SHE is the one making choices about her behaviour.

She CHOOSES to behave like this, to hurt you, to upset, whatever. You are not responsible for her actions, her behaviour or her life.

Don't invite her and hold true to your promise of cancellation if she is told.

You've given her a chance NOT to muck up a special day for you, she blew it. If nothing else, by refusing to allow her to come to this, you will make a stand, you will show everyone you mean business, that their presence in your life is conditional upon them being normal!

This is an event that is bigger than you, and your DM/Dsisters, this is about your DH, your DC, HIS family. There are more of THEM than there are of her, so if the minority won't behave appropriately, then for the sake of the majority, you have to make the decision to exclude her.

NewChoos Wed 12-Oct-11 18:05:58

Sister phoned, she thinks the shock of not being invited would kill mum. SO she feels she can't come in case mum finds out. We had a really reasonable conversation about it, I pointed out that mum v v unlikely to find out, all attendee's understand the politics (I felt too ridiculous to dispute the thought that she would actually die if she found out) but I did say if she was nicer I would invite her, sister agreed she would make the day all about her. So she thinks she will come but she's very worried mother will find out- sigh.
Sorry this is a boring and exasperated post but better to post here than bore DH once he gets home from work.
Annoying I still feel guilty.
Double annoyingly - I will feel guilty when she dies despite her lack of maternal support ever.

But why does she behave this way?? Why can't she just be nice? Although she is unlikely to change now at 70+
She has just become estranged from her sister because she dared stand up to her!

"Why does she behave this way?"...Because she can.

"Why can't she just be nice?"...Because she isn't.

I have sympathy for you. My mother is 82 and I have not seen or spoken to her for 12 years. Unfortunately narcs do not get better with age!

Have your child's christening without her, enjoy the day and don't worry about your mother. My mother has spent the whole of my life (59 years) threatening to die whenever she does not get her own way but she hasn't done it yet. I think she is so pickled in spite that she will live forever!

HerScaryness Wed 12-Oct-11 19:53:16

God your sister is TERRIFIED of her isn't she? sad

Go ahead with your plans, whatever the outcome. It most likely WON'T kill her.

beatenbyayellowskull Wed 12-Oct-11 20:59:44

Was your sister the golden child, by any chance? That line about killing her is something a narc would say (my mum said almost the same thing, word for word, to me when I said she had to start being nice)

It sounds like your sister is sucked into your mum's way of viewing things - was she treated differently to you when growing up? Sorry if I'm way off.

I agree with the other great advice you've had here. Go ahead. If she wants to know why, tell her that you didn't want a scene and you couldn't trust her to behave well.

NewChoos Wed 12-Oct-11 21:31:46

No she wasn't - they didn't get on at all. it's all very bizarre.

She has been saying this could be her last year for 15 years so I'm thinking she might just outlast the christening - although of course I'm a no win situation, invite her and have to put up with the behaviour/don't invite her and have all the guilt!

If she finds out - I am going to tell her she wasn't invited because of her behaviour and will give her examples, of which I have many.

I do agree with sisters though, she does seem to be less healthy - so it does make leaving her out harder, I wouldn't be surprised if she only had a while left..... Other sister feels we should be making her final years as happy as poss. I did point out, this was never a priority for her with us.

HerScaryness Wed 12-Oct-11 21:40:31

Stick to your guns. Your mother is an emotional terrorist.

Don't let her hijack your DS day.

Miggsie Wed 12-Oct-11 21:47:54

Your sisters are classic placaters. That's only thing you can do to cope long term with a narc, other than stand up to them and cut contact. So of course your sisters will want your mum there. They know that your mum will apply the thumbscrews to them and start on at them about the christening. I suspect one of them will blab to your mum just out of fear. It is a response your mum has conditioned them for.
I suspect your mum makes a lot of scenes at your family events because she senses you are the one most likely to stand up to her so you are her chief target.

My mum was the chief target of my NPD granny, who incidentally had a "stroke" at my brother's christening. She picked on my mum ruthlessly, it was a power thing.

Don't invite your mother, tell your sisters you mum won't be there as it will make the occasion more enjoyable. Otherwise, she will be like a human bomb in the day and you'll all be just sitting there waiting for her to go off.

Don't explain anything to your mother, she won't listen or understand and it will be a waste of breath on your part. Besides refusing to feed her with things she can refute and say are lies will wind her up totally...narcs hate it when they are ignored.

beatenbyayellowskull Wed 12-Oct-11 22:20:21

The thing about the guilt that I find helpful: I reverse the characters and their behaviour. I become my mother, and she becomes me.

That's when I see that her behaviour is so far worse than mine that there is no reason for me to have any guilt.

AgathaCrusty Thu 13-Oct-11 09:17:08

Crappy situation for you. Got a mother like that myself, so I can completely relate to how you feel.

Tell your sisters that your mother won't be upset at not being invited because she won't know there is a christening happening. If she does find out, it will be from one or both of your sisters, in which case the responsibility for upsetting her will lie firmly on their shoulders.

HattiFattner Thu 13-Oct-11 09:36:03

I have a theory that many of our NARC mothers are products of post war guilt. My mother was a late lamb - born 8 years after her brother in 1942 in the middle of the war and during a campaign of Portsmouth. Her whole life was about keeping her happy so she didnt howl in the shelters, so she would not stress everyone out. My uncle didnt even have a bedroom, as she had it, and he would sleep in the bath. SHe was the youngest child of 5 sisters, and utterly indulged by all her aunties - after all, in all that horror, what is more life affirming than a young baby? My granny and grandad were gentle, quiet people, real salt of the earth types, and my aunt was evacuated, so all that love was poured into a wee baby and later an indulged child. My uncle was a "difficult" child, so all the attention went to one small girl.

As a consequence, my mother (and it seems many of her generation) were indulged and allowed behaviours that even now seem very peculiar (another relative was allowed to have her lover/math teacher! move in to the family home - at 15!)

My mother is a classic narc - feels everything is about her, a "victim" who is always ill, always demanding attention. A conversation with her is always about her - so "oh darling I heard you broke your wrist - I broke mine you know and its still not right yada yada yada".

NewChoos Thu 13-Oct-11 11:38:58

My mother once said when I informed her that one of my closest friends had died " oh did she? Well on Saturday I am going to....'
I remember the shock of realising finally that she had no feelings for anyone but herself.

My mother was the eldest, I can't work out her relationships with her family but I think she has always been perceived as difficult. I moved away to go to uni, rather than stay in my home city which as great colleges and her brother said, I expect you are going to get away from your mum.

I am going to try to stick to my guns and somehow manage my guilt.
Agathacrusty you are right, the only way she can find out is through my sisters. Great name by the way!

Fuzzywuzzywozabear Thu 13-Oct-11 12:48:17

That's an interesting theory HattiFattner my narc. mother was born in 1943 - it's certainly food for thought! I had counselling and me and the counsellor couldn't get to the bottom of why both my parents are both so self-absorbed and entitled! My grandparents were also lovely people - maybe my parents WERE both over-indulged. I know my dad had an older brother who died in infancy so maybe he was worshipped and my other grandmother waited on my mother hand and foot!

Anyway OP - good for you for taking a stand - I have a sister who is a "placatar" too - she went to visit them last year (they live abroad) and when she came back she said "I'm never going again, it was awful. Dad was controlling and nasty and mother (now infirm and in wheelchair) was demanding and nasty - I am never putting myself through that again."

Anyway, happened to be speaking to my dad last week and he said "oh sister has bought me a kindle"

"that's nice, I said, did she send it over"

"no" he said, "she's here visiting......"

She just can't cope with not visiting them, she feels she has to be a "good daughter" and it's irrelevant whether they treat us with any respect. Her favourite line is "oh well, they are still our parents"

NewChoos Thu 13-Oct-11 13:27:18

I think she wears people down- it's exhausting trying to make a stand. Maybe your sister feels this too fuzzy It is very difficult being the one who trying to break away if your siblings aren't at the same stage as you. It's makes it easier for narc parent to say it's you that's being unreasonable shock

Fuzzywuzzywozabear Thu 13-Oct-11 13:40:26

yes you're probably right - I have two other sisters - one likes to make stand - so she is labelled as stroppy - I tend to keep them at a distance (would like to go no contact but it's not that easy) - not sure what they call me "uncaring" I imagine. The other sister goes hot and cold, one minute stroppy the next nice. The one that bought the kindle thinks that everyone should should get on as "they are our parents" she probably thinks I'm a right hard-faced cow, but it's about self-preservation

A good book which I can recommend "If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World" this really helped me get on the road to recovery - I have also had a lot of counselling which helped me immensely too. I am completely cold and have no emotions towards them now

HattiFattner Thu 13-Oct-11 17:13:40

oh the sibling thing...yes! In our family, I am the cold one, the unfeeling one, the one who is unyielding and "Oh I have tried and tried (on my terms) to build bridges (by which she means suck me back into her dysfunctional world) but its all that husband of hers......."

Meanwhile, my sister speaks to her 4-5 times a week, doesnt have an opinion unless its to parrot what my mother has said....

My elder brother does his own thing, my younger brother is the golden one who can do no wrong - so she has a full set of people to lament and rent her clothing over!

Im very lucky that my beloved aunty (her big sis) is more a mother to me than she is and when we speak on the phone we crow with laughter and joy. This is what a relationship should be like.

Earthymama Thu 13-Oct-11 17:27:00

My lovely DP is estranged from narcisstic (evil) mother. I am so glad because I am sure I would not be able to join with her family's placatory behaviour.

Just last week she was horrid to one of her grandaughters at a family wedding (which we did not attend). She lavished attention and bought treats for her GDs step-brothers whilst ignoring GD completing. GD was a bridesmaid but was not complimented by EGM. She of course noticed this and was heart-broken. All of this to get at GD's mother

Everyone was talking about her, sympathising with GD, but did anyone tell the evil old boot to bugger off? No they all placate her, I really don't understand at all.

Even if they didn't want to cause a scene at the wedding they could have challenged her when they got home. I can understand how one person can be intimidated but the whole family.......

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