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To all you survivors of narc mothers...

(10 Posts)
PointyBlackHat Tue 18-Oct-11 21:36:02

My lovely cousin, mid-twenties, has a narcissistic mother (my aunt). She has suffered a lot, is depressed, has had several rounds of counselling and not got anywhere, has always blamed herself for being a not good enough daughter and so on and so forth.

Tonight I told her straight that my aunt was the problem, not her, and mentioned the N-word for the first time. My cousin was completely unaware NPD existed, let alone her mum has it. I explained it to her (I work in MH) and she had an OMG moment, recognising so, so much.

I have given her a lot to think about, but she tells me it has been an eye-opener and helpful. My question is: What can I do now to support her? What should I suggest, or should I suggest anything at all? What should I say and what should I definitely not say? She is once again on a waiting list for counselling and this time, armed with knowledge and understanding, I think it can make a difference, but I would like to do the best I can to support her in what is going to be a long, difficult process.

beatenbyayellowskull Tue 18-Oct-11 21:49:06

daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com is a good resource.

I'd say listen. The biggest help anyone was to me was simply to listen to me work through it all, without judgement, so that I felt that I wasn't exaggerating or being overly sensitive.

My sister and I easily underplay our mother's behaviour when we haven't seen it recently, because it's difficult to accept the truth. It helps us a lot to validate each other's experiences. So maybe you could acknowledge what you've noticed as well (as you already have done) to reassure her that she's not being cold-hearted, unforgiving bitch who just doesn't like her mother much.

PointyBlackHat Tue 18-Oct-11 21:51:26

skull thanks for the link - I will definitely pass that on to her. Your other comments are really helpful and give me the confidence that I haven't been barging in like a bull ina china shop. It felt hard enough telling her what she was dealing with when she clearly had no idea and thought it was all down to her...

beatenbyayellowskull Tue 18-Oct-11 22:00:00

And I still cry when my older brother and sister tell me that I didn't deserve a shitty childhood, or adulthood (I had some same experiences as your cousin - bouts of depression, lack of self-confidence but couldn't understand why; I also felt responsible for my parents wellbeing and felt guilty if I didn't feel I'd done enough, and also hideous nailbiting).

My point is definitely don't feel you need to hang back. It sounds like you've done an amazing thing to tell her in the first place - that's the hardest bit out of the way.

She may sometimes want to deny that her mother is/has been horrible. And she'll probably cry. Lots.

JosieRosie Tue 18-Oct-11 22:00:01

I remember that OMG moment - it felt wonderful because I knew for sure that it wasn't me being a lunatic all these years! It also felt sad because it make me realise that my mother won't ever change and I had to let go of any hope that we can have the relationship that I want. My dad is also a narc so it was double the relief but also double the sadness!

I agree with skull - be there to listen without judgement. It's really hard to find good listeners and that's what she really needs right now. Validate what she says (so long as you do agree with it!) and be a touchstone of reality for her - it's very confusing and frightening having narc parents. She's lucky to have you smile

Tequilamockinbat Tue 18-Oct-11 22:01:58

I too remember the OMG moment.

I have no advice but marking my place to read the advice given by others, in the hope it can help me too

PointyBlackHat Tue 18-Oct-11 22:12:35

This is why MN is so great! Everything I am hearing here reflects my cousin's experiences, and tells me that I am doing the right thing by intervening however hard it is. I'm going to make sure I remain in contact with her - her lovely DP is away for work so she is alone, and the mum is coming over to stay next week sad. I expect to have to pick up pieces afterwards.

Am going to bed now, but will be back to listen to all you lovely ladies, thank you so much and keep it coming!

beatenbyayellowskull Tue 18-Oct-11 22:18:22

You probably will have to pick up the pieces afterwards, but no harm in stitching her back together throughout the week too smile

PointyBlackHat Tue 18-Oct-11 22:26:03

Absolutely, mum will be staying in a posh B&B so plenty of time for putting the sandbags in place. Really going to bed now.

AgathaCrusty Wed 19-Oct-11 08:46:56

I agree with what's already said, but would just add that as this is a revelation to her at the moment, she might go through a phase of needing to give herself permission to accept these things about her mother. Most people in this situation feel guilt, it goes with the territory! There are quite a few books she could read on the subject, the website mentioned earlier, and maybe steer her towards MN so that she can talk things through anonymously with people who have been there and wear the T-shirt.

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