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.
Toxic mother now questioning dd(32 Posts)
Long story short is that after a life time of emotional abuse I decided about a month ago that I was going to cut myself off from my parents. My mother has been sending me messages via fb but I have ignored them.
My eldest dd is 13 and in the last few days my mother has sent her messages asking questions about me!
Surely this is totally out of order? I don't trust my own instincts at all.
I have no problem with dd being in contact with her grandmother but feel like she is being manipulated by her.
Do I ignore or tell my mother to back off?
What are the questions? Is it a general 'how is your mother?' or something more probing? I would talk to your DD in either case. Explain that whilst she is in touch with her grandmother (and the same would apply to other people as well, of course) she should be very careful about what personal information she broadcasts on Facebook.
I have on going problems with my health which I do not wish to share with my mother. My mother has been asking dd what is up with me, why am I in hospital etc. I think she found out I'm in hospital as a friend of my mother saw me in A&E.
My mother has not made any attempt to phone dh to ask after me. She has gone straight to dd because she knows she can manipulate her.
Memoo, I sympathise with you and your daughter as your mother clearly is overstepping the boundaries. The thing is, your daughter is not responsible for you, so it is out of line for your mother to be contacting her regarding you health. Can you talk to your eldest about a response along the lines of "I've been asked to direct you to DM or DH"?
What would happen if you told your mother to back off? Would she respect this, or would you get it back ten-fold? What do you think would happen in this situation?
Block her on facebook and speak to your daughter about the kind of info she gives your Mother.
I don't know the back-story but if my DC was in hospital, I'm pretty sure I'd be worried and want to know why...
But I don't want her to know why. She lost that right after emotionally abusing me for 37 years. If she had wanted to behave like a genuinely caring and concern mother rather than somebody who wants to control every situation she could have just phoned dh.
I am going to speak to dd. it's so unfair for my mother to drag her into it. At every turn my mother jyst proves I am doing the right thing by distancing myself from her.
This is why cutting people off is often not the best solution. By denying communication with you directly she is forced to talk to whoever she can get hold of... in this case your DD. If you restored communication but kept it strictly on your terms - and you're not some bit of a kid any more so you could do this quite easily - there would be no opportunity for you to be bullied. You would be in control of the 'message' as they say in PR circles.
That's actually a really good point, I hadn't thought of it like that before. I'll have to mull on that one for a while.
memoo there are some really good books out there by narc parents and how to stay calm and handle them.
I am sure you are right when you say Mum is getting off on the drama with her puppet extension you, rather than genuinely concerned. Nobody who doesn't have a narc can really get it.
But you don't have to get swallowed up, you can stay calm. Good luck.
How is your mother trying to contact your DD; is it via FB or phone?. Presumably this is via FB.
How does your DD feel about receiving these messages?. Has she replied at all to them?.
It is not possible to have a relationship with a narcissist as it is always all about them. Your health issues if she were to discover them will be made all about her and how much worse she/supposed friend/neighbour's dog has suffered instead. Your DD is now being used as her supply, this has to cease now for her sake as well as yours. She is also now being sucked into your mothers narcissism.
"By denying communication with you directly she is forced to talk to whoever she can get hold of... in this case your DD. If you restored communication but kept it strictly on your terms - and you're not some bit of a kid any more so you could do this quite easily - there would be no opportunity for you to be bullied"
The first part is certainly correct and I can see why Cogito has written what she has but this is really about your mother's need for power and control.
With regards to her second sentence quoted, whilst this tactic would work for people whose family members are emotionally healthy this will not work with a narcissist. Keeping any future communiques on your terms alone will not be possible. She is using your DD to gain information.
Also why would you want any future contact whatsoever with someone who has made your life a complete and utter hell on earth (that is what life with a narcissist can be equalled to) for the last nearly four decades?. You let her back in, she will crush you emotionally again.
Of course what she's doing is out of order. So were her actions for 37 years prior to this. Leopard, spots.
If you restored communication but kept it strictly on your terms - and you're not some bit of a kid any more so you could do this quite easily - there would be no opportunity for you to be bullied.
Why expose oneself to a bully, though? I am down with cutting communication with toxic parents, because complete emotional detachment from a parent is a fantasy, IMO: as our parents, they will always have that hold on us, because we were born to unconditionally love them. That is HARD to deprogram completely - and I don't think that complete deprogramming is at all possible. So cutting communication can be the best option. Indeed, it will never stop them being the manipulative people they are, but then nothing will. So why not completely step away?
Why would she be emotionally crushed again? This is a middle-aged woman, not a child. If it's about power and control I'm sure she can switch the power-balance quite easily if she wants to. I'm not up to speed with the definitions of narcissim or emotional abuse but if what we're talking about her is a 'bully' of an old lady then running away and hoping they disappear is really not a good strategy. As the OP has discovered, she's persistent
I could easily see a situation where the OP communicates in bulletin form with her mother. By giving her just the edited highlights of her life and not talking about areas she is uncomforatble with, there is no need to hide. The bully may come back with how they have a worse illness or whatever but the OP doesn't have to take it seriously.
Being a member of a family where 'cutting contact' has been a pretty common state of affairs and where we have some truly horrendous examples of abusive humanity, up to and including a child-murderer, all I know is that the person who suffers most is not the one cut-off. That's why I would always recommend an arms-length, controlled communication line than none at all. It may be problematic but the regrets are fewer.
Memoo's mother does not give two hoots about her own daughter or grandchild; she also made Memoo's life when growing up a complete and utter misery. Her incessant demands for information are just that, she is not doing this out of any real concern for her own daughter or grandchild. Narcissists do not have any empathy whatsoever and regard other people as inferior and beneath them.
The OP is bothered because her mother is asking questions of her DD. I don't think the mother's motives are particularly important - no-one's suggesting the OP takes her mother to her bosom because that ship has long since sailed. I'm suggesting a deflection job much as you'd operate with a nosey neighbour looking for gossip. Selective information on a basis that the OP chooses... just enough to keep curiosity at bay, not enough to cause the OP problems.
The mother's motives here are important - Memoo is once again being used by her mother to try and thrust into the role of being her mother's narcissistic supply. Now that Memoo has backed off (with her mother doubtless showing her disapproval as a result), her mother now turns her attentions to her DD who now takes on that thankless role.
It is not possible to have a relationship with a narcissist. Deflection may work for a bit and it is enough to throw them off the scent temporarily but they will find other ways.
Memoo, would suggest you read "When you and your mother cannot be friends" written by Rebecca Secunda if you have not already done so.
What is a narcissistic supply, sorry?
I disagree about cutting yourself off being bad, often when all else has failed it is the only healthy step.
cogito the mother's motives are incredibly important! If she is narcissistic for example, the motivation for contacting is not likely to be concern.
memoo I think you really have to talk to your daughter about the issues with your mum if you haven't already and perhaps block your mother from your daughter's facebook etc.
Why does it matter that she's not concerned? How many times do we call friend and say 'how are you?' when we're not remotely bothered by the answer? What malicious purpose could the knowledge that the OP is in hospital be put to?
Wow - I have to say I really have never called a friend and asked how they are and not cared about the answer. That would make me a really, really shit friend.
It's not about the mother's use of any info, it is about memoo's right to establish the relationship boundaries she wants.
If memoo's daughter was above age 16, I would say memoo would have no right to influence her daughter's relationships.
But if you had a friend who hurt you and you decided not to see/speak to, would you be ok with them approaching your 13 year old daughter direct instead?
You asked about narcissistic supply.
Narcissistic Supply is the name given to the way Narcissists need attention. They feed on this attention. It's their drug of choice. And guess who gets to give that attention? Yes, you! (Well, anybody will do really, but you're there and available, and have been trained from birth for the job).
Now, all of us love attention - of course we do! But the Narcissist takes this to an extreme level. She is an addict for it.
By giving a Narcissist attention, you're providing their narcissistic supply. It's an ongoing job, and you'll need to do it all the time. It's an endless thankless job, but one that, if you're allocated the role, you'll find hard to avoid. And of course, being a daughter of a narcissistic mother means that your role in life is this role.
"What malicious purpose could the knowledge that the OP is in hospital be put to?".
Well, her mother could turn around to Memoo and say that she/her "friend" (I use quote marks as narcissists do not have friends)/neighbour/third cousin once removed/neighbours cat had this problem and suffered far more as a consequence than Memoo. Again information is being sought out of no real concern for Memoo, she was her mother's narcissistic supply when growing up and her mother wants her still to be in that role. Her mother does not want Memoo to establish boundaries; she wants to be able to continue to abuse Memoo as she has done to date.
My mother is very narcissistic and has been thouroughly toxic towards me.
I have had therapy since realising that my choice of partners has been influenced by my family script.
I agree strongly with what is being said here about narcissitic people and their behaviour.
However,what I have been doing regarding my mother,over the past 2 years ,has grown more and more to fit with the approach Cogito is suggesting here. I have found that -so far-this has worked for me in a way that no contact - which I tried for a year preceeding- did not.
When we were no contact my mother tried constantly to engage anyone she could - neighbours,friends,aqauintances,family members close and distant - in her attempts to seek information about me and my dc,or to seek sympathy for her "pain" at how I /we were "treating her" by ignoring/avoiding her. I had explained my reasons to her and my father in a calm,direct way.This has been used ever since as evidence and proof of my "nastiness" towards them,and as the probable cause - in their view - of my fathers progressive condition.
My brothers and sil were recruited and tried to set up contact with my dc's on mothers' behalf.My dc were asked to keep it secret.My sil is a teacher,and tried to engage my dc in "secret" discussions/information gathering when providing supply in their school. We moved house,200 miles away as it all became very difficult.
I now manage contact in a business-like way:-
"""I could easily see a situation where the OP communicates in bulletin form with her mother. By giving her just the edited highlights of her life and not talking about areas she is uncomforatble with, there is no need to hide. The bully may come back with how they have a worse illness or whatever but the OP doesn't have to take it seriously."""
This is effectively what I do. It is damage limitation - as much for my dc as for me. And it works in as far as I am in control now. Of course,I have had to accept that I have nasty people for parents who wish me ill. It makes more sense that I would not see or speak to such people. In fact,I barely do - and they certainly have no contact with "me" in any "real" sense - they have no wish to/don't even understand the concept. I am a puppet and their supply,after all.
But this way,I know I will not get any nasty surprises. They cannot turn up unexpectedly. They cannot complain that they know nothing,since they get their email updates and photos. In fact,m will ring off on the phone,since she cannot penetrate my cheery,breezy chit chat about my lovely ,newsy life!
She remains vicious and mean in her remarks and gives nasty presents at birthdays etc (size 22 nylon knickers from matalan ,anyone (I am a 10))
But I continue in my jolly,controlled management. We see them for a picnic or short visit 3-4 times a year,max.
I now have no relationship with my b's and sil.They were thoroughly recruited to team mother and now see me as the problem (they didn't before the no contact year)They still try to contact my xh to arrange meet ups with my dc "in secret". Luckily,he does not engage either.Many other family members avoid/blank me in "symapthy for what I "did" to mother in that year.I wish this were different.
Sorry for such a long post,I don't want to hi-jack.
But in my case,I wish I had learnt this approach years back as I would still have wider family in my life.And now I have got the hang of this,I don't find it as much of a problem as the constant nonsense that went before,when I was still trying to have a "normal" relationship with her.
I do long for the ultimate freedom when time will inevitably end this,however.
I do long for the ultimate freedom when time will inevitably end this,however.
I understand this sentiment entirely.
"seek sympathy for her "pain" at how I /we were "treating her" by ignoring/avoiding her. I had explained my reasons to her and my father in a calm,direct way.This has been used ever since as evidence and proof of my "nastiness" towards them,"
bang on, 100% what happens when you try to thwart them or be heard by them.
Cog, just to add to Attilla about narcissistic supply it is worse than she describes, what happens is that you are seen as an extension of them and they absorb you into themselves. And they really do. So I have just had the narc exchange with my H:
driver at manchester: where is Mr Twunt?
me: i don't know
driver: he isn't on the flight, we have been waiting for nearly 2 hours and the flight is now off the board.
me: ok I will find out.
whizzyjet: we don't give that information out, whether he boarded or not.
me: who would you give it to? <wonders if Twunt will be found in strange country in a gimp mask, or floating in a canal. Wonders if she secretly hopes so, then remembers that it would make the children sad, he has so far NOT given her a power of attorney, and that would make life very difficult).>
whizzy: the police
Wobbly phones the police.
Twunt appears 2 flights later, and is FURIOUS. At me ringing the police, that the driver has gone, that he has to get home on his own.
Wobbly rings police to say he has appeared.
Here is the narc bit. Not once, not once has he thought about inconveniencing people, or that maybe he should have communicated. To me, or the confirm with the driver, things that are actually normal to do - AND the driver would have waited had he known! There has been no acknowledgement, and no apology. [Although it hasn't been said he is covert and seethes] I am an idiot, and the driver is an idiot, and the secretary will get killed on Monday..
I am going to have an awful evening. Now to stay calm, keep a sense of self, know this isn't my fault
and drink lots of alcohol
Sorry for the hijack but it is to explain that they aren't reasonable. None of this would have happened, if he had bothered to ring, but ringing involves acknowledging that people exist and worse, that they matter.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.