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My mother - am at wits end.

(75 Posts)
Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 12:22:22

I really do give up.

Shes very controlling and a very definate narcist. Despite this we have an ok relationship... when its all going her way.

For the last few weeks shes been getting worse and worse.
Ive been getting daily phone calls nagging me about things from picking up my dog poo ( the dog is 11... i do know what im doing) to doing washing (again, ive lived out of home for over 10 years) to where i am, what im diong, who im with, why i didnt tell her i was going out etc... etc.

I have been telling her to stop nagging. but it makes no difference. My stock response is not to engage in this behaviour.

A few weeks ago she joined fb. She is not a fb user, she is friends with noone on it bar me ( she threw a strop till i added her... my sister refused) She has no pics, no friends, its not even in her proper name. Its just an account for snooping. Since then ive had daily phone calls about pics, or what ive said, or whos commented and how i know them. just going on and on. She called me sat to ask about a film i had said i was watching. she didnt know what it was, wanted to know what it was about. she had called people to ask them if they knew about said film. I l told her it needed to stop and if she didnt i would delete her.

I have now caused ww3.

Because i said that im ' talking to her like shit' and ' hate her' and she told me me and my child can fuck off. I explaiined that is a discusting thing to say and its terrible and i wont be emotionally blackmailed and the mothers day meal i had planned on hosting with all sibblings was now off. I wouldnt argue so got more and more shit thrown at me. including her husband telling me i should not tell her to fuck off. and then she said she couldnt take it anymore. this was of course after screaming at me for 45 mins.

i text her later the same day to tell her it was silly to argue. but got no response.

Ive text her today, my friend drafted the msg. she has similar mother issues. it was a friendly text, saying am i forgiven, i know you miss me, everyone is coming sunday, see you then.

she replied she didnt know and had i spoken to my siblings.

i said yes ( i hadnt, but since i only canncelled a few days ago and it is mothers day... cant see what else they would be doing.... of note was the fact noone of them had organised anything for her) and they would be here.

i got a cross text back saying i was a liar and had not. she had checked with my brother.

i said i had, i dont know what happened. and hastily text them....

turns out she has organised for them all to do something without me.

I am furrious.

I know what shes doing. its in her benefit to play us off and play the victim. I tried to sort it out sunday, and tried again today. but she clearly doesnt want to, despite me not having done anything wrong.

Im kind of at my wits end with it all and have no idea what else i can do, or how else i can deal with it.

any help much appreciated

mowzer Thu 07-Mar-13 14:27:43

Can you have your own private mothers' day just for you? Your mum is trying to hurt you, if you can act as though you don't care, really disengage, she wiLl not have won this time.

My mum's a nightmare too, her mum is worse. I'm hoping that by disengaging with her controlling behaviour I can avoid becoming a nightmare myself!

You need to stop relying on her for anything.

My mum helps with childcare, in the past she used her 'help' to blackmail me into spending endless time with her and doing jobs for her. I made alternative arrangements for a while and made it clear I did not need her help. She now looks after the kids twice most weeks for a few hours, but knows she is lucky to be able to look after them as they are lovely kids, and I don't 'need' her to do it!

We still have a friendly but distant relationship, which works for me, she can't hurt me or manipulate me.

Attila, your portrait of a narcissist is very interesting. Thanks for that.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 07-Mar-13 14:30:01

I hope I don't give offence but what better Mother's Day offering for her: Bad Daughter, Poor Mum. She'll be able to exude a whiff of Burning Martyr. The sad thing is, creating and maintaining this kind of determined-to-be-unreasonable-at-all-costs strategy gives her the thrill of combat and victory. Never mind that it stresses you out.

Anyway sorry your head hurts OP try and rest.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 14:35:31

i was meant to be going out this evening, but dont feel like it at all. and tomorrow with friends and i really want to cancel tbh.

donkeys - no offence taken, of course, thats how she wants it to be. then she can get attention from other people. while being ' better' than me

mowzer Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:39

I hope you don't cancel. Do the friends know what she is like? It's not fair that you feel crap, it's not your fault at all xx

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 14:42:48

one does. she worded the texts today. i dont think she quite believed me... she was gobsmacked at the replies i got.

i sort of just feel like hunkering down and making a cosy weekend just dd and i and saying fuck it to everyone else, thats all.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 07-Mar-13 14:44:53

Well why not then but if you cancel ask for a rain-check, make sure you catch up soon esp with helpful friend who knows the full story.

mowzer Thu 07-Mar-13 14:48:28

But you don't want to say 'fuck it' to your friends do you? Go have a good time, show yourself and your mum that she hasn't got you down (obviously she has, but screw that!). Weekend starts tomorrow, cosy in then!

And a good bitch about your mum should help : )

myBOYSareBONKERS Thu 07-Mar-13 14:55:30

Why do you have to work a sunday? Could you change it to a day during the week?

myBOYSareBONKERS Thu 07-Mar-13 15:02:50

also - stop running back to her with flowers etc. It just reinforces her belief that she has done nothing wrong and makes you more of a doormat.

The only way for her to change her behaviour towards you is if YOU change yours to her - stop listening to her negativity and put the phone down, stop going round or leave when she is horrid.

As you say, you are a grown woman - time to cut the apron strings to her and realise she will never be the mum you so desperately hope she will be.

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 15:29:54

myboy - not being funny or anything, but have you read anything i have said.

i dont do any of those things.... and i brought the flowers just to draw a line and move on, there is no winning otherwise. its best to just draw a line quickly else these things can escelate very quickly.

I have to work on a sunday as that is my job. I can ask to swap, i very much doubt it will be possible. Those are contracted hours.

i cannot go out tonight, i have a pounding headache. im meant to be at choir, i cant have loud singing. i also dont feel like it at all.

going out tomorrow is with friends. ive got a babysitter so will still go. having a bitch is not going to solve it so i wont do it, plus people dont need to hear crap like that.

Herrena Thu 07-Mar-13 15:48:07

also - stop running back to her with flowers etc. It just reinforces her belief that she has done nothing wrong and makes you more of a doormat.

Actually I agree with this. The fact that you don't do this very often doesn't negate the fact that you have done it on this occasion. It's essentially handing all the power to her, whoch you REALLY don't want to do. It's another version of 'anything for a quiet life', which your stepdad advocates.

I do wholeheartedly sympathise, my M is very similar to yours. She is (IMO) a narcissist and a martyr to boot. However she has an ingrained fear of causing a scene so I suppose I've been lucky there.

Realistically your siblings will know her well enough not to trust her recounting of events, hopefully.

One thing attila said has resonated with me - it was 'look out for them showing self-doubt or behaving reasonably because then they're gearing up to be hateful' or something (DS is whinging so will am paraphrasing. My M had a moment of clarity (or so she said) years ago about what a shit mother she was when we were kids and went on and on at me, BEGGING me to tell her all the ways in which she'd hurt me. I refused, because I felt sorry for her (stupidly) and didn't want to give her a stick to beat herself with.

She has now reverted to nasty bitchy type (as a result of being ill, which does seem to bring out true personality) and I am just so glad that I didn't share all those details with her. I dodged a bullet there, purely by luck. Don't get sucked in if she does show remorse - play your cards very close to your chest.

She sounds like horrible hard work to say the least sad

goodjambadjar Thu 07-Mar-13 16:04:50

I haven't read all, sorry, but this sounds similar to my mum and bro's relationship.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said she treats you like a child. my mum was told by a counsellor that as long as she spoke to my bro as parent to child, they wouldn't get anywhere. she talks to him like an adult, they're fine. you probably don't realise you're doing it but ever time she does motherly nagging, the rebellious teenager part of your brain overrides your rational responses. As long as you're aware of that it might help your future communication. I agree she seems very unreasonable and controlling so being aware of that, don't engage (even though you'll probably want to argue!). Deep breaths and tell her you understand her frustration, but maybe you should discuss this when she's had a chance to calm down?
and yay... you have a day off on Sunday, no obligations to anyone! whatchagonnado? smile

mowzer Thu 07-Mar-13 16:09:55

'Having a bitch is not going to solve it so i wont do it, plus people dont need to hear crap like that.'

Um, I see what you mean, but talking to people about crap in your life (ie having a bitch) can be great for making you feel better, supported, believed, and putting it into perspective. Even if all you say is 'my flipping mother!' or whatever. You don't have to burden people with all the details, or slag anyone off excessively, but in my experience people love to know that you have problems too and love to empathise and be kind.

Springdiva Thu 07-Mar-13 16:12:29

I agree with myboy.

Your weakness seems to be that you want a 'normal' relationship with your DM which, sadly it looks like, will be impossible with this woman. So what would be acceptable to you? Your Dsis seems to have got an arrangement which suits her ie little or no contact.

I would lose your phone if I was you and if it was me and I was as angry as you I would really lose it ie chuck it in the river email everyone to say sorry out of contact for a bit, can only be reached on fb and email.

Then it's up to you whether you go online daily or weekly to check what everyone's saying. And you can b r e a t h e and relax as you are now in control, no more nagging.

sassy34264 Thu 07-Mar-13 16:18:56

But if i need to, to prove my point, again. then i will. because damn shit am i putting up with this.

^ ^ This is the problem.

I have no experience with a personality disorder mother (mine is lovely- thank gawd) but i have plenty of experience of personality disorder through my ex.

The very fact that you believe you can 'draw a line' 'prove my point' 'make her treat you better' is going to be your downfall.

You will never ever make her see sense/ your side of things. She is incapable. She isn't wired that way and no doctor, tablets, psychotherapy will ever ever fix her.

My mum made me see this with my ex. The conversation went along the lines of:

Me 'if only he would listen'
Mum 'he won't'
Me 'i know, but if i could just make him hear me'
mum 'but you can't'
me 'but,'
mum 'you can't'
me 'bu'
mum 'you can't'

Big light bulb moment.

You can either put up with it and learn coping mechanisms like your dsis, with the strict 2 times a week phone calls, or you can cut ties forever, but you will never change her behaviour. It didn't change in the 7 years and the 6 months when you cut contact did it?

Sorry that you have a mother like this. Enjoy sunday with your dd.

Walkacrossthesand Thu 07-Mar-13 16:35:15

You may think that you are not trying to appease/placate, choir, but your actions speak otherwise - organising a big mothers day lunch at a time that she's being horrible to you, taking round flowers (flowers don't say 'I've had enough of you and I'm withdrawing') - do you see what I mean? You are not in the zone of 'contact with her ends up upsetting me no matter how hard I try, so no contact is best'. You don't have to explain or justify this to her - she will not understand, and the act of trying simply fuels the fire and makes it take longer to put out. As it were.

DontmindifIdo Thu 07-Mar-13 16:35:54

I think you can't change her to being the mother you want. There's a reason your other siblings rejected her facebook friend requests and didn't get cut out, it's because they've set boundaries and you haven't.

You've given in and bought flowers, been the first to send texts saying "am I forgiven?" - which actually says "I know I am in the wrong, you are to forgive me, not hte other way round". etc.

you a) need to stop relaying on her, alternative childcare is needed. Ask around, you might find a childminder who is prepared to have your DD for the day (I assume her Dad isn't able to cover it. You don't mention a DP/H - could your ex's family help out? Any friends who could help in a push if you ask around - if you can at least get next Sunday covered that buys you time to find something more formal).

Cut her off facebook from you. Don't provide information about your life. Try to avoid needing any favours from her and after the way she's behaved, any requests for you to get anything for her should be met with "no, I'm not going to get that for you." (Really, after the 2nd call about the pegs, most people would have said "get your own sodding pegs." and waiting for her to appologise, you feel you have to run round after her because she's asked).

You said you are worried about what's being said on Sunday, but think back, has she ever slagged off your siblings to you? did you assume they were terrible people or did you take it with a big pinch of salt and assume your mum had done something horrible to make them react like that? If it makes you feel better, phone your siblings tonight and tell them what's happened and that this time you aren't going to run around an apologise. I wouldn't be surprised if they take your side on that.

Good luck - you mainly should focus on the childcare issue, I think that means you have a week and a half before it's next an issue, try to see what you can do to cover that, if you can take away her one bit of power over you, then it will be easier to start saying 'no' to her requests. If she stops talking to you for 7 years, so be it, it doesn't sound like she improves your life at all. (Beyond not having to pay for childcare one day a week). If someone always makes your life harder, it's best to avoid having them in it. You make her life easier by the sound of it, she needs you more than you need her, you will be able to find other childcare options if you put some time into looking!

DontmindifIdo Thu 07-Mar-13 16:43:32

Oh and go out with your friends!!!! You need to let down your hair and have a couple of drinks, tell your friends this - in fact, I bet if you tell them all this, they will amongst themselves start asking around for childcare options for you (if you told me this story, I'd tell you I'd do a sunday on a rota, if you can find 4 friends, that's only one sunday every 2 months they are being asked to do, I think good friends would do it to help you out while you found a formal solution)

prettywhiteguitar Thu 07-Mar-13 17:16:05

My mother is very much the same, I /we haven't spoken for over a year

It's hard, it's not ideal but it's saved my and dp's sanity

I used to get so stressed about her and try to placate her and I just gave up, I'm an adult I know that she has a problem (personality disorder ) and it's her problem that she won't do anything about it and has driven her family away, so until she gets treatment or change I will not engage with her

Choirace Thu 07-Mar-13 17:28:27

friends are work friends, so noone that could cover my shifts for me.

the appolgising texts were friends at works idea. i said i didnt think it would work, she said it woiuld. but it didnt.

actaully, what my mother has done today, is actually damn right nasty. no two ways about it. delibratley hurtful. that is not acceptable.

i deleted her off fb on sunday. im not silly..... ;)

the mothers day lunch was as much for me as it was her, i am a mother too, dd likes doing things for me, it was a joint thing. It had been organised a good few weeks back before she started getting worse.

forgetmenots Thu 07-Mar-13 21:32:08

Choirace if your mum is NPD she won't want joint anything, she would want to be the only mum at the party and the one everyone is fussing over and praising. Her martyr act will only heighten this. Sorry to say she is probably delighted that now she gets to be the sole focus of attention and a martyr, on Mothers Day of all days... blah blah...

I feel really sorry for you because it's only natural to want your mum to respond like a mum! I'd buy my (very sane) mum flowers if we fell out. But DH's mum - no way. Her response would be unthinkable. The people saying you shouldn't do this are obviously right, but at the end of the day you're sane and treating her like she is a normal loving mum. There's nothing wrong with that except that it's causing you further anguish. I'm sorry that she isn't the mum you deserve.

I didn't believe people like this existed until I met the woman who is officially my MIL. But now I'm a really a strong advocate of low or no contact. Your sister is already doing this. In our case we had to go no contact and stick to it, doing it for a few months and going back only made her worse because she learned how to control our reactions and end the silence. It emboldened her. The period of no contact has been very happy, and yes we get hassle from her and other relations, but it's nothing compared to the every single day of grief we had before. I'm not sure that you benefit at all from having her in your life, and so you have to remember that it's your choice to keep seeing her. You're in control here and you have all the cards. All power to you (and think about joining the Stately Homes thread while you are at it, there are many of us on here).

goodjambadjar Sun 10-Mar-13 12:16:39

Hi Choirace. Any update, if you feel like telling us?

Hi op, Happy Mother's Day thanks hope you and your dd are having a lovely time.

cant win. just cant win. This is absolutely true. You can't win with her, and you never will. The difficult thing is in letting go of the idea that things should be different. Of course they should. But they won't.

My mother is a true narcissist too, so I completely understand what is going on with you. It was when I, too, stopped placating and stood up for myself that my mother became so very much worse. It ended in a dreadful, awful row 12 or 13 years ago, since when we have had very little contact. My life has been better and more free without her. Since then, I have been able to bring up my daughters without the stress of her toxic presence in our lives. We now have sporadic email contact and exchange christmas and birthday gifts and cards, by post. And she is now grateful for anything she gets from me. and that is the way I would like it to stay.

I am the only person in the world who has a relationship with her on my own terms. Everyone else she is involved with, including my two long-suffering brothers and their wives, has to play things her way. That is the choice these narcissists give you - it is on their terms, or nothing. I chose nothing. And I am very comfortable with that choice most of the time. When I waver, I come on MN and howl for Attila , because she knows stuff, and gives the best advice on the subject.

It is heart-breaking and wrong, but you either do things her way, or don't bother.

Very best of luck to you smile

forgetmenots Sun 10-Mar-13 14:38:17

Without wanting to hijack the thread (happy Mother's Day Choirace), I remember one of your threads Scarlett on this topic,you sound so robust, well done, really pleased for you. thanks

forgetmeknots blush thank you. It is because I am old now and have had lots of practise

Am not actually robust at all, and have wept buckets over the years, because I love my mother but simply cannot have a relationship with her, which although the right choice for me, makes me sad. And I miss her too. But then I hear from the rest of the family what narcissistic nonsense she's been up to and making their lives hell, and then I am sad for them. But it always confirms my decision was the right one.

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