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How to handle this. My mother and my DCs. Long. Sorry.

(25 Posts)
nellyjelly Wed 27-Mar-13 13:34:45

Been reading the threads about narc mothers with interest. I have one and have sought advice on here before.

Really need help with this though......

Mother and my Dad live 300 mls away but visit us monthly. In theory this isn't a problem but inevitably issues arise. I have issues with my mum dating back years, unresolved stuff. I just ignore it now, roll with the punches,'manage' her. I am not able or ready to cut contact.

Since i have had kids, things have moved up a bit. She is obsessive with them. Showers them with gifts, is desperate for their love and attention. I have asked her to hold back with the presents as they get too much. To no avail. She says it is her 'right' to spoil them. If I question this I am seen by her and my enabler father as 'horrible' for denying her that pleasure. I also know that she never says no to them. Ever. Even if they are misbehaving etc.

To get to the crux. On their last visit me and her and my toddler son were coming out of the house. Any sensible person would not have allowed DS to open the gate and run on the road...... She did. She was ahead of me and I took it for granted she would hold the gate or his hand. Luckily no cars were there. Thank god. I really screamed at her for being so idiotic.

Rather than accept she had made a mistake, she tried to say she could see the road was clear. This is a lie. You can't see.

Now maybe she is being absent minded so her lack of action was not related to her narcissm. She didn't do it deliberately. However the issue of the narcism is tied up in my response to this. I don't want her to be in sole charge of DS until I am happy he is safe. This is the second time something like this has happened. DS ran into the sea one summer and fell over. She was supposed to be holding his hand. He pulled away. When I tell her she can't be in charge of DS, she will explode. i will be accused of being horrible and mean by her and my Dad. They are visiting us soon and want to take both kids out for the day.

How shall I approach this? DH once challenged her about some behaviour towards him and all hell broke loose. She storned out of the house and my Dad threatened to hit DH for being so disrespectful. Yes really. Took ages for that one to go away.....the relationship between my parents and DH is still very strained.

Sorry this is so long. I think I need proper therapy tbh but would welcome advice re what and how to tell her she is not being in charge of DS. I might compromise, if my Dad is also there.

forgetmenots Wed 27-Mar-13 13:46:14

I really feel for you OP - this isn't easy. Your parents sound like they certainly have issues (the threats of violence are shocking).

But it is simple. She cannot be left in charge of your son, and you cannot avoid that fact just to spare her reaction.

forgetmenots Wed 27-Mar-13 13:47:40

Pressed send too soon. I would tell her clearly and plainly that you can't have incidents like the two mentioned and so now you will make sure there is always someone else present when she is with your DS. I would advise you to put it in writing too in case this escalates. Good luck.

nellyjelly Wed 27-Mar-13 13:49:43

Thanks. I know I will just have to be clear. It is so important. I just know they will accuse me of over reacting. I think I am scared of her. How pathetic. At least scared of her reaction that is.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 27-Mar-13 13:50:30

Fortunately you live 300 miles away from your awful sounding parents so at least there is physical distance.

I can certainly see why the relationship between your DH and them is strained but your DH has a point.

It is NOT your fault your mother is this way, her own parents did that to her.

Why do you state that you are not willing and or able to cut contact?. Genuine question btw; I have narc rellies that I have low contact with because I cannot bear them frankly. FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) could be playing a part here in that reasoning of yours. You're not able to manage her, that's okay as such people are often beyond reason or managing.

I would not let your Dad off the hook here because he is as you rightly state enabling his wife; narcs always but always need a willing enabler. Also he has completely failed to protect you as a child and now adult from her malignness.

Your mother is still narcissistic and such people do not make out for being good grandparents. Fact. Some people really do not deserve to have any sort of relationship with their grandchildren and your mother is certainly a case in point. You've already seen all too clearly what happens when they are present and it will keep happening. Your role here is to protect your children from such malign influences, also such people are really not at all interested in their grandchildren. Present your children with decent familial role models; they will thank you for doing so. What are the other set of grandparents like?.

Would suggest you look at BACP's website re counselling for your own self and read "Children of the Self Absorbed" written by Nina W Brown. That was written with people like your good self in mind. Also do look at the website entitled Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 27-Mar-13 13:51:54

Many children now adults of narc parents are terrified of them actually, you are by no means alone in feeling fear with regards to these people.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Wed 27-Mar-13 13:54:11

I think you need to trust your instincts on this. Accidents do happen all of the time, and the bottom line is you cannot teach someone to see danger. They are either on the ball or not.

The care and well being of your children is ultimately you and your DH responsibility, so I think you have no choice but to refuse to let them take your DC's out for the day, regardless of any impending fall out that will occur.

I don't think there is an easy way out of this. If something did happen you would never forgive yourself.

nellyjelly Wed 27-Mar-13 13:55:17

Thanks Atilla. You have replied to me before and your advice is useful. It always feels too extreme for me to put into practice though....... My perception, not your advice.

They are still my parents, i guess I love them. My Dad is ill and generally he is great but has a weak spot when it comes to my mother. He has been bullied into his role over the years I think. On paper they sound horrific I know.

I know this is a non-negotiable though. I need to set the boundaries.

I have a similar Mother and had a similar incident recently with my DC because she'd said she was alright to watch them for 5 minutes and then did the exact opposite of what I'd asked. I look at it this way; you are now an adult and it's up to you and your DH who looks after them. There doesn't have to be any reason for your parents to spend time with them alone unless you are happy about it and if they don't like it they can scream and shout and threaten as much as they like but it's tough. and surely if they're going to act like that they're only proving that they're not responsible?! you don't need to have endless reasons or excuses (people like them will argue each and every one anyway) so just know you're entitled to say no, say it and mean it..and refuse to get into a conversation about it. I spent ages when DS was little worrying about how to explain to people I didn't want them babysitting...2 years on it still makes me a bit nervous to think about it but they've stopped asking and know we'll ask them if we need or want to. It's our responsibility to keep our children safe and that includes not leaving them in the care of people who we know full well don't have the instinct to do that. Stay strong, you don't have to explain yourself to anyone smile

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Wed 27-Mar-13 13:58:53

Stand your ground, but you would have to be ready to call their bluff, e.g.

Them: we are never coming again.
You calmly: it seems an overreaction but it is ultimately your choice.

DF: I will hit you.
You calmly: you will leave me with no choice but to call the police.

Etc.

nellyjelly Wed 27-Mar-13 14:03:42

Thanks. I have decided not to raise the issue unless they do. When they come down, if they ask to take Ds out I will say no, would prefer he stays in nursery.

Will have to take a very deep breath.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 27-Mar-13 19:38:18

Just think over the consequences. If you refuse to allow your mother to take your DS out for the day, she will scream and shout. If you do let her take your DS out for the day, she will not look after him properly and in fact (not to be melodramatic but realistic given the gate and the sea incidents) there is a serious risk that you will not get him back, at least healthy and unharmed. Which is the more terrible scenario? No contest, surely.

Hope that strengthens your resolve rather than terrifies you. You don't need to be terrified. You only need to be firm. Easier than it sounds, of course, but channel your inner tigress in defence of your cub, you can do this.

Ashoething Wed 27-Mar-13 20:12:11

your mum sounds horrific but your dad sounds just as bad.he is not lovely.lovely people dont threaten to hit their son in laws.my dh would have insisted i cut them off it that had been him.you are doing your dcs no favours by exposing them to your parents toxicity.

rhondajean Wed 27-Mar-13 20:52:08

My narc mother never has my children alone, or just with my father. DH or I are there at all times.

We have never told her this. We just always have other arrangements in place. I couldn't have coped with the confrontation either,

rhondajean Wed 27-Mar-13 20:53:49

Oh and my dad once came round and threatened to knock DHs block off - on the doorstep of our house while he was holding a less than two year old dd2 - over some perceived slight to my mother, so I sympathise so much with you.

BlissfullyIgnorant Wed 27-Mar-13 21:16:11

Cut the cord. It'll only hurt for a bit, then you'll feel so much better.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Wed 27-Mar-13 21:24:55

I'd just cut contact. What are you putting your family through this for?

You mustn't let her have the children unsupervised at the very least.

What does your DH think about it all?

nellyjelly Thu 28-Mar-13 02:10:23

DH would happily cut contact.

CheerfulYank Thu 28-Mar-13 02:39:30

My mother is hard to deal with too, never tells DS no for anything, buys him everything in the world, etc.

She does have him alone as there are never safety incidents, so I can't relate there. But you are definitely right to set boundaries.

I find that just stating something in a calm monotone usually works. My mom thrives on conflict and will back down if she's not given it.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Thu 28-Mar-13 06:50:45

Why don't you try having a short break and get a bit of time to think about this.

I feel really sad all ths stress is in your relationship with your mum, it's rubbish when it s like that.

nellyjelly Thu 28-Mar-13 07:09:47

Thank all. Lots to think about.

pregnantpause Thu 28-Mar-13 07:32:43

My dm is a narc, I stopped her having sole care of my DC 3 years ago. She is very self absorbed (obviously) and thrives on drama and attention, which with children is always a negative mix. I also noticed that as when I was a child she only gives love if she gets love- she will be mean to a crying child or a child that didn't cuddle her first. That's not okay.

I didn't mention that I was no longer allowing her to have them. It has been noticed I have been called selfish, cruel, ridiculous, wrapped up in my own imaginary dramagrin , I have been assured that though she may not be great with DC when people are around, she's great alone with them. She has distanced herself and claims this is because there's no point loving dgc who aren't allowed to love her. Her behaviour reinforces my decision tbh. As it stands I am however afraid of her and try to appease her, I say that I haven't stopped her having them, it's that I don't work much/other gp are so eager/it's dhs choiceshock sad so.I really understand your position. I sometimes wish I could just tel her to stick it, but I do still love her, although I try hard not to.

6monthsin Thu 28-Mar-13 14:47:14

Nelly, I have a similar feisty one-way relationship with my mum. In your shoes I would reduce the possibilities for them to have time with your DS alone. eg If they suggest taking him to the park, say you'll come too. I don't see that you have to directly tell her you don't want her in sole charge of your DS? As you say, it will really upset the apple cart, so personally I would just swerve the conversation and divert it on to other things. Perhaps this is a cowardly approach, but I don't really see an alternative option? If you took this approach would she persist do you think?

Spiritedwolf Thu 28-Mar-13 18:12:25

"We will take our dear grandchild to the park/shop/beach/zoo."

"Excellent idea, we'll all go!" or "No, we're doing <another thing>" or simply "no".

I have a difficult relationship with my parents. My dad was verbally abusive to me and my mum didn't manage to protect me. Its difficult because we get on okay now in small doses, and my dad seems to be okay (if a little unobservant and indulgent) with my DNephew. But he had a different relationship with my Dsis (She knew when he was being irrational and shouted back, whereas I was quiet and took it all in).

I'm sure he'd be devasted to know that I can't imagine leaving DS (8 months) with him (he loves being granddad!) alone but I can't see it happening. Its a shame because I do love him and want the best for him in the things he does but I still don't trust him. He bullied me, he has tried to bully DH before now, I don't want him transferring that onto my son. I can't change that my mum didn't realise how bad things were for me growing up (or put her head in the sand) but I can blooming well make sure I don't make the same mistake.

I don't think I'll make a big deal out of it, my feelings may change as ds becomes verbal and able to tell me if he's been upset by him or circumstances may force our hands. I don't know if my dps will challenge it, they know I'm Attachment Parenting, planing to bf past 1 year, etc. So they know I'm over protective (so no overnight stays are plausible) and my DMIL lives far away so they can't compare.

My parents are reasonable on the surface and I love them dearly. What I can't get out of my head is my strongest memory is of my dad shouting in my face about what a 'little shit' I was and wouldn't tell me what it was about 'you know!' (yeah, I'm good but not a mind reader). Turned out I'd forgotton to put my cereal bowl in the dishwasher. (and many similar incidents throughout my teens, but the injustice of some occasions makes them stand out in my head - telling me I knew what dreadful deed I'd done when I didn't makes that one particuarly memorable). I don't want my son to be treated like that, or for that to be a memory of his grandfather. You can say all the sorrys in the world (I'm sure my dad did but I can't remember them) but you can't take away a memory like that. No matter how many cool exciting memories of your dad taking you to theme parks you have too. (this just makes his behaviour in private all the more confusing).

I feel that preventing my dad being alone with my little wolfcub will protect both of them from something like that damaging their relationship. Maybe I'm wrong, defensive, over sensitive (and other things my dad has called me in the past) but I'm doing it for the right reasons.

Anyone else think they wouldn't have grown up so 'defensive' if they hadn't been under attack? hmm

nellyjelly Sat 30-Mar-13 19:29:38

6months- reckon I will take that route tbh.

Spirited. Sounds awful for you. Good for you for not allowing your Dad to have care of your DS.

'They fuck you up......' That poem is so so true. Hope I don't do that to my two. sad

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