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Help in replying to this letter from narc mum (sorry, long)(44 Posts)
I sent a letter to mum saying that i have had enough of her abuse, lies and emotional manipulation over the last 30 years. She has been told last week that she has borderline personality disorder.
I wrote that i would only communicate in writing until she was able to permanently change her behaviour (i know she won't change but was trying to lessen the blow for my enabler dad), so no visits or phonecalls (she only criticises or screams abuse anyway). I was not abusive, just firm as need to protect myself from the ongoing hurt. I ended the letter 'I would like to have a relationship based on mutual respect. However, it is your choice. If you are unable to do this then we will be unable to do this, then we will be unable to have any relationship at all.'
Received the following letter back:
I am sorry to hear that you cannot call or visit and that you have to write a letter. How embarrassed and hurt do you think i feel, you obviously think i do not hurt. Think again!
Why do you think i don't talk much on the phone? It is not because i do not love you.
I have a brain disorder. Do you think if i had known this years ago i would have done nothing about it? Thirty years is a long time to live with something that is treatable but left undiagnosed. I haven't totally ruled out treatment i just have to find one that may work. I assure you this is not because of a lack of trying.
What do you think? I am not being bullied into changing my behaviour when none of it is intentionsble. Only putting the phone down before i really do say something nasty. You should be able to recognise a clash of personalities.
So, i want to reply but not be unkind or getting into an ongoing battle. My first letter was to the point but not nasty. Any ideas? I will ignore future letters if they are going to be abusive etc, but would like to send one last reply.
I would write a reply - then destroy it. No good will come of replying to such vitriol. You would not tolerate this from a friend, your mother is no different. She is and has never been any sort of mother to you. Do not now enter into any further correspondence with your mother as it could all too easily be used by her against you, they can too easily twist words and see offence where there is none..
Draw a line in the sand now for your sake and reinforce your own boundaries here.
Do you also believe too she has been professionally diagnosed?.
Again her reply is all about her, nothing to say that she is taking any responsibility for her actions nor apologising for same. She has not even entered any treatment (and is unlikely to as well).
NHS factsheet on BPD if you want to read it
If your description of her is accurate i.e she is a narcissist then the same applies. Do not get drawn into any further correspondence under any circs.
I think her letter nicely demonstrates the difficulty communicating with her. She does not acknowledge any responsibility for her actions (although i don't know the details of her previous behaviour I can only imagine). It is debatable whether PD is a
I wouldn't reply either. If she is 'narc' then she craves attention. By far the best response to someone who craves attention is to deprive them of it. Leave her to her neuroses....
There is no point in replying. You can be as reasonable and decent as is humanly possible but she won't be able to interpret it without twisting it, thinking only of herself and concocting negative ways in which to portray what you have written to herself and others.
Sorry, bloody phone...
I think referring to PD as a brain disorder is somehow saying she has no control of her actions, which is not true.
I think you are doing exactly the right thing communicating by letter only.
I also don't think a reply is warranted and will most likely just lead to more nastiness from her
it's all your fault and not at all hers.
there is absolutely nothing to say to that. she is trying to goad you into replying and therefore continuing being able to hurt you.
i would not reply.
I do know for a fact that she has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, but I personally believe that she has hidden the full problems from the doctor eg the attention seeking, drama, constant lies etc. So I personally feel she is a classic narc. But honestly, don't care about the diagnosis. It doesn't change my feelings.
I think I wanted confirmation that this letter was more about her, and it wasn't me reading too much into it. I am always the scapegoat, so I sometimes doubt myself cos I have had years being told how I'm to blame for everything.
The logical side of me agrees with all the replies saying to ignore the letter. But Emotionally, I feel hurt and attacked (yet again). I feel like defending my actions and clarifying her crazy assumptions.
I will take your advice and not reply, but how do I let go emotionally and address my feelings of being the bad guy in all this. My sister is also currently ignoring her (but only temporary), and my brother still sees her (he is much better at emotionally disconnecting from it all. My dad takes her side in everything. So I am the only one saying I have had enough/ going no contact. I know my actions have really upset my dad, and I feel like such a cow.
I believe I'm doing the right ing, but don't know how to feel better about it. Why do I care so much about the rest of the family judging me? Also, my brother is getting married next spring, and I am dreading the fallout of going no contact... I know she will have told lies and twisted everything to other relatives there and dad will back her.
I would suggest you have counselling for your own self with a carefully chosen therapist. Counsellors though are like shoes, you need to find someone who fits. This may well help as is reading "Children of the Self Absorbed" written by Dr Dan Neuharth.
It is NOT your fault your parents are like this, you did not make them this way.
I do not think your Dad really cares about you to be honest, he has here played the role of bystander to perfection by acting out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles. Women like your mother too always but always need a willing enabler to help them.
Your father does not deserve you in your life and I would have no compunction either about also cutting him off. You and your siblings received and still receive the full brunt of her ill treatment of you all, people who are such victims do return again and again to their parents in the forlorn hopes that such people will change but they never do. They always seek approval and validation, both of which are never freely given by such toxic people.
If there are any reasonable relatives on either side of the family I would talk to them.
Would your brother actually want them at his wedding anyway?.
You may also want to read the website entitled Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers and in particular their sections on No Contact and Low Level Contact.
Oh Milly, the letter is all about her and how she hurts...don't doubt yourself for a moment although I know this is hard if it's how you've been bred to think.
You might be the only one saying you've had enough in your family, but there are hundreds and hundreds of us out here who have done it in our own families so you're not alone...what you are doing is a brave, admirable thing. Even if your family judge you, we won't.
Next spring is a long time off, so concentrate on all the good in your life now and let the future unfold in it's own way.
To be honest, i think you're being as much of a bitch as you say your mum is. She has a mental disability, and although she doesn't seem to grasp the fact it hurts you, you don't seem to grasp the fact that she can't actually do much about it on her own. That's the point of a disability...
I'm not saying you should ignore the fact she's hurt you in the past but as someone who has gone through a similar thing but with Autism, if you care about the person involved you don't just say "fuck this shit" and cut them out of your life. She's still your mum. What would you do if the tables were turned? How would you like your kids to stop talking to you when they're grown up because they don't like something you do that you physically can't help?
Tbh, dont reply to it. For both your sakes. I think if you do you will regret it in the future.
And don't assume she can't change. How do you know people don't think YOU'RE a narc?
Don't reply, at least for a good while, and get counselling in the meantime.
SandraSue - your reply sounds very angry and I am not sure why. I agree that it is wrong to just turn your back on family for one wrong thing but I have been abused for almost 30 years. I am not perfect and have doubts sometimes about whether I'm doing the right thing. I understand criticism for my actions and came on here for honest advice, but I'm not sure why you have made so many assumptions about my motives or how much effort I have already invested in helping my mum.
I don't believe she can't help any of her behaviour. She manages to hide the worst abuse from friends and family. If she can turn it on and off that seems to say to me that she has some control and knows the difference between right and wrong.
I know I am not a narc because my siblings have experienced the same abuse, they just respond in the same way. My husband also sees what she is like and how much things upset me. He is a kind man who is not afraid to speak his mind and supports me in my actions.
I have dealt with a narcissist and they are hell on earth. But it's true the best response is ignore. Sandrasue they are referring to narcissism not autism and from my experience of both are very different, and not treated the same. You arnt her mum by any chance are you?
I never said narc was autism, i meant autism instead of borderline.
Didn't mean to sound angry, it's just tiring to constantly hear people talk in such a way that makes it seem like the mental disability can be turned on and off, which it can't. Like i said, she obviously doesn't grasp op's point, but i think there are better ways lf dealing with it than cutting her out.
No reply should be sent to save op's grace/sanity and because mother involved has said what she wants, just as op has so anything else said is basically just having the last word. just wait and see how it plays put. Have contact with her if she initiates it and if not, don't.
Sandra sue. You are very lucky to not have experienced an abusive mum. A mother who calls you obese at size 12, tells you she loves you but doesn't like you at 13. Scream at you because you gave her directions to the place she asked for but should have known she meant somewhere else. Tell you how your skin, hair and clothes are awful. Make you go to school 2 days after your dad died at 15 because what would others think.
That is a very small percentage of what I went through and my mum wasn't even the worst offender.
For years I have had people tell me she's your mum, she deserves respect. And so on. These are people who's mothers loved and encouraged them and who didn't understand that a mother could be so cruel.
But there are lots of out there. Lots if us who have been so pressured by guilt they they keep going back for more and more abuse because the abuser is their mother.
I am happy that you have never experienced this abuse and don't understand why the op would cut her out of her life. But please do not judge her or have a go at her for one of the hardest choices she will ever make.
SandraSue - sorry I missed the bit about Autism. my mistake as I was a bit upset and not fully taking in what I was reading. I understand your post now. I would NEVER turn my back on someone for something like autism, which obviously can't be helped. I am sorry that you got that impression, as I seem to have hit on a sensitive subject for you. I am talking about someone who has deliberately tried to hurt and control me for her own needs. None of that applies to autism
"I am not perfect and have doubts sometimes about whether I'm doing the right thing. I understand criticism for my actions and came on here for honest advice"
That's why people don't think Milly is a Narc.
Thank you everyone for your words of support. I have spent years wondering what life would be like without my mum/ with a different mum. I have only been on mumsnet for a few months, but I have posted a couple of times and read lots of posts from other people in similar situations. These posts have given me the courage to take this final step.
I know it will take time but I think / hope it will be the right thing in the long run.
MMM, well done for writing that letter. That laid it on the table clearly, and with civility. The response you received is your answer. You are still invisible to her, so let that fact be the foundation of your connection with her, since she can not find any possibility of letting you be, iyswim.
I have cut out my sister. I think, imho, a huge hurdle is society's expectation about family duty...But that is for normal people. One thing my counselor helped me see is that I did not kick my sister to the curb; I made a boundary to protect my mental health. The constant degradation manifested in hundreds of different ways was seriously making me choose to be dormant in her presence (plus recovery time) which creeped into depression which was beyond my choice. It is "Death By Ten Thousand Cuts", and people who have not experienced it probably won't understand it - and thus do not qualify to judge you, however much they will anyway.
As Attila suggested, it is therapeutic to physically write a response, and then psychologically therapeutic to destroy that letter instead of continuing to subject yourself to the usual toxic bath that is inherent in every instance of contact.
Hth, good luck, stay strong, live your life.
Borderline personality disorder is vey difficult to treat as is narcisstic personality disorder. It isn't a mental illness that can sometimes be minimised by treatment it is that somebody's personality is disordered. In this case a leopard will not (probably) change it's spots. I personally would drop contact all together and deal directly with your dad. Life is just too short.
Thing that probably hurts most is although dad has played his part, he is a kind man and I love him. Completely idolised him as a kid. Anyway, i asked him twice to see me without mum and he refused. I know it is still early days and he might change his mind, but I'm not sure as he is always scared of upsetting mum and rocking the boat.
I've read a few times about writing a letter about your feelings and then destroying it. Does this actually work or is it just a load of mumbo jumbo? I will also look into getting counselling. i have had some before and found it useful for gaining a bit more confidence and moving forward with my life. I will see how I get on in the next couple of weeks and then if still struggling will start counselling again.
Also, does anyone have any tips they use for distraction? I keep having the same thoughts going round and round in my head.
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