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Is my mother a narcissist?

(8 Posts)
thewhitepowerranger Tue 24-Nov-15 13:59:27

Can I start by saying that I feel incredibly guilty even writing about my mum like this on a forum, but I just can't work her out and it's been getting me down for years. I'll try to make it as concise and short as possible:

* She was a pretty good parent to DS and I when we were growing up - very over protective (TOO over protective, definitely) and a bit too quick to give us a smack when we annoyed her, but really OK. She was quite shy, but not debilitatingly so. She just felt like a nice, normal mum.

* Since my mid teens to now (I'm 40), she has changed almost beyond recognition. She has a career now, which she didn't have when DS and I were kids - she just had a normal job. Good for her - she's worked hard. But she never stops talking about how brilliant she is - how creative, how different to everyone else, how successful, how her brain works differently because she's such a creative type, how she makes so many people happy etc etc. Anything you are talking about always comes back to her and her wonderful creativity.

* Over the last 25 years, she's become progressively more histrionic. If she drops something, she screams. If someone disagrees with her, she can barely hold her temper in, making barbed remarks, raising her voice, being a martyr, slamming phones down and so on.

* She's passive aggressive (and sometimes just plain aggressive, lets be honest) constantly, especially to my poor dad who is a very mild mannered sort - although rather prone to sulking.

* She is queen of the backhanded compliment and likes me to feel that I can't possibly cope without her. If she has an audience (via Facebook or real life), she'll help me out with my kids. However, this is rare and she actually does very little to help with them and makes very little effort to see them despite claiming that I couldn't possibly cope without her. Yet she claims to have an amazing relationship with her grandchildren. She likes to come in and save the day when there's a crisis and be seen to be a martyr, but does nothing to help out otherwise.

* She lovers nothing more than a crisis or a dramatic event that can place her in a starring role as a rescuer. If anyone is in need, she's there putting on a very good show of being selfless and going above and beyond the call of duty. However, it is obvious (to me anyway) that she's doing it because she loves the drama and the second hand attention.

Sorry if I'm vague in a few places - I don't want to be identifying. I don't know if she's a narcissist - some characteristics don't fit her at all, but others do. She is, however, a nightmare and I don't enjoy being around her at all these days, which I feel awful about. She drains me.

dodobookends Tue 24-Nov-15 14:12:51

She certainly sounds like a bit of a drama queen

Bubblesinthesummer Tue 24-Nov-15 14:15:25

Personally I think online diagnosis from a few paragraphs in an OP can be a bit dangerous.

She does seem a little hard work however.

thewhitepowerranger Tue 24-Nov-15 14:18:25

Maybe I just need to write her off as a pain in the arse. grin

Kacie123 Tue 24-Nov-15 14:21:58

My mum's like this too and yes, it's exhausting isn't it?

I don't know for sure if she has NPD but putting the label "narcissist" and looking at ways of dealing with typically identified "narcissist" tactics like gas-lighting has helped me.

bessiebumptious2 Tue 24-Nov-15 15:34:09

OP I don't have any advice I'm afraid, but I will say that I could have written your post myself. Your opening sentence is exactly how I feel - disloyal.

Don't beat yourself up, but perhaps do look at ways of gently disengaging so that you don't feel so responsible for her behaviour and feel able to shrug off the histrionics. Easier said than done, I know.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Tue 24-Nov-15 17:50:03

if - IF- your mother is behaving like this recently, it's mostly likely just her going mad with a bit of success. or it could be that a personality disorder has emerged ... though there's a rather ridiculous amount of online diagnosing going on generally. But if (if) that's the situation, there's something called Histrionic Personality Disorder. She does sound like a lot of her reactions are for effect rather than 'real'.

Either way if you can't communicate with her on a genuine level, you'll have to file her under the PITA category!

I'd stop asking her for childcare though if you have any alternative at all. Maybe meet up sometimes with the kids, but as a babysitter she doesn't sound all that reliable and frankly, it's annoying to have someone going on about how necessary they are when you know full well they're bullshitting and they don't, frankly, matter that much and can't be fully trusted.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Tue 24-Nov-15 17:50:40

btw, people who are overblown like this - other people tend to see through them before too long.

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