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Am I too sensitive? Feel going mad - any stately homes people out there?

(24 Posts)
Waitingforsleep Thu 18-Feb-16 20:18:17

It's my dm. I just can't figure it out, I just feel bad most of the time around her and guilty for feeling it..
Examples are -

She brought a new arcade type game for my two children, they all
Played it and dm is very competitive. I was watching TV and she wanted me to do it. She had beaten the two kids (age 4 and 8 ) and I just had a go and got a great score. All throughout she kept saying "is it working? It
Must be faulty it can't be right" - she was really annoyed by my score whereas the kids were saying well done mum

My son didn't get round the writing her a Xmas card as he was fed up of it so she said " oh no you haven't written a card for poor grandma" then kept going on about cards he had from class mates and saying how well they could write. Also later in the day she had a bag of crisps. He asked for one and she replied "oh you didn't write me a card but now you want a crisp..."

We moved into our new house, I was making my daughter feel better by saying a friend wanted to come and play, my mum says "oh poor grandma I will be the last person to see your new house..."

The list goes on. Today after we had stopped the night she was downstairs with them saying " what am I going to do without you? I'm going to
Miss you..." It went on and on and I could t stand hearing my dd reassure her anymore that I flew downstairs and said enough of this it's not fair on the kids it
Makes them feel bad when we leave... She said she was only playing and could t see what she had done wrong, she was off with me and said she wouldn't do it again.
She thinks I'm really uptight etc but I find the the way she is as being emotionally unhealthy.

Is it me?

Waitingforsleep Thu 18-Feb-16 22:19:34


sarahlou75 Thu 18-Feb-16 22:21:56

Narcissistic tendencies it looks like to me. Was she like that when you were little?

Waitingforsleep Thu 18-Feb-16 22:34:13

It is hard to remember I'm not sure I noticed although I have always felt guilty for some reason.
It's more since having children I have noticed. My son a picture said it was a house so straight away she said "is it grandmas house?" It so irritates me as I see the kids struggle if they say no it isn't or my daughter agreeing and saying oh yes as if some sort of approval.
We went to the chip shop yesterday and instead of just buying some blooming chips she went I about how the chip shop was her husbands favourite and that we had better not tell him as he will be jealous. She then told my daughter to say when we got back and they bantered about oo lucky you going to my favourite chip shop... Then when they went into the lounge and saw my son my mum went through exactly the same asking my ds
To say where we had been today - even my daughter said why are you telling him again. And I just wanted to shout it's just an f fing chip shop!!!!

The kids always argue about who wants to sit next to grandma yet they never argue with other people yet is this as my mum makes comments like " oh that's nice you are sitting next to grandma" are they just both seeking approval. Hate it!!

Waitingforsleep Thu 18-Feb-16 22:35:52

If we eat dinner she has to tell everyone how nice her food is- even asks if it's nice etc. or is it low self esteem?
Puts me down quite a lot, sly way and loves to joke and banter and obviously I'm taking things too seriously

Babymamamama Thu 18-Feb-16 22:39:30

You have my sympathies. My mother pulls similar stunts. I try not to pander to her but this means we cannot be very close because I don't hold her in unconditional positive regard. I could go on and on about childhood but try not to dwell on it. But it does bug me when she tries to elicit praise from my dd. I've come to the conclusion that she has narcissistic traits rather than full narcissist. Means the ego is actually quite weak and needs constant reinforcement. Tiresome!

Waitingforsleep Thu 18-Feb-16 22:44:18

Re telling the story of when we were kids and she took us somewhere and how we wanted a DVD but as she did t have much money she made us choose a DVD or a burger and we chose the dvd... Irrelevant story for pity when some one just asked where the DVD was from

Dd asking if she can have her cuddly mouse down from the shelf and instead of dm just saying yes all we hear is " that's my special mouse you can look after grandmas special mouse..."

Waitingforsleep Thu 18-Feb-16 22:46:19

I'm so sad though and feel it's me or I'm being ott, I really try to not let it bother me but it chips away and then I'm left like tonight thinking its me again but deep down I think surely this is not normal behaviour

Babymamamama Thu 18-Feb-16 22:54:48

Waiting. It's not you and it's not your fault. Unfortunately it's just how some people are. I try to keep a bit of distance with my mother without going no contact in order to maintain my sanity.

mybloodykitchen Thu 18-Feb-16 23:14:36

Is she my MIL?grin

They are so VERY unoriginal aren't they? Paranoid narcissist I think. Classic behaviour and no, it's not you, it's her. I have definitely had enough of her co-opting the kids into her little power struggles with me and Dh. Very wearing.

I'm trying to work out how to downgrade contact one notch further here. It sounds like you might do the same?!

Duckdeamon Thu 18-Feb-16 23:24:50

It's not you! It's clearly her. PITA!

What does your DP say about her? How about your friends who have seen how she is with you?

If you don't want to reduce your or your DCs' time with her, suggest talking to your DC about her and emphasising that she sometimes says silly things and encourage them to tell you if they feel sad or confused.

LizKeen Thu 18-Feb-16 23:42:14

It really isn't you. I am now totally NC with my parents, and my mum does things like this. And worse, sadly. But yes, this is how it started.

Making pancakes with my DD but I wasn't there. On phone to me later she says "DD says my pancakes are the best". Couple days later it was pancake tuesday so we had pancakes at home. DD keeps saying "oh your pancakes are the best mummy" (she would do the same appeasing with me unprovoked btw and has stopped now since NC) and I said "sure grannys are the best" as in I don't need to be the best, and she replied "oh I only tell her that so she won't be annoyed."

She was only turned 6 at the time. sad

Life is so much easier now we are NC. My DC don't feel like they constantly need to pick sides or demonstrate their loyalty to her.

I suggest you reduce contact, and continue to step in everytime she starts her nonsense.

NotnowNigel Thu 18-Feb-16 23:46:00

Can't you say 'Don't be silly grandma, it's just a game, it's just a card, it's just a fucking chip shop'.

'it doesn't matter'

It's not important'

'DC don't care, they're too young'

etc etc

Don't take it personally. Sounds like a mixture of insecurity, being manipulative, and needing to feel important/needed.

So definitely not you, and no need to feel guilty. Try to take a step back and detach emotionally from the nonsense.

Waitingforsleep Fri 19-Feb-16 07:42:53

That's what I have started to do almost call out the behaviour but the problem is me, I get the wounded look or a I only teasing order playing etc. so I feel it's me. I'm being silly. After all she is nice too and is my mum
The pancakes I can so relate to. With
Mum it's her chips- grandmas chips are the best! I always counteract it with you can't beat proper chip shop chips. But it's exhausting. We went shopping this week and I heard my dd tell her that her panda toy is her favourite at the moment, my mum instantly said is it the one I brought you? My dd was then heard saying I don't know and trying to think. My mum did say don't worry about it but o felt cross as to why she had to ask In the first place.

I remember when I was pregnant and would be the last time I saw her before the birth. I was going and she was on the phone, she batted me away waving at me instead of coming off the phone for a proper goodbye that really hurt as I got dismissed as she was having a good chat.

I often get dismissed. Also ifi talk about things that are of no interest I get a mm yeah response yet she will go into great detail about her social
Life sad

BeaufortBelle Fri 19-Feb-16 08:11:25

I sympathise. I always thought it was me until dd said "God mum, how did you put up with her. She goes on and on until you do or say what she wants". DD hadn't stayed at my mums in the school holidays since. From the mouthes of babes. It was quite an epiphany and I haven't let my mother annoy or upset me as much since. I never saw through her at 12 though but perhaps I didn't have anything to compare her with. She harmed my self esteem quite a lot though. I have quite a tough inner core but dd doesn't and I think my mother would have had a worse effect on dd than on me.

It does hurt looking back but one can't change it. It's all very complex and although my mum has narcissistic traits: has to appear the best and a lot of time goes into creating this impression, short term intense friendships, not much generosity of spirit, etc., I'm not sure she intends on purpose to be hurtful. The telling thing is the number of people she has fallen out with over the years and funnily enough some friends from my teens who would laugh with her about what a funny girl I was still send me Christmas and birthday cards and I'm in my mid 50s now. They haven't spoken to her for years, since she took offence over nothing or picked a fight over nothing but it gives me comfort that they must know it wasn't me who was funny or difficult as time has endured.

What hurts me most is that I have never done anything that has pleased my mother. Always there is innate criticism of everything I do. Nothing has ever been good enough.

So after that rant no it isn't you OP but meetings and activities on your terms from now on and I think you have to let it wash over you otherwise you'll get knotted up with angst from the past when you can only really change the future. At the end of the day the people who matter most to me know and see her for what she is because they have been in and wanted to stay in my life for ling enough to see through her. She doesn't have the power she used to have to backhandedly put me down anymore and she has never been allowed to do it to dd.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 19-Feb-16 09:04:50


Not its not you, its her. Many now adult children of such toxic people like your mother have FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) in spades. Do read and post on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these relationship pages as well. The only people that really bother with narcissists are those who have received special training i.e. the now adult children. Honestly they are not worth bothering with also because they are past masters of "come closer so I can hurt you again".

What does your mother really bring into your lives apart from a lot of anguish?.

I would stay well away from her as of now; she was not a good parent to you and is already not above starting on your children either. She is not a good grandparent figure to them and is using them for her own ends, primarily now as her narcissistic supply. The damage being done to them is not too dissimilar to how you were yourself emotionally harmed by you as a child.

Adult children of narcissists seem to show a natural affinity for believing in this work of fiction i.e that their own poor parent will somehow become a decent grandparent figure despite their own knowledge to the contrary. We have always wanted our parent to be loving to us, and now we want our parent to be a loving grandparent. What we want and what we end up with are two very different things. Where we usually get tripped up is our failure to recognize the adaptability of the narcissist to changing circumstances.

Its hard to watch a narcissist interact with their grandchild mainly because there is no interaction. its like watching a repeat of a tv show you have always hated.

I would also suggest you read "Will I be good enough" written by Karyl McBride and Children of the Self Absorbed written by Nina W Brown. Infact I would suggest all the respondents read these publications.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 19-Feb-16 09:09:47

The damage being done to them is not too dissimilar to how you were yourself emotionally harmed by HER as a child.

That is what the last sentence in my 3rd paragraph should read.

Waitingforsleep Fri 19-Feb-16 19:47:47

I hear you but i do love her, she is my mum she does have nice qualities too. But yes it does feel to be all about her sad
I am never really asked about me sad
I have had a hard time with dc's and the only help offered is to babysit which is nice i know but she loves to have them so i dont really feel its helping me but just something she enjoys. Silly things like hearing me up in the night with them screaming if we have stopped over and then sleeping in until 9am when she hears me get up again at 6am. I just know if it were my dd i would come in and whisk the children off her and give my dd a lie in then bring her a cuppa at 9am. I would maybe take my adult dd for lunch, a cuppa, even a spa day treat. But maybe im expecting too much.

BeaufortBelle Fri 19-Feb-16 22:34:46

That's what I'll be doing for my DD. My mum did let me have a lie in but it was part if her martyrdom. She then dropped in that I was lazy. But no, never a lunch, or anything like that. She has had a charmed life and was very spoilt by my grandparents. I think she would like dh and I to treat her and my step father more. She gets very snarky because we like quiet, modest lives and things.

Waitingforsleep Sat 20-Feb-16 07:27:39

martydrom - yes! If there is anything done its like we have to be mega greatful so i suppose i may have stopped her doing things for me as i am sick of hearing then about how she has done this and that but now i supppose im upset she doesnt do things. Of course i am polite and say thanks for something but id doesnt need going on about.
If she gets the kids clothes she likes to see them in what she has brought, (i often swap them though and keep one token thing to put them in so she doesnt realise i swap them lol)

I remember one day i told her i was going to change dd school as she wasnt happy etc and she said her usual "mm" to it so i felt i had to justify it. I went upstairs and i heard her asking dd about school and did she like it there etc - like she wasnt believing me, thank goodnesss dd said " i hate it"

BeaufortBelle Sat 20-Feb-16 07:57:26

Actually I've just had a little epiphany. My mother was the centre of the universe for my grandparents, she was jealous that I have a very close relationship with my grandfather. She is, however, controlling. She has never been able to control me and it grates on her. She'd have liked me to take over where they left off when they died. She has waded through her inheritance and as much as she would have liked to ask me and DH for treats as she did them, she has never dared and I think she resents it.

Duckdeamon Sat 20-Feb-16 07:59:26

With your mother being as she is I really don't think she's a suitable regular babysitter for your DC: if she says and does confusing, manipulative things when you're actually there, she'll very likely say worse when you're not there!

Waitingforsleep Sat 20-Feb-16 19:13:00

I don't have her regularly having the children. I just feel so bad for feeling this and am convinced it's
Me! I have been St my dads for a few days and when we left today he gave a healthy hug and kiss and see you soon and it just reminded me again of how unhealthy my
Mums goodbye had been days earlier "what am I going to do without you etc" but then on the flip side feel she is only telling my dc's she is going to miss them?
Kids always cry when they leave her house and dd says she feels bad and does t know why yet say goodbye to other relatives ok..

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 20-Feb-16 19:26:52

You really do need to keep your children well away from your mother as of now; she is harming them in not too dissimilar ways to how you were yourself harmed as a child. I bet they feel bad; they are copping all her emotional manipulation!.

A good rule of thumb here is that if a parent is too toxic/difficult etc for you to deal with its the same deal for your both vulnerable and defenceless children. Your job amongst many here is to protect them from your mother.

Its not you, its her!!. Repeat as and when necessary. She has you well and truly bound up in FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) which is but three of many damaging legacies left by such really inadequate parents. Women like your mother as well cannot do relationships so the men in their lives are often kicked out because they cannot stand it anymore.

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