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Advice on issues with my mother plz(11 Posts)
Not sure if this is the place to post this but need some advice please. Backstory is I have elderly parents, both in their late 80s. I live in the northwest, they retired to the south coast, so going to see them is a trek but one that I have done in a regular basis over the last 30years, plus keeping in regular touch by phone and letter.
Dad had Alzheimer's, and has recently moved into fulltime residential care, so mum is at home on her own, understandably feeling sad, lonely, etc etc. However, she has always had a pretty narcissistic personality, the world is against her , remembers every wrong anyone has ever done to her and goes on about them years later. I was her favourite as a child, her relationship with my older sister was and still is pretty toxic, but I have always been there for mum, but that in itself I can see now was pretty manipulative, telling one kid quite blatantly they were the favourite over the others..
Things have come to a head recently in that I have realised how corrosive her behaviour has been, and am unwilling to put up with it any more.Went down there on a mercy dash a few months ago, which is 6 hours with a six year old in tow, got told I was unhelpful, unsympathetic, unempathetic, unsupportive,a terrible daughter, she would never have treated her mother the way I've treated her (!!)etc etc, a proper rant. I was really upset, and have distanced myself from her since then, have been in touch for sake if my daughter and my dad but really can't be arsed with the draining phone calls after a long day in work, particularly as I've got other stuff going in in my life that I am trying to deal with also. Arrgh!
The reason I am posting (sorry if this is long winded) is yesterday I got St George's day card off her saying she is sorry I hate her (?), she doesn't know what she has done ?
I don't hate her but find her behaviour very very hard to deal with. We are meant to be going down there this weekend as my dad is 90 next week. I really feel like making an excuse not to go, but know that would be avoiding the issue really. Thanks for reading, and any constructive advice gratefully received.
She sounds like my late Mil the family dynamics were weird she favoured 1over the other resented every body and was just a misery all the time it took its toll on Dh. This sounds tough on you is your sister supportive can you go to dads birthday as a unitied front so your mum sees you are both there as a family to see dad.as for the why do you hate me card say sorry you feel like that but I don't hate you mum but it sounds so difficult for you
Hope you binned the card.
Its hard seemingly being the last one left who bothers with her. People who usually bother with narcissists are the now adult children of these rotten parents themselves. These people do not want or have friends.
Does your eldest sister have any sort of a relationship with you these days?. Narcissistic mothers often use triangulation to keep siblings at war with each other.
She was not a good parent to you, what makes you think she could be at all any example of a decent grandparent figure to your DD?. Many adult children of narcs find it very hard to let go of that fantasy.
I am not at all surprised that she was nasty when you visited her; such people are never happy or satisfied. Its not avoiding the issue if you do not go and visit your mother; she has brought this upon herself. The golden child role as you have learnt to your cost is a role not without price and one that you are really now paying. Your dad also failed you as a father by failing to protect you from her malign influences; he sat back and was a bystander who also acted out of self preservation and want of a quiet life.
Staying in touch with her for your DDs sake is a mistake as well because she will simply learn from you that it is okay for her nan to treat you her mother like something she has stepped in. It is really not possible to have any sort of a relationship with a narcissist and narc grandparents in particular are deplorably bad role models. You were trained all your life to serve your mother's needs and your dad played the role of willing enabler (such women always but always need a willing enabler to help them), you do not have to do that any more.
If her behaviour has increased over recent years it's sounds like the beginning of a dementia related illness, this includes paranoia and depression which can lead to some nasty outbursts. I really think this is the issue here.
I'd ignore the card. It's designed to get a reaction from you. Don't give her the satisfaction.
Go down for the weekend if you think you must. Try not to stay with her, so you're not captives in her house! Spend time having a nice time both with and without her. If she starts criticising you, tell her she's not being fair and you're not prepared to listen to such criticisms, and if she continues, LEAVE.
As is often the case, if you don't join in with her games, she won't get to play them. I know it's difficult, but it can be done.
I personally wouldn't ignore, I'd give it one last go to explain then go NC after that.
The reason I say this is that having gone NC with my GP's, I've needed to get to the stage where I've been unable to do anything else to get them to see so that I'm at peace with my decision and have no angst over it.
Many thanks for all the advice.Good to have the opinions of others.
I only really realised how EA her behaviour was recently as I came out an abusive relationship with my ex, and looked back and saw how the unhealthy relationships I had growing up were having a direct correlation on the relationships I was gravitating towards as an adult.
As a kid you just accept it as normality I guess. Now I am confronting her on her current crappy behaviour she doesn't like it.
I do think that her behaviour may now be being exacerbated by the possible onset of dementia also tho.
Yep, throw dementia into the market X (either here or your dad's and that meaning they are now separated) and I can see the whole situation escalating as historical 'normal' is changed.
Not an easy situation but she isn't likely to change either if this is who she has always been.
So you can either ignore and continue or confront and reject. You need to do what's best for you
By her very advanced age she isn't going to change or even acknowledge her wrongs. Although I'm not one to stand quietly when I'm insulted, in this case I think I probably would do whatever is easiest for you. That might well be keeping contact low and keeping your distance emotionally when you are together. Have a few bland phrases ready for when she starts up. The punch a pillow hard.
My mil is a highly critical woman and terribly prone to catastrophising about almost anybody and any event so I simply keep most personal information to myself and chat about lightweight stuff. I leave if she starts getting under my skin and stay away for a week or so ( she's local and in a care home).
In your shoes I would go for your dad's birthday but it would be a short visit with structure and some activities that don't include DM.
OK, maybe I'm going to be the devil's advocate here, but I find people do tend to find reasons not to love their parents when they get to an age when they will need more care and attention.
You were the favourite child, OP, and you have only just decided that your mother is toxic when she most needs your help?
Thanks all for the comments and suggestions. I agree my mum needs help, unfortunately she refuses and rebuffs all practical offers, preferring to go to her default mode of lashing out at those near to her.
This is the reason I have taken a step back, and have told her I am happy to help if she can tell me what she wants me to do, but I'm not prepared to sit and be told I'm rubbish. This has obviously rankled, hence the lovely card.
As for "deciding my mum is toxic", it is more a case of realising patterns of behaviour that you have always thought were normal (ie belittling people, making negative comments about appearance,no empathy for other people, being unkind for absolutely no reason...and this is just the tip of the iceberg)are actually emotionally abusive and unacceptable. It may be something to do with the fact I have a kid of my own now, and also as I said earlier I have just come out of an EA relationship which was a bit of a wake up call.
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