Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How do I deal with a narcissist mother?

(11 Posts)
DelphiBlue Tue 17-May-16 17:33:31

The past few years I have come to realise what a narcissist my mother is. I think she always has been, but as she's gotten older it's gotten worse. I do love her - and there have been some times throughout my life where we've had quite a good relationship so I find this very difficult to deal with. I went through a lot as a child and teenager with nobody to support me. I wasn't protected as I should have been, and I either didn't confide in my parents or did and wasn't believed. But now when things are brought up that happened to me (very rarely - mostly when there has been lots of wine) my mums focus is always how bad it was for her. No thought for the 4/13/17 year old me who actually had to go through it alone.

I'm getting married soon and she's completely disinterested in it presumably because she won't be the main focus. All conversations end back at her new boyfriend (who as it happens she cheated on my dad with). She's met up with my ex friend who enabled me to be raped. No matter what I do or what happiness I find she can never seem to be happy for me. My whole life she convinced me I was fat. I remember crying as a 6 year old because I thought i was too big. We'd go to pick out clothes and she'd say the fabric would cling too much and I shouldn't wear it. When I look back on pictures now I can see that I wasn't fat at all. I am a bit now. I always feel that I have to eat in secret.

This is all very jumbled I know but I'm struggling to make sense of it and what to do from here. Since having my own children I've realised how weird a lot of her actions have been as id never do that to my own DC. She's a good 'nan' but I worry that she's going to run off on them too, always concerned about how she feels an what other people think rather than the little person depending on her.

If anyone has any advice I'd be really grateful.

MusicIsMedicine Tue 17-May-16 17:44:27

Have you read the book Toxic Parents by Susan Forward?

Also, good link here:

Merd Tue 17-May-16 18:16:42

Sadly she'll never change so it's about coming to terms with her impact on you and limiting her impact on your kids.

Personal counselling is a really good idea if you feel up to it, but make sure you're talking to someone who knows you've had an abusive upbringing and you're not just looking for an "aww, forgive and forget", more of a "tackle and overcome".

Why not join the "stately home" threads here - there's another one running called "this is chilling" which might be interesting to read. Talk to people here, many will understand. Many of us are on similar journeys of coming to terms with and tackling problems too flowers

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 17-May-16 18:25:29

I would keep her well away from your children and you need to stay away from her also.

She was not a good parent to you (understatement) and narcissists in particular make for being deplorably bad role models as grandparents. Such people tend to either over value or under value the relationship with their grandchildren and use them as narcissistic supply. She may well try and buy their affections.

It is not possible anyway to have a relationship with a narcissist. The only people that tend to bother with narcissists are those who have received special training i.e. the now adult children of such parents.

Is your dad still involved in your life?. Narcissistic women as well cannot do relationships and their man is often kicked out or otherwise discarded if they are not narcissistic themselves.

Do read and post on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages.

I would also suggest you read the website entitled "Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" and read "Children of the Self Absorbed" written by Nina W Brown.

Merd Tue 17-May-16 18:36:25

Attilas advice is always brilliant but it's coming from someone confident and versed in these issues, and it might take you a while to come to terms with it and think about cutting off contact, even if that is the best long-term solution.

There are usually a lot of steps before that and you might find a spot that is more emotionally comfortable for you at first.

That's where personal counselling can help (never ever the two of you and a counsellor) and building up your own hard limits on what you'll accept or won't accept.

Personally we have very limited contact with one parent (performing social duties effectively) and are NC (or no contact) with another. There are two vastly different surrounding family situations in both cases but it keeps us emotionally healthy (well, as much as is possible).

Is your own partner a good source of support at all?

MusicIsMedicine Tue 17-May-16 18:49:14

Agree, Attila's advice has been brilliant for me in exploring my issues with my narcissistic mother.

I've learned that understanding and coming to terms with this stuff is a process. Take your time OP.

DelphiBlue Tue 17-May-16 19:25:56

My partner has been brilliant but has had to put his foot down a few times when I've been in floods of tears over the way my mums treated me. He does understand it's not easy but he sees how she makes me feel and won't stand for it. It's weird to me to have someone always on my side.

I have contact with my dad. He is also difficult in his own way but it's quite different.

In regards to my relationship with my mother, I guess I find it difficult because I feel like I'm overreacting or being a 'brat'. She has helped me a lot at times and we have had some good times. It's reassuring to have these replies.

One question to above poster - why not counselling together? It is something I thought about asking her to do as I don't think I'll be able to voice my opinions and feelings if it's just me and her. But I can't really imagine what we'd get out of it.

Merd Tue 17-May-16 19:49:02

Joint counselling is a bad idea for a few reasons, and if you do some alone you might realise why. For one thing it's a very intensive process and you need to work on your own feelings first.

I bet Atilla and others can explain why better than me - but the big thing you're going to have to come to terms with is there probably is no "cure" for your mum, and even writing step by step lists will be ignored - take a look at the current thread in relationships I mentioned called "this is chilling, I think".

The thing is - deep down you know already how she deals with difficulties and how she'll respond. A third party won't change her mind. If you could solve this with a heart to heart you wouldn't be in this situation.

Only people who are totally open and receptive to counselling will benefit from it; narcissistic people find it harder to open up like this, and abusers will manipulate sessions and victims further within them. Give "narcissism counselling" a quick google!

Flamingo1980 Tue 17-May-16 20:46:20

My mother is a narcissist. If you're in the south east and want to come and talk to someone who understands I will meet you! I live in brighton.

Aussiebean Tue 17-May-16 21:38:19

Personally I have very little contact with my mum and when ever I do my dh is with me. I will never be alone with her again.

She was not interested in my wedding and my family kept her away from me on the day. I thought about not inviting her but the fall out for them would have been huge.

She has nothing to do with my dc. In some ways because I don't let her, but she has shown no interest either. (Luckily)

Read the books above and go to the stately homes thread.

Also advise that you stop telling her anything personal or ask for advice.
All topics of conversation should revolve around the weather, something off the news and her. From now on your job, dp, dc and life are all fine.

This will give your little breathing space while you process this

aliceauth Sun 29-May-16 20:14:31

Your mother does sound like she is a narcissist and is slowly destroying your self esteem. If she has no interest in your wedding then she will be even less interested when you do get married. You must think of your own happiness and your future happiness and that of your new family.

I had to go 'No Contact' with my family ,friends ,home and career in order to save my mental and physical well being. It was not an easy decision but I don't regret or want to go back now.

When you finally realise that your mother is indeed a narcissist, more than intellectually, your healing can begin. We would not choose these people as friends or partners yet we put up with them because they are family and allow them to continue to abuse us.

It sounds as if you need support and I would advise seeking help from a counsellor who is familiar with this subject or a support group.

I would also say that as for your mother being nice and you remembering good times, mine was the same and it was very, very ,'crazy making' because that makes us feel guilty. They are nice in order to manipulate and the ugly truth is that they don't love us, narcissists only love them selves.

Perhaps you could give yourself some space from her for a while at least.
I hope you come to some conclusion within yourself.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now