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Is it ever a good idea to challenge a 'difficult' mother?(38 Posts)
Just that really. I have had the lightbulb moment that my Mum is (albeit low level) narc and my 'lovely' Dad is enabler.
There's so much I want to say to them both, but is there any point? Should I just be happy I've realised and work on healing myself and go low contact?
Therapy is always useful. After three years of therapy I'm slowly beginning to mention my feelings if she does something or says something which upsets me. An overall criticism/having a go at her about everything will fix nothing and only turn her defensive
Thank you. I know really that there's no point. I just have such angry dreams about shouting at her!
There's no point. Narcs can't see your point of view, and short of waterboarding, will never apologise.
Nah. Save your head space for disengaging from them.
I am so interested in this thread. Please give me examples of narc behaviour, especially from partners.
Also, why do you think they will never apologies?
I tried everything in the book with mine, it usually made things worse although that was far from my intention. Her logic and reason were sadly skewed and her weapons were verbal putdowns, acute defensiveness, rejection and hysteria etc....plus dragging other family member in for support [who did not know the whole story, only her version].
The only thing for me was to distance myself and only see her when my confidence was up. And to lead my own life.
Her way was to pretend she was a great mum, nothing was wrong [only me!] and let's all not talk about anything or rock the boat. I have no idea why some people want to live a lie, are permanently in denial and do not want life to improve. They seem to be playing games and want the upper hand as if life is a competition. [Seeing others as a threat who will expose them, I suppose].
It all isolated me but I am not living a lie, pretending or in denial. Mother has passed away, and told me she loved me for the first time in the days beforehand. I took it as an apology and it was all so sad as it could have been so different.
I think healing yourself is the answer and limiting contact initially as you process what you will discover along the way, then increase contact or diminish it but look after yourself in it all. Give to them what you feel comfortable with. All the best.
No point. She will not hear you. It will be like banging your head against a brick wall.
Go low contact, disengage, get therapy.
I did, and still do if she steps over my line. There is normally lots of hysterics on her part. I have to say I'm quite cold hearted now when she behaves like that.
We actually have a good relationship. But i've spent an awful long time analysing my childhood my behavoir and hers, as well as quite alot of counselling.
The up shot for me, reconising what went wrong, changing my way of thinking, and moving on.
I love her still, I know she loves me, and in her own way did the best she could for me, and I believe she would drop everything if I needed her desperately. Though it wouldn't be long term, she'd be there for me.
My sibling is NC with her.
I think sometimes for personal needs you shouldn't stay silent all the time - its not healthy in my humble opinion to let someone tell your narrative for you.
My DH stays silent when his DM goes on and other people hear it, he says nothing so one assumes she is right! He has learned there is no point challenging her but challenges come in many ways - you dont have to be nasty or vicious.
You can just say " no, I dont agree with that" etc in an aimable way...but I i think its imp to not always let stuff lie. For your emotional help as well as theirs.
If you speak to her, then it will only be for your benefit. Which is sometimes a good reason; it can really help to say this stuff once.
But don't expect a positive response. if you get one, then it's an unexpected jackpot. But if she's truly entirely self - centred and unable to see anyone else's pov, then you won't get one. It's a lot more likely you'll get a reply of either rage or reproach "poor me, what have I ever done to deserve this".
If she's manipulative, then she might twist what you say to put her in a bad light to others. Does that matter to you? It doesn't to everyone, or it's worth it anyway, but it makes things very difficult for other people.
Perhaps writing a letter, keeping it a week and then rereading and burning it might help.
Personally I think that the anger you're experiencing is part of the healing process and that it's a step on the way to health. Sadness is the other side of the anger coin sometimes, and that's also healthy.
Why do people act like this? Because they can't endure being challenged. They have an overwhelming and exhausting need to be In Control of their surroundings and people. Otherwise they might not be perfect if they are challenged. If they're not perfect, they are nothing ... in their minds. There's intense fear and self loathing under a lot of people's protective shell. And selfishness.
But don't expect a positive response. if you get one, then it's an unexpected jackpot. But if she's truly entirely self - centred and unable to see anyone else's pov, then you won't get one. It's a lot more likely you'll get a reply of either rage or reproach "poor me, what have I ever done to deserve this"
Yy totally agree with this.
Non of that washes me now.
Depends. She may change her behaviour - but it will be painful while she learns to do it.
Or she may not and it will just be painful.
I was lucky and for me and my mum she did change and we now have a good relationship, up to a point as I can acknowledge what she is and isn't able to do. But it was fucking awful when I changed my behaviour towards her and I only could do it because I was in therapy at the time and I can only maintain it because I still have therapy now. And she wasn't full blown personality disorder narc - although I guess you only find that out the hard way.
I did and got punched in the face for my troubles.
Best thing that ever happened. Cast iron reason for being NC.
You won't get any resolution from doing this. You might get her to go NC with you though, which can be a reward in itself
My Narc Mother would get very aggressive if challenged, or would literally physically drop to the floor, clutching her throat.....
Personally I wouldn't bother, it's likely to turn nasty for you and you'll be back to feeling like a naughty five year old sent to her room in disgrace again. After all nothing is ever a narcissists fault. My mother knows I've finally sussed her game out after 50 years. In a funny way that is liberating enough in itself.
No because anything you challenge will come back to as
" you never could take critism'
'You are too sensitive '
'If your mother can't tell you who can?'
Either low level contact or short visits , smile ignore and get on with the rest of your life!
I did and she went batshit insane. I believe a lovely mumsnetter at the time called the outburst I described as "floridly unhinged" which was spot on.
She literally stamped up and down like a toddler and screamed.
I am NC with her and my enabler father whose last contact was in order to offer me a cash incentive if I apologised to her.
He was duly told where he could put said monies and it has been 2 years since I heard from them.
Lostcities can I ask, was it the cash offer specifically that made you go nc with your dad? or would that have happend anyway do you think?
I have an enabler dad, but am not prepared to go nc with him or her at this stage. I tried with her once but she made his life so bloody miserable too that he begged me to resume contact.
Depends. What do you want to get out of it? Because if you hope, in your secret and childlike heart of hearts, that she will be stricken with conscience and apologise for everything... I wouldn't. Because she won't. It's 99.999% that you'll get abuse, manipulation or flat denial.
If it's just to feel that you've stood up for yourself and told her where to go... maybe. But you have to make your peace with the fact that there won't be any movie magic endings.
The toddler analogy is a good one,
I was going to post earlier that that is how I deal with mine.
Arched eye brow, look of superiority, short shrift is exactly whats she gets from me now. I tell her to stop with the dramatics, stop her point plank when she tries to bring the guilt in. And when she's spralled on the floor or table sobbing, and wailing, I tell her to look at herself.
I keep calm when she rages in my face, and tell her stop tamtruming and her behaviour is unacceptable.
I never feel like the naughty girl sent to my room, anymore.
But as I said this was only because of years of therapy. Plus the way she brought me up made me fight every step of the way against taking any shit from anyone. Which now includes her.
I'm also only lucky in that she knows she can no longer physical hurt me now. When I was 16 I caught all her punches and kicks and then laughed in her face.
Then ran like fuck
Everyone is different, what works for some won't work for another.
You have to decide what you want from this. If its to tell her how you feel to help you, then go for it. But there will be no 'light bulb' moment for her, and you will have to be prepared for the shit storm that comes after.
What - Lostcitysaid - I went through a lot of that. Months. I had a lot of external support and the knowledge that I was her only child and she really really needed me.
Eventually she understood the rules had changed and we moved to a more adult - adult relationship. This whole process took years.
If you don't hold as many cards as I did, it may not be worth the bother.
Interesting that some have managed it.
I'm trying because my mother is a very low level 'narc'. She identifies with being a very nice person. She genuinely believes that if I disagree I'm being awkward etc... so it's not coming out of badness.
Reading back and it's interesting how money plays a part. I used to say thank you when my m&d gave me money, but I realised that they had way too many opinions about my finances, what I could afford, what I should be saving for, confusing gratitude with obedience etc so when I politely turned down money a while ago, my mum rolled her eyes and said ''how will you ever afford a car??" and I said "that's exactly the kind of comment which means I can't accept your money''.
It sounds quite a civilised exchange there when I type it but she was so loaded with her ''not understanding my nonsense''. It was me ''making a point'' again. Making a point upsets her.
I'm not allowed be upset!
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