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My Mother is a narcissist...does it ever get better!?(10 Posts)
Over the past few years I've come to the realisation that my DM (maybe more NSDM) is a narcissist. I can't recall many examples from my childhood, but there were definitely times when she was definitely not the DM I'd have wanted her to be. For example, whilst being bullied at secondary school, she would tell me how it was all my fault. Or competing with my ponies, she would tell me there was no point as I would only do badly and be disappointed.... or if I fell off/didn't get placed, how I had embaressed her.
As I've gotten older (now early 30's) her behaviour seems to have become worse, or maybe it's just that I can see her for who she really is more clearly as an adult.
She behaves the same way towards my much younger brother (16), and has always been awful towards my DF. She left him (and my brother!) For another man, completely failing to see why anyone was upset with her. I'm now a parent myself, and find myself feeling terrified I am going to end up like her!!
At the moment we are not talking. I had one of my horses put to sleep last week, and dear old DM decided to tell me how I wasn't being fair, how upset SHE was, amongst other things. Tbh it completely overshadowed the whole event and days leading up to; whilst I was sad about it all, I found myself feeling almost more upset that my mum was annoyed with me, and disappointed that she wasn't there for me. She had been supposed to be coming to stay with us, but didn't as she didn't agree with what I was doing (a hard decision for me yes, but one that many people, including 2 vets, had told me was the right one by the horse).
She phoned last night, acting as if nothing had happened and wanted to arrange to come and see us. Que heated argument. Anyway, she hung up on me after saying I was turning it all around on her, and how upset she was. As usual she made many statements that defied any logic, and made it all about her.
Unless I call her, I now won't hear from her for likely months. We might be lucky and get a Xmas card... it saddens me that my 9 month DD hardly gets to see her grandmother. And it saddens me that my mum is basically never there for me. My DH tells me to not give in to her, and I agree, but it's all a bit cr*p really!!
The good times in our relationship have definitely been there, but if I think long and hard it's only when I go along with her. Most of our conversations are about her; if I ever tell her about what I've been up to, she just changes the conversation back on to her. During the course of my life, I have never known her apologise.
Does it ever get any better?? I can either see a continuation for years to come of how things have always been, or of minimising contact with her (it's pretty minimal as it is tbh, at best we speak maybe weekly and see her once every few months), but I don't really want to do that.... how do I explain to my DD that my grandmother is a horrible person at times?
Being totally honest, no. It hasn't got any better for me. It's only gotten worse, to the point she was trying to control my husband and children as well as me.
I won't give examples but actually my children, especially the older 2, had begun to notice that nanny wasn't really very nice to them sometimes or to mummy and daddy a lot of the time.
We haven't spoken to her in 18 months and it's been the most quiet 18 months we've had without her constant bitching. I don't consider us any worse off for not seeing her. I had an abusive childhood because of her, it's affected me all my life and I don't want my children experiencing the same.
It is not possible to have a relationship with a narcissist and unsurprisingly your mother was not a good parent to you. It has always been all about her and she makes everything all about her; even when your horse was euthanized. It is not your fault she is like this; you did not make her this way.
You won't turn into your mother because you are not a narcissist; also you know that you would never treat your own child in the ways you were treated when growing up. Women like your mother as well cannot do relationships so the man in their lives is either as narcissistic as they are or long since discarded. Such people as well never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions.
She will continue also to be a rubbish example of a grandparent to your DD; you will do your DD a huge service if you keep her away from your mother. Family are not binding; you are protecting your DD from bad things. Give your DD the age appropriate truth re her nan.
This excerpt from the above may also prove helpful and I would urge you to read the whole piece written:-
" You must let yourself know for a fact that your Narcissistic parent can not be trusted with your most precious responsibility, your children. If you allow contact between your children and your parent it must never be out of sight. Never for a moment leave your child alone with this serial abuser. They only need a few moments of alone time to inflict damage. A whisper, an insinuation, a pinch, a look. If you consider yourself a responsible parent you will never, ever leave your child alone with your parent. Ever.
So you've made the decision that cutting off contact with your Nparent is a necessity and now you're dealing with questions from your children, or you're anticipating questions. First of all, let us establish another fact. You are the parent. You get to make these decisions without apology or excessive justification. You can assure your child that you are making a wise and loving decision for them as well as yourself. I am not going to script what you should say because you are the only one who knows your children, but you must convey that this isn't up for negotiation. This is not a decision that the child gets to make. Yes, children usually love their grandparents. Children are often quite indiscriminate in their love which is why they need parents to guide them. Not every person is safe to have around and this is a good time to teach that important life lesson. The more matter-of-fact you are, the more matter-of-fact your children will be. When we act hysterical, they will usually reflect our hysteria. If you act anxious, they will act anxious. If you appear unsure, they will push. Model the reaction and attitude you want your children to adopt".
Do read "Children of the Self Absorbed" written by Nina W Brown and look at the website entitled Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. I would also suggest reading and post on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages.
If your DHs parents are nice I would concentrate on them instead rather than your mother. Honestly you do not need such a presence in your life in any way, shape or form. All she brings you is a lot of unwanted aggravation and emotional pain.
I'm very sorry you don't have the mother you deserve. It's a reality you have to face that she can't give you what you need - unconditional, selfless love and support. It's not right and it's not fair but there's no point fighting what just is.
Books that might help:
Boundaries, Henry Cloud
The Emotionally Absent Mother, Jasmin Lee Cori
Will I Ever Be Good Enough, Karyl McBride
Toxic Parents, Susan Forward
Read about nurturing your inner child - you can learn to mother yourself:
Recovery of Your Inner Child, Lucia Capacchione
Home Coming, John Bradshaw
Daughters of narcissistic mothers website
Yoga to ground you physically and mentally and help with any natural anxiety in the circumstances.
Cultivate friendships with older women who might be able to provide some kind of surrogate mother role and spoil your DD in a way your DM won't.
Psychotherapeutic counselling (not CBT).
For your own self-preservation you know it is healthy for you to see your DM infrequently and for short periods. Keep your expectations very low and don't be afraid to be assertive or to just leave if she behaves badly. Supervise her contact with your DD to protect DD from her manipulations and unkindness. Don't expect DM to ever acknowledge the errors of her ways - she won't and you will get upset and frustrated trying.
Don't tie your mind in knots trying to make sense of her behaviour - there simply is no logic.
When mothers were being handed out you drew a short straw I'm sorry to say. There are many of us if it's any comfort.
The good news is that you have worked out the nature of the beast that is your DM relatively young so you are able to handle her effectively to protect yourself and your DC.
Many people are sad and blame themselves their whole lives, knowing that their mother is not like other mothers, but without being able to put their finger on what the problem is in order to receive support and understanding.
No, it gets worse with age.
Partly due to the vain frustrations of the aging narcissist.
Partly because what seemed a normal dynamic (her in charge, you accepting) begins to look increasingly insane when your focus is (rightly) on your own family life.
Sorry and hugs.
No. Is your answer. It gets worse. If you want to be on this merry go round for the rest of your life, call her. She won't change, she's never wrong. Ive dealt with it by cutting all ties. I'm sorry if you are not in that place yet. But it's the only way to disengage with the bs they put you through. People don't change ever.
Hi, I'm new to mumsnet and have been googling narcissistic mothers all week having finally figured my mum is probably one! Its a bittersweet revelation because in some ways I feel relieved that i can put a name to all this bs my own mother has inflicted upon me my whole life but also I'm upset as I realise nothing I do will make her the nurturing mother I desperately crave. She is more the 'ignoring' narcissist as opposed to 'engulfing'. My father is an enabler of her behaviour and although i know he loves me her needs have always come before mine or there would be hell to pay.
2 years ago my sister commit suicide, she was in an abusive relationship which we believe was the catalyst but having looked at my mother's emotional abuse and lack of genuine support, I feel this contributed to my sisters total lack of self belief and worthlessness. She left behind a young child who we dote on. He has an amazing father but my mum would insist on doing all the school runs etc, being seen to be so involved but then expecting praise for doing what most grandparents do regardless of the situation then spitting venom at me if anyone gave me any credit for the support i also give him. I never ask for help with my dd but on a rare occasion I get a reluctant 'yeh' as a reply unless of course it's in front of people then she's Ott enthusiastic! So false. Too everyone else she's this sweet, almost timid, loving person but behind closed door's she's vile. No one would even believe me if I told them what she's like. That's why I also need advice, how on earth can this get better? Unless I call or visit her there would be no interest from her.
Thanks all for the replies, lots of useful to links, thank you.
From what I'd already read online I feared there would be absolutely no changing her, but I was maybe hoping someone could offer a glimmer of hope ..!!
leaveittothediva I won't be calling her.... I just don't have the energy. I'm sure we will hear from her at some point...
Wannabe55 I am SO sorry to hear about your sister :-( there is so much that you post that sounds like my mother though. Mine ignores me mostly, although every now and again she goes into overdrive and buys me things. My dad sounds the same as yours too, only after years and years of putting up with her she left for another man. Everyone thinks my mum is the wonderful person too.... hugs to you though xxx
Thanks for your reply, big hugs to you also xx there's just so much I could write, the thing's i described were off top of my head. The pieces of the puzzle have only just come together for me regarding her behaviour so as for moving forwards I have no idea. I haven't even told my husband all of this, up until now it's like I've protected her and how she is to me because I didn't want anyone thinking bad of her. Its all so twisted. Just don't know how any mother can be so disengaged and I hope and pray i never do this to my children. Xxx
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