Complicated relationship with mother.(6 Posts)
Long story. I'm 54, mother is 84. She lives 1 1/2 hour away so has being staying with us for Christmas.
My relationship has always been poor with her. I know one shouldn't self diagnose but I'm pretty sure she's got narcisstic personality disorder. Life has always had to revolve around her. She has to be the centre of attention, tells outrageous stories about her achievements, lies about her past (always putting herself in the right, even when her behaviour has been witnessed first hand) makes spiteful underhand comments, has upset my adult children with her manipulative remarks, even when challenged with evidence, insists black is white, makes sweeping statements about unmarried mothers, people on benefits, immigrants, you name it, she has an opinion. She is a devout church goer and considers herself a good Christian but causes upsets within the family and has managed to alienate my half sister and her family (from a previous marriage)
She's very wealthy and tries to reel us in by promises of money. We don't need her help but it's always, "If you come up and visit me, I'll buy you this, take you out for lunch etc" She is obviously very jealous of the great relationship I have with my daughter who, incidentally, has been left in tears by grandmother's thoughtless comments about her unsuccesssful relationships and the fact she's not married at 27!
I can only describe her whole persona as childlike, she cries and sulks if she doesn't get her own way. Everything has to be on her terms. She regularly rings me up and sobs that she's lonely but when my father and later, my step father were dying of cancer, she got them into a home as fast as she could, even though they both wanted to be at home. Then, she played the tragic widow, fainting strategically at the funerals.
My dilemma is; one side of me feels like cutting her out of my life completely as she's toxic, causes rows and ruins every family occasion or, the dutiful daughter part thinks I should be kind and patient, after all, she's elderly and I'm not going to change her now. I make up my mind that I'm not putting up with it anymore and then my conscience makes me feel I'm being cruel.
Help please, and sorry about the rambling 😔
My parents are a similar age. Also a lot of trouble.
She may or may not have NPD but she certainly has narcissistic traits (don't we all, frankly - tho of course some have more than others!)
I've cut off my hideous siblings - schooled as we all are in a disordered home - but I haven't entirely cut off my aged parents. It's taken a lot of therapy, and I've had years of LC but never entirely cut them off. These days I see a lot of them bcs they are frail and needy and ancient.
Ppl suggest NC is a breeze but ime it's far from that. While I am not prepared to pander to my vicious siblings, I do pander to my parents. It works a treat. You say yourself your mother is like a toddler - perhaps see her as one and act accordingly? It's a fine line to avoid appearing patronising but it's your skin you're saving here.
Under the auspices of them being ancient I now lavish attention on them. They are enormously soothed by this - perhaps they've needed this all their lives? Not from me necessarily, or appropriately, of course. I don't want to get into cod psychology but is clear to me my parents are very damaged people - therefore very damaging.
If you can manage it perhaps don't take her so seriously re see her as you would someone with SN who is apt to say and do outrageous and deeply inappropriate things. I'm not saying this is easy, just exploring strategies..
I initially took care of my parents out of duty with a close eye on the clock
in more ways than one. These days I genuinely enjoy it, curiously.
Difficult isn't it? I think I know how you feel, I went nc with my dp's 20 years ago. It was very difficult but so necessary, most of the same things you have described. I did have counselling to help me through it and they were younger, in their sixties. The age shouldn't matter but i'm thinking when you do first go nc, there might be a little guilt for a while. There was in my case and that's where the therapy helped. But with your dm being in her 80's would there be more guilt? Also how would dd feel about cutting her off, have you discussed it with her? If she's in agreement and supportive that will help you through it. From my perspective, it was the best thing I could ever have done for myself and family. The peace of mind and tranquility is priceless l feel for you and fully understand. I weakened once, 10 years ago when I was undergoing cancer treatment and I phoned them. DM, even after i'd told her about the cancer, just continued to talk about herself. She was about 70 then and i'm proud to say i've never phoned since.
Whatever you decide you are not cruel. Just a person with a conscience in a very difficult situation.
Both options will leave you feeling like crap. There is no good outcome for you here. So which will be the least crappy for you?
Making the decision to go NC is extremely difficult. The day I left I felt like to world had lifted from my shoulders. Such relief.
Then it's a rollercoaster of emotions, flying monkeys and all that jazz. But it does settle down. Long term NC is amazing. Free to think and do what I like with no drama.
The journey getting there is not easy, neither is staying where you are easy. It's a tough call and I wish you all the best.
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