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Those of you with narcissistic mothers

(65 Posts)
endthefarts Tue 26-Dec-17 20:09:24

I don't know if my mother fits the criteria for being a narcissist or whether she's just a passive aggressive, self obsessed pain in the arse who likes to talk about how amazing she is. However, whichever she is, I find her extremely difficult to be around and my hackles are up within minutes of being in her company.

She's definitely got worse with age and has become unbearable over the last 10 years, and until I was about 30 I could be in her company without feeling like punching her quite happily. When I look back on my childhood, she was always highly strung and over protective and rubbed other women up the wrong way, but I can't work out if she displayed the behaviours that she displays now or whether she was actually a lovely mum. Were you aware that your mums were awful as a child or did you love them because they were your mum and children love their mums? I'm trying to get my head around whether she damaged me as a child without me having any idea or whether she's just become a monster as she's aged. Thanks.

Unicorn81 Tue 26-Dec-17 20:36:28

Ive diagnosed mine with NPD for the following reasons, all of which i realised at an early age but had the best relationship with my dad so dont feel completely damaged

She is selfish, everything she does is all for her benefit
She is cold emotionally unless she has an audience
She always thinks she is right
She never ever has told me she loves me (or my brothers)
She have never paid us compliments
She cannot say she is sorry
Physically abusive to us when we were too young to fight back but would deny all knowledge of this now
Tries to manipulate and use all of,us for her own agenda
Thinks she is better than everyone else and treats people like shit, waiters for instance
Has stolen a lot of money from my dad and denied all knowledge until she didng have a choice but to admit it (he was going to call a family meeting to see who did it) but she would be found out
She got into loads of debt 'treating herself' and my dad had to pay it off, has done this at least 10 times over the 40 years, last amount he paid off was 15k
Has also cleared out his bank accounts, if you asked her what she spent the money on she couldnt tell you
She spoils grandkids just so other people think she is supergran, she isnt she manipulates them too

Oh that was a long list and i could go on. I have done a lot of reflecting over the last few years and now only make contact if i see my dad, i dont engage with her unless she does with me and am just as cold with her as she is with me. I find it odd when people say they are best friends with their mum. If she wasnt still with my dad i wohld be full NC

FuzzInMyBrain Tue 26-Dec-17 21:05:56

I wrote a post this evening about possibly cutting ties with my mother. Reading Unicorn's description, I could have written the same exact thing about my mother. I never realised why she acts the way she does, but it does sounds like she has NPD. I'm gobsmacked.

I suffered throughout my childhood: I was an only child and my mother was/is very controlling, childish, selfish and manipulative. But i still loved her, like a child would love a parent, but out relationship turned into a codependent one, and i would describe my mother as a "parent-child" where she would lean on me emotionally, and i had to take on the role of parent.

These past few days with my mother staying with us have been unbearable and I am emotionally spent. I feel like I have no option but to cut her out of my life.

endthefarts Tue 26-Dec-17 21:39:17

See, mine isn't like that description but she's still completely toxic. She talks a lot about various reasons that she is great and why everyone thinks this (no less than 7 reasons why she is amazzing were recounted to us yesterday), she had to be the centre of attention, she is quite aggressive and makes constant nasty digs but sandwiches them between 'compliments' and "oh but I love you so much", she was intrusive and over protective when I was a child and into my adulthood - read my diary and emails etc, has always made me feel as though I am unable to do anything that she doesn't want me to do by suggesting that I'll die if I try or be injured or upset wtc, made me codependent as an adult because of this which I've struggled to escape from, is aggressive to my dad, histrionic, over dramatic and blows up at the slightest thing. I don't know if that's narcissism or just being a toxic pain in the backside.

NakedMum33and3rd Tue 26-Dec-17 21:50:52

I have come to the realisation over the past year that I was a raised by a narcissistic mother. I've been reading this book and it has been amazingly helpful. I've also been speaking to a therapist about it and I am feeling stronger every day.
My description of my mother is identical to Unicorn's.

Here is the book link.

SeaEagleFeather Tue 26-Dec-17 23:06:20

Not sure you need a diagnosis endthefarts. Thing is, does she have the capacity to change? If not, then you need to deal with her knowing that this is what she's like.

if she has the capacity for change, you could put limits in place and see what happens. If she does, then she might learn ... after adjusting, which won't be easy ... and you could have guarded contact. If she doesn't have the capacity for change, then putting boundaries will create the most awful dramas which will keep going on. You'll have to learn strategies to live with them or to walk away.

Either way most people who go NC do so gradually. Cutting off a parent is very very hard for most people.

Did she hurt you as a child deliberately? Depends on the level of her self-knowledge. A lot of people who are badly mixed up have a lot of aggression inside them which spills onto their children. At the same time they can't bear being anything other than a perfect parent. So they act in hurtful ways but deny the knowledge of that to themselves. Hence being unable to be wrong.

Really, if you're asking if she knew how much she was hurting you, you're looking for the reason. That probably lies in her own background.

saoirse31 Wed 27-Dec-17 07:24:41

V similar to unicorns list. Always knew she was v different from friends mothers etc.

Aussiebean Wed 27-Dec-17 08:21:32

My guess would be that she sees you as an extension of her, and not a person in your own right. That was me anyway.

Narcs show themselves in different ways, depending on who it is. She treats me differently to my brothers, so one persons experience will be different to another’s. Stately homes thread will give you a good variety.

Personally, I could not understand why my friends actually wanted to spend time with their mothers. It wasn’t enjoyable, it was painful, made me feel awful about myself. And yet, my friends would actively seek that out, whereas I was trying to avoid her.

Took a while, but i worked it out when I was a teenager that something was wrong. Didn’t get narc til my thirties

OddMollie Wed 27-Dec-17 08:43:27

Thanks to MN I have had this epiphany this Christmas, and finally got a name for the utter headwreck weirdness I've lived with (and been controlled by) for 30 years. I spent yesterday reading up about it and couldn't sleep last night as it all kept slotting into place in my head. Mine is more of the smothering, effusive loveliness type rather than cold, but absolute need to be centre of attention, often using childish behaviour (actually pretending to be a child - baby voice etc) to achieve it. It's been this way for years, but now that she's in her 70s it's definitely getting worse, and she uses her age as an excuse for demanding to be pandered to, even though she's still very capable and not infirm in any way. My children, in their teens and twenties, are sick to death of it and the atmosphere is really strained. My fear is that they won't come home for Christmas in future if it's going to be like this and I've got to say, I wouldn't blame them.
flowers to all those dealing with this. It's poisonous.

Yogagirl123 Wed 27-Dec-17 09:40:48

I completely understand how you feel. It took me years to come to terms with my mums treatment of me, everything was always my fault, I would never get a good job, learn to drive, meet a good partner etc.

She wanted total control of my life and the jealousy was something else. I have been NC for nearly 10 years, eventually the lightbulb gets turned on that you aren’t the problem. And the behaviour is not normal.

You wouldn’t put up with this behaviour from a friend, so why do we accept it from the person who should be giving us love and support not criticism.

I know I will never be in contact with my mum again, and I am 100% comfortable with that decision, as I know she will never change. I don’t wish her harm and I am sad that she isn’t my best friend, like some of my friends mums are to them.

flowers to all that have toxic parents, you can’t change them, but you have the power of choice, good luck.

Jerseysilkvelour Wed 27-Dec-17 10:55:09

I'm the not so proud owner of a terrible mother.

Look, it really doesn't matter what they're "diagnosed" with (and you can't diagnose them anyway can you!). Just look at the behaviour and the effect it has on you.

Golondrina Wed 27-Dec-17 15:29:24

Mine is/was an engulfing narcissist as a pp says. She can be lovely and although I knew she was "highly strung" and had had "a hard life", I always thought of us as close growing up, unusually so, but then that's becasue it's an engulfing love. Problems started in my early twenties when I moved abroad. She has to be the complete centre of my life to th detriment of my husbad and even my kids. After a series of blow ups and her getting increasingly mental, we have now been NC for 3 years.
I know I will never ever speak to her again (she's of the "you are dead to me" school of narcs), but I'm quite happy with that. It's always been there, she just hid it better and had other things to distract her when I was younger, the self absorption hs got worse and she can't cope with any competition for my affections or the fact that I am a grown up and not an extension of her.

You can try Grey rock and LC, but with someone like this, as sea says, if they can't change they'll rail against that and you'll possibly end up NC in the long run. Not easy but much more peaceful.

It's a hard road, having a mother like this.

Golondrina Wed 27-Dec-17 15:30:08

I use narcissist as shorthand, she's not been diagnosed. But she has many many narcissistic traits.

MammaAgata Wed 27-Dec-17 15:36:10

I could be @Unicorn81’s twin sister with the list of traits.. apart from getting into debt.. my mother is wealthy. I’m NC now since Dec last year when her behaviour started to seriously effect my mental health and as a consequence my marriage, work, relationships with friends etc. All of my siblings are no contact. It’s easier and slowly slowly I’m coming to terms with the fact she’ll never be the ‘mother’ anyone would want. I’m extremely lucky to have family and friends that fully support me (in fact, in some cases reiterate that i must stay NC!). I’ve had quite a lot of therapy, not sure it’s helped but going NC certainly did..

99balloonsandproblems Wed 27-Dec-17 15:37:43

I sort of have the inverse problem. I know instinctively my mum was a rubbish mum and I have an anxiety disorder as a result, but she's got a bit better with age, so I find it very muddy to try and unpick what she was actually like as a child. Not least because I'm in my thirties and can't remember, but also because her narcissism presents really in the absence of things: she never told me she loved me, never expressed physical affection, didn't engage in conversation much at all, and so on. So it's hard to remember anything concrete.

I think all you can do is trust your own judgement and know also that as a child you do lack the awareness to step back and think 'what a horrible thing to say!' or whatever as that objectivity is an adult trait. My mum's behaviour may have improved with age but I can see so clearly her faults the older I get so it wouldn't surprise me if you just thought it was normal as a child.

Openup41 Wed 27-Dec-17 16:40:06

My dm is a narcissist. I realised this when in my thirties. As a child and teen I felt uncomfortable and never ever good enough. I was called names about my appearance. I was called clumsy as I had a lack of awareness about space. My dm manipulated me, insinuated I was not liked by my friends whereas my sibling was adored by hers.

I am the black sheep, my sibling being the favoured one. I have accepted this now but try to limit being with them for long periods of time. At Easter and Christmas my anxiety is through the roof at having to spend time with them. Everything is about them - nothing is about me or my family. I feel like a nobody when in their presence. If they compliment my dc it is because of the connection they have with them as oppose to them just bring cute or talented.

I have had depression for over 30 years and their behaviour certainly contributed.

Stillme1 Wed 27-Dec-17 16:55:33

I would also point out that some daughters have some very bad attributes. Nothing actually happens changes about a person when their child becomes an adult.
If any person is treating another person badly it is probably best to get away from that person
Don't be unrealistic though there are constant complaints on here about Narc mothers. Daughters can be as bad as any of the mothers who are accused of being narc on here.

Golondrina Wed 27-Dec-17 18:06:04

I'm not sure I understand your point, still? There are lots of people with horrible mothers but because some daughters are horrible, what?

Golondrina Wed 27-Dec-17 18:08:37

And I would disagree that "nothing changes about a person when their child becomes an adult". My mother got worse and more controlling as I reached adulthood/independence, same with my brother. She can't cope with us being actual people as opposed to extensions of her, so things got worse and worse as we gradually (naturally, as part of the process of growing up) moved away and out of her immediate sphere of influence. Quite dramatically in fact, but that's a long story.

MammaAgata Wed 27-Dec-17 18:11:29

@stillme1, yes whilst all that might be true this thread is about narc mothers. I’m sure there’s a whole other thread available for toxic daughters.. highly inappropriate of you to High jack this thread blaming daughters doncha think? confused

Golondrina Wed 27-Dec-17 18:13:53

There's always one, every single thread.

MammaAgata Wed 27-Dec-17 18:14:01

When most of us already feel totally shit, unworthy, unloved and nasty human beings.. ffs..

Eryri1981 Wed 27-Dec-17 18:38:29

I would strongly recommend this book, it will give you more of an idea of the many guises, and the continuum of severity of abuse from narcissistic mothers. It helped me a huge amount in understanding my childhood, understand my mum and looking forward to being a mother myself. After a fair amount of counselling this book really wrapped things up for me, and allowed me to make sense of everything that the counselling had churned up.

Thehogfather Wed 27-Dec-17 18:46:36

I privately think mine is. As a child I believed what I was told, that any vile treatment was deserved because I was a horrible child therefore the only one treated that way. Burdening a young child with your problems I also thought was the norm if the child was the cause of them like me. I believed normal parents were a Disney myth and behind closed doors all mothers were like mine if dc were horrid/ ugly/ weird/ nasty like me. Dc with nice parents were clearly nice kids like my siblings.

I do remember a girl from an activity, she was morbidly obese which was shockingly rare at the time, low achieving, and had some other physical attributes & habits which most people wouldn't describe as desirable. With adult hindsight she had sn of some sort. But at maybe 7/8 I was puzzled and fascinated as to why her parents clearly adored her. As my mother so kindly pointed out if that was her child she'd slap it/ not take it in public etc, basically a child no parent could want. Like me. But her parents treated her like a normal nice child and it confused the fuck out of me, I thought she was maybe magic or her parents were a bit mad. Luckily I was soon set straight and told if her parents really loved her they would frequently point out her flaws for her benefit.

Otherwise I was in my teens when I realised it wasn't all deserved, and her precious feelings could fuck off. Partially exposure to normal families, partly because I read to escape and broadened my knowledge of normal behaviour that way. The logical part of my brain knew that I wasn't any of the things I was told but experience overruled fact a lot of the time.

Having my own child was the light bulb moment, when I finally accepted it was never my fault and the problem was entirely hers.

Stillme1 Wed 27-Dec-17 19:15:38

I am just trying to balance the debate. Mothers are not the only persons who can be narcs. All sorts of people will try to control us in life. Claiming that only mothers can be accused is not seeing a whole balanced situation.
Making comments about me trying to look at this from a different view point only shows that the PPs have no flexibility of reasoning. That is a very narrow view

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