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How to protect myself and my abuser

(27 Posts)
NarcissisticUpbringing Sun 07-Jun-20 09:44:46

Sounds weird I know. I experienced prolonged emotional abuse as a child and occasional physical abuse by my narcissistic mother.
It was horrific.
I tried many years after leaving home to make up with her but she hadn’t changed and quickly tried to start again initially mocking me and quickly moving on to how she always was so I went nc.

Problem is nobody knows. I never told anyone. People think she’s lovely. She also always told then how awful I was. I never corrected anyone and only dh and my dd knew the extent of the abuse.

The thing is dm happens to be In bad health I’m not even sore how much of it is genuine how much is attention seeking but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Family members and friends keep contacting me to ask about her/what am I doing etc .... I live v nearby to her and nobody else does

Atm her neighbours help her out but I know people are starting to think where the hell am I and it’s clear from some messages there’s resentment they have to help when she has a daughter so close.

What I want to do is avoid having to tell anyone what happened to me as it’s traumatic for me to talk about but it would also ruin her support network and whilst I know I owe her nothing I don’t want to cause any harm to anyone else but people are asking questions and I don’t know what to do as I can see it must look really really odd
What should I do ? I’ve said a few time I’ll chat to other relatives see if they can help but they are miles away and I think everyone must think I’m being horrible. I can’t step in to help her but I really don't want to tell people why

OP’s posts: |
Scabiosa Sun 07-Jun-20 11:33:08


Your post really resonates with me, you're in a really difficult situation. I know you've said you feel you can't help your vulnerable mother because of the abuse she's inflicted on you over the years- but have you considered how much healing you could do if you did step in?
She picked on you when you were vulnerable, but now she needs you. You might be surprised how much stronger and whole you'd feel if you give her what she never never gave to you.

I speak from experience. I now care for my father who is in poor health (renal failure, amputations etc). He was a monster to me as a child and for a large part of my adult life. I have always struggled with feeling of worthlessness- caused by him. After years of estrangement his health suddenly deteriorated and although it was extremely difficult at first I have grown immeasurably just by simply supporting him. He no longer frightens me, there is nothing he can say to hurt me anymore. I show him the love and care he never afforded to me- and it's given me a sense of peace I never got from years of counselling. It's not for everyone but it could work for you

CrazyDaysAndMondays10 Sun 07-Jun-20 11:44:59

Honestly . I am NC with my mum and although I walked away when her health was okay and I have family to step in , I made the decision that no matter what happened I wasn't walking back.

I have thought about that recently with all that is going on and although I know I would be judged for not taking care of her if she needs it , I don't care anymore . My mental health is my priority , and I have to take care of it because she certainly wouldn't . You owe her absolutely nothing . She owed you a lot and she failed in that obligation . You really need no sense if obligation and although the people who are trying to make you feel that way don't know the entire situation , it doesn't change anything ....

Is there one person in your family that you could send a message too .... Something along the lines of "I wish things were different and I was able to be a caregiver for my mum, but we had a difficult , even toxic relationship and after a lot of thought I have realised that it would be too detrimental to myself and my family to put myself in that position?". Just someone who could spread the message to the rest of the family ? You are NC already , they know something has been going on .

Your mum probably isn't the only dysfunctional one you are related too unfortunately . I personally lost my entire extended family when I went NC with my mum .

NarcissisticUpbringing Sun 07-Jun-20 11:48:21

I can’t bring near her makes me really unwell. I need to concentrate on my children and I can’t have her take me away from them as she is so demanding of allowed to be

OP’s posts: |
longtompot Sun 07-Jun-20 11:52:44

We have the same problem with my fil who lives very close to us and is in ill health. My dh and him have fallen out now, and we haven't spoken to him for a while. The neighbours are helping him and I was a bit worried they would be thinking bad of us. I had a general chat with them about some of the things that been happening, and a brief we've fallen out, but no details. I've also told them they do not need to help him as he is constantly knocking on their door.
You don't need to tell people why you aren't helping her, and if they ask, just say they don't need to help her as she can arrange care/help etc. If they want to help, then that's up to them, but it's not your problem if they then feel annoyed by doing so.
I hope you find a way through op. It's not easy dealing with people like this, especially when they are family.

longtompot Sun 07-Jun-20 11:54:56

Just read crazydays post and I agree with the importance of your own mental health. My dhs mental health has dramatically improved since going nc. He was under so much stress and would flip at the smallest things.

Moondust001 Sun 07-Jun-20 12:00:08

Well for starters, I don't think anyone is entitled to ask questions or criticise you - there is no law that says daughters (or sons) are responsible for parents, no matter where they live.

If anyone has something to say to you, simply tell them that nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, you are not in contact and have no intention of being in contact. Leave it at that - you do not owe anyone an explanation. What they choose to do is their business - if they don'[t want to help her then she will have to make alternative arrangements. If they do want to help her then they do so because that is what they want - not begrudging it because you won't.

NarcissisticUpbringing Sun 07-Jun-20 12:02:27

I don’t know why I feel I have to protect the image she has made for herself I fee I should tell everyone the truth but I can’t talk about it as it makes me ill going over it
So she gets away with it i suppose
But I do then worry what do people think of me as I know it looks wrong that I dont help her

OP’s posts: |
user1972548274 Sun 07-Jun-20 12:04:32

You don't have to share traumatic details to tell people she abused you and therefore you will not be getting involved. Or just "past events" if you don't want to name it to these people. You don't even have to justify it to them (people from their own views regardless of what we tell them) - "I am unable to get involved, please stop contacting me" / " due to past events it is not safe for me to have contact with her"... (No apology).

You seem to be carrying a huge burden of guilt still from your abuse. You don't owe her anything, least of all to keep her secrets, or to allow yourself to suffer for her benefit.

If she had given you, as a defenceless child she was charged with protecting, even a fraction of the consideration you are giving her now then you would not have been abused.

One person has shared what helped them, you have said that isn't right for you. Perhaps your healing might come from finally drawing a line where you accept she has made her choices and you can't influence them (no more hoping she changes if you change and trying to "make up"), and that it's not your responsibility.

You might find more healing from no longer trying to protect her at your own expense and no longer being shamed/frightened into keeping her secrets.

You have nothing to feel guilty for.

user1972548274 Sun 07-Jun-20 12:05:37

Can other people's private (and inaccurate) thoughts hurt you?

CrazyDaysAndMondays10 Sun 07-Jun-20 12:08:57

I do get it , you are still scared of her . I closed down my social media , changed my phone number , even moved to feel safe .... But counselling is the only thing that actually broke the fear. The fear isn't rational and it's difficult to explain. .. but it is real . When I stopped feeling afraid of her ... I felt like I could breathe again , I'm telling you I would rather live one year without her than fifty years with her .... . I think that's what you need to focus on , breaking the hold she still has in your mind .

JustC Sun 07-Jun-20 12:11:48

You don't have to protect her image or go into details or care what those people think about you. You can just say you and your mum have issues and you cantget closely involved. That's it and you dont want to ho into details, what they think beyond that is their problem.

MrJollyLivesNextDoor Sun 07-Jun-20 12:15:26

You state 'its clear from some messages there's resentment' and 'people are asking questions'

Are they messaging you/asking you directly? If so, I would go with @Moondust001 excellent suggestion - if anyone has something to say to you, simply tell them that nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, you are not in contact and have no intention of being in contact.

No need to elaborate further, it's nobody's business except yours and your decision if you wish to tell anyone.

There is no need to be concerned about what others may think.

TBH if I was an outsider I would presume that something horrible must have gone on in the past in order for a daughter to not want to be in contact. I certainly wouldn't automatically assume that the daughter was a horrible person IYKWIM.

SteveTheSpiderPlantKiller Sun 07-Jun-20 12:16:18

I think you need to work on not caring what people think of you. You know why you arent helping, is any one else's opinion on the matter really important?

If you absolutely can't bear to be thought badly of then just say, we arent in contact and that won't be changing. Here is the number for social services, if you dont want to help anymore then that is your right.

Bunnymumy Sun 07-Jun-20 12:24:35

You could just say 'I dont want to go into detail but there was abuse. When I went back again as an adult, there was more abuse. So for my and my children's sake I no longer wish any contact with her. I hope you can respect that and keep it in confidence as I like having you in my life. But I will no hesitate to go no contact with more people if mother begins to turn them against me. I suggest you read up on narcissists'.

But tbf, I'm sure you'll find they know exactly what she is like. Because without you there, she will target some of them for the same abuse.

SionnachGlic Sun 07-Jun-20 12:39:27


Does your Mother know that you are being contacted & asked to step in? Are you an only child? Would your relatives in your Mother's family not already be aware that you have nc...from not seeing you together/family gatherings etc?

You should do as other posters suggest, let someone know by text or otherwise that you have no contact & that, unfortunate as it may be, that due to the traumatic past relationship dynamic that you cannot now renew contact. No need for details but enough to let them know it is not selfish laziness that is keeping you away. If it is too difficult for you, ask your DH to gey the message across for you. Altho OP it might be time to address some of these issues & find your peace with it your own mind. Maybe counselling with help free you of feeling being judged or guilt.

If SS get involved with your Mother & contact you (neighbour or someone gives your contact info), please do let them know the real reasons why you cannot become involved.

NarcissisticUpbringing Sun 07-Jun-20 12:39:38

I think what makes it so so hard is as a very young child and I to my teenage years she would be hateful for probably 95% of the time then randomly one day would be nice- not be horrible, not make fun, not hurt me and would maybe but me a little gift or some chocolate and I would see The mum I desperately wanted and needed and then my mind told me she wasn’t all bad so when she was horrible again I became desperate for those good days which so rarely happened that has truly messed me up and I think that why I have the guilt as sometimes she wasnt awful but maybe she was just very clever and It was manipulation ?

OP’s posts: |
Bunnymumy Sun 07-Jun-20 12:47:22

These good days were so if you ever called her out on her bad behaviour she could go 'but I took you out for chocolate. You're such an ungrateful child' ect...

All part of the cycle of abuse.

You are right to stay away.

SionnachGlic Sun 07-Jun-20 12:48:18

You were a young child seeking love & kindness. Let yourself have it now that you are an adult & in control.

Where was your father? Was your Mother able to turn on the sunshine when visitors/relatives were around? Maybe time to get some counselling to help you see that as a child you had no control .

namechange5575 Sun 07-Jun-20 12:48:58

"I don't have a relationship with her, so I can't step in I'm afraid. There is a history of abuse and we've had no contact for 12 years. I suggest contacting the councils adult social care department. Sorry to not be able to help more. I'd prefer it if you don't bring it up again, as any reminders are quite distressing for me. Thank you."

NarcissisticUpbringing Sun 07-Jun-20 12:52:55

I think part of me knows that’s what the ‘nice’ days were but part of me wanted it to be genuine. It would have almost been better psychologically for it just to all be bad days I think.

OP’s posts: |
NarcissisticUpbringing Sun 07-Jun-20 12:54:56

They got divorced and he left when I was quite young
We rarely had visitors and when we did she was always nice. She definitely has a public image and will do anything to protect that as it matters hugely to her that she is seen as the ‘good’ one
Occasionally I would answer back and in a split second she would be in tears saying she was scared of me etc she can switch victim mode on v quickly.

OP’s posts: |
Bunnymumy Sun 07-Jun-20 12:59:27

I think...we cant heal the past by going back to it. Not when abusers are involved.

You have to find a way to make your own closure. To move on from the wounds. Perhaps some counciling would help.

You have your own family now. And you have to protect them. Think of your own daughter...if your mother had been her mother and treated her the way she treated you.

You were just a kid. And she hurt you. Time and time again. And that sort of evil (even though some days it pretended to be good...) doesnt change. It only continues to spread and corrupt and hurt everything around it.

Stay free.

SionnachGlic Sun 07-Jun-20 13:00:41


You neex to steer clear, if protecting yourself now means coming clean, even a little bit to people, as to what your childhood was like so as to get them off your back ...then do it. They don't know or understand otherwise.

Perhaps this inner struggle now is not so much that you feel guilty or conflicted irt to her care but that you want to or need to get these feelings out. If you have necer had counselling, please go now. Tell the neighbours/relatives whatever you are comfortable with as long as it is final & they know not to contact you again regarding your mother.

SionnachGlic Sun 07-Jun-20 13:01:04


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