Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

For those with narcissistic parents - care to join me?

(162 Posts)
roseability Wed 18-Nov-09 13:28:55

How have you come to peace with this situation, knowing they will never be able to give you normal family love?

How do you keep an emotional distance and protect yourself?

Should they be allowed access to your own children?

Are they abusers?

TheArmadillo Wed 18-Nov-09 18:08:50

I think my mother may have some narcissitic traits.

WRT how have you come to peace with this situation. I don't know. I have come to terms with the fact they are never going to behave the way I want them to and for my sanity I have to keep my distance. That's about the best I can manage. I do have fabulous ILs and friends which helps. It means I do get support and also reassurance that I am not unlovable.

I have cut of contact with my parents temporarily for now. I don't think it will make any difference in the long run in their behaviour but it is to protect me. When I was seeing them I didn't tell them anything about my life and not letting them give me anything or do anything for me. I tried to keep contact to a minimum however they wouldn't accept this, hence cutting them off was my only option.

WRT to ds. I am worried about how they will treat him in the future, especially once he goes through puberty (he is 5yo so this is a bit far off). Also I don't like them seeing him unaccompanied because they will do things behind my back (like take him to see people I don't think are safe) and/or refuse to return him. They have done both of these before. So if I have no contact with them, then neither does ds.

My parents were abusers in that my dad was physically violent (though not lifethreateningly so) and my mum is very overcontrolling and nasty.

drlove8 Wed 18-Nov-09 19:16:21

ive cut both mine out of my and my childrens lives.... its the only way to go tbh. the constant critisisms and nasty comments were unbearable.... i do not want that type of person(regardless of who they are) around my children/ influencing my children.
Sometimes i cry about not having grandparents for my kids, but then i remember its a question of self preservation...
I did not deserve the parents i have had (as i have been told many many times wink).... so now i dont! grin .
Sometimes my older kids ask about why we dont see them, i try to be as tactful and honest as i can with them without disclosing to much of the bad stuff.... and i have always told them that if they want to have a relationship with their grandmother/grandfather then they can when they are an adult and be able to handle them.

roseability Wed 18-Nov-09 21:55:25

I too have fabulous ILs and friends and just want to concentrate on them along with my own beautiful family (have dh and two dcs)

I am in counselling and just want to 'let go' and to stop longing for what is never going to be. To grief for it and move on

roseability Wed 18-Nov-09 21:55:51

sorry 'grieve' for it

Vivia Wed 18-Nov-09 22:39:44

Could you please describe for me what narcissistic behaviour actually involves in this context? I think MIL might have this disorder.

mitfordsisters Fri 20-Nov-09 15:27:32

It's a collection of traits that sort of equates to how a normal 6 year old might behave, but inappropriate for adults. They are not really in touch with themselves so don't have personal preferences and opinions, but adopt beliefs rigidly from those they think of as authority figures.

They will diminish you whenever they feel inadequate. They will never consider you an equal, so will either look down on you or cut you down to size. They require constant praise as they feel empty.

They can be obsessed with personal appearance, academic achievement or sexual attractiveness; in themselves and others.

Bad signs are:

* History of broken relationships
* Never apologise or admit responsibility
* Do not know basic facts about close family members eg ages, names of pets
* Gifts they choose are disappointing
* Subject to rages
* No empathy for anyone except themselves
* Feeling of 'walking on eggshells' when you are near them

loupiots Fri 20-Nov-09 16:12:28

It's v.v. difficult dealing with narcisisstic parents, mostly because they are the antithesis of everything (I think) parents should be. The world, and all in it, is relentlessly, unremittingly about them. You have to learn as an adult that you are entitled to a voice as well.

IME, they constantly move goalposts so you feel you are on shifting sands and have no idea how to please them. The truth of course, is that you cannot please them and stay anywhere near sane. They will bleed you dry of emotion, time, energy and hope.

I'm not sure you ever "come to peace", but you can learn to live with it, if you want to.

I have no expectations of my mother at all. None. I have learnt to stop wanting to please/appease her and to conduct the relationship on my terms.If she starts with the madness, I walk away and re-enter at a time of my choosing.

I am vigilant and stingy about her access to my son, (not that it is difficult,she doesn't actually want to see him, she just wants to boast to others about what an outstanding grandmother she is. He doesn't exist to her as someone in his own right, he's a cipher), and ensure that she cannot develop a relationship with him that can harm him. For example, she has never, (and will never), been left alone with him.

I would cut contact altogether, but it is difficult on a number of levels. There is a small part of me that would still feel "guilty". As inappropriate as that is, I accept it and work with it, as long as I am no longer damaged by it.

In my eyes, they are dreadful, dreadful abusers and to saddled with one of these types as a parent is awful, as the legacy they leave can be devastating.

cremeeggs Fri 20-Nov-09 16:56:57

Loupiots your post has made me cry. I could have written exactly the same, down to your reasons for not totally cutting contact.

I know I am starting to grieve for the parents I would have liked to have. It's so hard accepting that you've been cheated in this way isn't it.

drlove8 Fri 20-Nov-09 17:35:30

creameggs i know what you mean ,grieveing for parents you would have liked to have. It never goes..[sad<<<<hugs>>>>

loupiots Fri 20-Nov-09 17:52:34

You're right cremeeggs, it is difficult. And it's an ongoing process to let it go, but it is so much better when you get there.

I was so grateful to be free of the manipulations and machinations that ruled my life. And the blessed relief to finally understand that I wasn't any of the labels stuck to me.

Can I give you a very unmumsnet(((hug)))
This stuff is hard.

sparkle09 Fri 20-Nov-09 18:50:19

i dont know if anyone is interested, and i have posted this before (and someone else has) but this website i have found really helpful

i have had no contact with my mother for 3 years, and i never will for my kids sake mainly,

i still think about her alot and wonder what things would be like if she was differant, but she wont be differant and i think i have come to terms with that. and i have a fantastic DP, DC, MIL and my dad and step-mum are in-valuble so i have a good family network so its my mothers loss only.

silentcatastrophe Fri 20-Nov-09 19:23:44

My dad is certainly guilty of Gaslighting. He is a past master of that. He also is so lacking in empathy with family members it is staggering.

We do see my parents, largely because my mother has dementia, and I would like the dcs to know their grandparents in so far as it is possible. My dad is also far kinder to them than he ever has been to me.

I don't know if my dad is a N, but he certainly shares some of the traits, and certainly has something wrong with him. His rages are terrifying and unfounded (leaky biro/bike falling over...)

These days, a lot more people know about his behaviour, and Social Services are aware of him.

I found out recently that he hated me from the start, and would have preferred that I died instead of my brother. From then on, I became a pariah. It's not easy.

The Daughters of N.Mothers website is very good and non-judgemental.

Sorry to sound so like a raging ninny. I think I probably am pretty furious about having the life sucked out of me, and wondering how to live instead of how to die.

Narcissism is a form of abuse. All that power and control and denial, and of course the glory!

cremeeggs Fri 20-Nov-09 21:06:01

that site is great sparkle. has given me a lot to think about.

It would be so hard to cut them out and deprive the DCs of Grandparents but at the same time I feel I'm living a lie (knowingly) by perpetuating the myth to my DCs and world in general that they're normal and loving parents/GPs. it's so hard and even though I can now see what was done to me by them I can't escape from it whilst I continue to see them. sad

dollius Fri 20-Nov-09 21:10:11

"I have no expectations of my mother at all. None. I have learnt to stop wanting to please/appease her and to conduct the relationship on my terms.If she starts with the madness, I walk away and re-enter at a time of my choosing. "

This is exactly what I do, too.

ElenorRigby Sat 21-Nov-09 15:10:30

Thanks Sparkle for that link.
I want to cry today, after 4 years of confusion and frustration, DP and I have realised to our horror that DSD's mother has NPD. It really all fits, she ticks every bloody box. I feel like crying for DSD.
Reading the NPD Ignoring Mother page;
"She didn't supervise our cleanliness even when we were really too young to do it ourselves. I remember (I am so embarrassed to admit this ...) wearing the same vest (undershirt) for months on end. It was literally grey. I must not have had a bath in that time either or I would have got a clean vest.

My hair was always tangled and unbrushed.

She never really paid us any attention unless it was to get annoyed at us.

I have no memories of her playing with us either or spending much time with us.

She never paid much attention to how we were getting on in school. "

OMG it all fits. We've been banging out heads against this brick wall for years now.
All the above has and is happening to DSD. We feel so powerless.

sparkle09 Sat 21-Nov-09 15:26:35

ElenorRigby - thats really sad for you all. i think as long as your DSD will always know she has a strong and stable family unit with you and her dad then she will be ok, at least you are there for her and can now give her support, love and understanding,

sunshineandshowers Sat 21-Nov-09 16:41:06

My brother came up with the best description to describe a N. "Thats enough about me, lets talk about me some more".

Fruitysunshine Sat 21-Nov-09 18:05:02

What can you do when you realise your mother has NPD but her relationship with your daughter is so entrenched that it would almost be detrimental to your daughter to try and reduce contact? The relationship between them undermines my place as her mum and my daughter is constantly put in the middle of us by my mum and I don't know how to stop it due to the strength of their bond.

I have thought it for a long time about NPD but to be honest I really did not want to believe it (even though my other 3 siblings walked away years ago from my mum).

Any advice?

roseability Sat 21-Nov-09 18:15:10

I have a narcissistic adoptive father and a bystander/narcissistic mother

I have been drained emotionally and physically by them over the years and now I am trying to seperate from them emotionally. I have two children.

I am in counselling and I am getting there but it isn't easy. I always felt there was something wrong with my adoptive father. However I could never put my finger on it and didn't feel I could talk to anyone whilst I was growing up, least I look ungrateful or a 'bad daughter'

His lack of empathy and inability to listen to anyone is chilling. His delusions of grandeur about sporting success meant I was merely an extension of himself, to fulfil these lost dreams.

He 'latched' on to someone elses life and took it for his own as he has no real opinions or soul of his own

He bullied me mentally and verbally. Would rage at me and say shocking things.

The only problem I have is whether my children should have contact with them

Miggsie Sat 21-Nov-09 18:32:36

I just read that daughters of narcissistic mothers site...that WAS my grandmother, and that WAS my enabling grand dad...really creepy to have it explained like that.

My granny truly thought she was fabulous, everyone in the family either appeased her, enabled her, or bought into her fantasy of herself.

Except for my mum. My poor mum really did have the MIL from hell. She made excuses for me not to see my gran from about the time I was 13, she kept saying "Miggsie is with a friend so can't visit granny".

I wish I'd had a nice granny, but I didn't. She blighted the lives of all her children, the eldest boy was "the golden one" my dad was the "scapegoat" and my aunt was a person denied an existence in her own right. It completely ruined my aunt's life and into her son's as well.

I would say don't let a NPD grand parent into your child's life.

queenofdenial2009 Sat 21-Nov-09 20:00:21

ElenorRigby has perfectly described my mother and there is so much more I could add.

I stopped having any contact with my full-blown NPD mother when I was 27 (I'm now 40). Up until leaving my abusive and personality disordered ex earlier this year, it was the best thing I've ever done. It took me two years to make the decision WRT my Mum and I was helped enormously by a book called 'When you and your mother can't be friends' by Victoria Secunda (published in 1990, but still available on Amazon).

Cutting your mother out of your life as a daughter is still one of the ultimate taboos. I have only met two other people who have done it and luckily one of them is a very good friend of mine. The ability to talk in shorthand and for them to 'get' it in RL is amazing.

My DD (nearly 5) has never met her and never asks. If she really wanted to, I wouldn't stop them meeting but I would never encourage it. My own personal opinion and I appreciate many people would not agree with me is that it is better for your DCs mental health/understanding of the world that they don't have contact with her.

When I was young, my Mum used to take me to see her Dad every holiday (she's from Europe). She was so terrified and hated it, he was disinterested and dismissive of us and her and I could never understand why she insisted on going. I'm not talking uncomfortable or inconvenient, but trembling, crying for hours afterwards. I hated it as well because it was all so creepy and didn't make sense.

As we got older we heard the stories about how he was a violent, bullying alcoholic and threw my grandmother down the stairs when she was seven months pregnant. My aunt ran away from home as a teenager and ended up living in the US, my Mum came to Britain, I always got the sense there was sexual abuse involved.

My Dad had no contact with his abusive, bullying Dad which is why maybe it's not such an alien concept to me. He didn't find out that he'd died until several years after the fact. Considering my Dad in my childhood and following my escape from my abusive ex, I can see many traits of a personality disorder in him, possibly antisocial. Hmmm, do you think there's a pattern.

We can break that pattern.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 21-Nov-09 20:40:32

I have N inlaws and I have to keep apart from them as much as possible for my own sanity. I will certainly njot visit them on my own any more. FIL in particular has no social graces whatsoever, he also latches onto people to force his opinion on them. He is only really interested in his own self and MIL just enables him and plays the martyr.

I would like to see them both clinically assessed but this will never happen.

faintlyamusedeyebrows Sat 21-Nov-09 21:13:02

Message withdrawn

drlove8 Sun 22-Nov-09 02:55:58

Prime example of why i have cut contact with my mother ,goes back a while , to when i was at school.
i suffered a convulsion after a rubella injection, and was taken ,in an ambulance by school doctor to hospital.
mother arrived at hospital after an hour of being notified off what happened.By this time i was awake and stable and ok. She gave me a row for wasting her time/"dragging her out" were her exact words - and she told the doctors there was nothing wrong with me and that i was an attention seeker.
On seeing me fit again at 16 , she declaired i was on "drugs".which she still continues to tell people. At 20 i was sent by gp for brain scan/tests ,this discovered i have a very mild epilepsy.But according to my mother this is rubbish. So she obviously knows more than the doctors ,consultants and specialists. Funny thing is there are a few epileptics in her family (her grandmother, for one)
And also if you question her statements/opinions then your are evil personified . nice !hmm

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: