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Need some advice on narc mother..


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#1 South Coast

Posted 11 September 2019 - 12:33 PM

And I am still lost on how to deal with her... :(

I will only talk about current situation - there is too much in background to go into detail with all that..

So, my mother's sister (my aunt) has cancer - not yet terminal but she is very unwell and not coping with chemo.  My mother and aunt are about 15 months apart in age so rightfully close.  

My mother has second sister, put the three of them together and they are all over each other - one hates the other, then they are happy again, gang up on each other - love hate all over the place.  My mother loves all this, thrives on it.  With me being her only daughter and just like my father, in her eyes I have no understanding of how wonderful it is to have this amazing female bond - and she uses this against me.  She has even gone as far to say that she has never needed me.. (what kind of mother says that to her only daughter?)

Back to the cancer - my mothers suffering is palpable - and because of it she has completely turned against me.  She is angry, bitter, talks down to me on the phone, when we talk all conversation is top level ie the weather.  Last night on the phone, she said "so how are you? (harsh voice), I said I was ok "OK?  eww ok then!  After all, how could I ever understand her suffering.

I don't know what to do - I cannot stand it, I cannot stand feeling like this as an adult after living through this as a child.

Do I go hard and cut contact and feel like a horrible person or do I put up with this for possibly years and still feel like a horrible person?  I need some ideas on how to deal with this.

(Please don't quote, I will be deleting original post)

#2 AllyK81

Posted 11 September 2019 - 12:48 PM

Look I have gotten to the brutal stage with my Mother. I haven't cut contact entirely but I never speak to her on the phone, don't initiate any contact and only see her for the kids' birthday and Christmas with other people around to dilute her.

I would like to cut contact completely but I am not quite there yet. I do call out her behavior when I see her. I am a mess for days before and days after every time.

Being in your life is not her right as your Mother if she is adding nothing but negativity.

My yardstick if always if she were to die tomorrow would I have regrets? I think if I cut contact completely I would but the current very limited contact I think I can live with.

Good luck. It is such a sad moment when you realize your Mother is never going to be what you hope for. Trust me, it isn't you.

#3 TheGreenSheep

Posted 11 September 2019 - 12:52 PM

OP, she sounds insufferable!!!

Based on your last paragraph, I think you know what you need and want to do, you also need the support and guidance to do it in a way that youre comfortable with.

Firm boundaries - what you will and WONT tolerate
Surround yourself with supportive family and friends who have your back.
Don't be afraid of making the decision
Be prepared to grieve the loss of 'mum' in your life

#4 Holidayromp

Posted 11 September 2019 - 01:16 PM

Just because ‘family’ gives no one the right to treat other family members like crap.

What would you do if it was a friend treating you this badly?

Do whatever you feel like doing not what you think you should do.

#5 Chchgirl

Posted 11 September 2019 - 01:16 PM

My mother is an awful person and narcissist, unlike some in the family , I took the route of her brothers and cut contact,  which I did over 2 years ago. She still tries to get to me through others but thankfully I live very far and never need to see her.

I don't feel like a bad person.  I'm 51 and too old to.put up with this crap. I am a lot happier. Just because people are family doesn't mean we have to put up with toxic behaviour.

Edited by Chchgirl, 11 September 2019 - 01:17 PM.


#6 Kreme

Posted 11 September 2019 - 01:23 PM

My uncle is dying of cancer and my mum is very upset. And as a result she seems to have less tolerance for anyone else. She’s mad at her sister for not behaving on the “right” way, mad at me for having a few issues of my own to deal with at the moment.

I think it’s part of her grieving process. I’m just taking some time out to protect myself, maintaining minimal contact and I’ll reassess after this crisis period is over.

#7 ImperatorFuriosa

Posted 11 September 2019 - 01:37 PM

The difference for me is my narc parent is my dad. The sh*t I had to deal with all my bloody life in to my early 20s just about ruined me. After the birth of my first child at 22 I gradually took him out of my life. I sat myself down and thought why should I have to put up with his bs anymore? Also, I decided I didn't need or want his poison infecting my son and future children. So I cut him off clean. I should've done it years before that. I'm now 39 and so glad I did cut him off. Yes she's your parent, but sometimes life doesn't give us perfect parents and you need to look after yourself at the end of the day.

#8 South Coast

Posted 11 September 2019 - 01:59 PM

View PostKreme, on 11 September 2019 - 01:23 PM, said:

My uncle is dying of cancer and my mum is very upset. And as a result she seems to have less tolerance for anyone else. She’s mad at her sister for not behaving on the “right” way, mad at me for having a few issues of my own to deal with at the moment.

I think it’s part of her grieving process. I’m just taking some time out to protect myself, maintaining minimal contact and I’ll reassess after this crisis period is over.

I hear you!  I agree it might be part of her grieving process - and that is using me as a way to get all her hate out at something -   My poor Dad is also copping it, and its hard for him as he is 76 and been through cancer himself..


I have been through this before - I went out to lunch with my family - the day before my first needle for IVF and she was sooooo stroppy!  She ended up going off in the middle of a restaurant, swearing at carrying on at me - this was because a friend had cancer that she had not seen in over 6 years.  She just hates it if anything is happening to me and will never acknowledge it and that is really hard.... its hard to  know that your own mother won't be there for you in your hardest times.


So thank you for the comments and understanding - I don't really have anyone to talk too although DH has been good...(he finds it hard though).  I could pull back although she is p*ssed at me for making no effort towards her during this time (I have called / made attempts to call 4 x in the last 8 days) but she still gets peeved at me.

Edited by South Coast, 11 September 2019 - 02:00 PM.


#9 No Drama Please

Posted 11 September 2019 - 02:24 PM

I’ve found if you are able to compartmentalise that can help. I just pretty much put them onto a box marked “minimal effort” and leave them there.

So I don’t contact unless contacted, keep conversations casual (weather, children, how important it is to update your BMW every year lol). Never ask for help or discuss any problems, keep any expectations just at base level, same as a casual friend or neighbour.

The hardest thing I found is I’m a bit of a “fixer” so for example if she said oh dear X has happened I’m like omg what happened have you tried XYZ and then you’d get well of course we have, then your dismissed, so you always feel like a child again trying and trying and getting rejected constantly.

Now however, when she says oh dear X has happened, I just say oh no what a shame and leave it at that. There’s no reward for her in me constantly pursuing and her being able to reject, so also found that made life easier as well.

Also if you do back off be prepared for some people to Freak Out because some people are really uncomfortable with the idea that not everyone has parents who are the most loving and important people you will ever have, so brace yourself for some kickback. Good luck!

#10 wallofdodo

Posted 11 September 2019 - 03:09 PM

Is she on steroids? I know my dad became quite intolerable towards the end of his life.

The steroids made him angry and he was down right abusive to my mother.

On one hand his behavior was totally not OK as it was awful
On the other hand, it wasn't really him it was the medication
On a further hand, he was dying, I don't know how I would be probably angry.
ON an even further hand, mum was being abused by her life long partner, who she was soon going to loose.

So I guess what I am saying is cut her some slack, even though she sounds like a terrible mother, she is having a terrible time that you wouldn't wish upon anyone. WHILE at the same time look after yourself. If that means not talking on the phone, its ok.

Also it took mum a while to feel sad after he died, be prepared for mixed emotions if it comes to that.

#11 katpaws

Posted 11 September 2019 - 03:14 PM

I have a (half) sister. My mother ruined any chance of us having a relationship because she played us off against each other for years.

When it came to looking for a nursing home for my mother, with dementia and needing urgent care, my sister was nowhere to be seen, even though i kept asking her what her wishes were (do you want Mum near you etc). My sister won't even contact me to ask where my mother is and doesn't even understand about dementia (she hates me because my mother mistook her for me). I live interstate and had decreased my contact with my mother due to her ill treatment of me and her mental health issues. I dealt with court cases and hospitals etc to help get her settled in a nursing home, traveling several times at my own cost. I cleaned my mother's filthy, rodent and cockroach covered unit with no help from my sister either (my teenage daughter and MIL helped). I found a letter written to me from my mother in the clean up where she told me she wanted to tel me about my father who she knew nothing about but who by the way blew his head off because of me.

She is now in a lovely nursing home. Every time i visit her I am asked if i am the person who took her away from her home and her things and her dog and made her so miserable. And i get accused of stealing her things. Then she will dramatically announce to the people in the room how badly she has been treated. Part of this is dementia, part of this is the person who she really is.  I grew up with her telling me I should have been aborted, everyone wanted me aborted but her so she kept me (obviously she needed a punching bag at the time).

I can't visit her anymore. I've done my best but I can't deal with this. It's over 50 years of abuse and craziness. I've given enough.

At some stage, you have to live your life without this albatross on your back. They just drag you down. They take away your peace of mind. They make you feel guilty for wanting to better yourself or live a good life without their crap. But i say, cut them out. It's hard, you grieve hard, but in the long run, it's better for you.

#12 magic_marker

Posted 11 September 2019 - 04:51 PM

I'm going to be short and sweet. Ok, not so sweet.
The only thing she needs you for is to be her punching bag.
You have the right to not accept such behaviour from her.
We've cut all contact from MIL. We don't need that sh*te.
Good luck and l hope your Aunt does well with her treatment.

#13 alwayshappy

Posted 11 September 2019 - 05:08 PM

Do you have a psychologist or counsellor who can help you extrapolate yourself from a significant, toxic relationship? It's hard work. She's supposed to be your protector, but she is clearly your abuser. It takes time to understand the dynamics of the relationship between a parent and child in a situation like yours. It takes a trusting relationship, practise, perseverence and a good therapeutic relationship to get to a point of disengaging. It would be incredibly difficult to do, and maintain, on your own. It sounds like you know what you've got to do, but you need permission and support to do it.

I hope you find someone who can travel this journey with you. You deserve the best life can give.

#14 ~Bob~

Posted 11 September 2019 - 05:36 PM

I don’t have experience with a narc mother, but I do with a narc father. You have my sympathy, it’s very hard.

You have some choices, and only you can decide what your threshold is. The choices range from establishing firm boundaries, to low contact and then no contact.

I chose low contact with my father, but my mother’s health issues put a spanner in those plans, and I have been seeing him way more than I care to. So I resort to lots and lots of boundaries. I feel like I’m in combat mode and I’m always on the lookout for bullets to dodge and missiles to deflect. I’m not letting him away with much at all. Be prepared for backlash, more emotional abuse and and tantrums if you do this. But hold strong.

I would highly recommend a counsellor to help you on your journey and to help you either choose no contact or establish firm boundaries.

If you want to chose no contact, that’s perfectly understandable. We would never let friends treat us the way our narc’s do. If they did, we would have walked away a long time ago and not given much thought to it. But family is difficult. For me, there are other relationships keeping me there. I think if my parents were divorced (as they should be) I would be very tempted to cut him off.

#15 luckyducky

Posted 11 September 2019 - 06:33 PM

@ katpaws - I am so sorry that you have been treated that way.   Just want to send you hug and tell you that what you have done is beyond the call of duty.  Your mother was so lucky to have you, she did not deserve you xxx

#16 luckyducky

Posted 11 September 2019 - 06:39 PM

Southpost. I feel for you.  Ive been there with my own family members.

Its hard cutting ties, just make sure that you look after yourself mentally and keep telling yourself that you have done the right thing with whatever choice you plan to make.  At the end of the day you either limit intact, or keep being treated poorly.  Only you can make hat decision, but you need to be content with the one that you make.

Just take your time, and remember that most people treat you that way because of their own insecurities.

Keep us posted. xx




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