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Narcissistic Mother

(27 Posts)
Jovial Tue 24-Sep-19 14:16:06

Hello there.

I am hoping for some mature advice from others who have a narcissistic mother. I think it is time to cut her out of my life.
To keep it as brief as possible, my mother is a cruel and selfish woman who has destroyed my life and my health. My children refuse to have anything to do with her.
Recently, my mother began to call me daily to scream at me that I was turning her grandchildren against her. They are adults and I can no longer force them to be around her. I also started receiving calls from other family members calling me cruel and accusing me of saying things to my mother and about them that were actually things she said to me and to me about them. I have been accused of using my children as a weapon and told that they will tell my children the truth about me, although I do not know what that is.
This ended up with a hospital stay and an operation to stop a bleeding ulcer which my doctor thinks is a result of stress.
My children want me to walk away despite the risk of losing family members. I have lived a few hours travel away from my family for most of my adult life and the relationships have been distant. I visit my mother often at great expense, she has never set foot in my home.
I am torn. I need to know if it is the right thing to do and what may happen if I cut her off. Are there ramifications from cutting off a narcissistic mother? Are there positive gains to be made? I have searched for answers, but I feel I need a real conversation.

Thank you in advance.


silverlining48 Tue 24-Sep-19 14:59:23

Jovial, sorry to read your Post. Only you can decide what to do about your mother, but am confused that you say you visit her often despite distance and her being cruel and selfish. What you are considering is a big step and one which is hard to come back from.
Has her always behaviour towards you always been like this or is it recent.
If recent could it be dementia? Or some other health issue?
How about writing a letter, sometimes that’s easier than a conversation especially if she is prone to shouting.
I wish you well.

Jovial Tue 24-Sep-19 15:08:20

Dear Silverlining48

She has always been this way. I visit often out of guilt and obligation, after all she is my mother. My brother and his wife live nearby but do not help her as I do. I go down and stay often to help her with errands or to do things she wants done around the house. It's exhausting and thankless.

Smileless2012 Tue 24-Sep-19 16:02:51

I don't have a narcissistic mother Jovial but I do have a narcissistic d.i.l. so can only talk about narcissism from that perspective.

From what you've posted, it certainly looks as if it would be good for you to put some distance between you and your mother and the relatives who she's manipulated into making accusations.

We have been estranged from our youngest son and only GC for nearly 7 years. It's been really hard, especially in the beginning, but as time has gone on, we've been able to appreciate the peace and tranquility that not having his wife's toxic behaviour in our lives has brought.

My advice for it it's worth is as a first step, put down the 'phone the moment your mother becomes abusive and do the same with relatives who are doing the same.

silverlining has suggested writing a letter and I think that's a good idea, a letter to your mother and the relatives who are making these allegations, informing them that you wont be subjected to their behaviour any more and if and when it begins, you will put the 'phone down.

Perhaps you could do the same with visits; the moment your mother becomes abusive, leave and tell her in a letter that in future that is what you will do.

Estrangement is a huge step, one only you can decide for yourself to take or not. The fact that your children are adults and have already made the decision for themselves that they want nothing to do with their GM, means that you wont feel responsible for them not seeing her. Regardless of your mother's allegations, they're old enough to have witnessed her behaviour for themselves and have made their own choice.

It was our son who estranged us thanks to his wife's manipulation and control. He also estranged, apart from his brother, his entire family. I have no idea what, if any ramifications this may have had as the family he refuses to see loved and cherished him for 27 years before he left us.

You though are considering estranging yourself from "a cruel and selfish woman who destroyed (your) life and (your) health".

Maybe take the smaller steps first and try to make your relationship with her more palatable, if that doesn't help, you can always take another look at your relationship and see if there are any benefits to continuing with it.

I wish you wellflowers.

Jovial Tue 24-Sep-19 16:27:46

Dear Smileless2012

It has been 47 years of anguish before my son put an article in front of me that opened my eyes to this anguish. Were there particular traits you noticed with your daughter in law? Perhaps they might be helpful to know.
I do often put the phone down, but it is difficult to leave when travel arrangements are in place. I will try a letter and see if that improves matters.
My children feel that my much younger brother should take over my duties as he is closer and our mother often helps him financially for his wants and needs. His wife is younger still. My health just isn't what it was and it takes a huge toll on me. My mother called 3 times while I was in the hospital to ask when I would be coming and giving me a list of things to bring. I should never have allowed her my mobile phone number. I do not think I remember my mother asking after my health in this time. I am not physically able to answer her needs right now and the stress every time the phone rings is palpable.

grapefruitpip Tue 24-Sep-19 16:31:22

Beware the narc and wills and money. Dangerous people.

Smileless2012 Tue 24-Sep-19 16:44:13

Yes there were with the benefit of hindsight Jovial.

We believed the things she was telling us, how she was being bullied at work for example because it never occurred to us that someone would make something like that up. It turned out that far from being the victim, she was the bully. That's just one of many examples.

We were sent an article about narcissists from a friend once our estrangement had happened, we couldn't believe what we were reading. It was her and we hadn't been able to see it.

You really do need to start putting your emotional, mental and physical needs first, for your sake and the sake of those that love you.

I think your children are right, your brother needs to take over some of your role. Have a chat with him about doing this, say it's due to your health, nothing more than that.

M0nica Tue 24-Sep-19 17:17:19

If she is that bad, change your phone number and block hers and stop visiting.

Seek counselling about why you seem addicted to keeping in contact constant despite her appalling behaviour.

You do not need to be totally estranged just keep contact to a minimum. A phone call once a month and a day visit every couple of months. If she tries to wind you up ignore it and do not bother to respond to any of the nasty things she says.

Treat other members of the family who abuse you similarly. Block their numbers and ring them occasionally (every 6 months or so).

You need to take control of your relationships and stop being a victim when others are unpleasant.

Daisymae Tue 24-Sep-19 17:36:03

She's not going to change. The best you can do is to minimise contact. By your own admission the relationship is making you ill so really it up to you to manage it. Entirely possible for you to save the time and cost of visits. You don't have to take abuse down the phone either. So really it's up to you to decide how to move forward.

rosecarmel Tue 24-Sep-19 17:49:19

Jovial, before deciding to cutoff all contact permanently, you could begin with making some necessary changes yourself by establishing a few healthy boundries-

Starting with your current condition- You've learned that spreading yourself too thin jeopardized your ability and wellbeing, rendering you incapable of maintaining an unhealthy habit- A blessing in disguise- There's no better time than the present to make it known that you will no longer carry load on your own-

It's possible that you've allowed your mother and family members to define you your entire life without you realizing it- Until now- Again, no better time than the present to introduce yourself-

Your mother's behavioral issues are not for you to solve but eventually understand and accept- Which is something you must be able to do in order to determine how near or distant you need to be from her in order to be yourself and not her version of you-

I'm confident that you'll find the strength to do what you need to do for you -

Jovial Tue 24-Sep-19 17:54:20

Dear all,

Thank you all for your messages, I have a lot to think about.

rosecarmel Tue 24-Sep-19 18:00:30

I wish you peace and continued recovery -

Missfoodlove Tue 24-Sep-19 18:29:44

I have a narcissistic mother, now in a home with dementia.

I tried everything and she always managed to find a way back in to my life.

Be careful writing a letter as she could show it to other people and it could have a detrimental effect.

If you go no contact you may lose relationships but if your mother is true to type she will have sullied your reputation with these people anyway.

My mother has told heinous lies about me to many family members, she tried very hard to cause trouble in my marriage too.
She is wicked, cruel and calculating like all narcs.

Concentrate on the people that care and put boundaries in the relationship with your mother.

I wish I had gone no contact years ago but it’s hard when someone is frail and

My mother refused to give anyone POA so when she suddenly became ill and was not able to make decisions I had to sort everything.
I’ve been through the court of protection to get deputyship, cleared and sold her house and spent many hours sorting her finances.
I’ve had to take legal advice as I was being pursued for some of the nursing home fees.
I will not inherit anything but it has cost me lots of grief and stress for a woman who has always treated me as a second class citizen.

Good luck.

Rebellious Tue 24-Sep-19 18:58:47

Narcissism is often rife in some families, enough so that the healthy family members have a skewed perception of normal. So the scapegoats don't have much chance even when they wake up to the truth. Even then they might not wake up to the other narcissists in the family purely because those narcissists have their own scapegoat. As soon as you try to leave the relationship though, you will become scapegoat for every family narcissist. In your case, it was your children who left, (narcissists see their child as an extension of them so your children are seen as an extension of you) and refused to allow the abuse, the blame is still placed on you as the scapegoat.

Narcissists out in the wild do this too, find each other and bemoan their poor victim hood because their child won't come back (to be abused, we know this, they pretend otherwise) and cheering each other on to find ways to abuse their scapegoats even after the scapegoat left the relationship.

So sorry you have had to deal with this. They usually scapegoat the kindest most patient child which makes it all so much worse.

Peonyrose Tue 24-Sep-19 18:59:06

No one can advise you, only you know the true state of things. It's up to you if you want rid of her. Your children can make their own decisions, it's up to the individual.

Starlady Wed 25-Sep-19 21:51:51

Welcome, Jovial! My heart goes out to you!

"My advice for it it's worth is as a first step, put down the 'phone the moment your mother becomes abusive and do the same with relatives who are doing the same."

"I do often put the phone down, but it is difficult to leave when travel arrangements are in place."

Then, IMO, it's time to stop making travel arrangements. It's kind and loving of you to want to help your mother. But considering the abusive way she has treated you all her life, I don't see it as your "duty." And you certainly don't need to visit w/ relatives who are taking her side against you.

Of course, that's up to you. If you feel the need to keep seeing your mum and these other relatives, you may want to continue the visits. However, I would cut back the number or the length of the visits.

One more thought about the phone calls from the other relatives. If they begin to talk about your relationship w/ your mother, I suggest you let them know it's between you and her and is not their concern. If they argue that your mum brought them into it, remind them that's not your doing and hang up the phone.

Please don't worry about their telling your AC (adult children) "the truth." Your kids are adults and have already formed their own view of your mother. Plus, they seem very protective and respectful of you. They are not going to listen to these people who have caused you so much stress. Hugs!

Rebellious Sat 28-Sep-19 16:08:03

I hope that you are doing well Jovial. There are many family estrangement scenarios that can be mended well with time and communication. Narcissists however rarely back down from their position, never admit to any fault other than the normal mistakes in parenting or adolescence that they never clarify. They also rarely seek professional help and leave immediately apon a professional questioning the validity of certain statements.

I hope you understand that if you do estrange it could be a catalyst for huge mental and physical health for you and those close to you.

BlueBelle Sat 28-Sep-19 16:53:19

I don’t like the idea of a letter it may be misinterpreted
I also don’t think you need to cut your mother off completely and cause more family trouble and make you filled with guilt why not just gradually cut back on the visits, phone calls etc get used to it bit by bit slowly if you go twice a week go once a week for a few weeks then go to every ten days that’s just an idea which may be kinder to you and her than cutting out That’s just me, others will think differently

OutsideDave Sat 28-Sep-19 21:12:23

There’s no need to feel guilt. You must put on your own oxygen mask first. Let your brother deal with her if he’s willing and if not- well she’s reaped what she’s sown. The family members she’s dispatched to harass you should be happy to handle her care.

Ooeyisit Sat 28-Sep-19 21:22:05

I had this problem and I put up with it for years . My self confidence was non existent by the time she had finished .I had no self worth and because she told me I was ugly So much I walked with my head down .Then one day she just went a bit too far . I walked and for the rest of her days she wasnt a part of my life . I have just written it all down and the older I am the more I remember . They dont change they make us better mothers .

Hithere Sat 28-Sep-19 21:32:54

"This ended up with a hospital stay and an operation to stop a bleeding ulcer which my doctor thinks is a result of stress. "

If this doesn't give you the right answer- self protection from abuse by very limited contact or cut off-, you need therapy now.

She is happy making you unhappy. If that's a mother, who is supposed to love you and protect you from evil, who wants enemies

Starblaze Sat 28-Sep-19 21:45:43

Jovial you have had some great advice above, and a lot of people have said that it is your decision to make. I really wanted to say this though.

You can trust yourself to make the right decision.

Your children have pulled away, your mother has noticed and is pulling out all the stops right now to keep you in line. I know and understand how that makes you feel and the effect it can have on your confidence and self worth.

Listen to your children and the people close to you who know you best and trust yourself to make the right decision x

Hetty58 Sat 28-Sep-19 21:46:47

Change your phone numbers and limit contact. Make sure that other family members know the true situation from your perspective, but ensure that somebody can contact you in an emergency.

You have to look after your own health and happiness first. Perhaps occasional family meetings on neutral ground, such as meals out or picnics, should be your only way of meeting. I'd avoid going to her home.

Tartlet Sun 29-Sep-19 01:42:12

I don't think writing letters or indeed having it out with anyone is a good idea. I think it would be much better to quietly but firmly begin to reduce contact and see whether that improves the situation for you.

Squibsy Fri 11-Oct-19 10:53:23

Some good advice here - I had a Narc mother (recently died) and I walked away - 'No Contact' from her abusive behaviour over 20 years ago when my kids were small: she wasn't the slightest bit interested in them - I was a terrible flawed mother according to her, and she was 'jealous' I'd managed boys unlike the 'rotten daughters' she'd had.

There are online support groups out there - Google them - but what helped most was educating myself about Narc behaviour (actually, it follows a tediously predictable template). In her case I'd realised there was a mental health issue, but stumbling over the 'NPD' finally made it all make sense!