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Toxic Mother

(346 Posts)
Gampsy Tue 24-Aug-21 22:11:51

Hi All,
This is my first time posting and I would really appreciate your thoughts and comments on my relationship with my Mum. To cut a long story short, my brother and I have spent our lives walking on eggshells with her and she has always tried to play us off against each other. Our children have watched her emotionally abuse us but we have remained loyal and steadfast out of a sense of duty and begrudging love. She is now in her 80’s and since our Dad died she has unleashed her full toxicity on her friends, shop staff and us. She thinks that she can sulk, belittle and abuse us and when we push back she denies everything and says she doesn’t care about anyone and that she wishes she was dead - something she’s been saying for over 30 years when she feels called out on her bs. My brother had Covid and she didn’t even call to see how he was and when I said, imagine something happened to him, she said “well I could die anytime”. I phone her and get her shopping twice a week but apparently her neighbour’s son goes round three times a week!!! She is now not talking to my brother or his wife because she upset them and THEY haven’t apologised to her. I tried today to rationalise with her but she’s adamant she doesn’t care about anyone and I know when i phone her I will get the silent treatment to make me feel guilty. I’m wondering if I should cut ties with her even though I know I will feel guilty but my mental, physical and emotional health have taken a battering for many years and I can’t take much more. If she was an abusive partner I would have walked years ago so why are we allowing her to treat us like this? Please help.

Sago Mon 11-Oct-21 12:54:08

Thank you smileless I count all of my blessings.

VioletSky Mon 11-Oct-21 13:32:14

sago I completely understand what it's like to have people turned against me and also the awful dreams. I always dream about her clawing at my face and she never did use her nails on my face in real life, just my body. I have had amazing support from friends too and when my brother tried to turn my best friend against me she said "Violet Sky has been my best friend for 20 years and I've spent much more time with her than you have, she is not capable of being any of the ways you discribe". I can't tell you how much that was needed because I had been conditioned to think badly of myself.

I'm glad you have peace now.

Madgran77 Mon 11-Oct-21 14:58:39

Sago so good that you can move on having been there for her despite all she had done to you. Enjoy your precious future ⚘

maddyone Mon 11-Oct-21 17:13:24

I’m always amazed by how many people have had this problem with their mothers. I don’t know about others, but my mother is sweethness and light to other people, she always has been. Her behaviour was reserved for myself and my sister, but after my sister estranged her for seven years, she became more careful with my sister. My sister had real mental health problems and she still does, as she had difficult PiL as well, and probably her own difficulties too. I’ve thought about it a lot, and it’s my opinion that our mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and although I’m not a doctor, she ticks all the boxes for that condition. One of the very hurtful things she used to do was compare me and my family, that is her own grandchildren, unfavourably with her friends adult children, or even with my own cousins. I pondered on her behaviour for years, and cried and cried so much, and discussed it endlessly with my husband, and the over riding question in my mind was ‘why would a mother do/say that to her own child?’ I desperately wanted a normal mother, and I covered up her bad behaviour and pretended she was normal. I even wrote on Gransnet a few years ago ‘my lovely mum’ but she wasn’t ever a lovely mum and she’s not a lovely mum now, although a little less abrasive since she relies so heavily on us now. Even my sons don’t fully get it, my daughter does, she’s a doctor and sees straight through her Nana, but my sons don’t really understand, because although she said horrible things about them I tried to shield them from the worst of her behaviour, but I couldn’t shield them completely. And as they were children, they’ve forgotten things too. I asked my son about the incident where she pinned him against the wall, and he’s completely forgotten. But he remembers being called a Nazi child because of his blond hair.
Anyway she’s old now, and in a nursing home, and I do what I need to do, but the truth is that like Sago I’ll never be free till she’s gone. She’s 94 in two weeks time, how long can it go on till I get peace?

maddyone Mon 11-Oct-21 17:15:18

Sago I’m so pleased that you finally feel you’re at peace. You deserve that, so enjoy your freedom. You were never the problem, your mother was the problem. You deserved better, but at least you’re free now flowers

VioletSky Mon 11-Oct-21 17:19:15

For anyone who hasn't come accross this, it outlines all the traits of a narcissistic mother and it helped me so much to face up to the truth. I found it when I googled "why doesn't my mother love me" several years ago and I have come back to it every time I felt wobbly.

Chewbacca Mon 11-Oct-21 17:45:44

But he remembers being called a Nazi child because of his blond hair.

Must have been a common insult to hurl maddyone as that was one of my mother's favourites for my DC too.

freedomfromthepast Mon 11-Oct-21 17:51:36

Oh Violetsky, that is my mother to a T. So many stories I could tell.

maddyone Mon 11-Oct-21 18:14:23

Chewbacca my first thought when I read your post was ‘Oh my God, another one.’ I was actually naive enough to think that nobody else would make such a horrible comment, especially to/about a child. It’s still unbelievable to me that those words came out of my own mother’s mouth, but they did.

Sago Mon 11-Oct-21 18:22:57

Maddyone I think my mother was desperately trying to outlive me!

She was in a home for the last 18 months of her life, her death was sudden but peaceful, the relief I felt was instant, there was no sadness as I had spent years mourning the mother I felt I should have had.

She was 92.

Thankfully COVID meant I didn’t have to go through the charade of a big funeral.

I have understood NPD for the past 10 years or so, she was a perfect narc, I know the problem was her and not me, sadly as a child I thought it was me.

I hope you get your freedom before too long.

Smileless2012 Mon 11-Oct-21 21:33:23

"my mother is sweetness and light to other people" that's how narcissists are maddyone.

It's unbelievable what they are capable of saying and doing. Even when we witness it, it's almost impossible to believe.

I hope you'll be set free soonflowers.

maddyone Mon 11-Oct-21 23:02:59

Aww, thank you Smileless. I know you’ve been through the mill with your DiL and consequently your son, maybe your DiL has personality problems too. I just can’t get over how many people, just on Gransnet alone, have this problem. Sago I have often joked that my mother will outlive me. I hope she doesn’t because I’d like a few years of peace. I continue to do everything that needs doing, including visiting her in her nursing home, but following advice from Gransnetters I no longer go every day, but go about three times a week. I’ve now got to find her a new care home as she can’t stay on where she is now she’s no longer been paid for by the NHS. Her shoulder is healed and she has to go back to her flat, or to another home. She punished me for going on holiday by saying she can now walk unaided to her en-suite bathroom and so was going back to the flat. She knew I’d panic, and I did. But as soon as she was told she was no longer NHS funded, she realised that she can’t in all reality go home. So we’re search for a cheaper home for her now.

maddyone Mon 11-Oct-21 23:04:28

VioletSky your link describing narcissist mothers was informative. My mother ticks many of those boxes.

Ro60 Tue 12-Oct-21 01:42:06

Same here!!! Never realised it was a 'thing'
I've told my DDs - estranged from each other because of Her - if I ever get like her, just visit me once a year.
Reading the article, I don't think I will though, since I've never been like that so far. So some reassurance there.

Ro60 Tue 12-Oct-21 01:46:26

Gampsy Yes maybe you can give yourself permission to cut ties - your own peace of mind - and life are important - Start Living the life You want to live. ?

freedomfromthepast Tue 12-Oct-21 02:17:26

Sweetness and light is exactly how others describe my mother. I find her fake sweetness annoying at the point, because I know it is not real.

Ro60: I sometimes check articles like that to make sure I DONT have those traits. Which of course means I am not a narcissist.

My own mother tried very hard to destroy my children's relationship with me, which is why I estranged. I am sure she would have done the same to their relationship with each other at some point.

Sago Tue 12-Oct-21 07:27:45

maddyone I’m sure you are aware of the attendance allowance and careers allowance you can claim for your mother, it’s not a lot but does help with the fees, I think I claimed around £380 a month for my mother.

There are a number of not for profit organisations that have good care homes.

Good luck.

VioletSky Tue 12-Oct-21 08:07:00

I also remember doing tests to check I'm not a narcissist. As well as therapy and counselling.

The therapist said that he couldn't help me because I hadn't developed any severe problems, not a narcissist, no personality disorders. He just made sure that I understood that I wasn't to blame and that the depression and anxiety was due to a narcissistic mother. I was already having a break from her, he recommended I keep it that way and sent me to counselling.

Smileless2012 Tue 12-Oct-21 09:57:20

Yes, she definitely has personality problems maddyone and reading how you and others have, and continue to suffer at the hands of your mothers, we do worry about our GC.

It's not even as if we can be comforted by the fact our son is their father. He went along with her and estranged his family, I just hope and pray when it comes to the children, he wont be as quick to enable her.

Good luck with your search for another home for your mum, let us know how you're getting on.

I'm sure you're right that your mum would have tried to destroy the relationships your children have with one another, had she been a part of their lives freedomfromthepast.

ES's wife succeeded in destroying his relationship with us, and apart from his brother, his entire family. It's a good thing he' in Aus. as I'm convinced him being so far away means she doesn't regard him as a threat.

maddyone Tue 12-Oct-21 15:05:20

Oh my goodness, does it ever end? This morning I had a coffee date with a friend. I sent Mum a text saying ‘Just having coffee with M….’ Straight away a text came back saying to enjoy myself. Then a moment later another text ‘I’m beginning to think I shall go back to my flat and buy an electric bed. And have proper carers come. Not companions..’ Did she intend to take the wind out of my sails because I was out enjoying myself with a friend? My friend thinks so. My husband thinks so too.
Anyway whatever her motivation, she still can barely walk, even with a walker. She needs a carer to help her on the toilet and to cream and replace her dressing on her bedsore. We’ve got an appointment at a care home this afternoon that she can afford, and another tomorrow afternoon. We’re trying to get things sorted out for her and she throws that spanner in the works. What is her game?

welbeck Tue 12-Oct-21 16:54:50

i would suggest that you try not to tell her about your personal social life.
imagine you were a social worker, and her the client.
you would try to help her arrange things, liaise with agencies, even listen to her stories somewhat; but you would not share what you are doing in your private life, whom seeing etc.
so keep a distance. a kind of professional, or task-related, boundary. don't give her any information about you.

VioletSky Tue 12-Oct-21 17:20:25

Agree with Welbeck maddyone boring grey rock

freedomfromthepast Tue 12-Oct-21 17:27:56

welbeck is correct. Stop giving her any information about your life. It is sometimes called grey rocking. Be pleasant and discuss neutral things, but never anything personal.

It may also be helpful if you realize what she is doing really is not about you. In my experience, this type of behavior is not because she is trying to ruin your day. It is because she wants all the attention on herself. You having a nice time with friends means you are not attending to her and that is what she is really after. Attention. I suspect that she has learned through the years that you have all been conditioned to jump when she says jump and she thrives on how high.

A great first step would be for you to not text her first when enjoying yourself. She does not need to know what you are doing. You are an adult and do not need her permission.

If you are worried she will text you, change her over to a silent ringtone while you are out. Do not check your texts until you are done enjoying yourself. Then if she asks where/why, tell her you had something to take care of and change the subject.

Ask yourself, what will REALLY happen if you do not respond to a text for a bit?

I do understand your frustration with getting her into a care home. I have been fighting the last 2 years trying to get my Grandmother into one. We finally got her placed last Friday. I think it may be a good many elderly people who resist it and want to stay home. And I do understand that, I would too.

I hope the care center you visit today is a perfect match for her!

maddyone Wed 13-Oct-21 18:50:20

Thank you welbeck, VioletSky, and freedomfromthepast for your very good advice. I will endeavour to tell my mother much less in future. I think I’ve been too free with information with my mother. I’m quite straight you see, what you see is what you get.

We have spent the day sorting out for her today. Sorting out what was wrong with her phone and then visiting care homes for her. My God, they were awful, it’s unbelievable what some of our old people have to put up with in their later years. Anyway when speaking to mum on the phone about the homes and saying the one we visited yesterday was lovely she became argumentative and then aggressive because I said it’s too difficult to take her to see it and when/if she moves there, she’ll have to go in a taxi , the type that can take a wheelchair. No thank you for anything to me, just lots of thanks to my husband.

I’m wondering has happened to Grampsy who started this thread. She did come back but now we’ve not heard from her for a while. I hope she’s okay and been able to make some changes with her mother.

I’m pleased to hear you’ve finally sorted out your grandmother freedom as you will feel I huge lifting of pressure now. Finding a good home is so difficult though, some of the ones we’ve seen were horrible.

Smileless2012 Wed 13-Oct-21 20:27:52

Such a difficult time for you maddyone. There are some awful care homes aren't there, it's quite depressing trying to find something suitable.

You're doing your best to make sure that where ever she goes she'll be well cared for. Not even being thanked must be so hurtfulflowers.