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    • BlueMini05
    • By BlueMini05 25th Aug 17, 8:38 AM
    • 17Posts
    • 23Thanks
    BlueMini05
    Narcissistic Mother
    • #1
    • 25th Aug 17, 8:38 AM
    Narcissistic Mother 25th Aug 17 at 8:38 AM
    Hello..
    Apologies for what may be a long winded post!
    I've had a troubled relationship with my mum for as long as I can remember. She is an alcoholic and this was particularly bad throughout my teenage years. My Dad is one of the good ones, and did everything he could to get her to sort herself out and keep the family together but it all came to a head when i was 17 and she left the home. My younger sister and I stayed with my Dad. My sister chose to have no further contact with my mum (10+ years now) and feels no regret, but I just couldn't settle feeling a constant guilt so I tried to form a relationship with her which has given me so much trouble over the years especially as during this period she has been diagnosed with bipolar and various other mental health issues on top of having COPD from years of smoking.

    Fast forward to a couple of months ago, she had a bad chest infection that had her on steroids/antibiotics and really not able to breathe. Thats one thing but she went on a manic high and it's just upset the whole apple cart.

    I used to be able to keep her at arms length, a phone call here and there and a visit for dinner every couple of weeks. But now, she has had a fall out with just about everyone apart from me and and expects me to run around after her, plays mind games to get what she wants and makes me feel guilty at every opportunity. This week it all came to a head and we have fallen out.. I started to do research into adult children of alcoholics and all this lead me to narcissistic mothers and she fits the criteria perfectly - it's quite overwhelming to find an answer to all this. I found some past threads on this board of people who have unfortunately also dealt with this and they have been so useful but are now unfortunately closed.

    I realise now, that i am never going to be able to please her... and that I need to change myself because i will never change her. But I don't know how I can manage to do that particularly now she is so physically unwell. (She was in hospital last week needing oxygen - she needs oxygen in the home but they won't put it in as she won't stop smoking).

    It's all a bit of a mess... and the guilt just eats at me. Has anyone ever also been in this position?

    BM
Page 1
    • BrassicWoman
    • By BrassicWoman 25th Aug 17, 9:12 AM
    • 1,564 Posts
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    BrassicWoman
    • #2
    • 25th Aug 17, 9:12 AM
    • #2
    • 25th Aug 17, 9:12 AM
    Yes.


    Get a social worker on the case.




    Then step back, do nowt, keep referring her back to SW. They can arrange meals on wheels, cleaners etc if needed.


    She will lean on you until there is nothing left.


    There are professionals who do this, who won't be eaten up by it. as they are not blood.


    Let them get on with it.
    Jan 18 grocery challenge 105.13/ 150
    • Sicard
    • By Sicard 25th Aug 17, 9:23 AM
    • 670 Posts
    • 594 Thanks
    Sicard
    • #3
    • 25th Aug 17, 9:23 AM
    • #3
    • 25th Aug 17, 9:23 AM
    I had a narcissistic mother but luckily with all her human failings was still a good mum. I'm not sure why you think yours is narcissistic though. Narcissism is more to do with an unnatural love of oneself, ie constant looking in the mirror, having photos of oneself around the house, self portraits etc.You see it all the time on facebook with the 'selfie' phenomena.

    From what you've told us it appears you mum is more self-centred and selfish and probably borderline sociopathic. She perhaps also has low self esteem and is a self-harmer as she's got to the stage where even reliant on oxygen she's unwilling to quit smoking.

    Self guilt is an emotion that most people carry, often unconsciously. It makes the world go round. The best way to ease it is to rationalise and logically evaluate it. Talking to a friend is a good way to do this. Counselling or other talking therapies are even better.

    I had relatives who were alcoholics and it's a pain for those around them. One good way for bystanders to cope is to see this as a game. There's normally three players; the victim (the alcoholic because that's how they see themselves), the persecutor and the rescuer. It's an eternal triangle until the two other players step outside the triangle. Eric Berne sums it up very well in his book Games People Play and I recommend you to read it.

    Don't forget that people's personality disorders nearly always stem from childhood. I'll bet your mum was brought up in a dysfunctional environment or somehow fate intervened in her childhood in a negative way. No one is born dysfunctional, they're made that way by bad nurturing.
    Am proud I only have one sourpuss on my ignore list
    • coffeehound
    • By coffeehound 25th Aug 17, 9:50 AM
    • 1,382 Posts
    • 2,227 Thanks
    coffeehound
    • #4
    • 25th Aug 17, 9:50 AM
    • #4
    • 25th Aug 17, 9:50 AM
    Narcissism is more to do with an unnatural love of oneself, ie constant looking in the mirror, having photos of oneself around the house, self portraits etc.You see it all the time on facebook with the 'selfie' phenomena.
    Originally posted by Sicard
    No, that's vanity. Google 'adult children of narcissists' and you'll see the kind of behaviours the OP describes.

    I had a similar epiphany as you BlueMini05 some years back. Once I stopped bending to her mindgames and made it clear she wasn't able to use implied guilt to manipulate, her behaviour changed overnight from accusations and criticism to obsequious fawning.

    She is still trying to use you because she thinks she can still use guilt to manipulate you. Break that link and things should change.

    If you and your siblings were raised by a narcissistic parent, there is a laundry list of possible symptoms of the damage done. Summers and Summers (2006) developed a comprehensive set of characteristics of children in these households. The list included such seemingly paradoxical traits of carrying hatred toward the narcissistic parent while also parroting the parent!!!8217;s words and views. Parents attempt to block their children's individuation, while children wrestle against their own deep desire to form an independent identity. As an adult, you may experience diminished self-esteem and a pervasive, but unfounded, sense of shame.

    One of the women, Morgan, Interviewed for a book project, shared that she and her sister had !!!8220;split the load!!!8221; in terms of how they played into their mother!!!8217;s narcissistic personality and that this factor is responsible for the most significant conflict between the two of them today. Morgan confirmed, !!!8220;Arguing over our narcissistic mother [is the greatest challenge] as I choose to cut Mother from my life completely and my sisters feels guilted into continuing to care for her.!!!8221;

    This is a normal development in narcissist-parented families, as these parents seek to ensure that siblings are triangulated into unhealthy alliances with the parent. There is generally the !!!8220;Perfect Child,!!!8221; such as Morgan!!!8217;s sister described above, and the !!!8220;Scapegoat,!!!8221; who is the child who can do no right in the parent!!!8217;s eyes and who tends to alienate herself from the narcissist in adulthood. At face value, alienation of a parent who is suffering from a mental illness may seem unnecessarily harsh; however, adult children who do not end the narcissistic cycle through direct action are the ones most likely to perpetuate the detrimental patterns in their own adult relationships.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/lifetime-connections/201611/5-tips-adult-children-narcissists
    Last edited by coffeehound; 25-08-2017 at 11:43 AM.
    • ameliarate
    • By ameliarate 25th Aug 17, 12:09 PM
    • 6,722 Posts
    • 14,396 Thanks
    ameliarate
    • #5
    • 25th Aug 17, 12:09 PM
    • #5
    • 25th Aug 17, 12:09 PM
    I have a sister who is very much like this. She is an alcoholic and almost died a couple of years ago from the damage to her liver. My niece, like you, was constantly feeling guilty and trying to help her. Now my niece has her own children and has been able to take that step away - she has had to really both for her own sanity and the sake of her children.

    It's not easy but it can be done. I hope you can manage it. You have nothing to feel guilty about.
    We don't stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing.
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 25th Aug 17, 3:36 PM
    • 2,725 Posts
    • 6,638 Thanks
    ska lover
    • #6
    • 25th Aug 17, 3:36 PM
    • #6
    • 25th Aug 17, 3:36 PM
    I feel empathize OP.

    My mother wouldn't even visit her own child in hospital, DESPITE walking by in the corridor to get to the ward where she worked as a nurse, looking after other people
    Last edited by ska lover; 25-08-2017 at 3:46 PM.
    The opposite of what you know...is also true
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 25th Aug 17, 6:32 PM
    • 1,734 Posts
    • 1,884 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    • #7
    • 25th Aug 17, 6:32 PM
    • #7
    • 25th Aug 17, 6:32 PM
    I'm sorry to hear this. I don't have personal experience but have worked with people who have.
    I think you are correct that you can't change your mum. It must be hard being able to know when its her poor mental health causing her behaviour or when she is choosing to be that way. I'm guessing she may have unresolved issues of her own.
    I'd try to stick to a routine as much as possible. Visit on set days and get used to saying no if your mum tries to get you to pander to her at other times, unless there really is an unforseen emergency.
    You need to take care of yourself.
    • BlueMini05
    • By BlueMini05 25th Aug 17, 8:02 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    BlueMini05
    • #8
    • 25th Aug 17, 8:02 PM
    • #8
    • 25th Aug 17, 8:02 PM
    I had a narcissistic mother but luckily with all her human failings was still a good mum. I'm not sure why you think yours is narcissistic though. Narcissism is more to do with an unnatural love of oneself, ie constant looking in the mirror, having photos of oneself around the house, self portraits etc.You see it all the time on facebook with the 'selfie' phenomena.

    From what you've told us it appears you mum is more self-centred and selfish and probably borderline sociopathic. She perhaps also has low self esteem and is a self-harmer as she's got to the stage where even reliant on oxygen she's unwilling to quit smoking.

    Thank you for you reply.. I am in the very early stages of realisation, although I do think I am right in thinking she is a narcissist. You are also right though that she is self centred, selfish and sociopathic too. She has also self harmed recently...

    .
    Originally posted by Sicard
    No, that's vanity. Google 'adult children of narcissists' and you'll see the kind of behaviours the OP describes.

    I had a similar epiphany as you BlueMini05 some years back. Once I stopped bending to her mindgames and made it clear she wasn't able to use implied guilt to manipulate, her behaviour changed overnight from accusations and criticism to obsequious fawning.

    She is still trying to use you because she thinks she can still use guilt to manipulate you. Break that link and things should change.



    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/lifetime-connections/201611/5-tips-adult-children-narcissists
    Originally posted by coffeehound
    This has been so helpful thank you. It's so reassuring to know that other people have felt like I do and found a way to deal with it.

    Yes.


    Get a social worker on the case.




    Then step back, do nowt, keep referring her back to SW. They can arrange meals on wheels, cleaners etc if needed.


    She will lean on you until there is nothing left.


    There are professionals who do this, who won't be eaten up by it. as they are not blood.


    Let them get on with it.
    Originally posted by BrassicWoman
    This is the logical thing to do.. emotionally I am not at this point yet. I hope to get there though.
    • Zeni
    • By Zeni 25th Aug 17, 8:26 PM
    • 400 Posts
    • 787 Thanks
    Zeni
    • #9
    • 25th Aug 17, 8:26 PM
    • #9
    • 25th Aug 17, 8:26 PM
    Oh OP that sounds like a lot of have dealt with over the years - I think you have come to the best conclusion in your last paragraph..she is not going to change so you need to in order to help yourself. Look at your sister and how it sounds like her freeing herself has massively helped her life. Can you talk to her about how you are feeling?

    My mother in law is very similar to your story.. some mental health issues and COPD from years of smoking yet she still refuses to quit.. her and my hubby have been in constant cycles off getting on, massive falling out, silence and repeat the entire time I have known him. He has over the years become much better at dealing with it and now is quite happy to walk away and not have a relationship with her. I don't think its easy for him but it is more unhealthy for him to be in that vicious cycle . He has tried everything to help..engaging services and such to help her but she always starts trying to get better and then very quickly gives up and then turns on us.

    You can only help someone so far, at some point they have to help themselves otherwise you will always be leaned on for help. You deserve to be healthy and happy.
    Swagbuckling since Aug 2016 - Earnings so far.. 55.
    • BlueMini05
    • By BlueMini05 27th Aug 17, 4:08 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    BlueMini05
    Thank you all for your kind posts... It's very reassuring that many of you totally external and independent people have said that I should feel no guilt. I need to always remind myself of this.

    i have really had my eyes opened this week - I'm sure I have more learning how to do - and then the task of actioning it but its so reassuring to know I am not alone and that I am not the one at fault.

    I suppose I always thought I could reason with her and sort it out or fix her. But I now realise that I can't. In her eyes she is perfect and the world is against her. It's so complex.

    I tried to have it our with her this week - and I was trying to explain how I felt and she just invalidated everything I said/felt saying things like "it wasn't that bad" "you had it easy" "i was only drinking for a year or so before I left your father" etc etc. She simply chooses to ignore anyone else's pain and feels no remorse. She said "how do you think it makes me feel when you say things like this" - I mean seriously!

    Anyway, thanks all.

    BM
    Last edited by BlueMini05; 27-08-2017 at 4:08 PM. Reason: typo
    • pearl123
    • By pearl123 27th Aug 17, 9:25 PM
    • 1,374 Posts
    • 2,064 Thanks
    pearl123
    Trying to diagnose someones mental health problem via google is never going to be totally accurate.
    How many times does one go to the doctor thinking ones got something wrong only to find it is something else.
    I come from a highly dysfunctional family and you have my sympathy as dealing with parents who are mentally ill or drunk it a nightmare.
    Guilts a difficult one.
    You could try setting out boundaries but the mentally ill/ alcoholics don't seem to care about them.
    The fact that you are the only one who cares says a lot about you.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 28th Aug 17, 10:06 AM
    • 2,680 Posts
    • 4,342 Thanks
    trailingspouse
    If you can possibly afford it, make an appointment to see a psychotherapist yourself. They will help you to cope in a way that is right for you.

    • Tigsteroonie
    • By Tigsteroonie 28th Aug 17, 10:15 AM
    • 22,716 Posts
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    Tigsteroonie
    OP, the information - and forum - on http://outofthefog.website/ are very enlightening
    Mrs Marleyboy

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    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 13th Feb 18, 1:14 PM
    • 4,363 Posts
    • 6,239 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    No, that's vanity. Google 'adult children of narcissists' and you'll see the kind of behaviours the OP describes.

    I had a similar epiphany as you BlueMini05 some years back. Once I stopped bending to her mindgames and made it clear she wasn't able to use implied guilt to manipulate, her behaviour changed overnight from accusations and criticism to obsequious fawning.

    She is still trying to use you because she thinks she can still use guilt to manipulate you. Break that link and things should change.



    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/lifetime-connections/201611/5-tips-adult-children-narcissists
    Originally posted by coffeehound
    This link is not my experience of narcissistic mothers. I had one with the scapegoat, golden child thing going on. What often happens as in my experience is that the mother divides the children and plays them off against each other so that the children fail to have a good relationship with each other. As adults they just don't get on because once away from the mother they become different people. The golden child grows up with a sense of entitlement because they have always been told that they are special and good at everthing. In my case we have the interesting situation that if I am passing close to where my sister lives I will drop in. If my sister is passing close to where I live she doesn't. She was the golden child. We live 120 miles apart so to be passing close you have to be going to the area.

    My mother used to tell me how wonderful my sister was at everything and how bad I was at everything. When my sister was young and well trained by my mother she used to help my mother by telling me how difficult I had always been. Being younger the only way she could have known this was because my mother told her. This kind of thing ensures that the children don't get on. They don't get on when they are adults either because the golden one can't let go of their status.

    I am not sure that someone who has a good relationship with a sibling has had a true narcissistic parent.
    • pearl123
    • By pearl123 13th Feb 18, 1:42 PM
    • 1,374 Posts
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    pearl123
    Have a look on facebook you should be able to find a group for a chat.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 13th Feb 18, 7:28 PM
    • 10,654 Posts
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    lincroft1710
    You do realise this thread is 6 months old!
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 14th Feb 18, 4:53 PM
    • 643 Posts
    • 1,128 Thanks
    BBH123
    To my mind the only person who should feel guilt in the OP's scenario is her mother.


    I would let go and concentrate on your other relationships.
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