Confronting a toxic parent....

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Lunar Lady

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#1
My heart always goes out to anybody who posts on this forum about dealing with a toxic parent. I grew up with an extremely volatile, narcissistic mother and I know first-hand how you can end up with a sense of worthlessness and self-hatred as they project all their failings onto you.

I had reached a place of peace and understanding about my mother many years ago but yesterday she was verbally abusive towards my eleven year old son. She told him he was hopeless...stupid...gormless...would never amount to anything...all because he couldn't find his school shirt which she herself had removed from the place it was left in...all delivered in a red-faced rage that I remember so well. We had been staying with her and this took place before I had to drive him to school. I told her to stop verbally abusing my son and to control herself like an adult before I left with him. We didn't go back and I didn't trust myself to deal with this calmly without some cooling off time.

This morning, I dropped my son to school and went to see my mother. She was as sweet as honey until I broached the subject of yesterday and told her the way she spoke to him was toxic and destructive. She defended her behaviour as 'discipline' and told me she could behave any damn way she wanted in her own home. I told her how afraid and hurt he had been and this was dismissed as exaggeration...making a fuss about nothing...before escalating into a tirade of abuse directed at me.

After a foul argument she has decreed that she never wants to see me again...doesn't want to see that "fucking son of mine" ever again and told me that I am mentally unbalanced...I make up the past, none of it ever happened....I'm a bad tempered bitch who has no right to shout at her....etc.

And the anger and frustration is there again - everything she ever did and said over the years is flashing up in my mind. And you feel impotent because your emotions and the truth is NEVER acknowledged because your narcissistic parent is remaining blameless and faultless, as they always do.

It saddens me that my parent would rather lose her daughter and grandson than apologise or take any responsibility for her own behaviour. She would prefer to cut us dead and (in her mind) maintain control than say "I'm sorry - I shouldn't have said those things."

I wonder - when they re-write history and erase all the harm they cause - do they really believe their own lies? So sad.
 
E

EstherRose94

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#2
My grandmother had an abusive mother and she pretty much kept us away from her. She’d come on Christmas. Grandma took care of her moms nursing home setup and stuff and got her adopted sibling into assissted living for young adults. She still comes at holidays. But for the most part my grandma didn’t go out of her way to bring her mom around us and it was totally fine. You become the matriarch of the family and make it better. My gma is so sweet and kind and has instilled her values in us and thankfully I didn’t learn about great gmas very different world view until I was older.
 
L

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#3
My grandmother had an abusive mother and she pretty much kept us away from her. She’d come on Christmas. Grandma took care of her moms nursing home setup and stuff and got her adopted sibling into assissted living for young adults. She still comes at holidays. But for the most part my grandma didn’t go out of her way to bring her mom around us and it was totally fine. You become the matriarch of the family and make it better. My gma is so sweet and kind and has instilled her values in us and thankfully I didn’t learn about great gmas very different world view until I was older.
Bless you Esther for replying.

I am very much the matriarch - my mother is 84 and dependent on me for transport, cooking and company. She has been a widow for twenty years, with no friends or family in contact except me and she doesn't drive. I have purposefully kept her involved with our life and my son has no other family in this country aside from her. This is what saddens me - that she would rather 'cut off her nose to spite her own face' as the saying goes, than admit wrongdoing. My mother has never apologised in her life ...that's quite an achievement!
 
B

baileys

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#4
I have a narcissistic mother. In my experience, there is no point in confronting and arguing with them because as far as they are concerned they are always right about everything. There is some good reading on the net about how to handle them, it might help you. I gave up on mine about 4 years ago, I had had enough
 
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Lunar Lady

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#5
I have a narcissistic mother. In my experience, there is no point in confronting and arguing with them because as far as they are concerned they are always right about everything. There is some good reading on the net about how to handle them, it might help you. I gave up on mine about 4 years ago, I had had enough
Sorry to hear you've had the same parenting experience. :hug:
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

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#6
My opinion is that sort of behaviour can be quite damaging, and yet she appears to be unable to see it?
 
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Lunar Lady

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#7
My opinion is that sort of behaviour can be quite damaging, and yet she appears to be unable to see it?
She knows it's damaging. Just never accountable for her own actions - never says 'sorry' or can ever be wrong......
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

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#8
I guess the phrase "family, can't chose them" comes to mind... I guess as long as your son doesn't take it to heart, is the main thing...
 
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Coolname

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#9
I wonder - when they re-write history and erase all the harm they cause - do they really believe their own lies? So sad.
She knows it's damaging. Just never accountable for her own actions - never says 'sorry' or can ever be wrong......
Amazing how different yet the same my own mother is. She prefers to play the victim or be disruptive in public than throw a tantrum these days, ever since my reaction to her getting angry was to leave. I keep contact down to a couple of times a year and maintain strong boundaries, if she tries to get onto subjects that either needle me or may be a source of ammunition I point blank refuse to answer. I never really thought of her as having a PD but the parallels with the stories I hear of NPD mothers are too numerous to ignore.
 
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Lunar Lady

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#10
Amazing how different yet the same my own mother is. She prefers to play the victim or be disruptive in public than throw a tantrum these days, ever since my reaction to her getting angry was to leave. I keep contact down to a couple of times a year and maintain strong boundaries, if she tries to get onto subjects that either needle me or may be a source of ammunition I point blank refuse to answer. I never really thought of her as having a PD but the parallels with the stories I hear of NPD mothers are too numerous to ignore.
Coolname, do you mind me asking - how instrumental do you think your experiences with your mother have been to your mental health? Please don't reply if you don't want to... xx
 
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Coolname

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#11
That is hard to say. She certainly looms largest in my mind but my father was as disturbed and outright nasty in his own way, older siblings too. Strange and terrible house to grow up in.

I once overheard some lads talking about a friend of theirs. One said that if his parents treated him like that he would have killed himself. Things like that are a useful reminder that the environment too many of us grew up in was abnormal.
 
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Lunar Lady

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#12
That is hard to say. She certainly looms largest in my mind but my father was as disturbed and outright nasty in his own way, older siblings too. Strange and terrible house to grow up in.
So sad to hear you had two to contend with. :hug:

My father was passive, mild-mannered and sweet. Unfortunately, totally ineffective in protecting us from her.
 
sadpunchingbag

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#13
seen quite a few similar posts i will link this video it helped me like so much please watch i am sure you will get massive value out of this video

 
L

Lunar Lady

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#14
seen quite a few similar posts i will link this video it helped me like so much please watch i am sure you will get massive value out of this video

Thank you for that. :hug:

To be honest, I'm well-versed and practised on dealing with her but witnessing her bully MY child threw the book out of the window and brought my own childhood flooding back. I called her out on it - explained exactly WHAT she was doing and WHY she was doing it and verbalised in no certain terms how much it disgusted me. Head on with a narcissist is ill-advised - but my dignity is intact and my child was defended and protected.

She has been undeservingly fortunate to have a daughter and the sweetest grandson that visit daily and give her love and a family life. Everybody else closed the door on her years ago. I've nursed her through cancer and a broken hip and assumed the role of unpaid carer to keep her living independently in her own home. How she treats me is 'water off a duck's back' - I take the rough with the smooth and just accept her for what she is. Tearing into an eleven year old innocent because it makes her feel good to vent and gives her pleasure to see his tears and shoulders sag in misery sickened me and I met her blue-faced rage head on.

Any sort of remorse or personal epiphany on her part will probably never come - but she can watch that door as long as she likes because neither will we. My son is my life - not her. My dad left her pots of money and a big, comfortable home all paid for. She can amply fund any care she needs.

Ironic that we spend years studying and trying to understand their ways and motives and moods whilst ours mean nothing to them.
 
G

Girl interupted

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#15
Here’s the thing. You have all the power in this relationship, and she has none. You can choose when to go see her, and when not to.

If she can abide by your rules and be composed, then she gets to visit with you and your dear son. If she cannot, then you will need to cut her off until she can do so.

You recognize that she is mentally ill and sometimes will have zero clue that her behaviour is not appropriate. But if you physically get up and get out the minute she “turns” you will start to condition her on a very base level to recognize that her behaviour is unacceptable. And it is. This goes for all types of communication ... phone, email, etc. You don’t have to be rude, just firm. “I’m sorry, but I have to go”

Your son comes first. Always.

She needs to learn that’s it’s a privilege for her to spend any time with him (and you). And you need to recognize that there are things you can do, like leaving, that will empower you.

We know with NPD parents that getting distance is sometimes the kindest thing we can do.

I’m so sorry this happened. You have enough on your plate at the moment. Xo
 
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JasonR28

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#16
My grandmother was narcissistic and it messed me up. I lived there and her attitude was always that it's her house, her rules and shes always right.

My mother lived there too and she was disabled. Any advice I tried to give my grandmother was dismissed. Any opinion I had that might have been different to her's was brushed aside as nothing and I was never considered in anything.

She used to get angry with my mother at times and hurt her verbally or by grabbing her arm hard. I would try and defend my mum and my grandmother would then retaliate towards me. After, when I tried to make peace and resolve the situation it never happened because my grandmother was always in denial. How it's not her fault, how she hasn't done anything wrong and it's all me.

She was also very manipulative and got away with everything. Outside the home with people she saw such as when accompanying my mum to the doctors, she painted this picture of being a kind, caring elderly lady who dedicates her life to help her daughter. So when I tried reporting the abuse people simply wouldn't believe me.

In fact what happened over the years with her living in her bubble of always being right and it's me who's to blame and is the problem, is she would paint a picture to other people that I cause them grief and trouble.

I will admit that during my last few years living there I couldn't take it anymore and when an incident happened, I'd fly off at her calling her a bitch, swearing at her, even saying I hope she develops cancer and dies....

Not nice to say right? But it's no wonder I did. She was abusing my mother who naturally I will defend, even by saying 'just stop it, shes terminally ill'. My grandmother would then take it all out on me, call me all sorts and it was the combination of that abuse and knowing nobody believes me that pushed me too far.


I don't live there now, which was the only way to get away from her ways.



What I have come to realise is she will never ever change. She will never say sorry for anything (I don't think she knows how to). Heck, in her mind I don't even believe she thinks she's ever done anything wrong.

She is my last living family member and I do see her very rarely. Mainly because I do have a heart and I guess in some ways I feel sorry for her about how she's that sort of person and lives alone with nobody ever to visit her.

That's the only way to get through it, by distancing myself and fully accepting she is who she is and won't ever change. When I visit her it's in very small doses and I simply just don't express any view or opinion of anything.

I let her live how she wants, hear what she has to say and respond to her completely agreeing with her weather I really do or don't.
 
L

Lunar Lady

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#17
Here’s the thing. You have all the power in this relationship, and she has none. You can choose when to go see her, and when not to.

If she can abide by your rules and be composed, then she gets to visit with you and your dear son. If she cannot, then you will need to cut her off until she can do so.

You recognize that she is mentally ill and sometimes will have zero clue that her behaviour is not appropriate. But if you physically get up and get out the minute she “turns” you will start to condition her on a very base level to recognize that her behaviour is unacceptable. And it is. This goes for all types of communication ... phone, email, etc. You don’t have to be rude, just firm. “I’m sorry, but I have to go”

Your son comes first. Always.

She needs to learn that’s it’s a privilege for her to spend any time with him (and you). And you need to recognize that there are things you can do, like leaving, that will empower you.

We know with NPD parents that getting distance is sometimes the kindest thing we can do.

I’m so sorry this happened. You have enough on your plate at the moment. Xo

Totally agree with you, GI.

She vented her rage on him at the beginning of last year. We didn't put a foot in her house for four months - I collected her twice a week to have a meal with us in our home - the territory being key - she had to behave and couldn't leave independently.

She is capable of being witty, charming, warm and funny when it suits. This makes it harder, in some ways - a good run with her for a few months and you relax and let your guard down.

We can usually sense the mood change in her and I've made many a sharp exit sensing what might come. As you say, nothing conveys the message more strongly than pulling on shoes and leaving. xx
 
L

Lunar Lady

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#18
My grandmother was narcissistic and it messed me up. I lived there and her attitude was always that it's her house, her rules and shes always right.

My mother lived there too and she was disabled. Any advice I tried to give my grandmother was dismissed. Any opinion I had that might have been different to her's was brushed aside as nothing and I was never considered in anything.

She used to get angry with my mother at times and hurt her verbally or by grabbing her arm hard. I would try and defend my mum and my grandmother would then retaliate towards me. After, when I tried to make peace and resolve the situation it never happened because my grandmother was always in denial. How it's not her fault, how she hasn't done anything wrong and it's all me.

She was also very manipulative and got away with everything. Outside the home with people she saw such as when accompanying my mum to the doctors, she painted this picture of being a kind, caring elderly lady who dedicates her life to help her daughter. So when I tried reporting the abuse people simply wouldn't believe me.

In fact what happened over the years with her living in her bubble of always being right and it's me who's to blame and is the problem, is she would paint a picture to other people that I cause them grief and trouble.

I will admit that during my last few years living there I couldn't take it anymore and when an incident happened, I'd fly off at her calling her a bitch, swearing at her, even saying I hope she develops cancer and dies....

Not nice to say right? But it's no wonder I did. She was abusing my mother who naturally I will defend, even by saying 'just stop it, shes terminally ill'. My grandmother would then take it all out on me, call me all sorts and it was the combination of that abuse and knowing nobody believes me that pushed me too far.


I don't live there now, which was the only way to get away from her ways.



What I have come to realise is she will never ever change. She will never say sorry for anything (I don't think she knows how to). Heck, in her mind I don't even believe she thinks she's ever done anything wrong.

She is my last living family member and I do see her very rarely. Mainly because I do have a heart and I guess in some ways I feel sorry for her about how she's that sort of person and lives alone with nobody ever to visit her.

That's the only way to get through it, by distancing myself and fully accepting she is who she is and won't ever change. When I visit her it's in very small doses and I simply just don't express any view or opinion of anything.

I let her live how she wants, hear what she has to say and respond to her completely agreeing with her weather I really do or don't.
I'm so glad you don't live with her.

It must have been horrible watching her bully your mum :hug:

I don't blame you at all for shouting back - 'giving as good as you get' stops you being a victim and levels you as an equal adversary. Never have any guilt over that.

The way you handle her now is smart and healthy - well done you.

Sounds as if you have her in the right perspective Jason - she has no power over you now. You should be proud of yourself xxx
 
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Coolname

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#19
Just read this, wanted to share. Source
I can't say my mother ticked all the boxes because she didn't do personal success outside of men. There was a lot of Histronic behaviour and other stuff too but the rest of the article is uncomfortably familiar.

'These mothers steal their kids’ childhoods, identities and future healthy relationships. They will keep on taking and sucking the life out of their children for as long as they live, if their children allow it. It is incredibly difficult and painful to acknowledge that your mother never loved you without blaming yourself — she raised you to blame yourself for everything. But it is necessary to put the blame where it rightfully belongs in order to insure that this insidious disorder isn’t perpetuated generation after generation.'
 
L

Lunar Lady

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#20
Just read this, wanted to share. Source
I can't say my mother ticked all the boxes because she didn't do personal success outside of men. There was a lot of Histronic behaviour and other stuff too but the rest of the article is uncomfortably familiar.

'These mothers steal their kids’ childhoods, identities and future healthy relationships. They will keep on taking and sucking the life out of their children for as long as they live, if their children allow it. It is incredibly difficult and painful to acknowledge that your mother never loved you without blaming yourself — she raised you to blame yourself for everything. But it is necessary to put the blame where it rightfully belongs in order to insure that this insidious disorder isn’t perpetuated generation after generation.'
Great quote and link, Coolname - thank you. x
 
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