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Confronting a toxic parent....

J

JasonR28

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Apr 8, 2014
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140
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.
 
Lunar Lady

Lunar Lady

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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
 
Lunar Lady

Lunar Lady

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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
 
C

Coolname

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Jun 3, 2019
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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.'
 
Lunar Lady

Lunar Lady

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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
 
Poppy2014

Poppy2014

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What is it about narcissistic mothers?
Mine is in complete denial about everything, wants me to contact my abusers (brother) family (grandchildren) and would take him back with open arms tomorrow if he appeared and expect me to go over and see him as if nothing had ever happened. I'm having EMDR for the mess she left behind with that one...

My children are well and truly old enough to understand what she is, even my son who is autistic knows she is not like other people's parents. Like you Lunar Lady, she yelled at him because he hadn't done something exactly like she wanted, unfortunately she forgot about the autism and lack of tact and D was perfectly happy to yell back and tell her if she wanted it doing that way she could f###ing well get of her ar## and do it.

The telephone call that came from that one was quite amusing, she played the distraught grandmother, absolutely distressed by the way she had been spoken to, she had only told D to do something this way. What she really has forgotten is D has a "photographic memory" but for words, he can repeat a conversation verbatim, days and weeks later, it's very useful when he needs to repeat what the teacher said to him and then denied....

It's so bad in our house that when she telephones and her name comes up on the caller list we all look at it as if it was a poisonous snake hoping it will ring off before one of us feels guilty about it and answers. She's got wise to it and now calls on her or someone else's mobile...

This time I made it to 9 weeks before I saw her and that was only because it was her birthday and I felt guilty about sending the kids over with the cards instead of me as she is my mother.
It's quite amusing (sarcastic sorry) trying to find birthday and mothers day cards that aren't for a perfect mum, or someone who is lovely, without making it obvious that I can't stand her, even though she knows (but denies).

Mothers.
 
C

Coolname

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Toxic parents. Can't live with them, not allowed to shoot them in the head. ;)
 
C

Coolname

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Toxic parents.

This thread has really hit home for me, I keep coming back to reread.
Despite my intellectual acceptance that my family was toxic, I still find it so difficult to genuinely accept my parents maliciousness towards me, particularly my mother. I keep making excuses for her as I was programmed to do. I keep pulling the blame back on to me as I was programmed to do. I keep putting her needs (and everyone elses) before mine as I was programmed to do. Not sure where I am going with this post, just wanted to get it out.
 
Lunar Lady

Lunar Lady

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Toxic parents.

This thread has really hit home for me, I keep coming back to reread.
Despite my intellectual acceptance that my family was toxic, I still find it so difficult to genuinely accept my parents maliciousness towards me, particularly my mother. I keep making excuses for her as I was programmed to do. I keep pulling the blame back on to me as I was programmed to do. I keep putting her needs (and everyone elses) before mine as I was programmed to do. Not sure where I am going with this post, just wanted to get it out.
Coolname, my mother STILL astounds me, after all these years.

I have blamed her own, toxic childhood....blamed MH...but when it comes down to it - she's just not a nice person.

Don't wear the blame any more :hug:
 
C

Coolname

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Coolname, my mother STILL astounds me, after all these years.

I have blamed her own, toxic childhood....blamed MH...but when it comes down to it - she's just not a nice person.

Don't wear the blame any more :hug:
Hi!

Thanks so much for your response. You are right. My mother and father had toxic childhoods as did my siblings. Some of us choose to reject the behaviour we suffered, some choose to emulate it. 'she's just not a very nice person.' Yep.

Thanks for putting it in proportion for me.
 
HauntedWitch

HauntedWitch

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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 sounds as if you have PTSD which goes all the way back to childhood --- as I do also. Have you read any literature about surviving narcissistic abuse?

I have done research in this area lately, and it was a revelation that made me feel a lot less alone and crazy about my perceptions.
 
sadpunchingbag

sadpunchingbag

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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.
from what you say you sound like a good person i personally cut the cancer out my life i had moments with a family member cut them out for 7 months then they learn the lesson but end up repeating it some people are just and will always be the same my situation is quite unique but i learned the best way is space spending x amount of hours is what i can handle any more i cant etc is my solution
 
Lunar Lady

Lunar Lady

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It sounds as if you have PTSD which goes all the way back to childhood --- as I do also. Have you read any literature about surviving narcissistic abuse?

I have done research in this area lately, and it was a revelation that made me feel a lot less alone and crazy about my perceptions.
I found huge piece of mind reading Dr Susan Forward's book, Toxic Parents - discovering my situation was not unique - that my mother was a recognised 'make and model' was such a comfort. From there, I read everything online I could find.

I don't think I've got PTSD - she just frustrates me to fury sometimes. I put so much work into dealing with this - my head was screwed up for my teens and twenties - another twenty years of hard graft alone unscrewing my head.

Interestingly, my sibling coped with it in a different way - by leaping on a plane to Australia and building a life there (wife and lovely kids). Contact was kept strictly to one call a year. This year, at the age of 52, he has had a nervous breakdown and begun treatment, counselling and medication in April. None of it was emotionally dealt with. It takes work but that detachment and cut off has to be an internal state, regardless of whether you have contact or not.
 
HauntedWitch

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Contact was kept strictly to one call a year. This year, at the age of 52, he has had a nervous breakdown and begun treatment, counselling and medication in April. None of it was emotionally dealt with. It takes work but that detachment and cut off has to be an internal state, regardless of whether you have contact or not.
So true. I have gone no contact with some people and low contact with others. However, it's as if they are still with me -- taking up space in my head, rent-free. All the time, I catch myself thinking about what this person or that person would say about me, and I have to keep reminding myself that they aren't here.

Good luck to both you and your brother!
 
Poppy2014

Poppy2014

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There is a fantastic book called "healing the daughters of narcissistic mothers" it was written as a PhD thesis but it's like she sits in your head and knows everything. Apart from the complex PTSD book this is the only book about my life that makes me realise it's not just me that thinks and feels like this. You realise that all narcissistic mothers do the same thing and it's generally the daughters who feel the brunt (not saying son's don't but there is a lot of research to say daughters internalise it differently) it's well worth a read, I got my copy second hand off Amazon for a couple of pounds. It's now with our mental health students helping them talk to people like me.
 
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