Monday, February 22, 2010

Guilt Trips

If I had to name one feeling that has followed me around all my life...it's guilt.

You know how humans are basically giant bags of water....biologically speaking? Psychologically speaking...I was a bag of guilt.

I clearly remember feeling guilty at a fairly young age because I had the power to make my parents sick. If I was naughty, I gave my dad a stomachache. If I annoyed my mother, she'd say, "You don't know what you're putting me through."

When my high school boyfriend broke up with me and I stumbled in the house, crying my eyes out, my mother was furious because I'd managed to scare her to death and she slapped me (not very hard)...she'd thought I'd been raped. She went to her room, highly upset, saying I'd put her through an ordeal.

My announcement that I was going away to college, years older than the typical student, was met with accusations that I was abandoning them, "after all we've done for you."

In fact, my mother was really big on reminding me of all the stuff they'd ever done for me...whether I'd asked for them or not.

After my mother died due to complications of Alzheimer's (she became docile...nice to be around as the disease advanced) and my father was alone, he went into overdrive laying on the guilt. He'd say stuff like:
"Don't forget about me, you're all I've got now" (I'm an only child);
"I'm so lonely, where are you?"
"I just wanted to hear your voice" (then he'd proceed to talk the entire conversation and wouldn't let me say a word)

Of course, I asked my father - repeatedly - to move closer to me so I could see him more often and help him out. He refused. Then created situations that forced me to travel 400 miles to rescue him. Until I put my foot down.

Of course, he told all the neighbors and anybody who'd listen about what a lousy daughter I was, that I'd taken their retirement money for my college education (they refused to help/I paid ever single penny) and then abandoned him in his old age. I was, to say the least, mortified.

The thing is...we could never just have a parent-child relationship without the guilt. The guilt was a like third person in our family...the one that held the whip.

Personally, I'd feel silly trying to make my daughters feel guilty, mostly because it takes a lot of theatrics and heavy sighing and they'd probably laugh.

The only weapon against The Guilt Trip is achieving Emotional Detachment. I finally, finally don't feel guilty anymore...although I sometimes do feel the occasional pang of guilt...but nothing like Crippling Guilt.

I've come to think of Emotional Detachment as the secret weapon against the narcissist's secret weapon...a state of enlightenment that is only achieved after much practice.

As always, please feel free to share your opinions, thoughts and stories!

76 comments:

enilina said...

Guilt seems to be the first emotion the narcissist parents projected/dumped on their kids. And then act as if us kids have tremendous power over them as we have been conditioned that it was our responsibilty to make them happy.

In 4th grade I nearly fell out of my chair when a classmate said her parents try to made HER happy, not the other way around.

Guilt is supposed to be due to you doing something wrong. You did nothing wrong, it is projection by mommy and daddy dearest. They were in the wrong. I read in Oprah (oh stop laughing!) that normal people loath being pitied but sociopaths adored being pitied, they get to be victims which conveniently allows them no accountability or personal responsibility. Hence the "I'm so lonely!" and "my ungrateful daughter stole from me" lies, lies, and more lies.

My mom wants me to call her once a week to make sure she isn't lying dead undiscovered in her apartment. I told her to make friends so that she will have a social network that will check up on her. She hadn't bothered me with that demand again, so far. Whenever she starts bitching about my sister or insults me, I simply ask, "Have you made any friends yet?" Which earns me 2 weeks of phone silence ;-)

enquirewithin said...

I'm so glad I've found your blog. There are so many posts here that I can relate to... narcissistic dad and co-dependant mum combo can really screw with your mind.

On the topic of guilt: I find it amazing how my dad could come up with the most elaborate ways to make you feel guilty (very similar to your dad). And I used to think that this feeling of guilt (which basically felt like my dad owned me) was normal! Still trying to find out what is normal and what's not, and your blog will definitely part of the process. Thank you.

just me said...

My mother is the Queen of guilt trips, being the martyr that she is. She is very stealth at it, it just sneaks up on you and you are consumed with guilt before you even know what hit you.
It's her weapon of choice because she does it so passively aggressive so that she can have easy deniability. She is also master over picking out the "tools" to use on you during her tirade and for me during our last conversation, it is my children. She is still using them as her tool because now she can say that I ruined her relationship with them. Seeing absolutely no accountability of her own.

The comment by enilia about them adoring pity was very enlightening. My mother loves being the victim so she has no personal responsibility for anything. It is never her fault. And if you dare call her out on her behavior of guilt, she flies into a rage. She can take a simple situation and twist it so out of reality by the end of the conversation you don't even remember where it began. Then she slips into her pity party and the cruel,cold silent treatment takes over just in case you don't feel guilty enough. Now her victim (me) can just sit in silence and think about what she has done. Shivers.

Guilt has been my constant companion since I can remember and it has become very comfortable in my mind since my NC. I try to detach by reminding myself that she feels not one ounce of guilt so why should I live with it. It isn't easy. Being raised by a narcissist makes you become an open wound emotionally and it is hard to just quit being that. But I also feel it is necessary to protect myself from her.

It's a struggle finding that balance between being too emotional, something she constantly told me I was, and becoming an emotionally detached person, which my mother was/is/forever shall be. I would rather swing to the other side and love myself for having compassion and empathy. I no longer am going to believe the lies my mother told about me and being overly sensitive is one of them. I am starting to see the positive of my sensitivity because it makes me who I am and that is a human being who has compassion and empathy. That is a good thing!

So slowly, but surely, I will let go of the layers of guilt my mother so generously adorned me with. It is time.

One Angry Daughter said...

I had read recently "Kindness does not come with strings attached" - that does not apply to Narcissistic Parents.

The goal of the narcissistic parent is to attach strings to everything so you are so entangled, you just give up the idea of having your own life and "abandon" them. The strings of guilt have been the hardest for me to break free from.

The thing these parents don't realize is if they treated us like a person instead of an object - we would all be in a better place. Adult children could lead their lives free from guilt and their parents could enjoy a healthy relationship with their grown children.

Nina said...

Enilina,

Oh...I'm totally not laughing about citing Oprah...if there's anyone who is empathetic to abuse it's her (and what a survivor!)...

I hadn't heard that about being pitied...mmmm...gee...my Dad really ate it up...in fact, he specialized in the hangdog-I-can-never-do-anything-right-everybody-is-against-me-routine if you dared confront him on one of his behaviors!

Hah! It sounds like you've come up with some very upfront strategies at coping with your demanding mother...okay, I can actually imagine her saying that stuff to you in my head (in a movie, it'd be over-the-top-slightly-unbelievable-dialogue). Still, I imagine dealing with her keeps you on your toes...constantly...trying to think of what you'll say if she does X or Z....

Nina said...

Enquirewithin...

I suspect most people wouldn't equate Guilt Trips with fathers. It's hard to express, but there's something, well, sort of feminine about it...but I can't quite say why. When he'd pull one of his guilt trips, I wanted to scream, "Buck up and act like a man for God's sake!" It INFURIATED me that I ended up with a sniveling Woody Allen character instead of...Clint Eastwood...in the movie Gran Torino.

I love the way you put it...trying to find out what's normal and what's not! Perfect! It's such an amazing exercise...especially when the abnormal column begins to fill-up so quickly!

Welcome!

Nina said...

JUST ME...

I was just reading on the Narcissists Suck blog...on a post about narcissistic grandparents and the issue of contact/no contact...that the n-grandparent can try to turn the child against the parent...or use the children as ammo. I didn't have this experience, but reading it made me shiver...then I read your post here! Oh no! That's awful. And the blame continues...does it not? Now you've gone and ruined one more thing! Arrgh! No doubt, she's a pretty lousy grandmother and your children can't connect with her because of who she is...or that she hasn't taken much of an interest.

A work friend who was a grandmother used to blow me away. She was always arranging trips to see her grandkids..happily!...made plans to take them on vacation to give her kids a break!....put together activity kits she could do w/the kids when she visited...researched outtings so she could take them places on her own...scheduled visits to coincide with back-to-school night! I kept thinking...you've got be kidding?...is this what most grandparents do or is this woman amazing? Fast forward ten years...those kids are now teens and they are all VERY close and the kids love staying with her. It was so delightful to see...I swear I'm gonna be that kinda grandma if I'm ever one!

Nina said...

One Angry Daughter...

Thank you for sharing the saying about Strings and Kindness...loved it!

In our cases, those strings were like yucky thick tentacles we had to hack away at with a cleaver! No wonder it's been so damned hard to break free!

enilina said...

I wanted to scream, "Buck up and act like a man for God's sake!" It INFURIATED me that I ended up with a sniveling Woody Allen character instead of...Clint Eastwood...in the movie Gran Torino.

LOL! I did the exact same mental scream every time my dad whined to me. Growing up I kept shooting telepathic messages at him, "Act like a MAN, grow up already!"

That reminds me, need to NetFick Gran Torino.

I know what you mean how "feminine" it seems when fathers do guilt trips. I was much more tolerant of my mother's pity party than my dad's, hence it took me a longer time to realize that my mom is just as much of a narcissist/sociopath as he is; she flew under the radar. Like JUST ME said, she's stealthy and passive aggressive.

Jeff said...

Regarding the alignment in several comments here of NPD with sociopathy, I wondered what anyone might think about the possibility that their N relative's apparent lack of empathy and need to lay on guilt trips was both a mask for and projection of an underlying and intolerable burden of guilt?

Pisces6 said...

Hi Nina! I've been lurking for quite a while. Thank you for posting your experiences on your parents. My own experiences are different, but there are a lot of similarities. I've been working on becoming emotionally detached from my parents, but it is easy to have a 'relapse'.

Both of my parents liked to guilt-trip others. They did this a lot when they wanted me to do something THEIR way. They told me it was for my own good, and I believed them. Who doesn't believe their parents when they're kids?

I later realized that they did this a lot even for things that didn't seem important. (Apparently it was very important to them.) Every time I don't do some chore for them while visiting them (back when I had, that's right, HAD to visit them every weekend for 6-12 hours), it means I'm (1) lazy and (2) I don't care about them. (1-2 hour visits are too short for them.) For example, if I had lunch with my parents (at their house), I either had to help with the dishes or help prepare lunch. I wasn't asked; I was told to do it because I'd be ungrateful if I didn't.

They were upset that I didn't try to stay overnight with them more. Um... My apartment (when I was living there) is 10-15 minutes away. Why in the hell should I sleep over? Oh, that's right... Because I don't have a CAR so they had to drive me back. Well, I wonder WHY that is my fault when THEY were the ones to promise I'd get a car from them after graduating college. Except they decided I didn't deserve a car anyway when I didn't find a job 2-3 months after I graduated from college. A requirement I didn't even KNOW about until after I offended them! They got a SUV anyway because my dad wanted a new car.

My mom wants me to call every week. She gave me a very angry scolding while I was at college for either my sophomore year. She told me I obviously didn't care about her and the family since I didn't even bother to call every week. She didn't even tell me I had to do it every week. She was offended that she had to tell me to do it because that implied I didn't care about her or the family. I guess it never occurred to her that I had things to do, and if she had wanted me to be close to her, maybe she should actually listen to what I say. Not this pretend closeness of calling every week.

She doesn't call me. I always have to call her. Furthermore, for whatever reason, SHE turns her cellphone off at times. Leaving a voicemail isn't enough for her. I have to call the rest of my immediate family to talk to her. It doesn't matter how inconvenient this is for other family members, just as long as she gets her weekly phone call. Not calling her means I don't care.

I find it funny that they both expect unconditional love from me and they insist they give the same, but their behavior tells me that it is all conditional on their end. You want love? You gotta do it our way, the way we like it. Re-shape your whole entire lifestyle and personality around us.

They don't like how I dress. I'm tomboy at heart. It was okay when I was a kid, but now "I'm too old to be a tomboy." They hate the fact that I'm a tomboy and want me to wear skirts and dresses all the time.

I could go on and on. I realized that they don't really like me as a person, but as something they can mold and shape like clay. They loved the fact that I was so obedient as a child. They had even said to some people outside our family (in a joking fashion) that I was so obedient that I SPOILED them! When I first heard this comment, I was happy because I was a good child. But years later, I recognized it for what it was; it wasn't the person they liked. They just liked the power and the control of me. They fell in love with it and now that's all they really care about.

Oh by the way? I'm not supposed to talk about this to anyone. Yet if I don't, what do I have left to say? Everything is supposed to be about them, right? Well then... Oops.

Nina said...

Pisces6...

Glad you decided to "unlurk!"

Btw, I realize not everybody likes to share or has time to comment...just reading/skimming is fine! One can choose to interact...or not!

Those, my dear, are some damn complicated rules you had to live by! Rules that had to be obeyed...but on their end...a promise wasn't a promise (as in the case of the car for college graduation).

And oooo...I forgot, until you wrote about calling home once a week, how AGGRAVATING it is when a parent expects you to be a mind reader! You have to "just know" their expectations and, if you don't, you don't love them!

I have seen, first hand, when parents DEMAND their adult child to visit for a certain length of time...and the sullen/angry behavior when that time is not met. As you know, it's extremely controlling but most of all...baffling...because it sucks the joy right out of the visit...all the spontaneity is gone. What if you had a busy weekend, say, and could only visit for a short time? But what if you said, hey, it's nice outside...let's talk a walk? That possibility is gone, too, because now you feel trapped and controlled.

It sounds as if your parents were so used to dictating your every move that they couldn't make the leap when you transitioned to adulthood!

In your case, I suspect you have an additional challenge of dealing with the blowback of the Big Question: did my parents love me? Because they told you, explicitly, there were so many rules for your own good. It's sort of like brainwashing, you know? Rules = love; obedience = love; your independence = you don't love them, the last being an impossible choice no one should be forced to make!

What did you mean by this?

"Oh by the way? I'm not supposed to talk about this to anyone."

Mulderfan said...

Wow! Am I ever glad Picses6 "unlurked". Your experiences are so like my own. The phone call thing is a prime example. I was supposed to call every Sunday but they never called me even though they were the ones with unlimited funds to pay for the long distance charges. If I was tied up on a Sunday when I did call I got yelled at for "worrying" them or interrupting a TV show. (I'm supposed to have their TV schedule, appointments, etc. memorized!)

Now that their older, my parents love to play the pitiful old folks role, especially for outsiders.

Of course we're not supposed to talk about these things. The rest of the world must never know they're less than perfect!

Pisces6 said...

I never took my parents' promises seriously since they could be broken on whim. So while the idea of not getting a car didn't really phase me (it was a more, oh they're doing it again), how they behaved was hurtful. I feel like I need to have a written and signed contract in order to make sure my parents don't back out on anything.

My parents complain about my sister's spending even though she doesn't have a job at the moment. At first I agreed with them, but then I realized that they did the same thing to her. They'd promise something, then break the promise whenever she did something they didn't like. They never put stipulations on their promises until AFTER the promise had been broken.

So, her spending was a result of them almost ALWAYS breaking their promises. Since she is 'naughtier' than me (I was the golden child, she was the scrapegoat), well... You can imagine how much that happened.

It sounds as if your parents were so used to dictating your every move that they couldn't make the leap when you transitioned to adulthood!

Yep, they still see me as their inept little girl who is book-smart but not street-smart. Actually it seems that they think practically everyone is inept unless you got a college degree in a certain field. Then in that field, you _may_ be considered an expert. (Not guaranteed, though.) They even told me, when I had an interest in art, that I could never be an artist professionally. I draw too slow, my drawings were not realistic enough, and I had to be a painter. At first I was heart-broken since everyone OUTSIDE the family had told me that I had some sort of artistic talent. I loved to draw as a kid. Years later I realized that (1) they aren't even art experts and (2) the field of art is far larger than their point of view.

Unfortunately, their negativity has made it difficult for me to actually draw. I draw less now than when I was in high school (and I didn't even have art classes until my senior year). Most of my drawing skill is self-learned, though I did take around 3 classes in college.

What did you mean by this?

"Oh by the way? I'm not supposed to talk about this to anyone."


Heh, my mom has made it a point of saying this after she says something that can been interpreted as mean, cruel, nasty, etc. Anything that will make them 'lose face'. Sometimes it's not even said; it's implied. I think it really means that anything said in private doesn't get repeated in public without their stamp of approval.

The reason why she started saying this is because while I was in high school, I got involved with a Geocities chatroom (oh boy, I'm so dating myself) in which I ranted about my parental experiences. I did it in email too which lend me to being caught by my parents since I used the ISP email address. I lost my parents trust then, and I know they've never really trusted me since. I remember there was some sort of confrontation, but I don't remember any real punishment for it. *shrugs* For all I know, they dished out the punishment in the form of bossing me around. Since then, I've been wary of what websites to view while using their computer, etc. Even the handle (Pisces6) I'm using now is still rather chancy since I think my parents may remember to associate it with me. It is the same name I used for the aforementioned Geocities chatroom.

Pisces6 said...

Mulderfan - I thought I was the only one who had this problem. I think others may have the same issues, but surely they enjoyed their phone calls with their parents? Maybe, for once, their parents would take the initiative to actually call them?! :/

Oh, I just remembered, I did rant about my parents in high school. The whole chatroom incident suddenly made them realize why my high school friends gave them such "dirty" looks. They made it sound like I betrayed them. I don't even know if they realized their behavior and actions had any part it in. It was all my fault for talking behind their backs. I mean, surely I could tell they were doing it for my own good? How could I be so low to talk behind their backs?

Maybe if they'd actually start treating me like a person rather than a clay soldier/lady. My dad emphasized he wanted us (my sister and I) to be like soldiers, and my mom emphasized I should be a lady... *sigh*

Nina said...

Pieces6 & Mulderfan..

My parents were highly secretive people and would have FLIPPED if I'd ever talked to outsiders about family business...or business de la familia...as my mother called it.

I just sort of EXPECT my own daughters to grouse up a storm about me to their friends...I don't think of it as a betrayal...natural venting. I ADORE my husband but occasionally I'll vent to a friend...

Nina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurie said...

My grandmother was the main narcissistic personality in my family. My aunt had no children and turned into a clone of my grandmother. My Mom rebelled but didn't ever really get help for her problems. Subsequently there was a lot of neglect in my childhood.

My grandmother fits the narcissistic bill almost to the letter. Her way was literally the ONLY way as far as she was concerned, she had little to no ability for empathy. She seemed to regard her children like they were supposed to be little robots whose job it was to respond to every command given and if they did not, she took it like a personal insult that had to be punished. Her choice punishment was severe verbal reprimand, harsh looks like she was disgusted, then she would withdraw all affection until compliance (or whenever she felt like talking to you again)

My mother, on the other hand, seems a bit of a strange mix. She seems emotionally paralyzed for the most part. She is basically just cold and shut down. She can't take responsibility for her actions and I think her justification is "I had such a raw deal in life I shouldn't have to apologize for anything".

She was an alcoholic and neglectful in my childhood. I often say that I feel like her attitude was "As soon as you can walk and talk, my job is done". She lost a lot of interest in my older brother and I once we weren't little kids any more. She seemed to resent the suggestion her responsibilities extended any further than keeping us fed, keeping a roof over our heads, and buying us stuff (and really, I honestly don't think she UNDERSTANDS there is anything more to parenting than that).

Whatever boyfriend she had in her life at the time seemed to take precedence over us when we were kids, and she would get really agitated if anything involving us got in the way of time with her friends and boyfriends. Again, I think in her mind it was "I've had such a hard life and now I'm a single Mom, I DESERVE to do what I want".

I definitely felt responsible for her happiness. I remember she would ignore me for her friends but then all of a sudden it was like she wanted nothing more than to be with me. I'd be so happy! When she was sad, I thought it was my fault. I'd make lots of pictures and crafts for her as a kid to 'prove' I loved her and to try and 'make it better'.

She does not vocally express her wants like my grandmother did, but she seems to expect fulfillment all the same. Basically, she will not ask for anything outright or ask for a favor but she will still pull away and not speak to you if you fail to meet her needs. It should be no surprise I am a very paranoid and nervous human being.

I also see that I personally have picked up a lot of these tendencies myself. I believe we had the emotional incest in this family. My grandmother's rule was always "You meet your needs WITHIN this family and if you have needs that can't be met by this family then those needs are NOT VALID". I come from a small family of very mentally ill people.

I am trying very hard to buck the tradition in this family. I don't want to be a victim and I don't want to perpetuate more destructive behaviors. I really want children and a healthy family one day but I feel like I can't even think of going near that until I am solid ground with my own mental health. I'm actually more afraid of turning into my grandmother than I am my mother! I am trying to learn what healthy relationships really ARE and how to recognize my distortions of it all.

This blog is SO incredibly helpful. I was feeling so forlorn before and then I read this blog and saw so much of the same experiences and feelings. It is SO encouraging to know I am not alone and there is hope.

Billie said...

No strings attached sounds like such a wonderful fantasy...and my mother loves to say, "Come back when you can stay longer." If I stayed for 4 hours to be stared at in a quiet room when she had nothing to say, it would not be long enough. Uggh.

Nina said...

Billie,

If I'm reading that right...when you get together with your mother...there's really not much interaction...and then she complains you don't stay long enough.

Argh. That used to really, really, really bother me with my own mother. She didn't chat nonstop like my father, but she wanted me to tell her everything...confide in her...act like we had a cozy relationship...but it was all one way. But she never had anything to say...so she'd sit there glaring at me angrily. She never said stuff like...I saw this movie it was so interesting...I read this book....I went on a walk and saw....no observations about the outside world!

roxtarchic said...

"I just wanted to hear your voice" (then he'd proceed to talk the entire conversation and wouldn't let me say a word)... OMG that's the beginning to EVERY conversation w/pop.... and he only stops for a moment to ask after his grandchild (2 1/2) and quickly get back on track... y'know talking about himself. But I have to say.... that all of these conversations (and I'll ad that it's him calling me, not the other way around as it once was)... are not even bumps in the road, not a pothole, not a not even a fallen branch in the way... I'm completely unaffected by him.. and his focus which is unwavering. So Emotional Detachment is not the ONLY weapon... it's an ARSENAL... it's the equivalent of an army of scots in braveheart... fighting on your behalf and it's only the first line of defense... my reinforcements are my son... because there will NEVER be an ounce of guilt because from the moment I was pregnant ON.. I realized that the basis of my life would be putting that child first... and that didnt come w/any resentment... and the basis of my childhood was the polar opposite. and the guilt is no longer a factor, neither is the anger... (which i think was the bigger hurdle to get to the other side of the detachment mt everest).

JBH said...

I am glad to have read these posts! I am a clinical therapist in need of some of my own help w my parents. My parents are in their 60's and 70's, respectively. I am in my 30's, married w an 8 mo old and a 2 1/2 yr old.
I am probably going to get my own therapy for my issues (or their issues) but am piecing together a lot of the puzzle on my own. My dad has burned bridges w many ppl,is detached and doesnt like to do much except stay home and watch CNN, and my mom is the passive enabler. Both are horrible listeners and rarely, if ever, apologize or accept any form of responsibility for their behavior. They constantly interrupt or dont engage fully in conversations. My mom asks a question and then answers it for you. A few months after we got married we moved 1,000 miles away. Its been 4 yrs since we've left and I have never seen such immature behaviors in my life! When my mom came to visit me and my husband before we had kids we were in the process of buying a house. It was what we could afford. There are manufactured homes nearby. I grew up middle-upper class so when my mom saw the neighborhood (didnt go inside the house b/c we didnt have the keys yet)she gave us the silent treatment in the car on the way back to our apt. Then she continued to sulk and when I asked her what was worng she said "That neighborhood isnt you! Its white trash!" She wasnt helping w a down payment and wasnt paying for anything. Then after prodding it isnt so much the house as it is her hx of issues (her own depression, unhappiness). She projects like no other. My dad is another story. He never picks up the phone to call. He has anger issues and my mom enables it. She sugar coats everything and waves a tired hand at me when she thinks Im being ridiculous. After I had my 2nd child, 3 weeks after I gave birth she had the nerve to tell me I wasnt as free spirited as I used to be. All because I called her out on putting dirty dishes in the cabinet. I wasnt rude about it. I just noted that the dishes were dirty. Then I get accused of not being freespirited. She tells me this with her back turned to me. Then I asked her what was REALLY wrong all while she sat calmly w her back turned to me as I got increasingly angry. She proceeds to tell me that I am (in so many words) purposefully keeping the grandkids away from them b/c I am not on a webcam as all her friends are w their grandkids. I have an encrypted work computer and cannot download. I use free internet and am not buying a new computer and internet just for a webcam.
Usually, the arguments lead to her issues w prodding but I am the one who gets blamed for them. Its awful. I am a rotten daughter b/c I moved away. But she wouldnt come out and say I am rotten. She just has a manipulative way of putting it out ther psychically. I owe them nothing. The hard thing is that she did everything while we were growing up. She cooked, cleaned, did laundry, I did nothing. I was a part of none of it. I realized she wanted that control. Now that I can do for myself what is her role?
I have revelations daily about it but I cant seem to let it go.
I want and wish I had great relationships w both my parents but sadly, I dont. And I have to keep telling myself its not my fault.

Anonymous said...

JBH...Please see my 4/13 post in response to your comment. Thank you for reading and taking the time to share your story!

Laurel said...

Wow! I just found your blog last night. It's EXACTLY what I need right now. I want to comment on just about everything I read here--but know that I'd be typing non-stop for days!!

From time to time I get so overwhelmed by my mom's expectations of me that the thought of having to communicate with her makes me actually think that death might be the only way out. I'm not suicidal, mind you. --But if some accident happened that would prevent me from having to have contact with my mom, it would be welcome. She can pile on the guilt about EVERY move I make. It's more than I can take, emotionally. Anyway, I really need support, especially right now. I need people who will tell me, "You're doing the right thing," or "You are strong enough to get through this." Suggestions would be greatly helpful, too!

One of the big things standing in the way of my working through all of this is my INTENSE (and seemingly unbreakable) habit of over intellectualizing everything. I don't seem to be able to access the true feelings underneath the labels. I can think of a multitude of things that "hurt," but don't seem to be able to really grieve. What to do?
I'm at the point right now where ANYTHING my mom does or says seems intolerable to me.

Anyway, I'm SO glad to have found you all!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Need it right now. My mother has gone to the extent that she is blaming me for problems between her and dad and their social interactions. I have already been burdened with the "if I die" it will be your fault. But of course they wish me well and want me to be happy. So if I choose to be happy I am letting them die? I am still not sure what it is that is bothering them the most...mom says it is that dad will lose respect...but dad's respect comes from his work...what has that got to do with me?! I wish I had turned out gay I wonder what they would have done then! Try to cure me? LOL!

Anonymous said...

So happy to have found this blog! I only wish I knew about this years ago, instead of discovering it 10 months into my decision to go no-contact!

Reading some of this only reiterates that I made the right to decision to raise my 1-yr old daughter and two young step-daughters away from such viciously vindictive people (both N parents).

My N mother is trying to use guilt for keeping 'her' granddaughter away from her and that I am a horrible mother for using her as a pawn to get back at her. hmmm. Nope, more like just keeping her safe from the tyranny I endured for the past 30+ years.

When I went no contact it was after an incident that served as the straw that broke the camel's back and I just abruptly severed ties. I am debating whether or not to send some kind of explanation email as she keeps sending messages that she has rights to my daughter (not according to the law mind you) and that her door is always open for us to 'make amends.' I have wrote and rewrote letters of explanation but never sent them. Mainly because they keep getting longer and longer. Meanwhile, she is assassinating my character to anyone and everyone for keeping my family away.

I feel like a letter is in order but just can't get it all down. Anyone have any thought on this?

Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog post and comments. It was helpful to me.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am really relating to this. My sister just told me she thinks our mom is NPD, but I originally thought BPD. How I have felt over the years is exactly like the comments presented. Thanks for your blog.

invisigirl said...

I wish we could all be in a room together!!
Emotional detachment is the key. I 'zone out' when with my n-father who talks non-stop about himself and how great he's been. He's never listened to me, ever. He always knows better, just because he's older. I never had a chance! Any gift/love had conditions. Always. Every occasion. Even this Christmas, arguing about why should he give $ since the receiver (my son) is a good earner?! He's given $ every year... I think dementia is at work here too!
I'd never talked to him on the phone my whole life -always dealt with mom (who I had a normal loving relationship with). Now in his last months, n-father is openly appreciative of my service to him, and we are civil, but there is NOTHING else... except my underlying anger which I'm now trying to get rid of. I realize he's always only had use for people who would probably be useful to him.

Laurel, you can do good with your choices. You are free to do so you know! I left the house at 17, went to school, have a wonderful family, 2 wonderful children, grown now, and am in all senses, successful. My daughter-in-law is amazed that I am so different from my father. It was my choice to be so. I learned a lot from him - what NOT to do!!! I am sad for my children that they didn't have a loving grandfather, but my mother made up for that. Unfortunately, n-father did the divide & conquer, and we only saw them 4 times a year. Now he complains - he doesn't see his grandchild more than 2x a year - I wonder why!!! He can't figure it out, and there's no explaining it to him. I've tried, and he doesn't want to hear the truth. Which is rather funny, since I value the truth so much. I've always been truthful with my kids, and kids can tell without being told anyway. Fortunately now, my grown- intelligent-has-it-all-together son is helping me deal with my n-father! Telling me to not get upset by his words, and to just be who I am, sensitive & strong, me! He hates his grandfather, & we're all good with that, because we all do! I dread Christmas with him. :(
Fortunately my daughter-in-law comes from a very embracing and loving family, so my son is surrounded by love there, as I & DH are too.
Along some thread, creativity in children of n-parents was mentioned. I have always been artistic, and it was encouraged, and I'm grateful for it now as an outlet. If you out there feel any creative inklings, go with your gut! Take a chance - it'll do you good, no matter what it is you create. It's therapeutic, & honors you & your originality. Don't let anyone or any memory stop you.
One more tip: Ns love the power of divide & conquer. My n-father went to far as to separate our whole family successfully. Now alone, his world is even more limited, &I am wiser! I have contact one way or another with everyone in his life - care workers, house keeper, and the one friend he has. We share details regularly, and he has no idea, but it helps us all deal with him. Honest, good people will not believe all the bad-mouthing that N do of their family - it is often too bizarre to believe anyway! Just the act of doing it makes him look "off". He tells them that I'm just waiting for him to die so I can have his $. Who says that of their child!? So don't worry about what is said about you. It's only false words.
It's what you do & how you live your life that matters.

invisigirl said...

I'm finding both reading & writing here therapeutic!
Judgment: Everything out of my n-father is judgmental. He's prejudiced, opinionated, stubborn, impossible. Nothing was good enough to be satisfied - I always had to try harder, do better.
I learned to hate judging, period, because it reminded me of him. As soon as I stopped judging everything, I realized I felt a lot better, happier, more distant from him.
Acceptance: everything in my life was criticized, not good enough. My friends were not welcome in the house, my music was bad... It was always thrown in my face that I hadn't lived through a war, how spoiled I was... Not much I could to about that! You'd think a parent would be happy that a child had a better life, but not an N. It threatened him.

Control: I became a good listener! I learned, even as a child, that he advised another family member about his love life - & it turned out to be a disaster! So even as a kid, I didn't let him pick my friends or later,my husband! DH didn't meet his 'criteria'. He's a wonderful guy, but n-father will still find things to criticize, even after DH has gone above & beyond to be nice and help him. We are strong & will not let him separate us after all these years.

Reality/Perception: they live in their own reality, a different world from the rest of us... a twisted reality. My n-father also lived in his blessed past, idealizing it, cursing progress. We can't begin to understand their thinking! He says he's made no mistakes & has no regrets. Really!!??

Empathy: forget it. I lost a child to cancer. N-father came once to the hospital with my mother, (200+ days we were there altogether)... it was too difficult for them. Didn't make it to the funeral either.. same reason. We never got calls during 4 yrs of treatments to see how we were. Just the regular weekly call. My other child noticed, and still today can't understand how we could be abandoned by 'family' like that.

Siblings: each makes their own choices as to how to deal with an n-parent. Mine chose to be N too... shaped from an early age by n-father. Divide & conquer. We're estranged. They're 2 peas in a pod.
I don't need them. I'm fine. I'm strong.

Awareness is key to dealing with it all. Know how you feel, how you react, follow your better gut instincts & have control over how you deal with it all. I'm having difficulty not engaging him - he knows how to push my buttons - but am aware of when it happens, and need to make a real effort to not respond. I've also detached myself emotionally - I really don't care any more what happens to him. I go through the motions, do errands etc. but if he's so smart & won't listen to my advice and good sense, he's responsible for the consequences of his own choices. I'm absolved of any responsibility for him. I'm feeling some freedom in that, & no guilt.

MrSouthpaw said...

You are a smart woman! I believe emotional intelligence should be required curriculum for children. Without some type of massive enlightenment the emotional plague gripping the western world will devour human evolution.

Anonymous said...

nice to know I am not alone! My mom and my youngest sister are codependent (both narcissistic) and guilt is their favorite tool. Sis can't ever empathize as she is the center of Mom's universe. Christmas is esp. difficult with relatives, etc not understanding why my family and I don't travel to visit parents. THey came here last year only for my mother to pout because we didn't call her and tell her when to come over - after being invited for breakfast! She made a big production of going out to eat, missed the kids opening presents, meanwhile I just thought they had slept in a little. You just can't win, then they tell anyone who'll listen about their terrible daughter!

GeekGoddess said...

My mother also has alzheimers and is also guilt-tripping. I wonder if it's related to the panic she feels with the disease. I have not been a perfect child, but I have not been the worse either. But the late night calls and desperate guilting make me so furious. I have had similar experiences to you and I'm sorry. To deal with this I find myself agreeing with her about my terribleness just to shut her up. It's exhausting.
I know enough from this to know that I never want to have children. I am so sorry and if you want to talk about the stuff from your dad, please feel free to contact me via google.

Anonymous said...

stI've just come across this site whilst looking for some help and advice about my Mum. It's quite an eye opener! It seems a lot of people have trouble with their fathers, which seems odd to me because the controlling nature of this personality seems to fit better with a female. Perhaps it just seems that way because I've had problems with my mother.My Father has always seemed to have some level of understanding of my perspective in the family as I was growing up and its easy to project anger at Mum and let him off the hook, but surely the fact that they are together means the family dynamic is his to control as well? Control seems to rate highly in my experience of my Mother, also divide and rule between my brothers and I. We spent a lot of our childhood fighting and squabbaling, and now dont have much of a relationship to speak of. The divide and rule theme is being tried by Mum on my husband and I. I'ts causing me some grief, but we talk about whatever has just happened (she asks after his arthritis, which is bad at times, but has flatly refused to acknowledge my cancer!!)She defends him when he doesn't need it,leaves the room when I visit and has done this for years(being the idiot that I am, it has taken me a long time to realize this).She gives my children nothing and has treated them to no xmas and birthday presents for some years, whist not even sending my youngest a 21st card let alone a gift. But just to put the cat amongst the pidgeons, she gave my daughter a gold bracelet out-of-the-blue last birthday-the same year as the non-existent 21st!!! If thats not divisive and controlling I dont know what is.I have so many heartfelt hurts that I could write for hours and hours! The worst part is the utter confusion, one min shes finding as many ways to pick,dig and hurt me, the next shes telling me all her troubles(health,Dad,other people) and I'm supposed to feel sorry for her. But woe-be-tide I should find a solution for her troubles, Oh no, that would be allowing me to feel helpful and good about myself!!

invisigirl said...

My n-father continues to hang in there to torment me. I know dementia is there, but the hurtful things he's repeating have been said for years. I just found a letter I wrote to him 30 years ago, & didn't mail. It was a 'venting tool', & after I read it again, I was shocked at how current its contents were. I could have written it today. The same issues just go on & on. In the last months I've become less engaging, don't say much, follow orders, & just put my time in. He doesn't deserve any more than that. In his illness now, he expects me to drop everything & dance circles around him. yeah right. He said many times that if I made certain mistakes, to not come home, so he wouldn't have been there for me, & wasn't there even when my daughter was terminally ill. I 'll be so glad when this is over.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!!!! What about the guilt trip that kids can put on their parents!!! We are talking about narcissism here, right? All I've seen from these posts are how bad parents are. Children can emotionally bully and abuse their parents as well. I've seen the best of parents be treated horribly because their spoiled bratty adult children still think their parents should be there everytime they need something. Young adults now days think they are owed something ..... you better babysit my kids ..... you better pay my entire college education ..... you better help me if I lose my job ..... you better be there if I mess up and ..... you better keep your mouth shut because you are not entitled to an opinion. I've witnessed many parents go through hell with their entitled adult children. Guilt trips travel both ways!!!!

Anonymous said...

I realize that I do have N tendencies, but it's becoming more apparent when trying to talk to my father (while he copes with dementia, clinical depression, obesity, alienation) that most of it stems from his mental illness (obviously)

Now we have to ask ourselves, what is mental illness and why does it form? Is it a cause of N or an effect of N?

Could it not just be that a person neglects to accept responsibility for certain aspects of their life, which over years, can spiral into a plethora of disillusioned thoughts and routines that inevitably causes these attitudes/feelings to come out the way they do?

The key thing here is to NOT place blame on one single cause, or person. EVERYONE has made mistakes in their life. You can't blame a person as though they are the sole responsibility for the things that didn't turn out well in your life.

It goes both ways. N parents guilt trip their kids at the same ratio that kids do their parents. But again, kids only learn from what their parents teach/show them. Parents can't expect their kids to be any different from what they are. If the parent is so much wiser and entitled to a greater opinion than the childs, they should be the ones to realize what they are saying, how they are acting, isn't realistic. Not the other way around. The fact they won't listen when you have something to say that, God forbid, is actually truthful, is the root to the problem.

Being a son of someone who has too much pride, and clearly isn't willing to accept their current state of mind; No one can tell someone who thinks they are 100% right, that they are wrong. Unless that person ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY for their past, present, and future, they will not be able to correctly figure out what is wrong, and what is right.

There is so much that can be discussed on this topic, this is just what is on the surface of my mind, being the son of a father who feels they are a victim of everyone and everything. Blame this, blame that, blame anything but themselves. The moment they rarely blame themselves, its filled with emotions of regret, pity, the need for you to feel sorry for them, how hard they've had it. I'm sorry, but there are 5 year old kids in Africa digging 18 hours a day for blood diamonds. Shut the fuck up, you have a good life.

Don't take things people say personally, it is just a reflection of how they interpret the world around them. There is no absolute in right or wrong. As a species we are finding out every day that what we can feel with our senses, is only a fraction of what information the universe is filled with. There are no absolute constants aside from scientific facts about the universe. There are absolute numbers and variables that dictate how everything reacts, but we are very far away from learning how to interpret this into other areas of life, especially those involving something so intricate as the human brain and how it operates.

I intend to post here in the near future, as this what I've come up with off the top of my head.

Remember to accept responsibility, but don't take anything personally, and with 100% definity. Nothing is absolute.

invisigirl said...

well, my n-dad passed away a week ago. Relief to not have to deal with the negativity any more, but now I have to deal with my thoughts, and get over the grief I have over the father I never had.
I learned about narcissism after googling "dealing with impossible people"! He really was impossible. The worst thing he did to me was to never listen to me. He was always right, even when he wasn't, & I never had anything worthwhile to contribute, according to him. That really crushes a person's self esteem, & I've had issues with that my whole life.
I spent most of my life trying to please him - in childhood that meant staying out of his way. As I grew older, I couldn't stand being around him, but couldn't explain why. Now I understand it more, & it makes sense, & it was so through no fault of my own. His last words to me were, "go home, I can't talk". If he couldn't talk, no one should talk. He was not a listener. Talkers have the control.
I am just so happy to be free now. I have to deal with a couple of messes he left behind, that I tried to prevent, but of course I didn't know enough to advise him. But it is what it is, & I can now live without his toxic influence, & work on my own happiness.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous
Can agree with you, been reading these posts as I have only just found them, and I believe it is a result of N. I think they neglect to accept responsibility for their actions because their lives growing up were so traumatic for them, that they feel that their children owe them a debt of gratitude for the life that was afforded to their children.

My mother grew up in a war torn country as a child and fled when conflict arose again, as such I was reminded time and again about how grateful I should be to her, for her not giving birth to me there. LOL

I know I have a few fears that she ground into me as a young child with some of her stories, such as my fear of flying. Have gone on a plane trip since recognising that influence, and am happy to say that still not keen on flying but, can go on a plane again. (Massive panic attack, that caused me to stop breathing and black out not withstanding)

I can relate to everyone for their formative years, and congratulate everyone for having the courage to rise above their fears of being told "Suck it up Buttercup" and be honest with their feelings/experiences. It is great to see so many people breaking their cycle, and not being prepared to allow the cycle to continue.

As you said "The key thing here is to NOT place blame on one single cause, or person. EVERYONE has made mistakes in their life. You can't blame a person as though they are the sole responsibility for the things that didn't turn out well in your life." This is, I think a key thing in a narcisists life, they are continually a victim of circumstances beyond their control and not of their own contribution. (Could tell you about my ex mother in law, she turned my grown children into violent little pigs through her self victimisation techniques)
Apparently she is a victim of my not being able to deal the drama of living with her son anymore. I am such a big bad wolf lol.

And too true it can go both ways until, ( and what everyone is doing here) people start to accept who, what and why they are the way they are, they cannot begin to break the cycle within themselves, let alone with their children. I believe as old age parents do not have the ability or the inclination to change. Simply because they have lived their lives to their standards and expect to see their legacy live on, not knowing any better.

I would like to think that the old days weren't so good, in as much as these things weren't talked about, and now a days we are more readily talking about issues like these, and we are bringing things more out in the open, as they once weren't.

Anonymous said...

Need to post this to get it out of my system, and possibly help someone else recognize the signs of N/Alzheimers.

- Gets mad for telling him to write things down/be more organized if he can't remember something, everyone else does it but he thinks he's special.

- Randomly starts singing about things that don't make sense (soooon, ur going to have kids, and ur gunna seeeeeee, soooon you'll see son). Like he's trying to threaten me/be a smart ass, but can't say anything to my face and pretends he doesn't know what im talking about/forgets what he was saying.

- More often that not, if you ask him to clarify something he said when he's in one of these moods, he will say he can't remember even though it was 5-10 seconds ago (if he knows it was something a bit off). He's either SUPER passive or SUPER aggressive. Passive = pity, Agressive = outraged/starts blaming and accusing you for very unrealistic things out of nowhere.

- Puts volume of TV super low during the daytime, but blasts it at 2 in the morning when everyones sleeping. Commercials are ALWAYS MAX VOLUME. He watches commercials with more interest than he does with TV shows. If you ask him what he's watching/why, he says "Oh, I
WAS watching that one TV show." If asked to clarify what the TV show was about, he can't remember.

- If there's no food that he doesn't want to eat at the moment, he makes it seem like if I don't go to store right this second and get what he wants, he's going to starve. I then go to kitchen and look at what we have, and list off at least 5 things he can make that would be healthy for him instead of "going to mcdonalds" because "thats what he feels like".

- To the few people he actually talks to over the phone, he sometimes talks to them about
his son and how sick he is, how tough he has it, he can't do anything about it. His tone of
voice is just a huge attempt to make everyone feel sorry for him. His phone calls with the few people he talks to last no longer than 5 mins now, when he used to be able to hold actual conversations about subjects other than himself/his current state of health.

- He feels like he can do everything himself and doesn't want to ask for help. When someone offers help he rejects it like its an insult to him. I tell him to maybe start being realistic and tells me to stfu and get out. **New** Threatened to call the cops on me last week ~June 15th during one of these**

- Mostly talks about the same stories, how he grew up he had 2 jobs, kids, how hard he had it. If he is not talking about these things, he's talking about how bad the world is, the direction he thinks its going (all he knows is what he sees on the news/CNN/tv headlines). Makes you feel like you have no hope when he talks. Very hard to talk to someone with this
mindset.

- EXTREMELY passive-aggressive, very hard to hold a conversation longer than 10 seconds with him because he pretends to not listen when ur talking, turns his cheek, says he's trying to listen to the TV show he's watching (when TV volume is at 0). This mostly happens when you try to tell him things about himself that might actually be true, but he doesn't want to hear for whatever reasons.

- Whenever he wants to end a conversation, he pretends like he forgets what was being talked about, like you're such a bad person for talking to him. But when he has something to say you better listen or else.

- His favorite TV programs now are World News (very dramatic/traumatic stuff), E-Star (Hollywood news) and Wedding programs. If none of these are on, he flips through channels
for however long it takes until one of these pop up or he's too tired to do it anymore.

These are just things I've taken the time to record over the last 30 mins. There's so many other examples that take a very long time just to put into proper context that will make sense to readers.

Anonymous said...

Thank you this all helps, im trying to figure out in my relationship what is acceptable to me and what isnt, it doesnt help that I feel my parents favour my sibling and I feel she plays on this to her advantage has anyone else experienced this with siblings

Christian Johnson said...

Wow, I just got off the phone with my mother who was trying to get me to drive two hours to her house so I would run her errands because she felt sad and lonely. I felt so guilty when I got off the phone since I told her no, I had stuff to do. The Emotional detachment is the right answer, she would drag me down if I let her.

H said...

So glad to have found this site.

Have been contending with my mother and her issues for so long. I sometimes say C W to my self, as I know I "can't win" with her no matter what. My folks are 87 and my mother has been brutal for decades. She is now in assisted living and finally my father has some peace, as he has been the primary target of her behaviors. I am the second target, I am the only daughter and have 2 older brothers, who essentially can do no wrong.

Many attempts had been made to address the problems, which were initially thought to be marital discord. All my dad's fault, of course. I was finally liberated from so many destructive feelings, when a geriatric psychiatrist spoke with me privately and stated that when children realize what they have in a parent, such as my mother, "they move far away, and you are one of those children that stays and tries to do right"

That was helpful. Still dealing with a mess, as her dementia along with personality disorder, that presents as mainly N, but also some border line tendencies is creating a worsening lack of insight into what she does. She has verbally, emotionally and physically abused my dad. She does not tie in the reality of being arrested. Which we have avoided, but reports of elder abuse were processed.

This is the first time in years that I have been able to interact with my dad without her being there, getting jealous, or saying cruel, hurtful things to him and me.

Her mood swings are normally kept under wraps at the assisted living facility, but not completely. I am just waiting to get the next report on her.

Could continue to type all sorts of things, but am just grateful to have a place to express myself and feel comfortable doing it.

I know I am doing the best I can. My dad still hopes she will get better and move back home with him, and he will say she was good today and then the next day he tells me about her mood swings, silent treatments, yelling at him, etc and he sees she is not getting better. It is hard to explain to him that she will only be getting worse. He does not remember what I tell him, so I must repeat this all the time. Fortunately he seems to remember the better days of years gone by. It is a sad end to 60 plus years of marriage. As he says "what a finish".

Glad to know I am not alone with all of this stuff.

I send my support out to everyone else that contends with these difficult matters.

Anonymous said...

CAN ANY OF YOU HELP ME? I have recently divorced a severe narcissist. After seven years of trying, I established enough emotional detachment to save myself. However, my children are still living with him 50% of the time. My eight year old- the oldest- now says things like, "Why does Dad make me feel bad all the time?" It's new to him because I was there to run interference for his whole life. Now he is experiencing his father unfiltered and I have enormous guilt about leaving him unprotected (I have no legal choice). What tools can I give him? How does an 8 year old practice emotional detachment from his father? How can he, being a small child, protect himself from manipulation and that feeling he is never good enough? I will take any suggestions any of you have got... please.

Anonymous said...

I have known for about 12 months now the true nature of my mother's mental state. I have suffered from feelings of inadequacy, guilt and emptiness for the majority of my life. My early childhood until the age of 6 was spent being raised by my Heroin addict father (my mother and him divorced when I was 2) my grandparents (my father’s parents) lived close by and enabled this arrangement. My earliest memories are full of broken promise and neglect. After my father went to prison my mother was forced to take fulltime custody of my sister and I. My ensuing mid to late childhood was spent trying to please my N mother who felt that we her children were nothing but an inconvenience and burden upon HER life. She re-married to an abusive step father who physically abused my older sister and I. My mother could never see a fault in him or his behaviour even when we would tell her of his treatment of us she would act as though we were making it up or ungrateful for all he provided us with. A few years later they divorced and I spent the remaining 2-3 years living with moving from suburb to suburb, from one side of the city to the other depending on where/what she could do to please her current boyfriend. Even moving across the other side of the city half way through my senior year of highschool so that I was forced to travel 4 hours a day just to continue on at that highschool. My younger sister however had no choice but to change schools 3 times before finishing primary school.
I have always been told I am an intelligent person with so much potentially but as far as my mother is concerned I only exist as an object in her life, a tick off on her to do list. I have always excelled in academics but I have never been able to focus or follow through on anything I do. Even if I have a sense of completing or doing well as something I somehow convince myself that it’s not good enough.
I know there is something wrong with me but everytime I get depressed and try to seek help I end up convincing myself that's I am just overreacting. That I just need to toughen up. It just gets so hard being tough all the time and I don't feel like I can talk to anyone about it because they will never truly understand and I don't want to burden them with my problems.
I just want someone to know that reading these comments has really helped me realize that I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

I can echo the tomboy comment... tomboy myself, now my parents both hate that about me and want me to look all pretty or something.

Idris said...

Oh man. Thanks so much for posting this. The most powerful tool I have (aside from Emotional Detachment) is surrounding myself with sane people--and with people who've experienced this and don't just say things like "Oh, well, your mother loves you" or "you only have one mother."

Right now I've just told my parents I'll be spending Thanksgiving with my partner and her family. Sounds simple to a person with normal parents. Not so much in my family. I'll probably be coming back to get more encouragement.

alycia said...

i've never spoken out about my narc. Mother. It's complicated for me at the moment as I'm 18 just starting off and recently had to flee from my mother's house. I have a boyfriend who is also my confidant and best friend who couldn't stand to watch my mother tear me down day after day, he and I began looking for apartments, and I leased one after making a budget and being sure I could handle it.
I was terrified about telling my mother, I was planning on packing up and leaving but figured that was disrespectful and so I ponied up and told her. At first she was like "I'm proud of you and I'll support you!" and was sweet as anything. Not even ten minutes later she was telling me "I'll tell you what you aren't going to be able to make it, you're going to crash and burn" ect.ect.ect. She had to go to work thankfully and I didn't hear from her until 12 when she called on her break and demanded to know when I'd be getting out of "Her" house, saying she needed to prepare her household. She made it obvious there was no place for me there. Around 4 I got a text where she told me I was not going to move out and that she was forbidding it. I blanched, I couldn't believe she had the audacity to tell me I couldn't leave, I wanted to tell her that she could shove her disapproval where the sun don't shine but by this point I was in tears as I had seen the window leading to freedom that I had been so fervently

08:36
Alycia Keeley
searching for, struggling towards had been slammed shut in my face. Then I realized no forget that I'm 18 a legal adult and I don't have to stand for this anymore. Luckily I have an amazing support group of friends who showed up immediately with three different trucks and had every single one of my belongings packed up and moved out within the hour. I was out of there. Still saying goodbye to my little sister and dog were heartbreaking, I felt and still feel like the biggest pos on the planet for leaving my sister there but I just couldn't do it anymore. The years of constantly walking on eggshells, being yelled and berated for the slightest infraction, having my wellbeing and happiness threatened on a daily basis had turned me into a walking bag of nerves, hyper alert at all times, extremely sensitive to anyone's anger, and prone to bursting into te

08:44
Alycia Keeley
tears. Not only that I can't function normally with people, the years living under my mothers domineering rule had left me with anxiety, depression, and paranoia along with a myriad of emotional scars and a few physical ones. I was constantly on high alert assuming that every person I ran into on the street had an ulterior motive, they wanted something from me and they would hurt me to get it if it came right down to it. I had been taught that normal healthy relationships were all about one person giving their all and the other just taking and taking until there was viably nothing left, and that's what I felt like. A nothing, a husk of the happy little girl I had once been. So I fled and immediately my mother went on the offensive. She sent me nasty text messages with thinly veiled threats at first then later came the real bona fide threats, she was going to my boyfriends house to tell them that my boyfriend of a year and a half and I were having sex among I'm sure a heaping mountains of other lives. Of course she never showed up(I'm staying there until I get the electricity in my apt. turned on. Because my mom opened an account in my name) but instead went out until 2 in the morning and got rip roaring drunk. So far today nothing, but I'm sure he'll be awake soon.
It just made me so angry that when she realized I had escaped and could no longer be fodder for her emotional abuse and control she decided she'd try to destroy the one thing I love in the world more than anything. It's not the first time it's happened but I put my foot down and decided it would be my last.

Anonymous said...

My mother was always a martyr. She laid the guilt on me at a very early age. I left here life when my step-father passed because she was so mean to him and I finally woke up to her bevaior. Though I know she never changed and was always this way. We started talking again when my youngest brother got ill and passed this year. She doesn't love anyone and the way she treated him then she rage at me for the past about my step-dad and now she is punishing me with silence. I tried to write her an email explaining why I felt the way I did and why I must let her be. Yes I'm angry too she has caused me so much pain and heartahe in my life. How can a mother just not even try with her own child. I know she won't change but her behavior is only making me see that she never did love me and I'm better off without her in my life. But it hurts to see her not even care or try. I lost both my brothers 5 months apart from each other and they both left her life many, many years ago but also left mine. I was searching for years for them both without her help. My youngest brother contacted a cousin to let us know he was ill. I can't forgive her for the way she treated my step-dad or my brother. My oldest brother left at the age of 19 and never came back and he passed and had my grandmother's number so they contacted her when he passed. How can a mother just not care about her own children. I wish I would stop feeling like it's my fault. She treats me very abusive verbally and now the silent treatment like I'm not even worthy of her love or anything. She is an N and I must learn to walk away and stay away from her. People say she is doing me a favor by leaving me. It's still hard to realize you gave your life to your mother only to find she never even cared or loved you or her son's. I hope she never comes back into my life it's just hard to realize she never loved us. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I see so many women who are so young yet here. Please don't suffer the way I did for 57 years with my NMom. I can tell you in all honesty their treatment of you only gets worse as they age. I don't like to tell anyone to leave their parents but having a NMmom is so destructive to you and your family if you have one. I've decided to run and not look back. We aren't people to them much less their children. I'm so sorry you've had to suffer this pain also but I can't help mine anymoe and I tired of being her victim of her cruel ways. We can't throw our lives away trying to make them love us or to please them. I feel guitly but then I stop and think I cannot go back this too shall pass. We must save ourselves! I deeply saddened for anyone who has an N in their life. It's so painful!!

Justnow said...

So amazed by what I've been reading here. I've always wondered where my anger came from, why it's so hard for me to form an opinion, why I allowed bad relationships to continue far longer than they should have, why I feel there is a wall between me and happiness, between me and "normal". I always thought I came from a nice home- professional parents, vacations, good grades - people actually I think envied us, thought me and my 3 siblings had it pretty good. After reading all these posts I'm blown away by how many incidents I can totally relate to. I've never been close to my father. Except for anger and his sarcastic laughter (makes my skin crawl) he's basically emotionless and detached from people. My mother was a drill sergeant to us kids. She kept us scheduled every moment of the day. She had total control over us. She was the social one who wanted the family to be recognized in the community as accomplished and decent. She was always making excuses for my father's disinterest in us. My father was a doctor and "very busy" We all had to keep our toys, our noise, our concerns out of his way. Don't bother Dad and he wouldn't bother us. I think my mom was disappointed early on in her marriage when she began to realize what kind of man she had married- and what kind of father he was NOT capable of being to us. My mother had 4kids in the space of 5years. Her own mother, father and friends were in another country thousands of miles away- so she was alone in the house with 4 babies, very little support and very little contact with the outside world. She never lets us forget how hard she had it, how ewes would go by before she could leave the house. It was as if she were trapped in her own home. One afternoon before any of us were school aged, my father became enraged when he came home from work only to find our tricycles blocking the driveway. I remember standing back in horror as he found an axe and begn to chop our toys into little pieces. I think this is when my mom went into full accomplice mode with my n-father. He is not diagnosed ... But it all makes so much sense now. I've been therapy now for 2 years for social anxiety, low self esteem and mystery anger. I sought help because I want my own daughter to have the kind of parents I always wanted. I knew I would have to fix myself in

order to do this. Surprisingly, narcissism never came up in therapy. Perhaps my therapist did not want to label the situation and lead me to any conclusions? But why not? In any case, I've been obsessed and lurking on this blog for a week now and have been so encouraged by the openness and support here. I feel like I've found my new best friends. Thankyou Nina for conceiving of this blog. I'm just so grateful for the community you've created.

invisigirl said...

I continue to return to this group even though my N father is passed. I'm still dealing with feelings of sadness, inadequacy etc as a result of my experiences. I realize I couldn't have changed anything. I would have liked more time (alone) with my mother, but he hardly let that happen. I'm sad for the life she had with him, even though they were happy from appearances. She also expressed feelings of inadequacy. Why should anyone feel that way?! unless they truly are some kind of loser making their own stupid mistakes!
I see now that my sibling is also very N, just like dear old dad was, and I am lucky that I can detach myself from her, completely, due to circumstances that allow it. It is a relief. The latest interactions between us were just like I was dealing with N-father. They were always right. My opinion didn't matter. Their perception is warped to make them out to be the martyr or victim.

To 'anonymous' who is worried about her 8yr old child alone with N-father: because there's not much you can do when they're together without you, all you can do is reinforce the positive when you have your time with him. Keep lines of communication wide open, talk about everything, & ask questions. It's amazing what an 8 yr old understands, observes & can express. Explain what you can, when appropriate, without burdening him. You need to empower him to deal with any confusion or feelings of doubt & guilt. I felt hunches as a child that age, but wouldn't acknowledge them till later 'because I was just a kid'!! Hogwash!!!
Be aware, pay attention to little details, changes in behavior etc. Follow your gut. Your awareness of the problem is a big step already. You'll do the best you can, & no one can criticize you for that. That's all any of us can do.

Anonymous said...

Oh thank god I've found you guys. My father is driving me mad. He used to be strong and capable though always given to fits of rage and blaming others and depression, my mother was abusive mentally that she abandoned me when I was 12 because I wanted to live with my dad. So I always thought my dad was the good guy who saved me and he did, he fought very hard to help get me out. But hes got worse as the years have gone by, he recently split up from his 2nd wife who I cam to see as a mother-figure. He is badly depressed and isolated, he just alienated his last close friend through an outburst of cruel verbal anger. So he really does just have me. He always needs help with computer stuff which is okay but he gets hysterical if anything goes wrong.

The guilt tripping: he talks at me for hours about how lonely he is and how he should just give up (he's been threatening suicide for years), he shouts at me/rants, nothings ever good enough, he guilt trips me through the lonliness thing and at his worst by the 'I helped you now you owe me', he criticises my partner and sometimes bitterly remarks on my having a 'soft job' I'm in grad school I get so little money I don't even qualify for tax! I'm 200 miles away thank god but I do all I can.
I want to cultivate emotional detachment, any tips HOW? Also its hard because he can be kind and interesting and funny, but less and less. I resent my time and my emotions being used up. Any thoughts much appreciated.

Donna-1 said...

My mother has already called me 4 times this morning. It is my great-niece's 3rd birthday and Mom wants to have a little party at her house this morning. 11am sharp. "You ARE coming, aren't you," she finally demanded. I didn't answer the 4th call and she left a voice message asking whether her trash would need to be taken out today. She knows when the trash goes out, she's actually reminding me I need to come over there today some time anyway, to take her trash to the curb, so why not come at 11am? My question is: why can't my relatives who ARE going to be there take out the garbage? Apparently I am the only one with the garbage skill set.

Since it is New Year's Eve, she will also expect me to go back tonight to be with her for popcorn and watching The Ball drop in Time's Square on TV. Isn't that what most single women prefer to do on New Year's Eve? It makes me want to get drunk just thinking about it.

All the expectations? I have been so conditioned by years of this that I already know her expectations by heart. I can recite them verbatim before she ever starts.

Spending holidays with 3-yr olds and 85-yr olds. Just once I'd like to go out and have a good time rather than be with family.

"Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go" was probably originally a song about a holiday guilt trip. See, the horse already knew the way to carry the sleigh.

Anonymous said...

My mother likes to say, "Is there any coffee over there on the counter?" This is while she's sitting 3 feet from the counter and can see it is there. This is her way of saying, "Get my coffee for me" but she won't ask when other people are there because she doesn't want to appear to be bossing me around.

She will also say, "Are you still thinking about coming over tomorrow so we can spend the day together," when I never said I might come over or might even consider it. She won't say, "I would really like you to come by tomorrow." That would be too honest.

She's also beginning to use the phrase, "This might be my last Christmas" or "my last New Year's," or "my last time to see my grandbabies on their birthday." that way, I can feel obligated to go. I ought to counter these statements with, "Well, it's going to be the last holiday together whether or not you are still living, because I am the one who's not going to show up. And not because I'm dead. I'm just not going to go through this rollercoaster ride again." But I meekly sit there and listen and try not to barf at her self-absorption.

When I was 24 and my mother was 54, she wanted me to get out and see the world and finish college, and get married and basically have a life of my own. Be an artist! Be a writer! Now that I'm 54 and she's 84 she wants me to come live with her and take care of her so she won't end up in a nursing home. Good-bye life of my own. Good-bye independence. And so-called friends even say, "You'll have time for yourself after she's gone." I have already lost the last 2 yrs. No, I'm not tending to her all the time or being her chauffeur, but interaction with her leaves me so fatigued that I feel I'm going to pieces. I spend my time alone resting, trying to find enough energy to go at it again. I'm the one who's going to end up in the nursing home...while she's still alive!

Anonymous said...

Haven't been able to read all the posts. Everything I've read so far is so what I've experienced with my mother in law. Sad... My son is an only child. His father passed away about 15 years ago. He was the one that held back this bully. Yes call them what they are. Narcissistic sociopaths is WAY too nice. The term is BULLIES. They are BULLIES. Okay, sorry. I just had to get that out of my system. Wish I had some coping skills to add, but I am still learning. And this blog helping. I will come back when I need to. Thank you all.

Anonymous said...

I have read over many of the stories, and have come to the realization that my father must be a narcissist. I never thought of him as being full of himself. Although I always thought of him as being selfish.
I have read through all of the symptoms of a narcissist, and a couple of them don't fit him, like he doesn't really brag about himself, he doesn't try and one-up people, he isn't vain, he is a good listener...so does that mean he may not be a narcissist?
When I was young my mother was the center of his world. He was obsessed with her, questioned her every move. He smothered her....he was even jealous of her spending time with us kids.
She was definitely his codependent spouse. She would cater to his every whim, even if it meant putting us kids in harms way. He got into using illegal drugs, and would even drag us to dealers houses. I remember one guys house sitting and waiting for him to buy his drugs, and watching him and them looking at porn magazines, and me looking on in disgust, when he would look at me and say " what are you looking at! " As if I were doing something wrong by breathing the same air as him. We had to keep this dirty little secret all our lives. He constantly told us never to tell anyone about it. Many of the things we did were going to their friends houses for parties, that is unless they had a babysitter keep us. The final straw and my wake up call, was after I graduated high school, was working paying rent...and dating my now husband, and my Dad said I was keeping too late hours. I needed to give him my house keys, and be home before they went to sleep, or be locked out. My second date out, it happened, it was about 10:00pm, and he ordered my Mom and brothers not to answer the door. To say the least, with the help of my husband, moved out!
From that moment on, my life was a blessed financial struggle! But I was free...for awhile....
I always had this dream that ok they weren't good parents, maybe as grandparents things will be different. Not really...ecspecially after my children got older and started to form their own opinions. If my older son would say something smart to combat my smart ass fathers comments to him, he would say " that's ok someday you'll grow into those ears and that nose" to say the least my kids are not close to him, and he gets sad about it??? He is always saying mean, cruel things...jokingly of course???? But man o'day if you give it back, he gets so defensive. My husband used to be very shy, and non-confrontational..but dealing with my Dad has made him a smart ass too. God love him...how else do you deal with it?
My mother died after surgical complications almost 5 years ago, and since then for some stupid reason I introduced him to a friends mother. They started dating, and have been for about 4 years. I feel bad though because he is starting to treat her the same way he did my mother. He wants to be with her every moment, he wants her to put him first all the time. Even before her adult kids and grandkids...and I swear he gets mad if we spend time with her. They have broke up several times because of it. I tell her all the time how sorry I am to have introduced them to each other. She is a textbook grandma...love her.
Now that they are on the outs...he is calling me again...why don't we talk. We need to spend more time together...you never know how much time I have! He is 66 years old mind you. I have this constant guilty feeling that I need to sit down and be his psychologist and tell him what he is and he needs help. We had a talk on Sunday, and last night he is right back on, blaming all his problems on the girlfriend. It does no good, and I don't want to be his whipping post next....how do you become emotionally detached???? How do you stop caring???
Autumn

LizHazel29 said...

Are you my twin!?!?!? My parents are exactly like this. And I've detached. It was hard, and took alot of practice, but I'm (and my family) are healthier because of it..

Rachel said...

It's all starting to make sense now - I moved across the country from the East to West coast three years ago. I met the most amazing man who my parents have never accepted, and for no good reason; they say he is loud and annoying, while my sister's husband, who was married once before (and my parents are very religious and divorce is unheard of in my family) is welcomed with open arms. When my now husband proposed, one of the first things that came to mind was "my mom is going to be so mad". Imagine her having that type of control over me where I couldn't even enjoy the moment of my engagement. I've been just taking and taking the guilt trips about moving away and "not wanting to be close to the family" and the guilt trips of trying to explain to my parents how happy I am where I am now and them responding with "so you're not happy when you're with us?". I've been facing regular feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anger, resentment and frequent panic attacks as a result. I feel horrible for my husband who tries to help me make sense of it and often thinks it is something that has to do with him when it's really my mother. I fear that if I don't have some form of emotional detachment soon it could really affect my marriage and just life in general. I just want to be happy about the choices I've made instead of being criticized all the time for my "bad choices". I'm really happy to have found so many other people are dealing with this, and I hope to be able to learn how to cope!

Anonymous said...

Oh man, sounds like my mom.

Any time I have to do something that isn't involving her, such as moving [shocker that I'd wanna leave, right?], she comes up with some excuse as to why I can't go.

The newest one is having life-threatening, rare, impossible for her to have illnesses. Then she insults me by saying things like I can't relate, etc. Keep in mind I almost died from pneumonia as a child many, many times.

She would always think I was faking my illnesses for attention. That was her biggest 'martyr' play. "Oh well, they're just an attention whore." Well - neglect isn't the answer to that, either.

Unfortunately, I am in the same position, older and held back by my mom's crippling guilt. I am TRYING my best to escape and I have the highest hopes but also the highest doubts.

I hope things are better for you now. I think I will take some bloggers advice and do the "Make some friends" ploy. She never has any, however. Never will, either. She always has a reason to talk shit about everyone..

Cheers

Anonymous said...

My mom constantly puts me through the mill about never doing anything around the house. It frustrates me because when I do help, she gives me a "finally" instead of a "thank you". Strange - I go over the top when I help out and she barely gives me any credit. She also constantly complains about how she never sees me doing school work - not true - and how she constantly has to take us (my siblings and I) places and it's "so exhausting, I can never just sit down for five minutes." So, I decided to answer, "Well, I'll be in college soon and out of your hair" and she suddenly guilt trips me in the other direction: "How dare you decide to abandon me?? You think running away will solve your problems? You think leaving your only family will help you? I knew -name musical interest or sport that has nothing to do with the topic at hand but she knows I love so she hates it- was nothing but crap that filled your head with ridiculous notions." I've learned that shutting up just gives her time to rant to herself, but honestly, she wonders why I don't enjoy spending time with her.

Anonymous said...

Great blog and I can relate!

I am a 46 year old child, or at least that is what my mother makes me feel like.

I live in a foreign country for a reason! I left home at 27 mainly to get away from my clingy, narcissistic, alcohol/prescription drug addicted mother.

After being away for about 7 years, I decided to go back home to study and the plan was to stay. I was feeling some pressure from my mother and thought she had changed so thought, why not? I spent that year with a messed up train wreck who refused help. In the end, she basically told me to leave. I stayed long enough to help her through detox and back overseas I went!

My 2 brothers were soon to follow so we have all settled in the same country. Our mother has come to visit a few times and each time has gotten so messed up, she just ended up getting angry at us for confronting her and leaving.

Now...she is guilt tripping us, mainly me. She lies about her health and will try to lure us back by making us think she is very sick. She will make up stories about falling down etc., trying to make it seem as if she cannot be on her own. She will constantly talk about how all her friends have family around but she doesn't.

My aunt warned me years ago. She told me that my mother would do ANYTHING to get us to move back home. At the time, I thought she was crazy but boy, am I seeing it now.

I called her last night and wouldn't you know it, she was all messed up on something. Then came the guilt. I got off the phone thinking, WOW, who is this person? Looking back, I can see now even as a child, she was very manipulative but children just trust and don't see the forest for the trees.

I could go on and on. I just wanted to vent a bit.

katyd said...

the overpriviledged "children" are the biggest whiners. make a list... and see who the real sociopaths are
parents will always enjoy the company of their offspring, they just don't need the drama.

Peppermint said...

pisces6, are you me? Haha, it's just that my parents act much the same way, except I still live with them. I am considering doing No Contact, since I see any other way out. This has been a revelation. I used to think that maybe all families were like mine, especially traditional Chinese families, but over the years I've begun to see that that is NOT true at all. Other families are normal, my family is dysfunctional. Sometimes I thought there was something wrong with ME, like maybe I have a nasty attitude and I'm just ungrateful, but of course I've realized that those thoughts also have been projected onto me by my parents. But now I finally know what my parents are, I know I'm not crazy, and this is a confirmation that the problem is my parents, not me. I'm so frustrated because BOTH of my parents are narcissists. I don't believe any of their promises, because if they break a promise, it comes back to being my fault (I'm selfish and greedy and expecting too much from them, they're busy and they have better things to do than worry about me, etc. etc.) My mom has been on the warpath since Christmas Day this year and has been flipping out on everyone for everything for over a week now. I feel like I'm going crazy and I have to get out.

They've looked down on all of my dreams since I was a child. When I said I wanted to be a painter, they told me no way could I make it. When I wanted to be a writer, they looked down on it too. My mom's response: "Those writers are famous and rich because they're talented, but you're not talented. You would never make it." Every dream has been looked down on.

What really makes me tear out my hair is that everyone thinks they're amazing, charming, wonderful people and parents. When I've had to help them out at work, I want to throw up when their customers say, "You have a wonderful father! You're very lucky!" And I just fake smile and nod but what I really wanted to say was, "Do you have any idea what kind of sh*t my parents say about all of you behind your back?" My father literally has 2 voices: the one he uses for us and the one he uses for the rest of the world. His voice for us is harsh and condescending, the voice he uses to charm the rest of the world is soft and gentle. I don't know if my relatives see through everything or if they're just pretending everything is ok so that they don't have to get involved.

Anyway, I can go on and on about everything because I hold a lot of anger inside and I've been in a real funk lately. I've practically been hiding in my room to avoid having contact with either of my parents, because it's the only way to keep myself in check before I say something that they will twist and use against me.

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Tired said...

I know what everyone of you is talking about. My Mom has been guilt tripping me since I could talk. My Father passed away unexpectedly last year. They had been divorced for decades but that never stopped her from guilt tripping me for talking to him. She actually ruined out relationship by tell me to call him all the time. It made me mad. She had no idea when I talked to him and sometimes he didn't remember.
Last week on her most recent and vicious tirade she told me I was terrible for not answering his calls when I was at work. lol I can't answer calls at work at all. She still managed to make me a bad person for it.
For 3 years she has been trying to get me to go back to my ex. She hates anyone I date and guilts me for spending time with anyone.
She will call 3 to 8 times a day on the weekend and I have to call her 2 times a night during the week. I'm 36. Seriously. If I don't call her I don't care about her.
She is caring for her father whom she pulled out of a nursing home even thought my brother and I warned her that we can't help. Now she has started the guilt trips on that.
She had me in tears every night last week. I'm a POS, my BF is a POS. I'm tempted to move but I don't want to give up my job or my BF.
This is guilt and manipulation at it's finest. Any help is very welcome.

Anonymous said...

My stepdad sends me text messages about how much he and my mom owe on my college. Then he proceeds to talk about how we never visit. I have two girls. For our family to fly there, rent a car for two days would be over two grand. Saying that then brings up all the things they did for me and how he hopes that my kids never treat me that way. When he gets his way, I'm the greatest man on the planet, but when he doesn't, it's subtle put downs one after another. The amount of emotional abuse I've endured is insane. If it wasn't for my faith and family I probably would have contemplated suicide.

Tired said...

That is the exact same treatment I get from my mom. I'm getting right now. She wants me to take every Sunday night to visit her, I said no. I'm not getting sucked into that every week. I have a life. So now she is threatening to take away my inheritance when she dies. Sometimes I think her being done will be inheritance enough. It's a bad thought but it's unfortunately true. Hang in there. At least you have your family.

Peter said...

My mother has always been manipulative & always the martyr. I have left it to the ages of 50 to disconnect from her. I am her other son. The older son left her
decades ago.

I went into a relationship of co-dependency with her. I regret it now, but I was too weak before. 'Why' is a long story I wish to spare you from. It would take a small book.

Don't wait as long as me to make the disconnection. Look after number 1 when you get that gut feeling of knowing that nothing else will work.

ToughScot33 said...

What a relief it is to know that I'm not going mad! Only in the last few months I discovered my mother is a narcissist, I was previously living overseas and my mum hated me living far away. I would get sent so many "Wish you were here" emails, I'd be reminded of old cafes in my hometown we would visit.

My girlfriend did everything she could to feel part of the family, but my mother iced her out, and she told me I'd be trapped in my girlfriends country... And I didn't realise it but my mum was making me decide, it was going to be my girlfriend, or her, no room for both! Ever since my dad died I've felt enormous guilt to support my mum, never realising that she was robbing me of my own independence. I ended the relationship and made a terrible decision to go back to my hometown. When I got back I never got the welcome I thought I would get, nor the love, my mum couldn't understand why I was heartbroken, and felt that I should stop dwelling on the past. After being "home" for 4 weeks, she started getting annoyed at me being in the way all the time, I confronted her about all the guilt and she exploded! I couldn't stand being there, so I moved to another country to stay with friends. I want to go back to my ex girlfriend but I feel like I'll just end up failing. But I have decided to free myself from my narcissistic mothers guilt, its my life and I need to stand up for myself.

Thank you for this forum for allowing me to express this.

Anonymous said...

This forum makes me feel a lot better. My father had fines on his driving record and couldn't afford to pay them, so couldn't get tags. Stupid me put the car in my name so he could drive it, which was all good until he told me it needed too many repairs so he was going to park it until he decided whether to scrap it or fix it. I took the insurance off as it was not being used....or so I thought. Come to find out he is still driving it, not caring I would be the one liable if anything happened. I told him he needed to decide whether he was going to have it insured or get rid of it - keeping in mind my job is a type that if anything happened while he was driving it would likely result in my being fired and he knows that. His response? That my message was the most hateful one he had ever received and that I should "try not to die"....not sure what that means, think he's implying I am overreacting, which I am not. This is after I have loaned him and my Mom over $20,000 over the years.....well, it was supposed to be a short term loan to get them on their feet but I guess they both decided they didn't need to pay back anything, so instead my hubby and I struggle to pay all our own bills each month. And yet I am selfish when I want to prevent him from breaking the law and driving an uninsured vehicle.

It took me until recently to realize that not only are both my parents Narcissists, but that my supposed bff of ten years is also one. Now that I am finally standing up for myself, the friendship ended -apparently questioning her is unacceptable - and my parents think I am being selfish. The kicker is I had a miscarriage last year at the end of my first trimester (at 39 so the clock is ticking), and not one of them was there for me in any way. Thank Goodness for my hubby being an amazing and supportive person or I really would not have gotten through this last year and a half. I guess the key is keep the supportive people close and decide where your line is with the Narcissist ones. My former bff crossed the line and my parents are close to it, and as painful as it may be for a bit, I need to stop enabling their behaviour and take care of myself for once. Hope it works for me and for everyone on here!

MLH said...



wow I am so glad to have come across this. I am in my middle 60's and live in a constant state of guilt. It is so much worse now than it has been through the years because my now almost 93 year old mother has been living with us for almost 2 years now. She has been able to lay guilt trips on me for years - calling me on my day off from work when my kids and husband were home insisting I drive over and take her to work. when I tried to protest she reminded me of the kids winter coats she had bought. There have always been so many strings attached to everything she ever did for me. It wasn't out of love and just because she wanted to - it was saving up markers so she could call them in later. When my dad passed away 13 years ago we just did everything for her. She never learned to drive because she was "too busy". So I have spend countless hours of my life hauling everywhere she needed to go. Now that she is living with us I feel so much resentment and then the guilt follows. I can look back over the years and see how she has kept me tied so close because of the guilt she was able to instill. She has always been a martyr making it sound like she had to do without so many things when we kids so that we could have things. I have tried so hard not to be this way with my kids. It is sad because I thought the kids all just loved her but my grown kids and the grandkids don't call her or come to see her. She never asked about them or seems to care. Everything is always about her and how she did this and she did something else and she was smarter than everybody else. The best thing I could have done was move far away years ago but I didn't. So now I deal with the guilt on a daily basis because of the little games she still plays with me but at least I am finally beginning to feel a little less guilt. My middle sister wants nothing to do with her after years of this so it's up to my youngest sister and me to try to keep her out of a nursing home. She told me this is what families do and God would not be pleased. Never mind if it wears us down and out.

Anonymous said...

This blog has proven such a comfort to me right now as I care for my elderly father. My parents, mother now passed on, have always made me feel guilty. Even as I approach midlife I cannot believe that I can still be made to crumble. As an only child, I have felt these feelings with intense emotion. Thanks, all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post and the comments...so helpful!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post and the comments...so helpful!

Anonymous said...

I read all of the comments left on this page, I cried and I laughed - I understand the struggle that so many people have with the supposed "caregivers of the past" in their lives. I just wanted to post a comment not as someone who has a Narcissistic parent but as someone who loves someone with an active Narcissistic parent in their life.

I don't have narcissistic parents of my own (although they were alcoholic and had their own host of mental health issues) - but my DH of 10 years has a mother who is both paranoid personality and narcissistic as well. It has taken me years to see these disorders in her conduct as my DH has kept limited contact with her over the years.

In the beginning of our relationship I tried to encourage him to have more contact with her as I saw her as a desperately lonely woman with bad social skills. However, I now feel quite bad about not fully supporting and understanding his need for distance from her. I think perhaps it was my own desperate desire for a mother figure in my life that blinded me to her manipulative and destructive ways.

I guess if you don't have narcissistic parents - your mind doesn't even go there - you don't even contemplate that the weird behaviour you witness from the NP's is meant to inflict harm on their own children. I think that this woman feels worthless inside, and her son and anyone else who is close to her is just something to project her own self-hate upon. That makes me sad and angry at the same time.

In recent years she has dialed up the crazy, with DH having to temporarily relocate away from her (and me) for work purposes. She threw every guilt inducing comment she could think of at him. I sat helplessly by watching this terrible play unfold in front of me. Finally when I couldn't take it any longer, I told her that it was okay and normal to miss him - but to just come out and say it instead of using guilt to communicate this feeling.

She denied that she wanted to him to stay - I felt confused - stunned - after sitting there hearing her freak out for hours about how DH was leaving her behind, and how he didn't care about his ill, elderly mother - how on earth was that anything but saying she wanted him to stay?!?

I realized then and there that you can't fight crazy - they don't even try and make sense most of the time. Logic is not only lost on them - it is their enemy, and if you dare try to use it - you will be met with either blind rage, hysterical victim crying or flat out denial. Crazy making behaviour!

This one example of a weird, over the top interaction with her is only the tip of the iceberg.

Anyway, it was a big wake-up call for me. My DH now is contemplating NC with her, as her guilt trips have increased in both frequency and severity.

At almost 80 years old, she is alone in life because she has created that reality for herself. She has 5 other children (whom she abandoned as youngsters to run off with my DH's father), but most of them won't even speak to her. I think I feel bad for her mostly because I would never want that reality for myself, but I would never want my DH to continue to subject himself to what I see as emotional abuse from her. People may think he is over-reacting to a "normal" amount of guilt-tripping from an elderly mother, but they haven't seen the depth of this abuse over the years and how much happiness and vitality it has robbed from my DH.