|Well, I kicked my mother out. And after two months of feeling like it's my fault I've finally figured out what is going on. She has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. All this time I thought she was sane and I was going crazy it turns out she is the one with serious issues. Somehow she is able to manipulate situations so that she comes out sounding rational. It's gotten worse over the years, finally cumulating into a giant mess that ended in a semi-estrangement. I can provide details if asked but don't want to overwhelm anyone because, as I'm sure it is with most people, the issues I have with my mother and the stories I could tell would fill a book.
And, she called my psycho ex-husband and told him I kicked her "out on the street" which is a complete lie. She expected him to feel sorry for her. But it backfired because he told me he would have done the same thing and wanted to kick her out the second she moved in.
I just have all of these feelings, anger, regret, hostility, disappointment, inadequacy, fear, resentment... on and on. I thought I dealt with all of my childhood issues with her but they keep coming up now, thirteen years after our last reconciliation, so I obviously haven't processed them and let them go yet. It's like the puzzle is finally clicking together. I can almost see the whole picture, but don't know if I'm misinterpreting the message.
I think talking it out would help, but with my DH it's hard, because he is angry too, and sometimes it's hard not to get defensive of her with him (the old "I can call my mother a B^$#^ but you can't" feeling). I can talk with my father about it, but I don't want to get SM involved because she eats bad news about my mother like it's a chocolate sundae.
How do I handle this? How do you all handle your parents and the shifting relationships between being a child with your parent, then being a parent yourself? What can be done to keep me from feeling guilty and responsible for her well being? Am I a bad daughter because I don't want my mother to live with me and tell me what to do? I'd really like your opinions/suggestions.
|DSM Criteria (* marks the traits I associate with my mother, although this sounds like it was written just for her) |
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance *
Some narcissistic traits are common and a normal developmental phase. When these traits are compounded by a failure of the interpersonal environment and continue into adulthood they may intensify to the point where NPD is diagnosed. It has been suggested that NPD may be exacerbated by the onset of aging and the physical, mental, and occupational restrictions it imposes as can most personality traits.
Various clinical views
Psychologists commonly believe that pathological narcissism results from an impairment in the quality of the person's relationship with their primary caregivers, usually their parents, in that the parents were unable to form a healthy, empathic attachment to them. This results in the child conceiving of themselves as unimportant and unconnected to others. The child typically comes to believe that he or she has some defect of personality which makes them unvalued and unwanted.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is isolating, disenfranchising, painful, and formidable for those diagnosed with it and often those who are in a relationship with them. Distinctions need to be made among those who have NPD because not each and every person with NPD is the same. Even with similar core issues, the way in which one's individual narcissism manifests itself in his or her relationships varies.
To the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, they can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of others' needs and of the effects of their behavior on others, and insistent that others see them as they wish to be seen. They may also demand certain behavior from their children because they see the children as extensions of themselves, and need the children to represent them in the world in ways that meet the parents’ emotional needs. (For example, a narcissistic father who was a lawyer demanded that his son, who had always been treated as the "favorite" in the family, enter the legal profession as well. When the son chose another career, the father rejected and disparaged him.)
These traits will lead overly narcissistic parents to be very intrusive in some ways, and entirely neglectful in others. The children are punished if they do not respond adequately to the parents’ needs. This punishment may take a variety of forms, including physical abuse, angry outbursts, blame, attempts to instill guilt, emotional withdrawal, and criticism. Whatever form it takes, the purpose of the punishment is to enforce compliance with the parents' narcissistic needs.
People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined. To avoid such situations, some narcissistic people withdraw socially and may feign modesty or humility.
Though individuals with NPD are often ambitious and capable, the inability to tolerate setbacks, disagreements or criticism, along with lack of empathy, make it difficult for such individuals to work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional achievements. With narcissistic personality disorder, the person's perceived fantastic grandiosity, often coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically not commensurate with his or her real accomplishments.
The exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, lack of empathy, disregard for others, and constant need for attention inherent in NPD adversely affect interpersonal relationships.
|Here's a link which describes how all those characteristics fit in every day terms. It really helped me understand. For instance, what exactly is grandiosity? It helped me see the light of day when I read: "The simplest everyday way that narcissists show their exaggerated sense of self-importance is by talking about family, work, life in general as if there is nobody else in the picture. Whatever they may be doing, in their own view, they are the star, and they give the impression that they are bearing heroic responsibility for their family or department or company, that they have to take care of everything because their spouses or co-workers are undependable, uncooperative, or otherwise unfit. They ignore or denigrate the abilities and contributions of others and complain that they receive no help at all; they may inspire your sympathy or admiration for their stoicism in the face of hardship or unstinting self-sacrifice for the good of (undeserving) others. But this everyday grandiosity is an aspect of narcissism that you may never catch on to unless you visit the narcissist's home or workplace and see for yourself that others are involved and are pulling their share of the load and, more often than not, are also pulling the narcissist's share as well." |
I think the biggest thing to understand about dealing with a narcissist is knowing: she will not change. Narcissism is highly uncureable. Think about it in these terms: How does one convince someone who so firmly believes she's right, even for a second, ever believe she's wrong? It aint gonna happen. She has so much invested in being right, that you'll never win.
How do I handle this? You do need to talk it out. The situation is so big, I would truly suggest a professional listen to you. They know the healthy ways to interact with her and help you set the right boundaries for your relationship and sanity.
How do you all handle your parents and the shifting relationships between being a child with your parent, then being a parent yourself? It's important for you to know, aging parents are difficult for most people, but add to that the strain of a personality disorder, and you the child is left holding the whole ball of wax. It's straining to want a healthy mom, not have one, and realize time is short in which to repair the relationship. You're right, it's no fun being the grown up here. But you're stronger than she is and you can be the one to do the decision making.
What can be done to keep me from feeling guilty and responsible for her well being? Am I a bad daughter because I don't want my mother to live with me and tell me what to do? You have to do what is best for you and for her. You are not a bad daughter if you think it's healthier for both of you. Up to you and only you. Our opinions don't matter. Her opinion doesn't matter. Only yours; it's your home, it's your life. I will say, you seem to have a handle on what you want since you're having realistic feelings and expectations. Further, knowing she's narcissistic, equips you. You're on the right track. You're not alone. Take care of you!
i left you a post on another site (estrangement) i was speaking to you even if i wrote 'fluffed'
anyhow, i need to run to work. but, there's a guy, sam vaknin, who has npd and he has tons of stuff out there on the topic. it's in my family too.. and - well - it's rare and very very challenging.
i'll check back to see your blog or thread or whatever.
|Thank you for that link, it was helpful to get it in layman's terms. I just couldn't understand for the longest time why things weren't making sense (her actions) and why I was getting so offended by what she would say. Then I came across this diagnosis and it fit perfectly. |
All of her stories would involve how she did something great. She always had to be the one talking or giving advice. Always. The last time my dad came out (last Christmas) he commented that she exhausted him because she just wouldn't shut up. (They've been divorced for twenty years but have been friendly for the past ten) And of course, she thought she was being brilliant and fascinating and telling good stories, but it's so tiring to listen to someone who is constantly "on". I didn't realize that other people saw it too.
I didn't want her to go to family functions with me (my family from my dad's side or my DH side) and I couldn't figure out why I felt like that. Then last X-mas, when my dad was here, we went to a dinner, and she really wanted to go to see his sisters. So, of course, she dominated the conversation, etc. and helped my uncle clean up and do dishes (forced him to let her) and my aunt said to me "can she move in with us" and then for weeks/months later I heard my mom telling her friends on the phone and in person how she went up to my aunt's house and they invited her to live with them. I really don't think that's what they were saying. It's just one of those things you say when someone is helpful. Am I wrong in this? Or would you take this the way she did?
I don't want to talk to a professional because I have been to so many in my life, as a child, as an adult with my father, with my ex-husband... that I'm pretty much not interested in going through it again. I think I've turned out pretty well adjusted despite listening to crazies. Not that they're all bad, I've just had some bad experiences. I'm just trying to sound things out with objective people :)
She moved to the next state over when she left (leaving a lot of stuff in her room, kind of trashed, and leaving the pictures of me as a little slap as well). That's what hurt the most. I don't know if it was conscious or not, but my daughter's pictures would be the first thing I would take. So all communication is by email. It makes me want to change my email address. I just have a really hard time now because she is acting like nothing happened, and I can't be that superficial.
|one thing that really has helped for me is true real acceptance. if they are truly narcissists they are totally unable to be any different. they really don't see you. you're not there - in the same sense as other human interaction. so i really know that it's me - that needs to be cautious with my interactions with him. |
i'm not able to NEVER speak to him - i just can't do it. i really do enjoy him and in his way (i hate it when people say this) he really loves us. life is short. i would feel horrible if i cut him off. i can't hurt anyone like that. luckily there are many miles between us and i only pick up his calls or call him when i'm totally, absolutely, positively feeling good. otherwise - voicemail :)
I have a favorite website about NPD that I'll provide a link to in case you haven't seen it. It has been online for years but the author writes so well and talks about it so well that it is still my favorite.
My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder which is quite different from NPD in many ways but has some similarities in the self centered approach to the world. I do empathize with how you are feeling. I would not be able to live with my mother under any circumstances. I empathize with the feelings that you are having such as the guilt. Unfortunately, those feelings can be worked on by the person with the personality disorder to their own ends. So recognize that these are just feelings and they are not the same as logical rational thought. It is unlikely that you have done anything for which you need to feel guilty. If you can recognize that you probably feel guilty because you were raised to feel guilty whenever you didn't meet a whole lot of needs that never would have been put on your shoulders in a healthy relationship, then you might be able to put the guilt away.
Those with NPD are quite amazing in all the ways that they can think of to manipulate people. If they were as good at other things in their life as they are at manipulating people, they would accomplish far more than they do. But they put so much energy into manipulating people that they have less time for other more positive things.
I can't imagine living with someone with NPD. You have my heartfelt sympathies for having gone through that and you have my congratulations for having done something good for yourself by refusing to continue to do it.
I think you will enjoy visiting the website that I am providing a link to below.
Here is a link that might be useful: Never love anything that can't love you back
I see that Rob333 has left the same link to the same site that I did and you've already visited it.
My dh and I know a few people who would qualify as having NPD. There is one in particular who amazes me with how he messes up his life repeatedly with no apparent awareness of what he is doing.
Since it is your mother who has NPD, it might be impossible to detach enough to stand back and watch what she does objectively. But with some distance in space and time you might be able to detach more than you had in the past. If she is like others I know who have NPD, she is her own worst enemy. It is amazing to watch but much worse when it is a close relative.
|"amazes me with how he messes up his life repeatedly..." |
I think, and this is my own layperson's guess, they do that so that they can be the "hero" and resue someone/something from the problem. That is, they actually create the problem on purpose (even if unconsciously) in order to look good.
I agree that someone with NPD especially loves the idea of being seen as the hero. One of the people that I was referring to does do things to solve other people's problems by giving what he sees as sage advice. Even when he is way out of his field and doesn't know what he is talking about. That doesn't stop him from trying to advise others and going on about what they should do.
But as to why he (and others) mess up their lives with their behavior, that is a different issue when they do it because they have no awareness of what they are doing. Which is why it is a disorder because it is intrinsic to their personality. The kind of messes I am referring to are the ones that they create by trying to control other people.
To give an example, this guy goes to great lengths to get someone to be with him at all times, especially girlfriends or wives. He wants never to be alone. As a result, his significant others find themselves trying to have a life of their own without him controlling every minute. Eventually they spend less and less time with him. The end result is that he is more alone because he has driven everyone away in his quest not to be alone.
They are their own worst enemies. They want what they can't have. They can't have what they want because they drive people away. But they can't stop doing the things that drive people away. They think that what they are doing is the only way to get what they want. You can't change their mind on that point.
Then, on top of their driving people away, they blame the people that they drove away for their being alone. That is the icing on the NPD cake.
Going back to your statement about how she can sound so rational, that is what someone with NPD would strive to do. To sound much more rational and sane than the person who is laying there asking what truck just hit them. The person with NPD would blame the person lying on the ground for having been hit by the truck. Of course, the person with NPD was driving the truck at the time but it is still the fault of the crazy person (in the viewpoint of the one with NPD) who is lying on the ground having been driven over by the truck.
They are always rational. The rest of us are insane. They don't want anyone to take away the keys to the truck.
If you are able to follow all the details in their stories, eventually you see the holes. Of course they will try to keep you from knowing all the details and seeing the holes and when you do see the holes and point out the holes they will try to tell you that you are hallucinating.
If you catch them in a lie, they will accuse you of having betrayed their trust by having spied on them. When your good friend told you the truth about something that they had witnessed.
|The person with NPD would blame the person lying on the ground for having been hit by the truck. |
That is so right on! Good one.
|Here's the weird part. My mother has been in counseling/workshops/self-help groups since before I was born. She takes responsibility or expected me to take responsibility for everything. One of her favorite stories when I was little centered around her running a red light right in front of a cop. When he pulled her over, she said "it's all my fault, etc" and he let her off with a warning. |
If I were hit by a truck, she would say, now what did you do to get hit by that truck?
I was in hospital at 14 for a really bad flu. She walked in and said "well, you got what you wanted, didn't you?" Yeah, I'm loving missing my camping trip and halloween party at my friends house. This is great.
Maybe this is something that becomes more apparent with age. My best friend and I shared a house in college, and when we moved out she left before me and left a few things that I had to move with my stuff, including a bicycle. Whatever, right? Not a really big deal. But my mother flipped out that she was so disrespectful. Fast forward ten years, and when my mother moved out she left so much junk. Her nightstand was filled with it. It seems like the same thing to me, except she's 60 and my friend was 22.
I don't know if she realizes what she has done. When she called me four years ago and said she didn't know what to do but she had to get out of her living situation, I said, come stay with us for a while, I'll pick you up. Well, she never left. A year later I got a divorce and decided to move to the mainland. She wanted to come too. I said ok because I was really at loose ends and didn't want to disrupt my daughter too much. I thought my mother would find her own way. Instead she kept telling me what to do and how to do it and completely undermining my authority with my daughter and/or making herself out to be the authority with others regarding dd.
Example: getting treats after school, then dd wouldn't want to eat dinner. Told mom this is not going to work. Then she goes to greatgrandmother's house with dd and greatgrandma wants to buy dd an icecream after lunch. Well, mom says no because dd didn't eat enough of her lunch. Power trip!
And our neighbors. She completely dominated our relationship with our neighbors. She even told me that they were afraid of me and my dh, which of course they aren't. My co-worker was having issues with her husband, and I told my mom that because we were going to go to a function with them and it was cancelled. Later they had reconciled and my mom was like "well, we don't like the husband, yadda yadda" I told her I was not going to judge, once you did that if they got back together then it's hard to be friends again because there's all that bad talk between you. Oh, she was mad. And they did get back together, but we were all able to remain friends, even though I didn't respect him I respected my co-worker's ability to run her own life.
I don't know if that gives a glimpse of what's going on, or if I just seem neurotic. That's the thing, she wasn't diagnosed, I just found something that fit her personality/behavior.
She constantly talks about how she was so popular in high school, and every story is either how she rescued someone, or had the best idea, or... She got mad at her last job because they told her not to tell customers "that's ridiculous" when they told her their order did not arrive yet because it makes the company look bad. That's standard customer service to me. Tell the customer you're sorry, and that you'll do what you can to make them happy. Cust Svc 101.
But it's the anger that really gets to me. She is so angry. Well, now she's not. Now she's all sweetness and light, which makes me feel like Eyore. Plus, she's reverted to calling me by my childhood nickname that I've asked her since 4th grade not to call me. The nickname is so prevelant that everyone, all family members, etc. called me by that and didn't even know my real name for ages. Still they say "oh, so you're going by X now?" and I say, no, that's my REAL NAME. My mother just couldn't pronounce the name she gave me so she shortened it.
well, i KNOW your mom, she's my dad :). you're not the nut. it takes a long time to really see these npd people. because it's so 'out there'.
for me the most damaging and serious aspect of npd is the lack of empathy. how can anyone have a realationship with an npd? they don't care what you want, they really don't. they kindof think you're nuts when you express your needs/wants. and it's not intentional. they are blind in an emotional sense. check out the studies they're doing on brain activity (functional mri) there's an area of the brain that activates under empathy producing situations. but for some people, there's no activation. nada - zip.. also, keep in mind they almost never end up in the therapist chair. because THEY are NEVER the problem. NEVER.
but i will give you a warning here. keep your daughter away. i didn't understand my family dynamics until it was too late. i willingly shared my child with my parents (family you know) and i would say it back fired for me. i ended up with no authority. they undermined every attempt for discipline. additionally, he never learned that i had value, because i was never treated with any value. my needs were never important to him growing up and they aren't now. i think that's part of the cause of the estrangement (me and my son). he is entitled to EVERYTHING and i am entitled to NOTHING.
so my warning....as charming (that's my dad) as your mom may be - always keep her at a distance.
you need to be the parent of your daughter. there's danger in your midst.
|I guess you're right Kaynsd. She would just get angry for me, get involved in my life and try to sever my friendships the way she severed her own. Like my cousin. He's her age, but my cousin on my dad's side. They had a falling out, and she doesn't want anything to do with him. When I told her I was driving to meet him and his daughter, whom I've never met and is three years younger than my daughter (I know, do the math, and he's having twin girls now, so he'll be sixty with three kids under five. yeowch!)she exploded. I tried to explain to her that while I didn't like what he "did" to her, I still wanted to have a relationship with him and meet my cousins and have my daughter have a relationship with her cousins. She couldn't understand why I would betray her like that. |
"but i will give you a warning here. keep your daughter away. "
I admit, when I first read that I thought, that doesn't apply here. But then I took a closer look. When I was divorcing my husband he got a little crazy. My mother would tell me not to trust him, etc. And since the divorce I have kept her on a pretty short leash of what to tell him and what not to tell him, and she has not had very good judgement about that. Example, when my daughter fell on the trampoline she sprained her knee. It wasn't swollen or turning colors but it hurt. I made the judgement call not to go to emergency but to wait a day and see if there were any changes. I elevated it, kept her off of it and put ice. Ex calls, mom talks to him, tells him I'm not taking her to ER because I don't have insurance (which I didn't, I had switched jobs, and it's his responsibility to have ins. on her anyway). But it wasn't true. I would have taken her if I thought it was serious enough. Now, she called to talk to my DD at her dad's house after the blow up happened and she told him I kicked her out on the street. By the way, I haven't told anyone why I got a divorce in my family so they all think I'm the crazy one because I don't want to be married to this rich father of my child who is obviously in love with me. But I don't want the rumors to get back to my daughter or for her to hear things she shouldn't, or for them to be uncomfortable with him either. Just because he did drugs and courted other women while we were together doesn't mean I have to smear his name now. He's clean now, and we're divorced, so he can go after whomever he wants. BUT. My mother said when my daughter turns 18 she's going to tell her what her dad did, and show her the evidence. I asked her over and over again not to do anything, because it's up to me. But she's out for revenge. I'm stupid, because I gave her copies of all of my evidence in case I had to go to divorce court. Little did I know.
My daughter even asked me, Mom, I wish it wasn't like this, two and two. And I said what do you mean. And she said, you know, like you and DH and me and Grandma. It nearly broke my heart. But my ex said when he told my DD that grandma wouldn't be there when she got back my DD said, that's ok, I have my mom and SD. So no big loss there, where she's concerned.
I'm sorry about your dad. How did it get so bad that you have no perceived value/authority?
I share too. :) I always thought that was a good thing. I didn't spend time with my grandparents so I thought it would be really nice for DD to get that experience.
How is your son entitled to everything and you to nothing? Do you mean financially from your parents? Is your estrangement your choice or his or mutual? No pressure to answer, I'm just curious how this happened and how you are dealing with it.
|what i'm trying to convey is the NPD personallity and how damaging it is to others. |
with an npd, no one other than the npd has value. the true npd only accomodates others because they have to.
so my dad, he doesn't mean anything by it. when i read some discussions about the npd, they make it sound like it's intentional. i don't think so. i really think they just don't have any empathy. and this helps me to, alot. knowing he can't help it, helps me.
but it was funny with my son and his gp's. nothing was good enough for him and he could do no wrong. it was weird. they kissed his a**. financially, emotionally, but i didn't really see it until he started having adolescent problems up through his early 20's. then it started becoming clear. even landing in jail, did not warrent any reprimand. by them.
so where was i in all of this? how could i 'parent' my child who had gone astray? it was a mess.
i don't want to go into details, but things during his early 20's were pretty good. we had become pretty close and hung out together alot.
but the gf came, and all went downhill. now he and she are the only ones that matter. they expect to be treated like royalty - her especially, but that requires him to defend her(kindof like defending his property - i hate to say) (cause they fight like cats and dogs - which is part of the problem for me - i was present for some pretty intense arguments)
so that's it. he won't even take any responsibility and won't meet me part way.
i guess i've iniated the estrangement, because if i just let him keep crapping on me, everything would be fine.
|Sorry to hijack for a moment silversword... |
kaynsd, if it helps give clarity, I'll try. It's from my layperson point of view, with a bit of my therapist thrown in... Professionals aren't certain if npd is a learned or genetic behavior. Let's say, for a moment, it IS a learned behavior.
Your son could've learned it from your dad. So he too is npd. Is he? From my therapist, npd's will discount everything they hear which disagrees with what they believe to be true. If you say, but you were in jail, how can you now be "the hero of your community"?, he'll end up discounting YOU in the end. And, this is the bigger piece, if it's true a hypothesis, he'll knock you out of the picture to get rid of the objectionable thought... and replace you with someone who "props him up", i.e. the girlfriend. She strokes his ego and keeps him in his reality (probably only to get what she needs from him as an npd will attract another npd, bpd, etc.). Make sense?
So you would've had to lie constantly about everything, and maybe even ended up in a worse situation for yourself, if you'd let it continue. You didn't do anything wrong, except tell him no. You were supposed to tell him no, you love him enough, care enough to want to teach him right, since you're his parent.
|No worries, Rob! Often I learn more when people are sharing their issues because it's not so familiar. It's easier to recognize when it's happening to other people sometimes...I appreciate hearing opinions because right now I'm just sorting it out for myself. I'm getting past the really angry part (where I'd be doing yard work and find myself yelling internally at my hoe and weeds - fricking weed, so stubborn, why can't you just... and when you... it really makes me... and then I realize I'm ranting at my mother!) and getting into the "why" part. I'm hoping this morphs into the "how to deal with" part, which will end in the "acceptance and moving on" part. :)|
|Kaynsd... first, I'm sorry you are going through this with your son. And I may be going out on a limb here but this kind of fits in the step-parents genre for me. (not that you are behaving like a stepparent) My dad and stepmother have been together 12 years, married 10. For a few of those years my dad and I were estranged because I cannot tolerate my stepmother. And, he would not see that she was seriously damaging our relationship. Now I've decided I'd rather kiss her A$$ and have a relationship with my dad than feel awful about being estranged. So I do things I really don't want to do. Help her with airline reservations. Listen to her rant about her health issues and offer advice. Try to give her enough "juice" that she doesn't try to suck me dry. |
I think this happens a lot. The girlfriend sounds a lot like my step-mom. She has found an emotional "sugar daddy" and doesn't want to share with anyone who knows him better and might be able to wake him up, or will take some of "her" love and attention from him.
My stepmom also expects to be treated like royalty. She doesn't work or contribute to the household. My father expects everyone to cater to her and when they don't and mention how disgusting her behavior is, he says that she is just misunderstood and she's a really good person. Everyone else just sees him as enabling her (most of his sisters, etc).
I don't have any advice. In one circumstance, because my dad isn't the one who is directly crapping on me, I make the sacrifice every year to visit with them both and let her crap away, just try to make it a game of dodge the crap and be the better person. The rest of the time I just communicate with him. It's not perfect, but it's working the best so far of everything else I've tried. In the other circumstance, my mother, I'm still trying to figure it out.
It's almost like I have amnesia. You know the survivor syndrome, or something like that, where people who are kidnapped start to associate with their kidnappers (like what Patty Herst claimed?). I feel like I had that. As a child I associated so closely with what she was doing that I somehow convinced myself as I got older that she's sane. But when I really explore she was a complete nutball when I was growing up. It's hard to face.
ROB "npd's will discount everything they hear which disagrees with what they believe to be true. If you say, but you were in jail, how can you now be "the hero of your community"?, he'll end up discounting YOU in the end. And, this is the bigger piece, if it's true a hypothesis, he'll knock you out of the picture to get rid of the objectionable thought... and replace you with someone who "props him up", i.e. the girlfriend."
WOW> That is really an amazing thought. I feel like you hit me over the head. My mom would find a theory and stick to it like glue. Like piecing together her reality. Building her little castle of reality around her brick by brick. And if I'd say, you know, this one doesn't really fit, why is that? She'd defend that brick with her life. She'd find people who supported her beliefs, then when they showed a belief that didn't fit her scheme, all of a sudden they were out out out.
Someone on another post said that if you are estranged with or having issues with a lot of your family members, it just might be your problem rather than theirs. Although I think there are some toxic families, as another member postulated, I tend to agree. If everyone around a person has a problem, it is more probable that the one person is the one with the problem.
|Silversword - You ARE piecing things together -- good for you. NPDs are notoriously hard for the 'untrained' observer to pick out, but once you see them!... Wow - you're never the same again. |
I was married to one for 10 years, and have gone through the wringer and come out the other side. It took a further 10 years to fully get past all of the twisting that he put me through and reach the acceptable phase. The hurt and angry phase was a long one - anger in particular.
One statement that really hit home with me -- can't remember who said it -- was that an NPD person views others as a "source of narcisisstic supply." In other words, other people are merely a resource for him/her to exploit as needed. As a source for whatever it is the narcissist needs - admiration, connections, prestige, favors. And whenever the other people 'stop functioning' as a narcissistic supply, that's when they get cut off. Simply like changing a battery or the propane tank on a grill. Used up - throw away. Broken - get a new one.
It's scary stuff Silversword -- but you seem to be doing well with it -- making sense of it and moving toward acceptance. But don't expect it to be a quick journey. After having been raised by a narcissist, you will find so many areas of your life that have been affected -- all of your perceptions have been twisted and tainted. The stories you grew up with that provided context for your life -- know that they're all not quite the way you've heard them.
You said something about not wanting to go back to therapy. That sounded a bit like you were blaming yourself, like this is your mental problem. It's not. More likely, it's the root cause of all of your previous difficulties. Therapy might, in this case, provide the validation you probably need to help you sort through the spaghetti bowl a bit more quickly.
|sweeby - well said. it's a sam vaknin thing (maybe others too) the term 'narcissistic supply'. |
silver, that's really what i meant as far as how the NPD sees others. they seek out people who make them feel good.
you've really got to check out sam vaknins site. he is a self proclaimed npd, but can see himself objectively. it's pretty frightening.
being raised by one is the worst ever. really, a child who has no value of their own? their needs, wants really REALLY don't matter.
in my house EVERYTHING was about my dad, my mom cooked for HIM, we took trips based on where HE wanted to go. him him him. really what mom doesn't make their kid their favorite meal or something. my mom/parents didn't even know what our favorite things were. now i see it and it is WEIRD. we didn't have birthdays. nothing was about us..
now how do these kids go out in society and negotiate a good life for themselves? almost impossible.
|"I was married to one for 10 years, and have gone through the wringer and come out the other side. It took a further 10 years to fully get past all of the twisting that he put me through and reach the acceptable phase. The hurt and angry phase was a long one - anger in particular." |
Interesting, because that's how I felt after I got my divorce too. But he wasn't NPD, he was just a spoiled brat who never learned right from wrong. I actually found out after our divorce that his parents had hidden a lot of his serious issues/paid for his mistakes/covered up for their darling only son. They couldn't admit that he was truly messed up. A good guy, but he's just spoiled and rich. Someone said on the parents thread that kids who grow up with everything never learn to do anything. It was like that with him, he never really learned maintenance of life lessons. Untangling his manipulations and rediscovering the truth still shocks me nearly three years later. I'd imagine it takes the length of the marriage over again to really see things completely straight. In that case, I have two years more to go!
"And whenever the other people 'stop functioning' as a narcissistic supply, that's when they get cut off. Simply like changing a battery or the propane tank on a grill. Used up - throw away. Broken - get a new one."
The weird part with these people is that it is really difficult to tell what the truth really is. I'd hear how people my mother had been friends with for 15 + years were now suddenly awful people (in some cases I would tell her I saw it as a kid so many years ago, why didn't she see it then?) and she wanted nothing to do with them. How does this happen? Is she just getting ambushed all the time by people showing their true colors? In my experience you get some clue pretty early on, it's whether or not you want to pay attention to those clues that determines if you still want to be their friend.
One weird thing that I keep coming back to. When I was young (my parents split up at age two and divorced at age four, total marriage 12 years) my mom HATED my dad. And would tell me awful things. Only when I was over 18 did they start speaking civilly again. My dad never talked bad about my mom. Then, with my SM, my BM would get all righteous and say that she used to take care of my dad, and the thing that makes BM mad is that SM doesn't even take care of him, love him, etc... (BM divorced dad, FYI). But she's never really apologized or acknowledged that she hated him for 16 or so years. Is this putting herself in the perfect wife role? And, she would say that SM isn't a mother, so she doesn't know how to love me, or treat me right. Again, is this one-upmanship?
It's so confusing!!!
|That sounds awful. I can't imagine. My childhood was not like that. My mom made everything about us kids, but in a different way. When we went to school she pulled me out every Wed. for a beach day because the week was too long for such a young kid (I was 13). I didn't want to get out of school because it was hard to maintain as it was. For my mom it was all about health and diet, and she was very very strict. We had to eat certain things at certain times. I got a bakery cake for one birthday, wow! but it had to be carrot/cream cheese because that was the only kind I could have. Gross. I wanted chocolate. My fingers were slammed in a car door by my grandma once (I was four), completely by accident, but my mom wouldn't let me have a lifesaver that my grandma offered. Can you say control trip? We had to go to counseling/self-help/communication workshops all the time and learn how to communicate our real feelings, then had to express those feelings. If you didn't want to, you got in big trouble. Every day we would have to discuss our "withholds" or what we wanted to say but didn't throughout the day. Our family friends were regulated and those who didn't go to the same workshops were cut off. My mother was hypervilligent to see who was being "open and honest" and communicating appropriately. She became a leader in the group (hundreds of followers) until she became disillusioned over something and finally got out of it. |
She asked me for forgiveness years ago for the way she treated me in my childhood. I did then, but when this happened I told my DH that I must not have really forgiven her because I'm having all the same issues come back up again and I'm still mad. He said that the forgiveness wasn't for me, it was for her so that she could feel good again. It really had nothing to do with me. Ok. Breathe deep. None of this is about me.
|Nope - With a narcissist, it's never about you. |
By my 30th birthday, I'd already been married 8 years and had learned that 'romance' and a 'special evening' wasn't going to just happen. I had to give my husband clear guidance and regular reminders. Not my style, but hey, it had always been my fault that he hadn't known what to get me/do for my birthday before...
So for the big 3-0 I gave him clear instructions. DS was 15 months old - cute and sweet, but NOT the right age for a fancy restaurant, which was what I really wanted - a nice, romantic meal out. So I told Hubby two weeks out that I wanted a fancy dinner and that he needed to arrange for a babysitter. I gave him her name and number, and even asked her to save the date as he would call (LATE, of course).
So night of, Hubby asks what I want to do for dinner.
Ooops - Did I say I was over it?
|kaynsd, you sound much like where I"m at right now. Our son won't accept any responsibility for his behavior, all he wants to do is blame and harp. We've tried to convince him and dil to accept all of us for who we are, admit we made mistakes, etc., but he just can't do it. |
I think our son was spoiled, moody, pouty, etc. and had some mild narcism before meeting dil. Still, he could be reasoned with most of the time. Once he met my dil (whom I am sure has NPD,) he became unreasonable. Nothing could be discussed, everything was all our fault. We spent years apologizing (especially me,) in order to keep the peace and have a relationship with his wife. But eventually she won out, we just couldn't take anymore.
If he wants a relationship he will have to be able to move on, and quit with the dramatics. He must learn tolerance and acceptance, something he has lost complete sight of since marrying.
Maybe in time he'll mature and realize that his wife is manipulating beyond belief, but I'm not holding my breath.
I'm so sad, yet I need to move on. I can't continue banging my head against the wall, when the wall will not give. No flexibility, no understanding, drama, lack of empathy, you name it.
sadly i've done more than my share of online research on the NPD. I'm not sure how various sets of characteristics become formulated into one single DSM (psychiatry personality type). But I'm going to use my reasoning here. i guess it's like diseases. eventuallly a number of people have the same set of symptoms that they can give it a name. it doesn't mean that everyone w/o empathy is NPD or another DSM.
that said, how do you relate to a person who has no empathy? they honestly don't get it. it's really like speaking in a different language.
so, if i follow that logic... it's not his fault and it's not possible to change.
i've finally gotten to the point where i can maintain a relationship w/my father by keeping him at a safe distance. i (& i can't believe it) finally really accept him. i don't ever expect him to see my side next to his side. he is able to relate to people if their problems are ones he can exactly relate to. like if i get sick and it's something he has had he appears to empathize. this is what makes it all the harder to detect. but when it conflicts with something he wants he will never see your side.
example: once my parents wanted me to join them on a long trip that included some other relatives (me as adult) i really wanted to go, if only it was a different family. i had been sick and was afraid (was sure) that i would receive zippo compassion is i had a flare-up when we were away (i have an autoimmune illness) and that would only exasperate the illness. so, sadly i declined the invitation. he was PISSED. "you think you're sick, what about me or your mother, that's being sick" blah blah - the venom... funny - but crazy. it conflicted with what he wanted. and that's that.
so, now, if i can accept my father. can i accept my son?
that's the thought that has recently been creeping in my brain. if my son has picked up the genetics of my father, shouldn't i afford him the same relationship? i'm thinking if i can really accept him this way. which will take some time, i think that i can. it's very sad though. to have a child who speaks a different language. this means i can never really share with him again.
but, i don't know, i think this is the answer. i read it all the time, you can't change anyone, only yourself.
anniebal and silver, think about it.
|I am SOOO ANGRY!!!!!!!! My dad just came out to bring my daughter back from her summer vacation. He and I stayed up until 4am talking. After a few hours of talking he asked me how things were going with my DH. I said great, which is the truth. After a few little probing questions he finally told me why he was asking. |
My mother had called him and that my DH was verbally abusive, we're always fighting, he called me fat all the time, worked me too hard and because of his spending habits we were on the brink of bankruptcy. I was, and still am, in shock.
First of all, she's the one who always said I have a big butt. And, even though I gained thirty or so pounds since my DH met me (stress, moving to a new state, living in an apartment for a year with no real exercise, etc) he has never said one word about my weight gain. I really expected him to, but he never has. Once I brought it up he said, yes, I did gain weight, but he is fine with it. No pressure at all.
Second, he is far from abusive. Constantly telling me he loves me, listens to me rant about my emotional issues, is patient with my daughter and with having a mother in law living with us for two years. We've had three fights in two years. And they weren't even what I'd call a big fight. No name calling, no abusive behavior, no broken dishes or driving away in anger, no kids to witness the arguement, (all the things I grew up with on a regular basis with her and my SD) just two people disagreeing for a few hours and then coming to an agreement.
Third, he's not working me too hard, we are working too hard. Willingly. We bit off a bit more than we could chew building our gardens and are working really hard to get them done. Yes, we are exhausted. But we are happy to be building something together. And even if he were working me "too hard" who is benefiting? The house is in my name only! But he works really hard on it and has put a lot of money into it. A new kitchen, new doors and windows, completely new landscaping, and he's in the process of painting it. The color I want.
And, we are going through a tight spot. But that is due to his father dying and spending a good portion of money getting his father's house fixed so his grandmother could live in it, and it taking much longer than expected to close out the estate and make the repairs than we thought (twice as much time, twice as much money). We're not rich, but the mortgage is being paid and we're eating! Jeez. I told my dad we are overwhelmed, but we're getting though it. How many people in their thirties have their house just perfect? He understands, because his house has looked like a construction zone for years. They are actually having a party because this is the first year they have not had an open building permit on the house!
I'm really upset that she tried to sabotoge our relationship. And it would have been a little more believable if she had called him while she was living with us to tell him all these bad things, rather than waiting to be kicked out before saying something. How obvious can she get that she's trying to break us up? I feel like changing my email address and never speaking with her again. I want nothing to do with her. I feel like I just fell down a dark hole.
|"that's the thought that has recently been creeping in my brain. if my son has picked up the genetics of my father, shouldn't i afford him the same relationship? i'm thinking if i can really accept him this way. which will take some time, i think that i can. it's very sad though. to have a child who speaks a different language. this means i can never really share with him again." |
I am crying for you; it grieves me as a fellow parent. Words cannot express how sorry I am. You're not alone, even if I can't fully say it or show it.
|silver, your husband and father know better. Surely. Don't they? How dare she!!! It's confusing and troubling that she would try to wound you so deeply, after all, she's your mother. She should be nurturing you. It's all smoke and mirrors to get the attention off of her. It'll blow over and everyone will soon be snickering at her. Right? I hope so!|
|Silver, I'm so sorry about your mom and her outlandish claims to your father. Do you think she told your daughter this also? Have you spoken to your daughter after her visit with your parents? Has your daughter ever told you remarks your mom has said? |
She is a very maniulative person, and I can relate. Did your dad believe your mom? I mean, men are pretty easy to convince of things, not very perceptive or at least not most.
So your mom doesn't like your husband and wants to try to break things apart?
I need to comment on one of the things you stated in an earlier post: "The weird part with these people is that it is really difficult to tell what the truth really is."This is probably the case with your dad in regards to what your mother tells him. I don't remember if you said that your dad understands your mother has a problem? Your statement rings so true though! None of our family members can see my dil's behavior, she is so convincing. I think because I grew up with a sister who is probably NPD, or close to it, it gave me an edge as to recognizing the behavior. I had no idea until last year about the NPD label, I just knew about the selfish, controlling, manipulative behavior, and the superiority complex. I knew my sister would use emotions to black mail me and anyone else in order to get her way. It worked for years, but by the time I reached about 14 I started tiring of living up to her demands.
It was always about her, and still is. When we all get together (once a month she, my brother and I get together with out spouses for dinner,) the conversation is dominated by her. I'm lucky to get a word in edgewise. It still angers me, but now I ignore it as much as possible since I know how she is. I hardly see her, so I don't have to be stressed out about it. It does bother me that I don't have a sister I can talk with regarding my problems (since she doesn't listen, and thus her advice is useless.)
I don't know how you can deal with this thing regardnig your mom. I think it says alot though that your hubby realizes what she says is bologna. Your relationship sounds above average to me, since me and my hubby fight about many issues and always have. I still feel we are very compatible despite our difference, we've always worked them out.
|kaynsd, You raise some very good points to ponder. I do think I could accept my son as having this problem (or his wife, or both) but I won't walk on egg shells anymore. I can accept that he/she/they will never understand or be able to relate since they lack empathy. I actually think lots of people lack empathy and compassion. If everyone possessed it the world wouldn't be the mess it is, too many people thinking about only themselves. |
I think it's more prevalent now then ever before tho. I think the last generation was raised in a very narcissistic setting all around (home, school, work, play..etc.)
HOwever, that doesn't mean that all those raised in those conditions are NPDs by any means. My younger son does have a sense of entitlement at times, but is very sensitive, thoughtful, unselfish, thankful, etc.
My sister and your mom weren't raised in today's environment so there are many contributing factors to this illness. I believe my sister was put up on a pedastal due to the fact that my parents lost their first born child a week after birth. I can only imagine the pain involved with such a loss, and I'm sure once my sister came along that they did dote on her and understandably so. Some personalities can take the attention and still be thoughtful, loving, selfless, etc. but others cannot handle that attention appropriately.
I think my dil was also put up on a pedastal for whatever reason. She is the only girl, and I sense she was treated very much like a princess. Much like my dad gave my sister so much credit for being so intelligent (her entire life, until he passed away!) Being that my dad had to quit school after 8th grade in order to work and help support his family, he had such awe for my sister because she paid her way through college.
My dad wasn't wrong for respecting what she was motivated to do, she deserved much credit. My brother and I skipped college because we just weren't interested in going to school or paying for it. My sister is not the type of person who can have lots of things without acting like she is better then everyone else, not humble in the least. Much of this attitude is inborn I believe.
Back to considering what you stated regading acceptance, I do think I could accept my son and dil for who they are and realize that they are simply not capable of empthasizing. I don't think he can accept us for who we are though.
|That must have been so frustrating!! And you must have felt very manipulated and helpless that he ended up thinking you weren't grateful for what he had done. I would have been so disappointed.|
|My DH actually saw her for what she was when he first met her. I didn't believe him, and that was the first of the three big fights we were in. Because he didn't want my mother moving with us and living with us. |
My father sat, with this stunned look on his face as I answered every question honestly and thoroughly (I could have said, no he doesn't call me fat, no he doesn't work me too hard and no he's not driving me to bankruptcy, but I answered completely so he could see that I could see clearly what was going on in my life).
Then he said "but she sounded so believable". He was shocked that she had done that. He knew she had issues, but didn't believe she'd go that far.
I feel the worst for my DH because he's the one getting slandered everywhere. I shudder to think what she is telling my relatives who have never met DH. But whatever. I can't concern myself with what other people think.
And, if there were ever a good opportunity for DH to rub it in and get mad at me for not listening, etc. about my mother, this would have been it. But he has been completely compassionate and never once made it about him. I'm so lucky.
Also, that she would be calling around and slandering us when I have stuck with the story she told her co-worker:
Hopefully people will see. But she has a really good act.
|I don't know if she has said anything to my daughter. She's six, so a little young to be taking a lot of this in. I know that my daughter does not seem to mind that her grandma doesn't live with us anymore. |
I pointed out to my father that this is the third time my mother has done this. The first time was when I was 22 and got in a fight with my then boyfriend, and at some point my mom took a steak knife and made like she would stab him. The second time was with my ex-husband, she got right in the middle of things a few times, and was really in the middle during the divorce. And now this. She has a pattern of taking my side and being really violent/angry with the men in my life (including my father) when there is really no threat to me. (If I were being abused, different story, reaction may be a little more understandable). Once my father saw the pattern, he started telling me stories of how she had done similar things earlier in life.
I don't think fighting in itself is unhealthy. It's the way people go about it that can be unhealthy. We've had disagreements/arguments, but work them out within 10 or so minutes. I don't call those fights. We just both grew up in houses where the fighting really got out of hand, so we choose not to do that.
That must be really hard to deal with, your sister. She sounds like my stepmother. All mememememememe. How can you stand to go out with her? Do you do it because you feel obligated to, or is it because you want to see her and think being irritated for a few hours every couple months is worth it? :)
And to face the same issues with your DIL. Does this bring up issues with you and your DH? Does he see it? Does your family see it?
|If GF/DIL is in fact NPD and DS is not, what is the likelihood of the relationship lasting. Anyone know the stats--I heard 50% of all first marriages fail--that gives me hope, but I don't think they are married yet. |
When we were not estranged and still speaking, GF was all me-me-me and not ever concerned about DS or anyone except herself. DS seemed content always being in her shadow, meeting her every demand. I honestly think if she told him to jump off a bridge he would. Don't get me wrong he is an intelligent guy except when it somes to her--Got his Masters in Computer Engineering in 6 years, got full scholarship plus stipend for Master's program, had prestigious summer internship, makes $100,000 yr right out of college.
DS never really said anything kind to us about her to us. He actually said unkind things to us behind her back. Now we are estranged due to an ultimatum from her---me or your parents, anyone, anything from your past--obviously he choose her or I couldn't be writing this.
They have dated off and on for around 8 years with 2 years separation while he was in his Master's program and she was in Pharmacy school in another state.
I was kind of hoping now that she finished pharmacy school and she has a doctorate---she discouraged our son from getting his doctorate (and it was offered to him on scholarship as a research assistant). Once he finished the Master's he choose to go where she is to help her pay for pharmacy school (plus she is about $200,000 in debt from student loans)----
My two thoughts since my son is not a doctor---maybe he won't be good enough and she will find herself another pharmacist or MD from the hospital where she works---or will she stay with DS since he makes as much money as she does until her student loans are paid off (a concern he voiced to me prior to the estrangement)---
I would love to think that DS would grow a spine, but feel based on things DS said in the past, he knows how awful she is, but loves her anyway----What's up with that? I know love is blind---but just how blind! It is almost like she looked for the kindest guy on campus to prey on! Will her NPD traits rub off on him? In other words, if they break up---do you think he will be so screwed up that he won't even contact us. She has communicated multiple times what awful parents he thinks we were---her words not his. We don't his know thoughts as she intercepts all forms of communication and he has been silent (almost 3 years now).
Will he eventaully get sick of her---it has got to be a lot of work living with such a drama queen---yet he knew what he was getting into so why would he change midstream---what happens if they have children? What do you think the odds are of her leaving him? She already informed me years ago that they would marry, that I would never be her MIL and would never see my grandchldren. Reason given---you are crazy--no specifics or explanations--just yelled it at me and hung up the phone. I don't even know what prompted the call!
I'm beginning to realize that it takes people years to figure out about NPD and even once they realize it--they are still stuck in a web they can't get out of--which makes me think we have lost our only son forever.
This may sound bad, but I often hope he loses his job, she meets a more successful, wealthy man and leaves him heart broken, and that he goes bald and gets fat---things I know she hates! It is not that I want bad for my son. I guess I just think he needs to eat a little humble pie!
My husband and I think they are 2 young adults making over $200,000 a year---and from what we hear traveling and spending---probably no time for DS to think about how much his parents are hurting. Our son once said her goal in life was to never have to look at price tags again. She did not come from a poor family---middle class---but hates her own mother--they have no realtionship. He father definately seems NPD. Went over the NPD criteria with my psychologist and read a few books. Both GF/possible DIL and her father seen to meet all the criteria----I really mean all! Any thoughts? BYW---she is DS first GF and she was the agressor in starting the relationship--he is shy, introverted, kind, caring type. Her current boyfriend just broke up with her in his dorm room and DS was convenient--he was the only one there. She never had any other close friends in high school or college. She used people as friends temporarily when they were of use to her. She talked bad about everyone behind their backs. Drama, lies, twisting of words, twisting of facts. She was right everyone else wrong period!
Funny thing is everything she accuses my husband or I of are things she and/or her father have done to us or someone we know.
|rob333, thank you for the kind words. it's too funny, but when i talk about these issues, i approach it more from anger than sadness. but when kindness is offered me, it makes me want to cry - boo hoo - poor me. |
but, it took nearly a lifetime to get to where i am now. and if i look back this situation is not a shock. i was always hoping i didn't see what i thought i was seeing in my son (lack of empathy). that's the sneaky thing about it, when children are young, they are naturally selfish, but also, they are required to follow rules, so it's hard to see their motivation for doing certain things. ie, did they do something nice because they had to? but now they are adults and that's when we see how the 'recipe' turned out. now we see them face really relationship challenges. and voila - damn - it's all about them.
i hope that someday, that there will be tests or something for these things, to maybe help steer these kids into situations that would maybe develop their empath skills. who knows, i can dream. because it is a very toxic personality trait for those that love them. it's kindof like autism - just not obviously. i used to think, how sad to have an autistic child. a child that doesn't interact with you. and look what i have, really, it's like a form of autism. he really doesn't see anyone but him. and how they make him feel. i feel good, i like them, i feel bad, i don't like them. simple.
i think if i had known about this trait early on, i would have made sure he was in an environment that would discipline him - not spoil him. but back when i was a very young mom, it was nurture, not nature. how stupid is that, now that we look at it. really, i have 3 siblings and 2 parents and we are all VERY unique. it's nature. watch jon & kate, 8 kids all VERY VERY different from day 1.
oh well, hindsight and regret... bad stuff.
penbyrd: your story is soooooo similar to mine. however, my son was not really the sweety you say yours was. mine was a good little boy - but not so easy going as he grew up. not really a giver either - but he didn't need to be.
but this is what i know - she gives him something that he really wants. she makes sure they are first wherever they go. nothing is too good for them. it falls into play with how he was spoiled as a child. she pushes the world aside and makes room for him to get what he wants. she tells him, yes, we deserve sooooo much more than everyone. we are special. & if people don't treat us this way, f them. so, that's my family, we stopped treating him like a little boy and we have been expelled from the garden.
it's funny, when they got a dog, he was going to get a lab (like me) but my dog is very docile and sweet. so, in conversation with her - 'since we are both alpha's we want an alpha dog too'. so that's it in a nutshell. they view them selves as alpha's - dominent - better - stronger - entitled.
i firmly believe if they split up, there would be another like her next inline (unless they split because he realized how toxic she was)
so, i don't know if/when i will attempt to reconnect. truthfully (now i don't want to hear from anyone that i don't love my son when i say this) truthfully, my life has had a certain amount of peace in it. the drama is gone. no longer setting aside my time for him when he just puts me off over and over. no more hanging up on me or accusations of bad parenting or planning special days (b-day, m-day etc) and having them visit like it's a pitstop.
i guess it's my life now. it's that whole - letting go of the outcome. i used to fight for my relationship with him, because the outcome was a loving son and grandchildren who would be in my life until i die. oh well. not so much anymore - actually not at all anymore. maybe i'll meet some old hunk out there with grandkids :)
|I stopped the drama too as she was intercepting all forms of communication and responding on his behalf. Don't know what she told him or not, so blocked the email, changed phone numbers. The problem is I am so depressed and cry every day. I guess since he was an only child he was probably spoiled to a certain degree--but my husband and I have racked our brains and confided in friends---he really was a kind, caring, empathetic, giving, unselfish child. |
He and GF are complete opposites so I guess it is reasonable to say that she probably fulfills the part of him that he is lacking. He is an quiet, polite, introvert. She a rude, extrovert that would as you say tell anyone who doesn't do as she says to f-off. I guess he feels he needs someone like this to survive. She says jump--- he says how high! Prior to the estrangement she did say often she needed to protect him (DS)---guess he must have felt protected by us (his parents) and wasn't mature enough to protect himself as an adult so he choose a GF (she actually choose him)who would fulfill that need. He must really lack in confidence---so we must of done something in his childhood for him to think so little of himself to allow another human being to be so controlling and belittling. She has insulted him to his face and he said, did nothing! Behind her back he would say he should break up with her, but in the end he estranged us and is now with her. The benefits of the realtionship must outweight the bad or he would break it off. I really don't think DS is NPD as he meets none of the criteria---but he definately meets her need for narcissistic supply. Never thought if they broke up that he would find another just like her, but makes sense. Wow wish I knew all this years ago---am not sure what but would have tried to do something to prevent him from the need to turn to a person with NPD to meet his unmet needs.
Is there no answer except to move on with your life and basically say I did the best job I could as a parent and now I will never see, speak, or communicate with DS again?
His Dad had a heart attack, I was hospitalized, and 86 year old grandma had possible stroke---GF's respone don't play the sick card and don't call/eamil unless someone is dead so don't even know if he knows or cares. I would think he would be curious about us as we are about him.
Estrangement happened so quickly, suddenly, unexpectedly, no warning or explanation. He was he was so caring, loving one minute Christmas 3 years ago---GF called, after talking to GF on phone, DS started an argument with his father and I about something stupid, punched a hole in the wall(totally out of character for him--he was never an angry or violent person) and ran out to GF's car who was waiting out front of our house---then we were told he by GF he never wanted to see us ever again! It was literally one minute he was his usual self and the next minute he became a totally different person. One day he was this wonderful son now he is nonexistant in our lives. He even left us a very expensive, thoughtful Christmas Gift in his room before he ran off so don't even think his actions were planned/seems like she decided to give him the ultimatum during that phone call and he made a life changing choice in an instant!
Just don't get it!
|First, I must comment to kaynsd. What you say about not wanting to see what you finally did regarding your sons behaviors, does hit home. I didn't realize until my son started dating this girl just how selfish he could be. I knew he was always pouty, stayed mad too long, had a hard time apologizing, got angry very quickly, but the biggest difference between before and after the girl was he was still loving, thoughtful, sensitive, and could be reasoned with. Reason was by far the biggest thing that he lost when this girl came into his life. |
The 1st holiday after they met I got accused of doing somethign underhanded, even tho I had asked my son weeks before hand if I could do what I did. I remember my son calling me and asking how I could do that, and it was as if I'd never had the converation I did with him. When I brought it up that I had asked him if what I was going to do was alright, he said yes, he agrees he gave me permission but not to do what I did. There was a minute technicality that made it 1/100th different then what I had asked him about, but it was so ridiculous that I thought it was crazy. I was hurt and bewildered by his phone call, and I heard my husband say to him on the phone that 'you know your mom, you know she wouldn't do anything intentionally,' yet my son gave no comment to him.
Reason and common sense went out the window. It's like he was slightly narcissistic but my dil just filled his need to be complete. They are self righteous, manipulative, always so hurt in a very dramatic way, lack empathy, and confidence and have huge chips on his shoulders.
Penbyrd,I also thought my son and my dil were opposites. I'm still not sure they are not, but there is something my son needed and receives from her, as you suggested with your son that this girl gives him. How you describe your son as being normal one minute and off the deep end the next, is so like mine. It was a major change in attitude, and I didn't know where it came from.
I too cry often, and it's only been a year for me. I know it's been about 3 years for you? What do these girls tell our boys to make them like this?
I won't deny that my son had some negatives with his personality prior to my dil, but nothing as extreme as this. Perhaps it was just a matter of time before these traits came out in full bloom? My dil might be the conduit, but the electricity was already there.
I know his little brother has told me many times that I just didn't see this side of my son before now, so perhaps he is right. It's hard to see your childs negatives, and harder still to admit they have them.
PS....kaynsd, I am trying to move on. What you say about it being more peaceful without him rings very true for myself also. I don't think it means anything bad about ourselves, it's simply about survival. When he's in my life it's all arguing, tip toeing around, stress every which way....who needs that? I feel worse after I'm around him then before. I need him to be out of my life for now, and perhaps if he ever realizes what type of person he has become, he'll return to us.
That's an interesting comment you make about if your son does break up with his wife that he will probably pick another just like her. Very scary, but a big possibility.
I do know a guy tho that had a relationship like my sons and eventually divorced her and picked someone completely different. Perhaps there is some hope.
|there's always hope. |
re: NPD and children, i think it's alot like having an autistic child. but the difference, is they are little children when we discover they are autistic and we are still parents needing to physically care for these children - we are more loving in this situatin. but now, we have children who become autistic (in a way) and it FEELS different. but is it?
it's funny, it's good, to hear others tell how sad they are... i feel less alone. hummm - misery likes company... :)
but, we are not ONLY parents. we have so many facets of our lives that bring us happiness. this (the biggest most important relationship in our lives) relationship is in the dumper, but... but;...... there are so many wonderful people out there that would love our love..
|kaynsd, I meant to comment on your analogy of autism and npd last night when I wrote. That is an excellent comparison, and there is some thought that people with personality disorders (especially NPD,) could have auspergers (which I'm sure you know is a mild form of autism.) The weird thing is is that it can come on anytime, which I was shocked to hear. I always thought people became autistic when they were kids, but it's not true. |
Check out this link:
Excerpt: "Thus, while the narcissist avoids pain by excluding, devaluing, and discarding others - the Asperger's patient achieves the same result by withdrawing and by passionately incorporating in his universe only one or two people and one or two subjects of interest. Both narcissists and Asperger's patients are prone to react with depression to perceived slights and injuries - but Asperger's patients are far more at risk of self-harm and suicide."
when we look at these 'titles' of psychological disorders and additionally physical disorders. they are just the results of the 'medical' community putting a term to a set of symptoms. many people have symptoms that in total do not put them in any specific category, but the symptoms are still abnormal/notable.
so, one cause can result in many different outcomes (now this is my opinion) because the living organism is so complex. the brain and the body in synch. the number of permutations of outcomes is endless.
so, my main focus when i think about my DS and father (is that DF?) that the part of their brain that activates when witnessing an event that most people would respond to with empathy, is weak or inactive, somehow compromised.
so, what happens, is (my opinion) they have an interaction (with someone that is important to them) but they can't FEEL it, they can't FEEL that person, they just FEEL what is being directed at them. it appears like anger, or whatever, just something very negative and they respond. typically the response is negative, cause they're on the defense. i think they truly don't get it. and the more it happens, the more they try to avoid it. that person is now just that big blob of negativity coming at them.
does this make sense to you?
|kaynsd, yes your explanation and opinions do ring true to me. I've thought many times that my son just doesn't get it. What I find hardest tho is that at one time he was loving, and sensitive. My son could think of the most sincere gift to get anyone, putting so much thought into it. The puzzle is just missing too many pieces for me. How did he go from that person, to who he is now? How did it seem like he used to have empathy, but now doesn't seem to? |
My sister used to be very selfish and self absorbed. She still is, but she has improved (not that she's on meds.) My son reminds me so much of her and her emotional blackmail. She was so manipulative, controlling and an emotional roller coaster. She had huge chips on her shoulders, and would use crying to get her way. She would get so hurt over something little I said, yet she could tell me anything she wanted and didn't expect a reaction. I never understood her, and still don't, but now I see a comparison between her and my son.
Still, my sister wasn't able to keep my bil away from seeing his mom. Perhaps he didn't see her often (since my sister didn't like her of course,) but he still saw her. This is one of the biggest holes for me is wondering why my son can't still see us, without his wife? Perhaps if he did, in time we may all get along. However, doing it this way we have no or little hope of reconnecting.
I miss him so much, but I know I can never have him the way he used to be. I can accept the changes in him, if only we could have some type of relationship.
|It is so confusing to understand that one can have a kind, empathetic, thoughful, caring son who minute loved you and now looks at you as a blob of negativity. |
I now wonder when his negative feelings that seemed so sudden actually started, did they start years before but he just didn't exhibit them on the outside. Did we miss the clues? Was he waiting to become financially independent (as he did) before he cut all ties? I think that is why parents bring money into the mix----It is not that we wouldn't have paid for college and related bills, it just make one feel used that as soon as they no longer need your support they never want to see you again--it hurts---makes you wonder when/if they stopped loving you. Undersanding the why's is so frustrating! I so often wish DS would help us understand---at least this might give us some closure or open up the door for a new kind, loving, respectful realtionship that both sides want. The refusal to communicate/the silence is the hardest part as it is hard to stop the mind from ruminating over what really happened and why. What could we have done differently to prevent the estrangement? I know many people are able to accept and move forward, I am just not there yet. I miss our son so much it hurts. I have to accept that if we ever happen to have a relationship will I even recognize the new person he has become?
|penbyrd, what you state about the money thing is so true. I guess we feel like the wife or husband who helps pay their mates way through all sorts of schooling to get where they want to be, and then they divorce or leave cold. It's not about the money, it's about feeling used as you say. I feel like we believed we had a mutually loving and respectful relationship, and then poof...gone. |
I completely understand your feelings of bewilderment, hurt, anger...all of them. I miss our son so much too, I still have fanasties that he is going to walk up and surprise me from behind one day while I'm working in the yard. I thought I'd gotten past that, but today I found myself thinking of it again.
Another good point about whether we will recognize them again. Things have changed so dramatically that it seems ridiculous to think that they could ever come close to being the way they were. We have been hurt so deeply that I know we will try to protect ourselves against it again. How can one relax in that situation?
It is very cowardly and cold hearted to walk out the way our boys did. The 'manly' thing, or just the grown up thing to do would be to sit down and discuss the differences. Nothing can be rememdied without communication, and I raised both my kids with that motto. That's even more confusing. We talked openly before, always discussing things and hearing his hurts and disappointments. How can it change so dramatically?
|Posted by anniebal (My Page) on Fri, Aug 22, 08 at 0:04 |
Still, my sister wasn't able to keep my bil away from seeing his mom. Perhaps he didn't see her often (since my sister didn't like her of course,) but he still saw her. This is one of the biggest holes for me is wondering why my son can't still see us, without his wife?
Don't blame your son not seeing you on his girlfriend or wife. He is responsible for his own choices. He needs to get some balls so to speak.
As an example. My mother-in-law is pure German and nastier than a bulldog. I endured her obnoxious insults at first and my husband even stood up to her and told her to cut it out. But her mouth is just too big and she has no concept of self control.
End result? It sure didn't make my husband and his mother any closer and like my husband stated. She is the one that loses with that attitude. Even though I decided that I had enough of her garbage and wasn't willing to put up with it I never told my husband that he cannot talk to or see his mother. That would be wrong and it is really none of my business.
He talks to his mother occasionally and has went to see her a few times without me. I could care less since I can't stand the nasty woman and I wouldn't reward her with my presence.
|mommybunny, you may want to do some reading about abusive relationships before making the remarks you did. Abusers and manipulators are pros at what they do. |
My dil married a very naive, immature and inexperienced young man and she took advantage of it in everyway. She has given him an ultimatum, her or us. You haven't done that to your husband and that's the way it should be just as you said. No one should tell another that they can't see their parents. My son should be able to come see us on his own. I can accept the fact that we don't get along (even if I do fault her for most of the intolerance.)
Eventually it comes down to him, but he is struggling to save his marriage and he is just no match for her cunning and controlling ways. Hopefully over time he will mature and realize that he can leave his wife home and still have a relationship with us. I could care less at this point whether she see's us or not.
PS... seriously do a search on the internet for abusive relationships and you'l see just how people like my dil control their subjects. She has a stranglehold on her parents as well, but they're willing to jump through hoops for her.
|My mother has always emailed my daughter funny videos, etc for her to watch. But she recently sent her a forwarded message from her and her cousin talking about geneology and whether or not we have Basque blood in our line. This is a conversation my mother and I had because we read "A Basque History of the World". Why would she be sending this to my daughter? She's six, she doesn't know what that is or care what it is. |
I guess I'm a little irritated because I sent her the clothes, etc. she requested, right after she requested them. (this is after she said I could give them all away as she was leaving, good thing I didn't listen to her then!) She said she'd pay for the shipping. Well, I never got any email saying she got them. So I emailed her and told her I sent them, she emailed back and said she'd already received them. Whatever. Two months later she sends me a check and a letter saying that she was waiting to pay for them when she got all her boxes but she "guesses" she's not going to get anymore so here's the check. I haven't sent any more because I A) didn't have boxes (I had sent nine already, and had to wait for more shipments from work to get clean empties) and B) have been super busy. She's the one who left all of a sudden without packing anything. Why do I feel guilty?
|Silver, you've only just had your eyes totally uncovered to her manipulating ways. Now you know it's wrong 100%. You did nothing to cause her to leave in a huff... yet... you still have some of the stuff. Don't feel guilty. I'd tell her to come get it. And if she didn't well, it'd just sit there. It's how I've learned to deal with a passive-aggressive. It's her stuff, she left it, she can come get it. If, however, she wants to ask you for a favor then you should feel guilty that the stuff is still there. Either you will or you won't because you want to or don't. That's how favors work. |
It should be a choice and it's not. That's what's wrong. But it's still not anything you are doing wrong!
|Rob, thank you. I'm just going a little crazy over this. I dream at night that I'm telling her she's stupid. It feels so good. I just flashed back to her saying what are we going to do when DD goes to first grade with no aftercare and me telling her that one of us can go to work early, and the other can take her to school. She was like, or you can hire the neighbor to watch her and I said I really don't want to do that, and then she said or you can hire me to watch her. |
I am still ringing from that one. What, mom? Free room and board aren't enough? Working part-time isn't enough? Now you want me to pay you to stay home too? Yes, she drove my DD to school last year. Yes, she was an "unpaid" babysitter. But we did not go out that much, and often I wanted to take DD with me and she'd say something like "it's going to be boring with mom, don't you want to stay with me".
I am trying to let it all go, I really am. But it keeps eating away at me. It keeps surfacing. Especially since other people are like, where's your mom. Like my dental hygenist. I told her the same story I tell everyone, which is a portion of the truth: she went to another state to help care for my grandma. She probably won't be back. And the woman is like, aren't you sad she's gone? And I say yes, but I'm ok, and then she goes on and on. Finally I tell her that I'm glad she's gone, and she's shocked. I ask her if she wants to live with her mom. She says no. I say exactly.
It happens all the time. I wonder if I should just tell the truth, point blank. My mother is calling my father and exhusband telling them lies about me, why shouldn't I tell people the truth about her?
And then my DH can't keep his mouth shut, because, bless him, he did for two long years, and he says things to people, little, under the radar things, and even though they're true I want to tell him to shut up. So, it's causing me to feel awkward with him too. And it's not his fault, because he has been so good with this, esp. since he had serious misgivings in the beginning.
She said she left right then because she could see the "malice" in my DH's eyes. Yes, she's right. He was stomping mad because she was a jerk that day and he had to deal with me crying in the plant section of Lowes. He told her to get her stuff and get the ______ out. Was that the best way to handle it? No, it wasn't. But it got things moving. I told her she didn't have to leave right away, but we needed to move in that direction. She chose to leave that night.
And the thing that keeps worrying me is she took my second computer and it has a lot of stuff on it. You know the stuff. Taxes, letters, pictures...
|In that case... I'd tell her she could have her stuff back when she gave me back my computer. Might not be the nicest thing to say... oh heck, don't say it. Or say it. |
It's so awful how she's lying and the position she's put you in with your own husband/father/child. It's still not you. It might do your husband some good for him to forgive her, and she's still his daughter's grandmother.
Vent away, I get ya.
|Rob, you just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for being so kind. |
The worst part is, I helped her pack the computer. I was so out of it and freaked I just stumbled along. She said she couldn't live without it, so I packed it. It wasn't until a week or so later I really considered what I had done. And I don't want it back, I just want my stuff off of it. I just handled it badly.
I found out that my ex husband is going to let her be the "nanny" for him next summer because she called him and did this whole sob story about how she won't get to see her granddaughter anymore, etc. What a bunch of baloney. She moved me 2600 miles away from all of my grandparents and I saw them probably 8 times growing up. But for her? If she's not living with her granddaughter I'm keeping her from her.
And he makes me mad, because he told me on numerous occasions (and other people, like my father, as well)that it really concerned him that my mother was playing such an active role in my daughter's life, and he didn't like her parenting at all, etc... and now he doesn't even consult me before telling her she can nanny. Plus, he told me that she called up looking for sympathy and he said he didn't have any for her because when she was living with us (for one year prior to my divorce) that he wanted her to move out the first day.
I know I should be getting past this, but I keep running circles around myself. Isn't it crazy the hold our parents have on us? I still want her approval. I still want her to know I love her, even as I'm hating her!!
|Hello Annie it's me again. In response to your message. |
You Said: mommybunny, you may want to do some reading about abusive relationships before making the remarks you did. Abusers and manipulators are pros at what they do.
I love books and one wall in my bedroom has floor to ceiling bookcases full of books. Some of them relating to abuse and alcoholic topics. Many years ago I read Lenore Walkers book about the abused woman. I also have various books regarding growing up in an alcoholic home explaining the co-dependency and various roles that the children are placed into. If that is not enough to give you a migraine I also find Susan Forward's book Toxic Parents helpful.
Through both personal experience with my first abusive marriage, how I grew up, and also by educating myself I am well aware of the cycle of abuse, the jekyll and hyde behaviour, manipulations, gaslighting, and other mental mind games that abusive people play. But not withstanding all of this you are responsible for what choices you make and how you handle people that try to abuse and/or manipulate you. Anyone can try anything they want but that does not mean you have to put up with or fall for it.
And I still say that life is not a book. You can know everything about abuse and how it works and how it affects you but if you are unable or not willing to take action then nothing changes. You need to do something differently. Whether that means confronting the person on the abuse, asking them to change what they are doing or distancing herself from the person and the abuse.
I think that you are making excuses for your son and he is responsible for letting his wife take advantage of him. Why would she give him an ultimatum? Do you somehow pose a threat to her? Even if your son had a close relationship to you he would still be closer to his wife, if it was a good marriage. I think that is normal and to be expected. A man leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife. A man and wife become one so that should be a very close relationship. I don't see how you could threaten that unless your son's wife thinks that you would somehow interfere with that relationship. I don't know her so it could be she feels threatened or she just may be a jerk that wants to have total control and domination.
You Said: Eventually it comes down to him, but he is struggling to save his marriage and he is just no match for her cunning and controlling ways.
Why does he have to save his marriage? Are you saying that if you were completely out of the picture that his marriage is in trouble and on the rocks? If so then he needs to deal with his marriage problems separately. His marriage really has nothing to do with you. Your relationship with him is separate from his marriage.
You Said: PS... seriously do a search on the internet for abusive relationships and you'l see just how people like my dil control their subjects. She has a stranglehold on her parents as well, but they're willing to jump through hoops for her.
I understand what you are saying but ultimately it is up to the victim to put a stop to the control and/or abuse. As long as the abuser is getting what they want they have no reason to stop their behaviour. If you stop putting up with their garbage then they will either change in order to salvage your relationship or they will go find someone else to manipulate and control. That has been my experience.
|You said it! That approval thing is so critical. It really hurts when you can't have it from those who are important to you. Yes, she's important. However, just knowing you want approval makes you better at this game of life than she, because she hasn't figured out all that dancing she does is all about approval. You're a good person since you understand hating and loving aren't two sides of the same coin. You can love someone you don't like. You can like someone you don't love. They're independent of each other. You may not be able to control the whole parts of your life, but you do have control over you. I do hope you get it all sorted out, really soon. I still think you need a good person to listen to you. It doesn't have to be a psychiatrist or psychologist. It could be a counselor from church or other types. You don't have to listen to them, but being heard and having a good sounding board might give you the extra you need to get through all of this.|
|Well, mommybunny, not everyone has a strong enough personality to enable them to stand up to their abusers as you advise. Generally speaking, people who put up with abuse have low self-esteem and believe that they "deserve" the abusive treatment and that they do not deserve better treatment, which is why they stay in the abusive relationship. Others have been culturally conditioned to believe that even an abusive relationship is better than no relationship, or that once they make their choice, it's final. Some focus on the "good times" and believe that magically the abuse will stop and things will go back to the times when it was all good. Not everyone is mentally strong enough to leave an abusive relationship or to confront the abuser.|
|I understand what you are saying colleenoz but again as long as people make excuses and justifications nothing will ever change. Abusers don't stop abusing unless they are forced to and even then a lot of them don't mend their ways. That is just the way they are and as long as you are willing to put up with it they are more than willing to dish it out. |
You may be right about your assumption of the strong personality but getting out and staying out of an abusive relationship is a matter of survival, sometimes physically and most certainly mentally. Staying in an abusive relationship for any length of time is self-destructive in my opinion.
I grew up in an abusive alcoholic home and my first marriage was to an abuser so I know what it is like to be beaten down both physically and mentally. I never had nor do I have low self-esteem which I think is a crock anyways and I would wonder why I am being abused but that doesn't mean that I thought for one minute that I deserved any of it. If I thought I deserved to be abused then I wouldn't have been angry about nor would I have done anything about it.
And you are right, some people do focus predominately on the good times and believe it will change which is basically a form of denial. This same denial mechanism operates in abusive as well as alcoholic marriages. But what purpose does this denial serve? To justify abuse? To justify staying in an abusive relationship? It is still self-destructive to do so and does nothing to improve the quality of your life.
I don't buy into the self-esteem excuse but I do understand some people feel they must put up with abuse due to religious, moral, ethnic and/or financial reasons. But then again, at what cost? Eventually you need to assess whether living in constant pain and misery is worth living up to some outside standard or for some financial security.
And for the people that you say are not mentally strong enough to leave. Should they stay and put up with abuse the rest of their lives and waste their lives? Should they live in misery and complain endlessly yet do nothing to improve their life? It is not a matter of a strong personality, it is a matter of survival.
You only have one life to live and you get to choose what you will do with it.
Just my thoughts and personal experiences on this and if you don't agree with or can't accept what I am saying then that is fine.
I would like to give an extreme example to make my point however. Many years ago in my first abusive marriage when I was at the end of my pregnancy with my daughter my abusive husband came behind me and with his arm around my neck pulled me backwards and tried to strangle me. This was no fun believe me and quite scary since I was pregnant and also have asthma which isn't too good for your breathing along with someone's attempt to cut off my air passages. Thank God I got away and ran out of the house and down the neighborhood and yelled for someone to call the police. My point is not for someone to feel sorry for me but to say that if someone is going to beat you down most everyday and/or try to kill you what is the point of making excuses as to why you are going to stay and put up with more of the same. In order to survive you get out. If you don't get out then you die inside or get killed by your abuser.
If I had to choose I would rather be alone and miserable then with a crazy abuser and waste my life. At least if you are alone there is always hope for a better life in the future. If you stay with an abuser you will never get a better life.
|Well, bully for you. Sorry to sound so harsh, but you are yourself harsh in your assessment that "self esteem is a crock". Clearly you have a strong personality and a strong survival instinct but not everyone is so fortunate. I myself was abused by an alcoholic father but like you I didn't put up with it. However, while I cannot understand why poeple stay with their abusers, I know that it happens and that yes, these people die or are killed by their abusers. Stockholm Syndrome is a classic example of a person identifying with his/her abuser/s. Blaming the victim isn't helpful.|
|What do you mean bully for you? Never heard that terminology before. Is that an American saying? I'm not American so I'm not familiar with that saying. Do you mean to say good for you? If so, then I would have to say that no, none of what I went through was good for me other than making me a stronger person. I also have emotional scars that will never go away so there is a price to be paid for going through abuse. It is kind of the same for a soldier that goes to war. He is never the same after going through those hardships as he was before. |
I don't care if you are harsh to me. My life doesn't depend on you or your opinions. You can think what you want but I also have a right to my own opinion even if it differs from yours.
And I do really think that self esteem is a crock and it is used by people who want to have pity parties and justify why they don't do this or that. In fact, where did this so called concept of self-esteem come from anyways? When I was growing up that term self-esteem was never used. I suppose some psychologist somewhere invented the term along the way. I think self-esteem is a load of bull and I will explain why. Radical thinking I know but I don't have to think like everyone else and go with the crowd.
Self-esteem assumes that if you think low of yourself you have low self-esteem and if you think highly of yourself you have high self-esteem. A no brainer if there ever was one. Except for one thing. It is human nature for one to think of oneself. It is human nature to be selfish. It goes against human nature to think of others as well as oneself or to be self-sacrificing. The unselfish traits are more learned character traits than human nature. Nobody except for maybe the mentally disturbed really hates themselves or thinks low of themselves.
People may say that they have low self-esteem or that they hate themselves. But when you dig a little deeper you will find that they don't like their circumstances or the way their life is going. They don't like how someone is treating them or the wart on their nose or whatever else it might be that they have little to no control over. That doesn't automatically mean that they don't like themselves and that they have low self-esteem.
If you think that self-esteem is so important and the answer then how come in our enlightened age the same age old problems still exist and maybe are even more so such as child abuse, spouse abuse, and criminal activity. People can now make excuses and hide behind their low self-esteem. There is no personal accountability or responsibility anymore. It is always someone else's fault or because I have low self-esteem. Anytime anyone even mentions self-esteem it makes me want to gag.
Using the Stockholm Syndrome as a defense for self-esteem is pointless. That is referring to a hostage taking situation which is clearly out of the norm. It also is about a form of brainwashing and confused loyalties. I would hope that most marriages are not hostage taking situations or else the society is in real trouble and I feel sorry for any children from such a union.
I'm not blaming the victim. The abuser is responsible for the abuse. You, the victim are responsible for what you do about it which would include tolerating it or leaving. Sometimes the solution is very simple but hard to implement. It is the victim that needs to take action to protect themselves and their children if any. Do you really think that the abuser has the victim's best interests in mind? Obviously not. So then who is going to help the victim? What good is it to whine about your low self-esteem yet do nothing to improve your life? Self-defeating and self-destructive, that is what it is.
Sorry if my opinion offends you but sometimes people need to hear the truth which helps them more in the grand scheme of things rather than putting a temporary band-aid on their low self-esteem.
P.S. Yeah, and I'm really fortunate to have a strong personality and survival instinct even though it was severely tested with an abusive and dysfunctional upbringing. Oh, and don't forget how fortunate I was to be in an abusive first marriage and almost becoming a victim of murder when I was carrying my first child. Yeah, it is simply amazing what a strong personality and survival instinct will do for you.
Your idea of helping someone is joining the pity party and making excuses and using low self-esteem as a defense. My idea of helping someone is to tell them the truth, that they have choices, that they can improve their lives if only they will do something and take action.
|Just because you didn't hear of self-esteem when you were growing up doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There are any number of diseases and conditions which have been given names fairly recently but which have always existed. People never used to get cancer, they "went into a decline" or "had a growth"; they didn't have cerebral haemorrhages or heart attacks, they had "apoplexy". Poor self esteem isn't necessarily an excuse, but it IS a reason (there's a difference). People with really low self esteem don't whine about it, they just accept that they deserve poor treatment because subconsciously they know they are unworthy. |
What you are spouting is not the "truth", it is your opinion and one with which millions would disagree.
I don't know how you made the great leap from my comments to "Your idea of helping someone is joining the pity party", but like your other great leaps you've reached the wrong conclusion. My idea of helping is, having recognised that poor self esteem (and yes, many people do grow up believing that the bad things that happen to them are only what they deserve) is contributing to the problem, to tell the person that they ARE worthy and they DO deserve better and they do NOT deserve abuse until they can believe it and use this belief to take action. Sadly, many people ARE self-destructive. Those who take it to an extreme are called suicides.
Some relationships ARE akin to a hostage situation, without the window dressing of masks and cocked rifles. One can be held hostage by a number of mechanisms: love, finances, cultural expectations, and children especially by their powerlessness. Your action as a child in running away and calling the police or asking others for help is VERY unusual. So yes, people in abusive situations do become brainwashed and suffer from confused loyalties. A person does not have to be dragged away at gunpoint by the Symbionese Liberation Army to suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.
When you say , "The victim must take action", the implied corollary is "And if they don't they must want to be abused." So you are in fact blaming the victim. Anyone who would hang around to be abused must have some kind of mental aberration, don't you think? Don't you also think that their friends and loving family members have said to them, you have choices, you would improve your life if you left your abuser? So if they don't, why don't they? It's because they are mentally unable to.
I can tell your upbringing has left you with scars, just as mine has. Yours has left you bitter, and unforgiving, and a bit of a bully yourself. You obviously feel you are right, the entire psychological fraternity is wrong, and anyone who doesn't take heed of your advice to pull up their bootstraps and leave an abusive relationship is a weak sister who deserves the abuse because they have chosen to tolerate it.Maybe you should work on that.
|Rob "You can love someone you don't like. You can like someone you don't love. They're independent of each other." |
That is so true. I tell people all the time that just because I love a person that doesn't mean I like them, or like their actions. Well put, Rob.
In older times, the word "bully" also had a couple of positive meanings, the only trace of which is left in the expression "bully for you", which is still occasionally used in British English - I can't comment on US English. I've most heard it used in a derisive or sarcastic way, along the lines of "Well then, aren't *YOU* the clever one?".
I think that loyalties can get confused and that sometimes the person in the middle, in this case the son, doesn't want to face that he may have all the power in the situation. When I estranged from my father and SM because she was toxic, my dad became "diddle in the middle" and would try to be on both our sides while being on neither. He ended up choosing his wife over me. Which is fine. I'm an adult and while it hurt more than anything, that was his choice. A few years later, we were able to reconcile.
My mother expects me to choose her over my husband. I did not, and she is really bitter about it. Once you become an adult, you choose your relationships and how you manage them. The son in question was given a choice, and he chose his wife. Is that his wife's fault? No, he still wants to be seen as the "good" son and the good husband so instead of telling his wife he loves her to the moon, AND he wants to continue to have a relationship with his mother he lets his wife control him and his mother think he's being abused. While I agree that sometimes people lack the skills to move on as quickly as others feel they should, I also agree that people choose their situations and get something from them. Sometimes people choose abusive relationships. I may get reemed by this, but there is such thing as co-dependancy. Whether or not it's conscious, some people "need" the abuse. I'm not advocating abuse, but who here has attempted to help someone from an abusive relationship only to end up being cast as the bad guy?
Annibal, I'm sorry your son doesn't have the skills needed to stand up for himself. Being afraid of rejection is something I think most people go through. I think that a lot of people when they are young don't know how to handle relationships (some manipulate, some are manipulated) and that's just part of the learning process. But I think that to cast your son in the role of "innocent" in this is doing him a disservice. He needs to take responsibility for his actions as does his wife, as do you. How did a young man old enough to marry not get the message that manipulation doesn't work? That family is everything? How did he get to be that age and still be "naive, inexperienced and immature"?
I'm not blaming you, I'm just trying to take the blame off of everyone else. In my situation with my mother and her NPD (diagnosed by me) I look at the ways she was controlling me and I let her. Why did I let her, what was I getting out of the toxic relationship? This is so I don't let it happen again. Maybe your DIL is lonely, has low self-esteem (she must if she doesn't want him to see you and is afraid of it) and "loves" him so much she wants to keep him close to her. Shouldn't we be feeling sorry for her rather than him? He's the one with all the control in this situation. He just needs to realize it. Once I realized she didn't have control over me, and that her issues stemmed from a misplaced sense of love and loyalty, I could move out of the toxic relationship. And I'm far from being through my tunnel, but I have taken responsibility for my role in this family drama. I feel sorry for my mother for not having the skills to engage in loving relationships without manipulation and control.
Maybe I'm being harsh, and I only mean this as a contribution of my thoughts. Everyone is individual, as are all issues here. I can't presume to know the whole truth, or all the answers. But I tend to agree with the statement that abusees need to get up and get out. Sometimes that's the role some people will play for the rest of their lives. It's sad, but there's not much we can do for people who aren't making what we think are good decisions except tell them we'll be here for them when they come out the other side.
Perhaps this girl is really good for him and is necessary to help him become less innocent and immature. I know that if I had not gone through what I have in my relationships I wouldn't be in the right mindframe to be in the fabulous one I'm in now. I wouldn't be the mother I am, the wife I am, the daughter I am.
|Okay colleenoz: |
I understand that you don't agree with my opinion on the self-esteem issue but to me it makes no logical sense and goes against human nature. If you don't want to consider what I am saying then that is fine but I'm entitled to think how I please. I also don't like it when you imply things that I never said. You need to read what I said and quit misintrepeting it to suit your position. Bitter, unforgiving and a bully? No, I don't think so. Affected by my negative upbringing, yes. Some resentments, yes. But bitter and unforgiving, no. A bully, definately not. You got some nerve. Even though I don't think it is worth my time to respond to your message I feel the need to defend myself and my position. Please read it this time and don't twist my words.
You Said: Just because you didn't hear of self-esteem when you were growing up doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There are any number of diseases and conditions which have been given names fairly recently but which have always existed.
I didn't hear of self-esteem when I was young because the concept hadn't been made up yet. Diseases and conditions are real and tangible things that can be proven in the real world. Self-esteem is an intangible concept that cannot be proven or physically seen like cancer. And like I said before it isn't logical and goes against human nature. It is natural for people to like themselves. Look at really young children. They are naturally selfish and self-centered. They have to be taught to think of others as well as themselves.
You Said: Poor self esteem isn't necessarily an excuse, but it IS a reason (there's a difference). People with really low self esteem don't whine about it, they just accept that they deserve poor treatment because subconsciously they know they are unworthy.
That is a lot of psycho babble. The reason people stay in abusive relationships is because they feel stuck and don't see any options. It has nothing to do with self-esteem. Sometimes they also stay because of fear such as not being able to support oneself financially, fear of being alone and not finding someone else, fear of the ex-spouse going after them and killing them, fear of losing their children in a custody battle, etc. None of these reasons has anything to do with self-esteem.
You Said: What you are spouting is not the "truth", it is your opinion and one with which millions would disagree.
Okay so you say millions would disagree with me. That is fine. I still don't accept the false concept of self-esteem. Am I supposed to change what I really think because millions would disagree with me? Sorry to inform you but I am able to stand on my own and don't need to be a sheep and follow everyone else's ideas if they don't make sense to me. In case you didn't know the majority isn't always right but maybe you don't agree with that statement either. At one time everyone thought the earth was flat and thought the person that didn't was crazy.
You Said: I don't know how you made the great leap from my comments to "Your idea of helping someone is joining the pity party", but like your other great leaps you've reached the wrong conclusion. My idea of helping is, having recognised that poor self esteem (and yes, many people do grow up believing that the bad things that happen to them are only what they deserve) is contributing to the problem, to tell the person that they ARE worthy and they DO deserve better and they do NOT deserve abuse until they can believe it and use this belief to take action. Sadly, many people ARE self-destructive. Those who take it to an extreme are called suicides.
I'd hate to say it but some people use I have poor self-esteem to feel sorry for themselves and to get attention via the don't you feel sorry for me stance. I've seen it many times. Doing the poor me dance does nothing to help you improve your life. How many times do you have to tell someone that they don't deserve abuse for them to stop putting up with it? Sometimes giving the pep talk is not enough. You need to give people practical help and options and get them to take action to change their circumstances. Talking about your self-esteem is stupid and a waste of time. It doesn't improve your life. Taking action does.
What you are saying here is what I refer to as being stuck. I wouldn't go as far to say it is a hostage situation but the person feels stuck in the situation. That is until they take action.
You Said: Your action as a child in running away and calling the police or asking others for help is VERY unusual.
What's with the caps VERY unusual? What did you expect me to do. Nothing? Am I supposed to do nothing and let my alcoholic dad beat on my mother? I did what I could to put a stop to what was happening even if only temporarily. I would say that my dad sure was mad because of this. But as time went on he acted out less and less and the cops rarely came to the house. It's called natural consequences.
You Said: So yes, people in abusive situations do become brainwashed and suffer from confused loyalties. A person does not have to be dragged away at gunpoint by the Symbionese Liberation Army to suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.
I was brought up in an alcoholic home and my first marriage was abusive. I was not brainwashed. So what are you talking about? Why do you assume that just because you are in an abusive marriage you become brainwashed? If you are easily manipulated then that is who you are and you were that way before you met your abusive spouse and you will be that way when you are with your abusive spouse and after you leave if you leave. Not everyone is the same. Some people are more easy going than others. Some are more strong and dominant than others. Some are more passive than others. But again, that doesn't mean they have low self-esteem. That is just their personality type.
You Said: When you say , "The victim must take action", the implied corollary is "And if they don't they must want to be abused." So you are in fact blaming the victim. Anyone who would hang around to be abused must have some kind of mental aberration, don't you think? Don't you also think that their friends and loving family members have said to them, you have choices, you would improve your life if you left your abuser? So if they don't, why don't they? It's because they are mentally unable to.
I never implied anything. You did! Read what I said again instead of twisting my words. I said that the abuser is responsible for the abuse. I said that the victim needs to take action to protect themselves and their children if any. I said that the abuser doesn't have the victim's best interests in mind. So who is going to help the victim? The victim needs to stop putting up with the abuse. The abuser will not stop unless he is forced to and even then they usually don't change. How you can twist what I said is beyond me but I guess you need to do that to support your position. I never said that someone wants to be abused. You said that. And that is a really stupid thing to say and to accuse me of saying. No one wants to be abused and you already know that.
You Said: I can tell your upbringing has left you with scars, just as mine has. Yours has left you bitter, and unforgiving, and a bit of a bully yourself.
Thanks for the critique on my upbringing. Of course growing up in a negative environment is going to affect you and leave you with scars. But that doesn't mean that you can't overcome a lot of it and the rest you just deal with the best you can. As for you personal judgements on me being bitter, unforgiving and a bully? You know where you can put those. I reject your mailicious judgements and send them right back at you.
You Said: You obviously feel you are right, the entire psychological fraternity is wrong, and anyone who doesn't take heed of your advice to pull up their bootstraps and leave an abusive relationship is a weak sister who deserves the abuse because they have chosen to tolerate it.
I do feel that my assessment of the false self-esteem concept is right. But that is how I see it and if other's don't see it the same way then they don't have to. It is a free country and you can think what you want. I just don't choose to buy into it. The psychological fraternity as you call it is not God and the established is always changing their views and concepts based on some new evidence. If the psychological establishment has all the answers then everyone should be mentally healthy and no one should have any problems because they know how to fix your low self-esteem. And no, I never called anyone a weak sister. You said that. I never said anyone deserved abuse so get off it already.
You Said: Maybe you should work on that.
I could respond to this but I don't have enough time. Let's just say that I was talking about a concept self-esteem that I don't buy into. Let's just say that I was saying that the victim needs to protect themselves because if they don't no one else is going to. Let's just say that the abuser, I mean ABUSER, is responsible for the abuse. I hope you got that right I said the ABUSER is responsible for the abuse and there is no reason or excuse for abusing the victim. Let's just say the victim needs to protect herself and take action. Yes, the VICTIM needs to take action because the ABUSER is not going to help the VICTIM since he is the ABUSER.
I hope I have made my point clear this time and please don't make personal attacks towards me just because you don't agree with me and are angry with me because I think self-esteem is a false concept.
|Silversword: A new book just came out for you. It is called: |
Will I Ever Be Good Enough-Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.
Hope it helps!
|Silversword, I don't think my son is not responsible and I'm sorry if I came across that way. One can only blame someone else for their ills for so long and then the responsibility lies on their own shoulders. There was a time that my son knew this girl had issues, he saw through them and talked to me about it. In his mind I believe he thought he could change her, that she would come around to liking us, etc. I've never met a person like her in my entire life, not to the degree she is at. My sister is rather narcissistic yet even she doesn't measure up to my dil. |
With that in mind, my son is responsible for his current situation. My son does have the control he just doesn't realize it.
As far as why he is old enough to get married and still be this inexperienced and naive I'd have to say that that is a navie statement in itself. I don't know if you've noticed but todays kids are taking far longer to reach adulthood (I read an article in the newspaper that guesses around age 30 now.) My son was shy, quiet, and somewhat of an introvert growing up an in highschool. He did emerge somewhat during college, but he was still too shy to ask a girl out. If they weren't assertive it didn't happen, and even then it didn't happen. He dated very little, never a serious girlfriend until he met my dil. In my opinion she knew just what buttons to push and strings to pull, and still does. She played mindgames until he didn't know which way was up, and now he has to be left on his own to see if he'll ever find his way back again. As the old saying goes, 'he made his bed and now he has to sleep in it.' I worry about his happiness, but there is nothing I can do about it. We tried so hard to get her to just accept us for the people we are and we'll accept her but she wouldn't have it.
|To Colleenoz: |
You Said: I can tell your upbringing has left you with scars, just as mine has. Yours has left you bitter, and unforgiving, and a bit of a bully yourself. You obviously feel you are right, the entire psychological fraternity is wrong, and anyone who doesn't take heed of your advice to pull up their bootstraps and leave an abusive relationship is a weak sister who deserves the abuse because they have chosen to tolerate it.Maybe you should work on that.
I'm still steaming over the unfair judgments you made towards me. And for what? Because I don't agree with you? You are a prime example what getting self-esteem does to a person. Makes them self-absorbed and selfish. The world has enough selfish people and the self-esteem movement is making it worse. How about working on qualities like self-respect and character development instead of absorbing yourself into yourself?
You made a judgment on me being bitter. Based on what? Because I stated some of my experiences? Because I am sick of putting up with my mother? You don't even know me so why make such a judgment other than you want to hurt me because I don't agree with your self-esteem stance.
You made a judgment on me being unforgiving. Again, based on what? My experiences and my ongoing problem with my mother? I never said I did or did not forgive anyone but of course you know everything, or so you think.
Accusing me of being a bit of a bully. Now, this really sent me off the deep end. How dare you! There is no excuse for that comment whatsoever. I am not a bully nor will I ever be one. What really pisses me off about that comment is that I was bullied in school and to call someone that was bullied a bully is just really sick. Again, you don't know me and because you have self-esteem you think it makes you superior and gives you the right to make judgments about people you don't even know.
Maybe you should work on your own attitude and distorted thinking processes.
P.S. I'm not the only one who thinks self-esteem is a load of you know what.
Here is a link that might be useful: Psychobabble that shields the seriously selfish
|Thank you bnicebekind!|
|Annibal, I have no real idea what you're going through. It's all just a shot in the dark. I think that while children may be taking longer to mature lately a large part of that is the parents. They make more money, can support children being children longer. I'm thirty, and believe me I have been "grown up" for a long time. But my parents didn't coddle me in the least. I grew up much more old-fashioned than my peers. |
As for thinking you can change someone, haven't we all been there!? I hope he realizes what is going on and can reconcile with you, as you seem to be a very caring mother and vested in his happiness and well being.
|Silversword, please don't misunderstand me when I stated kids are taking longer to grow up now, meaning ALL kids. I know we did some coddling, but not like any of our friends or other family members. Each of our sons had a job at 16 and used a mini van to drive in (that wasn't theirs, we just let them use it.) Each one purchased their own car, we did not do this for them. |
Surprisingly my youngest son who is only 24 is actually more mature than my older one. Though he went thru the usual not sure what he wanted to do straight out of college syndrome, within six months he made his decision. Now he is living on his own, making a good income and loving what he does. The younger also experienced a few serious relationships which is what I believe my older son was lacking.
I do agree that there is far too much coddling going on now though. You sound like your very mature and responsible, and i have no doubt that you are grown up. There are plenty of 'you' out there, but there are way too many still holding on to mom and dad, and vice verse.
|silversword, I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing this thread has been to me this morning! I honestly didn't know there was a name for the horrific way my mother has treated me since I was 11 years old (right after her mother, who lived with us, died). |
As I have read and read and read about Narcissistic Personality Disorder today, have studied its traits and how people are affected by it, this has opened a whole new window of understanding for me. I am both deeply saddened and yet awed by all I'm learning. I can totally identify with your struggles in this situation, as my own life has been so profoundly affected by my mother's NPD.
I will attempt to give some answers here, FWIW:
*How do I handle this? How do you all handle your parents and the shifting relationships between being a child with your parent, then being a parent yourself?
#1 for me has been - set some boundaries in the relationship, allow myself some breathing room, give myself the space I need in order to gain perspective, to be able to look at it as it really is.
*What can be done to keep me from feeling guilty and responsible for her well being? Am I a bad daughter because I don't want my mother to live with me and tell me what to do? I'd really like your opinions/suggestions.
In answer to your first question, I believe one of the most wonderful things that can happen to anyone is to be able to distinguish between true guilt and false guilt.
True guilt comes from things we have done wrong and have not admitted. Confession of wrongdoing and a request for forgiveness is all we can do about that.
False guilt is a crippling thing until it is seen and recognized for what it is, for it causes us to believe we are responsible for things we haven't said and done, that we are responsible for someone else's weaknesses, failures, and wrongdoing.
If there is any true guilt in our lives, then, yes, we need to admit it, ask forgiveness, make any needed restitution, and go on.
If there is false guilt in our lives, if we have taken on other people's responsiblity, then we need to give ourselves permission to lay that down and walk away from it.
I haven't read all the responses in this thread; I've only read a few. So I apologize if I've repeated things other people have said.
There are not words to tell you what an enormous relief it was for me the day I recognized the guilt was false and was able to lay it down and walk away from it, no longer believing myself to be responsible for another's happiness (or lack thereof).
That doesn't mean I don't love, doesn't mean I don't care, doesn't mean I don't take advantage of legitimate opportunities to express love and caring - it does mean I don't alllow myself to be used in an unhealthy way as a scapegoat for another's discontentment.
Didn't mean to write a book here. Thanks again for posting this info about NFD. It is such a relief to know it has a name! And though I would not wish what I've endured on anyone I've ever known, period, it has truly helped me to read of other people's experiences at the links which were posted. I've received tremendous affirmation today.
I don't know if NPD is addressed by name in the Boundaries books, but they are well worth reading.
Here is a link that might be useful: Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend
"True guilt comes from things we have done wrong and have not admitted. Confession of wrongdoing and a request for forgiveness is all we can do about that.
False guilt is a crippling thing until it is seen and recognized for what it is, for it causes us to believe we are responsible for things we haven't said and done, that we are responsible for someone else's weaknesses, failures, and wrongdoing.
If there is any true guilt in our lives, then, yes, we need to admit it, ask forgiveness, make any needed restitution, and go on.
If there is false guilt in our lives, if we have taken on other people's responsiblity, then we need to give ourselves permission to lay that down and walk away from it."
You are very eloquent. It's amazing how you just put that out so clearly. I understand exactly what I have been doing. Carrying around false guilt.
I'm so sorry you've been through this too. When I saw this little article on NPD it was like a giant spotlight was turned on. All my life I've been confused about what has been going on, why it's so confusing, why I feel so responsible and wrong and bad and why I can't disassociate. What amazes me is how many people have responded and said they too have people with NPD in their lives. There are a lot of us out here! And while sad, it's affirming because I felt very alone.
|Mara and Silversword, I can completely relate to your hurt and wise words of advice. I am trying to teach myself that my son is possibly also NPD, and for sure my dil is. I need to let it go since I have admitted to all the wrong doing as you suggest, the 'real' guilt and seeked forgiveness. I am willing to have a relationship with my son & dil where we all just accept us for who we are, but that seems in impossible task. My son can't forgive or accept. In fact my sil asked him 'where is the forgiveness?' As long as he wants to keep claiming to have had injustices committed we can't go anywhere. |
I feel so sad for both of you in dealing with your moms. My sister who was like a mom to me since mine got sick when I was very young is also narcissistic. I don't know if she is fully npd or not, but the characteristics are there. Of course I never knew what npd was until I searched for personality disorders on the web in desperation for answers to my dils behavior. I had never even heard of personality disorders per se.
When my son was dating my dil all the way up to the wedding I kept telling my bro that my future dil was way too much like our sister, and he agreed.
I see my sons situation like this: he was naive, immature, self centered and inexperienced when he met this girl. Because he already has some narcissistic traits himself, this girl brought them out in full bloom. I see it like a person who has addictive traits marrying a user, soon the addictive trait is a behavior.
"a person who has addictive traits marrying a user, soon the addictive trait is a behavior"
This is such a great analogy. Similar to show me your friends, and I'll tell you who you are.
I never considered that my mother was having a negative impact on who I was socially for a long time. Finally I realized that in social situations she would integrate herself with the new person, then somehow block me from being their friends. She did it with our neighbors, a couple just a few years older than we are. She did it with my cousins, with my aunts and uncles. No matter what, she was the one who was right, and I was the little kid.
Funny thing, once she was gone, I could have relationships with those people. The neighbors, that my mom said were "afraid" of me and my DH... why, I can't imagine. They seem very comfortable with us, always working together with us on projects, drinking beer in the evening while we take our trash to the curb or trim bushes, playing with our kid and their kids on their basketball court, lending vehicles, driving together... yet she said they were scared of us, and that they liked her.
It's so weird to come out of it, like being on drugs for a really long time, or a coma, or having amnesia. It's learning who I am all over again and not checking for her opinion before forming my own.
|Silversword, your so right also with "Similar to show me your friends, and I'll tell you who you are." That just fits the picture of your mom, my sister, dil, etc perfectly. As I mentioned I think my son had those 'traits' but needed the nourishment of my dil to bring them to full bloom. I still don't believe he is in her league, but he has allowed himself to do be taken under her spell. |
I'm so glad that you are finally free of what your mom put you through. It's hard to compete against someone with this personality disorder since they are number one. Those personalities steal the show at every possible opportunity.
One time at Christmas when we were all at my mom and dads to celebrate, I was actually doing quite a bit of the talking for a change. My sister stated 'you never talked this much growing up' to which my bil replied 'perhaps you never let her.' His comment was truly an opening for me to understand how much she had worked to control me, who I was friends with, what I did, who I was, etc. My sister has mellowed either with age or anti depressants or both, but not far below the surface is her old self alive and well. I now keep my distance, and don't confide in her. I won't allow myself to be sucked back into that destructive relationship where it was all about her.
This is just what you needed to do yourself, but with it being your mom it had to be that much more difficult. It was a life saving discovery on your part, and now your seeing just how much she affected your life (in far too many negative ways.) Imagine feeling as you did that people were afraid of you or didn't like you, they only liked your mom!!
My sister stated 'you never talked this much growing up' to which my bil replied 'perhaps you never let her.'
First, I'm assuming your sister is married to your bil?
Do you see the same dynamic happening with others in your sister's life, or just you?
The reason I ask is I see my mother trying to control others, and when she can't she drops them or discounts their opinion.
Example, my DH wanted to buy a motorcycle. My mother has ridden her whole life. She prefers the kind where you sit up and the handlebars are even with your chest. He prefers the kind you lie down on. So she keeps telling him, "the kind of bike YOU want is... blah blah blah". And he kept saying, no, it's this kind. She was really quite angry with him that he didn't choose the kind of bike she preferred. It can get really irritating being told what I want all the time. And it would happen over and over, not just once, which I'm sure we're all guilty of doing that one time or another, but it's not a constant personality trait.
I'm having another issue. My mother sent a box of clothes to my DD. Inside was a note to me. She used my childhood nickname that I have asked that I not be called since I was in 4th grade. It's not so much a nickname as a shortening of my name to an entirely different name. People in my family actually have no idea what my real name is. It's really disturbing to me. All because she said they couldn't ever be expected to learn how to pronounce my real name. But you know what? They have learned. It's her that won't make the change. And she knows it drives me crazy.
Well, I had my dd write a thank you letter to her that I'm mailing today. My mother called yesterday and left a message for my dd "hi, it's grandma, I want you to call me, my number is _______. That's _________"
I don't want my dd to call her. I don't want to hear her voice. By the way, my dd asks to call her dad. She asks to call her grandparents. I let her call anyone she asks to call. Even after the box arrived she didn't say "can I call grandma x".
Am I being petty? I feel petty, but I also feel manipulated and stepped on.
Here's a question, and I think I will post it as a seperate thread, so it doesn't mix with this one. But, it's "what are the rights of grandparents"?
|Silversword, my sister is like this to most if not everyone. It took time for me to learn to stand my ground since she is 8 years older than I. Both my brother and I are quite aware of her tactics and have learned to deal with them. However one of the ways to deal with her is by not seeing her too often. She seems to be ok in small doses (like a few hours!) She has mellowed with age and anti-depressants but she is still an emotional blackmailer. My bil does get the same treatment from her, yet he has always just put up with it. |
Does your dd hear from your mother very often, or was this a shot out of the dark? Your mom knows that you don't want much if any contact, correct? Why would she call you that nickname when she knows it irritates you? This is exactly the kind of stuff that this personality does. They are going to do it their way regardless of how it makes anyone else feel.
If your dd did not ask to call your mom then I think the thank you note would be appropriate. However, if you dd heard the message and wants to reply to your mom then I guess I would let her reply yet I'd be apprehensive as you are being.
I do think it's a grandparents right to see their grandchildren, people have even been taken to court over this issue. If your dd is not close to her then I doubt anything can become of it. I'm assuming your dd knows your feelings regarding your mother?
|Anniebal, thank you for responding. To answer your questions: |
My mother has called for my DD before and I called her back for my DD and I let her talk for over an hour.
DD didn't hear the message because our voicemail isn't located in the house.
My mom- I don't know what she knows. She has been telling lies to my father and my ex-husband but she acts like nothing is wrong when she calls, emails, writes.
My daughter was very close to my mother. But I always felt like my mom was trying to "do it over again" with my daughter, which made me uncomfortable.
I don't think she'd take it to court or anything. But the thing is that she called my ex and told him all these lies, then told him she's afraid I'll keep my dd from her. Which I had no intention of doing, until she started calling him and lying. He was even laughing about it, because he could tell she was lying because she had lived with us for a year and he knows her personality.
I don't know why she calls me by the name she made up for me as a child. I've asked her not to since I was 10. Somehow our whole family has learned my real name and calls me by it, except for her. And I've asked her many many times since I was an adult, and explained why. And my DH has called her on it every time she called me that, and he'd get pretty irritated by it too.
I don't want to "keep" my dd from her, but at the same time I feel really betrayed and don't trust her intentions. Plus, it's kind of a weird thing to say, but her voice was super soft and creepy the last time she called. Like her pauses were off, if that makes sense.
My DH wants to block her number. I'm still a mama's girl. But I don't trust her at all. It's a really awkward place to be, very uncomfortable. Very lonely.
|Silversword, I can hear the struggle and pain your going thru just by reading your post. I don't blame you for being apprehensive and wondering what your mother's intentions are. I think I would be worried about whether your mom will try to turn your daughter against you at all. If she's good at lying and manipulating this is a real concern. I applaud you for not keeping her from talking to your mom given the circumstances. |
I still worry that my younger son could be manipulated to some degree by my older son and dil. Despite how different he is to his brother the fear lurks beneath the surface. I think it's only natural after we have gone through the pain we have that we fear a similar situation happening with our other loved ones (i.e. your daughter, my other son.)
It's good that your ex husband knows what she is like so that your not battling to convince him she is lying. It also sounds like your dh understands your mom well. Your dad still doesn't get it it, does he?
What a guilt trip it is trying to disassociate from the person who is our mother, there is just no easy way to go about it. I think your doing what you can in regards to your relationship with her (keeping your distance...)
Perhaps your get togethers should only be in a public place for a short period of time?
Return to the Parents Forum
Information about Posting
- You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
- Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
- Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
- After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
- Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
- We have a strict no-advertising policy!
- If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
- If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.
Learn more about in-text links on this page here