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Graelwyn
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23 May 2009, 9:57 pm

Eh, I have degenerated in my ability to start topics, it having been so long since I posted one anywhere, but I thought I would bring this up.
Since young, my mother has been extremely controlling. All have said so, and even the man who she bought in to help with my new flat/apt, said so.
It has impacted me greatly, and added to my difficulties, and I find it very difficult to assert myself when I am with her.
She used emotional blackmail and various forms of manipulation if I express my own opinions or try and be more open in myself. She criticised my ways, from my love of routine, to my issues expressing sympathy...as an example, she recently had to have a biopsy and I got very scared and had nightmares, but as usual, I found I could not verbally express sympathy etc. She told me I dont care about her at all etc, and has in the past said I am insensitive. It really gets to me.

She had arranged to come to me for my bday, but then suggested I go to her in London right after I had just moved to a new place and was adjusting... then when I told her I don't like London much, she took it as a personal offence, and said 'well I wont invite you ever again then'. And when I tried to explain rationally, she said 'oh, thats fine, I just wont have you in london again'. She even asked if I would be happier if she just, basically, abandoned me and left me to it all... I grew up with all this sort of behaviour and I am now getting more and more bitter, as it has resulted in my having some borderline personality traits, on top of aspergers (believe it or not).

Each time I feel like telling her how she has affected me and what she is doing, I then feel guilty as she is now 60 or so, and I do not wish to be left feeling bad about it when she dies.

Has anyone else here had experience of this kind of parent ? I find the emotional blackmail tactics used incredible really, I mean, how can she not realise how she is behaving and the impact it will have on others?



Tahitiii
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23 May 2009, 10:15 pm

60 is not old. Do you have any reason to think she has a serious illness?
If you want to say something, better now than later.

I'm not really the one to give such advice. I gave up on the idea of that level of communication when I was a kid, and never reconsidered. I still don't believe it would have done any good. Now that she's 80 and a tiny bit confused, it's not really an option anyway.

20 years from now, when she's still doing the same crap, will you regret not trying to talk to her today?



ThatRedHairedGrrl
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24 May 2009, 4:02 am

Graelwyn, you might want to read this:
http://www.geocities.com/zpg1957/narcissists.htm

If any of it sounds at all familiar (and just from your description of her, it's ringing alarm bells for me), it's possible that your mother may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. My mother had this, and I only found out about it when her health had deteriorated to such an extent that I couldn't have gone 'no contact' (unfortunately, often the only solution to extricate yourself from such a person) without alienating myself from the rest of my family. She's dead now, but I'm still picking up the pieces of my self-esteem.

If you think this may be your situation, there are a bunch of useful links and books I can direct you to...


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Graelwyn
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24 May 2009, 12:58 pm

ThatRedHairedGrrl wrote:
Graelwyn, you might want to read this:
http://www.geocities.com/zpg1957/narcissists.htm

If any of it sounds at all familiar (and just from your description of her, it's ringing alarm bells for me), it's possible that your mother may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. My mother had this, and I only found out about it when her health had deteriorated to such an extent that I couldn't have gone 'no contact' (unfortunately, often the only solution to extricate yourself from such a person) without alienating myself from the rest of my family. She's dead now, but I'm still picking up the pieces of my self-esteem.

If you think this may be your situation, there are a bunch of useful links and books I can direct you to...


most of this sounds very much like her. She will usually excuse things by saying she is just trying to do her best for me, or has always taken my side, always done this, always done that for me- how thoughtless and selfish I am etc etc. She used to ignore me and walk off talking to my brother when I was a child if I exerted any of my autonomy and independence or displeased her. She was fine until I got a little older, suffered some abuse and became more willful and independent. Now she is very close to my older brother and has for a long time liked telling me of his achievements and his wive's good points etc, treating them like daughters moreso than myself at times. It was incredibly hurtful, but if I said that she loved them more than I or that she treated them better than me, she acted all hurt and offended and bought up all she had done for me, and reminded me how my father had never turned up when I was ill etc.

Now, she is often as silent as me for weeks... no phone contact etc, she expects me to be the one making contact basically, as she is the mother, I am the daughter and I should be the one making the effort after all she has done. It takes just the wrong line, like the one about not liking london, and it will be totally turned against me, and taken to mean I dont like seeing her..which is what she did last time.

And of course, I am left thinking to myself, is this abuse? She has, afterall, always bought me the things I need, and visited when I was ill in hospital... it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But the damage is obvious and several psychiatrists I saw in my past said outright she was causing the problems I had...and they eased dramatically, the emotional issues, once I got away. Even then, she told me I had basically been selfish to have left when she was ill (at the time she said she had cancer...recently she said she didnt , so I dont know what is the truth anymore!). She told me how she was on anti depressants and how good my brother was being, to visit her so often. She always tells me what he has done for her.



ThatRedHairedGrrl
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24 May 2009, 1:49 pm

OK. First off, I'm not a mental health professional, but the whole thing with NPD largely depends on the victims (by which I mean other people!) recognizing it - it rarely gets actually diagnosed, because the people with it never think it's them who has the problem. In fact, if forced to go to therapy, they're highly likely to talk the therapist round to the idea that whoever recommended therapy for them is the really crazy one. So in this case, assuming that that's what you might be dealing with is perhaps the best policy until you find out more.

Here are those links I mentioned:

http://www.nevergoodenough.com/index.asp
http://home.att.net/~cruelrealityofnpd/index.htm
http://narc-attack.blogspot.com/
http://narcissists-suck.blogspot.com/
http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/index.html

The first one is specifically for the daughters of NPD mothers, and has a great forum. The others are more general, but there's tons of useful information on there. There's a lot more stuff out on the Web if you search for it, although a lot of the information is about narcissistic spouses, especially husbands - it's generally still assumed to be mainly a male thing. I would also recommend reading Toxic Parents by Susan Forward (she doesn't use the N word but she describes the behavior in several sections), and Children of the Self-Absorbed by Nina W. Brown.

One thing I would probably advise against doing is telling her how much she's hurting you. In my experience this either gets a blank denial, or some kind of claim that hurting you is 'necessary' to make you a 'better person' (i.e. more like she wants you to be) or some such BS. If she's a real narcissist, your feelings don't matter to her as long as she comes out of it looking like the 'good' one.

It sounds like your brother is the 'golden child' - if you read those links you'll find it's not uncommon for a NPD mother to have one kid who can do no wrong and another who's the family scapegoat. Sometimes golden children become narcissists themselves, sometimes not. Things are OK now between me and my brother because he realizes a lot of the kind of damage my mother did, but we had an uneasy relationship for many years. What you do will depend a lot on whether you want to keep contact with the rest of your family, because if you break off with your mother there's a fair likelihood she'll make you out to be the bad girl...have you talked to them about the situation?

If I'd known what I know earlier, I would have broken away a lot sooner, even if it did mean losing touch with the rest of my family. Life's too short to be messed around in that way. Whether or not she has health issues (and it sounds suspiciously like she's milking them for all they're worth if she has, another typical narcissist thing), I should warn you that these women generally get worse emotionally as they get more frail physically...and they're rather good at blackmailing adult daughters into giving up their lives to become full-time carers. You have been warned...I wish you luck, whatever you decide to do.


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RightGalaxy
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26 May 2009, 1:13 pm

My mother blamed me for her breast cancer because I confessed that my father molested me as a child. Even when I was an adult, I'd call her on the phone and he'd be on the other line masterbating. But to her, he could do no wrong. She totally denounces me. My mother is the cause and epicenter of my PTSD. I was actually raped at ther age of 7 by a 13 year old. She went to work the very next day. I still remember her words,"You ass will hurt today, and then a little less the next day, and then the pain will be all gone." I utterly HATE her.



Tim_Tex
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26 May 2009, 5:44 pm

My parents used to be like that until recently, but they've backed off lately.



peterd
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27 May 2009, 7:13 am

There's a fascinating book I'm reading currently (warning: I've only tried out a few of its exercises, but the results so far are good):
"I'm right, you're wrong, now what?" by Xavier Amador

He presents examples and techniques to help get the outcomes you need from discussions / arguments that have gone (his term) toxic. Not only do his examples ring true, his neuroscience is pretty good and his techniques seem (to me) appropriate to aspies as much as to normals. Thanks are due to my shrink for recommending it to me.



serenity
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27 May 2009, 3:28 pm

I have to make this post quick, because I need to make it to an appointment here in a few minutes, but I can soooo identify where you're coming from. Your mom sounds a lot like mine. I don't think my mom is NPD, but I do think she's borderline. I finally, at the age of 30, drew some decent boundaries. She hasn't spoken to me since, and hasn't even told me me why. None of my family is speaking to me. God only knows what she said about me to them. It's an extremely painful experience, as I've always been so dependent on her. She kind of made sure of that, and now I have to learn to stand up for myself, which she sees as a personal attack on her.

This is the site that made the light bulb go off in my head, and helped me to get through these last few months of silence from her. http://www.bpdfamily.com/index2.htm .I hope that it may be of some help to you. You can pm me if you need someone to talk to.