I've posted once or twice on here before about my relationship with my mother.
3 months ago I cut all contact with her, after our last meeting didn't go well. I couldn't face seeing her every 6-8 weeks. It was for one day only, but it left me in termoil for days after, whilst she went home happy, thinking everything was ok.
I have found it exstreamly infuriating that she can not acknowledge how she behaved at my wedding and the hell she put my husband and I through during the year of planning it, with her demands and sometimes childish tantrums. In our last meeting I confronted her and I was told I liked to hold grudges. Yet she claimed she didn't know what she was meant to acknowledge.
Since I have very on and off days. Some days I feel great, I concentrate on my baby and I don't think about her at all. I like the fact that I don't have talk to her on the phone and listen to and receive text messages demanding pictures of my baby. I also like the space and not having to dread seeing her.
Other days I feel incredibly sad and I question myself a lot. I feel hugely guilty in the fact that she doesn't get to see my baby grow up. I feel that she'd be a good grandmother but I fear as my child grows up she'll start to play mind games with her. Theses feelings are enhanced when my grandmother, tells me she wishes we'd start talking and it worries her because she doesn't want to leave this earth knowing we don't talk. My mum has been very unkind to my grandmother in the past and she's forgiven her for a lot of things, so I suppose my grandmother feels I should do the same.
Yet my uncle and aunt know how I feel, they cut contact with my mother a few years ago. Aside from my husband they are they supportive of me and my decision. I do talk on the phone once in a while. My mum has also been horrible to them too, for years it seems, and I didn't even realise. Our talks do make me feel a whole lot better and make feel like I'm not making it up or going crazy.
I don't know how long this no contact will go on for, part of me wants it forever part of me doesn't. How do I make such a hard decision? And how do I feel comfortable and confident in my desicion?
Many thanks in advance
They are crazy- making people and can hold others in a state of emotional turmoil.
Your baby will pick up your feelings of angst and being distracted. Plus your husband is probably tired of all the drama.
Educated yoursekf on this disorder and break your mother’s hold on your time and energy.
A Counsellor who I used to see, had mentioned she could be a narcissist. I have spent a lot of time on the internet and I'm now convinced she is a narcissist. My husband joined me in the research and he agrees.
You are correct my hubby is getting tired of this but he's also hurt, as my mother told doesn't acknowledge us as a married couple. In the last meet up with her, she told me she wants to see the baby and me. No mention of my husband and she dismissed him when I mentioned him. She could not handle it when I told her firmly we come as a family from now on. My husband has done nothing wrong. He and my mother had a good relationship before we got married but it was her behaviour during the time of our wedding that made him see what she was really like and begin to dislike her. I had told him about my childhood and the horrible things she used to say to me he listened, but he didn't believe she could be spiteful so it was a leaning curve for him!
The last few days have not been easy with my elderly grandad being in hospital very unwell. My brother told me that my mother had tried to contact me but she couldn't get through. She has been blocked for the past three months on my mobile and my brother thinks I should unblock her. I see no reason why I should unblock her because this has happened, it would not be a pleasant conversation, she'd pile the guilt on to me. I have my aunt and uncle to keep me updated on my grandads well being. I have supported my grandmother and aunt by calling them everyday. Its been tough emotionally, as I find myself questioning myself again.
I know its future situations like this will come up, for example if we have another child, grandparents health, the grandparents Will, my mothers and her partner health and illness.
I feel very protective of my lovely little family. My baby is confident, sweet and a little feisty, nothing like me as a child and i believe that was because I was never given the confidence and was talked down to and controlled. for most of my childhood, even as a young adult. I don't want my mother influencing my baby and bashing her confidence.
My mind is telling me to take this slow and see what happens. Should I be there for my mother? What is fair?
I hope you continue with counseling. Just the thought of her coming back into your life creates anxiety for you.
Learn to detach. With compassion, but with firmness.
Today I spoke to my grandma and by the end of the call I felt awful, riddled with guilt and on the verge of tears. My mother and her partner took her to the hospital yesterday. My grandma said my mother was cordial to every one, including my aunt and uncle. I'm genuinely pleased she was pleasant. My grandma hit a sore nerve by saying she wished we would make friends. She said mum talks about me and the baby non stop. I would imagine its more about the baby she talks about, not me. Before going to the hospital, they went shopping and my mother was looking at baby clothes. Gandma even hinted to me I might get something in the post. I'm pleased she gave me the heads up on this, receiving gifts from her sends me on a massive guilt trip. I normally tell my grandma I don't want to talk about my mother but today I couldn't. I knew she was worried about my grandad who has been very up and down so far, I didn't want to upset her.
My mother has always blamed her health for her bad actions, or choice of unkind words. She's suffers from anxiety. Growing up if she lashed out at me, it was because she was stressed out or suffering from back pain or was feeling unwell. Always some excuse regarding her health. At my wedding she blamed her appauling behaviour on the fact she had been ill a few weeks before. My grandma said my mother dropped her off outside the hospital but she didn't go in because she was too anxious to see my grandad in a hospital bed. My grandma concluded to me she must be very stressed.
Now I'm upset, yet again judging myself and wondering if I should contact her but that goes against every descision I've made in the last three months. It would be unfair to my husband as my mother would only refuse to acknowledge him again.
Am I right in thinking my mother put on a big show with her anxiety at the hospital and looking at baby clothes and this got my grandma feeling sorry for her?
It feel like I'm in a no win situation, I was miserable having her in my life, but the down days with no contact are so hard too. I'm trying to stay strong here.
That should explain what she’s doing.
Shame on her to use grandma - at her time of stress - to try to manipulate you! She loads up grandma with pitiful love wants and sends her to be the messenger!
You are going to HAVE to strenghten yourself so you can bust these games she plays. Spend time on the web and listen to videos, if you cant get to a therapist.
Now the funeral is being planned by my grandma, my aunt and my mother. My brother is around trying to make things civil as possible between them. I wish I was there but they live far away from me. 4 hour drive. I currently don't have a car and have mummy duties and work commitments.
I'm undecided as to whether I can go to the funeral. From a practical point, I literally have no one to look after my baby. As the funeral will be in my grandparents home town, we have to stay at least two nights and my mother in law could not look after the baby on her own for that amount of time nor can she come with us. I do have friends but I've not known them long enough, and they have their own babies. I have looked into every option I can think of.
Another reason is that my mother and her partner in particaluar would make comments and cause friction. And make herself look like the victim to other family members. Her partner can't keep his mouth shut for five seconds without being rude or nit picking. I have discovered through my readings he enables her behaviour. I know the majority of the time, she'll be concentrating on the funeral but I know her and she won't be able to help herself. She can't separate the funeral and the relationship she has with me and my husband as two different things.
My grandma could try to make us talk, she's already told me again in the last few days she wished my mother and I would make up and brought my grandads passing into it. This upset me and I know my mother had been with her that day.
Something is telling me not to go but I feel awful about it. I'm certain my grandma will understand, but it's telling her. My husband has warned me about my mothers reaction to me not going.
My alternative is to go spend a few days with my grandma after the funeral, take her out and go and visit my grandads grave. Spend some quality time with her.
On another note, my mother is writing her own speech for the funeral. is this for attention? My brother expressed his concerns about her doing this due to her pannick attacks. I know he's stressed but he completely dismisses what I say about our mother and refuses to read anything on narcissism.
What should I do ? Do I woman up and go? Or choose to go about this in a different way?
So - I like your “alternative” idea.
Let all the dust settle, then spend time with your grandmother. Tell her you will be there for her later. She will need you then, anyway.
No need for you to be an audience for all the drama that may happen.
PS - it’s time to tell grandma that you just are not able to talk about the relationship between you and your mother. Change the topic if she brings it up. And tell her you don’t want her to be bothered by anything at this time.
I then received funeral details in the post from my mother only inviting me, to the funeral and wake, not my husband.She requested in a letter that I reply by the 16th Feb via email or phone if I was attending. I didn't not do either, instead I confirmed with my brother.
Today I heard my mother is furious I'm not attending the funeral. Now I feel like the worst person in the world but I feel she's angry because she can't express her anger to me. I know if she could she'd shout at me and calling me every name under the sun. I'm unsure why I care or why I'm even surprised.
My aunt has told me they are getting on ok, and my mother has tried to get her to take sides with her. My aunt said she was very stand off-ish and won't take sides.
I fear my mother might make my planned visit to my grandmas hard and stressful by turning up. How do I go about this?
Just a quick one-off interjection from me:
This article is genius, Isobel, hits every spot... it should help you immediately "exhale":
PS: "Just keep swiiii-mmming, just keep swiii-mmming...". It does get better, I promise.
The article is genius and so helpful, thank you so much Soulmate. It is so spot on, for the last 4 months I've come to a stand still when I hoped it would get better. I feel guilty, I doubt my self, I judge myself on how I could be better, nicer person. I wonder if I should contact her, write her a letter, send an email, call her, but I haven't, as I know deep down her reaction will not be the one I'm hoping for. Like the examples in the article. It literally feels like I have to keep my head above the water in order to survive this. I don't believe I've started step one mourning for the mother I never had. I feel I have a long way to go but I'm delighted to know it gets better.
My biggest fear is my mother turning other family members against me and she will make it difficult for me to visit them. I know she would turn up if she knew when and who I was visiting.
I do have a couple of questions, do I tell my close family I'm going no contact, so they know what I'm doing ? And do I tell my mother too ? I have read some daughters or sons have written letters to their mothers or fathers or bravely called them to inform them they want nothing more to do with them. Some don't but that is because the parent is more neglectful.
Thank you both again.
That's not to say I can't pop on again if or once Susie feels her input's run its course. However, whenever a firm one-on-one's become established, forum etiquette demands all other contributors meantime butt out, same as any conversation.
In fact, I shouldn't have contributed to begin with (soz, Susie), so I'm not even going to ask her, but as I say, your agony at the point when I was passing, was palpable.
I'll keep an eye out, though.
(Sorry to talk about you in the Third, Susie.)
Pray continue, both of you. It's a great thread, probably going to attract an awful lot of footfall. (So that's 50p to me for the Ibuprofen, but 50p to you tow for the thread calibre. We'll call it Even, LOL. )
(Been gone on a much needed vacation.)
Look - don’t “get in the ring” with her - mainly because she’s got this narcissistic role perfected and she will out- talk you until it’s twisted around and you end up manipulated and feeling mad and bad again. And she will be the “winner” in her own eyes again with the family.
You owe no one an explanation or reason why you are going silent for a little while. Use this time for your husband and baby.
Like my aunt used to say: You don’t have to answer every barking dog. Learn to detach from toxic people!
I'm feel as though I'm starting to learn to detach from her slowly. I'm saying no when people advise me to talk to my mother. A few days ago I was talking to my father on the phone and he was some what disapproving at the fact I have blocked my mother in very way possible. Really, after being married to her for twenty seven years, and getting divorced from her, he should know better. I shut him quickly saying we no longer needed to talk about her. It seems as though my brother is getting the brunt of it all from my mother and I can only guess he's turning to my father for advice.
My brother and I have a good relationship but he is very dismissive of her actions, which I find so frustrating. He's younger then me by 4 years, but hes always talked to me like he's the older, wiser and the more mature one. There have been times where I have found myself having justify myself to him. He believes he done research into my mother anxieties and stress issues, so he knows more, therefore he's right and anyone who believes she narcissistic is wrong. In fear of falling out with him I won't be talking to him about my mother anymore.
I can't seem to grieve for the mother I've never had yet. There are times where I crave for a mother figure, and I want to share things or I want advice. That feels sad and it hurts but I don't have a good cry like advised in articles I've read. I can't seem to. I have concluded to myself, I'm a mother, I am a wife, I'm going to be the best I can be to my baby and husband and I can only do that by starting this process of detaching from her properly.
By chance, at mid 30’s, I happened to get a job where most of the other people were retired or elderly. I became good friends with them and was able to get my “ mommy fix” by being around them. Oh the lessons they taught me!
They really did fill that void I had of the missing mother and grandmother. I am so grateful I had that time with them!
Can you find a place where there are some elderly females who could be there for you AND you for them? A neighbor, church program, senior center? Just a few hours a week will get you “ nourished” in the ways you need - abd also give them the attention they crave.
There was an older lady at work who I got my mum fix from, we used to talk for hours while we worked. she knew about my relationship with my mother. unfortunately she retired a couple of months ago and moved away. Since I feel like I've been looking to fill the gap.
I went to see my grandmother. I thought the best thing to do was to go and not tell anyone. It was our trip and it helped me feel less anxious about my mother potentially turning up. I surprised my grandma, she was so happy to see us and we spent a lovely few days with her, my aunt, uncle and their families.
We come back and I thought the trip was successful and that it was handled in the right way. Sadly I was wrong. My grandma told my mother, husband, baby and I surprised her with a visit and my mother was horrible to her. This poor elderly lady has very recently lost her husband. My aunt and uncle will probably receive an email. they are grown adults, but I feel like I need to protect them to protect out relationships.
My mother then contacted my brother, and told him knowing it was his girlfriends birthday and they were going out. My brother then called me, I refused to talk to him as I could not handle a conversation with him and I asked my husband to take over the call. My husband advised my brother, my mother contact him by email, as I was in no place to have any for of contact with her, and start acknowledging us as a family. We shall see if this happens, it's what needs to be done. I do still feel I need space from her though.
I should be able to go and visit my grandmother and aunt and uncle without her kicking off at them and lashing out at everyone. What on earth makes her think, this is going to fix our relationship? She's coming across mentally unhinged and very erratic. I feel ashamed, sad, guilty and so, so, so angry. I feel like it's not going to end here and more will happen in the days or weeks to come.
I received an email after my husband advised my mother to do, if she really wanted to try and resolve things with us. The email was from my mothers husband. This was disappointing that she choose to Send him as the messenager. I didn't want an email from him, I wanted one from her. Am I being too sensitive?
The email stated that, My mother might of said and done some upsetting things towards us, but we had also been unkind to her. so can we leave it at that, and try to get along? That was it, apart from my mother being very upset that no one told her about our visit to my grandma because she wanted to see our baby. In my opinion my grandmas home is not the place to try and smooth things over, if that was even her intentions. I would imagine it was more so she could create drama and get others to side with her.
My current feelings are the email was not a sincere email at all, and very half hearted. What also struck me was that my mother the day before had previously shouted down the phone to my grandma and ended the call by slamming the phone down on her. Her actions don't match her husbands sweet as pie words in his email. It's all very conflicting. I feel I wouldn't even believe an applogy now.
I can't accept sweeping this all under the rug like her husband asks. Mine and my mothers relationship would only go back to like it was before. I'd be anxious and angry with her and she would get what she wants, contact with my child. When I'm uncertain she isn't even mentally stable to be around my child, as harsh as that sounds.
What infuriates me is my husband and I did nothing wrong. my mother put us through a lot and we never went down to her childish levels of behaviour.
As my mother was so rude to my grandma, other members in my family, cousins, my aunts husband, my uncles wife are starting to see her true colours, including my brother.
I have been compiling a response email back. I've tried to stay factual and level headed. I never been so open and honestly to my mother before so naturally I'm worried. Please may I share my response to the email?
I am concerned with your need - (your role from childhood??) to make mama behave.
Really, she has no effect on you UNLESS you respond to her prodding. Which happens every time when you talk to others about her or write letters to her. (Ever notice that?)
Time to bring in some professional counseling for you now. This has all got to be affecting your marriage and your baby.
Be good to yourself.
In the end I didn't send my response. I feel it only would of added fuel to the fire. Instead I looked at it as a very worthwhile exercise. This situation has been buzzing around my head for four years now, driving me insane at times. Now it's all written out on paper and my mind feels clear.
I do think to myself why can't I forgive and forget. Its in the past. This has gone on now for long enough. But I can't. I can't forget that she emotionally abused me growing up. I can't forgive her for putting my hasband and I through hell and back during the planning of our wedding without any acknowledgement. Family even warned her at the time she wasn't thinking of the future and she still continued to cause problems for us. After the wedding she told me in an email there was no room for me left in her life anymore, and she was going on 'radio silence'. It was one of the the most hurtful things she ever said to me.She seems to think she can say horrible, hurtful things to people and expects to still have a relationship. Or she denies she ever said it.
I'd like to tell her that I need space from her and I need to think about what kind of relationship I want with her, if I want one at all. And that I will be visiting my grandma again in the future and I do not want her turning up, if she does we will leave. Its also no one else responsibitilty to inform her when we are visiting and she should not lash out at people. I don't feel this would be rude.
Keep a diary. Keep it here? It's great for that. Particularly as, if you don't keep one, you tend to end up wishing you had; your memory once you've healed might be a bit hazy in places. Plus it's very liberating to look back and appreciate how irrefutably far you've come; that itself speeds you over the last lap.
And don't be so hard on yourself. This isn't some friend you're having to cut out, it's your MOTHER (well, should'a been/could'a been... 'last words of a fool' and all that). You need to grieve her and what you'd *thought* she was or had the potential to one day become, and then the next chunk is about grieving the fact you for some reason got deprived of a birthright ("S'not fair!" That's right, it's not). And then the next, the fact the world isn't (because of these types, mainly) fair.
'Any sick effer can squirt out a kid'. It's true, I'm afraid.
Yes, Susie's spot-on - you must not open that door, not even a crack. Not until you've detached to where - ...she just can't seem to hurt or rile you any more and strikes you as ridiculous, pathetic and 'own worst enemy'...and rather irritatingly significant. If that! Opening the door just invites yet more wounded-ness (of the kind that cleverly triggers you to feel the dire urge to prove yourself or the fact you're right). You can't have those kinds of conversations; they simply WILL NOT cooperate and listen to reason. And that's why they're antisocial, particularly at close quarters where you can really tell they're not programmed right/their programming got corrupted - because we're meant to be cooperative animals, it's what got us all this far. Without it we'd be extinct. (Hence why many call them anti-humanitarian.)
"I do think to myself why can't I forgive and forget. Its in the past."
No it's not? You're processing it! It's in the present! LOL, you daft bint.
See? TOO HARD ON YOURSELF. Including, too impatient. Chillax. It's just a (on-off horrid feeling) healing path - as such, with an end. You're on it so there's no getting off it or going back. (Nor would Future You want you to.)
You've got to understand, that even if you at the time believed you were a brave, retaliatory rebel - trust me, there was still SO MUCH emotion in word form you would have chosen to keep buttoned or got denied the right to express or couldn't grab the otherwise-natural cue to. Where do you think all that need for negative expression goes? Deep down. Where it silently, possibly imperceptibly sits - getting added to - *and compacted* - with every fresh interaction or recollection - but affects and influences nonetheless. Until it's safe to naturally start coming out. Which has begun.
You mustn't let yourself feel disturbed or panicked about your processing state... the Cold Turkey and natural reversal of toxic brainwashing; otherwise, you're going to add THAT stress to the pile as well. There are millions of people going through the same thing as you RIGHT NOW. So you're not alone and no human anomaly.
Truism: For every physical/tangible thing in the universe there's a psychological equivalent. Know what basically you are, thanks to her (and her Flying Monkeys)? Constipated. DECADES-long constipated. It comes out as horrid mental sensations, unfamiliar, negative states of mind, and wanting to talk the hind legs off a donkey (or a racing mind), etc., etc.
Those - plus time - are your laxitives. In the form of 'knowledge (is power)'. Surf, surf, surf...
Anyway, you're not Jesus. All you can do is forgive *yourself* (- cease the, "God, I was an idiot that time!", and all that nonsense. *Every* shiny Normal is a target and sucker in La-La Land. It's perversely a compliment.) It's pointless trying to forgive somebody who majorly (pathologically) refuses to genuinely see or admit they warrant forgiveness, because those types are the ones JUST DO IT ALL AGAIN. You'd be re-forgiving her every flippin' month! All you can do is accept that "it is what it is" and "she is what she is" (which, is sad but true).
So, then, it turns out you were RIGHT to feel incapable of forgiving her, weren't you! So stop interfering when clearly your inner animal has got a perfectly good handle on all of this. Let it lead, stop fighting and struggling and feeling somehow wrong or insane. Go with the flow (you're more a passenger in this, anyway) and just endure the process until you come out the other side and realise you suddenly feel little more than, 'Jeez, my so-called mother - what a nutjob (yawn)'.
Back to the details: "She seems to think she can say horrible, hurtful things to people and expects to still have a relationship. Or she denies she ever said it."
Yup, they do that. They're very good at it. Not only that, because they feel better x minutes later (and why wouldn't they - they're the bully, not the wounded victim) - YOU'VE got to! If you don't, and won't act like like nothing much happened, they get angry and insulting and flounce off all over again, adding insult to (no compassion) original injury. They don't do making better, just making worse. But don't worry, there are plenty of other ways of getting the validation and closure you so need.
When you get close-up enough - your mum's subtly but ruinously bonkers. You might want to try saying it? My mum's a bit too bonkers and mean to have a relationship with or to have anything more than a mentally and emotionally long-distance relationship with.
And then you need to release some of the anger that you're constantly trying to contain and have been throughout your history 'together'. Get it OUT. There'll be more to take it's place as you go, don't you worry. Don't let it bank-up or when you hit the Depression stage as comes before Acceptance, it'll be a real humdinger.
"I'd like to tell her that I need space from her and I need to think about what kind of relationship I want with her, if I want one at all."
It won't do any good. They literally do not give a stuff for nor believe anything you say. It's only actions - CONSEQUENCES - that have any effect, be that either to prove irrevocably that she's a lost cause or indeed can rein herself in (a bit...for five minutes of every month). Your actions are saying it perfectly comprehensively and eloquently anyway (in case you hadn't noticed?).
"I'd like to tell her that I need space from her and I need to think about what kind of relationship I want with her, if I want one at all. And that I will be visiting my grandma again in the future and I do not want her turning up, if she does we will leave. Its also no one else responsibitilty to inform her when we are visiting and she should not lash out at people. I don't feel this would be rude."
All of that? It only applies to or would/could work on an otherwise normal, healthy person (in a mood or having a funny moment). You're stuck at the stage of still viewing her in your head as if she's NORMAL but is just bloody-minded and has a choice NOT to be. See it?
'My mum is a bit too bonkers (and not in a good way). I can't get any sense out of her when it matters (and even when it doesn't), I can't get her to listen, understand, be willing to compromise or back down, I can't get any cooperation, can't get her to play fair, be reasonable, stick to the facts, stick to the topic, make sense, honour facts and reality, behave appropriately, consider all-important context, understand or honour interactional or conversational or conceptual nuance, feel sympathy or compassion for me... Trying to conduct a functional relationship with her, let alone the mother-daughter one, is ultimately like trying to nail jelly to the ceiling'.
Say it. Because it's a truth thus a de-toxifier.
The upside to all of this is that your mental muscles are going to come out of this protracted mental gym session utterly RIPPLING - you wait! Every time you feel bad - that feeling is your wounds finally healing and you getting stronger. Growing Pains.
I know of what I speak and not just theoretically...but I ain't telling you (as a permanent fixture I have to watch my disclosures) and, ref The Fast Show, "you ain't see me, roight? [taps nostril]".
Here - does this happen to at all remind you of her - any aspect? :
"My mum has been very unkind to my grandmother in the past and she's forgiven her for a lot of things, so I suppose my grandmother feels I should do the same."
"How do I make such a hard decision?"
You don't. Your inner animal/inner wisdom does that. It puts ALL of the jigsaw pieces onto the evidence table, orders and fits them, stands back, appraises the complete picture, fills in the gaps with experiential based extrapolations and conclusions, judges realistically whether she has future potential or not, to what degree, and makes the healthiest decision accordingly. You find your feet behaving to-suit. And by then it doesn't even upset you any more...maybe occasional wistful-ness.
"Should I be there for my mother? What is fair?"
Nope. You tried that one repeatedly your whole life and - look.
In La-La Land - nothing is fair. Throw away the Rulebook of Normal Land, it has no place here - except to keep you constantly at a serious disadvantage.
"Am I right in thinking my mother put on a big show with her anxiety at the hospital and looking at baby clothes and this got my grandma feeling sorry for her?"
Yup. Your gran wants everyone to bend over backwards so that your mother appears to be the right way up. She wants to - as usual - sweep it under the rug where she needn't deal with it. Probably hasn't a clue how. She obviously never challenged her daughter over her behaviour. (Maybe possibly part of the problem, do we think?)
"Am I right in thinking my mother put on a big show with her anxiety at the hospital and looking at baby clothes and this got my grandma feeling sorry for her?"
Yup. Yup. Yup.
"I'm undecided as to whether I can go to the funeral. From a practical point, I literally have no one to look after my baby. As the funeral will be in my grandparents home town, we have to stay at least two nights and my mother in law could not look after the baby on her own for that amount of time nor can she come with us. I do have friends but I've not known them long enough, and they have their own babies. I have looked into every option I can think of."
It's obviously been and gone already, but for future reference: Who gives a sh*t? NO-ONE SANE AND SELF-RESPECTFUL AND -PROTECTIVE GOES WHERE THEY HAVE TO RUB SHOULDERS WITH OR EVEN CLOCK THEIR EMOTIONAL RAPIST. That, alone, is enough reason not to go, never mind the mere practicals.
You 'woman up' by NOT going. You show the courage to say, 'I'm sorry, but don't want to be in the same room as this person because she's very bad news and my job now includes keeping all unhealthy, contagious influences away from my baby, including inadvertently via me'. Berbom. Nothing non-rightful about that, is there? Or would you invite your mugger for tea?
"On another note, my mother is writing her own speech for the funeral. is this for attention? "
In her case, to whatever overriding extent - yep. As you surf you'll learn that they can't help but ruin all special occasions, holidays, rituals... Nothing is sacred. (Bet she somehow - SOMEHOW - caused a scene and made however much of even her father's funeral All About Her.)
"My biggest fear is my mother turning other family members against me"
The only members she can turn against you are those who are utterly useless or injurious to you. You'll lose the chaff (the idiots and sightless) and keep the wheat. Anyone who knows you - because they care and took the time - knows what you're like and what you're NOT. It's like an instant exercise in 'Halt, who goes there - friend or foe?'.
If she turns up on a visit, that's your opportunity to practise your new-found freedom to behave like a grown, self-respecting, perfectly firm and assertive woman and say, 'Sorry, but that's my cue to leave'. Be consistent and - they'll soon learn. Either not to tip her off next time or ensure she won't "be passing". Or all they get for their trouble is your premature departure every time. Or - if that repetitious outcome fails to work - don't get to see you again because you don't dare 'even go there'.
"I was unable to tell if I was grieving for my grandad or if it was my mother up to her usual tricks."
Both. I know you've been under-the-radar trained to adopt Black and White thinking here and there, meaning Either/Or (and usually to extremes), but from now on try to think BOTH and SOMETIMES.
Still, your macintosh was obviously a lot less absorbent and far more "slime"-proof than brother's. Hence: "He's younger then me by 4 years, but hes always talked to me like he's the older, wiser and the more mature one". (Pff. The arrogant, jumped-up disrespectful, self-blinkering effer. Wonder where he picked THAT up from (no prizes)!? Good plan to make her off-limits, conversationally.)
" I had a very messed up head for at least two weeks. When this happens I become disorganised and I can't concentrate on anything, nothing in the house gets done. My work suffers. I don't care about myself or how I look. I go back to the old me who used to self sabotage. My baby is the only exception."
Normal. Don't worry about it. That relationship was a roller-coaster ride. And so is the reverse journey (but much faster because you're elastic, not concrete like them: PINGGGG!, back you ricochet). In La-La Land it's the only form of transport; you have to get out for the sake of your health and sanity and capability; so you take it. One's hair *doesn't* tend to look great travelling backwards in the open air at-speed, I find (LOL). In fact, it's like a rollercoaster into and out of barbed wire. You have to come out the exactly same way you went in to extract yourself cleanly as possible. (Sense?) If you struggle, flail around, you get 'stabbed'. If you try a different exit avenue/direction, you get 'stabbed'. And your jumper ripped to shreds.
Excellent suggestion of Susie's to 'grab a granny', by the way. Once you're ready for that, anyway.
" but I don't have a good cry like advised in articles I've read."
No, because - in the Emotions Expressing/Discharging queue, Miss Anger is in front of Miss Tearful and Miss Anger is very fat (and fast asleep) so completely blocking the way to the front of said queue. That simple.
"She's coming across mentally unhinged and very erratic. I feel ashamed, sad, guilty and so, so, so angry. I feel like it's not going to end here and more will happen in the days or weeks to come."
Yup. Her dysfunctional state of being behind her Public Face is like a buried zit. You've had the b*lls to agitate it to a head where it'll seem to get bigger before popping and spilling its pus all over the shop (at everyone else remaining, now). They're grown adults too so that's their problem to deal with (or not) and learn from (or not) and alter their own ways of being/relating (or not).
"I'm sorry to be a nuisance."
Well, that was a waste of precious energy, then, because you're not. (Typical symptom, though.)
"Am I being too sensitive?"
"as harsh as that sounds."
Doesn't. (Listen, you're not harsh ENOUGH!)
Re messengering: look at how many people she can manipulate, time and time again, to do her dirty work for her! (Typical.) What is she - Three? (Yup and Nope.) Does she still call out "I'm FI...NIIIIISHED!" from the loo? (Wouldn't put it past her. :-p)
"...as harsh as that sounds."
"What infuriates me is my husband and I did nothing wrong. my mother put us through a lot and we never went down to her childish levels of behaviour."
You know that Ann character from Little Britain? The one that goes "Eh!-Eh!-Ehhh!" as she smears her own poo down the walls? What would you think if the psychiatrist character kept taking it personally and somehow blaming himself? You'd go, 'Come off it, mate - it's nothing TO DO with you - SHE'S A BLOODY NUTTER!'. Wouldn't you? Don't be infuriated AT her. Be infuriated with the fact of her and that you were for some reason only time will tell, chosen to be born into a life wherein you have to lift far bigger dumbbells than your average gym goer. And be infuriated until you naturally no longer need to be infuriated and can shift automatically into appreciative or even grateful territory. Stop stopping the hard and foul-smelling poos or the softer, easier, healthier ones can't follow - that simple.
Be harsh, be rude... call her any name under the sun. You're far too ladylike, which has no place in La-La Land. Again, just where concerns your mother and all who sail in her - throw away the rulebook that was written for normals, and that incredible self-restraint, and own your right to react like a normal, healthy human animal to seriously abnormal, incoming attitudes and behaviours from provably abnormal, unhealthies. Practise here.
Anyhoo: where were you wrong up there? Just one place as far as I can see - not knowing how grieving and detoxifying works, nor the Narcissistic variety, so not understanding and being okay with why you keep getting gripped by 'contractions' that interfere with your normal degree of functionality. But that's it. And that's not even being wrong, just 'not an expert on something' you've never even studied up on. So - question: What should this tell you and what does it indicate you should from now on do?
"So - question: What should the fact your instincts and intuition have been consistently right every time tell you and indicate you should from now on do?"
I liked how you described why I can't cry. When I have a moment to myself a tear or two might slide out but then nothing more.
I will post my response to the email, but first I'd like to start from the beginning. It may be long but I feel it gives more insight. Hope you don't mind. I feel this is another beneficial exercise for me to do.
On the eve of my 30th birthday my hubby asked me to marry him. I jumped up and down and said Yes. We were so ecstatic. I had a wonderful 30th birthday. We both had a well earned 3 weeks off work. We agreed we wanted to spend this time enjoying our engagement. Sharing our ideas together privately, letting it all sink in. Hubby had bought me a proposal ring and we were excited to go o and find my engagement ring together. We told family and friends what we were doing and they encouraged us to enjoy every moment. Apart from my mother. I knew she was not going to give us this space we so wanted. Every morning I woke to a lot text messages of her thoughts, asking me questions, and web links to engagement rings, wedding cakes, bridesmaid dresses, bride dresses, props, venues. I told Hubby she was bombarding me. We put it down to excitement, it was nice but she needed to stop. I asked her to she went silent.
Then a couple of days later she told me she and her partner went to look at wedding venues for our wedding reception. She had assumed we would get married in a church and we were getting married in my home town. She had discarded the ones' she didn't like, there would be no need for us to visit them. I made it clear I was unhappy she had done this. She screamed at me we didn't have much time, venues were getting booked up. When were we planning on getting married? She demanded a meeting with hubby. I said no we were trying to enjoying our engagement . She slammed the phone down on me. Later I received a call from her partner telling us she was very upset and in tears. She was only trying to help.
Hubby saw I was stressed and the next day we drove to my mothers house to make amends only. When we got there my mother instructed us to sit on the sofa. she dictated to us how we were going to get married. She told my husband he was to take a back seat. She and I were planning this wedding as I was too unorganised to do it on my own. She was more experienced. Hubby stood up to her and told her he wasn't going to take a back seat, he very much wanted a say. We both hadvidea. we would be organising the wedding. Sure, she could help us but we were making any final decisions. When her enabling partner saw my mother wasn't going to get full control he shouted at us, and we left. Hubby was furious he had never seen this side to my mother. She had always been pleasant towards him. He had to explain to me the treatment we had received was not right. I was very used to being sat down on the sofa and getting shouted at by my mother. Even as an adult in my twenties before I moved out. I thought it was normal. I soon saw that it wasn't.
We decided to reach out to them by email, this got ignored. we tried to enjoy the rest of our time off together but we were still angry with how we had been spoken to. After we went back to work started the ball rolling.
Soon my mother got in contact again as if nothing ever happened. She and I wedding dress shopping together. Where we found a dress that I loved but was over budget. My mother stepped in telling me not to worry, she'd pay for it, it was a beautiful dress and worth the money. She paid the deposit and I thought we were back on good terms.
But she continued to do things that caused us a lot of stress. Still threw tantrums and made demands. To list a few!
When we booked a florist company who would also come decorated the venue on the morning of the wedding. She had wanted to do it. If she had behaved l would of trusted her to do this.
we told her were not going to get married in a church. She refused to look at the website or come to visit it with us our choosen venue. I would of understood if she religious and attended church. If anyone asked about the venue, she would stick her bottom lip out like a child and say in a vey sulky tone 'it's not going to be a church wedding'.
She started making noises that she was going to be in the same room as my dad and his partner. She asked if even I wanted them there. Why didn't I ask her her partner to walk me down the isle?
She accused my dad of drip feeding us money. He should pay all the money in one go. I knew she wanted control of his money. I told her we were happy with the arrangement we had with him. She sent an email to him talking on my behalf. I got a confused call from my dad. When I confronted her she got very angry.
We decided against a head table, because of my parents. My mother thought she had a very easy solution to this, why couldn't my dad sit a this the back of the room on his own?
She tried to encourage me to have behave like her. She asked one day what colour suit hubby was wearing. I didn't know. She insisted I found out. If it was grey, I should kick up a big fuss. grey, in her opinion wasn't smart enough for a wedding, it should be black or dark blue. I told her I wasn't going to do that, it was his choice.
She told me tradionally as mother of the bride, she got to pick what colour she'd be wearing to the wedding. I was to tell my mother in law and dad's partner those were her colour. They were not to copy her. She choose black and gold. Neither of them copied her.
Her partners two daughters' were not invited. I barely knew them. In the past my mother didn't invite me along to family gatherings at her house when they came to visit. She told me I was too shy and wouldn't communicate with anyone. There was no point in me being there. She demanded to know 'why wouldn't I invite my step sisters?'. They were step sisters only when it suited her.
On my dad's Big birthday she picked a fight with me about hubby. She told me she didn't want me to marry him. She had decided he wasn't good enough for me. He had moved me away from her and turned me against her. This wasn't true. I didn't start doubting my feelings for him or my life with him. She's always implied that I'm incapable of making decisions for myself. She knew we were going out to celebrate my dad's birthday that evening. I'm certain this was an attempt of trying to ruin it by having me being there upset and very stressed. I put on a brave face. After this incident, she sent a text saying she wasn't got to pay off my dress. She was being treated unfairly and for the sake of her health, she was on the verge of collapsing, she was going on 'radio silence' until the wedding. I was not to contact her.
We got our heads down and kept going. Hubby and I did question was this all really worth it? But there was still some determination in us. By this time I had put my self in counselling and stayed there for over 2 years. I considered uninviting her and partner but I knew she'd turn family against me. At this point they didn't fully understand.
A few days before the wedding I asked her if she'd like to get ready with me on the morning of my wedding. Sounds insane I know. I had discussed this with my counsellor at great length, weighted out the pros and cons. I decided to make this offer to her very much expecting her to decline. She said yes she, I told her to come a couple of hours before. On the morning she came 10 minutes before the ceremony started. No explanation. No apology. She didn't compliment me. She complained there were too many people in the room with me, wasn't it's stressing me out? She left when I didn't give her a reaction.
She sat through the ceremony sour faced. she had blanked hubby when he had said hello to her. People avoided her. She didn't congratulate us. She rolled her eyes at my dad's speech. She didn't give us a card. I wasn't expecting a wedding present from her. She left early, without saying goodbye.
After our honeymoon as a final attempt I sent an another email. Desperate for acknowledgement and to put things right. I listed all that she did to us. It was polite and factual. I got a very angry, defensive reply back. She said she had behaved well. She gave poor excuses. She didn't remember saying she didn't want me to marry hubby. I was making a lot of it up. This was when she told me she no longer had any room left for me in her life'.
We didn't talk for over a year. Then I fell pregnant. I waited for the 3 months scan and told her by phone. She cried and told me she was happy for me. No mention of hubby. She wanted to meet me. I said only when I was feeling well enough to do so. She visited me twice . On these visits she mainly talked about her self. She had gotten into arguments with my aunt and grandma. She talked about her panic attacks and her health.
Hubby was in charge in communicating with our families when baby arrived. The birth had been more then eventful. when I was finally allowed home from hospital, I couldn't do visitors straight away I was still unwell . My brother and dad were respectful and understood. My mother wasn't and accused us of not letting her meet the baby. She saw baby two and a half weeks old. Then she started her visits every 6-8 weeks. I put boundaries in place. I didn't want her in my home we were to meet in a town near to me. She knew we were waiting for her to acknowledge her past behaviour. Her visits were hard work. I felt very disloyal to my husband taking baby to see her. I felt anxious and angry. In between visits she demanded 'baby pics'. I avoided her phone calls. In the end I had enough. I felt like I had magically got pregnant all by myself and my mother talked like I was a single mum because she never mentioned my husband. I confronted and asked when she was going to start acknowledging what she had done to us. She said she had nothing to acknowledge. What did I want her to acknowledge. I told her she knew. She said let me guess The Wedding. She said I liked to hold grudges. She her tone was sarcastic. That's when I decided to go no contact. This takes us to where I am now.
I had noticed a pattern in her behaviour too. Nearly every time she had been to visit me, she went home and picked fights with my grandma and aunt. This was not on and it encouraged me to confront her.
To answer your question at the end. To trust myself more when making decisions regarding her.
PS just for now:
1. "He had moved me away from her and turned me against her. This wasn't true."
Yes it was. Or he at least got that ball rolling. 'Away from her', anyway, if not 'against'. And - good job he did!
And this was why, aside from possessiveness/jealousy - when she could tell he wasn't unhealthy like her, she took an instant dislike and didn't want you to marry him.
2. Not that I had any doubt, but had I, then, this latest post would have removed it completely. FYI, as a type, she's a classic, grade A, Overt, Grandiose and Somatic.
3. "Sounds insane I know. "
Nope. And can I request that you try from now on to cease all negative self-criticisms from now on? This is the one type of relationship wherein the healthy takes zero - ZERO - blame for how they react to abnormal stimulus, despite it seems to make no sense to they themselves.
4. It's not too long. Not remotely. I read actual, whole books, doncha know.
5. "To trust myself more when making decisions regarding her."
Nearly. Substitute 'more' with 'implicitly' and you're there.
Growing up I was a very timid child. I worried about everything. I cried often at school. When my teachers asked what was wrong I couldn't could find the words to express myself. The teachers stopped asking and I got labelled as a cry baby. One of my teachers even made a 'Tear Chart' and hung it up on the classroom wall.
My mother was strict and was very controlling. There were times where she was nice but this was generally done in front of others. Or it be benefitted her in some way.
My dad was good to me. He listened to me worries. He was very fair he treated my brother and I the same. He defended me a lot when my mother was unfair towards me.
My mother favoured my brother. She often told me I was jealous of him, always had been, ever since he was born. This was said in an angry tone. I always felt to she preferred to be in his company mine.
I always remember her arguing with my grandma down the phone. She said it was a chore going to visit my grandparents. My aunt was often up tight and distant around her. My uncle always kept his distance. I very rarely saw him growing up.
She often lashed out at me and told me I was difficult and stubborn. I didn't misbehave because I feared her. She never made the effort to tell me why she had been or angry.
She lacked in empathy and sympathy.
When I was thirteen she had an affair with a work colleague. I didn't know at the time that was hidden from me and my brother. He was upset but he choose to forgive her. He was unsure if she had anymore affairs. My dad only told me after I got married. She doesn't know I know she had an affair.
I suffered badly with anxiety in my teenage years. She knew what it was like to have anxiety, she had it herself yet instead of talking to me, she shouted at me. I started to self sabotage.
She always pointed out all the things she did for me. Normally in a rage. She would say 'I did your washing', 'I took you to x', 'I bought you this', 'I did x for you'. I wasn't an ungrateful or unhelpful child. I didn't understand why she said this to me.
She loved point scoring.
She loved nit picking.
She often it was very hard for her to be my mother. She didn't know what was going through my head most of the time. She never tried to find out!
When I left school I decided I wanted to study childcare at college. My mother refused to let me apply for the course saying ' why on earth do you want to work with other peoples' nasty little children'. Instead she made me sign up to a business and administration course.
When I was 19 my parents got divorced. It was obvious it was going to happen. They argued often. My dad moved out or escaped! My mother started to brainwash me against him. She told me He left us. He didn't care about us. He never played with me when I was a child. She said he was a weak person he need a strong women to tell him what to do. She called him every name under the sun in front of me when I knew she shouldn't. Slowly I started to believe her, I started to dislike him more and more.
My brother moved out as soon as he was eighteen. I still lived at home still every much under her control and was becoming more depressed. I thought with my brother gone she might be nice to me. I had many temping jobs but no company seemed to want to take me on full time. I still very timid and I knew my communication skills were a problem. She decided I needed a new career change and made me apply for retail jobs. I got one and hated it I still wanted to work with children. I resented her for not letting me study child care.
She then met her partner, she met him on an online dating sight. Within three weeks they went on a city break. Then after she started staying at his house at the weekends. Her friends were worried about her. When she introduced me to him, I didn't know what to make of him at first. He seemed quite feminine. He loved shopping. He spoilt her a lot. He moved in quite quickly. He noticed our tense relationship but didn't help. My mother had the ability to make people dislike me before they even really got to know me. She did this with him and his two daughter. I knew she told them very negative stuff. He joined in with her. They continued treated me like a child. They often sat me down on the sofa and shouted at me when they were displeased with me. Belittled, insulted bullied and patronise me. I got very used to it. Sometimes he joined in, sometimes he sat there listening in. He stroked her ego. They always told me they would always be blunt and brutally honest with me.
When his daughters came to stay I had to give up my room for them, which was very unfair because I paid her house keeping. I worked weekend but had to sleep on the sofa. I wasn't allowed to complain because she said it made her partner feel uncomfortable. I rarely saw them they were off out having a good time . She often compared me to his daughters. It felt very much like they had replaced me.
When one of his daughter had a my mothers referred to the baby as her first grandchild. I couldn't help but feel hurt by this. I thought I'd be the one to give her, her first grandchild one day.
They constantly told me what a lovely couple my brother and his girlfriend were. At the time my brother and I didn't have much of a relationship.
I would drive to work often thinking if I carried on driving would anyone care? When I returned home from work, I drove round the corner and sat in my car for ages not wanting to go inside the house.
I didn't know if my mother loved me. She wasn't showing me any.
She also fell out with friends and work colleagues. She and her friend used to go away every year. She would return saying she fell out with one or all of them. Often seeing herself as the victim. Her friends knew what she was like. They knew she was hard work and she want to control what they on the holiday. Her partner would laugh saying she had a vipers tongue and she was vicious. He said that's what he loved about her.
After a panic attack at work my mother came to collect me. She acted very nice and sympathetic in front of my boss but as soon as we left my place of work, she told me she was ashamed of me and I wan embarrassment to . She insisted I had counselling at my dads expense. The counsellor was fine but I was so numb I couldn't open. When my mother saw no progress being made she made me give verbal consent for her to join us in a couple sessions. In the first session she came across as if she was a very supportive, loving mother who wanted to understand me. In the second session the counsellor picked up on the fact she was controlling. She wanted the sessions to continue. My mother said no. I didn't return for another session.
At 24 my mother gave me a months notice to leave her house. I told her I was worried I wouldn't find somewhere to live. She gave me no reassurance she wasn't going to kick me out when the month was up. I didn't think I'd be able to find somewhere that quickly. She no longer wanted me living under her roof. My dad supported me emotionally and financially. I found somewhere but I hated living on my own. I didn't know myself at all.
For a year I struggled living on my own. Most of the time mother wouldn't allow me to visit her if I asked. I was lonely. When she did let me visit she often talked about her friend who was in counselling, washing her hand of her own daughter. Her friends daughter was a drug addict, alcoholic and had violent outbursts toward family members. The way my mother spoke it was like she was searching for something to be wrong with other than anxiety and depression.
I met my hubby when I was 26. At first I was unsure about going to a relationship. I had a couple of boyfriends before him but both those relationships only last 2 months. I was very inexperienced. I was a virgin. I got very anxious when past boyfriends' tried to make a move on me. Hubby was extremely patient. We took things very slowly. He lived over an hour away from me in the city. When were properly started dating I used to visit him every weekend. We became very happy together. I started to notice my self esteem and confidence rise. After over a year of dating I quit my retail job and I moved in with him. I temped and managed to hold down an admin job. hubby encouraged me to study, if I wanted to, I often complained to him about work. He enabled me to do this by charging my little rent.
My mother saw he was making me happy and she didn't like it. When we started looking to buy a house she said wanted us to move back to my home town. I knew that if we did she wouldn't leave us alone especially if we settled down and had Children. We wanted to find a new area together. An hour and a half away from her. She wasn't happy. We live very happily. Then he proposed.
Back to after getting married in the year of my mother and I not talking.
My mother fell out with all her friends. Some of her friends came to our wedding. They saw what happened. My brother said they were quizzing her about it. She and her partner moved away. They are now lives more then 3 hours away from me. She kept the move very quiet. Only my brother knew.
I've often wondered how my grandparents raised my mother. My grandma tells me she never used to be like this. I disagree deep down I think she knows my mother has always been.always had to have control . can only assume they ignored her bad behaviour.
When I fell pregnant I was so excited I had always wanted to be a mum myself right from when I was little. But I was petrified in case I was capable of treating my baby like my mother had treated me. I was still in counselling until I was heavily pregnant. My counsellor reassured me I would be nothing like her. I'm pleased to say I'm not.
That's what I was hoping you'd say.
Here - have a link, wherein you'll easily spot her. And google Narcissistic Objectification, and Enmeshment.
"In particular, the appearance of a romantic partner in the adult offspring’s life may be viewed as a major threat, and frequently responded to with rejection, criticism, and/or competition. In the eyes of some narcissistic parents, no romantic partner is ever good enough for their offspring, and no interloper can ever challenge them for dominance of their child.
“How dare that woman take my son away from me. Who does she think she is?”
PS: This guy's good but evidently doesn't know *all* his onions. I agree with Kim Saeed and Shadhida Arabi: where malignants are concerned (benigns tend to be cruel one day, but kind the next), there IS no (to quote this author) 'handling' a Narcissist'. Even IF you can emotionally detach to a degree seemingly sufficient to suggest continued but safer contact impossible, out of a belief that taking any emotional vulnerability out of the equation means you are no longer susceptible - there is still your sense of justice to consider. Along with the fact that the brain doesn't like that amoutn of nonsense, isn't wired for it. What I mean is, even becoming newly capable of fending-off abusive words and behaviour isn't going to save you; not completely; not enough. Fending-off - HAVING to fend-off... just being regularly, guarantee-ably irritated and frustrated - IS STILL YOU BEING ABUSED. If the brain doesn't like something because it can't compute it, and gets it more than once-in-a-Blue-moon, it 'registers' as abusive.
Let's face it, LIFE is abusive enough sometimes. Albeit not directed at one personally. You don't need the human-made portion on top!
...Unless... There is ONE way you continue contact without seeing your emotional/mental/physical health drip-drip eroded. And that's if you don your white coat - for a specific purpose. Namely, research for a book (which someone with your writing style could easily achieve!) or, say, stand-up comedy material, or because you wish to become an NPD expert.
That's how 'far' you have to detach. You're the technician and they, the lab rat. And, like your psychiatrists, you try to keep all interaction tp under an hour ("Drrringgg - TIME'S UP, SEE YOU IN A FORTNIGHT!"). Demarcation. (Now you know why they do that.)
It takes roughly a year of No Contact to get to that position, unless you have a consistently *very* strong and independent mind. Since that's the direction you're thinking in, anyway, this possibly very useful option is open to you... so that's another upside to be had.
Anyway, I'll comment more tomorrow. Meantime, you should know: IMO and IME, you're doing EXCEPTIONALLY well, compared to the large majority.
PS: Where's your dad in all of this? I notice you've not mentioned him?
(PPS: Aside for Lily: If you're reading this and wondering why I recommend *against* Isobel sending her Smother a letter, where you I encouraged - it's actually quite simple: your Dud's a Covert (far subtler and trickier - enough where even I suspected 'innocent Asperger's' at first)) (sorry, Aspies!). For the sake of speed and your sanity, given the crucial career stage you were at, we had to manipulate him into a corner where we could get to see him so much more irrefutably clearer and where he'd have no choice but to hoist himself by his own petard (which he very helpfully did). This one, on the other hand, I'm sure you'll agree, is so incredibly 'in your face' that even a toddler could 'diagnose' her.) (In fact, by the sounds of it she's in *everybody's* face, LOL (- sorry, Isobel, but you've got to admit, it's true).)
Then we can probably work out what she was, can't we!
Reading all that you wrote, I wonder if on your ether travels you've stumbled across the concept of Golden Child -v- Scapegoat (-v-, if there are more than two kids, the lesser-known Avoidant-Distancer)? Usually these are interchangeable, however, in your case it was obviously an unwavering state of affairs. You and your obvious shininess obviously posed a constant threat to the woman. Put another way: your natural, healthy setting and behaviour showed her up (to herself as well as others).
This woman - who was *supposed* to be a mother - really is a high-on-the-scale case. She bears *all* the hallmarks - full-time!
Your brother is the Golden Child. He's the least brave of the two of you, seeking safety in being the pleaser...anything not to be the one caught in her crosshairs. This is why he won't admit it or its full extent. If he did that, he'd have to confront the issue and her. That way lies danger - or so he's been overly indelibly programmed to think. He doesn't have your strength and courage. Saying that, boys do tend to be more sensitive thus damageable (hence why they are far more males NPDs and full-blown Sociopaths than female). In you, these qualities are huge, but because you've been sat on as well as kept over-busy, you've not had a chance to catch up to yourself and that fact so don't yet realise this or its full extent. Put another way: you've never really had a chance to discover yourself. This means, once free of her remaining power over your emotional state and from there, mental welfare, you are literally going to start more and more to soar and reach a potential you never knew you possessed.
But - warning:
"My counsellor reassured me I would be nothing like her. I'm pleased to say I'm not."
I'm a little surprised at the lack of forethought and insight on his/her part. Like all Narcs, not even your mother is 100%, across the board rotten. Had she been, you wouldn't have been capable of tolerating it (she'd literally have been impossible to live with) and would have, for example, run away. As you know, if they're in a very good mood (because they're getting their total way over everything) they can be anywhere between normal and "delightful" (for them; however, a contrast that chasmic can result in an over-positive judgement).
I know it's tempting to do a Pendulum job and vow to be her opposite in absolutely everything, because that makes it all so quick, simple and easy, like flicking a switch. Particularly after decades of hurt and headache. But, no extreme is good so I'm afraid if you want to ensure you're nothing like your mother towards your own child, you're going to have to do it intelligently by separating out the myriad rotten attitudes and behaviour from the (occasional but repetitive) good or (accidentally) healthy.
Not that I'm worried in your case because, as I say, your intuition and instincts are impressive (and what with your obvious above-average strength, I'm sure you can now appreciate the truth in the saying 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger'). But it's good to bear in mind that potential over-reactivity and properly sift through all the events, taking into account the precise contexts, just in case.
Re your dad: ignore the over-broad-brush term Enabler mentioned in that last link. In many cases, it can be distinctly unfair. After all, you can't get much closer than romantic partner (because it's sexual-spiritual too), and there is such a thing as paralysis.
Are you starting to realise the enormity of what you grew up under, ergo, said incredible strength of yours?
So...pray tell...Are we utterly engrossed in surfing or do we have more of someone else's drama on our hands?
The anger still sits within me refusing to budge but I remain clear why I'm in no contact.
There is a small part of me that wants something from her. When I read articles and books of other daughters of narcassstic mother and what their mother said or did to them I think my gosh that's awful! How could a mother say that to her child. Then remind myself that I experienced the same, it was just done or said in a different way. Is this shock or disbelief or the fact that it's still all settling in?
Now I understand the concept of golden child v scapegoat. A few years ago my dad had a conversation with me about how my brother had been favoured by my mother. It was a hard conversation and good at the same time. It was one that I needed and to be acknowledged by someone.
There were many times where I did want to run away, not so much when I was a teen, I had my dad. It was more when her partner moved in my mother became even more hostile towards me. One time she told me she wish I would **** off. I went and packed a bag with full intention of doing so, only I had no where to go. Other then a hotel. Whilst I was packing her partner came into my room and said 'no you don't, you're not going anywhere, I've made your dinner, you will come down and eat it'. I suppose because I was used to to being treated like I a child, I did as I was told. My anxiety level were sky high because my mother would tell family I was being difficult, I though family would turn against me. From that day on I kept the bag I had packed in my car my along with money.
Another memory is more recent, this happened last year. It wasn't a personal attack on me, it was aimed at my grandparents, only it was strange and rather worrying. My grandma called me in shock saying that my mother had not long called her asking her the most ridiculous question, Was my grandads sister her real mother? My mother had aggressive towards her demanding to know the truth. She had recently found a photo of my grandads sister and had always wondered. A few years ago my grandma had given my mother some photos of my grandads side of the family, including a photo of this particular sister who had died years ago. My grandma has boxes of family photos on both sides, that she gets out when family visit, even my hubby has politely looked at them. She always says take any you want. My grandma had told my mother of course this aunt wasn't her real mother, and who did she think her father was? This had upset her and my grandad. Shocked other family members. She had insinuated they weren't her real parents. I was meeting my mother in a few days time after this phone call, and I was questioning was she mentally well enough to be around my baby. Did I want to see her myself? Should I confront her on this? I did take my baby with me, otherwise world war 3 would of broken out but I was protective, my baby stayed mostly in her sling! Knowing this helped me confront her and going no contact. I didn't want to see her anymore. She was loopy.. This was the behaviour pattern I had noticed. Either a few days before or after, my mother saw myself and baby she caused upset or arguments with my grandparents, aunt and uncle. Is this again seeking again?
As I've said I never really took a liking to him when I first met him. I thought he was ok. His background story was he was married to an alcoholic who used to be really nasty to him and their two daughters. he waited till both daughter went to university before divorcing her. There are two sides to every story I recon he did his fair share of nastiness, he's capable. Yet My mother praised him and called him her hero he saved her from her marriage. She seemed happy and I thought who am I to judge?
As time went on I saw his bad qualities. He judge everyone negitively. He was also racist, when I lived with him and my mother there was a family Who lived next door, who were black African and he used to call them all sorts of names that I found very offensive. I used to walk away when he started talking about them to me .
There is one event that I have never forgotten it. It was when shops first started charging for bags. He and I had been food shopping. The young guy who was serving us on the till, only about sixteen or seventeen, asked my mothers partner if he'd like to buy a bag and my mothers partner said yes. The young guy said it would 5p. Her partner got very angry about having to buy a bag and in the end threw 5p at him saying there you go, there's your 5p, I hope you enjoy it! The teeneage was of course shocked at this reaction. I had given my mothers partner a very disapproving look and he said nicely smiling 'what?'.
Today my grandma called me telling me my mother had called her to tell her she got stung by a wasp. My mother is allergic to wasp and bee stings, we've all nagged at her to go and get an Eppi pen from her go but she never have done. She had to go to a&e. I am certain she won't go to her go because she love the attention when she does get stung. She told my grandma she still managed to go on holiday with her new friends she had made with a swollen foot! When my mother dramatically told us she was on the verge of collapsing during the wedding she still managed to go on holiday. And many more after that.
Later on my grandma called me. Saying my mothers partner had called her to tell her, my mother had had a two dentist appointment and be able to call for a few day. She said they had started to chat and he started to accuse my uncle and aunt forcing my grandma to move to closer to them away from my mother. My grandma said she had firmly told him is had been her and my grandad choice. But this had again upset her.
This is why I don't like him or trust him. Who does he think he is talking to my grandma like that ?
"I am utterly engrossed and I'm starting to realise the enormity of what I grew up under."
Yup. It's a bit like waking up to find you've spent your whole life up until now, wired up to the Matrix, isn't it?
"The anger still sits within me refusing to budge but I remain clear why I'm in no contact."
So you feel that staying angry is your only shield and coping mechanism at this point? Like your Turbo for times when you're down or just not at full strength?
"There is a small part of me that wants something from her."
Of course. It takes your mind time - more time than this - to adapt to the cold, hard reality and begin to care less and less about calling them to account and trying to solicit an apology. You realise that there *isn't* any reason, bar, her wiring's messed up so how else would she behave if not in a messed-up, counter-productive way! But you'll get there. Again, it's a path and you have to 'do the mileage' before you'll meet this or that recovery landmark. You're still fairly early days in that respect.
Are you saying your father basically apologised for his wife/your mother?
"One time she told me she wish I would **** off."
Good god. No wonder he did!
" My anxiety level were sky high"
Yup. As I analogise it, you lived your life having to wade through treacle. Imagine how much easier life and all its challenges will start to feel once you're treacle-free. It doesn't take a genius to work out that you'll 'take off', and what's more, LOVE being airborne and not be fazed or intimidated by it *at all* (because of by then being more than ready for it and seeing it as a simple, next-step move)! The benefits to ceasing contact or ceasing emotional intimacy far outweigh the (er) benefits of remaining as you were, it's just that these massive rewards - frustratingly at the time - take time to kick in. But *that they do* is guaranteed. You'll see soon enough. If you haven't caught a whiff already?
Your mother clearly has huge issues with her own parents. Specifically her mother, by way of 'saying', you can't be my real mother because you never loved me like a real mum, and that she entertains the possibility that her dad sh*gged her auntie, out she popped, and her mother (secretly her auntie) somehow agreed or was persuaded to adopt her. But grudgingly - which showed. If it's however much true, that despite her sweetness towards you, granny was a cold fish toward your mother (which could plausibly explain why your mother's such a mess?), the accusation doesn't seem quite so ridiculous, does it?
Whatever. If someone, this case your mother, keeps stomping on your toes without meaning too, as opposed to meaning to, in terms of chronic pain and aggro and all-round toxicity, who cares? Hurts is hurts, harmful to your health is harmful to your health, interferes with your ability to function is interferes with your ability to function. You don't hang about with a rabid dog just because it knows not what it does, do you. You save yourself first, THEN try to work out why it behaves as it does.
...Only you don't. Because by the time you've saved yourself and felt the difference of your new state of mind and lifestyle, i.e. are *ready* for that kind of malarchy, you realise you've simultaneously ceased to give a sh*t and can't be a*sed. You're too engaged in your own life and having a good time. It's like the typical victim fantasies of getting revenge on them. You cease to want or need to far sooner than you anticipated and feel perfectly satisfied with the simple truth of their being broken machines, acting accordingly, and out of those, many (too many) get married and become a parent, hence act accordingly in that direction too, along with all the others - a reverse Midas touch - berbom.
They know what they're planning and doing as they do it. But they wouldn't have a clue why. They fail or refuse to realise and admit that they're broken and don't work right and need help. Which boils down to the question of whether they're lifelong Narcissists or over-victimised-turned-Narcissist-but-intrinsically-healthy-and-curable. So is your mother shooting at granny because you've exited her crosshairs and left her with a kicking-cat vacancy, meaning, granny will do? Or has your rejection of her brought her up sharp to where she's begun scrabbling around for answers as to why she is like she is, hence has lost her own daughter, and secretly granny is 'too sweet to be wholesome', meanwhile, behind closed doors, is and was indeed a cold fish, enough to warp your mother's wiring?
I don't know. Only you do, deep down. But if you don't (yet) because it is deep down, then, only Time will tell as things come more to the surface while your brainpower adjusts to having less on its plate so steadily undergoes a major performance enhancement.
Meanwhile, it's okay to feel sorry for the parent or the child they once were, *without* giving into the rescuer compulsion to stick around and take it "because it's not her fault". That's your challenge because it was, I'm betting, previously always your downfall. Try this (in your mind): 'My heart goes out to you that you are so troubled/have been so messed with as to now be too toxic to be around, Mother, but radioactive is radioactive and I have a child/new lineage to keep clean and healthy - sorry. I wish with all my heart that it weren't so, but...that's life for ya and wishing isn't going to change anything. Only you can make that awakening and decision (possibly/possibly not). I hope you indeed have it in you but can't waste my life hanging around to find out, in the process getting further cuts and bruises. You can call it selfish or you can call it a mature recognition of mine or any one else's powerlessness in such a situation, i.e. sensibly self-survivalist'. (Short version: 'Own Oxygen Mask First'.)
By having rejected her, you might - MIGHT - ultimately have saved her. ("Anizznid ironic....doncha think?")
Again, time will tell.
" The counsellor who I used to see told me he engcouraged my mother probably because he's too scared to stand up to her. I feel there's more to him and would say he's a narcissist too. "
Reading all of this - I'm with you.
It's not unheard of for a Covert but Mild Narcissist to buddy-up (marry) an Overt, Full-On. The latter, being overt/obvious, serves to play Bad Cop publicly, which then via stark comparison and contrast serves to make the former *seem* - when out in public - to be Good Cop (note anyone other than the spouse and children are 'the public').
Also, big bullies marry little bullies and vice versa. Knowingly (if not spokenly). There's no *love* there, though. Just (warped) cooperation whilst and purely for as long as cooperating serves both or either one of them, after which it's 'Sayonara, Baby!'.
Or a case of mistaken or misrepresented identity, or course (one bully duping another into believing they're a healthy, super-functioning empath rescuer when in fact they're the one that needs rescuing (curing/covering up)).
Or, yes, too scared to distract her from whomever's in her crosshairs for fear that she'll turn them onto him.
Indeed, unless you were capable of interrogating his ex-missus and kids, you've only got his word for that. He wasn't so nice to you when he fetched you to eat supper (i.e. to honour his petty pride), though, was he. And as for this: "As time went on I saw his bad qualities. He judge everyone negitively. He was also racist, when I lived with him and my mother there was a family Who lived next door, who were black African and he used to call them all sorts of names that I found very offensive. I used to walk away when he started talking about them to me ." Ugh.
And this: "threw 5p at him saying there you go, there's your 5p, I hope you enjoy it! The teeneage was of course shocked at this reaction. I had given my mothers partner a very disapproving look and he said nicely smiling 'what?'." Plus, yes - having a go at an elderly lady. UGH!
Have you got to the bit yet about, watching how they treat people they don't have any need of, e.g. waiting staff, taxi drivers, etc.? Well, he's big-fat-ticking that box at least, isn't he. And the lack of adult-appropriate sympathy and kid gloves towards you that time. Not forgetting the fact he can bear to stand by and watch his wife bully her own daughter whilst giving special treatment to her son, the victim's brother, thereby making the injustice in the situation that much more unbearable.... Yes, along that recovery path you do start to spot them more easily so you're probably right and - nice to work out where exactly on the path you are!
"Today my grandma called me telling me my mother had called her to tell her she got stung by a wasp. My mother is allergic to wasp and bee stings, we've all nagged at her to go and get an Eppi pen from her go but she never have done. She had to go to a&e. I am certain she won't go to her go because she love the attention when she does get stung. "
That'll be why she doesn't want the epi pen. (LOL, I call that, me stating the unobvious bleedin' obvious.)
"She told my grandma she still managed to go on holiday with her new friends she had made with a swollen foot! When my mother dramatically told us she was on the verge of collapsing during the wedding she still managed to go on holiday. And many more after that."
Evidence to the contrary and a Classic example of their BS accountability-, responsibility- and duty- (etc. etc.) avoidance tactics, at that!
QUESTION, though (and correct me if I'm wrong rather than take any offense because I'm merely giving everyone in your world a quick frisking as par for the recovery accompaniment course): considering you'd already made it clear to your grandmother that you no longer wished to discuss your mother and her shannanigans, and all who sail in her, from now on - why is granny failing to respect that wish, instead doing the very opposite in the form of phoning to give you the unexpurgated details, not once but twice in the one day?
Yes, anger is one coping mechanism. It feels like I've been angry with my mother for a very, very long time.
My farther acknowledged and very understanding, so I suppose in a way he was apologising for her, in a way.
I've finished reading books on narcasstic mothers that has really opened my eyes. I'm looking at myself, wanting to improve on my self esteem, social anxiety, general anxiety and low confidence. I know these are some of the affects adults suffer with from having grown up narcissistic parent or parents.
I'm all too aware I avoid certain places , so I don't get anxious and I do tend to think negitively.
I have a small group of mummy friends, who I'm quiet with and every time we meet I come away convinced they talk about me behind my back. Or I've said something stupid or offensive. Or I wasn't nice enough. I judge my self for not being more talkative. And wonder if I should meet with them again. this overthinking can go on for hours to the point where I'm still thinking about it at night time.
I started to wonder how can I feel better? I went out and bought a CBT book and have been reading my way through it to try and gain control of my anxieties. I don't want to feel like this anymore. I'd like to think more positively.
I've been promoted at work, which have given me a real confidence boast. I didn't expect to get the position I went for but was thrilled when I learnt I had been successful. This promotion is a real 'up yours' to my mother too, who has always been very negitive about any job I've ever had. Her negative comments did nothing for my self esteem and work performance. I believed I would never be able hold down a permanent job. She'd probably keel over in shock if she knew.
This was a real high and I've carried on improving myself and making changes.
First thing I did was set up a play date with my mummy friends and toddlers in the near future at my home. I have never instigated a play date before. I was nervous. My negitive mind set expected them to make excuses and they would say no, they were too busy. I was so pleased when they all said they could come.
I pushed myself go in the shops I get anxious shopping in. I tried to relax, and get distracted. It was a successful shop.
I went along to a children's play groups and had small chats with other mums. I've signed up to some classes I used to go to.
At home I've been trying to improve my organisatal skills and how I run the house. Baby is wonderful sleeper and sleeps for a good 3-4 hours in the afternoon. I used to waste this time reading and Ignoring all house work. I've changed this to doing jobs first, then rest or read but I often I've carried on making improvements to the house. Hubby came home from work to a clean house and to a newly decorated bathroom and reorganised bedroom. I could see he instantly looked calm and happy, which made me happy and we had some lovely evenings, relaxing together. I am now looking for my next project in the house and I'm really wanting this to continue.
I have often wondered how my grandma and grandad raised my mother. When my mother last shouted at my grandma I confined my mother in law, as it bothered me. she agreed it was wrong of my mother to shout at her but reminded me, they raised her. I don't know how my mother was raised but for her to be so bitter towards them, had they not given her enough attention? Not treated her well and unfairly. Or did they ignore her behaviour and always let her get away with it. My grandma has said to me my mother never used to be like this. My aunt, uncle and dad have said she has always been like this. It's always been about her.
I know my grandma has mood swings. I know she can get depressed, more so since my grandad died. In the past when I called my grandma for a chat, sometimes she picks up the phone thinking it's my aunt, uncle or my mother . Her tone of voice is miserable and she barely utters a hello . When I tell her it's me, her tone changes and its a different person on the end of the phone. I know she talks to her children very differently to how she talks to her grandchildren and anyone else.
I feel my mother knows what she's doing. She seems to be able to play a very good game. During the planning of our wedding I thought it was so unfair that she was being so horrible and was getting away with so much. Hubby and I were the ones who were stressed out. I do think she is facing the consqesences of her actions, now I'm not in contact. She takes it out on my grandma, aunt and uncle, especially when we visit them.
I don't want to repeat my mothers and potentially grandma's mistakes. I don't want to be a over-victimised narcissistic mother to my child. I feel that's why I was so scared when I first became pregnant because I'd be like my mother. Now I look at how I talk to my 18 month old. I make sure I'm kind, understanding and she has some boundaries. I play with her, but I also let her have space to play on her own. My mother admitted to me she used to waft a rattle in my face and that was it. That was her playing with me. How stimulating! My baby is a confident, feisty, little thing and loves intereraction with other children. My mother enjoyed pointing out how baby is very different to how I was as a toddler. I wonder how do I parent her. How do I not bash her confidence and self esteem ? Do I need to read parenting books or do a course or do I keep checking myself. Be the opersite to my mother sounds like a good idea lol. Sometimes it feels confusing. My mother in law gives me praise. Tells me I do a good job. Says I'm very natural and laid back. I don't hint for this to be said to me. she may sense my confusion or worry.
Oh my gosh yes, I have got to know how they treat other people. Any manners go straight out the window. Both my mother and her partner act very superior. My mother gets very critical, very sarcastic and personal. And it's embarrassing. When my baby was first born my mother came to visit and stayed in a hotel down the road. She insisted I met her in the mornings at the hotel for breakfast. Again the waitress was only young and my mother was very rude to her all because the waitress didn't realise my mothers breakfast was included in her stay. We went to a cafe on the same day, the person who served us didn't leave enough room for milk in my mothers tea. In a very condescending, snotty tone, my mother asked 'and where's the milk meant to go?'. At end of her stay, she went to get the bus to the train station home. hooray! i was thinking She had not timed it well, and didn't leave herself much time to get her train at the other end. She flirted outrageously with the bus driver to try and get him to leave earlier so she could catch her train.
You are right. I have told my grandma not to mention my mother and she still gives me an update on her. She has started to ask again has your mother been in contact? I know, if I don't start reminding her firmly, what will eventually come next, 'I wish you'd talk to her'. I used to be very good at saying to her, I don't want to talk about my mother and then change subject. I've found it harder to say that to her more recently.
Okay, if you feel stronger angry and that's why you don't want to let the tears out, then we'll just have to wait until you no longer need that shield, until your mind knows it's safe to put them back in the cupboard and let rip with a good, long, crying session.
Of course, it's not GOING to feel safe yet, what with Gran-Gran prodding your wound sites by proxy. I'm sorry to say this, but if the woman still persists, it might be better to vote (and train her) with your feet. '...So anyway, you won't believe what your mother said to me yesterday. She said-...' /'Cripes, is that the time? I'm supposed to be somewhere! Catch you later, bye! [click, brrr...]'.
That simple. She'll get the hint. That she has to confront or deal with her daughter directly, rather than using you as a buffer, dumping-ground or balm. If she doesn't, if she refuses to respect your firm wishes, she'll be showing she's bad news too (lacks any respect) and you'll have to give her a wide berth for a while.
Would your father always intervene and stick up for you whenever your mother 'got funny with you' - either at the time or later after you'd told him what had happened? And did your mother regularly have goes at him, too? And was he a good provider and helpful around the house with DIY, keeping the garden tidy, etc.? Or play with you for extended periods when you were younger? Take you out with him to get you out of the house and away from her for a while? And would he stay close-by to you whenever he was home, as a form of unspoken protection (playing bodyguard)?
"I've finished reading books on narcasstic mothers that has really opened my eyes."
"I'm looking at myself, wanting to improve on my self esteem, social anxiety, general anxiety and low confidence. I know these are some of the affects adults suffer with from having grown up narcissistic parent or parents."
Yup. But don't worry - that'll happen automatically, like an elastic band pinging slowly but imperceptibly back into its God-given shape. Any intervention on your part will just speed it up a bit (think speed-dating, but with yourself).
ARE you dating yourself yet? Have you read about that part? It basically means you giving yourself extreme self-care and -spoiling, treating yourself like royalty (which includes the healthier eating, etc.). Example: bath time: candles, glass of wine, ciggie (if you smoke), LOADS of bubbles, CD or fave radio station playing, taking as long as you like and including moisturising and preening. The thing is, your inner animal DOESN'T KNOW IT'S YOU DOING IT - kid you not! All it knows is someone bloody loves and respects it! I know you've got your husband and kid, but after what you've been through and for how long, you need all the pampering you can get! The message is received: I am special, I am valuable, I am worth really going to town on... self-esteem blossoms in record time. Same goes for you being kind and helpful to others - self-esteem credits go ker-ching, ker-ching, ker-ching! (This is another way the narc does you down - because they sap too much time, energy and confidence for you to be your altruistic self and thus keep earning those credits.)
"I'm all too aware I avoid certain places , so I don't get anxious and I do tend to think negitively."
Normal. Shows a touch of CPTSD. Just a touch in your case, though. So you've come out a lot less scathed than most. But let's just check: are you sleeping okay/the same/better?
"I have a small group of mummy friends, who I'm quiet with and every time we meet I come away convinced they talk about me behind my back. Or I've said something stupid or offensive. Or I wasn't nice enough. I judge my self for not being more talkative. And wonder if I should meet with them again. this overthinking can go on for hours to the point where I'm still thinking about it at night time."
That's normal too. But these things do pass in their own sweet time, you know. Try not to worry. If you add worrying about being worried and suspicious you'll make it twice as worse - think about it. Also, if you WEREN'T that way after having lived for so long in a warzone, there'd have to be something with you and I'd be calling for Matron!
You're normal and are experiencing what (quite fast-paced in your case) Healing feels like.
You're obviously a Weeble (go YouTube 'Weebles wobble but they don't fall down'). You have nothing to worry about, you're just going to feel precarious and uncomfortable at times for a while.
Here's a life truth, though. It's POINTLESS worrying about what the other person or people are thinking about you. Especially given that Like attracts hangs out with Like (bet you Ten Quid those women have a Narc influence in their lives too!). Because 9.9999 times out of 10, they're not. What they're thinking is exactly what you're thinking - what you are and were thinking OF THEM! See the hilarity in that?
When you're more healed, that attitude will seamlessly change from 'do they like me?' into 'do I like *them*?'.
Here's another truth: if you're quiet, the chatty types love it and consider you A Good Listener.
It's not a good idea to start new friendships while you're still delicate and healing, anyway. Wound sites can too easily get knocked by the uninitiated and unaware. I would concentrate more on your extra bonding with hubby and bubby - and yourself, of course - because having had your mother constantly on your mind would have interfered with that, even if you're not aware of it.
Another truism which I've already touched on (I think?): by virtue of being a victim - your problem has never been not being gorgeous enough, it was/is that you're *too* gorgeous! Give that a long, hard think and you'll realise the truth in it as explains *everything*. After all, Narcs are nothing if not pathologically envious/jealous and competitive. But their idea of winning a race is to hobble their competitor(s).
YOU MAKE NARCS JEALOUS, AND BECAUSE THEY CAN'T COMPETE WITH YOU WHO IS AND HAS EVERYTHING THEY WILL *NEVER BE/HAVE*, SO JEALOUS THEY NEED TO KEEP YOU DOWN/OUT OF SIGHT OR (if they can't get the better of you) EVEN DESTROY YOU TO PUT PAID TO THAT OVERWHELMING SENSATION OF THEIRS.
(Haven't you got to that bit yet?)
Anyway, the proof that these things are just worries, worries which you're keeping impressively under control as you deal with them, is this: "I've been promoted at work, "
Actions, actions, ACTIONS! Do you know how RARE it is for a still-healing survivor to be promoted, rather than the other way around (due to ignorance)?
Nothing wrong with you. *Au contraire*!
It's great that you're taking steps. But I do detect impatience and rushing yourself. Slow down a bit. You're in emotional hospital with your emotional leg in traction. Take it easy with a Cadbury's Caramel, one challenge and improvement at a time with a nice wee holiday in between. In other words: slow down, Speedy, or you could overload and trip.
"This promotion is a real 'up yours' to my mother too, who has always been very negitive about any job I've ever had. Her negative comments did nothing for my self esteem and work performance. I believed I would never be able hold down a permanent job. "
Aim, Fire, Bullseye! That's evidence of what I've been saying about keeping you down and in the shade where no-one would see you AND COMPARE YOU - UNFAVOURABLY - TO *HER*. Being Shown Up - narc version. See how it works now?
"She'd probably keel over in shock if she knew."
Well, in that case tell her. LOL
(GOD, I hate your mother - she's DISGUSTING!) (FYI LOL)
But again - you don't have to 'push yourself' whatsoever - it's all going to happen naturally in its own sweet time anyway, regardless of what you do or don't do (at this early point). You start to push yourself once you're healed. Same as you don't drag yourself and your broken leg out of your hospital bed to attend the hospital disco - right?
Slow and steady wins the 'race'.
No need to be Superwoman any more. No-one is left to make you jump through hoops just to earn mere crumbs, you can be yourself at your own NATURAL pace and expect nothing but proper meals - just because that's your right and other healthy people know it as much as as they know it's theirs.
RECIPROCITY is the key. If it's not there or not there to an acceptable degree - and you can hand-on-heart say you yourself aren't giving too much thus expecting too much back - walk or shuffle away from the (unwittingly or otherwise) emotionally dangerous entity.
Saying that, being a huge or "over"-giver is utterly fine if the other person(s) is an "over"-giver too. Birds of a feather and all that. But INTELLIGENT over-givers, not ones that bombard you with all of it to soon (because that shows they're not healed enough to mete it out more slowly and carefully, either). Friendships take TIME to grow. You don't plant an acorn and expect it to turn into an oak tree overnight.
First you get rid of the bad influence(s)...clear the decks. Then you sit with that newly empty deck until it becomes your new norm (and doesn't feel boring or empty any more). Then you start adding things - new, healthier things - to fill it back up again, but this time only with things you love and that make you feel GOOD about the world and yourself and the good people that exist (and still greatly outnumber the bad, thank uck).
New people - if you allow them within intimacy range - will make you nervous because until tried-and-tested they COULD potentially hurt you. Just the COULD makes you tense up and not be your natural, relaxed self. You need non-stop sense of safety and relaxed-ness for long enough for it to become the new default setting. Because with this setting, ANYTHING "funny" will have your radar going Beep *very* loudly indeed. (See the sense?)
What I'm trying to point out - which doesn't means I'm not impressed with your proactivity, because I am - is this: for the time being, only impress yourself... only if you truly feel like it, not because you think that's what it takes for people to be attentive, nice and kind to you... and f*ck everyone else. You've ignored and neglected yourself in your endeavour to please people (to ensure they'll stay friendly) for long enough, now it's time to love/spoil and get to know yourself and all who sail in you better. You want to spend most of your time - if not all - ONLY with those you trust implicitly already and gorge on them. That - called Salvation through your kids/husband/trusted work colleagues - is the No. 1 best way to heal and get self-confidence and thereby become useless (i.e.. the wrong type entirely) to any Narc parasites on the look-out for a victim-host, the fastest. Once you experience the FULL bondedness to be had with said already-trusteds, an extent you never knew was possible - and the respect and manners that automatically come with it - this all becomes your new bar that others have to at least come close to (or your mind will naturally go, 'Mm, no thanks - NEXT!').
For prime example: " I used to waste this time reading and Ignoring all house work. I've changed this to doing jobs first, then rest or read but I often I've carried on making improvements to the house. "
No it was NOT a waste! It was you insightfully and sensibly switching your conscious mind off a bit so that your inner animal could (for once!) get on with ITS job (not yours) of working everything that was wrong out. At the time, it was sensible, helpful and necessary. More necessary than mere housework. Now it's no longer necessary, you can get back to housework-normal...whereupon, yes, in THIS newer context - "work first, then play" is the work ethic that suits the new, mid- into post-healing agenda. Nothing you've done was wrong or a waste, not for the situation you were in. Things weren't Situation Normal back then; don't judge yourself as if they were. Ber-bom. It's your superb instincts such as this very example that have got you this far (and fast), in fact. But don't take too much distraction on because you do need a better balance between unconscious healing and conscious 'signing-off' of any progress memo sent up to the surface (so to speak) If you're 'not there' because you're too busy with this, that, the other -you won't know what you've learned or what progress you've made AND MUGGINS HERE WILL HAVE YOU POINT IT OUT TO YOU. LOL
(Keep up with the nesting, though, definitely. That one is part and parcel of salvation through your little fam. Plus you're enjoying it... and let's face it, after years of aggro, you need all the fun you can get! That's what's been missing more than anything if you think about it?)
NoW... No more misguided, unnecessary and unhelpful self-criticising or it's the Naughty Chair for you.
PS: You won't turn out like your gran or mother - for the simple reason you're cut from a different cloth - must be! Because if you were GOING to be zombified like that, were CAPABLE of it, it would have happened long before now. Nope... not gonna happen - you're safe. Think light switch and finger. People can prod you X times daily for years but if there's no switch on the wall then - no light is going to turn on, is it. Ever. You need to have been born with the switch. You clearly - crystal-clearly! - weren't. Further proof: baby sleeps well (ta-daa! ). And - "My baby is a confident, feisty, little thing and loves intereraction with other children."
Don't worry. As your healilng progresses and brain cylindry increasingly frees up, you'll start to notice these bleedin' obvious unobvious pieces of logistic or concrete evidences yourself...*in totalis and without questioning them, I mean*.
Everything else you said is noted and agreed with.
PPS: "I've found it harder to say that to her more recently."
Cruel to be kind. In the right measure. Cruel to be kind, it's a very good sign...
Nobody said doing the right thing or taking medicine always felt nice. Think Night Nurse (*gag*) and nuff said!
Vital exercise for ya:
Please do me a very long list of all your great qualities inside and out. Not the ones other people have to point out to you. The ones YOU know you have and take pride in. After you've typed that, you can then do a separate one of what other people think (starting with hubby and - via his behaviour - bubby).
PPPS: You're starting to remind me of an older Lily.