The Narcassistic Mother returns

As most readers might remember, the brain-swirling rumination over family dynamics reached saturation point last week. Maybe I needed to get that exhaustive state before I could find enough motivation to end it.

I told Paul, my Therapist, the last thing I need while therapy is in progress is to be around a narcissistic mother. The slightest connection has the potential to bring all our hard work and the non-rumination policy crashing through the floor.

I explained to Paul that it’s highly likely mum will manipulate my sister into organising a trip to London in the next few weeks. He wondered why I was so certain.

I received a text from the martyr about five-weeks ago, which was the first in over 8-10mths. The relationship is not only dysfunctional, but it’s also heart breaking. We’ve not even communicated by phone in over fifteen years.

Anyway, she was thinking about visiting London on her own but when she added, “But I’ll need your help to get around,” I could feel that familiar ball and chain slowly wrap its way around my neck and I promptly turned her down with the feeble excuse of being too busy.

The martyr has never been able to take ‘no’ for answer. I knew she would soon find something else in London, like an exhibition, and set about manipulating my sister into organising the trip as well as taking responsibility for texting me their plans.

On Tuesday this week, only six days after my prediction, my prophecy came true with a text from my sister. Un-bloody-believable. They are in London this weekend for the Chelsea Flower Show, which is only twenty minutes’ walk from where I live.

My sister did not suggest we meet, but the text still asks, albeit in a rather passive aggressive manner. There’s no need to tell me how disappointed and hurt they are, or how selfish and inconsiderate I am, because they have said it all before, countless times.

The martyr hasn’t texted… yet. My next prediction is that their disapproval will trickle from my mobile phone like poison.

It was strange to have the non-rumination policy put to the test so soon, but I’ve managed it quite well. Yes, indulging in the odd rant here and there does prove too tempting at times, but I do swat those thoughts like flies, eventually.

Nevertheless, my guilty conscience is in overdrive this week. The fact is, the martyr’s narcissism robs her of the ability to see past herself. She views the relationship problem as it stands today, in the shape of me rejecting her. Her abusive and manipulative behaviour simply does not exist.

My sister and I get along reasonably well and even though she was also a victim of our mother’s abuse, she cannot help but feel sorry and guilty on her behalf. We were always responsible for our mother’s moods. Each time I refuse to meet the martyr, it tears my sister and I further apart.

I am angry and pissed off. This weekend will be difficult and I imagine there will be times when the old rumination battle will rage back and forth, but I will do my best to keep a lid on it… wish me luck, I might need heaps of it

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59 thoughts on “The Narcassistic Mother returns

  1. Priceless Joy

    I’m sorry you are having to experience this now Cat and I wish you tons and tons of good luck. That is too bad that she has gotten between you and your sister and kept ya’ll from having a good relationship. I think after your mom passes away you and your sister can have a good relationship, if you want to have one. It’s too bad that your mother is so narrow-minded that she cannot see her own faults and causes of what is happening to her now. Seems to me if she could just admit to her own faults that yours and her relationship might have a possibility of healing. I call that stubborn pride. I hope things go well for you this weekend and you are not guilted into spending time with them.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Joy… If she could only admit that we are both to blame for our 52yrs relationship problem, then it would be more than half the battle. I know my decision not to meet them is the right way forward and for the first time in my life, I don’t feel wracked with guilt…. That’s progress! Many thanks, Joy. Your blog has been rather quiet the last couple of days, are you okay?

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      1. Priceless Joy

        Wow! That is progress and it is wonderful you don’t feel guilty. I am okay, I guess I have just been quiet. About all I do anymore is the flash fictions and I am only participating in three.

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  2. kat

    i just want to say, that just because they are in london and will be near you, you still have the choice of whether or not you want to spend any time with them. i know the guilt that comes with no contact (or minimal contact), but it is wrongly placed. it is NOT your guilt, it is hers. you are not obligated to spend time with her just because she is there. but if you choose to, set strong limits on how long, where, and give yourself an out so you can leave when you might be getting overwhelmed and triggered. good luck whatever you do!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you, Kat, I am slowly realising that I do have that freedom to make my own decisions. I feel quite good with that and I am surprisingly at peace this weekend… so far so good!

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      1. lynettedavis

        Yes you do have the freedom to make your own decisions even if your mother does not approve, which is something we did not have as children. We were not allowed to make a decision that our mother did not approve of, even if it was in our best interest.

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  3. Grainne

    You are almost describing my own mother and sister. Wow. Scary. I’m sorry they’ve put you in this position, purposefully, at that. I hope it goes by quickly and you find a way to avoid bearing much of her guilt tripping.

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    1. Cat Post author

      It feels bittersweet to learn you have similar experiences with family members What gets me is the expectancy that we should tolerate the crap because they’re family, “But, it’s your mother,” people will say. I am staying strong and holding onto my decision and, for the first time ever, I don’t feel guilty. Thank you for your feedback, much appreciated 🙂

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  4. Lola

    Oh, my! The healthier you get (the more unresponsive you become to her attempted manipulations), the harder she’ll try to pull you back into the “guilt game.” You are so in tune with the dysfunctional dynamics of your family and you’ve done a lot of good work on yourself. I hope you can take care of your needs first in this situation, as uncomfortable as that may feel. Please try to be extra kind and nurturing to yourself throughout this scenario, however it plays out. Just my take. (I only know what I know because I’ve been through it.) 🙂

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    1. Cat Post author

      Sorry to learn you’ve been through it too… it sucks big time, but I am turning a corner because today I feel comfortable with my decision to remain distant. I could still come under fire in their usual passive aggressive manner, but I can deal with that… as long as they don’t just turn up at the door… eek 🙂 Thank you for commenting, lovely!

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  5. therabbitholez

    Time to batten down the hatches, I’m sure you would just love to spend the weekend listening to a litany of whatever comes to mind!! also a pity that you can’t go somewhere else this weekend.
    Hyacinth Bucket(Bouquet…..get it…sorry poor flower humour:) jacked up on self righteousness is not my idea of fun

    Your sister was probably secretly looking for a little light relief if she was allowed a few minutes with you, and that’s the real shame your relationship has been ruined because of that.

    I don’t even know what to suggest if you relent and see them, actually if it gets too much just walk away, your mental stability and peace of mind are far more important to have it disrupted this way.

    Good luck, we’ll all be here waiting for you 🙂 xx

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    1. Cat Post author

      I love Mrs Bucket and my mother is EXACTLY like her in every way, it’s uncanny really.

      Yes, my sister probably did want to share the burden. Unfortunately, it does come between us. A few weeks ago, I did think about writing or speaking to her about the situation and asking her to dissuade mum from visiting London until after therapy. I wish I had now, but I buried my head in the sand.

      I must be getting somewhere in therapy because this weekend I feel comfortable with my decision, even though I received a text today as a reminder of their presence. Who knows what the future holds with them, but there is plenty of time for the future, this is my time.

      As always, thank you for the support, much appreciated 🙂

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  6. mandy

    You know my thoughts are with you, Cat. I hope the weekend passes quickly and you manage to come out stronger than before. Don’t be held hostage by another persons manipulation. Maybe you can try to set up a call with your sister and work through this thing once and for all. I think she is the only thing keeping your mother in your life, no? Your sister will have to make a choice probably, too, how to go about having a relationship with you. I hope so much you can get there with her, I know she’s important to you.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I did consider talking to sis about this several weeks ago, but buried my head in the sand like a chicken… or is it an ostrich… I am surprisingly okay with my decision this weekend, very little guilt, in fact, none at all! This is my time and if they can’t appreciate that, well, that’s their problem. Things are changing, Mandy, I feel it in my bones 🙂 Thank you

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      1. lynettedavis

        Cat, my heart goes out to you because your story sounds so much like mine. Your sister (if she’s anything like my golden child sister) seems to feel bad about your family dynamics, but she also enjoys the perks she receives from being the golden child. I totally understand how difficult the relationship with the sister can be. We want to talk to them and explain how we feel and what’s going on, but I’ve learned that any and everything will inevitably be used against me… every intimate detail. Knowing what I know now, I don’t consider it burying your head in the sand. I call it wisdom.

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        1. Cat Post author

          Hi Lynette, yes, I pretty much decided that any line of communication would be a fruitless task and probably only more frustrating to deal with. I think it’s worth always baring in mind that these people are not the kind we can have a nice fireside chat with. Thank you for the validation, it means a lot

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  7. Anxious Mom

    Ugh sorry you are having to deal with this Cat. It never fails to amaze me how these narcissistic people will just pop in and expect you to drop all plans and be eternally grateful that they decided to grace you with their presence.

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  8. jamborobyn

    My only suggestion is take a slight step back, do something extra fun and nice for yourself as soon as possible and see how you feel after that. Don’t force yourself to make a decision you don’t want to make before you’re ready. Once you have made a decision about whether to see them – prefix or suffix it with – “for good or ill, this is what I will do – it may go well, it may not, for sure I will learn something.” You have to understand that whatever decision you make, it is exactly the right one for you at this time. No guilt required. Your healing process is probably your highest priority right now and if so, everything and everyone else must take second place. I’ve had a million goes at this kind of situation with my birth mother, still don’t have it sorted, but it occurred to me that she has already lived a great deal of her life and I am still trying to get mine underway. She will have to wait considering she is not willing or able to do anything positive for the sake of peace.

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    1. Cat Post author

      This is so very true, Robyn, and I am pleased to say I have stuck to my decision this weekend and feel comfortable with it, even if they don’t. I always say, there is little point trying to talk to a narcissist, so no explanation would help. Thank you for your supportive comment

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  9. edwinasepisodes

    Oh what an awful situation to be placed in, It is a shame that you are such a nice person and feel so guilty regarding your Mum who doesn’t really deserve it. It is their choice to go to London for whatever reason and you should not feel obligated to see them. whatever happens I am sending you lots of luck and warm wishes 🙂

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    1. Cat Post author

      And it helped to talk through that guilt because this weekend I did not feel obligated to fall into a manipulative trap. thank you, Edwina 🙂

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  10. Jenna

    This sounds just like my situation with my mum, it’s called emotional blackmail…I am reading this book at the moment which might help you in the future..it’s an interesting read “Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward”. I hope it goes ok this weekend, don’t feel you need to go….but if you do then time limit yourself. Good Luck

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    1. Cat Post author

      Oh sorry, I pressed send too quickly. I have managed to stick to my decision this weekend and it feels great! Thank you so much for commenting

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  11. Sharon Alison Butt

    Cat when you were a child, you had no choice but to be in her presence, suffer her condemnation and do things you did not want to do.

    She has a spirit of control. Do not succumb to it at all. She needs to learn that you are her son not her puppet. Please do not let her manipulate you any more. It’s your life and she is partly to blame for the fact that you hate it.

    It is entrirely her fault that she has turned herself into someone who nobody wants to be around.

    Ask yourself this question: “How will it benefit me being in her presence?” Even God warns us to stay away from devisive people and those who tear us down, so you have your heavenly father’s backing and he is on YOUR side.

    Her spirit is that of Satan’s and the bible says ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ If even she calls endlessly or comes round and bangs on your door, don’t respond to her because she does not have your best interest at heart. The devil is your enemy and he wants to crush you through her . He has used her enough times, so resist him this time.

    Let her know that she no longer has any power over you. It will make her spitting mad but so what!

    For all you know, your sister may be weaker than you but feeling the same way and succumbing to her control. If you remain steadfast in ignoring Hyacinth, it may give your sister the strength to realise she can do the same.

    So, Cat, go out and get a load of shopping in that you love. Turn off your phone, Don’t answer the door, sit down and read a good book or watch a load of comedies.

    If God doesn’t think you are all those things she has thrown at you throughout the years, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks because HE made you not her. She just housed you for 9 months but it was HIM who put you together. So stuff her and anyone else like her. Now is the time to prove her wrong – you are a man with a healthy mind, not her one-eyed minion.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Every time I start a reply to you, I always start with “Hi Susan” it’s so weird…lol… you must look like a Susan!

      Yes, I have suffered her condemnation and so have many others and unfortunately, it is always done in “the Lord’s name.” People in her church think she is wonderful

      Boundaries have always been her weakest point. I received one text to say they were here this morning, but I didn’t reply and turned the ringer off and then resisted temptation to have a peak at the phone screen. I am happy and comfortable with my decision.

      Thank you Sharon

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      1. Sharon Alison Butt

        I am so glad you found the strength to ignore her. In the Lord’s name, my foot – she needs to stop blaspheming before she gets struck down with a curse. And if people in her church do not have the discernment to see her for who she really is, I wouldn’t want to go there. There are many gatherings in the world that call themselves ‘church’ but God does not reside there, nor does he approve of their celebrations, festivals and services. It is the heart that is important to him and he detests hypocrisy with a passion. I’m glad you had a peaceful weekend and that you resisted the urge to peek at your phone! You’ll have such a wonderful sense of satisfaction when she’s gone back home knowing you didn’t weaken to her emotional blackmail. The ‘susan’ thing makes me think of Jonny English when he was on the plane, being fooled by a terrorist who had stolen the uniform of an air stewardess. His sidekick was trying to tell him he must be an imposter, but silly Jonny insisted it must be a Japanese name pronounced Shu-shan

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  12. Darque

    Cat, you are an inspiration to many of your followers/readers/friends… We are here for you whenever you need us. You are in our thoughts…

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  13. cardamone5

    My advice is if trust your gut. if your gut says not to meet them, don’t. You do not owe anyone anything, except yourself. If you feel up to it and can manage their attempted manipulations while together, then go, but don’t stay with them too long (this coming from a personal who still has a relationship with her narcissistic dad.) Take good care, and know you are worth all the weight in gold, no matter how they treat you. That’s on them, not you.

    Love,
    E

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  14. Andi

    Ugh. Family. Narcissists. Mothers. Siblings. I can relate to this dynamic so much. I don’t speak with my family anymore, but when I did – this was a familiar routine. I’m sorry you have to deal with this at all. You definitely have zero obligation to meet up with them and I wish you the best in your goal to limit rumination.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I always say, “We can choose our family but we can’t choose the neighbours.” I am working on concreting those boundaries to the floor, Amber, we’re getting there! Many thanks

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  15. Ellen

    Stay strong, try not to feel guilty!

    One thought I had – if you are every going to see your mom again, wouldn’t it make sense to see her while Paul can still help you, and you can talk it over with him? I’m probably way off base though – my own parents are a bit different. But guilt wouldn’t be a good reason to see her for sure. You have a right to your own boundaries at all times.

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    1. Cat Post author

      HI Ellen… that thought did cross my mind, but it is what it leads to that is more troubling. For the first time, I feel comfortable creating a boundary, regardless. The weekend has gone well, no guilt, just a quiet resignation and peace with my decision… now that sure is progress. Thanks Ellen

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  16. Glynis Jolly

    Stay angry and pissed off, Cat. I had a similar relationship with my father, though not as intense. I would give in time after time until I finally got it through my skull that I didn’t have to take it. He’d call. I’d tell him I couldn’t talk, say goodbye, and hang up. He got the hint by the seventh time. I did it by staying angry at him for all the sh**ty he did to me while I was growing up.

    I know it sounds heartless, and it is. But when were you ever shown any heart, compassion from her?

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Glynis, it’s easy to stay pissed off for the past, but there’s also plenty of things in recent months and years that keep me at a distance. It only sounds heartless if one has never experienced difficult parents. Thank you

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  17. Pingback: Escaping the Narcissistic Mother | My Travels with Depression

  18. Pingback: I only want to Tell the Truth | My Travels with Depression

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