Good afternoon, Dear Readers!
The last few weeks, I’ve been feeling led to focus on helping those with narcissistic mothers who are either unable or unwilling to go no contact with them. There are many in this position, & there is very little information out there for these people. I hope this post will encourage you!
My mother called last night, & hubby & I are going to lunch tomorrow with my folks (my father’s birthday is Monday, hubby is off tomorrow, so I thought this could work). Unfortunately, I learned quickly during the call that my mother’s niceness has ended for now. She was very nasty during the conversation last night, talking quite a bit about how hard it was for her doing so much all by herself for her mother when she was alive. A guilt trip, I suppose, for not doing enough. Not nice considering I was her mother’s primary caregiver for a year… the hardest year of my life, by the way, since she was a very malignant narcissist & just a hateful, heartless human being. And, my mother mentioning this was not surprising, since she has said these exact same things many times over the years, even while her mother was still alive & I was helping her. *sigh*
While this turn of events is disappointing, it’s certainly not unexpected. While some of my readers seemed to think I believed my mother was going to maintain her much nicer demeanor indefinitely, that was never the case. I’m hardly that naive. My mother only can be nice to me for brief periods of time, like many narcissistic mothers, & I am well aware of that fact. I accept that about my mother, because, well, let’s face it- she has no desire to change that about herself. It’s either accept it or try to change her. I’ll accept it, rather than overstep my bounds by trying to make her into something she is not.
While accepting that fact about my mother, that doesn’t mean I accept her abuse however. I’ve learned how to handle this relationship with my mother, how to maintain a civil contact with her.
When my mother is in one of her pleasant moods, I enjoy it. I never know how long it will last, so I don’t think about that. I just enjoy it, whether that mood lasts for a day or a month. I also remember that this change isn’t permanent, & she can go back to full narcissistic mode at any moment. That keeps my expectations realistic (well, low), so I am not disappointed when she changes.
When the narcissistic mode kicks back in, I keep a distance from my mother. I answer her calls less frequently, & spend less time with her.
I’ve noticed her narcissistic mode lasts less time doing this. She is now nicer, or at least civil, more often than not. While I certainly can’t say my relationship with my mother is perfect by any means, it is way better than I ever thought it could be. We have pleasant conversations pretty often now, & I don’t cringe every time the phone rings. I’m also able to relax some during the good times where I wasn’t able to before. I now know they may not last long, so I just live in the moment, enjoying them as they come up. When they stop, I knew it was going to happen, so I am not surprised or disappointed. That is when I keep my distance, & wait for the nice mode to start again.
I believe these changes have happened for a couple of reasons. First, God. I prayed a lot recently as I’ve mentioned before, because I was so close to going no contact with my mother. He told me that decision was up to me. I asked Him to help me be able to stay in this very difficult relationship, at least for now. I assumed that meant He would give me strength & courage as I needed it, but it’s been so much more than I could’ve expected. I am now able to hear my mother’s nasty, cruel words, & not feel devastated. Hurt sometimes, sure, but I am more able to see them as a result of her issues, rather than taking them personally. That helps to take much of the sting out of her words. I also am now able to say “no” & defend myself where that was once very difficult for me to do sometimes. I also, for once, haven’t trouble speaking my mind to my mother. Granted, I don’t do it all the time, but sometimes, it’s just not worth it. Sometimes the topic is trivial & we simply have different opinions- so what? That just means we’re different people. Other times, if I need to speak up to her about how she treats me, I can tell she is going to ignore me, so there just isn’t a point in frustrating myself by speaking up.
God also has enabled me to be much stronger with setting & forcing very strict boundaries with my mother. She has no choice but to go along with them now, whereas I used to have very weak boundaries, if any. Does she like this? No, but I really don’t care. They are reasonable, & I am taking care of myself. I think by doing this, I have gained a slight amount of respect from my mother for the first time ever. Narcissists are bullies, & one thing I’ve learned about bullies is that they respect someone who has the guts to stand up to them. They may not like that person, but they respect her!
I’ve also gotten a real revelation on something else- my mother can’t hurt me anymore! When I was a kid, she threatened me with military or catholic school or to have me locked up in a psyche ward, she screamed in my face, calling me filthy names, she was also strong enough to throw me into a wall so hard when I was 19, my back was injured to the point I had to quit working a few months later. Even in my early 20’s, my mother once threatened to contact my landlord because I had more cats than the lease allowed, all because I disagreed with her about something. Those times are gone now. We’re both much older, & now I’m the physically stronger one. I also don’t need to sit there while anyone screams at me- I can walk out & never come back if I’m so inclined. She also can’t have me taken away or contact my landlord because I am now a home owner. The only weapon my mother has left are her words, & frankly, that weapon is rather lame. She called me so many terrible names & said so many terrible things about me when I was growing up, while her current tactics may hurt me, they really don’t hurt me all that badly. After all, I’ve been through worse! The comic Chris Titus once talked about how critical his father was when he was growing up, & said something like, “Thanks to him, I’m like an insult Navy Seal!” That is how I feel about my mother. My mother accused me of terrible things like doing drugs & having sex with the entire high school football team when I was a teenager (neither of which I did) & called me awful names. After surviving that, what else is there?! What else can she say? Nothing! And, I’ve also realized that my mother needs me much more than I need her. I have my own home & life now- I need nothing from my mother. She has no hold over me.
These things have been very freeing to me, & very helpful in dealing with my narcissistic mother. I pray they will help you to find ways to deal with yours as well.