Tag Archives: no contact
No contact is often the only solution preached when a victim of narcissistic abuse looks for advice. People make it sound like once you get that narcissist out of your life, everything will be peachy keen. However, this is not the case!
No contact is a wonderful thing. I am very much in favor of it since often it is the only solution that can help a victim keep their sanity. It creates the distance needed to help the victim have clarity of thought that is impossible while involved with a narcissist. That being said, though, there needs to be more to it than simply cutting the narcissist out of your life.
If your parents are narcissists, chances are you find yourself in friendships & romantic relationships with narcissists. You can end the relationship with your parents, but if that’s all you do, you’ll continue to find yourself in these toxic relationships.
Rather than cutting ties only, you need to learn all you can about narcissism. Doing this will help you to spot narcissists easily, before they lure you into their dysfunctional web. It also will show you that you are not to blame for anything they did to you. Narcissists love blaming their victims for the abuse they dish out, which leaves victims feeling guilty unnecessarily. Learning about narcissism will help you to get a revelation on the fact that their abuse was all on them. You truly aren’t the problem, a bad person or anything else they said you were!
Also, focus on your own healing. Grow stronger & healthier emotionally. Get to the root of your issues so you can truly heal. As you get healthier, your self esteem will heal too, & you will find yourself attracted to & attracting healthier people into your life. You also will find you can handle yourself with the abusive ones that are impossible to avoid.
If you are considering going no contact, then please keep these points in mind! Going no contact can help you a great deal of course, but you don’t need to stop there. Learn about narcissism & focus on your healing as well as going no contact, as these things will benefit you immensely!
Once upon a time, no contact was a rare thing. It only happened rarely, when the victim of an abuser was at the end of her rope after trying every possible solution she could think of. This is no longer the case.
Today, relationships are much more disposable. No contact is often preached as the only reasonable solution, no matter the situation. Many victims are shamed if they are unwilling or unable to go no contact with their abusive parents or other family members. Often, many who have opted to go no contact no longer see any alternative, especially when an abuser is a narcissist.
Unfortunately, what many people fail to realize is there are no “one size fits all” solutions especially when dealing with narcissists. No contact is not always possible or the desired solution. Some wish to get to that point but do not feel able to at the current time. It depends a great deal on the individuals involved & their specific situation. While I certainly believe no contact is a viable solution in many (well, most) situations, I have spoken with many who are unwilling or unable to go no contact. They have shown me there is a great need for compassion & understanding for them. I hope to help to create that with this post.
Narcissism is a spectrum disorder. Some narcissists aren’t very high on the spectrum, exhibiting few narcissistic behaviors. If someone is firm with their boundaries with those narcissists, chances are the narcissist will respect those boundaries, albeit grudgingly. If someone acts the exact same way with a malignant narcissist instead, someone very high on the spectrum, chances are their results won’t be so good. If a victim feels they can be firm & handle the lower on the spectrum narcissist, is it really necessary for that person to be shamed for maintaining a relationship if that is what they want to do?
Relationships shouldn’t be easily disposable. To tell someone who recently learned about narcissism that she should “just go no contact”, especially if the narcissist in question is a parent, is ridiculous! The victim needs to learn about narcissism & ways to cope with a narcissist, then try some possible ways to cope before deciding if no contact is the right solution. Ending any relationship is an extreme move, & it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
There is also such a thing as filial piety in Asian cultures. This means that the children care for their aging parents no matter the personal cost. Not doing this can result in a ruined reputation or being ostracized, for daughters in particular. It is unfair to shame those in this culture simply because you disagree with it. Agree or not, it is a fact of life, & they need to handle the situation however they see fit. They may need to implement low contact indefinitely to avoid the fallout of going complete no contact. This means they need support, understanding & love to help them in this difficult situation.
While no contact is often the only solution when dealing with a narcissistic personality, it shouldn’t be the first solution that comes to mind. It should be a last resort after other methods have been tried with no success.
**DISCLAIMER: If, like many of my readers, you are in the unfortunate position of not being able to go no contact with your narcissistic parent, please do NOT think this article is aimed at you! It most certainly isn’t!! I’m sure many of you have been shamed enough & I am not trying to add to that shame by implying you’re weak or wrong or whatever for being in that position. Every situation is unique, & I won’t judge you. This post is aimed at those who have gone no contact, not you!**
Going no contact (or even low contact for that matter) with a narcissistic parent isn’t an easy thing to do. There is a tremendous amount of anger & grief at the abnormal, awful circumstances that bring a person to this decision. Then there is society & their warped views of no contact. Some people think you should cut someone out of your life (yes, even a parent) at the first sign of them disagreeing with you. At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who think you’re a horrible person if you even entertain the idea of ending a relationship with your parent, no matter what. Many of those people also think you’re weak for “taking the easy way out”. That is the point I want to address today.
If you’re in the painful place of having gone no contact with your narcissistic parent, my heart breaks for you. I know the pain of this first hand & would tell anyone who thinks it’s easy or cowardly that they are completely, absolutely, 1,000% WRONG.
First of all, a relationship with an abusive parent is incredibly painful. Parents are supposed to love their children unconditionally, & realizing that not only do they not love us but are out to hurt & control us hurts! Really, really freaking hurts! How can anyone continue to subject themselves to that indefinitely? Every person has their limits.
Secondly, even considering how painful it is having an abusive parent, children naturally don’t want to end that relationship. It feels unnatural to end that relationship. How can it not?! That’s your mother or father, not some casual acquaintance.
Third, thinking about going no contact isn’t some easy decision like where to go for dinner. It takes a lot of prayer, thought, time, weighing your options, imagining scenarios.. it’s incredibly draining just to think about, let alone do it.
Lastly, once you are no contact, that doesn’t mean things are going to be easy. Without that narcissistic parent in your life, your emotions that you stifled so long just to survive the toxic relationship are probably going to come to the surface & demand you deal with them. That’s never fun! I’m going through it myself & I can tell you, quite frankly, it’s really rough! (It’s good in the fact I’m finally able to deal with stuff left untouched in so long, but it’s not fun to go through the process). There’s also the distinct possibility your narcissistic parent will send the flying monkeys after you to “talk some sense” into you by attempting to make you feel guilty for going no contact. After all, that parent won’t be around forever yanno! She’s getting older, & she is your mother yanno! Flying monkeys are always fun to deal with. (yes, I’m being totally sarcastic in that comment). Even more fun is the chance your narcissistic parent will attempt to contact you personally. There’s nothing quite like going along with your day, in a good mood, when you open your mailbox & see that parent’s handwriting. So much for that good mood. You can block that parent from emailing, calling, texting or on social media, but you can’t block postal mail.
So if anyone reading this thinks no contact is the cowardly thing to do, the easy route, think again. It’s far from it! Going no contact is actually a very brave, incredibly difficult thing to do.
At the time of writing this, my mother hasn’t spoken to me in just under 10 months, my father in 2 months. They both used to call me constantly, so the silence is something I’m still getting used to.
Prior to them stopping speaking to me, I had decided I wanted to go no contact with them. The odd thing was I felt God didn’t want me to say it to them. He wanted me to continue to get healthier, enforce my boundaries & stay low contact. When we had an argument last May 5, I lost my temper, & God told me He wanted that to happen. He said it’d make my parents want to stay away from me when they realized I’m not so easy to push around anymore. Has it ever!
Although I’m grateful, it still hurts that my parents clearly have decided that I’m not worth speaking to because I defended myself to them. Since it happened, I’ve done a lot of praying & researching on the topic. I’ve learned there is virtually no information out there for those whose parents have cut them off. Almost all the no contact information I could find was for adult children who have gone no contact with their parents.
The last few days, I’ve been especially depressed & anxious in spite of some good stuff happening in my life. It really hurts that my parents cut me off, even though I know it’s for the best. So, I started praying more about it & God showed me some things. I thought I’d share them here since there are plenty of us whose parents have cut us off, & there is so little information available for people in this position.
When normal people implement no contact, it isn’t to punish anyone- it is to protect themselves from further abuse. When narcissists do it, there is much more to it. After all, whatever you did to “deserve” them going no contact (at least in their warped minds), caused a grievous narcissistic injury. Anything causing a narcissistic injury is going to be met with some type of narcissistic rage.
Narcissists use no contact to cause their victim pain. Basically, it’s a version of the silent treatment. It’s to let the victim know that they are irrelevant. The victim’s side of the argument is also so irrelevant that the narcissist doesn’t want to waste time listening to it. The victim isn’t even worth the narcissist acknowledging. It’s a cruel rejection, especially coming from a parent. Narcissistic parents reject their children their entire lives. This is just one more rejection added onto the pile. It really hurts, & that is normal!
It’s shaming. Narcissists love to shame their children, no matter the child’s age. By going no contact with you, they aim to make you feel that you are so bad, even your own mother &/or father can’t tolerate you.
Their version of no contact is also an attempt at control. The narcissist’s goal is to make you run to the narcissist, apologize for whatever you said or did, or didn’t say or do, & give the narcissist whatever she wants to make up for your “cruelty”.
Narcissists can’t deal with conflict. If the no contact came about after an argument like mine did, it’s not surprising. The cold, hard, & painful truth is a narcissist would prefer to cut off their own child rather than work through conflict, admit that they were wrong or even simply to try to see the situation from their child’s perspective. That’s what’s happening with my parents, & many other narcissists are the same way.
By going no contact, the narcissistic parents can look like the victim. They can tell people that you were so cruel, so abusive, that they had no other choice. Often narcissists would prefer to avoid going no contact since it also potentially could make them look bad, but when they are in the position, they’ll work it to the best of their ability. They’ll gain pity from their flying monkeys or anyone who will listen with their tales of how mean & unreasonable you were. Devoted flying monkeys may come out of the woodwork & go after you, doing the narcissist’s dirty work for them by telling you what a horrible person you are for doing whatever you did. That way, the narcissist can still hurt you without having to be in contact with you. Narcissists love this- they get to hurt you & manipulate another person into doing it for them while they look innocent. It’s really a perfect trifecta for narcissists.
I realized something else… even knowing such things, it really hurts when your parents don’t speak to you no matter how cruel they are! I know beyond a doubt this is for the best for me, & that God wants my parents out of my life. I know they would hate the successes I’m having with my writing lately- not only the material I write about but the fact I’m having success. (My parents clearly hate when things go well for me.) I don’t even miss my parents & am enjoying the lack of their drama. I’m enjoying the peace & lack of criticisms, nastiness, & manipulation. So what is my problem?!
I’m grieving. Not the loss of my parents but the fact that they prefer to be “right” & have me out of their lives rather than talk about our problems. Also the fact that my mother’s & my birthdays are coming up next month. There will be no celebrating together. My parents might send a card like they did at Christmas, but I know it won’t mean they want to work things out- it’s only to make them look good. Mother’s day is coming in May, Father’s day in June & I have no need to get cards. Yes it was hard to find rather generic, “have a nice day” kind of cards, but at least it meant I still had parents. Now? I feel like an orphan.
Dear Reader, if your narcissistic parents have stopped speaking to you, please know you’re not alone. I’ve spoken with a few people recently who have experienced the same thing, even those who are in similar situations to mine, feeling they wanted to go no contact, but felt God wanted them to refrain from telling their parents that. Why God asks that of some of us, I don’t know, but I do know He has a very good reason for it. That you can be absolutely certain of.
Also, remember how much God loves you. He is there during this difficult time. He will comfort you when it hurts. He will give you wisdom on what you should do. Trust in Him to help you get through. Unlike your earthly parents, God truly is a loving, kind, caring, generous parent.
While I write in the hopes of helping those who are still in a relationship with their narcissistic parent(s), this doesn’t mean I am for staying in that relationship no matter what. I firmly believe everyone has the right to make their own individual choice on whether or not to stay in that relationship, & should not be pressured on what to do. People are different in what they can & can’t handle, plus narcissists are on a spectrum- some are downright dangerous while others are much lower on the spectrum, therefore easier to deal with. Each situation is very unique, so there are no one size fits all answers.
That being said…
Ending relationships is very difficult, but especially when the relationship is with your parent(s). It shouldn’t be done in the heat of the moment, such as during an argument. It should be done after a great deal of prayer & thought on the matter.
If you believe your physical & mental health is in danger, you are certainly well within your rights to sever ties with your parents.
Sometimes, people don’t feel ready to go no contact although they want to. Until they do feel strong enough, going low contact may be a very good option. You don’t have to spend a lot of time visiting or on the phone with your narcissistic parents. You have the right to limit your time with them. You may even learn that low contact works well enough for you.
Low contact is also a good solution when no contact is impossible for various reasons.
If you are unsure what to do, pray. God may ultimately leave the choice up to you, or He may tell you what is best to do in your situation. Either way, it is a very good idea to talk to Him about this important decision.
God also can help you to find creative ways to handle the relationship with your parents if you stay low contact or help you end it if you go no contact. And, He can enable you to be stronger than you are when you need to deal with them. You simply can’t lose with God helping you in this situation.
If you have read much at all about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you have read about the benefits of going no contact. It is often the only solution, as many authors on the topic will feverishly tell you. After all, it’s not like you can reason with someone who refuses to accept any responsibility for their actions. Many times, all you can do is hope to escape the narcissist with your sanity in tact.
Unfortunately though, one thing I have noticed is many people who say that no contact is the only solution fail to mention that is it not a cure all.
Certainly, eliminating an abusive narcissist from your life is beneficial. You no longer have the daily struggles. Without their gaslighting, you can think clearer. Your finances may improve as well, if the narcissist was draining your bank accounts. You finally can focus on yourself & healing. However, without the narcissist in your life, you still will have problems that stem from your time being abused by that peson.
Please believe me, I’m not speaking against no contact. While I believe it is an individual decision & no one should attempt to force anyone into making that decision, I also realize it is usually the best solution. I just think it is very important for people who opt to remove the narcissist from their life to realize that doing so won’t solve all of their problems. Yes, it will improve daily life since they won’t have to deal with new, frustrating, abusive situations, which is fantastic. But, it also won’t solve some things.
No contact doesn’t cure PTSD or C-PTSD. In fact, there is no known cure for either. All you can do is manage the symptoms, which, by the way, can be much easier without a narcissist around!
It also doesn’t stop repressed memories from returning to the forefront of one’s mind sometimes.
It also doesn’t mean you won’t have times of missing the narcissist. They all have something that made you love them. If they didn’t, deciding to go no contact wouldn’t have been a difficult decision at all.
No contact doesn’t mean you won’t think of the narcissist anymore. Whether he or she is a parent, relative, romantic interest or friend, you have shared experiences together. You won’t forget them just because that person is no longer in your life. Birthdays, anniversaries or other special occasions will pop into your memory periodically.
Please don’t lose hope after reading these things! They don’t mean there is something wrong with you or you are irreparably damaged. They simply mean you are a normal person who has been deeply affected by narcissistic abuse.
These things also don’t mean no contact is a bad idea. Like I said, it is often the only solution to an extremely painful & impossible situation. The reason I wanted to share these things with you, Dear Reader, is so you will be prepared if you do opt to go no contact.
Many people have very definite opinions on the topic of forgiving narcissists. Usually it’s one of two extremes- either you forgive & forget, or you refuse to forgive because narcissists don’t deserve forgiveness & aren’t sorry for the damage they cause anyway.
I am a firm believer in forgiveness, but not in the “forgive & forget” sense.
In a relationship with a narcissist, if someone confronts a narcissist, they can count on any of a variety of possible, ugly scenarios happening: The narcissist denies everything, the narcissist blames the victim for “making” her act that way, the narcissist turns the tables so she is the victim & the real victim is mean/unreasonable, or the narcissist recruits her flying monkeys to talk some “sense” into the victim while taking attention off the narcissist’s actions & making her look like an innocent victim.
When this happens, many people end all contact or greatly limit their contact with the narcissist. Often, especially in Christian circles, this is mistaken as the victim hating the narcissist or holding a grudge. That can be true of course, but in my experience, it’s seldom the case.
Using myself as an example, I’ve had to end friendships. The hardest was with an old friend I’d had for over 20 years. I’d prayed a great deal before doing so, & knew in my heart it was the right choice. Not because I hated my friend, but because I knew I deserved to be treated better than I was being treated. I forgave him for his actions, but since I’d seen him changing, realized I would be hurt again if I continued the friendship. I didn’t trust him anymore.
I’ve seen many scenarios with adult daughters of narcissistic mothers that are very similar. The daughters go no contact because of how awfully their mothers treated them, & they learn their mothers are trash talking them to other people which shows they don’t want to fix things. It also shows they have no desire to apologize or accept responsibility for what they have done. These daughters are seldom angry about what their mothers have done, & almost never say they hate their mothers. I would guess that 99% of the daughters I’ve spoken with in these situations don’t harbor anger. They have forgiven their mothers, but they also know they have to have her out of their lives for the sake of their own mental health &/or to protect their husbands & children.
Unfortunately with narcissists, a normal, functional, healthy pattern of working problems out doesn’t happen. Normally, someone is approached about the hurtful action they did, that person apologizes & if necessary, changes their actions to regain your trust. Since that won’t happen with a narcissist, many times very limited or no contact is the only option left. If you are in that situation, please don’t allow others to make you feel badly for making that choice or accuse you of being unforgiving or un-Christian. Do what you believe you need to do!
And, remember- forgiveness isn’t about the narcissist. It’s something you do for yourself because you deserve better than carrying around anger or bitterness. That is all. It can be done whether or not you’re in a relationship with your abuser. Reconciling the relationship & learning to trust the abuser require that person’s participation, but forgiving her does not.
As I’ve mentioned before, my parents have stopped speaking to me recently. Since, I’ve been experiencing a plethora of emotions, & I’m going to hazard a guess they’re pretty normal under the circumstances. I also realized when a narcissistic parent goes no contact with you, it feels a lot different than when you are the one to go no contact. In 2001, I went no contact with my mother (she initiated contact with me in 2007, & I allowed her back into my life at that point). Seeing both types of going no contact has been eye opening to me. I’m hoping sharing this with you will help you if your parents have gone no contact with you.
When I went no contact with my mother, it’d been after a great deal of prayer & consideration on the subject. I knew in my heart it was the best thing I could do, & I was as prepared as I could be to sever ties with my mother. And, I only went no contact with my mother. At the time, I had no knowledge at all of narcissism. Naturally I didn’t realize my father was a covert narcissist & abusive in his own way that was different than hers, so I kept in touch with him. Anyway, I was able to grieve losing my mother, then face some of my own issues stemming from her abuse. The time apart was just what I needed at that time. It was a good thing for me.
Fast forward to this year. I answered my parents’ phone call not expecting the huge fight that followed. It was a complete surprise. I’d expected a bit of a disagreement, but not in the really big fight that actually took place with both of my parents.
I wasn’t surprised my mother stopped speaking to me afterwards. She is the queen of the silent treatment, & I’m sure me defending myself to her was a huge narcissistic injury worthy of the silent treatment. What did surprise me was my father. Since he always wants to look like the good guy, I never expected him to stop speaking to me.
Another big surprise is when praying about the entire situation some time later, God told me He wants them out of my life. I’m not sure if He means forever or a season just yet, but either way- that was a big surprise too. He’s showed me repeatedly that I need distance from their toxicity.
The element of surprise can be pretty intense in such a situation. For one thing, since narcissists are so obsessed with appearances, they seldom want to end contact with their own child because it might make them look bad. Can’t have that now can we?! So when they do sever ties, it can come as a complete shock. Even though some time has passed, I still feel quite shocked at the turn our relationship took.
Also, any loss can trigger grief, even when the loss is your own dysfunctional & abusive parents. When I first felt this grief, I wondered what was wrong with me. These people have made my life a living hell ever since I can remember. I should be glad they’re gone! Why wasn’t I reveling in them being gone, I wondered. God showed me that abusive or not, they’re still my parents. Losing your parents, whether they’re loving or abusive, is a hard thing to handle for anyone.
No contact has triggered a lot of anger in me, too. I’m angry my parents had the unadulterated gall to get mad at me when they were the ones clearly in the wrong in our argument. It’s glaringly obvious to anyone who knows the story that they were wrong, yet they would prefer being wrong & pretending to be right than have me, their own daughter, in their life.
I’ve found too, that triggers are everywhere, & in strange places. When I hear or read about a parent showing concern for their child, no matter the child’s age, it upsets me easily now. It makes me sad since that’s something I’ve never had & never will have. It also makes me angry because the reason for our fight, my late mother in-law, was never a source of concern for my parents when it clearly should have been. I told them for years how cruel she was to me, & they truly did not care. I know my mother didn’t even believe me when I said she choked me when my husband & I told her we had eloped. (As if I’d make something like that up!) You’d think a physical assault might warrant some concern from my parents, but it never did. Anyone else I told that story to was shocked. My parents? Bored.
Intrusive thoughts have been a constant as well. Things I’d really just as soon not think about pop into my mind constantly, against my will. I can’t even escape at night because I have nightmares every single night. I may not remember details of them, but I remember my parents were in them & I wake up feeling the anger, fear or depression I felt in the dreams.
There is sadness & depression too. I think my parents’ going no contact with me has really made it sink in how little they have been there for me in my life. This is just one more of those times. Sure, growing up, they provided for some of my needs- I always had food, clothing & shelter- but there was no emotional nurturing or genuine love. In fact, there was more abuse than anything else.
I also think these things were magnified because of the fact I was going through a particularly hard time at the time of our argument. When you’re already stressed or upset, any little thing can feel even worse. So when you experience something very painful, it really hurts, even worse than it would under better circumstances.
In spite of all of these negatives, something absolutely wonderful has come out of it all, & makes it all worthwhile. Freedom!
Without my parents in my life, I have found a new freedom. For the first time, I’m finally free to be the person God made me to be. No longer do I need to be “on” so much. After all, when dealing with narcissists, that’s how it is- you’re on your guard the entire time you’re with them. You also have to mentally prepare when you know you need to interact with them in the near future. Finally, I’m able to relax.
I’ve also been able to get to know myself for the first time in my life. Growing up, I was told who to be. My ex husband tried to mold me into what he wanted me to be. Later when I married my current husband, I tried to be what he wanted me to be & even what his mother wanted me to be in the hopes of making her hate me less. In the last few years, I’ve tried off & on to be me, the person God wants me to be, & while I had some success with that, it’s been much more successful without my parents in my life. The constant disapproval of everything about me I think made me feel like who I am is a bad person, wrong, etc. Without that disapproval, I’m free to be me.
I’ve realized something else good that came with this freedom. Because I stood up to my parents during that argument in May, it’s given me a new confidence. If I could stand up to them at that time when I felt weak & was caught off guard, I can stand up to anyone about anything now. In fact, that confidence even stirred a new fire in me to speak out more against narcissistic abuse. I think that’s pretty cool!
God has been using this time apart in a great way for me. As hard as it’s been, He has been carrying me through. He had reasons for removing my parents from my life. Allowing me to heal, enabling me to be more the person He created me to be & less who they want me to be & giving me more confidence to speak against narcissistic abuse have all been a huge blessing for me.
If your narcissistic parents have opted to go no contact with you, then please know it can be a blessing in disguise. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it’s mind boggling that they treated you so badly & had the gall to act like you’re such a bad person, they had to go no contact with you. Yes, it makes you angry. But, one thing about God is He can make good things come from bad situations. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (KJV) If you’re not seeing anything good, ask Him to make good come from this situation & to show you the good you need to see.
Lately, I’ve noticed many people in a relationship with a narcissist often have something that shuts them down with the narcissist. The narcissist says or does something that makes their victim feel like enough is finally enough. They reach the point of being completely fed up with the games, the gaslighting & the abuse. This one thing was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The victim is now done. One of my readers calls this the last straw moment.
A while back, I had a big fight with my parents that I have mentioned in this blog before. Long story short, they wanted to attend my late mother in-law’s funeral, & seemed annoyed I didn’t tell them she died- they found out about her death when they saw her obituary in the local paper. In spite of knowing how badly she treated me, both of my parents said they wanted to “pay their respects” to her & “didn’t want to disappoint my father in-law” by not going (my parents & in-laws have seen each other twice in the 20+ years my husband & I have been together). I felt betrayed that they cared more about “paying respects” to her than me, & neither of my parents understood that.
As of the time I’m writing this post, neither of my parents have spoken to me in quite a while. The evening of the fight was the last time I spoke with my mother. That was in May. My father only spoke to me a handful of times after that, but I haven’t heard from him since July. I guess now he’s not speaking to me either. That’s fine- it’s his choice. I realized this situation was my last straw moment with my parents. Granted, this was not the first time they have cared more about someone else than me, even someone who has hurt me. The reason it is my last straw moment is because my parents have the unadulterated gall to be angry at me for defending myself to their complete lack of concern over my feelings. If they had responded by saying something like, “I never thought of it that way. I’m sorry,” I could have lived with them wanting to pay their respects, probably without even being angry since they just tend to be so inconsiderate of me. I accept that about them & don’t expect otherwise from them. But, they didn’t. They acted like something was extremely wrong with me for being upset with them. My father quickly changed the subject after defending himself briefly. My mother even acted bored when I was angry & crying. Bored! Her own daughter is upset to the point of yelling, crying & even using some profanity which are all out of character to me in her presence, yet she was bored. My parents were offended that I defended myself & they couldn’t comprehend why I felt they betrayed me. Wouldn’t even try to comprehend it, for that matter. Those facts are what triggered my last straw moment.
I’m learning from my own experiences & from those of others I’ve spoken with that last straw moments with narcissistic parents are a plethora of conflicting emotions.
When things first happen, there can be a sense of being in shock. Whatever they did may not have been the worst thing they’ve done to you, but you can’t believe it at first. You may think things like, “They did it AGAIN?!” or, “They really don’t care at all how I feel!” While you know they’re capable of such things obviously, you can’t believe it happened, even when it feels like the millionth time. You are amazed anyone can be capable of such cruelty, let alone extending that cruelty to their own child.
Anger kicks in too. You may feel totally fed up. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Enough is enough! You are done putting up with their abuse!
Sadness kicks in after the anger. Sadness because what they did hurt you & because you realize there is truly no hope for your relationship. Even understanding narcissism, there is usually a tiny part of the adult child of narcissistic parents that clings to the hope that maybe somehow, some day, things will change. Whatever they did to you this time erased that tiny glimmer of hope completely.
Sadness morphs into grief. Grief isn’t only for losing a loved one. Grief happens when you experience loss, & a last straw moment with your narcissistic parent is definitely a loss. Not only have you lost the hope I mentioned in the previous paragraph, but much more. It often hits people in last straw moments how much the narcissist has stolen from them- their childhood, their self-esteem, their ability to be mentally healthy, their joy… Such losses can be very hard to deal with, & trigger grief. That is the stage I’m at with my parents now.
You can bounce back & forth between grief & anger quite often. I certainly have.
Yet, among the negative emotions are some very positive ones as well. For me, once my parents stopped speaking to me, I finally felt free enough to be myself, the person God made me to be, not the person my parents wanted me to be. I’d been getting further from what they wanted me to be for quite some time, but without them in my life, I was able to be completely myself, 100% of the time, for the first time ever. It’s pretty cool! I love feeling so free!
Caring over what my parents think has disappeared as well. I know if I must deal with them at some point, the usual snarky, cruel, hateful criticisms won’t be as hurtful because I really don’t care what they think of me or my life. It’s really not my business anyway, what they think of me. I’m living as I believe God wants me to, & that’s all that matters to me anymore.
It’s also common to feel like a weight has been lifted. Which is natural since it has been. Whether you stopped speaking to your narcissistic parents or they stopped speaking to you, that burden is now gone from your life. Or, if you’re still in a relationship with them, you still may feel the lifted burden feeling. That is because you no longer care about pleasing them or gaining their approval. You may have accepted them as they are- cruel, devious, hate-filled & abusive people- & no longer have any expectations of them to be anything but what they are.
Last straw moments can be difficult & confusing, but oddly, they also can be a blessing in disguise. To deal with all of the conflicting feelings, I recommend a lot of prayer, as well as talking to a trusted, safe friend. Journalling helps too. Anything that helps Writing things out helps you to see things clearly, which really can help you to heal. Anything that helps you to get your feelings out without fear of judgment is a good thing.
I think many of us who stay in a relationship with our narcissistic mothers have been asked repeatedly, “Why don’t you go no contact with her?” Often, good points follow such as, “You don’t deserve to be treated that way” along with stories of someone else they knew who had a narcissistic mother & has never been happier since she went no contact. I have been called foolish & accused of trying to be a martyr as well.
This conversation really can make you doubt your decision.
The truth of the matter though, is that ending a relationship, any relationship, is no one else’s business. Ending a relationship is a very painful decision, but perhaps ending one with your mother is the most painful of all. Ending a relationship is also a very individual decision. You are a unique individual with unique feelings & responses to things. You may be more willing or able to tolerate certain things than another person. That doesn’t mean you’re wrong & the other person is right or vice versa- it simply means you’re different.
If you’re considering going no contact with your narcissistic mother, then please do NOT let anyone else influence your decision! This is one that you need to make by yourself, & have absolute peace & certainty with your decision. You need to be sure that whatever your choice, you will have no regrets. To do this, I strongly suggest a great deal of prayer. Ask God to help you make this choice & how to handle it whichever way it goes. He will not lead you wrong.
If you opt to go no contact, then you need to remember to stick to your decision. Don’t call your mother up to wish her a happy birthday or ask her advice after telling her you want her out of your life. This only goes to show you have weak boundaries, & a narcissist naturally will use that against you. If you & your mother share relationships, then tell those people that you don’t want them to discuss you with your mother or her with you. It’s just best to keep others out of the situation that should stay between you & your mother so that person doesn’t feel torn between you two. Also, beware of flying monkeys- the people your mother sends after you to “talk sense” into you. They will work hard to make sure you know how badly you’ve hurt your mother & what a terrible daughter you are. Tell these people that the topic of your & your mother’s relationship is not up for discussion. Don’t try to explain your side or defend yourself or your decision- it will not only fall on deaf ears, it will hurt you to be so invalidated. Simply do not engage these people.
If you opt to stay in a relationship with your narcissistic mother, there are ways to manage it. I opted to go limited contact, which means I don’t talk daily to my parents as I once did. I talk to them & visit them as I feel able, not always on their time schedule like it used to be. Continue to work on your healing, not only for yourself, but also because it will change the relationship with your narcissistic mother. The healthier you are, the less interest narcissist will have in you because you are harder to use & abuse. Focus on setting & enforcing healthy boundaries too. Most of all though, remember that it won’t be easy. There will be times you slip up & fall into old, dysfunctional patterns. Don’t beat yourself up for that. These times happen. Just learn from it, try not to let it happen again.
So much writing you find on the topic of narcissistic mothers says that no contact is the only answer. Just sever ties with her & your life will be so much better, they say. While this certainly is true in many cases, there are also many cases where going no contact isn’t a desired solution, or even a possible solution. Still others know that is their best option, yet don’t feel strong enough to take that step just yet. Others prefer the limited contact option, as I have chosen, where they only speak to their mothers rarely, as they are able to do so.
Normally, it is those who are either unwilling or unable to go no contact I feel strongest about attempting to help with my writing. Today though, I feel I need to write to everyone who either has gone no/low contact, is considering going no/low contact or who is unable or unwilling at this time to go no/low contact.
There are so many people who have very definite feelings on the contact issue, & love to make those feelings known to you at any opportunity. They will state their feelings as if they are not simply the person’s feelings, but the gospel truth. You also may find these opinions on websites or in books. These views will make you feel a plethora of things, such as doubting your decision, feeling stupid for making the decision you’ve made, feeling guilty & more.
I want to encourage you today to ignore the critics! Going no or low contact with your narcissistic mother is a very big decision, one that you & you alone should make for yourself after a great deal of thought & prayer. No one understands exactly how you feel, nor have they experienced the things that you have. They also have no idea how you cope with the abuse your narcissistic mother dishes out, or exactly how much abuse she puts you through. Very few people also truly understand how desperate a person is to consider severing ties with or greatly limiting contact with their own mother, or how much pain they have experienced to even consider such a thing. No contact is far from a black & white issue!
I know it can be very painful when people force their unasked for views on you on this issue, but please please PLEASE- ignore their unsupportive views! Once you have made your decision on how to handle the contact you have with your narcissistic mother, the absolute last thing you need is people telling you how wrong you are or how poorly you’re handling things. Ignore those people! Their opinions are NOT facts, so you do not need to be bothered with them.
Instead, follow what you know in your heart is right for you. I believe those “gut feelings” or intuition are God’s voice telling us what we need to know, so you can’t go wrong if you listen to them, especially listening to them over people who have no idea what they are talking about.
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.
Truly weird. Can’t sugar coat it. lol
So, I took my father to the doctor. All went well & fast too. We were in the car, ready to go home before I knew it. Then he told me not to start his car. Uh oh.. well, long story short, he told me what an amazing woman I am. Wow!! I cried. It was very sweet.
Dealing with my mother was another story. I banged my knee on her car & she couldn’t have cared less. Although not surprising, it still hurt. She didn’t listen to a word I said all day either. Again, not surprising but it hurt.
Later, my parents’ skittish cat suddenly decided to trust me. After 5 years. It was awesome!!!! I love cats, & have always loved winning over feral ones or ones with trust issues. It’s so rewarding.
Amazing the huge ups & downs in a relationship with a narcissistic mother. Yet, I’m still glad I didn’t go no contact. A lot of very positive things are happening, amongst the bad.
I’m not preaching against no contact here by any means. I know it’s the only solution in many situations. I’m only sharing my experiences because I know many of you who read my work either are unable or unwilling to cut ties with your narcissistic mother. I want you to know I understand, & I hope my experiences can help you. ❤
I’ve been thinking a lot these last couple of weeks.
As many of you know, I’ve spent a great deal of time with my parents trying to help them out while my father has had some pretty serious problems. Not trying to brag, but I’ve helped them a lot. Their friends & family aren’t nearby, so I’ve been their primary help. It’s caused me to think a lot..
Before this happened, I was seriously considering severing ties with my mother. I was fed up with her nastiness. I’d prayed & God said that decision was up to me. Now, I’m glad I decided to hang in there.
It hasn’t been easy doing this. My mother has plenty of nasty moments & when she’s being nicer, it’s only because I’ve done something for her. It’s also been hard stepping out of my comfort zone, which makes the C-PTSD flare up. So badly in fact that I’ve lost 8 pounds in these past 2 weeks. But, good has come from this too…
I’ve realized that although my mother’s niceness often only comes after me blessing her, so long as I remember that, I can enjoy those positive times. We have had some nice conversations lately & some laughs. And, although the nasty moments return sometimes, I’m expecting them, so they aren’t devastating. I’ve truly learned to enjoy the good times whenever they come.
I’ve also learned that I really enjoy care giving. Being raised by a narcissistic mother, I learned early how to help & how to anticipate needs, which works well for being a caregiver. For once, I enjoy doing for my parents without expecting anything in return.
There is a peace & joy that comes from helping others, including those who have hurt you. Blessing your enemy (or abusers) as God mentioned in the Bible isn’t just for their benefit. It’s for yours too. It can be hard to do, but it’s well worth it!
Also, I’ve seen God bless me tremendously recently. My father has lost his narcissistic ways & my mother’s have decreased a lot. Those are miracles in my opinion! Also, I’ve been blessed financially when I wasn’t expecting it. I’ve received a great deal of love, support & prayers from friends & fans which means more to me than I can say. And, I’ve felt God giving me the strength I need as I need it when the C-PTSD flares up or I feel weak or unable to cope.
I know most people say you should cut all ties with your narcissistic parents but I’ll tell you, I’m glad I haven’t. It hasn’t been easy lately but helping them has been an incredible education for me, & even a blessing.
If you’re considering going no contact, please think about what I’ve written. I’m not trying to change your mind if you believe in your heart it’s what you need to do. You know best of course. Just please think about this. What God’s doing for me, He can do for you too!