Tag Archives: overt narcissism

Sometimes “Less Wrong” Is Your Best Option When Dealing With A Narcissist

When dealing with a narcissistic parent, often there are no right answers, only “less wrong” ones.  This is because narcissists are masters of creating a situation where you can’t win no matter what you do, but they will win.   One example in my life that comes to mind is if I don’t answer the phone when my parents call, they will either call back repeatedly until I do answer, attempt to make me feel guilty for not answering the next time we speak or manipulatively demand to know where I was that I couldn’t answer the phone.  I am left with some poor choices here:  answer the phone & deal with whatever games they are playing at the time, or don’t answer the phone & later deal with guilt trips (which don’t work, but really tick me off!) or their anger & especially nasty treatment because I didn’t bend to their wishes by not answering when they called the first time.  Not nice choices!  So, often times I answer the phone, even when I don’t want to, because it’s the lesser of the evils.  While the phone is ringing though, I am weighing my choices & deciding what I can & can’t handle before I pick it up.

It’s frustrating, but this is often the position you are forced into.  And, equally frustrating is others who don’t understand the situation, tell you what you’re doing is wrong & firmly believe you need to hear their opinions on the matter.  I don’t think most people are aware of how incredibly frustrating it is to be forced into these no win situations with a narcissistic parent.  They just see that you are doing something wrong, & that you should do something else, without realizing that their solution would have even more disastrous results than yours does.  They don’t grasp that you are doing what you are doing because it is going to create slightly less disastrous results than what they think you should do.  Or, if they know about narcissism, they may say you’re giving the narcissist that narcissistic supply they crave so desperately, which is why what you’re doing is wrong.  They aren’t seeing that while yes, sometimes you do give that supply, it’s better to give only a small amount of it than a ton of it.  The times when I do take my parents’ calls?  It seems to give them less supply than when they treat me poorly for not answering the phone right away.  Those times after they’ve given me sufficient grief, they seem happier & lighter by the time they hang up the phone.  I feel like I have chosen the lesser of the two evils when I take their calls immediately.

However you choose to handle situations with your narcissistic parents, choose wisely.  Sometimes your best answer isn’t going to be good or even right, but only less wrong.  Unfortunately that is normal.  Don’t listen blindly to the advice of others- listen to what they say & see if it would make sense  in your situation.  Hopefully others will give you a new & helpful solution, but sometimes they don’t, which is why you must consider carefully what they said. After all, no one knows your specific situation better than you do.  Just make sure you pray about what to do & weigh your options.  Do what you feel is right (well, less wrong) in your heart, & you will be doing the best thing you can do in your particular situation.  And, don’t forget to take care of yourself too.  If you end up frustrated, hurt or angry, vent your feelings in a healthy way.  Be good to yourself, too- dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic parent, is very trying.  You need plenty of self-compassion & self-care after having dealt with a narcissistic parent.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Some Thoughts For Those Unable To Sever Ties With A Narcissistic Mother

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Ahhh…the joy that is a narcissistic mother

My mother has ended her silent treatment. I had a good run of a couple of months of silence this time, but it’s over now. She called me this morning & acted as if we’d just spoken yesterday. It’s like nothing happened- no silent treatment, no trashing me to my father, nothing bad…

In case I haven’t said it lately, I absolutely freaking HATE head games!!!

It was a typical conversation with my narcissistic mother. The exact same conversation that happens every time she stops speaking to me then eventually resumes talking to me. It’s also why I love it when she gives me the silent treatment & dread when she ends it.

She called under the guise of looking for my father- as he often does, he vanished for hours. Without a cell, she has no means of reaching him when he is away from home. Then there was the complaining about him, & that morphed into “did I tell you about my latest back problem?” Side note: I have no sympathy for her back problems, because, as many of you know, when I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall so hard, I was in constant pain for 10 years. I quit working outside the home a few months later. Then there was the usual guilt trip because my husband works long hours (my parents seem to believe I have some evil powers that make him work long hours against his will while I live like I’m on vacation..), & telling me again about a man who recently died who my mother is glad is dead. I must admit, that last part had me laughing. Not because the man has passed away of course or even her coldness about his passing (that was just disconcerting!), but because my mother claims he is a terrible person because he liked to present himself as such a great person when he really wasn’t. According to her, this man even wrote his own obituary & “it sure made him sound like a great guy!” Yes, you read that right. A narcissist is complaining about another person’s narcissistic behavior. Can you wrap your head around that one? I’m still working on it..

Is it any wonder I’ve had a headache all day? As if starting out my day that way thanks to anxiety & nightmares waking me last night wasn’t quite enough…throw in a Mom call & my head is not happy with me..

My mother’s call has skewed my day. I was ok considering I had a rough start to the day. Now? I feel shaken up. Anxious, angry, depressed, dissociating a lot, head achy, & exhausted. It is ridiculous things are this way, however, it is the norm for those times that I have to deal with my mother.

There was also a small part of me that was feeling guilty earlier today for not calling my parents or suggesting lunch together or something similar. Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm for children of narcissistic parents- always at least some guilt in there somewhere for something, some perceived slight against the parents or failure to measure up to their unrealistic expectations.

I think the reasoning is because we are raised by narcissistic parents to feel guilty because we never quite measure up. We don’t get good enough grades in school, or study the right subjects. We always fail because we aren’t whatever they think we should be. We don’t choose the career they want us to work, or marry the person they think we should marry, or drive the right car, or we disappoint them with some other life choices. We are conditioned to feel guilty & the frequency in our lives of knowing how often we disappoint our narcissistic mothers is so painful. That isn’t always easy to shake off, even when we are adults & know better.

But yanno something?? When we “fail” our narcissistic parents, we are simply living life according to our rules as we should. We are following God’s plan for our lives rather than their plans, which is obviously way more important! As Shakespeare said in “Hamlet”, “To thine own self be true.” What wise advice! Living for someone, anyone, else is a guaranteed way to make yourself utterly miserable!

And, as for feeling guilty for not spending time with your narcissistic parents, I’ll share something that God has shown me many times. My parents are reaping what they’ve sown with me. I don’t want to spend time with them because of the sorry way they have treated me for my entire life. Who wants to spend time with anyone who mistreats or abuses them?! If you are battling guilt for setting boundaries on your interaction with your narcissistic parents, please remember that- they are reaping what they have sown. People who sow bad seeds (being abusive, neglectful, hurtful, manipulative) will sow an unpleasant harvest (being ignored, strong boundaries that are enforced, not tolerating abuse) in return. That doesn’t mean something is wrong with you- it means you are a normal person!!

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m off for some well needed self care. Music, relaxing, snuggling furkids & a shower…

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism