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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Narcissistic Parent

Topic: Narcissistic Parent

23 posts, 0 answered
  1. Guest2583
    Guest2583 avatar
    6 posts
    24 August 2019

    Hi,

    I've grown up with (who I think) is likely a narcissistic mother (my parents split when I was very young so I've lived primarily with her) and lately I just don't know how much more I can take. I've always struggled a lot with low self-esteem and confidence because of her comments constantly putting me down (except I always thought it was me not her), but this year, during my Grade 12, anxiety and depression took a huge toll on my life and my Mum refused to believe it was a genuine issue and kicked my older sister out of the house when she tried to explain the urgency of my situation to her. I'm now thankfully coming on the other side of my mental health challenges, but still living under the same roof as her is making me start to question my sanity and feel almost like I'm trapped in a prison - I hate being here. Ever since she told my sister to leave, she has lost touch of any sort of boundaries with me (goes through my room, messages my friends without asking me, takes complete control). She's been trying to control my school-life, relationships, future and I just feel like a puppet on a string.

    When I ask her to give me space, she thrives off the fighting and says comments like "it's my house I can do what I want" "Who are you anymore? Why are you so cruel to me?" or "You're a cop-out, you will never achieve anything in life if you treat people like this". I'm already in a really emotionally vulnerable place, so when she says stuff like this to me it makes me really question whether what she's saying is actually right and if I've been wrong all along - No matter how hard I've tried my whole life, I've never got her acceptance and I don't know why I keep trying - It's a continuous cycle of disappointment, hurt then trying to leave her and live with my Dad, only to be reeled back in with showering of gifts and obligations.

    So I guess I'm asking if anyone else has been in a similar situation with their parents and what the best action is to do? Is it worth me trying to fix the relationship and be honest with how I feel or should I just leave? Any advice would be very much appreciated.

  2. Soberlicious96
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    Soberlicious96 avatar
    519 posts
    24 August 2019 in reply to Guest2583

    Dear Guest2583,

    Welcome to Beyond Blue and well done for reaching out.

    I must say that on reading your post, it reminded me of when I had a boss whom I too thought was quite narcissistic, in that she would put me down in front of customers, never sign off on my training tasks, saying that she thought I would "never remember it anyway" and that I was the "Special One" (which meant for the first year I never actually got anywhere further than a 'beginner' even though I had been there for two years) ..... even calling me nasty insulting names right in front of and to the face of the customers I was serving at the time. She was so horrible to me, and it wasn't long before I began looking for other work ..... but thankfully she left and I now have a new boss who is amazing!

    Also, when you said that you get "reeled back in with showering of gifts and obligations" reminded me also of a violent boyfriend I had many years ago. He would treat me horribly, with violent and abusive outbursts and then come crawling back a few days later with flowers and apologies and promises of "I'll be better from now on, I promise, I won't do it again" and I kept believing him, wanting it to be true ..... and then he'd do it again. I think I moved out about 4 times or so before I finally left and stayed away.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that while you may not be able to do anything about changing your Mum or her behavior, you can do something about and/or for yourself. Perhaps moving out is the best option? After all, you cannot reason with someone who is unreasonable. And the only way to break the cycle of repeating pain, is to accept the reality as it is, not how you want it to be. Tough call, I know, but sometimes tough situations need tough solutions. Plus, a relationship cannot be fixed unless both people acknowledge that there is a problem, and both people want to work toward a solution.

    Whatever you decide to do; stay or go, just make sure that whatever you are doing is right for you .... and not a repeat of past efforts. After all, it's been said that insanity is to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result. Maybe now is the time to do something different? Only you can know what will really help to change the situation you are in.

    Anyway, I hope that helps at least a little. In the meantime, we're here for you and with you for as much as you like. Take care. I'll be thinking of you. xo

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Guest2583
    Guest2583 avatar
    6 posts
    24 August 2019 in reply to Soberlicious96

    Hi Soberlicious96,

    Thank you so much for your response - that was exactly what I needed to hear and it's really good to know that someone else has experienced a similar situation. You're exactly right - I need to do what's best for me instead of focusing so much on changing her behaviour (which is impossible for me to do). And when I think about what will help me, it is definitely moving out. That's also so true about both people needing to acknowledge there's a problem and work towards a solution - I think if I mentioned there was a problem to her, she would immediately get defensive and say I was the only one with a problem.

    As well as your response helping make my decision, tonight my Mum confirmed my decision when we got in an argument (probably the worst yet) and when I asked her to get out of my room, she said "Why do you suddenly hate me? Your mind is so f***ed up" - I think that is the last straw for me. I'm definitely not ready to have a repeat of previous events and I don't think I can live with someone who has such little sensitivity.

    Thank you again :) xx

  4. Soberlicious96
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    Soberlicious96 avatar
    519 posts
    25 August 2019 in reply to Guest2583

    Dear Guest2583,

    You're welcome. That's what we are here for. Please feel free to keep posting along the way. You don't need to go it alone.

    Glad I could help out. Xo

  5. paddyanne
    paddyanne avatar
    127 posts
    26 August 2019 in reply to Guest2583
    Hi Guest2583. Growing up with abuse from either parents or siblings is tough. It sounds as though your mother has extremely low self esteem and wants to bring you down to where she feels in control. Narcs need to be in control and will do anything to maintain that. Nothing you can say or do will change her actions. My mother was similar. Unfortunately for you, leaving her is your best move. Have you googled the narcissist traits to understand how destructive a narc can be. White Knight has some experience in this field as his mother has many of the traits. Trying to be honest will create more disharmony as she won't listen and will possibly abuse you further. If you can leave and move in with your dad or a trusted relation/friend, don't hesitate. Narcs will lie and cheat to stay on top. If you do decided to leave, I would be extremely hesitant in telling her where you intend going, unless your dad is fully aware of her continued abuse. You may have to accept that you might never have a relationship with her. I hope this has helped you decide.
    4 people found this helpful
  6. white knight
    Community Champion
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    white knight avatar
    9755 posts
    26 August 2019 in reply to paddyanne

    Hi, welcome

    As Paddyanne eluded, I've had similar issues with my mother.

    There is a bright side, you've come to realise early in your life. I was 53yo when I found out that her behaviour was narcissistic. I split from her and havent seen her for 10 years and wont ever.

    Initially a friend told me to read this site

    https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=61982.0

    Now, my problem was that my mother is in denial. As Soberlicious said, "you can't reason with someone unreasonable".

    This means although people are mentally ill, they dont deserve our tolerance as they turn their back on a diagnosis, very common.

    So we have to guess what they have and seek our own lives away from them.

    I hope you find the courage to move out and realise there is zilch wrong with you. In fact you are very brave posting.

    TonyWK.

    3 people found this helpful
  7. Buggywug
    Buggywug avatar
    9 posts
    28 August 2019 in reply to Guest2583
    It's not your job to fix your Mum; ( perhaps you are like I once was, I used to think HAD to cure my father of his drunken, abusive narcissism, because obviously I was the cause of it!! ) the main task for you right now is to get through Year 12. You need some peace of mind, so it's probably best to move in with your father. I know all about living in a cycle of endless disappointment, and the sad truth is, some people are just not amenable to changing, as they don't see anything wrong with themselves- only with everyone else! The showering of gifts etc is, as you realise, an act of reeling you in, i.e. CONTROL- and then the cycle recommences. You don't need these head games on top of your studies. Is there a counsellor at your school who may be able to advise? Is your dad willing to have you living with him? If so, then move. Year 12 finals are looming and you'll need to focus intently on passing them, being able to study and prepare in an atmosphere that isn't hurtful and critical. Once the finals are over and you can begin planning your future career, then maybe you can start encouraging your mum to seek help, but it sounds like a long-entrenched personality trait with her, so I wish you all the very best.
    1 person found this helpful
  8. Louiseb
    Louiseb avatar
    4 posts
    1 September 2019

    At age 61 i have only recently read about narcissism.

    As the scapegoat of the family i have endured physical, mental and emotional abuses, self harmed in early primary school and attempted suicide as a young teen. I have suffered with ptsd-like symptoms for many years and underachieved because of that and my feelings of low self worth. I did marry and have children and i am now divorced. I tried to be supportive of my ageing narcissistic parent for over a decade, but was unceremoniously dumped in favour of the golden boy when he hit retirement from the workforce.

    That hit me like a tidal wave. I feel utterly violated because in spite of our family situation i believed in being the bigger guy and living according to my own belief system of love, trust, support, unity, fairness. I tried really hard, and sacrificed much and achieved much but the more i did and gave, the more difficult and treacherous the situation became.

    I feel compelled to post this, as i wish i had broken contact many years ago. I now regret my wasted years and i am battling a range of emotions including grief and anger and depression. I am not suicidal as i knocked that tendency out of the equation years ago, and i have family whom i love dearly even though nobody has offered me any form of support.

    I have learned in my life that everything is down to me. If i succeed or fail it is my choice. My family dynamic has impeded me in many ways but i have not allowed it to totally destroy me.

    I work and i live independently but have few friends and no partner. In reviewing my life to this point i wish i had broken contact many years ago....because nothing was ever going to change. I do feel that life could have taken me down a brighter path.

    I have drawn some strength from similar stories but the hurt i live with goes to bed with me, wakes up with me and invades my day.

    As a young person writing the original post here, i cannot emphasise enough how opening up on here is a move in the right direction. It is not a hatefest but rather a realisation of a sickness ... of a cycle that needs to be broken so it doesn't break you. If breaking contact is a viable option, sooner rather than later because if you stick around it just festers and spreads.

    In 2019 we live, thankfully, in more enlightened times. For me, just being able to come on here is comforting.

    4 people found this helpful
  9. paddyanne
    paddyanne avatar
    127 posts
    1 September 2019 in reply to Louiseb
    Hi Louiseb. Try not to look back with regrets. My mum (she's passed now) was extremely narcissist. I used to live with regrets that I hadn't achieved this or that. I'm nearly 70 and I now look on all the problems I faced as a child, as learning experiences. To me, a 'failure' is someone who never learned from mistakes. Mistakes are made every day, some mistakes are our own doing, others are when we try to cover for someone else. A failure is someone who stops trying because they make an err in judgement. Like everyone here I make many stuff ups, some I try to amend others, I simply accept as stuff ups. No-one is perfect. It sounds to me as though you have achieved much, you've learned about human nature, you've had a marriage bust, many of us here have. I live independently and feel quite proud of myself for that achievement. My mother used to delight in telling me that no man would ever want me because I was too lazy. I don't agree with that because I'm far from that. To me a lazy person is someone who never tries to learn anything and constantly accepts everything given to him/her. I forgave her because hanging on to her negativity brought me down to her narc level. Narcs have extremely low self-esteem and need to bring everyone around them down so they feel superior.
    3 people found this helpful
  10. Guest2583
    Guest2583 avatar
    6 posts
    1 September 2019 in reply to paddyanne

    Hi paddyanne,

    Thanks for your response - As hard as it is, at the moment I'm living with my Dad and just hoping I won't fall for the fake facade reeling me back in. I agree; being honest about how she is acting just creates more fighting and I really don't think she will ever recognise her behaviour or seek help. So it's tricky, on one hand, I want to help her get better but on the other hand, I know I can't sacrifice my own wellbeing any longer so I think as you said, the best choice is to stay moved out.

    Thanks again :)

  11. paddyanne
    paddyanne avatar
    127 posts
    1 September 2019 in reply to Buggywug
    Hi Buggywug. I totally 100% agree it's not the job of children to 'fix' their parents. However as children we are forced to live with and deal with constant put downs and negative reactions. Children to the age of about 7 are strongly influenced by home and surroundings and often repeat what they hear or see. My dad was an alcoholic, while he wasn't physically violent, the verbal abuse was as bad if not worse because verbal abuse scars are not seen or felt by anyone. When he was sober (not often) you couldn't ask for a nicer, more gentle, fun-loving man. Around my cousins he was fantastic, in front of them, I was his angel. I grew up believing I was no good, I felt 'in the way'. I now understand him. I miss him terribly and would give anything to tell him I love him. He was, in his clumsy way, trying to help me stand on my own two feet and show me I could make a good life. My mum didn't want me, (she actually told me), my dad wanted me but couldn't show me as mum would've reacted and caused more issues than we could handle. No I wasn't to blame for his problems, and I couldn't 'fix' them, but if he had lived, I could've been there and helped him be who he really wanted to be.
  12. Guest2583
    Guest2583 avatar
    6 posts
    1 September 2019 in reply to white knight

    Hi whiteknight,

    Thanks for your response and I'm sorry to hear about your mother - I have the similar problem of my mum refusing to acknowledge there is an issue which makes it tricky because you really start to doubt if you are the crazy one. I read the website you put a link to and it is really helpful - especially the Trust Yourself tip.

    1 person found this helpful
  13. paddyanne
    paddyanne avatar
    127 posts
    1 September 2019 in reply to Guest2583
    Hi Guest2583. Reacting to her trying to get you back will be difficult as she will see this as your dad 'winning'. If and when you speak to her, be firm and let her know you still love her and always will but you need to distance yourself as you need to concentrate on schooling and your future. I wouldn't mention her destructive behavior as this will add fuel. If she won't leave you alone, you may have to consider your next move. Talk to your dad if necessary and ask him what he thinks. Best wishes for your future
  14. Guest2583
    Guest2583 avatar
    6 posts
    1 September 2019 in reply to Buggywug

    Hi Buggywug,

    Yes I'm speaking to a school counsellor about it which is really comforting -the plan for the moment is to stay with my Dad for as long as possible and if I need to go back to her for finance/other responsibilities, then I will stay for as short time as possible.

    1 person found this helpful
  15. Louiseb
    Louiseb avatar
    4 posts
    1 September 2019 in reply to paddyanne

    Hi Paddyanne and thank you so much for taking the time to respond.

    You forgave your narc and i believe that this is the key, but right now i am still reeling with disgust at her actions and betrayal. I am trying really hard to forgive myself for what i have invested of my life and for not accepting the fact that people like this will never change. Probably rather than forgive, in the short term i do need to let go somehow as it is eating me up. I do not want to be consumed by hatred but at this stage i am off the scene. She has had two falls which i would normally willingly and happily be the first respondent a nd stay close for as long as required. But behind my back i was stripped of control over aged care that i spent six months organising, powers of attorney and guardianship and exec of estate. I have not taken from her and have done absolutely nothing wrong. Our situation was stressful as her sons did little to help and i did a lot, though i am on my own, running my own business and had two surgeries in less than a year. Her demands were relentless and there was shouting and swearing, but never withdrawal of support. I put my hand up for help and the retiring golden boy agreed verbally to a situation of co operation, so i provided him with usernames and passwords and all information regarding her care so we could share. He took everything and locked me out. While i was finalising her care, he helped "mum" to complete my legal lockout. I don't wish her harm but i will not be a part of this any more..and at this stage i have no intention of attending her funeral. My biggest hurdle is forgiving myself for not pulling the plug myself and a lot sooner

  16. Louiseb
    Louiseb avatar
    4 posts
    1 September 2019 in reply to paddyanne

    Just one other thing, my marriage broke up, but my ex and i maintain a good friendship. He also still visits her. My children are disinterested which disappoints me, as i do not want them to fight my battles, but i really need some support right now.

    Independence is a great attribute and i have always remained totally self reliant.

  17. paddyanne
    paddyanne avatar
    127 posts
    2 September 2019 in reply to Louiseb
    Hi again Lousieb. I was in exactly the same situation when my mother passed. She lived in N.Z, I was here. My sibling was incarcerated at the time, although I was unaware of that. I had to return to N.Z for the funeral as I was the only 'family' left. My mother left everything to my sibling. He was the golden haired boy who could do no wrong. I felt every emotion you now have, hatred, betrayal, hurt, anger. I felt as though she had exonerated his disgusting behavior by leaving him everything. Her obvious intense dislike of me was obvious, the will left me in no doubt. I was seeing a psychologist by then and he read the will. He then turned it round in a way I couldn't have because of my emotional turmoil. Had my mother split her estate between the two of us, my sibling would've spent his in a heartbeat, then made my life a living Hell by demanding I give him my share. I have thought about this often and I know in my heart he was right. I have gained more than she left him because I have my self respect and I've turned my life round to where I'm happy. I'm not with my husband either. We were married for over 25 years, we're now the best of friends and I have gotten past the hurt etc. I did hang onto it for a while, but through a wonderful job I managed to secure and the people I worked with, I've realized that self-hurt only hurts you. I forgave her because disliking someone who's passed is a waste. She can't hurt me now. I will never forget, but the lesson I've learned is people never change, only our dealings with them do. We can continue disliking them who hurt us, but in order to achieve what we want, we need to accept and dislike the action rather than the person. I don't believe my mother really accepted she had to care and provide for me. I dislike what she did, but I feel sorry for the person she was. I believe her own childhood was sad and she just wanted to be loved for who she was. I too did everything I could for her, but she wanted and adored my sibling. I can't change that, but I can ignore his existence (which I do). I have learned to love myself and be proud of what I've achieved.
  18. paddyanne
    paddyanne avatar
    127 posts
    2 September 2019 in reply to Louiseb
    Hi Louiseb. My mother visited my previous ex, she maintained a friendship with him, even though he had children from his previous marriage. I know it's painful knowing your ex maintains a friendship with your mother, it makes you feel as though he can't see her as you do. He can't, because she treats him different. Having disinterested children is a mixed blessing. They possibly would feel torn in two if they maintained a friendship with their g'mother while they know the conflict between you and her. Enjoy your children when you see them and try not to allow their friendship with their g'mother to impact on your relationship with them. It's similar to separated spouses having joint custody. I would also refrain from discussing your mother with them as it puts them at a disadvantage. Children don't see g'parents as 'parents' as such. To children g'parents are there for enjoyment and visiting. Mum and dad are 'the parents' g'parents aren't seen as parents. Hope you understand the meaning I'm trying to explain. I never saw my g'mother as dad's mother, she was just 'nana'.
  19. Louiseb
    Louiseb avatar
    4 posts
    2 September 2019 in reply to paddyanne

    Hi Paddyanne, Thank you ever so much for taking time to write.

    My sibling has a history of physical and mental abuse of me. He feels entitled to treat me this way and i do not trust him to be physically near me as i do not feel safe. When "mum" made her initial will i agreed to be exec on condition that i would not be dealing with him jointly. So it would be either him or me but not both. This was put in good writing. The will has been changed so i am no lo ger exec and my share has been diminished. As he now controls everything he can do all the work and when she passes i will stay well away.

    what you said about letting go...things are still really raw but i believe i will pull through. I do like myself which helps. Like you, i have kept myself employed and independent so i have self respect and can make my own choices. It is empowering not being tethered to her by a stupid will. They have been so nasty to me that i am happy for them to think that contesting it is high on my agenda. I am sad that the ageing process is largely defined by money and property.

    My mind is still churning, but i am keeping healthy, eating well and working hard. Being busy is a good distraction. A friend suggested a few days' holiday but that would give me too much thinking time.

    My kids and my ex still see her and she treats them differently to how she treats me. At first i did feel a bit like they couldn't care less what she did to me, and figured that we would kiss and make up and in no time flat would be back at it again. Although i hate what she did and really do not wish to waste any more of my precious life in her company, i realise that they have every right to associate with who they want to, even if i think their choices suck. I will respect their choices but will not be drawn into any more uncomfortable situations. They also have to respect my choices. The subject of Christmas has come up but is not a biggie because i already had nothing to do with the boys, and my ex and i agreed to keep our Christmases separate as although we are great friends, he has a very understanding new lady who doesn't deserve to be in an uncomfortable situation. Also, he lives in what was our family home and i feel sad about our marriage not working...i never wish to go back, but there's just a lot of history...good and bad. My "mother" wanted us to get back together....could not comprehend friendship between exes. I have grown a lot since our split, but that is a whole different topic.

  20. Shifting Sands
    Shifting Sands avatar
    1 posts
    4 October 2020

    It has taken me decades to realise that my mother was a Narcissistic Parent. Finally my life starts to make sense. It explains why Mum chose my friends, my clothes, what I was allowed to say, what I was supposed to feel, what I could do.

    My mother was unpredictable, violent, verbally abusive and belittling. She treated all her children like this, particularly her two daughters. My mother also wore a false mask in public and only behaved this way towards us at home. With anyone else she turned into a nice person and was seen as pretty, sporty and popular.

    I walked on eggshells around my mother, we all did. Anything could tip her into a blinding rage and she could become frighteningly punitive for days if she felt slighted in any way, either by someone within her household or someone outside it.

    For years as a child growing up I was sexually abused by my mother’s brother and his son, my cousin. My mother never believed that this was happening when I told her about it. Then she blamed me when I became pregnant and had an abortion at 13. She and Dad never protected me. I was never allowed to talk about it and was told that my life was ruined. Just before my 18th birthday I ran away from home and have always limited any contact after that with my mother because I felt so awful when I was around her.

    After 16 years of counselling for PTSD and Childhood Sexual Abuse I recall my therapist saying she felt my main issues were with my mother. This puzzled me until now.

    My son’s family is a nurturing one. No one is perfect or expected to be, each child’s unique personality and interests are valued and they are loved. Protecting them and making sure they feel safe is vital and issues are discussed and solutions found without anyone being belittled or physically punished. Their parenting led to me being able finally to identify my mother as a Narcissistic parent.

    My struggle now is to deal with the beliefs I have about my self that my mother drilled into me. I find myself grieving for my lost self, the person I wasn’t allowed to be, for friends I wasn’t allowed to have, for all those missed opportunities. Mother is in a nursing home now and can’t hurt me anymore.

    Thank you for the new take on the Serenity Prayer. All your posts on this site have really helped me . Talk again soon.

    1 person found this helpful
  21. Universling
    Universling avatar
    22 posts
    12 October 2020 in reply to Shifting Sands

    My heart goes out to you. I have suffered a narcissistic family. I am the youngest of 7 i'm 49 yrs age. Your story really touched me because I know how it feels to be used and abused by your own family (in your case your mother). You did nothing to deserve it. I hope your mother goes to hell (where she sent you all your life). Destructive personalities always go undetected and us victims are left alone and isolated. But fortunately these days there is a lot more understanding of Narcissistic personality disorder for victims of it. Its very hard to move forward when you are a victim of a psychologically dangerous person, because the damage they do is so severe. It's irreversible. I try and love myself every day with self-care etc, but at the end of the day the damage my narcissistic family have done to me is too big. Everyone expects me to move forward and its like hanging in there when there is nothing left to hold onto. Its like hanging by a thread. The worst thing about narcissistic personalites is that when you are a victim you are always blamed. They are not held accountable and get away with serious abuse and you are the one always having to defend yourself. It is disgusting that these people ie: your mother and my whole family are free to abuse and destroy and do whatever they like. I've endured being taken away by authorities for doing nothing wrong, treated like a criminal because of my families lies and abuse. I survived suicide at 16. I also ran away from home at 16. There's a classic movie called Frances about a mother with narcissistic personality disorder and the daughter being taken away by authorities for doing nothing wrong. I can really relate to that movie. I hope your life gets better and just know you are not alone if that's any consolation.

    Universling

    1 person found this helpful
  22. Bpear
    Bpear  avatar
    1 posts
    13 October 2020 in reply to Guest2583
    Leave, she won’t change. My father was very similar. I still struggle but I struggle far less than living with him.
    1 person found this helpful
  23. krezel
    krezel avatar
    3 posts
    19 January 2021 in reply to Louiseb

    Hi louiseb,

    I understand fully, with your story, i also was the scapegoat, i,m 56 now and still the anger and hurt lives with me every day. because of my toxic narcissism family. My father recently passed away and i,m being attacked triangulated, and guilt provoked, unbelieveable , by my mother and two siblings, my nightmare has come to the surface yet again.

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