It Took a Lifetime to Understand My Narcisistic Parent

I was born into this situation I have never, until recently, been able to understand it.  I could not understand why she didn't seem interested in anything I  ever talked to her about.   I can never impress her with anything I do or have.  She barely pays attention to me when we are speaking on the phone and I sometimes ask, "Did you hear me????"  I also was constantly hurt by her favoritism toward my younger sister and brother, although the next sister closer to my age is in a similar situation to mine.  Even understanding does not take the pain away.  Her mother treated her this way and I recall as a child how sad she was about the favoritism, and I just assumed that someone who had dealt with this herself would NEVER do it to her own child.  How wrong I was!!!!  She is not at all nurturing but yet, she's old now and expects me to take her all around with me but she doesn't even like me!!!! I have terrible feelings of resentment about this.   

6 Responses Mar 17, 2009

You're not on your own and it's nice for me to realise that I'm not the only one either :) It's so difficult...but we are at least capable of acknowledging our own perspectives.

And something further. I hope this is not insulting to anyone reading this. It's just that I read various forums on how to deal with a difficult, elderly parent and am amazed by how long people live while being "propped up" by our medical system while having no quality of life. It just doesn't make sense to me. I guess it's about the bucks.

Wow. Isn't it incredible that people can become parents just because they had sex? My mother actually did not become a parent--she just reproduced! I have four siblings and thankfully we turned out with some of my father's traits. But we are all messed up in a lot of ways because of my mother. She had five children even though she is physically handicapped and I, being the eldest daughter, have had to bear the most abuse. And now she and my father are elderly and not well, and guess who came to the rescue? What is it with me?? Yesterday I finally blew at her and now I get the martyr crap for who knows how long. This is a nightmare, but I have decided to own my life again. These past few years have been a living Hell for me and I have my mother to thank for most of it. The incident yesterday occurred because I was shopping for groceries (for HER!) and she called me on my cell phone to tell me to get eggs. I reminded her that there is still a partial carton in the fridge and she replied, "Yes, but that won't be enough if anyone of 'them' want breakfast." What?? I asked her who she was talking about and it was at that moment that she informed me that my niece, her two small children, and her fiance would be staying with us for the week, arriving in 1 - 2 hours. We have known of my niece's visit for two months and no one EVER mentioned them staying with us. No way was she going to stay, though. NO WAY. We have one spare bedroom and one of the two bathrooms is being remodeled by ME in my 'spare time', so the idea of bringing in four more bodies was ludicrous. And when I tried to tell her why it was not going to happen, she got all "martyr-y" on me. I cannot take this any longer. That woman is a mean, manipulative, sneaky, addicted-to-gambling witch. When my father's Alzheimer's advanced (and yes, I take care of both of them full-time AND work), she started secretly going through their savings. It was at about $300,000 that we caught on. And she will NEVER take responsibility for any of it. What a mess. And on top of it all, I am the exact opposite of her in all things. Really. My lifestyle wishes, the t.v. (UGH!), recreation, ideas, politics, you name it. I think that is due to two things: She NEVER worked with me to help me build a value system and I dislike her so much that, at some point, I made the decision to become someone completely different from her and also to create my own value system. But I did not figure that stuff out until I was well into adulthood and now, after all of my efforts, I find myself trapped here because I care too much for my father to let him suffer at her hands.

Cut bait. Get your father into a decent adult assisted living place where they can care for him. Leave your mother on her own. Get out!!! Get out!!! Get out!!! As bad as she is to you, YOU are bad to yourself. Choose life - and get out of there!

I am just discovering that I am a child of a narcissistic mother and have entered therapy. Why at this late age? My father died when I was 18 just entering college. I lived at home because my mother did not want me to go away (eldest child.) I became her surrogate husband. She smothered the life out of me and when I graduated from college I tore away and moved to NYC, later to Atlanta and then to Miami with my current partner. She openly stated when I moved to NYC that she would never support me in the move and if I had trouble I could not call her or come back home. Out of a terrible fear of failure, I was successful professionally there and later. Over time I made a good life for myself but all those years there was something missing in my relationships with my Mother that I saw in other parent/child relationships of my friends. My current partner of 13 years was offered a phenomenal executive position in my hometown five years ago and we moved there. I quickly found an executive position locally. My mother's health slowly began deteriorating and she demanded of my time relentlessly. All of the old patterns began to emerge. I began to shut down at work. Last March I had to quit my job to care for her until she died in September. It was a thankless, empty and draining task. I remember going to the house one day and she said "you don't care anything about me." All of the skeletons of the past came flying out of my Pandora's Box for me to face. As executor I have had to settle her estate and deal with her narcissistic siblings as there was jointly owned property. I began drinking heavily and withdrew. in desperation I began seeing a cognitive therapist 6 months ago and I am just crossing the boundaries of understanding a narcissistic parent. My mother was beautiful, manipulative, rarely ever touched me (my brother or sister) never encouraged me at anything I did but criticized and punished me mercilessly as a child. She was never capable of loving a child. A very difficult thing to learn about your mother. I am hopeful I can heal from this. I have a loving partner and a good life and want to enjoy both.

I am also the child of a NPD mother..I have also decided to go no contact. I have never been happier in my life..I have even had to go no contact with my family members because she would use them to gain information about me..My mother was also the ignoring NPD. If I recieved any attention at all believe me it was negative and hurtful..She always went out of her way (even useing other siblings) to hurt me..The final blow was when I found out she went to my ex and told him I was on drugs and to take my kids away..I was not (i even took a drug test) but that was it.She was gone for good.I relocated and tell people when they ask about family that my mother died many years ago..I know it's not good to lie but I don't think I need to explain either..It's sad but your mother will never love you..She is not capable of it..and if ever she sheds a tear it is most certainly superficial....Good luck

My heart goes out to you! I'm in the same situation, and I'm an only child. My decision was "No contact" as my mother has an adequate income and can hire people to help her, as needed. If she lost her mind, I would step in to arrange a nursing home or whatever, but would keep personal contact to a minimum, if any at all. For a long time, I felt I had to explain myself to everyone -- but if people won't believe you when you simply say, "I have issues with my mother and can't see her or talk to her unless absolutely necessary" then why would they believe any number of sordid details? And part of the "healing" is loving yourself, despite the approval of others, so I'm ready (I think) to find the courage I need to hold my head up and protect the rest of my life from destructive people and influences, INCLUDING my mother."