I think my mum is a narcissist
I am 40 and have just realised whats wrong with my mother, I think she has NPD.
Last straw was when she picked a fight (wasn't really a fight) packed her bags while staying at my house and just left 3 days before xmas. Like I was not worth talking to sort things out, left me very easily. So I have decided no contact was the way to go. Realised a grieved for a mother a never really had but wanted so much, relaised she never did really love me and never will. Though do I still let her see my kids - her grandkids? Is it fair to not let her see her grandkids though what if she hurts them too as they grow older? they are 2 and 3
I was in my 40s when I realised that my mother was a narcissist. It was a relief to be able to understand the condition ... if not the woman. When I was 20, I moved from the UK to Australia, away from my family. It probably saved my sanity. Well, what there is of it.
I got to the point where I would have been happy cutting her out of my life, but she had cancer ... I went over to the UK a few times to help her with the treatment ... out of "duty".
On her deathbed, in hospice, I gave my son a piece of paper and a pencil to occupy himself ... she looked at his drawing, and then at me, and said, in a voice laced with contempt "Oh, he's still scribbling, is he?". He was 4 or 5 at the time.
If she hadn't been dying, I think that's when I'd have cut contact.
I posted this on another thread the other day ... sorry if you've already read it.
Meet my mother ...
Katy100; I'm sorry to hear about your mother. That link is a good reference though; the description feels all too familiar. I think it's a good read, as it helps you to not only understand a person with NPD, but to accept that it is a condition, so that you can finally work on accepting the reality.
boilingpoint; I'm sorry it's hard, I hope this has helped towards finding some closure. Whether or not it helps, there are others who can relate as well. Try a site called:
It's relates to several different personality disorders, but NPD is definitely one of them.
I totally agree with you Vanilla5. Only a few months ago at the age of 63 I finally worked out why my relationship with my mother has been so toxic almost all of my life and why she treated my brother (Golden Child) so differently. She is now 89 so there is no possible way I could discuss her disorder with her even if she could or would listen to anything I said. There have been many times over the years when we have been estranged for periods of time, but I always allowed myself to be drawn back in because of guilt or the (in hindsight) absurd belief that somehow things could be different and she'd suddenly discover that she really did care about me deep down. Discovering that she had NPD was such a light bulb moment for me as it enabled me to finally discard the guilt I have always carried, believing that it must be my fault my mother couldn't love me. At the same time it was extremely painful as I thought about how different my life might have been if I had only known this 40 years ago. I have never had children because I was so afraid I'd be like her and have not managed to sustain any of my partnerships believing I was not worthy of good men or being irresistably drawn to similarly disordered individuals, presumably because they felt familiar to me.
I have essentially taken myself out of her life, because I simply can't deal with any more of the pain she causes me. She still tries to draw me back in, but now I can stay away because I just don't feel any guilt any more. When I do see her, I now have strong boundaries and just won't allow her to go to places I know are going to incite me to retaliate. Interestingly, since my attitude has changed she's actually started to behave much better. I know she's only doing it to try and suck me back in - she needs me so much more these days - but whatever her motivation it is a relief to be treated with a little respect finally. Because of her age, I feel I can't turn my back on her completely - there's no one else she can really turn to - but I've told her if she needs or wants something she has to ask me and I'll see if I can comply. She has cost me so much, but I also recognise it isn't her fault she has this disorder and now with her improved behavior I feel slightly safer when I am around her.
Nevertheless I am still stuggling with the chronic depression, anxiety and insomnia I have had for over 40 years,and which is actually getting worse as I age because of the fear of how low it can take me and how vulnerable I am.
The internet is a wonderful resource and invaluable in allowing people to educate themselves about these various personality disorders. I only wish I had been able to access sites like this one all those years ago before the damage became as deep seated as it now is.
My advice to anyone who realises they have an NPD mother would definitely be to cut off all contact and if you can't do that, only see her when you feel you can set really strong boundaries and stick to them. Allow yourself as long as it takes to heal no matter how long that may be.
I'm sorry to hear that you too have had to face this issue for so long, but am happy to hear that you have learned the truth. It's definitely liberating.
My advice would be to learn to love yourself, with all your being. Be sure to take care of your needs, your health, and your desires; and not just occasionally, do it often; everyday if you can. Overtime, this will assist in healing some of the wounds, and in teaching you to understand that you deserve so much better.
I too have a NPD mother, at least that is what i've diagnosed her as having. I won't go into the details of her or my relationship with her growing up. I have not had contact with her for nearly 7 years and will never have contact with her again.
I did want to share though a fantastic read, it's called "When you and your Mother can't be friends" by Victoria Secunda. It helped me immensely in understanding the type of person/mother my 'mother' is and helped me come to terms with everything.
I'm 34 now and have two young boys of my own and i will not ever allow my 'mother' to see, meet, spend any time with my children and understanding more about her only solidifies the validity in my decision regarding this.
Have a read if you can, get hold of a second hand copy, or order it online, it was truly eye-opening to me.
It's incredibly liberating when you read others' stories online and think that everything fits so well! I had a very narcarcisstic PD mother and I cut contact with her when I was 16. I'm 31 now. As you would appreciate however, they have their strong desires to get to their "target" (Target was me, Golden Child was my brother) any way they can so over the years I've had problems arise from extended family members that she has sucked in and convinced I am a bad person. These family members then try to do what they have been led to believe is "right" and therefore the fact I will not engage in contact with my mother justifies to them that I am a "bad person". Victims of NPD will know exactly what I'm talking about, it's like a lifelong game of chess with daily battles and one great war, only the NPD person will go out of their way to convince the whole world, especially anyone you are close to, that you are wrong, they are right and "supreme" and it's just a matter of time until she can "fix me". Fortunately I've had a good year or two with only minor issues from extended family members, two of which I have now chosen to slowly let "fade out" of my life. I'm just anticipating the next few difficult years of me being declared the "bad person" to all who will listen as mu hubby and I enjoy milestones in our early marriage without these family members being invited to celebrations. Let the games begin!
Unfortunately for hubby, his father is also NPD and living with us at the moment for financial reasons. I appreciate now how fortunate I was at 16 to have a very supporting psychologist who supported me to make the decision to cut contact and create a life of my own that I'm incredibly proud of. My poor hubby has had to deal with his NPD father his whole life, and lately on a daily basis. To be honest, I'm fearful not only about the next daily battle, but also long term as the father NPD continues to try to control many aspects of hubbys life, including when we should have a baby, where we should live, the cars we drive, etc. I'm apparently too defiant and told I cannot and should not cook, clean, garden, drive, work (he hates that I have a career outside the home), walk the dog, pay bills, basically everything. I could just imagine what he'll be like when we have kids and I suspect that that is when hubby and I will need to enforce a no contact rule, at least until he has worked through the NPD with a psychologist and is well on his way to behaving with some respect towards us.
What practical boundaries have people used to deal with the NPD in your life? What tips and tricks do you use to keep yourself strong and on track on a day to day basis. Some days I feel strong, others I don't want to have to deal with the NPD and that's when I cop it the most.
I'm really glad to have stumbled across this post. Thank you all for sharing your experiences. It has made me realise I'm not alone, despite what my family wants me to think.
I wish I had tips for you all on how to deal with this, but I feel quite defeated. I believe both my mother and father have this disorder, and even believe my brother and sister may be developing it, which is very sad for me as they have now become parents too. The worst part is that I feel like I can't let go yet, because my younger sister is still living with them and I know they use their conniving tactics on her. They often will write off your feelings and begin to talk about their awful childhoods, never saying sorry for things they've said to hurt you. Sometimes they'll just say, "why do you keep bringing up things that happened long ago?" only for me or my sister to reply that it was never resolved (and never will be it seems).
I feel like I should break contact, but know if I do, there will be no one for my sister to talk to, because I'm sure they will make it difficult for me to see her. I invite her over to sleep at my house every chance I get, just so she can get away. She talks about them saying awful things about her to her and other people, but hiding behind a disguise of the "poor parent" and "nice person." They'll write her feelings off and manipulate her, tell people all her secrets, and then turn family friends against her or have them join in the bullying or manipulation (of course they don't know she's the real victim, they think they are helping). My mother has health problems too and has made my sister take care of her and guilt trips her if she doesn't. I often find my sister constantly fetching things for my mother while I'm there, almost as if she's a trained slave. But my mother does nothing to improve her health, and maintains unhealthy habits. She also tends to talk about my sister in front of her in a sort of dehumanising way (obviously most people don't see it that way though, it's all apart of the game), and when I try to talk to her about it, she tells me I'm being ridiculous. It is really hard when we try to talk to others about this too - they write it off as over reacting and us being drama queens etc but we know it's real. It's really like living in a prison.
My father isn't really around much, so he's not a culprit a lot of the time (although I've always got the feeling that he isn't interested in us unless we do what he wants and we like what he likes). But when he is around, it's a constant barrage of his opinions being thrown down your throat, and if you don't believe, you are what's wrong with this world and you will be demonised in front of the whole family. I know this bothers my sister too: she is often left crying after his tirades, not understanding why, but I do. I have lived it before.
I really want to protect my sister from this, as I suffered depression all through high school because of this treatment. But how can I when I'm just as much a victim as she is? And when they can keep me from her if we even try to talk about it to them?
I sometimes wish I could steal her from their home and take her with me, but I don't make enough to support her as well, and know this may hurt her (she still holds on to hope they may change and still believes deep down they love us).
What can I do?
I'm new here. I've been reading the posts and find so many of you going through the exact same thing as me. However, my dad is the one with NPD, and aside from myself & 2 of my doctors, almost no one in my life either believes me, or they just don't know what to do. Like many of you that grew up under an NPD parent, it wasn't until I was in my early 40's and talking with one of my drs that I realized he was NPD- and severe. He ranks a 9/10 on the scale.
My mom, I have come to realize, is a major enabler. Her co-dependency, especially as I have helped her to see what he is, is so frustrating to me. Many times I think she likes being a doormat or else is so starved for love, she will take anything. After some time & thought, I realized she was also raised in an NPD home, but wo the benefit of realizing this when she was young.
What's worse, my youngest sister, who is in her 30's is showing signs of having NPD, too.
I guess I am writing because on top of all this, I have a chronic illness - which has recently gotten worse, forcing me to stop working and have to move in to a home my parents own (a tiny country home) while they stay in the city. I used to make a good living, but between my needs, sharing a flat for a while with my sister, and being forced to pay about 1/3 of my income towards my family's various bills - I am broke. What's worse, even though I am not technically with my parents, I am "under their roof", so they have many expectations from me, which my body just can't function with anymore. It's not depression - I have some complicated neurological and pain issues. Still, my dad shouts at me to get up and move - that I am just lazy, fat, ...
What's worse, even though my drs know what is going on, and I tried a modified "no contact" rule, I find that because there is little to no understanding and acknowledgement of what victims of those with NPD go through, we have ABSOLUTELY no legal, minimal medical, and no social support. Yet, we suffer EVERY POSSIBLE type of neglect and abuse there is. How can that be?
Has anyone else in the community have a similar issue? How did you work through it? I feel so alone. I try to keep active as possible given my limitations.My cats are my life. But I am much too young to be a disabled "cat lady" living with my parents. How can I help myself get out of this situation (medically, I may have better days, but the damage is permanent and will likely get worse - stress definitely worsens it)?