The Legacy of Distorted Love

Recognizing, understanding and overcoming the debilitating impact of maternal narcissism

When Your Narcissistic Parent Is Sick or Elderly

Many adult children of narcissistic parents are finding themselves in the sandwich generation. Statistics reveal that one in eight adults are simultaneously supporting their own children and grandchildren while also providing assistance to aging parents. Read More

Ah, aging parental narcism

I'm in this situation up to my neck but it's even worse than you can imagine. My father has cancer and is dying. My mother is a master narcissist. For whatever reason, reasons I will never understand, my father has been indulging my mother in her needs, wants and desires for 60 years. She has been a vortex for all his time, money and energy throughout their marriage. Now he is in need. My mother appears to be getting worse not better. My sisters want nothing to do with the situation.

My father has reached out to me, asking me to get control of my very angry mother. She is furious because he is sick and cannot pay enough attention to her. I do what I can but I can only be in their house for so long before her tirades and insults erode my patience. I've reached a compromise between my own needs and those of my father. Yes, I would like to help my father but he sort of made his bed and I can only sacrifice so much of my own peace and sanity to deal with this. I have one friend who really thinks I'm being evil about this, but he doesn't live in my shoes.

Only do what you can

Only do what you can emotionally handle for yourself. You have to remain mentally healthy for your own life. Spending too much time in a narcissist's home will depress you and alter your own lifestyle and relationships with others. Your friend who thinks you are evil may not be the kind of friend you need to continue to spend time with. A good friend would understand your limitations. Suround yourself with supportive friends and family and spend less time with those who aren't supportive.

Sound advice. We have to keep

Sound advice. We have to keep in mind that narcissism isn't coming from a place that can ever make logical sense. It is not normal or admirable in any way. If the narcissist in our lives didn't think enough of their family and friends in their younger years to correct their destructive behavior, then they've set their own legacy by the time they have reached their senior years. Usually by then, the elder narcissist has exhausted the stores of patience and care within them.

Nice to know it's not just me

Our family just went through this with my Dad. He was diagnosed with brain cancer and my mother's narcissistic behavior went into overdrive. How could he do this to her? The worst part of his passing (14 weeks after diagnosis) is her inability to drive (he drove everywhere). We(the kids) never really understood her problems as she is extremely intelligent and hid them well. We just thought she was a little mean and demanding. Only after she went through 6 aids in as many weeks and saw and heard how badly she treated my Dad during this period did it all become clear. Anyone who thinks you are evil needs to care for this person, in the house for a few days. The onset of abuse inside the 4 walls of our house is almost immediate.

Both Biological & Both Stepparents NPD

The abuse I endured as a child was like living in a horror movie every day. I have an identical twin sister who has grown up to have NPD as well. They both smoked weed every day. We were military kids so by the time neighbors began to notice the abuse we moved away. Mom married my step dad when we were 6 years old. I was still wetting the bed. We moved to Guam & mom decided the bedwetting was laziness. She instructed dad to check my bed every morning before he went to work. If I had wet, I had all day to look forward to thebelt wwhen he got home from work. I soon lost my best friend who was banned from my house when she told her parents what was going on. I secretly wished to be rescued but nobody ever wanted to get involved. This continued for 6 months before they decided to take me to the doctor. He diagnosed me with a weak bladder & prescribed medicine. Within a month I stopped wetting the bed. I began suffering from PTSD as a very young child. I was extremely hypervigilant & started having painful neck stiffness which has become contractures that squeeze my cervical discs to the point of degeneration. We never knew what would set off her terrifying rage. She would beat us for anything from waking her while getting ready for school to leaving the cap off the toothpaste. I started to cringe&fflinch every time she walked by because she would slap me for no reason. When they fought she would lash out on me or throw things then force me to clean up the mess. At age 12 we moved to Torrejon Air Force Base in Spain. They didn't have a drug connection there so it became my job to find the drugs after my homework was done. I was not allowed back in the house until I scored. I wandered the streets of Madrid looking for hash whenever they ran out. I was raped so many times I couldn't tell you how many times it happened. I began to view my body as a tool to achieve the 1 thing I craved from my parents: love, praise & acceptance. When we left Spain, after dad was discharged for drugs, mom made a tampon out of hash & made me insert it for the international flight back to the States cuz if I got caught I was only 13 & would be charged as a minor. Now dad is dying of cancer. He has no insurance. I am crippled from a military service related injury. Mom wants me to move in & use my retirement funds to pay for the funeral & help with the bills & her grieving process. He has about a month left. My PTSD symptoms, specifically startle reflex have been worse than ever. My sister has no intention of doing anything to help. I am in therapy weekly & he says that if I try to help them I must set the boundaries & get his large family involved. Honestly, I don't know if I can handle the stress. I pray about it & the guilt I feel about the option of letting them take care of the house, bills, 5 bedroom house & 4 dogs conflicts me horribly. But I'm crippled so I would also have to pay for yard work, carpet cleaning etc. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Confused

You have permission to save

You have permission to save yourself.Any respect or thing else you may have"owed" that woman has been negated by her mental abuse of you. Your health issues are because of the mental stress you have lived with since childhood. You have permission and a right to cut all contact with the toxic one and work on improving your health. YOu will not burn in Hell for not honoring that parent,they often neglect to obey the part of the Bible that tells parents not to provoke their children. IT's all about them controlling you. NPD parents don't love their children period. They don't love anyone even themselves. However you cannot be soft hearted towards her ( that's like baring your throat to a wolf and expecting not be chewed up)because she will continue to eat you alive until you are dead or about exhausted literally to death then she will try to manipulate you into doing even more for her. That's how they get their jolly's, by putting us through hoops even when they know we are physically too sick or disabled. THEY DON'T CARE. NPDs view any act of kindness on our part as a green light to start the abuse because they believe that 1. We are stupid and 2. Our kindness is weakness. If you do decide to go no contact for self preservation be prepared for the on onslaught of crap that will inevitably come your way. If you look at their past behaviors when for whatever reason you weren't available to be their narcissistic supply source and make a list of behaviors. These never change. They are very predictable and the one thing you can count on is that they will be used over and over until they have you under their thumb and in their supply closet again. It's really hard to do this because the guilt of not doing what she wants and the anger you will have towards her will alternate continuously until you either give in or she finds another supply source.Take heart,IT CAN BE DONE. You just have to finally come to the sad realization that NPDs are incapable of real love for their children. NO one who really loves their kids treats them like a NPDer does. Also there is no depth too low for a NPDer to stoop if they think it will help them win and get their way. I found this to be quite useful and amusing at the same time. You've got to save yourself before it's too late.

You may also want to research


Being torn between guilt, disappointment and my need not to be manipulated, hurt and confused is awful. And in a way it's her way to claim her control over me yet again. My mother never yelled at me or was abusive. Just critical, controlling and not interested. The indifference was the worst. I felt I didn't exist. And now when she is 83 and frail, she expects "closeness", attention and care. When I try to get closer sooner or later she hurts me terribly with some random remark. My family thinks I exaggerate, and that's who she is I should forget it. On top of that it seems she is oblivious to the damage she does and when gently confronted plays victim and has to be comforted.
I understand she is a child emotionally and had not received enough love herself. But how do I balance it? How do I protect myself?

To let you know......

You are not exaggerating. Your mother knows exactly what she is doing because she has a defensive plan firmly in place that she plays like a violin when confronted. she claims victimhood and gets even more attention. No oblivion at all.

The way I play it is not trying to have an equal-relationship with my mother. When your mother throws out a hurtful remark say nothing. Change the subject and reduce your tone of voice to flatness. You may have to cut your interactions down to manageable segments like 45 minutes. At the first sign of bad behavior head for the exit. She'll slowly learn that her actions have consequences.

My mother seems more upbeat in the morning and gets angrier and more controlling toward the end of the day. I visit at 10AM when she can manage her behavior. Also, have a friend you can call that is willing to listen to you rant the minute you leave your mother. They should be forwarned when you are visiting mom and be ready for that call.

My mother does the exact same

My mother does the exact same thing and she too is 83 years old. She will actually insult then when I play it cool toward her she plays victim. She is very clever and very manipulative even today. I try not to take it personally because she does need care but she was always this way but much worse now. I do everything I can for her but it is never enough -- it never was. She truly is the travel agent for guilt trips and through all her memory loss and victim playing she is always critical and ready to slam me with some horrible verbal crap. She is mean and angry and my only prayer is that I don't end up the same way.

You protect yourself by surrounding yourself with those who love and care for you. Do what you can for Mom but be nice to you too.

mine too.....

I still find it difficult to talk about my mother like this - guilt still plays a big part in my mind. I have known for a very long time that all the lies and manipulation couldn't be right but I was brought up with them so while I was young it was normal. My mum is now 83 and I'm 62 and finding out about NPD has been like a revelation. I had made a bullet point list a few years ago, outlining all the things that didn't seem right and yet that I couldn't understand. For example, feigning illness, alienating friends, saying hurtful things without apparently realising how they affected me. When my son rang her to tell about his wonderful exam results she told him she was ill and he'd have to call back - how hurtful - I couldn't believe it. When he announced his engagement she said immediately that she wouldn't be at the wedding. On the day of the wedding I rang her after the ceremony to tell her that it was a sunny day - "it is here" was her reply. She told neighbours that that day was the worst day of her life because everyone else was away enjoying themselves. When my dad broke the news to her that he had cancer, she rang me and told me she felt as though she'd had a sledgehammer through her head - it was all about how it affected her. When I walk to the shops with her she starts shouting "you're not too old for a thrashing" - in her mind it's amusing. But we have a drama in every single shop. She rings me at all hours demanding I go round with painkillers or because she's "ill". She's had every xray and every test and there's nothing the matter. I can't stand the play acting any more. She now tells me that my five year old grandson is wicked and deceitful - I'm sure she does this because she knows I have a close bond with him. She copies the way I have my hair and has started wearing the same perfume as me. She has cut relatives and "friends" off for years always believing that she's in the right. She is now a sad elderly lady, spending every day in her pyjamas and lying in bed. She hasn't got a single friend and no-one visits her - apart from me - so it looks as though I'm stuck with it unless anyone here has any suggestions. And I'd love to hear what any readers make of the personality I've described - has she got NPD? Oh, and I'm an only child!

My mother does the exact same

My mother does the exact same thing and she too is 83 years old. She will actually insult then when I play it cool toward her she plays victim. She is very clever and very manipulative even today. I try not to take it personally because she does need care but she was always this way but much worse now. I do everything I can for her but it is never enough -- it never was. She truly is the travel agent for guilt trips and through all her memory loss and victim playing she is always critical and ready to slam me with some horrible verbal crap. She is mean and angry and my only prayer is that I don't end up the same way.

You protect yourself by surrounding yourself with those who love and care for you. Do what you can for Mom but be nice to you too.

What to do. What to do

My mother is a 91 year old narcissist who causes trouble wherever she goes. Aides all leave her. Agencies do not want to deal with her. It is easier to do all the work myself then mediate all the issues she initiates.

She recently called all the family members after 9PM threatening to have me arrested because I said she was lazy. What I said was that she needed to do PT or chair exercises to keep up her strength so that she did not become bed ridden. I told her it was not in her best interest to laze about in bed all day. "I will bring in doctors to prove how disabled I am and I am not lazy, I work around this house like a dog." It is true that my mother uses a walker and it is true that she has atypical Parkinson's Disease, but her condition has remained stable for over 7 years. She chose to lock herself up in her house for more than a decade, during which time she has used me as her personal assistant, drudge, hair dresser,grocery provider, cook, etc.

She made all the BAD choices which have led up to her being alone in a large house that she expects me to maintain up to her standards-like changing out wreaths on her front door seasonally ,constant floor washing, vacuuming and dusting. She does not want to part with anything. "Can't you wait until I'm dead?"

Her fury with me has escalated since I began helping my husband prepare his deceased mother's home for sale. I assume she feels she owns me and my time.

She did not do well in rehab. I was forced to go there 3 times a day at the same time my father was in another facility in another town. The director tried to discharge her weeks before she was ready, because of her nasty comments. She is an unlikely candidate for AL, because she will not get dressed unless she looks like royalty. She spends her days in pajamas, watching game and religious shows. She would never walk to any dining room. But she is not disabled enough for skilled nursing care.

I really don't know what to do. There is little understanding about her mental disorder or sympathy for me. I have considered putting in cameras and sound to record all our interactions, because after this threat I do not trust her.

mom's needs

I'm glad i read this. My Mother is doing the same to me. She is in bed all day, although she has no problems other than bedridden disntgration of her muscles. I could have written this story by myself. I feel so depressed and shitty about myself, and yet i am doing the same thing by not getting out of the house to exercise.


I am so happy I located this web page, my mother recently moved in with me and my teenage children what a mess. I am going abosultly crazy, she is so mean, sarcastic, there are 5 people waiting on her morning, noon, night, all through the day, all agencies have stopped helping her, she doesn't qualify for state asssitance that will help with nursing home cost or long term care cost, not enough insurance and she managed to never save a penny. She put me in a foster home when I was 2 and came to get me when I was 13. All through out the stay in the foster place I was beaten, raped, hurt mentally called names, etc. My letters to her went un-answered for years. Now I feel bad, I really don't feel enough "love" in my heart to care for her, especially since she continues to talk about me to anyone who will listen. What island can we put these folks on so they can't hurt themselves, or their childen anymore?

This all sounds SO familiar

As that the guilt of feeling this way about my mother has just about gone, I find more of these pages which reinforce that I am not nuts or a total bitch! Bethany you to everyone who has posted here!

My mother is 85 and not a conversation goes by without tirades about me now deceased father who "wouldn't teach her to drive" her nasty sisters picking on her (for Gods sake it was 70 years ago, BUILD A FREAKING BRIDGE) and oh, how everyone keeps telling her how beautiful she is ........ Gag!

I thought I had close family, but I now realise it was my darling dad holding us all together. Now that he
Is gone my siblings and I are starting to realise the tyrant that ruled over us and Dad and how to really has screwed us up as a family. Thanks Mommy Dearest....Joan Crawford could have taken some serious lessons from you!

SO SO familiar!

This page is a Godsend. My mother has always been a verbally abusive, ADHD addled, meanspirited, proudly bitchy control freak, who spend nearly 60 years screaming at my mild mannered, hardworking dad. When he got sick, of course it was all about her, and now that he has escaped her wrath all she does is moan about how she misses him. If that is the case, WHY WERE YOU SO HORRIBLE TO HIM?
He was definitely the glue in our dysfunctional family. With him gone, my brother (who is very much like mom) has gone MIA (no surprise there) and my husband & I are stuck helping her navigate things. She is willfully ignorant and now has gotten sick herself.She's insisting we move to her state and take care of her and live with her---??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA NO. I have to find a solution. I can't deal with her on that level.
UGH Thank you all for the opportunity to vent!

mean mother

you let her into your home? no. just no. get her put on medication to control her mood. think librium, valium whatever. then get her back into assisted living. don't torch your own family for her, she's undeserving.

my mom was similar and we got her on meds and she became the most pleasant person. like a miracle.

Similar situation with our

Similar situation with our elder parent. He made zero repairs/replacements/upgrades to his home for over 40+ years. Then in his later years, he realized he couldn't live there by himself. He moved himself into an assisted living center (they came and picked him up with what he wanted to take with him) and left the house - falling apart with it's plumbing (literally crushed), electrical, failing roof, structure problems, flooring and furniture worn down to the padding, a rotted out bathroom, a hoard of junk everywhere, mold growing on the walls from lack of proper circulation within the home, large trees down in the yard, etc. Took us at least a year to get it cleaned out and inhabitable behind him. And then he complains for years afterwards about us robbing him of his old home, like it was a prized dwelling, that he'll never return to. So much for a simple 'thank you'. And to think there used to be a concept of putting your affairs in order once you got older...Some people just value their own greed more than they do their families. You have to recognize what their priorities have always said about them.

Those BAD choices were their own. There is a limit to what you can do to help them, just like there has always been a limit to what they have done to help you all your life.

Your mother is abusing you

Hi Maria (April 4):) I'm sorry you're mother has treated you so badly, your whole life it seems. You deserve love and respect.

You asked how to have balance and protect yourself while interacting with your mother. From what you've said, I gather you've tried it all by now, to no avail.

The following will be unpleasant to swallow, but YOUR MOTHER *IS* AN ABUSER. She trained you to accept her selfish, cruel behavior as normal. The truth hurts, I know from personal experience, but looking at it is the only way to stop feeling have to start being true to yourself...start LIVING YOUR ON LIFE.

Being constantly criticized, controlled and made to feel like you don't really exist, ESPECIALLY BY YOUR OWN MOTHER, is horrible covert ("hidden") abuse. You don't have to slap, spank, kick or otherwise physically or sexually abuse a child to be abusing them terribly.

Up until I went No Contact 1 1/2 yrs ago with my narcissistic father and enabling mother, both now 76, he enjoyed slicing and dicing me with a barrage of critical, hateful, and confusing words EVERY DAY!!! Please take note, DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS IS STILL DEATH. When he wasn't verbally abusing me, he got his kicks out of totally ignoring me.

Making you FEEL like you don't exist is terribly abusive. That's not love. You probably have suffered from serious ongoing depression because of a life time of your mother's cruel words and endless expectations. Also, in the end, it doesn't matter if she intends to hurt you horribly or "can't help herself", because the end result is the same...YOU SUFFER TREMENDOUSLY, TO THE POINT OF FEELING LIKE YOU DON'T EXIST (numb, in a fog, depressed, unmotivated and invalidated)!!

You said your family tells you you're exaggerating how badly she treats you, just accept her as she is and forget how terribly she treats you...WOW!!! Sounds like you are the family scapegoat...the one they all use like a thing and falsely blame for all their own bad behavior. They are abusing you, too! Please ignore their selfish advice.

After abusing me yet again, my family also loves to tell me I'm too sensitive and should put it all behind me. Well, I'm sooo *sorry*, but I can't...there's no more room back there:D You are not being too sensitive...THEY ARE USING YOU to "take care of mother", so they don't have to do very much or anything and can go on with their lives. It's *your* turn to have a life, don't you think???

PLEASE START GOING TO A GOOD COUNSELOR THIS WEEK. PLEASE GET THE CARING SUPPORT YOU NEED AND DESERVE TO GET AWAY FROM YOUR ABUSIVE MOTHER AND OTHER RELATIVES!!! Maria, a good counselor will gently help you figure out how to protect yourself from further abuse and take charge of your own life. I beg you, please grab and hold on tight to the reigns of your own precious life. You can't save your mother. It's ok to step back and be loving and compassionate to yourself now. Take care:)

I wish I had known that

I wish I had known that decades ago, before I kept volunteering myself for that abuse over and over again. Just because people are older than you, is never - ever a guarantee for their being wiser or anywhere near right. Abuse is never deserved. Abuse of a child (young or and adult child) is not only meant to hurt them into submission for the sick abuser's own control, it hurts their families. If we don't recognize the effects of abuse in our own lives, we at least should be concerned for our own family's long term health. The way I finally came to reconcile my family's own elderly abuser (who was a long term narcissist) was to understand that they aren't changing over time, even though given many opportunities and much forgiveness. And their words and actions are not only mentally hurting my family, the physical is also setting in. It was a time for realism among the family - all of our extended family - to realize who the abuser really is. Beyond that - it was 'enter at your own risk' type of interaction with them. Even with the grand kids. Too bad they set up this type of relationship with their own family like that. Make no mistake about it - they created this atmosphere over a very long time at their own doing. It's how they wanted it.

Thank you

Last week my father had a heart attack. He's ok - but the past two years of healing - doing just what you said in your article - was put to the test.

I ended two years of NC the weekend. My mother and I were able to converse civilly with each other. I had a nice visit with my father. I held my ground with my sister who got combative with me over the phone - where as I normally let her tirade go on and on, I was able to end the conversation when it was unproductive without feeling guilty. I had another family member give me the guilt trip of a life time and was able to let it go knowing he cannot dictate the time frame and the conditions on which I make amends with my family - only I can do that.

I feel so much stronger and much of this started with your book. This article re-enforces that I am on the right path. Thank you.

Relieved to find others in the same boat

As an only child of a mother who I could never please my entire life, was a slave to her, and never felt emotionally connected I am so happy to have found this information.

After having the worlds worst Mother's Day this past weekend - as a 44 year old woman and mother myself I started doing some research online and found this information and the Narcissist personality perfectly describes my Mom. I've always silently dealt with her lashing out at me and thought I was just too sensitive. She's always the life of the party and everyone thinks she is this bubbly, funny, always laughing person - but with me and only me - she's Awful!!!!

She just only recently starting lashing out at me in public and that was the last straw for me - on mother's day! I was completely floored and embarrassed to be treated like that as an adult in front of everyone!!! (At my daughters softball game in the stands) She was yelling and ranting and raving over the simplest of things. When she saw me crying she laughed bolsterly outloud in front of everyone.

Days before this I had given her mother's day flowers early and she totally ignored the fact that I left them for her at her house. (I was secretly hoping she'd be really surprised) But she didn't even call me. Then I brought the other part of her mother's day gift (a silver cross necklace) and she just smirked and made faces and told me how the clasp was too small, it wasn't mothers day yet,how this chain was too small, would it even be long enough and on and on... never reading the card first.

Also, the last few years she's found another friend who she cleans house for who's my exact age and her and my dad call her their "other daughter" - she love's my mom and wants her to come over there and this person recently lost her mother and so she thinks of my mom as her second mother. She's perfect in my mothers eyes and does more for her than I do and of course she pays her. She also has a daughter and my mother says she has another "grand daughter" now too! Well, she hasn't lived my life for sure...
and I know that she doesn't treat her like she does me...

This is only a tiny sample of some of the things she does - I'm just so glad not to feel alone now and have some understanding of this sickness. same age and same age and literally the same situation. Unfortunate, but glad to know I'm not alone. Peace.

Realisation that you have an NM.

Dear Only Child,

I found many similarities between you experiences with your Mother any my own experiences.
I am the same age as you, but not an only child ( I have a younger sister). I can only imagine how doubly worse it must have been for you growing up as an only child and having to deal with the lack of love, empathy and nuturing that every child deserves.

I have always been the Scapegoat, but have distanced myself emotionaly from my Mother and although it has been hard it is my coping mechanism.

The part of your story where you describe your Mother recently befriending a woman your age and refering to her as a 'daughter', I found particicularly familiar as my Mum has done exactly the same!!! It just seems to re-emphasise the doubt that we were not good enough daughters ourselevs!

My Mother now has terminal cancer and I am trying to sort my head out so that I can still be of some support to her and my father.
I cannot forget the earliest memories as a tiny child are filled with pain and sadness. This went on through my childhood, my teens and right up until 19 when she threw me out (again). As an adult there have been months on end when I was excluded from the family, false accusations and mental cruelty.

I just COULDNT understand her or why she had done and said all these things to me when I was a vulnerable child.
Having children of my own made me realise how beautiful it is to be a mother and share love with your children.
So why didnt she feel this?

Then I came across the term NPD and it shocked me to discover, there WAS a reason and it had a name.

I hope you are begining to heal, as your post was 2 years ago. Dont let the past trip you up and focus on yourself.
Goodluck xx

Wow - that story hit home!!

I too am 47 and the only child of an NPD mother. Dad was gone by the time I was 2 and it was just she and me (an a string of abusive boyfriends). It was terrible to be isolated with that woman and all her criticisms and absolutely no life guidance or support on how to grow up and be a confident secure woman. I remember as a young child crying to her that nothing I did was enough for her. Everything I touched was "poorly done" and needed all but a punishment to make her point about how incompetent I was. At times she was downright cruel, making me do weird exercises on the floor (holding up one arm and the opposite leg in a kneeling position) so she and her drunk friends could laugh at my struggling (I was a heavy kid and not that athletic). The WORST though was the string of "better" daughters. There have been many (and a new one to this very day). Recently, I actually turned away from a good friend of mine because my mother liked her and was doing all she could to daughterize her too! I could't bare to hear her calling my friend on the phone and calling her "dear" and telling her what a lovely woman she is when I hear is criticisms and faults. Anyway, by the time I was 14 nada was gone. Off to live with a boyfreind. I was left to my own devices in our welfare apartment to figure it all out for myself. At the time I was grateful to be free of the verbal abuse but sadly I never married or had kids of my own. I am just now starting to realize how little I "trust" and have never allowed myself to really commit to anybody. Children always scared me to death as all I heard is that men leave and you get STUCK with kids. She used to count down on my birthdays as to how long until I was 18 and she was free. I was such an anxious unhappy child I knew I had no idea how to be a good mother and was terrified of doing it badly... alone. Thanks for this string. It helps me too feel not so alone.

narcissistic mother broke her hip

I saw my situation in the previous posts. The writers could have been speaking for me. "Being torn between guilt, disappointment and my need not to be manipulated, hurt and confused is awful." The "bubbly personality," and the way others think she is such an wonderful, lovely woman. Ruining any day that's special to me. When I'm the *star* and she's not. Manipulating and rescuing my children so that they learned to rely on her and didn't learn from their mistakes. Destroying my marriages. She is furious with me, always has been, but it's worse when I have good things happening in my life. Now she has broken her hip while on a trip to the town where my brother lives. I rushed there--a four hour trip--with my grandson and daughter, and spent three days running errands and visiting while she complained. She told me to go home from the first day I was there. Now, home again, she's crying about how mean I was to leave her: "I need help! I told you that!" Well, my brother lives in that city and his 25 y/o daughter does too. But she's guilt tripping me already. I'm so tired of this drama queen.

Protect yourself from dying drama queens

I can't state forcefully enough that in my opinion the boundaries that are necessary to have when dealing with a narcissist only become more necessary when there is a source of drama like impending death. I believe that any illusions the non "N" has about a deathbed conversion or closure or resolution is a self destructive repeat of the abuse pattern. It's impossible to be responsible for these monsters death, but you will be blamed for any tiny aspect their sick minds can craft. My suggestion is to stay far far away, don a tinfoil hat, and avoid the "N" and their enablers. Treat them as you would a dog with rabies, look on with whatever emotions you have of your own, but expect nothing but to be bitten and savaged if you get in reach of their teeth.

It's a mixed blessing to

It's a mixed blessing to learn that there is a name for what Mom is (besides "Beelzebub" which, until now, had to do). On the one hand, it explains the last 42 years of my life. I know now not to try to fix it - that there's no point in continuing to wrack my brain trying to find the right words to finally make her see...

On the other hand it makes me realize how much time I've wasted trying, and that it will never get better. Ever. Although I kind of already suspected that.

Mom was always like this. I suspect it had to do with the fact that she really did come into the world with a raw deal. She and her siblings were removed from their parents' custody as small children because the father was a schizophrenic and the mother a raging alcoholic. They didn't care for the children at all, so they were removed and raised in Catholic orphanages until age 18.

As soon as we were old enough to maintain eye contact, Mom started demanding, "DON'T YOU EVER PUT ME IN A HOME." I always realized that growing up in an institution would naturally cause her to be terrified at the concept of ending up in one.

I am sure that the neglected childhood affected her and made her who she is - someone who will NOT BE IGNORED and will NOT be marginalized and WILL be the center of attention. Her children are HERS, and the only time anyone in her life is good enough is after they're dead - and she can complain that the ONLY PERSON who EVER helped her or loved her is GONE and she JUST WANTS TO DIE so she can be with them again.

I've spent my life making excuses for her cruelty, manipulation, selfishness. I allowed her to make me her doormat.

Things finally came to a head a few years ago. She told me "Mind your own F***ING business and stay the F*** out of my life." This after I spent a night in the hospital with her, emptying her bed pan and putting up with her nonsense, after she washed down too many painkillers with a bottle of Long Island iced tea. It was not a suicide attempt. She loves herself some pills - when I was given medication for migraines as a teenager (she wouldn't take me to the doctor - she said "kids don't get headaches" after she threw two aspirin at me and dumped a glass of water over my head), guess who took the pills? She let me continue having the migraines while she took my medication.

The examples go on and on. I could tell stories forever. I won't because you all lived it - and also because, frankly, over the years, I told people who didn't and nobody believed it. If I didn't live it, neither would I.

Anyway. Flash forward. After three blissful years of no contact, I was on vacation and received a telephone call from my sister. My sister's father, Mom's husband - who Mom had recently had incarcerated after falsely accusing him of hitting her - had committed suicide, in such a way as to ensure that it was Mom that found him.

Since then, there has been no escape for me. She's physically disabled (although I think less so than she wants people to believe) and should not drive a car (not that she'd hurt herself - she'd probably take out a car full of kids instead). I shop for her. I bring her cartons of nasty cigarettes. I take her to doctors. I find new doctors when the old ones catch on and suddenly become "idiots." I visit. I handle her finances. I spend evenings by her bedside (for someone who doesn't want to be in a home, strange that I must sit in a wooden chair by her bedside whenever I visit....) listening to her wildly revisionist history, in which she was the best mother and grandmother ever and made amazing sacrifices for all of us (never! EVER! Happened!), how I'm no good (if I weigh too much, hey, "You're lucky your husband loves you just the way you are." When I lose weight, "You're so VAIN. You looked FINE before, you can't help it you're big-boned. Fat girls can keep men too, why do you have to be so VAIN?"), how I am probably stealing her money, and so on.

I go over there at least once a week. Tonight's my night. I wake up with dread in the pit of my stomach. I sneak online at work looking for guidance, suggestions, something to make tonight bearable. I know it will never get better. My siblings aren't in positions to help - and frankly I think they've had enough of her and just will not put themselves through it, beyond a phone call or visit at the holidays.

I guess I'm just looking for some forum in which to let this out where people will believe and understand it. I know it's never going to get better, that I will go there tonight and leave smelling of smoke and covered in her dog's hair, that her house will be clean and her bills paid and her checkbook as balanced as can be (she's taken to home shopping, so now she hides the bank statements so I don't know what she's spending) and that, as soon as one of her few contacts calls to see how she is, she'll tell them that I never visit, that all I do while I'm there is yell at her and abuse her (I have taken to barely speaking at all while I'm there, which usually works because she doesn't listen anyway) and I never help, that there's no food in her house, that I promised I'd help when he died but I LIED.

It is what it is. The worst part is, she has fantastic genes and will probably live like this for another 30 years. I always said she'd out live me and I still believe it!

Thanks for letting me vent from the WORST! DAUGHTER! EVER!!!! :-)

STOP doing this to yourself.

STOP doing this to yourself. There is nothing you can do to make her happy. You know that. Find a good counselor and figure out why you keep letting her abuse you. You DESERVE to be happy. You really do.

narcissistic mothers

Vent away anyone who has such a mommy dearest can identify with your frustration. My mother is 77and on a slippery slope to super crazy. After years of using any and all means to control her world and everyone she "owns" in it Mum is becoming old, unwell and horribly lonely. Like you I have never done enough for her but I'm still there bringing food, taking her to doctors etc. Boundaries work part of the way. Being free of guilt is my best resource.
Keep hold of your sense of humour, my mothers bizzare behaviour certainly has made our lives colourful.
At present Mum is feeding off being ill. She hit the jackpot with a tumour in her kidney. Apparently all our efforts to kill her in the past (you know the drill standing in her way, contradictng her version of the truth...)were not enough. To improve her chances of sucking up sympathy she has shaved her head so people will think she is on chemotherapy.
I think NPD mothers become pathetic as they age. The sun sets on faded roses. They don't have many or any friends and your standard social situations are a waste of time. We juggle our emotions while Mum juggles new levels of crazy. Perhaps your mother's paranoia is coming to the fore. My mother is convinced everyone is plotting against her, especally me this week. Her truth is the only truth.
I left Mum's this afternoon knowing that she will be on the phone as soon as leave telling someone how much she has had to suffer. Tonight she will sniff the food I left her "Probally the dog wouldn't eat it.." then check if I've poisoned it and gulp it down. Tomorrow she'll call and talk at me for 20 minutes at least - about herself of course! The sun wll rise and circle around her and I will do what I want to help her if she needs it. The trick is to know when to let your aging NPD mothers live with the consequences of their lifes work.
You're really not the worst daughter in the world, my sister and I are vying for the title too.
That Bitch of a Daughter
PS. We called her the Witch of Evil, Beelzebub does have a nice ring to it :)

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Karyl McBride, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.


Subscribe to The Legacy of Distorted Love

Current Issue

Love & Lust

Who says marriage is where desire goes to die?