Narcissistic mothers

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    Hello tiny Buddha post readers and postees.
    I’m 39, in a long term relationship with K, I have no children, I have no family (I’m the black sheep BAA BAA) and I have only just properly realised that my mother, my sister and recently K’s mother have always made my life a misery but for no more.
    Every single day as a child teenager and young adult, my mother or sister would play up. Everyone loved my mum, she was friendly pretty clever funny blah blah blah but everyday she was angry, controlling (i.e. her saying was her way or the highway), she used every method possible to be the COA (centre of attention) including crying, lying, screaming, shouting, threatening. I used to comfort her, not provoke her and do anything to please her and I have been trying to do that till 6-7 months ago. My sister was just the same as my mother, i.e. wanted to be COA but she adopted the ignoring treatment, for days and days she would completely ignore me and when she eventually came round I would walk on eggshells trying not to displease her again. I haven’t spoke to my sister for 9 years and I am a much happier person.
    I’ve only just realised how narcissistic K’s mum is, for the last 5 years I just thought she was rude and didn’t like me, she’s called me names criticised my flat and tried to create problems between me and K. A few times she literally screamed and shouted at K for attention whilst I had popped around, I hoped they were one offs. Late last year me & K went for a meal with her and K’s dad, she told me don’t be interested in Kev he has no money (which isn’t the truth) and then on Christmas day she made a snide remark about mine and K’s relationship. I decided she wasn’t a nice person and stopped going round to visit. In March I decided that I didn’t want to be with K and I ended it with him, my reasons were he is too family orientated and I didn’t know when our life would begin. We got back together 2 weeks after and I popped into his parents, I took one look at K’s dad and said when did you last see the doctor (he could hardly talk and he was very pale), I made Kev ring the doctors and on K’s mum hearing this she went off at me saying how dare someone come into her house telling her how her husband should be looked after. I just ignored it and kept telling Kev to make sure his dad kept on at the doctors. Two weeks later Kev’s dad was rushed into hospital with breathing difficulties. The day after he was having an emergency operation so I went along to the hospital and met K and his Mum there. K went off to park the car and his mums greeting to me was you have made it all worse by dumping Kev. I was outraged and told her the reasons why I had dumped him, it was clear she didn’t like me as she was always calling me names and that she should of made Kev move out years ago that children are on loan not for life. Well she refused to admit she had done anything wrong and I said I should go but K wanted me there and he supported me while she refused time and time again that she had done anything wrong. Later in the day K’s dad was given a short time to live (terminal thyroid cancer). I went round to see K at his parents and another argument erupted while K was out of the room, it ended with her saying to K, I don’t think she loves you at all.
    K’s dad was lovely, I liked his company, he has good character traits just like K. I got depressed and went on meds and for the past 4 weeks I have helped K and his mum care for his dad, which included changing his dressings, performing tracheostomy suction, giving his food and medicine in his nose tube. His dad died on Tuesday and since then his Mum has been a nightmare. Criticising K’s help, wearing herself out with housework (she’s 75), shouting at K for minor things, saying K doesn’t love her and support her (me and K have been there and slept there for about a week). Yesterday, she brought up the hospital argument and she told me that she had never called me names, I said let bygones be bygones, she continued and went onto say that her and her husband had been so sad because they knew I didn’t like them. This really hurt me, I really liked K’s dad and I had helped as much as I could. I told K I was going home and he went to talk with his mother. He told me Mum wanted to apologise and I went over to her and said I was sorry too, but yet again she started on about how hurt she was as she hadn’t called me names or done anything wrong. I walked away packed my stuff and told K I was going home as I needed head space. K followed me out and I told him how much her behaviour reminded me of my mums and that I didn’t want to be there I could be more supportive to him if I was happier, then his Mum came out demanding an apology, she said she had been tortured for weeks because of the row at the hospital, I said I have nothing to apologise for, she screamed and shouted and K shouted back and she threatened to leave and tell everyone how horrid I have been to her. I started crying and she said it was fake to K. She went away to call one of her brothers to stay with, me and K chatted and cuddled and wondered why she was being so nutty. She came out again and said what you doing out here arguing, we said we weren’t arguing and she had another go at me. I didn’t retaliate or rise up I thought her husband would be so embarrassed. I stayed there to keep the peace and was I nice to her. Today I have been subject to the ignoring treatment, K fell asleep and I felt emotionally vunerable and I told K I was going home. I’m at home and all the tension has left me and I hope K will realise soon that his Mum will never be pleased by anything he does, my mother and sister never changed.
    Any insights would be appreciated?
    K is an only child, he works for the family business on the family home premises, he was single up until age 43 and he has only left home when he started living with me 4 years ago.
    I love K and we have a warm happy peaceful productive supportive relationship but the prospect of having to deal with his mother for anything more than very short periods makes me seriously consider the viability of a long term successful future and perhaps it the meds but I feel I would like to be on my own for a while. My last relationship of 9 years ended in the February and I was with K by the start of April.


    Hi Suze, I read your article and I feel bad for you. It sounds like you’ve had your hands full with narcissistic mothers. It’s especially so upsetting for you and Kev’s mom because of all the years and similarities you endured with your upbringing. I can really relate to this with my father-in-law. Whenever there is a situation that strikes a familiar cord with me, I have a tendency to be very passionate about it. My father-in-law who is so very much like this woman you describe…he talks non-stop about himself; and my wants or accomplishments, (or anyone’s for that matter) etc. are nothing in comparison to what he has done. He complains about everything that I do, belittled me (from getting the wrong kind of Christmas presents or the wrong size birthday presents, to many other criticisms and critical behavior) I’ve dealt with this for 27 years. But one day, I had an aha moment. I don’t have to believe what he says about me (“You know”, he said, “blood is thicker than water”)! I can eliminate myself from the situation whenever I can, and I don’t need to let it drag me down. When I started to pay attention to this reality, I realized I had the upper hand. I loved my father-in-law more because of my realization. I can still only handle so much time with him, but it can be on my terms. When people behave this way, they are only wanting to bring you down with them. I can tell you stories about him and what he’s done that would make your hair curl (or go straight if you have curly hair 🙂 – They are actually hurting, angry, resentful, or some other feeling. Whatever you decide to do, let it be from a place of caring.


    Hi Debbie
    Thanks for your reply, it really helped when I read it yesterday. The line that struck a chord was ‘let it be from a place of caring’.
    I can’t tell whether I am being narcissistic or whether I am genuinely just to be feeling how I do. I got home and sent an email to K saying how it wasn’t fair I had been treated that way by his mother (failing to add it wasn’t fair that he emotionally bullied me to stay there and put up with it for nearly 2 days to support him – obviously my feelings don’t matter). He didn’t read it so I sent him a text saying I had sent him an email and hoping he slept well.
    It was planned that K and I were attending a party the next day which meant we had to walk from his parents house. The reason I had agreed to walk was so I could have a couple of drinks, however, there was no way I was planning on staying another night at his parents house so I text to say I would meet him there. He was upset and said it was your idea to walk, I said I had achy hips couldn’t be bothered, He said poor you, I told him the truth I was not going to stay there the night so I may as well drive. I suppose I was craving attention and when his next text implied he’d be busy for the next couple of hours getting ready I felt upset, I said I feel v low today and that I am feeling forced to share you because of your mums attention seeking ways that you haven’t reassured me you are coming home and that we will be ok and that I didn’t want to go to the party as it felt wrong. He text and said ‘I’m not looking forward to facing people either, If you don’t want to go we won’t’, I said ‘ok good, back to sleep for me then’ (it was an early afternoon party). Then he text and says he going, please come with me, I say no I don’t want to (I’m not a big socialiser and it is his friends party). Then I get childish texts from him saying he feels sick, I can’t believe how badly you have let me down, he can’t get there, you are unbelievable, you let me down at the last minute, this I shall never forget, i’m in such a state. I went out to the grocery shop and left me mobile at home as he was upsetting me, it was his idea not to go and why did I have to go.
    About 3pm he comes round raging at me, he kicked my shopping (destroyed a pepper and packet of crisp) & my cupboard and smashed a box up and generally was like a mad man, I say I not going as I don’t want to I am too upset, go off have a nice time we are not joined at the hip. He really scared me, it’s not the first time, the scariest time was when we were argueing in the car and I was driving and he grabbed my handbrake and put it on hard and we span around in the middle of a busy road, I thought we were going to die.
    After he left I thought why am I being emotionally bullied to do things I don’t want to. I realised I would be just as happy if not happier on my own.
    About 8pm he comes round saying he didn’t have a good time as I wasn’t there (he was there 5 hours though!). I said you could of left and it was your choice to go, it was like he was emotionally bullying me again for me to feel it was my fault he didn’t have a nice time. He asked whether I would go the funeral parlour and registrars tomorrow I said no I don’t think so, he left slamming the doors behind him.
    So I change my mind and text him and say if it means that much to you I’ll accompany you and that is where I thought I was being caring. So we go the registrars and then the idea they come up with is shall we go back to there house for a cup of tea, I say no we should just get on with it, he says come in the car with us then. I say no, I’ll follow them (it’s only the next village). We walk to his car and his mum says ‘you should just get in the car with me and K’, I say ‘no, I am happy driving’, she says ‘but that isn’t want K wants you to do’ and I say quite firmly ‘I do not have to do everything that K wants me to do’.
    After the funeral parlour where K tries to insist I have to go to the subsequent minister meeting we go to the flower shop, on the way I suggest to his mum that she gets a bigger screen for the internet so that she can get shopping online, I don’t think so she says I don’t eat a lot and I won’t need much shopping, I should of learnt already that nothing I suggest is a good idea.
    Anyway we get to the flower shop where his mum falls and grazes her knee slightly, you’d of thought she had a broken bone. Kev left us to fetch his car and then it’s ‘I don’t have anything to live for’, ‘I can’t keep expecting K to look after me’, I have no patience with all her ‘poor me’ attitude and change the subject.
    Later on, we go back to K’s parents and I leave promptly afterwards. I text K and say when you coming back home (he’s not been home for over 4 weeks), he avoids the question, I text again mentioning the same, he doesn’t answer. So I say jokingly I am thinking of getting a more available man.., no response and this is when I turned narcissistic and said I’m not visiting the chapel of rest with your mum as I don’t want to anymore. He has a go at me for changing my mind, I say I’m entitled to change my mind. I go onto say I won’t be visiting the minster nor travelling in the car behind the hearst.
    Possibly K me and his Mum are just as bad as each other except I am the one that is being expected to give more and more when in actuality I’m ready for the relationship to end as I cannot contemplate any sort of future with his Mum or his anger. I can’t come from a place of caring, I care for my own sense of well-being and not feeling like a mug, Just cause K doesn’t want to do the chapel of rest or talk with the minister doesn’t mean I have too. My phone is off and I am looking forward to returning to work tomorrow.
    Any feedback would be appreciated, even if it is to tell me to stop trying to play them at their own game, on reading through this and as I ended it in March I think it’s well and truly relationship over.

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