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Can I ask for a little support from NPD empathizers? I'm taking a stand.


Janie Grace
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It's my mom. And it's still hard for me to even write that my mom has NPD because, well... guilt (that old familiar friend). It's hard to change those tapes that everything is my fault. But she's a textbook covert/introvert narcissist. Seeing this over the past few years has helped but there are well-worn grooves of being her golden child who never rocks the boat. She has wielded immense power over me for as long as I can remember. But I'm growing.

 

On Wednesday, she called to lambast me for forgetting to send a card or text on my stepdad's b-day. I apologized and started to explain that I had a stomach virus that day and was puking my guts out (and caring for a child who was doing the same), and that the next day I was in the ER with a different child (who was injured). She ignored all that and then went into grilling me on why I was giving up social media for Lent. ("You hardly post anything anyway unless you are HIDING stuff from me, why don't you like things I post more often, it's one of our few forms of connection," etc.) It's all about her, and my needs are invalid in light of her needs. I told her to stop guilt-tripping me. She yelled at me and we quickly got off the phone.

 

She then sent me an email entitled "can't we just love each other?" It began with "it is very hurtful to accuse your mother of guilt-tripping" and it was all about how sad it is that we allowed "the enemy" to drive a wedge between us. (This is common; she blames our strife on the devil because it could never be her fault.) I emailed her back saying that I am very familiar with her use of guilt and that I don't need her to validate my perspective for it to be true. I encouraged her to ask her dh's perspective on her propensity in this area (I thought *maybe* he would give her some objective feedback, although she controls him, so probably not). I went on to explain how the conversation went and how it made me feel. I said that if she wants more "connection" she can start a conversation about that (this call came right after I quit FB so I am sure it was prompted by panic that I was suddenly less accessible), but that it was not fair or kind to lambast me, and that this kind of communication has the opposite effect of what she wants. I said she could reply or not. She wrote back "let's talk about this when our emotions are calm." I replied that I am actually quite calm emotionally and that my conscience is clear, that if she wants to reply to my earlier email, that's fine and if not, that's fine. 

 

That was all Wednesday, and as of tonight (Friday), no word. 

 

I have been mostly peaceful. This is a miracle. Usually I would be close to insane with agitation and fear. It feels to good to see how much FREER I am. However, sometimes the fear creeps in... that she's just going to be stubborn and never reach out, or maybe she will reach out and ignore all of my hurt, pretending nothing happened. I really don't want to be the first to initiate contact, but I don't want to be bull-headed either. I am not sure what to do.

 

I'm open to advice, but mostly I just wanted to share where I am. Those of you with NPD people in your life (esp. mothers) will understand what a victory it was that I stood up for myself. Please send prayers/good thoughts that I stay strong. 

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:grouphug:

 

I know that must have been incredibly hard.  I AM proud of you for standing up for yourself and I am happy for you that you are mostly feeling calm.  Hang in there.  She probably cannot change.  But your response to her can.  Although it will be hard, don't respond further.  You are in charge of your actions, not her.  You took a big step.  That's great.  Keep moving forward.  Do what you need to do to keep yourself healthy.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

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Given what you've shared on here about your mom, you've been more than patient and understanding and all kinds of flexible with the crazy.

 

Repeat after me: it's okay to protect myself. Her guilt tripping doesn't have to become my problem.

 

:grouphug:

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Having done all... stand. It's the hardest piece of advice there is. You have done everything right as far as I can see. Hold your ground. She won't change, but you are growing by leaps and bounds. If it helps at all, I am proud of you. 

 

It does. And it helps to hear you say that I'm growing, and that I'm doing everything right. (Ironically, one of my most vivid childhood memories is of her screaming "you never do anything right!") Thank you. 

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Great job. Even if you cave, which is not saying you will, you should, you shouldn't or any of that, just if you do, know you have already achieved a large victory. You stood up for yourself. You are not giving her power over tuo even in her absence. You can acknowledge you are freer. All such positive and difficult things.

 

Way to go! No matter what happens, that is serious victory!

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UPDATE: She emailed this morning. She apologized for "any distress she has caused me throughout my life." She went on to say that she doesn't understand guilt-tripping, as it is something that is only part of Jewish and Italian cultures as far as she knows.  :lol: She does recall one incident where she called to me very forcefully because her finger was stuck in the window and she needed my help. This is the part that makes me think she is certifiably crazy. She yelled at us our entire childhoods -- for little infractions or just because she was stressed and needed an outlet. The fact that the presenting memory of yelling is the window thing is just... I'm speechless.

 

She detailed her hurt over me not liking her FB posts. I'm not sure what to do with this. I do know that my "liking" her stuff is important to her and I will admit, sometimes I don't because I don't want to be controlled. Is that petty? I don't want to live under FB obligation! That's stupid and stressful. My sister always likes pix of my kids. I guess I would think it unusual if she didn't, but it's not something I would ever call her on... I would figure she was busy or overlooked it. Ugh, whatever.

 

I'm not going to write back right away. This is something I have learned in counseling. Waiting helps solidify that I have a right to my own thoughts, emotions, and time. I don't know whether it's worth giving her other (recent) examples of guilting me or not. I doubt she will ever see it, although if she did, and tried not to, it would change my life (and my kids')!

 

 

 

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I don't think giving examples will do any good, you will not convince her that she is at fault. She may be incapable of seeing fault in herself and can only see it in others; she cannot rise above the narcissistic perpective. As best I can tell, a complete lack of self insight is a fundamental characteristic of narcissism.

 

I'm glad you are getting counseling for yourself; you are not going to be able to change her.

 

I am sorry.

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I think she selectively "recalls" the example of the window because it makes it sound like she was justified in yelling then. She was in pain, she was a victim, of course she needed to call out for help, blah blah. She can't or won't take responsibility for the way she actually treated you much of the time. 

 

Quitting or taking a break from FB sounds so healthy right now! 

 

And kudos to you for waiting to see how this all sits with you and how you want to reply. At one point I gave up on the notion that the narcissist in my life would ever take responsibility for their actions, and that my efforts in working so hard to communicate clearly and fairly how I was experiencing things was wasted effort.

 

Only you can judge if or when things get to that point with your mom. For me, it meant letting go of expectations of mutuality and being heard and understood in the relationship, which makes it not a real relationship, even though we do have some contact.

 

Either way, the power to change your life, and that of your own children, is in your hands. Thank heavens!

 

Amy

Edited by Acadie
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 I told her to stop guilt-tripping me. She yelled at me and we quickly got off the phone.

 

She then sent me an email entitled "can't we just love each other?" It began with "it is very hurtful to accuse your mother of guilt-tripping" and it was all about how sad it is that we allowed "the enemy" to drive a wedge between us. (This is common; she blames our strife on the devil because it could never be her fault.) I emailed her back saying that I am very familiar with her use of guilt and that I don't need her to validate my perspective for it to be true. . . . . . and that this kind of communication has the opposite effect of what she wants.

 

It feels to good to see how much FREER I am. However, sometimes the fear creeps in... that she's just going to be stubborn and never reach out, or maybe she will reach out and ignore all of my hurt, pretending nothing happened. I really don't want to be the first to initiate contact, but I don't want to be bull-headed either. I am not sure what to do.

 

I'm open to advice, but mostly I just wanted to share where I am. 

 

hugs.  you're not crazy.  you are pavlov's dog.  now that you know that - you can break free.

 

first suggestion.  do not try and teach a pig to sing.  it wastes your breath and annoys the pig.

NPDs are not capable of recognizing their own manipulative behavior - even if it were to hit them in the face.  iow: don't argue.  don't try and make her agree with you that she's a manipulative controlling person.  it's pointless.  it's. not. going. to. happen.  just. . . boundaries . . . just enact them, just do them.  don't explain - just 'do'.   just - sorry mom, that  doesn't work for me. etc.  sorry mom - I have to go.  you don't have to explain - nothing will ever justify not bowing and groveling at her feet as is your proper role (in her eyes) so again, it's pointless to try.    don't argue . .  just . . boundaries.  

 

she'll get ticked off by boundaries becasue you are changing the relationship to take back control over yourself

 

question - you told her exactly how you feel about her (and she got mad.  no surprise there). what was your goal? 

  • did you want her to acknowledge you object to how she's treated you?  (not going to happen),
  • did you want to tick her off so much she'd stop pestering you?  (it worked)

do you really want her to contact you?  why? 

what is your goal for the relationship?  (she's NOT going to change - stop hoping it will happen.  it's not realistic.  decide what you want of which YOU have control.) 

she's not going to suddenly start treating you with respect.  it's highly questionable that she was any clue what that even means. - iow: she's not capable.   

that doesn't mean you have to tolerate being treated poorly.  learn boundaries.  (especially if you still want contact with her.)  re: townsend and cloud.

 

my grandmother used to go on about "you're killing me" :nopity:, in a very melodramatic tone if anyone dared contradict her or stand up for themselves.  her guilt trips sent postcards.    and if we were unmoved by her drama to grovel and apologise - she'd get my grandfather to call and pester and demand we apologize. this is typical.  so - don't expect her husband will contradict her and support you.

 

it's interesting your mother refers to herself in the third person.

 

when I first started becoming aware of what was going on - I caught myself doing to her, what she was doing to me.   I was hurt and angry, and wanted to hurt her back.  after all - she was an adult and had started this when I was only a small defenseless child.  as I realized what I was doing - I stopped.  I didn't want to be that person.

 

one last thing.  absolutely PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN!!!!!

 

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UPDATE: She emailed this morning. She apologized for "any distress she has caused me throughout my life." She went on to say that she doesn't understand guilt-tripping, a

 

 

She detailed her hurt over me not liking her FB posts. I'm not sure what to do with this. I do know that my "liking" her stuff is important to her and I will admit, sometimes I don't because I don't want to be controlled. Is that petty? I don't want to live under FB obligation!

 

I'm not going to write back right away. This is something I have learned in counseling. Waiting helps solidify that I have a right to my own thoughts, emotions, and time. I don't know whether it's worth giving her other (recent) examples of guilting me or not. I doubt she will ever see it, although if she did, and tried not to, it would change my life (and my kids')!

 

how many npd mother's does it take to change a lightbulb?  none.  I'll just sit here in the dark.

 

it is not petty to not want to have to jump just becasue she says jump. with her demands you "like" her fb posts - she's telling you to jump.  you are under no obligation to jump.

 

this is something of which I have pondered a lot on my road to healing.  nothing she does will change your life, how you react, etc.  she could suddenly come to you and beg your forgiveness - and it really wouldn't change anything. she could never do another manipulative thing again, and it wouldn't change how you react to things.   the behavior patterns of feeling obliged to please her and feeling guilty if you don't - are established.  the only way this changes - is if YOU change.  it really has nothing to do with her.

 

you can take control of yourself and your life - and more importantly , you do NOT "owe her any apology" for taking control of YOUR life!

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Here's a thought:

 

You are a mother. You have children. Do you think you would ever achieve happiness by attempting to make your children do things to make you happy? I'm guessing not. Neither will your mother ever achieve happiness that way; her efforts are doomed from the beginning and you going along trying to make her happy by complying isn't going to result in anything positive. 

 

She's trying to put the responsibility for her happiness on your shoulders; that is not a workable formula. Since she is not likely to stop it is going to have to be up to you to shrug off that burden.

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Can I just say I love you all? I can't tell you how much the support here has meant to me today. It especially helps to hear from those who have walked this road. I don't know anyone IRL who is dealing with this (at least I don't know if they are) and my sister has no contact with my mom. So, thanks for helping feel not so alone.

 

I wrote her back and it was AWESOME, you guys. I gave no examples. I did not make a case. My feelings don't need her validation!!! I was confident and clear and unapologetic.  

 

I said the fact that the window thing is her most vivid and regrettable memory of raising her voice shows me that our memories are very different and that it would be unfruitful to continue the discussion. I said that I love her and this can be a "love bears all things" issue. (This is my attempt to shut down the conversation and stick to my guns without cutting her off completely. I do feel called to maintain some connection.)

 

I wrote this one paragraph about how maybe the lack of connection she feels is due to her not having a smartphone -- that it's much easier to feel connected when you do. And then I thought WHAT AM I DOING? and deleted the whole thing. What the heck was I thinking?  :scared: 

Anyway, thanks. My heart is sad that she really, truly is this way. But it is a relief to learn how not to be bossed around by it. 

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hugs.  you're not crazy.  you are pavlov's dog.  now that you know that - you can break free.

 

first suggestion.  do not try and teach a pig to sing.  it wastes your breath and annoys the pig.

NPDs are not capable of recognizing their own manipulative behavior - even if it were to hit them in the face.  iow: don't argue.  don't try and make her agree with you that she's a manipulative controlling person.  it's pointless.  it's. not. going. to. happen.  just. . . boundaries . . . just enact them, just do them.  don't explain - just 'do'.   just - sorry mom, that  doesn't work for me. etc.  sorry mom - I have to go.  you don't have to explain - nothing will ever justify not bowing and groveling at her feet as is your proper role (in her eyes) so again, it's pointless to try.    don't argue . .  just . . boundaries.  

 

she'll get ticked off by boundaries becasue you are changing the relationship to take back control over yourself

 

question - you told her exactly how you feel about her (and she got mad.  no surprise there). what was your goal? 

  • did you want her to acknowledge you object to how she's treated you?  (not going to happen),
  • did you want to tick her off so much she'd stop pestering you?  (it worked)

do you really want her to contact you?  why? 

what is your goal for the relationship?  (she's NOT going to change - stop hoping it will happen.  it's not realistic.  decide what you want of which YOU have control.) 

she's not going to suddenly start treating you with respect.  it's highly questionable that she was any clue what that even means. - iow: she's not capable.   

that doesn't mean you have to tolerate being treated poorly.  learn boundaries.  (especially if you still want contact with her.)  re: townsend and cloud.

 

my grandmother used to go on about "you're killing me" :nopity:, in a very melodramatic tone if anyone dared contradict her or stand up for themselves.  her guilt trips sent postcards.    and if we were unmoved by her drama to grovel and apologise - she'd get my grandfather to call and pester and demand we apologize. this is typical.  so - don't expect her husband will contradict her and support you.

 

it's interesting your mother refers to herself in the third person.

 

when I first started becoming aware of what was going on - I caught myself doing to her, what she was doing to me.   I was hurt and angry, and wanted to hurt her back.  after all - she was an adult and had started this when I was only a small defenseless child.  as I realized what I was doing - I stopped.  I didn't want to be that person.

 

one last thing.  absolutely PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN!!!!!

 

 

This was all so on point. 

 

I guess my goal was a stupid, not-based-on-history desire to have her listen to me, empathize with me, take my feelings into consideration. This is stupid because she has never related to me this way. But this, to me, is what love looks like. And I just cannot come to terms with the idea that she doesn't love me (in a true, heart-level way). She loves me in an immature, getting her needs met way. And in a visceral, mom-connected-to-baby way. But not in a your-emotional-needs-first way. Never has, never will. But damn if I don't keep hoping.  :(

 

My goal for the relationship? To comfort her in her old age, I guess. She has had a hard life. She is a broken person. I want to do what I can to keep her from being bereft and alone. Little things (like pix of the kids, trivial updates that indicate I care and am thinking of her) mean a lot to her. I guess I want to give her those things (if I can, without becoming crippled by her in the process). I don't want anything from her. I have never leaned on her; I didn't even want her to come after I had babies because she is so stressful and critical. I *let* her because it meant a lot to her. I arrange visits and calls because she wants them. I don't enjoy engaging with her at all. However... I don't know if I can be that person who just stops caring about what someone else wants... I don't know if I WANT to be that person. Maybe I'm blind to my needs here and other people wouldn't put up with this kind of relationship, but I don't want to cut her off because it would be nicer for me. Deep down, I do love her. She's my MOM after all.  

 

I hear you on the "get you back" thing. I am SO tempted to be critical of her and relate in a passive aggressive way. It is totally a "hit first or be hit" thing for me. I am trying not to go there, because I don't want to be that way. 

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I'm glad you've found the courage to take a stand.

 

I appreciate your posting this as it prompted me to look up NPD and made me realize it described my mother-in-law to a T.  It just explains so many things about her behavior that have puzzled me over the years such as zero interaction or interest in her grandchildren except when she can show them off. And the guilting - my husband finally drew the line on that a year ago at age 55 after many years as the dutiful son. Suffered the cold shoulder for a few months but he feels so much better now that our lives don't have to revolve around her choices anymore.

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I'm glad you've found the courage to take a stand.

 

I appreciate your posting this as it prompted me to look up NPD and made me realize it described my mother-in-law to a T.  It just explains so many things about her behavior that have puzzled me over the years such as zero interaction or interest in her grandchildren except when she can show them off. And the guilting - my husband finally drew the line on that a year ago at age 55 after many years as the dutiful son. Suffered the cold shoulder for a few months but he feels so much better now that our lives don't have to revolve around her choices anymore.

 

Glad it helped! 

 

It's funny, I haven't considered that the way she interacts with my kids (which drives me crazy) is part of her NPD, but it's exactly what you said. She doesn't want to talk to them on the phone on their b-days, she just wants to sing (harmonizing with my step-dad... they consider themselves accomplished vocalists) and then HANG UP. She doesn't ask about their b-day plans or anything. If she ever talks to them on the phone, she asks maybe one question and then monologues about her activities and health issues. They are pretty bemused by it. I thought it was just her being clueless, but you're right. It's part of it. 

 

Glad your dh drew the line. I bet that's a huge relief for both of you.

 

ETA: The "showing us off" thing is familiar too. Heaven help us if we don't stay for church; having us seen by the other parishioners is sort of the main reason for the visit. 

Edited by Janie Grace
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It's very freeing when you realize you don't need your parents to understand how you feel. I spent years trying to communicate my childhood hurt to my dad until one day I realized that he was emotionally incapable of understanding. What mattered was that *I* understood the the pain. I needed to grow and change, not him. (His own growth and change would be bloody marvelous, but highly unlikely, and truly out of my control...)

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I think you did great.

 

Sometimes it helps to realize you aren't going to get what a daughter needs from a mother from your mother. Doesn't mean you can't still love her but it won't be the normal mother/daughter relationship.

This.

 

I have the relationship I wish I had, with my own two daughters. It's very satisfying to know even though I have to figure things out myself, they have a better mom than I did.

 

Many times, I can look at where my kids are, where they're going . . . And know they had a better mom than I did. It shows.

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My goal for the relationship? To comfort her in her old age, I guess. She has had a hard life. She is a broken person. I want to do what I can to keep her from being bereft and alone. Little things (like pix of the kids, trivial updates that indicate I care and am thinking of her) mean a lot to her. I guess I want to give her those things (if I can, without becoming crippled by her in the process). I don't want anything from her. I have never leaned on her; I didn't even want her to come after I had babies because she is so stressful and critical. I *let* her because it meant a lot to her. I arrange visits and calls because she wants them. I don't enjoy engaging with her at all. However... I don't know if I can be that person who just stops caring about what someone else wants... I don't know if I WANT to be that person. Maybe I'm blind to my needs here and other people wouldn't put up with this kind of relationship, but I don't want to cut her off because it would be nicer for me. Deep down, I do love her. She's my MOM after all.

 

I hear you on the "get you back" thing. I am SO tempted to be critical of her and relate in a passive aggressive way. It is totally a "hit first or be hit" thing for me. I am trying not to go there, because I don't want to be that way.

*big hugs*

 

^^ this stuff - yeah, I could have written it all word. for. word.

I'm sorry, it really sucks.

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This was all so on point. 

 

I guess my goal was a stupid, not-based-on-history desire to have her listen to me, empathize with me, take my feelings into consideration. This is stupid because she has never related to me this way.

 

dont' be so hard on yourself.  it's naively hopeful, and it's perfectly proper to expect that type of give-and-take with your mother - but it still takes two, and she's not capable.

 

But this, to me, is what love looks like. And I just cannot come to terms with the idea that she doesn't love me (in a true, heart-level way). She loves me in an immature, getting her needs met way. And in a visceral, mom-connected-to-baby way. But not in a your-emotional-needs-first way. Never has, never will. But damn if I don't keep hoping.  :(

 

I remember the first time I had to face that  'she didn't really love me'.  that was in a counseling session.  I automatically rejected it - it was so harsh to think such of her.  it went against all the 'training' I had received from her and my mother.   however, as I started really considering it - I realized how much truth was in it.  this woman didn't love - she was incapable.  she controlled, she demanded, she required.  she wanted blind worshipers and sycophants.  everything was about her.

 

My goal for the relationship? To comfort her in her old age, I guess. She has had a hard life. She is a broken person.

 

you are going to need to define "comfort".  her idea?  or a rational person's idea?   npds are NOT rational.  nothing. is. ever. enough.  you can make sure she's physically comfortable and her physical needs are met - but she won't be "comforted/happy" unless you treat her the way she demands - which is often demeaning to yourself.  and can be damaging to your children. don't underestimate that.  (your first responsibility is your minor children.).

 

I want to do what I can to keep her from being bereft and alone. Little things (like pix of the kids, trivial updates that indicate I care and am thinking of her) mean a lot to her. I guess I want to give her those things (if I can, without becoming crippled by her in the process). I don't want anything from her.

 

SHE wants things from YOU.   she wants to sit in the dark and guilt you into changing that lightbulb.  even if you have to climb a rickety 8' ladder with a full body cast.  anything short you're a horrible selfish person.

are you prepared to say "no" to her?  are you prepared to deal with her guilt trips?  and tantrums when you don't kiss her ass? learning about boundaries will teach you how.

 

 

Maybe I'm blind to my needs here and other people wouldn't put up with this kind of relationship, but I don't want to cut her off because it would be nicer for me. Deep down, I do love her. She's my MOM after all.  

 

I'm more concerned that you don't let your children get drawn into her games.  that your children dont' see you demean yourself to fruitlessly try to make your mother 'happy'.  it's terribly destructive.  you can have contact - but you must be realistic.   re: the townsend and cloud book boundaries.  you must establish them with her.  boundaries are a spectrum - they range from being a doormat to no-contact and everything in between.   they will help you know and understand what you can do to have power over yourself, to allow yourself to care without getting sucked into the mind games.  you can care - but  if you are playing her games you can't do anything that is genuinely caring for her.  the games get in the way.

 

I hear you on the "get you back" thing. I am SO tempted to be critical of her and relate in a passive aggressive way. It is totally a "hit first or be hit" thing for me. I am trying not to go there, because I don't want to be that way. 

 

please learn about boundaries - you'll be glad you did.   you're starting down this road - it will bless you and your children.  and even your mother.  your ability to care for her physical needs will be increased.   eta:  you will better be able to see what is an actual need vs a npd caprice and manipulation.

 

as I said - boundaries =/= no contact (though in some cases it does.  depends upon the situation.)

boundaries exist in healthy relationships.  npds do not recognize boundaries and those who are under their control, are indoctrinated that they aren't allowed to have boundaries (and to even consider them is profoundly disloyal and you're a horrible person).   they generally don't' even know they exist.  boundaries are ok!  they're good.

Edited by gardenmom5
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You did great.  You are doing GREAT.  

 

When going through the same thing, this is a book that changed my life:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EF5L2VW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

It is expensive (in my world) for a Kindle book, but if you have a Kindle, PM me and I can lend it to you so you can read it for free.

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You did great.  You are doing GREAT.  

 

When going through the same thing, this is a book that changed my life:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EF5L2VW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

It is expensive (in my world) for a Kindle book, but if you have a Kindle, PM me and I can lend it to you so you can read it for free.

 

such a title.   :D    NO,  you're NOT crazy!

 

one of the very best things about learning about npd - learned **I** wasn't crazy!   :willy_nilly:

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Also, OP, I never really looked at it as 'the NPD doesn't really love whomever'. I found it more useful to think of it as 'They don't have my best interests at heart.' Which, in my and dh's case, that was absolutely the case. ymmv, of course.

I think these are two ways of saying the same thing. Love, to me, is defined as caring profoundly about the welfare and well-being of another person--that is, having their best interests at heart. If a person whose brain is functioning in a narcissistic way is incapable of truly caring about the well-being of anyone but themselves then they are functionally incapable of loving anyone.

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OP, you've gotten a lot of great advice here and I'm glad you were able to set a boundary.  This board has been a wealth of information to me as I figured out just over two years ago that my mother is NPD (long time lurker before posting). It is so validating and crushing all at the same time to have so many experiences and emotions with your parent snap into place in an instant once that NPD light bulb goes off.  I think it's really hard IRL to get support from close friends unless they understand NPD themselves.  DH totally sees it and supports me as I figure out how to navigate this with my mom and not allow myself or my children to be sacrificed on the altar of her NPD.  I do feel very blessed that MIL is so "normal" and loving.  Hugs to you as you continue to go through this journey. 

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To regular people, that's true. But to the NPD, they no doubt believe they 'love' whomever. It's their definition of 'love' that's warped.

 

Plus, it never helped my dh for me to say anything remotely relating to whether his mother loved him or not. He would swear up and down that she did (as would she). However, I could talk about whether the things she was doing were constructive or destructive for our family (ie. she did not have the best interests of our family at heart).

 

Makes no sense to me. But there it is.

I can see how the different terms could make more sense for your husband.

 

I'm guessing that narcissistic "love" is more like what I might feel for a house or car or other posession that I "love"--it's a thing that fills a space in my life and serves a need in me.

 

I think there can also be some honest human attachment--but we can feel attachment even for people we hate.

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To regular people, that's true. But to the NPD, they no doubt believe they 'love' whomever. It's their definition of 'love' that's warped.

 

Plus, it never helped my dh for me to say anything remotely relating to whether his mother loved him or not. He would swear up and down that she did (as would she). However, I could talk about whether the things she was doing were constructive or destructive for our family (ie. she did not have the best interests of our family at heart).

 

Makes no sense to me. But there it is.

It's classic abuse behavior. Most [physical] abusers claim they love the victim too. People generally wouldn't tolerate their parents hitting them as adults, but they'll excuse away emotional abuse. It's an awful cycle. :(

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You did great.  You are doing GREAT.  

 

When going through the same thing, this is a book that changed my life:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EF5L2VW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

It is expensive (in my world) for a Kindle book, but if you have a Kindle, PM me and I can lend it to you so you can read it for free.

 

Thank you. I just ordered a used paperback version because I like to write it books and this sounds like one I'll want to be able to refer back to. Grateful for the recommendation!

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I think it's really hard IRL to get support from close friends unless they understand NPD themselves.  DH totally sees it and supports me as I figure out how to navigate this with my mom and not allow myself or my children to be sacrificed on the altar of her NPD.  I do feel very blessed that MIL is so "normal" and loving.  Hugs to you as you continue to go through this journey. 

 

This is so true. I feel like there is just awkward silence when I try to share with people what the deal is. I don't know if they think it's mean to talk about my mom negatively or they just don't understand what this is like and they are confused. But I am not feeling super eager to share with people IRL. My dh gets it too.

 

My MIL was amazing but died from cancer a year after we were married. :(

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I can see how the different terms could make more sense for your husband.

 

I'm guessing that narcissistic "love" is more like what I might feel for a house or car or other posession that I "love"--it's a thing that fills a space in my life and serves a need in me.

 

I think there can also be some honest human attachment--but we can feel attachment even for people we hate.

 

Yes. I read something that said NPDs are like 6-year-olds. That helps me here (the love question). A 6yo loves his parents in an attachment way... he has real affection and warm feelings for them, and there is also a lot of need/dependence. A 6yo is not thinking of their best interests; he is not willing to put their needs first or trying to empathize with their experiences. All of this is normal in a 6yo and abnormal (devastating) in an adult.

 

This describes my mom to a T. 

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It's classic abuse behavior. Most [physical] abusers claim they love the victim too. People generally wouldn't tolerate their parents hitting them as adults, but they'll excuse away emotional abuse. It's an awful cycle. :(

 

What's weird is that with all I have posted, I cannot feel that I can claim "emotional abuse." I think that having a NPD parent so divorces you from believing your experiences/needs are valid that it becomes almost impossible to call a spade a spade. I always have a voice inside of me telling me to suck it up and stop whining. 

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What's weird is that with all I have posted, I cannot feel that I can claim "emotional abuse." I think that having a NPD parent so divorces you from believing your experiences/needs are valid that it becomes almost impossible to call a spade a spade. I always have a voice inside of me telling me to suck it up and stop whining. 

 

I think that programming that happens in childhood is very hard to overcome. The programming doesn't even have to be externally directed--even without an NPD parent some kids have a tendency to feel personal responsibility for any and all problems in their/their family's lives.

 

Learning to validate yourself and your feelings and experiences is a process.

Edited by maize
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This is so true. I feel like there is just awkward silence when I try to share with people what the deal is. I don't know if they think it's mean to talk about my mom negatively or they just don't understand what this is like and they are confused. But I am not feeling super eager to share with people IRL. My dh gets it too.

 

My MIL was amazing but died from cancer a year after we were married. :(

 

I really think unless someone has a parent/parent-role-filler  who is npd/simliar, and RECOGNIZES that . .it's very unusual that they are capable of "getting it".

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