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Struggling with mom moving in. (Update)


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14 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

You have gotten some good, strong advice here.  I would like to add a couple of ideas to consider.

One is that what you want to say to her she almost certainly will not understand.  Triggering and boundaries are not in common parlance in that generation, and if you want to be truly heard I would use terms that she is more likely to understand.

I also think that you could put this in a way that would be true, understandable, and easier for her to accept if you said something like:  You being here for this long is hurting our relationship.  We cannot continue this way, and you need to find another place to live now.  Here are some ideas for you.  Each one would need you to start moving in within a week or so.  

That way you are sending a signal that your relationship with her is one of your priorities, and I think that might ease the transition.  The last thing you want is for her to be fighting about moving while she is actually in your home.

In the meantime, I have had some success with talking with people like her the same way I would with a preschooler.  It's hard to pull off, but easier when your kids are at stake.  Examples:  

She talks about your son's weight.  You say, "In our family we don't criticize each other's bodies."  Smiling but firm.  If she does it again, you say it again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

She talks about beating someone.  You say, "People are special.  We NEVER hit people, and we don't joke about it either."  Smiling but firm.  LRR.

She calls someone lazy.  You say, "Apologize to my son and never talk that way again.  In this house we are always kind."  And you don't back down.

This is key--when you do this, your kids will see you standing up for your family.  They will be more able to stand up for theirs one day.  They will be able to do it kindly but firmly.  They will be assertive rather than either aggressive or weak.  And they will respect you.

THIS. Well said.

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I didn't notice if you already mentioned it. How long is the divorce expected to take? When you say "when the divorce is final", are you talking about just waiting for paperwork to finish processing, or is there a battle going on?

Either way, I would have a sit down and start making plans for that day. Start putting plans in action. If she needs to decide on general geographic areas for a house, start looking now. If she needs to decide if she wants to buy a condo, apt or house. Start looking. Even if she doesn't know exactly how much she can spend, she needs to get ideas now of what she will want in the future. Just starting that process may feel better to both of you. 

If she questions your motives just say...."we enjoy your company, but dh and I would like to work on strengthening our relationship. That is hard to do with 3 adults in a house. You can absolutely stay until xyz date (have a fixed date, not a 'until xyz') but after that we would like to have our privacy back."  She may fuss and stew and that is on her, not you. Better to let her fuss and fume, that for you to live in misery for the rest of your lives. Rip off the band-aid and start the move out process!

Edited by Tap
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3 hours ago, Scarlett said:

I am sure it happens. My point is that we can’t always gauge our children’s reaction based upon our own. 

That goes both ways.

OP, I'd advise that you script out whatever response you want to give to her, and keep it short and sweet - and then stick to it. Don't mix it up, and don't waste your time giving details and explanations. If you say "You were abusive", she'll say "No I wasn't" and then demand an example. This is a trap. Any example you give, she'll deny or minimize or try to explain away, and before long she'll have shifted the conversation from the very real topic of "You need to move" to the much flimsier topic of why you're a terrible daughter for trying to accuse her of abuse when she only did the best she could.

Do not fall into this trap. Do not bring your child into it either - if you say that her presence is hurting him, she'll go to him and ask directly. I say "ask", she'll probably scream and cry and manipulate.

Just tell her it's time to move. If you really don't think she'll move on her own, then find the place for her, pay upfront, and present it to her as a done deal. Tell her she doesn't have to go with your choice, but she can't stay at your home.

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Hi there, long lost sister!

All I've got is, you know it's going to suck and be messy. If she was a reasonable person who listens reasonably to 'sit downs' and boundaries and agreements, then it wouldn't have got to this point. The only options are letting her have her way 100%, or you are evil and personally attacking her. At least if she's not in your home, there's a buffer zone.

We lasted 3 months living with my mum. I haven't spoken to her in the almost 9 years since.

Good luck.

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11 hours ago, Garga said:

Sit down with Mom and DH. Take a deep breath. “I don’t want to make this a long conversation, but all of us living together isn’t working out for me. Mom, you need to find a new place to live within 2 weeks.”

Wait for response.

Deflect any “but whys??” with, “I don’t want to make this a long conversation. It’s simply time. I can help you look for places, but within 2 weeks, you need to be in a new place.”

Or 3 weeks if you think that’s more reasonable if it’s hard to find places where you are. I live in a small town and businesses move at the speed of snails sometimes, so sometimes you call about an apartment and they don’t call you back for 5 days to say, “Oh, sure, you can come and look at it. How is next Friday?” Slower pace of life.

Pick a time frame for your area (preferably less than a month), simply refuse to give reasons other than “it’s time”, and start apartment hunting.

That's roughly the conversation I  had to have with my mum. As she had already refused the ten or so apartments that we had found for her, the only option in her case was a care home. I won't lie - the conversation and aftermath were among the worst days of my life. But it worked and she moved out. She used all the tools she could to resist, and I kept saying, 'This is not working...it's time.' 

We have a mostly okay relationship now. She intermittently reminds me that I 'threw her out,' but afterwards I  can leave her and go home.

Good luck. Remember not to get involved in explaining and discussing. It's time. This isn't working.

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She needs to move, and quickly.
 

“Mom, remember how you said it might be better if you moved out because I don’t like the way you talk to me and my kids?  I agree, and I found a long term motel that you can rent weekly while you apartment shop and find something long term.  We’ll move you over this weekend.”

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10 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

That goes both ways.

OP, I'd advise that you script out whatever response you want to give to her, and keep it short and sweet - and then stick to it. Don't mix it up, and don't waste your time giving details and explanations. If you say "You were abusive", she'll say "No I wasn't" and then demand an example. This is a trap. Any example you give, she'll deny or minimize or try to explain away, and before long she'll have shifted the conversation from the very real topic of "You need to move" to the much flimsier topic of why you're a terrible daughter for trying to accuse her of abuse when she only did the best she could.

Do not fall into this trap. Do not bring your child into it either - if you say that her presence is hurting him, she'll go to him and ask directly. I say "ask", she'll probably scream and cry and manipulate.

This part. Part of my choosing to have no direct contact (my kids are, for the moment, still engaged) is refusing to be gaslit. I made the mistake, five months ago, of saying how my child was impacted by the verbal abuse and manipulation and the parent went straight to my kids seeking confirmation that they hadn’t been affected. I almost ended grandparent contact then and there but chose to counsel the kiddos about boundaries and ignore the desperate attempt to get a rise out of me. Sadly, even if you try to preserve grandparent relationships for the kids, the kids are likely to see what you have seen/known from the beginning. One of my peeps independently points out that certain family members are ‘off’ and should be discounted not because I shared my history but because direct contact provided its own evidence of risk. So, yeah, try to make sure the kids are off somewhere when you have this discussion (from experience). Keep to the topic. Repeat short staccato sentences. Monotone intonation is fantastically helpful. Don’t argue or respond to deflection and whataboutism. Going tit for tat with the performative outrage will only drag it out.

Edited by Sneezyone
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gently - why is she in your house?  I understand you want to help her, but you also need to protect your children.   (I say that as someone whose mother didn't protect her children from her covert narcissist mother. - and I ended up in therapy for CPTSD because of the access my grandmother had to us.) 

 you could help her by helping her find a senior apartment, or other appropriate place to live that isn't with you.

 

I would suggest listening to some of dr. ramani.

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22 hours ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

Guys. I am shaking inside and feeling anxious about saying something when the time comes. I really hate myself for being afraid of her reaction. It makes me feel like all the work I’ve done is nothing. Toxic people suck.

please listen to some of dr. ramani on youtube.  her channel is on narcissism, and it is excellent.

hg - tudor has also had some interesting insights into what motivates a narcissist (he says he is one.  has a great voice).  his goal is to help people who have a narcissist in their lives.

boundaries are essential - but narcissists loath boundaries because it limits their power.  so yeah - she's going to whine when you try to impose them.  ignore the tantrum.  it means you're doing something right.

you cannot make a toxic/narcissistic person happy.  (they're never happy, and nothing is every enough.  it's not about you, but it is about them.)  but - you can and need to require being treated with respect.  re: boundaries.  and if not for you, then for your children.

22 hours ago, mlktwins said:

They do suck!!!  But...this isn't good for anyone in your home and ESPECIALLY your DS 13.  If you can't do it for you, do it for him.  You don't want him to be carrying the stuff she is saying to him and about him around forever!

 

This.

you don't want him to end up in therapy because your mother lived with him during his adolescence. 

22 hours ago, Harriet Vane said:

Please don't hate yourself. This is a totally normal, human response. Literally no one can entwine themselves with someone toxic and maintain equilibrium. 

What she pays is not worth it. 

You can see the reality. You know it will only get worse. You also know your ability to stand up to her will erode as you grow more fatigued. Change needs to happen.

You know that once a line is drawn the poison will amp up significantly. Can your husband help with the transition to a new living setting? Is there someone who can help you stand strong?

this.  (mil was manipulative, and would drive you insane, but she wasn't intentionally insulting to children.)

sil had mil live with her. (sil had one kid who refused to move home when she left college early because she didn't want to be near mil.)  she turned the "playroom" into an apartment for her.  it was down three steps, so mil couldn't get into the main house. (mil refused to do her PT so was in a wheelchair)  the playroom french doors and the kitchen windows were at a 90 degree angle so you could see (and she could see.  she'd sit at the doors and watch in the kitchen.) 

niece and i were standing in the kitchen observing mil watching us.  I commented a $1M in rent wouldn't be worth it.  niece added "a day".

(dh said yes it would.  you could hire an entire team to deal with her, pay rent for her to live somewhere else, and still make a profit.)   

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when talking to her - stick to the facts.   it's not working out for her to be in your home, and she needs to move.  
she will do some version of: why are you doing this to me, you're such an ungrateful daughter what have I done to you that you would treat me so poorly - (those are attempts are distraction - and to take control! - narcissists live for control-   do. not. fall. for. them.!)      "that's irrelevant, it's not working out for you to be here any more and it time for you to move."  rinse repeat.  "here are some apartments we can go look at tomorrow."   rinse. repeat.

- write it down so you can refer to it if you have to.  have a script if you need one.  stick to the script.  you're not going to get her to agree.  deliver the message, she's moving out, here are some available apartments.  end of discussion.   she'll try to drag it out- but really, you don't need to keep the conversation going past - you're moving out, we're looking at apartments tomorrow.  she can have a say and come with, or you will pick an apartment for her. end of discussion, and walk out (leave the house for the evening if your sanity needs it)  - do not be an audience for the narcissist's tantrum.  (aka: narcissistic rage.)

if you have to pick an apartment and physically move her stuff into it - that's what you have to do. if you have to pay first month/security to get her in - and if she refuses to pay rent after that, it's her problem if she gets evicted, she's not coming back to your house.  and if she's got the money, and knows she's not coming back to your house - she'll pay.  she'll screech about it, but she doesn't want to be on the street.

I agree it would be best if your kids aren't in the house when you have this conversation.  If you have somewhere they can go for an overnight - even better.

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16 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

You have gotten some good, strong advice here.  I would like to add a couple of ideas to consider.

One is that what you want to say to her she almost certainly will not understand.  Triggering and boundaries are not in common parlance in that generation, and if you want to be truly heard I would use terms that she is more likely to understand.

I also think that you could put this in a way that would be true, understandable, and easier for her to accept if you said something like:  You being here for this long is hurting our relationship.  We cannot continue this way, and you need to find another place to live now.  Here are some ideas for you.  Each one would need you to start moving in within a week or so.  

That way you are sending a signal that your relationship with her is one of your priorities, and I think that might ease the transition.  The last thing you want is for her to be fighting about moving while she is actually in your home.

In the meantime, I have had some success with talking with people like her the same way I would with a preschooler.  It's hard to pull off, but easier when your kids are at stake.  Examples:  

She talks about your son's weight.  You say, "In our family we don't criticize each other's bodies."  Smiling but firm.  If she does it again, you say it again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

She talks about beating someone.  You say, "People are special.  We NEVER hit people, and we don't joke about it either."  Smiling but firm.  LRR.

She calls someone lazy.  You say, "Apologize to my son and never talk that way again.  In this house we are always kind."  And you don't back down.

This is key--when you do this, your kids will see you standing up for your family.  They will be more able to stand up for theirs one day.  They will be able to do it kindly but firmly.  They will be assertive rather than either aggressive or weak.  And they will respect you.

this could work with an otherwise unreasonable but thick skulled clueless person.  

it would be too weak/soft with a toxic/narcissistic person. (and yes, there is a difference.)   foot must be utterly firm.  no trying to be gentle in the name of being polite.    politeness is seen as weakness and something to exploit.

it's better to keep it short and sweet. (I'm sorry, but) this isn't working for you to be here. You have to move out, by ___ date.  ("need to move out" is equivocal, and something to exploit.)  

 

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19 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

this could work with an otherwise unreasonable but thick skulled clueless person.  

it would be too weak/soft with a toxic/narcissistic person. (and yes, there is a difference.)   foot must be utterly firm.  no trying to be gentle in the name of being polite.    politeness is seen as weakness and something to exploit.

it's better to keep it short and sweet. (I'm sorry, but) this isn't working for you to be here. You have to move out, by ___ date.  ("need to move out" is equivocal, and something to exploit.)  

 

Your definition of what works is different from mine.

I’m not looking to save the relationship here.  

To me, what works is for the OP to feel ultimately good about her actions all the way through this difficult process, and to set boundaries and make them stick, and to get her mother eased out into another place, with or without her actual agreement.

What I said above will do all those things if it is STUCK TO.  Hence the emphasis on lather rinse repeat.  It is pleasant and firm, and strong.  

What you are talking about is meaner, and would undoubtedly leave the OP feeling guilty.  It would have the same result, but set an example for the children that is hard to justify and that will echo badly in future years.

I have a NPD family member system to contend with myself.  I had to have a period of cutting them mostly off in order to have the strength to be kind AND firm, and I get that that is hard.  However, I also do think it is better.  And considering that this situation is a live in one, with children watching, I don’t think that that mom will leave the house without some face saving gesture on the part of the daughter, and I don’t think that the daughter will feel good about having her children witness the inevitable screaming matches that would ensue from your proposal, nor would she want to establish an example of how she wants them to treat her later in life that looks like that.  Unless she is willing to take them to a hotel and stay there until her mother is gone, and cut her mother completely out of her life going forward, with all of the risks that will ensue, she is better served, if she can, by being assertive rather than aggressive in this situation.  BTW, FWIW, I assure you that I am not in any way manipulated or exploited at this point.  And I feel like I have the moral high ground, in spades, which is important to me.

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17 hours ago, Tap said:

I didn't notice if you already mentioned it. How long is the divorce expected to take? When you say "when the divorce is final", are you talking about just waiting for paperwork to finish processing, or is there a battle going on?

I don’t know. It was filed February, 2020 by my stepdad. So over a year now. Her attorney said it would be pretty much an accounting case. Not sure why it is taking so long. 

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9 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

Sorry to be suspicious. I do not know how long a divorce takes. But my immediate question is, would she tell you if it happened ?

Usually 6 months in CA. I’m guessing closed courts have pushed things back. It is definitely not over. Her order for temporary support just got resolved last month. There is a hearing in April that was supposed to be in February. She never contacts her attorney which is extremely frustrating. She keeps saying she cant wait until it is over.

She is also the one who said she wanted a divorce but his kids filed on his behalf and now she is the unsuspecting victim telling her friends, “It just came out of nowhere!” Like I said, lots of backstory. They were both abusive to each other and she was hiding money. She had to put it back when he filed and she’s pissed. 

 

Edited by AbcdeDooDah
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24 minutes ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

Usually 6 months in CA. I’m guessing closed courts have pushed things back. It is definitely not over. Her order for temporary support just got resolved last month. There is a hearing in April that was supposed to be in February. She never contacts her attorney which is extremely frustrating. She keeps saying she cant wait until it is over.

She is also the one who said she wanted a divorce but his kids filed on his behalf and now she is the unsuspecting victim telling her friends, “It just came out of nowhere!” Like I said, lots of backstory. They were both abusive to each other and she was hiding money. She had to put it back when he filed and she’s pissed. 

 

Sometimes here in CA the division of assets goes past the formal divorce finalization.

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20 hours ago, LMD said:

Hi there, long lost sister!

All I've got is, you know it's going to suck and be messy. If she was a reasonable person who listens reasonably to 'sit downs' and boundaries and agreements, then it wouldn't have got to this point. The only options are letting her have her way 100%, or you are evil and personally attacking her. At least if she's not in your home, there's a buffer zone.

We lasted 3 months living with my mum. I haven't spoken to her in the almost 9 years since.

Good luck.

Apparently I have lots of sisters here. 😀 I am sure I will be pegged as the evil one. Not looking forward to the suck but it already sucks now so. . . .

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12 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

This part. Part of my choosing to have no direct contact (my kids are, for the moment, still engaged) is refusing to be gaslit. I made the mistake, five months ago, of saying how my child was impacted by the verbal abuse and manipulation and the parent went straight to my kids seeking confirmation that they hadn’t been affected. I almost ended grandparent contact then and there but chose to counsel the kiddos about boundaries and ignore the desperate attempt to get a rise out of me. Sadly, even if you try to preserve grandparent relationships for the kids, the kids are likely to see what you have seen/known from the beginning. One of my peeps independently points out that certain family members are ‘off’ and should be discounted not because I shared my history but because direct contact provided its own evidence of risk. So, yeah, try to make sure the kids are off somewhere when you have this discussion (from experience). Keep to the topic. Repeat short staccato sentences. Monotone intonation is fantastically helpful. Don’t argue or respond to deflection and whataboutism. Going tit for tat with the performative outrage will only drag it out.

Oh, yes, she definitely would go to him and ask. He would say its fine because non-confrontational. 

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10 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Your definition of what works is different from mine.

I’m not looking to save the relationship here.  

To me, what works is for the OP to feel ultimately good about her actions all the way through this difficult process, and to set boundaries and make them stick, and to get her mother eased out into another place, with or without her actual agreement.

What I said above will do all those things if it is STUCK TO.  Hence the emphasis on lather rinse repeat.  It is pleasant and firm, and strong.  

What you are talking about is meaner, and would undoubtedly leave the OP feeling guilty.  It would have the same result, but set an example for the children that is hard to justify and that will echo badly in future years.

I have a NPD family member system to contend with myself.  I had to have a period of cutting them mostly off in order to have the strength to be kind AND firm, and I get that that is hard.  However, I also do think it is better.  And considering that this situation is a live in one, with children watching, I don’t think that that mom will leave the house without some face saving gesture on the part of the daughter, and I don’t think that the daughter will feel good about having her children witness the inevitable screaming matches that would ensue from your proposal, nor would she want to establish an example of how she wants them to treat her later in life that looks like that.  Unless she is willing to take them to a hotel and stay there until her mother is gone, and cut her mother completely out of her life going forward, with all of the risks that will ensue, she is better served, if she can, by being assertive rather than aggressive in this situation.  BTW, FWIW, I assure you that I am not in any way manipulated or exploited at this point.  And I feel like I have the moral high ground, in spades, which is important to me.

Neither am I - but neither am I willing to descend to the narcissist's level.

what you call mean, I call firm.  what you call polite - I consider soft and inviting the narcissist to plow right over you.  If it works with your narcissist - great, count your blessings.   It wouldn't have worked with mine - and would have (and did) triggered narcissistic rage.  

my narcissist excelled at guilt complexes - (even as a teen, when I knew nothing of narcissism, I joked her guilt trips sent postcards.)  I was a teen when I realized I had to be able to not be affected by the guilt complexes (being the scapegoat has advantages), and not allow her dictates to rule my life. I made choices as a teen, that I couldn't allow her to know until I was ready to deal with her.  And I had to refuse to bend, for my own well-being.   

 If someone is subject to the narcissists guilt trip,  the narcissist will throw as much at their target as needed in order to get their "subject" to fall back under the narcissist's spell.  The only way to stop the narcissist's game - is to refuse to play the game.

everyone's narcissist is different in the games they focus one, and the rules they play by. everyone's ability to stand-up to their narcissist is different.  (and it changes over time.)

 

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29 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

Neither am I - but neither am I willing to descend to the narcissist's level.

what you call mean, I call firm.  what you call polite - I consider soft and inviting the narcissist to plow right over you.  If it works with your narcissist - great, count your blessings.   It wouldn't have worked with mine - and would have (and did) triggered narcissistic rage.  

my narcissist excelled at guilt complexes - (even as a teen, when I knew nothing of narcissism, I joked her guilt trips sent postcards.)  I was a teen when I realized I had to be able to not be affected by the guilt complexes (being the scapegoat has advantages), and not allow her dictates to rule my life. I made choices as a teen, that I couldn't allow her to know until I was ready to deal with her.  And I had to refuse to bend, for my own well-being.   

 If someone is subject to the narcissists guilt trip,  the narcissist will throw as much at their target as needed in order to get their "subject" to fall back under the narcissist's spell.  The only way to stop the narcissist's game - is to refuse to play the game.

everyone's narcissist is different in the games they focus one, and the rules they play by. everyone's ability to stand-up to their narcissist is different.  (and it changes over time.)

 

How is what I suggested descending to the narcissist’s level?  I’m honestly curious.

And, what I talked about as polite is effective if and only if engagement beyond it is avoided—hence the lather rinse repeat caution.  Having someone rage at me while I keep my cool is not a bad thing for my kids to see, as long as i don’t cave.  It is really crucial not to cave.  It’s fine to be mean, I guess, if that is really the only way not to cave, and sometimes it is.  But I think that it might lead one’s kids to treat one that way later on, with no real justification except that that has been normalized.  So if that can be avoided, I think it’s a good thing.  (And the reason I can keep my cool is because of the essential distance from earlier, FWIW.)

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12 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

How is what I suggested descending to the narcissist’s level?  I’m honestly curious.

And, what I talked about as polite is effective if and only if engagement beyond it is avoided—hence the lather rinse repeat caution.  Having someone rage at me while I keep my cool is not a bad thing for my kids to see, as long as i don’t cave.  It is really crucial not to cave.  It’s fine to be mean, I guess, if that is really the only way not to cave, and sometimes it is.  But I think that it might lead one’s kids to treat one that way later on, with no real justification except that that has been normalized.  So if that can be avoided, I think it’s a good thing.  (And the reason I can keep my cool is because of the essential distance from earlier, FWIW.)

Like I said - different narcissists play different games.  if your suggestions work with your narcissist - great.  They would never have worked with mine. 

the things you suggested were similar to things my narcissist would do - only she'd twist things beyond recognition, sharpen it to a point - and use it as a weapon.  it's impossible to say - but that's not what I said/did, because that plays right into the narcissists hand, and just makes things worse.  As th scapegoat, I would also be blamed for things the 'favorite" did.  (many of which were illegal and immoral.) The only way to win - was to refuse to play.

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On 3/26/2021 at 7:38 PM, Carol in Cal. said:

You have gotten some good, strong advice here.  I would like to add a couple of ideas to consider.

One is that what you want to say to her she almost certainly will not understand.  Triggering and boundaries are not in common parlance in that generation, and if you want to be truly heard I would use terms that she is more likely to understand.

I also think that you could put this in a way that would be true, understandable, and easier for her to accept if you said something like:  You being here for this long is hurting our relationship.  We cannot continue this way, and you need to find another place to live now.  Here are some ideas for you.  Each one would need you to start moving in within a week or so.  

That way you are sending a signal that your relationship with her is one of your priorities, and I think that might ease the transition.  The last thing you want is for her to be fighting about moving while she is actually in your home.

In the meantime, I have had some success with talking with people like her the same way I would with a preschooler.  It's hard to pull off, but easier when your kids are at stake.  Examples:  

She talks about your son's weight.  You say, "In our family we don't criticize each other's bodies."  Smiling but firm.  If she does it again, you say it again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

She talks about beating someone.  You say, "People are special.  We NEVER hit people, and we don't joke about it either."  Smiling but firm.  LRR.

She calls someone lazy.  You say, "Apologize to my son and never talk that way again.  In this house we are always kind."  And you don't back down.

This is key--when you do this, your kids will see you standing up for your family.  They will be more able to stand up for theirs one day.  They will be able to do it kindly but firmly.  They will be assertive rather than either aggressive or weak.  And they will respect you.

I completely agree with everything you said here.
 

Also as a general comment, not to you specifically @Carol in Cal.I would like to point out that not every difficult toxic parent is a narcissist.  I mean, the OP would know better than us for sure and I don’t think she has said her mother is a narcissist. Someone Correct me if I am wrong. 
 

I especially agree that it is good to avoid using words like triggering and boundaries when talking to a difficult person.  That just sets up a defensive situation. 

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I am just seeing the diagnosis of Narcissist used so much these days.  Maybe there are more out there than I know, but basically I don’t think we have to diagnose people to change and cement our own boundaries.  

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2 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I am just seeing the diagnosis of Narcissist used so much these days.  Maybe there are more out there than I know, but basically I don’t think we have to diagnose people to change and cement our own boundaries.  

You're right, diagnosis or not, I need to do what I need to do. I will say, though, if she doesn't have a cluster-B personality disorder, I would be shocked. She possesses so many of the traits. 

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3 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I completely agree with everything you said here.
 

Also as a general comment, not to you specifically @Carol in Cal.I would like to point out that not every difficult toxic parent is a narcissist.  I mean, the OP would know better than us for sure and I don’t think she has said her mother is a narcissist. Someone Correct me if I am wrong. 
 

I especially agree that it is good to avoid using words like triggering and boundaries when talking to a difficult person.  That just sets up a defensive situation. 

No she hasn't.  many of the resources still work.  (re: boundaries,)  one should never call out a narcissist (or other toxic person - it's pointless) by deliberately using triggering words, it just sets them off and is pointless.  or, for a true narcissist, worse.

 

IME: (from other support groups talking to people, and reading about how the brain works.) - some toxic people had something that changed how their brain works. One friend said her dh had a head injury, from the outside, his behavior looked like a narcissist, but it was because of the head injury.  I had an experience with mil that made it clear to me- there was something wrong in her brain.  I was able to have a lot more tolerance and patience after that experience.  And when I'd had enough, I'd just say bye and leave until the next time.   brain function plays a part, and some people have something that isn't working.  Childhood abuse changes how the brain develops too.

but some - made the choice to go down that path.  the other thing that has been made apparent how insecure narcissists are (appearances can be deceiving.).

 

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17 minutes ago, AbcdeDooDah said:
22 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

 

You're right, diagnosis or not, I need to do what I need to do. I will say, though, if she doesn't have a cluster-B personality disorder, I would be shocked. She possesses so many of the traits. 

I am not comfortable assigning labels like narcissist unless the person has been professionally diagnosed. When I was a teen, I was in therapy, but I was sufficiently programmed to never tell anything that would reflect poorly on my mother. 
 

But the therapist said that she knew my mother was mentally ill by the way that she talked about me. She said my mom was the kind of person who never gets help because they quit therapy as soon as any of their own weak areas are exposed. She said that my mother was not a safe person for me to live with and she worked things out so I could move into my dad. How much better my life would have been if I had stayed with my dad. Looking back, I think my therapist must have been referring to some sort of personality disorder, but I can’t be sure. 
 

But the exact label doesn’t matter to me. What I care about is that I get to choose who I let into my life and not everyone is a good fit.  It isn’t necessary that the other person be a narcissist, or evil or even wrong. It just isn’t my preference to be around them. That is enough. 
 

 

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58 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

I agree that not every difficult person is a narcissist. I think one can wonder and speculate whether a person has a personality disorder. I think that’s fair. People who are living with or have a relationship with a true cluster B personality have been through a lot of pain and will see clearly how the pieces fit together when they finally find a “label” that smacks them in the face and they have a lightbulb moment. Sort of like when you think someone may have a medical disorder and you can be fairly sure that the symptoms you see line up with a certain condition. Sometimes someone can feel something is clearly wrong, and it can be hard to figure it out because someone may believe it’s them and not the other person due to gaslighting.
 

Still, I think narcissism is thrown around  a lot and used lightly. As I understand it, with true NPD you will definitely see more than just a difficult person. There will be chronic lying, manipulation, verbal and physical abuse, attention-seeking behavior, and exploitative behavior. If a conflict arises, they will not be able to see how you are affected, only themselves. They can’t be trusted and are good at gaslighting. This is more than just being difficult person. Anyway, there probably won’t be a diagnosis. They don’t walk in to the therapist and say I might have NPD. It’s hard. Yes, we all are saying narcissism a lot these days. But if there really is something more serious, only a professional can diagnose for sure. But sometimes the closest you will get is an armchair diagnosis, sadly.

 

ETA: Sometimes it doesn’t matter, anyway. You’re being treated badly and being disrespected. That’s enough reason to put up boundaries or make other decisions. Having a diagnosis doesn’t change that.

I get that. I had a MIL and I truly believe she has major NPD characteristics. There is some speculation that it is actually caused from a head injury she suffered when she was 8.....I have l known her since I was 16 and it took me at least 15 years to realize there was something waaay off with her.  She was so mean to me....I had never experienced anything like it.  She is my xMIL now and she is 91 so I don’t really have to deal with her anymore.  Just a few months ago though I called her up and tried to be the go between for her newly found siblings who really want to meet her.  .....she refuses to accept the dna results and so her way of dealing with that was to ask me who it showed my sons father is.  I mean, ya just gotta laugh. It honestly did not even upset me that she was telling me. ‘ no one ever believed my son was the father. ‘ 

So as an armchair diagnosis, that is mine for her.  And one person who is a public figure seems eerily similar.  Other than that I have never known anyone who I would say, oh that person is NPD.  And believe me I have dealt with a lot of difficult people. 

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7 hours ago, Indigo Blue said:

I agree that not every difficult person is a narcissist. I think one can wonder and speculate whether a person has a personality disorder. I think that’s fair. People who are living with or have a relationship with a true cluster B personality have been through a lot of pain and will see clearly how the pieces fit together when they finally find a “label” that smacks them in the face and they have a lightbulb moment. Sort of like when you think someone may have a medical disorder and you can be fairly sure that the symptoms you see line up with a certain condition. Sometimes someone can feel something is clearly wrong, and it can be hard to figure it out because someone may believe it’s them and not the other person due to gaslighting.

 

 

 I vividly remember my lightbulb moment. Those who've been there with a narcissist - will remember that lightbulb moment.  It's when we finally have confirmation we're not the crazy person.   (narcissists rarely get diagnosed -  those around the narcissist seek mental health treatment.). Pieces of understanding had been lining up for years, but many were still missing.  I remember the "eureka" moment, and going down the list and check check check check. That someone else had experienced the same things.  and all those missing pieces fell into place.  I developed my working definition of evil from my narcissist.  I was diagnosed with, and treated for, CPTSD because of her.   
 

There's a channel by a guy named HG tudor on youtube.  he says' he's a narcissist - and he explains how they think, what they're doing, what they look for in a victim, etc.  His goal is to educate those around (other) narcissists so they can protect themselves.  He has some very good insights (he has a voice for radio) that dr. ramani hasn't mentioned.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update

I brought up the dynamic with my son to her and such a big surprise! She reacted badly. She kept trying to argue why they should be able to talk to each other like that and said I was being a victim 🤣.

I told her that it is now three times I have set a boundary with her regarding my son and three times she has reacted badly. I said having her there is negatively affecting my family and I'm going to choose them and she would have to find another place to live. She said, " so I guess being your mother counts for nothing."

Then she brought up how hurtful it is when I go shopping or to lunch by myself and not invite her. I told her, " I am not apologizing for taking time for myself."

Of course, she tried to engage me a couple of hours later and repeated that it's not working for my family and I would not be explaining any more. 

Tonight at dinner, she got up and walked all the way around the table to get the salad dressing that was next to my arm. God she's stunted. 

I never thought I could do this. I have been talking to friends and a counselor. Everyone said the same thing as here, which I knew but didn't feel like I could do it and that's the fact that she needs to get out of this house. Ever since this thread, I've been anxious and delaying the inevitable. It is going to be rough for a little while but I did it for the sake of my son.

 

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  • AbcdeDooDah changed the title to Struggling with mom moving in. (Update)
3 hours ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

Then she brought up how hurtful it is when I go shopping or to lunch by myself and not invite her. I told her, " I am not apologizing for taking time for myself."

Of course, she tried to engage me a couple of hours later and repeated that it's not working for my family and I would not be explaining any more. 

Tonight at dinner, she got up and walked all the way around the table to get the salad dressing that was next to my arm. God she's stunted. 

I never thought I could do this. I have been talking to friends and a counselor. Everyone said the same thing as here, which I knew but didn't feel like I could do it and that's the fact that she needs to get out of this house. Ever since this thread, I've been anxious and delaying the inevitable. It is going to be rough for a little while but I did it for the sake of my son.

 

My mum complained about my going out on my own or with my husband, and also not inviting her to socialise with my friends.  It's amazing how blinded one can be: it wasn't until my therapist said, 'Why should you take her everywhere with you?' that I realised that I had the right to that separation.

I know that is so hard, but you are doing something necessary and protecting your son.  Good luck!

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5 hours ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

Update

I brought up the dynamic with my son to her and such a big surprise! She reacted badly. She kept trying to argue why they should be able to talk to each other like that and said I was being a victim 🤣.

I told her that it is now three times I have set a boundary with her regarding my son and three times she has reacted badly. I said having her there is negatively affecting my family and I'm going to choose them and she would have to find another place to live. She said, " so I guess being your mother counts for nothing."

Then she brought up how hurtful it is when I go shopping or to lunch by myself and not invite her. I told her, " I am not apologizing for taking time for myself."

Of course, she tried to engage me a couple of hours later and repeated that it's not working for my family and I would not be explaining any more. 

Tonight at dinner, she got up and walked all the way around the table to get the salad dressing that was next to my arm. God she's stunted. 

I never thought I could do this. I have been talking to friends and a counselor. Everyone said the same thing as here, which I knew but didn't feel like I could do it and that's the fact that she needs to get out of this house. Ever since this thread, I've been anxious and delaying the inevitable. It is going to be rough for a little while but I did it for the sake of my son.

 

I'm sorry it's rough right now but I hope you feel as good as I did on the other side of it. 

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1 hour ago, lauraw4321 said:

Good job. Keep it up. Ask for concrete plans regarding her moving out. Set a timeline. You’re almost past the worst. 

Agree. Keep to a strict timeline or she may just wait for all this to blow over and never move out.

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congratulations - you did it.  You stood up for yourself and your son.  You're stronger for it - even if it doesn't feel like it right now.

I agree - continue to put your foot down, keep a timeline of when she'll move out.  

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2 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

I'm sorry it's rough right now but I hope you feel as good as I did on the other side of it. 

I instantly felt a weight lift the moment the words came out of my mouth. It's still yuck and will probably get worse, but looking forward to good.

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8 hours ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

Update

I brought up the dynamic with my son to her and such a big surprise! She reacted badly. She kept trying to argue why they should be able to talk to each other like that and said I was being a victim 🤣.

I told her that it is now three times I have set a boundary with her regarding my son and three times she has reacted badly. I said having her there is negatively affecting my family and I'm going to choose them and she would have to find another place to live. She said, " so I guess being your mother counts for nothing."

Then she brought up how hurtful it is when I go shopping or to lunch by myself and not invite her. I told her, " I am not apologizing for taking time for myself."

Of course, she tried to engage me a couple of hours later and repeated that it's not working for my family and I would not be explaining any more. 

Tonight at dinner, she got up and walked all the way around the table to get the salad dressing that was next to my arm. God she's stunted. 

I never thought I could do this. I have been talking to friends and a counselor. Everyone said the same thing as here, which I knew but didn't feel like I could do it and that's the fact that she needs to get out of this house. Ever since this thread, I've been anxious and delaying the inevitable. It is going to be rough for a little while but I did it for the sake of my son.

 

I am glad you recognize the manipulative nature of her thoughts and actions. Yes, there will be rough waters but with a firm timeline you have better control over how much longer you have to endure them. 

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I am worried about her mental health in this. Her anxiety and depression can get bad at times. In fact, she was borderline suicidal/wanting to die from November 19 until about February 2020. It what started this whole divorce. Her mental health here has been great. I'm going to struggle with the inevitable decline being blamed on me. Everyone I've talked to says I am not responsible for her mental health, and I believe that, but the toxic religious leftovers are whispering that I am being selfish. 😓

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6 minutes ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

... mental health...

Abusers have to abuse in order to thrive. Once she moved in with you she regained an outlet for her need to abuse and now feels better. When she leaves she will decline. This is neither your fault nor your responsibility.

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10 minutes ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

I am worried about her mental health in this. Her anxiety and depression can get bad at times. In fact, she was borderline suicidal/wanting to die from November 19 until about February 2020. It what started this whole divorce. Her mental health here has been great. I'm going to struggle with the inevitable decline being blamed on me. Everyone I've talked to says I am not responsible for her mental health, and I believe that, but the toxic religious leftovers are whispering that I am being selfish. 😓

She needs to have friends, and she doesn’t know how.  So having people who ‘have to’ be friendly with her is helpful to her.  But what would be even more helpful is if she learned how to be a friend.  She will never do that at your house.  So in a way, being there is actually holding her back from better mental health.

You have been massively unselfish in taking her in.  You don’t have to make that permanent to be unselfish.  You already did it, for longer than I would have been able to do, and now you can’t do it anymore.  That doesn’t mean that you’re utterly cutting her out of your life.  It just means that you’re unable to have her continue to live in your home without hurting yourself and your children badly (and, possibly, your marriage.). You are not selfish.  You are adult, balancing adult needs in an adult way.

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She has options for improving her mental health that don't involve hurting yours and your family's. If her mental health declines after moving out, that means she is deciding not to pursue those other options. It doesn't mean you are wrong.

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20 minutes ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

I am worried about her mental health in this. Her anxiety and depression can get bad at times. In fact, she was borderline suicidal/wanting to die from November 19 until about February 2020. It what started this whole divorce. Her mental health here has been great. I'm going to struggle with the inevitable decline being blamed on me. Everyone I've talked to says I am not responsible for her mental health, and I believe that, but the toxic religious leftovers are whispering that I am being selfish. 😓

You aren't responsible for her mental health, but you are responsible for hers, and to some extent your children's (within bounds of what we have power to control). Write out what you can do (reasonable support that you can provide) what you can't do (unreasonable support that damages you / your husband / your kids and behaviors that will cause you to stop your reasonable support (be specific). Use those to get your boundaries clear in your own head and then begin working on enforcing them. 

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1 hour ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

I am worried about her mental health in this. Her anxiety and depression can get bad at times. In fact, she was borderline suicidal/wanting to die from November 19 until about February 2020. It what started this whole divorce. Her mental health here has been great. I'm going to struggle with the inevitable decline being blamed on me. Everyone I've talked to says I am not responsible for her mental health, and I believe that, but the toxic religious leftovers are whispering that I am being selfish. 😓

You are not responsible for her mental health or her happiness.  If she expresses suicidal ideation, call the national suicide hotline with her and they will help you find local resources.  You may need to take her to the ER - she can be evaluated and possibly admitted that way.  If you think this sounds extreme, well, I guess it is, but I did it twice with my mom during her first stint living with us.  She was admitted each time - and stayed for 7 and 10 days respectively.  It was the jumpstart she needed to getting a diagnosis and on a med cocktail.  It also made things crystal clear that living with us would not work at that time. It gave our family a respite from the constant barrage of dysfunction while knowing she was safe. And it gave us an in with a psychiatrist for her.

Like I shared above, I don’t think my mother was abusive in the same way you have shared, but she has always been mentally ill.  It’s taken me a lifetime to realize that I am not responsible for her happiness, her feelings, her social life.  Her father once said she was born with lemons in her mouth, and that’s a good way to put it.  I am a fixer.  I want to fix things.  But this can’t be fixed.  What I can do is protect my family and my own mental health.  (To alleviate any confusion, after a year of living on her own with help from me, she is living with us again - but my mother on medication is a different beast, and we have solid boundaries most of the time.)

Please don’t listen to any inner voice telling you that you are responsible for her mental health.  You are not.

 

ETA:  I should correct one thing above.  I said “we” have solid boundaries most of the time.  Should have said, “I.” 

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43 minutes ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

I am worried about her mental health in this. Her anxiety and depression can get bad at times. In fact, she was borderline suicidal/wanting to die from November 19 until about February 2020. It what started this whole divorce. Her mental health here has been great. I'm going to struggle with the inevitable decline being blamed on me. Everyone I've talked to says I am not responsible for her mental health, and I believe that, but the toxic religious leftovers are whispering that I am being selfish. 😓

In my case, those feelings went away when it became apparent that holding on to my sibling was the last and final option. I don’t know if you have siblings but all that energy was transferred in my case. My sibling is still learning how to manage the situation.

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Good job sticking up for your family and your own sanity.

I agree with others that you need to set a firm deadline in place.

And remember that as an adult her mental and physical wellbeing is HER responsibility. You can support her in that pursuit if you want, but not to the detriment of your own physical and mental health.

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26 minutes ago, livetoread said:

She has options for improving her mental health that don't involve hurting yours and your family's. If her mental health declines after moving out, that means she is deciding not to pursue those other options. It doesn't mean you are wrong.

This. I recommended therapy and my parent declined. All you can do is suggest the option.

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2 hours ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

I am worried about her mental health in this. Her anxiety and depression can get bad at times. In fact, she was borderline suicidal/wanting to die from November 19 until about February 2020. It what started this whole divorce. Her mental health here has been great. I'm going to struggle with the inevitable decline being blamed on me. Everyone I've talked to says I am not responsible for her mental health, and I believe that, but the toxic religious leftovers are whispering that I am being selfish. 😓

I recall one time that "undermining's voice" tried to undermine my confidence.  By that time, I'd made good progress.  I burst out laughing - and thought "that sounds like something grandmother would say".   And laughter was all the response it deserved.  

That "toxic religious leftover whispering you're being selfish" - are NOT "Christianity as Christ taught."   Nowhere in the Bible does it say you are selfish if you refuse to allow an abuser to abuse you.    You're not throwing her out on the street where she will be runover by a truck, you are merely requiring she find another place to live (and she has the money to do so.).    Put it this way - You are protecting your family from being abused by her.  That is something the bible encourages us to do - protect the weak and the vulnerable.

And if this leads to her getting mental health treatment - you'll be doing her a lot of benefit.

2 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

You aren't responsible for her mental health, but you are responsible for hers

You might want to change that "hers" to "yours".

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9 hours ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

I am worried about her mental health in this. Her anxiety and depression can get bad at times. In fact, she was borderline suicidal/wanting to die from November 19 until about February 2020. It what started this whole divorce. Her mental health here has been great. I'm going to struggle with the inevitable decline being blamed on me. Everyone I've talked to says I am not responsible for her mental health, and I believe that, but the toxic religious leftovers are whispering that I am being selfish. 😓

You are not responsible for your mother's mental health.  She is an adult and she is responsible for herself.

You are responsible to raise your children in a healthy environment with good boundaries.  By doing this you are doing the right thing for your family, and that is ALL you are responsible for.

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