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My mom...sigh


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1 hour ago, popmom said:

Also, in skimming I saw someone say how could you let your children continue to be exposed to this…

I’m sure this just seems cut and dry if you aren’t living this, but it’s NOT. 

It's one thing when it's a spouse that's living with you, it's another thing when it's a grandparent.

My mother caring what her mother thought, and teaching us we needed to receive grandma's approbation - damaged my relationship with my mother beyond repair. While I had a good relationship with her as an adult - she was never my "mother".  I never looked to her for wisdom or advice, or even support. I never confided in her.  I'm now beginning to really see more of those differences because I have a married daughter and grandchildren.  (the differences are more stark with her than with my single adult children.)

I understand my mother was broken by her mother (she was an only child), but she didn't/wasn't-able-to protect her children from her mother. And we were all damaged by it.   

So I am one of those who say - why would you expose your children to this?  It is that simple.  You can make sure an aged parent is cared for without putting your children at risk.  It's more complicated, but it is doable.

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33 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

It's one thing when it's a spouse that's living with you, it's another thing when it's a grandparent.

My mother caring what her mother thought, and teaching us we needed to receive grandma's approbation - damaged my relationship with my mother beyond repair. While I had a good relationship with her as an adult - she was never my "mother".  I never looked to her for wisdom or advice, or even support. I never confided in her.  I'm now beginning to really see more of those differences because I have a married daughter and grandchildren.  (the differences are more stark with her than with my single adult children.)

I understand my mother was broken by her mother (she was an only child), but she didn't/wasn't-able-to protect her children from her mother. And we were all damaged by it.   

So I am one of those who say - why would you expose your children to this?  It is that simple.  You can make sure an aged parent is cared for without putting your children at risk.  It's more complicated, but it is doable.

There is more than one way to handle this situation. It’s definitely not a one size fits all solution. Don’t do that.
 

First… I was never my mother’s lackey. I raised my kids contrary to what she wanted me to do.Don’t dare judge someone in this situation. My kids and I have open dialogue ongoing on this situation. We’ve grown up (((together))) in this because I wasn’t smart enough or enlightened enough or whatever enough to understand (because it was my normal) what was happening to me until my mid 30s. It took more than a decade after that before I had any real education on the matter. It’s not like primary care docs are screening for this s#@*. My kids understand who my mother is. One of them in particular has been hurt by her, but that dd does not blame me. And I’m open to taking blame. I don’t have the energy or inclination to discuss or defend me or my kids any more. It’s too painful. We need grace—not judgement.

My children’s relationship with me has been strengthened by my openness about mine and their experiences. 

Edited by popmom
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2 minutes ago, popmom said:

My kids understand who my mother is. One of them in particular has been hurt by her, but that dd does not blame me. And I’m open to taking blame. 

Don't. 
We couldn't know this crap before we did. We didn't have words and we couldn't imagine anyone would want to be that kind of person. I grew up with such people and still thought that nobody other than dictators of unfortunate countries could do this on purpose. We weren't born possessing research degrees in psychiatry and even people with those degrees get fooled by narcs. Some stuff just plain isn't our fault.

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1 minute ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Don't. 
We couldn't know this crap before we did. We didn't have words and we couldn't imagine anyone would want to be that kind of person. I grew up with such people and still thought that nobody other than dictators of unfortunate countries could do this on purpose. We weren't born possessing research degrees in psychiatry and even people with those degrees get fooled by narcs. Some stuff just plain isn't our fault.

Thank you…on behalf of so many besides me. This is truth.

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

So I am one of those who say - why would you expose your children to this?  It is that simple.  You can make sure an aged parent is cared for without putting your children at risk. 

This is something we're having to do and it is not easy. Our dc don't go to my mom's house. She doesn't take them anywhere by herself. If I go over there I always have someone with me as a witness. And any situation/issue I have to deal with via messages because that is how I defend myself when my mom tells others (my siblings, etc.) her side of the story. I can't have an in-person discussion because it goes nowhere and my words are twisted and used against me. So we're taking care of my mom when she needs but have basically a business relationship. Given how one event which should have been light-hearted and a non-issue was turned into the current issue, I guess it's obvious why we are remaining distant from her.

Our dc are aware of what goes on but we don't involve them, if that makes sense.

Dang, stuff with her just wears on me.

 

Edited by BakersDozen
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17 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

I grew up with such people and still thought that nobody other than dictators of unfortunate countries could do this on purpose.

Interesting...tonight I was thinking about people who cause/leave destruction and seem to gloat in their "accomplishment", and all I could envision was a dictator standing triumphantly over his victims. So in my mind it's those who are capable of this kind of abuse, not regular human beings, not moms or dads. Maybe that's why my mom's behavior continues to take me back - people aren't "supposed" to behave this way save for in stories/movies or political positions of power. Right??

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1 hour ago, BakersDozen said:

Interesting...tonight I was thinking about people who cause/leave destruction and seem to gloat in their "accomplishment", and all I could envision was a dictator standing triumphantly over his victims. So in my mind it's those who are capable of this kind of abuse, not regular human beings, not moms or dads. Maybe that's why my mom's behavior continues to take me back - people aren't "supposed" to behave this way save for in stories/movies or political positions of power. Right??

We are wired to trust our caretakers, without question. Our survival as wee-ones depended on that built-in trust.  Trusting mom, dad, family is instinctual.  And that's why it feels so confusing and is a deep violation when they act in horrendous ways. They aren't supposed to behave that way.  Nature says otherwise.  

This is also why it's SO hard to break away from family members like this. It goes against all our instincts. 

 

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2 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Don't. 
We couldn't know this crap before we did. We didn't have words and we couldn't imagine anyone would want to be that kind of person. I grew up with such people and still thought that nobody other than dictators of unfortunate countries could do this on purpose. We weren't born possessing research degrees in psychiatry and even people with those degrees get fooled by narcs. Some stuff just plain isn't our fault.

Thanks.

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2 hours ago, BakersDozen said:

This is something we're having to do and it is not easy. Our dc don't go to my mom's house. She doesn't take them anywhere by herself. If I go over there I always have someone with me as a witness. And any situation/issue I have to deal with via messages because that is how I defend myself when my mom tells others (my siblings, etc.) her side of the story. I can't have an in-person discussion because it goes nowhere and my words are twisted and used against me. So we're taking care of my mom when she needs but have basically a business relationship. Given how one event which should have been light-hearted and a non-issue was turned into the current issue, I guess it's obvious why we are remaining distant from her.

Our dc are aware of what goes on but we don't involve them, if that makes sense.

Dang, stuff with her just wears on me.

 

I'm so sorry.  It shouldn't be that way and it's hard to accept that things will never change.  

 

 

1 hour ago, MissLemon said:

We are wired to trust our caretakers, without question. Our survival as wee-ones depended on that built-in trust.  Trusting mom, dad, family is instinctual.  And that's why it feels so confusing and is a deep violation when they act in horrendous ways. They aren't supposed to behave that way.  Nature says otherwise.  

This is also why it's SO hard to break away from family members like this. It goes against all our instincts. 

 

Yes, it really does go against all our instincts.  I was able to break away from my mom, but it was hard.  Even now that she's gone, I'll look back and start to have regrets and have to remind myself of the terrible things she did to realize that there was no possible way for us to have any kind of relationship.  DH really struggles with this with his parents.  They use and manipulate him, but aren't dangerous like my mother was.  His father died last year and now his mother is worse than ever but he feels obligated to her in a way I don't understand.  Still, I don't want him to have any regrets so I support him as much as I can.  And anything I do for her, I tell myself it's for him and not for her.  They were awful to him, me, and my kids so it's really hard for me at times to understand that feeling of obligation he has.  

 

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I know I always tend to say the same things in narc threads, but I do think it’s important to keep repeating in case someone (anyone) is finally ready to hear it.

Going no-contact changes lives.

It made my mental and physical health better. It made my marriage better. It made the focuses of my life enjoyable. And you can clearly see the differences between my children who were exposed to the narc and the ones who were not. My youngest children have trust and open hearts. They don’t doubt me, and they don’t second guess reality.

My older kids are amazing, but they have emotional scars. One of them was a scapegoat, but the golden grand babies were witness to that and so much more. Including that agonizing experience of trying to find the why, and being put in the awful position of deciding whether to “believe” a grandparent or their parents.  Even fully supervised in person by the time they turned double digits, they were put through the wringer.

The older kids were SO angry with me at the time. Some went around me to keep contact, and only found the strength to let go themselves when the police, town hall, humane society, child welfare services, and psych holds came into play years later. Every day, I wish I could go back to shield them from having seen so much “up close”.  The youngers are aware of some of the issues on an appropriate age level, but they weren’t put through it, and it’s made all the difference.
 

Anecdote: She kept full wardrobes for two kids at her house. Kids had to change to go home because those clothes belonged to her. Ironically, her home devolved into hoarding so extensive that the house was condemned and torn down with most belongings in it. Probably including the bags of clothes I gave SIL for her kid, but that kid wasn’t allowed to wear even though they were broke as hell. There is no making sense of it, only torture or moving on.

Edited by Carrie12345
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6 hours ago, popmom said:

Also, in skimming I saw someone say how could you let your children continue to be exposed to this…

I’m sure this just seems cut and dry if you aren’t living this, but it’s NOT. 

There is never anything easy about abuse.

I’ll say that I’ve never heard a victim of narcissistic abuse express regret for cutting ties. I’ve only ever heard regret for not doing the very hard thing sooner. 

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1 hour ago, Carrie12345 said:

 

Going no-contact changes lives.

It made my mental and physical health better. It made my marriage better. It made the focuses of my life enjoyable.

This was my experience as well.  

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7 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

Because some of them can do a lot of damage to people when they throw a tantrum.  Some people are still living with the narcissist in their life, or are otherwise dependent upon them.   Yeah - it's easy to compare it to a toddler's tantrum, but they're still an adult and they have more resources and tools in their box.    And as for telling them what you really think . . . . you might feel better, but did they actually learn anything from what you said?  no.   

I'll admit, I became exasperated with my brother and told him what I really thought of him - didn't change his behavior any, and in the long run it was pointless.  Dissecting some of the insanity he spews, not to 'attack' him, but to walk him through why it's insane - does shut him up and he will never broach those subjects with me again.  But he still holds to them.  

You are more likely to get what you want by not directly confronting them.   simply not tolerating it.  (which is what you want your kids to learn).  e.g. "well, we have to go now".   "no that doesn't work for us"  (why?  because we do.  . . end of.)   No the kids can't visit you at your house.  No, the kids need to be in car seats, and since you're not able to use them (instead of "you are refusing to use them") - I can't allow you to take them anywhere (or babysit them, since I don't know where you'll take them when my back is turned.)

That would have helped me a heck of a lot more - if my mother didn't care what her mother said, and just had boundaries and refused to cater to her absurd and damaging demands.  Confrontation isn't a mature response either - it's just an opposite response to being a doormat.  There is nothing productive about how to deal with other difficult people from it.

 

You are overgeneralizing here.

You’re assuming that the reason to be assertive with them is to change their behavior or to be productive.  That’s not so, and that’s specifically not what I said.

There are times when ‘not directly confronting them’ or going no contact are the best possible thing.  There are also times when a calm firm expression of the actual truth is good, either for you or for observers.  It has nothing to do with caring what they think, and in fact can only be done well once you have given that up, but it’s nevertheless in that context a very strong move.

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The only thing you might have done “wrong” was all the apologizing and explaining afterwards.

I have a friend whose narcissistic father is moving back near her after leaving the family when she was 6 (she’s 40 now.). And (of course) there was a bizarre narcissistic episode because she wouldn’t pick out a house for him to move into, and she texted him long texts going on and on about the situation and defending herself for not wanting to be responsible for picking out a house for someone else (heaven forbid something be wrong with the house so it could be all her fault that she wasted hundreds of thousands of his dollars—can you even imagine the fodder he’d have had over for for the rest of his life??)

From the outside looking in, it’s so clear that the narcissist looooves the long drama-filled texts and emails..either the fawning apologies or the defensive texts, so they can either make you feel worse (“you SHOULD apologize-you were WRONG”), or they can argue (“that was NOT justifiable! You were WRONG!”). 

They looove these interactions. You need to stop engaging. Don’t apologize, don’t justify. Don’t feed the troll. 

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9 hours ago, Garga said:

Don’t feed the troll. 

I haven't heard that in a long time! Such a great visual/reminder.

She left a message on our machine using her first name (this from the woman who demanded that her sons/daughters-in-law call her "Mom" even if they didn't want to). She only asked to speak to my dh and that was it.

So.much.fun.

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39 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

I haven't heard that in a long time! Such a great visual/reminder.

She left a message on our machine using her first name (this from the woman who demanded that her sons/daughters-in-law call her "Mom" even if they didn't want to). She only asked to speak to my dh and that was it.

So.much.fun.

🙄 your dh won't respond to that will he?

 

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My opinion on calling out a narcissist:

It might be satisfying (yet unproductive) if it’s someone outside your circle. Otherwise, it could very well be damaging to your own health. This is not to say that you need to cater to them and apologize to them. Keeping emotional distance (and physical distance) is a better way to protect yourself against a person who is TRULY toxic. 

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On 7/18/2021 at 6:03 AM, Carol in Cal. said:

You are overgeneralizing here.

You’re assuming that the reason to be assertive with them is to change their behavior or to be productive.  That’s not so, and that’s specifically not what I said.

 

Professionals who deal with narcissists - or rather, the family members/those directly affected by narcissists - all agree: don't call out the narcissist. It will usually make things worse.

On 7/18/2021 at 9:50 AM, Garga said:

The only thing you might have done “wrong” was all the apologizing and explaining afterwards.

 

This.  You can't win if you play by their rules.  Nothing is ever good enough.  All you do is end up demeaning yourself.  I decided my self respect, wasn't worth sacrificing to her ego.

On 7/18/2021 at 7:03 PM, BakersDozen said:

I haven't heard that in a long time! Such a great visual/reminder.

She left a message on our machine using her first name (this from the woman who demanded that her sons/daughters-in-law call her "Mom" even if they didn't want to). She only asked to speak to my dh and that was it.

So.much.fun.

bless her heart.  Maybe post a picture of a tiny violin next to the phone as a reminder.

I'm sorry.  It sucks - you can be the mother/mother-in-law you wish you/your husband had.  It helps.

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On 7/17/2021 at 11:11 PM, popmom said:

There is more than one way to handle this situation. It’s definitely not a one size fits all solution. Don’t do that.
 

First… I was never my mother’s lackey. I raised my kids contrary to what she wanted me to do.Don’t dare judge someone in this situation. My kids and I have open dialogue ongoing on this situation. We’ve grown up (((together))) in this because I wasn’t smart enough or enlightened enough or whatever enough to understand (because it was my normal) what was happening to me until my mid 30s. It took more than a decade after that before I had any real education on the matter. It’s not like primary care docs are screening for this s#@*. My kids understand who my mother is. One of them in particular has been hurt by her, but that dd does not blame me. And I’m open to taking blame. I don’t have the energy or inclination to discuss or defend me or my kids any more. It’s too painful. We need grace—not judgement.

My children’s relationship with me has been strengthened by my openness about mine and their experiences. 

Talking to your children about what is going on, and why  - is not what I was addressing.

My mil could aggravate people (and make them want to explode), but no one took her seriously - because - *no* *one* (who knew her) *took* *her* *seriously*!  And it really diminished the power she had when she played mind games because of it.

However, Those who raise their kids to think the narcissist's opinion is to be sought, and play their games (usually because they don't know any better) . . . is to what I was referring.

what you do, is a big, huge, difference than to what I was referring.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, gardenmom5 said:

bless her heart.  Maybe post a picture of a tiny violin next to the phone as a reminder.

I am going to ask what is probably a dumb ? - how do I respond? Seriously, when she calls (as she did again today) and says, "Hi, this is (insert first name here), may I talk to (insert dh's name here)?" She talks as though she's calling an office. I just said dh was not home, she wanted his work number, I told her he was most likely on his way home and wouldn't answer his phone, she said OK and hung up.

WHAT do I say/do at this point?? When she was living in the next state or across the country it was one thing, but she's here. And she won't budge - she's right, I'm wrong. And now it's no longer "Mom" but "first name" with me.

Advice, please?? How to respond to someone who is desperate for a fight and to know she is making me angry/hurt??

Edited by BakersDozen
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8 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

I am going to ask what is probably a dumb ? - how do I respond? Seriously, when she calls (as she did again today) and says, "Hi, this is (insert first name here), may I talk to (insert dh's name here)?" She talks as though she's calling an office. I just said dh was not home, she wanted his work number, I told her he was most likely on his way home and wouldn't answer his phone, she said OK and hung up.

WHAT do I say/do at this point?? When she was living in the next state or across the country it was one thing, but she's here. And she won't budge - she's right, I'm wrong. And now it's no longer "Mom" but "first name" with me.

Advice, please?? How to respond to someone who is desperate for a fight and to know she is making me angry/hurt??

You don't say anything. You do exactly what you did.
Basically, take it the way it was intended. She was insulting you, and the correct way to feel about people who do that is to dislike them.
I don't suppose you do like her any more, do you?

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10 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

I don't suppose you do like her any more, do you?

No, I don't like her and have not liked her for as long as I can remember, going back to high school and definitely college years. But my response must be above reproach because my dc are watching and I want to give my mom nothing she can truthfully use against me. And I need to not feel like I've gone to her level so have to be purposeful in my response. How far do I let her take this? If she introduces herself as "Ann" then asks for one of my dc? Or my dh? Just pretend she didn't say it? I can do that if that's the best way to handle this.

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11 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

No, I don't like her and have not liked her for as long as I can remember, going back to high school and definitely college years. But my response must be above reproach because my dc are watching and I want to give my mom nothing she can truthfully use against me. And I need to not feel like I've gone to her level so have to be purposeful in my response. How far do I let her take this? If she introduces herself as "Ann" then asks for one of my dc? Or my dh? Just pretend she didn't say it? I can do that if that's the best way to handle this.

1. Employing boundaries sets a good example to your children. So does letting them see your struggle, as long as you narrate it to them so they understand it. That is useful information to them. They can't learn to protect themselves from this crap if they don't understand it.
2. Truth is irrelevant. Abusers lie. There is no possible way to be good enough to transcend any alternate reality they may concoct. You simply don't have the imagination. 
3. You have no control over how far she takes anything. You only have control over your responses. (Where she can hear, anyway. Emotions take longer to negotiate with.) I mean, if you want to scream blue murder at her, you can. I did that once and my favourite narc hasn't tried to communicate with me voice-to-voice since. 
4. Yes, if she introduces herself as "Ann," you say "I'll see if George is taking calls" (unless you know George doesn't want to take her calls, then say "Sorry, George isn't taking calls at present. Goodbye.")

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41 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

I am going to ask what is probably a dumb ? - how do I respond? Seriously, when she calls (as she did again today) and says, "Hi, this is (insert first name here), may I talk to (insert dh's name here)?" She talks as though she's calling an office. I just said dh was not home, she wanted his work number, I told her he was most likely on his way home and wouldn't answer his phone, she said OK and hung up.

WHAT do I say/do at this point?? When she was living in the next state or across the country it was one thing, but she's here. And she won't budge - she's right, I'm wrong. And now it's no longer "Mom" but "first name" with me.

Advice, please?? How to respond to someone who is desperate for a fight and to know she is making me angry/hurt??

Do you have caller id? If so, I'd stop taking her calls and let all of them go to voice mail until she decides to behave. 

I don't like fighting. Avoiding a stupid fight with a mean, petty person is a valid choice.  It's not your responsibility to soothe her feelings to avoid a fight.  You can avoid the fight by simply...not taking the call. 

17 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

No, I don't like her and have not liked her for as long as I can remember, going back to high school and definitely college years. But my response must be above reproach because my dc are watching and I want to give my mom nothing she can truthfully use against me. And I need to not feel like I've gone to her level so have to be purposeful in my response. How far do I let her take this? If she introduces herself as "Ann" then asks for one of my dc? Or my dh? Just pretend she didn't say it? I can do that if that's the best way to handle this.

If the kids hear her refer to herself as "Ann" instead of "Mom", you can say "Grandma is mad at me.  I guess she has some big feelings today", and then go on with your day.  It's truthful without being mean. 

The best way to handle it, IMO, is to side step her nonsense.  My personal rule is that you don't get access to my kid if you are unwilling to be nice to me.  

 

Edited by MissLemon
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1 minute ago, MissLemon said:

Do you have caller id? If so, I'd stop taking her calls and let all of them go to voice mail until she decides to behave. 

I don't like fighting. Avoiding a stupid fight with a mean, petty person is a valid choice.  It's not your responsibility to soothe her feelings to avoid a fight.  You can avoid the fight by simply...not taking the call. 

A 1000 times this! I simply don't answer my favorite narc's phone calls for 24 hours if I know that they are trying to start a confrontation or looking for narcissistic supply by creating drama in my life or they are itching for a fight. This is my way of controlling the narrative without being forced to participate in an unpleasant conversation. I use this as my main gray rocking technique. My narc usually has lost their train of thought in 24-48 hours and sometimes I return the call after a week if the situation is too stressful to me. 

If "Ann" is calling your landline looking for your DH, then don't pick up Ann's calls.

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1 hour ago, BakersDozen said:

I am going to ask what is probably a dumb ? - how do I respond? Seriously, when she calls (as she did again today) and says, "Hi, this is (insert first name here), may I talk to (insert dh's name here)?" She talks as though she's calling an office. I just said dh was not home, she wanted his work number, I told her he was most likely on his way home and wouldn't answer his phone, she said OK and hung up.

WHAT do I say/do at this point?? When she was living in the next state or across the country it was one thing, but she's here. And she won't budge - she's right, I'm wrong. And now it's no longer "Mom" but "first name" with me.

Advice, please?? How to respond to someone who is desperate for a fight and to know she is making me angry/hurt??

This is not a dumb question - this is all new to you.  There was a time it was completely new to me too.  Narcissists do not allow boundaries (it limits their influence.). They do not allow you to go against them, and they tend to get irked if you do. (consider this a warning - it's OK, it's her, not you.).  We were to talk to my grandmother as long as she wanted to talk. (if we had a legitimate excuse to leave, it was OK.  That we didn't want to talk to her, wasn't.)  It was  paradigm shift for me, that I could just say "bye, I gotta go".  No reason needed.  And her "if you don't treat me ___, I'm going to cut you out of my will" (a favorite tactic) - she was speechless when I said "Go ahead".  That was turning things upside down.  She tried one more time, to which I responded "I thought you already did".  At that point, she realized she'd lost all power over me and she all but cut me off.

I'm so sorry - this is going to suck.    So . . . .(at this stage, you might want a stress ball and/or a picture of a small violin next to where you talk on the phone.)

She identifies herself by her name, as though she's calling an office  - big eye roll.  

she wants your dh husband's WORK number - no, so sorry, I can't give that to you.  I'll give him the message you called.  Her: *why?*  You: because I can't. (it doesn't matter if he's at work, if he's on his way home, etc.  she does NOT need his work number.  You do not have to give her a reason why you *won't* give her his work number.)  Change the subject.  You don't have to do this dance ad infinitum.  If she persists, say goodbye/gotta-go and hang up.

My grandmother got no chances - if she was rude, I said goodbye and hung up.  (boy was it liberating!)  My brother, gets ONE chance.  If he goes back to whatever caused me to "change the subject" (or starts into a 2nd inappropriate topic) - I politely say goodbye, and hang up.  No excuses, or explanations.  You don't have to give one - they are just a wedge with which the narcissist will attempt to "negotiate"  (re: manipulate) to get you to do what they really want.

The big thing with introducing boundaries with a narcissist.  You dont' announce you're going to do it, you just do.   (my sister - favorite/victim - told the narcissist she needed to "take a break".  Narcissist promptly sent flying monkey to her house to reign her in and demand she apologize to the narcissist.  - because it was (break out the violins) "killing her" (the narcissist.) oh, if I had a nickel . . . . )

If she has a snit and hangs up - so much easier for you.  You don't have to be an audience for an adult having a tantrum.  And that is exactly what it is.  Narcissists get angry when their prey stops playing their game. 

DO NOT take it personally. It's not you - it's her.  Repeat that as much as you need to.

Hugs.

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1 hour ago, BakersDozen said:

No, I don't like her and have not liked her for as long as I can remember, going back to high school and definitely college years. But my response must be above reproach because my dc are watching and I want to give my mom nothing she can truthfully use against me. And I need to not feel like I've gone to her level so have to be purposeful in my response. How far do I let her take this? If she introduces herself as "Ann" then asks for one of my dc? Or my dh? Just pretend she didn't say it? I can do that if that's the best way to handle this.

You can be polite, but still have firm boundaries.  You don't have to play her games.  Just because she gets mad you won't play her games - doesn't mean you did anything wrong.  - and it's good for your kids to see you have boundaries and wont' tolerate being treated so poorly.  This is actually taking the high road.

Narcissists lie, they delude themselves with their imaginations that they have been offended and are the victim.  you can't make them happy because they just move the goal posts.  I don't trust narcissists who are being "nice".  It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up wondering what they are trying to get.  (I've heard psychologists who specialize in narcissism state they refuse narcissists as patients because they don't want to play their games, and it's a constant game.)

a narcissist who is rude to me - is going to be rude to my kids.  (or screw with their heads.).  If they want to get near my kids, they have to behave. You don't have to explain, just ___ Isn't available, is there a message you'd like me to give them?  If she persists and wont' take no for an answer, say goodbye and hang up.

Edited by gardenmom5
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24 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

[ETA quoted garden for agreement, directing my comments to OP]
 

I’d think it would be ideal for your dh to agree to not communicate with her directly, that is the “victory” she currently seems to want over you. 
 

I also suggest screening all calls. 
 

There are many ways that we can model gracious (and wise) behavior to our children. How to deal with difficult people with patience while not becoming a doormat is one of them. I personally think it’s important to teach them (sexist, maybe, but our daughters especially) to recognize and avoid manipulative people in relationships

It was painful to me to see my mother as a door mat while I was a teen.

And considering how many narcissistic women there are out there - it's good for our sons to see that too.  

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This might be a good example of the difference between a narcissistic reaction and the reaction of someone who reacts in a more typical way:

Say you are shopping with someone. You are standing in front of a long case of cold, prepared foods. Your friend is standing very, very close on your right side. Like, literally, you are two people glued together.You want to peruse over the food to look for something that you might have for lunch. You inch to your left tiny step by tiny step, reading labels because of diet restrictions. Your friend is stuck like glue to your right side and stays that way with your every tiny step. You began to wonder if they are trying to see something that has caught their eye and maybe you are moving too slowly and are in their way, so you stop moving to give them a chance to pass on down. Except they stop when you do. So you keep moving left with them stuck to your right side. 
 

This becomes a thing you notice that they do often when you are out with them. You also know this person is someone with whom you walk on eggshells. 
 

So one day, it’s happening again. So this time you just take a few steps backward, trying to be completely blank-faced and neutral, even though, honestly, it’s really annoying, to let them peruse alone. Your friend now detects your hidden annoyance. 
 

**The narcissist reacts by pursing their lips, smirking, and giving you a weird glare. (Narcissistic injury). You, knowing what to do because you’ve been around them many years, pretend you don’t see the smirk and turn to look at something else. The narcissist is literally. angry. at. you. for. being. annoyed. at. them. because. they. were. being. annoying. If you try to be direct, the result would be the same.

(So you don’t complain when they keep moving your shopping cart for no apparent reason, and telling you how to drive to and from the place and where to park. But it’s also why you don’t visit a lot).
 

**A normal reaction would be for someone to say, “Oops. Sorry. Am I all up in your space?” And then move to give them space. This is a person you can be direct with and not have to walk on eggshells with. 

(This is a seemingly teeny, minor, and dumb thing, but it speaks volumes and sometimes the situation is not so silly and minor. These times would be all the times you were damaged as a person, but back then you just couldn’t see it clearly).

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2 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

I agree! I guess my point is that it can be more physically dangerous for a woman to become involved with a manipulative partner. But yeah, guys should also learn to recognize manipulation when they see or experience it. 

Yes - it can be physically dangerous, but it can be dangerous for men too.  One of Roger Moore's (James Bond) wives liked to use a frying pan to hit him.

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12 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

This might be a good example of the difference between a narcissistic reaction and the reaction of someone who reacts in a more typical way:

Say you are shopping with someone. You are standing in front of a long case of cold, prepared foods. Your friend is standing very, very close on your right side. Like, literally, you are two people glued together.You want to peruse over the food to look for something that you might have for lunch. You inch to your left tiny step by tiny step, reading labels because of diet restrictions. Your friend is stuck like glue to your right side and stays that way with your every tiny step. You began to wonder if they are trying to see something that has caught their eye and maybe you are moving too slowly and are in their way, so you stop moving to give them a chance to pass on down. Except they stop when you do. So you keep moving left with them stuck to your right side. 
 

This becomes a thing you notice that they do often when you are out with them. You also know this person is someone with whom you walk on eggshells. 
 

So one day, it’s happening again. So this time you just take a few steps backward, trying to be completely blank-faced and neutral, even though, honestly, it’s really annoying, to let them peruse alone. Your friend now detects your hidden annoyance. 
 

**The narcissist reacts by pursing their lips, smirking, and giving you a weird glare. (Narcissistic injury). You, knowing what to do because you’ve been around them many years, pretend you don’t see the smirk and turn to look at something else. The narcissist is literally. angry. at. you. for. being. annoyed. at. them. because. they. were. being. annoying. If you try to be direct, the result would be the same.

(So you don’t complain when they keep moving your shopping cart for no apparent reason, and telling you how to drive to and from the place and where to park. But it’s also why you don’t visit a lot).
 

**A normal reaction would be for someone to say, “Oops. Sorry. Am I all up in your space?” And then move to give them space. This is a person you can be direct with and not have to walk on eggshells with. 

(This is a seemingly teeny, minor, and dumb thing, but it speaks volumes and sometimes the situation is not so silly and minor. These times would be all the times you were damaged as a person, but back then you just couldn’t see it clearly).

That is just a totally bizarre way for her to act.  It is like she is constantly trying to start a fight.   Reminds me of the annoying little brother holding his finger 1/2 inch from his sister saying, 'I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you.'  

In the words of my wise mom, 'Stay away from people who make you feel bad.'  

I am sorry for you though.  I know it is tough to deal with. 

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8 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

I agree! I guess my point is that it can be more physically dangerous for a woman to become involved with a manipulative partner. But yeah, guys should also learn to recognize manipulation when they see or experience it. 

 

4 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

Yes - it can be physically dangerous, but it can be dangerous for men too.  One of Roger Moore's (James Bond) wives liked to use a frying pan to hit him.

The impact on my husband… Don’t even get me started. He still struggles with learning what’s normal. His best parenting and spousal moments require serious conscious efforts even years after beginning to process everything. Thank goodness he’s basically a good guy by nature, because he was never really nurtured to look beyond his own needs/wants. 

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8 hours ago, mathnerd said:

A 1000 times this! I simply don't answer my favorite narc's phone calls for 24 hours if I know that they are trying to start a confrontation or looking for narcissistic supply by creating drama in my life or they are itching for a fight. This is my way of controlling the narrative without being forced to participate in an unpleasant conversation. I use this as my main gray rocking technique. My narc usually has lost their train of thought in 24-48 hours and sometimes I return the call after a week if the situation is too stressful to me. 

If "Ann" is calling your landline looking for your DH, then don't pick up Ann's calls.

This is what my dsil does- he has a narcissitic grandmother.  My dd is so happy that grandmother's facebook got hacked, she had to delete and reinstall and now dd is not adding her as a friend.

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10 hours ago, BakersDozen said:

I am going to ask what is probably a dumb ? - how do I respond? Seriously, when she calls (as she did again today) and says, "Hi, this is (insert first name here), may I talk to (insert dh's name here)?" She talks as though she's calling an office. I just said dh was not home, she wanted his work number, I told her he was most likely on his way home and wouldn't answer his phone, she said OK and hung up.

WHAT do I say/do at this point?? When she was living in the next state or across the country it was one thing, but she's here. And she won't budge - she's right, I'm wrong. And now it's no longer "Mom" but "first name" with me.

Advice, please?? How to respond to someone who is desperate for a fight and to know she is making me angry/hurt??

Screening your calls is an excellent choice.  If you’re not expecting any important ones, you can even turn the volume off and check it once a day or so.  You don’t have to call back on any particular schedule either.

In the ‘Ann’ case, I’d be inclined to say, “Ann who?”

In the asking for DH’s work number, if she doesn’t already have it I imagine there is a reason.  I’d just say calmly, “I’m not at liberty to give that out.”  If pressed, “I’ve got to run.  Good bye!”

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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1 hour ago, Carrie12345 said:

 

The impact on my husband… Don’t even get me started. He still struggles with learning what’s normal. His best parenting and spousal moments require serious conscious efforts even years after beginning to process everything. Thank goodness he’s basically a good guy by nature, because he was never really nurtured to look beyond his own needs/wants. 

I still struggle with what is normal, and will have to ask dh, or someone else I trust to "check my thinking".

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4 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

I still struggle with what is normal, and will have to ask dh, or someone else I trust to "check my thinking".

Yup, I ask my dh all the time is this normal 

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3 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

I still struggle with what is normal, and will have to ask dh, or someone else I trust to "check my thinking".

I wouldn't know what to do or think without the Hive.

 

5 hours ago, Kanin said:

I don’t think I could handle this

I can't handle this. I honestly got to a point last night that I was ready to break down in tears from the burden of it all. I have kids to focus on, school for which to prep, and I don't want my mom and her crud to be in my life.

 

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My mom called this morning and identified herself as "Oma" and asked for one of my dc. We were not home so the message is on the machine. I have not called her back yet as I'm trying to think of what to say.

Thank you all for helping me (again) through this. I can't believe the mental/emotional drain this is.

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1 minute ago, BakersDozen said:

My mom called this morning and identified herself as "Oma" and asked for one of my dc. We were not home so the message is on the machine. I have not called her back yet as I'm trying to think of what to say.

Thank you all for helping me (again) through this. I can't believe the mental/emotional drain this is.

It sounds like she’s still playing that game with you. Don’t call her back. Give it at least 2 weeks.

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Just now, fairfarmhand said:

It sounds like she’s still playing that game with you. Don’t call her back. Give it at least 2 weeks.

The dc she asked for has a bday tomorrow so I'm assuming she called to try and set something up with him - go to lunch, etc. He is turning 11. WTH do I do?? I told dh last night that my mom will portray herself as the sickly sweet, wonderful Oma while shooting daggers both visual and verbal at me.

 

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2 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

The dc she asked for has a bday tomorrow so I'm assuming she called to try and set something up with him - go to lunch, etc. He is turning 11. WTH do I do?? I told dh last night that my mom will portray herself as the sickly sweet, wonderful Oma while shooting daggers both visual and verbal at me.

 

You ignore it.  Didn't you say earlier that she's not allowed to be around the kids without you?  So you're not going to agree to her taking the birthday boy out to lunch, so it doesn't matter if you don't return her call right away.

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5 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

The dc she asked for has a bday tomorrow so I'm assuming she called to try and set something up with him - go to lunch, etc. He is turning 11. WTH do I do?? I told dh last night that my mom will portray herself as the sickly sweet, wonderful Oma while shooting daggers both visual and verbal at me.

 

Give him a good birthday without the dysfunctional addition of Oma. 

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10 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

I wouldn't know what to do or think without the Hive.

 

I can't handle this. I honestly got to a point last night that I was ready to break down in tears from the burden of it all. I have kids to focus on, school for which to prep, and I don't want my mom and her crud to be in my life.

 

Your kids come first.  You are under no obligation to play her games.

Hugs.

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6 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

The dc she asked for has a bday tomorrow so I'm assuming she called to try and set something up with him - go to lunch, etc. He is turning 11. WTH do I do?? I told dh last night that my mom will portray herself as the sickly sweet, wonderful Oma while shooting daggers both visual and verbal at me.

 

My MIL used to pull this crap with me all the time.  She would call on my dd's birthday and demand to see her to celebrate.  If we had other plans, I would just say it wasn't going to work and then she would tell dd (she had her email address) that I wouldn't LET her see her for her bday.  

Really, if it were that important to her she would have made plans earlier to see him instead of waiting until the night before.  Try to let this go and enjoy your dc's special day.  

 

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BTW - Bakers, your mom (by whatever name) is trying to get around the gatekeeper who is you.  Embrace your role as gatekeeper and protect your family from her dysfunctional games.  (And I know that it is rough to be in that role.  But technology is your friend there.  And so are we. ) 

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11 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

My mom called this morning and identified herself as "Oma" and asked for one of my dc. We were not home so the message is on the machine. I have not called her back yet as I'm trying to think of what to say.

Thank you all for helping me (again) through this. I can't believe the mental/emotional drain this is.

My german sucks - I'd ignore it.  😜  

She's playing games, and as long as she is playing the games - she. can. not. be. trusted.

I wouldn't want her around my kids, even if I was there, while she's in this mood.

7 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

The dc she asked for has a bday tomorrow so I'm assuming she called to try and set something up with him - go to lunch, etc. He is turning 11. WTH do I do?? I told dh last night that my mom will portray herself as the sickly sweet, wonderful Oma while shooting daggers both visual and verbal at me.

 

So what?  She's treating you badly - she doesn't get access to the kids.  she can send a birthday card.   Protect the child from the drama.

She can be mad, it's her - not you.

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