My mother died last September after 3 yrs prior having been diagnosed with dementia. To be precise she was not a hardcore narcissist in the sense of NPD, rather a borderline with strong narcissistic features. All my life I was the scapegoat to her ever-changing moods, and even more so after I became her caretaker. It was the most challenging task of my life, being idealized and denigrated in a constant roller-coaster. Her last words to me were so utterly devaluing that I am still stuck, 9 months later, between relief, anger and terrible sadness. Her pattern became mine: I love her - I hate her, and I worry that I never find peace or closure.

Since she showed her emotional ups and downs to hardly anyone but me I on top of the hurt feel deeply isolated, listening to other people who keep telling me what a wonderful person she was. Sometimes I am wondering if I am crazy...?! My Dad is still alive, as is her sister, and both are trying to convince me that she was a nice human being who truly loved me, with no other consequence that I am feeling terribly
alone and gaslighted.

So sorry you are going through this, hugs. It will take time -- lots of time -- and inner work to unpack and process what you have and are experiencing. Working with a talented therapist could be of great help to work through this; to have a trained professional be supportive, caring and to hear and, importantly, validate what you have been through and your feelings. And to work with you on ways to deal with what you have been through, to move forward.

My mom -- super high in narcissist personality traits, w/clinical depression, a most of various medical conditions and now dementia -- caused a roller coaster of damage for me as a child, as a teen, as a young adult and now as a senior myself. I am in the processing and grieving the mother I deserved but never had, although she is not yet deceased. My mom is 86 and at some point -- in theory, if she passes before me -- I will grieve her actual death.

I was an only child, it all fell on me, no siblings to take the abuse as a kid or now. My dad passed when I was a kid, so the one adult in my life that was "normal" was not around. I went in to foster care as a young teen and never returned to the "family home." Years, later after graduate school (me thinking I am grown, had a career, was successful, had a home, husband, family and was doing well) I though could reestablish a relationship with my mom. It kinda worked, as long as she got what she wanted and no one tried (me) to have any normal, adult conversation w/her. I moved her in with us, as she was in dire financial distress -- compulsive gambling (big mistake on my part, but hindsight is 20-20).

Fast forward, years later when her physical and mental health declined (she smoked, ate junk food, lied in bed all day and only went out to casinos -- spending is Social Security check), I tried to care for her and ended up as her 24/7 "nursemaid" the year before COVID as she could no longer walk. A bad fall ended her in the hospital for 2 weeks curing the worst of COVID and thereafter it was a move to Rehab and then a permanent placement in a skilled nursing facility after spending down to qualify for Medicaid. She's be at her SNF for nearly 3 years and I went no contact 2 years ago.

The verbal abuse, lashing out at me and blaming me for her situation was more than I could take after the years of living in my house expense free, after me being her 24/7 care giver for years and exhausted with that (I retired early to care for her). The trigger point for no contact was her telling me on Mother's Day in 2021 that "Mother's Day -- having me -- was the worst day of her life." The flood gates opened and the abuse as a kid/young teen (before my foster care placement) was too much, like all that came rushing back into my memory after being long buried.

Working for 2+ years now with a talented therapist, I am in a much better spot. I was not a bad kid, I did not deserve a mother who could not mother. No person deserves this. I was good enough and I did enough. Now I know and can accept my mom is and always will be a broken person. I have no idea why she is broke/what broke her; creating a vile person consumed with vengeance, rage, competition, judgment, blame shifting, gaslighting, anger, chaotic moods who should have never had a child. That said, I am grateful to her for giving me life. Now I can focus on me, me getting better and working through the hurt, griveing for the mother I deserved and did not have, and likely will grieve again when she passes. My broken mom is no longer my responsibility. My responsibility now is to move forward focusing on me! And that is your responsibility now, focus on you! Tell others who invalidate your reality, to say no more, tell them to stop or go no contact with them for a while.

Thx for letting me share, part of my healing is to write this out in places like this blog.

Best of luck for your healing journey! This is a trip none of us wanted to take but this is the journey we are sadly on.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to Sohenc
mom2mepil Jul 2023
Sohenc, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your story here. What you wrote really resonates with me. I have been struggling so hard with these same issues. My mom is still alive, but I, too, have been so STUCK. I just started working with a counselor about a month ago, and I am starting to feel some hope of being able to deal with the excruciating, painful, complicated feelings I have toward my mother.

When I read your words, "I was not a bad kid, I did not deserve a mother who could not mother. No person deserves this. I was good enough and I did enough," I cried. I was not a bad kid, either, and I did not deserve a mother who couldn't mother. I do not deserve her as an adult, now, either. Thank you.
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Why would you argue your point of view? To what end?
Your Mom raised you to be what she wanted you to be, and she, like all of her ilk left you slaving away to hear the simple words "Thank you; I love you so much. I am so sorry".
Didn't happen.
Almost never does.

Now you are free, but you choose, and I emphasize CHOOSE to batter yourself like a moth at the flame, hoping someone will say "You know; you're right; she had such severe limitations; she was so lucky to have YOU".
Won't happen.
Almost never does.

You have insight. I leave you with that. You know all you need to know. It is time now for you to may changes for your own future or to pay this forward through the generations.

I myself would be moving 3,000 miles (minimum) from any connection to Mom and HER connections. I would make friends who value me. I would get someone skilled and professional to shake my world until the old habitual ways of acting and reacting fell away. Or I would die trying.

No one can make your choices for you. UnKraut, build a life you can be PROUD of working for and with people you value, or don't. This ball is squarely in your court.

I hope you choose well.
This, imho, is your one life.
No numbers of people saying "you are right" or "I am sorry" or "you deserve better" will ever help you until YOU prove to YOURSELF that it is true.
I wish you a GREAT life full of joy and contentment.

By the way, and giving her the credit due, my condolences on your loss. When you are able to experience compassion for her limitations you will know you are WELL ON YOUR WAY TO HEALING.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to AlvaDeer
NeedHelpWithMom Jun 2023

It’s true, she knows what the facts are regarding the relationship.

Whether or not she expected something more out of relationship is unclear. It’s normal to desire a healthy relationship with our loved ones.

Sometimes, having validation does help.
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These women have managed to bamboozle mostly everyone in their life that they're such wonderful, pillars of society who are loving, kind and generous to a fault. When reality is the polar opposite. Only very few of us know the REAL women lurking behind those masks! And they hate US for It! We've seen their slip show and they can't change that fact, so now we are The Bad Guys who must be punished as a result. This is when the gaslighting starts.......they have to make US think we're crazy to question THEM about anything! So we're to take whatever they say at face value, even bald faced lies!

Don't question yourself. You know the type of person your mother was. Accept it. Grieve THAT fact instead of anything else. Grieve the fact your father and aunt are in denial about this woman and who she truly was, and the fact she was incapable of love. Once you accept all of this, then you can say goodbye and move on with your own life, freeing yourself from the chains of her power over you for GOOD.

My mother said so many horrible and hurtful words to me in the last year of her life, it was awful. I chose to feel sorry for HER in the end, and her lack of ability to connect with ME. I didn't internalize her deficits, in other words, what for? She'd already caused me enough pain. I was relieved when she passed and was finally out of pain and done causing pain for others.

Wishing you the best of luck with all of this.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to lealonnie1
NeedHelpWithMom Jun 2023
You nailed it, Lea.

Some people aren’t capable of having a healthy and nurturing relationship with their children.

Who knows why this is? Even though some parents harm others. they usually don’t assume any responsibility for their actions. Nor do they seek help for their issues. They excuse themselves by blaming others. It’s truly a sad situation.

You were extremely generous and showed so much compassion to your mother, in spite of her lack of appreciation or support for you. That’s because you are a lovely woman who I admire deeply.
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A lifetime of struggling to make sense of the degradation, being thrown under the bus, lied about, triangulation with family members, manipulated ~  goes hand in hand with guilt that somehow you failed to make this person see life from a more positive perspective, or compelled her to have what it takes to be a functional mother- 

This is why the best option is always to go no contact with a narcissist. With that said, I still haven’t because, like you, Im unable to walk away from my mother. Just think how much guilt that would bring on if you failed because you quit?

One comment suggested to seek a ‘compassionate’ perspective ~ … I respectfully disagree, once again enabling the narcissist.  We all know her behavior is a result of her upbringing and her choices - but having ‘compassion’ absolutely does not take away the massive hole of a lifetime of being abused by the narcissist. Your mother ingrained in you feelings of blame for her illness and the ensuing guilt that follows is immense. Not to be overcome by a simple ‘understanding’ of her issues. For instance…. We dont feel better that a loved one was murdered by ‘understanding’ the murderer had childhood issues. 

You were robbed of a lifetime of functional parenting- you are not JUST a product of our mother, you did the best you could to endure a lifetime of abuse and yet stick around to help to the end- 

Listen to every podcast of ‘The little shaman’ the absolute best resource on narcissistic abuse.

I proud of you!  The life sentence you were born into was/is horrible and amazingly you came out of it with ‘guilt’ instead of becoming a sociopath who has ‘zero empathy’ ~~ 

People don’t understand the all encompassing pain narcissistic abuse causes-  think about this, if you had a parent who sexually abused you over and over- it is socially understood and encouraged for you to stay away.  However a narcissistic  parent is the most damaging of all emotional abuses and yet society encourages and expects a child to continue to care for the parent.  

You stood strong, albeit times of anger, hate, love, compassion, crying, screaming, ~~ You stood by a person who if they weren’t your relative you would have run away from a million times over. Please tell yourself over and over how amazing you are for not becoming your mother!!!! 

You have been released from prison…Now its time to embrace life and live it, love it and remember how short it is.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Cruzinup
Drmichael59 Jul 2023
Wow What an amazing true description of a narcissistic parent, As I agree with every word you said as I am going through and have gone through this problem the whole of my life I'm 64 now, And I'm just understanding why I've never been able to have a successful relationship, Always kept to myself never seem to be really sociable, Deep down it just showed I just didn't have the confedence andWas maybe embarrassed by my Upbringing, I am the eldest son in my family The strange thing is when I was putt in a home when I was young because of the arguing and fighting between my parents yet when I ran away from the home because I couldn't stick it there I ran away to try and find my mother Who was separated from my father at the time I was only a child and I must have ran 30 40 miles to try and find my mother Yet I could have went a shorter distance to my home where my father was , And isn't it now ironic that after my father has passed away it is my mother who is now causing me all this grief, As she was the reason why my parents split up in the first place, And it's only now that I'm older that I'm understanding that my mother has a problemAnd she's always had that problem from a young age as she herself was an orphan put in a convent of Nazareth house we're at times she would tell me that she was abused there so no wonder she's turned into What she is now I understand the guilt thing because that is only natural, But it's nice to know that we are not the only ones suffering, Because narcissists have a way of making you feel guilty, But now I finally realized that I must step away especially when it affects your relationships with your daughter and grandchildren, I'm afraid my Mother is not Going to be my first choice that's for sure, Sometimes it is difficult to accept that your mother just isn't who she was And I suppose you must look at them as a patient rather than a parent, It is hard to do but I'm sure that's the only way to come out of this thank you for your comment anyway it was very helpful
Unkraut, I understand what you are going through as my mom (94) treats me horribly. I am her kicking can who she yells at if she doesn’t get her way and complains about every..little..thing. Thank goodness she is in a care home where she belongs. Her behavior to my sister and I in the last 4 years since dad passed (thankfully we are a team who work well together and are on the same page about moms behavior) is narcissistic, demeaning and downright nasty at times.
I too have dealt with guilt feelings, did we do the right thing, moving her 3 times (nothing was good enough or too expensive in her mind), drop everything at her beckon calling, etc. I have put off seeking help but I know in my mind I must do that to deal with this mother who I no longer know. My visits will be less, I don’t answer every phone call, rather listen to her messages first. She is narcissistic, always in control, and my sister and I agree she has “angry dementia”. She is borderline getting kicked out of her AL home for her rudeness to staff there.
So, I wish you the best and don’t hesitate to seek out the help you need. I feel life is too short and we do not need negative people in our lives to ruin it.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Gabby2022

Welcome UnKraut68!

It’s a pleasure to chat with someone who lives in Germany.

I just read your profile and I love your attitude towards turning an insult into your “badge of honor.” That’s awesome!

My fourth great grandfather came to Louisiana from Germany. I enjoy researching our family tree. I located his gravesite and have gone to visit his grave.

Family dynamics can become quite complicated. It’s true that a family member can treat one person quite shabbily and others don’t acknowledge this happens. It’s painful because it can feel as if we are being kicked twice.

When people think of grief, they often think of grieving for their loved one, remembering good memories and so on. The truth is that some people do not have the best memories and they may be grieving for what they wish they could have had their loved one.

My point is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. It’s extremely personal to each of us.

I am sorry for the loss of your mother. Sometimes, there are mixed emotions about the loss of a parent that we had a complicated relationship with. Their death is often a relief for us.

Wishing you peace as you adjust to a new situation in your life.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

Your father and her sister are living in a make believe world, that is their choice.

If she loved you she wouldn't have treated you the way she did.

My mother doesn't love me, never has I was just a tool to her, her scapegoat. I finally accepted the truth and went no contact 13 years ago. It was not the first time either, but this is a forever boundary. It has been the most peaceful and happy years of my adult life.

It will never be totally over until she dies, then I will be 100% free of her.

Therapy might help you, it did me, the therapist made me realize that it was her not me as no one else in the family speaks to her either, except my brother who is now stuck with her, not too bad tho as she is in AL, he checks on her every two weeks or so, as he cannot stand being with her.

Consider yourself lucky as she can no longer torture you with her meanness.

Reframe your thinking, start feeding your subconscious mind positive thoughts about what a fine, caring person you are, don't keep carrying her crap around with you.

Refrain from talking about her, that is important for you to heal. If she is brought up, just say that you do not want to talk about her.

The ball is in your court, you can overcome this negative self-talk!

Sending positive vibes your way.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to MeDolly
NeedHelpWithMom Jun 2023
Great advice! Words of wisdom.

I know that it isn’t totally over for you, but I’m so glad that you found peace in your life.

You deserve to live your life in peace, Dolly. I enjoy reading your posts.

I too had to seek out therapy because I was stuck and confused in my thinking.

I had an awful habit of visiting my past. I had to learn how to put my past behind me, cope in the present and hope of a better future. My mom lived to be 95 years old!
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Dear UnKraut68,
For me it was my narcissist father. I had been looking forward to his passing to be honest, he was always hard to be around, and once he got a terminal cancer diagnosis he imploded. Narcissists don't deal well with death, they can't control it and can't avoid it.
For most of the last two years of his life we didn't have much to do with each other, until the last two months. My mother, always browbeaten just couldn't handle his care anymore, and having her own health issues went to hospital. So I started doing his day to day care.

I had been in therapy for two years beforehand and I was as ready as I could be. I understood that I was watching a man who could not deal with his pain and grief. He blamed me for the cancer, he said awful things.
When I took him to the emergency room I was relieved, it was finally going to be over.
He died and I didn't have much of a reaction.

We are a dysfunctional family and my father had a lot of money. So my absent brother came back and had me ostracised within two days, my Mum so happy her son was back in her life she did whatever he wanted. It was awful.
I went through a terrible period of depression, it lasted for close to a year. I felt betrayed by my mother and very angry towards my brother. I really believed my life would be better once my Dad was gone, and that wasn't true.
A friend of mine told me that I still had to grieve my father, regardless of what type of man he was, and to grieve my family of origin. The fact that it was dysfunctional, the fact that love was never shared and that I was the scapegoat.

Once I started grieving for my father, the sadness lifted. I grieved that he was my father, that he was never happy, that we had a terrible relationship, that he was no more and for all the fights we had. I had guilt, and the grief helped it go.
I also found that the feelings that I had held onto in such a family had nowhere to go, we'd always blamed Dad for how terrible everyone got on, but the truth was we'd all accepted our roles and played them out.

I am at peace now, because the past is over and there is nothing I can do to change it.
I went to therapy whilst I was in the depths of my depression and I highly recommend you do too, otherwise being depressed is not an episode but a way of life.

Forgive her, if she could have, she would have done better. Forgive yourself for caring so much and not detaching from an unhappy family situation, forgive your other family members if that needs to be done. I'm not saying to make what has happened over a lifetime OK, I'm saying to put it firmly in the past and move on.
If you think, I don't know how to do that, then therapy is needed. An alternative, Reiki also works very well.

Good luck to you.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Lizzyvoo
Dupedwife Jul 2023
My heart goes out to you because I have had the exact experience with my narcissistic husband that you have experienced with your father — the blame, depression, etc. The only way to deal with a narcissist is to run as far away from him and NEVER look back or go back to him. Now that your father has passed on and you have found a way to forgive him, you will now be able to move on and live a happy life. If your brother and your mother are showing narcissistic tendencies then it’s time for you to move as far away from them as you can and try not to have any contact with them because you do not want a repeat of the past experience like you have had with your father.

Wishing you the best.
Everything that you've said resonates with me. You're experiencing a great fear of mine. What will be left of my mental health when this season of caregiving is finally over?

Caring for my mother while she was still in her own home didn't affect my mental and emotional and physical health. I still had a job I loved, friends and was happy and well-adjusted. I was mentally healthy enough to deal with life's frustrations and adversities with a good attitude. My spiritual health was very good as well.

Then came the day when I had to move her into my home. (Most of you know by now that I'm keeping a promise to my mother.) And it's been downhill ever since.

UnKraut68, your feelings are valid. I agree with the others here that finding a therapist who is experienced in grief, gaslighting and difficult mother-daughter relationships will be a great help to you so that you can free yourself from the shackles of pain that are chaining you from truly living.

You deserve to live free and joyful.

Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to southiebella

Listen the Main Caregiver gets all
the frustration and abuse . I was the only one caring for my Mom the last 9 months and she constantly gave me hateful looks in front of people . I knew she wasn’t all there so I did not take it personally but created a strong boundary to not let her emotions effect me . Often I saw a therapist after going to the nursing home 🏠 Go see a grief counselor to process
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Reply to KNance72

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