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Does anybody out there have a parent or in-law that acts like this? This came from an article I read about the spoilt brat / narcissist behavior. Please explain to me how you deal with this behavior and how much do you allow it to actually control your life before either just putting your foot down and saying enough and calling their bluff or backing away from the situation. I realize that they are our parents but when is enough just enough?

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Can you explain why over-pampering can create inferior feelings?
It’s odd that opposite actions can result in the same outcome? (pampering vs. neglect = inferiority)

People seem confused by my assertion that both extreme neglect and extreme pampering are both forms of abuse that can create low self-esteem, so I’m going to clear it up in this post. As far as the over pampering goes, it’s very counterintuitive but true. When people are over pampered, they end up with several major issues. The key is to understand that the high self-esteem they appear to display on the outside is not true self-esteem. It’s grandiosity, an illusion formed by overcompensation that they use to stave off feelings of inadequacy. It’s a lie, a front, but many people take it at face value and believe it to be real self-esteem.

One issue is that over pampered spoiled brats don’t have any faith in their ability to solve life problems, because they’ve never been taught to tolerate frustration and deprivation, because they’ve never been allowed to learn to figure things out for themselves and risk failing and falling on their faces. Their parents treated them like delicate flowers and always let them feel like they had a backup to bail them out of trouble at the drop of a dime. For these reasons they reach adulthood feeling they’ve never been truly tested by any real trials. They have an outer cockiness, but deep down they don’t trust their ability to live up to the legend they and their doting parents have created in the spoiled brats’ own minds. Sometimes they’re not consciously aware that they doubt their own abilities, but rather they feel it on an unconscious level.

To deal with this lack of confidence in their own abilities they create lots of ego-protecting strategies and defense mechanisms, and end up doing a lot of self-sabotaging. Self-sabotaging is a very subtle defense mechanism. The idea is that the spoiled brat, who is also a narcissist and emotional vampire, is afraid of finding out as an adult that he isn’t as special and gifted and a chosen one like mommy and daddy and maybe the grandparents always told him he was growing up. Or if it’s a girl, she isn’t a princess like Cinderella who is entitled to a Prince Charming just for being born with a vagina, looking pretty and dressing stylishly.

As the narcissist grows up and starts seeing that the mundane mediocre reality of their adult life nowhere near matches up the grandiose self-image they developed from growing up pampered and spoiled, that’s when the low self-esteem along with the accompanying overcompensation goes into overdrive and the strategies like self-sabotage, blaming others, and underachievement really explode. This gap between their lifelong delusions of grandeur and entitlement and their mediocre present reality is a form of known as cognitive dissonance
The Grandiosity Gap, which is a key concept I’ll discuss in another post. The spoiled brat narcissist’s warped logic now goes like this: “it’s less bruising to my ego to portray myself as lazy, afraid of success, having writer’s block, chronically choosing bad lovers, being kept down by outside forces like drugs and alcohol, derailed by heartbreak/racism/sexism/liberals/conservatives, than being an untalented imposter whose birthright actually turned out to little more than lifelong delusions of grandeur from damaging parents. The mindset behind this chronic underachievement is “I’d rather be believed to be supertalented but self-destructive or lazy or substance abusing or unlucky or a victim of an anti-IQ liberal conspiracy than be perceived as hardworking and giving it all yet still coming up short, which would prove once and for all what I’ve long suspected: that mommy and daddy lied to me, fed me a crock, and I’m not as special as I thought after all.” They’d rather lose on a technicality, because of unfairness, or even because they gave up than lose because they gave it their all and lose fair and square because they just weren’t good enough.

This reasoning doesn’t take place on a conscious level. They not only don’t want to be exposed to others as an untalented fraud, they don’t even want to be exposed as such to THEMSELVES. They’re not just bsing and lying to others, they’re also trying to fool themselves.

Another reason why pampering leads to low self-esteem is that the kid ends up growing up into a very entitled adult. They think that the special, ass-kissing and pedestalizing treatment they got from their parents and grandparents will continue into adulthood, and when it doesn’t they’re dismayed. Even if it does continue into adulthood from people outside their family like friends, lovers, and coworkers, they start to realize that the sycophants they tend to attract aren’t people worth respecting, and that people worth respecting have absolutely no tolerance for their high-drama, spoiled brat bull and won’t be their sycophants.

So they get frustrated that they can only get validation from people they can’t even bring themselves to respect and that the people they look up to and envy can’t be bothered to put up with their entitled, non-contributing drama queen bull, and this makes their self-esteem lower. Furthermore, even though they are looking down on their sycophants and claiming not to respect them, they find they can’t live without their attention and narcissistic supply, so they start to wonder “If I’m supposedly so much better than this person, if my self-esteem is supposedly so much higher, why do I need and appreciate their attention and validation so much? Why am I always trying so hard to impress this inferior being? Why does my mood rely on whether or not I get their attention or not? If this person is inferior, but he’s the only type of person who recognizes my greatness, and even worse I can’t function without their validation and get enraged when I don’t get it, doesn’t that make me inferior too?” This insatiable need as an adult to keep getting the type of pampering doting attention they received as children, even if it’s from “inferior” people, starts to erode their self-esteem also, although again, they’ll try to keep as much of this reasoning out of their conscious sphere of awareness as possible. Narcissists have much trouble consciously dealing with unpleasant low self-esteem feelings and often feel their whole identity will unravel if they consciously accept any inferiority feelings they have about themselves.

Yet another reason why pampering lowers a child’s self-esteem is that it’s not really love. Many of the people think pampering is a case of too much love, but there is no such thing as too much love. Love involves recognizing someone as a separate individual and respecting their boundaries and not using them to alter your own moods or live out your dreams, undo your failures, or fix your core issues for you. Pampering, like neglect or bullying, is a violation of boundaries and is treating the child like an extension of the parent. The child is not being loved for who he truly is, but for other reasons.

The parent may be pampering the child because seeing the child sad, uncomfortable, frustrated, throwing a tantrum or giving the silent treatment gives the parent uncomfortable feelings and the parent pampers to get rid of his own discomfort. They may be doing it because their parents treated them like crap growing up, so they want to “make up for it” with their kids by spoiling them, making it really about treating the kid as an extension of themselves through which to heal their own wounds rather than about appreciating the kid as a unique separate being. It can also be about thinking of the child as a miniature version of themselves and pampering the child because they like to pamper themselves, and just like they would never want to be seen looking shabby, they don’t want their kids looking shabby either, since in their minds the kids represent the parents to the world. It’s like saying an egocentric person is hooking up their new top of the line Mercedes-Benz with all the best accessories and improvements and keeping it in tip-top appearance because he loves the car. No, he’s doing it because the car is an object to him, an object that is a reflection on him, and thus the object must have the best things and appear impeccable in order that he also looks impeccable by association. This is the same mindset the narcissistic parent has when he or she spoils a child.

Spoiling is usually a form of conditional love. If the child performs in a way that makes the parent feel or look good, they get rewarded. If they act cute, mug, play precocious, do “tricks” for the parent, they get rewarded. If they go off-script in an authentic form of self-expression, the spoiling and positive attention stop. So they learn to perform as a false self to keep that spoiling going. This performing can carry on well into adulthood. “I have to get the kind of grades mommy and daddy want to get the type of pampering I like.” “I have to become either a doctor, lawyer, or engineer to pay back the pampering.” “I have to marry within my religion to stay the special prince or princess.” “I have to take over the family business.” “I have to follow the religious practices, at least publicly.”

If they try to go off-script in an attempt to find their authentic selves, they fear they’ll lose their parents’ attention. They learn at a young age they need to construct a false, idealized self to get love, and they learn to equate love with pampering. When you grow up feeling the real you, flaws and all, isn’t good enough, even if you learn that lesson in the form of pampering rather than through neglect, you get a low self-esteem, no matter how grandiose and larger than life your exterior is. And that only gets worse in adulthood when the pampering stops or doesn’t measure up to what your family trained you to expect, because now you learn that not only is the real you not good enough, but now even the false, idealized self you constructed can no longer get the job done.
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The place to put your foot down is at the very beginning and then don't back off. How much should be tolerated? None. And no bluffing. Give this type of person an inch and they'll take the proverbial mile.

However, reading between the lines, my impression is that you already are fed up and ready to back away. To be fair, though, if you haven't asserted yourself and you've let them walk all over you, you might want to set boundaries and try that approach before giving up. Perhaps you've been enabling the abuse.

Good luck and God bless.
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This is a hard one. I don't think we have an answer yet. It is true that a parent can be spoiled. It is hard to know how to treat an adult who has had these tendency's.
Growing up I had to be very careful how I said things. It got progressively worse as my mother aged. It was like walking on egg shells. There could be no disagreeing or questioning of her. She was right and that was it. I always thought as I got older that if she did something for me I owed her. As she got older it was told to me that I owed her because she took care of me as a child. The Guilt trip was laid on me and I have felt that I was conditionally loved. Control was important for her and when I finally figured it out, with some help, it helped me cope a little bit better. I tried not to make the mistake with my children and husband. So how do I handle it? There has to be some boundaries set. Sometimes to keep me from going crazy I have had to say no and back off. I can't expect my mother to change at her age but I can change my behavior. I have this little saying that I keep on my fridge. "The circumstances of life, the events of life, and the people around me in life, do not make me the way I am, but reveal the way I am." Dr. Sam Peeples
I hope more people will write and give us some ideas about coping with this kind of parent. Each circumstance is unique. Seek counseling, it can help give you some tools for dealing with this without feeling bad.
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I also have read a very good website :
www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com
Plenty of helpful information on how to deal with this issue.

My mom has dementia, and is a narcissist, add the two together and you get a double whammy!

It's not easy, especially being the only family member who will still have anything to do with her, everyone else has walked. I will admit I have thought about it, but if I do, she will be alone, and she was a good mother, so I am sticking by her during this difficult time in her life even though she verbally attacks and hurts me on a regular basis.

When she mistreats me, I tell her I am leaving, I tell her why, and I come back the next day. I do not bring up the painful things she said before, I move on in a positive manner. I have to keep reminding myself she cannot help it, she is confused and frightened. I pray a lot. I thank God for strength. I cry, and I seek compassion in others with whom I share this terrible problem.

Good luck!
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Thanks for posting this question. I too am struggling with being a full-time caregiver for my 79 y/I narcissistic mother with dementia. My brother and I are grown adults. She still tried to control how we look, our social choices, our lifestyle choices and more. She has nothing but negative things to say about me. Her friends no longer call her. She blames us (mostly me) for her illness. Her know it all, domineering and controlling behavior laced with manipulation and guilt tactics is slowly killing me. She even tells her doctors they are wrong and has switches doctors each time one tells her something she does not want to hear. She even told a doctor at her last trip to the hospital that she knew more than him because she majored in biology in college! As her full time caregiver living in her home I am suffering emotionally & physically as a result. I keep hearing "just ignore" but it's sooooo hard. Thank you for starting this thread.
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From my experience, most of this in our family is because my parents didn't have an education... thus, the lack of esteem. Being from a poor family tends to have more dysfunction.
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There are many books and websites that give a good explanation about NPD and advise on how to help yourself recover, if you are the adult child of a narcissist. I am 58 years old and my mother is 93, a malignant, engulfing narcissist with also histrionic personality disorder. I have an older brother who also has NPD and probably also has borderline personality disorder. As a note, the above diagnoses were done from afar (because these two relatives will never go to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist as they for sure "know better than these crooks") by several therapists that I and my family have visited.

When it comes to dealing with a narcissist, it is different for someone with a healthy upbringing than the child of the narcissist. My husband comes from a healthy family; he put up with a lot of bad behavior; when I would tell him what my mother said to me, he would say things like "oh, she couldn't possibly mean it this way, you are over-reacting, you are oversensitive". Growing up, I was the scapegoat and my brother the golden child. As the daughter of a narcissistic mother, I was taught since babyhood that anything that goes on inside our home is top secret and I should never tell a soul about it; that my sole purpose in life is to make my mother happy; that the role of a daughter is to stay with her mother and take care of her no matter what. I was also taught not to rely on my experiences as they were deniable. I will not say much more about this, as all the information about typical narcissistic behavior can be found online; I just wanted to point out that if you were raised by a narcissist, you are scarred and you have a distorted view of the world. This makes it extremely difficult for you to stand up for yourself, learn that maybe you should not avoid a confrontation (I still have nightmares about mother's rages), and set boundaries. Look at my husband: he endured bad behavior by my mother and brother for many years (35) and, of course, he couldn't explain why they behaved this way. Then we discovered about narcissism and the fact that they aren't going to change. As my mother grew older and my brother older and richer, their attacks became more pronounced and more malignant. My husband, being healthy, decided to go 'no contact' with them and I went to see a therapist. Now two years later, I am low contact with my mother and brother and it is very difficult.

I went through the process of being angry, mourn the mother I never had, and then started dealing with my several issues of low self esteem, guilt, a sense that I don't deserve to be happy etc. I also decided that I prefer low contact than no contact. I never share anything important with my mother and brother. I never tell them about my family's problems or successes. They haven't noticed! I call my mother on Skype 3-4 times/week and talk for about 1 hour each time. I also visit her for 1 week each summer; this is new as I used to visit her for 2 months in the summer!
It is very hard. My mother keeps telling me that I am a bad daughter seeing her only 1 week a year. She never even considers the possibility that I don't see her more because of her behavior. It used to be that she spent 6 months a year in my house in the states and I spent 2 months in the summer in her house in Greece (with my 3 children and my husband who spent his 2 week vacation with her). That is a total of 8 months a year in the same house for the first 25 years of my marriage. When she decided not to travel anymore, my husband and I offered her to help her get a green card and come and stay with us for good! She turned us down in the most insulting way; my therapist said she did so because she had a much greater narcissistic supply in her country and she didn't need us. My husband says that he would consider speaking to her again, if she made a small effort to own what she has done and said to him. So when she recently asked me why my husband is avoiding her, I tried to tell her. There was an awful rage over the phone! How is it possible that a fragile 93 year old can scream so loudly? I only mentioned one faux pas and she completely denied it.It never happened and how dare we accuse an old lady like that? So there is was.
I still want to keep the low contact relationship. I try to separate my relationship with my mother and brother from the rest of my life. I don't talk much with my brother and mostly our relationship has to do with our mother (who is a wealthy lady and has the best live-in care 24/7). No matter what I do, it is hard. I have to deal usually with lies, passive/aggressive behavior, mean words and putdowns, guilt trips and other things (like having a friend of mine call me and tell me to treat my mother better!). I dread the phone calls and I dread the visits. When I set boundaries and I follow through, I have to deal with either a rage or a drama (my brother might call and say our mother fainted after the phone call and fell down and hurt herself!). So, now I have found a new approach: if I sense she is in a bad mood, I find an excuse like I have a dentist appointment and I need to go. If she starts attacking me, I might say "oh, I hear the doorbell! I need to go right now!" If she is downright abusive, like: "I am ashamed of you!" then I just hung up and I don't call her for a few days; she then calls and leaves me messages of how much she adores me and misses me, so I call her again. All this is easier on the phone. I am now trying to think of possible scenarios for the week that I am spending with her in June and how I can survive/escape.

Any advise? My thoughts are with all the children and adult children of narcissists. Hugs to all.
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In answer to the OP's (original poster) question "Never".

Personally, I care less why this has happened to them and more about how to deal with it. Whatever happened, happened. You can't change that. Mother has borderline personality disorder and narcissism and now as she ages increasing paranoia You have to deal with your own feelings - the fear, guilt and obligation you were brought up to feel in response to their manipulations. Your narcissistic parent (s) planted buttons in you for these emotions and know very well how to control/manipulate you. They want the word to revolve around them and their needs. I was brought up to believe that only mother's needs mattered - no one else in the family really mattered. I have had to learn to separate the FOG - fear, obligation and guilt - set off by her - from my honest true God given feelings. It took a lot of my energy in my younger years, You have to learn to draw boundaries and to detach emotionally if not physically. They play on things like - you don't visit me enough, you don't do enough things for me etc. My experience is that no matter what you do it is never enough, and they are never happy for long, yet they blame you for their unhappiness. Do not take that on. No one is responsible for some one else's happiness. They never recognise the role they play in your life - the stress they put on you, the health issues that are brought on or exacerbated by the stress. Follow your own feelings and deal with them, Look after you - put yourself first. There is no reason on God's green earth why your mother's whims and moods should come before your health and stress levels.

Here is some info on detaching. Work on it and on getting rid of the guilt. You have done nothing to deserve feeing guilty about. Google for more info. There are many sites with good suggestions. Also checkout codependency as we who were brought up by narcissistic parents tend to be codependent, and that is not a good thing, but can be overcome.

from website positivelypresent

The 4 Steps for Detaching from Loved Ones

Step 1. Choose a person you love, but about whom you feel some level of anxiety, anger, or sadness.

Step 2. Identify what this person must do to make you happy, but using this sentence: "If _________ would only __________, then I could feel ____________."

Step 3. Delete the first part of the sentence, so it reads: "I could feel _____________." Realize that this is the only honest truth in the sentence and know that you have the power to feel that way no matter what anyone else says or does.

Step 4. Shift your focus from controlling others to creating your own happiness.

For me I think the last step is the most important. If talking with mother 3 times a week is not good for you, then change it. You are not responsible for her feelings, you are only responsible for your feelings. Be good to you. Do something good for you today! If it helps, start with setting small boundaries - baby steps. So she will be mad. What's new? She was mad and self centered before you came along. You are just a convenient scapegoat. (((((hugs)))))
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I started out not having the label for the way my mother has always been. I also made excuses for her self centered and sometimes cruel behavior. Since her stroke I have discovered that I and my sister have enabled her for years. She kept us at odds putting herself in the middle and center of attention. Well after this 90 yr old pulled a major move that totally exposed herself we no longer allow her to manipulate us.
Now it has been the dawning of a new day. She still tries to manipulate but I have taken charge and tell her no that is not the way it is going to be. This is what is going to happen. No one is mean to her. I just treat her the way I raised my children. She gets respect but no games allowed. It has not been easy to take that stand with my mother since I am so used to her demanding, ordering and snapping her fingers to have us all preform liked trained monkeys. My sister still can not adjust. Thank goodness she has the distance of another state between her and mom. It allows her to withdraw from the hurt. It also makes it easier for me to deal with mom since she lives with us. I'm not saying it is a piece of cake but I'm learning to take a deep breath and just walk away when the attitude turns ugly. I own that to the wonderful people on this site. Reading the different ways you all handle your difficult situations has given me new insight and healing. Hang in there my new friends!
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What a wonderful website this is! I am very new to it and I already feel I am not alone in dealing with narcissism. Thank you all and special thanks to emjo for your thoughtful and good advise. Hugs
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EMJO,
Excellent post. I am going to memorize this "There is no reason on God's green earth why your mother's whims and moods should come before your health and stress levels."
I have learned to detach emotionally however, I still have set backs. Now I am working on physically detaching and removing myself. Walking to another room or putting on my headphones is NOT cutting it. I need to physically get away from her home, even if only for a few hours. I think if I had the means to leave when her behavior get's to me, then this will help. I am working on purchasing a car so I can at least get away for a few hours.
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Ahhhh - I am home! This forum and Dysfunctional families is where I can relate - sad but true. I haven't seen my mother in AL since January when she said FU and get out - this after a very emotion fight with her - she tried to throw a pitcher of water on my husband and tried to hit him - yet when she tells it - he yelled and yelled and hit her...she has hit the facility manager in the face, pushed a woman in a walker, threw food around the dining room, calls two of the men there stupid as she walks by and just hit another woman - but apologized right away saying she didn't know...OMG! Since she has kicked me out - she sends me daily emails (I opened pandoras box) that are crazy - and now she is reaching out to my brother who has had nothing to do with her in 2 years claiming she loves him. Counseling is wonderful! I found one that does EMDR and I highly recommend it - they use it for post traumatic stress - which if we were raised with the narcissist - we have. I have backed off - no longer take her insults, criticism, negative remarks (hair, clothes you name it). When she starts - I calmly said ok - gotta go now. That until the last blow out -
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Incarcerate and medicate. Wait it out until the funeral. It's working for me.
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BlueRidge - hahahahahahahahahaha!
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I relate to the posts on this question - had a mother also who used alcohol to keep up a life routine of doing chores for isolated family during daytime, reward and relax with alcohol at 5 pm - meant that she never taught me or my sister any cooking skills - did it all herself, with glass on the counter, and periodic outbursts about how sad it was that she had such lazy daughters. The sons were treated as gold, could do no wrong. The drinks meant that when my hard working father came home and shared cocktails also, bitter comments would fly later, and so would plates (on which was the hard worked over dinner my mother had given him). I get the pain, confusion. And my youngest brother with disabilities was brought up just as havefaithingod wrote - with over-pampering, for all the reasons she described so well. However, when I took responsibility for him, I discovered how he had hidden his failures to pretend he was always cheerful, which was the family expectation. I felt shocked, and stood by him for several years, giving him realistic feedback, keeping myself safe from his belligerent replies, and yet gradually found ways to teach him to express himself more honestly. I feel that mothers in America and Canada, were often much on their own, facing harsh expectations from their own families, but the whole world changed in the 60s, and the values the earlier mothers learned, were more and more irrelevant in a changed and more mobile world. So I believe in setting boundaries. Also in thinking carefully, what CAN I give, and feel good about myself - and do the minimum of that, but do it, and like the person who said she shows up and says "I'm leaving" if abusive words get started, and shows up new the next time - for it's not only narcissism, but the huge culture changes, it's loss of memory and familiar world as one ages, it's role confusion, thinking it's their job to teach and point out flaws as part of that, only to find great resentment from confused daughters. For those reasons I try to avoid harsh judgment - I find our expectation that women will thrive in a world of isolation and change, more harsh than we realize, so I'm more ready to blame unintended consequences of modern changes, than individuals who had little company or support as they worried through such changes.
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I'm only partially joking. Your life cannot be consumed by your elderly parent, especially one that is difficult (demanding, narcissistic, manipulating, whatever) You just have to separate yourself geographically and emotionally. The end of the story is.... they die. Hopefully you can live well until then and fully when they pass. I only want to ask God one thing when I die, "why did you take the good ones early and leave us with the difficult ones?"
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Ceeceeisme Aug 2018
Hi Blue Ridge

I know how you are feeling and your words sound like they could have came out of my own mouth, because they described exactly how I feel about the narcissistic mother I have. And I should have separated myself geographically a long time ago, but oh well at least I'm doing it emotionally... She lives only 15 minutes away and she's been using it for years even though I have two other sisters that stopped stepping up to the plate a long time ago. One lives in another state but the other one doesn't live that far away even though she might as well because she's the one that never gets in touch. I get why now, though.

She said years ago that I was naive as to what was going on and I guess she was right. The only funny part with that is that I find her a bit narcissistic too. One thing I know about the human psyche is that there are various degrees of all these different types of personality disorders. And I don't need a degree to know that. I am sitting here thinking how I've been surrounded by so many narcissists since I was born; all who varied from charismatic to downright mean/cold. This may sound funny but I almost went that route too probably from what I was used to seeing, but I remember being in my early twenties and consciously thinking that that was not the type of person that I wanted to be and I better stop that type of behavior (didn't have a name for it at the time) and to work on being a better person. Not saying that I'm perfect, and made bad mistakes before waking up, but I'm certainly a conscious person who knows right from wrong and will keep myself in check. That's the difference between a narcissist and a more healthy human being.

So your words struck a chord in me. And also because I feel it's not fair that the angels left us so early and it just seems like basically the rotten ones remain; I hate to say, but it's my truth.

P.S. I know this was written like 4 years ago, but of course it is as true today as it was then. Hope you're finding more peace these days. ☮️ ☺️
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Hi - yes, great thread and comments, thanks everyone. OP, and any of you, please make sure to get away early and often! Your own life and sanity are valuable. I got told off by my Mom (most recent instance) first week of Feb and am 'on a break' and loving it. It took me a long time to stop thrashing in guilt and enjoy these breaks. Watch out for those installed buttons that Emjo mentions. Cheers to all.
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I'm not sure I could call my mom narcissistic, as she treats me differently than she does my brother. With me she is a martyr. No matter what I do or say, I've got it wrong. Up until 2 years ago I lived trying to please her, trying to do what she seemed to want me to do, think what she wanted me to think, believe what she wanted me to believe. Though that was not something a middle age woman should do, for some reason I had this fantasy that if I just did the right thing, if I just said the right thing...

I won't go into the whole dysfunctional family thing, but I had to say enough when it started affecting my health. My (imaginary) chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and autoimmune disorder was becoming unmanageable. I danced around her feelings to the detriment of my happiness and well being. I had no choice but to say - all done.

So - when is enough enough? Only when you can say to her that you are done being treated that way. I've pretty much disconnected myself. If she calls, I'll talk to her, but I don't take the initiative.

She's 89 and she won't live much longer. I wish it was different, but I'm grieving now. I lost her a long, long time ago. I've only just recently accepted that loss.
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@Rena58 ~because these two relatives will never go to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist as they for sure "know better than these crooks" ~ This is most def a thing with narcissists. My mom is *exactly* the same way, going so far as to say literally any therapist (psychologist, psychiatrist, or even just a counselor) is a "quack and a moron". Nevermind I was halfway through a degree in psychology, and nevermind that her "favourite cousin" is a counselor for teens, her opinion stands firm (and loud). As for surviving / escaping, I'm going on the assumption she won't get physical with you. If she does, leave. Even if you have to stay at a hotel, don't stay if you are in danger, please! One of the absolute easiest things I can recommend, is to take a pair of headphones and an iPod/get some music on your phone. When she starts, and you know you need an out, put them in and turn it on. Make no apology or excuse. She will get the hint and back off. If you have any friends where she lives, make plans to go out with them. Or just use them as an excuse "OH I just remembered I was going to meet Sally at the bookstore for some coffee, I'll be back in a few hours!" and GO, or find something there that you want to go do/see without her. A museum, a bookstore, a coffee shop, anything. Set aside a little while every day to "destress" from dealing with her as well. Go to bed 20 min early or wake up early and go sit somewhere she isn't at, and just relax. If it gets super bad, maybe see about a hotel for a night or two, or leaving early if that's a possibility?

@Heart2Heart ~ It cuts across all class lines. My family was upper-middle class, and well educated. Did nothing to stop the abuse. I daresay it is one of those things that all classes, and all backgrounds can understand and fall victim to. Skin color, nationality, education, income are all apart from it, it hits every spectrum of society. (Not saying less educated / lower class is better, just that narcissism can impact anyone regardless of that.)


I gotta say, I'm floored at how many of us are in the same boat. No matter if you live with 'em like I do, or you're caregiving from halfway across the country, adding a prior mental disorder like narcissism or BPD or anything adds a scope of things that some people will simply never understand. I'm glad this is a safe place for people to talk about it as well. Again, not quite sure if linking to other places is allowed (haven't seen the links from earlier deleted, so I'll assume they are ok for now). Just wanting to throw this one out there : http://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/ Yes, it's reddit (for those that don't know, you can find just about anything here, be careful where you tread on it, and for the love of kittens read the description before you click a random subreddit!) but it's a safe place *SPECIFICALLY* for those of us raised by narcissists. Feel free to drop by, there are always people on, and it's a safe place for support, venting, ranting and assistance specifically geared at dealing with narcissistic parents, grandparents and other family. (Also free-to-join) Coming to terms with the fact that your parent or guardian was/is a narcissist is always a painful and difficult road, but having a place where people know your story, and in some cases have almost lived the parallel to it, can help IMMENSELY with the healing process! (and if this sort of thing isn't allowed, mods feel free to delete this post / send me a warning so I can delete it!)
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Love all comments. Move narc parents out. Limit contact. Get counseling. My three silblings comitted suicide. I have PTSD and have suicide thoughts since a small child due to severe abise and neglect. Mom is a narc and have a personality desorder and maybe demntia. She is what for senior section 8 senior apt
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Blueridge - I know you are kidding - we need always to keep our sense of humor don't we? My mother has always been entitled - made sure my dad always provided for her in the manor she wished - he worked sometimes until 7 or 8 at night - would come home to a drunk wife who had gone to bed. He would have to fix his dinner and then deal with my brother and I - I really for the life of me, have never understood why he didn't divorce her. I used to stand in the bathroom listening to them fight and wish so hard that they would divorce and I would live with my dad. My mother has been so spoiled with her life of golf, bridge, drinking, hanging out with her friends - she really didn't spend much quality time with either my brother or myself. And now my dad is gone -which she honestly helped along more quickly by some of the actions she took - she wants me to wait on her hand and foot. I tried for a year - and there were some ok times - but when not ok - they were awful. They have been escalating too - She had a frontal lobe stroke - so she thinks she is fine - she is aphasic and talks crazy and doesn't comprehend things. She is in her own hell - and I do feel bad for that - but in some respects - she is her own worst enemy. She could be home with care - but she fires everyone - so it isn't safe - Dr won't send her home. That is my fault of course. She has resorted to lying to the doctor saying that I live in her house now and her friends can help her. Her one friend (the rest have had it) is 85 and just had a total knee replacement!

I can relate with sanjay too - grieving her - I grieve the mother I just didn't have. Glad I had an opportunity to have a daughter of my own who I cherish - and she knows it. At least we are not repeating the dysfunction. Maybe just starting a new kind though =)
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No one, absolutely no one, can understand life with a narcissistic parent. The mind games and guilt are unreal, and it is very difficult to break away. They throw you enough crumbs when they sense you've had enough to draw you back in, thinking things will be better. Well my narcissistic mother is 87, and its only gotten worse. There is absolutely no dealing with this personality as they are a black hole of need. No matter what you do or say, its never enough, its never right, its never anything but criticized or ignored. You are forever a child in their eyes, incapable of anything. Because when you were a child they had CONROL of you completely. I've found that the best thing is to distance and detach, which is difficult to do. I am an only child, so I get it all and no one to deflect it to. Even separated by distance, she is still a major problem. However, at age 56, I have cut my calls to once a week, and give little information about my life. I also wrote out a list of responses and comments to make on the phone, so that its "all about her", with nothing of any importance from me. It's just another obligation of life at this point. I too have mourned the loss of the mother I never had. At her age now, there are certain things that need to be done, certain information that I have to have, etc. and she acts so defensive as if I were a total stranger. Again, CONTROL. She is now as situated as she will ever be in her living arrangement, and I will keep her where she is no mater what it takes. She will not live with me, or near me, unless she submits to agreeing to going into assisted living. I've spent a lifetime apologizing to people for her bad behavior and what comes out of her mouth, and I now want a life of my own. It truly is so sad, but I can go on knowing that I did all I could and the problem is hers, not mine. It was a long road to get to this point.
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I took note of your email address. We have to do that. Pray and have faith God will give us patience to deal with parents who are not behaving as they might have at one time or maybe they always insisted on their way. We are accustomed to deal with a child who is behaving poorly,and consequence him but still love them. Parents should be respected, but we can claim our space in our home and stand our position if they interfere with our family. After I had to take a more firm stand at my teenagers' behavior, I had my courage to do the same with my Mom's. Also, my siblings and I are able to vent with each other and form a unified front when needed. Choose your battles. Ignore some of it. My Dad passed away suddenly a few years ago, frustrating moments are forgotten and now we just miss his smile and the joyful times.
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shirlv41 - I so can relate to what you said - even though I have a brother - he is MIA since my mom's stroke and had very little to do with her even before that. She was going to take him out of the trust - he has been waiting for both my parents to pass since he was a young adult so he can spend their money. He is a alcoholic also - and prescription drug addict - so basically - I am like an only child. Except he was always the golden child to her. I too have had to apologize for her behavior - and go back to waitresses and give them extra tips for the abuse they endured - it is so embarrassing.
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To "sad1 daughter" - It is sooo embarrassing, and I can sooo relate to you too - waitresses, store clerks, friends, relatives, the apologies are endless ! I feel so bad for these people when my mother just pulls her "queen" routine. Yes, you are like an only child. In my case, it was my best friend (she was like a sister to me) who could never do anything wrong, even though she was a total screwup. If she was depressed, my mother would go to see her, if she was broke she would sent her money, she was always so favored and I could never understand why, still don't. It's as if the harder you try, the more you are rebuffed. We have to be strong, set our limits with them and know that they are mentally ill. That's easy to say, I know, and it takes a lot of practice. My girlfriend is like your brother - never there to help, hardly calls, still is a mess, but mom still has this big soft spot for her. I tried so hard to everything right and be the "pleaser" and got nothing but aggravation for it. As I get older, I realize that I really do deserve some happiness in my own life and without having feel guilty about it, or worry about mother. Hang in there !
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Pokadots - I hope some day I can just remember joyful moments, but their really haven't been a lot of them. I have always felt like I was the parent to my mother. Dealing with your own kids does help, but I find it much easier to deal with kids than narcissistic adults. You expect certain behaviors to come from kids and teens, but you also expect them to outgrow it. The narcissistic parent never does, and since they are still the parent and you try to be respectful, you get trampled all over by them. Prayer helps, but taking a firm stand and finding other ways to cope helps too. Without a strategy to deal with this behavior you will be blindsided all the time. This website is wonderful, as is "daughtersofnarcissisticmothers", I never realized until a year or so ago that there were other people out there with this problem and that I was not alone. That helps tremendously.
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Something over-arches this litany of so many similar experiences! I often thought it was just me, but I'm grateful to read here, of other daughters who felt that their mothers never worked, favored their sons while criticizing or ignoring their daughters. And the drinking mothers, and sometimes fathers too. Thinking of my family, and wondering about broadly, I think of how the sons often patronized mothers - praising them and often keeping the home going by supporting financially or in organizing - but they hid their negative reactions, and moved as far away from home and the whole process of nurturing as they could, for they had never been expected or trained to show up on a regular basis, even if they were afraid at first. Women accepted that role - and I believe it is an essential role of adults - but treated their sons as if "boys will be boys" and they could be excused from showing up, because their role would be to support the overall family by their work or societal connections. Ultimately, humans are fragile, at the beginning of life and the end, and our society needs to learn to help each other be there for those times. I find blame feels understandable, for we have been deprived of support, respect, help - but I don't believe that mothers originated the disappointments on purpose, but were helped to focus on a home when the men distanced themselves from it. That leaves women isolated, missing out on the lessons from feedback that the men received in the workplace, so the women don't learn to give or receive it. Too often psychology has pathologized "improper" behavior, and can even get rid of it by putting elders in institutions, but that doesn't help us learn to change it through practice and sharing new and healthy ways to love - I think this list has been helpful, in that we offer strategies to protect ourselves, if we do decide to show up - it's not an "absolute" time comittment, but one we need to decide, and strategize to put in place other systems to handle the other times, as well as sort out with realism and kindness too, what the ailing person can and must do for themselves.
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I live by the golden rule, and will treat my mother the way I want to be treated.
I have no idea what my future holds, but chances are I may be in her shoes down the road, and if that happens, I would want to be treated gently with TLC by someone who cares and is knowledgeable about my disease. I especially pray that my caregiver is patient and kind, and above all else, shows empathy. These are the things I have learned in my life, and I will adhere to these teachings.

A little kindness goes a long way.
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I can so relate to all of this..It goes all the way back to my childhood. But basically my Mom believes that since I am a girl, that I owe her for bringing me into the world. My brother, however, she says is a boy and they leave anyway so he never calls or comes to see her and its ok. I don;t call her everyday and she tracks me down and screams at me bec she has not heard from me all day,. I took a bad fall and busted my knee and was on crutches, my Dad had to go to the cardio and she screamed that I did not care and that he had to go and she was not going to get anyone else, so therefore, I drove on crutches and did what she wanted all the time in pain. When I was crying in pain, she got mad and said that I was not taking her feelings into account - bec its always about her. She said I was making her feel so bad! I have traded 2 cars off in 4 years bec I have to go over there 3 times a week and its a 50 mi trip each day, I have begged her to get some help for 3 years and she won't. But I think the one thing that finally had me snap was the one day that she called me and wanted me to take her to ER for a possible heart attack. However I had just taken her to the cardio the week before, I was pregnant and did not tell her. So that day she called me and when I said I was sick and could not she went off the deep end and accused me of horrible things. So I told her I was pregnant and it went even down hill further, she then accused me of getting pregnant on purpose and every thing else you can think of. So the next day back I went, my Dad was still home, he has since gone into a nursing home, the best thing for him. I was putting on the compression socks and they are super hard especially when my Dads legs were triple the size. I struggled and struggled and I had begged my Mom to get me some help for 2 years at this point, but bec it would cost her some money she said I could do it for free. Anyway, bec of bing pregnant and sick I lost my balance and fell and lost my baby that night. After I came out of surgery my husband called my Mom (bec of course the hospital was too far for her to drive) and told her I was ok. The first thing she said to him, was I guess you do not have to worry about having a baby anymore! My husband told me and I was livid. So my Moms excuse for saying this was that I did not tell her that my husband wanted another baby! He was such a surprise but such a blessing! She still stands by this 2 years later! My Dad before he went into the nursing home was in the hospital and then I brought him home, well I had to leave and get the kids from school. So that night my sister called and told me that she had talked to Mom and my Dad fell gtting out of bed. He has a hospital bed, so instead of calling 911 my Mom goes and gets a neighbor and has then pick him up and put him back in bed. My Dad was stuck in that bed for 15 hours and then the nurse got there ( and he was almost dead) I called her and now I look bad and know I should have went over there asap, but at the time I didnt think he was not alright I had no idea that the remote to move the bed had fallen behind the bed and they could not reach it. So my Dad almost died! Bec my Mom would not spend the 50 for the ambulance. Thankfully he is 91 and in a nursing home with people that love and care for him and he is happier than I have ever seen him. I still go over there 3 times a week, but all we do is fight. I have finally come to the realization that I need help and asap! So I have an appt with an assisted living place on Tue bec my Mom has more than enough money to pay for it. I hold the POA and I plan on using it. Also I have made an appt with a physcharist for me to be able to deal with my life. I have a wonderful husband and 4 sons who I need to be here for. My Mom told me each time I was pregnant that I needed to pray for a girl, bec if I had a boy they would just grow up and leave me and a girl would always be there for her Mom. I have a wonderful relationship with my sons and they are 21. 18,. 12 and 7. My oldest moved out 2 years ago and will be married in Sept. They still come for dinner at least once a week and we talk over the week, so I think they will always stay close. My Mother and my husband do not get along very well, bec of all of this and also 23 years ago I wanted to get married ant I was 25. I told m,y parents and my Dad said congrats! My Mom forbid it and made me canel my wedding 3 times in a year before I told her I was eloping so she finally gave me a wedding and the whole thing dress, shoes, veil and wedding was $10000.00. She said that was all she was going. My 20th reunion my husband and I planned a getaway and at the last minute my Mom faked a heart attack. We did not go, and she was fine. When I confronted her she said well its just 20 years everyone makes that! I could go on and on but the truth is I know I need some help and she does too, I need to find out why do I let her do this to me. I have a sister, a brother (he died in 2009) I always said he took the easy way out, he had cancer so I know he did not it was hard to see and I have a younger brother and not one of them wants to have anything to do with her, its just me that is left. So now I need to get away and maybe at 48 I can have my life back, well actually maybe I can just HAVE A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!
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oh my goodness too may zeros. that is supposed to be $1000.00 (one thousand dollars) sorry typo!
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