Escaping Your Mother Part I: An Open Letter to Daughters of Narcissists


Fifteen months ago, in my forties, I went “no-contact” from my narcissistic mother. Since I am a memoirist who writes stories about life, hurt, healing and love, I wrote about this.  It is ‘airing dirty laundry’ in the parlance of some — usually those close to my abusive mother, who sometimes leave comments such as get over it and move on.

Readers struggling in the death grip of a narcissistic mother leave another sort of comment entirely:

Reading your blog lit a light bulb about a really toxic relationship. – Anonymous

I can relate to it all… Especially the wobbly, motherless feeling when I leave her presence.       – Paula

Gaslighting! I didn’t know there was an actual name for what she does to me. I thought I was insane, overly paranoid, looking for issues where they don’t exist…oh god, Thank you. THANK YOU.   – RJ

Thank you so much for this. I have been struggling through this and feeling very guilty. I needed this like you would not believe.                                                                                                              – Lulu

Last month, a woman in Europe sent me a long, private Facebook message detailing her struggle to escape her narcissistic mother. She went so far as to move to another country. She wrote about how difficult it was to see grandparents whom she loves manipulated by her mother, and how difficult it was to continue her relationship with them. Sending emissaries to persuade you of your wrongdoing is how narcissists manipulate you from afar.

This woman’s personal note inspired me to write a three part series on Escaping Your Mother, beginning with a paraphrase of my response to her message. In Part II I will list nuts and bolts of how to leave your mother- a relationship seemingly ordained by God and all that is holy. In Part III, I will discuss the fallout-the repercussions and flying monkeys.

Here’s a letter to all of you who, due to emotional and/or physical abuse, question your worth, your significance, your right to the air in your lungs and the soil beneath your feet.

Dear Daughter,

By finally severing contact with my narcissistic mother in my forties, I experienced healing and peace and an unexpected gift: restful, rejuventating holidays without emotional hangovers.

The first Thanksgiving after going “no contact” with my mother, after our guests had left and we had tucked the food away and unearthed the counter, my husband and I made our way to the porch.  We lit a bonfire and relaxed —an unremarkable, but extraordinary denouement for the daughter of a narcissist. 

It was the time we did not spend the convening hours of a holiday recovering from an emotional hangover. Our contentment was the direct result of my mother having not been present to sow seeds of discord and self doubt.

Peace and tranquility should not feel like guilty pleasures.

Not every daughter of a narcissist must cut off contact. A friend of mine, Mary, has the dubious privilege of a narcissitic mother still alive at 98. My friend is able to stay in relationship with her mother. She takes homemade meals to the nursing home a couple times  a week and chats with her mother on the phone. But Mary’s sister is capable of a bit less— one 30 minute chat a week. Her brother is capable of even less than that. He sends his mother a card on her birthday.

I have another friend, Marissa, who is able to see her mother once or twice a year, with her whole family — never alone. Her mother does not know where she lives. Marissa’s father recently died — her parents were long divorced — and she chose not to tell her mother.

Marissa explained, “I didn’t want her at the services. It was hard enough to deal with the death . . . dealing with her would have made it horrific, especially since I could not count on her behavior to be appropriate.”

I embrace Peter Kreeft’s assertion that “love is the highest accuracy.”  And, despite what my mother may have told you, I tried to love my mother for years, inviting her to join my family for Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, year after year after, invitations which cost me much. After every holiday, I found myself sitting across from a counselor or a priest, in intense pain, recounting what my mother had done or said to hurt me. Year after year I was asked, “Why was she there?”

On May 17, 2014 at my housewarming party,  “Why was she there?” finally sunk in. I confronted my mother with what happened. She gaslighted me, meaning she told me my perceptions were incorrect. (Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse used by narcissists to make their victims doubt their own sanity and perceptions.) My mother sneered, “You have a very vivid imagination.”

‘You have a very vivid imagination’  is the Narcissists’ Motto.

I finally went no-contact.

Going no-contact from an abusive mother is a last resort, an act of self-preservation. All of my motherless friends, whatever their ages, myself included, have a vacancy where the love of a mother should be. No one walks away from her mother for trifling reasons.

My answer to people who don’t understand how I could sever ties with my mother is this: the need for a mother’s love is primal. For a person to forego that relationship, to end contact with her mother, indicates something was terribly amiss.

My decision took years of counseling (ten) and spiritual direction (six). Please find someone to help walk you through this. It is a lifelong process of healing. Don’t try to do it alone.

It is the apex of self-care to remove yourself from the presence of a person actively opposed to your happiness. And it is the path to wholeness.

You are worthy of love.

 

Read Part 2: How a Japanese Folktale Can Help You Heal and Part 3: Prepare for Flying Monkeys and Healing.

And if you like what you read, follow A Word Please here, or on Facebook. Thanks for reading.

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53 thoughts on “Escaping Your Mother Part I: An Open Letter to Daughters of Narcissists

  1. I’m glad to have discovered your site. I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even feel like I have to explain to anyone. At this point (NC for two years), If they don’t understand, there is nothing that I can say or do that will make them understand. I don’t owe anyone an explanation, least of all, flying monkeys. At this point in my life, I refuse to feel guilty (did enough of that growing up and most of my adult life) for looking out for my best interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kkmiller

    Do you ever think maybe it’s time you stop whinging about your mother? Yes she was dreadfall, get over it. My mother was never there either, and when she was only criticized mercilessly. Still. And I suffered from your mothers cruelty as well, and I was just the stepdaughter so wtf do you think it was like for me? Did she ever tell you about the late nights she’d wake me and force me to go to the barn with her so she could carry on her dalliances with the vile stable boy (sorry, I mean man) and use me as her alibi? Fun times. And my father left me to raise you! Do your dear readers know that? No one ever painted my bedrooms, or cooked my breakfasts, or taught me how to iron a shirt. Or much of anything else for that matter. You should stop going on so about your mother and be grateful for the love and care you did have as a child, because it could have been so much worse, you could have had no one at all.

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      1. AMJ

        It is impossible for anyone other than the daughter to understand. You are giving me a lot of hope right now. Thank you.

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      2. sam

        you do NOT need to apologize to that person. ever. you are enlightened and made it out as many clearly do not and are unable to change the cycle and instead emulate it.

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    1. Thank you for writing this: and forget anyone or any comment that is made that is nasty and starts with “get over it” “you should be ashamed of yourself” “your mother is the best thing you ever had” “you should take responsibility and your mother isn’t the only one at fault” or any of the many others we TRUE victims of a narc mother hears from those who will not and will never understand or have the empathy to TRY to understand. I hope your messages brings those that need it hope.
      I have a narc mother too. She adopted me which makes it much worse!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m adopted too and I’m pretty sure my a-parents should not have been given kids. They weren’t super physically abusive by they were both on the narc/borderline personality spectrum. My adopted siblings are horrible human beings (one drug addict, one prison lifer) and they were constantly gas-lighting me regarding their behavior. “Oh I’m sure she didn’t mean to hurt you when she sprayed bathroom chemicals in your face. Oh I’m sure he didn’t mean to steal your favorite item and sell it for drugs. “

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Evie

      Sounds like the Mother was successful in making you exactly like herself which Narcissistics excel at. Congratulations, here is your diploma, you now are as verbally toxic and unfeeling as the Mother. If you had broadened your knowledge, mother probably paraded another in front of you to represent your worthlessness in her eyes. However, you are not worthless, just a victim. I feel for you as I had to go down this road as well. I hope you see all the angles eventually and heal.

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  3. Shannon

    THANK YOU so much for your bravery! This is such a difficult thing to deal with on it’s own, but for you to be so brave as to put it all out there… AMAZING!
    I just wanted to let you know that I just found you today, after deciding to go “no contact” with my mother… and I am so glad to have found you!
    Thank you for letting me know I am not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shannon,

      Thanks for the encouragement. Comments like yours are what encourage me to keep telling the truth in the face of severe criticism. Be kind to yourself as you go through this new stage of your life. Thanks for reading and keep in touch. I would love to hear about your healing.

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      1. Shannon

        Hi Misty,

        Thanks for your reply. I will definitely keep in touch as I believe we need each other to get through this stuff. It has been a LONG, painful road to get here…. but I have had the support of my wonderful husband. Keep telling the truth! You are doing a fabulous job, and I can tell by reading your comments that you are trying to take the “high road.” You come across as very loving in your responses.

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  4. I walked away from my mother in my teens. I’m 44 now. I have never regretted it. The abuse was too great and far reaching to ever consider having her in my life. As in your life, my decision didn’t (and doesn’t) sit well with everyone. People don’t understand. It’s never bothered me. I learned a long time ago how to get by without a mother (not that I didn’t need one). I am inspired by your courage and admire your strength to do this for yourself. I have never met anyone else that has walked away from their mothers. Now I know there are others like me, and that just reaffirms that what I chose many years ago was the right path. Thank you for sharing your story, and your courage, with others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Tanya. I walked away at 14 and tried again in adulthood. No luck. I get the most feedback on this topic. There seem to be a lot of daughters who need encouragement. Thanks for your comment and affirmation.

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    2. Oh I would love to speak to you, my step daughter (13) moved out from a mum’s and came live with us in december. It’s been really tough because she is young and is struggling to manage the strong hateful feelings about her mum vs the love that she has for her and wishes she would get from her mum. How did you do it? how did you overcome these feelings? thank you. Maud

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      1. Hi Maud, for me it took years and years of counseling and spiritual direction. The only advise I ever give is to seek the same. And love her…she has a big deficit. Wishing you well. Misty

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  5. Thank you for writing this. I also walked away from my mother when I was 17 and never looked back. Over the years since, she has attempted to respect my decision and I spent many years traveling and looking for a mother-figure to look up to. I was lucky and found a friend who had a wonderful mother who took me in under her wing and mentored me into the woman I am today. That was 30 yrs ago and today I live 3000 miles from my mom and dad. My husband and I visit them once a year. Time has a way of healing. Distance helps tremendously. We stay in a hotel when we do go to see them, and we control how much time we spend with them, dividing up the week between them and my siblings. I can now say that our relationship is better now than it’s been in 50+ years. I do not and will not regret the time we spent apart. It preserved my sanity! Now the relationship we have is not driven by criticism or guilt, but neither will we ever be close friends. My words of wisdom to you is allow the time you need to heal, but be open to re-establishing the relationship on your terms, not hers. That way, you’ll avoid the guilt that grips the broken hearted and be at peace within yourself.
    Blessings,
    Jabeau

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  6. Jane G

    It is deeply difficult to actually admit and then fully believe that the person who gives you life, is the same person who spends many moments after the birth belittling you, swearing at you, threatening you, occasionally hitting you. You’re repeatedly told ‘you’re nothing with her’. Every action is wrong or maybe momentarily ok. The public face she has is so pleasant and nice that when you’re with her in public you begin to forget what she’s like at home. You forget so much that when you’re in public you think ‘oh maybe this time things are going to be ok’. When you get home the smile not only drops, the light hearted sweetness in the voice has gone and before you stands someone who is so bitter and hateful towards everything about her life and the fact that you do not fix it for her fills her with rage. She reminds you that ‘of course she’s going to be nice to strangers (public) no one needs to know. She threatens you. When you get older just hearing her voice makes you shrivel up. You suffer heart-ache, job problems, health problems and each time her response is ‘what do you want me to do about it? That’s your problem’. You never asked her to do anything except to just say a kind warm word. A comforting word. It never ever comes. Anything nice is flipped upside down and later thrown at you.

    Meanwhile you as a person feel worthless. Feel guilty. Feel horrible. You keep trying. You keep saying maybe if I do things perfectly, maybe that will make you happy.

    The final awakening call comes when you lose your job and she tells you ‘what’s wrong with you!”im not going to help you at all’ ‘you tell me daily that you are looking for another job. Will you find one. Will anyone hire you. And for gods sake be positive. There’s something wrong with your brain. The way you think is wrong.’ I leave her for a while. Then she sends me a text after a week with the words ‘I miss you and love you’. I fall for it again, I call her and she starts up again. I tell her I’m feeling optimistic and good. Her response is ‘why do you have anything to be positive about? What has happened in your life to be positive about!!’ I respond ‘I’m trying to stay positive.’ Her reply ‘huh well it’s your mind that’s the problem.

    I hang up. Crying. Sinking. I finally finally realise – she is devoid of empathy. I send her a text. I can’t do this anymore. Forgive me.

    Since that day, I constantly fight the urge to call and say ‘I’m sorry I’ll try better forgive me’. When the guilt hits me with the force of lightning, I tell myself ‘I love her very much. I wang the best. I can want the best from afar. ‘I keep telling myself this and it calms my internal panic and guilt.

    It’s very tough. Because you constantly question ‘yeah why can’t I just get on with it. Get over it. Maybe it is me that’s the problem’. I endured her behaviour for over 3.5 decades. I can’t recall a time she hugged me. I can’t recall a nice word and comforting word that stuck. Each one was flipped and made very nasty. I carried shame and worthlessness all my life. I accepted bad behaviour constantly blaming myself. I was unable to deal with conflict so I hid. At work I would appease everyone. I just didn’t want another human being’s nastiness, so instead I became subservient and internally confused and upset. I used to look at people who expressed their opinions and was in awe of them. When I tried to replicate, I got it so wrong.

    Worst part was that my mother always told me that she was the way she was with me because she loved me. I desperately needed someone to logs me, so I chose to believe it and I therefore would go to her with every problem. Good grounded people who came into my life were quickly shoved out the door. I had isolated myself to the point of being in such a vicious cycle. It was only earlier this year where my bottled up hurt and anger began to spill in ways I was completely afraid of that I decided to see a coach and to discuss what was going on. Months on I understood but it was only last Saturday where I made the final decision.

    They may say they love you. Maybe they do. But if it hurts your core then their love is not right for you. So for me, I also say I love her very very much but my love isn’t for her and hers isn’t for me. I matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I struggled with this for YEARS. The way my counselor put it is that it is because of their love for you they behave the way they do. You and only you are able to fill the hole they have inside and when you reject them (don’t do what they want you to do) then they get scared and lash out in an effort to keep you close (get you back in line). It’s not right. It’s not healthy. It is how they love…and it is the only way they know how to love.

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  8. Pamela Amey

    It’s 2am and I’m searching for answers without actually knowing the questions,
    As with all we didn’t do anything to deserve this, we were born into it.
    Born into of course means this is your normal,
    I’m her only child,
    She married 3 times by the time I was 8, I kept changing schools so keeping friends couldn’t happen.
    I convinced myself as we moved from state to state town to city that it was us,(she and I )against the world.
    She would say things that were mean without reason, anything to embarrass me or just hurt.
    When I got old enough I would leave,
    I’m 58 , at one point she was able to gain control of property I was to use when divorcing and relocation to reestablish , under the guise that she was helping she transferred ownership to herself sold property and kept the money .
    If I ever received any financial help from her of course I was a failure and was begging for her to save me.
    Sad as it is I was already adjusted to this type of treatment. I of course reasoned that she owed me, it was $100,000.00.
    After some years I remarried and during our 7th year he had a stroke leaving him a quadriplegic unable to speak or eat , I cared for him in our home and after 2 1/2 years he passed away. There was almost no contact during this time but she was there when I started having financial troubles again I justified that I was owed. She controlled.
    Approximately 10 years later she offered to make payments on a home i owned and was renting for income, I just simply said thank you when the offer was presented, to find out she never paid a dime. She had the original paperwork for loan and I went to retrieve,
    During that time her husband had become ill and she was experiencing stress and not reacting well, when I came in it took no time before she was yelling at me and it was ‘”do you want to know why I hate you,! Do you want to know why I’ve always hated you?” I sat dumbfounded, and widened my eyes as I was informed she hated me because I was always in the way of her and anything she ever wanted.
    Her husband died a few months later and during the months from her announcement I began to remember, I remembered being sexually abused as a young child and running to my mother who started laughing and pointing at me. Another woman was there and she said “Why are you laughing at her?”
    I remember my mother saying, “If I don’t she’ll think it’s serious. ”
    Her husband died. I wasn’t allowed to the funeral, about a week later I went to see how she was and the house was full of people lining up to see what they could gain, she was a good business woman a d had invested the money she took from me in properties and is doing quite well.
    With a captive audience she put on quite the performance both verbally and physically beating me with a shoe in my face while her late husband’s granddaughter called the police.
    I left and haven’t spoke to anyone who is associated with my family at this time for approximately 8 months. I have limited income and not only am I 58 i have rheumatoid arthritis that prevents me from working. I have applied for disability insurance but honestly don’t know where my next meal is coming from.
    I’m lost and all I know for sure is my foundation was a lie. I question all decisions, I had thought I was smart, but if I didn’t know this how smart could I actually be.

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  9. Karen

    i JUST SAT DOWN AND CRIED AFTER READING EVERYONE’S COMMENTS. I HAD TWO ABUSIVE PARENTS AND A SISTER AND EXTENDED FAMILY MEMBERS WHO LIVED BY US AND FELT THEY NEEDED TO BE LOYAL TO THEIR BROTHER AND MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS. WE ALL LIVED IN THE SAME NEIGHBORHOOD OUT IN THE COUNTRY. I WAS ABUSED SINCE I CAN REMEMBER . When I have had Anesthesia to have surgery, all the bad memories and abuse come out. I cry during surgery and beg to please stop and tell all. It has upset prior doctors and oral surgeon and staff. I don’t know that I am doing it. I have had nightmares all my life and I wake up and I am told I was crying and begging my Mother etc., to stop. I am 55. Still I have such deep wounds and they haunt me all the time. I am in counseling and have been since 16 years old. I’ve tried everything hoping the hurt and pain would stop and leave. It doesn’t. I have always felt in the shadows and like I don’t matter or exist. My mother continually has repeated, she tried to abort me. She is cold and callous and indifferent. My sister who was the same since I can remember has died suddenly at 54 three years ago. My dad died 11 months prior to my sister. Prior to his dying he would not say he loved me when I said, “I love you dad.” I had been faithfully there throughout his illness/cancer and emotionally and financially helped them. I never missed a morning or evening and all day on Saturday and Sundays calling and staying on the phone for 8 hours a day on weekends. I did whatever they asked and arranged transportation for them at no cost to them, etc., I could not move to Ga., from Nv., and so they disinherited me and cut me off. I was told as so many times all through my life I was nothing and I was disowned and I broke the 4th Commandment, the only Commandment they lived by. Yet when I mentioned the Prodigal Father and how he loved his son that squandered his inheritance and was received with welcome arms and love, I was hung up on. I wrote and pleaded, “please don’t do this again.” They had told me they were sorry and had so many regrets and never would betray me or hurt me again. It only lasted for two years and as long as I was meeting their needs and giving them all I had. I lost all my possessions and my husband died suddenly 4 months after my dad and my mother extended no empathy or sympathy or even a condolence. She said, “you weren’t married 50 years.” She would hang up one me. When I called my Aunts I was told call back they were busy. When I write, they do not write back. They said in the past when I was a child, “we can’t fight your battles for you.” For Three years no one told me my sister hae died. I found out by entering her old address and name and her Obituary came up. I called my Mother and she said, “she was too messed up and had got returned mail for me.” I said, how’s that??? I had sent her Mothers Day cards in 2014 and 2015 and she sent a notecard that said, thank you. She said, “she doesn’t know or remember.” I said, “I have it right here.” I said, I sent my sisters children a condolence letter and no response, “why?” My mother had a on and off again relationship with my sister although she always favoured my sister and moved from Ca., to Ga., to live by her. My sister was very abusive to me all through growing up and into adulthood. She falsely accused me or assault and batter and kidnapping her kids that she flew to me from Fla., to Ca., in 1993. I had not seen my sister since 1993 in court. Of course all charges against me were dropped and my sister and parents were advised if they did not leave Ca., the cps and police department was going to file charges against them. I still could not accept they did not respect or regard and love me. I figured it must be something about me. I told my mother I am treated like a criminal or a terroist or murderer or drug dealer, etc., I have been treated like I don’t exist and it’s wrong. Why??? She hung up on me. I called back and begged her please don’t do this. I am your daughter too. She said, “God always takes the good ones first.” I said, please don’t say these things, please mom love me too. She hung up. I have not spoke to her since. I have struggled to manage and to move on but the injured child in me and the pain in me is ever present. I’ve tried everything but alcohol and drugs with exception to anti depressant and pain pills for the Severe Fibromyalgia I have. I want to tell more and explain. I do know that age doesn’t change a person and calling themselves “Christians” doesn’t change most people or least wise not my family, they profess to be godly and saved.

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  11. Catherine

    I don’t have the guts to “divorce” my mom. 36 and she still controls and manipulates me. The few times i have put my foot down i have been “difficult and cruel”. Living in a smallish city doesn’t help. And everyone else who knows her thinks she is the most wonderful, caring , kind, loving person ever.
    When I call her out on her crap she’ll say I sit around making these things up.
    I DO sit around thinking about how nice it will be when she dies . I know this is unhealthy.

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    1. Hi Catherine,

      That’s a very normal thought for victims of emotional abuse, and attests to the power of a narcissistic mother’s manipulation and control that her adult daughter sees no other way out.

      Part 2 might help you – https://awordplease.org/2016/01/09/narcissistic-mother-healing/. Find healing for yourself whatever that looks like – counseling, spiritual direction,exercise, prayer. Once you are healed from the inside out, managing your mother and setting boundaries will be much easier.

      Peace to you. Keep in touch during your journey.

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  13. I am so grateful I found your blog. I honestly thought I was alone. “I have such a vivid imagination” you know..always trying to create a drama instead of following along with my mothers wishes. I am in my early 60’s, a former mental health professional and it never once occurred to me that my Mother met the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve been in counseling myself for over 30 years trying to resolve the issues of why did I choose abusive relationships, why do I self-destruct right before any real success, why do I have such low self esteem, why do I feel so guilty for hating and loving my mother at the same time? Why didn’t she love me? that was the biggest question. Just today I wrote about what I felt, and a fellow blogger brought up two blogs that could help. This was one and I am so glad she did.

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    1. Hi Suze,

      Thanks for your comment. What you said about counseling in interesting. I would never bring up my mother in counseling— I just wanted to be done with that part of my life, so I shut the topic out. “The past is the past.” When I finally went no-contact, so much healing occurred and is still occurring.

      I’m so glad my blog is of some help. Thanks for reading.

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    2. Suze

      One of the most evil tactics narcissist mothers do to their primary source daughters is isolate them, and use others to help them abuse, the gas lighting and triangulation methods…So, it just makes sense that the only way we can rectify our abused mindset is to make sure we are not isolated, share our stories with others who have been through it, talk to wise counselor, remove ourselves from the other victims whom our crazy mothers have used against us, and suggest they do the same, and if she has fooled a town, leave that place. Because, baby cakes, in the end our main task is to fulfill the life force God has instilled in us and get good and healthy and happy. Nothing preaches like a stable happy camper!! If it is their choice to remain in whacko land, it’s not your fault.

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  14. mia

    What happened after 16 years of no contact with mom? She had heart failure and, when informed that she was in hospital, I rushed over, driving 50 miles during the stormy night, to be by her bedside, hoping for finally a moment of restoration, an apology, a connection, a sign of love, something, something normal! But no. Nothing had changed. Almost immediately she started insulting me. And of course, not once asked me how I have been. While pouring out the same old delusions, about how she was in hospital because my dad had beaten her up (40 years ago, according to her, which in any case he never did).
    After her death, we found that she had shortchanged her children in her will (not that I ever want anything, it was just so typical). Then some discoveries in her house which revealed, surprisingly, that she was even more disturbed than I had believed, which was already plenty – keeping her groundless accusations alive for decades by writing about them endlessly in her diaries. She was a deeply unhappy person because she believed her delusions. Sometimes I think I should have reasoned with her, that I could make her see that I, dad and my brothers had just been normal, sad, weak people wanting to be part of a happy, loving family, not evil manipulative demons out to destroy her. Then I know that I would have wasted my breath and just earned myself a few insults and accusations.
    Now I wonder, where is she? Does she know the truth now? Did she ever understand that she was the problem, the destructive one, the one guilty of everything that she accused others of? Does she know that God gave her a little baby girl to love and cherish, and that she did the opposite? A loving, hard-working husband whose spirit she broke? I’ll never have closure, I guess.
    Mom’s gone, but her family and friends are still there, and I know trying to convince them that I am not a mean alcoholic who beat up my own mom etc is impossible. So, like I waited patiently and passively for 16 years for mom to disappear from my life, I will wait for all these aged aunts to do the same, while staying out of their way. That’s all I can do.

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  15. Anonymous free

    I walked away too. It was the hardest,yet best decision I have ever made. After two years of grieving the loss, I finally feel free for the first time in my life. When you wrote about not having holiday hangovers anymore that is the most relatable thing. I now have a new life of holidays full of joy and fun. No more arguing no more dread of the day and what she may say or act like no more showing up acting crazy and erratic in front of my children or calling me with her crazy behavior. She still bad mouths me to others but the ones who listen are no longer a part of my life either. No more, I am free. My heart will always have to heal from her abuse and void she left but I’ve come along way and intend to keep going! People ask me too how do you not speak to your mom, I don’t feel the need to explain anymore. I just say it is what it is and talk about my life. Im done talking or thinking about her I spent my,whole life having to worry about her. I’m sorry you had you to go thru similar things as me but bless you for freeing yourself. I don’t know you but in a way. I ,do and I’m proud of you.

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  16. I totally want to rant and rave but am not sure that it helps me. Maybe I have been ranting and raving to the wrong people. I hate when people try to justify or diminish the “perceived” abuse or suggest I just get over it. Way to make a person suicidal.
    It feels devastating most of the time. I am relying heavily on a spiritual 12 step program to help me stay disengaged and safely distant. I am blogging about my journey but not getting too specific because my sister is married to a federal judge and she is nuts and I feel I have to be careful about sharing the details of my abuse though my blog does not say my name anywhere. The terror of my gas lighting, narcissist abusers who will not let me stay or ext in peace is too much. Here is one of my posts about how it affected me this holiday season. I am also new to this format and way of reaching others. blogging and reddit….but I think we need to feel community…break the cycle of isolation.

    http://wholesomebadass.com/2016/11/thanksgiving-thoughts-for-those-who-are-contemplating-no-contact/

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  17. Mom

    As I just enter my 40’s, I too am going NC. After 9 years of dealing with my mother, thinking if I could only explain my hurt a different way, doubting whether I did everything I could to be closer,begging her to just want to spend time with us, being told I could never be satisfied, told I was making my kids lie about their hurt feelings, I had a controlling husband, and I was just mentally crazy…. I thankfully know now that it is her narcissism and nothing I can change. I read your post and still I cried, cause the hurt of rejection from a parent never eases. But it helps to hear others fighting the same battle. Thank you for your words.

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  18. Pingback: Get Your Own House in Order: A Guide for Daughters of Narcissists – A Word, Please. . .

  19. Tanya Hamill

    I am so happy I have found your blog! I am turning 40 this April and I am now no contact for one week! I tried in my late teens, my 20s and my 30s i got away with limited contact :-/…. the hardest part is letting go of the lies that are being circulated by my mother about me to other members of my family, so I’ve had to cut myself off of them as well, and I’ve definitely broken some hearts in the process! How can one woman be so believable? My whole life I’ve heard I’m a hard person to love, to live with, I make people make great efforts to be able to be around me…. and yet, when my family have spent time with me, they love me, effortlessly! Although I’m always doubting they’re there to spend time with me… the confusion I want to shield from my children, it must stop with me…. thank you for giving me something to read that makes complete sense….

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  20. OMG I want to thank my friend for directing me to you. It is, to say it mildly, refreshing to find someone who has the same sentiment as I do.
    My process started in my early 30’s thanks to my wise counselor. It started with boundaries. Holy hell did that start her fire. She knew, immediately, I was redirecting conversations that I no longer wanted to have with her…I knew she knew, cause I am keenly aware of her responses and actions…but she didn’t say anything for a while. When she did bring it up, and I expressed my boundaries, her response was to tell me “what are boundaries?” “I’m just curious is all”. Yeah, curious to take any and all personal information and file it away until you can use it again to hurt me. I see what you are doing…

    The first time it really clicked in my head was when my son was not yet one. See, when I moved out and into my boyfriends house (later to be my husband) I left some personal things, like my diary. She read it. Of course that’s only because it fell off the table wide open so how could she NOT read it….Whatever. So, imagine we are at the grocery store. Me, my mother and my infant son. Honestly I cannot tell you what we had been talking about during that shopping trip, but as we were checking out she said “I can’t wait to tell your son what I read in your diary.”

    I stared at the checkout clerk and she stared right at me. I had no idea what to say, I don’t remember if I said anything at all. I was just floored. This was at least 5 years since I had moved out, I was now married and starting my own family. Wow.

    Long…long story short, I also cut off contact. Unlike you, there is not other family to be manipulated by, but there have been people who have said you can’t do that…I have come to learn those people are also narcissist. Her removal was gradual, she says she is the one who walked away to “help me” since I was such an angry person. She too has been diagnosed (by my therapist) as having BPD.

    She still around,and by on a limited basis. She still tries to strike me down when ever she get’s the chance but I have found that the longer she is away, the easier it is to not be hurt or even engage in her silly antics. Still, she tried, her latest was to take my son and “help” him since nothing I was doing was working….he is 20, she still can’t have him!

    Again…I am glad to know there are other people out there like me, dealing with the same craziness I have dealt with. I learned a little earlier than you did…but not by to much. I hope at some point that I can help someone get away even sooner than I did. Yes I miss having a mother, but I don’t miss having MY mother, not the way she is anyway.

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  21. Thank you so much for sharing your story!! I finally broke up with my narcissistic mother a month ago. It was one of the saddest things I have had to do, but it was long time coming. Reading the stories of fellow survivors such as yourself is so refreshing and healing.

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  22. Self love

    I told my mother today that I couldn’t love her like a mother is loved by a daughter and that I could no longer pretend that everything was like a “normal” family. It was the hardest and most self loving thing I have ever done for myself. I told her how hurt I was that she allowed my brother to punch me, sexually abuse me, kick me, throw me down the stairs, and abuse me every single day. Her response- “when did we live anywhere that had stairs?” I knew it was time to stand up for my truth. Thank you so much for putting into words how daughters of narcisstic mothers feel. I wanted so badly for my mother to love me, see me, validate me that I sacrificed myself. No more. I love myself and it took a ton of healing to finally say that.

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    1. Thank you for writing. That primal desire for love and validation keeps us forever waiting and continually hurt. I hope you have a pastor, counselor or therapist helping you. There’s great healing ahead, but I don’t know how to do it alone. I hope there’s someone strong and healthy in your corner. Thanks so much for sharing. Peace.

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  23. Odoital

    My only complaint in all you wrote is to single out daughters, as the son growing up in this it wasn’t any easier.
    I’ve been reading a lot about these recently, my mother has always been a narcissist but in the last few years it has gotten so much worse, ever since I found someone who genuinely loves me. That or seeing what love looks like just made her behavior stand out more.
    My parents divorced years ago, my mother got to keep the house and dad had to move back in with my grandmother for a while. I was to young and naive to understand why he apologized to me that I was alone with her, having never seen what a god mother was like I just thought that is how things were everywhere. I’d go over to a friends and when their mother was polite and kind I just assumed they were faking it in front of the guest like my mother always would.
    My future wife and I are getting married soon, getting set to send out the invites and it hurts that I have to explain to the few family members I’m inviting that not only is mother not invited but we don’t even want her to know the date and location because she is just conceited enough to show up and make a scene anyway.

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  24. Anonymous

    I am struggling with my own narcissistic mother. With my own child now and another on the way, having been through trauma with a special needs child and a lot of health issues, I don’t have the ability to cope with her needs. I’ve set boundaries for the past three years, and I recently relaxed them after she had surgery for breast cancer, what a mistake. She now is back to calling me and sending me text messages about why I am not answering. In the past, I would have answered. But I’ve learnt that my needs matter. In the past, I would have returned the text message, but I have learned that my needs matter. Now I know 100% that no matter what I say or do, she won’t change. I stay ‘low contact’ with her out of respect for my grandmother and my brother, and to try to rise above it as an example to my children, but it does cause me pain and anxiety. Especially as I face an uncertain future about the child growing in my womb now, who I hope will be healthy. I want to be a good example to my children, and I want to have a good relationship with them. The prospect of ‘no contact’ is definitely appealing, but I know my mother won’t accept that easily and it feels more difficult for me than ‘low contact’. I genuinely fear her taking me to court for access to my children, which says a lot about the relationship. I have no contact with my father who is also narcissistic, but my brother does. Right now as I contemplate how to handle her attempts at communication, I feel calmer than I ever have around this topic, but still it is difficult to do nothing. Finding support isn’t easy and I am pleased to have this blog.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story. It was important for me to make all decisions related to my mother with the help of the counseling of a therapist and spiritual direction of a holy priest. I hope you are able to find people to help you manage this difficult relationship. Keep in touch!

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  25. I grieve for my sister…she is the daughter of a narcissist. I’m obviously the son of one…but I was the baby and I was a boy…somehow that shielded me (in my case) from a lot of my mother’s abuse. I grieve for my sister because she unfortunately has had to deal with our mother a lot more than I have…I’m a wandering soul and I left home…I left our state…and for some periods I left our country. Now I live far away…but my sister never got completely free. For valid or invalid reasons, my sister made her own choices as to still be part of our mother’s life. Not sure if my sister feels the need to be further punished or she has just come to terms with some things. As my sister has pointed…as odd as this may sound…our mother was pretty shitty…but as a grandmother she was pretty good…she didn’t mentally abuse her grandkids the way she did her own children…I guess my sister found solace in that. But my sister has to deal with our mother more out of her own sense of obligation…I quit feeling obligated a long time ago.

    When our father died it came to a head…tears…cursing…and anger flew from mouths. As my sister struggled to figure out what to do now that her protector was dying…I had to sit with him as he died. My sister had two deaths to contend with and it overwhelmed her…she had her father die and she had her protector die. I had long cut the cord in my own way…so I was only mourning the loss of one man…my sister was losing two. My mom selfishly retreated into a world of “woe is me” as I sat listening to my father’s death rattle. My sister refused to lighten that burden for me…but I understood. Once the death watch ended…I packed my bag and flew back to my job…my life…my family…all very far away from my mom. My sister kept more in contact…but my sister has retreated into her own world. I speak rarely to either one of them. But I grieve for my sister…

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  26. Brooke Gomes

    Hi I’m trying to find some kind of help with dealing with my relationship with my sick mother and our relationship.. so I’m just gonna pour all this out to whoever is reading this and hopefully gives me some advice or point me in the right direction to where I can get some help with all my feelings ..so here it goes I’m 33 years old and have four beautiful children that I love so much ..and am so confused how my mother is completely the opposite of what a mother should be ..when I was 5years old my mother married a sicko, he sexually abused me from 7 to 10 years old pretty much a daily thing for him. I have a Sister 3 years younger than me that luckily didn’t go through it as much as I did . My sis was always able to go to her friends , go to school and pretty much do the things I child should be doin at that age.. at the time I used to hate it and wish I wasn’t always stuck alone but now that I’m older that’s the best thing that could of happend to her .. i would hate if she had to remember the sick shit he did.. so yes and as all this stuff is happening my mom would be sleepin like a bear for days coming of drugs a or would go out to play bingo all night ..so ya the abuse continued for those yeasrs so bad that I had my principal bringin me in to his office to ask me if somethin was goin on at home my teachers were very concerned also since I went from being this happy talkative child to a shut down quit child.. so yes their was sigh a eveywhere for my mom to save us, she even asked me once if he was touching me , but me being this terrified child that was threaten he would kill me and my family if I ever told , of course I said I was ok .. my mom started sleepin with me and had even caught us in the bathroom one night with door locked so yes their was signs everywhere and still chose to do nothing .. so all of that came to an end when I was ten my moms house had been raided for drugs and they both went to jail . I was sent to live with my dad I barely new which was great he was a great dad nothing even close to my mom he was a marine and barley retired from Boeing .. so ya he was great ..after about 6 months of living their in Washington with him he had told me my mom and her husband were going to be getting out of jail and if my mom stayed sober I could move back with her , since all I did was cry for her .. I don’t know why but I did .. I sat their for a couple months thinkin of if I should tell my dad what was goin on back with my mom and her sicko .. but was still so scared he was gonna get me somehow but I did it I finally told and my dad had me talk to the cops and a bunch of counselers for a couple months .. I didn’t even have to go back to Cali to face him I’m court since they knew I was tellin the truth and didn’t want to put me through anymore .. so he was offered 6 years on a plea bargain if he admitted to it .. if not he would of done 20 years .. so ok now Im 13 and my dad let me move back to my moms so I come back to the same lifestyle she lived before I was taken away .. I pretty much started running around gettin into trouble at 14 . I did what I wanted stopped goin to school and pretty much was a fuck up .. I ended up getting pregnant and married at 17 . So now that I’m moved out on my own with my husband and 2 daughters my mom has the nerve to show up with the sicko that was out of prison and barely gettin of parole ..to my house while I was sittin their with my family and acted like life was normal !! I they stayed for a few min and left .. but ya that was crazy and surprised me .. and I have forgave him I really don’t even think about his ass or what he did to me .. I would never be okay to be around him or have my kids around him but ya I have forgettin him .. I just can’t forget the way my mom had went about this all.. and all these years I have always wanted my moms Love and would jump for her and if she was sick or needin anything I was always their .. but about 5 years ago all that loving towards her had died I finally gave up on her .. she has caused a lot of problems for me and my new boyfriend I have been with the last 7 years .. ever since I was a teenager my friends have always told me my moms jealous of me and is always tryin to compete with me but I never seen that or would think somethin like that could be possible .. but now I finally do see it and I’m just over it .. but u guys would never guess where u would think I’m at and doin in life right now ?!?! I’m over here in Alaska left my four kids in Cali with my ex husband .. while I stopped my life and moved here because she is dying of stage 4 cerviacl cancer.. and I really didn’t expect to stay I thought my bouyfriend me and my sis were just comin to visit her .. but when I found out how bad it was I couldn’t see myself just leavin her alone .. so I’m stuck in Alaska home sick from my kids ,, my sister left me after stayin only 2 weeks and has done that twice these last 4 months .. and she is supposed to come back to be here for me not my mom but for me because I cannot do this alone I just hate it I’m depressed my mom makes me feel like shit she starts cryin like as if I neglect her since I don’t sit in her room and cater to her all day like my sis does when she is here .. and it’s crazy my sister is so cold hearted and doesn’t really care for her eitheir but she is the one that jumps and does everything for her which is great since I don’t have that kind of energy in me for my mom..I pretty much make sure my mom is fed all day and she is ok .. I also support her .. she does own a home but it’s 3 hours away from the hospital so I moved closer to the hospital and she stays with me .. I couldn’t do that wilderness livin where her house is ..she still can get around and walk but besides that she just sleeps I try to tell her if she wants to shower since she never does and nope she don’t want to do anythin .. I dunno I feel bad since I’m not sittin their in her room tryin to conversate with her much at all .. even though I feel bad I just don’t have it in me to really talk with her .. especially after all these years she has never told me she loved me she doesn’t even know all her grandkids names my kids dont really know her so ya now when she says she loves me I don’t believe it .. and I know that if she was to get better she would continue to be that same mom .. I’m just goin crazy and don’t know what to do I just want to go back to Cali and put her in a home or somethin but to do all that it just seems way harder to do then when I say it .. and I was hopin I would have some closure from all this maybe one day she can just call me to her room on her own without me bringin it up and tell me her my daughter Brooke I know I have scared ur heart for life and know I’m not ok inside but she’s sorry for not being the mom I deserved and just tell me she loves me I think that would be enough for me to be ok and believe her apology .. but that’s something I could prob bet on that will definitely not happen .. the one positive thing I can say about her as being my birth mother is that the way she raised me has made be the most loving mother and big hearted person to all my friends,family and strangers. I know I have a pure heart full of love .. I am nothing like her. My poor kids probably get tired of all the sweet loving things I say to them all day .. I know my littlest son gets annoyed lol .. but I wouldn’t have it any other way because being raised with someone like my mom makes u realize how much sayin I love u can affect someone in life .. if only she said it one time on her own picked up the phone once in my 33 years just to say hi I love u how’s my grandkids ..things would be a lot different and I would be laying right beside her in her bed until the day she goes … and one last thing It might sound like I’m some hateful daughter but that’s tha last thing I am .. I hate even the way all of this sounds when it comes to my feelings for her .. but I’m really just being honest .. so thanks to anyone that reads this and gives me some feedback .. and sorry if my story is all over the place and confuses anyone , I’m not proof reading it just sendin it like this ..

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    1. Hi Brooke,
      I’m so sorry for the many layered pain you’re experiencing. My only advice is to find a therapist or a pastor or spiritual director who can walk this path with you. It takes years and years of healing. Wishing you grace and peace and I’ll pray that you find the right person to help you heal. Start with your insurance provider list or a nearby church. Be brave and persistent.
      Peace and JOY,
      Misty

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