NM trying to sow discord with my DD

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all4peace

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NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« on: March 20, 2017, 10:14:04 AM »
Spent a day with uNM and enF. It was actually a nice day in which they (finally) offered to give our family some help and brought food. Everyone (NM) was on their best behavior, and I set it up so that my DD would have the most time with NM.

However, after the day was over, my family told me a couple things I wasn't aware of. DH had a lot of issues with the way my mom had behaved in his presence, but I would categorize them more as self-centered (on her part) irritations.

When I asked DD, however, if she'd had a good day, she said the only bad part was when she got in an argument with gma.  :aaauuugh:  I asked for details. Basically, I had asked DD and NM to do a job that my NM loves to do. DD was helping. DD knows our family's way of doing this particular job, and I had already clearly explained it, but when they left to do the job NM was arguing with DD about it. DD suggested just calling me and asking, but NM said no. When DD went ahead and did it the "correct" way, NM did it her own way. NM told DD that I would be very angry with DD for doing it the "wrong way" and that I would make her undo a very long and arduous task (hours and hours of labor) to fix it.

When I heard this, I asked DD how she thought I would respond. She said she knew I wouldn't be angry, that she knew how she was supposed to do it, and she laughed at the very idea that I would make her undo everything to "fix it."

In reality (before I knew about the argument between the 2 of them), they came to me to ask who was "right." I realized what had been done, told NM that it was very understandable why she did it the way she did, that it was fine, that both ways were not a problem at all, and thanked them both for their hard work. What a bummer for NM that I didn't fly into the predicted rage and berate my daughter.


Here's the bizarre part. This is not the kind of mother I am. I never have been, never will be. My kids know this. My mom keeps trying to attribute anger and hostility to me where there never has been any, and my kids know better. What on earth?! Who tries to do this?! And interestingly she only does this to me--not my brother, not my husband. Just me. So the same day she's trying to tell my DD how furious I will be with DD, my DD is in actuality joking around with me, coming and putting her arms around me, etc. We very, very obviously do not have anything resembling the relationship I had with my NM at that age. How can she so blatantly do this?!

At my daughter's age--a few years into her teens--I'm tempted to leave it after a minor discussion. Something like: "How sad that gma would think I would respond that way. I'm glad you know I would never be angry at you for something like this. Hey, what fun thing should we do together this afternoon?!"

What do you all think? I think at this point my mom is simply hanging herself with her own rope.  :doh:

eta: Huge kudos to my teenagers for knowing how to handle difficult people better than I did until my 40s!! I'm guessing my NM would see her as being disrespectful by not "obeying" gma, but I'm so proud of her for stopping arguing and simply doing what she knew was right. As long as the next generation does better and better, maybe eventually we'll get to a totally healthy one!
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 10:17:31 AM by all4peace »

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Blueskies

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 11:01:17 AM »
I think maybe she is projecting her own rage on you. But also she is using you as an excuse to manipulate your DD and keep her in line - ie do it her way. I wonder if her own mother behaved like that, and that's what she thinks mother - daughter relationships are like.

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practical

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 04:59:36 PM »
there might be multiple layers to this:
1. Your M projecting her own feelings onto you, while not expressing them as she may have been angry on the inside at your DD. Is this how she would have reacted when your were your DDs age in a similar situation? If so, she may also not be able to see beyond her own reactions and feelings "this is how I would have reacted and still would if this wasn't my granddaughter, ergo a4p will also be angry."
2. Then there is painting you in a negative light, she is trying to help your DD and keep her out of trouble, because you are a bully (lucky you that you DD didn't fall for it and could laugh at it, great sign of how safe she feels in her relationship to you and of her own self-esteem  :thumb up: )
3. In there is something child like/childish about how she came to you with your DD and asked you to judge who was right, as if she wanted to get praised and be your favorite.

Whatever the truth, and I don't think your M could answer what motivated her, the bottom line is it is dysfunctional. You handled it amazingly and so did your daughter, so I think while you have wounds and scars, you are healthy and so is your daughter, you don't have to wait for future generations to reach that point.
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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VividImagination

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 05:21:19 PM »
Projection. My NM used to tell people that I had a rage problem and to be very careful around me. She told them to people who knew beu, like my siblings and husband, and she seemed to believe it. Since I was an extension of her, it makes sense.
There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you cannot accept it, change it. I f you cannot change it, leave it.

Sometimes you're damned if you don't and damned if you do.. so damn well do what's best for you!

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all4peace

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 09:52:01 PM »
I think maybe she is projecting her own rage on you. But also she is using you as an excuse to manipulate your DD and keep her in line - ie do it her way. I wonder if her own mother behaved like that, and that's what she thinks mother - daughter relationships are like.
Gpa was the angry one, gma just kind of opted out altogether. My mom was a very angry parent, so it is definitely how she would have handled it with me or my siblings when we were young.

there might be multiple layers to this:
1. Your M projecting her own feelings onto you, while not expressing them as she may have been angry on the inside at your DD. Is this how she would have reacted when your were your DDs age in a similar situation? If so, she may also not be able to see beyond her own reactions and feelings "this is how I would have reacted and still would if this wasn't my granddaughter, ergo a4p will also be angry."
2. Then there is painting you in a negative light, she is trying to help your DD and keep her out of trouble, because you are a bully (lucky you that you DD didn't fall for it and could laugh at it, great sign of how safe she feels in her relationship to you and of her own self-esteem  :thumb up: )
3. In there is something child like/childish about how she came to you with your DD and asked you to judge who was right, as if she wanted to get praised and be your favorite.

Whatever the truth, and I don't think your M could answer what motivated her, the bottom line is it is dysfunctional. You handled it amazingly and so did your daughter, so I think while you have wounds and scars, you are healthy and so is your daughter, you don't have to wait for future generations to reach that point.
Re #2, I have told my DH that mom and I are "not on the same team" and that I believe she would throw me under the bus without a second thought. There is a vague sense of her wanting to team up with the grandkids to gang up against their parents, or even team up with my DH against me. I'm glad that both my kids laughed when I asked them what they thought of gma's prediction of my behavior (another incident with DS earlier this year). It helps me feel less threatened.
3. My mom can be incredibly childish. She is really like a toddler, demanding, having to be first in line (literally, shoving to the front of a line at a recent family bday), having her way on everything, talking over people, insisting she is right on all things, and winning. My sister recently observed mom playing a game with sister's children. Her small elementary school-age children were making sure that gma could win this game.  :stars:

I found it incredible on reflection that when my mom and DD came to me like 2 little kids, to see who was "right," my first instinct was to reassure and soothe my mom for doing it wrong. It's incredible! I was reassuring her that she had done a good job (pat, pat) instead of gaping at her and asking her why on earth she was arguing with her granddaughter about how to do a job that her granddaughter KNOWS how to do, having done it many times over her life?! Our family instinctively tries not to ruffle her feathers. Another time that day I found myself gently chiding DD INSTEAD OF uNM, as a way to get the message across to NM without having to actually reprimand her (along the lines of "DD, I can't come and check the situation out right now, but I will do so in a few min when I get the chance" when the fact was that it was NM who was demanding others drop everything and come help her) Wow, have we been trained.

Projection. My NM used to tell people that I had a rage problem and to be very careful around me. She told them to people who knew beu, like my siblings and husband, and she seemed to believe it. Since I was an extension of her, it makes sense.
How do you sort out projection versus smearing?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 09:59:11 PM by all4peace »

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Rose1

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 12:27:15 AM »
I suspect a fair bit of jealousy is involved here too.  My? Pm recently asked adult d who had moved quite some distance from us,  whether she contacts me regularly.  When told "of course"  she seemed very put out.  When I left home contact was sporadic and one sided and am I'm getting silent treatment.  She seems  upset that I have a better relationship with my kids than she does,  but isn't prepared to work on it either

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practical

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 05:13:45 AM »
How do you sort out projection versus smearing?
I don't know that you can always, as your M's projection of her own behavior in this case does amount to smearing - fortunately unsuccessful -.

I'm so familiar with the whole family tiptoeing around M so she wouldn't be put out. F kept telling us "The biggest dog gets the biggest bone.", in short make sure she is happy, then you should be okay. M did the same with F when we were kids, where she would tell us when it was safe to talk to him if we wanted something. I look at it as dysfunction in action and modeling truly unhealthy behavior.

The more independent you are, the more your M may try to find allies, try to pull your DH or your kids on her side to increase her power over you, which you have taken away from her. M tried this with DH, he fortunately was forewarned. It is really sad and heartbreaking though when you realize your own mother would throw you under the bus to assert her in the end fictional power.
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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illogical

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 06:20:29 AM »
..The more independent you are, the more your M may try to find allies, try to pull your DH or your kids on her side to increase her power over you, which you have taken away from her. M tried this with DH, he fortunately was forewarned. It is really sad and heartbreaking though when you realize your own mother would throw you under the bus to assert her in the end fictional power.

 :yeahthat:

I do think it is a power play.  My NM always wanted to "one-up" everyone.  Show everyone she could do whatever it was bigger and badder and better than they could.  It likely wouldn't have mattered how your daughter accomplished the task, your mother would have taken a different approach so she could pit herself against her and come out on top.

In addition to playing the One-up Game, she very well could also be using Divide and Conquer to get your daughter as an "ally".  You sense this-- i.e., in your post to practical when you say "There is a vague sense of her wanting to team up with the grandkids to gang up against their parents, or even team up with DH against me."  This is a description of a classic power play.

It has been my experience that whenever you throw up boundaries with Ns, they sense that they are losing power and try very hard to regain that power by playing "games" such as One-up or Divide and Conquer.  The fact that it may be at your expense is of no consequence to them.  Your feelings aren't a consideration-- only their insatiable need to come out on top.
"This time I would choose to err on the side of illogic.  I had to trust intuition, and plunge as I had never plunged before, with blind faith." 
Dean Koontz, Forever Odd

"It's so overt, it's covert."  Sherlock Holmes, from Sherlock Holmes:  A Game of Shadows

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VividImagination

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 06:35:44 AM »
Projection vs smearing:

I think projiis where they really believe something and will tell people who obviously know different, like in my above example. She truly believed, so she thought everyone saw and felt only she did. With smearing, it was an outright lie and she knew it. NM would never smearing to those that knew better and would skulk around like a guilty plea child if she was caught in the act.
There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you cannot accept it, change it. I f you cannot change it, leave it.

Sometimes you're damned if you don't and damned if you do.. so damn well do what's best for you!

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daughterofbpd

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 05:29:12 PM »
I've read that PD parents can have this sort of "us against them" mentality when raising children so it's like your mom has assumed that you have the same sort of relationship with your DD.  It never occurs to them that we are all on the same team. I was peeling the shells off hard boiled eggs this weekend and had a flashback to my mom yelling at me one Easter for not peeling the eggs perfectly (the shells were sticking to the whites really bad). I can picture my mom projecting that behavior onto me when DD gets older. Although this definitely has a smearing aspect to it, I don't think that was necessarily your mom's main MO. It is very likely that your mom believed her words. Luckily, you've done a good job in raising DD and she knew better.  ;)
How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego
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all4peace

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 11:35:48 PM »
I suspect a fair bit of jealousy is involved here too.  My? Pm recently asked adult d who had moved quite some distance from us,  whether she contacts me regularly.  When told "of course"  she seemed very put out.  When I left home contact was sporadic and one sided and am I'm getting silent treatment.  She seems  upset that I have a better relationship with my kids than she does,  but isn't prepared to work on it either
Ugh, that competitiveness!

The more independent you are, the more your M may try to find allies, try to pull your DH or your kids on her side to increase her power over you, which you have taken away from her. M tried this with DH, he fortunately was forewarned. It is really sad and heartbreaking though when you realize your own mother would throw you under the bus to assert her in the end fictional power.
I do feel sad for her. I wish she had better skills in building relationships and didn't pinball back and forth between her behaviors.

I do think it is a power play.  My NM always wanted to "one-up" everyone.  Show everyone she could do whatever it was bigger and badder and better than they could.  It likely wouldn't have mattered how your daughter accomplished the task, your mother would have taken a different approach so she could pit herself against her and come out on top.

In addition to playing the One-up Game, she very well could also be using Divide and Conquer to get your daughter as an "ally".  You sense this-- i.e., in your post to practical when you say "There is a vague sense of her wanting to team up with the grandkids to gang up against their parents, or even team up with DH against me."  This is a description of a classic power play.

It has been my experience that whenever you throw up boundaries with Ns, they sense that they are losing power and try very hard to regain that power by playing "games" such as One-up or Divide and Conquer.  The fact that it may be at your expense is of no consequence to them.  Your feelings aren't a consideration-- only their insatiable need to come out on top.
My mother is very competitive. She was once noticing that on a hike with her, I wasn't breathing hard enough. Not only was I supposed to not be able to keep up with her, but at the very least I was supposed to be breathing harder than her.  :stars:

Yes, I do feel that my mom's influence is slipping in the entire family. People are just sick of dealing with her. It's not enjoyable. It's a constant sense of walking on eggshells, dealing with odd or inappropriate behavior, or listening to a monologue about what she knows. What's enjoyable about that? Unfortunately, rather than figuring this out she seems to be trying other less helpful behaviors.

Projection vs smearing:

I think projiis where they really believe something and will tell people who obviously know different, like in my above example. She truly believed, so she thought everyone saw and felt only she did. With smearing, it was an outright lie and she knew it. NM would never smearing to those that knew better and would skulk around like a guilty plea child if she was caught in the act.
I'm not sure which it is, but I lean towards smearing. It is never in front of me, only with my kids alone. It's never about my husband, just me.

I've read that PD parents can have this sort of "us against them" mentality when raising children so it's like your mom has assumed that you have the same sort of relationship with your DD.  It never occurs to them that we are all on the same team. I was peeling the shells off hard boiled eggs this weekend and had a flashback to my mom yelling at me one Easter for not peeling the eggs perfectly (the shells were sticking to the whites really bad). I can picture my mom projecting that behavior onto me when DD gets older. Although this definitely has a smearing aspect to it, I don't think that was necessarily your mom's main MO. It is very likely that your mom believed her words. Luckily, you've done a good job in raising DD and she knew better.  ;)
Why be kind and teach your child something gently when you can yell instead?!  :stars: I'm sorry. It's amazing how many things come back to us as we live our adult lives and become parents ourselves.

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bopper

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2017, 12:14:34 PM »
Check out this article on Grandparent Grooming: https://narcissisticmil.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/grandparent-grooming-1-what-it-looks-like/

It's all about making the kid think that only Grandma knows best.

I would suggest not leaving DD with Grandma alone anymore.
Just because they are incapable of loving you, doesn't mean that you are unlovable.
Anything makes the false self appear real is supply.

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all4peace

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Re: NM trying to sow discord with my DD
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 08:16:21 AM »
bopper, thanks for sharing. I've read and shared that link many times also. As my daughter is getting older and seems to know how to handle it, I'll be cautious but probably not keep her away from gma entirely. I will probably not have an entire day with them alone. A teen shouldn't have to navigate the strange world of trying to respect elders who are arguing with them and being childish.