Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)

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slugsandsnails

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Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« on: June 10, 2018, 10:08:44 PM »
This is just by way of an update because I've got a few alarm bells ringing. Although really it might just be "more of the same", so to speak. Yesterday, Mum phoned to tell me that I was eligible to apply for a disabled person's bus pass, which I thought was a great idea as bus fares are so high in my city. But then she went on to say that I couldn't use the bus "like a normal person", and certainly couldn't get as far as the shopping centre. I was fuming, and told her I certainly could get to the shopping centre, and in fact planned to next week.

Anyway, I went to Mum's after church - I needed to use her photocopier and scanner if I'm to apply for this bus pass. While I was there, I printed off the form I need to fill in. Mum seemed quite cheerful, so I thought that the visit wasn't going to be too difficult. Then, looking at the form, she came across a section asking for the name & relationship of anyone who helped me with the form, and giving permission for them to contact the person named on my behalf. She said, "You need to put my name down there - make sure you write down that I'm your registered carer, too!" I started to try and explain that if I did that, they'd think she was a proper, benefit-claiming carer rather than just an informal one, but she firmly shut me down. She wasn't shouting - just very, very firm. She then went on to say, "I am your registered carer [there's actually no such thing], and you need me to speak for you." I replied that I was mentally sound and could speak for myself. To which she said, "Ah, but it might not always be like that! You never know what's around the corner, kiddo!" And I had this horrible feeling. Should I be worried here, or am I being paranoid?

She also wanted me to clear out some clothes I still had stored at her place, which is fair enough - they've been hanging around for ages, so I did that. I thought I would try a couple of items on to make sure they still fitted. I went to close the bedroom door, as step-dad was upstairs, and Mum said, "You don't need to worry about him!" What was she thinking? I don't want him see me getting changed!

Anyway, Mum said, "Let me show you something!" So I followed her, and she started opening her drawers in her bedroom, saying "Look how neat and tidy it all is, how little stuff I've got! This is just to give you an idea of what you should be aiming for!" I couldn't believe it.

I decided to test her a little bit - I reminded her that I needed a hand with defrosting my freezer and that a light-fitting needed replacing (I can probably get help from elsewhere, I just wanted to see what she'd say!) She said, "Ooh, well, no, can't you defrost your own freezer! I can't do it. Oh - we've been meaning to do that light-fitting for ages! You're not desperate, are you?" I said, "Shall we wait until you come back from holiday?", to which she said, "Yes." I am not holding my breath! It's just amazing that my registered carer doesn't really give me the help I actually ask for...
Anyway, the upside is that she didn't try & serve me any out-of-date food! And at least I should hopefully be getting a bus pass! There's always a silver lining, I guess! One thing's for sure - she will not easily let me out of her web.

I've decided to "disobey" her and not put her name down on the form - it's not necessary as I think it's just for people who had someone else fill the form in for them, and I'm not doing anything else which gives her power over me. It feels as if her behaviour is escalating. Why is Mother trying to make me sound much more incapable than I am all of a sudden?!  :stars:
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 10:18:57 PM by slugsandsnails »
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.
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Journeywoman

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2018, 01:14:58 AM »
Maybe she can sense you are growing more independent? You filled out the form yourself, youíre an adult, and youíll be traveling alone; it really sounds to me like you donít need to have anyone in the carer role on this form. Itís a bus pass, not a medical Power of Attorney.

I wonder if this was her taking a quick opportunity to get you to collude in her domination, and literally ďsign onĒ to her belittling you?


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Thru the Rain

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2018, 02:08:49 AM »
I'm so happy for you that you didn't fill in her name! That feels like a very positive step. Sending you virtual high-fives and cartwheels! 

It sounds like she's starting to notice your growing independence and she may not like it.

And congratulations on being accepted as a postulant with the Franciscans!  (I know you posted that on another post, not here, but I don't always have the opportunity to post immediately and sometimes lose track of threads.)


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guitarman

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 06:25:37 AM »
I've just been reading this article on PsychCentral and thought that you would find it useful.

Why Narcissistic Parents Infantilize Their Adult Children

https://psychcentral.com/blog/why-narcissistic-parents-infantilize-their-adult-children/

Best wishes

guitarman
"Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace." - Dalai Lama

"You don't have to be a part of it, you can become apart from it." - guitarman

"Be gentle with yourself, you're doing the best you can." - Anon

"If it hurts it isn't love." - Kris Godinez, counsellor and author

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JollyJazz

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2018, 07:00:40 AM »
Quote
I've decided to "disobey" her and not put her name down on the form - it's not necessary as I think it's just for people who had someone else fill the form in for them, and I'm not doing anything else which gives her power over me.

Nice one S@S!

Sorry to hear you had to deal with that. I think the escalating is because she senses that you are becoming more independent. Good on you for doing that - keep going with the independence! High five! :)

The 'what's around the corner' remark sounds like projection. You are only in your 40s, she is the one who is getting elderly!

There is so much here - the boundary violation - you wanting to shut the door getting changed and her telling you not to. The mean, condescending remarks. Yikes and that thing about the clothes in the drawer. I bet she got them all tidy especially to show you.

And yes - not helping you where you do need help. Its all such clear signs of 'helping'-as -control. Instead of well, just plain old helping!

Hope you have some good self care after all that. I know its so hard with these things with parents. Of course we love our parents, but its so difficult for those of us that have to deal with that love mixed with abuse and control :'( But its part of our journey for all of us I guess. It certainly provides ample opportunities for growth!

You are seeing things as they are really well. And it sounds like you're doing a great job on building your independence! Hugs S@S! :)

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slugsandsnails

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2018, 12:25:00 PM »
Maybe she can sense you are growing more independent? You filled out the form yourself, youíre an adult, and youíll be traveling alone; it really sounds to me like you donít need to have anyone in the carer role on this form. Itís a bus pass, not a medical Power of Attorney.

I wonder if this was her taking a quick opportunity to get you to collude in her domination, and literally ďsign onĒ to her belittling you?

Thanks, Journeywoman - I think she saw an opportunity to get me to collude in her "registered carer" delusion, yes, and to underline my dependence. I've already had a phone call from her today, to remind me about the form (as if I'd forget!) so it's clearly important to her!
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.
~ W. B. Yeats

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slugsandsnails

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2018, 12:27:19 PM »
I'm so happy for you that you didn't fill in her name! That feels like a very positive step. Sending you virtual high-fives and cartwheels! 

It sounds like she's starting to notice your growing independence and she may not like it.

And congratulations on being accepted as a postulant with the Franciscans!  (I know you posted that on another post, not here, but I don't always have the opportunity to post immediately and sometimes lose track of threads.)

Thanks so much - I feel really positive about the Franciscans! Mum doesn't know I'm not going to put her name on the form, as I've taken it home to finish - I think she's so confident in how "obedient" she's made me, that she can trust me to do it - well, I'm not going to! I don't need help filling out the form & I don't want her "registered carer" status down in writing anywhere! She's already rung me today to remind me about the form!
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.
~ W. B. Yeats

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slugsandsnails

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2018, 12:28:33 PM »
I've just been reading this article on PsychCentral and thought that you would find it useful.

Why Narcissistic Parents Infantilize Their Adult Children

https://psychcentral.com/blog/why-narcissistic-parents-infantilize-their-adult-children/

Best wishes

guitarman

That's very interesting and illuminating - thanks guitarman! It's all about power and control with my Mum, and making sure that weak, little ol' me is always around to give her narc supply.
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.
~ W. B. Yeats

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slugsandsnails

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2018, 12:31:51 PM »
Quote
I've decided to "disobey" her and not put her name down on the form - it's not necessary as I think it's just for people who had someone else fill the form in for them, and I'm not doing anything else which gives her power over me.

Nice one S@S!

Sorry to hear you had to deal with that. I think the escalating is because she senses that you are becoming more independent. Good on you for doing that - keep going with the independence! High five! :)

The 'what's around the corner' remark sounds like projection. You are only in your 40s, she is the one who is getting elderly!

There is so much here - the boundary violation - you wanting to shut the door getting changed and her telling you not to. The mean, condescending remarks. Yikes and that thing about the clothes in the drawer. I bet she got them all tidy especially to show you.

And yes - not helping you where you do need help. Its all such clear signs of 'helping'-as -control. Instead of well, just plain old helping!

Hope you have some good self care after all that. I know its so hard with these things with parents. Of course we love our parents, but its so difficult for those of us that have to deal with that love mixed with abuse and control :'( But its part of our journey for all of us I guess. It certainly provides ample opportunities for growth!

You are seeing things as they are really well. And it sounds like you're doing a great job on building your independence! Hugs S@S! :)

Thanks so much, JollyJazz - dealing with my Mother is such hard work! She has already phoned to remind me about the bus pass (as if I'd forget!) She also asked if I wanted to come out with her on a drive this afternoon - I said no. I can't face being anywhere with her I can't get home from without her while she bangs on about being my "carer". I hope that doesn't sounds silly or needlessly unkind. She also went on a carer's morning out today - it's for carers who need a break from their "charges" (her words). I'm the one that needs a break lol!
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.
~ W. B. Yeats

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Rose1

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2018, 08:26:10 PM »
It's become part of her identity. Makes her look good in the community. I am a carer and believe me it would really cramp her style if she was one ;D

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JollyJazz

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2018, 08:35:36 PM »
You definitely aren't being silly or unkind. You are just being factual. The carers meeting - and what she said about it would frustrate me A LOT as well. It sounds like you are very independent, and it definitely doesn't sound like you get much help or support from your M at all!

Good on you for standing up and being more and more assertive! I very much identify with how hard that can be when we get conditioned a certain way!

These things leave scars though, are you able to access CBT or anything like that? I found it very helpful on my OOTF journey. I was surprised at how much it had affected me. Even things like positive affirmations before I go to sleep and help me to build back confidence after those kinds of put downs you regularly have to endure.

I am so happy that you are building a new life. I hope you can find kind supportive people to be around. I don't know that much about the Franciscans but it sounds really great. You have lots of wonderful qualities and I am sure you will make such a positive contribution :)

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slugsandsnails

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2018, 09:23:37 PM »
It's become part of her identity. Makes her look good in the community. I am a carer and believe me it would really cramp her style if she was one ;D

Thanks, Rose1 - I suspect you are right. I'm sure there is more to being a "registered carer" than visiting someone a few times a month for half an hour each time, and demanding they come and visit you every Saturday - which is what Mum does with me! Oh, she does phone every day! However, this "registered carer" thing has become so much part of Mum's persona that I actually worry about how far she would go to preserve it. She always manages though not to be there if I really do need her - for example, she left me alone with the flu for 3 weeks earlier this year because she was terrified of catching it (actually, I suspect nstep-dad forbade her to come over). I could really have done with some support then. It was then I think that the reality of the situation began to dawn on me.
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.
~ W. B. Yeats

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slugsandsnails

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2018, 09:26:05 PM »
You definitely aren't being silly or unkind. You are just being factual. The carers meeting - and what she said about it would frustrate me A LOT as well. It sounds like you are very independent, and it definitely doesn't sound like you get much help or support from your M at all!

Good on you for standing up and being more and more assertive! I very much identify with how hard that can be when we get conditioned a certain way!

These things leave scars though, are you able to access CBT or anything like that? I found it very helpful on my OOTF journey. I was surprised at how much it had affected me. Even things like positive affirmations before I go to sleep and help me to build back confidence after those kinds of put downs you regularly have to endure.

I am so happy that you are building a new life. I hope you can find kind supportive people to be around. I don't know that much about the Franciscans but it sounds really great. You have lots of wonderful qualities and I am sure you will make such a positive contribution :)

Thanks JollyJazz - you're very kind! I appreciate it. It's not always easy to access therapy on the NHS and I couldn't afford to go private, but I do see a psychiatrist at the hospital every few months (he actually recommended I reduced contact with my Mother, but that's easier said than done!) I will ask him about CBT when I next see him!
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.
~ W. B. Yeats

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JollyJazz

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2018, 02:48:13 AM »
Quote
I will ask him about CBT when I next see him!
That sounds like a good idea :) There are sometimes free services that are available in certain conditions that he might know about.

I know what you mean about the cost - even when I was working full time it used to make me wince.
Exercises in CBT books can be really good too. I used books as well - and still do. They helped a huge amount, and are very cost effective! :) This website helps a lot too and its free! :)

Best wishes!

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Writingthepain

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2018, 07:43:49 PM »
I think I can understand your situation,  when I first became disabled and was put on morphine for the pain my mum/carer decided that the medication meant that I didn't have capacity e.g. the ability to reason, think or decide for myself. I found her overturning any decision or statements I made that she didn't agree with on the basis that I "didn't really mean that and its only the medication talking not you". I had to get really mad AND embarrassed her several times in front of other people when she tried to pull this stunt, basically I called her out on it and she stopped.
But yes it's a horrible nightmare when someone is trying to take over you. Does your country have a register of carers, or a definition of what a carer is/does? If so you could show that to her next time she brings it up and show how she fails to meet the criteria. Otherwise I suggest the 'embarrass in front of other people' route, it worked for me, it's one of the things she really hates, having her ego bruised and looking bad in front of people she likes.

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slugsandsnails

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2018, 10:09:46 PM »
Thanks, Writingthepain - I'm so sorry your Mum treats you like that. It is so scary when you realise that someone is taking over your life! Mum has always been controlling & on occasion bordering on abusive (although I didn't recognise it as such at the time; all I knew was that Mum had been terribly unkind), but things got a lot worse 4 years ago after my husband passed away. My physical health was very poor and I was so traumatised that I became really passive and suggestible - I went along with whatever Mum decided was best for me, whether it was or not. It's only now, 4 years later, that I've finally woken up and realise that she has, in effect, taken over. She has decided she's my registered carer (there was no discussion on what I wanted), she decides what help I need and when she will give it, and she believes she has the right to talk to & treat me as she wishes - she's the Mum/carer and she is in charge. I've had enough (although I'm not saying that she's never done anything for me, but there's always a price to pay for her help!) It's going to be impossible for me to discuss it with her, I'm afraid. I tried to bring up the registered carer label last weekend. She just said, "I am your registered carer - you need someone to speak for you!" I replied that I was totally compos mentis & could speak for myself. She said, "Well, it might not always be like that You never know what's around the corner, kiddo!" Tbh it almost sounded like a threat!

I've made an appointment to see my doctor to talk about it & discuss having her removed as my registered carer - at least, lock my records down so she cannot have access to them, or discuss me with any doctors without my express permission. I may or may not need a carer, but it really can't be my Mum at this point - I am sick of being scared of the person who's meant to be caring for me! My friend has kindly offered to come with me as support, as I'm terrified the doc won't believe me. And when it all comes out, and Mum realises what's happened, God knows how she will react. So much of her identity has been invested in being my "carer", and she has used me to pass on the mental abuse she receives at the hand of my Nstep-dad. All I want is for her to be there for me as my Mum, no silly labels - but I don't think that will wash somehow! Apologies for going on lol! It's a scary time!
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 10:14:54 PM by slugsandsnails »
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.
~ W. B. Yeats

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JollyJazz

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2018, 10:56:04 PM »
Quote
I've made an appointment to see my doctor to talk about it & discuss having her removed as my registered carer - at least, lock my records down so she cannot have access to them, or discuss me with any doctors without my express permission. I may or may not need a carer, but it really can't be my Mum at this point - I am sick of being scared of the person who's meant to be caring for me! My friend has kindly offered to come with me as support, as I'm terrified the doc won't believe me.

Good on you S@S! That is another great step! I am sure the doctor will believe you, but it does also sound good to have your friend there, as moral support as well.

No need to apologize S@S. You will do great :) I think its another valuable step towards your independence.

Perhaps you could break it to her in a way that sounds like its about her - 'I know you've been so busy looking after (N-stepdad's name)..'

Good on you, I think you're doing wonderfully! :)

P.S. A book I can recommend is called 'the emotionally abusive relationship' by Beverly Engel. It describes emotionally abusive behaviour. It really helped me to open my eyes about what I experienced from my family (and later, other people). When we grow up with it, it is so utterly normal, its hard to notice. I think one of the first steps of assertiveness is to note what's out of line. I definitely think your M and Step D are emotionally abusive for sure.

Best wishes S@S! You're doing so well :)


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Journeywoman

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2018, 12:56:38 AM »
Wow slugsí, what your mom is doing to you sounds so awful. I can relate a bit to it in this way- when I first had a baby I was very overwhelmed. It was a tough birth, a near death, and tbh Iíve never been so exhausted and wounded. I was scared but my DH was really there for me so somehow we made it through.

It was just following this very tough birth and mega physical challenge that my mother began to change her tune towards me..  She never came to visit to help, but the things she said to me on the phone again to sound different, more generous. Previously she repeatedly told me, over my entire adult life, maybe three times a year, that I wasnít getting any inheritance. ďI tell all my friends, Iím spending my childrenís inheritance!Ē Like it was some charming naughty thing to say. Whatever. Iíd gotten used to it. Iíd tell myself it was small price to pay to not have her be my responsibility when she was old.

Now she said to me that she wanted to give us a down payment on a house.  Wow, I thought, she must just be so happy that I finally had a kid! Well the sleep deprivation of raising an infant can really mess with your head. Plus I was full of love for my LO, and this softened up and carried me away for the next six months... and then her line changed. Now it turned into her saying:

ďI want to buy a multi unit building for BOTH of us to live in, why donít you find it for us and help move me and enStepdad in?Ē

 Fast forward 3 years later and Iím finally strong enough to get back my full awareness, and I find myself drowning in hell with her in the SAME building. All the careful independence and self esteem Iíd built over the years with strenuous low contact now in tatters. My FOC is in a state of constant crisis overwhelmed by her narcissistic daily demands, plus her mounting dementia and her husband who she refuses to move into care, and all this accompanied by the lifelong abuse I worked so hard to get away fromÖ And she tells everyone she meets that SHEíS taking care of ME and that somehow me and my FOC are dependent on HER...  :blink:

Weíre perfectly capable of caring of ourselves. Just like we were before she began this whole scheme. Which is why I went NC. if this is what it takes to break this fantasy, so be it. She can worry herself to shreds over how to justify calling me her dependent when Iím not even willing to contact her.

 And itís time I gave up my fantasy that my uPDM is a generous loving person.

Thatís why Iím really impressed that youíre going to talk to the doctor about this, slugsnsnails. Itís breaking the spell. You are competent to make your own decisions. No more of this nonsense your PDM spins. AND youíre entirely capable of telling the truth to outside authorities. Itís truly brave to break this lie your PDMs been telling. Makes sense to have some real fear about it both before and after. Itís OK to be afraid - what youíre doing takes a lot of courage, and itís the right thing to do.

What can also be really horrifying is realizing that itís possible that someone could have this degree of malevolence and narcissism. That they might actually try to perpetuate and benefit from robbing you of your self-determination.

And itís so hard when we are struggling physically, because we can feel again like the children we were when they first got their clutches into us. But weíre not, weíre free adults, even with our challenges.

You are so very strong to do this, slugsnsnails.

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slugsandsnails

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Re: Alarm bells ringing, red flags waving (or am I paranoid?!)
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2018, 11:30:24 AM »
@JollyJazz: Thanks so much for your encouraging words! Now I just have to make sure my courage doesn't fail me over the next few weeks - my appointment isn't until July, but never mind. Yes, I'm going to have to break it to Mum extremely gently. I'll wait until after I've seen the doctor & got her advice first though! It was awful - Mum phoned today. She was perfectly affable. I'd been to collect my new glasses this morning & she wanted to know how I'd got on & if I'd caught the bus OK - she wouldn't bother my brother with such things lol! I told her I was a bit tired and she said, "I'm not surprised - you mustn't forget that you've still got ME, even if your bowel problem is better!" that's Mum for you - always careful to remind me how ill I am! She & step-dad are going away for 2 weeks from Sunday - oh, the blessed peace lol!

@Journeywoman: And thanks so much for your encouraging comments too! I'm really sorry to hear about what you've been going through with your mother. It's so easy for them to sneak their way in when are defences are down.

I do feel guilty though - like I'm doing something underhand and terrible. Mum phoned me today and was perfectly cheerful but I have to admit to myself that I find her incredibly hard to be around at the moment. Her loving behaviour mixed in with abusiveness is crazy-making. I could carry on going along with her "carer" fantasy but it's getting harder and harder, although I really don't want to hurt her. I don't understand why she just can't be my Mum, helping me out from time to time, like parents do. My half-sister is diabetic & working part-time, and finds it difficult to cope sometimes, so her Mother is often with her, helping her with her little boy, but the last thing she would call herself is sis's "carer" - she is her Mum, and that's what Mums do! If I am to have a registered carer, I honestly feel that it's best all round if it isn't my Mum - the relationship is too unequal. Also, mum is struggling in her own way - her hearing & memory aren't very good, and she gets a lot of pain with her arthritis. I realised the other day that she has no idea of which meds I'm on or when I take them, or even all my conditions. For example, I've had lichen schlerosus, a skin condition, for years, and she ought to know that - well, apparently, the other day it came as complete news to her! Nothing goes in!  :doh:

I do so hope I'm doing the right thing - the last thing I want mum to feel is that I've stabbed her in the back!
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams.
~ W. B. Yeats