Is your PD hurtful with kindness?

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Ladybug530

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Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« on: December 18, 2016, 12:56:36 PM »
I've only discovered this in the last month so I am seeking others' insight into what is going on and if anyone else has experienced this.

My unBPD mom was *nice*. She was only unkind when crossed (which I learned quickly to never do), and her expressions of love and affection were syrupy thick and forceful. It was inauthentic and unpleasant, not withholding or cruel. So when she hurts me she is able to still paint herself as a kind and attentive parent and a "good Christian woman", and I think she honestly believes she is. I believed it too until recently when she and my (possibly N?) dad *deeply* betrayed me and my husband with a racist act (we're a mixed race couple). Afterwards my husband said it perfectly: "they seem so nice but they actually aren't loving at all."

She doesn't rage at me, she gives lots of gifts (rarely are they what I like), she is all hugs and smiles (that I am not allowed to not give back), she will pray over me (which feels like emotional rape). It looks good on the outside, but in the end, I have only felt a very confusing and forceful form of love from her.

Can anyone else relate??

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bopper

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2016, 03:38:39 PM »
Its all about having power over you.
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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Tamzen

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2016, 04:17:14 PM »
"Niceness" is a significant part of my uBPD mother's repertoire. It seems to me she has this picture in her mind of what a "loving mother" looks like and she tries to follow it, whether or not it tracks with what I actually need. She's not aware of what I need. And if I don't go along and violate her "loving mother" picture, she gets very angry.

When I do go along with it, I end up feeling gross. For example, she'll give compliments, but they're based on what she thinks is important (like social status), not based in what I value. Like she'll compliment the parts of my job that her friends recognize as important, not what I actually enjoy doing or how I'm learning and growing. Or she'll give a backhanded compliment ("that's so great, why didn't you start doing it sooner?").

It can be really hard to explain to friends why this behavior is so awful. For me it's a lot about the invalidation -- that she never really sees me as a person in my own right -- plus how limited her own worldview is, plus the heavy-handed control efforts. Oh and then feeling like I'm supposed to be obligated to her because she's so "nice" with all these "gifts." So gross.

Your husband's quote is great and I'm glad he sees that! And it sounds like you seeing this is a huge (if painful) opportunity.

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all4peace

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2016, 01:11:31 AM »
People without empathy can force their idea of love on you, no matter how it makes you feel, no matter what you want. I don't consider that love. I consider that propping up an image of what they want.

My DD recently said about uNBPDmil (her gma): "She acts nice, but she isn't nice." When mil is having a good day, her behaviors are still all about her and what she wants and not at all about the person she is "loving."

I think that mil behaves like an alien mimicking human behavior. It can look good if you don't watch too long or too closely, but it doesn't quite feel right or comfortable.
And, yes, someone can "hurt with kindness." uNBPDmil went through a stage of hostile-overly friendly behavior. The hostility was easier to deal with, but then she would sprinkle in times when she would hug me, rub my thigh, hold my hand in both of hers. That actually produced a massive amount of anxiety for me, and that was "kind" behavior. It felt far more threatening to me than the hostility.

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Miss Teri

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2016, 10:34:37 AM »
This is how my mother is too. Seemingly kind to a fault (to others), but queen of the back-handed compliment. Never critical of me personally, but insulting to every group of people I've ever associated or identified with. She thinks my husband comes from a rich family (he doesn't), and openly scorns the way "rich people" frivolously waste their money. My husband is one of the most frugal people I know! My mother will give hugs and do the leg pat thing, and say all sorts of patronizing things to my face and pretend like we have this great relationship, all while demeaning everything I believe in right in front of me, and dismissing the accomplishments I'm most proud of.

My mother can also be quite passive aggressive. If I ever dare to call her out on her insulting comments, she'll "withhold affection", and give me the silent treatment in and effort to get me to curry her favor and get back in her good graces. She's done this since I was a child, for as long as I can remember. THAT'S her weapon, and unless you've been a victim of it, it's nearly impossible to identify. Hell, even when you ARE the victim of it, you may not even realize it until after the fact. And that's the dark insidiousness of emotional abuse. I've grown wise to it though. My best protection right now is distance and low contact (currently no contact).

I'm sorry you're having to go through this, Ladybug. The covert "nice" narcissist is incredibly hard to deal with, because their behavior is so easy to deny. They are masters of emotional manipulation. There are many here who can relate to what you're going through. And we're here to support you. You aren't alone.

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daughter

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2016, 10:37:15 AM »
"Niceness" used as a control method is not genuinely "nice".  "Nice" mode is an intentionally fake emotion intended to control you as much as the "nasty" mode. 

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wisingup

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2016, 12:04:44 PM »
This is familiar to me too.  It's hard to explain it, but it feels like my uBPDm goes through life kind of checking boxes -like, "if I do A,B and C, that makes me a good mother."  None of it comes from the heart - it's done in order to achieve good mother status & gain a sort of immunity from criticism and rejection.  And to provide a list she can recite whenever we withdraw from her. "I took you on all those cruises."  "I bought you so many Christmas presents as a child" etc etc.

I feel like I can't even describe her real personality.  I think I see flashes of it in times where she feels very safe and comfortable (and if that is her true personality, I like it very much and we could have been very close if not for all the other crap.) But these flashes are few and far between.  More common is a person who just swings wildly from mood to mood, from syrupy loving to bitter and critical, from telling us how wonderful we are, to telling us how cruel we are.  I never know which "moms" might show up that day & how long each will stay.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2016, 12:18:21 PM »
Yes I relate as uPDm and enF definition of love is enmeshed and compliant. Things are generally ok if I cater to uPDm mood and we could in the past even sometimes have a nice time. If I exercise a boundary such as having something private I don't wish to share, or a life with DH of our own it's viewed as rejection of them and punished with passive aggressive rages, sniper hit and run digs, and aggressive rages, but also waif and needy weakness and plays for pity. At this point their anger and narc injury is so triggered they'd rather avoid me than to accept me as an individual. It's ok because it's all or nothing with no in between permitted so given that polarized choice of enmeshed or rejected I'll choose rejection.
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MLR

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2016, 01:49:10 PM »
Try to slow down accepting gifts or family or from your mother.  I'm sure the strings attached to the gifts are a mile long.

Does she have anything in her life to keep her occupied other than micro managing you?

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No.

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2016, 01:12:50 PM »
I can really relate to this situation. Once I went NC and she spewed her venom and assumptions and crazy twists of the story for a while, she sent a text that said something to the effect that she has been going to church and learning to listen to the bible, no one else, and now she is a different person, nice and wishes I would give her a chance. Her texts on this topic are laced with syrupy language, BUT, while she was spewing the venomous texts, every other one would be syrupy, and when I didn't respond, it would be back to the venom. I kind of see it as she doesn't know how to genuinely have empathy or even like her own daughter, since I wasn't born exactly like her, so she says what she thinks I want to hear. She tries different angles.

But, I still know that she has said and done a lifetime of hurts, doesn't see me, doesn't even try to hear me. Doesn't admit to one thing. Never one apology. Not even an acknowledgement of the stuff she said that was the last straw before NC. She glosses over all of that to get back to how wonderful she is now and how I need to accept it and basically just slip back into the status quo. Nope.

I'm to the point where after the holidays, I may even just tell her exactly how it is. I know that would get twisted back onto me, but why should I care since she already has the clueless step family thinking I'm such an awful person anyway.

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Geko

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2016, 09:12:27 PM »
It's called Altruistic Narcissism   http://esteemology.com/the-different-faces-of-narcissism-types-and-sub-types/
and that is the whole world I've grown up and lived in. Here's what my FOO do:

.My Eldest uN sister attends all the funerals of anyone who dies in the little village they live in - this makes her look nice and caring to people in the village. When I told my psychologist friend this, she laughed and said maybe she goes for the free food!
.My 3 uN sisters and uN Mum will give bottles of wine and chocolates and smellies to local charities for raffle prizes - this makes them appear caring in the local community. They'll also bake cakes if necessary.
. They're ever so grateful to other people for anything they do for them.
. My eldest sister is especially so sickly sweet with kindness it makes me want to throw up.
. But the back handed passive aggressive behaviour is unbelievable. They've got it down to a fine art.

They'll give, give, give to everyone. But they haven't called once in 8 years to ask how my husband is, how I am or if we need anything. I only live between 6 - 10 miles from my Mum and sisters. My husband has had cancer and they refuse to believe that he is suffering from the effects of his cancer treatment and that he's fine and well and we're making it all up. All I used to get before NC is "He could live for another 20 years yet" What is that supposed to mean?...I hope he does?  Our lives are difficult, all I wanted was a bit of empathy and understanding, you'd think I was asking for the moon.
When my Dad died I lived closer to the hospital and got there first. I was thanked by my youngest sister for being there with her Dad when he died. I wasn't, I got there too late but I loved the way she said it....I think he was my Dad too!

It's taken me years to understand what they do but once I got it, it was as plain as the nose on my face. Now I can't unsee it. Obviously and this is the sad thing, it's because it's so ingrained in them, they believe they are nice and that what they say and do is acceptable. They would never believe that there are people that can see through it. My husband did and I think that is why they are so anti us.

I've read that once you meet an N anywhere whilst out you will know straight away. I have and we have a regular in one of our craft groups but she's a drama queen who loves attention and talks over everyone. I told her quietly last night the she'd interrupted a lady talking and she stopped and then I did it another 3 times and it seems to work when you say it quietly as they have to strain to hear what your saying so listen.

Anyway, I hope that it sheds some light on your situation for you. It certainly did for me.





But still, like dust, I'll rise.  (Maya Angelou)

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MLR

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2016, 12:57:58 AM »
Geko, I think the key to their behavior is this-

Would they still do all the nice things for people if it was totally anonymous?   If NO ONE knew?

Somehow I doubt it! 

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2016, 04:11:36 PM »
Yes, the niceness is frustrating. It's kind of a form of gaslighting because it makes you question yourself. My BPDm makes these little comments almost constantly to the point that I don't even think she knows she's doing it. The comments all sort of cut me down or make me seem inadequate, but each comment, individually, is so minor. Then she throws in one big compliment for every 50 put downs and she thinks she's being supportive. And that little voice (her voice) in my head tells me that she's TRYING to be supportive and that I am being too sensitive.

I hate the "nice" comments just as much as the put downs because I never believe her when she says them and they just don't feel authentic.  I think that she thinks she is being authentic, but truly doesn't understand all of the comments that contradict what she just said. She does the syrupy sweet over the top thing too and it drives me nuts. She hasn't been supportive or helpful to me, only causes me more work and stress, but insists on referring to me as "her baby." And then, yes, her niceness is smothering and not at all what I need. I agree the invalidation is a big part of it as is her being "nice" in the way that she sees fit instead of her trying to be nice in a way that would actually suite you.

So frustrating.
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
~ Amanda Torroni

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MidnightOwl

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2016, 04:59:11 AM »
Good topic LadyBug!

I remember in preschool they had a set up where each week a different mother would provide a snack for us kiddos. When my mom's week came, I felt beyond horrible to put her out. She was really angry that she had to provide a snack and go out of her way, and complained about it all week. However, she created the coolest snacks where she cut out lunch meat and cheese into the shapes of animals. Everyone loved them and she looked like mom of the year. I remember looking at those snacks and thinking "My mom MUST love me if she made these neat snacks for my class"...but it was really a feeling of confusion because she seemed to hate me, or at least hate DOING anything for me.

And that was just the beginning of that type of behavior. Sickeningly sweet and fake is how I'd describe her. But she convinced the town that she was the sweetest lady on earth. All my friends would tell me how much they loved my mom and how sweet she was. Again, I was hit with confusion because she was so awful when the public wasn't around.

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all4peace

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2016, 08:25:48 AM »
The cognitive dissonance is mind blowing.

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blacksheep7

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2016, 10:29:24 AM »
Daughter Quote: "Niceness" used as a control method is not genuinely "nice".  "Nice" mode is an intentionally fake emotion intended to control you as much as the "nasty" mode. 
I always felt that Fakeness in her.  That's why I never felt her love, still to this day. Always nice to everybody, keeping that smile, agreeing..oh yes yes...and when we would plan an event or whatever, she would always answer, I don't mind.  I always wondered to myself, don't you have an opinion on anything.   I was hosting one Easter, and she asked if she could bring anything, I didn't want to give her trouble. I said no, not necessary.  I offended her and told me she wasn't coming.  That's her weapon and has used it several times with me. The nastiness, always behind closed doors.   When she answers the phone, the Hello, OMG so exaggerated.  It's like she won the lottery.
I was nc in 2012 and was in hospital a few times and knew this from siblings.  DH said she's cold because she could have called him at least to get news, never did.  No empathy.  I'm nc.
I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the white sheep are not as white as they try to appear.

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SPinSC

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2016, 11:22:52 AM »
All my friends would tell me how much they loved my mom and how sweet she was. Again, I was hit with confusion because she was so awful when the public wasn't around.

I finally started answering my really close adult friends with, 'Sure, as long as you're not her daughter!' Very few EVER saw what I saw. When my husband did, he hit her with the line that hurt HER feelings, 'Lady, I've seen that act before and by WAY better performers!'  That hit home because Mom fancied herself an Elizabeth Taylor or Kate Hepburn - like she had THAT kind of class and talent.

I am so thankful for this thread. It was the niceness that threw me off the track of Narc and made me think Mom was just uBPD. She'll die undiagnosed because some ridiculous doctor in this town is giving her Prozac without therapy or medical appointments. I wish I could find out who, but that would mean getting in contact and I'm avoiding that. Anyway, it's sad and exhilarating all at the same time to learn there are others who GET it.

My brother & I would call getting caught in her sugar-net being caught in the 'Mom-name-Vortex'. Where nothing, not even sanity, can escape! Bro was wonderful at helping me laugh to keep from crying.

What terrifies me is the possibility of fleas. I have been around her more than anyone else. I have been exposed to the false world my whole life, except for a few years in my 20's and some NC a few years ago. I see myself doing that 'big production hug' and I want to scream at myself! Now, I wait for others to initiate hugs just so I can ensure that I'm not PUSHING a hug on an unwilling soul.
I choose this day to rise up and be my best self, not succumbing to that which I sense is inside me, trying to drag me down.

Love is an action verb. You will know if it is genuine by the actions that support it, not by the frequency of the spoken words.

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Menopause Barbie

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2016, 04:21:34 PM »
I've been thinking about this thread. There is a difference between being "nice' and being "kind." It's a difference of perception. Nice is perceived from the other person's point of view and is more of a surface description and more short-term. People are nice with the intent of being noticed as nice. Kindness comes from within. A kind person isn't putting on a show--the kindness is part of who they are inside. The kindness is consistent despite who is around. Niceness is easily faked. Kindness, true kindness, cannot be faked consistently because a person's true character has a way of revealing itself eventually. Niceness is based on appearances, but kindness just IS.

People were forever telling me how nice my uBPDmom was. She was all about appearing nice and selfless and motherly. In public, she appeared that way, but her treatment of me could take sudden, drastic, and unexpected twists and painful, shocking turns. It took me 40-plus years to figure out that her inconsistent niceness to me was due to the fact that she can be nice, but she is not kind. Deep inside, she is only concerned with her own emotional survival. Part of that survival, for her, depended on others perceiving her as nice. Her nice actions came from a place of selfishness. What she did for others,including me, was actually for herself, to build herself up as a nice person and try to bolster her miserably insecure self image. In contrast, kindness comes from a place of selflessness, of doing what is best for the other person. Niceness is weak, and is always looking for outside confirmation. Kindness is strong, and is not dependent on peer pressure or being noticed. PDs can be nice, but they are never kind.

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MidnightOwl

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2016, 04:37:04 PM »
SPinSC - Thanks for your reply and I totally feel you on the concern about fleas. I absolutely have them and when I reflect on how I've acted over the years (before I became aware) I do cringe a bit. I worried for a while that I might be a narc myself, but after more research concluded that narcs don't generally ask for help or look to improve (which I do). It is understandable that we pick up fleas as it is literally our job as infants to mirror our parents. We just got a bum deal.

Menopause - Great differentiation between nice and kind, what an important thing to understand. Especially for those of us on the healing journey, how important to discern when we meet new people! Love it, thank you for sharing.


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all4peace

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Re: Is your PD hurtful with kindness?
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2016, 04:37:26 PM »
Plus, "kind" could be behavior that doesn't make us look good to anyone. I have a friend just starting her fight with cancer. "Nice" is insisting on visiting her because it looks nice. "Kind" is asking what she really wants, and then staying home because what she wants is a day alone. "Narcissistic" might just be coming up with a scenario that declares myself "kind" :D