Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games

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waterfalls

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Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« on: January 19, 2017, 02:56:57 PM »
For quite some time, things have been manageable with my NPD mother (of course, I always walk on eggshells to keep things manageable). Even got through a visit at her place over Christmas unscathed, which was a miracle.

Today, I had what I thought was a good phone conversation with her, and then it happened.  We somehow got on the subject of when I was dating my husband and how she thought my husband was a good man and how I didn't tell her when I was first dating him.  I just replied that I didn't want her worrying about me Internet dating.  Then she flares up and says did I think she wanted me to me an old maid all my life, did I think she just wanted me to be there for her all the time (which is exactly what she wanted).  I tried to keep calm and said no, I just didn't want her to worry about me and that was that.  Then we got on to other things.

At the end of the conversation, my mother told me that my aunt likes it when I call her and to feel free to call my aunt anytime.  I told my mother that my aunt and she are welcome to call me anytime.  My mother flared up again and told me she doesn't feel free to call me, she doesn't want to impose on me and my life with my husband, that she won't be the one calling me.  Again, I kept my calm and just told her to have a good day, but when I got off the phone, I just fell apart.

Apparently, my neutral "didn't want you to worry about me" comments hit a nerve with her because she really did hope I would keep living with her and doing things for her (I left home when I was financially able to at the age of 35; it's been 8 years since).  Maybe she flared up because she knows the truth and is feeling guilty as heck over it.

I know these are the emotional games NPDs play, but it still hurts.  And it hurts loving my mother many times.  I'm grateful I live 2600 miles away from her and mostly deal with her by phone, but she still gets under my skin many times. 

And I hate it that I'm the one who has to do the calling, not her.  She will rarely call me.  I have to be the one to kowtow to her.  If she were anyone else but my mother, I would not know this person, but because she's my mother, I walk on eggshells and deal the best I can.  And I don't want to go no contact, which would be a bad thing in the long run.  I'm just trying to deal the best I can and cherish the physical distance between us and the in-person visits every 8 months or so.

If you've read my post this far, thank you for reading.  I just needed to vent because my mother just got me so down today.  You just never know what innocent seeming remark is going to make an NPD take off.  The next time I call her, I will try to act like nothing happened.  I know she is who she is.

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SunnyMeadow

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2017, 04:30:24 PM »
Vent away - I get it! I have the same sort of thing going on with my mom. Things have been good since Christmas but I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. It always does, there is no avoiding it. When my N/PPDm flares up (good description!) I have a hard time holding my tongue because so many of the things she goes on about are hurtful to me when I'm the only one left who even makes an effort be around her. I'm now learning to not JADE and change the subject.

Like you, I'm the one who initiates most of our communications and feel as if I have to reach out to make sure everything is good between her and I. I REALLY wish I didn't feel this way.

Anyway, I know how you feel but wish I didn't!  :bigwink:
« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 04:37:58 PM by SunnyMeadow »

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Newlife33

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2017, 07:00:52 PM »
That really hit home when you said "flared up."  and "walking on eggshells."  That was every conversation with my father.  And I would never know where the flare ups would come in.  And they would always say that. "Hey, you should call (other PD in the family)"

Vent away girl, we are here for you.

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waterfalls

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2017, 07:30:06 PM »
Thanks, SunnyMeadow and Newlife33. I'm sorry both of you have been where I am. Thank you for your understanding and just listening. It helps to have your support and to have someone else out there who "gets it."

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2017, 08:04:18 PM »
It's good you have a safe place here to talk about your feelings. Most of us here are familiar with the feelings you speak of and the pain in your heart. It sounds like you really did a great job of medium chill, speaking up in a mild way.

Smae here with communications with updm and enf, only if i inititiate. It kind of hurt in the beginning but it's either that or fully enmeshed in my case, one extreme or the other with no in between so given that choice lack of contact is better. At least I have control over calling when I am able to handle a call every once in a while.

One question is on the visits, every 8 months, does she initiate arranging to come visit? If she doesn't initiate what would happen if you don't initiate or suggest a visit?
∑ Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
∑ Individuation is one key to emotional freedom
∑ It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
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waterfalls

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2017, 10:50:03 PM »
It's strange that you ask about the visits, Spring Butterfly.  When I stop and think about it, I usually feel obligated to make an effort to visit my parents every 8 months or so.  Usually, I'll ask my mother if it's okay if I and my husband can visit at such a time, and she'll say we're welcome anytime.  As long as I've been living in this other part of the country, I've always been the one asking to visit.  I will in say, in fairness, that my mother hasn't been in the best of health in the past few years, but then, she does fly twice as far to see other relatives each year (the last time she visited me was when I got married 4 years ago).  I really don't know what would happen if I didn't ask to visit her.  I don't know if she would ask to visit me.

I have a question to you and others, though: how do you take care of yourself when your NPD relative has a flare up?  I've been in therapy for years and I've picked up some tools to help me cope (meditation, practicing self-compassion, trying to let things "roll off me like water from a duck," etc), but it's still tough.  Today, for instance, I feel mentally and emotionally drained from my phone conversation with my mother this morning.  I feel like a zombie.  I did meditate and try to be kind to myself, I reminded myself that it's my mother not me, but it's difficult.  If you or anyone could share how you cope or deal with yourselves, I'd really appreciate it.  Thanks.

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Newlife33

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2017, 10:58:26 PM »
At first I learned to recognize the methods used by my PD fam. Then I would try to ignore it, or call them out on it. For me the wound was too deep, I had to go NC. After all, why would I want to have a relationship with someone who hurts me?

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2017, 11:40:27 PM »
It is draining and no matter how's much I emotionally disconnect, use tools, prepare, etc each time there's contact it's triggering. I used to wonder why and then I started thinking that all our tools are to minimize damage not eliminate damage. Each and every contact will result in damage even if it's a so called 'good' conversation because that often leaves us gaslighting ourselves. Recognize the drain and refuel, Just like taking a car on a long off road rough ride, you'll need to refuel and clean it up some.

My approach has been three pronged - reduce contact to tolerable level, use medium chill to keep conversation neutral, boundaries based on values. Really strong boundaries with a whole bunch of meh really helps. It's still draining but much less so and I bounce back much quicker, but there will be damage each and every contact, knowing and acknowledging that makes it easier for me to work through.

Post contact good self care is essential and it doesn't matter how much you need, take what you need and no less. In fact I've made self care a practice with or without contact just to keep me more at peace because really life is life and it can be stressful with or without PD persons. They're just another layer to manage. So I find taking good care in a balanced way in general I'm more emotionally level.

Pete Walkers website helped me get in tune with my cPTSD response type, understand what emotional flashbacks are and manage a flashback better. Every time there's contact it can trigger into flashback but by recognizing what is going on I can better stay in the present moment, grounded and in my adult self. Sometimes even if NC triggers can happen so it's just good stuff to know.

You mention meditation and I'm not sure what type but grounding helped me. There were a few visual mediations for grounding combined with protecting (visuals of roots from feet and bubble for protection) that helped me focus. Body scan meditations help me also.

This book helped me get focus and I'm reviewing it again recently. http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=28162.0

So give into the tired spell and take good care.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 11:42:16 PM by Spring Butterfly »
∑ Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
∑ Individuation is one key to emotional freedom
∑ It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
my Empowered Growth blog

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MLR

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2017, 10:24:27 AM »
I doubt your mother has EVER felt guilty about anything.  She is outraged you left home and moved far away to have a life of your own.  She thought she had you locked down as a free slave for the rest of her life. 

When you lived with her what did you do to take care of her and the house?  Were you also her companion and emotional dumping receptacle?   

Now that you are far away who does all the things you used to do?

Another idea is she might have been semi ok with you getting married.  She still had you as a slave and gained a man to do heavy manual labor and if you two had a nicer house she could move in with you and be waited on hand and foot.  So the marriage may not be as big a deal as you moving fat away.

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waterfalls

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2017, 11:12:26 AM »
Thanks, Newlife33 and Spring Butterfly, for sharing your coping strategies. Spring Butterfly--you are so right and have a good perspective that it's about minimizing damage not eliminating it. Even going to my therapist, it was all about strengthening myself for whatever would happen next, because it's always a matter of when, not if something would happen with my NPD mother. And self care is an important thing, as I learned and as you reminded me. Btw, I've learned to do a loving-kindness meditation from my therapist.

MLR, you sure struck a nerve and hit the nail right on the head. I'm sure my mother hasn't felt guilty about anything. She's perfect, she's always perfect, and it's always the world that's wrong, never her. And even though she says she's happy I have my husband and that she didn't want me to be an old maid serving her, I know in my gut that isn't true. She probably is outraged that I'm married and live on the other side of the country and have my own life.

When I was living with her and looking for a job, I did the grocery shopping, got the oil changed in her car, cleaned the house, painted rooms, cleaned the gutters on the roof (thankfully, she had a 1-floor house), dealt with plumbers, contractors, etc, and did whatever else needed to be done. Besides going to work, she cooked and complained (yes, I was her companion, her surrogate husband and emotional dumping receptacle; she complained to me about how everyone was bad to her at work each day). Since I didn't have a job at the time and wasn't able to contribute to the daily finances, I figured that was my way of earning my keep.

After I left, she obviously had to take care of things and complained how hard it was to do everything by herself. I, on the other hand, had no problem being on my own since I knew how to take care of things and, being on my own, my to do list was shorter.

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Iguanagos

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2017, 12:07:01 AM »
Hi Waterfalls, just wanted to chime in on the phone call/visit thing.  My cell phone keeps a log of my incoming and outgoing calls, so I can see in living color just how one-sided this relationship is.  It hurts, and what really hurts is when I do call, N/B M will say something like, ďItís been forever since you called!Ē 

Iíve started answering back, ďYes, Iíve been waiting for your call too!Ē which gets me a few seconds of silence back. :ninja:  So my main tactic is to not call too often.  If she wants to talk with me more often, she can pick up the danged phone and dial.

There was also an expectation of an annual pilgrimage to her and EFís home.  I fulfilled that expectation for about 15 years. This past year, with the encouragement of my therapist, I changed that, setting up a visit in MY town, forcing them to travel, with them staying at a hotel.  Much better, and frankly, it was time to shake that whole dynamic up and remove the built-in expectations.  When we do go to visit them now, we stay in a hotel and have our own transport.  Itís not perfect, but definitely an improvement. 

In your case, you and your mom are adults now, so she doesnít get to dictate the terms of your relationship going forward.  And yes, based on your last message, it sure does sound like she would miss all your slave labor and companionship. But that was never your job or your reason for being.  Children are supposed to grow up and start their own lives, so donít let her plant any guilt about you living yours.  Best wishes!

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Fightsong

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Re: Just need to vent about NPD mother and her emotional games
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2017, 06:22:18 AM »
Hi waterfalls. I recognise what you are describing too. I'm only beginning to realise how much of an emotional effect contact of any kind has on me. It always has - objectively verified by my partner- but I had not understood / denial etc. Even the good contacts leave me empty and grieving.  I used to shake myself down and stuff it away and 'get on'. Generally followed a little while later by some meltdown or anger outburst about something unrelated - y'all know the pattern I guess. I did not see it for so long.  Ironically I had a vm yesterday and am now sitting in a coffee house waiting to be strong enough to call back! I didn't last night cos I was tired, so I  congratulated myself on that. Instead I took a bath, put on clean fresh nightwear, took a hot water bottle to bed and listened to a meditation tape.  I did this as a deliberate act of self care, and told myself I did not need to answer that vm the second I heard it.  Fighting my old obligations. 

What are you going to do to look after yourself today?