I lose myself when I'm around my mother

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all4peace

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I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« on: February 20, 2017, 12:41:01 PM »
We had a family bday recently and so WAY too much family time with both sides.

I really enjoy my siblings, a lot. They're decent, kind, mutually interested, supportive and loving. Not perfect but pretty awesome. Then there are my parents. They used to be so much better, but I swear mom is swirling down the drain of Aging Narcissism.

Since it was my child's bday, we invited family and friends to spend time together. As has become typical, mom was focused on the people 2 generations younger than her. Not in the sense of being supportive and kind, but in the sense of her being "in the know" about their lives, their friend's lives, who's getting married to whom, when and where, blah, blah. When we talked about DH's upcoming surgery, she tried to blow it off rapidly. When we talked about medical bills and kids with braces, she turned it onto her "needing" braces in her 60s. Every topic of conversation becomes something she knows the most about, or turned into something that involves her in some way. It is never, ever about her getting to know the other person better, empathizing, or connecting more meaningfully.

When one mother with a troubled relationship with her adult daughter mentioned something about that, mom brought up something from my teen years that would make this mother feel badly. I was made to "do my mom's hair" my entire childhood. We both had long hair and she could not be bothered to learn how to do our hair (me and my sister). Finally, at age 10, I worked long and hard to learn how to braid and do different hairstyles. My reward for that was being made to do my mom's hair the rest of my life at home. So, mom brought up to this other mother how I had always done my mom's hair. Doesn't that sound nice? Wouldn't that make this other mom feel bad for not having that kind of close relationship with her own daughter? The fact is I HATED doing my mom's hair. And mom laughed, in this conversation, and said that when I moved out she finally had to learn how to do her own hair. And I sat there steaming, hating that mom was trying to make this other woman feel bad based on an emotional lie. I simply said, "Well, I was the only one in the household who knew how to take care of long hair."

Then later, my mother invited our kids to another party at their house 3 weeks after DH's 2nd surgery. Didn't say a word to me--not a single personal or friendly conversation with me all weekend!--but invited our kids to a party at a time when their father will be incapacitated and when she knows we will be exceptionally busy with work that needs to get done.

It felt like she spent the whole time frantically engaging with everyone else except me. Growing up, she was great at the silent treatment. Even if she had been the one to slap me hard enough to make my nose bleed, she would go silent for DAYS, refusing to speak to me. I couldn't stand that kind of conflict, so I would try to hug her and apologize. She wouldn't accept either, but she would eventually thaw again. Until next time.

When I backed away from my mom a year ago, it wasn't a silent treatment. I was exhausted and just not going to share the deepest things with her anymore. Then the silence stretched longer and longer, and it was hard not to notice that my mom wasn't reaching out to me at all. It's been over a year of this now, and it's not getting better. Throughout that whole time, I've texted or emailed every couple weeks to not let it become total silence, and she will enthusiastically respond at those times, but she does not EVER reach out first.

I felt like yesterday was a show about how much she is a fun, enthusiastic, and connected person. Lots of references to who she is texting (all young), who she knows (all young) and how full her life is. It felt a little frantic to me. And glaringly evident that she's totally disconnected from and disinterested in HER OWN KIDS!

So I go very quiet. Anything else feels like a competition. Everything I say becomes something for her to ignore or turn into her own thing. I resent that I'm surrounded by a lot of people I love (friends, my kids, husband and siblings, nieces and nephews) and my mom is--as usual--trying to run the show and I feel like a kid again, totally dwarfed, silenced and stepped on. Ugh, I hate that feeling. In a bigger group, I walk away and go engage with someone I enjoy on my own terms. In a smaller group, there is nowhere to go.

After a weekend spent entirely with family, I have never felt so alone. I hope, plan and pray for my own kids to never feel that way in my presence.

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MLR

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 12:45:18 PM »
She bypassed you, their mother, to invite your children to a party she is throwing. 

I assume YOU are not invited?

Your mother is a nasty woman.

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all4peace

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 01:30:51 PM »
And believe me, this conversation would have been a quiet one back in a hallway somewhere where DH and I were not present. No, we are not invited. We will be helping DH recuperate from his 2nd surgery this winter.

What makes me the angriest is that DS is upset with ME for suggesting that attending this may not be possible, and that gma should have talked to us about it before him (he's an older teen and probably resents the suggestion that he's not "old enough" to be talked to on his own first).

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Foreignwoman

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2017, 02:21:16 PM »
All4peace, I'm sorry you feel so alone. There's nothing more devastating than feeling so alone around other people, especially your own family. I can relate. Hugs to you.

 :hug:

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carrots

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2017, 09:38:57 PM »
All4peace,
I'm sorry you felt so alone, and I guess pushed aside.
Your subject caught my eye because I lose myself when I'm around my whole FOO, a little less when alone with my father.
Peace to you.

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Iguanagos

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2017, 11:03:07 PM »
Sorry, A4P, that your mom managed to make you feel so alone while you were surrounded by family and friends at your gathering.  Itís an amazing ability they have, isnít it?  I could totally see mine doing something similar (I have no kids, but the basic idea, yes, totally).

Iím wondering if your mom is actually really hurt, but is completely incapable of self soothing and reaching out to address it with you honestly Ė so instead, she has to push you away and let you know just how much she doesnít need you. 
Sort of an ďIíll show you!Ē

The thing is, thereís plausible deniability all over the place here, so thereís no point in confronting her on it.  You would be made out to be ďoh so sensitiveĒ.  But I am upset for you because she seems to be trying to drive a wedge between you and your kids.

So, no good suggestions, but Iím sorry.  Best wishes for DHís surgery and recovery.    :bighug:

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all4peace

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2017, 12:39:39 AM »
As I read back over my original post, it just seems so petty and whiny. Really, I just have an ignoring, self-involved, emotionally immature mother. At least she doesn't make demands of me. When I read about some of the mothers on this forum, it makes my skin crawl. My mother drives me absolutely bananas because she knows everything and has to have a comment on every single thing that is said, so in settings such as this weekend I find myself going really quiet to cope. It stinks but it's not that huge of a deal.

We talked with our son about the dynamic here, and the invitation at a bad time for our family. It went really badly at first, but then I tried again with him to just more calmly discuss the family dynamics. He hates conversations about relationships, but I tried to find a route that was acceptable. I hope I got the situation calmed down and the only important point across: Our FOC needs to support each other during tough times, which is a higher priority than gma having a good time with DS and his friends.

I actually used the phrase "plausible deniability" today when talking to DH about my mother.

Sorry, A4P, that your mom managed to make you feel so alone while you were surrounded by family and friends at your gathering.  Itís an amazing ability they have, isnít it?  I could totally see mine doing something similar (I have no kids, but the basic idea, yes, totally).

Iím wondering if your mom is actually really hurt, but is completely incapable of self soothing and reaching out to address it with you honestly Ė so instead, she has to push you away and let you know just how much she doesnít need you. 
Sort of an ďIíll show you!Ē


The thing is, thereís plausible deniability all over the place here, so thereís no point in confronting her on it.  You would be made out to be ďoh so sensitiveĒ.  But I am upset for you because she seems to be trying to drive a wedge between you and your kids.

So, no good suggestions, but Iím sorry.  Best wishes for DHís surgery and recovery.    :bighug:

I think this is probably very accurate. How many different ways and times am I to give her very chances to connect? I'm not bending over backwards, for sure. I'm not asking for a heart-to-heart. I'm not making much effort at all, but I am making some effort and it's (as always) far more than she is making. I do care if she's in pain but I am so weary from holding up relationships nearly single handedly.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 12:46:57 AM by all4peace »

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all4peace

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2017, 03:12:29 AM »
Then I found this article tonight. Maybe I don't give enough credit to how damaging a self-absorbed mother is: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/aug/04/daughter-of-narcissistic-mother-no-contact

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Rose1

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2017, 04:21:39 AM »
 :bighug:  Nothing much to say except sorry it's so tough especially with your H ill at the moment. And sadly I empathise because I know where you're coming from. I particularly resonated with the plausible deniability. Last time my mother rang me was ages ago - she doesn't, she just complains to everyone how I don't phone her. But I think Im getting the silent treatment at the moment. I did phone her regularly a year ago and it go to her not answering the phone or not calling back and my lifestyle is extremely busy caring for an adult child with a disability and also H not too well, that who has the time? I think they just sit there waiting for you to call because they are entitled or it validates them. Then they can say what they want, blame you if you don't like it (last time my mother said "so already I'm getting a mouthful" and I was left there thinking "what did I say?". I still cant think of what it might have been, the phone call wasn't particularly acrimonious but she did go on with a lot of blame which I probably said wasn't fair. Anyway, too hard. She does not ask about my d ever, nor about how I'm coping, or about DH, but she can tell me her blood pressure at any given time for any day for weeks.
I guess I'm pretty much NC at the moment, or being given the ST. No idea which. I think t mustn't be NC because I'd talk to her if she called. But it doesn't sit well. Oh well, like you said, it seems so whiny because it;s all plausible deniability and if we ever brought it up we'd get run over by the PD steamroller.
Take care, hope things go well over the next few months.

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Fightsong

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2017, 05:55:52 AM »
A4P the plausible deniability is one of the most crazy making aspects of my relational dysfunction too. The  almost calculated subtlety and yet I'm not certain if it is above or below even her radar at times. Clear as it is that I CAN SEE IT AND I KNOW, and yet if I call it out - deny, deny deny. And yet I'm sure I'm not wrong.  And yes I relate to the feeling petty, whiny and almost the fear that someone might say I am pulling a game on HER. All I can say to that is it doesn't feel that way from HERE. This feels healthier and more honest - at least for me in my mind and soul - than it ever did when I was playing along with her rules. I am deep into therapy and I feel sometimes even my therapist might not really understand the  complexity of the web of lies and threads of  subtle devious deniable mistruth that  run through my whole upbringing because of it. I think we need to be certain that what we  KNOW is what we know because of the early programming we received. It does serve  to an extent to keep us under control  - so long as we are not OOTF - do you remember that? Do you know what I mean? And in owning the truth of KNOWING i wonder if we might be able to call it gaslighting? or something similar.  It is designed to make us doubt our  intuition isn't it? yours is that this was a (deniable but ) manipulative act, and the deniability says -'A4P wtf you on about? ' BUT YOU KNOW, and maybe no-one else sees it - thus -crazy making.  ( What are we if we cannot trust our own intuition? What is the critic / what is our true self  - now  Im confusing my own self here)

I  think until I found therapy and  this place I thought I was a bit crazy on some level -  who else has seen a shadow of her devious ways? Does your DH get it? really? That cracks your nut I think. Someone else seeing in. Helps you  get your  flashlight to the gap and  peer in whilst someone else holds the edges open.

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all4peace

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2017, 10:08:31 AM »
A4P the plausible deniability is one of the most crazy making aspects of my relational dysfunction too. The  almost calculated subtlety and yet I'm not certain if it is above or below even her radar at times. Clear as it is that I CAN SEE IT AND I KNOW, and yet if I call it out - deny, deny deny. And yet I'm sure I'm not wrong.  And yes I relate to the feeling petty, whiny and almost the fear that someone might say I am pulling a game on HER. All I can say to that is it doesn't feel that way from HERE. This feels healthier and more honest - at least for me in my mind and soul - than it ever did when I was playing along with her rules. I am deep into therapy and I feel sometimes even my therapist might not really understand the  complexity of the web of lies and threads of  subtle devious deniable mistruth that  run through my whole upbringing because of it. I think we need to be certain that what we  KNOW is what we know because of the early programming we received. It does serve  to an extent to keep us under control  - so long as we are not OOTF - do you remember that? Do you know what I mean? And in owning the truth of KNOWING i wonder if we might be able to call it gaslighting? or something similar.  It is designed to make us doubt our  intuition isn't it? yours is that this was a (deniable but ) manipulative act, and the deniability says -'A4P wtf you on about? ' BUT YOU KNOW, and maybe no-one else sees it - thus -crazy making.  ( What are we if we cannot trust our own intuition? What is the critic / what is our true self  - now  Im confusing my own self here)

I  think until I found therapy and  this place I thought I was a bit crazy on some level -  who else has seen a shadow of her devious ways? Does your DH get it? really? That cracks your nut I think. Someone else seeing in. Helps you  get your  flashlight to the gap and  peer in whilst someone else holds the edges open.
I am so incredibly fortunate. Not only does DH totally "get it" with both our families, but my GC brother also does. Despite being very favored and still treated far better than any other of the kids, he sees how emotionally crippled my parents are. It makes him sad, and he still really tries for their sake, but he absolutely sees how self absorbed and subtly shunning our mother is to me. He just thinks that we need to treat her decently anyway (as do I) and really sees her as a handicapped person who should be treated more gently.

Where we differ is how we handle things when she gets in the middle of us and our kids. He wants me to "keep the peace" and wait it out, and I want to draw lines in the sand when it involves my kids. DH wants to blast her with napalm. And I feel stuck in the middle.

She just recently called me out on unfriending her (she scorns FB, makes fun of everyone who uses it, claims to never ever use her account, but was definitely lurking and getting info about her kids this way, so I unfriended her). Who knows? Maybe she will really let loose in a really tough month for our family and leave even my brother without a doubt as to her hostility toward me. Time will tell.

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warm entreaties

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2017, 11:11:33 AM »
The title of this topic attracted me and I can relate with the tactics that you are describing. It almost seems as though she is competing with you. My mother is similar. She finds little ways (much like your hair braiding story) to put others down while also demonstrating her superiority to me. I am her audience as she "humble brags" to others when they reveal weakness.

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Spring Butterfly

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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2017, 10:32:05 AM »
It's terrible, aweful, crazy making behavior. Passive agressive game playing. The amount of negative energy required for this person to sustain this level of play for this length of time is mind boggling. I respectfully disagree with your statements below.

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As I read back over my original post, it just seems so petty and whiny.
it doesn't read that way to me, you clearly outlined the games, emotional and mental manipulating, and yes the abuse that occurred. It is abuse. Your wonderful celebration and fun was stolen from you.

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Really, I just have an ignoring, self-involved, emotionally immature mother.
Knowing and naming the reason for the games and abuse doesn't make it any less abusive. Her behavior has a direct impact on others. We all affect each other for the better or for harm, she chooses harmful and hurtful behavior. It's a choice she makes.

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At least she doesn't make demands of me. When I read about some of the mothers on this forum, it makes my skin crawl.
It's all still abuse, we can't compare various N injury responses. Some N injury results in ignoring, some results in agression, sometimes a bit of both as they swing like a pendulum between both extremes.

Please be gentle with yourself and take some time to heal and process, to recover from the encounter and the abuse.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 12:31:46 PM by Spring Butterfly »
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Bloomie

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2017, 10:58:27 AM »
all4peace - I could not agree more with Spring Butterfly's assessment of the insidious damage a disregarding, invalidating, ignoring, highly competitive, disdaining mother like this can be. The effects of the toxic atmosphere they create around them seep into our bones and create an ache that is almost crippling at times. And seems almost invisible to others. Highly toxic and abusive behaviors you are describing toward you here. I am so very sorry!

This is how your mother operates and controls others, how she punishes tender and sensitive all4peace by draining the life blood and joy from the moment... through sly glances and subtle usurping through remaining silent in the face of your great joy or great sorrow, through stepping on your face as she reaches giddily for the next generation giving the message that her own child is not enough to hold her attention or receive her magnanimity.

So very much of what you describe here - including doing her hair and the ST after she had acted physically abusively toward me - I could've written myself.  :aaauuugh: I think it is telling that we "served" our mothers even to the point of grooming them. Just makes me shudder to think about it now as it wasn't some lovely exchange between mother and daughter. :sadno: Oh, and when we stop "serving" them and buying in to our old role there is hell to pay.  :upsidedown:

There is such malevolence in the scene your describe that it makes perfect sense you are left feeling alone. That is a terrible feeling and I am just so sorry your mother's behaviors continue to spin out in such destructive ways. :hug:

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all4peace

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2017, 02:39:18 PM »
I think the problem with these covert behaviors is that they are so deniable. If something is that deniable, then it's also certainly up for interpretation and misinterpretation. Even though I KNOW the feelings generated by my mom's behavior at a gut level, and it's even observable by those around me, it does make me wonder sometimes if I'm being too sensitive and looking for problems.

Someone's tagline used to be something along the lines of "We may not remember what someone says, but we know how they made us feel" or something similar to that. I just know that it usually feels bad to be around my mom. And even though her behavior is deniable, it's not coincidental that she almost never manages to be inclusive, interested, other-focused, supportive, gentle, and loving.

When I'm not sure about how rotten another person's behavior is, it helps me to imagine if my own kids were facing it. So often, that clarifies it immediately.

spring butterfly, bloomie and everyone, thank you for getting it. So often it helps most that others can see what I'm seeing, understand what I'm trying to explain, and validate it even when I start feeling like a whiner. Bloomie, and everyone else who didn't get a good enough mom, I'm so sorry. You have such a high level of compassion and empathy, that I wonder if that is the gift you have from your childhood. Sometimes when parents are very hurtful, it teaches their children to care very much about other people's feelings and never do that same to another.

Another tidbit is that my dad finally made the first phone call to me in nearly a year a week before this bday celebration described above. Despite us having a nice conversation, dad was pretty chilly last week also. It would be easy to chalk this up to his phone call making problems with my mom, but I'm not sure. All I can say is they were both pretty frosty.

Ok, thanks for the feedback very much! Time to go get some work done, soak up some sunshine, and focus on better things :)

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Shockwave

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2017, 03:47:06 PM »
Operating with plausible deniability is a hallmark of uPDs. It's part of that "mask" they wear out in public to "appear" normal. You can still pick up on it though and if you call them out on it, they'll deny it and make you look like the bad guy. I find the best way is to verify it with a close friend first. Run it by them and see what you're perceiving is really happening, which most often times, since the mask often slips without them knowing it, other people pick up on it too.
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all4peace

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2017, 02:11:11 AM »
Shockwave, is this your personal experience, or have you read about this elsewhere? I tend to think of this behavior as "covert," so would you say that anywhere I read about covert narcissism, this plausible deniability would fit in well?

I'm SO excited--I started with a new therapist today. My last T was lovely but just not able to get into family systems. I appreciate that my old T had the willingness and lack of arrogance to recognize where her expertise ended. She sent me to someone who specializes in marriage and family systems. He is awesome!! In our very first visit we talked about narcissism, attachment styles in childhood, family dynamics as it relates to younger children versus my older teens and more. We speak the same therapy language, and he was glad to hear how much reading I've done on narcissism, family systems, etc., rather than annoyed. I really think I will be able to start making much more rapid progress. When I briefly described the level of violence in my childhood, he validated it as pretty bad, whereas my past T sometimes classified some things as "generational." When I described the situation that I wrote about in my OP here--teen invited to grandparent's party days ago, only a couple weeks after DH's next surgery, something NM still hasn't said a word to me about--my new T said that a grandparent going directly to a grandchild is basically trying to cut the parents out of the middle as if they are unnecessary, which isn't ok. I SOOOO appreciated that he "got it" and didn't try to tell me that maybe NM had forgotten to talk to me, or that it wasn't a big deal, or that my kid is a teen and it's up to him anyway. I'm so grateful that he appears to "get" dysfunctional family dynamics.

This was only the first visit. DH thinks he sounds too good to be true. Now that I read what I've typed above, it does seem a little incredible that he could be this believing and trusting and validating after having just met me for the first time and NOT reading my file ahead of time. I do talk fast and am able to express myself easily, but still... :)

Anyway, it feels great to have what appears to be really excellent help in the future.

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Shockwave

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2017, 04:04:56 AM »
Shockwave, is this your personal experience, or have you read about this elsewhere? I tend to think of this behavior as "covert," so would you say that anywhere I read about covert narcissism, this plausible deniability would fit in well?

I'm SO excited--I started with a new therapist today. My last T was lovely but just not able to get into family systems. I appreciate that my old T had the willingness and lack of arrogance to recognize where her expertise ended. She sent me to someone who specializes in marriage and family systems. He is awesome!! In our very first visit we talked about narcissism, attachment styles in childhood, family dynamics as it relates to younger children versus my older teens and more. We speak the same therapy language, and he was glad to hear how much reading I've done on narcissism, family systems, etc., rather than annoyed. I really think I will be able to start making much more rapid progress. When I briefly described the level of violence in my childhood, he validated it as pretty bad, whereas my past T sometimes classified some things as "generational." When I described the situation that I wrote about in my OP here--teen invited to grandparent's party days ago, only a couple weeks after DH's next surgery, something NM still hasn't said a word to me about--my new T said that a grandparent going directly to a grandchild is basically trying to cut the parents out of the middle as if they are unnecessary, which isn't ok. I SOOOO appreciated that he "got it" and didn't try to tell me that maybe NM had forgotten to talk to me, or that it wasn't a big deal, or that my kid is a teen and it's up to him anyway. I'm so grateful that he appears to "get" dysfunctional family dynamics.

This was only the first visit. DH thinks he sounds too good to be true. Now that I read what I've typed above, it does seem a little incredible that he could be this believing and trusting and validating after having just met me for the first time and NOT reading my file ahead of time. I do talk fast and am able to express myself easily, but still... :)

Anyway, it feels great to have what appears to be really excellent help in the future.

Both, actually. I read about it first, and then looked out for it (sort of confirmation bias, but in my case it was DING DING DING!). My mother had an incident on Christmas two years ago which solidified the "mask" theory for me. I had posted about the incident on here regarding my cousin asking which one of her siblings my uBPD/uNPD malignant mother and uBPD sister is their "favorite" (i.e. Golden Child), and my cousin busted them on it (and I confirmed it for her). My mother's mask slipped off, in front of my girlfriend and daughter with the dagger stare and silent treatment. I called her out on it too (my sister was giving her own version of the death stare/silent treatment right alongside her because, well, she's my mother's Mini-Me/Golden Child). My 2nd cousin was there as well and all in the room saw the same thing I did: a monster dropped her mask for a brief instant, and then unleashed a mini-temper tantrum, all because they tried to lie to my cousin and get away with it (even my cousin's mother, to all three of the siblings in question, knew which one of the three my mother and sister have as their Golden Child and I didn't even have to give a hint!).

That confirmed to me many things: that it IS a mask they can wear on and off (they wear it in public or in front of people they want to impress, and it's also a morphing one depending on the audience and who they want to impress/curry favor from). Other people see their behavior and know it's NOT normal, nowhere near it. They can't wear it forever, and drop it as soon as they know it's convenient for them to do so (behind closed doors and out of public eye).

The mask theory I have can be applied to many a potentially Cluster B Personality Disordered individual. Covert narcissism would definitely be on that list. My T is also a specialist in Marriage, Family Therapy and has a background in dealing with people with Personality Disorders as well as their victims. I'm really fortunate to have this T, as she came recommended to me by a co-worker.

As far as plausible deniability, one way you can tell if it's something they're up to is to have someone else in the room observe their reactions and deliberate actions towards you in relation to other people in the room. I find people watching is a fascinating thing sometimes. More than likely, if you're the target of a uPD individual, they're watching you like a hawk, but have no clue if someone else is watching them for you and reporting back (one tactic which can be used against a uPD which they have no defense or clue about). When deployed, they'll give themselves away by "the sociopathic smirk" or some barely perceptible show of glee that they're getting one over on you. You'll also notice it too if you pay close enough attention.
"Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A Dark Knight."
-- James Gordon, The Dark Knight

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2017, 09:16:08 AM »
Awesome news on your new therapist! It sounds like he certainly is an expert in toxic family Dynamics.

Unfortunately I too have seen the mask, uPDm is extremely covert saving her most abusive episodes for when was alone with her and enF. She was even skillful enough to ensure her abuse to DH was when I was out of earshot whispering the most vile things to him. I believe him because she has done this to me, if there were people around she would mutter under her breath the most terrible things to me.

The thing that made the mask slip seemed to be when I started speaking up and setting boundaries, calling out the abuse and the passive aggressive comments. Simply asking what she meant by what appeared to be a completely innocent question was enough to make the mask slip. Under normal circumstances if someone has no passive aggressive meaning behind a comment they have no problem answering a simple question such as what you mean. But when someone is covert in their abuse they have no answer to that question. Once the mask started to slip like that she started to avoid me like the plague. No doubt crying to enF that I was mean hand abusive, difficult to please, since I've heard that line before. Doesn't matter, I was just so happy that if she can't be nice she has the inclination to just keep away.

Not every PD reacts that way but that's what happened in my case. Boundaries are sometimes like PD repellent ;)

This new T sounds great and I'm so happy for you!
« Last Edit: February 23, 2017, 09:18:23 AM by Spring Butterfly »
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Bloomie

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Re: I lose myself when I'm around my mother
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2017, 11:41:32 AM »
all4peace - your new T sounds like he gets it and doesn't need a whole lot of foundational background to believe you because he has seen similar dynamics hundreds of times most likely in disordered family systems. Maybe he recognizes that toxic abuse can be as silent as a snake's hiss and equally deadly. That toxic abuse is often not obvious to most who are even standing nearby and that is what makes it especially isolating, threatening, and damaging imho.

I am really happy for you!

Two highly covert PDs in my life are quite skilled in plausible deniability scenarios. Imagine that there is an escape hatch in any and every situation no matter how they behave.

My take on it is that when the masks drops most often it is because they don't regard the person as important enough to hide their true self from and they want that person to know it.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 11:51:05 AM by Bloomie »