Nmother cares a lot about cunning/street smarts, never taught me any, mocks me

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SilenceOnTheWire

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I wish I could see her face when she realizes I have been pretending for a long time so I can NC her without her noticing, but that's beside the point.


For context, my mother is the youngest female of 7 siblings. She was likely raised to stay with her Nparents like the youngest (brother) and third youngest (sister) who never married and still live with my Ngrandmother. My mother is the SG of the family and going by certain jokes of her by her eldest brother (GC) and others I can tell they all think she is really naive and a fool (well true but that's another story).

My mother never taught me any cunning or street smarts. Other kids would bully me, I could never get along with other girls. She would mock me for it. One time I asked her who is the most cunning of her side of the family, she says it's her. Ever since I was little she'd always praise cunning kids (as in, the manipulative, low kind of cunning) and would tell me things like "so and so isn't very clever but she is very cunning". She'd give me mixed messages like "So and so may be cunning and get away now but in high school or college flattery won't work as well and they will fall behind", at the same time praising cunning kids.


That my mother hasn't taught these things to me to sabotage me and to keep me infantilized and naive is obvious to me. She also trash talks me to her side of the family and isolates me from them, trying to make me look like a "difficult" and naive person, even mildly autistic, at the same time brags about my accomplishments. Her side of the family always bullied me for not being "cunning" enough, my mother would join them and say the bullying was my fault. Yet whenever I tried to tell her what was going on, or ask for advice she'd tell me they were just joking, that I am over sensitive, that I am imagining thing, that I imagined it. I'd keep insisting and she'd get angry. Then I would try to stand up for myself even through manipulation and she'd punish me. It's like she was deliberately trying to make me into the family's scapegoat. She even goes as far as to spread false rumours about me to them. Whenever I tell her "Relative x is saying this about me, wtf?" she says to not pay any mind to it, or that I imagined it, or that it's ok, I just have to "prove" them wrong. Then I prove them wrong and she comes up with more bullshit about me and trash talks relative x's kids behind their back to other relatives. She and them just keep moving the stakes and goalposts and if I live up to expectations she sides with me, if I don't she sides with them against me and they just keep moving the goalposts. If I am "bad", it's influences and genes from the other side of the family. If I am "good" it's her parenting. She just uses me and discards me like that.


What is her game here? I think she is trying to win the respect of the rest of the family by proving she is not that naive, that she can be cunning and manipulative too? Because I can tell they can kind of see that she infantilizes me (they have a completely wrong idea about me and how independent I really am thanks to her gossiping).


What does she even get out of this? My father died when I was a kid because she played the same kinds of game with him and he burned out. I already have anxiety issues and panic attacks and had to skip two years of college because of that (we lied to the whole family about it). If something happens to me she only has them as my father's side dislikes her and she has no friends. Besides it would be a big embarrassment for her. It's just not realistic for me to keep living up to the expectations forever. Is she so grandiose that she can't see that or does she have some sort of plan B? After my father died the whole family started treating her like a poor widow and I think she wants revenge for that.


I can think of a cousin who was in college until his 30s, dropped out, and now sponges his parents and is the family's scapegoat. His parents act almost as if he isn't their child and treat him like a disappointment. I just find it mindboggling how the rest of the family looks at him and doesn't see it as bad parenting but as something that is my cousin's fault somehow. Cultural thing maybe? idk

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moglow

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Cultural or not, how someone treats you had nothing to do with you personally, but is all about them and their perception. Constantly seeking approval only to have her/them up the ante? Um no. Honestly - does your life depend on their approval?? Yes, they may provide or deny monetary support but think of your life overall.

Does having any of them approve/disapprove benefit you? Are you learning things that help you or improve your life? While there's nothing wrong with constructive criticism or encouraging you to reach higher or do more, those constant "yeah buts" and comparisons to others would be more demeaning than uplifting for me.

Sometimes it's best to find a way to simply take what you need and leave the rest. Not always easy to do but well worth learning.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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SilenceOnTheWire

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Cultural or not, how someone treats you had nothing to do with you personally, but is all about them and their perception. Constantly seeking approval only to have her/them up the ante? Um no. Honestly - does your life depend on their approval?? Yes, they may provide or deny monetary support but think of your life overall.

Does having any of them approve/disapprove benefit you? Are you learning things that help you or improve your life? While there's nothing wrong with constructive criticism or encouraging you to reach higher or do more, those constant "yeah buts" and comparisons to others would be more demeaning than uplifting for me.

Sometimes it's best to find a way to simply take what you need and leave the rest. Not always easy to do but well worth learning.
They are demeaning. It's not well intentioned criticism although they try to pass it as such. It's veiled insults disguised as "concern", constantly comparing me to my cousins, building me up so they can tear me down, and with my mother is just pushing and pushing to see how far she can milk me until I burnout, and when i do I feel she only doesn't discard me entirely because it would look bad. She is just seeing how far she can push me and when I can't give more she finds a way of scapegoating me to the rest of the family. Her idea is that I will isolate myself and have no one because my focus will be "proving" to my family how good I am. She will be seen as the "good, dedicated, humble mother" and me as the pathologically ambitious, rude daughter she has to put up with as if this isn't all her doing.

I will leave, you can bet on that.

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StayWithMe

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My mother was that way around her in laws.  If we went to visit them, she would "loan me out" to do housework for them.  SWM can clean up the kitchen. 

It took me a long time to deal with it in a sophisticated way.  I used to deal with it directly, Why do I have to clean up for everyone else.  now I have finally learned, simply ignore her, the way she does me sometime.  And if I can't ignore, I simply say, What would one be doing if I weren't here.

My mother doesn't do that shit anymore.

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Kieveen

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I've come to the conclusion that all the negative manipulative behavior I encountered with my uBPD Grandmother as a child in her home was really about control.  In my case there was an underlying motive behind the gossiping lying .

You may never know what their true intentions are but they usually have nothing to do with you personally and the issue is truly about them.   My abusive ex NPD  would constantly berate me and rage at me but the truth is he felt so hollow and self loathing inside that tearing down others was  his  way to escape the self loathing temporarily.

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SilenceOnTheWire

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I've come to the conclusion that all the negative manipulative behavior I encountered with my uBPD Grandmother as a child in her home was really about control.  In my case there was an underlying motive behind the gossiping lying .

I think that's it. She is trying to isolate me and is triangulating "You want them to think well of you? I can clear your image if you do what I want." One time I mentioned I had a brief chat with a distant cousin and she got all worked up. She wants me to think that I have no one else but her and her side of the family. She wants me to "prove them wrong" and prove myself to them and at the same time feeds them gossip. All the gossip, if I try to "prove them wrong", always benefits her. If I don't, she joins them as if she is discarding and scapegoating me (happened with some cousins, it's insane). They play the same game with my cousins. No matter how much of a mess their lives are they can't quit playing into it.

It works like this: the gossip/insults are always in the lines of "You are inadequate", "You aren't x enough". Once you prove it, they move the goalposts. If the idea was to sabotage your siblings kids by putting a huge amount of pressure on them and them falling for it and burning out because their parents are too grandiose, that would be one thing but it isn't. That's the insane part. They all pretend the gossip doesn't bother them then behind closed doors they bash their kids for not living up to the expectations. Then they do and gossip about other peoples' kids. It's insane. It's more about proving your kid is better because X's kid is worse than any clever sabotage. It's sheer narcissism and stupidity.