I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?

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waterfalls

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I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« on: February 08, 2021, 11:08:10 PM »
Last Wednesday I foolishly told my NPD mother about the bad day I had at work (see "Why do I keep doing this?" post). When she told me that I let people walk all over me, I told her that it hurts me for her to say that to me. Apparently, according to my aunt (who's also on the controlling/narcissism scale and close with my mother), that was translated into I called her a bad mother (which I never did).

When I called my mother on Thursday morning, I left a message acting as if nothing had happened, said I just wanted to say hi and that I would call again later. In the late afternoon, I called again, got the voicemail and decided to just hang up without leaving a message. My mother is a homebody and normally picks up the phone. I know she was purposely not answering. She hasn't returned those calls 4 days later. I know she's giving me the silent treatment and acting like she's the wounded party.

I haven't tried calling again since last Thursday. I don't know what the heck I should be saying. In the past, since I was a teenager, when she would be upset, I would always apologize for whatever just to make peace. I don't even know what I would be apologizing for this time  (I'm sorry you hurt me and that you think I called you a bad mother when I didn't?).

I'm a passive person and hate confrontation (probably because I raised by an NPD mother). She's not the person who just puts things aside and moves on. She has to hash things out and make sure I eat crap. She's always right,  the person who never forgets and holds grudges.

Before this all went down, I was calling her 3 times a day primarily out of obligation to check on her (her health isn't the best, pandemic times, she has no friends). It was very draining to serve as an outlet for her to talk about her aches and pains, what she's doing around the house, what the rest of the family is doing, etc. I'm not saying I enjoyed the phone calls (which were limited and when I could squeeze them in my day, not when they were really convenient for me), but I didn't know how else to show care and support from over 2,000 miles away. So overnight, I went from 3 calls to no calls.

I would appreciate any advice here because I'm feeling really stupid to be in my late-40s and not know how to handle my mother (even my aunt had to dig in, saying I was almost 50 and that I should be getting my act together with my mother, my mother's a poor soul, she's really hurting with her health issues, etc.). Should I just keep NC until she decides she has enough (which could last a VERY long time since she isn't one for bending)? What should I do? Thanks in advance for your help.

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Andeza

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2021, 11:19:38 PM »
There are questions you need to ask yourself. First and foremost, what sort of relationship do you want to have with someone who always blames you for things, makes everything your fault, expects you to maintain a potentially unhealthy level of contact just so SHE can feel better about herself?

I had to ask myself that same question over a year ago. For me it meant NC. Now, if she's giving you the silent "Treat" that is not the same as NC. NC is a choice we make in order to protect ourselves, heal ourselves emotionally, and in many cases physically, after years of mistreatment and abuse. Going NC would mean blocking her access to you through phone, text, email, and social media. If you want to do that, by all means go ahead. If not, then you're essentially just waiting for her to get her nose unbent out of shape and return to the status quo. Which, most likely she will. You are her emotional dumping ground and she won't be able to go longer than a month or so without you unless she replaces you. PwPDs love their vending machines after. They put misery in, and we faithfully dish out comfort and joy. Which, being emotional black holes, they endlessly consume without giving anything in return.

So the next question you have to ask yourself is, should you just enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts as a sort of treat, or test if you will, to see what NC would look like? But, please, don't apologize if you've done nothing wrong. I understand not liking confrontation. I used to hate it too, but then I got a job where that happened pretty much daily and I learned how to handle it. After that, my relationship with my uBPDm started changing because I stopped listening to the copious quantities of verbal vomit. When she did not adjust, even after being asked not to discuss certain things, I knew I had to be the one to change.
Remember, that there are no real deadlines for life, just society's pressures.      - Anonymous
Lasting happiness is not something we find, but rather something we make for ourselves.

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Hepatica

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2021, 10:34:04 AM »
You really don't need to do anything. Sometimes doing nothing is an action in itself.

The only thing that I suggest is taking this quiet time away from her to really measure your self-worth and esteem. I agree with Andeza. Please don't apologize.

It's really time to focus on you. What are your joys? What are your needs? What are the injuries in you that need mending?

Your mother is making a dumb move by giving you the silent treatment because you are waking up to her emotional manipulation. She doesn't understand this. She will want you to return to status quo after she's given you a little bit of punishment.

You do not deserve any punishment. She made a mistake by making your bad day about her. What a selfish, typically NPD move! Ugh. :doh:

Time to make things about you now. It's ok. You don't have to rescue her anymore. I think the pain that results from these kinds of things is the realization that we cannot save our loved ones. Because we do still love them as people. But we cannot save anyone, except ourselves. That really hurts. It's the part of this recovery process that takes a lot to get our heads and hearts around. Because it is a loss.

But we've already experienced enough losses to know that we can survive it and we do deserve, at the very least, peace from their constant negativity and punishment.
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

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SunnyMeadow

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2021, 11:12:09 AM »
waterfalls, my uNPD mother is the exact same way and I handle things like you do. I'm glad you're handling this "wounded mother" episode differently. She isn't the injured party, she just wants extra attention. You don't have to give it to her. She's a fully grown woman and she's still playing these games. It's so awful of them. When I would tell my mother about my bad day, I didn't want her to tell me I let people walk all over me. I wanted some comfort and commiseration not a put down! I'm impressed that you are dropping the rope. Keep it up!

This may turn out to be the best way for you to stop calling her 3 times a day. Even if she comes down from her throne to begin speaking to you again, you don't have to call her that much. I'm guessing that's got to be hard on you. I couldn't stand to listen to my mother 3 times a day or 3 times a week. No way. I've had these types of issues with my mother too so now she gets only the basic info about me. We discuss her medical issues, her husband's medical issues, her, her and her but nothing about me!

Think about how you're going to handle the call when she's done with the silent treatment. I was angry when mine finally got ahold of me and I told her what I thought. I had never approached her in that way and I let her have it. Things are better but I know it's just a matter of time before the brings out the "poor me" again. She has caused me to care very little for her. Years and years of this same treatment has me in a totally different mindset. She's not nice, not caring, not a mother to me in any way except maybe to tell me WHAT I SHOULD DO.  :roll:

It's ok for you to be angry. That anger helped me detach from my mother. I was the same age as you when I had a big wake up call. This may be your big wake up call.



« Last Edit: February 09, 2021, 11:47:36 AM by SunnyMeadow »

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waterfalls

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2021, 12:48:50 PM »
Thank you, Andeza, Hepatica, and SunnyMeadow for your responses--I'm more grateful than you can know. Thank you for helping to clarify for me that I'm not the crazy one, that it's my mother who has issues. And she doesn't just give me the silent treatment; she gives anyone who upsets her or doesn't agree with her the silent treatment. I recall her once getting off the phone upset with her own mother and saying she won't call her for a week to punish her (I should mention that she had a hard time accepting that her mother had Alzheimer's and would treat her like a regular person, agitating her own mother even more).

I don't expect any apology from her; I don't need to have one. I don't plan to call her, because I don't know what to say and I have nothing to say. If she does call, I will try to act as if nothing happened and try to move on. I won't be surprised if she wants to hash things out, tell me how hurt she was by me, try to get an apology out of me, etc. If that happens, I think I'll just say let's leave it alone and not go there, let's just go forward. I don't know how this will go, but I'm tired and hurt by having to attend to her ego. I plan to use this incident to call once a day only and space at least several days between phone calls.

Because it's my parent, my mother, it's hard to detach my emotions. I know who and what she is, yet I accept her and love her unconditionally even though I know her love is conditional. I have to remind myself that I'm not responsible for her unhappiness or health issues (even though I've been reminded throughout my life that her back pain and multiple back surgeries were the result of her pregnancy with me). I have to take care of myself.

I use a mindfulness/meditation app each morning, and today's talk mentioned that "the opinion others have of me is none of my business." I need to keep that in mind, because I'm sure my mother is spreading the word about me to other relatives, who take her side and treat me as the problem. Over time, I'm slowly realizing and accepting that I don't have the mother and family I thought I had.

Thank you again, all of you, for your support and for sharing your experiences--you've really helped me.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2021, 12:51:16 PM by waterfalls »

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moglow

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2021, 12:54:12 PM »
I'd say that's her giving you silent treatment/punishment - she likely knows your aunt relayed her disappointment and is waiting for you to apologize and grovel. I didn't say that makes sense to me in the big picture, but it's familiar. The message has been received and you're not responding appropriately in her eyes. You get to decide what to do with this one. You can continue peacefully with the silence and/or contact her when you choose. Or not. It really is your call, and her presumed judgments (expectations) don't change that. You don't have to do as you always have just because that's the pattern.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2021, 02:27:38 PM by moglow »
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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waterfalls

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2021, 12:44:54 PM »
Thank you, moglow, for your response. You hit the nail on the head. Right now, I am continuing with peaceful silence. I have no intention to call because I have nothing to say. I don't want to return to the status quo when this eventually is over. I need to distance myself more, space out phone calls between days not hours, take better care of myself, and not care what she or any other family members think. If they think I'm the bad daughter, so be it. I'm tired of being on this roller coaster. Thank you again for your help.

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makingachange

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2021, 03:24:15 PM »
I'm so sorry you are going through this!  =) 

In my opinion, I would not apologize about this....as I feel if you do end up apologizing, it shows her that she can twist and manipulate you any way she wants, and you'll come running back.

I feel that just being quiet for now, may be best...as this shows her that you aren't going to play the game any longer. 

Try to focus on yourself for now...and try to evaluate where you are at.  Try to think about what you want, what would make you the happiest, and what is going to work for you going forward with the relationship with her.

I know it feels so uncomfortable waiting and having this awkward silence, but, I feel it could be good for you to unwind and help you to see with more clarity what you want in your relationship with your mother.

In addition to focusing on the "what you want" aspect, try to do things you enjoy doing as well, and try not dwell on what your mother is doing and how she is behaving.  I know for me sometimes I get into this ongoing loop of ...what could I have done differently? ....what's happening....? ....etc.  But, staying in this ongoing loop only pulls you down even more... <3

I hope you are feeling some better...and things are going well for you!  Hang in there!!  =)



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daughter

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2021, 10:53:04 AM »
I spent easily three decades utilizing "gray rock" approach to my malevolent NM and nNF. I was 95% obedient; 95% compliant; 95% self-effacingly tolerant of overtly disdainful parental behavior, all the while the poster-girl SG dutiful daughter, the over-achiever that would make any parent proud. Nope, not good enough.

Our dysfunctional relationships with our NMs and NFs aren't "fixable".  Mine often tacitly acknowledged their inappropriate expectations and bad behaviors by repeating their self-righteous statement of absolute dominance: "it is what it is; we won't change, so you better accept it", as if that was so simple.  I tried to, until I couldn't, wouldn't, frankly shouldn't anymore, and so I quietly, belatedly, slipped into NC territory. Eventually many of us realize we're stuck in an intolerable situation, and that our personal survival requires us to disrupt and discharge our supposed "duty" to "accept" whatever disdainful and/or malevolent force our dysfunctional parents place upon us.

Our lives are OUR lives. Our parents would unfortunately consume us, overwhelm us with their neediness and self-entitlement, with zero regard for our own well-being. That's not normal.  And it's not acceptable, no matter how intense the FOG responses from hovering relatives and enraged parents.  Best wishes to you.

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waterfalls

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2021, 04:02:28 PM »
Thank you, makingachange and daughter, for your supportive words--they have helped me a great deal. Unfortunately, we're part of a club we didn't ask or want to belong to.

makingachange, I am feeling a little better, thanks. Amazingly, I'm cherishing the peace and quiet from not calling and talking to my mother 3 times a day. I don't feel dragged down by her negativity and complaining about her health, politics, unhappiness, other people, etc. It's nice to have the time and energy to do things I enjoy (reading, yoga, knitting) rather than spend a collective average of 1 hour on the day on the phone with her. It's also nice to have more time with my husband rather than attend to my mother's draining needs and serving as her sounding board.

One thing I've seen over the past week (not that I haven't realized this before), is that my mother really drags me down. I don't want to stay in this loop anymore. I'm tired of it. I still have no intention of calling her. The only thing I've done was to send her an email yesterday with just a link to places giving the COVID vaccine near her because she's not very computer savvy (I just sent the link, no message or anything; needless to say I received no response).

daughter, I understand you and where you're coming from. I did all those things as well. I even got a Ph.D. in my 20s which turned out to be useless to me. I thought if I did that I would be a "person" in my mother's eyes (this was the '90s, and I had no idea about NPDs at that time or that my mother was one). I remember thinking that once I got my degree, I could live my own life, but I had no idea what that was. I was always under pressure from my mother and my circumstances, and I felt I couldn't talk to anyone about what I was going through because you don't talk about family to anyone, even other family members (I now understand this is a trait of NPDs, to isolate).

Emotionally and financially, I was stuck living with my mother for many years, acting more like her surrogate husband rather than her daughter; I took care of all of her errands (in exchange for living with her when I was unemployed and couldn't get a full time job) and she called me stupid so many times that I didn't even pay attention anymore.

After changing careers and moving over 2,000 miles away more than 10 years ago, things improved and I'm grateful to now have a loving and supportive husband. I've tried to be a good daughter from afar, but I'm realizing now that I will never be that. When my mother's in a good mood, she's proud of me and even has what I would call a smothering and obsessive love for me. When she's upset, then I'm a terrible daughter and she cuts herself off from me. I'm realizing this is not normal. I'm amazed to hear from my husband that on the rare occasion when he and his mother have disagreed in the past, she would never give him the silent treatment and they would quickly patch things over and move on from the disagreement. I'm also amazed how 2-3 weeks may go by between phone calls he has with his mother, and she's fine with that.

I feel I made my attempt to reach out to my mother, with the two phone call attempts last week and the email yesterday. I can't try to fix things if she's unwilling to pick up the phone or email. I'm not going to apologize when she's the one who hurt me. If she doesn't call me and this NC goes on for some time, so be it. It's on her, not on me. I have enough.

Thank you again, makingachange, daughter, and everyone for your advice and support. I'm truly grateful to all of you for your help, your sharing, and the strength you give me.

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Hepatica

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2021, 12:38:58 PM »
I'm really happy for you waterfalls, I think you've had a really helpful breakthrough. I feel like once it becomes clear, it gets clearer and clearer and things really begin to improve.
It's true what you say about your husband's relationship with his mom. I have observed this with friends who have healthy relationships with their FOO, that they might have a conflict and disagreement, but it never cuts deep, there are no blows and it gets patched up really fast. I have been doing this more and more with my own son. I used to feel really bad when he and I had an argument. Now I am sitting with those feelings and patching it up with him quickly, as if this is part of life and we still always love each other. It feels really good.

With disordered folks it doesn't gets better. And unfortunately for me, as my parents aged, they became even more disordered. I cannot work it out with them and that's very sad.
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

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Cat of the Canals

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2021, 03:56:50 PM »
When my mother's in a good mood, she's proud of me and even has what I would call a smothering and obsessive love for me. When she's upset, then I'm a terrible daughter and she cuts herself off from me. I'm realizing this is not normal. I'm amazed to hear from my husband that on the rare occasion when he and his mother have disagreed in the past, she would never give him the silent treatment and they would quickly patch things over and move on from the disagreement. I'm also amazed how 2-3 weeks may go by between phone calls he has with his mother, and she's fine with that.

You just described my mother EXACTLY, and it took me years to realize how not normal it is. What grown adult gives the silent treatment in the first place??? It's behavior you'd expect from a child.

The last time she did it, I was just really coming Out of the FOG, and my reaction was very much the same as yours. I let her have her little hissyfit and refused to play along by trying desperately to get back in her good graces like I would have in the past, even when I got a flying monkey call from my brother telling me that "now would be a good time for you to call her and smooth things over."  :roll: No thanks!

One thing that's helped me in these situations, when I start doubting and wondering if I'm being unfair: I ask myself, "Would I behave this way?" and "Would I accept this behavior from a friend or coworker?" The answer is generally a resounding NO.

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waterfalls

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Re: I guess I'm NC?? Advice, please?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2021, 07:45:00 PM »
Hepatica, you're right--I think I've really had a breakthrough this time, and I'm hoping things will get better. I can't continue the way things have been going, and I need to start thinking more about my well being and about my marriage. I'm glad that you and your son are able to have a good relationship and to patch things up quickly after arguments--that's healthy and the way things should be done. I'm very sorry, though, to hear about how things are with your parents. I have a feeling that I'm walking down your road. As my mother gets older, I see her becoming worse. Her declining health, pain, staying at home all the time (even in non-pandemic times), not having any friends, watching the news around the clock, doesn't make things any better.

Cat of the Canals, asking ourselves those questions are a good idea. It's something how we wouldn't accept the same behavior from a friend/coworker that we accept from an NPD parent. I've stayed away from people who have done far less than my mother. "Hissyfit" is a good way to describe the behavior of a narcissist sometimes. I'm sorry you've had to deal with similar with your mother. I never could understand the silent treatment; it's painful and the lack of communication accomplishes nothing (of course, the narcissist believes otherwise). Personally, I don't like being angry with anyone and I can't stay angry for very long. I like getting things out in the open and fixing things as soon as possible. I want to move on and get along with everyone. I couldn't live the way my mother lives--holding grudges, not forgiving or unforgiving people, wanting vengeance, giving people a piece of her mind, re-living bad past experiences. Very negative, destructive, and toxic.