It is difficult to deal with a narcissist when you are a grown, independent, fully functioning adult. The children of narcissists have an especially difficult burden, for they lack the knowledge, power, and resources to deal with their narcissistic parents without becoming their victims. Whether cast into the role of Scapegoat or Golden Child, the Narcissist's Child never truly receives that to which all children are entitled: a parent's unconditional love. Start by reading the 46 memories--it all began there.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Art of No Contact: Part 1

If you have a Narcissistic Mother, the idea of cutting her out of your life must have crossed your mind a time or two…or three…or three hundred. It is a tempting thought, especially after she has done something egregious or particularly maddening. Yet somehow we always back away from it and wait…but for what?

I think we all intuitively know that there will be some kind of price to pay for going NC (no contact) with our mothers. It may be so painful or frightening to face—or even contemplate—that we cringe away from examining it. Since breaking contact with a family member, especially a parent, is a decision of major import, it is probably a good thing that we don’t do it lightly or in a fit of pique. It is, however, something each of us should give serious consideration to, especially during one of the more “peaceful” periods with our NMs. That way, it can be examined and thought through in the most calm, detached and dispassionate manner we can manage.

Let me start by saying I did it all wrong (at least where my own NM was concerned) and it simply gave her more fuel for her anti-Violet fire. Because I did it wrong and suffered some really ugly, painful consequences, I gained some valuable insights into the issue and can now see what I should have done to minimize the backlash. And the very first thing I should have done was to think about it much more carefully than I did.

For all that NMs are similar, they are also each very individual. What will send yours into manipulative tears of despair would provoke mine into a towering rage, what would motivate mine to play vindictive little tricks could motivate yours to do something entirely different. And while we have absolutely no control over them (if we did, would allow them to be so awful to us??), we do control what we let them know about us. Additionally, we know them very well and can be pretty good at predicting their reactions. And that is all we need to start.

Before you take any steps, you first need to understand exactly what NC is and what it means. LC, or Low Contact, may be a better choice for you, but you won’t know until you thoroughly think through what No Contact may mean for you and your family.

The first rule of No Contact is: No Contact means NO CONTACT! This is a permanent decision on your part, one that you will have to reinforce with your NM and yourself (and possibly other family members and even friends) for the rest of your life. If you don’t think you can or want to, then you should investigate LC (Low Contact) instead.

Why does it have to be permanent? Because narcissists are little children, emotionally, and they are very devious. Like little kids they will test your boundaries (and NC is a boundary) to see if you really mean it. If you break NC, they assume you don’t really mean it, and they become more and more persistent in getting you to talk to them, to interact with them. If you deviate even once, the narcissist presumes you are not serious and redoubles her efforts to get what she wants. And while NC, to you, is a serious matter intended to protect you and your loved ones from the toxic incursions of a narcissistic parent, the N sees it very differently: she sees it as a battle of wills and she will pull out all the stops to get you to capitulate and put her back in the driver’s seat of your life.

So, just to be very clear, if you choose to go NC with your Nparent, the decision has to have permanence and you cannot make exceptions for anything because once you make one exception, the narcissist will dedicate her life to finding more things you will make an exception for until your No Contact just disappears. Once you break NC, consider it irretrievably broken because once your NM knows you will make an exception, you will be inundated with information she considers exception worthy. To work, No Contact must be all or nothing. If you aren’t prepared for that degree of permanence and inflexibility, consider Low Contact—there is nothing preventing you from going No Contact at a later date. No Contact means NO CONTACT.

So, if you still want to go NC, there are some things you need to really think about first.

The first thing to consider is what could be the worst case scenario—because it very well could come to pass. If you were to tell your NM “Do not ever contact me again, directly or indirectly. I am having nothing to do with you from this day forward,” what would her most extreme reaction be to that? Would she ignore your wishes and come pounding on your door, inundate you with mail and email and telephone calls, show up at your office and talk to your boss and co-workers? Would she turn to her family in tears and do the martyr thing, telling them how awful you are to her, what a wonderful mother she has been to you and what a hurtful, ungrateful child you are, milking the situation for all the sympathy she could get? Would she react with hostility and tell you that you had no right to do it and who the fuck do you think you are, telling her what she can and cannot do and she will teach you a lesson you will never forget, you ungrateful bitch?

You really need to sit down and, to the best of your ability, project the absolute worst scene she will stage when you tell her you are going NC with her and forbidding her to contact you or your children. Don’t put any brakes on your imagination except for your NM’s proclivities: my NM, for example, would never stage a tearful, broken-woman scene but would have been more likely to say something nasty to me like “You made your bed, now you have to sleep in it…don’t come running to me to rescue you when things get tough!” and then plot behind my back to make things tough for me. Just what would yours stoop to? How low would she actually go to force you to be in contact with her again?

And don’t think that because yours is an ignoring NM (as opposed to an engulfing one) that she will just shrug and respect your wishes. My NM was an ignoring one (I didn’t exist until she needed or wanted something from me) and she would have taken such an action on my part as an affront, as an attempt to control her, and she would have gone to great lengths to “show me” that I couldn’t do that. And being a malignant narcissist, her lengths were very, very extreme. What will your NM do when you give her the news?

Now you need to ask yourself “Can I deal with this? For how long? Am I willing to also go NC with my father and my siblings, my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, nieces and nephews, and long-term family friends? Because in many, many cases, you can’t just divorce NM, you have to walk away from everybody she knows and/or is related to as well.

Why? Because she is going to paint you blacker than sin itself, herself as your bewildered, heartbroken (and unjustly accused) victim, and then she is going to force them to take sides. In her dark, narrow, twisted little mind, if they aren’t for her, they are against her, and she will find a way to penalize them for not taking her side. Given that it is easier to fool someone than to convince them they have been fooled, don’t give a second’s thought to the notion “Yeah, but when they know the truth,(i.e., your side of the story) they will understand…” because it ain’t gonna happen—they won’t…they will side with her because they are unwilling to admit they were conned (unless they already have NM’s true number but, unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be very common). And even if they do believe you, it may still not change their allegiance because you are committing one of the major sins of our society: turning your back on your own mother. We aren’t supposed to do that because they are our mothers—and for no other reason—as if giving birth suddenly renders them sainted, no matter how toxic and horrible they are to us.

OK, your NM may take another tactic (she may rage and bully, she may play suicidal, she may decide to pre-empt you and ignore you) but you can be guaranteed she will badmouth you to the rest of the family in an effort to get them to take her side over yours, especially if you haven’t prepared them ahead of time, and she will find ways to punish those who refuse to be taken in by her cries and lies. And even if you have prepared them, you may still lose them over that “sainted mother” tripe.

So, can you take it? Can you take being shunned and ignored, withstand pleadings from other family members to make up with your mother, stalking by phone, internet, even at your home or place of employment? YOU know your mother better than anyone else…based on your knowledge of her previous behaviours and responses to provocation, how is she likely to react? And how is the rest of the family likely to react as well? And can you take it for the rest of your life?

If you have decided that you can withstand the repercussions of going NC, the next step is to figure out how to do it. You have two basic choices: 1) contact her and let her know that you wish to have no further contact with her and 2) just disappear (which can be done abruptly or in a gradual disappearing act, depending on your NM and family). There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Most of us harbour the honourable notion that it would be wrong to just disappear out of our NM’s lives, that at the very least, we should tell her we are leaving her sphere and why. Others of us, fuelled with fury and hurt, want to “tell her off” one last, final time. I suspect few of us want to leave in such a way that feels like slinking away with out tail between our legs and that most of us want to have that last, final word.

It’s not a good idea.

Oh, go ahead and write the letter—write a dozen of them or more if it makes you feel better—but don’t send them. Don’t even keep them around for someone to see and maybe report back to your NM. The very last thing you want to do is give your NM information about you…like you are feeling hurt by her actions or angry at her neglect…because the more she knows, the more ammunition she has to use against you.

How can she do that? Well, for starters, she can send your emotional missive around to family members with a letter from her that contradicts everything you say, then adds in some stuff like “how conveniently she forgets how much I sacrificed so the could have those zither lessons she wanted so badly and that she got to go to Blue Bird Camp only because I used the money I was saving for getting my nose fixed. And that expensive college she went to…how she ignores what I gave up to give her the education of her dreams…” She will brand you selfish, ungrateful, and cold-hearted to her. “And now, just because I suggested that it was time she got rid of that free-loader Josh, who is still in college after eight years, and find a man worthy of marriage, she decides to cut me off like I was nothing to her, after all I have done and sacrificed…” She won’t tell the family that Josh is “still in college” because he is working on his Ph.D. in applied physics and he works part time at the university…or that he loves you and treats you like a princess…no, she will only tell people things that support her point of view, make you look like a heartless monster, and her your poor, beleaguered victim.

She may take a more aggressive approach and make up outright lies: I worked nights in clubs as a cocktail waitress and go-go dancer (yes, it was that long ago) to support my kids and be home with them during the day: my NM’s version of this to the FOO was that I was a “drug-addicted prostitute who stays out 'til all hours, leaving those poor kids with a baby sitter every night.” The bottom line is, anything you tell her or let her know about you, your life, your feelings and your reasons, is grist for her mill. And the more you let her know, especially about how you are feeling, the more she can and will hurt you in retaliation.

If, for example, you tell her that your feelings have been hurt all your life because she preferred your sister Suzie over you, she is not going to be sorry for hurting you, she is not going to feel remorse and try to make it up to you. No, she is first going to deny that she treated Suzie any better than you, then she might say “But if I did, it was because Suzie deserved it (or you didn’t deserve it) because Suzie was obedient, trustworthy, loyal, and loving,” implying that you were none of those things. But now she knows that your feelings are hurt when she does or gives more to someone else in the family, and when she wants to punish you, she can now do it even more to punish you…or tell you about things she did for others that you don’t yet know about. I know a woman, Emily*, whose cousin was treated to a trip to Europe by Emily’s NM and Emily didn’t know about it for decades afterwards. It was only when her NM was dying that Emily found out and her NM’s excuse was “you were too busy with your children…” One can argue that the NM had every right to take anyone she wanted on the trip, but to presume Emily couldn’t go because of her children without even giving Emily a chance to accept or decline the offer of the trip was presumptuous and high-handed…and it hurt Emily. If your NM knows such things will hurt you, you can be sure she will not only do them, but that even if you are NC, you will find out about them.

Another reason to not send such a letter is that it can motivate some NMs to mount a campaign to defame you. If you tell her the truth, especially if you fill your letters with examples of ways she has hurt you over the years, she may well perceive your letter as an unwarranted attack and that she has to fight back. You can be guaranteed of two things when an N decides to “fight back”: she will not tell the truth and she will not fight fair.

Ngrandparents have been known to take their adult sons and daughters to court to get not only visitation rights, but unsupervised and even overnight visitation. Your kids have to go whether they want to or not and you have no control over what goes on in visits like that. I made the mistake of leaving my kids with my NM for a couple of weeks while I went out of town on a high-paying temp job. When I came back she had bought them practically a whole toy store full of toys, but kept them all at her house so in order to play with the fabulous toys I could not afford to buy for them, my kids had to go to my NM's house. My kids, ages 3 and 5, clamoured to go live with Grammi because she had bribed them with toys and junk food and promises of having anything they wanted and doing anything they wanted if they lived with her!

NMs have been known to call employers, to damage their adult children’s credit ratings, to interfere in their romantic relationships and friendships…and not everything they tell those employers, creditors or friends and lovers have any truth to them. She will say whatever she thinks will work to create a circumstance that will make you contact her again, whether it is to berate her for her interference or to beg her assistance because her plan to disrupt your life is bearing fruit. It is dangerous to let them know what hurts you, what angers you, what distresses you because once in their hands, the knowledge becomes a weapon they can turn against you.

You can notify your NM that you are planning to go NC with her, but if you do that, I have two pieces of advice:

1) Warn any family members with whom you hope to stay in contact. Your letter to them should have some kind of explanation (but remember that it will doubtless be shown to your NM and she will respond in her typical, invalidating fashion) and a request to please respect your decision and not act as a go-between or attempt to change your mind. A possible letter could be: “After much considering and soul-searching, I have decided to stop all contact between my mother and me. Ours has been a difficult relationship for a very long time and I am no longer willing to continue making a futile effort. I would ask that you please respect my carefully considered decision and neither try to act as a go-between, attempting to broker a reconciliation, nor be drawn into an attempt to defame my character or damage my reputation. I do not do this lightly nor without substantial reason, but for the sake of integrity, they are reasons I cannot in good conscience reveal. I will be informing my mother of my decision within the next 24 hours, but wanted you to know in advance so that you are not caught unaware if she should contact you.”

This benefits you on two fronts: you have made it clear to family members that you do not want them to try to be misguided peacemakers and, by pre-empting your NM and delivering the news first, you have set a tone for the recipients of the news, that you have given this serious consideration, you have tried your best (implying your NM has been difficult), and you are removing yourself from the fray but refuse to indulge in petty gossip. Anything your NM does or says after they receive such a message from you will only cast her in a poor light.

It is therefore very important that, under no circumstances, should you badmouth your NM, no matter how tempted you are, no matter how true your tales of woe. To do so would be very bad for you because it violates the “sainted mother” meme, and could be perceived as an unprovoked attack on your mother which will invariably elicit sympathy for your NM (“Poor Jaundice, I would be soooo embarrassed if my daughter sent out a letter to the family saying such awful things about me…”). It also opens the door for NM to attack you in her own defence. Just don’t say anything except that the relationship is not working and you are now opting out of it. This letter should en route to family members before you make your announcement to your NM.

2) Make your letter to NM as terse as possible, i.e., “From the date of this letter I will no longer be in contact with you and expect you to make no attempts to contact me by any means whatsoever, direct or indirect.”

Your other option is to just disappear from her life and say nothing about it. Move, change your phone numbers and address, get your landline unlisted. If you can change jobs, do so and don’t let anyone who knows your NM know where you went. If you have an ignoring NM like I did, you could have years of peace before she figures out you’re not communicating with her and she goes looking for you!

* Not her real name

Next: The Art of No Contact: Part 2

62 comments:

  1. This is a WONDERFUL post! When I decided to go no contact with WWW and her Flying Monkeys, I wrote a long letter to all of them explaining why. I then sent it to my darling daughter and 3 siblings I trust - DD, whose boundaries are strong, wondered why in the world I felt I needed to do this. 2 of my sibs felt the same way - that it would do no good and that I was asking for wild and crazy drama, complete with gnashing of teeth. So I decided to hold off sending it and merely removed WWW and her FM from all social media and asked the 2 boundary people to give them absolutely no information about me. (There are so many sibs that eventually I'll find out if that promise has been honored and, if necessary, keep the boundary people in the dark about my life, too.) I was worried about slinking away in the night, about not having the courage to confront them, etc. - all malarkey, really - but part of the ridiculous "honor code" that I had to live by, but they didn't. So now I'm free and they don't know why - like it matters!

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    1. Wonderful, Toto! I LOVE success stories like this! I am so glad you are free...just remember to keep her clueless. The less she knows, the safer you are!

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  2. So true, the less they know about you the better. Years before I went no contact I had stopped giving her any info about myself. Then she went into the ignoring mode and I ignored her back, and now it has turned into no contact. It's using the natural flow of what they already started. It's like calling their bluff when they ignore you, you just do the same thing back.

    Q's Sis

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    1. Yup--that is the very best way to do it...so they don't even notice you're gone. We can't all achieve that because some of us have engulfing NMs that are around all of the time, but it is so perfect if you can!

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    2. Just made me think of playing hide and seek, and you're It and just refuse to go find them. I guess I should count my blessings I didn't have an engulfing N.
      I'm glad you've posted these two Art of No Contacts, thanks!

      Q's Sis

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    3. My pleasure Q's Sis--and yours is a really good analogy there--

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    4. Violet,
      What if your NM teeter-totters between Engulfing and Ignoring behavior? Any thoughts on this one? I can (blissfully) sometimes go for several weeks without hearing from her (when she has others feeding her drama-need fix) and then there are weekends when she will leave upward of 3 or 4 phone messages per day. I'd like to just extract myself entirely from my immediate N family (Dad and sister fit the bill too, unfortunately) as I'm through with playing the Scapegoat role. Thanks, -LizLily

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    5. You are not describing a "teeter totter" situation, you are describing an ignoring N who has come to you for NSupply. Ignoring Ns do not ignore 100% of the time...you are on her hit list as a source of NSupply so she will come back to your periodically. The periods of being ignored can be short or long, but the fact is, an engulfing NM is all up in your business all of the time...yours does not sound engulfing.

      What do you do? You decide if you want to go NC or not, and if you do, you refuse to respond. Change your phone number or get caller ID. Move house. Change jobs. Refuse all contact with her and all family members who enable her. Reread this blog entry.

      And good luck...sticking with it is hard, but if you read the comments from those who succeeded, it is worth it.

      Hugs

      Violet

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    6. Hey Violet,

      how exactly can I go about this if moving is not an option for me presently?

      Many thanks,
      Dan

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  3. You're right about not giving the witch any ammo. It's too late for me, because I told her off when I left, and she loves the poor pitiful act. Now, she can explain to everyone how I was always such an awful person, even as a baby to her.

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    1. This is more common than you know, Me...I know at least three other women (plus me) who had/have NMs who resented our normal babyhood behaviours and exams. How pathetic is that, resenting a baby because she cries to be held or fed or changed??

      As long as you stay NC, you minimize her acquisition and use of ammunition. It can be a tough choice, especially at first, but the peace it brings can be amazing!

      Hugs,

      Violet

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    2. My mother used to tell me how I preferred my babysitter to her. She loves to tell the story how she picked me up one day from the sitters and I cried and cried when she got me home. My sitter was a retired nurse...so she took me to her thinking I was sick..but as soon as I was back in the arms of the sitter I stopped crying. I was around a year old or less but she always likes to tell me how that hurt her..like as a one year old I had control of the situation. The real question a "normal person" might ask which a narcissistic would never do is...why does my child prefer the sitter to me.

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    3. I did the same thing, I told them off then told them to never contact me again. I do think maybe they showed that letter to family...but I think it would bring up a lot of questions. Sure they could say I was crazy, lying, making stuff up...but not EVERYONE would think that. Some one might be suspicious of them. I left the ENTIRE family. A lot of them had N traits too so it really wasn't that big of a deal for me (the extended family...they were going to think what they were going to think and do the self-righteous judgement crap without knowing the full situation...argh). We really weren't close. I just view it as pathetic if she's going to go around blackening my name. She needs to get a damn life if that's what she's doing. Honestly I don't even know as I haven't asked. No on asked me why I don't talked to her (before I'd gone NC with extended family) so I am not 100% sure they even said anything to anyone as they are probably too paranoid about what people will think of them. I really don't know. I do worry about them slandering me but at the same time it's completely lame if they do. Who cares. What is this, elementary school? My work knows me better than they ever did so if she started trouble there they'd probably wonder WTF and call the police on her. I haven't seen them in 5 years and haven't missed them one day. Just trying to figure out all the wonderful damage they did to my brain. Thanks jerks (them). Argh. Happy day to you:-)

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  4. A friend told me about this article, thinking it would help me. It really did. Thank you so much for sharing this invaluable perspective on "No Contact"!

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    1. Thank you so much for your note. I am so glad you were able to find some help in the article--it makes the hours I spend at the keyboard all worthwhile when I know that something I have said has been of use to someone.

      Thank you again for your kind note and please feel free to join the blog.

      Hugs,

      Violet

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    2. I loved reading this as I consider NC. However, I have an engulfing mother and I am an only child. I also have three daughters who love their grandmother, so the whole idea of it is TERRIFYING. I actually blocked her once on facebook -- just to see what would happen-- and with in HOURS, she had called, emailed and left haughty messages that she couldn't get on FB to show my grandmother our pictures. She was highly anoyed by it all and very demanding that I look into and fix it. So I played it off like it was a glitch and then unblocked her. The next time I talked to her on the phone she mentioned it again, and I told her I'd had something like that happen to me also on twitter once. How weird! But she has much to say about it and many questions.....so she is not gonna be an easy one to get away from....urrrgggghhhhhhh !!!!!

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    3. Well, your test told you what you would be up against, which is actually a good thing...now you can be prepared.

      One thing I noticed in your comment that I have seen time and time again is placating behaviour. As long as you placate the narcissist, she is in control of your life. If you want to go NC, the first thing you have to learn is to stop placating--which, of course, will mean consequences as the N acts out and tries to intimidate you back into your place.

      Yours is a situation in which you be best off planning your NC carefully. An NC letter is probably not a good idea as that will immediately set her off. You can block her from your FB account, get a new phone number and new email address, even send back her mail, but expect she will contact you through her flying monkeys. At some point you will HAVE to tell her you want no contact, but with NMs like this that just provokes an OTT reaction.

      My best suggestion to you is to start setting boundaries. Give HER a consequence for violating your boundaries. Setting them is most easily done in writing (i.e., letter or email). Don't set too many at once, and have a consequence (something that SHE will find important, like no visit with the granddaughters or reducing the number of phone calls you will accept from her or no brunch on Mother's Day, that sort of thing). One of your first boundaries MUST be that she treat you with respect...no name calling, no haughty messages, etc. And the consequence could be blocking her from your Facebook for a week.

      Get used to setting and enforcing boundaries because that is really what NC is...A HUGE boundary that you must constantly police and reinforce. Better to start small and get some practice than be overwhelmed by her siege engines when you go NC!

      Best of luck to you in this!

      Hugs,

      Violet

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  5. i have an ignoring nm and have been flying under radar by gods grace til this week after 2 years she started with a uninvited visit unfortunately my kids were home ages 20,17,and 12 my 9 yr old and husband and i were out although she knows not welcome in my home she came anyway i did not engage when i found out so a week later she sent me a letter from her freind to me about how drugs and therapy can help me .at christmas she sent me a card with an article about how adult children abuse their parents. i have decided nc is for me and have decided the terse form above is perfect also appreciate the idea of letting the one family member i have contact with know fortunately for me i already learned i had to have nc with anyone in her triangle to keep my information safe any contact with her is always painful

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    1. My NM was also an ignoring one. I learned the hard way that, after ignoring me for years, a sudden uptick in her interest in me was a bad sign.

      Don't be surprised if she wants something from you and that is why the sudden interest. It could be something innocuous (but annoying) like Nsupply, but it could also be something more sinister. Do not underestimate the depths of evil to which these women will stoop to get what they want: my NM wanted my children so she could give them to her brother to adopt!! (He could not get kids any other way as he and his wife failed the adoption homestudy in their state.)

      In your situation I would probably consult an attorney about your rights and when you can define her unwanted contact as harassment. You might also consider having that letter sent by an attorney, warning her that further contact will result in legal action. Even my NM (who was creepily persistent) would have been backed off by that.

      Best of luck. I know how hard this is, but nobody is going to protect yourself any better than you do. Pain is a warning from our bodies, our psyches, that something is wrong and needs to be taken care of. If contact with your mother brings you pain and she will not change her behaviour to reduce that pain, then you are wholly justified in cutting ties with her. No one who is concerned for your well-being would expect you to repeatedly hold your hand to a hot stove, getting burned each time: anyone who expects you to keep in contact with a mother who inevitably hurts you does not have your best interests at heart: you do not need people like that in your life.

      Best of luck to you.

      Hugs,

      Violet

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  6. so good to know i am not alone after 43 years of feeling noone else understood its just hard to explain the experience to normal people who all wonder why your mother would lie i finally know what a nm is and why i took all i did for 43 years funny thing is i ended up on my own with lc and the ignoring nm played her part perfectly til now but i am strong enough now and detached enough now to go nc without any looking back!im healing and so is my marriage and my kids

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    1. I am glad to see that you and your family are healing. Just don't fall into the trap of guilt--do not doubt that your NM will play the guilt card if she thinks it will manipulate you. You are entirely justified in turning you back on a person who hurts you for her own personal gratification...it is not something you need to feel guilty about, so don't. The old adage "she made her bed now she must lie in it" holds true here...she created the animosity between you with selfish and self-serving behaviour, that is the seed she sowed, she must now live with the crop she reaps: your lack of interest in her.

      Best of luck in your future

      Hugs,

      Violet

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  7. I have gone NC with my N family for about 6 years. Not that they would have noticed. Not only was my mother the ignoring type but so were my siblings. They all contacted each other, did things with each other, even to the point of flying from one end of the country to the other to spend time together. But when I wanted them to come to my wedding they all mysteriously had other things to do. Just couldn't make it. Strange how I expected them to say that and even gave them a free pass. Of course thats fine, I don't know why I even bothered to send the invitations, but I just wanted you to know that I would have liked you to be there.....that sort of thing. They none of them bothered to even ring on my wedding day, not my parents or siblings. Just sent me cards and the odd wedding gift.

    So, not talking to them is really just the natural extension of life in my family anyway. Apparently I am supposed to be OK with being a non-person, or perhaps they thought I didn't care. Except that I used to send letters, ring, try and talk to them or get them to spend time with me. In the end I gave up. I wanted to see how long it would take for one of them to contact me. It took 2 years, and in those days, we were living in close proximity to one another.

    My last attempt to get my mother to spend time with my family was the christmas after my father died. She declared to me that she was having my brother and sister over for christmas, but not me because that would be too much work and she was going to think of herself for once (bwahahahahah!!!!).

    Two weeks later she rings me all excited because she is going to fly half way around the country to go visit my other sister who 'didn't get the opportunity to spend christmas with me". She rings me to tell me this and still doesn't ask me if I would like to spend time with her. I just lost it. Her response? "Youre' just jealous". She knew damn well what she was doing, and delighted in the fact that I was upset about it. What are you supposed to do with an adult who acts like a six year old? Nothing you do works, reasoning, boundaries, persuasive argument, ignoring them?

    No contact is important because it isn't a strategy, its simply an acknowledgement that the relationship doesn't exist, and that engaging with your narcissist for any reason is simply giving her another opportunity to try and hurt you. Since you have a conscience and deeply hurt feelings, you WILL be hurt again, and in the end you simply have to abandon all hope and just accept that she is like a terminator. She will keep trying to emotionally 'kill' you until you are dead (literally). Who really has the capacity to continually offer themselves up as a sacrificial lamb to a lunatic? It is the ultimate in insanity.

    According to a letter purporting to be from my siblings (but I am pretty sure was from her) she now has Alzheimers. I say, how the hell is anyone supposed to know the difference between her normal malignant behaviour in which she continually forgets who you are and anything she said in the past with a neurological disorder which has those exact same symptoms. There is no difference. Except now she can use the doctors and nurses who care for her as more N supply. Goody for her. She is not poor, and has a lot of money to look after herself. She can sell her house to pay for treatment if necessary, and she never had a mortgage so she will always be OK. I don't have to look after her, and in fact neither do my siblings, but they probably will because they are so enmeshed.

    I shan't be contacting her even if she actually is ill, nor will I attend her funeral. As far as I am concerned, she died years ago.

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    1. I didn't attend my NM's memorial service...there was nothing about her I wanted to remember.

      I can relate very much to your feeling invisible...my childhood was much the same. My NM once told me that the biggest shock she got in becoming a mother was that nobody ever told her that you just couldn't put the baby away when you were tired of it, like putting a doll back in the toy box! And that was pretty much how I grew up: present when she wanted me for something (like to wash the dishes), but woe betide me if I needed some attention outside of that which she was willing (and in the mood) to give! I spent most of my childhood both out of her sight and out of her mind.

      What can you do? Be who you are. See a therapist if you need some help figuring that out. Acknowledge that she isn't going to change (at least not for the better) and use that knowledge to help you set the boundaries for your own life. Create your own life, walk your own path, and never look back. They don't deserve you.

      Hugs,

      Violet

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    2. My mother is just like yours. I have been NC for 7 years now. Decided that I would cut ties after guests from my wedding were telling me that they can't believe the things my mother was telling them about me. She has moved on to tormenting and spreading untrue stories about my brother's (Golden Child)fiancé since she knows nothing of my life anymore. I too have wrestled with the idea of whether I would go to her funeral...Ironically, she refused to attend her mother's funeral when she passed away. She has family members around her (a lot of sisters) but they secretly just talk trash about her. I guess they have also had passed experience with her behavior, but they really pity her instead of enjoy her company. So in my case it is a situation where others feel I don't have enough pity for her.

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  8. Hi, I am the daughter-in-law of someone I strongly suspect is a narcissist. After a nine year feud with her other son's wife, they have made up (they cut off contact with her and after 6 months went back to contact with her under new un-spoken rules, and strangely she suddenly thinks she has "turned her around" [my sister-in-law] as they are completely fake with her and keep her at arms length but kiss her ass when she's around and it seems to work). So suddenly, after 7 years she had no victim to play with so turned to me. Fortunately we live in a different country but she basically told my husband to divorce me (after I married into her religion to give her the wedding she wanted/learned her language so we could communicate and generally being, I thought, a good DIL!). Luckily, having seen this all play out before with his brother and his wife, we are wise and have the benefit of distance to deal with, but my husband is only just dealing with the realisation she'll never change and experimenting with less contact/no contact, then relenting, then regretting it and pulling away again. I think he is considering cutting off but not ready yet and finding it really difficult emotionally, obviously. My question is, do you have any advice for someone who is not the child of a NM but the wife of one and especially where the negativity is aimed at ME rather than him (he was the golden child previously to this so it has come as an extra shock) which puts me in a difficult position (wanting to avoid her at all costs but experiencing extreme guilt at being the "cause" of him losing his parents if he ends up cutting them off). I want to support him whatever he chooses and will still try with her if he needs to have his parents in his life but how can I best support him whatever? Thanks.

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    1. There is a lot of good advice on the web these days...I would suggest you do some research on No Contact, Low Contact, and setting boundaries. I would start by reading and printing out the entries on this blog on those topics, then giving them to your husband to read.

      You are not the cause of any rift between your husband and his family, your MIL is. Narcissists must have a scapegoat, someone to blame things on. This time around, she has singled YOU out for the role since something happened to not allow her to use her other DIL for it.

      An educated guess tells me that your BIL went No Contact with his mother because of the way she treated his wife. He put his foot down and told his NM that she had to be nice to his wife and treat her respectfully or she would be cut our of their lives forever. Then he went NC with her until she complied. YOUR husband could do the same, and then she will have to look elsewhere for a scapegoat.

      You have a history of placating her (changing religion, learning her language, etc) rather than demanding she meet you half way, so it could be a tough job to turn her around. SHE is putting your husband in the position of choosing between his wife and his mother. I don't know of you are of a Judeo-Christian faith or not, but their bible says that when a man marries, he should leave his parents and cleave only to his wife: if your husband is having trouble choosing between you and his mother---and he needs to be clear that it is his MOTHER forcing this choice on him, not you---then you might want to look up that bit of scripture and hand it to him. His choice should be you...and if it is not, you might want to be grateful to know this sooner rather than later because a man tied to his mother's apron strings will never be a good husband, can never sustain a happy marriage.

      Hugs and good luck

      Violet

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  9. I wish there was more info on this 20 years ago. Going nc was a decision made for me and no one would listen. I didn't even know for sure what "narcissist" meant for sure (all about self-love when in fact there was only pure hatred). So much time and effort spent enduring while educating myself. First thought nm had split personality. Then slowly realized the full impact and damage. So glad there is so much more info available today. Thanks for posting.

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  10. Very helpful article - but my situation has a twist making my decision particularly hard. I have a mentally ill mom and a weak enabling father who utilized me starting in childhood as a third adult/ confidant/ counselor etc. My earliest memory is being 4 years old and my dad having ME handle my mom's suicide attempt. It's all an ugly ball of pain and confusion and under ordinary circumstances ties would be cut with a quick snip. However, 3 years ago my mom suffered a stroke that has her wheelchair bound and shows signs of vascular dementia. My dad is almost 80, with heart issues. Their lives are truly pathetic now and they remain in horrible shape because they have chosen a younger friend as a caretaker ( who is also mentally ill and often emotionally abusive towards them ) and given him control of their lives to the exclusion of anyone else. They will throw me and my brother under the bus to protect this man. So although on paper I can say they are living the life they chose, refusing alternatives, and have made this man more of a son to them than I am a daughter , I also see two old, sick people and I feel cruel. It seems like just when I realized, through talks with my physician, other relatives and a counselor, that my relationship with my parents has been detrimental to me ( PTSD, anxiety issues, inflammatory issues etc.) they get the last laugh by being too pathetic to reject. It's been a month since I blew up at them on the phone with no connection since . Two weeks since I asked my brother via email where things stood independent of the situation with my parents. Also no answer. My dad's 80th birthday is on Thanksgiving. I can now have the guilt of double abandonment in one day! How do you handle it when the toxicity continues and even grows, but your parents are in vulnerable positions due to health, finances, age, etc? I don't think that should give them a free pass but it does compound my feelings of guilt and entrapment. There is never middle ground with them and so the option of partial contact seems as impossible as being a little dead or partly pregnant. Not at all possible. At 50 years of age, with a son of my own, I want and need my life. I have been told by professionals that viewed through what we now understand about parenting, what my parents did to me growing up would be considered abuse and I should have been removed from the home and placed in foster care. So I do know my view on my childhood and forward is not just my subjective opinion.



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    1. Some people really want to fix a situation like this, others just want a place to complain about it but don't want to take any action. I am not sure which is your position.

      If you want to fix it, then you have to DO something. If you feel you want to protect your parents (or your inheritance, if any) then you engage an attorney and have them declared incompetent to manage their own affairs (from what you say, you have plenty evidence of that) and then the court will appoint a guardian for them and their money. That person (who could be you) could then put them in a care facility and appropriately manage their assets (which I suspect this other care taking person may be plundering).

      If you truly want to fix this, you will also seek out a competent therapist who has expertise in helping adults who grew up in an abusive home, and you will participate in the therapeutic process (some people go to therapy with the attitude that they can just sit there while the therapist fixes them; others go and sabotage the therapy because they don't want to give up their victimhood as it defines them).

      What happened to you is wrong...but I don't need to tell you that: all of us who were abused or neglected in childhood already know that. But the people who abused you aren't going to go back and fix it...you have to do that. It is unfair, I know, and it is painful, but you have only two choices here: take action and change things or do nothing but complain and contemplate your sad situation and allow the status to remain quo. Only you can make the choice, only you can take the action.

      I sincerely hope you do since nobody has to go through life in an unhappy state.

      Hugs and best wishes

      Violet

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  11. I’m not sure at what stage I am at in recovery, but I know I could really do with someone who understands what I’m going through.

    I am 32, and have recently realised, my mother is a narcissist, and my father enables her to do this.

    I never ever realised why I felt so lonely and invisible as a child. Never knew why I pulled out my hair, had an eating disorder, self harmed and trying to commit suicide at the age of 15. Why I wrote in my diary every day, ‘one day I will leave. I can’t wait to leave’.

    My mothers hurtful comments were always subtle. In front of others she would be nice. It was very confusing. Any time I brought up anything, she would deny ever saying it. I was the crazy one. I was the one with problems.

    She never helped when I was ill. When I cut my arm and had to go to A&E she was angry. Angry that my father had to drive me there, and he was too tired from working all day. No sympathy at all.

    Never asked me why I was unhappy. She passed this off as not knowing what to do. She came off as the victim.

    I left at 16. One of my brothers left at 14. I never knew why until recently. My other brother left at 18. They both did awful things. Fighting, drinking, stealing. Looking at them today, you’d never know.

    I passed my 11 plus, but went to the local school, as I would have ‘struggled’ at the grammar school, as I ‘only just passed’ according to my mother.

    Life was so bad at home, but not for any outsiders looking in. I tried to go to college, but I had a bedsit and 2 jobs. Something had to give.

    I ended up meeting a man, who I now know was a narcissist. Exactly like my mother. On and off for 5 years. He was abusive. It was hell. And I called my mother almost every day. She never said I should leave. Never once said I was too good for him. She heard it all going on in the background. Heard his rage. Never ever helped. Almost enjoyed the conversations when I look back. I had a son, and everything changed. The love I felt for my baby, was insurmountable. I loved this little baby unconditionally, with all my heart, and I was not going to ever let my son be hurt by anyone. It took a while to leave, but eventually I did.

    I had to go back to my parents. For 3 years I endured a new kind of hell. Being undermined as a mother myself. Controlled, sarcastic comments, felt like a child again. I set up my own business. I worked my backside off. I saved a deposit and started looking for a house. All I got was ‘you won’t survive on your own’. Laughing at me.

    Then. My life changed. I met someone. Someone who turned everything around. I’d just bought my house (all on my own!), and was a few months off moving in. So I began dating, and they made my life pure hell. Silent treatment, calling me to interuppt dates, calling me ugly, telling me I’d just gone for the first man who came along, calling me a bad mother for wanting to date, it was awful. It made me want to move earlier! So I did.

    6 years on, we are still together and very strong. We have another child, and we are SO amazingly happy. In fact, he has helped me to understand, that my mother is a narcissist, because his mother was also one.

    I still could not work out why I dreaded her visits. Why she said nasty things, but covered them by saying she was just joking.

    The thing that made me realise, was my son. She was so manipulative with him. She painted me out to be bad, in the hope that she could take him away from me. Luckily, we have such a close relationship. He has been my rock throughout all of this (he’s 11 now).

    I started looking for answers, and came up with these sites. Looking at her traits, she definitely has NPD. Everything started to become clear. My childhood, my relationships, everything. The relief was immense.

    But then came the grief. I felt like someone had died. Felt and realised I had never had a loving mother. The horror that she didn’t help me in my abusive relationship; even enjoyed it. Yet to others would say ‘what more could she have done?’

    To be continued.......

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  12. Then I felt like the last 32 years had been wasted. That I could have been so much more had I been loved.

    But guess what? I am so lucky. I have the man of my dreams, 2 beautiful children, and a successful business built from scratch. I started to face facts, I needed to go NC because she was poisoning my children now, in the same way she had poisoned all of us.

    Now my eldest brother is the golden child. My other brother, my mother does not like at all. Told me all the time.

    Finally had a big row with her couple of months ago. I was calm, she went crazy. Decided to set up a meeting to talk to my dad. See if there was a way to sort this all out. But turns out he is the enabling kind, and he defended everything. Denied most things, didn’t accept others. No apologies.

    From the meeting, she called me a liar, said I was making everything up, and had been to both my brothers making up lies about me. Dragging up my past, and saying I’ve always had ‘problems’.

    Think I’ve lost my brothers.

    But what can I do? Lose an entire lifetime being poisoned by her? No. This has to stop now.

    I wrote a letter saying I don’t want contact, and stated factual reasons why, not emotional at all, or nasty. Reply was crazed. Calling me a liar, saying I needed help, why was I doing this to the family? And also, that my father was rushed to A&E because of his heart with the stress.

    My only concern now is that she threatened to let my ex know where we live. He does not know, and he hasn’t known for years. This is my only fear. But I can’t let her blackmail me?!

    Sorry this has taken so long to read. There’s so much more I could write!! So many things she has done. Having these sites though have REALLY helped me understand why though. And actually, I don’t hate her. It’s just really very sad though that there are mothers like this. It is good to know, I am not alone though.

    Thank you for putting this site together. It’s really helped

    All the best to everyone going through similar times. Life is too short to live life in fear, and no one has the right to hurt you ;o)

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  13. Thank you for this site. Im finding you after a year of pure hell. I have gone NC after my N mother and golden child sister tried to steal my children with the help of our local child protective services. After someone told my NM the government would pay her 600 a month per child if she were to gain custody by prooving me unfit...this became their new job...finding "evidence" against me. They manufactured lots of evidence accusing me and hubby of abuse/molestation/drug abuse...they even had family members helping..my aunt "well..one time she was acting funny, i think it was drugs". They were so good with their act cps bought it. I was in denial..hubby an enabler. I was evaluated for numerous disorders. The therapist after hours of talking said "My god you are the only one thinking rationally!" She was scared for me! I was taken to court by cps based on gossip. The case was dismissed for lack of evidence and after 2 months cps finally started catching NM in lies....they apologized to me and basically blacklisted NM and GC from making any further allegations. I got a restraining order from NM and left state. If they find me again I will leave country. I have a lawsuit against cps which Im not sure if I should pursue...the lawyer wants to but it would mean being forced to see NM again. Im scared to death everyday that she will find me...damage property...kidnap my children. She even tried to get us aressted for crimes I am positive she commited. She has turned my entire family against me. I have "problems"...she is worried and only wants to "help". Sometimes you just have to run and never look back! The only good thing that came out of this is now I have experts on my side...before I stood alone looking crazy. Her favorite thing to tell people is that I am a drug addict...she called my boss and got me fired from my job in healthcare..."she is a huge drug addict who writes her own scripts and steals". These are the lies I have been dealing with. Guess what, your NM will tell people these things and they will NEVER bother asking you if they are true. there is so much more but my question is...how do we stay hidden and how long will it take to ease this fear that someone is out to get me? Im traumatized but moving on. Thank you for all on here who have the insight to know what an NM can do and the importance of privacy. At least at the moment its a federal crime if she follows me here im just scared about life after a restraining order expiring ;(

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    1. Your story sounds a lot like mine except I didn't get a happy ending: the court and CPS believed my NM's lies (along with the testimony of my uncle, who swore my house was unfit even though he hadn't seen me since I was 17 and living with NM), whereupon she got custody of my kids and fled the state with them. She hid out for a year, then went to court and had them declared abandoned by me because I hadn't contacted them for a year...she didn't bother to tell the court I didn't know where they were for that year. The court terminated my parental rights and gave her a permanent guardianship. She then fled to a third state and gave them up for adoption--to her other brother and his narcissistic wife: they were childless and had been rejected by their state as suitable adoptive parents. But those rules don't apply for adoption of blood relatives, so they got my kids. Throughout this all, I had no idea where my children were, if they were dead or alive, and nobody in my family seemed to care how I felt. They got angry with me when I made inquiries, hoping somebody would break the wall of silence. It took eight years for me to learn the truth and for eight years all I knew was I came to my mother's house to see my son for his 4th birthday and found the house empty and a "for sale" sign in the front yard.

      My experience proves you are right to be vigilant. Moving to another state is a good idea, but you probably can't get a restraining order on her if she is not in your same state. If she does things across state lines, however, it could be considered a federal offense. It might be a good idea to locate an attorney in your area who is admitted to the Federal Bar, someone licensed to practice law in the Federal Courts. Find him well before you need him so if she shows up, you are prepared. Such an attorney should know what your legal options are.

      I don't think I need to tell you that you must make sure she does not know where you are. That means not using your real name on ANYTHING that could show up on the internet because in this case, Google is not your friend. Don't join Linked-In and check on Spokeo to see if you are listed: they will remove personal data from your listing on request. She may still be able to find you using a private detective, however, so you MUST have a plan in place before it becomes necessary. She blindsided you once...don't give her that opportunity again.

      While she may have started this crap up with wanting the money she could get for having your kids, believe me, it is well beyond that now. You prevailed against her...you exposed her as a liar to the CPS and courts...now she may be out for revenge, her original reason long forgotten. If she is anything like my NM was, she will be out to prove you wrong and herself right, and now the only way she can do that is to win---to get those kids away from you, preferably by getting a court order in her favour but if that is not possible, then she will "rescue" the kids from you...and she will explain away the court hearing that went against her. When I was around 13 my NM tried to have the juvenile court declare me "incorrigible" and sent to reform school. I was not allowed into the courtroom during the hearing. The judge declined my NM's petition and sent me home--NM explained it away by telling everyone that I "charmed the judge." Right--nice trick, considering I never even say the guy! Expect your NM to explain away her loss in court in a similar manner...when she took me to court to get my kids, my NM told everyone I was a drug-addicted prostitute, so don't be surprised at the depths she might sink to in explaining away how you won the court case...

      Continued below

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    2. Make sure your kids are safe when you are not with them: leave orders with both the school administration and with their individual teachers that NOBODY is to pick them up without your express consent...written permission confirmed with a phone call from you. Set up a code word with your kids and tell them they are not to go with ANYONE, including family members, who does not give them the code word.

      And finally, get to a therapist. This is a horrible trauma and it is the kind that keeps on giving. Even though you are physically distant from your NM, you are still in a battle-ready mindset and have to be in order to protect your kids. That is stressful on many levels...you need to see a therapist regularly to work on the anxiety this causes so it doesn't get out of hand and cause paranoia and undue fear. You CAN live a relatively normal life in your situation, but the constant fear of being found and the kids spirited away can make you crazy: I know this because after my mother took off with my kids, I had another child. I told no one in the family about him because I was afraid NM would come and snatch him away too. I lived in fear of being found and losing him and it took a toll not only on me, but on him because I was parenting him as much out of fear as out of love. I did eventually go into therapy, but would have been MUCH better off (for me and for my son) if I had done it years earlier.

      This is hard...you have an NM at the extreme end of the spectrum, like I did. Most NMs are not so extreme, but they DO exist. Don't tell your story to your friends...most of them will not believe you because they buy into the sainted mother myth---where there is smoke, there must be fire. Why would a mother do that to her own daughter unless there was a good reason ($600 per month per kid isn't that good of a reason)? Sadly, my own daughter took this attitude, siding with the grandmother who stole her and then gave her away, over me. Don't tell your kids until they are older...and then have all of the documentation to prove to them what you are saying is the truth. Do this before they start looking for their absent family members because you will then have to deal with "confirmation bias"--whoever tells their story first, subsequent stories will be measured against it. If they know your side of the events first, they will be suspicious of contrary information coming from others. But if they hear the other side of the story first, as my kids did for eight years, then they will be suspicious of YOUR information. People would rather believe a lie than believe they were fooled, it is human nature.

      Best of luck to you on this and I hope you find a good, compassionate therapist and stay safe.

      Hugs to you

      Violet

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    3. CPS gave her my new born baby for two months! The whole time my NM was playing the "oh why is this happening role" little did I know until later it all happened because of her! CPS said I might "get irritated and shake" my baby! Thought crimes?!? I fought soooo hard. I let all of thesse people into my home/life. I took random drug tests for 2 months, never failed one. Now I have all these people as witnesses of what just happened. They said "sorry we kind of jumped the gun". During this time NM was telling anyone and everyone, including friends and clients about how Im an unfit parent and all of my children were taken away from me...they left the older boys in my care. At the hearing for restraining order...I tried to kill myself at age of 15 she brought this up and told the judge I was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder! Yes lol! The judge seen through the act NM said "your honor I want her medical records!" he said "well then you should have requested them yourself before court, I am not an investigator I am a judge". She totally looked insane but it helped that my witnesses were all from cps and CASA! Today these people like me and want to help! And you are correct she is busy telling everyone I lied to the judge and the judge was unfair and wouldnt listen to her. Its not about 600 dollars anymore, its about revenge, proving all her lies are still true, comming out looking good. I told her she will never be given this opportunity again then she started making false police reports saying I stole 87,000.00 from her....the woman is poor! Its true the older they get the worse they are. I think I might write a book because my whole life is one drama after the next when she is in it. This experience was just the icing on the cake! It has made me strong, courageous, compassionate, empathic, and despite fear I will always continue appreciating and loving people. This awful life was a building block to something and now its up to me how to proceed. Will I let this define who I am? Maybe a couple seconds a day but I will get out of this "funk". Thanks for talking/sharing it helps so much to have someone "get it". I left even friends behind...everyone family, friends, anyone I cared about because they are now more flying monkeys...and Im glad I learned that before its too late. I have been struggling on how to tell the children and what to tell them when they ask for grandma or GC (not often thank god). so far Ive been silent but Im wondering when to have the grandma and auntie tried to steal you convo...and you are right about not talking to friends about this. I have learned I really dont have any left!

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    4. I didnt mean to ignore something you said, I had a toddler crawling on me ;). I'm so sorry about your children. If cps and the court continued believing them I would have been in your shoes...I was for a few months and the agony was indescribable. Nothing in the world can heal the pain of not only having your children taken but unjustly taken. I wouldnt wish this experience on my worst enemy. My heart goes out to you, you are very strong that you didnt just lay down and die and you are here helping others. Thank you, But I do know you were unexpectedly programed to be strong ;)

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    5. thank you all... just knowing I'm not the only one calms my restless constant wondering. These posts truly helped me make sense of my past and what's yet to come and has armored me with the protection and enormous amount of strength to finally clip my own wings to stay put instead of flying back into her trap. I will always love her but it's tarnishing my soul and I've drastically made improvements moving forward in such a positive drama free way that I couldn't bare slipping back onto her shelf of little play things. Realizing only now her approval nor her respect will ever be granted and who would allow someone, even their own mother to constantly manipulate and down grade their existence? I used to beg for her love jumping through her hoops only to fall face down. Now she only gets my pity. it saddens me to see her in this new light. Maybe I will always struggle with if this makes me a bad person or not but each time my own thoughts consume me I will just have to remember my happiness is more important than hers. So THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR ALL YOUR ADVICE AND OPINIONS! It's as if a weights been lifted though this is only the beginning of a very tough battle I feel ready for what's next even though both sides of my family will be gone even extended family. She's gone so far as to come between mere accuantences that are listed as social media friends. I've gotten through the worst of it which was shutting everything and everyone out as to give her no outlets to meddle or disrupt my own self healing so in an almost literal sense this has saved my life... Hearing the common variety of the true nature of our all similar situations gave me the tools to finally navigate to the root of the problem. ITS BEEN PAINFUL AND LONELY BUT I AM READY TO HAVE A LIFE FILLED WITH LOVE AND HAPPINESS. Sometimes the hardest least likely choice is the right way to reach your healthiest happiest most productive and peaceful self.

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  14. Thank you so much for your blog Violet, reading stories and comments like the ones contained here are of great comfort to my wife who has been NC for about a year now (but LC for quite a number of years). Amazingly, her (our) NC began 'accidentally' when text messages of abuse were received that just left no reasonable way to reply. Dispute = In Denial. Get Angry = Horrible Person. Try To Reason = Arrogance. Etc, etc. Basically it was folly to engage on ANY level with someone who is not rational, so NC was the only solution left.

    I think the hardest part is the doubt and the second guessing, though this is getting easier with time. I've noticed my wife slowly becoming a calmer, more positive and definitely less suspicious person, which is fantastic. Feeling better about life in general becomes all the confirmation my wife needs to maintain the NC. You can't argue with happiness!

    Cutting out her entire family was also hard, but necessary, as slowly but surely all the siblings have been turned against her and abusive messages are received on all fronts. I particularly like how the nieces and nephews are used as emotional leverage! Hopefully as time goes on the frequency of these messages will subside.

    It took me a long time to recognize, accept and properly deal with the fact that my wife's mother has NPD and that NC was even an option - let alone the best course of action! My worst (best?) trait is always thinking the best of people, not overly helpful in this situation. But the culmination of events over the past decade, let alone the events I have been told of her childhood, have left no doubt in my mind that NC is the only solution available to deal with a mother so overwhelmingly dysfunctional and damaging to my wife's state of mind.

    Over the years, my wife has been branded as toxic, suffering from a mental disorder, lacking in empathy, hateful, spiteful, selfish, etc, etc. I have been accused of encouraging negative behavior, keeping my wife from her family and her doctor, and encouraging her to cut out her family for my own selfish reasons. Delightful stuff you'll agree, but barely scratching the surface of all the horrible events and behaviors that have occurred over the years.

    Frankly, it is amazing to me that my wife is still here today, as combinations of abuse, illness, personal circumstance and complete lack of support would have meant taking her life would have been the easiest option (and was considered). Thankfully those days are behind her, and we both have a bright future ahead of us. My wife is a strong and courageous person who deserves so much better from her family, but does not NEED them anymore.

    Thank you again for the blog, and keep up the good work!

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  15. Thank you for this post. I have recently gone no contact with my ignoring Nmother and Ngrandmother. No family member except for me has moved from my home town in four generations (and tried to sneakily sabotage my move away six years ago I might add), so all my aunts, uncles, cousins and niece are heavily locked into the dysfunctional family roles handed to them. Both my Ns are the martyr type, with occasional rage outbursts when their little N supply circle is largely threatened. Keeping secrets, feeling guilt about needing help and ignoring issues in general is standard behaviour.

    I was allocated the golden child role growing up and was made to feel special by my grandparents in particular. I wasn't given gifts or anything, still largely ignored, it was more the 'you can do so much better because you are special' sort of crap. So I never felt good enough and my cousins and siblings grew very jealous and over time became quite nasty and sometimes violent to me in adult life. My accomplishments to get their approval were ignored, but then used to make my cousins and siblings feel like shit. I was the golden child for the generations above me, but to my generation I was the scapegoat. This worked perfectly for a while because my cousins and siblings carried out my mothers and grandmothers abuse for them. I grew to become a perfectionist so I could try and feel self worth, and suffered intense anxiety trying to be the 'poster girl' for the family.

    When I was accepted into university I was put down and told that I couldn't afford to go, that my chosen course was ridiculous, and that I would receive no financial help - so I had better forget it. I studied anyway and worked my guts out to get through. When I graduated I was the glorified 'poster girl' for the family, the family accomplishment to brag about to strangers. In the presence of the family however I was bullied about other made up faults in my life. I wasn't allowed to cook in the kitchen because of course an academic must be terrible at domestic skills and chores. Every time I went back home for Christmas etc. I was placed in this box where I was simultaneously ignored, glorified by my grandparents in front of my cousins and siblings, who in turn hated me, and then punished me and my self-worth the whole time I was there in order to "bring me back to earth". The real me was never allowed to exist.

    There is a lot more to this story, as all stories involving Ns are because of all the subtleties involved in the abuse. However the point is I have been through a real path to self discovery the past two years and I have woken up to the dysfunction and roles the family play to satisfy my grandmothers and mothers N supply (and their own bitterness a lot of the time). I tried to communicate with them at first, help break the habits, but of course this fell on deaf ears I was 'too sensitive' or a 'know it all'. Or the information was warped my cousins so I would be made to look bad in the older generation.

    More recently I have realised that no one is happy in that family because they aren't allowed to be their authentic selves. I have been struggling trying to find mine my whole life, because I denied it. In the end I had to make a choice, authentic self or dysfunctional family role. It was a no brainer. I'm only a month no contact, but I feel clearer already. If there are any chat rooms or places I could talk to others about this nearby I would be very grateful knowing about them.

    Thanks for reading

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    1. I have heard that Out of the Fog ( http://outofthefog.net/index.html ) has a forum. I have never participated in it, so I can neither recommend it nor warn against it. Also, if you go to FaceBook and put in "Narcissistic Parents" or "Children of Narcissists" or just "Narcissist" you should come up with a list of groups that are relevant.

      It sounds like your awareness is solid and your resolve strong. Getting support on the internet is helpful, but nothing substitutes for the support of a trained professional...a therapist who has some experience or training in helping people who came from abusive childhoods. Please look for someone to support you real-time and in real life. Your progress will move along much quicker with this kind of help...I've experienced it and it really does help.

      Best of luck to you and congrats on your first month NC!

      Hugs,

      Violet

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    2. Thanks for your reply Violet. I have been seeing a psychologist for two years now, but maybe I need someone with more experience with NPD. It was my psych who opened my eyes to the possibility of my N mother having NPD (I just thought she was sensitive and precious up until then). However she has largely tried to improve the way I communicate with my family and sees no contact as a last resort option. Whilst she has been great in helping me learn self-care (which I was never shown or taught to do growing up), I think my needs have moved past her expertise.

      I do feel that my eyes are now open and I am aware about NPD and how it has played out in my family’s dynamics. I have always known something was wrong, but was always too anxious, angry or distracted to really see what was going on. I had anxiety my whole life (and never knew why, now I know why) and had largely ignored it. Two years ago I started seeing my psych because it had reached a terrible point. As the golden child I had to become a perfectionist and it was expected of me to excel far beyond anyone else in my family in terms of education. My high achievements were never enough to satisfy my N mother or N grandmother however. As my identity was only ever an extension of theirs, I never felt good enough, so I crammed more and more onto my plate. By the end of my master’s degree I had developed an eating disorder and was only eating once every three days or so. I was also addicted to drugs that helped block out my anxiety and the truth about my mother’s lack empathy. I had called my N mother a few times and asked for help. She would tell me the old story of how I was the special ‘independent one’ who has always made it though alright (taking away any responsibility she had to emotionally support me as a mother). She would go on to say that my sister was the ‘sensitive one’ who always needed her help (scapegoat) and that my brother was the one who was always just content and quiet in the corner (lost child).

      I ended up kicking all drugs, alcohol and anxiety to the curb in January 2011, cold turkey, with no family support at all. . In fact they all pretended like I never had any issues, refusing I even mention it. It was better that way because it meant I took responsibility for my part in all my issues and was able to separate out the abuse from my mistakes.

      I am so grateful my partner’s family though, who did show me what real love and support is. Since I have experienced real familial love I have been smacked in the face with the reality of the abuse I have endured from my N mother, N grandmother and all the flying monkeys. At first I tried to communicate with my family to repair the relationships, but that didn’t work. However I am dedicated to living a life of self-care and respect toward others and I reached a point where I couldn’t continue to do that whilst still having these toxic family and NPD sufferers in my life.

      Since I have gone no contact my N mother and N grandmother has not contacted me at all. That’s typical and fine by me. Recently my sister and brother acted as ‘flying monkeys’ for my N mother and both tried to start drama with me when I wouldn’t cave in. It is unfortunate but expected. It’s funny how far the narcissist can extend her N supply sucking arms via her flying monkeys!!

      I’ll stop hijacking your thread now Violet, but thanks again for letting me share, I have needed it!

      Delete
  16. Hello Violet, hello fellow brothers and sisters,

    How reassuring to see that a lot of people share the same story with a "happy" ending.

    I am celebrating 2 years of NC with my narcissistic genitor and her codependent husband. The words mother or father don't even come to mind!

    After I sent them a letter claiming that I did not want to see them unless they apologized unreservedly (my NM was so sick as to start emotional abuse with my 3 year old son and made him cry "oh, he's soooooo oversensitive", my kids unwillingly opened my eyes), I went to see a therapist and after 5 sessions, she told me I had done all the work for her!
    Two years on, I am still raging inside with the memories of my childhood. I was the scape goat and my younger sister the golden child, exept she is now ridden with psychosomatic diseases and depression.

    Never ever felt better in my whole life though. I also was extremely worried that they would storm into our little town and make a scandal and worst of all, turn up at school pretending to do a little surprise for my young kids. I anticipated all this and filed a form at the local police station AND at school (we live in a little European country that's very concerned about children safety).
    Luckily, my NM lives abroad and she has made no attempt to show up.

    Of course, peace came at a price as I now am the pariah of the family and only kept in touch with my granny, my saviour...I couldn't care less, my children are safe and I now have the family I so desperately craved as a child. My children know that the reason they don't have a granny and a grandad is because these people are nasty to children full stop.

    i wish the best of luck to people who are still hesitant about taking the big jump,ie: going NC, but it is such a load taken off our shoulders. You might even end up wondering why you did not do it sooner!

    Great no-nonsense website Violet and thank you all for taking the time to read me.

    PS: Life really started after the decision was taken! Freedom is priceless even if it means erasing 80% of your acquaintances from your life.



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  17. Thank you for a wonderful, helpful post. Accepting the reality of being between a rock and a hard place is so difficult. I do not want to lose my family-aunts and uncles in particular, but that just may be the price I have to pay for sanity. I think my mom senses that I am at a tipping point, and she is responding by digging her heels in as much as possible. The problem is, in the small town we all live in, there will be no real escape from her and I am sure that her smear campaign will be vicious. My fear is that I will be trading one horrendous drama for a different one by choosing NC. Have any others had to campaign their husbands to move out of town to finally be away from the N? Mine knows that she is bad but here we have jobs and a home and roots and security. It seems like there is no way to escape. I understand why children of NMs are suicidal sometimes, because it is the only real way to get away from her. So sad and painful.

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  18. I am getting used to this no contact thing :) it's funny...in my case it's really not all that different then before I went "crazy" and "pushed my family, who loves me, away."
    Of course I still think about her--and with the holidays coming I have found myself fantasizing about decorating and cooking...sigh...then I remember how things really were and I chuckle.

    I am a survivor now and I am here to tell you that no contact is AMAZING. Happiness is possible. It's been a little over a year now and I feel like I can do anything.

    It was so hard at first... but I have my daughter and my husband, It's so wonderful just being our own family.

    I really would like to thank Violet. I came here often last year when I was going through "it." I cannot begin to describe how invaluable the support here was to my recovery. God Bless You.

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  19. Thank you. Very helpful information. Also helps to know others are going through similar things and survive. Just hope it will work when both parents are N :)

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  20. I have had no contact for 8 years with my Nmother and it has been great until a month ago when she started to leave messages wanting me to call her. Of course I didn't but she keeps calling. The last message she left she said: she doesn't understand why I don't call her back - she says she never did anything to me for me to carry a grudge for 8 years - she thinks that is terrible - she said she and my dad took good care me - she said I don't have any feelings - then at the end of the message she said to please tell her what she did. I really wanted to write a long letter and tell her all things she has done my whole life, then I saw this website about no contact and realized I should not write to her and open up contact. Thank you all for your messages of hope and help us all to stay strong.

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    1. Hello, I have also only just found this post.
      I always knew that my mother was not normal, she was strange but I couldn't figure out what it was after 40 years. The whole experience of reading about NPD has opened up and changed my life and understanding of human phsyce.
      She was getting worse and worse with criticizing my 18 yr old daughter and 'telling me off' for not doing things how she would do them etc etc
      So I asked her in March of this year to be positive about me - I think I am probably a successful person running my own business and a happy contented family - stop continually criticizing me and my family - basically be a nice mother. She put the phone down on me.
      Then on Saturday I received a letter from my 'mother' saying she had tried to call me - we have stopped the home line after realizing the only person to call would be her and knowing fully well she never calls on mobiles as they are ' too expensive' - she wants to 'end this stalemate'.
      How do I answer ? Or as she started the nc should I continue nc ?
      Any advice would be really appreciated as I am now reverting back to my old scapegoat child persona and don't know what is best.

      Delete
    2. You do what you believe will bring you the most peace. You are not obligated to help someone...not even a family member...abuse you. If NC has brought you peace and you wish to maintain that, then stay NC and don't reply.

      Narcissists do not get better. They do not see the "error of their ways" and convert to good, loving parents because in their eyes, they have made no errors. Any rift, conflict, or stalemate they acknowledge will be identified as your fault and you will be expected to apologize and make the changes the N wants in order for the relationship to resume. And it will resume and exist only on the N's terms. If you are ok with that, then answer her.

      The choice is yours and yours alone.

      Delete
    3. Thank you so much Sweet Violet
      You have provided a clear reply that gives me hope to continue NC - it just seems such a difficult path but I'm sure it will get easier again

      Delete
  21. This blog and others like it have been a guiding light and a warm blanket all in one!

    I'm contemplating going NC with my engulfing Nmother, but am unsure how to proceed...

    Writing a letter announcing it seems to be the popular way to go, but that just doesn't fit our situation. Neither does ignoring her until she gets the message (because she never will!). Do I just hang up on her one day and never acknowledge her again? My Golden Child sister is pleading with me to "just put up with her" until she [my sister] gets married next spring.

    I'm at a loss -- any/all suggestions or recommendations are welcome! Please. I just want to be free.

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    1. Dear Anonymous, I didn't do a letter, I had written letters in the past, and they always used them against me. If you've truly tried, and they insist in their Narcissistic ways, they won't change. You'll have to go NC all together to truly be free. It's been 2 1/2 years for me, and I can tell you it will release you from all the pain and suffering you've gone through. It won't be easy at times, birthdays, holidays, special events, when you wish things were normal and you had your Mom by your side, but Nmother's can't do that or be that. In order for you to have peace, pray, and think about your health and well being of your family (spouse, kids, yourself). You deserve better, the sooner you go NC the better.

      Delete
  22. I have had to go NC and from time to time, cousins or friends will try to rope me back in but I refuse to get back into the Nmother game. They will call to see how I'm doing (my cousins) and then end up mentioning something horrid that's happening in my parents lives and I just can't seem to get the point across to them. I have repeatedly told them, I can't get involved in their problems, I have moved on. I hope they understand this time, or else I will also have to go NC with them. I have had to cut friends, and other close family members because they don't seem to understand my situation. My major worry is what will happen when my Father dies, I dread this day, and know my Nmother will come after me and make me feel guilty for his passing. I just know it.
    I would like to know if anyone out there has experienced a parent passing, and how they dealt with the Nmother or if they did at all. Any suggestions or guidance is greatly appreciated.

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  23. Thank you for this; a young family member has just begun the NC way with one of her parents, and this is a helpful reference for those of us just coming to grips with what "no contact" means.

    I've gained new insights into the baffling behavior of that parent and now suspect that it may be a case of undiagnosed NPD; if there are fireworks and drama in the future, I'll refer back to your blog.

    An old roommate of mine went NC with her mom, so this also clarified for me what was going on then with her.

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  24. I have just recently come to terms that I have an N-FATHER. I am 23 years old and in my teen/adult years, my dad has become less and less interested in what was going on with me and my sister's lives and became emotionally abusive with my mother in front of us with no guilt - calling her names, blowing up for small things, upset she didn't want to be on social media. My mother would beg him to just come sit with us but he would just sit on the couch engulfed by his phone and social media and would either get mad, or come over with the phone and not even listen and be mad later when he found out something and "wasnt told". Social media was the world to him and how people saw him online. He would always compare his life with his friend's or other family members life. My mother and us clearly weren't as great as they were. It was also where my mom caught him gathering/giving attention from different women. This was right after he almost physically attacking me and my sister in public after calling him out on some lies. My mother divorced him (which was 6 months ago). The past six months have been nothing but hurt, disappointment, and lies from him. Never regarded how myself, my sister, or mother was feeling, always how it affected him. "I have nothing now, I am so hurt, I can't eat, I'm sick" - even though he was the one who broke this relationship up. He never took blame and never gave us closure about what happened - he just moved on with us like nothing happened, like life was normal. He made us feel like we were to blame and that we should be over it, because it "is what it is" and we can't change it. He never once considered how this affected us - our parents, married for 24 years, divorcing because my dad wasn't faithful. Then, we recently came to find out he began to date someone new only a week after getting kicked out and lied to us about it all this time about who he was with or what he was doing. We found out everything he has been saying has been lies. He was hanging out with her over us for the past 5 months. Now, this girlfriend and her child are splattered all over social media and is doing things for them he never did for us. After multiple fights with him, blocking him on social media (which was one of the worst things I did as he explained), explaining how hurt I was - he still wasn't showing any signs of change. I felt as though I lost control of everything and he seemed to be doing great in his new life. After one big blowout at his new house (him being mad we didn't help him move, offended we haven't visited yet, how he was disgusted with my fiance for not wanting anything to do with him - and threatening that he shouldn't help with my wedding since he didnt want to talk to him, him mad we weren't accepting of a new girlfriend, and saying my mom's a bitch who is influencing us), I walked out and haven't talked to him since. Oddly enough, my nail biting habit of forever stopped. I have an even stronger bond with my mother and sister, and I am overall less stressed and happier. I still get calls and texts randomly saying things like "love you, miss you, can't wait to hear from you" or voicemails about his day and his life, but I don't bother with it. People may think I made this decision too quickly (after 6 months) but he was destroying me. I have set other family members straight when they have tried coming to me about him (because obviously he was talking about how terrible we were as daughters and how sad he was) and I have stopped listening about what he has said about us and my mother (since he blames her for all of this, he did nothing but make a mistake, and she was manipulating us - when in reality she has completely kept out of it to let us make our own decisions about him) After reading this article, I feel even stronger about my decision and can see I am not alone in this and I can see how strong my mom was to finally divorce him. Thank you, I needed to see this.

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  25. I've never felt so great since I went NC. I was the scapegoat child, but lucky for me I knew from a very young age my mom was awful so I found other role models. All she ever did was bad mouth me. Now I'm getting married and shes crying to everyone that she's not invited. Thing is, she has a little army of believers/followers. They are all weak and if they choose not to come to my wedding because of her that just leaves more room for friends and people who care about me. If your considering contact, I urge you to do so.. My life is so much more peaceful!!!

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  26. i am held captive over the inheritence... which is waved in front of my face from time to time .... but i'm seriously thinking of exposing my narc mother and to hell with the consequences .. because once she dies i will regret not confronting this reality.

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  27. Wow this is a really enlightening blog and has really helped. I have only just recently gone NC with my mother, and it is hard with all the flying monkeys (my brothers) getting involved. I totally agree with giving no information, she used it against me. She is acting like the wounded party to them and they believe her. the last message she sent me was that I was "mental", a shit mum (I'm not) and a whore. That was the last straw for me, as her mask had well and truly slipped. She isn't invited to my wedding next year, and I am truly relieved. I had to go NC as it was affecting my health, and I think it is the only option. Thank you for this - it's really helped. I am shocked how many mothers out there are like this......I am 42. I wonder if it is a generational thing?

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  28. Thank you for this blog. My mother has used me as her supply my whole life. I used to manage her neediness and selfish behaviour until she made the birth of my child about her, and had an absolute tantrum when at our child's baptism, my daughter preferred sitting with her other nanna over her. She has a habit of ruining family events when my in laws are present, as she is insanely jealous of the fact they live closer to me than her. I eventually told her to seek some therapy, and she told me the only reason she needed it was because i have never tried hard enough to include her in my life ( I call her 3x a week, skype weekly, visit every school holidays). I am trying to go NC, and have copped abuse from her sister, and no apology from my mother, she just wanted to know if i 'still loved her'. It is so far from normal that she makes me feel crazy. I have never been nasty, and everyone in the family placates her because she is so unreasonable and difficult- never reflects only deflects and is an instant victim. She is such a narcissist, and has used guilt trips on me my whole life, and i still feel guilty even though i shouldn't. So hard. But keeping positive.

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  29. I cannot tell you how helpful your site has been for me compared to all the others on the web!
    I have sent the letter registered mail and followed your advice that you were kind enough to send me personally. Thank you so much Violet! Now I am just trying to protect my Dad through all this and on to healing!
    I am at a stage where I cry spontaneously because I am now feeling like my whole life has been based on a lie. I have been through this before and it was tough but it was over a guy, (6 year 'relationship' and a husband of 20 years). This is tougher as it is my mother and someone that is assumed to have a caring, nurturing and unconditional love for her children. Thankfully, I am an empath and have not picked up any of her traits and am now feeling Dad's pain on top of mine...after all, he was married to her for 60 years and she didn't think twice about tossing him aside. Not the way he intended to spend his "golden" years.
    Thank you again Violet...you are like my guardian angel during this difficult time!

    Suzanne

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  30. My husband and I have been going through this our whole engagement and marriage. 17 years of trying to make her happy, but NMIL changes expectations so I always fail as a DIL. My husband put his foot down and stood by my side after our first child was born. She got violent and went to her harem to turn the whole family against us. My husband and I went and got professional therapy and that's when we found out that she has psycholical problems. A few years later she did the same exact outburst with another family member and the birth of their child. Nowadays I have gone no contact for 7 years and my husband low contact for 4 years. I feel horrible for my FIL he is a victim of her as well and just let's her mistreat him because it's just easier for him not to rock the boat. The truth is since I went no contact and got professional help my husband and I don't fight over her crazyness anymore. He has seen the horror of her when he sat down with her to set boundaries she said she didn't have to respect us or our boundaries. That was his straw.

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  31. I have just gone NC with my mother since 1st Jan 2017 but my father (who doesn't even live with my mother has basically just failed to make any effort to contact or see me since). This included my birthday a week ago. Actually thats not quite fair, he did send a card and n it said he would call but never did. it really upset me. Apparently my mother is now really ill as a result of our 'fall out' and requires his support. Personally I felt like she was on her natural cycle of depression and if it hadnt been 'me' it would have been someone or somethign else. I guess she can't stand the thorugh of my dad seeing me or my little girl so he is staying away. As I said, they live separately now so it seems strange to me he can't remain impartial and visit. I always did during their billion argumnets. Having this information available online helps to know what to expect in this situation. Thank you for the website. DJH

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  32. This is such a relief to hear that others are going through what I am. However in my situation it is my spouses mother and I am gradually feeding him everything I am learning to help him see what he is truly dealing with. Right now though we are on the silent treatment going on month 3 and he is beginning to feel guilty (for not letting her control our household) and will soon let her wreak havoc on our lives again.

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I don't publish rudeness, so please keep your comments respectful, not only to me, but to those who comment as well. We are not all at the same point in our recovery.

Not clear on what constitutes "rudeness"? You can read this blog post for clarification: http://narcissistschild.blogspot.com/2015/07/real-life-exchange-with-narcissist.html#comment-form