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Today was a low day for me. I called my mom last night! Ugh! I'm 58 years old and my mother still knows how to push my buttons. She is the most miserable person that I know in my life. She finds no joy in life and is miserable that I'm "living"! She gives me that guilt voice and tone, "Well, have a good weekend!"  The only joy that brings her is someone dying or someone who is ailing in health. She never calls me unless I'm hospitalized and have to recover at home. It takes everything that I have to continue to have a relationship with. I call her and our most recent conversations have been about 5 minutes long with her saying "Ok, I'll talk to you!" She'd love for me to call her every day; I've tried every other and now 2 times a week and it is torture. I drag conversation out of her...WHY? do I continue to do it to myself. I want to do the right thing by you know I'm getting very angry, now with both of my parents. Mom has always been manipulative and had my dad and sister be her footsoldiers in passing what she has an opinion on in my life. Dad used to be the most positive man that I know and he over the years has been drug into her misery camp. I was talking to a colleague today and said,"Forgive me for saying this, but, I've recently wondered if anything happened to her, would I cry?" I know that I would feel a great loss but, I don't think that I would miss the misery and gloom that she shadows over the entire family. We tried talking to her but, she feels like everyone is ganging up on her and that know one loves her. Well, she is not being loveable. She has an opinion about everyone, no one does it like she thinks people should do with certain family issues, my sons are disappointment (and they are good young men), my sister smokes and had abortions that's why she got cancer (mascetomy), we can't have a family get together away because my sister who is 51 and who is not married can't sleep in the same bed under the same roof that she sleeps, her sister in law wouldn't pay for a phone for my 101 grandmother in the nursing home so she felt her duty to interfere and pay for it, every holiday except 1 in the 32 years that I've been married I've spent with them and have neglected my husbands family because my mom was devestated...need I go on.  I've prayed, I've tried to talk with her and my dad rationally about what I felt and it is useless. I continue to have hope because I always believe that there is a chance but, I've come to conclusion that they/she will never change. My dad might if she wasn't around.  My parents are getting older, they live alone and still drive at 79 and 81 and are in reasonable health but they are draining. I don't like her and I'm having so much turmoil wanting to do the right thing for both of us.

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Welcome Jen! You have come to the right place, for we here know what you are going though.

To me it sounds like  you have joined the "survivors of narcissist mothers club." I am a card carrying lifetime member myself. Welcome, come in and sit down.

For some of the posters here with similar mothers, they have chosen the "no contact" route. That is hard, but for them, it was the only thing they could do to preserve their sanity. They make sure their parents have what they need, they just do not do it themselves or have any contact.

Others of us have learned how to set boundaries. That also is hard, but doable. Boundaries allow you to see to their needs, but not interfere with your life.

You state your parents are in reasonable health. That, I am sorry to say, will not last, and then you have some decisions to make. Better start thinking about it now. Can you be the caregiver to your mother if she is alone in a few years? What if it is your father who is alone. What if he or she can not live alone and wants to move in with you? Will you be want to do that? Do they have a plan in place for their long term care? If your mom lives to 90 what role do you want to have in her care giving for the next 11 years? All questions you need to start finding answers for and planning for.

You need first off to dump the guilt. Guilt is for when you have done something wrong. Let's say you rob a bank. OK, now you can feel guilty. But don't want to listen to a whining mother more than once a week (or once a month - your call) Don't do it, and don't feel guilty about it.

Now will your mother change? NO she will not. She has had 79 years of practice and she is good at what she does. She is getting a payoff out of it. Why should she change? It is said we can not change the behavior of others, we can only change how we react to their behavior. What you can do is change how you react to her.

I hope I have given you a little food for thought. Come back and let us know more about your situation.

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check out the website and the messageboard for 
A site for adult daughters of N mothers, I think you'd find it very helpful!

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Jane in MA
It sounds like your mother has sucked all the joy out of her life and your dad's,  and is now working on sucking everyone elses'. The Big Hoover.

But I think you still have the loyalty that children have for their moms,  even tho you don't like her.. you still have some love for her. Maybe it's just a kind of wishful love or you do recall some better things about her and you resent what she has become.
Has anyone thought about whether she needs an antidepressant or anti anxiety med? That might help. But she may have trained herself to be this way and no amount of meds can change that.

I know this sounds too trite, but you should try to feel sorry for her, instead of just resent her. It must be awful to live inside her head. Her attitude towards her life is a prison in itself.. to never allow yourself to just have a pleasant day, to relax and feel pleasure and leave others alone must be hell.

Don't spend as much time with her or call her as often as you do, and when you do have to interact, try to see her as a sorry person with a great burden ..herself.  IN FACT TRY TO VISIT YOUR DAD AND NOT HER, BECAUSE HE MAY NEED YOUR HELP MUCH MORE, HAVING TO LIVE WITH HER ALL THESE YEARS. It might help to make you feel less responsible for her moods and actions. You can't do much else.

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i too have been snarled in a trap of guilt!  i speak with my mom everyday at least 2 to 3 times.  i can't stand it anymore.  i feel like i'm going to explode. she wasn't the greatest mom, thank  God i learned from her mistakes.  she still made lots of mistakes as we were adults.  won't get into the gross facts, so i understand why she is the way she is, she is guilty herself.  i'm 45 now and i feel like a little girl when i speak to her.  she is the most negative person on earth.  i love her but i can't stand speaking to her on a daily basis.  i've tried telling her i can't stand the phone anymore (no lie).  i actually want to throw it out the window.  she only will continue to call and leave messages that sounds like she's dying if she can't speak to me.  i am racked with guilt if i don't call her right back.  WHY?  i didn't do anything wrong.  PLEASE someone tell my why i'm so guilt ridden. 

oh yeah we live 1,ooo hundred miles from eachother.

have a great day!

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Jen, I thought I was reading my life with my mother in what you said, me and my brothers. I have decided to not deal with my mother at all. All I hear is how I do this wrong or that wrong. Everyone is else is crazy, not her. She does not like anyone and is so miserable its oozes from her pores. She has a scowl on her face that lets anyone know she is in misery. The only time she is in a good mood is when she has control over one of us. Or has just put one of us down, is talking about our spouses, or tellinig us NO, you can't do that. Talking about someone. She is manipulative, sneaky, and I have always told myself that she means well, but I have come to realize that is not true. She wants me to be as miserable as her and gets mad when I do regular life things. She lives in the house, going nowhere. when I get off the phone with her I feel so stressed that i just want to scream. I am 44 and she questions what I do and why I do it and I live on my own.  She wants to control every other household except her own. She has no life. And if you look up guilt in the dictionary you would see my picture. I am sick and tired of her and she is toxic, negative, controlling, manipulative, and just not a nice woman. I have decided to live my life and be happy without her trying to dictate it. I think what I am not ok with -- is that I am ok with not talking to her, if that makes any sense. Since I have not been talking to her I am much more calm and just happier.  I am getting her voice out of my head in certain situations. I am thinking for myself without the influence of  her negativity that hovers over me, you know, that devil on your shoulder, I have that all the time. As of today I can say that I am ok with not speaking with her. I will continue to try and better myself and not become like her in any way, shape, or form. If we never talk again, I think I will be ok. I like waking up and knowing that I dont have to hear the nagging, feeling guilty, the negative remarks, and feeling stressed from talking to her.
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. It may turn around and it "Your Glass" house
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some people just love being miserable. And spreading the misery. That is all I can figure out. My mom was unhappy a lot of the time. She is deceased. The last 10 years of her life, and even the previous 65 years of her life, could have been so very different!

I myself have a tendency towards doom & gloom (in real life) and I fight it, constantly. I tell myself that the nut did not fall far from the tree. Yikes. I do not want to live day after day, month after month, in misery.

With the way stuff is right now, in the u.s. and all over the world I guess, it would be very easy to be all doom & gloom all the time. But there is always some bright spot, isn't there? (she asked naiively). In my mom's case, she had 5 grandchildren that she could have gotten involved with. She declined. She did not live to see any of them reach marrying age, and I tend to think, it is because of her disposition in life, maybe.

The trick is to not get sucked into it yourself. Yes, these people can be very toxic and very, what I call, rub-offable! It is really hard to talk with them for even a brief amount of time, or spend any time with them, and then turn right around and revert back to our sunshiney life! For some reason, we feel guilt about doing this. We feel we should stay miserable and sad and frustrated on their account. I am not sure why. There must be some official pyschological term for this.
Insanity? Just kidding.

Explaining to them, really, is pointless. You may have some luck with that in 1 out of 10,000 cases. Alternatively, the Doom & Gloomer may step back for awhile and cut off the toxic flow, but sadly, it is a habit with them now, they will go right back to it eventually.

The worst is when they are going on & on about another family member, or some event in the past. Okay already! you want to scream.

Limited contact is about the only thing that helps, but still, you will feel the guilt. especially if it is a parent.

Once in awhile I would say to Mom "Mom, you sure are suzy sunshine today!". (whoooooopppsssssss). Often times she would come to her senses and then change the topic. But.  Next visit or phone conversation? She was off & running again. It never sticks.

Come here and vent. We understand. If it helps, that is great.

I know this guy who is always jolly. Do you know anyone like that? If you do, call them RIGHT AFTER you spend time with your draining Elderly! Or, if you can, channel that person WHiLE you are spending time with your Toxicness.

some days.... you just have to say "how did I get here?"
hang in there.

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lisa, please tell me there was some good reason for speaking with your mother 2-3 times PER DAY?! Yowza!

2-3 times per month, was my limit.


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Beth...I have that beat I would literally speak with my mother more than 7 times in a day most days. And if  I did not answer she calls repeatedly and will call my friends if I wont answer. I am 44. The thing is that I let her get away with it for years so she thinks she is entitled, not thinking that one day I would wake up and say, "Hey, this is not right" I will never make that mistake again.
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My mother is just like yours - totally negative,  and she is totally emotionally dependent on her kids, and a waif who makes bad decisions and is constantly in turmoil.  

She is 85 - got very very sick last year and just plain landed on me like a brick house.  I was suddenly confronted with the thought that I might have to move her in with me or be financially responsible for her care.  I had just lost my husband to cancer, and the whole thing completely freaked me out.

Worse, still, although I have had issues all my life with her, I was able to keep her at arm's length and therefore  I just kept going along til she fell ill and then realized what a trap I was in.  I had no idea how I was "groomed" to be the fall guy til it happened.  I was truly oblivious.

It took this board, therapy, boundaries, and books before I could even sleep at night.  Now I firmly know what I will and won't do in regards to being a daughter to my aging mother.   Yet, even though my boundaries are in place, I know I will be challenged again and again.

Start backing off as much as you can now, before she takes ill.  If you call once a day, switch to every other day, every third day, etc.  Distance yourself emotionally.  You don't not have to tell her you are doing this - doing it inside your own self.  Don't share any more.  Just be kind, polite and keep your boundaries up when dealing with her.  

If all else fails, therapy can really help providing that the therapist wants to work on the singular issue of you and your mother and how to build firm boundaries and "deal with it".    I saw a therapist about 10 times and it was SOLELY for this reason, and was most helpful.   I found that coming in with a particular problem and solving it was much better than just going to the therapist and saying "I am upset and anxious".   Be specific if you go.

Good luck to you - you are among friends here, and many of us have the same experiences.

Take care
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Jen's post was from 2009, so I wonder how she is doing?
Cat and lisa's posts are the new ones.
Cat, you have my sympathies!

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I didn't realize her post was from 2009! 

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I did not either but its still relevant to me. I am going through it presently, as I am sure alot of people are. I do feel better getting it out and writing about it.. Its therapy.

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Hi there...

The gift the keeps on giving... guilt.

I too used to get calls at least three times a day from my mother. This was while I was at work, which was rather annoying when I was extremely busy, which was almost all the time. These days its text messages... sometimes up to 10 a day since I stopped replying to most of them, they decreased to about 3, now its 1 message every now and again. That one message though will be a long paragraph full of items to make me feel guilty.

I took care of her on my own for  over 8 years, and she has been in frail care for almost two years now. She is determined to constantly lay on the guilt. She will NEVER forgive me for putting her into frailcare. She is constantly complaining, or crying desperately that she doesn't want to rot there. She reckons I've left her there to die.

I'm still trying to put myself back together again after those very hard 8 years, I was fresh out of school and had no time, or money to study further, it was straight to work (which I should be grateful for) and to this day half my salary still goes to her care. Instead of being a little bit grateful for what I have done for her, its a litany of complaints and the never-ending you don't visit enough. Honestly -  I don't want to see her. She drains me dry like some kind of emotional vampire. Me trying to have a life is the worst crime of all, how dare I? She is living in misery so I must be miserable too.

My problem is I'm often letting her control me.. I've been trying very hard to keep to the boundries I set myself, and enforcing those boundries (I read that here...) Mom is always wanting to go out etc... she doesn't realise that it takes three strong men to get her into a car, and out again. it's a military operation taking her anywhere. She is practically bedridden, her legs don't move anymore, and you have push like crazy to get her knees to bend, she is also extremely heavy, a dead weight. Once upon a time I used to be able to get her into a car by myself, but over this time my 'crazy strength' has disappeared - and I also have back problems. So I've simply declined to take her by myself, if I don't have at least two other people to come with and help me then I'm not going. Since other family members can just 'say no', and not feel the least guilt, why can't I?

I'm trying to concentrate on recovering... I have no idea if I will ever recover from caregiving, but it helps me to take care of myself instead of falling into martyrdom.
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I always wondered that as well -- how the other relatives and my brothers could just shrug their shoulders and never visit/call mom. And feel no guilt? Wow. I wanted to be like them!

my next "challenge" is currently my husband. He is turning into Doom & Gloom too. My god. I married my mother! eek. I don't know if I can handle years of this, especially the years where we are supposed to start chilling out a bit and enjoying life (finally). I try to ignore him, that doesn't work, then he feels ignored and like I don't care. Well, I DO care. But you know, only to a certain extent. (oops)



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