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Author Topic: Really need help with Manipulative Mother!  (Read 8319 times)

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Offline Chantelle

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Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« on: May 04, 2012, 10:48:35 AM »
I really need to get this off my chest so I really hope someone can help me sort through this before it eats away at me.

I have dealt with a mother who is a master manipulator, emotional abuser, and victim player since I was a little girl. The pattern is always the same. My mom will attempt to control a particular circumstance, and if she doesn't get her way she pulls out the victim card and does the, "Everyone is pushing me aside. Nobody cares about me. I'm SO hurt" etc, etc. In the past I have always tended to give in since it avoided the situation excalating but at 28 years of age I finally realized that in order for her not to walk all over me I have to stand up for myself and that means putting my foot down.

Now, recently my family/friends started planning a baby shower for me. A very simple affair that should be pretty straight forward to plan out. My mom immediately started calling the shots and non which I was very happy about so I politely told her that I was unhappy with her decision and all *ell broke loose! She sent me a nasty email telling me that she was very hurt, that she wouldn't bother taking any part in my shower (lay on the guilt) and that she doesn't understand why everyone is turning on her. Seeing as I merely told her I was happy with her venue selection it almost seemed delusional (which is a symptom of my mom's personality, unfortunately).

This has less to do with a baby shower and more to do with the way my mom responds to ALL situations. I don't know how to handle my mother. I want us to have a good or at least decent relationship and yet it's so hard to deal with her when she acts like this every time a situation arises. Her feelings always supersede my own. So I told her I was unhappy and her immediate response is, "I'M HURT!" thus totally not acknowledging my feelings. Every situation always becomes about HER. She has never had any empathy for me and my siblings (even as kids) and it is really hard to take. In fact, I went for my 20 week ultrasound yesterday (something she was excited about weeks ago) and because she was *issed off about the baby shower she called me yesterday pretending to feign interest but sounded totally annoyed at me. It was really hard to take. That my Mom would be unable to put petty issue aside and be happy for me in a big moment is really sad.

Sorry this is so long. I really needed to get this off my chest. If anyone has any suggestions for how to deal with a mother who acts this way PLEASE let me know. I don't want to distance myself from our relationship but I want to know how to handle my mom when she acts this way.
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Offline alikat357

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Re: Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012, 01:36:28 AM »
This is kind of similar to how my mom acts, except for some reason she does it to me a lot and not as much with my sister and brother. I often think it is because she is in denial of my anxiety issues. I have distanced myself from her a bit, but it doesn't seem to have helped, more like another reason to lay on guilt!
It's really a ridiculous game for a grown woman to be playing, in my opinion. I actually am not even sure if she realizes what she's doing. I think it's really good that you stood up to her. I think once she gets used to you doing that it may stop at least to a point. I did notice that I really haven't stood up to mine, but my sister and brother have, which may be why she can't really get away with it on them so much.
I wish I saw your post sooner. I actually feel like it helped me and I'm going to try and be stronger about standing up for myself with my mom. You have other things to worry about, such as YOU and your baby! Congrats, by the way! So I say keep standing up for yourself, talk to her in an adult manner and only accept the same respect from her. I am going to try the same! Let me know how it's going, I'd like to figure this one out as well :)
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Offline ClassicNerd

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Re: Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2012, 07:42:48 PM »
First off, congrats on the baby! I think I've seen a couple of your posts before and said this already, but - it's nice to see things are moving along! Good stuff on the 20 week ultra sound.

Back to the issue at hand...minus the pregnancy/baby shower thing this sounds exactly like my mother. Both my mother and I suffer from what they call "narcissitic personality disorder", plus we both suffer OCD and hypochondriasis but we manifest these disorders in different ways and there are very different root causes. It is flipping fun at my house, believe me! I'm not saying that your mom has NPD or anything, but it sounds like she is being awfully narcisstic. My father's way of dealing with her is to give in, and grummble about it behind her back. I have a more effective way of dealing with her. I completely and totally disregard her and do whatever the h*ll I want. My dad finds this hilarious. I guess I am standing up to her, but without a confrontation. I simply refuse to let her bother me. If I do something and it 'hurts' her or she doesn't like it I simply don't care. Eventually she gets over it. I got to a point where I refuse to let my controlling, manipulative mother run my life, but I've also accepted that no amount of counselling or heart-to-hearts is going to change her, because guess what? She doesn't want to change.

I'm gradually learning how to shut her out and take everything she says/does with a grain of salt. My mother only annoys me or stresses me out if I let her. Believe it or not, we have an ok relationship. It's not as loving, warm and beautiful as other mother-daughter relationships, but hey - we don't always get what we want. This might not be the healthiest way of dealing with my 'toxic mother' but it is the only way currently at my disposal unless I want to live my life the way she dictates. I'm 25 and much too old to let her run my life. My recommendation: to h*ll with her! Do what you want. Let her be passive-aggressive and manipulative but don't give her the attention she craves. As a fellow mother she should know how important it is not to stress you out while you're pregnant. If she starts stressing you out, ignore her and shut her out for your mental health, and the health of your baby.  ;D You're going to be much too busy with the baby to cater to her childishness soon anyway.
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“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” -  Mark Twain

Offline MotionRobot

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Re: Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2012, 11:23:01 AM »
I'm a little late to this party...but I typed in NPD and this came up. THANK YOU for posting this. My mother and your mother seem like they'd get along really well. I"m recently engaged and every good and fun moment has been turned into a fight about how selfish and thoughtless I am. I feel like the ultimate disappointment sometimes, but have to (constantly) remind myself that it's NOT me, it's HER. I posted a new tale of woe today in GAD, but to sum it up...my fiance proposed in September (I said yes, obviously)...and now, I wanted to get her a ring to match my beautiful one. I went by myself to pick the ring, not thinking (I was told this is my problem, I only think about myself) that anyone would be anything but excited about the purchase. Considering we're already engaged, the purchase, while significant, does not hold the same weight as the initial proposal (at least not in my mind). Needless to say, she was "hurt" that I didn't include her and told her after the fact. I'm always trying to new ways to handle my mother, but she always sneaks around them. I'm very close with my mom and I love her so so so much, but I just don't get the way she sees things.

You're probably already a proud parent, or close to it! Either way, congratulations and stay strong! Now is your chance to do things your OWN way. My major goal in life is to extract everything I love about my mother, throw out the narcissism, and become a different type of parent.

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Offline ek1977

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Re: Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2012, 12:46:22 AM »
I highly recommend the book "Trapped in the Mirror: Adult children of narcissists in their struggle for self" by Elan Golomb. My mom is very similar to yours and I found this book to really help me get some perspective and draw better boundaries with my mom. Good luck! http://www.amazon.com/Trapped-Mirror-Children-Narcissists-Struggle/dp/0688140718
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Offline Chantelle

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Re: Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 04:45:00 PM »
Don't imagine anyone will read over this as I posted this so long ago but all these months later I finally realized that I got replies (I was checking back periodically for several weeks and finally gave up...guess I should have been more patient  :yes:). Thank you!

Yes, I've had my baby (already 5 months ago-oh my!) and not too suprisingly things have not improved on the "manipulative mother" front. No, in fact things have gone from bad to worse since I've had my little boy. At this point I am considering therapy to help deal with my mother and all the bad stuff hiding out in in my past and childhood. I am truly sorry that others are dealing with a similar mother as I. I know you can't choose your parents but it can make life quite trying when you are dealing with someone who is emotionally abusive.

For now I've found that what has worked best are the following: 1)Do not indulge my mother's behaviour, 2)Create boundaries (so important!) and 3)Do not play into her games as this will only escalate matters. So far it has helped. I finally realized that, as a people pleaser, I had to start taking care of myself in order to take care of my family (husband and baby) and have to admit it has been liberating. There is presently more distance between my mother and I but it's proving to be exactly what I needed.

Might I add that despite the few responses I have received I have never had a post read so many times (over 1000!) which clearly states that I am not alone with this problem :)
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Offline ClassicNerd

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Re: Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 07:53:28 PM »
Hey Chantelle - I'm glad to hear everything went well with the baby, but I'm sorry to hear you're still dealing with a manipulative monther! Thanks for posting your suggestions. It's good to get some help on this. I tend not to care too much and just do my own thing. It works awesome. My mom eventually looses 'fuel' and burns herself out.

Thanks for posting that book ek1977!  I suppose a lot more people suffer with narcissistic parents than we think.
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“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” -  Mark Twain

Offline Chantelle

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Re: Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2013, 11:53:12 PM »
Thanks Classic Nerd! You know, you sound just like my sister, lol! She has the same attitude towards mymom and seems much happier for it. I've been procrastinating over going for therapy (never gone in my life!) but at least have a number written down to call tomorrow. Uuugh. My mom is serious an emotional vampire. Distance seems to be the only thing that helps.
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Offline ClassicNerd

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Re: Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2013, 12:07:28 AM »
Chantelle - sadly, distance is sometimes the best option when dealing with manipulative parents, even if it is only emotional distance. It doesn't have to be forever, either.

I did discuss some of the issues I've been having with my mother in therapy (mainly as they relate to my gender dysphoria, and my mother's inability to recognize my gender dysphoria), and the tips I got really helped me cope. Everyone's parents, situation and relationship with their folks is different. My mother and I can get along fine as friends, but I just ignore her when she starts trying to pull any manipulative tricks. It helps that I've got someone on my side to help sympathize with me (my dad). Ever since we're little we're told our parents are the be all and end all, so it's really hard to get out of that mindset and just view them as another human being with flaws and all, but I found recognizing I'm an adult and putting myself on equal footing with my mother really helped. When she gets upset about something she has no right to be upset about, I just thank her for her concern and ignore her. Eventually she stops, and an hour later she has no idea what got into her or what she was going on about. She's onto something else entirely. Sometimes she'll even come back and agree with me when just moments ago she was in complete opposition.

I know it's not in everyone's nature to just not care, but I find that's the only way I can keep my sanity and that's more important to me than appeasing anyone else. At the end of the day, I've got my own life, and my mother has hers. They are in no way one and the same. I've got to live my life for me and not her. I may never be able to make her happy no matter how hard I try, but I can sure as hell make myself happy.
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“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” -  Mark Twain

Offline ash92392

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Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 08:19:37 PM »
All my life my mother has ran over me. I was 16 years old when I had my first baby. She took over everything when she found out I was pregnant.  Since I was so young she took her from me. Well now I am 21 and my spouse and i are fixing to have a little boy. Well my mother and my first born are living with us and still she tries to run my life she acts like this is her house when its not. I dont know how to deal with her. She talks to me like im still a child in my house. What do I do?
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Online ShawnW

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Re: Really need help with Manipulative Mother!
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2014, 08:44:32 AM »
I think it's first important to realize people do the best they can...I truly believe that.  These are your mom's tools to deal with life.  Controlling people tend to be anxious people.  If they can just move people around like chess pieces, their anxiety is in check.  I suspect your mother had a tough childhood...maybe a childhood where she felt very out of control (alcoholic home, abuse etc.) and also had poor coping skills modeled for her.  I say this not to give your mother excuses for her behavior...but for your understanding.  It's important to realize many of the people we love are sick in their own ways.  They do the best they can with the skills they have...which often cross other people's boundaries.  That insight can help you with forgiveness rather than anger, understanding rather than resentment.  This will be important for you in order to set boundaries with your mother in healthy ways.

First, you must decide if you want your mother to be a part of your life.  You are not obligated to interact with her.  You are not obligated to accept her calls or read her emails.  Often these situations take some sort of shock event to get someone to be willing to change...to look at things in new ways.  We teach people how to treat us.  You have taught her that it's ok to manipulate...because you haven't set consistent, healthy boundaries with her.

The healthy thing to do in this situation would be to write a heart felt email.  It shouldn't be angry but caring and direct.  I wouldn't do this by phone or in person yet.  It would likely escalate and it's much harder to think on your feet.  The email could start by talking about all the things you love about her...things you appreciate about her...things you are thankful for that she has brought into your life.  You could talk about how you want her in your life and in your child's life.  Then you get into some of your issues with her...ie her need to treat you as a child rather than a woman...her actions which feel demeaning...talk about exactly what you see.  I wouldn't use this as an opportunity to beat her with your childhood but to look at her actions now which make you feel less than.

After you have spelled these things out is when you set healthy boundaries that you are comfortable with...and possibly take some time off from each other.  If she wants to be a part of your life and her grandchild's life she needs to conduct herself in ways respectful of you as her adult child.  If she can not, then she can not be a part of your life.  The time away will give some clarity to that reality.  You can even ask her to get some help, some therapy.  It's much like an intervention for a drug addict..."we need you to get some help or these are the consequences".  You are not obligated to spend another minute with her...and she needs to know you are willing to cut her off.  I suspect the prospect of that will terrify her, and she may be willing to look at her actions.  If not, then she has made her choice...she chooses her victimhood over you.  She chooses her drug of choice...manipulation over her grandchild.  I wouldn't go back and forth with her...just email, maybe one clarification email then be done with it...let her sit on it.  She what she does with it.

Without a major gut check your mother will not be willing to change.  You must set healthy boundaries with her or this will get worse.  Wait until the grandchild is born and she is trying to take over as mother.  It will happen.  So setting these boundaries now will in the long run help all parties involved.

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My insight, thoughts, experiences or advice that may be posted in this forum are not meant as a substitution for the advice of your physician.

Want to know how to address your anxiety?
http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,93402.msg521266.html#msg521266

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