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  1. #1
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    How to deal with a NPD Mother who changes from showing no interest to too much?

    Hi, I'm new to this forum but I'm glad I found it. I have a mother who fits into the category of NPD, even though it was only until the last year that I had a name for it I?ve recognized that something was wrong with her since my mid 20s. I was often the scapegoat in the family or I was invisible to her. I had for years tried to figure out what was wrong with ?our relationship? which led me to therapy. I was angry about having this type of mother, but I eventually I grieved the mother I never had and I came to accept the status quo. From then on I maintained a civil relationship with her.

    When I told her that I was moving to another country for a job opportunity with a man I had been dating for a few months she suddenly started to take a lot more interest in me. She professed to my future husband, all of my family and really anyone who would listen how much she would miss me. After the move it was very painful for me to hear through third parties that they were happy for my success in life but they were aware of how much pain it caused my mother. Just a fraction of her concern for me at any other time in my life would have meant a lot. I slowly let go of all connection with anyone connected to her so I could enjoy a more substantial separation from her.

    When I became engaged to my husband it became all my mother could talk about, and she framed it all in terms of her of course. During the wedding planning stage I was very aware of how motherless I felt but that was cushioned by the warm relationship I had with my husband?s mother. Very sadly my husband?s mother passed away from cancer less than a year after our wedding, we?re still both feeling the loss of her. I also knew that my wedding day was one day that would come and go so I gritted my teeth and dealt with my mother?s enthusiasm for a child she seemed to care so little about in the past. Her interest waned after that but a few months ago I announced my pregnancy, it has come back with full force and its more than I can handle.

    I live on the other side of the globe from her but an email or phone conversation sends me back into an angry place. Unlike the wedding I?m aware that having a child is not an event that will pass, her interest is likely to increase not diminish. I?ve very unsure of what to do. I?ve dealt with having a cold, detached and irrational mother my whole life. I don?t know how to deal with one who now professes her undying love for me, who sees any of my successes as her own. I?ve tried to set boundaries, for example I will only read her emails and speak to her on the phone once a week. However this hasn?t worked as I think about how much I don?t want contact with her the day before and I feel angry about what was said a day later. My husband tries to be very supportive and offer advice but he thankfully has little experience with dysfunctional families.

    There is nothing I want or need from my mother, I certainly don?t need a relationship with her but I think it?s important to maintain a civil one in the absence of concrete abuse. It would be easiest if she went back to scapegoating me or ignoring me as she did before. I want to be able to focus on becoming a mother myself yet I am somehow so distracted by even the smallest contact with her. Contact with her involves her asking me questions about my job & pregnancy, asking for current pictures of me and her repeating how much she misses me. I do my best to give her as little information as possible and I rarely send a picture. She takes the crumbs of what I do share, turns them into gold and parades them around. This seems to be her latest narcissistic supply, she gets barely anything from me but then what she does get is treated with all the more reverence.

    I?m really at a loss as to how to deal with this situation. I have accepted that I never had a mother in the way that most people do, I expect nothing from her but I resent having her use me for her narcissistic supply. Even though I?m very much removed from my family I seem to still be a pawn in my mother?s game and I don?t like it. Is there any other boundary I can put up or do I need to go no contact completely to be at peace? My husband suggested that it will make me feel better if I confront her on what?s upsetting me but I don?t know if it will be useful to bring up the past with a narcissist. When she says ?I love you, miss you so much and wish I could be near you during your pregnancy? do I say ?how come you clearly told me you couldn?t handle hearing about any of the problems I had to deal with alone as a young adult?? Won?t she just put a NPD spin on this and re-write the past which will only infuriate me further? Have any of you encountered this type of situation before?

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    Re: How to deal with a NPD Mother who changes from showing no interest to too much?

    I have completely gone NC (No Contact).

    I did try a civil connection, but like you I kept running into her childish behaviours or hearing about how she was treating me one way (seemingly good) but then having some kind of a tantrum (no exaggeration there) with other relatives and then harassing them to no end. It's like my youngest brother stopped talking to her for years and years and I somehow transitioned to the status of Golden Child (sort of, although with a lot of her superiority over me still seeping through - although she's always thought she's been better than everyone, not just her inferior brainless daughter)...

    Over the phone she would use terrible tone of voice to me, like really talking down to me, like only an N mom could. I hung up on her and that was the last time I spoke to her on the phone. Shortly after I blocked her phone number so she can't call now.

    Also blocked her on Facebook and emails.

    Total privacy = total peace.

    All I get now is the ocassional hate mail which I've not been opening (tried opening it a few times, it was never a good thing). I've been putting it straight in the trash.

    Anyway, this might not work for you, or you may not be ready for it, but going NC (No Contact) is probably the best thing for a person to do, in my opinion. It's got to be for you, and you have to accept that she won't change, which is so hard to do. You need to ask yourself if you believe enough in yourself to go NC, do you have a support system, do you love yourself enough to let go?

    Might make the healing process easier. Forgiveness to yourself and even to your mom some day. You don't have to go back to someone just because you forgive them. Stay at a distance, but don't feel resentment or hatred anymore toward them because that will end up making you ill or bitter, or taint your happiness... Know what I mean?
    (Formerly JollyGreenJellyBean)

    My dog is a human whisperer.

  3. #3
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    Re: How to deal with a NPD Mother who changes from showing no interest to too much?

    I have researched the internet for answers and found that narcissist sometimes are truly not conscious of their abuses or lies. This doesn't excuse her behavior but something in her past or childhood caused her to become mentally ill. Consider yourself fortunate that you didn't turn out like her and that any children you may have will not be at risk for developing such a disorder since she's miles away.

    Read Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship by Christine Ann Lawson. It's very helpful. It was to me.

    My son's father is a narcissist. Don't expect your mother to ever change. In order for a narcissist to change, he/she has to admit having a disorder, seek therapy and then be in intensive therapy frequently. Our therapist said my son's father needed therapy of at least twice a week for at least five years. It's hard not to want to blame yourself or wonder what it is you can do to be heard by a narcissist. Sadly there is nothing you can do. My son came to terms with this. I have too. Since we completely disassociated ourselves with him, my son is at peace, more confident about himself and has accept who and what his father is cannot change unless his father seeks help. His father believes he's God's greatest gift.

    As for your mother, you can learn to set boundaries. Such as the photos you send her. Let her know if she posts them against your wishes, you will no longer send her any. There are books available that can teach you how to deal with a narcissist and set boundaries. I wish you well.

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    Re: How to deal with a NPD Mother who changes from showing no interest to too much?

    Hi Balin,

    Just was wondering how you were dealing with things?

    How are feeling? You okay?
    (Formerly JollyGreenJellyBean)

    My dog is a human whisperer.

  5. #5
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    Re: How to deal with a NPD Mother who changes from showing no interest to too much?

    Balin,

    I am dealing with a mother-in-law who I swear is NPD, although not diagnosed. She resorts to the same bag of tricks over and over - patterning from no interest or contact to WAY TOO MUCH. My problem is that I hold the key to our connection - her only two grandsons. At times, it is cordial and pleasant - but most of the times, she is coming at us with all sorts of offers and practically unrelenting pressure to get together (when can I see the boys). She is demanding and when she doesn't get her way, she has hung up on my husband or plays the victim (why won't you come and see me...you don't care about my needs).


    My husband and I are on exactly the same page here which is key, although I have sworn to lose contact with her over some of the things she has pulled (like booking her birthday party the same day as my 8 year old's actual birthday and calling him selfish).

    Therefore we limit as much contact with her as possible, yet get together every month or so to have a "visit".

    I agree with you - it can be exhausting and even though I have begged my husband to completely lose contact - he doesn't want to be the one to "give up" because he is afraid she will blame him for abandoning her. So I have to respect his wishes while I just don't want to deal with her anymore.

    All I can say is that you should be glad you are 1/2 way around the world because you can choose to answer her calls or not. We on the other hand are about an hour 15 minutes away. Sometimes I wish we could move further away, but my husband says that would be worse because she could visit by flying out and staying more than a week. I agree - that would be worse.

    By the way, congrats on your addition to your family - enjoy that time and don't do what I did - tried to meet everyone else's needs while sacrificing mine.

  6. #6
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    Re: How to deal with a NPD Mother who changes from showing no interest to too much?

    I have a bit of an update. I'm veryclose to my due date, my pregnancy is full term at this point butthat's not my update. No matter how much I tell myself over againthat my mother is a narcissist she still finds ways to surprise me. In my original post I was describing how she was showing way too muchinterest in my pregnancy for my comfort. Well a few weeks ago sheput her name down with a dog breeder for a puppy and has just broughtit home. Now she's asking me for advice in dealing with puppybasics. When we spoke a week ago she had just brought it home andwas telling me over video conference that she wanted me to meet 'herbaby'.


    I don't know if from the outside its ascreepy as it is to someone else as it is to me but my husband is agood barometer for craziness. Without him knowing her as well as Ido he certainly raised an eyebrow when I told him and said'interesting timing'. What makes it get under my skin more is that Idesperately wanted a dog growing up and my mother was most decidedlya non-animal person. As a teenager she finally allowed me to adoptan older dog, which I was grateful for but she did hold this over mein many situations so its sort of a bittersweet subject for me. Alsothis apparently makes me the doggie expert now, even halfway aroundthe world and since a week ago she has sent me a whole bunch of basicquestions. I haven't responded to any of them, or even read themall—sticking to my once a week contact—but it is still annoyingseeing the subject lines pop up in my inbox.


    What bothers me most is that thecraziness of narcissists never goes away, even when it hides for awhile. Wouldn't the natural order of things be me calling her withlate pregnancy and newborn questions? At the same time she wasshowing me the puppy on video conference she asked if my husband wastaking off any work? I said yes to which she responded that hereally didn't need to take much time off, that I'd be fine, one babyis not really that much work anyways. That's of course the oppositeof what everyone has been telling me. And of course the opposite ofher experience as a new parent, she got lots of help from herextended family and even hired help on top of that. I don't know ifshe's wilfully trying to deceive me or if she just changes the wayshe remembers the past.


    I guess I should be happy thoughbecause I did get what I wanted, she's back to her old, more familiarway of dealing with me. Maybe she'll even be too busy to visit in afew months like she said she wanted to. It all just makes me wonderwhy I stay in contact. I hate feeling like I keep allowing'craziness' back into my life just by having contact with her. I cansee in a detached way how sad it is that she felt she needed to get a'baby' just before I did but I can't say it has no effect on me atall.

  7. #7
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    Re: How to deal with a NPD Mother who changes from showing no interest to too much?

    Balin,

    I too have been dealing with a NPD (undiagosed, but exhibiting what everyone is talking about on these threads) and she follows exactly the same patterns as you say in your update! She bought a cat recently (I believe as a ploy to see my children more who are now 9 and 7) and calls it "her baby" too. She has even fed it "baby meat" which we asked her what that meant and she said the jarred baby food with meat and she picks out the meat from the veggies. Strange indeed. Unfortunately - she lives a lot closer than yours does to you - but I am ready to give up all contact too. Last weekend was my 40th birthday. My husband threw me a really nice celebration - catered and all....she of course was invited and tried to take over the planning (saying if my parents were unwilling or unable)....but my husband had it all covered and it was a surprise for me (for the most part). Then she wanted to bring her own salad (because she has image issues and probably an eating disorder because she is always talking about losing weight).....she shows up.....and before you know it - within an hour - she and her "friend" sneak out and leave - without saying good bye to anyone! Rude and unacceptable. My husband called her and left an "are you all right and we noticed you left early...." and no response!

    I will never understand how someone like her can get away with this bad behavior and then calls you days later like nothing happened. I am done dealing with her, but she is family which makes this the most difficult. My husband doesn't want to deal with her either, but then she claims she needs him - especially when her medical issues occur.

    For your situation - everyone said to me too - a baby will change your life, but they never said how. I can tell you from experience that it changes it in every way. In the beginning, I was so disorganized (drove me nuts) - you are sleep deprived (because of every 2-3 hour feedings) and it will be crazy the first few months.....but then when your baby smiles the first time, and takes his/her first steps, etc.....there are moments like that, that you will never forget. Enjoy them because babies grow up too fast. My two boys are 9 and 7 and I don't know where the time went.

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    Re: How to deal with a NPD Mother who changes from showing no interest to too much?

    Quote Originally Posted by Balin View Post
    I have a bit of an update. I'm veryclose to my due date, my pregnancy is full term at this point butthat's not my update. No matter how much I tell myself over againthat my mother is a narcissist she still finds ways to surprise me. In my original post I was describing how she was showing way too muchinterest in my pregnancy for my comfort. Well a few weeks ago sheput her name down with a dog breeder for a puppy and has just broughtit home. Now she's asking me for advice in dealing with puppybasics. When we spoke a week ago she had just brought it home andwas telling me over video conference that she wanted me to meet 'herbaby'.


    I don't know if from the outside its ascreepy as it is to someone else as it is to me but my husband is agood barometer for craziness. Without him knowing her as well as Ido he certainly raised an eyebrow when I told him and said'interesting timing'. What makes it get under my skin more is that Idesperately wanted a dog growing up and my mother was most decidedlya non-animal person. As a teenager she finally allowed me to adoptan older dog, which I was grateful for but she did hold this over mein many situations so its sort of a bittersweet subject for me. Alsothis apparently makes me the doggie expert now, even halfway aroundthe world and since a week ago she has sent me a whole bunch of basicquestions. I haven't responded to any of them, or even read themall—sticking to my once a week contact—but it is still annoyingseeing the subject lines pop up in my inbox.


    What bothers me most is that thecraziness of narcissists never goes away, even when it hides for awhile. Wouldn't the natural order of things be me calling her withlate pregnancy and newborn questions? At the same time she wasshowing me the puppy on video conference she asked if my husband wastaking off any work? I said yes to which she responded that hereally didn't need to take much time off, that I'd be fine, one babyis not really that much work anyways. That's of course the oppositeof what everyone has been telling me. And of course the opposite ofher experience as a new parent, she got lots of help from herextended family and even hired help on top of that. I don't know ifshe's wilfully trying to deceive me or if she just changes the wayshe remembers the past.


    I guess I should be happy thoughbecause I did get what I wanted, she's back to her old, more familiarway of dealing with me. Maybe she'll even be too busy to visit in afew months like she said she wanted to. It all just makes me wonderwhy I stay in contact. I hate feeling like I keep allowing'craziness' back into my life just by having contact with her. I cansee in a detached way how sad it is that she felt she needed to get a'baby' just before I did but I can't say it has no effect on me atall.
    This sounds really creepy to me. If you are sure she is a NM I would be very careful about allowing her to insinuate her way into your life and most especially the life of your child. Skyping with her sounds too close for comfort and I'd beware of any efforts to increase the level and frequency of contact.

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    Re: How to deal with a NPD Mother who changes from showing no interest to too much?

    A quick update to my last post in July. My MIL didn't have the decency to call back after abruptly leaving my 40th birthday party until a week later! She then proceeded to ream out my husband saying that we were rude to her and her friend. That people ignored her and wouldn't come up to her .....or even that no one helped her get a plate of food. My husband was able to say to her that "it wasn't about her" and we weren't there to serve her.....and an argument ensued.....to which she said we needed distance. Good! We agreed and haven't talked to her since.....but then she proceeded to start emailing us - demanding her gift back, etc. We have kept our distance. I only responded to one email by saying "Respectfully, we are maintaining our distance per your request".....and that was it. But it is now a daily email barrage - on how wonderful she is (from her friend) and how we should be proud of her. The others are more nasty on how they have experienced our fury and screamed at her.....We don't respond. Maybe this is giving up all contact....we will see how it goes.

    Balin - I hope you celebrate your new addition to your family. It is a wonderful time to enjoy and not let anything else disrupt such a joyful time!

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    Re: How to deal with a NPD Mother who changes from showing no interest to too much?

    Congratulations on your pregnancy, or maybe you have a baby by now. Remember it is completely up to you whether your mom comes to visit. That is easy for me to say as I know it's hard to just say no, but just because she wants to doesn't mean you have to say yes.

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