My Mother is Driving Me Nuts!

by Feeling Motherless
(SLC)

This could be the longest posting on your site, I think, but I am going to only address what bothers me most about my relationship with my mother. I have always wanted a better relationship, but after nearly 30 years, I am still at a loss. How can I mitigate these top three issues that drive me absolutely nuts?


1. Must have a piece of the show. My mother can't unselfishly praise another person. She must always find some way to allocate attention and compliments to herself; somehow she always points out what she has done to deserve credit. I watch her do it to everyone, but it is especially annoying when it's my college graduation and she wants the attention. Or I get a dream job and she wants to talk about how she thinks she could do it better.

2. Doesn't listen or acknowledge me. I have tried to talk to my mother about things that bother me about her. I get one of two reactions. Either she is so crushed about my criticism and cries and plays the victim by repeating that I have just implied that she is a horrible mother and throws herself week long pity parties, or she explodes and becomes very, very nasty... even calling me names and spewing venomous, hateful words.

Even in casual conversation, I am not allowed to have an opinion. If I express a different point of view, she gets more and more aggressive about proving her point and its clear that the conversation is not over until I know that she is right and I am wrong.

Lastly, whenever I do set boundaries, in later conversations, she acts like we have never discussed it and she did not know... Whatever prevents her from swallowing my boundaries, it comes across as her not listening and acknowledging what is important to me.

3. Inconsiderate and appears to only do things for selfish reasons. She is extremely inconsiderate of others, not just me. It's embarrassing in public and hurtful when she is inconsiderate of me. She simply believes that she is right and others are being anal or weird if they are offended or can't accept her actions as being normal and right. It truly appears that she is only ever thinking of herself and what she wants.


Ben's Answer:

You're mother is a classic narcissist. In the dictionary, there could be a picture of her next to the definition of narcissist. The hallmark of the over-inflated ego of a narcissistic personality is that if you challenge them, they either collapse in spasms of indignation - a victim of your cruelty -- or they blow up with rage. Beneath the personality of a narcissist is a huge ball of fear and feeling of being nobody - worthless - and unloved. The narcissism is an unconscious attempt to compensate for these feelings of shame and fear.

If you can remember this, it may give you some empathy and tolerance for her. But narcissistic personalities do not change easily, or quickly without a great deal of work. You can't change her. If you try, you will most likely just get burned. You need to decide if the positive aspects of your relationship with her (if there are any) outweigh the toxic aspects of being around her.
She might have so little genuine love for herself that she is incapable of loving you. Hard to accept maybe, but you'll save yourself years of pain if you make your own peace and happiness a priority and don't wait for her to be the mother you wish she was.

Take Care,
Ben

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