For as long as I can remember I have strived to do what is right to keep our relationship positive by being the daughter she demanded. If did did or said something she didn't approve of then I'd change to suit her else suffer the consequences. Pretending to be someone I'm not has caused depression, low self esteem and anxiety for me.
Last year I met the most wonderful, supportive, thoughtful man who adores me and me him. He proposed and I accepted. We have both been married before and want the wedding to be quiet and about us and our love for each other so we decided to get married alone abroad.
We invited my Mum and her partner out to dinner to share our news that we had booked the wedding (she already knew of his proposal).....
Me "Mum, we invited you both here tonight to share some happy news, we have booked and paid for our wedding next year."
Her "and you don't want me there"
Me "It's not that we don't want you there, it's that we don't want anyone there. It's second time around for both of us so we don't want fuss and also his family would not be able to afford it. However when we get back we would love to take everyone out for a special meal to celebrate"
She sat and cried.
I held my hands out to her across the table and she didn't meet them. I got up and went to cuddle her saying "Please be happy for us"
No bottle of champagne.
The following day I'd hoped for a phone call, a text.......anything. I spent all day feeling guilty, beating myself and miserable. My wedding bubble had been well and truly burst.
The day after that me and OH decided to go out for the day to share some 'us' time. We went by train and had the most wonderful day laughing, walking, taking photos, a great meal and sharing a bottle of wine. Time and space away helped clear my guilt temporarily.
On arriving home our neighbours came around with a bottle of champagne and a bunch of flowers from Mum. She had been around and as we weren't in left them. No text, no phone call to say what she'd done.
As it was late I didn't call her but instead the following morning texted her to say thank you. I couldn't bring myself to call her. I found myself feeling angry..... Why couldn't she be like normal Mum's?
Since then we've had 3 phone calls all which I have initiated. No mention of the wedding has been made. She has been cold towards me, constantly complaining of how nothing in her life goes her way. My mood has been low, my anxiety high and the wedding glow somewhat tarnished.
That was almost 3 weeks ago and yesterday I googled "My Mother doesn't acknowledge my wedding."
That was my epiphany moment!!! I had no idea of NPD and I have spent the last 24 hours reading and reading. I have lost count of the times I've said Oh that's me...or she does that....
I realise now that I have spent so many years trying to be the perfect daughter in order to gain her approval, which of course I'll never get.
Where I am going to go from here, I'm not sure but for sure I am NOT going back to being old me! It will be hard I know but I have to move forward and mend. I have to think of myself and my future husband.
Thanks for sharing your story.
It sounds like your mother is displeased and is unable to communicate that in a mature way, and so goes for the passive-aggressive style, which can be typical of narcissists. It's good that you are reading up on narcissism -- by clicking on the link to the main website above, you will find many articles on NPD, including dealing with an aging narcissist, which you might find useful.
It's sad that she has burst your happiness balloon, but keep reminding yourself that it is your wedding and so it is going to be the way you and your husband-to-be want it, and no-one else. This will be hard as it sounds like you have spend your life trying to please your mother (another sign of narcissistic response), and now that you have made a decision to change the way you interact with your mother, be prepared for fireworks or the silent treatment, or both.
The first process you need to instigate is to learn how to set boundaries -- something that, if your mother is a full-blown narcissist, will be difficult as you will not be used to standing up for your own rights and having her be reasonable about things that YOU want to do. This will take time and lots of practice, since you have been trained from birth to please you mother first and foremost. It will feel strange, and your relationship with your mother will be problematic. I encourage my clients to work on one or two "rules" to begin with, and start to implement them only, as trying to change everything at once is far too stressful, and you are likely to fall back to the old ways just to keep the peace.
Be sure to focus on your new husband and yourself. Your mother will try to move in on that relationship and take your time away from it and direct it back to her. You will need to be clear as to what you will and won't do for your mother, the amount of time you will spend interacting with your mother, and how you will react when she behaves poorly as a result of changing the ground rules. It's best to plan this, and not be vague about how things are going to be, otherwise it will be too difficult to change the pattern. You need a template to work with in order to balance your life, and your life with your mother.
If you need help in implementing the changes that come in taking control in a narcissistic relationship, contact me at the main website via the link above.
And good luck and congratulations on your wedding! I hope your day is wonderful.
B.Sc (Hons). B.Psych. Dip.Sc.
Principal, Your Online Counselor
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