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Switch to Forum Live View Need support divorcing mentally abusive mother
3 years ago  ::  May 22, 2011 - 10:37AM #1
Greymare
Posts: 1
I am 51 years old, and in the process of "divorcing" my mother right now. I find that it is extremely difficult to find support anywhere, because my mother never physically abused anyone. She is a bi-polar who hasn't been in therapy in over 30 years and who always refused medication. She has very narcisstic tendencies and tends to work her world around two themes: 1. she is the "poor victim" of everyone else's insanity or 2. Divide and conquer - she only feels secure when everyone around her is hating each other. I know from past attempts to understand and also from my father (they divorced when I was 7, he and I were able to repair damage early on and remain close) that as a baby my mother was emotionally neglected by her parents. Apparently her mother was ill and her father was a distant type, it was his sisters who did the best they could to keep her alive, but it sounds like she never bonded with them.  She is truly incapable of unconditional love, but she believes that she is absolutely a wonderful mother and grandmother. Many times in the past I have been estranged from her, and those were the happiest times of my life. During one of those estrangement periods I met my current husband (we've been married for 21 years). I only tried to mend the relationship because of having a daughter of my own. Over the years my  mother has had many "episodes" of irrational behavior where my daughter is concerned, many of them in her presence, and my husband and I have set boundaries time and time again. She is the type of person who agrees to go along with the boundaries for a time and then goes back to her old behaviors. She tries to drive wedges between my husband and I (she never remarried btw) and between my daughter and I. She has successfully ruptured all my relationships with extended family on her side and my siblings and I are not close because of her (we have made peace, we're just not close). 

Anyone have any resources that talk about how to deal with all this stuff when it's NOT physical abuse or substance abuse or extreme neglect that's in play? I know others had it much worse than me, but I get tired of reading books about how it's up to ME to do all the hard emotional work, healing, reconciling, etc. My mother is only 20 years older than me and in pretty good physical health. I really want this to end without harming my daughter. I can't bear the thought of another 20-30 years of my mother's manipulations.
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3 years ago  ::  Jul 15, 2011 - 3:50PM #2
Al41
Posts: 30

May 22, 2011 -- 10:37AM, Greymare wrote:

I am 51 years old, and in the process of "divorcing" my mother right now. I find that it is extremely difficult to find support anywhere, because my mother never physically abused anyone. She is a bi-polar who hasn't been in therapy in over 30 years and who always refused medication. She has very narcisstic tendencies and tends to work her world around two themes: 1. she is the "poor victim" of everyone else's insanity or 2. Divide and conquer - she only feels secure when everyone around her is hating each other. I know from past attempts to understand and also from my father (they divorced when I was 7, he and I were able to repair damage early on and remain close) that as a baby my mother was emotionally neglected by her parents. Apparently her mother was ill and her father was a distant type, it was his sisters who did the best they could to keep her alive, but it sounds like she never bonded with them.  She is truly incapable of unconditional love, but she believes that she is absolutely a wonderful mother and grandmother. Many times in the past I have been estranged from her, and those were the happiest times of my life. During one of those estrangement periods I met my current husband (we've been married for 21 years). I only tried to mend the relationship because of having a daughter of my own. Over the years my  mother has had many "episodes" of irrational behavior where my daughter is concerned, many of them in her presence, and my husband and I have set boundaries time and time again. She is the type of person who agrees to go along with the boundaries for a time and then goes back to her old behaviors. She tries to drive wedges between my husband and I (she never remarried btw) and between my daughter and I. She has successfully ruptured all my relationships with extended family on her side and my siblings and I are not close because of her (we have made peace, we're just not close). 

Anyone have any resources that talk about how to deal with all this stuff when it's NOT physical abuse or substance abuse or extreme neglect that's in play? I know others had it much worse than me, but I get tired of reading books about how it's up to ME to do all the hard emotional work, healing, reconciling, etc. My mother is only 20 years older than me and in pretty good physical health. I really want this to end without harming my daughter. I can't bear the thought of another 20-30 years of my mother's manipulations.


Hi,


I am sorry you have not had a response yet.  Perhaps you are having more support on your home page.  I want you to know that this takes a really strong person so I am proud of you for recognizing that the change needs to be made for yourself and your family.  I am an only child of an abusive family.  My mother greatly resembles your mother and I have had to sepaprate from her for periods of time...like when I was pregnant.  I basically explained to her that she stresses me out and causes more problems for me than she helps with so during a time when I needed to take really good care of me, I c ould not maintain relations with her.  I hope you are doing well and are getting the support you need.

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3 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2011 - 2:40PM #3
dimplesloe
Posts: 1

May 22, 2011 -- 10:37AM, Greymare wrote:

I am 51 years old, and in the process of "divorcing" my mother right now. I find that it is extremely difficult to find support anywhere, because my mother never physically abused anyone. She is a bi-polar who hasn't been in therapy in over 30 years and who always refused medication. She has very narcisstic tendencies and tends to work her world around two themes: 1. she is the "poor victim" of everyone else's insanity or 2. Divide and conquer - she only feels secure when everyone around her is hating each other. I know from past attempts to understand and also from my father (they divorced when I was 7, he and I were able to repair damage early on and remain close) that as a baby my mother was emotionally neglected by her parents. Apparently her mother was ill and her father was a distant type, it was his sisters who did the best they could to keep her alive, but it sounds like she never bonded with them.  She is truly incapable of unconditional love, but she believes that she is absolutely a wonderful mother and grandmother. Many times in the past I have been estranged from her, and those were the happiest times of my life. During one of those estrangement periods I met my current husband (we've been married for 21 years). I only tried to mend the relationship because of having a daughter of my own. Over the years my  mother has had many "episodes" of irrational behavior where my daughter is concerned, many of them in her presence, and my husband and I have set boundaries time and time again. She is the type of person who agrees to go along with the boundaries for a time and then goes back to her old behaviors. She tries to drive wedges between my husband and I (she never remarried btw) and between my daughter and I. She has successfully ruptured all my relationships with extended family on her side and my siblings and I are not close because of her (we have made peace, we're just not close). 

Anyone have any resources that talk about how to deal with all this stuff when it's NOT physical abuse or substance abuse or extreme neglect that's in play? I know others had it much worse than me, but I get tired of reading books about how it's up to ME to do all the hard emotional work, healing, reconciling, etc. My mother is only 20 years older than me and in pretty good physical health. I really want this to end without harming my daughter. I can't bear the thought of another 20-30 years of my mother's manipulations.

  • My oh my . Your story is so similar to mine. I am 56 and mom is 81   We never found out what mentall illness my mother has. She is too difficult to even go there! My mom also is the "victim all the time" she pouts like a 4 y yr old if she is upset and not getting her way. Yup she is only happy when we're all fighting. At least that was what  she has spent her life doing! Trying to divide everybody up.  We are a family of four siblings. My older sister and younger brother have had no relaionship with her for a number off yrs, due to her meddling and constant negativity. My youndest brother, the baby gets whatever he  wants cuse he kisses her ass, *(sorry) I 've tryed to keep the relationship going even though she has made it amost impossible The latest incident... she gave my youngest brother almost 300.000.00 and me nothing!  That was a deal breaker!   The manipulation  ends here!  All the best !
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2 years ago  ::  Feb 02, 2012 - 4:19AM #4
Bob_the_Lunatic
Posts: 3,458

My wife has a mother just like this-not every situation is the same, but I'll tell you what worked for us: Her mother is a vampire-feeding off the misery off others, what you described as "divide and conquer".  We simply learned the rules of her game-and played it back at her better than she.  It's been a while, but they went something like this:


1/  Make it up as you go.


2/  When in doubt, change the subject to something arbitrary.


3/  Deny everything.


4/  Play headgames and always keep control of every conversation.



Also-note these are the offensive rules (pay attention to #4), you cannot react emotionally to anything she does or says-that is feeding her, you cannot feed her-instead you have to turn the tables and consume HER emotions via rules like the ones above.



Oh and after you've had one where she appears to be really offended or something... wait a few weeks, then send an ironic card, and sign it "Love ya".


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