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My mom hasn't spoken to me since last Thursday after I hung up on her raging phone call that all of her problems are because I don't want her to drive! Even her lawyer said so! "Okay, bye mom, talk to you later"


Saturday DH was washing saltwater from our balcony doors so he knocked on her door and asked if she wanted hers done, and she said yes. While there they apparently had a brief discussion about her driving, and it went nowhere, she's still on her mission to get her license and thinks she can do it.


Yesterday she texted him and asked if he would take her to the grocery store. He said he would today, and that is where they are now.


I appreciate that DH is trying to be a buffer here, but my mom is still playing games with me. Has anyone else had a spouse step in, and if so, how did it go? Should I just keep ignoring all of this?


I have to admit, not having her here the last few days has been nice. But she still takes up mental space in my head.

Thank you NHWM,

My mom used to be a social person. She was widowed at age 54 and stayed single, so her friends were a big deal. It's only been in recent years that she has gotten so anti-social.

Thanks for pointing out the good part of what happened, and that I will likely, no make that definitely have to remain firm in the future. These outbursts are such a part of who my mom has always been that I don't see them magically going away, but at least I am getting better at standing up for myself.

Appreciate the kind support!
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EP,

I am glad that you were able to speak your mind. So happy that she remained peaceful. That’s good news. Do you feel like the other shoe will drop eventually?

I would let her be by herself if that is what she desires. Is she an introvert? Was she socially active earlier in her life?

Keep your life as you wish. She doesn’t have to be the ‘only person’ in your life, just because she wants you, DH, and your dogs to be the only ones in her life.

At least she welcomed you into her home with a smile. There wasn’t an outburst. That is something to be grateful for.

Don’t hesitate to tell her again that you will not tolerate her abusive behavior or simply walk away. She can’t attack you if you aren’t around around.

Take care, Piper
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Update:

"Standoff" ended yesterday. I was coming back from the store and saw my mom had a Fed Ex overnight envelope by her door. I didn't want to leave it outside as I guessed and was right that it was paperwork needed for the sale of her PA cottage. So I knocked on her door and when she answered she smiled at me and asked me to come in. So I did.

The conversation went smooth, meaning my mom didn't get angry, and I was able to tell her that I will not tolerate mean outbursts and accusations. She tried to circle around back to the driving a couple times but I stayed clear of it. The state of Florida will be telling her soon enough. Since she didn't get nasty I basically let it all go.

Something that came out that concerns me is at one point I brought up that her isolation is a problem and we need to figure out some solutions. She told me point blank that she did not want to meet other people, at all! I said Do you mean the only people you want to talk to here are me and DH? And she said Yes, and the dogs. (we have 3 small dogs). She was being totally serious.

I literally didn't know what to say but my heart sank. In fact I didn't say anything, and she started telling me the real estate agent from PA had to overnight some papers because she (my mom) forgot to sign something and didn't get it notarized. That switched gears pretty quick because I realized she needed help to go through that paperwork even with the real estate agent trying to walk her through each step.

So I guess we are back to "normal".
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Thank you to everyone who has been supportive. It means a lot.

BlueEyedGirl, your DH is lucky to have you. You are being his buffer, and the fact that you do this recognizing that he has scars from his narcissistic father enables you to see the situation for what it is, which is not something everyone can do. That ALONE is helpful to someone who has been gas-lit their whole life. You validate HIS feelings and that's a big deal.

Over here the standoff still continues. My mom tried to snag DH into looking at her wifi and some other things yesterday when he stopped by to get her for her nail appointment. He said- sorry no clue on that kind of stuff, maybe call YB? (my brother works in the computer field).

I know she didn't call my brother or he would have called me to go down and fix things with him on the phone because he has ZERO patience with my mom.

But my mom can not bring herself to call me. She would rather sit down there and stew away, blowing this up into something so much bigger than it needs to be. I wouldn't even expect an apology because that will NEVER happen. Just for her to make the first move. Call and be decent. I'll be back to "normal" in an instant.

But no. She must play the game. When I think about how successful this was for her in the past, she must be wondering what happened to me? Why isn't this working? Or who knows what she is thinking. I'm not going to worry about it.
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Piper,

Was reading through your thread again.

Sorry, I missed your question that you asked about the dynamic changing between my mom and me, since she moved in with my brother.

To be perfectly honest, I am really not sure that it has. Our relationship was damaged from various issues that goes back to my childhood.

I always wanted to have a healthy relationship with my mom. I would have loved to have harmony in our family. Sadly, not all relationships are healthy or able to be healed. We can’t force others to see things clearly.

I am at peace now that I am no longer mom’s caregiver.

I cared for her for two decades, 15 in my home!

I learned the about setting boundaries from my therapist, this forum and a support group that I attended for caregivers.

It took me awhile to process my emotions and learn how to react properly to mom.

Mom is a perfectionist that has to have everything her way.

She doesn’t like to compromise. She has always been that way with me, ever since I was a child.

I suppose that I gave in to her at times, simply because I was exhausted and was tired of arguing my point all of the time but that didn’t work.

My husband who is really smart used to tell me, she’s going to be hacked off anyway no matter what you do, so do what you want to do!

I should have listened to him more because he was right.

Just like your husband is with his nonchalant approach to your mom. Smart man!
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Piper, I am a little bit envious of your husband's ability to remain calm. I'm so bad about that with FIL. I go into every discussion with the intent to disengage and ignore, and let myself get provoked and sink to his level. I started engaging with him because after years of seizures, my DH, who agrees with my engaging and my thoughts on his dad, has trouble sometimes putting his thoughts into words fast enough to counter his dad, compounded by the years of narcissistic driven verbal and mental abuse he was subjected to. FIL has not been diagnosed with dementia, but all signs point to yes. And narcissism is pretty much a given.

I've been reading here for a while and the way you handle yourself and your mom is above board. Boundaries are healthy. And you can honor your parents in many ways, including protecting them from themselves! Caregiving is not for the faint of heart with even the most docile, agreeable, appreciative loved one. When you compound that with someone who is or has been abusive, mean spirited, aggressive, angry or punitive in response, it takes things to another level entirely with your mental and physical health. You are doing what you feel is best for your mom. She doesn't have the ability to recognize that, but at the end of the day, you are looking out for her.
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Piper,

Your husband sounds like a gem!

He sounds like my husband who sees things in a more black and white way than I do.

I tend to see many gray areas, so my mom always got to me more than him.

My husband is grounded and looks at things in a ‘factual’ way. I attribute his ways to his engineering background. He has a ‘scientific’ type of mindset.

My husband always offers to do things too which is incredibly sweet. Some wives always have to ask their husbands to pitch in. Marriage is give and take. I have no doubt that you are there for your husband when he needs you.

I often wished that I could see things as clearly as my husband. It would have saved me many headaches!

In time, this situation that you have will work out. You’re headed in the right direction.

I don’t envision you or your husband to be your mom’s doormat. Both of you are setting boundaries. Your mom will have no choice other than to accept reality. She’ll soon see that she is barking up the wrong tree.

As always, I continue to wish you nothing but the best in life, you deserve it!
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AH Piper, I'll bet I know exactly how you feel about hubby doing things:
"I so appreciate him doing this, but I feel guilty because it's my mom and my job and my responsibility"...
It's how I felt every time my hubby did for my mom.
I don't remember where I read this: "It is a privilege for me to do for my spouse the things I find easier to do than (s)he does." I just kept that thought in mind every time I felt bad/guilty/lazy, etc.

You have been overwhelmingly patient with your mom, more so than she deserved. Your husband seems to be a great guy; and you deserve that!!
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Piper

So, you are now "MAD" with me because I told you the "truth" about what's going on here instead of what you wanted to hear?

Sorry, The last I checked, this was a "PUBLIC" forum.
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Barb, I'm going to do more reading, starting with the article that Lea linked. My therapist is only doing telmed right now because of covid, but I like the idea of trying some role play. Some things are so far deep in our psyche it takes changing brain plasticity to feel better. I've been reading about it, but it's a new subject for me so I'm not sure how to put it into practice, but role playing seems to fit.

In the meantime..... the standoff continues.

Lea, DH and I are on the same page, we talked so I made sure of it. Initially I felt kind of weird about him communicating and doing things for her while she is waging this imaginary war with me, but he explained why--
I had texted my siblings and asked them to check on my mom since she was being abusive to me and I wasn't going to be around her as long as she acts that way- well the next day my brother texted and basically said if my mom can get away with getting a license in FL I should just leave her alone about it. I didn't hear anything from my sister. So DH said asking them to check on anything is a waste (and he is right) so he said he was/would do it because he knows if nobody was checking on her then that would also drive me crazy. He's right about that too.

So, he's keeping it friendly and almost business-like. He knew she had a nail appointment today so he offered to take her since he has errands to run anyway. She said yes. Who knows what kind of earful he will get later but I trust he can handle it well. His Aspie personality serves him well in these type of situations. The first day he saw her and driving came up (by her) he told her point blank he doesn't think she should be driving anymore, she got defensive and he told her "MIL, you can't hurt my feelings" and dropped it.

Yoda, I know I have to be the one to set boundaries and stand up to her. It's true though, my mother is always on better behavior when my husband is present with me. She gets most nasty when she has me alone, or on the phone. When things are more "normal" I can be around her alone, I've gotten better as far as the general anxiety, but when she's acting out to this extent, no.
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Stacey


You are Absolutely right.
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My wife's therapist told her after a very bad visit with her mom when she also had our boys with her that she was glad that I was not there to hide behind my pants. That painful experience plus her seeing her therapist soon served as a turning point in her becoming proactive about her mom plus setting boundaries.

Early in our dating, I took on the role of taking on her mother which was not good for either me or my wife. My therapist has told me that I was actually fighting my abusive mother who was much like her.

I'm not sure your husband is being a buffer on purpose other that it serves that role by being nice and helpful.

My advice from experience is to not ask him to stand up to her for you. You need to stand up for yourself to her without dragging him into an unhealthy triangle. Believe me, nothing will change by hiding behind your husband's pants! You, on the other hand, must be like that Navy Admiral who told folks to dam the torpedoes and go full speed ahead. His ships ended up winning that battle. It helped that those were the early days of torpedoes in which they did not always explode. Furthermore, take no prisoners in the pursuit of your goal.

I will also say this from my experience. Once, you have stood up and broken this emotional chain of bondage, you and your husband will experience a level of intimacy than you have had. I'm talking about intimacy here, not sex necessarily.
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Piper,

I hope that you don’t feel any guilt because your mom isn’t speaking to you.

None of this is your fault whatsoever.

You have seen how successful your husband is with his communication with her. I would do my best to follow his lead. Easier said than done, I know. There are times that we would like to scream, cry or both.

Caregiving is such a mixed bag of emotions.

It’s completely normal to become frustrated with tough situations.
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I think words gaslighting and narcissism are overused buzzwords.

The person in my home has not been diagnosed as a narcissist but she is a selfish a$$hole. I wont speak to her for weeks on end mainly because I do not want to and she provokes me. It is not my relative and I want no relationship.

So now that the board has decided you are abused and she is a narcissist, what do you do? Your doing the same back now. Pop psychology states you should open lines of communicaion, acknowledge her feelings, discuss how things should be going forward and outside therapy.
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The OP isn’t new here. She has an extensive posting history about her narcissistic demented mother. It’s ridiculous to expect her to post every detail on every post. Her mother is a narcissist and MOST of us are familiar with OPs situation so again let’s cut the crap and stop gas lighting her. She’s put up with enough abuse from her mother. She doesn’t need to come here and be told it’s her fault her mother is emotionally abusive. She doesn’t deserve replies that imply that SHE makes her mother treat her this way.
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What???

Someone here stated your mom was an abusive narcissist.

I have not read anywhere where you stated your mom was abusive.

To my understanding, your mom has dementia and she was upset with you because you will not let her drive??? Correct????

Be care of listening to people. They will have you thinking your mom is a terrible person when she is not.

You hung up on her, therefore, she is upset with you and won't talk. Am I correct???

By all means, don't go on a computer's definition, either.

Hope you and you mother work things out.
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First of all, YOU have done nothing 'wrong' to warrant such behavior from your mother. Suggesting otherwise is a gaslighting tactic used by people who are either narcissists THEMSELVES or completely in the dark about personality disorders in general. Blaming a victim for the abuse they receive is unconscionable, inexcusable behavior and it's never 'okay'. Just because 'a judge' purportedly said something doesn't make it a Fact. Or the Truth. Or relevant in any way, shape or form. It's just like the abusive husband who beats his wife, then says "If YOU didn't poke me that way, I NEVER would have beat YOU; it's YOUR FAULT."

That said, the silent treatment is a passive/aggressive tactic used as a means of control by those who want to put you in your place. They'll give you the cold shoulder for days or weeks on end to achieve those goals. This is considered emotional abuse, make no mistake about it. I suffered The Silent Treatment for many years from my mother, as did my dad, and it creates stomach aches, as it's intended TO do. It's intended to get us to CRUMBLE and give in to whatever they're wanting.

"The silent treatment is widely regarded as a form of emotional manipulation and even psychological abuse. It is the act of ceasing to initiate or respond to communication with someone else or refusing to acknowledge them altogether."

So again, it's not 'okay' to use this method of 'communication' with a loved one.

If you are going to continue interacting with your mother, you're going to have to find a way to ignore her, for the most part. Otherwise, SHE gets her way and you lose. You beg her to stop the silent treatment, she wins.

I haven't had my DH interject with my mother, per se, but he has been in a situation or two where I left the scene and he was alone with her. Once, right after my father died, when she had packed up all of his clothing into a large garbage bag, put a few of HER things on top, and told me to take it to Goodwill. That it was 'her stuff' she was donating, which was a lie. When I looked inside the bag, I saw ALL of his clothing and was floored! Rather than start a screaming match, I stormed out of the room with the bag, leaving DH there alone with her. She started ranting about how "she hates me" and all sorts of nonsense, to which my DH replied, "why were you lying to her to begin with?" He told her to stop twisting the story to make HER look like the victim instead of me. That's what these women DO.

I think you and your DH have to be on the SAME PAGE when dealing with your mother, or she will manipulate him to death. She will sidestep you and go to him, her new flying monkey. You can't have that, not at ALL. Both of you need to present a united front to your mother. You both agree. One of you will take her shopping on A day, or whatever, and then stick to it like GLUE.

Step back from the games as much as possible and move on with your life. Just b/c she can't drive and hates that fact doesn't make YOU The Bad Guy. It makes her incapacitated to where she CANNOT drive, which is nobody's fault. These women MUST place blame on others........it's the only thing that makes them feel good. It's never THEIR fault.

If you haven't already, read this:

https://lifelessons.co/personal-development/covertpassiveaggressivenarcissist/

Hopefully you can glean some useful tidbits of info and tips from what this author has to say. I loved it and it's helped me a lot.

Don't fall into the trap that YOU are the bad guy here and have done something to earn her wrath. That's B.S. and it's what she thrives on and COUNTS on to manipulate you further.

Sending you a big hug and a prayer for peace. Take care of YOU now and move AWAY from the biting doggie.
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Ah you’re the next victim of gaslighting! There are evil cold hearted beings who love gaslight victims and try to make them feel bad for not wanting to put up with abuse. Don’t fall for it. It’s not your fault you mother is an abusive narcissist. It’s not your fault she’s giving you the silent treatment. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You are the victim here, not your mother.
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The "Silent Treatment" is not a game.

It is literally a way some people express themselves to hurt, opposition, etc.

You stated your mom stopped talking to you after you hung the phone up on her.




I actually had to sit in a court room in front of a judge. The judge asked a man, What does his wife do when she is upset? The man responded, "She just refuses to talk." Guess what the judge asked then? 'WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING TO YOUR WIFE TO MAKE HER STOP TALKING TO YOU.?"

Yes, That is right.
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Barb,

Thanks for this reminder. All of us need to be reminded of this from time to time.

Some people thrive on having an audience and I know that I fall into this trap sometimes when I am frustrated and it is a complete waste of time and energy to try to reason with the unreasonable.

The role play works very well! My therapist did that with me. I was able to see things that I hadn’t seen before. Sometimes we unknowingly set ourselves up for heartache.
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EP, have you read anythingvabout NPD?

A narcissist lacks ego strength and needs to gather (you might say suck) supplies from elsewhere. Otherwise, they feel empty, meaningless and invisible.

Starting drama, stirring the pot, having an argument makes your mom feel alive. If you abd DH refuse to tango, she will up the ante until she learns that you are unmoveable. Or, she will up the ante further with threats of self harm, etcetera.

Have you worked on role play with your therapist? It can be a good technique so that your reaction to mom become an automatic "non response" and not automatic anger.
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NHWM, now that your mom is living with your brother has the dynamic changed?

There is nothing disappointing about your view versus your mother's view. She is the one who is flawed expecting that you should be like her and not be your own person.

I'm glad your husband was a calming force for you. MIL did a good job!
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My husband usually remained neutral when it came to mom. I can tell you that he was absolutely my calming force.

My mom never asked my husband for assistance of any kind.

She thought everything was my job, as her daughter and that men are the head of the household and shouldn’t be disturbed.

Mom is very ‘old school’ like that. When she saw my husband helping with our daughters when they were younger or doing household chores she used to say that I was being lazy! It used to drive me nuts.

She waited on my brothers and dad hand and foot and expected me to do the same. I suppose that I was a major disappointment to her in that regard.

My MIL, on the other hand, was the exact opposite and she raised her sons to be independent! I often thanked her for raising an independent son because he is a great husband!

My MIL said she raised independent sons because her husband was spoiled by his mom and swore that she wasn’t going to raise her sons to be that way.

I agree with Barb, your husband is handling the situation just right!

Wishing you peace during this challenging time.

Take care.
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My husband told me he is going to disable the car, but if it came down to it I'll get a local officer involved.

I'm so tired of her crap Barb. I think her threats yesterday were all for attention and to get a rise out of me (and maybe DH- good luck with that). She is aware enough to know if she drives without a license and DUI suspension she could face jail time, and that scares her. Right now, she still believes she is going to get it back, so her threat to drive is just her posturing.

Similar to the threat to move. She knows that pushes my buttons because of all I did, all me and my DH did to move her here, the money, the renovations and work. So much work.

In reality it would be difficult if not impossible for her to move again. But you know what, I wish she would. In fact if she says that to me I'm going to say GO AHEAD, do it. I'm not lifting a finger but call my siblings, I'm sure they will be right over to help.
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I think your husband did exactly the right thing by not reacting.

I KNOW you have all the keys. If she drives without a license, somehow, you call the cops and report the plate and that she is driving without a license.
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That is how I left it with her last Thursday when she was screaming into the phone that her lawyer told her "Your daughter just doesn't want you to drive".... as if I have some personal stake in my mom not driving, or like I want to drive her around. She was just being abusive, and I said pretty much said exactly what you suggested "Okay, talk to you later".

When my DH came home from taking her to the grocery store she had given him an earful.

I don't know if I have ever mentioned this her but my DH is a high functioning Aspergers man. I'm married to Dr. Spock. He's very smart but does not get emotional in the "normal" sense, and I when I'm bordering on hysterical he can often calm me down with logic. Just for some context here.

So they leave for the store and my mom with zero prompting starts in on the driving issue. All he says is I don't think the state of FL is going to give you a license but go ahead and try to find out. He then tries to drop it. Not her. She proceeds to tell him that IF she can't get a license she is going to drive anyway. Again he keeps it very short- I don't think that's a good idea, and again attempts to change the subject. Not her. She starts ranting how MY SISTER said if it was her she would do the same thing (drive without a license).

When she got no reaction (he literally said nothing) then she takes it up a notch and tells him This isn't working out, and she's going to MOVE. That MY BROTHER wants her to move to PA, but she is also thinking about moving to her old town. (That's the place where her BFF made sure she got OUT of).

DH didn't react to anything. Just did the grocery business. When they got back my DH had put all my mom's groceries on the easy access shelf of the condo cart, ours on the bottom. At her place he started taking her things into her place. She went in and did not take a single (lightweight) bag. So he took them all in. Surprisingly that was the thing that seemed to irritate him.

My DH has had the patience of a saint with my mom. He has done more for her in the last 3 years than my siblings combined over the last 20. I really hope she doesn't push him too far. Because I can tell his patience is getting a little thin. And when he is done, he is DONE.

I also know my mom knew my DH would come home and tell me what she said about continuing to drive and moving. She wants a reaction from me so bad I feel it in my bones. I did not call.

I'm not going anywhere near her right now.
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Maybe you and hubby get together and come to one common them, basically an "OK, Mom. Talk later" sort of thing. And you both just don't give an opinion anymore. I think so much is going into this and I bet Mom will not even GET that license. We'll see, but I bet she doesn't.
So for now just assume it won't go her way. Just tell her "We are going to leave this in your hands Mom, and we aren't really going to discuss it anymore." Then both of you say only that.
It's awfully hard to argue with a brick wall. Whenever I am done with an argument I just go brick wall.
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