How do I back away from seeing my mom who is manipulative and conniving?


Well, I went through quite a few comments and so happy I am not alone. I am the only one who washes her clothes and take her things . She lives in the nursing home. She has a network of friends who thinks she is wonderful. Of course, she constantly runs her children down. She is a true narcissistic who don't believe she is wrong. She tells everyone that her adult children are too sensitive. She turns everything around and tell me indirectly I have the problem. Two of my siblings don't talk to her anymore. The other one left her husband and left town. I am holding the bag. My growing up years were horrible, an abusive step dad and a mother who was emotionally detached. I want to just quit, but she sends me cards telling me I need to be kind to others. This happened because I yelled at her about her behavior. We have talked to her about her behavior and tried to get her to a psychiatrist,but she don't see anything wrong. Everyone tells me how wonderful she is and I want to throw up. I still have a deep sense of doing her laundry that will keep her from talking bad about me. She has played me for so long, but I keep running back for more from this toxic person. Oh, she is 91, my step dad is deceased and I am a stressed recently retired 63 year old. She is mad that I have a life, she wants me to go to the nursing home to visit more.She craves to be center of attention. She makes sarcastic comments about my weight in a form of a compliment and she is bigger than me. (I like that top, it really slims you down.) She didn't compliment on my weight loss.what really bugs me is she expects me to go back up there like nothing happen. So, I would appreciate an outsider opinion. I am not going to change her and I am tired of ranting to my husband and sister( Mom has been a lot nastier to her than anybody.) Mom is a vengeful women. There are days when I leave the nursing wishing I was working again so I would never have to see her again. The family thinks I need to get over it and be responsible, because I am not supposed to changed

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Why on earth would you do the laundry of someone who treats you like dirt?

She's in a nursing home. Let them do her laundry.
Helpful Answer (8)

Well, your mom needs you a lot more than you need her. At this stage in her life, you hold the cards, if you'd only realize that. I know it's hard after a lifetime of her grooming you to believe that YOU'RE the issue. Can you get some counseling? You have every right to focus on your own health and happiness.

I'd cut down contact with mom drastically. Let the facility do her laundry "Gosh mom, my washer is broken. I'll let you know when I get it fixed. Oh darn, they need to order a special part and it will be six weeks before that part comes in. Sorry!" She may be a bit kinder to you after they lose her stuff or ruin it with their washing. You are not her slave! You are her daughter and you deserve respect and fair treatment. The minute she starts in with her negativity, stop her and tell her you won't listen to that type of criticism any more and leave. Do that a few times and she'll get the message. Others have broken free in your family, now it's your turn! Create some strong boundaries for yourself and stick to them!

Also, spend some time on here reading the many, many posts about narcissistic moms. You are not alone! They control you with FOG, or Fear, Obligation, and Guilt. They're masters of control. You need to learn how to beat them at their own game or just go no-contact. That's another good option.
Helpful Answer (8)

There are treatments for most types of mental illness. Unfortunately narcissistic is not among them. Even if you could get your mom to a psychiatrist, nothing would change.

" I still have a deep sense of doing her laundry that will keep her from talking bad about me." No. There is nothing you can do to earn her love. She does not treat you this way because you haven't done enough of the right things -- she treats you this way because she is mentally ill. That is very sad, but it does not justify ruining your life.

Stop doing her laundry. Tell her your machine is broken or tell her the truth -- you aren't going to do a chore that the NH will perform. Or don't tell her anything. But STOP doing her laundry.

I think detaching from Mom and also getting some counseling to help you overcome the handicaps your mother has given you is what should happen next. Visit much less often. Don't open her cards. Don't take her phone calls. You will be amazed that the sky won't fall!
Helpful Answer (8)


First of all, (((hugs))). You've received some very good advice here, and though I really don't have much to add to what's already been said, your comments touched me.

It's soooo hard to break away, isn't it? So hard to get past the lingering hope that if you keep trying, keep giving, maybe just maybe she'll finally love you. Well, I'm here to tell you that ain't gonna happen. Ever. And do you know why? It's nothing wrong with you, my dear, and never was. It's her. Narcissists are incapable of love. That place inside their chest where normal people have a heart is an empty hole. The only person they love is the false self they've created. . . . a lie. And there's nothing you do can fix them. They are permanently broken.

I get angry sometimes thinking about all the narcissistic "mothers" that use and abuse their daughters. Poor girls who had to raise themselves because the women that gave birth to them couldn't be bothered. Detach. Break away. You are worth saving. Your life isn't something to be squandered on a manipulative, conniving excuse for a mother. Let her put on her "sweet little old lady act" she does for others. You know the face behind the mask. Let the nursing home take care of her. She doesn't deserve your selfless acts of kindness. Give yourself the love you never got. Break free, and never look back. God bless.
Helpful Answer (7)

It's funny about laundry, isn't it?

I was a hopeless wife and a chaotic mother, but my (now ex) husband and (loving) son always had clean, ironed shirts.

Taking good care of the clothes even when you have much more serious problems with the person is *something*. It's something you can definitely, visibly get right. It's a comfort. You feel better for it. I think I do get why doing the laundry is important for you.

Also, fewer clothes get lost and ruined that way, so you save money. Plus you don't have the unsettling experience of finding your mother dressed in a lurid polyester blouse and somebody else's slacks, because that's all the aides could find that morning. There is sound practical sense to it.

Expecting your mother to say to herself "hmm, what a beautiful job she's made of those nightdress frills, aren't I lucky to have such a good daughter," though... Well, you've already said you know that's a kind of subconscious fantasy.

You visit your 92 year old mother regularly and you do this basic care ritual for her not because of what she is like, but because of what you are like. You are the sort of person who does not walk away, and who perseveres even when something is difficult and disagreeable.

The other side of this coin is that your mother's opinion, of you or others, arises not from what they are like but from what she is like. She is snide, she is dissatisfied, she is jealous, she is undermining. Not because her children have failed her, but because she is fixed in her attitude - determined never to be content, always to be confirmed in her opinion. The hypocrisy that shows in the back-handed compliments and the social graces is especially distasteful; but you don't have to expose it. Just note it, and move on.

So "all" you have to work on, then, is not expecting anything different from her. Let her be, recognise her right to be as she is, recognise your right to come to a conclusion about it, and then decide what you wish to continue to do for her.
Helpful Answer (5)

As cdnreader says, "If the other siblings can turn their back, so can you."

So there are 4 siblings, and you are the only one who visits your mother? How did you get stuck with laundry duty (did your mother demand that)? Just consider it a case of logical consequences so that you can stop doing her laundry -- you bring laundry, she acts nasty? You no longer do her laundry.
Helpful Answer (4)

Thank you for all your wonderful comments. I realized after reading that I will need to stop going to see her. I will never have the love from her. The family will be visibly upset and will not understand why I have given up, because I have always whined and complained in the past. They can quit, but they don't think I need to.
Helpful Answer (4)

Dear Lynn,

I'm so sorry to hear how you feel. Please know you are not alone. Growing up I was a desperate pleaser. Always being the good one. The responsible one. The dutiful one. But from what you are saying, don't feel bad or guilty if you want to stop. Its okay to stop. She has proper care and you as a caregiver also need proper care.

My grandmother lives in a nursing home. I was the only granddaughter visiting her regularly. After my dad passed away, she said some insensitive things. I have stopped seeing her for awhile. She never even asked me how I feel? It was always about her and I do feel bad for her.

I normally don't recommended turning away from a parent, but if its causing this much stress and resentment, I would stop. If the other siblings can turn their back, so can you. You deserve validation, acknowledgement and love and gratitude....not grief. No one deserves that.
Helpful Answer (3)

Please hear me. I have a narcissistic dad who was very abusive to me all of my life. I tried and tried to win his love and finally realized in the last few years that there is no way how... this is ever going to happen. So I have stopped. I would write that letter but I would not send it. It will not change her if she is truly a Narcissist. You could let her know you cannot come or that your machine does not work, but keep the letter simple. Then write another letter and let all your feeelings out about everything but dont send it. If you ever doubt your decision, have a look at it.
There is a great site with lots of information and support (forums) for people with Narcissistic Parents. Google "out of the fog".
Take care of you.
Helpful Answer (3)

Sounds like my mom - you will never get her to show love and appreciation - so stop if you feel like it. I used to do all sorts of stuff for my mom and get screamed at, criticized - etc - nothing was good enough. My sister and brother - who never lifted a finger - were the golden children. I finally said "no more" and would leave or end the conversation when she started in on me. I started this several years ago and we have a much better relationship - she seems to respect me now. Stand up for yourself - no one else will.
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