I was 9 when her "parentification" of me started. I prefer to call it emotional rape, because that's the way it felt. It happened many times from about 1969-1974. To this day, I am both terrified and enraged towards her. She doesn't know this, because I stuff my feelings inside. I am 60, and she is almost 85.

Mom does not remember these horrific events. (She had a cancerous brain tumor removed last December, and I believe she's in some phase of dementia. Both could affect her memory). But she in turn believes she was "Mother of the Century" to me, so my serious issues are just me being nasty, or my husband being evil. She is perfect. I know that is part of having NPD, but I'm still angry about it.

Perhaps if I were a better person, I could just "get over it" and continue seeing her 2x/week. But I can't, because it hurts too much. Emotional incest. Wow. I guess I really just want her to feel MY PAIN for a long, long time as payback. I know - that's wrong. But it's the truth. How can I handle this, and live a happier life?

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Listen, you should NOT be saying things like "If I were a better person I could just get over it" etc. Things like this don't just 'go away' because you want them to. Nor does it make you a 'bad person' to have anger towards a parent who has NPD and treated you very poorly. It is what it is. You can't fix what happened to you as a child, nor can you fix your broken mother. Right? So the answer lies in how you can take care of YOU; not in how you need to change to continue accommodating HER and her nonsense.

You are 60 years old. I am 63 years old. I too grew up with an insane mother and have huge anger issues towards her to this very day. I've spent 63 years of MY life being tortured by HER, that's how I look at it. Nothing's gonna fix it either. And it has only gotten worse over the past 5 years since my father died and her dementia has worsened. Dad was her scapegoat and punching bag, for the most part. Now that he's gone and I'm the only child, guess who bears the entire brunt of HER anger and hostility?

My answer to her issues is to limit my contact with her and to deal with her BS on MY terms. She lives in Memory Care Assisted Living b/c there was no way I was going to have her live with me! I see her once a week for 20 minutes; I call her 6 nights a week and keep the call as short as possible. As soon as she starts acting up or treating me badly, I say "I'll be hanging up now mom and I will speak to you at another time when you are in a better mood. Goodnight and sleep well."

Last but not least, I truly do not think people like us can lead a happier life until our mothers pass away. Because we have to deal with them on a daily basis, and listen to the BS they feel the need to force us to hear, and that brings back ALL the childhood trauma we were forced to deal with THEN. It's too much. We can go to counseling and pay a lot of money to someone to hear them tell us to either go 'low contact' or 'no contact'. Or, we can do that for free. I went to counseling many many years ago and after spending lots & lots of hard earned money, you know what I learned? "You will never be friends with your mother." Gee, really?

Women like this cannot feel 'our' pain because they have some emotional block that prevents it. They can't feel empathy, so they can't put OUR shoes on THEIR feet and say, gee, maybe I have been a sh*tty mother and THAT is why my daughter is not so interested in spending a lot of time with me. Not possible. There is something missing inside of them that cannot be replaced or fixed. We have a woman on this website who's mother recently passed; she refers to her as Mthr. She explains that there is some motherly thing missing inside of her mother, which leads her to refer to the woman as Mthr. Perfect explanation, in my opinion.

You'll never convince HER she isn't perfect; it's YOU who's the Bad Guy. These women need someone else to blame for EVERYTHING in their entire lives because nothing has ever ever EVER been their fault. So you can't win no how.

Move on with YOUR life, my friend. Set down some boundaries and some rules to follow that you don't break for any reason. Do the minimum. And then forgive yourself for whatever imagined 'infractions' you feel guilty of. Our mothers are The Queens of making us feel like Bad People. It's a lie. We're not. We're just a bit broken and shaken by a lifetime of abuse.

Sending you a big hug and a prayer for peace, dear woman.
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Clarlady Jun 2020
Hey, you understand the pain and anger for sure! Thanks for helping me feel justified and vindicated. I hope you find peace in your situation soon!
It is emotional rape. My wife and I both experienced this. She has a mother with NP and BPD. She spent years in therapy and finally set boundaries to get her freedom. She and her mom were in a codependent relationship together which is part of the bondage.

Not remembering is typical of BPD. Being a better person will not help. It's normal to want the BPD parent to feel one's pain. No, that is not wrong. It's the truth. My wife got in touch with her anger about her mother to the degree that she knew exactly how she wanted her to die, how she would suffer and how long it would take for her mother to die.

BPD's and NPD's are also known for hating their children's spouse as I went through with my MIL.

Furthermore, at her age, she is not going to change. Know this. You didn't make her this way. You can't control how she is or fix how she is. All, you can really do is to take care of you.

You can't handle this by reading books alone which I could recommend or by reading articles online. You need a therapist to help you deal with this and live a happier life.

There is no rule saying how often you must visit. It does hurt. Emotional incest hurts. I would suggest writing your hurts down as if you were writing a letter to your mom, but don't take it to her. Take it to a therapist! You are a strong person to be so open about your pain and anger. Please don't swallow it.

I don't know why the market has more literature for mom/son emotional incest, but mom/daughter emotional incest is just as real.

Also, avoid absorbing any of her personality traits as a defense mechanism against her and a therapist can help you with that.

I wish you the very best. Please respond and keep coming here for support.
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Clarlady Jun 2020
Your reply gave me a lot to think about, and it was spot-on advice. Thanks!
I just googled 'parentification,' and WOW. I'm falling down the rabbit hole now - 'adultification' and 'enmeshed parenting' are snapshots of my childhood. I'm not a stranger to therapy or self-help books - why is this new to me? I've got to follow up on this.
I think everything you are feeling is normal and completely justified. Why do you see you mom? Is it guilt and obligation, or thinking she might change? It's really hard to accept that children have no obligation to parents. And even though you seem aware that she will never change, part of you probably hopes maybe she might? A flicker of love or appreciation. Lots of folks on this forum relate to this.

Can you just stay away? Don't visit as much - or at all. It is torturing you and you don't deserve that. You've been through enough. Focus on yourself and what makes you happy. Easier said than done, since you are not used to it. But really, the worst part is over. You are in charge now, of your life and your choices.
Helpful Answer (5)
Clarlady Jun 2020
Thank you for your kind answer. It's so good to know that others understand!
You are most assuredly NOT alone in this.

People who look at my mother from the outside see a complete 180 of who she can be.

I went grey rock with her some time ago and haven't looked back.

Nothing is wrong with ME, in this dynamic. She was always so quick to point out my many faults and failures and I, as a child, of course believed her. She has her favorites, of which I am not one.

Last week was her 90th birthday. A small party and YS asked everyone to write something special to her, as a memory book. I just. couldn't. And so I didn't. Bought a generic card and signed my name. I'm sure she didn't notice/ care.

Lots of therapy and the aha moment when I realized she wasn't going to ever be the mother I needed and deserved.

Luckily I had wonderful, loving grandmothers who lived into their 90s, so I DID have female role models that were not totally toxic.

At the age of 63, I no longer speak to her unless I feel like it. When she dies, I doubt I will feel anything.

I would imagine that 70% of the people who post on here feel about their mothers the way we do. It's really sad---for them. They miss out on relationships with their grandkids and great grands. My grand kids do not know who she is.
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