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I didn't hate my mother, but I was quite afraid of her my entire life. Things went ok after I learned how to behave to keep her happy, though I had panic attacks from childhood through my 20's. Got married just to get away from her. Loved being a mom, always talked tenderly to my kids: to avoid how I grew up. After 24 yrs, I divorced, & mother needed help shortly afterwards. I didn't expect the panic to come back, but she was impossible to please & nasty, (memories of my past flooded in).


Now, 6yrs later, she's dead, & I suddenly feel safe. I did cry for a week during her palliative care, (sorry for her misery). Now I cope by taking the advice of many here: exercising & keeping busy (with the estate for now). But I'm surprised at the relief I feel (& cannot tell my family that stuff). Anyone had similar? Thank you.

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One of the best treatments of this topic I have found to help clients who come to my office for help with elder care planning and estate settlement and probate is a booklet by H. Norman Wright called: Experiencing Grief. The author would probably say that yours are healthy emotions that help with healing.

Each chapter in the booklet is 2 -3 short pages, and your question is one of many that are treated with wonderful insight.

After the tree on the front cover, there is only 1 other picture illustration in the booklet. It is a diagram of all the bad feelings that can overwhelm a person if they don't admit and (as the title recommends) experience grieving. It is a picture of serious problems that sprout and spout from "denial" of grief.

Your thoughful post points toward the path to healing that all of us need to seek.
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anonymous828521 Jul 2019
It's a rollercoaster of emotions...that affect my physical pain level also. (On some days I'm actually exhausted from the cycle). Worsened cuz I'm not as resilient as when I was young). Thanks for your expert reply Mr. Roberts.
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Hello - My narcissistic OCD controlling abusive mother died in April. I found great solace in any article I could find that essentially was under the heading of "how to grieve a narcissistic mother". I knew from years of therapy it would never be my mother I would grieve...and I don't. I don't miss her even a little bit. I didnt even think about calling her for 10 weeks. However, there is something you might find it helpful/healthy to do and that is to grieve the loss of the relationship you always wanted with her, that one you did all you could as a child, teen, adult to earn and you never did. It's hard to let that fantasy go and harder to understand and accept the time and energy you lost trying to be worthy of someone not worthy of you.
It's ok to be relieved. In fact, it's pretty darned healthy. Congratulations on knowing your true emotions.
hugs from New England
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YardParty Jul 2019
Reading your words was cathartic. You so beautifully articulated what so many of us are experiencing. Much Appreciated!!
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I don't think, for one single minute, that it's 'shameful' for you to feel relief that your mother is no longer here on earth to abuse you. What I DO think, however, is that she's done ENOUGH harm to you and that you now need to figure a way to get rid of ALL the guilt/shame/fear that you've harbored for all these years. It doesn't just go poof and disappear once the abuser passes away.........I think you need to speak to someone about it all and have a course of action to take to get PAST all of it. You know? It's YOUR time now, to be free and clear of ALL negativity tied to your mother, and to live a life that's happy and fearless. It's okay to live without panic attacks, and without walking on eggshells worrying that you may say something 'wrong' and set her off. I know from where I speak. To be honest, all I ever wanted from life was to get AWAY from my mother. And here I am, at 62 years old, an only child, responsible for everything regarding her care (she lives in Memory Care), her finances, EVERYTHING. There is constant drama ALL the time, and no escape in sight. I will tell you this, dear Tiger: I will feel TREMENDOUS relief when my mother finally passes away. Whether that statement is 'right' or 'wrong', it's the God's honest truth and I wanted to share it with you in hopes that you'll see you're not alone with your feelings.
All the best.
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anonymous828521 Jul 2019
So kind of you to share that lealonnie1🌈. I've had online therapy that was comforting & helpful. (I cannot deal with the 'face to face' therapy though, too emotional & unsettling for me). Thank you & ((Hugs2 u):) M.
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I have one question - what on earth do you feel sorry for? You did not have a good relationship. Remember, what you sow is what you reap. When they are abusive and mean, you owe them nothing. Your heart is broken for what you did not have from her and that is perfectly normal. Be thankful and relieved that the past is gone and buried. Now you are free to seek a better and happier life. If you can't talk to the family, talk to a therapist to get your feelings out in the open. Don't hold them in. Good luck on your new happier days.
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cherokeegrrl54 Jul 2019
I second every word in this post!! Go get help from a therapist to work this thru so now you can live YOUR life safe and free from the past. Many blessings and much love in your new journey 💖
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My answer is No. My mother is 94 and a real B on wheels. For me, and other family members, it will be a relief when she dies. As long as she is alive, I will do what I have to...to make sure she is safe and properly cared for. Believe me, I get it!
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anonymous828521 Jul 2019
True, we struggle to do the right thing, to the end. It's great to have an understanding group here. Thanks DollyMe.
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You have no reason to feel ashamed. People will not understand, so I would discuss this with a psychologist or Licensed Social Worker used to working with these difficult issues, so you don't have to deal with more issues. But no, not everyone is worthy of our love, or of our mourning. It is sad, but it is true.
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anonymous828521 Jul 2019
Thanks AlvaDeer. I can't imagine the length of time it wud take to unravel all my dysfunction in therapy, lol, but will investigate it further...((hugs)).
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I anticipate relief when both of my parents pass. When I first realized those feelings, I thought that I must be an awful person. But now, they have put me through so, so much in their elder years (alcoholics, self-destructive behaviors) that I have come to terms with my feelings. Sometimes I daydream of the freedom away from waiting for the next emergency. My mom was Baker-Acted yesterday (for the second time in two months) due to alcohol and prescription drug abuse. Just knowing she is locked up in a mental-health facility, and someone ELSE's problem for a while, has brought me some temporary relief and joy.
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Zdarov Jul 2019
Bless you. I’m glad for the OP’s post, and for others sharing this completely sane and important validation.
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No you should not feel guilty at all although I certainly sympathize that in our society most people have good parental relationships so it's hard for THEM to sympathize w/ those of us who didn't - unfortunately we look cold and uncaring when we don't appear to 'feel the right way' toward our abusive/narcissistic parent. But unless one has grown up in that dynamic, they can't possibly understand how we feel.

For years I thought I was the only person who had an emotionally manipulative, emotionally/verbally abusive, controlling, condescending, critical, judgmental, complaining, and rude mother. She had some sort of undiagnosed mental illness(es) - she'd never let us take her to get diagnosed/treated & due to the stigma of mental illness in those days, my dad didn't push it, just pretended it didn't exist - we think she had at a minimum BPD, with lots of anxiety, paranoia, some schizophrenia...and she was most definitely narcissistic.

She was the most awful to me, the oldest, which is not uncommon, but she was pretty hostile to anyone who didn't believe the same things she did, think the same way she did, do what she thought you should in any situation etc. But she'd triangulate between me & my 2 siblings (saying one was badmouthing one of the others etc), which I've also learned is not uncommon. She wasn't happy unless people were fighting with each other, with her at the center of it all. I caught onto her gig first, but eventually my sibs did too & we learned to check with each other before believing any of her crap. Eventually she had no friends of her own left and was at war with everyone in her family. She also managed to drive all my father's friends away as well. It was very sad and isolating for us as kids.

I married the first guy who asked at age 18 just to get the hell away from her (other option that I considered was joining the Army, and almost did before dad talked me out of it). I've always been someone who knows my own mind, very independent, no dummy so I wasn't about to take life advice from someone who'd never gone anywhere or accomplished anything with HER life. She often took sides with my enemies or people who didn't have my best interests at heart. She was incredibly toxic, & later when I had kids I was bound & determined they would have very limited exposure to her (turned out to be good advice because she played the same game with my kids - mean to my daughter, while my son was her favorite).

Naturally, I've wound up being the one caring for her. She's 88 & on hospice care in my home as she has, among other things, severe advanced dementia. I won't even go into how that happened but up until a month ago she still had as much b*tch in her as ever & was driving me nuts. Now she doesn't have long left and I will never be so happy as when she isn't in my life anymore. She never nurtured me - I was never loved for who I was, only to the degree I aligned with her beliefs/opinions - and I was never considered good enough.

I will have to hide my giddiness, especially from my boyfriend, whose mom was also on hospice care at the same time as mine, but who was beloved by many. Her funeral a couple weeks ago looked like a state affair. He was close to her & sorely misses her. To him, my attitude would seem callous even though I've told her what she was like. Most people can't wrap their heads around the notion of terrible moms (Each Mother's Day, finding a card was always a challenge because I never felt anything any of them said). No one will be coming to my mom's funeral except us siblings and maybe a few of the grandkids. My dad was saint to put up with her and probably didn't leave her so we weren't left alone w/her.

As I got older I learned that my mom's mom died when she was young and her older (mean) sister raised her, then there was a custody battle over her between an aunt & her dad, so I had SOME empathy for her. Not much.

So no - you feel what you feel. You should feel NO shame in your situatio
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mterpin Jul 2019
"Each Mother's Day, finding a card was always a challenge because I never felt anything any of them said"

I always ended up going with the "joke" cards, but Mother's Day was always the worst for me. And of course one is always expected to give a card regardless of the fact that she was always abusive to me from a very young age.
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I have a narcissistic mother who is in her 90s and I M an only child. I am doing my duty by caring for her and can’t wait for this to be over. I have never been good enough she constantly moans about everything I do as far as she is concerned I am not allowed any life that doesn’t include her. Don’t give it another thought get on with living and make sure you don’t treat your kids the same I have made sure I don’t,
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anonymous828521 Jul 2019
So true 'auntyP', we devote our lives to undoing the harm, & not letting it pass down to our kids. thanks.
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The short answer to the question is absolutely NOT! There is nothing shameful about feeling relief....its your inner self taking a deep breath without consulting you! Plain and simple, sometime the heart is smarter than the brain.
My mom is fairly healthy 91, SOB, just like her mother was. Lives alone b/c assisted living places didnt think she would adapt well.
First one, the courtesy lunch. First thing out of her mouth at the table was how many (N-word) work in the kitchen-she didnt want anyone spitting in her food. They asked if she wanted to meet kitchen staff and she gave them the smart mouth " No," She kept it up, the others at her table...dam near went into heart failure! I finally handed her a roll and said PUT THIS IN YOUR MOUTH! She threw it.
I removed her immediately and headed for the door, until I noticed she had urine dripping from the wheel chair. Staff got me clean things and showed me to a bathroom where I cleaned her up. When done, she looked me right in the eye and said "I can keep this up all day, can you!" Drove in silence to her house, she grinned the entire time. Me, I could have done the unthinkable and leave that to a jury to decide my fate. Got her inside, never saying a word-heading for the door I hear
" Have a nice day". I got in the car, out of the parking lot, pulled over and LOST IT! Do you know what at 61 year old tempter tantrum looks like! Im screaming- hitting the car, kicking my feet.....all sorts of crazy crap. Im thinking **it! at this age that SOB still gets to me! This is just one day with her- 3 hrs of my 61 yrs- that took dam near a week to re-group. I remember so many things that has come out of her mouth, things she has done- bills in my name, OMG you dont want to know. Cant take here anywhere-she fakes being blind/ twisted from a stroke, twist her arm, toss her head to the side, tongue hanging out of her mouth/ shake like Parkinson pt/ I heard her tell someone she was paralyzed! I AM SO SICK of this woman getting a pass in life due to age! Her mouth is unbelievable! At home 24/7 she is naked, obese, will sit in a chair and pee, towels soak it up, wont wear diapers or pads-wont wash, stinks, nocturnal, and food obsessed add nasty, vulgar, spiteful, selfish, story twisting liar and you got her. These are the things I think for when the time comes. I brace myself for doing what needs to be done at that time but dont cherish the crap that will come -I have no HCP, POA, no will, bank only in her name, crap from beyond the grave. INSISTS I will cremate her, she wants to be buried. She thinks of cremation as payback. She calls it the "cooker" how vulgar! She has a total of 3 funeral planned NONE paid for. 1 in Fla. & 2 with different funeral directors here, done for attention, all over 20K!!! There is just no end. I will never forget who & what she is, nor can I forget things I had and still have to untangle, even at 61, in my head & heart. The only thing I am sure of now is- it wasnt my issue, it was given to me as a child to drag thru my life and when she is gone, I will do the best I can to bury that with her, no looking back. I dont know if I'd call it peace, relief, solace, or even if there is a name for it. I do know WE deserved better than WE got and if WE dont put a stop to it living in our heads after passing, nothing changes and the cycle may just repeat. Be well my friend, breath. Hugs!
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ybd311 Jul 2019
((Hugs))- my heart goes out to you!!
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