My elderly father died recently. Now my mother, who has definite narcissistic tendencies, is pushing me away. What should I do?

My mother and I have never had a very close relationship. She was not very nurturing and almost always made it seem like being a mother was a chore she just was not up to. I have 2 older sisters and they feel this way as well. We each live far away from her (because of jobs) and so are not able to be there in person to support her after my father's death 2 months ago. We all came initially and left at staggered intervals to try to have someone with her for as long as we could. Since then, we try to call her often and want to visit as much as time and finances will allow, but she is pushing us all away. When I call, she cries and says I couldn't possibly understand how she is feeling, and that she is all alone with no friends and no daughters living nearby to help her. I have tried suggesting counseling and she refuses (she doesn't want to tell a stranger all her problems). I have tried suggesting volunteering or going for a walk or reading or even cleaning out the cupboards just to get her mind off things for awhile, but she is not interested. She says she just wants to sit in her chair and cry. Twice in the past week she has hung up on me and told me to just leave her alone. This has been incredibly hurtful. I understand that she is grieving the loss of her husband of over 60 years, and I want to help her, but I am at my wit's end. She has said some incredibly hurtful things and doesn't seem to even consider that I might be feeling bad over the loss of my father. My sisters are experiencing similar things. What can I do? Do I stop calling? Write letters instead? Make another visit? Or do I try to give her space? (Please note that my mother NEVER calls me. I have to call her if there is to be any communication between us. It has been that way for my entire adult life) Advice please, if anyone has been in a similar situation. I am so upset over all of this-

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Top Answer
HoustonDaughter, so sorry to hear about the passing of your Dad.

Now you need to put yourself in your Mom's shoes. The love of her life is now gone. It has only be 60 days, and she is scared about the future without him. This isn't the retirement they had planned. So she will feel so very lost without her husband around. She probably doesn't feel like talking because she is grieving.

Let her grieve the way she wants to. Your Mom just needs time to find her new normal. She might even go through a phase where she will also be angry at your Dad for leaving her behind.... that is normal.

As for Mom not telephoning, that sounds just like me. I am always afraid that I might be interrupting something like they have friends over, or are busy with lunch or dinner. But I will answer if someone calls me.

Does your Mom text? If yes, just a simple "I am thinking about you" to your Mom will be enough. And don't be surprised if your Mom doesn't want to go to visit for the holidays.

I am sorry for the loss of your father. I think I would give her space too, maybe making very superficial contact occasionally. Not all grieving widows will react as your mother has, so there may be some mental health issues/ self centeredness acting up here too, from your comments about the past, which make it unlikely that she will be able to appreciate your pain. Protect yourself as you go through your own grieving. You need space for that too. ((((hugs))))
No, my mom does not text or email and is very distrustful of any and all social media. I am not "allowed" to mention her or post any pictures with her in them on facebook, etc. (And I do honor her wishes) Would sending a card once or twice a week be too intrusive? I truly want to help and support her, but want to avoid becoming a punching bag for her-
I think a card would be nice but not every week. Once a month would be nice to say ur thinking about her and to call if she wants to talk or needs something. You say she has narcissistic tendencies. Not saying she isn't grieving but these people are good with making people feel guilty. Don't fall for it. No friends...this is her fault. She will need to find a way to be involved since u all live far away. From what I have read on this forum, you don't want to give up ur life for a narcissistic person. They don't respect boundries. Your Mom has no one who can check on her for you? That way u know what is going on.
Call once a week. Let her grieve her own way
HoustonDaughter, I fully understand about your Mom and Facebook. I refuse to be a member as the site is too invasive. The whole world is watching. And especially now with your Mom being alone, you want her to be safe.
I want to say thank you to all of you for taking the time to comment and offer advice. I have decided to limit my calls and offer my mom encouragement and support through cards and letters. Indeed, she does need to grieve in her own way. Thank you again-

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