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I asked a question a while back and have since been obsessed with this site. The things that everyone shares and goes through is like early lessons to my future. I am incredibly impressed with all the support everyone offers as well. With that said, here it goes:


Lately when I talk to my mom (who is 71, lives alone, full functioning) she inserts herself into EVERYTHING. Or tries to at least.


If I talk about my kids, she has to insert herself as if she’s a part of it. If I say something about my kids telling me something, she will say I know they told me and then proceed to ask me stuff to see if I know something. If I mention something my kids do, she will cut me off and talk about something similar I did when I was the kid and she was the mom going through what I’m going through. If I share something about work she changes the subject and talks about something about her career (that has been over for over 10 years).


I know shes not a narcissist but it’s very narcissistic and quite frankly annoying. I find everytime I talk to my mom lately I always get off the phone annoyed. Consequently I avoid calling her because the conversations are always about her and every minute detail she’s experiencing. Combine that with the repetitions of more minute details and I feel like we don’t connect.


To be honest, I would take the reptitions over the making everything about her. I can’t open my mouth to share ANYTHING without it turning to about HER and it’s usually in a flattering way towards herself.


Also, I find my mom lies. She will say share one of my kids shared something that I will ask about later and it’s not true. It’s often a lie that they spoke highly of her or requested something only she could provide but it didn’t happen. It’s like she’s constantly trying to prop herself up and make herself appear more important than she needs to. I wish my mom would let things stand on their own and not make it all about her. It impairs our relationship and when I try to talk about it to her, she gets quiet or defensive and denies it.

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I have a friend who is like this, and she is not that old. Every conversation is about her. If I try to say something about what's happening with me, it get turned to about her very quickly. It's quite a talent.
What does your mom do with herself all day? It sounds like she doesn't have enough to occupy herself. Could you encourage her to get out and do stuff, volunteer, senior center. When I go to assisted living places, the residents are just way to interested in who I am, what I'm doing etc. It's like running a gauntlet of police inspectors. I really think it is because they don't have anything better to do! They are bored, they are a little aware that they are not contributing to the world at large. Your mom may be having the beginnings of dementia and is losing her social skills. Do what you have to to get along. If this means shorter conversations and less frequent ones, then that's how it is. Try to accept that this is who she is or where she is now. Since you have read about way worse stuff on this forum, try to accommodate your self to this so you are better able to deal with what may come.
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Wow, so much of your post reminds me of the way my MIL talks to her son! Does she also ask you questions and then cut you off when you start to answer them? MIL was always a bit like this but it has gotten much worse.

You might be interested in googling martyr narcissists. They seem to pair up with the more malignant kind of narcissist.
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My mum is 71 also, everything is about her or how I have disappointed her. She may call 2-3 times a year. She will only visit if I pretty much force her to come. Over the past 30 years I have been the one maintaining our relationship. I visit (not enough the last few years) and I am the one to call. I'm over it! She wants me to tailor my life around hers. And I'm not going to do that! I just don't know what to do about our relationship....
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OhBoy999 Feb 6, 2019
I’m so sorry. I can hear the angst in your reply. It’s very sad things take a turn this way doesn’t it? My mom also does not call. Ever. It’s like my burden to check on her, check on her well being, make the effort. One time I asked about it and she said “well you’re so busy..” Well I could be sick or going through a stressful time myself. Never any concern with that! It’s all about how they feel or perceive things.
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Wow, I thought my mother was the only person who did this.

Whenever I go to visit, she ALWAYS says (dramatically) "Oh, THANK GOD you're here! I have been just praying for DAYS for you to come). OK, I live 5 minutes away and duh, she has a phone. She refuses to call, ever.

It's usually some minor thing she can't figure out and she lives in a household with my brother, his wife and 4 ADULT children. I mean, the oldest is 31, so they are competent people!!!!!!!!!! Never says a word to any of them.

I try to tell her about the family, mine and my sibs', since they are all MIA--but she has to move every conversation to her and how much the men at the Sr Center "want her" or about her one "still living" friend. There isn't much more to her life. Sitting in her kitchen chair for 4 hours, then a bathroom break and sitting in front of her puzzle table for another while, the a 5 foot shift to the recliner to watch TV. The 3(!) TVs are on all day long and she doesn't lower the volume when you visit, so well, you don't feel like she really cares if you came or not.

She also does that "remember when we did this or that?" from back in my childhood. She is trying to "create" memories for me that will somehow make the horrible ones go away. Doesn't work that way.

Truth is, she wasn't a great mother. And she now knows it. And she can't "fix" it. She wonders why she sees my sibs twice a year and we all live within 20 minutes from her.

I was fussing at this one day--trying to understand her-and my no-nonsense older sister said "Listen, she was a for-sh&t mother and a worse grandmother. She didn't care, she doesn't care. Why do you care so much? This is called "consequences". And she dropped the subject and haven't really talked about this since.

We do spend far too much time trying to figure people out, esp if they are ones we feel "obligated" to love.

In my mother's case, and perhaps in yours, this behavior was just kept under wraps, so to speak. Mother IS sliding, but she's just "more" herself than she's ever been. The filter is gone, is all.
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OhBoy999 Feb 6, 2019
I used to say “uhhh hello, keep the topic on me” but my mom is so super sensitive, the after effects of calling her on her ish just isn’t worth it and it’s less annoying to just cut the call off or keep the conversation benign. It’s very sad. We used to be close but the wiser I got and started asking questions about things and holding her accountable the more ridiculous her reactions and attitude became. I just don’t have time for people’s shenanigans esp grown people!!

I’m sorry you’re experiencing something similar. I don’t know how I’d feel if my mom was a sh*t mother and grandmother. She was actually a good mom. Not perfect but a good mom. I have issues with her gransparenting sometimes as it seems like my mom uses money and gifts as a way to keep my kids close. I don’t care for her emotional manipulation either or the things she will try and pull up you to go in a certain direction she wants you to go but she’s pretty much figured out she can try but it ain’t happening.

I think we try to figure them out cause we really want to know what happened? How did she/he turn out this way?? So maddening.
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Good morning,

“I am always on my mind.” That is what I get from reading about your mother. I have a sister who is like this, but I call her on it. I’ll say, “_______, this is my story, issue, problem, etc.” Or “I really need you to listen and give me some input........”. Most of the time we can get the conversation back on track. I don’t view my sister as narcissistic, but I was intrigued by the fact that you said that your father had a toxic narcissistic personality. I wonder if your mother’s behavior is a reflection of living with your father? My sister, too, has a very difficult husband.

At 71, your mother is fairly young. I do not believe in the old adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. It might take longer, but you could try to get her to refocus. I am thinking that if I ever get this annoying, (well, I might be already!), that I’ll have children or friends who will love me enough to be honest with me in order to give me a chance to change and not just avoid me.
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OhBoy999 Feb 6, 2019
My mom and dad divorced when I was 17, separated at 15. It’s been over 30 years since she was around him but I’m starting to see my mom has her own issues. I think a lot of it is because she has expectations and me not filling them or seemingly concerned about any of it makes her bristle and react negatively due to the fact she’s not aware of her own expectations.

Thats awesome you can tell your sister and she doesn’t take offense. If only!!!

I agree abour wanting people to be honest. I have the same mindset. I have a saying: hurt me with the truth don’t comfort me with a lie. My mom however does not do well with accountability and her overly sensitive nature whether it’s fact or fiction sends a clear message that it’s all nil so I avoid it for my own peace of mind. I’d like to honest. I’d like to have a conversation with her about it but she’s not open to really hearing it and when she does she shuts down. I def don’t want to be this way when I’m older or have my kids avoid me.
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Living alone probably doesn't help an existing problem. Maybe in her growing up years she was not praised for things she did or felt not smart enough. So she needs to do it for herself to feel like someone.

My MIL lied all the time. Her oldest son thinks she believed her own lies. She could repeat that lie 5 yrs later. Her sister said she was like that as a child and reprimanded for it. MIL took a SIL with her to England. MILs sister pulled SIL aside and apologized for the "stories" that MIL was saying because they weren't true. SIL said that was OK, the family knew about MIL. So see, its a sickness. I don't feel the family should have gone along with it. But then, maybe it was easier just to let it go. She did raise 3 good sons and I have had the luck to be married to one.
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Oh Boy

I am sorry that you are finding yourself in this stressful and difficult situation. At this time it seems when confusion and conflicts has come up and well...you find yourself wondering what is going on and asking yourself "Who is this person?" At least that is how I felt!

Some years ago, my mother was doing the same thing except she either made it all about her or all about my brother; her golden child!

I can relate to your frustrations. If I did xyz, so did she! If I had abc my brother had it to but worst! This went on for about a year than I had enough. For me, I just simply came out and told her "if your going to make everything about you or my brother than there is no reason for us to talk anymore." She stop doing it some time after that. And like you, I would not call my mother nor would I take her calls. I went weeks and sometime months of not calling her.

However, she just stop doing it, as fast as it came--it went.
I am not telling you to confront your mom as I did. I did not know what else to do. I didn't know about this forum at that time.
For me, because I can only go by my experience, this with the things that followed showed me that my own mother has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). I never thought she had NPD! I don't know if I was blind to it or if she was that good at hiding it. I was told by my own therapist that she was able to hid it because some people with NPD learn what to say and do to 'fit in' our society.

She now has been Dx with Vascular Dementia. In hindsight, I think it was probably the beginning signs of dementia. With dementia the person can no longer have the 'for thought' or 'brain power' to hid who he/she truly are. This is just food for thought!

All I can say, is that you have been given some good advice here and you are not alone. What you are experiencing others have gone thorough. I am afraid that this may be the beginning of you going down the path that we here at AC are on. Start learning as much as you can about what is going on with your mom.

I am sorry that I don't have any advice for you, but I want to offer you my support and my empathy.

The best of luck.
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OhBoy999 Feb 6, 2019
I really appreciate the words of encouragement and a reminder that there is good advice here and to not feel alone. I appreciate that because it goes very far in comfort and feeling understood. 💕
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Oh Boy,

Mom has always done this, even before her dementia and still does. If anyone challenged her stories or offered their own version of reality, Mom flipped her lid. These stories were constructs to boost her self-esteem, usually at the expense of someone else. I call it "rewriting history." As a family, we let it slide to avoid the hissy fits and punishment. But to tell you the truth, I wish now we'd called her out on some of the B.S. and took the fallout because letting her lie with impunity just fed our family dysfunction.

And like you described, Mom always hijacked conversations too and made it all about herself. Still does.

When you go down the list of narcissistic behaviors, it's check, check, check, check. And on a scale of 0 to 10, typically a 9 or 10.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.
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mathisawesome Feb 6, 2019
" I call it "rewriting history." As a family, we let it slide to avoid the hissy fits and punishment. But to tell you the truth, I wish now we'd called her out on some of the B.S. and took the fallout because letting her lie with impunity just fed our family dysfunction."

THIS! I feel like I'm paying for not standing up to her long ago!
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My husband does this but to a lesser degree. I start to tell him something and before I finish he has a story about how he experienced the same thing. I told him just the other day that from now on when he does this I'm not even going to finish my story about what happened to me. I know this will bug him so maybe he'll learn from this.

I think people who do this are not necessarily narcs but just people who need someone to validate them all the time. It almost sounds like insecurity the way you described your mom. Does she not have much going on in her life? Maybe by doing this she thinks it makes her sound important. Maybe she is self-conscious about her lack of an interesting life. I'm just guessing here. Obviously I don't know your mom. But maybe she needs to be encouraged to take a course or do something interesting so she doesn't have to lie about things that never happened.
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mathisawesome Feb 6, 2019
I stopping discussing issues with my mum that have been going on in my life. About 3 years ago she said "Mathisawesome, who has had the hardest life. You or me?" It was a not so big personal issue going on at work or something. She says she wants me to talk to her but when I try she changes the subject or talks about things have been awful in her life. I wanted to freak out! Its not a contest! I have come to realize that she has little true interest in my life if it has nothing to do with doing something for her....I'm trying to get okay with that.
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If this is a change in behaviour, it is worth following up with her doctor.

But if she has always been this way it may just get worse with time. I know my former mil would work every conversation to being about her, then eventually complaining about her ex (divorced in 1984) and she has remarried and been widowed.

How is she not a narcissist and yet narcissistic? Or is she just regular manipulative? Has she had her mental health assessed in the past or more recently?

If this is a change in behaviour it could be a sign of worst to come. Important to have her assessed and to have a baseline.
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OhBoy999 Feb 6, 2019
I guess I mean her behaviors are narcissistic but I’ve never classified her as a narcissist. My dad IS a full blown narcissist. The malignant kind. I no longer have a relationship with him. Toxic toxic toxic.

However, the more I think about my mom, she might be a covert narcissist. I just find it hard to imagine I would have two N parents!! 😩

Back to your question: it does seem like some of this behavior isn’t new but more pronounced because it’s so prominent and out there lately. I can never get her tested though. I don’t live nearby and she would flip out if I suggested it. I have no way to do it on the low either. She has close friends that if I mentioned it to they’d tell her. It’s really mind boggling and it frightens me to think I might become this way one day.
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Oh Boy
I know this must be very discouraging for you. It doesn’t sound like she understands what she is doing. How she is sabotaging your conversations. Is it worse on the phone than in person? Has anyone else mentioned that they have the same problem with her?
There is a term in phychiatry called confabulation.
Look that up and see if it sounds like what your mom is doing. My MIL did this and then later her sister did. In their cases it passed after awhile. They both developed dementia. They weren’t really lying. What they said seemed true to them. I know it’s stressful.
You can find threads on this forum about it and you can also google it.
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OhBoy999 Feb 6, 2019
Thank you for that term. Now that I read it I realize my mom has always been this way even when we were young. She would lie and expect us to go along with it. Which we did because we were young but they were always lies tomake herself look good. She would tell people we never ate a cold breakfast because she cooked every single day but we did eat cold breakfasts. She’d also say how she was so into keeping the house tidy and clean we’d often wake up to the walls in the kitchen being a different color because she’d redecorate at night. Happened once but she tells that story and says it front of us even today like we will still keep up with the lie. Or she’ll even ask it “remember how I made your breakfast every single day?” And I say “no because you didn’t.” Then she gets quiet and won’t tell that lie again for a long while.

She has always had a habit of painting a picture to make her look like she knows everything, did everything, made something amazing happen. She can never just BE and she’s always been this way here and there but now it’s all the time!! wow. Maybe she is a Narcissist.
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