Saturday, March 16, 2013

Two Years Ago - The Second Incident

Two years ago I was really learning about narcissistic mothers. I had finished reading Alice Miller's "Drama of the Gifted Child" and Susan Forward's "Toxic Parents" (which I highly recommend). And two years ago this week I had what I call "The Confrontation" with my mother.

I think it had been about six months since "The Incident", which  I discussed in my post titled "The First Ephiphany". What I left out of the summary of "The Incident" was it was really conflict between my E-Sis; there was something very distressing to me that I did not want talked about in front of me and I asked it not be brought up in my presence. This still seems to me have been a very reasonable request and one that could easily be carried out. However she continued to bring it up in front of me. This upset me and perhaps for the first time ever I reacted much more like a normal person reacts to boundary violations; with anger toward the violator. My NM jumped in to middle of the situation and naturally that only escalated the situation. Over a period of about a week I hung up on someone, specifically my NM, for the first time ever, which became multiple hang ups, and sent a lengthy e-mail to NM and E-sis  trying to explain how they had trivialized my emotions my entire life and  apologizing to my sister for the one thing I had done that I felt merited an apology. It was a pretty scathing e-mail, but anyone with an ounce of empathy would have understood it was coming from a deep emotional wound.

For the record, I never received any serious apologize from E-sis for the things she said/did that hurt the most. Inf act instead of leaving me alone like I asked she kept picking at it making it worse. The whole blow up would have been much less severe if she'd just left me alone like I had asked at one point. We'd have had some space, thought about, and likely apologized to each other, I think. But obviously that wasn't what happened. Oh no, NM have to jump in. At any rate, NM and I saw each other at an outside event and tired of fighting I (foolishly) apologized. What did she say? She said she was sorry, "but if she had to make me angry at [her] so I'd forgive [my] sister..." Yeah, great apology there, NM.

Cue "The Second Incident" and about a month later "The Confrontation". After a frustrating "miscommunication" triangulated through E-Sis about if DH and I were coming up to do a favor for NM and then attempts to tell me (not ask) when we could come do this favor instead, I signed out of the online chat I was speaking to my E-sis through. When I am annoyed or frustrated I like to be left alone to cool off and get over it. For some reason everyone besides E-sis and NM seem to understand that. Apparently NM felt like she had to protect E-sis from me or something, and decided she would "nip" whatever the hell she thought was happening "in the bud". At the time I was just frustrated, annoyed, and wanted to be left alone; then she called my cellphone. That's when I became angry.

Kudos to me though, I chose to maintain the boundary of being left alone for awhile and didn't answer. I knew speaking to her at that time would be a bad idea, and I knew I was entitled to not speak to her if I did not feel like doing so. Did she perhaps leave a message like any other reasonable person would do when the person they are calling doesn't answer? Or decide to call back another time? No, of course not. Narcissists are not reasonable people, after all.

She called my husband's cellphone (who foolishly answered), and demanded he put me on the phone. That is when I became furious! Mind you that's not how she remembers it happening, she claims she only asked him to have me call when I was ready. However, "That's probably not a good idea right now" is not how one responds to a have-her-call-me request. That's how somebody responds to a demand, and demanding is exactly how DH described her opening line. Then he couldn't get her off the damn phone. Oh, she didn't want to drag him into the middle, but oh it was just a miscommunication, and the best part of all is what she thought I was being over-sensitive about in the first place.

NM thought I was mad because they had ordered pizza (which E-sis started regaling me with how bad the pizza was and that I wasn't missing anything when I expressed annoyance) and if we came up we'd have to take care of ourselves for dinner because they didn't order enough because she didn't know we were coming (because she asked E-sis instead of say, asking us directly if we were coming up). That's right, she thought I, her college educated, married, adult daughter was upset over not getting pizza. Newsflash, I was mad that nobody bothered to check with us if we were coming up, that they then tried to tell us when we could up like we didn't have schedules and lives of our own to deal with, acting so put upon because NM doesn't want company (when we were doing them a favor) that unless she wanted to wait weeks, it had to be done that evening, and that they treated our time like it had no value whatsoever when we were doing NM a favor! DH normally charges people by the hour for what we were coming up to do for NM.

If I wanted a fucking pizza that badly, I'd have ordered myself one, bitch! I'm an adult; credit card, car, and all. I have a phone and a computer, I could have order it that way and had it delivered if I wanted it that badly. In fact I have my pick of some of the best pizza in the city where I live. The hardest part would be picking out which amazing pizza I wanted. Hell, my husband makes pizza from scratch. I am clearly not lacking in pizza and can obtain it through a variety of channels. The pizza was never the real issue here, but it sure says a lot about how my NM sees me.

After about thirty minutes I was ready to rip the phone out of DH's hand and making "get off the phone" motions to him. I was enraged at that point and I knew DH wasn't happy because his tone had changed to the same one he uses when he's talking to his mother. She kept talking to him about how it was a miscommunication. Gee, how did that happen? Let me think... E-sis asked the night before if we were coming to do that thing for NM and I said there was something we had to do, but maybe in the evening. NM asks E-sis if we are coming (instead of asking us), and E-sis says we aren't! Hm, who is at fault here? Yes, I could have called earlier and said "hey, we're coming up", but that street goes both ways and NM could have called me about it instead of asking a third party. She kept repeating herself about miscommunications, the stupid pizza, and not wanting to put him in the middle even though that was exactly what she was trying to do.

The finishing touch at the end was the text message she sent DH the next day about how she just needed to communicate how she felt and that she didn't want to put him the middle. It is not appropriate for her to try and use my husband to try and meet that need. It is in fact the exact opposite of keeping DH out of the middle, not that he would ever be "in the middle" anyway because he is 100% supportive of me in all this.

I'll try to write about "The Confrontation" at some point, but it can best be summed up with NM's opening and closing actions. She said no matter what I had to say she would always love me.

Then she literally walked out while I was still talking.


  1. Your "mother" is a typical obtuse, pot-stirring NP. She and Nsis know *exactly* what went down and this was no "failure to communicate:" It's an UNWILLINGNESS to communicate.
    What a tag-team. No doubt, between the two of them they could bend light rays if they put their mind to it.

    1. By far the worst/best tag-team incident was almost month after The Confrontation when my paternal grandmother passed away. NM and I weren't speaking, but I could hear her telling my E-Sis other things to say over the phone. They were both trying to talk me out of traveling to the funeral with my father. Needless to say, they weren't going. Although it's worth noting that my father didn't want NM there (she and my grandmother didn't have a good relationship).

      That's something I'll never forgive.

  2. Let me throw another light on the pizza incident, because this is EXACTLY what my NFOO would do: they were HOPING your feelings would be hurt that you weren't included. What does the pizza represent? It represents them, the tight little club, and you, the outsider, who has to stand outside with her nose pressed to the window as the snow falls down upon you, just WISHING you were included in their happy little party.

    I had a similar pizza incident where I walked in at the promised time to do a favor (N's really operate all alike, don't they?) to find an empty pizza box and fake-sincere, "Oh, we didn't know you were coming." (after they specifically ordered me to be there.) I said breezily "Oh, that's okay; I had surf & turf before I drove up" (I hadn't, but I wanted to watch their expressions). Suddenly they leapt on me for being "selfish" and "only thinking of" myself. Yup, that projection told me all I needed to know about their motivations.

    1. That's an excellent analogy!

      It's like they all read the same N manual or something. I have a friend whose mother is far worse than mine; if one were to describe my NM as "insane", her mother would have to be described as "criminally insane". But when we're swapping stories the similarities never cease the amaze us. Two evil women, from two different countries, but so much in common!

  3. Yes, they do operate in similar ways, I see several items that are exactly what I have experienced with my Nmom & Nsis.
    1. Using sensitive issues against you...classic move and I have learned not to show anything that bothers me. If you show any weakness, they will pounce on it and use it. Remember they are predators.
    2. They don't respect boundaries. When you need time to think about something, they pressure and demand instead of being respectful as a normal person would do. They want what they want right now, they want everyone to jump to their demands right now, they want to stalk and harass you to control you. Remember they are predators.
    3. If they can't get to you, they will attack family members, ie husbands, children. They will wail to your husband about what a terrible person you are, they will try to suck pity from him, they will suck his attention by keeping him on the phone as he is too polite to disengage from these vampires. Remember they are predators.
    4.They will always 'spin' the event and use diversionary tactics. Bait and switch is their favorite game. Keeping the attention off the facts or truth is what they excel at. You will feel like a gazelle that is being hunted by two lions, never knowing which way to jump or run. Remember they are predators.
    5. They will shamelessly use guilt because it works on those of us who actually have a conscience. Declarations of love or need to communicate or need for close family ties are all just a "come on" to get you to let your guard down and get close enough for them to make a meal of you again. Remember they are predators.

    I used to want to talk things over with them, explain and sort things out but time taught me that was just foolishness. So now I revel in the things that drive them crazy....
    Caller ID
    Not ever sharing anything that is meaningful to me-staying very distant physically and mentally.
    NEVER responding immediately if they make a request or demand.
    Requiring politeness, at the first sign of rudeness, I'm outta there.
    Funny, they don't seem to want much to do with me anymore. I guess I don't make a very good meal for them.:-)

  4. Thanks! I've come a long way on handling things these past two years.

    Don't forget the faux-pology. They can sound like they're apologizing but really they aren't owning anything and are completely invalidating you at the same time. Usually starts with "I'm sorry IF" or "I'm sorry BUT" and includes phrases like "it wasn't meant that way" or "it wasn't my intention".

    1. Oh yes, that's always a good one. By the time they are done, I feel like I need to apologize...well, I used to feel that way. Not any more, 'cause I remember they are predators. ;-)