Saturday, July 20, 2013

How Do You Grieve the Death of a Narcissistic Personality Disordered Mother?

How Do You Grieve the Death of a Narcissistic Mother quote by Gail Meyers
Grieving Narcissistic Mother's Death

© by Gail Meyers

I recently read a posting on one of the narcissistic personality disorder boards. The question was an adult child of a narcissist asking how to grieve the loss of her narcissistic mother. The question was answered by someone who in my opinion should not have answered. The response was, "You grieve a narcissist parent just like you would grieve for anyone else."

As adult children of narcissistic personality disordered mothers (or fathers), we have heard this kind of response most of our lives. It just seems like one more example of someone who has never experienced being the child of a narcissist failing to grasp the severity of the situation. What a woefully pitiful answer to someone who has undoubtedly already experienced so much pain and is apparently wrestling with her grief enough to post such a question on a public forum.

I do not even particularly agree with the idea that grieving any two loved ones who are not narcissists is the same, let alone the idea that you grieve a narcissistic personality disordered mother just as you would anyone else.





Each of us grieve differently from one another, from one loss to the next and maybe even one day to the next. Perhaps the only way it is the "same" is in the general, broad sense that we all go through the five universal stages of grief. The five stages of grief are:
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Bargaining
  • Acceptance
I am not a grief counselor, but I have lost my narcissistic personality disordered mother, my grandmother and my brother in the last decade. I adamantly beg to differ with such a response, which is the topic of this posting. This has been my grieving experience if it can in any way be of help to anyone else or provide some validation.

While I grieved differently for my grandmother and for my brother, it was at least remotely similar. Someone I loved was gone. I missed them. I remember the good times. However, grieving my narcissistic personality disordered mother was not even in the same ballpark as grieving my brother and grandmother.

First of all, I really did not grieve much for the first year after my narcissistic personality disordered mother died. As the golden child and flying monkey adult children seemed devastated, a part of me felt guilty that mostly what I felt was relief and numbness. Do not get me wrong, I loved my mother dearly.

Perhaps the numbness was my devastation or denial, especially from the realization that even on her deathbed she manipulated, gaslighted and lied. She was dying, yet her final gesture was to give me one last swift kick. The more the realizations struck me, the more her passing began to seem like a gift to me. She was no longer suffering with cancer and there could be no more damage done by her lying, manipulating, scapegoating, ridiculous demands, etc.

I went to a therapist for a couple of months a little more than a year after my mother's passing. She pointed out to me that I had been grieving my mother for my entire life. So perhaps it was not a lack of grief, but that I had already spent a lifetime processing that grief. That is a very accurate statement.

As an adult child of a narcissist in my 40's, I had spent many years grieving for everything my relationship with my mother was not. I would imagine there are many adult children of narcissists who have been grieving their entire lives because of all of the loss that so often accompanies being the child of a narcissist. It is truly serial grief.

Secondly, I realized what I was actually grieving was not a real, two-way relationship as I grieved for with my brother and grandmother. I was grieving the shattering of what remained of the illusion of having a mother.

Thirdly, the loss of the hope that she would ever change, that she would ever be a mother who loved me. I thought I had given up that hope many years ago, but it became obvious somewhere deep down inside the little girl in me was still hoping. Along with that was the realization that she never admitted the truth, let alone ever apologizing for any of it. When she died there could be no more hope of change or resolution.

Next, the anger and rage began to just gush out of me. When I say gush, I do mean gush. As I looked back over my life, it was clearer than it had ever previously been. She knew about the sexual abuse. She not only felt no responsibility for failing to protect me, but had the audacity to blame me for it. She would even taunt me as a child when I attempted to protest the abuse by sarcastically saying, "Poor Gail." She continued that well into adulthood, as well as during her illness.

Then the jealousy, gaslighting, backstabbing, silent treatment, ostracism, verbal abuse, slander, manipulation, scapegoating, etc., as an adult. When a narcissistic personality disordered mother dies, there is a lot more to grieve than her death. You grieve her path of destruction. You grieve not only for everything they were not as a mother, but for everything they destroyed in their wake. I grieved the loss of reputation, family, numerous relationships, years of turmoil and deep emotional pain, etc.

I grieved the total absence of any remorse or attempt at resolution by her during her two years of terminal illness. In retrospect, I honestly believe her mind was on the preservation of her image after her death, as crazy as that may sound. I grieved the fact that there was a human being walking around on this planet who could inflict so much merciless devastation without batting an eye - ever. Yet, still have so many deceived and defending her due to her fabricated martyr tales.

I experienced strongly conflicting emotions. She was my mother. Mothers should love their children and children should love their mothers. Yet, the wide, deep and lifelong trail of destruction reveals the truth no matter how hard the surviving flying monkeys work to contain it.

Did I experience any of this while grieving anyone else? No, I sure didn't! The flying monkeys worked hard to contain the truth even after her death. There is no question in my mind at this point that most of them do it knowingly, but some could possibly do it out of ignorance. (Unknowingly becoming a narcissist's flying monkey and inadvertently inflicting their abuse by proxy is just one more reason to go no-contact.)

I was verbally assaulted after my mother's death by three different flying monkey relatives. I would not go along with their fictitious version of the late narcissist, as the flying monkey spewed their slander and grief on me. Please note, I was not expressing my own grief or anger to them, but they were expressing their grief to me. Later, I was nauseous when one told me her first grandchild would be named after my mother, but thankful I heard the news in an email.

It might truly sound amazing to the average person, but certainly not to the adult child of a narcissist, that in each case the flying monkey was angered by my response, then immediately proceeded to attempt to tell me what I should think and feel. When I say they were angered by my response, I mean my unwillingness to agree or display emotions in direct opposition to my feelings, in response to their absurd assertions.

Extended family flying monkeys treated my late brother horribly during her illness. At times he was even asked to leave her house because it was their day to visit, which escalated into a confrontation. He was told by our mother, as he cried at the side of her deathbed, to just go home if all he was going to do is cry. This was in direct response to her years of slanderous martyr tales resulting from him attempting to hold her accountable and having the ability to expose her. Then, the gossip by the flying monkeys was that he was not visiting her much and it was obviously because he must feel so bad for treating his mother so poorly!

Narcissists love to rewrite history. Then not only tell outlandishly ridiculous lies with a straight face, but convince others of their fables. It is astonishing to me to this day how well her routine of playing the victim while vilifying the true victim worked. It is what I have previously called the flipped tale. She had people giving various negative responses to the scapegoats in an effort to defend her when she was consistently the ruthless aggressor!

For example, the statement was how badly my brother must feel for the way he treated her. In reality, she had spent two decades destroying him with slander because he confronted her about knowing about my childhood sexual abuse, doing nothing to protect me, then actually blaming me for it, having jealous rages and attacking me for it many times. It was the typical narc maneuver of playing the victim while vilifying the true victim. She ultimately managed to make herself the victim, even in that.

What my late brother actually did was call our venomous narcissistic mother on the carpet for her abuse, lies, treating his wife poorly, etc. He also saw the truth and had the character to stand up and confront his narcissist mother. So she spent the rest of her life destroying my brother's family relationships, reputation and mental health in order to conceal the truth about her own character. She spread martyr tales about how she was the innocent victim of her vicious son when the reality was the exact opposite. She was the vicious aggressor and he was the victim.

She did the same to me, the slander just had a different twist to it. (Note: If I was dealing with a narcissistic personality disordered person today, I would use those accusations toward others as nearly precise indicators of the truth about the narcissist. What I think she was doing is projecting her negative traits and feelings onto me. She would also often accuse the victim of the very thing she was doing, but she would also put forth fabrications. In any case, the flipped martyr tale gives the appearance of stripping the narcissist of their wrong and the victim of their virtue, all wrapped up in one smooth, disgusting little maneuver).

The grieving flying monkey was promoting the narcissist's slanderous lies about my brother and I was expected to stand there and agree with the ridiculous fairy tale. Mind you, my brother died suddenly, unexpectedly and very young, only a few months after our mother's death. Yet, she wanted me to sing her praises and express aversion for my brother!!

Yet, here she was as if completely oblivious to the reality of the situation. It was all about her grief and maintaining her narcissistic sister's facade. The flying monkeys attempted to cause my grieving to be just as much of a charade as the narcissist's life was. To hell with the scapegoat's feelings, my grief for my brother, the truth of what actually happened or the actual character of the late narcissist.

They are still in the rabbit hole and did not appreciate me refusing to play along. If the flying monkeys defended the narcissist during her life, their efforts seemed to double after death. However, I flat refuse to play let's pretend with anyone anymore. She was not the only flying monkey to attack, but I have had the whole bunch of them out of my life for a few years now. I do not regret it at all. It feels so much better.

We all tend to speak more highly of someone who has departed. So then the scapegoat survivor also has the social taboo of speaking ill of the deceased, and not just any deceased but a deceased mother, to deal with in order to be able to speak the truth or grieve honestly. There was no bigger relief than getting a therapist trained in narcissistic personality disorder.

Did I have this rage toward my brother or grandmother after their passing? Nope, nor do I believe that is the same as the "anger" stage in the five stages of grief. That stage might include being angry with the dearly departed for abandoning you or angry with God about the loss, but not the kind of rage associated with a narcissistic personality disordered mother. Most people have some differences in their relationships, but they love each other. You try to remember the good and let go of the bad. You remember the good times, the good qualities. Hopefully, the good outweighed the bad.

Yet, the relationship with the narcissist is parasitic in nature. When my narcissistic personality disordered mother died, the maneuvers came so much more clearly into focus. Everything about our relationship was one sided. I gave and she took. She also took when I did not give. She took regardless, either by hook or by crook. It was all about her regardless of the consequences in my life and often intentionally to cause me distress or loss.

The fact that it was a one-way, parasitic relationship was even more exceedingly clear after her death. After a couple of years of anger and rage, I began feeling as if someone I never really knew was gone. Someone who held herself out as the exact opposite of what she actually was. You truly cannot fault a wolf for being a wolf. That's who he is. He looks like a wolf and he acts like a wolf, but you know he's a wolf. The danger of a narcissist is you are dealing with a treacherous wolf hell bent on pretending to be an innocent, victimized sheep - at least in public.

As my therapist told me years before, I truly began to deeply pity my mother. When she told me that, I strongly believed the only thing I would ever feel toward my mother was anger because I was still in the heat of it. It took processing the anger and allowing it to subside, then I began to see how truly pitiful all of it really was. I think it took me a full five years to arrive at that point. Even now, I can still become angry about it. It's just not the intense anger it once was and the overwhelming pain is no longer attached to it.

So while some act as if your grief should be processed three days after the funeral and others say one year, I would have to say it took me at least five full years. I am glad I continued to process it in order to come to better resolution of a lifetime of her abuse. My point in all of this is we all grieve differently and there is generally a whole lot more to grieve at the death of a narcissistic personality disordered mother than just her passing, e.g., the wide and deep path of destruction and deception they leave behind.

The way I grieve may be different than the way you grieve. The way we grieve for one person or relationship may be completely different than the way we grieve for another. The way we grieve a narcissistic personality disordered mother may be off the charts different, in another ballpark. It could take a couple of months or a couple of years or several years. In my opinion, the important thing is to process the emotions in a healthy manner while taking good care of yourself and leading to healthy resolution.
 

67 comments:

  1. Gail
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. This is new for me, my mother was never diagnosed with any mental disorder, however, understanding narcissistic personality disorder she certainly had much of the criteria. The anger and hurt out weighs the ability to grieve. I think you are right -- I have been grieving my entire life for the lack of love a mother should have for her children. I spent most of my life reaching for something that was not obtainable and in the end the inability to reach her over powered me. My mother died one month ago, I am so filled with anger towards her and my siblings (that continue in her wake of hurt) that I know this will be a long road of recovery. Knowing you are not alone in these feelings helps.

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  2. I'm sorry for your loss. I can deeply relate to your comment that the anger and hurt outweigh your ability to grieve right now.

    I encourage you to reach out for support during this time if you feel you need it. There are DONM boards and groups online. Also, a therapist familiar with narcissistic personality disorder can be a great help with processing the anger, hurt and grief.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

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  3. I would like to use a small excerpt from this for a blog I am doing for Psychology Today blog. I am telling the story of a few different people. This is what I would like to use, linking back to your blog of course:

    How Do You Grieve the Death of High Conflict Parent?
    People who have a borderline or narcissistic parent face a crisis when the parent becomes so elderly they cannot take care of themselves. Often, just when they’ve finally feeling free of the parent’s control, illness swoops in to try to take it back. Society frowns on children who do not give, give, give to an aging parent. Friends and family who do not know the real situation just see typical parent/adult child conflict; they will never understand the torment and anguish these parents may have caused. So they urge the adult child to start caregiving, the last thing they want to do when they’ve spent their life trying to free themselves from the parent’s emotional and/or verbal abuse.
    While adult children of loving, “normal” parents as with Gail Meyers

    While she really grieved for two other close relative, when her mother died she mainly felt grief and numbness, which she felt guilty about. But her therapist pointed out that she had been processing the grief of having a “real” loving mother all her life. In other words, she grieved she never had the mother that is everyone’s birthright.
    She says she wasn’t grieving the real relationship but the shattering of what remained of the illusion. Meyers writes:
    [I grieved] the loss of the hope that she would ever change, that she would ever be a mother who loved me. I thought I had given up that hope many years ago, but it became obvious somewhere deep down inside the little girl in me was still hoping. Along with that was the realization that she never admitted the truth, let alone ever apologizing for any of it. When she died there could be no more hope of change. There was the finality of her death.


    Can you please write me at Randi at BPDCentral dot com and let me know if it's all right asap? Thanks.

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  4. Randi, I am thrilled Psychology Today is addressing this aspect of dealing with narcissistic personality disorder and bringing it into public awareness. Adult children in this situation so often desperately need this information, validation and support. I would be thrilled to be a part of that. So, please feel free to use the quote you have written above and link back to my article.

    Thank you!

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  5. Thank You Gail, for just speaking out. I have been processing the grief of my mothers death for 25 years! I was molested and she covered it up and brainwashed me to forget it. I took a class on prevention of child molestation after I found out I could not have children after radiation treatments and I remembered my abuse, finally at age 30. When I told my mother she played dumb, but I had many identifying clues. My mother was a psychiatric nurse and favored my sister all my life, I felt unwanted and unloved most of my life, the things I have been through, she never aided or helped me and I felt I was just a burden that was never meant to be, I am now trying to survive at the age of 54, and it is not easy. I have been through terrible depression and have tried to kill myself many times in my life. I have not tried that for many years now and am working on being happy and letting go of what she did, though I am finding it difficult. I will look up the sites you have suggested and keep reading whatever I can on this topic. Thanks again, You may be my saving grace!

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  6. I am sorry for the pain and abuse you have endured. They say the mother nearly always knows and often times actually enables the childhood sexual abuse (actively or by silence). I personally believe my mother was 10 times sicker than the alcoholic pedophile she was married to for more than two decades. It was not your fault.

    I am so glad you have not tried to harm yourself for many years. There are some very good groups and websites available online. Also, United Way's 2-1-1 national directory page (211.org) provides lists of local assistance available, hotlines, counseling resources, etc., if that is of any interest to you.

    Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts and experiences. I wish you well on your healing journey and I hope to hear from you again.

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  7. Gail -

    I just happened to stumble upon this page. I have a narcissistic mother who recently got back in contact with me via a text that simply said, "I love you."

    Because grieving her narcissism has been very intense over the last few years, I tried to meet with her. We did rekindle a relationship briefly, but it did not take me very long to realize that nothing has really changed.

    I'm finding that at 37 it's actually getting more difficult for me to deal with the intense depression and pain associated with having a mother that doesn't care. I've been in and out of therapy when times are really low. Thank God I was blessed with a good therapist. But, it has gotten to a point where therapy is no longer effective.

    Thank you so much for this. Even though I'm still in the thick of things, it really does help to know I'm not alone. I can't imagine anything being harder to overcome than not being loved by the person who gave you life.

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  8. Out of the Ashes, you are not alone. I know how painful it can be and so do thousands of other people. A good therapist can make a huge difference. It also helped me when I was able to stand back and truly see how sick my mother truly was. Her feelings and behavior toward me were a reflection on her, not on me. I think when you can move that from your head to your heart and really make it your own, it becomes very healing.

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  9. Gail,
    Oh my goodness, Reading your post is like hearing about my life. My mother has not passed, but my father is very ill and dying. The things she does and says to him on a daily basis break my heart. She has no empathy. She ridicules and shames him any chance she gets, but she knows when to pretend like she cares-I sometines think she wants him to die and does things to quicken the process, they have been married 35 years and she says not she wants to leave him so she doesn't have to take care of him-he is of no use to her now. I am scared that he will die and I will be left to take care of her alone. I am terrified every day that I will be anything like her-I live in constant fear of that. Is that possible? Can her traits rub off on me?diesge cares.

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    1. Oh my goodness this post mimics what I would have written about my NM and she also says "he's no good to me like that"

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  10. Anonymous, I remember when I first learned about narcissistic personality disorder. I also experienced it just that way, as if someone was writing about my life without even knowing me. It was also such a relief to learn what the problem was.

    Narcissism does tend to run in families, but I don't know that true narcissists ever really entertain the idea that anything is wrong with them. Adult children can also pick up the FLEAS, learned bad attitudes and behaviors, we need to work on in recovery.

    I am sorry for your pain in this situation. If there is serious abuse or neglect of your father, there are social service agencies and lawyers who address elder abuse. Remember to keep good boundaries with your mother and keep your own health in mind too.

    Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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  11. Hello gail and everyone,
    Gail- your post is exactly what I have been through and still going through I(, my mother is still alive. I thank you so much for sharing your post, I am glad to know I'm also not alone. I just discovered that my mothers behaviour is of a narcissist. I didn't. Even know what this truly was for years! When I first learned about it I was shocked, depressed and in denial of course. I knew something in my life was wrong and that this isn't normal, this isn't love, this isn't the way a mother should be. In my situation, the narcissist mother raiised me, but my biological mother who lives in a different place is the narcissist mothers sister. I have been healed from her and provided support, however still effected by the narcissist mother. We all though that it was because I am adopted that this is happeningbut it is the fact that it is the narcissist mother who has created this false sense of self toward me. I recently read the book will I ever be good enough by author mcbride and it has helped me a lot. I am interested in a skpe or group phone conversation with others say once a month to build a support network, no video calls or anything but to set up a shared support system for anyone who is interested. What are your thoughts? I just feel that our experiences we have been through is something that only people like us understand (besides the therapisist) ....overall, I truly wish everyone healthy healing and love to you all, and to practice self love daily.

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    1. Anonymous, I think it is such a relief when you can finally put a name on the problem! That is especially true after you spend years of your life trying to explain it to people and no one understands.

      I am sorry for your pain. I am glad you have found some healing. I think some of the Facebook groups are pretty active, if you might be interested in them. There are a couple of them in the right margin of this site. However, there are more that can be found in a search of Facebook. I do not know if anyone has considered group calls or not, but I think some of the members of some of the groups exchange telephone numbers.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts.

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    2. Gail thank for this post it is indeedly timeless as generations as people deal with this same issue. My mother passed about three weeks ago. Luckily I had talked with her and resolved many things. So my experience is slightly different. I decided as she was a narcassist I would give her one last magic hurrah by way of celebrating her life in the way she wanted it to be perceived. My brother read the Eulogy that I wrote. The process of writing it was a process I suggest to people who don't as yet have a narc parent die to go through the process of channelling your inner Gandhi & writing a Eulogy. Yes, all the betrayals, being thrown to the wolves & bad mouthing will come up. write it out if you have to.Then edit the document,remove the toxicity. Convert it to a lesson learnt. It may take 6 or 10 re-writes but it is a really valuable process.
      I too am wondering why my grief has not bubbled our yet but as you say maybe I have been grieving my whole life.....

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  12. I have a grandmother with this same type of personality, who can't understand why my mom's kids refuse to deal with her any longer! While she has yet to pass, we no longer maintain a relationship with her. Mom tolerates her, but only in small amounts, over the phone.Thankfully she lives 3 states away! This is a very guilt freeing post, thank you so much!

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    1. I am always glad to hear someone is protecting their children from the manipulation!

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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  13. I recently decided to have No Contact with my 'mother' and she has started to use my own children (16 and 22) as her flying monkeys - causing enormous strain and upset between us. She has done a character assasination on me and works insidiously to turn them against me. What on earth do I do? She is very persuasive and uses tiny elements of truth to make things seem plausible and sew seeds of doubt. She has also started visiting and having dinner with my ex husband.

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  14. Daisy, that is precisely one of the reasons why I strongly encourage no contact. They will delight in pulling their playing the victim while vilifying the true victim routine to your children. My mother pulled the exact same stunt. It's a typical NPD maneuver. I would absolutely keep children away from a narcissistic personality disordered grandmother. Otherwise, the nightmare continues as she makes flying monkeys out of them. They do it in such a deceitful, subtle way that no one realizes what is happening until one day you realize your kid has become a flying monkey.

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  15. My narcissistic pd+borderline pd mother died a couple of years ago, and I think that like you its going to take me a few more years to fully process my grief and get past it all. I've heard it called "complex grief", when the person lost was a loved one who was also very abusive.

    Thanks for posting your articles and blog, these are helping me. I recognize so many of the behaviors you mentioned RE a mother with npd, particularly the lack of remorse, plus my mother left an emotional "land mine" for me to step on after her death: mother left her therapy journal for me to read. I wish I hadn't, frankly. Mother wrote that she had never even liked me because she said I was "cold and unloving and critical of her", from infancy; this set me back to square one in my grieving process.

    I'd also like to add a caveat, though: if you post at Psychology Today, particularly as an adult child survivor of narcissistic pd or borderline pd parental abuse, you are likely to recieve hostile responses by individuals who feel that sharing these very real, deeply painful personal experiences makes the sharer a "hater" or "basher" of those with personality disorders. So, just be aware of that ahead of time.

    Thanks again for your blog and articles.

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    1. Annie, I am sorry for your pain but glad to hear this blog is helpful. It is amazing to me how often someone mentions their NPD mother planning or leaving some form of abuse or "land mine" upon their passing. Thanks for the warning, I realize the attitude you speak of exists. Please join us on Facebook if you have not already done so.

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  16. Thanks so much this pretty much covers everything I ve been feeling since my mother died just over two years ago. Things were impossible between us from the moment I was born but became intolerable when I met my husband. When my uncle died he tried to put me and my husband as executer of his will. When my mother found out she went mad she told my uncle my husband would steal all his money so he changed his will. She had to be in control so much so that I had to cut contact with her even though it broke my heart. She tried to turn everyone against me I decided she wasn t doing that with my husband and children.
    she took everythingvaway from me, even my memories everything was tainted. She told no one she was dying so she could stay in control , by the time I learned the truth I had ten days to get used to the idea then she was gone. I was in shock.. she left everything to charity she did give my daughter my uncles house as he wanted, but its costing us so much in solicitors fees because she wouldn t let us look after the house for our own daughter. Sometimes I feel I will never get past the angry stage

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    1. Anonymous, I am sorry for your pain. I can very much relate to what you have shared. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us.

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  17. Thanks for sharing, your story. My mom died recently, and I felt nothing and to be honest I feel nothing except sometimes I feel angry at her, for her not apologizing (even though like you said, I didn't think I wanted it or needed it). God I am glad, I saw this. To be honest I thought I was messed up. I cried for hours for a dead hamster, but at my mothers funeral...nothing. While at visitation, I kept feeling like she was going to sit up and yell at me, and than I felt immediate relief, knowing that she could never do it again. I shed tears, like 2 weeks later, but it was tears of anger and resentment. I am not sure what I thought, but I guess I thought those feelings would disappear when she died. They didn't and that made me sadder, sadder knowing that event though it might get better, I might never get over it. I found out weird things about myself and it made me even more scared that I had no empathy for her passing. I questioned my upcoming profession (I will be graduating to be a nurse), thinking there is no way I can possibly be one. Sometimes I randomly feel anger at her...and it is even harder at night sometimes. I regret not telling her why I was angry at her, maybe she didn't know? Although in the past I did let her know?

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    1. Anonymous, I am sorry for your pain. I encourage you to be gentle and understanding with yourself, because in my experience grieving a narcissistic mother is a complicated and confusing experience. During an interview with Dr. Karyl McBride, author (Mean Mothers) Peg Streep shared these thoughts regarding the death of her mother, that may provide you with some validation...

      Dr. Karyl McBride: How did your mother’s death affect you? Were you sad?

      Peg Streep: The real emotional moment came when my brother called to tell me she was dying and asked if I would see her. Everyone —my ex-husband, my friends, my therapist— encouraged me to go for “closure.” I knew, though, that it would be a repeat of everything that had ever happened between us without a shred of honesty. I would ask why she didn’t love me and she would say that she had. I didn’t go. When she died, I was sad that she’d been my mother. Nothing more.

      Read more at http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/online-dr-karyl-mcbride-interview-peg-streep/

      Congratulations on your graduation from nursing school!

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  18. I enjoyed your article. Thank you.
    My mother died last August after many years of health crisis, including heart by-pass, aortic aneurism, COPD... with the finale being pancreatic cancer and the horrible death that comes at the end of that. I helped her and my father through the healthcare mazes (another story!) and tried to keep him from going with her as he neglected his own health and comfort for her. He is saved, but still very old and failing. I wish I could bring him closer to me so I could give him care and nutrition. It would be so wonderful to have that relationship with him that was blocked by my mother.
    The Chief Flying Monkey, however, has moved in with him and made that impossible. I'm aware that this is his choice and he is living the way he wants to. It's his right. I'm letting go in steps, and it is the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. More difficult than three divorces, my mother's politics and illnesses, and the family dysfunctions.
    The life I have under my own roof is very loving and safe. My adult children are doing well and we have good relationship. I'm realizing it's time to let go of my mother's legacy. It's heartbreaking, it's confounding, it's frustrating and incomprehensive.
    There is a strange peace that comes in realizing I can let go and embrace life. I will have to learn how to live without that lifetime stress and learn how to play! I think I can do it.
    Your writing helps, I'll continue to follow you.
    Thank you.

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    1. Marypoppins, thank you. I am sorry for your pain. However, I am glad to hear you have a very loving and safe environment under your own roof. I think it is beautiful that you are letting go of your mother's legacy and embracing life. I think I know exactly what you mean when you say you will have to learn how to play. That is something my therapist and I worked on at the end of my sexual abuse therapy years ago. You can do it!

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  19. And if I might add to my comments: Also thank you for pointing out that flying monkeys don't always know they are flying monkeys. I'm sure the one I identified in my comments does not know how things were set up. My mother showed her nothing but kindness, and it's very likely she believes I deserve the scorn I received.
    I cannot defend myself against someone who is dead, and the memory of her is sacred to the remainder of my family. My father wishes to remember only the good things about her, and I admire him for that. That is who he is.
    What I want to share here, is that sometimes acceptance and forgiveness are the most loving gifts you can make. It can be very, very painful, but necessary. To let go of the struggle and the yearning for what I can't have, and be involved with good relationships that bear fruit. And that is who I want to be.

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  20. Reading this is like looking in a mirror. Although my mother is still living, I have struggled with my feelings of indifference toward her. She buried her head in religion while our father abused us and then spent all of these years telling us how it devastated HER!!! It ruined HER life. It traumatized HER. Never a thought about the years her daughters spent in therapy just to survive. Her health is failing and I have often worried that my inability to feel compassion for her is wrong. You have given me hope that I will somehow work through this.

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    1. Anonymous, my heart goes out to you. What you have articulated sounds very familiar to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  21. I never herd the word ,I love you.when she had cancer.I hugged her and said I love you she said I know.that was it .my father was furious at me for not greaving.he saw what was going on .!!!!on my father's side of the family they experience alien abductions .so when I was terrified.I prayed to God .my npm.was mad at them for I told her,they saw me crying. And said some people should never be parents.and they are here to make us better more empathic and I am an born empath.my daughter and I have a great relationship.SO my mom. Can,t make me hurt anymore.it's just a dull standing pain.peace to your hearts and souls.Diane

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  22. Diane, I am sorry for your pain. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  23. All of your experiences resonate with me. It helps so much to know I'm not alone, to know I'm not crazy by understanding the behavior, even just a little. My situation is compounded by the fact that she lives with me and my husband and children. "No contact" is not an option unfortunately. She is also elderly and becoming needy of physical care. She has gambled all her money away and when she gets her pension money she takes the senior citizen bus to the casino. There is no money to send her to an elder care facility. My siblings offer little help.
    Like you, I've grieved the absence of a true mother. When she passes I know my sadness will be different from the normal and I look forward to the day when I can live my life in my own home without her manipulations and lies. I fear her flying monkeys - she has minions. But I have minions of my own, they are my true friends. My husband has suffered by my side and seen the battle first hand. He is amazing. Together we have found the antidote to anger and depression - laughter. It's the reason I've been able to survive all these years. Find someone to help you laugh. Even if it's inappropriate - It is good medicine.

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    1. I feel for you in your situation. Thank goodness for having an amazing husband. Somehow I have managed to keep my sense of humor. I agree that laughter is good medicine. Thank you for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts.

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  24. My NPD mother is close to the end and I do not intend to see her again and not planning on any going to any home-going service which should be minimal if at all, because she wants to be cremated without a service. Great!...Services are for mourners and her transition over to whatever comes next doesn't inspire sadness but relief....I am determined to feel freedom, and because I am so determined, that's probably what I will feel. I am actually y looking forward to it. I am posting because I agree with the earlier comment that adult children of NPD parents have probably spent entire lifetimes mourning.. Death in these cases can promise relief . My advise: Sieze the relief that comes, and choose wisely in who you will confide, because people empathize to the degree to which they are able. Someone who has not experienced a NPD parent can not imagine the lack of grief with his or her passing, but I can. Anyone reading this, Please DECIDE to take the freedom that could be yours...I certainly am.....

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    1. I do not believe feelings are right or wrong, they just are. You are certainly not the only one who feels this way about your narcissistic mother. Enjoy your freedom when it comes.

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  25. In January 2013 I was told that my NPD mother was in hospital and she may not make it to the end of the week. I arranged carers for my son (he is disabled), applied for an advance of my Carers Payment and flew the 2000km to see my mother. I had a quick change of planes and my bag didnt make it onto the next flight. So here I am at my mothers bedside, after 5 hours of travelling, hot and sweaty (middle of summer) and no chance of a change of clothes until the next day - only to be greeted with "what are YOU doing here?". My father (who was 5 years into his dementia journey already), had a similar reaction. Oh yeah, nice to see you all too! I went home with my father and I looked after him until my mother came out of hospital 10 days later. We got on perfectly well although he had to be prompted and reminded to do absolutely everything. I had moved away some 4.5 years earlier, in an effort to live my own life finally, at the age of 45. My mother was none too pleased at this and she asked me many times over the years when I was coming "home". Anyway, a few days into my visit, I was visiting her in hospital when she told me she had made a list of "people she loves". I read down the list. My father at the top, her canary, a few friends, my daughter (who was her GC)....but I was missing. I said: "I am not on the list?". Oh, she said, "I am sorry but I just dont feel that way about you". Talk about an arrow to the heart! I left her room in tears, but I was so angry too. They got the hospital counsellor for me and I got to cry to my hearts content. Then we had a meeting with all the staff and her community nurse about what extra help to put into place at home for when she went home (she was in the palliative care ward). Keep in mind, I had already organised home assessments, liaised with her nurse constantly, I was forever trying to help make things easier. She told me she didnt want me in the room because "Monica is too hysterical". She finally allowed me to sit in on the conference.... She had earlier told the social worker that her friend Percila could move in and take care of her and she could sleep on the floor because "those people are used to that". Percila is from the Philippines. I was very proud of her when she told my mother at the conference that she had her own home, that she would help her but not move in. Anyway, my mother came home and I left. She told all her friends that the "house was too small" for me to continue staying there after she came home. She also told her friends that I refused to bring her home from hospital. Neither of those things were true but her friends believed her.

    She passed away nearly 9 months later and I was by her side, by myself. Napped for a few hours, woke up and realised what had just occurred and cried so hard, deep, wrenching sobs. I have cried since, but nothing like that. Right up until the end, she never said "thanks" or "I love you" or anything else. There was no closure, no final goodbyes (except from me to her). Went through the motions, she didnt want a funeral so we had a lunch for her, and I read a eulogy of sorts, of her life. I made all her friends cry but I didnt shed a tear. I was still so hurt and angry at the lunch that I was finding it hard to be all positive about her life etc. One of my mothers friends who was sitting to the right of me said: "this isnt about celebrating your mothers life, I am leaving". No great loss, she was the same type of person as my mother was. And that was the hard part. I had just lost my mother, I was grieving deeply, but it was for much more than the loss of HER....it was the realisation that she would now NEVER tell me what I needed to hear - that she loved me unconditionally. That even though we were chalk and cheese, that I was ok, that I had been a good daughter to her. Anything, really. I still struggle with that one now.

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  26. Thank you so much for writing about this. It has been three years since my mother's death and I still feel like half a person, trying to work through grief on an intellectual level because the emotional level is so unbearable. I can totally relate to grieving one's narcissistic mother all one's life, because my mother prepared me for her death all her life with "when I'm gone, you'll say that mama was right," etc. I wasn't a stupid child, and even when I was very young I connected my mother's behavior with her losing her own mother so young, and not long before she began to have children. I buried the emotional part of myself, and now I can't find where I buried it. So thanks so much for sharing.

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  27. My NM passed away 2 months ago from cancer. I tried to get my younger sister and her together to heal and forgive (no contact for 8 years). It blew up in my face and NM stormed out of the house. I went no contact since that day. Enabling father calls me and says NM is in Hawaii. The cancer had spread to her brain and she ran. She had been to Hawaii many times so this was not a dying wish thing. She took her GC and her family with her. I never got to say goodbye. I was the scapegoat and not one person in my family bothered to stop NM or GC sister from the abuse.yet they knew it was going on. Of course younger sis and I were cut out of the will. She left this world as a coward in my opinion. Her grave stone has Hawaiian scenery on it. I told enabling father I was going to draw a hatchet on the back. There is nothing to grieve really. There was nothing there to begin with and it only got worse. GC has now passed this mental illness to her daughter.

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  28. Two NPD Grandmothers dead, one to go. Don't miss the dead ones one bit, although I do hope the after life heals their shrunken broken souls. I wait for the last one to pass, and take her evil with her. But her work already lives on far beyond her days on this world.

    My NPD father will be around for a while. In fact, I am really wondering about the grandmother that passed on when I was all of twenty, my father's mother. She went into dementia during my teens, and never displayed any such proclivities...even when I look back with my older person perspective...but she was also a victim of my father's abuse...he didn't hide his verbal/emotional abuse of his mother from his father or his children. But, my dad got it from somewhere...his Dad, maybe?

    I'm not sure how I'll feel when my NPD father goes to the afterlife. The last encounter with him before I once again retreated to NonContact other than via electronic means, rendered me ambivalent...and of course...sparked this wave of research regarding the damage Narcissistic types do to their families. It is pretty intense.

    At any rate, one of these days, there will come the phone call...Hello...your father has gone nuts. Someone needs to take care of him...and it will all get much much worse from there, I'm sure. but I'll deal with that when the time comes.

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  29. My NPD mother just passed away on 12/31. I am an only child, and there are no other relatives. I was sucked back in because my father has some dementia and she was destroying him. Over the last few years, she, with a background in psychology, understood she was losing her ability to control her societal mask. This was a woman who volunteered for everything and was entirely beloved by the community and many of my friends. The grief process here is not only for the mother I never had, but also for the fact that *I* am the rock that many are leaning on in their grief for the person I wished she could have been to me. And none of them accept how horrid she was with the exception of perhaps 3-4 ... my husband (who is awesome), my horse trainer (who did see her express her narcissistic rage at me), and maybe one-two others. My dad does understand and he was a victim as well. He taught me the coping mechanisms to deal with her until I could get away.

    But how to deal with the multitude of others? I can not, in good consciousness, destroy the carefully built image that she had with them - and there are so many of them and one of me, that no one will believe me anyway - and it will serve only to alienate some truly wonderful people (to give you the depth of her manipulative capabilities - she had both a psychiatrist and the nursing home physician ready to reverse the "capacity" decision made by her personal physician providing me with HPOA ... even though she could not walk, she was ready to sign herself out of the facility and go "home" and expected my father to take care of her. She scored a perfect score on the min men test and even posthumously, her nursing home doctor was praising her strength to the skies ... the same woman who had to be restrained as she was hitting and cursing nurses ... but let a white coated doctor walk in and it was all roses).

    So, I sit here, supporting all the others in their very real grief, all the while feeling numb and despairing of anyone really supporting the very real needs that I have.

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  30. Very useful website. I have had no contact with my family for over 2 years, my mother is a classic NM; My sister is the Golden child and I am your classic scapegoat. I live on the other side of the world, having left my country about 20 years ago, and my father feels no option but to 'side' with them as he has to live with them every day. I often wonder when my father passes away (they are in their 80s now) if either my sister or mother will let me know - they are full of hatred towards me and my own family, and as such I could see them not telling me just to be spiteful. How do you think you deal with the possibility of not knowing if a parent has passed away?

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  31. Thank you Gail - I just came across this post - the timing perfect and it has brought me great comfort knowing I am not alone in this journey that is filled with so many conflicting emotions. I truly appreciate you sharing your story.

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  32. My mother died last week in another country after several years of dementia. Oddly, she failed to recognize me for many years beforehand, but always recognized others in the family such as my own daughter, who she thought was her daughter., or my husband. Her ability to self-censor had disappeared as she moved into dementia and I had many opportunities to dismiss some of the astounding self-revelatory things she said more and more frequently. What I take away from all of this is that appearances matter to a lot to people, even me the scapegoat only child. I never went "no contact" with her, and now I am left wondering if maybe things would have been different for us had I been able to overlook her indifference to me as a child. I wonder, as an adult, was I repulsively reserved? Was I secretive? I was NEVER spontaneous -- did she notice? I doubt I ever laughed in her presence unless there were other people around -- maybe not even then. I didn't drink with her. I never expressed an opinion that she did not criticize -- hyper-educated as I am, I never had an opinion about a book, an idea, a movie that she did not ridicule and me by implication. Sometimes she began the ridicule before she even knew what she was ridiculing -- e.g. her instant supposition that The Good War by Studs Terkel was some sort of apology for war and imperialism that I adored. She'd just found it on my book shelf and took an instant opportunity.. I will say this -- others did not experience her in this way. She lionized the opinions of people she hardly knew at least when she first knew them. She had a sort of idealization-denigration thing going. She ran out of the idealization phase with me before I was of school age, possibly because I was not as pretty as my cousins. Now, I too do not know how to grieve, as others have said.I have a vague sense of having been "promoted," that the world I live in somehow is safer for me. If I keep my mouth shut, the people who loved her for good or bad reasons will ease forward with their lives, and I can be less guarded than I have to be now in the mourning period. I am quite conflict averse. As it happens, her siblings are mostly dead, those surviving are not in touch with me, so really there are only my friends (whom she allocated to herself as her friends and who sincerely miss her). I do not know her friends. I am quite capable of evasion and escape with everyone.

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  33. I managed to find your post through a mixture of determination and bewildered despair first brought into my life as a terrified child. I am so very grateful to you. My mother was a little unwell. A day later she had a stroke. She never regained consciousness and died the next day. Towards the end of her life she was isolated with my father and now full blown 'flying monkey'/ borderline narcissistic disorder sister. They half erased my real mother at her funeral.
    Oddly (where does that word stop), my mother became very apologetic in the last period of her life. The games still continued in a quieter way. I felt very sorry that she had been so broken. But the funeral was something else. A lovely man and his very kind wife spent ages with me, Mum had played the idea that three men could be my biological father. Unsure, they wanted to make sure that I was alright. Years ago, that same response had annoyed Mum! Was she actually my mother? Probably.
    So, here I am. I could never get any answers to the things she threw at me.
    "Tell everyone (friends at school) that I am your sister". To an injured ten year old, that was too bewildering for words. " You're not stealing my husband", followed rage against him, after she had found out he assaulted me as a child. "Oh, it was all years ago....". Yes, but I have lifelong injuries.
    It is the need to believe she loved me that is struggling. But more than anything it is the death of the illusion, the conjuring trick a child devised to feel loved. So what now?
    I feel so messed up. I am going to stop over thinking. My real mother was a troubled mass of contradictions. She was a result of lots of good things and just a few incredibly cruel things. She was very bright, very intellectual and very broken. So RIP our relationship.
    Which just leaves me with a then 14 year old who stayed by my side throughout the wake. She could be my biological mother or my sister. Time may tell. Life has become a little like Scrambled eggs!
    Writing this, to someone who can envisage a four year being beaten unconscious and being beyond fear and despair preschool, and then having psychological and emotional abuse (mind games), and nearly being killed again and again, I feel as if I am in a safe 'country'. You know what it is like being parented by someone who turned home into an insane asylum at times.
    Right. I am picking up my little case. I am not stretching to reach the door handle. I am not going to have to go back into the house. I take the hand of my four year old self. I lead her now down the path in the darkness. I stop to carry her away from there. We walk away in the future, together. I comfort her, I mother her. This is over Little One. It has had enough of us. Welcome to our new life.

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  34. Gail
    Timely article and the comments were exceptionally well spoken and insightful. I feel so fortunate I found this community. Being the Scapegoat makes us all VERY LUCKY. We all understand the mental illness of our NM and the dysfunctional families they create. We're all strong women.

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  35. I'm so glad you shared this. My NM died 20 months ago. I'm still in the anger stage. And I have been most of the time since her death. Your article is the first I have read which made me realize some differences in the loss of two sisters and my mom. I now have NC with family and its all for the best. I need to find a good therapist and work thru some of the anger and hatred. Thank you for your article.

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  36. My NP mother died three days ago. A great sense of relief is the main feeling I have, very little sadness. I had been on low contact with her for the last several years as her increasing dementia ENHANCED her NPD qualities. She became paranoid, began accusing me of stealing things from her, coming into her house when she was out grocery shopping, etc. She would openly denigrate my late father to me. Not to anyone else in the family - just to me.

    As the dementia increased my mother became more and more openly verbally abusive to me and about me to other family members. She had also become much more verbally abusive to my father prior to his death. Once he was gone, she became demanding of my time with never even a "thank you" for providing every bit of her transport. But as time passed she aimed more and more of her venom my way. This led to me going as low on contact as was possible in an act of self preservation. But she was elderly and alone and I am the only child (of two) anywhere at all nearby, so I did not feel I could go no contact.


    I am also one who feels they have grieved for most of their life already. Coming here and reading this article and the thoughtful comments has been wonderfully supportive. Thank you Gail and thank you posters.


    Now that I know that my lack of sadness is normal, I feel so much better. I do have some anger but it is not for the lack of mothering towards me. I had already come to terms with that. My anger is because over her final three years, my mother made my already emotionally disturbed son into her Flying Monkey - bigtime. He has always been somewhat bi-polar and had been treated for clinical depression in the past. Unfortunately, he would not stay on medication and has never gone through proper counseling. (He and his wife had some marital counseling at a crisis point in their marriage but that's all that I know of.)

    By pulling the martyr act, anointing my son "her hero" and "her rescuer", and dangling a prospective inheritance (which is now almost gone after years of self-pay in a most expensive assisted living facility), she has almost totally alienated my son from me. Of my two children, my relationship with my son had always been the much more difficult, so I would say that our relationship was "vulnerable". My mother took full advantage of that and has had my son doing her bidding and fully dancing to her tune for several years now. He is taking her death very hard. My daughter is not, because she had become aware of my mother's treatment of me and also went on low contact. (Due to the dementia, one day when my daughter was visiting my mother somehow thought she was me. And she unloaded on my daughter, Oh boy. I felt really bad for my daughter because she had never experienced anything like that before and up until then, despite me trying to explain things to her, she really did not understand what was going on.)


    I have hopes that now she is gone there can perhaps be a reconciliation between my son and myself. But I don't want to get my hopes up too high. For now, I just want to get through the funeral and dealing with out-of-town relatives coming in, including my only sister The Golden Child. (Although in this case, even the Golden Child didn't get along with her all that well and never had a close relationship with her.)

    Thanks again to all of you here for sharing your stories.
    Were there any good aspects to my mother? Yes, of course there were. She taught me a good work ethic.

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  37. Thank you so very much for this raw personal insight. I've been referring to myself as "the Black Sheep" for years and one of my brothers as 'the Golden Child" before I ever learned what a Narcissistic mother was. She passed away just one year ago and I clearly remember the last time I saw her. I was standing at the foot of the recliner chair she was laying (dying) in and I knew when I left that day I wouldn't see her alive again........ and I truly didn't care. The thought of her being dead was a comfort to me. I ached to hear her say "I'm sorry i was so hard on you and so critical of you" but those words never left her mouth. I practically choked on the words "I love you" before I walked out her front door. On some level I loved her but the words were more out of a sense of obligation than actual love.

    So, now that I've read about narcissistic mothers and the divisiveness they breed, I can truly say I was the black sheep and my one brother was the golden child and my other siblings were her flying monkeys.

    I also believe she's in Heaven - or somewhere happier. I wish that I could somehow completely release the anger and hatred I feel for her for stealing so much joy from my life. It's gotten better over the past year but it still hangs like a weight at the bottom of my heart.... it's there, and I can feel it. How does one get rid of that baggage? I haven't been to a counselor, perhaps I should look into that.

    Any suggestions? Thanks again for posting.

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  38. My N.mother just died . Being the youngest of 6, I always felt a lack of love on her part...for me and for me only ! My dad adores me and I feel that attributed to her hate towards me. I decided to take the " no contact" approach about a year ago, even though I hated not seeing my dad. Somehow she manipulated all my sibblings and my dad against me. I was the only one who did not attend the funeral simply because I am not a hypocrite....I really did not want to be there. Now I am feeling anger ...for I should have told her how I really felt. I should have told her that I was abused because of HER....(she would never admit to it anyway and made my sibblings think I'm the crazy one), I'm angry that I never told her how badly she hurt me with her actions. I am crying not because I miss her but because I SHOULD HAVE TOLD HER !!!!

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  39. but...I am grateful to her for I know now how NOT TO BE with my own children. That's it.

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  40. My NM died a couple of months ago. We found out via Facebook! My sister (GC) deliberately kept the information from me so even if I`d wanted to, it was too late to go to the funeral. She is telling everyone that she did inform me and that I didn`t bother to turn up to the funeral.

    My NM (who I was NC with for many years), left my son and I out of the will and left everything to my sister and her children, just as my sister had planned. My sister told me she is giving us nothing even though she knows what my NM did to me and I was abused by her all my life.

    I do not have any feelings about my NM as she was dead to me for many years, but the injustice and helplessness of it is what I am finding hard to deal with.

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  42. I just found out that my Narc Mother died a couple of days ago. I live abroad and found out online. I am a 46 year old male, who went through years of verbal and mental abuse, mostly from the age of 12 when my parents divorced up until I went no contact at the age of 34.

    I just found out this morning, online, and what I feel now at 4.30 in the afternoon, is a mix of relief, slight disbelief and a surreal feeling, and the sense of her death being anti-climactic, as I have already grieved not having a loving, caring mother for many years at this point.

    I am hoping that it will be easier for me to forgive her now. I remind myself that she did not achieve what she had hoped for in this life, not even anything close to it as she was working at Wal-Mart into her 60`s and never re-married or had a LTR after the divorce (when she was about 33). She was living with my Golden Child younger brother at the time of her death. He is 42 and has never been married yet. I am curious about what will become of him after her death...

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  43. I am thoroughly amazed at this entry. I feel as though you have just written EVERYTHING in my mind since the death of my adoptive mother two days ago. Interesting that they are so skilled in destroying people that it is the same across the board.

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  44. I want to thank you very much for helping me understand my girlfriends troubles with her NM as she is very close to death. We are not a young couple and she has been dealing with the "THE MOM" for 61 years. I want to be at her side when that last breath is taken. We have been together for 2 years and never understood narcissistic people till she made me aware of her mother tendencies. I have been reading up on children of narcissistic parents and it's very tragic. Not sure which way she will go once her NM is gone, but I do know that I want to share every moment with her after the "THE MOM" is gone.

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  45. My NM is dying as I type this, I have not been to see her, no for one year neither have my teenage boys. I am now enduring the influx of vile abuse from my nieces and brother all over Facebook! It is pathetic, not one of my siblings or family have ever bothered to as ME why or what and when I did try once I was told I was imagining things. They are all now watching her pain go however mine will be there along time ahead. Why oh why if she wanted me to see her on her death bed to say goodbye didn't she turn up on my doorstep and say sorry....she couldn't, she created this awful scenario and now she has to suffer the pain of dying without her favourite loving daughter by her side. The sooner she goes the better, I feel nothing but pity for her, it was her choice to treat me with contempt and turn my siblings against me now I can live my life as the real me. Thank goodness she got a computer it's amazing what you see, and they don't know I know it all.

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    1. That's healthy and good on you. Go find that real you and live the hell out of it! Your post inspired me, thanks.

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  46. Thank you for your essay - I have yet to shed a tear since the death of my father a year ago. I am quite clueless about what to say to people (who did not know him) who wish to say kind words to me about his death. My mother, married for over 60 years, has been and is totally blind to "what" he was and who she became within their relationship. And, of course, he surrounded himself with people who he could fool in to idolizing him..... I do not grieve for him, partly because he is still "alive" in my head (I am 60 years old). My emotions are more dead to me than he is. Very troubling. I will read every one who has responded to your writing - thank you again.

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  47. Thank you for this, I'm processing my own Mother's death from 7 years ago. She has a Family full of flying monkeys and I'm an only child, I took care of my Mother since I was 4 or 5 due to her illnesses.

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  48. Im only half way through and its like yr telling my story maintain their power at all costs - i have a narcissist father who pretended to be the good one and made my mother into the narcissist untl she passed and i moved in with him i always thought my mother was ghe problem he ruined my relationship with her all my family extended friends and now i have no father either my whole life which i thought was ok ish was a lie

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  49. Thankyou so very much Gail. I have been struggling with the way that I feel about my mother and her passing, 3 years ago. I loved my mother because she was my mother, but did not like her as a person. She was just as you described your mother. My whole life she belittled me, turned family and friends against me.... even my own children since her death have nothing to do with me. I have 14 grand children that I do not have any type of contact with because of the lies and stories that my mother told their parents. It hurts terribly....I dont grieve for my mother the way that normal daughters*for lack of a better term- do, and I sometimes feel guilty because I do not. Then I remember the past...my whole friggin life and the way that she treated me, and I get enraged at her....I am so conflicted the majority of the time, and it is affecting my life....every day.....any suggestions?

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  50. "... Grief should be processed three days after the funeral..."That's what narcissistic people say. Like my narcissistic mother who said that three days after my husband's funeral.

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    1. So you could get back to your real job as soon as possible, which was meeting her "needs." Wishing you peace.

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  51. I am not pround of my feelings right now but honestly... the day my NM finaly dies my grief process will have two stages: acceptance and celebration. hope this day come asap

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  52. Wow! This was so powerful to me. As so many other's have said, you could have been writing my story. I just wish I had known about narcissism many years ago, maybe it would have saved me so much pain. I always felt like my mother treated me the way she did because of something I did or something I lacked but now I understand!!! You have helped so many people by sharing your story, thank you! I will definitely be sharing my experiences to hopefully help someone else!

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  53. Sadly, I may never grieve my mother's death because her death itself was a punishment she inflicted upon my brother and I for failing to continue supplying her with the attention she demanded.
    When we stopped rescuing her each time she went to the ER for self-inflicted dehydration and starvation and insisted that she seek medical and mental help and had her placed in a convalescent center she refused food and water and eventually died as my brother and I stood there and watched.
    The ultimate guilt trip. Now we are left scarred for life.

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  54. Incredible. This post saved my life, especially "I had been grieving my mother for my entire life". My mixed feelings make so much sense now - I am sad she is gone, I miss her, but I always wished for more from her. I feel like I 'survived', now that she's gone. In the opinions of her flying monkeys and her 'favorites', she has now been sainted. And that's okay. I am going to be okay. Thank YOU for this post.

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