A dicey situation.

dicey_situation_by_johnnycorduroy
“Dicey Situation” by Johnny Corduroy, Deviantart

I always hesitate before posting anything about my N mother, because I know she reads this blog. But then I think about two things: 1. what can she do? and 2. no one ever asked her to read this blog. It’s mine. If you don’t want to get burned, keep your hands off the stove. So here goes.

Yesterday when I talked to my mother about my dad, she said she wants to come visit me in the fall. She cannot afford a hotel room, and I can’t afford to put her up in one. She pretty much invited herself, saying, “Well, I will have to stay at your place.” Immediately I felt my self-protective shackles kick in: Danger! Danger! Boundary violation!

In most families, letting your mom stay with you fore a few days wouldn’t be a problem. But my family isn’t most families.  My mother is very judgmental of me and my lifestyle, which, although I’m satisfied with it, is less than glamorous and I know she would not/does not approve of the way I live (which really isn’t my fault anyway because I don’t have the financial resources to live better).  Even if she says nothing about my mismatched furniture, the sagging, stained couch, the buggy old-fashioned kitchen with its tiny 1970s electric stove, an old summer camp steamer trunk used as a coffee table, the box TV in the living room, the ancient windows that don’t open, and the black mold on one side of the house (which my landlord has yet to do something about), I know she will go back to her extended family and tongues will wag. I know she has devalued me to the rest of the family and puts me down, disapproving of the way I live. She cloaks these criticisms with “concern,” saying things like, “I just don’t know why Lauren always makes such bad choices,” or “it’s so sad the way she lives but she made her own bed.”  Or she talks about how mentally unstable or immature I am. Even though my mother is far from wealthy and even borders on as poor as I am, she has always put on airs of being of a higher social status than she actually is, and to be fair, she does a good job of it. Even if I was of a social class she approved of, our tastes and interests are vastly different. I’m far too “bohemian” for her liking and I’m pretty sure I still would be even if I was rich.

I also know she wouldn’t approve of my housemate, and they would get in each other’s way. The idea of the three of us having to share a roof, even for a few days, gives me the willies.   I wouldn’t be able to tolerate feeling like I have to apologize for the things I do while she is here.   If I tell her no, she can’t come, I know she will go back to the extended family and tell them I’m “hiding something.” She seems to think I still have my ex living with me and am saying nothing about it. This is of course ridiculous, but I know it’s what she’ll tell everyone. She can’t understand why I wouldn’t be thrilled to put her up on my couch for several days and I don’t have the courage to be honest with her. The fact she reads this blog and knows I’ve pegged her as a narcissist (even though I don’t think she is malignant, she is a textbook example of a woman with intractable NPD) doesn’t seem to faze her in the slightest. Being the narcissist she is, she simply is incapable of understanding why I wouldn’t be jumping for joy for the “opportunity” of putting her up on my couch for a few days.

I had no time to prepare for this, so I said weakly, “well, you will have to sleep on the couch then, because my roommate has the other room.” She responded with, “oh, you have a roommate?” As if this is some life choice of mine and isn’t a matter of financial necessity.  It’s also interesting to me that I have never been invited to see her where she lives.  The one time I suggested going to visit her there, she told me my half sister didn’t want me there (they share a townhouse).   I think she was lying, because my half sister barely knows me.  I haven’t seen her since 1986.   I think it’s actually my mother who doesn’t want me to come there, because I would “embarrass” her in front of the family, so she put words in my sister’s mouth.    Even if my sister doesn’t want me there, it was probably my mother who turned her against me.

I’m in a dicey situation, and I’m praying she changes her mind about coming. Just in case she isn’t, I guess I’ll have to start saving enough money between now and then to put her up in a local motel, which I should be able to do given the time frame. Then all I need to do is think of some reason why she can’t stay at my house (repairs? haven’t cleaned it?) She would like a motel better anyway with its pool, sterile rooms, flat screen TV, and a real bed. The fall is still a few months away but it will be hard for me to save the money because I’m trying to save enough money to go see my son in Florida in September. I think she might know this too, but she doesn’t care.

Advertisements

I’m feeling a little conflicted.

Concept image of a lost and confused signpost against a blue cloudy sky.

A few days ago I received a birthday card from my mother. The message inside was warmer and more loving than most of the cards she has sent me in recent years. Inside the card was a check.

I’ll be perfectly honest. I wasn’t expecting to get anything at all from her this year, because I know she found this blog and the things I’ve written about her haven’t been all that nice.

I haven’t actually spoken to my mother in three years. Though I never officially went “No Contact” with her, I just stopped calling her (or accepting her calls) because talking to her is very triggering for me. I always feel like a stupid little child in her presence–even on the phone (and I hate phones anyway). I always hang up feeling diminished as a human being. Her verbal abuse of me has always been somewhat subtle but it’s definitely there. I do still have contact with her via email and mail though. We send each other birthday and Christmas cards, but that’s about it. I don’t see any reason to stop doing those things.

I started this blog primarily to come to terms with and deal with my feelings about my psychopathic malignant narcissist ex after I finally got the courage to make him leave. But I couldn’t write about narcissism without thinking of the patterns in my life–especially my pattern of always being drawn to narcissists (and having them drawn to me) due to having been raised by a narcissistic mother and an enabling dad.

I haven’t posted much about my mother lately, partly because I know she probably reads this blog, but also because I’m having doubts about how malignant she actually was. She certainly was nowhere near as bad as my ex. A malignant narcissist or psychopath likes to see others suffer and deliberately hurts others for their own pleasure. My mother isn’t like that. There’s no doubt she’s very narcissistic and self involved–but she isn’t vindictive and doesn’t necessarily punish or deliberately hurt people who have crossed her. She usually just ignores them and acts like they no longer exist. I suppose that in itself could be a form of punishment though.

You may think she sent me the birthday card and gift as a form of Hoovering me back into the family or as a last ditch attempt to get narcissistic supply from me. I don’t think either is the case. I actually think my mother wants little to do with me at all. Of course that hurts, but I’ve grown used to it. I think things were like that long before I started this blog.

A few years ago, she might have tried to coerce me into providing her with more narcissistic supply through love bombing, because I would actually provide it. But I haven’t given her any supply in three years, and she has other resources now (other family members). So I doubt she is actually trying to get anything from me.

It could be a way of keeping me off balance too, but something tells me that isn’t it. It just doesn’t seem like something she would do. She isn’t that smart or cunning.

So here is what I think. I think that she does have some rudimentary maternal love for me. Garden variety NPDs aren’t entirely incapable of love. It’s also possible she may have had her eyes opened in reading this blog, and knows she is narcissistic. She may realize she wasn’t a good parent, but as a narc, she isn’t going to be caught dead admitting it, especially to me. Maybe her gift to me and its warm birthday message was a sort of indirect admission of culpability. If so, she will most likely take that knowledge to the grave with her and I will never know.