Posted by: Judy | November 2, 2011

More insanity…

It seems to be the week for it. I visited a dear friend, and had a great time. When I arrived home my parents asked me if I enjoyed myself. Yes, I did. My NM’s voice becomes watery as she exclaims, “That’s wonderful!” It’s great but not really tear worthy. Honest.

It annoys me, a little, because there is this odd feeling that my response is so unusual it deserves this gushing excitement. I meet with this friend about once a month. I always enjoy my time with her. We talk for hours, about a wide variety of subjects. We laugh, a lot. Again, I always come home feeling energized. But from NM’s reaction, you’d think I hadn’t been happy in years.

Granted, I’m careful to curb my enthusiasm around NM. As mentioned in Harpy’s Child’s list, NM’s are emotional vampires. It was odd to see it so blatant. That isn’t to say that I don’t laugh around NM. But this wasn’t the end.

Not long after that, I was in the kitchen cleaning up my dishes from dinner. The water is running, my back is to my NM, who is on the other side of the room, speaking in a soft voice… oh, my, gosh. She was setting me up. Now she can complain that she talks to me, and I ignore her. Only partially true. I was having trouble hearing her, but caught enough to know that I didn’t want to engage her in conversation. Rage was roaring through me. I figured silence was the wiser course.

In her emotional voice that expresses how much she’s feeling something (I don’t know how sincere it is, and it doesn’t matter; it’s a trap). She said something about how happy it made her when her children were happy. There was more, but I had mentally checked out.

For the next hour, I argued with myself. Why was I behaving like such a bitch? What’s wrong with a mother wanting her children to be happy, and being happy when they are? I took it to the logical conclusion. I remembered NM telling me that she was unhappy when her children were unhappy, repeatedly. Then I remembered all the times I was held responsible for my NM’s happiness and unhappiness. It was my job to make her happy, and it was my fault if she was unhappy.

Then I asked myself the next logical question: What does it hurt to help her be happy? And I spiraled. I’ve mentioned in an earlier post the ugliness this starts. My NM has taken happy moments in my life and deliberately said cruel things to me so that she could cheer me up, again. Only to turn around and say something else really mean, so she could cheer me up yet again. It fed a cycle. I let it go on, once, for three rounds. I decided that was enough. I never fell into the trap again.

So, the other day was a repeat of her familiar pattern, and I refused to be sucked in. She gave me the silent treatment, off and on, for two days. She is frustrated by my refusal to play the part she has designated for me. She will rally her troops, assuring them that I am a heartless, self-centered, lazy excuse for a daughter. Poor her. She will not tell them about the nasty things she says to me, let alone admit that she lies about me.

Living with a narcissist is living with a pathological liar, a very convincing pathological liar. They have learned to cultivate the charming and/or helpless exterior. They play the part well; they’ve been practicing a long time.

I want to learn to let go of the rage when I realize she is trying to manipulate me. In my studies, I’m discovering the most effective replacement for the anger is humor. It didn’t feel very funny, this week. I need to work on that. It is kind of funny that she continues to try to control me with the old methods that haven’t worked for a long time now. Though I don’t think I’ll share, out loud, Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I’m choosing a different behavior, so I’ll have different results. I recognize manipulative behavior; I will learn to see the humor in it.


  1. I am starting to think of Alexis’s response to being told she was on Santa’s naughty list. She rolled her eyes and said, “Again.” The new image gets me laughing, the insanity is hard to laugh at but humor can be found.

    • Kids can have such great perspectives!

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