How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC Your Own ...

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5559
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
54658078
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a beautiful and charming narcissist mother - thankfully

Customer Question

I have a beautiful and charming narcissist mother - thankfully now past menopause. I say thankfully because she no longer sleeps with a zillion men. What she still does do is woo people over lunch casting herself as the put upon heroine, with her children cast in various ways that belittles us, or seriously damages our reputation, to make herself look good. She and my selfish (but sane) father are coming over Christmas. I am happily married with three loving sons. But just thinking of my parents coming to stay distresses me. How can I get over this? Of course I had a very unpleasant childhood, and an even worse early adultlhood, but that, at least is the past.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

It is very understandable that you want to stay away from your mother. A misconception by society is that just because it is your mother, you are required to be nice to her and to grant her requests no matter how she treats you. If you had an abusive childhood, this "requirement" causes you to be retraumtized each time you have to be exposed to the abusive parent(s). If your mother were someone you did not know and she had done these things to you, people would think you were crazy to invite her into your home. But the family relationship often makes abused adult children feel obligated.

 

A person with a narcissistic personality disorder is not easily cured. Personality disorders in general are hard to treat unless the person desires to get better and has enough insight to do so. But more often than not, this is not the case. So your mother continues to react to you and the world as if her behavior is normal. To her, it is everyone else that is at fault. This makes it nearly impossible for you to have any of your needs address or even the basic courtesies addressed. So when your mother is around, you basically give up your rights and your boundaries to accommodate her. It is no wonder you do not want to see her.

 

Understanding narcissisists is an important step in knowing how to deal with them. Here are links to help you:

 

http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx36.htm

 

http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder

 

As you can tell, there is no way to fix your mother. So the only thing you can do is respond in such as way as to protect yourself as much as possible. This can range from ignoring her all together (you are under no obligation to expose yourself to her behavior) to setting very strict limits to how much you allow her into your life. For example, if she is coming over for Christmas, set a time for how long you want to tolerate her. Let her know that if she comes at 1 pm, she can stay until 3 pm but after that you have somewhere you need to be. If you need to, make a show of leaving at 3. Even if you drive around the block, it helps you set limits with her by showing her you are not allowing her to cross boundaries anymore.

 

Also, find ways to help you through her visits. Have supportive people around you and limit how much emotion you show. People with personality disorders feed on getting others upset. So find a few responses you are willing to give, and stick to them. Yes, no and that sounds nice are examples. When she asks if something is wrong, say no in a pleasant voice. This will take the wind out of her sails and she may leave on her own.

 

I hope this has helped you,
Kate

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. I think she is, actually, quite frightened of me. She knows I know.... Is there any way I can keep in proportion the damage she does telling lies about me? I find social events very stressful and will sometimes drink too much at them (especially in anyone mentions they know her). I hate giving talks, going on TV, that kind of thing, which is a bit unhelpful career wise. I like to hide in a way. But I am an opinionated, convivial person at the same time - not at all a shrinking violet. I am limiting the amount of tie she is here over Christmas - but it will be two nights not two hours!! I cant quite bring myself to make the final break. I want to feel she cant seriously damage me, but the truth is I am afraid of her (funny that she is frightened of me!)
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

It is very difficult to deal with someone spreading lies and misleading information about you. Keeping in perspective is easier though if you keep in mind that most people will know what your mother is like, at least anyone who knows her and is not just a casual acquaintance.

 

The stress of coping with someone with a personality disorder is high. To help yourself, do some relaxation exercises. Offset the stress with treating yourself with special outings or vacations. Make yourself feel special when you can and ask for help in doing so from your partner or friends.

 

Also, if anyone mentions your mother or alludes to something she said about you, you can always downplay it by saying mom has some problems or something similar. Don't try to defend yourself or go into long explanations of her problems. The less importance you put on it, the more others will dismiss it.

 

You can also tell her to stop, but as you know that could go either way with her response. She may use it against you or she may be frightened off. There is no way to tell for sure.

 

Trying to relax, talking to others and relying on family to help you can also relieve some of the stress. Ask for support from those who know your mother to quell some of the rumors. It is better the denials come from them rather than from you.

 

You can work on making your mother's visits shorter, one step at a time. Next time you see her, cut off an hour. Slowly backing off is just as good, and maybe better, than cutting her off all together.

 

And keep in mind, most people take rumors or gossip from others like your mother in stride. If they are good people and caring in nature, they will dismiss her talk until they have proof that it is true. If they do not, they are not worth your time anyway.

 

This resource may help you communicate with your mother so you feel more in control:

 

http://www.psytalk.info/articles/narcissist.html

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5559
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ps I am only guessing she is a narcissist. Here are some of the things she has done. When I was about 8 (the eldest of three) she said she would leave us to die in a fire to save her lover because you chose your friends not your relations. I asked her about that as an adult. She claimed she had meant my father not the lover (hardly the point I wld think), . When I was 19 she sent me to stay with her lover to stop him going off with another woman. I hated this and tried always to take a friend. I suppose I must have guessed if I was on my own I would be assaulted. And I was. A few years ago she asked me to have this same lover to stay. I refused. She told me she had had to be with him because he helped pay for stuff. I sent her an email saying I was sorry she felt she had to sell her body for money, but I was not her pimp. We never spoke of this email! When I was just married she asked my mother in law to have lover to a party, saying that he had paid for me to spend time in a drink and drugs clinic (I have never been in one or had such treatment). Weirdly she likes to pretend to be religious. Maybe she even believes it!
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

I am so sorry you had to grow up with a mother who acted like that. Your childhood had to be horrific.

 

I would say she is narcissistic, but she also shows signs of anti social (also called sociopathic) behavior. Symptoms include:

 

Lying

 

Using charm to manipulate others

 

Impulsive behavior

 

Lack of understanding of right and wrong

 

Child abuse or neglect

 

Lack of remorse about hurting others

 

These are some of the symptoms that sound like your mother to me. Her symptoms may decrease over time due to age, but for the most part she retains the core of the symptoms.

 

The only thing you can do is focus on healing yourself and protecting yourself from her. Unless she sees her behavior as a problem, she will never get better. So caring for yourself and those around you is the best way to deal with her. And if that includes slowly phasing her out of your life, then that is fine. Protecting yourself is the main priority.

 

Kate

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Mental Health Professional
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Mental Health Professional
5559 Satisfied Customers
Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.