With a Narcissistic Mother nothing is ever straightforward. There’s an angle and an agenda to everything. So if she is generous, you can be sure there are big strings attached.
Usually the string is to instil guilt in you or a sense of being beholden to them. Or it’s the ability to throw it in your face whenever you protest their treatment of you. It’s as if this generosity gave them absolute permission to abuse you.
I always hated asking my parents for any favours and did it as little as I could. But there are times you need help, and we didn’t have any family on my husband’s side.
I knew though that everything they ever did for me was bound to be thrown in my face again in event of a row. “In case of fire, break glass. In case of row, throw this in Danu’s face.”
It used to be really confusing because I’d be saying, as calmly as I could, that I didn’t like X treatment, and they’d be saying, “But we did nice things Y and Z for you.”
And if I protested that, they’d say, ‘Well are we not allowed to present evidence of when we were nice? You’re only concentrating on the bad things’.
And I’d be left silenced. There was a flaw in that logic, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
It was as if them doing nice things for me was a licence to treat me nastily the rest of the time.
The irony is that my father used to say to me and my siblings when we were children, that it wasn’t enough for us to be good most of the time, that we had to be good ALL the time. If we were bold even once, it cancelled out all the good things we ever did.
Which was absolutely cruel I think. We were basically good kids, but were mildly bold sometimes – and that meant that all good was negated.
And although my father put the burden of that impossible standard on us, he put the opposite standard on him and my mother. Them being good sometimes gave them a get-out-of-jail-free card for any mean behaviour they wanted to inflict.
I think that the best thing is to accepting nothing from them. It’s easier said than done I know. Now that I am No Contact with them, it’s scary to know that there’s no safety net. But I don’t care. I’ll manage somehow, but I will not be beholden to them any more. The price is too high.
There’s a lot more about going No-Contact in my book You’re Not Crazy – It’s Your Mother, and at the information about No Contact on this site.