Friday, May 30, 2008

Narcissist Death-Beds and Funerals

On my May 21st post I was posed this question by NNL:

Question for you with respect to something you brought up:

" 'Your mother is dying and in the hospital. She wants to see you.'

This is something I haven't really allowed myself to think about too much yet. But as our parents age, this is an issue that we are going to have to contend with.

You intimated that you still would remain no contact. This is a weighty issue that I would really appreciate hearing your thought process on..."
There are two issues here that I will try to express my thoughts on. That of the dying N parent, and the issue of their funeral. These are my personal decisions based on my circumstances. Adjust as necessary if your circumstances call for it.

The chance of a narcissist being changed on their deathbed is the stuff of fantasy. Your fantasy. Not the narcissist's fantasy. Do not be enticed to the deathbed on the basis of some dream you have of receiving a true gift of an apology or some kind of "closure". You will get neither.

Because I believe what I just said down to my DNA I will not be vulnerable to vague promises of "making things right before I die" coming from narcissist family members. There will still be an iron fist hidden inside the silken glove. I have read many accounts of ACONs being lured to visit a dying N relative, or a funeral, only to find themselves caught in a crucible. I haven't heard anyone say they would do it again had they another opportunity. They consistently regret their decision. I respect the collective experiences of others and try to learn from them. I have listened intently to their testimonies and determined I will not repeat their mistake.

If I ever received a directive from my sister to visit my dying mother in the hospital I would immediately know something to be true: that my sister is there taking care of matters. This would prove that my presence would not be needed to deal with the decisions being made about my mother's care which is the only thing that could possibly make me feel obligated. In other words, my mother wouldn't be in need of my help. The same would be true if it was my father who called me. If he called, he is the one taking care of matters. The chance of my father calling is about the same as a snowball's chance in hell.

The other things I have to consider when anticipating whether or not to attend my mother's death bed is that I will be confronted with dealing not just with her. I will be dealing with my father who very likely will be blaming me for my mother's illness and pending death. Being all too well acquainted with the level of rage he is capable of I feel the need to protect myself from him in that circumstance. And my sister may see this as another opportunity to attach herself to my life. Or she may choose to use the circumstance to get some payback in and I would have to deal with the haughty, snotty version of her. I am not willing to take on the three of them just to go through the motions of giving my mother some kind of death bed absolution.

If my mother called me on the phone in an effort to "make things right", I would likely let her say her piece, give her all assurances that my life was not ruined by her and call it a day. I would not be opposed to her gaining a shred of peace of mind just prior to dying. I'm not into torturing people. If I consented to talking to my mother on her death bed it would not be something I would do for me. It would be something I allowed for her sake.

This probably the most important point when deciding whether or not to allow contact when you know the N is dying. Do not be enticed by your imagination and your hope to allow contact in these circumstances. If you on any level feel you need something from the narcissist then you are perfectly set up for another jab into the center of your heart. You will be handing power over to the narcissist to get you one more time. Don't be gullible. They are unchanged; they are not sorry. If you consent to some contact while being fully aware that you expect nothing from the narcissist then you are better situated to avoid being vulnerable. If you give anything at this juncture, do it for them not for yourself. In other words, if you know you are in the position to give a gift rather than hoping to receive one then you are not set up for exploitation or abuse. Remember, a true gift is something given with no expectation of reciprocation or remuneration. Don't show up with a gift of concern or compassion and expect anything like that in return.

Another problem that can come up with being lured to a "death bed" scene is that it isn't their death bed. They may be feigning to be much more ill than they really are just to lure you by your compassion to their bedside so as to gain an avenue of access back into your life. I've heard those stories too. Once the door is cracked open by you attending their pretended "death bed" they will then pretend you have given them carte blanche to come back as if nothing ever happened and no estrangement had ever occurred.

If circumstances developed leaving my mother completely alone without my sister or father alive to tend to her then my choices would be different. I would feel obligated to make sure her basic needs were being met. Shelter, food, and basic medical care. One of her basic needs is NOT companionship. She has no claim on me for that even if she is utterly alone. Her basic needs would not require me to be in constant direct contact with her. I would use surrogates for everything I could. I would be behind the scenes. There would be minimal direct contact with her. I would discharge my filial duty and not get entangled with her emotionally.

I know there are people who have much more evil mothers than I have. I can completely understand leaving a N parent to rot if they had been sexually abusive, or allowed sexual abuse. In my estimation there is nothing that proves a person to not have been a parent in any true sense if these things happened with their knowledge and approval. My sense of duty to my mother doesn't have to translate to how you deal with yours. You get to decide how much to give in their final days on their earth. Only you know if they deserve to be considered a parent in any sense of the word.

My decision about attending the funeral of narcissist relatives seems like a no-brainer to me. There is no point whatsoever is attending my narcissist mother's funeral. As they say, funerals are for the living. My father would be distressed and angry and vengeful if I were to show up. So, obviously, I wouldn't be doing a kindness for him by going. My sister will have her own self-serving agenda, whatever it may be. I feel no need to comfort her at the loss of her mother. She is the one who has complained the loudest and the most about her mother. I will assume some part of her will be happy Mommy Dearest is gone. There is no other family who will attend my mother's funeral that I have any connection with. My attendance would be superfluous. No one will be there who needs me to be there. I feel zero obligation to go to my mother's funeral. Or my father's. My sister is younger than me, so I don't think about her funeral. Same rules apply though.

These are some of my thought processes as it concerns your question, NNL. I hope there is something in there that you can use. To sum up what I think should be the guiding principle for making decisions on these matters: only give what you are willing to give and do so with no expectation of reward.


Anonymous said...

Another problem that can come up with being lured to a "death bed" scene is that it isn't their death bed. They may be feigning to be much more ill than they really are just to lure you by your compassion to their bedside so as to gain an avenue of access back into your life.

Hmm, this sounds familiar. With my NM it was the cries that she was being put on oxygen, put in a wheelchair, etc., only to find there was no change in her condition other than her still not following prescribed treatment. I know today I won't be manipulated with the big stick of failing health anymore. And though it's just my opinion, I have no intentions of ever attending her funeral.

Anonymous said...

My husband's Nsister responded to cutoff with, "But what if somebody dies?"

His response was to tell her not to call us then, either. Mind you, Nsister had already planted the seed that her son is gravely ill and needs an organ transplant. A young person's so-called death would be dramatic, and evoke much sympathy. Clever.

She learned from a master, her father. He spent 15 years "dying". When his time came, the doctor said, "He's finally going to get what he wants."

Death can be the final stage set for some people, who cast themselves in the leading role. Sick, aren't they?

Cathy said...

Thank you Anna,

At the end you said:

"only give what you are willing to give and do so with no expectation of reward."

That sums it up for me. I really have given up any notion or expectation of anything changing with my mother - upon her deathbed or otherwise. There is a freedom that comes with truly having let go of those expecatations. Having said that, this would not be my motivation for any sort of contact with her if she were dying or upon her death.

The part that I've not yet thought through but seen others wrestle with in these situations stems from a broader issue. I've seen them struggle with moral issues that I, myself, haven't yet thought through. The struggle and dilemma I've seen in others goes something like this: "Am I obligated to somehow pay respect to this human life (albeit an evil one) who was alive and is now dying/dead? If so, what does that look like?" The struggle I see in them is that they want to do the right thing before God in this situation.

Can you comment on that?

Anna Valerious said...

Am I obligated to somehow pay respect to this human life (albeit an evil one) who was alive and is now dying/dead? If so, what does that look like?" The struggle I see in them is that they want to do the right thing before God in this situation.

Most Christians don't know what it means to think biblically. Here is the short definition: to think through something biblically means you have a plain "thus saith the Lord" to guide your actions. With that definition in mind, where is the Biblical command to show honor or respect for an evil life? It doesn't exist. In fact, the whole idea is completely anti-thetical to Bible teaching.

We need to untangle our thinking.

Muddling the idea of "honor" and "respect" with granting the demands of an evil person (even if that person is dying) is to mix apples and oranges. Those are two separate things. We don't show "honor" to someone just because we accede to their demands. That is what the narcissist would teach us, but it is not reality, or truth, or sensible.

Remaining "no contact" even when a narcissist is facing death is not an act of dishonor. It is the continuing act of self-defense. Self-defense is a God-given right. How do I know that is true? I look at nature. God's creation. He has created every living organism with abilities to protect itself. Even a brainless amoeba has the smarts to avoid something sharp and pointy. It'll move away from the potential danger. Do you really think God would demand humans, whom He bothered to give brains to, not take measures to protect themselves? I don't believe that about God. I see Him as compassionate and protective. My view of God guides me to the decisions I've made about my family in the context I laid out in my post. Denying the narcissist another opportunity to sin against me is a righteous act on my part.

To lay myself at the feet of the narcissist to be sacrificed one more time on their altar of self-worship is not honor. It is not respect. It is stupidity. It may even be a sign of cupidity. For many are motivated to "make nice" at death beds in order to hopefully find some monetary reward in the end.

I have no doubt that many Christians will continue to struggle with whether or not rushing to a death scene is necessary for their own salvation. I'm not one of them. Neither the narcissist's redemption nor mine will be found at their death bed.

I have clearly marked out what I believe to be my obligation toward my narcissist mother. If she needs shelter, food and medical care and there is no one else to look to those needs, I will step in. I do not believe I am obligated to do more.

I have left the rest for all of you to sort out in your own consciences. My idea of what honor truly is has been thoughtfully laid out in my two posts on the 5th commandment. I do not believe we show honor by honoring the dishonorable. It really isn't complicated.

Cathy said...

Thank you!!!

As usual, you cut right through it. The wisdom and truth in what you've stated is evident.

You've put words to what has been rumbling around on the inside of me therefore what you've written had resonated with me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Anonymous said...

"..... only give what you are willing to give and do so with no expectation of reward."

Thank you, Anna, for this timely post. It has been so much on my mind of late since my parents are 80 yrs. old. This streamlines thinking and 'planning' for future scenarios as they are presented.

As for the above quote from your post....the hell of it is, I DID so much of what I did for Nmom with that very thing in mind. NOT to expect anything back! I understood that from my belief in God and what He said. What I DID NOT expect was to get crapped on! It is one thing to expect NOTHING...and quite another to get shoveled a cowpie with frosting on it! So.....I would say in addition to your quote along with the "no expectation of reward" also "be certain to wear a slicker and boots when the shit flies" DO expect SOMETHING....but it isn't going to be a REWARD.

Having said THAT....I realized I'm going to reallyreally rethink what I might do (or not do) at the DeathBedFuneral scene. Made me think twice.

Anna Valerious said...

I would say in addition to your quote along with the "no expectation of reward" also "be certain to wear a slicker and boots when the shit flies"

Ha! Yeah. I'd say that your addendum is accurate. You well describe the ass backwards way of the narcissist. To give you a big excrement sandwich as your reward for doing something selfless and kind for them. Their perversity is the only thing they get perfectly right every time. I think you have helped me sum up what to expect when putting yourself out for the narcissist's dying moment. Stand by for another shit sandwich for your efforts.

Anonymous said...

BTW...I'm STILL pickin' my teeth from taking care of my gramma (Nmom's mother) 30 yrs. ago. I lived with her, wiped her ass, listened to her midnight demented ramblings for a year or so when she was dying. (Nmom just couldn't 'cope', with her own mother! Geez.) Whattud I get outta THAT? Gramma would call all her adult kids and tell them I was stealing from off her....(I lived in the basement with two babies and a hotplate set on top of the washer/dryer)...and generally 'taking advantage of her' if not stealing. Yuh...right. When she DID die....not one of her 5 children (Nmom included) thanked me or said anything 'special'. I guess they figured I should be happy with that ShitSandwich. I still can't believe it.

Sorry....a bitto digression here. Guess it stirs up some memories, ya think? Can you tell what role I would play in the DeathBedFuneral scene? I'm a shoe-in!

Anonymous said...

I am in a fantastic position with my N mother. She has three other adult children, and five adult grandchildren to look after her. I don't have to worry 'bout a thang.

Not only that but at least half of this brood are N's or budding N's, so the funeral would be one helluva place to be.

Apart from that, when my father died, four years ago, my mother went to abominable lengths to create roadblocks for me (not my siblings) seeing him. She continually lied to me about his medical condition (he WAS dying, I had to go to the doctor directly to confirm it), and because I lived a fair distance away, I had left earlier in the day that he died, not knowing of course that he would die that day. She didn't bother to call me before my father actually died, so that I could be there at his side, she waited until he was dead, and then called me asking if I wanted to view the body, then saying "Oh, its really too far for you to come dear, but I just wanted you to know you could if you wanted to", as if she was giving me her permission.

At the time I had no idea how evil she was, so I thought she was being compassionate, and it was just bad luck that I wasn't there when he died (everyone else in the family was).

I figure, if that's how much she values my presence at the death of someone important, then she ain't gonna get much sympathy from me.

Let the dead bury the dead.

Jeannette Altes said...

Hmm... my NM has cried about wanting to die - threatened suicide - so many times that, well, I think my give a damn is busted. I used to get so tied up in emotional knots - and then get angry - and then feel guilty for being angry at someone who was in pain....ARGH!

I remember, about 18 months ago, my aunt called me in a near panic because she had been talking to my mom and my mom had threatened to kill herself. This is not something she did much to anyone but her kids. Yay for us. I remember something inside snapped. I ha never talked to anyone about this before, but I just let it out. I told my aunt the my mom had been doing this for years. That I didn't think she would ever really do it, but if she did, oh well. This was the beginning of the process that led to our discovering that mom was a narcissist. Death bed? I did that one a year and a half ago. If it happened right now? I don't know if I would do anything. Who knows what I'll do if it waits a few years and I am more healed - stronger.

Anonymous said...

My NSIL uses death all the time to lure/engage her victims! The only time I would hear from her is when someone dies! Then she puts on this big act of pretending sadness at the passing of the relative. And she would offer to put the wake-collection on my behalf but would collect double the amount from me! Ns are basically perverted. They want closure on their deathbeds for THEIR own sake. It is as if this is their last and final perverted act to see that they can still push your buttons!

A decent human being will NOT wait until they are at their deathbeds. They just CANNOT change when they still have a breadth in them.

Why serve Evil? As Anna pointed out, we have a right to defend ourselves from Ns!

My NH abandoned his family! Then he had the nerve to ask who will bury him now? All his siblings are also Ns and so was my MIL! Now I understand the sadness and futility my FIL expressed so very often to me!

Anna's posting on this subject is giving me a lot to think about! My take is that my N-SILs and N-BILs will likely host my NH funeral and broadcast to those at the wake what a bad wife I was! They have actually blocked all communication from me to my NH for more than 2 years now! Little do they know they are doing me a big favor but I just lead them to think I am distressed and then I go NC with my NH now. It is so peaceful without Ns around. Then only with the peace can one see clearly what a pest they have been all along, sucking up your time with the endless problems.

I just read at another site that if a person lacks DISCIPLINE, COMPASSION AND WISDOM, get out before you become too embroiled in the relationship. Ns lack all 3!

When my N-FIL was dying, my N-SILs and N-BILs put on a BIG SHOW! My NH was too busy with his extra-marital affairs to care about his dying father (who is NOT a N) and later when his NM was dying, he was also too busy with his affairs to CARE about either parent dying!

I think you all know what my answer will be to my NH question about how I will bury him now!


Now is the time for me to build my resilence to my N-relatives who will undoubtedly use this angle!

Of course I am assuming my NH dies first!

That will be the only justice!

Cinder Ella said...

I've been down the road of an n-father dying. I wasn't NC at the time, but contact was infrequent that is, until he became terminal.

I knew nothing about n's at the time. I only knew my father was difficult and "different". I *did* hope for a death-bed reconcilliation. It didn't happen. Yet, there are only a few things I'd do differently next time, mostly regarding giving up things I very much needed.

I still believe that people can change on their death-beds. I believe God's message of salvation can touch even narcissists on their death-beds. It's part of being miraculous. ;)

Having said that, I gave what I did for my own peace. I can now look back and know that I did what I believe to be right. I have no regrets. I tried.

My situation is likely unusual because there was so little other family involved. I'm an only-child, as was my father, so there were no siblings to complicate the matter. I still have a mother out there somewhere and I'm in a complete quandry as to what to do when/if she needs assistance. I don't expect the situation with her to be nearly as simple.


Anna Valerious said...

I still believe that people can change on their death-beds. I believe God's message of salvation can touch even narcissists on their death-beds.

I do not rule out that possibility. I contend we don't need to be there for a miracle to happen. There is a vast gulf of difference between what is possible and what is probable. I advise people to operate off the probabilities. Again, the Ns salvation is God's business, not ours. Our not being at the death bed will not hinder God's working if the N suddenly gets serious about their lives and wants to make a clean work of their own conscience. I am not the confessor for any human..."For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". 1 Tim 2:5

Having said that, I gave what I did for my own peace. I can now look back and know that I did what I believe to be right. I have no regrets. I tried.

Ultimately, that is what I encourage people to do. Each person must decide for themselves in light of their consciences and circumstances. To each their own.

Anna Valerious said...

Hey, no worries, Sugarboog. Heaven would be no heaven if a an unrepentant narcissist gained admittance. God is smarter than that. He assures us He is no fool:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Gal. 6:7-8

Death bed conversions are probably more rare than anyone imagines. There is a principle involved. The habits of a lifetime, the thoughts a person has cultivated over decades, are not inclined to change at the end of that life even when faced with death. A lifetime of believing there is nothing wrong with them is going to lead the narcissist up to the grave with that same belief. Only a person who can admit to their gross imperfections is God able to save. That goes against every circuit in the narcissist's brain. They have trained their minds to reject what God has to offer them. They have sown the wind; they will reap the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7) The Bible is clear. God doesn't save everyone because not everyone wants to be saved. Narcissists have bent their every faculty toward self-worship. The likelihood they will come up to their death bed and suddenly cede godhood to their Creator is infinitesimally small.

If heaven is a place where narcissists live then I'll ask for a ticket to hell. Obviously, I don't believe that about heaven.

The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked...The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him...What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. Nahum 1:3,7,9

Nahum is talking in this chapter about the final destruction of evil people. The end of verse 9 is a promise that evil will never rise again. That means there ain't gonna be no unrepentant evil-doers in the next world. God doesn't "acquit the wicked". (Therefore, neither should we!) You have God's word on that.

Anonymous said...

34 years I've been manipulated by my NMOM and her supportive husband(read Dracula's Renfield) with "Come home, do this, or that, or your ungrateful because your father is dying...) I just got one of those emails the other day. I'm completely NC with the the entire clan. When I was younger I bought into it but I feel like I have been racing a sprint to the end of his life for most of mine. I just can't do it anymore and have started to focus on my own life and not the end of theirs.

It's not what they say, it's what they do. End of one's life is too late to change anything. We all die - just not the narcissist. If they truly want to be special then change their dark hearts. Dying isn't all that impressive.

I've thought about this a lot. I come off as cruel to those who didn't grow up like us. But I also feel that I am living my life to the fullest by not buying into that garden variety manipulation. Life is a gift - don't give it away.

Make a donation - in your name - at their death and know you made a contribution to help those you truly can.

Anonymous said...

Amen!! Thank you Anna for being such a slam-dunk realist!!

"self-defense is a God-given right"

Bottom line. End of story!

And, anyone who opposes another's right to self-preservation is just as dangerous an an N.

Anna Valerious said...

And, anyone who opposes another's right to self-preservation is just as dangerous an an N.

Another slam dunk! I like what Kathy K. called those who would stand in the way of someone defending themselves, "the immoral moralists".

Anonymous said...

Exactly! "the immoral moralist"

The N's can always rely on the hypocrites!

Anonymous said...

I offer the following from my own experience:

If you choose to be involved, however minimally and for whatever reason, make sure you have direct contact with medical personal yourself, or are in very close contact with at least one sane and trusted relation [if you have one] who does. This is key. I cannot stress this enough. Anyone who doesn't will be played like a team without a coach.

After the death, watch out for monkey-see-monkey-do behavior. Other N's and N-lites in my life at the time who witnessed my involvement were quick to attempt to mimic and contrive situations where the *same* kind of response I gave to the dying family member was now expected for them [yes, even though they were not even ill]. Such as: if I took off some work days for the dying N, then they would "suddenly" have some idiotic and barely plausible reason for me to take off work to do something them, even though they never in their life asked such a thing before and had reasonable alternatives. In short, while I was helping out in an emergency, they were obviously taking notes about scoring NS off me the moment the dust settled. I was completely unprepared for this, and it was relentless and confusing before I saw the pattern.

The scramble to be the next alpha N: after the death, minor players and lackeys of the N attempted to mimic the N relationship with the group. This too I never expected. Just in case you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

And like others have shared, I was also never sincerely thanked or appreciated, ever. The iced cowpie described above by KRL is just PERFECT. The only time I was verbally "appreciated" was to warm me up for escalated requests or more extreme boundary violations. Otherwise, despite my hard work and sacrifices I just continually sensed the frustration and resentment at the N's inability to use these new circumstances to completely and finally annex my soul. If I had a boundary left, all was a failure.

Overall? I experienced nothing more or less then N business as usual but in a circumstance of unprecedented emotional intensity and tension. The only denouement for me was realizing for once and for all how truly and hopelessly messed up things were. Since I had no idea what an N was at the time, this was personally important but I imagine moot for readers of this blog. Back then, I was looking for redemption of some kind. With what I know now, I cannot imagine an N changing at the end. Why should they, or even HOW could they? They cut off all routes to a conscience long ago.

The seriousness of impending death brought out our deepest wishes concerning the other, and we both knew it was our last shot. Mine was "fixing" the relationship, and hers was to finally and truly dominate me. Neither occurred. How could it?

summerstorm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Valerious said...

It is the firm belief and position of this blog writer that Ns choose to be who they are and are therefore responsible for what they become. As to where they will end up in eternity...that is not for us to call. That is the kind of judgment reserved for God Himself. So I won't be making any absolute statements about whether or not the N will roast for their crimes.

We get a glimpse of those people who come up to the judgment thinking they are good with God and should be allowed into heaven in Matt. 7:21-23. Read it. Note their sense of entitlement. Note the slap-down. They are being held responsible for having faked a relationship with God. Ns may feel they are right with God, but, in the end, feeling has nothing to do with it.

NPD is a character disorder. It is not a mental illness in the sense that they are the hapless victims of biology. The argument has been ably tackled by Kathy Krajco in her blog and ebook that the twisted brain of the narcissist is the result of how they've chosen to use the brain God gave them. If you train your brain to think will hardwire yourself to be evil.

Your reference to the passage in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 about God sending a strong delusion is taken out of context by you to apply to a situation it was not being applied to by Paul. He was speaking of the final showdown between God and Satan and the destruction of the wicked by the "brightness of His coming". The statement about God sending a strong delusion is immediately followed up with this one: "That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." God takes the rap for a lot of things in the Bible. Because He has the power to prevent things from happening, He takes the blame when He doesn't intercede to change the natural course of events. In other words, it could be stated like this: "Because the wicked refuse to believe truth and love to do unrighteousness, God will not protect them from being deceived by the grandest deception of all time." The Bible doesn't teach that God destines some people to hell. It teaches that every human is given free will. That includes the narcissist.

Anonymous said...

Summerstorm, I think that the "God" that an N thinks that they are good with is a fantasy god that they created to serve their purpose of making them look like the 'perfect' person that they want to believe themselves to be, just like all the people that they know have fantasy people projected onto them to mirror the image of themselves that they want to believe in. They don't have a relationship with the real God, they have a fantasy relationship with a pretend god. It is a false god. They aren't trying to have a relationship with the real God on His terms, they are molding a god in the image that they can control to serve their own purposes. They have chosen their way. The "mental illness" is a chosen illness. God knows what is in their heart, ultimately, and He will make the right decision about their eternal destination, but I believe that the N has chosen a life of evil, and will end up wherever evil people end up.

Anna Valerious said...


I completely agree with your comment. I have often referred to the idolatry, false gods, that the N truly worships. They have no relationship with the living God of Heaven. They will often expend great effort to convince those around them that they do, though. But that is for the express purpose of getting away with their evil deeds.

Yes, indeed, I agree...that the N, who chooses to be what they are, will end up where ever their "father the devil" ends up.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:44

Anonymous said...

I can't count the number of people who, knowing that I'm NC with my MN-'mother', have said, "Um, look, have you thought about what would happen if she died?" Do they honesly believe that they have thought of that and I haven't?!

Anna Valerious said...

Ha. Yeah, they probably do believe that.

One of the more irritating habits of humans is their penchant for stating the obvious to someone like that person would never have noticed it without it being pointed out. This happens with physical characteristics too. "Did you know you have a ...." fill in the blank. You, who have lived with whatever all your freaking life, can't have possibly noticed that flaw on your own without that dumb shit pointing it out for you. That kind of thing drives me nuts.

Kids do kind of stupid "stating the obvious" naturally. When adults don't grow out of it, I really wanna go bat shit on them.

So, yeah, I know what you are saying. The stupid arrogance of the moralizers that come along assuming you had missed some obvious point annoys the crap outta me. This is why I say precious little about my family situation to anyone. I don't want to end up wanting to punch some idiot in the mouth. Not that I would. But I hate feeling like I would like to.

Like they say, "Stupidity should be painful".

Cinder Ella said...

I do not rule out that possibility. I contend we don't need to be there for a miracle to happen. There is a vast gulf of difference between what is possible and what is probable. I advise people to operate off the probabilities.

I agree completely. For my part, although I knew it was highly unlikely, I would have hated to miss it. As you've said, this I did for myself.

I had to chuckle at the way you stated this, though. You see, my n father's PhD was in mathematical statistics. ROFL

Regarding n's and God, my n father often cursed God for not giving him what he wanted. He had no illusion that he was in any respect right with God. He found God irrelevant, except when it came to a place to lay blame. If nothing else, my father was consistent and non-discriminatory, even when it came to his Creator.

Hellboy said...

Hi Anna,

I flew across half the globe to be with my mum when her final days were close. You see, I would classify my Mum to be an "enabler" or an "inverted Narcissist" depending on which terminology I choose from various information sources.
In other words, she would be similar to your Dad....turning a willful Nelson's eye to the Narcissists wrongdoings (my N Dad in this case).
Anyway, before she slipped into a coma, she asked me through the Oxygen mask "A**l (my name) I hope you pardon me for all the things I did to you...are you still angry with me?"
In retrospect, I guess that this proves that she KNEW that what was happening WAS wrong, all the time, she was just letting me have it so that she is under the approving gaze of the MN and she herself is spared the torture.

Anyway, something made me say to her that day..."no I am not angry with you". She held my gaze for some time, sighed and closed her eyes. She slipped into a coma not much afterwards and never woke up.

However, I am sure I am not going to do the same to my MN dad....he is much more guilty.

Thanks Anna,...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this blog. I've been trying to research DNP on and off for the past couple of years; I'm fairly convinced that my mother suffers from it, although she's never been formally diagnosed. Some of the horrid things my mother said to my sister and I when we were young still keep me awake at night. (The kicker is, she considers me the 'sane' one. ;) I haven't found much online in the way of forums or groups about DNP, so it's good to see that this is here.

As for the topic at hand, my mother hasn't started pretending to die yet--she's too busy complaining about the world around her and slinging passive-aggressive comments at her two daughters. (Oh, and complaining about her back. Always the back.) Give it ten years, though, the situation may change.

summerstorm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think it is very unlikely that an N parent will listen to their child about eternal matters.They have spent a lifetime trying to control, manipulate, and project onto their offspring. There are too many layers of psycological confusion for them to overcome in order to be vulnerable and come to terms with their spiritual need. They will continue, until the last breath, to try to maintain the image that they have created.

If there is any chance of a conversion, I think it would most likely have to be with a stranger that doesn't know the N's image and whom the N doesn't feel the need to put on their image for, if it is at all possible at that point for the N to even know that a real self exists. Perhaps, if one is concerned about their N parent's eternal future it would be better to ask a clergy to stop by their hospital bed and talk with them. The minister, hopefully, would be able to steer around all the bull and get to the heart of the issues of life.

Writer in Washington said...

My two cents: I don't believe in "deathbed repentances" of any type. By then its just too late.

Anonymous said...

My N grandmother used and abused me so badly that there is NO WAY I would even consider going to her deathbed or her funeral. To date, she continues to say how she is dying and so ill, but she's still not so ill that she stops being a nasty bitch.She continues to tell lies and assinate my character. Why in God's name would I go to her deathbed out of respect or to her funeral to pay my respects? I have no respect left for her! I will continue to save myself and breathe a sigh of relief when she is gone. MY torture is over and well, if she is truly suffering now, well, maybe it's KARMA.

Anonymous said...

Anna - I have lived your scenario and I can tell you how it ends.

My sister (an N who I have NC) called me and told me she was dying in the ICU of heart failure.

It had been years since I had contact with her after giving up 13years of my adult life being manipulated by my grandmother and her...long story.

When I got the call it was short. My mother wanted me to come. I hung up and knew what I would do immediately, there was no question.

I called her remaining brother - his quote - "I know she's dying, the hospital called me days ago and I hung up. They just want me to pay the bill."

She died in 2004, and to this day I stand by what I did.

I have thought about why someone like me, who can't stand to see a bug suffer, or feels such love from my little boy that tears roll down my cheeks, could turn her back on a dying woman.

But, as you said, my sister was there, taking care of everything.

Nevermind that she hadn't been there through all the b.s. messes my mother made that I cleaned up again and again...

But at the last moment, she swooped in to take over. She told me there wasn't time to ask me to go through my mother's things, she had to take care of it herself. It was an emergency of course!

I ended up with a glass elephant figurine. She got everything else, including childhood photos etc.

Anyway, I skipped the deathbed but went to the funeral. Gag.

I was the oldest, but my sister, dressed up as the high-powered executive - stood at the front of the 'receiving' line. I cowered behind somewhere under the casket.

She had just gotten an executive director's position at a lawyers' group, and I guess my mother's funeral was her first social soiree.

My mother died living in public housing, with hardly anything to her name. Her remaining friends were some of the lowest lifes you could imagine.

I didn't even want to have a funeral, I felt it was a farce, but my sister insisted.

I know why. Interspersed with the low lifes were the high powered attorneys, who my sister, the grieving daughter, met at the door and showed them in for refreshments. I was sick. Just sick.

I have never discussed this with anyone this before in my life, who the hell would understand me not seeing my dying mother? Or being pissed at the funeral?

Maybe someone here will really understand, I am surprised to have found someone - or even more than someone - many maybe?

I think it is because of my need to feel my anger that I didn't see my mother as she was dying.

For a long time, I didn't understand why I didn't see her one last time, and how I was able to turn my back on her as she was dying.

I felt disgusting for a long time about that. I thought I was horrible and that I should be there for her as always.

But only through being true to myself and following my reality, that I have learned when she was dying, I was at peace with her, although we were having no contact.

My contact with her only made me angry that she was not the mother I wanted her to be.

She couldn't listen to my anger because with her mental illness, she had no way to empathize with me. No matter how I was suffering in my life, she would not acknowledge it - ever.

My hurt and anger with her was only frustrated and ignored. There was no way to reach her and change the situation that was not healthy for me.

So when it was time to see her on her deathbed, I made a choice.

Either I could stand by the peace I had with her at that moment, or I could go to her deathbed and take a chance on reviving my frustration with her in her last moments of life.

I had the courage to stand by my reality and I choose peace for her as well as myself.

I did not want the last moments with my mother to be angry ones. I did not want her to die with me yelling at her, and I knew if I saw her one last time, there was a chance that could happen.

Yelling at a dying person, no matter who they are would be something I couldn't live with.

I also knew I could be making a terrible mistake that could never be fixed if I didn't see her.

But I knew I had the courage to live with my decision, right or wrong.

It was only through being true to myself that I could stand with my choice.

It was my power over my life and being able to feel my spirit that guided my decision to be one I could live with.

My only regret? Going to the funeral. My sister needed more room on the stage.

Oh, and after the funeral farce, my sister presented me with a $2,000 bill that I rammed up her backside.


Anonymous said...

I just want to say thank you so much for this post and to those who have also left comments. I'm currently refusing to see a very sick mother. After the comments I have received from theoretically well-meaning people, I didn't know that anyone else could really understand how I felt but I now know from reading this that other people do feel exactly the same way. I think I needed to see this post to ensure that I wouldn't cave and go to see her on her deathbed or go to the funeral. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog and this post really resonates with me. I've already had the "false alarm" with my N father, and all it turned out to be was a plea for $30k and an excuse to tear into me about how my NC policy was a "stunt" that caused his ill health and need for 30k treatment. And he made many contacts with me to explain why he thought he should be NC with me.
Next he was going to be selling the house and I had to come get my stuff, or send a friend to get it. Or it would all be thrown away. A garage full of my most precious childhood possessions. I finally had someone get it and ship it to me (at my expense) and it turned out to be mostly crap, fortunately only two moving boxes worth.
I assume when I get the funeral call, it will be based on my relatives wanting me to pay for it (by the way I'm a teacher, I temp in the summer, live in a 2-bedroom walk-up, and can't afford a car), so they can have an opportunity to criticize me for killing him with my neglect.

Anonymous said...

Found your site today after a particularly rocky couple of days. My Borderline SIL, whose mother is a much more evil N than mine once confided in me that we will never be free until they die.

I am in my 60's and live with my 80s mother because I lost my job and my sanity. It is the house I grew up in. More and more recently, because of the close quarters I have become aware of the manupulation and that little smile that comes after I have yelled in frustration. I sometimes believe that the evil lives in her and is trying to transfer to me so it can keep on going. The atmosphere here reminds me of the original Star Trek episode where the Klingnons (Michael Ansara)fought on the Enterprise and an evil cloud in the corner kept getting bigger and bigger.

In anycase, my mother leaves the threat that she could throw me out. She wants to get rid of my things in the basement. I take the easy way out and stay with her because it eases facing the world. She's calling me for dinner now. I have to go.

She wants me to run her memorial service (or at least that is what she has told me in the past) because my brother would cry too much.

Thank you for being there.

Anonymous said...

It was such a relief to find this blog and realise that other people are dealing with this. My partner has an extremely narcissistic mother who has ruined two of his previous marriages and every relationship he has had with a woman, by convincing him that "no woman will ever come between you and me" and "all your women are whores and sluts". Her attitude has always been that his women are not welcome in "her family" and her hostility to his having a romantic or sexual life is spine-chilling.

He and his father have always lived in terrified compliance with her wishes. Two years ago his father developed prostate cancer but was still very fit and active, and during this time, whenever my partner tried to take a holiday with me, or plan to get married, or even have a quiet week or two relaxing at home over Christmas, his mother has called to say that his father might die if he doesnt come to see her immediately - that he should not be enjoying his life outside "her family", that he should not be having relationships with any woman but her, that he is "hurting his family" by taking a holiday instead of being with her, that he should feel ashamed of hugging and cuddling me as it is "inappropriate behaviour" in front of her, that he is too fat, too thin, does not work hard enough, is selfish, etc etc. The manipulation and guilt trips have been endless, and leave my partner depressed, ragingly angry, and showering abuse on me about feeling controlled, because he dare not confront her with his feelings . He is unable to see that every time he has contact with his mother, she reduces him from a happy adult to a screaming raging depressed wreck in minutes - this is all "someone else's fault" but never hers.

He has been in therapy for 2 years to try to deal with this, which has not helped at all, partly because he told his mother he was in therapy which she ridiculed and told him to "stop this selfish navel-gazing" and start "doing things in the community". He lives in a perpetual state of guilt and self-torment and self-criticism about not being good enough, and yet rejects any emotional support from people who do care about him, and has no ability to care for his own feelings or be kind or accepting to himself at all.

A week ago, his father died suddenly, after my partner had refused to go and see his parents over Christmas, despite much pressure and guilt trips from his mother. My partner was immediately called by his mother, who plunged him into a complete state of guilt about why he had not been there when his father died, and had not been with his father over Christmas before he died. She is now insisting that he not only go to the funeral, but write his father's obituary "to make himself useful and show some positive feeling towards his father" - and has also insisted that he must go and stay with her in the family home for several days (although she is currently surrounded by his sister, her son-in-law, several grand-children and various friends who are all doing everything for her. My partner weakly said that he would rather leave that discussion until later, to which she responded that he must come and there was no argument, and how could he refuse her when she had just lost her husband?

Prior to the death of his father this week, he had decided that he wished to have no contact with his mother for at least 6 months, and was feeling much freer and happier, but as the funeral will be next week, he has found himself unable to say no to her demands, and is plagued with "what people will think" if he does not go, or does not give her what she wants. After talking to her again this week, he has lost touch completely with his real self, and continually torments himself that he must do as she wishes because it is "selfish" to refuse her, while pouring out rage and depression in all directions, and lying in bed almost unable to function because he is so depressed. Comments from me like "why not take some time for your own feelings here" or "Why not be kind to yourself for a bit" are met with shrieks of "Fuck off leave me alone - you hate my mother - I'm being controlled - I have no space" - while the phone rings continuously with more demands from her to do more things for her. Her only interest appears to be getting the family to put on a huge impressive show at the funeral, rather than dealing with any real feeling about the loss of her husband or acknowledging any one else's feelings about his loss either.

My partner appears utterly unable to stick to his stated need for no contact prior to his father's death, and has now regressed to fantasies about how wonderful his mother is, even though he is almost unable to function from anger and depression and guilt. It is agonising to watch him put himself through this yet again, and very sad to see that anyone who offers him genuine compassion or encouragement to be himself and listen to his own feelings, is met with rage, rejection and his completely shutting them out.

His mother has used his father's ill health to manipulate and guilt him for a long time, and the funeral seems to be the grand finale in which she has finally found a way to guilt him so that he cannot say no to her.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Talking to him about this does not work (no matter how gently) - it just evokes rage and denial and further guilt, and further clinging to the idea that she loves him and she is wonderful. Not talking about it just leaves him raging, angry and claiming everyone is being horrible to him (except her of course). Can someone in this degree of denial ever become able to deal with it in a way that helps them to decide to live a life that's healthier for them?

Anna Valerious said...

The man you're with has now been through two marriages made shipwreck by the manipulations of his mother. From how he is behaving now and how he is treating you -- he's learned nothing. The only way he might possibly be forced to wake up and smell the coffee is if you leave him. Not threaten to leave. Leave. Tell him the truth about his mother, the truth about how he is letting her ruin his life, the truth about how you can't live like this. And go. Maybe, possibly, he might be forced to reassess if you're important enough to him. Frankly, he's a "momma's boy". He hasn't grown up yet. Until he does your life is a guaranteed misery with him. I would never put up with such weak, vacillating behavior in a man. Never. No matter how much compassion I felt for him I'd be gone because I can't respect men who can't deal with their mommas.

Sesamejane said...

Hello Anna,

Your blog is liberating, comforting, and very timely for me. My mother who was highly narcissistic died June 10 in my arms. I did not rush to the 'vigil' as I needed to take care of myself. I arrived within 24 hours of her death and was the only one out of four children that actually tended her in those last hours. As I said, I held her as she breathed her last - very powerful. I later commented to someone via email that it was a gift, as it was the first time in my life I felt I could give her the love I felt for her without being afraid she was going to f*** me. I have more to say about it all...I walked a dangerous path, got through it, had wonderful revelations as a result, and am at peace with her death. I'm completely estranged from my family as the psychopathology peaked, however, and I was targeted as i was the only one that honored what we all knew to be true. And that's okay too. I look forward to this next phase in my life. More on all this later, but I wanted to thank you. I have a deadline I have to meet and don't have the time right now to go into details. But soon I will. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

My mother is not dying, but has feigned it in silly phone calls..."I am so sick, I am dying". I tell her she's not dying...she tried the same thing with her sister and made a big episode for me to have to deal with within the family. She has dropped that now for some other reality twisting crap. I can say for certain since I am the only child I will be there, and am eagerly awaiting that freedom. I will feel no remorse or guilt any longer...I will feel freedom and will grasp that freedom like no one will imagine after she's gone. They both (parents) made my life miserable..never caring about what I wanted only what they wanted. It all became so clear after researching NPD for only the past several weeks, so many things clicked into place. I can say I don't feel so alone now seeing others trully have gone through the same hell as I. For the past 10 years after co-dependent N-daddy enbabler died I have been her built in slave so to speak. And you can never do enough for these 'N's, they just suck more out of you. I can trully say...bring it on...when the time comes...and the sooner the better. I know this may seem cruel, but I am totally tired of being a slave and not having freedom. Parents and love and life should not include being their slave.

Unknown said...

I hope this posting continues. Serious illness and death alway provoke strong emotions in both N and the people with whom they interact.

My father died in December of 2009 after a year of fighting lung cancer. While he was not perfect by any means, my mother was a thorn in his side for 40 + years and I grieve what could have been for all of us if she could have overcome her own demons.

I resumed contact after 2 years of blissful "nothingness" with them upon hearing of his diagnosis. A dutiful daughter, if with some periods of rebellion, I wanted to honor my parents.

Fast forward to his post-mortem, I have the constant dilemma of my mother's simmering and disguised rage. Angry at my dad, angry at people who didn't do what she expected from them, she is in high form.

Glowing with the attention of early widowhood, she has been tolerable, albeit needy. But as the drama fades, she has resorted to extremes to call attention to herself. Thank the Lord above she is healthy and competent to take care of her own affairs.

It appears (by way of a previously shunned relative) that I am to be disinherited, along with my sister because of moral defects. OK, I can deal with that, except for the fact that I have made considerable sacrifices to visit and be with her during "her grief". It's my father, too.

True to form she simultaneously praises and insults me. In the chameleon's coat, she plays the pitiful widow who is taking what comfort she can from such a loser child as I.

Comfort in losing a man who was clearly didn't understand how great she was. And who will likely burn in hell. Not for being a non-believer in God, but for not believing in the cult of the narcissist.

And jaywalkers. Don't forget them. Hell hath no fury (in the narcissist's mind) for those who dont' follow his or her rules.

I feel particularly passionate about Christian narcissists. While I don't hope for the extreme consequences about which some fantasize, I do believe God is just and will hold those accountable who try to use Him for their own evil purposes.

LadyoftheHunt said...

I recently found this website. Where do I begin? I have been reading the numerous posts. It's so sad to 'see' so many people who are suffering & having to deal with Narcissists. Unfortunately, both my stepfather and mother are N. My stepdad was the typical N, once he was finished with you, you were promptly deposited in a nearby trashcan. My mother however, is of the parasitic kind. For 2years with the help of a therapist, & Psychiatrist, I was told to initiate NC.It was difficult but I gained some self esteem. Then, stupid me, with the birth of my child, I thought I was strong enough to set boundaries and such. I am having the hardest time now that she has been diagnosed with cancer. It seems as if everything has been put into high gear, and to make matters worse, I have a sibling who definitely has savior complex and is all of a sudden full blown Christian, the other sibling sides with the Nstepdad, (he's never done nothing wrong she states) I find myself wanting to run away, wanting to become NC again, angry that I initiated contact. My mom and I had an argument just the other day, she and her condition trumps everyone. Just because I don't have anything to say to her millions of calls, doesn't mean she doesn't. why don't I call her like the other 2 siblings? I'm this,I'm that. I have mental problems, I am cruel, blah, blah. I am so exhausted, I am so tired, I wish she would just stop belittling, calling so much, asking so much,finding fault with what I say or do. Nothing is ever enough, nothing is never right. I have a family with children as well. What do i do? It has hurt my health in the past. For 20 years I have been married and dealing with this woman, No, you cannot come and live with me, and I'm sorry if you think you've worked too long, she just turned 60, she was 40 when dear old Nstepdad *trashed* her. She figured out that it was our duty to take her in. BTW, all of us live in different states, and I guess because I live 11 hours away, I'm the closest. I feel as if I am getting depressed again. (I was diagnosed with major depression and PTSD) What do I do?

Anna Valerious said...


Put into practice what you've learned here. Re-initiate no contact. Short of that, forget the fact that you live the closest geographically. She is NOT coming to live with you. Let your holy-roller sister handle that. Let the sister prove her wonderful spirituality and take your beast of a parent in. Meantime, you remember that your mother is a destructive force to you. She is eroding your health, your mental well-being and she will erode your marriage and family given enough time and proximity.

Be strong.

EWriter said...

Having this now to look back on--if I could do over my mother's death--I would not have gone to the funeral. It was not useful to anyone as far as I can see--except that everyone had someone to blame and put their anger on. They probably could have done that without me, it just would have had to be long distance.. which is safer for me.

sesamejane said...

The last and only time I posted to this blog my mother had just died. It has been two years now and I am finally, I think, recovering.

In my mother's later years, this very evil woman, became demented. The dementia was evident by her inability to keep secret her machinations; she spoke aloud what had previously been kept secret. Her behavior was the same; the only thing that changed was her willingness to share her thought processes. It was frightening but eye-opening. I had thought throughout my life that my mother was merely thoughtless and self-absorbed. It was way beyond that. She enjoyed the pain of others. As a therapist of mine once said, "She liked to see you squirm." And she did! Once it was revealed to me, childhood incidents that I had accepted and never really identified as abuse took on new meaning - my life and my relationship with her - for lack of a better way of expressing it - made sense to me. I spent a lifetime feeling confused. I never understood that there was no pleasing her because she did not want to be pleased. She wanted others to feel inadequate. She could not be loved or love because she had no conception of love. She feigned emotion, practiced in the mirror. Compassion and empathy were foreign to her, and she thought people who expressed such emotion were less than. She laughed at others' pain. So powerful; it made her powerful to not have to feel for others. What freedom it gave her to not have remorse or to feel guilt. Triangulation and deception were her tools.

Anyway, in the end she was demented; and initially I tried to help her. She played me and destroyed my relationship with my son and grandchildren - offering my son a great deal of money. He too is an N. The deal was that he was to deceive me and my siblings.

She disappeared for two years during which time relatives, my son included, took advantage of her $$ because as I said, she was 'showing her cards." She got what she dished out but it did not change her. Finally, she contacted me because she was having black outs and was unable to care for herself. I arranged for her to live in a very nice assisted living place - the night before she was supposed to move there, she telephoned to say she was moving to a different State with some relatives I had never even met. I bid her "good luck," and got on with my life feeling like I had done my best for a sick old and corrupt woman.

more later

sesamejane said...

Well, these distant relatives telephoned me two months later to tell me she had had a major heart attack, but they would not tell me where she was. The crazy is everywhere folks. I shamed them into telling me and went to see her in the hospital where she was in a medically induced coma. My reaction truly surprised me - all l wanted to do was wring her scrawny little neck. I was in touch with my rage. This terrible person who had been the source of so much pain lay helpless on the hospital bed and all I wanted to do was kill her. Of course I didn't and sought the services of the chaplain which helped a great deal as I was able to see how pathetic she was. I made several trips to care for her as she made some progress. However, because of her multiple medical issues her prognosis was terminal, though she did not know it. I attempted to facilitate moving her back to her former State which was much closer to where I lived, and I thought more convenient for other family members to be involved in her care. She told me she wanted me to quit school (I was working on a phd and completing a residency for which I was being paid next to nothing) to take care of her. I let her know that was not possible, and behind my back she schemed, as usual, even as old and sick and near death as she was...amazing strength. One day she began insulting me - a dead giveaway, and so I responded with “what’s going on.” She told me I was no longer needed-my eldest brother was going to take care of her. I bid her good luck again, relieved that I could get back to my life. My brother and his latest wife (the 6th), a para legal, changed my mother's will to benefit them and then left her there to die.

Talk about Karma. She continued telephoning me and asking, “why am I still here?” I referred her to my brother. Truth was, he did not want her around and was delaying her saying he had to “remodel” his house to accommodate her - using her $$ of course. After five months, I finally complained loudly to my younger brother, expressing disgust and, truth is, her calls were very disturbing. My eldest brother and his wife finally flew her back to her home city where they lived. Within a two week period, she was hospitalized, stayed briefly in an assisted living place, and then she was told her situation was terminal by a doctor and was transferred to hospice. She telephoned me saying she wanted to have a “family meeting.” I sobbed, she was my mother after all, and I asked "so you want to be at peace?" You know, thinking that she was having some kind of “awakening.” She replied, " peace? you mean p-i-e-c-e?" My inner being laughed, and I declined the invitation. Then she said, “Isn’t it tragic that I’m dying. I have so much to give the world.” The drama. I was struggling to get my dissertation defended as I was on a time limit and to finish my residency. I was worse than broke as I had spent spare time and money traveling to care for her. I refused to let her take my education from me though. I had to survive. I had worked too hard, and I was going to "own" my life, finally, even if it meant rejection from all of them. And I was rejected- but it was painfully familiar and helped me see clearly. I realized that I had allowed them and her to hurt me by continuing to have contact. I had spent 15 years of my life with NC but had forgotten the pain.

more later

sesamejane said...

I have three brothers who were hovering about my dying mother who was in a hospice facility, and I was not needed to arrange care for her. Other relatives showed up I was told for the “rewriting of the history and the bestowing of the gifts ceremonies.” Several days later, I went to see my mother only when the hospice nurses told me her status was in swift decline. Intermittently present was my eldest brother, the bully, and my youngest brother, the lost boy and the bully’s lieutenant. My third brother is ravaged by drug and alcohol addiction, and was not there. When I first arrived, both sat reading and doing crosswords as the N parent lay in her own excrement. During the next 24 hours, the bully alternated between rage and abusiveness when he was there. I chose to take care of my N mother, and that night after everyone had left, I read Psalms to her or silently to myself, trying to understand why I was there. I sang songs I could remember the words to which revealed to me the depth of my “hooked-ness.” One was called, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” ( ) In spite of my mother’s wickedness and my rage, it turns out, as far as I can figure, that she had the ability to hurt me because I was painfully, painfully attached to her. That night, she expressed anxiety about dying. HOWEVER, and I cannot overstate this, she NEVER NEVER NEVER apologized, showed regret, or love, or in any way indicated softness or sweetness toward me. There was no death bed change or revelation on her part (as far as I could see or feel). She was afraid, and in the end, her facial expression was distorted and gruesome, as if her soul had been ripped from her body.

The night I returned home, the ceiling in my kitchen fell in at 3 a.m. Apparently, an undetected hole in the roof had let in a torrential Southern storm that had slowly soaked the sheet rock in my absence. I was awakened to a terrible crashing, and when I saw the mess, I couldn’t help thinking it was her, still after me as she was whenever there was contact - undermining, unrelenting, unpredictable, burdensome and merciless. I had nightmares for a couple of weeks - I was diagnosed with PTSD in my twenties, I’m 60 now, and the symptoms emerged. I was really frightened and felt the need to purge myself of things that reminded me of her or that had once belonged to her. I threw a lot of things away until I came across some art she had given to me, and it caused me to wonder why evil is so often attractive and beautiful. How can that be? If only evil looked the part, it would be so helpful. I started coming to my senses as I realized how deeply scarred I was and how I had allowed myself to be so vulnerable to people who could not care less about me. Months later, after my brothers had gone through her possessions, I was contacted to pick up the remaining boxes and found them full of catheters and other hospital stuff, old clothes, empty photo albums, and broken dishes. It was intentionally hurtful and indicated a lot of work on their part to traumatize me. I am the only female in the family; and my belief is that they were projecting their rage onto me. My therapist, though, said N runs in families, and they were just greedy and mean.

sesamejane said...

I thought I had said everything I wanted to say but apparently not. My N mother was evil to the last. And all that pain survived her, continues on, in the behavior of my brothers, but now I am determined to let it remain theirs through NC. I did not go to a memorial service; I had said my goodbyes my way. I have had NC with my family for the past two years. I have had NC with my son for five years.

Everyone's story is different, but the N does not change as they near death in my experience. They have free will to change, but I believe their hearts are like stones, and I believe they think they are God or gods. I have realized that the Ns spend a great deal of their time conniving, and they are quite expert. They choose evil and hate goodness.

As time passes, I see my past relationship with my N parent more and more clearly. I am not frightened anymore, and I had been afraid of her and others in my family all my life. It takes time to readjust, and I still tend to be anxious. I try not to let mean people into my life now; I avoid them when I recognize them. I take things slowly because my default appears to be allowing myself to be duped, humiliated and hurt. I watch out for that- I will be no one's victim if I can help it. However, I also watch for isolating because I was raised in an atmosphere where all my choices were deemed “wrong” and my environment was incredibly painful (physically, emotionally, sexually) - no win, no compassion, no understanding, no support, I learned to hide away, be quiet, fly under the radar, be absent or be ingratiating, overly sweet, over functioning, hoping that if I’m nice, no one will hurt me. This is NOT healthy. I stay involved in my community and create love in the form of friendships now - or try to anyway. I “give back” and “pay it forward” in response to the loving folks that are out there - and they are there. I pay attention to how I feel in the presence of others so I can choose wisely my friendships and associations.

But sometimes I find myself asking, “How can a mother behave so badly?” And my answer is mostly, “why not?” It only takes sex to bare a child. It takes a loving and attentive heart to raise a child - she did not have one. And another question, “Why did she hate me so?” She didn’t hate me; she was jealous, jealous of all women and contemptuous of all men. It wasn’t personal, and just because I was her daughter did not mean I was special to her.

When I was born, she placed me and my brothers with a farm family (unrelated strangers) until I was six after divorcing my father. I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me. The family I lived with was wonderful, and I think their kindness made me more resilient and taught me how to love. So I am not going to buy into stereotypic thinking that “everything” my mother did was horrible. This was a gift she gave me though unwittingly. I have come to understand that “a rattle snake is a rattle snake.” I don’t hate rattle snakes. I stay away from them and realize that they are what they are. Best to watch where I step and back away calmly and quietly when I see one.

Waverly Bird said...

I am really suffering with this.

It has been 4 days since I made the connection that my mother is a narcissist. Those who have been through it know the journey. You've struggled to put your finger on exactly what it is, and finally something leads you to NM references and it all fits so well....uncanny. First you have the euphoria and then the sadness. I am in the sadness part, but still eagerly reading all I can to better understand myself.

My mother has struggled with a disease for years which will claim her life. We've known it was coming, and she's been able to play the sick card for years. To her credit, she really doesn't overplay it, and can go weeks or months without mentioning anything about it, and there are many things she struggles with and she won't even tell me. However, she will lose her battle with this disease shortly, and with me just having made this connection I am so torn.

I finally understand why there is coldness from her friends towards me. I now get how it has come to be. Although I would like desperately to change their opinions of me (all of those that she has smeared me to), I know that it will be futile. I am trying to learn to accept that. It will be a long process.

I no longer feel the need to repair the relationship, as I can see there is no point. I do struggle though with spending time with her and feigning interest and caring, when all I want to do is spit and scream and cry. The guilt is horrendous. How do you walk away from your mother when she is dying? How do I play into the very beliefs that she has led everyone to have about me (selfish, self-centered, over-the-top, overly sensitive, nonsensical, etc)? Not being there now just solidifies for them what she has told them all of these years. I want my name cleared. I am in such a mixed up place.

Anna Valerious said...


You've done a good job explaining your predicament. You have my heartfelt sympathies. I can easily understand what you're wrestling with. I wish I had an easy answer. Sadly, there aren't any. You will have to navigate this on your own terms. It is a struggle against inner and outside forces that pull in opposite directions. Believe me, I know how painful it is to know how one has been mis-characterized and smeared, and the deep desire to somehow set things right...yet knowing it can never be done. I still wrestle with those things myself. Hang in there. I wish you the very best.

sesamejane said...

I think it is hard and hurts to walk a path alone. My family still tells others things that are not true, that my mother instigated before her death or their rationalizations for very bad behavior. I know my NM was lucky to have me by her side when she passed. I felt it was something I had to do because no one else would really take care of her. As I look back, there is no right or wrong way to manage situations with them (family, etc.), there is no resolution. No fixing anything or successful defenses against the slander and rumors. I wish you every good thing Waverly. I found solace in the company of friends. And this blog. Thanks Anna.

dandie1109 said...

I am glad that I found this post and express my gratitude to all. I have no siblings, my only child died when she was 3 days old when I was 19 and mom died when I was 24. My NF just died just over a year ago when I was 49. After NF died is when I discovered Narcissistic PD. For 50 years I just thought my NF was the biggest __________ in the world. Your comments are a source of feeling no so alone. Thanks

Anna Valerious said...

You're welcome, Dandie. Your comment here will stand to help others feel the same. All the best.

Wise Consultants said...

This is so helpful Anna, I've sruggled for years with the "honor parents" when my narcisstic mother seemed to have no limit to the damage she was willing to cause

For 30 years my father was dying according to mom. After about 5 gatherings around his so called death bed the adult children got it that narcisstic mom wanted people gathering around her petting her for all her trauma. The lying, deceptive, throwing people under the bus, making one a hero another the villain, the endless games, the sudden bouts of paranoid exhausting. Where do Narcissists get their energy to keep it up

I'm here by her side, doing all the legwork at taking care of her mismanaged life and remembering her mocking my dad within ear shot as he died, her cruelty and threats when he was vulnerable were stunning. Now she cries her eyes out, "how can I go on with out him" "we always loved each other" "God was at the center of our love" (It seemed more like satan given their dysfunction)

This helps me realize food, shelter, medical care, no more...

Unknown said...

I'm going through this now. Contact is be email only. Strange about how God is being mentioned here. When I was a young boy I deduced there might be 2 gods. One who like listening to screechy wailing cruel people and the other for normal folks.

sesamejane said...

Sending love Dave. Hang in there.

GettingStronger said...

Thank you, Anna, and all of the others who have commented here. All of your shared experiences are helping me to deal with my NF who is teetering on the edge of death.

I am NC with him, except when he was in the hospital a week before my wedding. I called him, because despite everything, I am attached to him and the notion that he is my dad... shouldn't there be love there? I feel a need for his love still... Well, I told him on the phone that I loved him and that I hoped he would be okay and get better. He growled at me "You couldn't even call to tell me you were moving". He recently found out from coworkers that I had moved and was going to get married. He must've felt like an ass not knowing his daughter that lived not four miles away now lives two states away. Not surprisingly, during the hospital phone call, he never did ask me how I was or anything about my future husband. He just described his dire situation and got angry with me as he gasped for breath. What more can I do? I think I will take care of my own little family. I've had enough.

Tundra Woman said...

Mn MN "Mother" died the morning I put my lil' 4 line "No Contact" note in the mail. The preceding years had been filled with much intense grieving, longing, shattered hopes and dreams and herculean efforts on my part so that maybe, just maybe if I figured out how to "Do it right" I could have some sort of relationship with my MN "Mother." Even a formal but distant relationship-after all, as she reminded me over and over again, "I AM YOUR MOOOTTHHEERR!" would have more than delighted me, a detante, a cessation of hostilities directed against me would have been wonderful!
The last straw event was much like that you described: A snail mail letter loaded with more of the same ol' same ol' and very directly in opposition to the three very clear conditions I told her must take place in order for us to have ANY relationship at all. I read that nasty letter, put on a pot of coffee, settled in my old platform rocker and re-read her letter.
And I thought and thought, reviewed my entire life with her up to that point, all the painful pictures/events flashing through my mind one after another and another...and as the sun rose the next morning, I wrote that note and put it in the mail. She died. The weight of the world felt as if it had been lifted from my young shoulders. I was sad-yes, of course, but I *finally* accepted what WAS: I had been engaging in anticipatory grieving for years. She died a long, slow, painful death-for me. I recognized not only was Reality unyielding, but the Reality that this WAS the same behavior I could expect *into the indefinite future?*
That bought me to my knees.
I could no. longer. do. this-to myself-or her. If my presence wasn't helping-and it wasn't, either of us-my absence wouldn't hurt.
She spent the ensuing decades of her life on this earth engaging in a Scorched Earth War against me, her "DD." I never relented on NC. Even if I had been informed of her terminal illness and death, I would not have broken NC. Confirming her physical death was a day of rejoicing for me-no more PIs, no more ambushes, no more Terrorist attacks, no more carefully planned IEDs to blow up my life-yet again. I shudder to think of the decades I would have wasted if I had put my life and sanity on hold thinking my only freedom would come with her physical death thereby surrendering my personal responsibility to make life choices-for which I was entirely responsible-and opportunity to find Peace, Freedom and genuine unconditional love, personal autonomy etc. for the vagaries of an abusive MNbitch, medical science, aging and death, i.e., the unknown.
Confirmation of her physical death (aside from the above) had no meaning to me. She had died decades before. I told her long before, "I'm not for sale at ANY price to ANYONE and that includes YOU" and walked away from a very substantial Trust Fund. Blood money extorted from me in the form of decades of Premeditated (as well as Opportunistic) Targeted and Intentional abuse and pain inflicted on me, her unwitting child simply because she COULD.
MNs are as parasitic as they are predatory. The liklihood of them dying "alone" is IMO and experience damn remote. And if they do? Natural consequences in action.
If your presence isn't helping, your absence won't hurt.

Tundra Woman said...

I'd like to share a few more observations about MNs, Death and Dying in general and FWIW.
I was a widow at 38. When we learned my DH was dying, I bought him home from the hospital and cared for him until his death. (Yikes-No easy feat all those years ago in this remote, impoverished area!) It was an honor and a privilege, the fulfillment of the words I spoke on another day in another October years before: " sickness and in health, until death do we part." It was also the hardest, most heart-wrenching experience and yet, I would do it again given the opportunity. Least I come across as engaging in euphoric recall as an old widow, no, I'm not: Many people commented on our relationship and told me my marriage was "the exception, not the rule." I'd laugh and say, "I know-I have an exceptional partner!" I knew it then, I know it to this day. The last words he spoke to me before he slipped into a coma were, "TW, You ARE the love of my life."
I have been such a fortunate woman.

I'm old now-no, never remarried, still wear my rings, still love my husband-and I've been present for a number of deaths. Please know this: PEOPLE DIE THE WAY THEY LIVED. If they lived a life filled with divisiveness, manipulation, creating chaos and inflicting pain on others etc., they will die the same way. Their Will is their final opportunity to be center stage and be assured, this "opportunity" will be a very well conceived and executed document, their final reach-back Bitch-Slap from the grave ensuring all the same dynamics and nastiness which permeated their lives within their families will continue, from generation to generation. Please do not allow yourself to be deceived, to hold onto any possibility of redress or acknowledgement for what you know to be the unvarnished TRUTH based on your lifetime of experience with them. Your fidelity, your selfless efforts on their behalf will NOT be rewarded-regardless of what they said or promised during their life: Expect to be minimally dismissed and most likely, eviscerated, the entire family blown up yet again.
"Closure" seems to be one of those PC words I see bandied around a lot regarding MNs. You will NEVER get this if you believe only their physical death will somehow free you, bring you peace etc. What ever that word exactly means I don't know: It's much like this topic, personal to each one of us. Please reflect on this Reality: Throughout your life with your MN you've come to *experience* that which you've desired most from them was thwarted BY THEM at every turn-and so it will be with their death. For example, if you believe or you're hanging in there in the expectation of any kind of material/financial reward, more likely than not it will go to Fido or Fluffy or some new "BFF" lackey to whom they've parasitically attached themselves. (Yeah, "OUCH!") This is the most self-preserving cohort I've ever encountered.
Of course it's not "fair," but much of life isn't in my experience, or if it is, it certainly isn't in any way my human mind and experience can comprehend ;)

This I do know: Love never does end. The people we love so well and who have loved us so well in return remain with us in our hearts, minds and lives as long as we are on this earth. There are vestiges of that loss that remain with us throughout our lives and although grief changes over years and decades, it's still there. It's the price we pay for having loved and been loved so well and unconditionally. It's a gift we've been given, not an "Obligation" we've been burdened with based solely on DNA or in anticipation of some form of renumeration.
Please remember again, people die the way they lived. Allow your Truth and Reality to guide your thinking and actions. The worst betrayal IMO in which we ever engage is betrayal of ourselves and what we know to be Right, Just and True.

Unknown said...

Thank you one and all. This post, and the thoughtful responses to it which characterize your own personal experiences with N-beings has allowed me to move to NC. It only took me 49 years and the death of facilitator-dad to understand, but better late than never! I was already pretty isolated, but dad's death from lung cancer drew me back in. The heinous NM behaviour triggered so many things, and I got back into therapy. Now, it's time for me to have what is left of my life for ME. Writing my memoir, filled with stories we all know, is helping with closure. I always used to laugh while telling heinous-NM stories: now I know it was so I didn't cry. I am feeling all those emotions that I severed off before, and my "missing" memories of childhood and other evil actions are being dribbled back to me by my caring memory - not overwhelming but a cut here, a slice there, to remind me why NC is essential. Thank you for a window looking in from the sanity I need to get to. Leaving the stage, locking the door, blowing up the house. :)

Tundra Woman said...

Wendy, Little One, please KNOW you have never been more "sane" IMO and FWIW than you are right now. Your "caring memory" is the source of your basic decency, honesty, integrity and humanity-as well as your pain. I also use Gallows Humor a lot when I talk about my MN "Mother" to a few very close friends I've had for decades and we all collapse in laughter-I call it my "Old Lady Bladder Control Exercises" ;)
Yes, we DO cry but you know, some of the craziness, well, it IS humorous-as well as so sad...and so horribly isolating.
As you "blow up the house" I do hope one day to read your memoirs, the specifics of which are so very personal to you, the themes of which are more than familiar to all of us.
Who knows, I may even buy tickets to see you as a Stand-Up Comic on a stage which I have no doubt, you will "Blow Up" and own-if you wish to ;) The best humor often comes from tragedy and pain.

Life truly is an adventure, not a Life Sentence. At 49, you've got a whole new life in front of you to "author"-I'm so pleased you see this as an Opportunity because, well, it is: When we share, we offer others confirmation, comfort, solace and hope: Is there any greater gift we offer one another than this-for example, your memoir-is it not yet another form of love?
Warmest and Best Wishes to you in all your endeavors,

Unknown said...

I think I'm living in a country where I won't have to worry about when she dies. It may cost a lot for her to pay for the help, but I'm at peace with that.

I have had the distinct "privilege" of her telling me that she loves to see me suffer. No, I will not be a part of it. I am just done totally, I have had a hard life. 2 abusive relationships, I could have died, and lets just assume I did die, who would care for her, not me cause I wouldn't even be around.

I'm not worried about the people I would hurt by not attending her funeral. No, cause they know, they just don't accept it. They told me they are scared of her.

Her burial could be in the city dump as far as I'm concerned. I'm over it. Sorry if I sound to graphic, I hope its ok, its how I really feel.

Amy said...

This reminds me of how some "well-meaning" people who knew about my problems with my mother told me that she would not live forever and that some fateful day she would die; and only then would I, mean beast that I am, realize all the wrong I did to her, that I was now alone in the world without mommy dearest to love and understand me, and oh, how would I cry and beat my chest for all the mean things I did to her and for which I now couldn't apologize for any more.

My goodness, what a load of c***. These people obviously didn't have a clue about what I meant when I searched for their advice. I guess they believed their response to be "truly Christian". It only was stupid, and unjust towards me. Or maybe they had been taken in by mommy dearest's sweet facade.

Anyway, when that woman lies on her deathbed or in her coffin I know I will not attend. I will only pray to God to have mercy on her erring soul. I don't think anyone who knows the truth about her can expect more of me.

Unknown said...

On the way to her funeral, I think I'll stop at the hardware store and pick up a large mallet and a wooden stake. She'll have a funeral no one will forget. I'll be charged with desecrating a corpse, but it'll be soooo worth it.

Unknown said...

Glad I read all these insightful posts! Thanks!!

Danielle said...

Thank you for helping me throught the death of my nf.

He died on Monday and I found out from my Mother in law in Florida who checks the obits in our area every Monday. She had my father in law call my husband and my husband came home from work to tell me. I would have never known if it weren't from her.

The real kicker of the situation is in the obituary itself. It doesn't mention me or my sister or our 6 children. It list his survivors as his "wife" of almost 40 years, who was only 8 years older than my sister, and his sister in law, that he hated.

It was his one last blow to us. But we aren't going to the visitation or funeral. We don't need it and he evidently didn't need us.

But how rude can it be to find out that your father died in a newspaper. So to them I say riddance and FU.

Thanks for reading and letting me vent! Prayers to us all!

Confused said...


Not posted before, my mother I suspect is a narcissist and alcoholic. When I was little she used to always put me down nothing I did was ever good enough, when she left my lovely dad she moved her abusive bf in 3 weeks later and told me that my younger sister was going to call him dad so I should not make a fuss I was 8. He started to physically abuse my sister 5 and me from them on for 7 long years. My sister was having an asthma attack one night and he came in our room dragged her out of bed and dragged her down the stairs she was battered black and blue, I could hear her screaming but I was to frightened to try and help her. Shortly after that he knocked my mother's head on a piece of furniture and I had to take her and my sister along with me to hospital on public transport when she was bleeding through her skull. She blamed my e and my sister. When he turned his attention on me and my sister she watched laughing and encouraged him to best us. She stole money off my friends parents and wine from her friends houses soon there were no friends left. We moved 200 miles from my dad and then things hot really bad, I started to rebel and take drugs and stay out all night (12-15) years old. She drank all the time and blamed me for it, she called me a useless child, tried on my clothes saying they looked better on her she lied and told everyone at my school when I was 13 that I had been arrested for giving oral sex to an old man, she tried to stab me with kitchen knife that particular thing happened almost nightly for years. Then she would get do drunk that I had to look after her, I bathed her, fed her, did the shopping and tried to look after my little sister. I had to call the police one night because she had the knife and wouldn't stop trying to get yo us, she stabbed holes in my bedroom door and went out to the window when she couldn't get in and laughed knocking the knife on the window saying 'im coming to get you' I put my sister in my bed and shut the curtains she thankfully can only remember being taken away to stay at a family members house, we were returned next day no further questions asked. She started saying that she had cancer, then she was pregnant, then she had various random illnesses/diseases all cause by me apparently. I became quite unwell myself I was self harming took two overdoses, when I was in hospital on a heart monitor from the first overdose she came into hospital with my second step dad (not abusive just spineless) and my sister and they told me that I was no longer part of the family. She had seen me bleeding and vomiting before I called the ambulance after speaking to a friend and she just looked at me smiled lit a fag and went to bed. She put me in care and pulled me out when she needed looking after, I can't go into everything but the long and short is she was awful to me, made me feel crazy and I eventually managed to have no contact 5 years when I was 23 after a really unpleasant argument on my birthday about how useless and horrible I am. I feel strong now although it's difficult to not speak to her because I want to believe that it could be normal but deep down I know that it won't ever be. Anyway I find out today she has been taken to hospital no doubt years of alcohol/pill popping is to blame. My sister is in contact with her and we are very close, I'm wondering if I should go to the hospital to support her more than anything. But I know that I'm still soo hurt by my mother, I don't know what to do.

Sorry for the ramble.

delilah said...

Well....the narcissist in my life is actually dying of narcissism (in a way). Let me explain..

This particular MN could not stand grandchildren, that she claims to be gushing with love for, getting any birthday attention. She would steal their attention and put it on herself via Munchausen syndrome, purposely creating health emergencies. This started right from the birth of the first grandchild when she showed up at the hospital with self inflicted burns all over her face. I knew SIL was in labour when I hear that MN had just fallen while cutting tree branches.

On her birthday one year, she did her fist suicide attempt; she took a whole bunch of aspirins. She did it and then called around announcing it herself to a whole bunch of people. She did not take enough to die and seems to believe that it is consequence free. Her family has been trained to save her from all consequences of her actions, but the biology of the human body does not follow the same rules.

She did her second suicide attempt on a grandchild's birthday and this time she took the pills, called 911 herself and the tried to make it look like her sons (who pamper her) were elder abusing her via neglect thus why she had to call herself. In reality, she never told them what she did so that they could call.

This woman gets her bills paid, prescriptions hand delivered and paid by us, her lawn manicured, snow shovelled, anything in her house fixed even after all her horrendous behavior. And she believes she is elder abused via neglect. Poor mistreated soul! Clearly this pampering attention she receives is not enough.

Well one of the repercussions of taking a bunch of aspirin is organ damage and it may not be obvious for a while. So a year after her last suicide attempt, we find out that she has a damaged heart.

Saskia said...

I don't believe there's any obligation, but having said that I went to see my estranged dying mother and I was glad I did. I didn't say anything particularly meaningful to her while she was awake and didn't expect anything. After she was asleep I told her I forgave her and that God loved her and it was ok for her to follow him home. I watched her breathing for a while. It was good. I felt I'd gotten the last word in -a word of gentleness and grace, in the face even of evil "father forgive them for they know not what they do".

The funeral was a different thing. People praised her and it felt dishonest. That felt unethical to me as well as wounding.