My mum is so narcissistic that I'm considering cutting all ties with her

DEAR DEIDRE: MY mother is so narcissistic, I’m wondering if I should cut off all contact with her.

I’m a woman of 24 and she’s so difficult to live with that I left home at 17 to live with my aunt – but even from afar, she makes me miserable.

Whenever I see her, she puts me down, saying I have no ambition and my choices in men and friends are terrible.

Then we’ll see someone she knows and she’ll turn on the charm and be nice.

But other times, she starts arguments with me then acts the victim, crying and saying I’ve hurt her – when she’s the one who’s mean.

If I don’t want to see her for a while, she’ll suddenly act like a loving mother, sending sweet messages and gifts or offering to take me on holiday.

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Her behaviour is confusing and upsetting – she’s like Jekyll and Hyde.
Perhaps I should cut her out of my life altogether.

The problem is, she’s my mum and I love her. And I know that, in her own way, she loves me too.

DEIDRE SAYS: It does sound as though your mother has a narcissistic personality. No matter what you say or do, she’s unlikely to change.

You feel confused because she gaslights you and doesn’t respect your boundaries. She knows you love her and uses this to manipulate you.

The relationship is toxic, and, hard as it will be, breaking off or at least limiting contact might be for the best.

Counselling could help you deal with this. My support pack explains more.

Also contact Stand Alone, which supports adults estranged from family members (standalone.org.uk).

You might like to read these books – Difficult Mothers by T.E. Apter and Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters by Karen Anderson.

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