Post # 1
SO and I have been together nearly 4 years. My mother has continually wreaked havoc on us, telling me this past June she was bitterly ashamed of how I lowered my standards by choosing to date SO. Mind you, we are hardworking, go to church, and are anyone’s idea of a perfect nice people. I showed her my ideal ring design that month, and she pulled a sour face. Before that, she screamed in her phone at me so loud she broke her phone (my enabler dad thought it was funny–I was horrified). My cousins say I should be empathetic because she had a tough childhood in poverty, but I say it’s a terrible excuse to treat me like trash. She always seemed disappointed that I wasn’t dating someone more muscular, more academic, more “up her standards.” Whenever I visited her, she would ask “how do you know he’s going to do X or Y?” and “if he doesn’t make more than you he’ll get threatened and leave you” and “what does HE have that I don’t” because she makes money after 30 years as a medical professional, and he’s mid-career….UGH.
On a cheery note, SO bought the ring and is picking it up next week. After going low/no contact since June, I’m not telling my mom I’m engaged (nor her side of the family) because I know 1. she will scream/yell, 2. be horrified, 3. be hypercritical and controlling (she told me once she wanted me getting married in a tropical place that’s foreign to me and told me my wedding isn’t about the bride, it’s about my mom).
My plan: engagement, we announce to friends privately, announce on social media with privacy settings. A month or 2 before the wedding, invite my relatives, let word trickle down to her, and neither uninvite her nor issue her an invitation.
Anybody do something similar? I wish things could be different–but she is so controlling and hypercritical and never has anything nice to say to me or SO. She once taped a toddler nephew’s mouth shut and I’m terrified she could hurt any future kids I have. If someone calls her out on it, she uses me as a punching bag and then later says she didn’t mean it or she was just kidding–but I know she means it all. Thoughts?
Post # 2
Wow. That sounds like terribly toxic relationship. I’m so sorry.
Unless you’re completely cutting her off from the rest of your life, I don’t recommend letting her hear it through the grapevine. That may cause more trouble than it’s worth.
Post # 3
I’m not sure I can give perfect advice as dealing with a narcissistic parent is something I’m currently going through myself, but I can certainly empathize.
However, dealing with a narcissitic parent is bigger than just how to announce your engagement. Becoming recently engaged myself, I’ve found I’m having to address how active I want my dad to be in my life. I think big events force us to do this.
Personally, I texted him after telling my close friends and family. It was a simple factual “I am happy to tell you that Fiance and I got engaged.” He made a snarky comment then asked if I was going to tweet him the invite, and I said yes. 😛 It was a reminder to me that I made the right choice in doing it a bit distantly. He’s yet to say congratulations and that’s okay. I think we both have grown comfortable in the limited contact we have. I am happier and he has learned that I am a “boring” person to pick on, since I’ve been “gray rocking” him for the better part of a year. (If you don’t know the term, it’s a strategy of dealing with limited contact narcissists. Basically act as boring as a gray rock, giving only factual and bland responses to any reach out. Eventually, they lose interest since they can’t illicit fear or control.)
I considered not telling him at all, but I was worried this would be seen as a “move” and therefore invite him to play the hate game. He would get all riled up and excited. But by giving him a gray rock announcement, he didn’t really have many options on how to react.
So that’s why it’s important for you to decide how involved you want your mother in your life. It sounds like you’re leaning towards no contact versus limited contact. In the case of no contact, you’re perfectly fine to not announce it. But for me, I found more happiness and peace with limited as I don’t have to go out of my way to avoid him. I’m civil, but not involved.
And yes, I can relate to not wanting my children around him. I’ll probably let him meet them, but they will never be with him without me.
Post # 4
The one thing I would say is that you have to own your decision about what you are doing with your mom. If you don’t send her an invitation, she’s not invited. You didn’t tell her explicitly, but she’s not invited. That’s totally fine (and based on what you wrote, I would recommend it), but own it. And if she or anyone else asks about her lack of invitation, say that she didn’t get an invitation because she’s not invited.
Post # 5
Oh bee, I have the same relationship like you do! My parents like my boyfriend, but only care about having more grandkids. My mom requires that Dad and her be invited and the two he walks me down the aisle. I’ll only have my pinky touching him, but after that they’ll be sent home. They have dogs too worry about, so it’ll be easier too send them home and not have a place at dinner. I’ve already told my future in-laws and they understand. I was emotionally and physically abused, so I don’t want my kids too have any issues I had.
Post # 6
So you won’t be inviting your father either?
Post # 7
First, I’m sorry you’re going through this. I couldn’t imagine not having a close relationship with my mother. I think your mom is trying to live her life through you. It sounds like she loves attention and she likes things her way and she is wrong. A wedding is about the Bride and Groom. It’s both you and your Fiance special day.
My grandmother had a saying. Some people you just have to love from a distance. When there is to much toxic energy sometimes it’s best to stay distance until things change and if the don’t it’s just unfortunate. No disrespect but if you didn’t invite her if she going to behave like that. I don’t blame you!
Post # 8
I had the same type of relationship with my mom before cutting her out of my life completely 10 years ago.
I did let my mom know that we were engaged, and she accused me of trying to hide it from her because o told the grandparents minutes before her, asked if I was pregnant, and said that we wouldn’t last because I have commitment issues. I ended up not inviting her because she told me she wouldn’t come if she was invited. No regrets.
There are pros and cons to limited contact/gray-rocking versus going no-contact. I would think hard about what kind of relationship, if any, you want with your narcissist and proceed accordingly. I cut my mom out completely because she started abusing DH and I was like NOPE, not my husband you bitch, but sometimes I regret the finality of that choice.
Good luck! I know it’s a really hard decision that only you can make.
Post # 9
If you use Reddit. There is an amazing sub there called justnomil, also raisedbynarccisisists. It’s an amazing community and you’ll find a lot of support there.
I think your plan is excellent, be prepared for family to want to rugsweep her behaviour and make a big stink that you have to invite her.