Hi Brooke,

I am not proud of how I acted, but I am not sure how to have done differently.

My mother is a narcissist with borderline personality disorder and also a world class gaslighter.

We went to a Christmas concert and things went along as they typically do. When I am with her, I am incredibly on edge. [Insert model here.]

She asked me for help with her new phone. As I was helping her, she started [incorrectly] correcting me.

I did not back down that I was correct, it started escalating in the church. She gets this look on her face that she used to get when I was a child. As a child, it signaled physical violence or verbal assault or literal physical abandonment – from a matter of hours to weeks.

This look sends me into a tailspin of anxiety and fight or flight. I am not proud of this. I tell myself that I have made so much progress – and I have, when she is not sitting in front of me.

I told her we were leaving the concert and picked up my toddler daughter and we all left.

Here is where I am disappointed in myself. In the car I said that I was tired of her outsized reactions.

She said, “Oh, you are so authoritative and impossible to deal with. Everyone thinks so.”

I said that I would give her that she and my sister probably feel that way, but if she was going to say “everyone” I wanted to know who else?

She laughed and said, “I will not reveal my sources.”

I said she didn’t have any sources.

She said, “It would be so much easier for you if I didn’t, but I do.” She said, “Really, hardly anyone can even stand you. But, I just tell them to feel sorry for you. It would mean so much to our family if they would continue to be nice to you.”

I said something to the effect of not telling me who you are talking about confirms that you will continue to have everyone else’s back. And that I am done with this relationship. Blah, blah, blah……30 min and 35 years of this.

Then, as she got out of the car, she said, “Good night, Sweetie.”

I am not proud of the fact that it escalated on my part. I have been practicing, “she is a narcissist, of course she did xxxxxx” but I have a really hard time in the moment. The feelings that I am having as I write this are so physical and flight or fight-ish that I wonder if I will ever have control over my emotions. And, I really don’t want a relationship with her and the fear of what she might say or do to my daughter also eats at me.

I really dont know where to go from here.

How do I respond better in the moment? Can I just end the relationship?

Thank you,