If My Abusive Mother Came Crawling Back, Do I Owe Her Anything?

For me, I positively don’t owe my narcissistic mother anything. Here is the woman who spewed out vicious words, ignored me, displayed rare empathy, criticized, ranted, raved, and left me feeling worthless and undervalued.

My father passed away in 2012 and I (the scapegoat) only have one sibling (my brother, the golden child).

Our last conversation(s) were similar to this:

“Deb, since your dad died it’s been really lonely, I have no friends and have to do everything by myself. You have a husband there all of the time to help you, I have no one. It’s really depressing, all alone in the apartment with nothing to do but watch TV. Your brother is always there if I need him, but you never seem to come over very often. I know you don’t have the car much and I said I could drive you to appointments or to the mall, but you always say you take the bus. We are family and we should do things for each other.

She wants and needs me now, yet she hasn’t changed her narcissistic personality at all, and most likely never will. Am I expected to ‘be there’ for her now that she’s so lonely, yet ignored me throughout my childhood?

She can’t have me now, it’s too late mom you blew it.


I really enjoyed reading this article today titled “The Debt” in which it asked just that, do we owe parents who have abused us during our lives anything when we are adults?

See article @ Slate.com written by Emily Yoffe “The Debt” When terrible, abusive parents come crawling back, what do their grown children owe them?

Written and copyrighted by Deb/2016

Originally on my blog niume.com (Deb-Living in Stigma)

Published by


I am a Mental Health Advocate for mental illness Stigma. In 2007, I created the "Living in Stigma" blog, with the purpose and anticipation of educating people about mental illness. Depression is part of this illness, which intertwines with those struggling with PTSD, chronic pain, and other invisible illnesses. I am a chronic migraine sufferer myself, and a sexual and emotional abuse survivor. My passions are writing, poetry, and art. All abuse Survivors are also Warriors.

24 thoughts on “If My Abusive Mother Came Crawling Back, Do I Owe Her Anything?”

  1. I read the article. It was very good. I think it is a personal decision for each one to decide whether to have contact or not. It could be very detrimental to some people to see their parents.

    I did forgive my father for what he did and went to see him the last months of his life. He actually did say he was sorry he hadn’t been a better father. He also said to me, while walking beside him in his wheelchair, “Well, I guess I can’t scare you anymore, can I?” All I said was, “No.” I had been through years of therapy and nothing he said or did bothered me much by then. When he died, I felt sorry for him because his life had been such a waste for himself and everyone else. He broke my mother’s heart over and over.


  2. Oh boy… this is such a big issue for those of us that were hurt by our parents. I have been, and still find myself at times, in this same conflict with myself. My parents are elderly and need help with basic things like cleaning, cooking and such. I have helped them arrange for someone else to help them with those things. If they needed me to drive them to the ER, I would do that. BUT… the one thing I will not do for them is take responsibility for their emotional well-being. They are racked with guilt over how they parented me and my brother, and that is on them, not me. My dad has sent me secret emails begging me to spend time with my mom because she is so sad and misses me so much. Well, I’m sorry she feels that way, but it’s not my job to fix it. I needed that when I was a child and didn’t get it. She is living in the hellish consequences that she helped create and I have to put myself/my well being first, as they should have done when I was a child. Sorry to be rambling on about myself. I guess I just want you to know that you are not alone in this. I get it. If you have time, go back and read my post titled “Never Let Go” as it speaks to this issue and may offer you some insight. Sending you my love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This would be me, stuck in the mud helping a bitch of a woman in her later years who made my life miserable if I didn’t decide to go NO CONTACT. Phew! She’s a narcissist, however, but in her eyes, she was a good mother, even though she didn’t want me in the first place.

      Why are we responsible? Is there a rule? It’s always sad when we are made to feel guilty because they are alone now, but it was ok when we were ignored during the years when we could have used their love and care. Guess it’s too late now, they should have thought of that years ago. Always thinking about you and how strong we both are. Hugs to you and will read your post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s such a difficult place to be. There are no rules. As my therapist told me, I have to look at the reason why I will or will not engage with my parents. If it’s out of guilt (me feeling guilty), then it probably isn’t a good idea. But if it comes from a place of wanting a help a person, then it might be okay. But what it boils down to for me, is will this cause me more damage? If the answer is yes, then I don’t do it. I try to remember that my parents parented with their own baggage, but that doesn’t excuse the damage they caused. After all, I also parented with my own baggage… and refused to pass it on to my children (as best as I could anyway). Yes, we are strong, otherwise we wouldn’t have made it this far, right? Hugs to you too ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’ve become wise. I became aware of my mother’s baggage throughout my life when she constantly reminded me of how she was treated. It never really sunk in until I read this book “The Loveless Family” and it clicked, I lived in a loveless family, and my mother carried bad baggage and made me pay for her pain and hurt from her childhood. Hummm, this is where I discovered that she had NPD, that she would never change no matter how I tried, she would always treat me like shit, I would always be the scapegoat and my brother would always be the goldenchild. The only way to escape this jail sentence was to go no contact. Lightbulb moment after 55 years. At least if I die, I will know she screwed up. Hugs back.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It took a lot of time and work to get where I am with my relationship with my parents. And I still work on it. I haven’t heard of that book. I’ll have to take a look at it. My ex-husband was a narcissist and I learned from that abusive experience that you are absolutely correct. There is no changing them and they will never take responsibility for anything. It will always be someone else’s fault. I’m glad you had your lightbulb moment so you can save yourself from further pain. ❤

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay I know I left a comment but now I don’t see it, so if I am repeating you know why! 😶

    I too have a toxic relationship with my parents and I have chosen to stay away, despite their passive-aggressive comments.

    Kudos to you for standing up and staying true to yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I trashed your duplicate comment and I still can’t figure out why sometimes you end up in my spam folder. You’ve been a reader of mine for years. Is there someone out there playing tricks on us? or Are we losing our minds? Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Deb,

    I personally know how challenging it can be to forgive those who have hurt you. Right now I’m struggling to forgive my sister for some hurtful things that she’s said. I do however encourage you to slowly consider opening the door to your mom. If she is apologetic for the harmful things that she has said, you at least have someone who is willing. My mom always told me that “parents are human too” and “parenting doesn’t come with a manual.” You don’t HAVE to forgive her, but as someone who is going through something similar, I can imagine that this is truly on your conscious and that may be just enough to motivate you to move forward. Wishing you the best!


    1. Thanks for sharing. Forget ‘opening the door’. My mother is a narcissist who will never change and 3 years ago I went No Contact. The best thing you can ever do with a narcissist. Now she has no one to insult, spew nasty words concerning my weight or body image. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks for sharing. Forget ‘opening the door’. My mother is a narcissist who will never change and 3 years ago I went No Contact. The best thing you can ever do with a narcissist. Now she has no one to insult, spew nasty words concerning my weight or body image. Thanks for commenting. 🙂


  5. I 100% agree with you being in a similar situation. My relationship with my parents is pretty toxic and I refuse to let it poison my family dynamics, so I have not had a relationship with them for years and intend on keeping it that way. There have been same passive-aggressive communication from them (similar to what you are getting it seems) but I am not budging.

    So kudos to you for sticking to your guns. You have to live life on your terms!


  6. My Mother waited 30 years and half an hour after my Father died in 1978 to tell me she never wanted or liked me. Yet when Daddy died my mother and my so called the “wonderful” other daughter wormed their way around my late Husband when he purchased a large house for us to live in and I not only got stuck with my mother and sister (still am stuck with spinster sister) my mother gave my half of the family home that was left to her, and then it was to be shared between the two daughters, to my sister to buy into our house, despite the fact my sister did not have enough and my late husband lent her the rest, I discovered when he died it was never paid back. My mother and sister destroyed my life and ruined the childhood for my two Sons, they also destroyed my marriage. No don’t help a mother who turned her back on her child, I regret it to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I apologize for the late reply but your comment was in my spam folder.

      Family issues and money do not mix well, nothing good comes out of it. Sorry you had to experience all of this, and pat yourself on the back for staying strong enough to endure this crap. Hugs


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