They call them the Dark Triad of personality disorders: psychopathy, narcissism and borderline personality disorder.
My mother was likely borderline and there were lots of narcissistic traits, too. The rage was incredible. She could rage for hours, for whole days. My sister and I would huddle together at night while my mother and father screamed.
She could turn it off like a faucet, though, if the phone rang. She would be so sweet.
One event I remember unfolded when I was about 13. My best friend, who I was lucky enough to attend school with, had an unbelieving father. My mother always talked bad about him and how terrible unbelieving fathers were. So, I told my friend and after she continued saying these things and I continued telling my friend, my friend decided to tell her mother.
Well, I'm sure you can understand how happy her mother was to hear that her husband was a terrible father, so she called my mother out on it. She literally called the house and confronted my mother and my mother denied it, sobbing and crying. Well, my mother was not used to getting called out on her bad behavior, so as soon as the phone was hung up, she called for me and hit me so hard upside the head I saw stars. Of course she screamed at me how terrible I was and how much of a liar I was. It was quite an ugly scene.
The thing is, in her head, she never said those bad things. She was only commenting on the father's lack of faith and not saying he was a bad father. She is so freaking borderline or narcissistic or psychopathic that she lies to herself and believes her own lies!
That's why these parents are extremely damaging to their children. They get their children to doubt their own reality. This is known as gaslighting. And it's beyond frustrating to a child who has no power. Because for the other half of the time, she's nice and she constantly compliments herself on her choice of career which was being a stay at home mom. So, mom ends up not being safe, physically and emotionally. And, that is job one for parents.
So, paul, I'm not going to fault you for standing up to your bullying mother. These people are used to getting away with their crap, so calling them on their abusive behavior is pretty damn important in my book.