Sometimes you read something and you feel as though it was specifically written for you. As an aspiring wordsmith, I often find myself having blog envy where I sit and think ‘Damn, I wish I had thought of this’ or ‘Wow I wish I could describe things so accurately’.
I stumbled across Finding Joy on Facebook and almost every single post speaks to me. The way Rachel describes the ‘ugly’ side of motherhood is refreshing and a huge relief to moms such as myself who feel as though we are drowning in all this perfect pintrest mom bullshit.
There’s one area of motherhood that she hasn’t addressed yet, and that is the evil and cruel mother. My guess was on point, she didn’t have the misfortune of having a bad mother. And no, I’m not talking about the mom that forgot to pack your favourite lunch, or the mom that gave you cereal for dinner because she was too tired to cook.
If you find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for me to drop the bomb then I’m pretty sure this post is for you.
- Did you grow up wondering what you had done to piss your mom off?
- Did you grow up living in fear of her anger?
- Did you grow up with ‘tough love’? Being told to shake it off when you clearly needed medical attention?
- Did you grow up with abnormal punishments such as the silent treatment for days on end, or withholding food or affection until she decided to let you back in?
- As an adult, do you feel intense anxiety every time she calls or visits?
- Do you mentally prepare yourself in order to interact with your mother?
- Is your strained relationship with your mother a dirty secret that no one (even yourself) understands?
- Have you cut ties with your mother?
- Do you fear turning into your mother?
- Did your mother’s passing bring you relief?
I am writing this post today to enlighten you about narcissist personality disorder, more specifically the way it relates to the mother daughter relationship.
I grew up knowing that my mother and our relationship was very different to other families I knew. I only discovered the term narcissist when I was 24 and it opened my eyes in so many ways and brought to my heart a huge sigh of relief.
I finally had answers.
I think that society has a very warped view of what narcissism is. We picture a man staring into a mirror admiring himself from every angle. And while that is part of it, that is not the sum of all parts.
Narcissists are selfish. They manipulate, they lie, they seek to control, they are only out for self gain.
The narcissistic mother is loved by all. In public she has a very very likable persona and she might even be involved in charity or social groups that endeavour to do good. Meanwhile back at home, her children (especially her daughter) lives in fear of the next punishment, insult and sometimes physical abuse.
My mother’s favourite weapon of choice is silent treatment. For those of you that aren’t aware of this punishment, it might seem harmless in comparison to physical abuse but it is in fact quite an effective form of abuse. Being 10 years old and ignored by my mother for weeks on end was very unsettling for me. She would only communicate with me if absolutely necessary and if we had company over. Needless to say we never had many visitors and the silent treatment kept me on my toes, waiting in despair for it to end.
Another firm favourite with her is gaslighting. Using gaslighting on a child is definitely one of the cruelest things you can do to break down their self-confidence and perception of the world and the people in it. For a long time I doubted EVERYTHING someone said to me, even if in passing. I was never quite sure if they were being sarcastic or if they were genuine. Gaslighting is one of the ways in which narcissists keep you under their control, because when you doubt yourself, you never confront the abuser. You stay on the emotional rollercoaster that is a web of lies and manipulation.
I have been no contact with my narcissistic mother for 7 years now…a choice that has kept me alive. I did not consciously do this. At the time I had no idea what narcissism was, all I knew was that I had to get away for my own survival. My mother had missed my wedding (which she was almost invited to but cursed my marriage to end in divorce so hence…no invite) she has missed the birth of my daughter. She has missed 7 christmases, easters, mothers days and every other special moment inbetween. Because she cannot change. Because she doesn’t respect me. I am not her daughter, I am a person that was made to obey her at all costs, even my own happiness. And seeing as I do not obey her rules I am therefore not worthy of being treated in a loving way.
I am the scapegoat in my family. And it’s rough. I won’t lie. I can’t lie anymore. I have to speak my truth. For me and for everyone else that is living in shame with this dirty secret that society refuses to acknowledge even exists.
‘But she’s your mother!’
‘ I’m sure it wasn’t that bad!’
‘ I love my mom dearly and have no idea how you could do this.’
These are some of the remarks when people find out about my…situation. Society will not accept this. We accept the disappointment regarding the dead beat dad, but no one stands up to sympathize with those who have suffered abuse at the hands of their own mothers.
And this is why I have this blog. I am not an accomplished author. I do not have a wealth of information to share with the masses, I do not have a degree in psychology. But I have my story. And I have my truth. And I know what it feels like to live in the dark.
So if I can save one person from the inner torment that is a toxic narcissist mother then these random ramblings will be worth it.
I am not healed. I don’t think that anyone completely heals from the abuse that is caused by the one person on earth that is meant to love and protect you above all else. I have dark days. I have days where I doubt myself. I have days where I feel like giving up.
And then…I experience a moment of pure joy with my husband, or with my four year old, or with a friend. And I’m reminded that I do have a life. I do have things to look forward to. I do have people that rely on me to be who I am. I shut down that negative voice in my head and just live in the moment, not thinking about where I came from and what I came from.
I have found solace in accepting my truth. Accepting my life without a mother. I have found support in unexpected places such as narcissist support groups on Facebook, I have also stumbled into beautiful souls that share a similar story and these souls I am lucky to call friends. I have found books,such as Mean Mothers by Peg Streep that speak to the depths of my soul. I take each day as it comes,but now with the knowledge that I am NOT the problem.
If this sounds way too familiar…know that you are not alone. I am there with you and so are many of us who suffer in silence.