The other kind of bad mom

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.

 

Dear Dummy

DEAR DUMMY, I have a confession to make. Pre-mom me never liked you. Well you have quite the reputation and not such a good relationship with the teeth of certain kids, so don’t hate me. I bought a breast pump set and two of you came with, so I didn’t really choose to buy you. And yet I packed one of you into the hospital bag, first time mom jitters I guess. When the nurse at the hospital discovered you she was in such shock and disgust, I actually thought she had discovered drugs in my bag. Oh well.

At 6 weeks I introduced you to Lia in the hope you could soothe her. So much crying, what is up with the crying. Lia didn’t like you at all and screamed even louder. So back into the cupboard you went. At the tender age of 3months I had to send my precious angel to school, on the list of things to provide in her bag was guess what…a dummy. I explained that she wasn’t interested but they thought they knew better. After the longest 8hrs at work in my life I rushed to fetch Lia and discovered her peacefully sleeping with you in her mouth. You were her comfort when I wasn’t there. I didn’t know whether to cry or be grateful.

Lia turns 4 at the end of this month and for the past two years you have been her dirty little secret. She doesn’t use you in public and makes no mention of you when outside the house (sorry). She has picked up on the fact that society is not happy with kids her age having a dummy and has adapted accordingly, only using you for bedtime.
So many childless people make comments like ‘oh is she still on the dummy? So and so’s kid left the dummy at age 2 or 3 blah blah (insert eye roll here) Depending on who it is I react with a variety of responses like ‘yeah well so and so’s kid has a security blanket so shut up’ or ‘Lia is my kid and I do what suits me’.
Or the ‘perfect parents’, ‘oh my child never used a dummy, do you know how bad it is for their teeth, and you’re going to struggle SO much getting her off it’ (insert yet another eye roll) uhm lady, I haven’t berated you for breastfeeding past age 4, and I can see your 6yr old sucks his thumb so back off and leave me alone will you. Stay in your lane dumbass.

The truth is I changed my mind about you when I saw how you calmed my child. Although sometimes I wish you were never invented, like when Lia was 8mnths and waking me up because she was not capable of finding you on her own in the dark at 3am. Then I just went out and bought 6 of you and sprinkled you over the cot like Motherhood calming glitter.

Last night Lia went to bed without you…we couldn’t find you (we weren’t motivated enough to find you, quite frankly we are sick of you) After much tossing and turning she finally fell asleep and in the morning we praised her so much for being a big girl. We had given Lia the cut off of her birthday, a day when she would hand you over to a baby and let go of her babyhood. But we somehow speeded up the process.

I feel kinda sad, I feel like I’ve lost my baby. But I have also waited for this day. Thank you. Thank you for soothing my child. Thank you for giving me ten minutes of peace at times, dummy in = silence. hahaha

Goodbye dummy. The other dummy moms feel exactly the same (sorry again) but you make a difference in the lives of kids and that is all that matters. Not the opinions of other people.

Pregnant moms know best

Yes I see you pregnant mom. With your ever swelling breasts and expanding watermelon waistline.

I see you in the sweet aisle giving me that look of ‘oh my child will not eat sweets’

I see you at playgrounds when my child will not share and is crying. Yes because your child will always share.

I see your expression when people talk about breastfeeding past 6months, or co-sleeping,only making home cooked baby food,disposable nappies. I see you roll your eyes when other moms talk about having no time for sex,and discussing how long its been since they shaved their legs.

Yes I see you.

I see you in clothing shops checking out a woman with 3 kids. Her hair hasn’t been washed or brushed and her one kid is still wearing pjs from last night. Yes I saw your expression. That will NEVER be me you think.

I see you sitting peacefully in restaurants with your husband. Chatting away while someone else’s kid whizzes past you. ‘Fucking hell!’,you think. My kid will never bother anyone.

Yes I saw your face.

And I laughed and laughed till the Barbie milkshake I was drinking came out my nose. And I think I peed a little.

Because I wish I could be there when you finally realize you will be everything you always hated in other mothers.

You will breastfeed past 6months and it wont be ‘weird’. You will co-sleep because fucksakes how else will you sleep? Your kid will be annoying to other people. Me for example. It will annoy me for sure. You will switch on the TV and give your 2yr old some marshmallows and flings to shut up and leave you alone just to have one minute of peace to pee and eat. You will forget to brush your hair,you will live in pjs for 3mnths,you will *gasp!* go weeks without painting your nails.

And guess what!!!!

It’s not called failure. It’s called motherhood.

Please dont hold any grudges against your pregnant form once you give birth. It’s not your fault you were so naive.

A baby isn’t a dog you can train. It is a human being that has it’s own needs and wants. And as a mom,no matter what it takes,you do it. It’s love. It’s all that tiny human wants.

I say this with conviction because I too was once that know it all. But now I really know it all. Motherhood takes more than a textbook and rules and routines. It takes guts and blood,and sweat and tears. And the ability to admit that you’re not the perfect mom. But that you’re the perfect mom that YOUR child needs.

Chat to you in 6months time pregnant mom. Till then keep your know it all looks to yourself while I’m in the supermarket trying to pay and giving my kid a kitkat at 10am so that she can be quiet because I got jack sleep last night.