I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother. She has caused a lot of mayhem in my life and has sought out to destroy every aspect of my being. For as long as I can remember, I knew something was not right about her and the treatment I was receiving.
There was always a high level of discomfort and a feeling of not belonging from early childhood and through my teens. Every step forward or every achievement was overshadowed by her need to be the center of attention. I would try to take my concerns to my parents, but they were brushed off.
I first discovered or should I say was able to identify my mother as the source of my discontent and poor self-image while engaged in post-divorce counseling. What everyone, including me thought, was childhood shyness was not really shyness at all. It was anxiety brought on by the constant barrage of attacks/bullying from flying monkeys and the narcissists at family gatherings.
I was baffled initially when the counselor began probing into my childhood and my parental relationships. Well, I understand now. In essence, I married into a familiar childhood situation. I married what I despised most. I married into the life I fought so hard to get away from. I married a narcissistic abuser.
A Narcissistic Mother is Born
I believe my mother developed into a narcissist after her father walked out on her family when she was very young. She has carried that traumatic experience and disdain for her father with her for as long as I can remember.
Narcissistic Mother’s Tactics
My mother follows the typical patterns of a narcissist. Her weapon of choice has always been guilt but, she relies heavily on triangulation and smear campaigns. This woman has destroyed plenty of my family relationships and friendships. I can honestly say, I am not close to anyone in my family at all.
You are My Slave
My mother has always treated me like the family slave. This is one of the main reasons I no longer attend family functions or gatherings. My mama acted like I am there to serve everyone when I was a child and even in adulthood. She has been guilty of promising my time and services to people without regard for my time or space.
She would have me running around getting things for her and her guests. I, of course, would have to do the same thing if we were at someone else’s house. I could be eating or in the bathroom. It didn’t matter. I had to stop doing whatever it is to serve.
I Giveth and I Taketh Away. I Also Taketh Away Even If I Don’t Giveth.
Family members and my mother’s friends seem to think she has done so much for me. Nooooooo….she has done a lot to me. My mother was always notorious for buying me things as a child only to take them from me and give to someone else to gain favor and hurt me. Even as a teenager, she would take the things I bought on my own and give to someone else. I remember I bought myself a stereo system while in college and brought it home with me over the holiday. I left the house one day, and it was gone when I returned. She had given it to one of my cousins.
Her family even got in on the taking. One of her sisters decided to steal gifts given to me by someone other than my mother when she stopped by for a visit with my folks many years ago. Who in the hell steals from a kid? Jewelry, clothes, money, you name it, all stolen from me. Talking to my mother about it was out of the question. She would get angry. I remember her telling me as a child, “Who cares what you think.” She would also tell me I am blocking her blessings. I thought “thou shall not steal” was one of the ten commandments. How does that work again?
My mother was notorious for telling me someone didn’t like me or some family member had something ugly to say about me when I was growing up. My follow up question to my mother was “why?”. Her response was always the same, “I don’t know why he/she said that.” Interestingly enough, this is the same response I would get from my narcissistic ex-husband.
My mother’s lies have also led to confrontations. Her mean girls sometimes boys too club recruits/flying monkeys have “confronted” me on several occasions with fabricated accusations. I am never asked if I said or done what I am accused of. The assumption is that I am guilty so there is no need to ask me anything. In other instances, the flying monkeys simply stew in their own bitter juices over something that was never said or happened. They don’t say anything to me but have plenty to say about me with backhanded comments.
It bothered me as a child, but as an adult…not so much. I have learned these people have made their choices (as bad as they are) to believe nonsense. They have decided for whatever reason, I am something I am not. It could be for any number of reasons these folks decided to jump on the mean girl train, self-image/worth issues. At this point in my life, I am not interested in their motives. I am not interested in rolling around in negativity. Again, they have made their choice. That is something they have to live with.
By the way, this is the other reason I do not attend family functions. I see no reason to drive to drama. I can watch it on television.
Your Misery Is My Happiness
My mother likes to see me in a pickle. She finds amusement in my failures and tears. If something bad happens, you better believe she is on the phone passing the “good news” on. For example, I lived in the dorms my first couple of years in college. I actually lived across from the bathrooms in my hall. A student from one of the other halls who had crabs decided to free herself from her critters in the showers across from my room. Unfortunately, I found out why she was using the showers across from my room instead of the ones convenient to her room the hard way. I used the showers later that evening. I am sure you can guess what happened next. I go home for the weekend and SURPRISE!!! My parents went to the store to buy me some RID, but not before my mom called a few people to tell them about my dilemma. I could hear her laughing down the hallway. I didn’t find it funny at all. I was disgusted and embarrassed. I had to contact the dorm director to have my room fumigated and get a new mattress. Again, it was very embarrassing.
My mother has always had a history of cheering on those that have and are hurting me. She would even chastise me as a child whenever I tried to speak up for myself. She continues her rally for those same people now that I am an adult. My mother even called my abuser to tell him it was my fault and she was going to pray for me. Not one care in the world for her own daughter.
The Double Agent
There is one family member, one of my aunts I used to speak to quite often. At first, she seemed like she was a non-participant in the mean girls club, but she is. She is what I call a double agent. She reports back to the head narcissist in charge, and she likes to try to encourage me to get involved in highly undesirable situations. I highly suspect she is helping my mother spread lies about me. The frequency in which we communicate has dwindled quite a bit. I have been distancing myself and less likely to answer my phone when she calls.
That One Person
Out of all of my mother’s potential recruits, there has been one and only one person who has called her out. This person is actually a friend of the family and my hero. She pulled me aside while I was home from college years ago and told me, “You know your mama is jealous of you.” I was actually relieved to hear her say that. For a long time, my daddy told me my thinking was flawed in defense of my mama. For a long time, I was cut off and otherwise ignored when I tried to bring her behavior to light to others.
Confronting the Narcissist
I actually confronted my narcissistic mother about her tall tales. I told her I know that she is the one manufacturing drama by telling people I have said and done things that never happened. She “broke down” and started to get “choked up”. She said she would explain it to me, but I wouldn’t understand. I told her, “There is nothing to understand. Everything you said has been untrue.” That was the end of that and a few days later she was back at it. She is who she is.
You Remind Me Of…
“They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike –
You can lose your mind,
When cousins are two of a kind.”
These are the lyrics from The Patty Duke Show starting with the last two lines of the fourth verse. I think it is really fitting….maybe with a few changes:
laugh lie alike, they walk think alike,
At times they even talk alike –
You can lose your mind,
cousins narcissists are two of a kind.
Narcissists seem to follow a script to the letter. My mom and my ex-husband are no different and are a lot alike. The things they have done and said alike are mind-blowing. The interesting thing is that my ex-husband once told me while we were still married that he wouldn’t have anything to do with my mother if she was his mom. Ironically, he is guilty of the same things he condemned her for doing. Likewise, my narc mother has condemned him for the things he has done, but……you know. The hypocrisy is strong in these two when they are not waffling.
Speaking of waffling…I remember trying to talk to my mother about what happened in my marriage. I even told her about my ex trying to get physical with me twice. She asked me what did I do to make him do that. Oh yes, she did.
Recovering and Surviving
Recovering was a long hard road from over 40 years of narcissistic abuse from my mother coupled with narcissistic abuse from my ex-husband. There is/was a lot to sort through to reach some level of normalcy. I am there.
I have learned to deal with the flying monkeys by not dealing with them at all. Whatever issues brought them to the point of joining in the narcissist’s “reindeer games”, are their issues alone to deal with. They can say whatever they want. Their words mean nothing and will not define me.
The main question at this point and the final piece of the puzzle, will I or won’t I remain a member of this family? No contact or limited contact? I will be answering that question in my next post in the coming weeks.
Recommended reading: When You & Your Mother Can’t be Friends, by Victoria Secunda