Category Archives: narcissistic mother

Narc Stunts 101

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  • Make sure gifts are given with an audience!

It was my daughters birthday last week and the mother literally placed a blanket on the footpath with 10+ bags of presents and a bunch of balloons outside our home, so that my children would see this spectacle whilst trying to get them to school.

Now lets break it down. We’ve been no contact for 2 years. This means if we were to drive past all these presents with ‘nanna’ standing there, my children would not understand why they wouldn’t be allowed to open all these gifts. They are too little to understand the reasons why. Hence, me and my husband become the bad guys in the children’s eyes.

The Narc Mother stood outside our home for at least an hour, chatting to anyone walking past. It was embarrassing, annoying and gut wrenching all at the same time. This is what she’s done time and time again, play the victim, beg for forgiveness although there’s never any admission of any wrong doing.  And in the past I would have fell for this act, allowing her back in my life, believing that she will change because she’s promising to listen to me this time. LIES! I’m not falling into this cycle again.

Eventually she left because we threatened to call the police and began filming her. And of course, the follow up e-mail a mile long. In the past I would feel compelled to respond, she knows all the trigger points. But the great thing is, she doesn’t realise how much stronger I am now. Even with her saying she’s enrolled in a university course so as to follow my own career path.

What a jealous little evil person. She wants to do the same degree I worked so hard to complete. The same degree that was questioned time and time again. This is not the first time narc mother has shown her jealous colours, it has happened with boys I’ve dated and general interests such as loving fairies and frogs. Being raised by a narc meant that any spark, personality or extraversion was squashed down, laughed and scoffed at. Yet, each time I rose above my interest would become her interest.

This is the disorder, this is what it is to have mental illness in a family. Right now there’s no escape. And I find some comfort knowing I’m not alone. All of us raised by narc parents have similar themed stories, the patters are evident in the narc parent and there are patterns of behaviour for children born to them.

Now more than ever, I need to check myself. Empathy is key.  As dawn breaks, and I step away from my laptop I will focus on meeting  the emotional needs of my children and taking care of my husband, be kind, listen and respond appropriately.

This is the legacy of being raised by a narc, a constant self-monitoring. But if that’s what it takes then so be it!

 

 

 

Window of Experience: Adult Child with a Toxic Parent

What does narcissistic abuse from a parent look like when you’re an adult with your own family?

It’s so pervasive and unrelenting that it colours your entire reality, it can affect how you see yourself, relate to your husband, wife, children, friends and work colleagues. I was in this half reality for so long and did not even realise how affected I was until going no contact for a length of time. The more time that went by without seeing the toxic parent, the more I was able to see just how damaged my perception of reality was.

Let me explain, before seeing toxic parent, I would strategise and have a plan if certain behaviours were to occur. I was not to allow myself to get baited by her unrelenting comments that were usually highly critical, undermining, and essentially said to try and get a reaction from me in public (so that she could look like a victim). After being in the company of toxic parent, I would de-brief and cry most of the time because she was just so damn mean and dismissive. For days afterwards, my mood would be low, my general interactions with my husband and children would be affected. A week or two goes by, I feel better. Then it happens all over again with the next visit. This cycle of narcissistic abuse continued for years. It wasn’t until going no contact for 2 years now, that a veil has lifted.

Whilst I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m happy all the time and completely healed, what I do have are better coping strategies with life in general, I understand self-care, being forgiving of myself and others more easily rather than hold grudges and negative energy. I can handle small obstacles and bumps along the way without over the top reactions, and if I do react, the moment passes quicker and I am able to press on with the day.

A toxic parent stunts your growth as an adult. After such a traumatic childhood filled with all kinds of abuse, I still had so much growing up to do even in my late 30’s! There’s still such a way to go, but I feel confident that I have the skills to continue living a good life, make good decisions and go on protecting my own children from this most toxic person I used to call Mom.

I do not advocate for no contact as the first port of call, each person’s journey is unique and their own. For some, clear boundaries and low contact can work. For other’s it doesn’t, and that was the case with me. Honestly, it wasn’t until I witnessed the same psychological games being played on my children that were played with me that I finally had enough. Not everyone can understand my decision and that’s because I won’t tell everyone all the details. There’s no point re-living this experience just to help someone else make sense of it. The more time that goes by where I remain no contact, I stand on firmer ground and become stronger emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

Car Accident

 

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The other day I was in a car accident with my children. The other driver slammed into us from behind, the car was a mess, I was a mess, but thankfully no one was hurt.

At the moment of the accident I was trying to find my way to an address which wouldn’t show up on my GPS for some reason. Traffic was heavy, the girls were shouting in the back, I was anxious, stressed and distracted. Then, suddenly a loud crash and the car lifted from behind.

As I pulled the car to the side of the road I felt as though I was going over the edge, as though I was hanging on by a thread. My daughters looked to me in this moment, in all the commotion and confusion they looked to me to make sense of this situation, to make sense of what we were all going through. My emotions were raw.

Something happened in that moment. Something that affirmed my own perception of who I am in my heart and in my soul.

Knowing in that moment that my daughters were fine, that I was fine, that we were still here together and with each other was enough for me. I was relieved and thankful everyone involved was ok.

It was only later that the real shock and wave of negative emotion started creeping over me like a dark shadow in the form of a memory from my past.

You see, when I was a young girl a similar incident happened to me with the mother driving the family car.  Only that time, there was no crash, no commotion, just what should have been the relief of a near miss. However, instead of relief at narrowly avoiding tragedy the mother used this moment to guilt and shame me into years of believing that I had distracted her while driving, claiming over and over that I had tried to kill us all. That I had somehow intended to have her, my younger brother and myself all fall victim to a horrible accident – simply by  carrying on the way children sometimes do in cars.

It was my younger brother who screamed out as the mother went to drive into an intersection. He became the angel of our salvation and for the years following I became the devil who tried to kill us all. She literally said “you tried to kill us” more times than I can remember.

Thinking back to that traumatic experience with the mother, and looking at how I myself handled my own car accident and my own children in that circumstance AFFIRMS for me that I am nothing like the mother. This experience, this baptism of fire, proved to me that I am different. That I am cut from a different cloth.

I once read ‘that which we fear we attract’

I no longer fear being like the mother.

Already, I feel more at peace with being a mum. These last few days since the car accident, I have sat with my daughters, admired them, drawn pictures and have felt so grateful to be able to give them the love I didn’t have growing up.

 

 

Photo Credit: Hurt Meatz

 

 

Blood Dripping

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When I was a pre-schooler, around the age of 4, I have this memory of being dressed in a ballet costume.  I am standing on my grandparents front porch crying and looking at the blood dripping down and along my hand.

You see, I am a nail biter. It’s something I began at a very young age, and are my first attempts at self-injury. Later in life, I would cut myself with razors and broken mirrors or glass. The scars are still visible.

In this particular memory, I have made a real mess of myself. I look at the Mother, crying and wanting her to wipe the blood away. She is holding a camera, taking photos of me, smiling and laughing. Telling me to pose for the photo. 

Over the years, when the Mother was allowed contact with my daughters and I witnessed this kind of inconsiderate behaviour around taking photographs, it would trigger me to either ask my step-dad to remove her phone or I would hide her phone myself. And it was never just one photo, it was 10 plus photos.

The Mother was constantly behind her camera forcing my daughters to pose, scrutinising their natural smiles with comments like “act normal”; “oh that’s too much of a smile” ;“don’t smile too much”; treating them as if they are little dancing monkeys, there for her own amusement at no matter what the cost. There was no regard for what their needs might actually be, which is usually just wanting to play with their toys.

I would see the shamed look cross their faces, their plastered fake smiles and lack of joy.  All the while, the Mother continually wanting more photos. I feel so much guilt at allowing these kinds of toxic interactions into their precious world.

I’ve often thought that the ‘buck stops here’ when it comes to having my own children. So far, i’ve been No Contact for 10 months and I must keep reminding myself why this is so important. As time goes by, it’s easy to forget why I am No Contact and this natural forgetting is perhaps one of those inbuilt survival mechanisms of trauma that has allowed the mother continued access into my life after no contact periods.

I am not forgetting this time. This time the stakes are too high, I only get ONE chance to give my daughters the best chance at a happy, fulfilled life. Narcissistic parents go on to traumatise their grandchildren. This is fact. Everyone is narcissistic supply.

In 1975, Ghosts in the Nursery was published by Fraiberg et al., The authors conceptualise ‘ghosts’ as unresolved inter-generational trauma referring to these ghosts as ‘intruders from the past’ (p.388). The authors touch on the fact that traumatised children of narcissistic parents do not always go on to traumatise their own children. That these grown children seek help from professionals, identifying the ghosts and banishing them from the nursery.

This is ME. 

Not only are these ghosts banished. They are banished along with the Narc Mother who brought the ghosts into my life. The Mother is not aware of the ghosts that walk with her.

I am aware. The reality is all too real. There is no more pretending. In my grief journey of mourning the mother, I am finally at the stage of ACCEPTANCE.

I am FREE.

Physically free. I do not see her. The emotional anguish I experience daily at trying to NOT be like her is the legacy I am left with. Constant self-reflection, constant monitoring of my emotional reactions. This is the legacy of childhood abuse.

A good example of this is when my daughter stood up from the couch, stumbled and fell. The thoughts in my head were the mother “ha ha you’re so clumsy” “you’re so accident prone silly girl” “get up and stop crying”.

In the midst of hearing those things that were said to me as a child, I scooped my daughter up and gave her a hug, rubbing the spot where she hurt herself on the corner of the table. I told her she was ok and our day continued happily. The abuse cycle stops with me. 

The mother’s name-calling, snide remarks and meanness became my inner voice for a long time. I feel as though I am healing from this and am able to recognise when this happens. I allow those internalised comments to slide away because I know I am not stupid, I am not an idiot, I am not accident prone, I am not a bitch.

I am so many different wonderful things that she will never, ever know. She is not capable of knowing who I am because that would involve seeing me as an individual person who is different to her. And in her eyes I will never be enough. I now ACCEPT this without it affecting my self-esteem. This is an amazing feeling. 

Although there is still a long way to go in my path of recovery, I am allowing myself to enjoy this moment. This is what HEALING feels like. 

 

photo credit: Loren Schmidt

 

 

A Narcissistic Lullaby

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“Hush little girl, don’t you dare say a word,

You must forget all that, you’ve seen and heard.

But if my baby bird, decides it’s going to sing.

Mama will tell the world, that you’ve come unhinged.

Poor little child, your minds lying to you,

what you think, you recall is not completely true.

It’s not my fault that, you exaggerate and lie.

It seems Mama, can’t make you happy,

No matter how hard I try.

There’s food in the cupboards, and toys on the floor.

There’s clothes on your back, so what you complaining for?

So now hush little baby, and stop acting out.

Or Mama’s gonna give, you something to cry about”

Written by Kira Cooper 2018

Photo credit: a girl, dreaming her life away 

 

 

 

A Slow Walk Towards Empowerment

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In recent months there has been an increase in the usual family drama. This of course stems from the Mother and her manipulations. One of the dramas she thrives on is creating wedges between people in her immediate circle, this involves backstabbing one person to another, stretching truths, making herself appear to be the victim or herself some kind of saviour to a situation. There are many ways a narcissist behaves and here’s a good link that explains what these are in more detail.

This story begins with the Mother divulging my financial situation to my brother. At the time she was giving me $100 per week into my bank account. The Mother made it appear to him that she was giving a lot more than that. This annoyed my Brother, he saw me as some kind of leach and that I shouldn’t be living off the Mother. The vile messages he sent about me to the Mother I truly believe is a result of her being in his ear and telling lies about me. As a consequence of his messages and threats he made towards me, my husband and children, I decided to cut him out of my life. The accusations against my husband and I were so awful and so untrue that I really felt I had no choice.

This decision has disempowered the Mother and her ability to play my brother and I off against one another. Not that I ever felt I was against him. But certainly felt I was being played with. From what I’ve read about narcissism and children, is that children of narcissists will not often have functional relationships as adults due to the meddling ways of the narcissistic parent. My brother and I fall into this category. Whilst things between us were not that great for a long time, there was definitely no hope as we’ve become adults with having such a toxic parent in our lives. Unfortunately, he has not realised her manipulative ways, and I can only believe that he succumbs to the lies and victim stories she tells.

In the many months that have followed this decision I have been accused of tearing the family apart, I have been told I’m a bitch, that I’m heartless and selfish too many times to count. The Mother is doing her absolute best to make me the problem, to make me feel guilty. I am now the Scapegoat. And for months I have stood my ground.

And now the situation has escalated.

An anonymous email was sent to my work accusing me and my husband of awful things. I can’t even go into the details here. The content of the email also had information that only someone who’s known me for most of my life would know. I assumed it was my brother as it was all very consistent with the messages I know he did send a year ago.

I reacted.

I went to the police and I made an allegation against him. This was followed up and the police concluded that it’s a family feud they don’t wish to pursue. I was devastated.

My brother denies it was him. Even without solid evidence, I have this feeling that he is somehow involved.

So far, no further emails have been sent to my work. However, I’ve had red beetroot thrown at my front fence and today, an anonymous letter telling me that I am a ‘moron’ and a ‘parasite’.

What I do know at this point in time, is that someone out there really wants to hurt me. It even crossed my mind that it could be the Mother. She would always call me a ‘moron’ growing up. I know it’s one of her favourite words.

Now I sit here, not knowing what’s going to happen next. The police can’t do anything. And I feel completely helpless. I’m worrying about the future of my children, I’m worrying about my own future.

This feeling of helplessness is so overwhelming. The not knowing of what’s going to happen next is scary.

What makes this situation worse, is the lack of time I gave my own children whilst being consumed with all of these emotions. Just like the meme attached to this post, I allowed the anonymous letter today to distract me from being with them.

I have to remember to put my children’s needs first. Whoever is doing these things will keep doing them. I have no control over that. What I can control is my reaction. My children deserve the best parts of me, not the fearful mother they witnessed today.

 

 

 

The Mother Talks Too Much

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Photo credit: Anderson Mancini

So many things a child’s ear should not hear…

The first one being that when the Mother was heavily pregnant with me, my Dad tried to kill me by throwing her through the glass coffee table in our living room. This is one of those stories that also fed my fear of Dad, throughout my childhood I believed that he did try to to kill me. When I was in my 20’s I asked him about this; he said that the Mother was lying and it never happened.

When I was a baby and would crawl up to Dad, he would put me on his foot and kick me away. The Mother constantly reminded me about this and the fact that he did not like me or want me near.

As a child, I grew up knowing the sexual pressure the Mother was experiencing in the marriage with Dad. He wanted her to do things in the bedroom that she wasn’t comfortable with. I felt  so sorry for her that she had to do certain things to keep him happy but also didn’t feel like I really understood either. He likes blow jobs and anal sex. I was in primary school.

She often said that Dad hated my brother from the moment he was born, she would say it was because he had dark skin.

If we were ever to be robbed and had dangerous people in our home, the Mother said she would save us by seducing the men.  And to let her be alone with them in the bedroom. I remember feeling so safe, she loved us so much that she would sacrifice herself for our safety.

As a teenager she would burn photos of my dad into a pot and say “spells”. I participated and repeated the words with her. I felt scared when we did this.

I only have these snippets of talking memories in my mind, these are all I can remember. And for a long time were a part of my own life story in how I understood myself, how I related to my Dad, how I thought I was better than my brother because I had blue eyes and blonde hair.

I looked up to her so much and felt as though I was right there with her through everything. For my whole childhood, Dad was the bad guy and we were victims. What I didn’t realise was this other game going on, this narcissistic game where I was being played and toyed with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Strength Found in Forgiveness?

Art Journaling Flowers and Forgiveness

Picture credit: Julie Jordan Scott

Both the Mother and my Father are very much a part of my life. There have been periods where I’ve had no contact with either or both, however one thing or another has always happened over the years that has led to contact being re-established.

Now that I am married, have two children and what I like to consider a fairly happy, stable life they want to see and talk to me more than ever before.

You may be asking yourself, why on earth I continue to have contact? The best answer I have is that through self-reflection and therapy I made a decision to re-define who I want to be. Do I want to be someone who hates and harbours resentment for the past. Or do I want to be someone who can forgive. I choose to at least try the path of forgiveness.

This has been an easier path to walk down in regards to my father. Like me, he is good at living in the present and we very rarely talk about the past. I think we both have an unspoken agreement not to discuss this too much. It’s a trigger for me, and well, he claims to not remember anything which is very frustrating.

The Mother on the other hand, lives in a perpetual past. She is a constant victim of everyone and everything. The Mother never holds herself accountable and will consistently place blame on those around her. This makes forgiving the past more difficult, because my present day interactions with her trigger memories and feelings of childhood. I want so much to be stronger around her, I don’t want to be triggered into this blubbering mess, or child-like state. It’s like she is the only person in the world who doesn’t see me for all my good qualities. I am only reminded of past transgressions or how I am the cause of her ill-health.

In trying to forgive, perhaps our current relationship is one where I can practice strength. I can learn to recognise my feelings and not react. One strategy I use when in her company is to imagine a sign on my chest that reads “Just Visiting”. It makes me smile and remember than I’m an adult now and she can’t hurt me.

Too Many Questions

Childhood Dream

Photo credit: calliphora ‘childhood dream’ 

Trigger warning – the following post may affect some readers

One of the traits of narcissistic people is this ability to make you feel and believe that you are the crazy one and not them. When they are confronted with what they have done, you can be told, “that never happened” or “wow, you have a great imagination”.

This is one of those memories which is vehemently denied by the Mother.

I’m so little, standing in the corner of the room, I distinctively remember my peach coloured walls, I’m crying, my brother is crying too. We are pertrified, I vaguely remember us just saying “no no no” over and over.

The Mother has a knife to my throat – “I’m going to kill you!” She’s screaming this at us – over and over “I’m going to kill you”. Then the memory ends.

As I look back through the lens of being a mother of two myself. There is a part of me which can empathise with the fact she may have been suffering and unable to cope. However, that’s where it ends. Even with various kinds of therapy I still can’t seem to forgive this, I can’t even forget it.

Since having my second child, I have been diagnosed with postpartum depression. There are days where I can not cope, days where I want to scream. I choose to walk away, I choose to ask for help. I choose to admit that at times, I can’t do this on my own. I take medication, I go to therapy, I keep trying to get better. I believe this is one of the fundamental differences between me and the Mother, I can admit I’m flawed.

For a long time I understood my upbringing through the lense of domestic violence, a drunk, unloving abusive father. That this in fact was the source of all my troubles. I attended counselling through out highschool just to get through.

The Mother was a victim too, people felt sorry for us, people wondered why we didn’t leave. And whenever we did leave, how come we came back? The Mother went to many domestic violence shelters when I was very little but she always went back. She was the typical battered wife. And for a long time I hated her for continually subjecting us to the physical abuse.

The real secret was the role she played in the violence. She encouraged my father to hit us when it suited her. Other times he would be violent because he wanted to. These were the times she really did try to protect us and throw herself in front of him. So where does this story fit in with the current rhetoric of family violence? Is her role in the violence simply a product of her also being abused? Are there any other mothers out there who participated in the violence towards their children?

Childhood Games

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Picture credit: Omer Unlu

When we were very young children my brother and I were often played off against eachother – today I am an angel sent from heaven, tomorrow I could be the devils child. Whilst she would keep the dichotomy of heaven and the devil to the confines of our home. She would very happily share with the world if you were the best child that day, often telling anyone who would listen how lucky she is to have you.

However, the devil child for the day would get ignored, spoken down to and ridiculed. If you were the angel child, you would participate in the verbal and emotional torture directed at the other sibling. It was actually really enjoyable to be the angel child. You felt loved. You felt happy.

It took a very long time for me to reconcile these memories with who I feel I am today. An amazing therpaist helped me to understand that I had to play this game with the Mother as my very survival depended on it. The Mother fed us, clothed us, drove us to school, took us to activities, she was all I knew.

Being raised in a home with a narcissistic mother has left me scarred to my very core, it has left me with a perpetual fear that I might be like her.

Now that I am a Mum, this fear can be a heavy burden. I constantly question and analyse my own behaviour. As far as I can see the only way to ensure I do not become like her is to have awareness and insight into how my behaviour affects those around me.

A post which explains this kind of emotional manipulation between siblings can be found here:

https://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/how-narcissistic-mothers-create-sibling-rivalry-article.60974/