Narcissistic parents might like to think they’re the best parents ever, but they are so far from it. They instill the worst possible beliefs in their children that often follow (well, maybe more like haunt) those children for the rest of their lives. Below is a list of a few of them. “You need […]
I drew this picture when I was in Year 11. That would have made me somewhere between 15 and 16 years of age. This picture was stuck on my wall, this picture was seen by anyone who entered our home. No-one ever asked me about the picture. No one raised an alarm that I would draw a picture of the Mother in such a grotesque way. At this point in my life I had begun self-injuring, cutting at my skin with razor blades or broken glass. Anything to distract me from the emotional pain, which now I only realise retrospectively. Drawing pictures like this must have been a cathartic experience to process the amount of hatred I felt towards the Mother that could not be expressed in any other way.
So here it is, I am looking at this picture through the eyes of someone so different to the girl back then and it brings tears to my eyes when I connect with this pain of the past. This pain grabs at my heart and then I can feel the ‘ball’. This is how I refer to the emotional trauma I carry with me everyday. If I allow myself to feel this ‘ball’ of pain too much I can experience panic attacks that feel out-of-body or I can shake uncontrollably. At different times during the years of therapy there have been moments of truly connecting with this unresolved pain and there are no words to describe the utter heartache my body feels, it physically hurts. Feeling scared is a severe understatement.
As I look back now, the first memories of experiencing this ball of pain began in those teenage years. This is where the name calling from the Mother truly began to escalate and affect me negatively. At this point in time I would swing between hysterical laughing and hours of crying. I was suicidal. Around this time I met a boy, this would be my first boyfriend, my first experience of love and sex. When I would come home after staying at his place, the Mother would say “Did you have a good fuck last night?” with such viciousness in her tone. And I would say we don’t fuck, we love each other. And she would scoff at me.
As I look back, it would have been so nice to have a mother who could embrace this new chapter in my life journey. Perhaps guide and accept that I was growing into a woman. A mother who would love me. And that is the clincher right there. For years I have wished for the Mother to love me. To truly love me without an agenda. In this later part of my life I have been grieving. I have mourned and cried for the Mother I never had and have slowly come to accept that the person who birthed me into this world is not capable of any genuine affection and love.
Since June last year I went from little contact with her to no contact at all. What I witnessed triggered me to the point of no return. In previous blogs I have discussed how the Mother has little regard for what is appropriate conversation for a child. On this particular day, the Mother was discussing my brother in front of my daughter. I politely asked her to stop multiple times. (To understand why I have no contact with my brother see this link here). The Mother proceeded to include my 5 year old in the conversation by directly asking her “its ok for me to talk about your Uncle and cousins isn’t it?” The Mother caught my daughter in the middle, she was between a grandmother and her own Mum who was clearly distressed. In response to the Mother’s question, my daughter began to self-injure, she started to bang her hand into her head and laugh hysterically. I could not believe my eyes, here was my precious little girl displaying similar behaviour to when I was a teenager. In that moment, I mustered every remaining strength in my body to stay calm, pack our bags and leave. And I have not seen the Mother since then. There is no turning back from here. The Mother is a toxic influence and I finally see that it is not possible to even have occasional contact with her. She has no respect for boundaries and no respect for the mind of a child.
Picture Credit: LongEnough
For so long now, it feels like I’m trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together in some desperate attempt to understand why life unfolded the way it did. The frustrating thing about this is that I don’t have all the puzzle pieces, there are large gaps in my memory, most likely due to trauma and perhaps due to so many years passing since I was a child.
This morning a new puzzle piece was found, covert sexual abuse. Upon reading this article I felt immediate relief that there is an actual term to conceptualise this experience. It’s something I have posted about here in The Mother Talks Too Much. This experience of knowing the sexual pressure she felt from my Dad, and becoming her emotional support from a young age, seems to fit with covert sexual abuse. Combine this with a father who shamelessly raked his eyes over me or came into the bathroom whilst I’m showering, all seems to have contributed to the erosion of my self growing up in this toxic home.
So far, I have always wondered if I was sexually abused, everything I have experienced seems to fit with something like this. I’ve experienced depression, self-injury through cutting, an eating disorder, drug addiction, binge drinking, promiscuity, extreme self-loathing, multiple suicide attempts, traits of borderline personality disorder and most certainly have post-traumatic stress disorder. Having children has triggered memories, one very disturbing memory is of a woman’s hand sexually abusing me. Now whether or not this memory is real is not what I am focused on now, what I realise in light of covert sexual abuse, is that it doesn’t need to have happened for there to be the same outcome. The memory could simply be a manifestation of the fact that whilst I may not have experienced “hands-on” sexual abuse, my experience of covert sexual abuse, of being sexualised, has resulted in the same experience.
I feel like a weight has been lifted, I feel as though I can release this idea that I need to remember something. A wave of acceptance has come over me, and I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other moving further away from this dark past.
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 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.
Back in 2015 Brandon O’Neill wrote a blog for The Spectator chronicling the case of pianist James Rhodes and his victory in court overturning a legal injunction which was preventing him from publishing his child abuse memoir. It is a particularly harrowing account of sexual abuse which leaves little to the imagination. Not only does […]
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.
You don’t know this but I still have nightmares about you. Whisked back unwillingly to a time when I was small and you were big and strong and powerful. I wake up bathed in a cold sweat, reli…
Source: An Open Letter to My Father
Picture credit: TimOve
“Crying tears on the outside and blood on the inside, a stabbing feeling deep in my heart”
A little thing about the Mother that had a big impact on our day to day lives, and still does;
She is never, ever satisfied.
There was always something I did wrong, could have done better or not enough of. I would be chastised for mistakes or beliefs in her own head of how I caused something to happen for years following an event.
If I vacuumed the house, she’d be upset I didn’t clean the windows.
If I tidied my bedroom, she’d be upset I didn’t clean the kitchen.
If a photo was taken she was later angry about my posture.
When I wanted to ride my bike to school, she was angry and slammed the door in my face (a stranger got out of their car to help me cross the busiest road)
When I changed my hair colour to a deep red, she referred to me as “carrot head” until I changed the colour to a more socially acceptable colour, in her opinion.
When I was in a bicycle accident and couldn’t get up, it was my fault she hurt her back helping me get into the car.
When she went through a red light and almost had a collision, it was my fault. And I was actually trying to get us killed. I believed this for a long time.
When I was accepted into a uni degree she was annoyed at my excitement.
When I asked her why she doesn’t say nice things about me being pregnant for the first time, she replied “I don’t want you to get a big head”
There are so many more…
I think the biggest turning point in my feelings towards her was around age 15. I went away with a neighbours family for almost 2 weeks. I felt so homesick and missed the Mother so much. When I saw her on the platform I ran towards her, dropped all my bags and gave her the biggest hug. She immediately told me off for dropping my bags.
Then, in the car started yelling at me about the chores I didn’t do 2 weeks ago before leaving.
When we got home I went to my bedroom. This is my first memory of painful crying. My heart felt broken. I vowed to myself to never feel love for her again. Something inside me switched off.
In therapy I have begun to understand the dynamic with her a little better. During early childhood, everything I did was to keep her happy. Conform and mould into whatever she needed me to be. She was my world. This is what young children do. We do it for our very survival. She was the source of food and warmth. Then we grow up.
As I yearned for more of my own identity I believe this became a point of tension. Suddenly I don’t need the Mother so much, I want independance. I want certain freedoms, away from her. I was becoming a teenager who needed my own identity, I needed to figure out who I wanted to be. The Mother could not handle this natural separation. Instead she became extremely mean. Name calling was her way of bringing me back into line.
I was so many things. So many nasty things.
Around this time Dad stopped physically abusing me, but now I was dealing with something else completely.
The next few years that followed are a little blurry in regards to the order of events.
I became bipolar. I would have extreme moments of happiness, laughing hysterically for hours followed by hours of crying. I attempted suicide, with 3 of those attempts landing me in hospital.
The accumulation of little things. Living with the Mother was daily emotional torture. This post scratches the surface of how these little daily interactions eroded my self-esteem and ability to even think for myself.
Now in therapy, one of the things I hope to achieve is finding my voice, allowing myself to have independent thought. Learning to find the words to express myself in a way that is constructive, assertive and respectful.
Picture Credit: Andrew
As I got older, the physical abuse with the strap lessened. It was at this point in my childhood Dad would use his hands to physically abuse me. There are few memories of these, this being one of them.
We were in Mornington on a family holiday, visiting Sorrento. On this particular day we were walking around the beach and the shops. I remember feeling bored. Then I saw a ferry. I asked about the ferry and was told it takes people to Queenscliff and back again.
I got so excited and really wanted to go on the ferry. When we started walking towards it I thought maybe we were. But then we started walking in the opposite direction. At this moment, I remember making a comment about the day being boring.
Dad turned around, looked at me then began running. I ran thinking that we we’re playing chasey. I started laughing and feeling excited.
When he got me, he pinned me to the ground, got on top and started smacking my face in really fast. I remember making eye contact with a man in his car, we locked eyes for a moment and he drove away. The memory ends.
Getting this memory out of my head and onto paper has allowed me to cry. I have sat here crying for the first time at the sheer sadness of being so utterly misunderstood. At the feeling of happiness being so quickly turned into fear.
One of the more unusual things about this memory is that in the moment of locking eyes with the man in his car, I am seeing him through my own eyes in the memory. Even now as I write this I keep seeing the look on his face through my own eyes. This part of the memory is different because I’m not the observer.
I am a Mum now and my young child often says she’s bored, or this is boring. I smile and say well let’s find something to do. Quite often she doesn’t want to and would prefer to just stay bored. I know it’s ok to feel bored, this is part of the childhood experience.
Picture Credit: Kevin Dooley
“Any sorrow, upon the morrow, must surely fade away. For there is naught, that can’t be sought, upon a bright new day” – Mary Marks
My Dad was ‘The Man’ of the home, what he said went, no negotiation, no family discussion, no consideration for how other people might feel. I learnt from a very early age to accept this. For example, tiptoe around the house when he was sleeping, especially if he had been drinking the night before.
I vaguely remember my brother and I waking up early most mornings, walking quietly to the TV room and we would watch cartoons for what felt like hours.
The thing that would wake us up so early is my Dad’s long wee in the toilet. Door wide open and the sound of a long, long wee, followed by the biggest fart you’ve ever heard. The sound would echo through the house. I never lay their annoyed until I was much older, as a child it was simply time to sneak to the TV room and watch cartoons. I felt happy.
Then, later in the morning Dad would have his shower. And afterwards walk back to his bedroom naked. I would see my Dad’s penis daily, he didn’t care that I was looking. I would often hear Mother yell out, “cover yourself” or “get a towel” or “kids, don’t look” and he would just keep walking, ignoring her.
As I grew into my teens, he would make sure there was a clear pathway, then do the naked dash to his bedroom. It was at this point I knew him better. As soon as I heard the shower stop, I knew to make myself scarce. Whatever I was doing I’d make sure that I was around a corner, or in my room. Then I’d wait, sometimes I’d stand quietly and wait for 5 minutes until he was definitely in his bedroom.
One morning when I was much older, either 14 or 15. I went to have a shower at the time Dad normally had his shower. He came in the bathroom and did his morning shave, the glass was opaque so he wouldn’t have been able to see me naked. Then, I yelled out, “I need to get out now can you leave?”
Expecting he would leave I turned the water off. He didn’t leave. He let me stand there and did not pass a towel over for what felt like an eternity. Perhaps, this was his way of telling me to never interrupt his morning ever again. And I didn’t.