I have written before about how common it is for narcissists (especially somatic narcissists) to obsess over their (and their children’s) bodily functions. I even described my malignantly narcissistic mother’s obsession with my childhood BM’s and the Enema from Hell that was a constant threat if I failed to produce.
But there’s more to the obsession than this. For my mother, all bodily functions became performance art. Modesty was a foreign concept to her.
My mother was always an extremely beautiful woman with a sexy but slender body (which she spent hours every day keeping that way through constant exercise, yoga, and living on only salads, chicken and fish). She is still in good shape but has lost her facial beauty due to age and way too many facelifts which makes her appear to be wearing a mask–to my way of thinking, a sad and final physical manifestation of the psychological mask she has worn her entire life. She has become a walking, talking mask.
In her younger years she was an exhibitionist. She regularly walked around the house naked, or dressed in a flimsy diaphanous short negligee, with no panties on underneath. In fact, she never dressed in actual clothing unless she had to go out. My mother’s perfect naked body was almost completely visible under that sheer garment, especially when the light hit it a certain way. She cared not one whit that a child was present.
In the 1970s, during the womens’ movement, the popular book “Our Bodies, Ourselves” was her Bible. It was kept on the living room table for everyone to see, along with other coffee table books like “America the Beautiful.”
I remember being fascinated by that book, with its graphic descriptions of the most intimate female bodily functions, including sexual intercourse and masturbation. With equal parts of awe and a weird, squirmy, embarrassed feeling, I stared at the many black and white photographs of women breastfeeding, or giving birth, or lying on the OBGYN’s table with their legs in stirrups, or doing yoga naked, or dancing in groups with other naked women, pregnant or not.
I remember when my mother was married, I always could tell when she was having sex with my father, because she would groan loudly enough to make the whole house shake. Her moans and groans scared me at first, but after awhile I got used to it. I could tell when they were finished too, because she would announce loudly that she needed to douche to avoid getting pregnant.
After the divorce, when I was 14, things got even worse. We had moved to a small one bedroom apartment, and she took the living room (at least she had the human decency to let me have the bedroom). As a highly attractive and socially gregarious woman who always needed a source of male narcissistic supply, she had a running string of boyfriends. I was left alone overnight often–which I actually didn’t mind at all–because if she returned home with one of her dates, it meant they slept together on the pull out sofa,and THAT meant if I wanted to leave my room for any reason, I had to walk through the living room because there was no hallway.
Walking through the living room with them in there was so embarrassing, I would skulk through quickly with my eyes averted, trying not to see or be seen, but it never worked. She always wound up calling me in for some reason, sitting up from under the covers, her shapely naked breasts exposed, forcing me to look at her in bed with some man I did not know or want to know. I knew on some level that was her real reason for calling me in. She WANTED me to see.
She also always left the door open when she went to the bathroom. She didn’t care if I saw her. In fact, she would call me in while she was sitting on the toilet to ask me a question or tell me something. She wanted me to see but I have no idea why.
The worst thing was when she was having her period. I remember her describing loudly to anyone who would listen (or was forced to hear) the way the clotted menstrual blood would gush out and stream down her thighs when she got out of bed after it pooling inside her all night. She announced it as if she was announcing she just got a promotion at work or won some award.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a prude. I can appreciate the beauty of the female human body and even its mysterious, intimate, lifegiving functions, but these are private and not something a normal person shares publicly as if they’re discussing the news or the weather. Only a somatic narcissist (like my mother) does that. Because to them, it’s performance art and their body is an exhibit to be worshipped and admired, even during its uglier moments. Modesty is never on the radar.