This is why I can’t hate people with NPD.

what_they_dont_feel

Not too long ago, I was criticized by some other ACON bloggers for being a “narc hugger.”   First of all, let me clear that up right now.   I don’t hug the narcs, I don’t believe in enabling them in any manner, and I believe and always will believe that No Contact is the only viable way to deal with a narcissist.   They are dangerous to be around.

But do I think they’re demons who have no souls?  Well, no.   But I can understand why many  people, especially people who were unfortunate enough to be raised by them, think they are.    I think many of the things narcissists do are evil but I’m also all too aware that they are mentally ill people who do the things they do because they can’t help themselves.  If narcissism is a choice, for most that choice was made at such an early age it was never a conscious choice.

Some people think we shouldn’t feel sorry for narcissists or care about the poor little hurting inner child that went into hiding so long ago and constructed a false self in its place.   I can understand their viewpoint too.   That abused and hurting little boy or girl no longer exists and is not likely to ever emerge again, unless the narcissist is fairly low on the spectrum and becomes self aware and willing to change, and NPD by its nature means the lack of insight and empathy, which are prerequisites to make real healing possible.

However, people aren’t born narcissists.  Almost all people (unless they are psychopaths, in which case they were born with a defective brain capacity to feel much emotion) with NPD were once normal children with a normal capacity for empathy and love.   This was something that was done to them, and the “choice” to become a narcissist was usually made at an early age, from about ages 3 to 6.   These kids were so abused or so neglected that they turned to narcissism because it was the defense mechanism that was most efficient in allowing them to cope with their intolerable caregivers.    Some grandiose (not usually covert) narcissists may have been spoiled, but spoiling a child is abuse too, because it negates the presence of the child’s true self, an imperfect human being and tells them they are perfect, which is a lie they come to believe and try to live up to.

However their narcissism developed, and whether they are happy being that way or not, people who have it are prisoners to their own disorder.  They are not happy people.  They are living a lie and in many cases believe the lie they live is the truth.  They live in mortal terror of being exposed or losing supply.     This doesn’t mean we should enable them or let them get away with the things they do.  They need to be exposed.   They need to have consequences.   Just like the children they are.

I can no longer hate narcissists.    My mother is a somatic malignant narcissist but I also know she had a horrific childhood.  She’s never talked to me about it but I know of it.   It makes perfect sense to me that she would have become a narcissist, given the environment she was raised in.   She’s been this way since she was a very young girl and simply knows no better.   In her 80’s now, she won’t ever change.  She has never been a happy woman, has never known joy, has never really loved anyone.  She can’t.  And it’s sad.

narcissist-discard

I am no contact with my mother.   For most of my life, I felt like a victim, even after I became an adult.  I felt like the things she said and did she was doing to me because she was an evil, soulless witch who hated me.   Feeling so hated by my own mother, I felt defective and defenseless. Why would any mother hate her own child?   It must have been me.  I must have been unloveable.  I must have been a horrible child who brought her shame and misery.   For years, that was the only explanation that made sense to me, because mothers just don’t hate their own children!

When I first learned about NPD, I immediately recognized it as my mother’s problem, the reason why she couldn’t love me or anyone.   I read a lot about it. (This was years before I became so deeply involved in the narcissistic abuse community–that would come later, after I left my ex for good).   I read M. Scott Peck’s People of the Lie and thought to myself, well, that explains it.  My mother is evil.

But why me?  Why was I so unfortunate to be born to an evil parent?   I felt sorry for myself.  Other people had loving parents, but I got an evil one.  It wasn’t fair!  Again, I felt like a victim.

Only in the past sixteen months, as I’ve learned about narcissism on a much deeper level (including a short time where I thought I hadn’t escaped the disorder myself), have I realized that narcissists are mentally ill and became the way they are because they were abused themselves.    All of us who escaped developing NPD are extremely lucky.  We could have become that way too.   Maybe due to temperament or some slight difference in our circumstances as children, we somehow managed to escape.   Yes, we might have complex PTSD, Borderline Personality or other personality disorders, we might have a bad case of narcissistic “fleas,” we might have severe neuroses like OCD or even Dissociative Identity Disorder, or we may be prone to severe depressions, but we haven’t ever needed to hide our true selves completely behind a mask. We can still sometimes be what God intended for us to be.   Narcissists can’t.  They are imprisoned forever by their own defense mechanisms.

By coming to this awareness, I’ve been able to develop an understanding of what makes narcissists the way they are, and to me they seem like victims too.  And no matter what you may think of that, thinking of them as victims helps me, because when I think of my mother now, I don’t think of her as being some demon that I had the back luck to be born to; instead I think of her as a victim who had no idea how to raise a child and victimized me because she just didn’t know how to be any other way or even know there was another way.  It’s a lot easier for me to regard my mother with pity (not enabling!) than with hatred because feeling pity helps me be able to move on with my narcissist-free life and feel less like a born victim.   Somehow that makes me feel less afraid.    It’s God’s job to fix a narcissist if that’s his will and it’s God’s job to judge them if it isn’t.    All I can do is worry about healing myself and pray for people like my mom.

Further reading:  We Were The Lucky Ones

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This TV movie about child abuse was way ahead of its time.

Today I was thinking about a TV movie I saw back in the 1980s that has haunted me ever since. I decided to watch it again tonight (you can watch the entire movie on Youtube–it’s in seven parts; I have posted the first part). It’s called Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night and was first aired in 1977. Susan Dey (of Partridge Family fame) played an abusive, alcoholic mother to a 4 year old girl and she becomes completely unhinged. The movie is extremely triggering and may be upsetting to some.

There are several things about this movie that I found quite interesting.

— Rowena (Susan Dey) seems to have every symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder–but a case could also be made that her symptoms could well be untreated severe PTSD caused by the abuse she suffered at the hands of her own parents. This movie illustrates why I think BPD is really severe PTSD caused by chronic childhood abuse and could make a good case for that.

— Rowena’s parents are both textbook examples of malignant narcissists. Her mother is cold, rejecting, gaslighting, and blames her daughter for her unhappiness, as well as pathologically envious of the attention she receives from her father, who sexually abused her (and apparently still does).

— Rowena’s psychiatrist is a narcissistic jerk who coldly dismisses her from a breakthrough therapy session at the moment she recalls and re-experiences a long forgotten memory of being locked in a closet as a small child. This turned out to be an extremely cruel (and unwise) thing for him to do.

— In the almost 40 years since this film was made, not much has changed. The child protective system is still hit and miss at best and often tragically incompetent.

— It’s a fascinating and convincing study of the way the pathology of abuse infects succeeding generations.

The movie, being made for TV, isn’t perfect. There are a few holes in the plot and certain scenes just seem contrived. I also can’t help thinking of “Dean Wormer” from the movie Animal House whenever John Vernon (the head doctor) is onscreen. But the acting, especially by Susan Dey and the little girl who plays her daughter Mary Jane (Natasha Ryan), as well as the caring doctor who stands up to the Powers That Be and tries to protect Mary Jane, is top notch.

What she says…what she really means.

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Here’s a humorous narc-speak dictionary from Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. This is so true! Of course some of these phrases could be used by any narcissist who has their hooks in you, not just your mother, and can be “translated” the same way.

The Narcissistic Mother Dictionary

1. “I love you.”

Narcissistic-mother-ese:
I want to manipulate you.

You’re showing signs of breaking away and I want to suck you back in.

I’ve heard people say this and it seems to get a good reaction.

I command you to love me.

2. “Don’t ever feel like you HAVE to come see me for my birthday.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
If you don’t make the 650 mile pilgrimage to celebrate me, I promise I will do something to make you pay dearly.

3. “Go do something constructive.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
Be gone, I have no interest in my own children.

4. “You were an ‘accident.'”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
You are only here because homicide would get me jail time, and I thought you’d be a better slave, so I didn’t opt for adoption.

5. “You go have yourself a good cry!”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I resent your emotions, but at least I can use them to hurt you.

6. “I never said that!”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about!”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
Damned if I’m going to admit it.

Yes I said that but it doesn’t work in the conversation right now.

I know I said it but it’s so much fun to f*** with your head until you don’t know what is true and you think you really are crazy! Yeah me!!!

7. “It’s been a long time since I talked to you and I just called to see how you were doing.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I am running low on my Narcissistic Supply and need another fix.

I don’t care how you’re doing; I really just want to talk about me.

8. “You just aren’t remembering correctly.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
My version of events shows me in a better light, so that’s the official version.

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9. “You never do anything for me!”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I know you’ve done a lot for me in the past, but that was then and it no longer counts. What have you done for me today?

10. “It’s time this stops.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
None of my ploys have worked to pull you back so now I will treat you like a child.

11. “I miss you.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I miss having control over you.

I’m lacking my Narcissistic Supply – please provide it pronto.

12. “Who have you been talking to? Who have you been in therapy with? what book did you read? etc, etc, etc….”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I’m not getting the usual emotional response from you and you are too dim-witted to have figured out how to shut me down on your own.

13. “Your brother and sister-in-law took us out to dinner last night. We had such a nice time – I don’t think we have ever been treated that well.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
You had better step up your game.

14. “I’m so proud of you”.

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
You have made me feel good and/or *I* feel good because of you.

I can take credit for that accomplishment.

15. “Why are you wasting your time on something so silly and that takes you away from your family?”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
Why are you wasting your time on something so silly and that takes you away from me?

16. “I want to help you with your kids.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I plan to interfere in the upbringing of your children by spoiling them, disciplining them differently to your way, and ignoring your decisions and wishes regarding them. I will not acknowledge your position and rights as the mother of these children. I may even steal them from you.

17. “Your father and I think …”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I think …

18. “So how are you?”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I’d better ask, but don’t worry I won’t really be listening. Or as soon as you say a trigger word, which reminds me of something else, I’ll interrupt and be off again!

I’m running out of things to boast to my friends about, so please come up with some accomplishments.

19. “I’m so sorry your beloved 14-year old dog died.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
Sigh … I’d better at least mention it, and let you talk for one, maybe two, sentences about your upset and grief, and then I can talk about myself again.

20. “You were very difficult to raise.”
“You were always my problem child.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
You resisted my attempts to violate your boundaries, abuse you and humiliate you.

21. “It’s so sad. I feel so sorry for them.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
It’s so exciting! I love being this close to tragedies!

22. “I’m sorry.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I will, on rare occasion, say the words but never change my behaviour.

Sigh, I’ll say it if it’ll stop you moaning, but don’t worry, I don’t mean it.

23. “Let’s just let go of the past.”
“Let’s just draw a line under it and get back to normal.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
Let’s pretend everything is ok and I’m not a nightmare of a mother so I can continue to torture you and get my Narcissistic Supply.

Let me play my narcissist’s game of never being held accountable for my behaviour.

24. “Your sister-in-law is such a great cook! Simply amazing!”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I want to take away any pleasure or pride you have in your own cooking skills.

25. “I just want you to love me.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
All I really want is for you give me my Narcissistic Supply.

26. “What’s wrong with you today? What is your problem?”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I’m pissed that you are denying me my much needed Narcissistic Supply. Damn you!

27. “Honestly, nothing ever pleases you, does it? Sigh.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
You have to let me treat you exactly as I please, without ever complaining.

28. “I was only trying to help!”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I demand the freedom to interfere in your life any time I want. That is my right!

joan_crawford

29. “What happened to the nice girl I once knew?”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
Why are you no longer the easily manipulated and uncomplaining-of-abuse girl I raised you to be?

30. “After all I’ve done for you! You’ve never appreciated me!”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
Wah wah wah I have violated your boundaries most of your life but even so I resent the hell out of your standing your ground and refusing to allow me to interfere, manipulate and control you.

31. “Why are you treating me so badly? What have I done wrong?”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I have the right to interfere in your life and abuse you without any consequences.

32. “Because I’m the Mama, that’s why!”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
You are really just a child, after all. I’ll never acknowledge that you are now an adult.

33. “I want to give you this because I love you.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
It’s really because you will then be beholden to me and this gives me great leverage to milk you for Narcissistic Supply.

34. “You’re always looking for insult.”
“You are so easily offended.”
“I have to walk on eggshells around you.”
“You’re over-sensitive.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I will not be held accountable for my actions and behaviours!

35. “I never want to be a burden to you.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I will over-run your life and suck the life force from you and your children.

36. “Have you lost some weight?”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I am so glad that I brought that sticky bun with me on this visit.

37. “You take me the wrong way.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I will invalidate your feelings as I have done your whole life.

38. “You’re such a good cook!”
“You’re such a good mother!”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
You got that from me!

39. “You don’t respect me!”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
You won’t let me abuse you.

40. “You won’t forgive me!”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
You won’t let me away with what I did, nor let me continue to trample all over you.

I expect forgiveness with no apology and no intention of doing differently in future.

41. “You need more time to think about it.”
“Well, have a think about it and get back to me.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I am not accepting your decision/opinion. Keep thinking until you come to the correct conclusion.

42. “I was just joking even if I did say and do that, which I didn’t.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
I did say/do it, and I did mean it, but damned if I’m going to acknowledge that.

43. “You just won’t admit when you’re wrong.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
You defended yourself from my lies!

44. “Here’s a gift.”

Narcissistic Mother-ese:
Here is something, very likely something I have no more use for, that I am officially giving to you. But it is still mine, and therefore I get to say, forever more, what you do with it. And woebetide you don’t appreciate it enough, over and over.

Narcissists who love animals and their mothers.

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I’ve noticed something strange about some narcissists that I’ve never seen mentioned anywhere else. Some narcissists, though lacking empathy for other people, seem to have it in spades for animals. Even some psychopathic malignant narcissists are actually very good with non-human creatures. My ex is one of these. He cried like a baby when our dog, Daisy, died of a massive stroke in early 2013. He was always very kind to her and the cats. He used to be beside himself with worry when one of them got sick. The animals seemed to trust him and even preferred him to me! In spite of being No Contact (really, very low contact) with him, I completely trusted him when I had to recently rehome two cats and a dog, all whom I cared about very much (the pets are now staying with my daughter).

But that’s the only time you would ever see him be genuinely kind. Any “kindness” he showed other people was meant to be either manipulative or to impress.

A commenter on another post, discussing her psychopathic ex-lover who is still actively gaslighting her and generally being psychologically abusive, had this to say about him:

The guy I know loves cats. Many of the photographs he sent me have him in photos with kittens in his hands. The photos make him look very loving. Because you would think that any man that relates to cats and kittens in photos would be loving, gentle and harmless.
[…] His nickname for me was Kitty Kat.

This phenomenon is actually pretty common. It surprises me it’s almost never discussed.
So here is the conclusion I come to about why some narcissists can genuinely feel empathy for animals. The problem isn’t that the narcissist lacks empathy per se, but that they have shut off their capacity to feel empathy for other humans. They may feel it for an animal (or maybe for some, a lesser or non-mammalian animal because dogs and cats may be seen as “too human.”). Here are two surprisingly touching essays Sam Vaknin wrote about his relationship with a goldfish and a snail. The reason some narcissists have normal or even excessive levels of empathy for animals is because animals are “safer” to feel empathy for than other humans, who they have come to hate and devalue due to abuse they suffered at the hands of their parents.

Of course this doesn’t apply to all narcissists or people with an antisocial personality. We have all read of cases of serial killers and other sadistic criminals who spent their childhoods tormenting all living creatures, even the lowly ants and spiders of the world. But only some are like this. Most are probably indifferent to animals.

Mama’s boys.

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I have also seen a related phenomenon that’s even more strange than the affinity some narcs have with animals. Some psychopaths and malignant narcissists (almost always male) who seem to live to abuse or even torment other people, at the same time seem to genuinely love their own mothers and even feel protective of them. You hear about serial killers who worshipped their mothers (but hate all other women), even though the mothers were almost always abusive to them. The movie “Psycho” illustrates this in Norman Bates’ relationship with his dead mother. Obviously the exceptions these psychopaths make for their mothers are rooted in severe codependency to the point most people see their relationships with them as “sick,” but it’s still an indicator of a more vulnerable, codependent side of themselves they show to no one else.

For both the seriously character disordered who love animals (because they’re safer to love than people) and those who love their mothers (because they have unhealthy codependency with them), it’s as if little piece of their true self somehow remains split off and immune from their otherwise impenetrable wall of narcissism.

How could someone even survive this?

dark_pozadia
Credit: http://dark.pozadia.org

I just read a comment on a forum about narcissism that made me want to throw up.

A woman who had been scapegoated all her life by her malignant narcissist mother and had gone No Contact said her adult son had been found dead (she didn’t say what the cause of death was). She says her mother never had the slightest interest in her grandson because any child this woman bore couldn’t possibly amount to anything. She never sent him a birthday or Christmas gift, or even so much as a card. She had never even come to see him when he was born.

The woman received no condolences from her mother after her son died. Instead, three days after his death, on the day of his inquest, she found out from relatives that her mother had gone out to celebrate with other family members and friends. Although the reason for the outing wasn’t her grandson’s death per se, she was told by a relative that her mother said “that stupid bitch got what she deserved.”

Wow. Just wow. Talk about lack of empathy. How could anyone be that callous? Losing a child is bad enough (I don’t think I could survive if that happened to me and I marvel at anyone who doesn’t lose their mind after losing a child) but to have YOUR OWN MOTHER–No Contact or not–say something like that is just so evil it’s beyond my comprehension. A mother who would say something like that upon her own child’s bereavement doesn’t deserve to live. Incredible.

I think if that happened to me I wouldn’t want to live anymore. Driving her own daughter to suicide was probably this so-called mother’s intention.

Dr. Phil: Mothers who hate their own children.

In this full episode, Dr. Phil interviews two malignant narcissist mothers who admit they hate their own children (both daughters). For those of us with normal feelings of love for our children, these mothers’ attitudes and behaviors are beyond comprehension.

The first mother is a narcissist who is embarrassed by her daughter’s autism. She whines that “I don’t deserve this.” She wanted to have a “normal” daughter.

The second mother has murderous feelings toward her daughter. She seems quite psychopathic.

ETA: Unfortunately, Youtube removed the video I had posted. The only one I could find only shows the second mother.

Why my parents disowned me.

disowned

I was going to skip over this post, but I think it’s an important thread in my entire story of psychopathic abuse. I’m going to keep it as short as possible though, just because I really don’t feel like writing too much tonight. But I’m afraid if I don’t write about it now, I might forget.

I have already explained that I’m certain my narcissistic mother never loved me, although she pretended to when it was convenient. I spent much of my childhood and adolescence in a state of “learned helplessness” as a result of their incredible mindfuck–I was expected to achieve (on their own terms) and punished if I did not, yet at the same time I was being psychologically programmed to fail. For more detail, you can read my earlier entries (click on “My Story” in the green header above) which will explain how this mindfuck worked.

To make a long story short, I think I would have been disowned regardless. If I had become a financially successful adult, I would have been a HUGE threat to my NPD mother and she would have cut me off. I have noticed the way she denigrates and says terrible things about any powerful woman she envies (she is very transparent)–my mother always dreamed of being a Martha Stewart-like success story. She always took pride in her homemaking, entertaining, and “gourmet” cooking. And she always admired and envied the rich and powerful, something Martha certainly is. My mother’s achievements don’t hold a candle to Martha’s and she knows it. I remember several years ago my mother ranting over how ugly and gauche she thought Martha Stewart was. I saw right through her hatred–for a narcissist, almost all their hatred is fueled by envy. If I had become more successful than my mother, she would have cut me out faster than a surgeon cuts off a wart. She wouldn’t be able to handle someone outshining her, even her own daughter.

But I digress. As things turned out, I never became what most people would consider successful, at least not in the financial and material sense. I had a few opportunities and false starts, but through either self-sabotage or sabotage by others (described in my earlier entries), anything I started I’d give up quickly or never follow through on. I hope that pattern has finally changed.

In her later years, my mother, dependent on her oldest daughter (the one she abandoned as a child but who has now become her flying monkey and biggest apologist) will not allow me to visit them in their home. My mother and I are No Contact now (my own choice), but a few years ago, after my mother reluctantly moved from New York to Chicago to live with my half-sister, she told me I would not be allowed to come there because “Rebecca doesn’t like you.” WTF?!? Rebecca hadn’t seen me in over 20 years! She barely knew me. I mentioned how outrageous that was but my mother just said, “Well, it’s her house. Those are her rules. You are a very difficult person to get along with, you know.” I was offered no other explanation other than my sister’s “rules” and my horrible personality.

I thought about that conversation for a long time and finally got it–my mother was embarrassed by me! Always obsessed about her social standing, I had become too “working class.” My lowered social status would certainly offend her fake upper-middle class ideals and pretentions. I actually had to laugh when I found out my mother was no longer able to find any professional-level work and was working part time as a clerk in a department store. But it took a cousin of mine on Facebook to tell me that. My mother would have died before admitting that, especially to me.

I remember a few years ago, burned out by office and retail work, I mentioned to my mother I wanted to start a housecleaning business. It was something I could do without a lot of capital, it was physical (I like to move around when I work), and I was qualified to do it. I thought it might be fun, and I would be able to work alone and set my own hours instead of having to punch a clock and sit in front of a monitor or phone all day. I even had business cards made up. My daughter was interested in getting into it with me–we were going to call it “Two Blondes and a Bucket.” (no matter that I’m not really blonde anymore–I could dye my hair). Here is what my mother said: “I don’t think anyone would want to hire you. You’re a slob and you have a police record.” (she was referring to the pot charge I got when I was married to my Narc husband.)

dontlikeme

When I showed her my novel I wrote back in 2004, she glanced through it and said, “well, you should focus on getting some articles in magazines first before writing a book–you’re not ready.” I may not have been ready to publish a novel, but my point is, she always berated me for “not improving my circumstances,” and yet any time I presented an idea that might lead to a better life, she shot it down. It was the old mind-fuck all over again. She’s good at it.

That’s why I refuse to use Facebook anymore. My mother and her flying monkeys, as well as my father and his current wife who may well be NPD or at best, someone with OCD and a lot of narcissistic traits, have found me there. My stepmother is a control freak and an ultra conservative Republican who can’t stand me “because I’m a failure” and because I allegedly subscribe to “a mindset of dependency” (even though I haven’t asked them for anything in years). My Narc ex has found me there too, and even hacked into my account. He also trashes my character all over his Facebook page (he’s not dead by the way–he was in a psychiatric facility). I might delete my FB page if I figure out how. So much hatred. My family sucks. There, I said it. I’m like fucking Cinderella.

My father is sick with Parkinson’s and my stepmother, who is also his full-time caregiver and mouthpiece, acts as a “gatekeeper” to keep me from “upsetting your father.” If I call their home, I always have to go through her first, and tell her what I want to talk to him about before I’m allowed to speak to him. Hello? It’s my FATHER, you controlling bitch. When I do get to speak to him he is usually very loving (when I can understand him) but he’s completely dominated by his wife, just as he was completely dominated by my mother–only it’s even worse now because he’s physically dependent on his wife too. He’s always been drawn to Narc women and is a huge enabler. I do believe he has love for me though, I always have, even though he was very strict. I was cut out of his will after I allowed my Narc ex to move back in with me. (My father saw his true colors early on, and detests him). I want so much to explain why I did that, to have him read my blog and maybe he would understand the reasons–but his wife would not understand and she’d have to “approve” it first. Because she’s a cold person with very little compassion, I doubt she would.

It makes me sad I can’t have a healthy or loving relationship with my aging parents, who won’t be around too much longer. But it is what it is, and I can’t focus on that or regret we don’t have that kind of loving relationship. All I can work on is me, and finally stop trying to get their approval, because it ain’t ever gonna happen. If I can feel proud of myself, and even help others along the way, I think that’s more than enough. This blog is the beginning of that, and of course my parents will never know about it, if I can help it.

A new insight on being the only child of a narcissistic mother

candle

After putting up my post yesterday, I did more reading on the subject of being a child of a narcissistic parent because there was something in my experience that wasn’t quite sitting right with me and didn’t seem to “fit” the typical narcissistic parent/child relationship: the fact that my mother sometimes praised me effusively rather than using me as a scapegoat. Although usually these compliments were about innate qualities (such as my appearance or intelligence), there were a few occasions when I did get a genuine compliment on something I’d accomplished. It didn’t happen often, but it did happen. I wasn’t sure how to explain the anomaly.

In further research after publishing my post, I came across this article that made it crystal clear why my situation was somewhat different than a scapegoated child who had siblings. Although I had older half-siblings on both parents’ sides, in THAT marriage I was the only child. Only children are under a lot of pressure to be all things to the narcissistic mother/father: scapegoat, Golden Child, comrade, worshipful subject, whipping post. While usually I was treated as a scapegoat (especially when my mother had the opportunity to triangulate against me or gaslight me with the help of her flying monkeys) because I was so sensitive (and they HATE that), there were times she was nice to me, even loving. But as a narcissist, she couldn’t truly love, so that “love” was fake and always shortlived. She usually employed this tactic when she was needy–in between her lovers, say, or when her pride had been hurt on the job or by another person. Sometimes she used it after we’d had a huge argument and she wanted to get me back into her good graces. Of course, she never SAID she was needy at these times, but she was needy because her source of narcissistic supply was threatened. So her false front of sweetness was a handy trick to get what she needed.

Most of the time, she only showed this sweet side to others, not to me. I was most convenient to her as a target of her rage because I had what she did not (high sensitivity and intuition) and she was terrified this quality might be her undoing–the thing that might cause me to “out” her one day, which is exactly what I’m doing but couldn’t until I went No Contact (I’ve been No Contact for several years actually). My high sensitivity was why I was usually a scapegoat although for my mother, I sometimes filled those other roles too when it was convenient.

It’s the narcissist’s fear of being “outed” that’s the real reason why they target and bully the most sensitive among us. It’s a shocking realization, but I really think that is what’s behind the narcissist’s hatred of “weakness.” This type of “weakness” they abhor and denigrate is a gift they were not endowed with, a gift they envy because of its power, and one they fear because they know it can hone in one the narcissist’s lies and pretenses like a laser beam and expose them for the monsters they really are, and that possibility scares the shit out of them. And I’ll go out on a limb here and say it’s exactly why powerful narcissists in big government, big religion and big business so often demonize critical thinking, art, science, and spirituality (as opposed to dogmatic religion)–because these things are about TRUTH and thereby shed their light on the narcissists, exposing them and their lies. It’s also why they demonize the vulnerable among us (the poor, the homeless, the sick, the mentally ill, as well as LGBT and non-white minorities)–because the ugly consequences of psychopathic hatred and psychopathic policies can be best seen among these vulnerable groups who are unjustly blamed for their own condition.

Raised by a narcissist: my story of psychopathic abuse (childhood and adolescence)

lonelygirl

Welp, I’ve been putting this off (and frankly sort of dreading it), but decided to dive right in and start writing my story about how I came to be the kind of person I am and the way I came upon my present circumstances.

Over the past month or so, I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on about malignant narcissism and psychopathy, and realized that rather than me being at fault for my “bad choices,” as both my parents love to remind me (and had convinced me was the truth), I’m not really the one with the personality issue that got me into so much trouble throughout my adult life (not that I don’t have personality flaws because I certainly do–as do we all). I realized I entered adulthood without the tool kit most people are given during childhood and I also realized that this was intentional on their part (especially my mother) and I was never a loved child–in fact, my mother, being the psychopathic narcissist she is, hated me and still does. It’s been really hard to face this fact — no one wants to believe their own mother didn’t love them and it’s all too easy to listen to people who say, “oh, she must have loved you in her own way” but I now know that’s bullshit. Strangely, being able to face this has given me a sense of freedom and lessens some of the guilt I had over not being a “good enough” daughter. Her dislike of me is not my fault!

So let me get started. My conception itself wasn’t under ideal circumstances. I was “wanted,” but for all the wrong reasons. Two years prior to my entry into this world, my father had lost his 3 year old son he’d had with his first wife. He had been hit by a train. The car stalled on the tracks as the train was coming and his mother desperately hustled the baby and 6 year old daughter out of the car to safety first. Billy, strapped into his seat, had to wait for her to come back to get him after removing the first two children, but it was too late and the little boy died immediately.

My father (let’s call him Harry), in his vulnerable, grieving state (I don’t think he is a MN, although he definitely has always colluded with and been attracted to narcissistic women and has some narcissistic tendencies himself–more on that later) was never the same. Almost immediately he took to heavy drinking, and he and his wife grew further apart as he tried to drown his grief in booze. This was the late 1950s and divorce wasn’t acceptable especially when young children were involved, but she could no longer put up with his drinking and filed for divorce.

Before the divorce was granted, my father (who was a Navy academy teacher at the time) met a beautiful redhaired woman named Ginny at a dance at the naval academy in Annapolis. It was love at first sight. Ginny listened to him talk about his lost son, and cried with him and held him as he talked and grieved. She seemed sympathetic in a way his first wife never was (and probably couldn’t have been as she was grieving in her own way). Ginny was married to a minister, and had two young daughters, but that didn’t stop her from seeing my father romantically, and for no reason other than infatuation (her husband treated her and the girls well from what I understand), she divorced him and left her daughters to be raised by their father so that she could marry my father. Remember, this was the late 1950s and a mother leaving her own children just wasn’t done. But she did it without a second thought. Her oldest daughter (age 7 at the time) was greatly damaged by the abandonment, and to this day has issues related to that and has been in therapy her entire adult life (today she’s one of my mother’s flying monkeys but more on that later). The younger daughter (age 2) was too young to remember anything but I’m sure she was damaged too. Their father remarried a lovely woman who loved the two girls as if they were her own. They were raised with two other children and went on to have a normal childhood with parents who loved them and supported them. They got lucky. It was actually a very good thing that my two half sisters got out of having to be raised by Ginny. I was not that lucky.

So Harry and Ginny married, and almost immediately she became pregnant with me. The pregnancy was a wanted one, though why a woman who abandoned her own two children a year before to have another baby with another man is kind of beyond my comprehension (but she’s a narcissist so it’s not too surprising). She smoked during the pregnancy, though at the time, doctors actually recommended pregnant women smoke to keep their weight down, and my mother was always obsessed with her weight. She always brags how she never gained any weight during her pregnancy with me (or her other two children). Miraculously, I was born healthy if a little on the small side.

From the get go, I was a difficult baby, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. I cried all the time, and had health problems–I suffered from horrific ear infections that left me 80% deaf in my left ear. I was allergic to many foods and to just about everything else. By the time I was a toddler it was apparent I was an incredibly sensitive child, one who reacted to everything in a very emotional way. I was high strung, threw a lot of tantrums, and was easily hurt. From reading about other people’s experiences, especially this one by a wonderful survivor whose story is remarkably similar to mine, it seems that very sensitive children (empaths) are often born to and raised by narcissists and psychopaths, and that’s just about the worst parent/child combo possible. Whether they become overly sensitive due to their treatment, or whether the sensitivity is innate and just a cosmic joke that these kind of kids and parents wind up together so often is something I can’t explain, but unfortunately it all too often seems to be the case.

As I grew a little older, I’d go into these sort of trances where I’d tune out the environment and enter my dream world. I had an active imagination and imaginary friends, and this was my form of escape from the tension in my home. When I was about 3-4 I also engaged in banging my head against the wall. I don’t know why I did this, but at the time it felt good to me. Go figure. Today I believe I actually have high functioning autism (Aspergers) even though I’m self diagnosed (confirmed by a psychiatrist later). I seem to fit all the criteria for it, as well as for C-PTSD and Avoidant personality disorder, but more on that later. My mother hated it when I went inside myself, and always used to chide me for acting “spooky” and would tell me to snap out of it. I couldn’t. I didn’t know how. But if I continued to act “spooky” I’d be punished, usually with a beating or slap in the face.

I used to have terrible nightmares. Some were about Ginny, and I remember one where I dreamed she was standing over me, and I realized her eyes were nothing but black holes, like the demonic people you see in movies whose eyes are completely black. And she was wearing that self-satisfied sneer. I woke up screaming, but the nightmare continued in waking life as she rushed into the room demanding why I was screaming and then laughed at me for getting so upset about a “little dream.” But to this day I think what I saw was actually who she was inside. I think she hated me because she knew that I had the ability to see what she really was.

mommiedearest

Both my parents were big on corporal punishment and a yardstick was kept in the kitchen hanging next to the refrigerator as a constant reminded to me that punishment was always close at hand. I was never allowed to express my opinions on anything and God forbid, never, EVER show any anger. Showing my emotions was a huge no no, although my mother was allowed to rant, scream and cry whenever she felt like it. My father usually colluded with her on these punishments, and dinner was always eaten at the table in near silence. Occasionally though the attention would be focused on me, usually to make fun of me in some way. Both parents used to laugh about how “literal” I was. When I was 6 and starting first grade, they found it hilarious when they asked me if I was looking forward to school, and I became frustrated because I couldn’t “see the school.” They weren’t laughing with me, but at me. Of course I was taking things literally. I was just 6 and not capable of abstract thinking yet, and it’s also a fact that autistics think literally, especially as children.

My parents never had another child, and my mother began to chafe at her role as housewife/mother. She was bored and would leave for long periods of time to see her friends, shop or just to get away from me and my father, and left me with a lot of babysitters. When she was home, more and more of her criticism of me focused on my weight and appearance. She treated me like a doll she could dress up and she loved to play with my baby fine hair to the point it tangled and hurt, and I would scream in pain and she would get mad and slam the brush down. She was also obsessed with my bowel functions and if I went a day without a BM, she would give me an adult sized enema. This was pretty traumatic. She also used to sit and watch me go to the bathroom to make sure I produced something. Naturally this led to me having even worse constipation as a result to “hold it in.”

As such a sensitive child, I was bullied in school. I didn’t know how to joke back, how to roll with the punches, how to appear invulnerable like the other kids. I always felt different. It was always difficult for me to make friends, though I usually managed to make one or two. Third grade was the worst, as I not only was targeted by a group of bullies who used to follow me home from school and fed on my reaction (I always cried) but was targeted by my psychopathic teacher as well. Mrs. Morse scared the daylights out of me. She was an overweight woman in her 50s whose upper arm always shook like Jello when she wrote on the board. She regularly liked to call me up to the front of the class to answer a question (and she ALWAYS called on me because I was always daydreaming) and when I couldn’t answer the question (which was often the case as I went into freeze mode at these times and couldn’t think straight) she’d demand why I couldn’t until I cried. At this point she’d call out the crying to the entire class, and all of them would have a good laugh at my expense as I stood there wanting to sink through the floor in shame.

Oddly, I was always told how pretty and intelligent I was (especially by my father, who I think really did love me in his flawed way). But the compliments stopped there. Any praise was almost always limited to innate qualities rather than my achievements or things I could do well. I was also was told constantly I was “too sensitive.” (This is another thing psychopaths like to say to keep their marks in their place). I WAS too sensitive, but this was always used against me and used to embarrass me. When company came over, my mother loved to “brag” to her friends and relatives about how sensitive I was and how everything made me cry. I became very self conscious as a result and started to hide my emotions more so it wouldn’t be called out to shame me. Of course she just found other things to use against me and undermine any little self confidence I had.

Ironically, though they hated my sensitivity, both my parents almost seemed to encourage it. They always wanted me to look frail and helpless and as I entered my teens; Ginny in particular became critical if I looked or acted too “tough”– a demeanor I sometimes used as a way to protect myself and hide my vulnerabilities (though it didn’t usually work too well). All teenagers are sarcastic (and most parents don’t really care for it), but when I used sarcasm or humor to protect myself, she’d tell me I was acting “low class.” Oh, and that’s another thing. Ginny was obsessed with social class and always described us as “upper middle class,” never the more humble “middle class,” even though in actuality that’s what we were. She always put on airs as if she was of higher social status than she actually was and to this day, has a very affected and fake way of speaking, not to mention extremely condescending.

Ginny never let me do anything on my own when I was a child. I remember wanting to help her wash the dishes one night after dinner, and she said I wouldn’t be able to do it because I might break something. When I was 11 and wanted to join the swim team at the pool and tennis club we belonged to, she didn’t say no, but pointed out that maybe I shouldn’t because “you don’t like competition–you’re too sensitive and you’ll get bullied.” I joined anyway and had no problems with my sensitivity or bullying even though I usually finished in third place and never first and rarely second.

I was a good student expected to make straight A’s (and was beaten with the yardstick if a failed to make an A) but always had problems with math. I had a low frustration tolerance for it and was lucky if I got a B. This was never acceptable to my parents, but I was doing the best I could.

When I was about 12, Ginny’s focus on my weight became an obsession. She was always a thin and vain woman herself, and expected me to be her mini-me, even far into adolescence. Even though I was far from overweight (in fact I was a little on the thin side) she liked to point out how big my ass was, and used to do this when other people were present, embarrassing me so much I wanted to die. Probably as a form of rebellion, I actually tried to gain weight and developed a love of junk food. Anytime I wanted dessert, or seconds at dinner, she’d remind me how “overweight” I was and that I needed to watch my calories. She even threatened to send me away to weight loss camp. With all this obsession over my non-existent weight issue, it’s a miracle I didn’t develop an eating disorder.

weight-loss

My half sister came to live with us when I was 12 for a short time, and we got along great. Debbie was far more self confident than I was, very outdoorsy and adventurous, and took me around to meet her friends and do things with them. They all seemed to like me. For the first time I felt liked and was developing a little confidence in my social skills, which were never that good (I’m painfully shy even to this day). After a couple of months of this, my parents decided to send Debbie back to her father and stepmother (even though this was her own daughter!) because she was having a “bad influence” on me. I was heartbroken.

My parents divorced when I was 13. My father’s drinking had become much worse, and both parents were having affairs (this was the 1970s). It was around this time my mother decided she was a feminist, and started spending more and more time away from home, and landed a job public relations. After my father moved out, my mother and I moved to New York City to a one bedroom apartment. At first, I hated the city, but I was never asked my opinion about the move, or given any sympathy that I’d be leaving all my old friends behind. My mother’s new PR career became her primary focus (what a perfect job for someone so image-conscious: public relations is ALL about image!) and she always talked about how much more rewarding this was than being a mother. She left me alone overnight often so I learned how to fend for myself and cook my own dinners. I actually didn’t mind this because it meant time away from her (by this time I decided I couldn’t stand her) But this was New York City in the 1970s (the city was rampant with violent crime then) and I was just 14 and 15 years old.

Ginny began to drink a lot and bring her boyfriends home. To leave my bedroom for any reason, I’d have to walk through the living room where more often than not, they were in bed together or even having sex. I never said anything about it but it really bothered me. She had a string of boyfriends, most who she’d recruit as her flying monkeys to join her in her belittlement of me and constant gaslighting.

One night we had a huge argument (I don’t remember what it was about–I was drunk myself but she was so wasted she didn’t even notice) and in a drunken, narcissistic rage she started throwing bags and all my belongings out the door and told me to go live with my dad (who was already living with the woman who would become his third wife) who really didn’t want me around much. I told her he didn’t want me and didn’t have room for me in his apartment and she told me she didn’t care. At that point I grabbed a kitchen knife and started to come at her with it. I wasn’t actually intending to use it, but I was very emotional and wanted to scare her. I guess it worked because she got on the phone and begged Harry to come pick me up, telling him I was “disturbed” and “insane.” So he did, and I spent three months living in his studio apartment where I was pretty much ignored (they were never home).

Within a few months, I was placed in a girls’ residence in Queens, New York, and was bullied by the girls there too. I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere in the world. I felt so alone.

High school was a nightmare. I was attending a Catholic all girls high school, and I was completely out of my element. I was bullied by the popular girls, and even the not so popular ones ganged up against me. I became the school pariah. I had no friends at all. I regularly went to visit the guidance counselor in tears. She seemed the only person in the entire school who took any sympathy on me but soon she disappeared and I was informed she found another job. My grades suffered, and one day my mother received a letter from the school that “perhaps Suzanne would be happier in another school.” My mother went ballistic and raged on about how much the school was costing my father (who she usually berated and trashed) and what an ungrateful little shit I was.

I finished high school at the local public school, with its mostly black and Hispanic student population. I found out I got along well with the blacks in particular, and felt more accepted by them than I had by the snobby white girls in the Catholic school. I made a few friends, mostly black. The school didn’t have high standards, and I’d get A’s just by showing up in class, so I didn’t learn much. In my spare time I’d bury myself in books and writing–this was the adolescent version of my childhood daydreams and “trances”–but got criticized by Betty for “reading too much” and not being social enough.

depressedteen

As I entered my late teens, I became a little boy crazy. My first serious boyfriend at age 18 was a narcissist and an abuser. This set the pattern for what was to come.

The next part of my story will be about my early adulthood years culminating in meeting my narcissitic ex husband.