Five years ago in October, I confronted someone in a lie about me and instead of remorse, they attacked back. I was called names, belittled, told I was a bad mother and a “bad Christian,” which was a typical situation with this person. Then, in a final text I was told “I am done with you.”
Picture with me the many, many times this scenario has played out in the past. Years of mind games, gaslighting, triangulation amongst siblings and friends, flat out lies coming out years later, manipulation, confusion, emotional abuse, extreme conclusions without evidence, being used for status, for money, for lies…I could (and will eventually) go on.
Oy vey, it’s a frustrating story. But that’s more than an ending OR a beginning. Because that person is my “mother.”
When Rae approached me about contributing on her blog, she told me I could write about anything: parenting, foster care, adoption, marriage, life. But she asked me to consider writing about my story of being an unloved daughter, a daughter with a narcissistic mother. Years ago I tried, but more to process than to guide anyone else. Now, almost five years down the road of recovery with a group of supporters, therapists, friends, I think (I hope) I am ready to unpack this in public and face the potential storm that may follow.
I spent the first few years of recovery from emotional abuse defending myself. Defending my terminology, my feelings, my history, my experiences, my thoughts. Defending with any and every scenario I can remember.
And there are many.
And perhaps there is a season for that for anyone coming out of narcissist abuse. And I’m always available for anyone who wants to hash those experiences personally.
But, five years out, I know I don’t have to prove what happened to me. Even though there is actual proof for lots of it, I don’t feel I have to carry it like a shield anymore. The truth is THE truth.
There is a slew blogs, books, articles and actual humans who have had the same experiences as me. And I don’t even mean generally; I mean exact abusive conversations and experiences. Because narcissistic abuse does follow a pattern. I now know hundreds of people who are like me, I have close personal friends (and even family) who can say “that happened to me too”…and I can now just say “I have a toxic mother” or “I’m a child of a narcissist” and people know what I mean. No defense, no battle, no explanation required. And I thank God for that daily.
If you are someone who thinks they have a narcissistic parent, I implore you to read Children of the Self-Absorbed. If you’re like me and a child of the magazine quiz generation you’ll love this book for that reason alone 🤣😉….there are checklists and questions to help you figure things out based on your experiences.
If you are someone who thinks you’re a child of a narcissist or know one, by all means also read Safe People and Boundaries (both are wonderful books for every person). There are many more books to share but those three are where we will start. And for the love of sanity, start following Peg Streep on Facebook (she’s got some books too for those readers past this beginning list.)
What I want to tell you is that ANY type of abuse is still abuse and you are not to be faulted for what has happened to you. If you are someone blessed with a wonderful, loving, giving, honest set of parents, and you know of a child of a narcissist, don’t judge them or place them in your shoes. You cannot understand them in the realm of your own parental experiences. Open your heart as you hear and learn from the emotionally abused.
I find myself holding my breathe as I finish this and set myself to send it to Rae. I hope to write a Part Two soon so bear with me through the storm.