If I wasn’t naming this in a series, I would call this one something clever about dirty laundry.
When my mother first cut me off, she uninvited me to Christmas events and did the regular silent treatment as emotional punishment thing. We even invited her to our home despite the avoidance of any kind of amends or talks. She refused. In fact she said things were better the way they were (aka, without us). Then a few months later she wanted to pass gifts off to my kids from her
through a family member (without communicating or speaking to us in any way) and we said no. That’s when the people turned on me. That’s when it all became my fault. I was attacked on multiple sides and cut off by more family members than I can count. Don’t worry, I now know that’s not only a common occurrence in these situations, it almost ALWAYS happens this way. People who have for years heard the slander and half truths and been triangulated and basically trained to disbelieve you and think badly of you will jump head first into the smear campaign as soon as it starts. (Most days I don’t blame them. They’re her victims too, for the most part.)
Interesting just before the switch, I sat down with several members of what would become the supposed army against me and every. single. one. would not/could not deny the behaviors I have described to you in part two or that I share about my mother. These acts she’s done, not just to me but to many, many before me and I imagine after me as well. They’d seen them, they could acknowledge and name them. But their thought process was that this is “just the way it is” to be in relationship with her. It’s part of the deal. One (gosh I could write a whole other series on that person) would explain that it’s just that my mother and me and a few other people don’t mix well- she could see the abuse but justified it because it had not ever been directed at her. Lovely.
The consensus was: don’t air the dirty laundry. Sure this is all happening, no one denies that but don’t you dare call it abuse and don’t you dare tell people about it.
Imma call “BS” on that one, y’all. Airing dirty laundry is part of my charm (do a little Meyers Briggs search on INFJs if you don’t believe me). And it’s part of the culture of the day….the same people who want you to hide a truth about them will read every tabloid magazine cover to cover. The further you try to stuff your truth down, the faster someone else is trying to dig it up. I would go so far to say that the further you try to stuff your truth down, the faster the Holy Spirit is working to dig it up and expose it. God doesn’t leave things in the dark- He brings them to light to change you, to work on you, to create love where there was decay.
It’s not anything good to lie, hide truths, change terms, or be someone you aren’t in order to make other people comfortable.
The truth is, the dirty laundry goes way back…and the more I learned about narcissistic parents and patterns, the more I could see it. If you have a narcissistic parent, do you also find traits in those who’ve gone before them? Many of the people I know with these experiences can see it in their family line. What we also read from these studiers of people is the belief that the behaviors of a narcissist are mostly taught and not instinctive. That is a relief as a parent, (right?), and as a non-narcissistic person. One therapist said you know you’re not a narcissist if you worry you might be one- a true narcissist will never even consider the fault may be their’s. (If you know one, you’re nodding right now because you know exactly what I mean 😉.) But the relief is truly is deep as it tells us that if we teach our children empathy, kindness, self-awareness, the ability to focus on others, to really listen to hear…we immunize them from becoming narcissistic.
It’s been five years since the split, twenty-eight since my first vivid memory of knowing my mother didn’t love me. And I still find out old lies, half truths and brand new shiny lies about me and my people. I still run into mutual folks that are considered “hers” and see in their eyes they believe horrible, ugly things about me that aren’t real.
It’s taken all the days in these five years to tell you this: the only weapon against a narcissist is to continue to be who you truly are. The first couple years of recovery I shared the lies word for word and all the proof I could muster. Now I know I’m free because I don’t feel any need to try to convince you I am me. I simple am me. I’m not perfect or immune from anger or anxiety when I hear their stories. But I’m also not what she has told me I am my entire life….who she claims I am isn’t true. I am who God says I am. And everyday that I walk that out, I prove her wrong with my life. And that’s my advice to others like me.
Breathe deep. Know yourself. Live in who you are and truth of that person. Keep loving. That’s the win. ❤️