Dear certain relatives, friends and neighbors of my mother:
I noticed how some of you avoided me at her memorial service last week. Later I thought about why you would do that, even though it was my mother who passed away! Normal people express sympathy to those who have lost a close member of their family.
I know why you avoided me: my mother was a Narcissist and she made me the Family Scapegoat. She had you believing all kinds of untrue things about me. Not only that, she told you my private business which was very wrong of her. My private personal business is NONE of your business.
Over the years, my mother succeeded in minimizing my potential, made me pay for supporting my dad in their divorce (which was her fault – not what she had you all believing), blabbed my personal business to all her church friends who knew me growing up, turned her relatives (my relatives as well) against me when I moved to her state in part to help her in her final years… the list goes on. She even went off in front of a hospice worker a few months before she died. It was such a ridiculous scenario that I finally walked out and went No Contact for a few months.
You all just have no idea what it is I really went through and put up with, and how I allowed it to destroy me at a time when I was severely disabled myself (and was awarded disability, without even so much as one denial, only a month after she died).
She groomed you to hold her in esteem, an esteem that came at a huge personal cost to me and my father (and somewhat my brother, but that’s another story). It’s a pity you couldn’t realize or acknowledge that I was being the bigger person, even greeting my brother’s wife, both of whom have abused me too.
Narcissists defame. Narcissists devalue and discard. Narcissists manipulate. Narcissists rewrite history. Narcissists compete for the limelight – a limelight that they rabidly defend even when they are the only person fighting for it. (Think about that one.)
You Were Duped
Your relationship with her was different. Mine was unique. (How I wish it were not.) You don’t know me, because she didn’t want you to know me. She didn’t want you to think that I’m a very nice person who doesn’t abuse others. I’m a good person. I’m not the person my mother told you about. My mother didn’t want you to like me or know the real me. That would have interfered with her relationship with you.
My mother didn’t understand that love is limitless, expansive. Love begets love. Love doesn’t single out and separate. Love doesn’t abuse. Love doesn’t hurt others intentionally.
My mother needed to be seen as wonderful, and she was usually seen as just that – to certain people. But it was at the expense of myself and anyone who dared to question her, challenge her, tell her she had hurt them or offended them, or bust her for doing something they had specifically asked her not to do.
My mother didn’t know the meaning of personal boundaries unless it was someone she wanted in her corner — only then would she behave.
Too many relatives and friends say, “She was so sweet!! She was so wonderful!!” while thinking to themselves, “this person (me, the daughter) must be lying about the woman I knew, because I saw no evidence of what she’s talking about.”
“Daughter must be wrong. Daughter is wrong.”
And they wonder why I act out. They wonder why I’m so emotional. They wonder why I can’t just GOI (Get Over It).
Very, very few of my mother’s family and friends know that my mother was a Jekyll/Hyde personality, especially in her later years. They didn’t want to know it. Very few of them knew that she could not, and would not, tolerate sharing friends and family with me. She had to be the boss. She had to be in control. She insisted upon being the center of attention. In order to do that, she would cause trouble with me and then martyr herself to garner sympathy. She never gave a thought about how that would affect me.
My mother was convinced that she was entitled to do whatever she wanted, and she did. She used me to get sympathy and look better than me. She told people my private business, and complained that I would probably “never get better.” She told people I have “an illness.” After she died my father told me that he had been getting whiny emails from her imploring “what are we going to do about her illness?” (meaning me) She would wring her hands and fret, saying to her relatives and friends that she “just didn’t know what she was going to do” about me. She also frequently told me “You talk too much. You dominate conversations.” In reality, she was disinterested in what I had to say. She wanted to be the center of attention, and rebelled when she was not. She perceived me as a major threat to her “holding court.” She didn’t like having to be quiet, yield the floor to me, and God forbid, actually listen to me and hear it.
Dysfunctional, Embattled Family Life
You don’t know about all the myriad “knockdown dragout fights” that used to take place frequently in our home (that was my mother’s term). You don’t know that my mother verbally abused my father, and me as well. And when I tried to tell you, you wouldn’t listen. You closed your ears and your minds. Because you didn’t and don’t want to know the truth. That would be just too much, huh? Better to stay in your comfortable delusional world. You’re still convinced that my father was the one who wronged my mother by finally leaving her. He endured so much criticism and judgment, and none of it was true or deserved.
“Call Out Letter” To Family
I once wrote a letter to my extended family, exposing all of them as scapegoating one of my father’s sisters, and busting them all for it. I told the truth. They scapegoated my aunt when I was a child, and they scapegoated me later in life. There was painful stuff in that letter. Not one relative approached me with an “I’m sorry.” The worst perpetrator (a bitch of a cousin) simply called my mother and demanded to know why she had given out her address. (The address was easily found on the internet.) My mother then actually said to me huffily, “Well now that’s off your chest, you can move on.” As simple as that! No addressing of my issues, and my pain. (Gaslighting, stonewalling.) She didn’t even chastise me for exposing her as one of the main scapegoaters of my aunt. She just wanted it all to go away, because my letter was full of truths – truths that she didn’t want to address or cop to. I had embarrassed her. And boy, did I pay for that in the years that followed.
The night before my mother died, I learned from my mother’s first cousin that her own mother (my grandmother) ruined the engagement of her sister (my mother’s favorite aunt). She told each person they had cheated on the other; the man ended the engagement and they never spoke to each other again. It wasn’t until many years later that my great aunt realized what had actually taken place – her sister had ruined her engagement. (I can only imagine what my mother went through with my grandmother, but she had a choice.)
Refused Counseling and Therapy For Decades
I am quite certain that none of you know that before my parents’ divorce, my father begged for years and then demanded that my mother go to marriage counseling and private therapy. I’ll bet you didn’t know that many times I begged and even demanded that she go to counseling alone and together with me. Well, now you do know. (Oh, but your minds are made up, aren’t they?!)
My mother chose not to get individual counseling or go to therapy with me. She made a conscious choice not to improve. She felt entitled to be the way she was. After all, she was getting her way — why should she change anything? After all, she had suffered so much — and she was going to make me (and my Dad) suffer too. She was convinced that her female relatives were cursed and that I should carry the family curse (she called it “The B—- Curse”). (Family surname omitted.)
It takes a long time to realize a lot of things. When we do, we’re shocked at how long it takes to see the truth. (The truth most of your friends and relatives refuse to see!)
The night before my mother died a few days ago, I suddenly realized that she caused me to quit the Christian folksinging group she directed at our church. She goaded and goaded me until I quit. I tore up the dress that was made from a discontinued bolt of fabric from a unique fabric outlet. I was out and, once again, she had gotten her way. There is no other explanation. Like mother (my grandmother), like daughter (my mother).
She wanted all those kids all to herself. I was simply in the way, and she got rid of me. It took me 40 years to allow myself to realize it. She also horned in on my friendships with them, literally telling me in the middle of conversations to “go away” because she had “important business” to discuss with them.
Yet Another Shocking Revelation
As if the above were not enough, a few days later I was told that my grandmother had an abortion between 1910 and 1920 – a time when it was rare and dangerous to do such a thing. She had stated to her parents that she wasn’t going to “give birth to that man’s child.” The abortion revealed twins.
Her Payback for My Refusal to Play Along
The day after my mother’s funeral, I realized one of the main reasons she stepped up her abuse of me during the 3 years prior to her death. I had told her that I was no longer willing to sit around and snark about my father’s wife – a lovely woman although she has quirky traits that can make it difficult sometimes to be around her.
As long as I was willing to criticize my stepmother to my mother, things were fairly OK between us. She loved that. She often wanted to talk about it, reassuring herself that my dad had yet again made another mistake. (The first mistake was divorcing her, of course!) Finally I realized that I was only doing it to get her approval and obtain better behavior from her.
When I went back to university at the same time, in an attempt to finally finish a college degree, she freaked out because I was going to “go away and get a life and leave her.” The fact that I began refusing to criticize my stepmother any longer was simply the nail in the coffin. Mom was supremely threatened, and she made sure I was the one who paid for her insecure angst.
I have broken the cycle of abuse in the female line of my family. I did not abuse my daughter. I doubt that she will abuse her own daughter, if she ever has one. My daughter grew up loved – NOT abused, NOT maligned, NOT completely bewildered and conflicted about her feelings toward her mother, NOT wondering whether her mother loves her, NOT wondering why her mother abuses her, NOT wondering why her mother plays games, NOT wondering why her mother betrays her, NOT feeling extreme angst over realizing that her mother, for some reason, cannot be a proper mother.
In my grown daughter, I see the result of my own intention. Of prayer. Of true interest, love and support.
My daughter doesn’t give a damn what all of you think about me. All she cares about is this (her words): she has a good, loving, wise and cool mommy, who supports her and helps her and has fun with her, and who doesn’t try to thwart her success or happiness or make her look bad to people.
(Think about that in “heaven” mom, where I really hope you are being held accountable for your attitude and actions toward me (and Dad). Because even though you were mentally ill, you knew better. You knew that your behavior was wrong. You knew exactly what you were doing to me (and Dad), and you didn’t care. Worse, you actually took pleasure in it. You felt entitled to it, and you needed it to happen so that we “would know how you once felt as a child” and we would know how much you suffered. Well mom, I believe God holds us accountable for our actions. Otherwise, there would be no point to human life. And yes, contrary to what you believed and frequently railed against, there is a God, a Creator, a Life Force. You weren’t an island, and you weren’t created out of nothing.)
Golden Child Sibling
My brother, the Golden Child Narcissist (GCN) in this regrettable scenario, left town the day after the funeral without saying goodbye or answering text messages about important matters such as burial, personal items left behind, and especially the obituary notice which never did get published. But if I need or want something, or don’t answer timely? I’m disrespectful, pushy and selfish.
Like mother, like son.
My mother took many secrets to her grave. Many. Many secrets that would have unlocked the key to her madness. The key to her pain, and likely mine as well. Quite likely, getting therapy would have mitigated some the behaviors she perpetrated upon me and my father.
She made a conscious choice several times during her life NOT to go into therapy or make any effective changes.
So… all of you relatives-friends-neighbors-former church ladies from my hometown: when you think of my mother, remember she had two faces. You didn’t see one of them, and that’s why you can’t perceive the truth. You were duped. It’s the reason you don’t believe it — and refuse to believe it — when you hear it.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
Her Departing Words To Me
The last thing my mother said to me was “I love you.” It was at the end of a visit that had been mixed. She was emotionally detached, but happy. We had no chance to be alone; there were other relatives there. She never asked to be alone with me so we could say our goodbyes, and before I could ask, someone showed up to do some needed work and I was dismissed along with the two relatives I had shown up with. That was the last time I ever saw her.
Those words “I love you” were spoken like she was trying to convince me. I bent down to hug her from the side, and she didn’t look at me. Our eyes did not meet. We had actually spent an enjoyable hour or two talking about things with a couple of other relatives, going through her things and choosing some (she insisted, which was awkward for me), and listening to her favorite music.
The second to last time I saw my mother, she said to me “Good luck with your life” as though I was really going to need it, and it would probably not happen. I knew then that she had no faith in me or my ability to heal from what has taken place in my life; that had been lost years ago if it ever existed in the first place.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mom. Why should I have expected anything different?
There is a different process for Grieving a Relationship with a Narcissist