NM: Narcissist Mother
ACoN: Adult Child of a Narcissist
Reading the various blogs of ACoNs has given me so much more insight into the subtleties of the crazy chaotic dysfunctional dynamic of entanglement with a Narcissist. I was just reading Upsi’s blog post for today, (please note that Upsi has since made her blog private and therefore the link is blank). I read a comment made by Judy and it got me to thinking.
While I was growing up, at some point — probably in high school — my Narcissist Mother started calling me an “ungrateful wretch.” At the time, I believed that I was supposed to be grateful to my parents for raising me, and of course I was. They gave me a pretty good life amidst all the crazy-making dysfunction and that may be what has saved my sanity and kept me alive so that I could begin to heal in a more complete way.
But after reading Judy’s comment over on Upsi’s blog, I realized that my mother believed I should be grateful to her because she was actually a Narcissist. She was special, she was different, she was giving “so much,” it was all about HER.
Looking back, the “ungrateful wretch” label was actually one of my early clues to her Narcissism. If I challenged her, disagreed with her, tried to become actualized in a healthy separate manner from her, I was being ungrateful.
Just what was it I was supposed to be grateful for?
Oh yeah, I remember: the fact that she had to sacrifice her time and money and ego to raise me. And especially, I was supposed to be grateful to her for making me The Family Scapegoat and deal with a Golden Child Viper/Narcissist older brother, egged on by NM in the most subtle and insidious of ways.
This is a big realization for me. I never realized quite how much my thoughts, actions, hopes, dreams were tied into trying to get my mother’s approval or at least get her to back off of me for a little while. But no matter what I did — even what she wanted — she was always there, engulfing me while being almost totally disinterested in the real me.
Is it any wonder that with all my health problems and my low self-esteem I can’t allow emotional closeness with a romantic partner? Is it any wonder how I’m still working on true emotional closeness even with female friends and platonic male friends? It feels like I’m getting closer and closer to that kind of fulfillment but I’m in the last third of my life and that’s way too late.
I suspect that you Narcissist estranged parents reading this don’t even recognize yourselves in the above descriptions, and you are smiling to yourselves that I suffered. Because that is something a Narcissist does: get off on the discomfort of others.
“Dear estranged parents: Pray tell, how long am I required to lay on this floor and allow you to do what you like to me? When am I allowed to sit up, stand up, walk away? When am I allowed to feel like a human being instead of an extension? When do my feelings count? When do you decide I’m finally no longer being ungrateful?
When I allow you to decide what work I do? When I allow you to decide where I live? When I allow you to decide who my friends are? When I allow you to decide how much privacy I have? When I allow you to decide how I spend my time? When I allow you to decide how I spend my money? When I allow you to dictate what I eat and when I sleep and how much and what kind of exercise I have? When I allow you to decide what weight is right for me, especially when you keep changing the number? When I allow you to choose my clothes for me? When I allow you to tell all those hurtful nasty funny stories about me to anyone and everyone?
And when do you stop holding the grudge that I didn’t turn out the way you hoped/planned/anticipated?”
See, here’s the deal. They hold a grudge that you didn’t turn out like they wanted. However, for them your disappointing life is actually the most important kind of Narcissistic Supply. It gives them an excuse to keep perpetrating their Narcissistic Abuse.