Once upon a time, I had a narcissism blog I never published. Mostly because it had a lame name and most of the posts were responses I had written on a message board where I was once a member. When the service was shutting down, I wanted to keep some of the things I had written, so I put them in the draft heap. There they sat.
See, to me blogging isn’t just a medium to get ‘my story’ out. While there’s a certain catharsis to that, it’s more the conversation and feedback I get from you guys, the readers, that I treasure most. There’s nothing more validating and healing than that. It’s where we learn that we’re not alone and the tricks our Narcissists used to make us believe they were so special and unique fall apart. We all have stories to tell, and countless nights I’d stay up way too late reading, commenting, and nodding my head in agreement.
There’s so much I don’t have to explain to you. You already get it.
Years ago, all I knew was that my parents weren’t normal. My mother was a totalitarian dictator who thought that somehow my life belonged to her. When she tried to ‘punish’ me for not adhering to her life plan, my husband stepped in and told her off. He gave me a choice…either it was my family or my marriage. In retrospect I don’t blame him. My mother is an absolute tyrant, enabled by my narcissistic father who fears her. But honestly, at the time I was scared to death. I understood that in going cutting all contact with my parents, it would also be with the rest of my family as well.
My mother would make sure of that. My husband did what was necessary.
What I couldn’t do myself.
What saved my sanity was a little tiny blurb on the sidebar of a crafting blog. It was a link to information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I hit it out of curiosity, and spent the whole night, and many nights thereafter, learning and researching. I finally had a term I could plug into a search engine that explained my mother’s behavior.
After 30 years, I learned it wasn’t my fault.
In our ‘real life’ exchanges, narcissism is like a dirty little secret. To explain it, most people can’t comprehend how a parent can be so predatory. They can comprehend it only on a ‘it-happens-to-other-people-they-don’t-know’ level, but not as it happening to someone in front of them. And certainly not to the kids that lived on the nicest house on the street, or the ones who went to church every Sunday. No, it’s much easier to believe the mother who complains about her ungrateful children who keep her grandchildren from her. It’s so believable after all, because they live in such a nice house and go to church every Sunday. The hypocrisy of it all leaves us silenced.
I don’t know the person who wrote the blog I happened across, but I am forever grateful to her. It was a small voice in a barren land of silence. It led to exchanges with others seeking the same healing we seek. A virtual hug of sorts, where we lean and learn from each other. We don’t share to play the victim card, we share to heal. We feel compelled to write for our own healing, to comprehend our past and somehow move forward from it. We lend our listening ears through our eyes and offer our experience to help others.
Compassion and courage.
It’s the people that have brought us to this place out of the FOG (fear, obligation and guilt), not the countless psychology articles we’ve read. We’re used to feeling alone and afraid. Together, we’re a beacon of sanity. It’s what our narcissists feared the most: people in our lives that can positively influence us. They sought to destroy any of our relationships, but didn’t count on the rallying cry of a rag-tag unit of strangers on the internet. Blogging is powerful because it’s real.
Real people writing truth the only way they know how: in their life’s experiences.
It’s a far cry from the overly produced stage we grew up in.
It’s that deep, dark place I visit after spending days or weeks traveling into. The place where I’ve found myself dejected, sad, rejected, angry, jealous.
Angry at the world for not giving me what others have received.
Tears falling as I realize I’m in the place where I don’t deserve to be. I have no reason for being here. Nothing concrete has put me here.
Only in my mind have I traveled here.
The dark hallows of my mind have brought me to this place where I don’t belong.
Even in my depths, I’m outcasted.
Other people belong here. Other people who have suffered, who have been brought here not by their own mind, but by outside forces beyond their control.
Death. Disease. Sickness. Suffering.
Those people, affected by depressing situations, belong here if they happen to arrive.
I have no reason for being here.
Yet here I am.
Sad. Jealous. Angry. Crying.
As with everything, and with every time, it will pass.
And it will not look to be this bad from the other side.
Many parents struggle with mental illness. She wonders if she should’ve had kids at all.
This is her story:
For as long as I can remember, I have been a touch crazy. I have suffered from anxiety and depression most of my life.
I was five years old when I had my first panic attack. Only five! I also worry about absurd things; I know they are absurd but I can’t stop worrying.
But now, it’s worse. I don’t remember it ever being this bad. In the last month alone, I have suffered six nervous breakdowns and I wonder what is wrong with me?
WHY am I SO FREAKING CRAZY!?
But what makes it worse is my children. I don’t want them to suffer with me. I don’t want them to know I am this way. I don’t want to mark them or make them afraid for me or themselves. I try to keep it all bottled up and away from them so they don’t really know I am suffering. The only people who know are my husband and my mother, and they aren’t always a huge help. My husband thinks that I should just suck it up and deal. That’s not easy to do. My mother tries very hard to understand what I am going through and help me because I know she watched my grandma suffer at times quietly just like me.
My grandma’s suffering hurt my mom, and that’s what scares me. What if I think I am suffering quietly but my children know? But how could they not? Sometimes a shower is more than I can bear and getting out of the same pajamas I have worn the last three days just doesn’t seem possible.
So they have to know right? Hell, they are 8,7, and 5; not exactly babies. My eldest has Asperger Syndrome and this ridiculously genius IQ; if any of them could figure it out would probably be her. I am so scared of them knowing. I don’t want to be crazy mommy who has meltdowns. I want my children to know me as happy and loving. I know I am loving, but I’m not always happy. And I don’t EVER want them to think it’s because of them. So do I talk to them? Do I explain to them, this is what is going on with mommy?
It’s not you it’s me? God I hate that.
Are they old enough to know?
Or should I leave them in their little children bubbles? Am I hurting them being this way?
Do you think they know?
My next biggest worry and fear is this: in my children I see some of my crazy. My eccentricities, if you will. My eldest, who has Asperger Syndrome, has her own eccentricities. But my son (whom I did not birth) also has these eccentricities, a touch of my OCD, and the anxiety (who could blame him with a mother like his; heck, thinking about me probably makes him sick and nervous). But my youngest daughter scares me the most. She is a very nervous child who worries just like I did. She is scared of so much. She has OCD already at five. No panic attacks yet, but I fear it may only be a matter of time. This bothers me more than I can say. I feel like I did this to her. I feel responsible and God help me I don’t want her to grow up like this. I don’t want her to suffer like I have. I want her to be well and happy and not have fears of irrational things. Therapy is an option.
It didn’t always do me much good, but at times it really does help.
But what kind of mother, who knows she has these illnesses, brings children into the world when they may end up just like her?!
This is my struggle.
Am I bad parent for bringing them into my crazy existence?
How do I handle my crazy so I don’t mark my children? How do I handle my mental health without scaring them?
Prankster, my heart goes out to you. I wish that I could wrap you up in a big hug so that you knew that you were loved. Because you are so loved. You are worth everything. I know that telling you that you need to stop won’t help and will further reinforce all that you do to yourself, so I won’t, but I am reading what you don’t say here, and it breaks my heart. You are worth saving. You can fight your dragon and you can win. Someday you will win.
We will be here waiting to celebrate when you do.
Much, much love,
I’m a sucker for it. And I could speculate about all the things that have caused it. My childhood wasn’t great. I’ve dealt with depression and all the shit it brings. I’m impulsive… but I have this feeling, deep down inside, that it’s just the way I’m wired.
The first time it happened I was 14, angry and frustrated and it just made sense. The scissors were right there… and just like that, an addiction was born. I was a cutter. I self-injured.
Of course, 14 year-olds aren’t the most logical thinkers, so I got ‘caught’. We did the whole therapy deal with a crappy counselor and I was expected to stop immediately, so I did.
But I wasn’t stupid. Since the age of 15, I’ve been dealing with an eating disorder. I’ve seen 2 shrinks since the first, and neither know about my eating disorder.
As with all addictions, I’ll never be cured. I never truly stopped, but my parents like to think I did, so I let them. I just got better at hiding it.
While I don’t cut nearly as often as I use to, I picked up a nice little friend, named trichotillomania (self-pulling of hair). It’s so great [sarcasm].
This would be one reason I think it’s instilled in me, I don’t want to give it up. It’s mine, all mine, and I don’t have to share it with anyone, which feels great.
So, maybe the day will come and I’ll be ready to give up the ghost. And if it does, I’ll come back, and I’ll let all of you know.