The scars of a narcissistic mother last a lifetime.
This is the brave story of an adult child of a narcissistic mother’s story.
My dear father fell ill the end of February 2013. He’d been in and out of the hospital for three months with various ailments and a discovery of an aggressive cancer. We lost my dear father on May 29th 2013.
My father cared for my 80-year old mother. He waited on her hand and foot; he’d been doing this my whole life. It was now my turn to care for my mother.
I thought I was doing what was right; I thought I was being a good daughter. I visited with her every day. Let her cry on my shoulder, took care of her needs, medication, doctor appointments, fed her, cleaned her home, took care of her pets. My brother occasionally would show up, with some type of take-out food, but scoot out quickly.
After a few weeks, I started to get the wrath of my mother. I couldn’t do anything right
…I was too slow. I forgot to do something. Then, it turned into criticism of my body and how I raise my children; she was sorry she ever adopted me. I left her home crying every day; going home to my own family filled with anxiety and stress. I felt every bit 12-years old, all over again.
I am just recently learning about Narcissism.
I was 2- 1/2 when I was adopted. My brother is 8 years older than me and my parent’s biological son. I could never remember much of my childhood before the age of 11 or 12, but do remember a few haunting memories that I tried to pass off as a nightmare. One of the reoccurring memories happened when I was 6 – my then 14-year old was brother tickling me. It progressed to him pulling up my nightie and trying to penetrate me with his penis.
I can’t remember much past that.
He was always inappropriate, showing me his penis and laughing, making a sick game of it. I can’t remember the length of time this went on. Sometimes he would be nice, then he would be plain cruel to me.
I stopped talking in 2nd grade. I was so terribly shy, so shy that I would cry if someone looked at me the wrong way. I started remembering everything when I was a preteen but I was too ashamed to tell anyone as my brother continued his cruelty. He didn’t call me by my name. He called me Moose – as in a “fat moose.” My mother allowed this. She allowed him to be cruel to me and never said anything. In fact, it was my fault he was being mean.
He left for college when I was 12. Then came the wrath of my mother. She would make me weigh myself in front of her. She was very thin, an ex-model; she was an alcoholic and a very mean drunk. My father would water down her vodka in hopes she would be less volatile. She would scream at me for various reasons, none of them made sense. I just felt unloved. In fact, she made me go to a therapist at 13 because she said I had a “detachment disorder” and “could not love anyone.” Something about “not being held when I was back in my home country.”
My father tried the best he could to assure me I was pretty, smart and lovable. I always felt that from him, but he never stood up to my mother and quietly observed the maniacal behavior. I could write so much more of what happened through my childhood. (ed note: please share with us)
I am now 44 years old, married 18 years with 2 teenagers. I know I have the ability to love. I know I was mistreated because I could never treat my own kids that way. I am now in therapy to reconcile my feelings of guilt and quell my anxieties that still exist. I have never felt good enough or have been able to express myself for fear I might upset someone.
I am learning that my brother was the “golden child” and I was the scapegoat. It is all starting to make sense to me now. My therapist also believes my parents or at least my mother had knowledge of my brother’s sexual abuse towards me. Ughhh, I can’t even imagine this could be true. I have no contact with either my mother or brother as of Thanksgiving. My children tell me I seem less stressed. My husband also has noticed a huge change. I believe I am healing. I believe my father’s passing brought me to a place where I could see all the indignities I had suffered at the hands of someone I called Mom.
Oh honey. I want to go back and hug you for everything you’ve dealt with. You are lovable and you are an amazing person.
You are NOT alone. My home was very similar and I too found out what unconditional love was only after I had my own children. Find your worth and locate that broken little girl inside and love her. Nurture her. Keep her safe. It’s not to late and you are worth the effort. Sherry
Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I am about your age and have recently gone back to therapy to try to heal and cope with being an adult child of a very cruel narcissistic mother. Your story brought up very similar memories for me, but what I really wanted to say is that you should be so very proud of yourself that you have survived and it sounds like you have become a highly successful functional adult with the ability to love and be loved. Your “mother” failed to ruin you and your life – Please try to remember this – I’m trying the same. I now only refer to my “mother” by her first name when I discuss her – it helps me a lot and I am taking care of myself since I have decided to have absolutely no contact with her – it’s part of my healing process. You and I share very similar experiences – my mother was also an ex-model and told me that if I ever got fat, she would take me to Sears and buy me the ugliest “Husky” boy clothes there. The pain is still there but I’m finally trying to really heal from the 40 plus years of the abuse and insanity. When you say “I know I have the ability to love. I know I was mistreated because I could never treat my own kids that way,” that makes me happy b/c my sister was also able to break the cycle of abuse and raised a beautiful daughter who is about to graduate college. Our “mother’s” attempts to ruin our lives, our relationships and our self-worth has failed! And I believe we really do need to be very proud of that and surround ourselves with those who love and support us, no matter what – b/c unfortunately, we never received that from our “mothers.” My sister always tells me that we were lucky we had 1 good parent (our father) although they divorced when I was very young. He passed away about 3 years ago. It sounds like you are also lucky that you did have 1 parent who tried his best to love you and protect you from your “mother,” but unfortunately, I’m learning that a destructive narcissistic person (like our “mothers”) manipulates in every sense to control all of those around her. I’m sorry for the loss of your father, but for me, I try to focus on how much he truly loved me and accepted me – and I focus on my friends and family who finally understand the cruelty and abuse I went through. It sounds to me that you (and hopefully me) are on the right path for recovery! I wish you the very best! Remember – she can’t hurt us anymore – only if we allow it and I refuse to allow it anymore. Michael