It’s as if they aimed today’s word prompt right at me. Narcissism is something I am all too familiar with. I always knew my home life wasn’t quite right growing up. But it wasn’t until 3 years ago when my adoptive dad created a huge situation over my daughter’s communion, that resonated back to situations over my wedding that was 12 years prior to that, when I finally realized that he truly had Narcissistic Personality Disorder and exactly what that entailed. Prior to that, I was still blaming myself, questioning myself, second guessing myself, still wanting to think the best about my adoptive parents. But it was during that time frame that the veil came down and I could see everything so clearly for the first time. Everything that was dysfunctional about my perspectives were because of what THEY had done to me, not because of me being inherently a messed up person like they always led me to believe.
I have been working very hard for the past 3 years to find myself and learn to shed the voice of my Narcissist that always rules my head. I had struggled for a long time to figure out quite what my adoptive mother is. She herself doesn’t have Narcissistic Personality Disorder as she is not vain in the way my father is, she does not have a grandiose sense of self, she does not manipulate the whole world in the same way my father does. But I realized within these past 3 years many truths about her as well. I figured out that she will always defend my father over me, she will always believe my father over me, even when he has done so many horrific things to her. The only thing I really did to her was to not give her the kind of love she craved. I realized I was her pawn, she saw me as a way to get unconditional love rather than give it, since her own mother was incapable of giving it to her. And as an Adoptee, I needed extra love myself after the trauma I had gone through. And she didn’t give me the love I needed. So I didn’t have any love to give her back. I wasn’t being shown what love was by anyone.
I lost the only mother I knew at birth and had no language to reason why I was abandoned. She was replaced by strangers first for two months (foster care) until I was adopted. As I got older, when I didn’t show my adoptive mother the love she wanted from me, she then didn’t love me the way I needed love. I came to the conclusion that after her hysterectomy when I was 7 which led in to her becoming addicted to sleeping pills and tranquilizers, followed by the death of my grandfather when I was 9, my adoptive mother essentially disappeared from my life. Prior to that, she was the one who took me to dance class, she was the one who took me to vacation Bible school, she was the one who took me to Brownies. After that, it was my dad who took me to dance class, it was my dad who became the co-leader to my junior, Cadette and Senior Girl Scout Troops and it was my dad who was on the Band Parents Board of Directors when I was in high school. And then she went on to actually complain to me and be mad at me (read: jealous) when I had a better relationship with my dad. That was because he picked up the slack when she became non-existent. And then when he decided to use me as his surrogate wife/companion through all of these activities, her jealousy caused her to hate me. She saw me as some sort of competition for her husband.
I posted the above meme on one of my other posts, but this was how my life was as a child. A while ago I had given my mother this set for Mother’s Day that were these get to know you cards that have questions on them where she answers it, then mails it to me, I answer the same question and mail it back and she keeps them all together. She did them for a while, until one of them where the question asked: “What was the best gift you ever received”….Her answer: When your dad gave me my engagement ring at Christmas (and more details about that) My answer: My daughter……..She never sent another after that. She probably knew exactly how she looked with her response and then my response.
After recently reading an article on narcissistic parents, I realized that while my mother might not have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I think she is a Narcissistic parent. She was parented by someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, my grandmother was a very wicked woman-thats another couple of blog posts in an of themselves. And she was married to a Narcissist. Plus she craved the love she wasn’t getting from either of her Narcissists, so she was trying to use Narcissists parenting techniques to extract the love from me that she wanted, or to use me for the attention she wanted from her husband. So I was really parented by two Narcissistic parents.
I realized within these past 3 years of my “Great Depression” that I am truly alone. My mother will never defend me. She will always be on his side. Even though he was in a relationship with another man while they’ve been married for maybe 15 years until the man passed away. Somehow, my father does no wrong in her eyes. She has never sided with me, but both of them expected me to side with them when they put me in the middle of all of their issues when I was a child, when they spoke badly about each other to me as if I was the pawn child between two divorced parents, yet they weren’t. The fighting was so bad between them, I wished for my.parents to get divorced, beginning from the time I was 7, and everyone told me be careful what I wished for and that was such a horrible thing to say. But they knew nothing of the war zone I grew up in. It may not have been physically abusive between them (they saved the wooden spoon and belt for me), the verbal and psychological torture was more than I could bear.
Deconstructing every little reaction and thought process, now that I know all of my background and all of the effect it had had on me, has had a harrowing effect on the jail cell of my mind as well. As if it wasn’t hard enough to figure out that all of the people.in your world were not who you thought they were, or that you were deceived in some huge way all within a short period of time (the reasons for my depression-other people involved as well)- to learn to dissect how all of these elements of these important people in my life affect who I am and how I can change those patterns is an entirely different ballgame.
This one came up just yesterday in a small spat between my husband and I. I was trying to clarify something he was asking me to do on the phone to be sure I was understanding him properly. He got frustrated with me not understanding him or asking too many questions which upset me. But I do that in order to avoid doing it wrong because I don’t want him getting mad at me for doing it wrong because then I feel stupid which triggers emotions that lead me right back to my dad as well as an abusive ex boyfriend I had. So much of who I am stems back to my childhood.
And then there is always the narcissism of my husband’s ex-wife that I get to deal with from time to time. And such irony that this is the topic of the day when today was one of the days I had to deal with her when I hadn’t seen her in about a year and a half. Had to see her today because of my stepsons gender reveal party for his new baby that his girlfriend is pregnant with. And she is such a narcissist that she had her daughter from another man ask my step daughters friend to give them a ride to the party (even though my stepdaughter hasn’t spoken to her in over 4 years), her friend agreed only because it was my stepdaughters sister asking her. But then this morning my husband’s ex-wife (who has never had her driver’s license), had the nerve to tell the friend who was driving them that she needed to be home an hour and a half after the party started….Beggars can’t be choosers you narcissist. My stepdaughter took everything she had in her and stood up to the mother she doesn’t speak to and told her she’d have to get an Uber or another ride home because she wasn’t going to make her best friend leave the party early just because she made other plans, the day of no less.
I am learning how to cope with my Narcissists and learning how replace their voices with my own. Most people can only do what my stepdaughter has done, which is cut them out of their lives. I guess I’m a chicken for not being able to do that. The added guilt that was programmed in to me early in life of them being my savior’s as an Adoptee might have done a number on my psyche over it as well. I just try to remain three steps ahead all the time (while everyone else thinks I over think everything and think I’m nuts for thinking every single thing is a game or has a hidden agenda), and I will keep working on healing my reactions and my thoughts as much as I can and to the best of my ability. But most people cut the narcissism out of their lives. I guess I still don’t believe I’m worthy of love since I continue to torture myself by keeping them in my life. I keep still believing somehow that they still do enough good for me or try the best they can. They still have enough people convinced to convince me that they aren’t the worst people in the world. And so, I stick around. Unable to have enough self-esteem to believe that no one else knows what I’ve endured. No one else could possibly see them the way I do because they still only see a fraction of their true side. Because my Narcissists are the actors extraordinare.
My Song of the Day: This songs holds such irony for me because the person who is Narcissus in my life is the reason I don’t use a Hammer and a Nail enough and that I do look behind my ears for the green too much and that my sweat smells clean more than it should. While he did make me work in one sense and I don’t have a sense of entitlement, I also wasn’t ever taught the basics of life and simple things that should be common sense around the house types of chores for a grown woman. Because he never really did much of anything for himself either, he just called someone to do it for him, and so the incompetence was passed right along…
“Hammer And A Nail”
By: The Indigo Girls
Clearing webs from the hovel
a blistered hand on the handle of a shovel
I’ve been digging too deep, I always do.
I see my face on the surface
I look a lot like narcissus
A dark abyss of an emptiness
Standing on the edge of a drowning blue.
I look behind my ears for the green
Even my sweat smells clean
Glare off the white hurts my eyes
Gotta get out of bed get a hammer and a nail
Learn how to use my hands, not just my head
I think myself into jail
Now I know a refuge never grows
From a chin in a hand in a thoughtful pose
Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose.
I had a lot of good intentions
Sit around for fifty years and then collect a pension,
Started seeing the road to hell and just where it starts.
But my life is more than a vision
The sweetest part is acting after making a decision
I started seeing the whole as a sum of its parts.
My life is part of the global life
I’d found myself becoming more immobile
When I’d think a little girl in the world can’t do anything.
A distant nation my community
A street person my responsibility
If I have a care in the world I have a gift to bring.