In March of 2015, shortly after we moved to Florida, my mother called saying she was going to visit in April. That was some surprise considering she never visited me even when I lived 30 minutes away. Now, she was traveling all the way to Florida. For me. — I felt special. I felt loved.
Always hopeful, yet knowing our relationship, I prepared for her visit. I doted on her always and bought all her favorite foods, (stuff I can’t even eat), made all her favorite dishes, bought a new sitting area to serve her food on the lanai, put fresh flowers in her room and made her a smoking area outside with a sand bucket ashtray, table, chair and pretty lit palm tree.
Before her visit, I was walking through Barnes and Noble bookstore and the title of this book leaped out and caught me by the throat. I turned it over, read the synopsis, and knew in my heart I was about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.
When I got home, I took an online test designed by Dr. Karyl McBride to see how high on the spectrum of narcissism my mother actually was. If I remember correctly, there were 36 questions. My mom scored 35.
The bonus for me in reading this book, was that I learned I wasn’t blessed with just one narcissistic parent, but two. Both very high on the spectrum, with two very different diagnoses according to my therapist.
Although I said before this blog is more about my healing from narcissistic abuse and C/PTSD than it is a place for answers, I did say I’d share the books and things I did then, or do now to help myself during this journey of learning, healing, and finding my strength again.
This is the book that started it all:
The answer to that question is no. You’ll never be good enough for a narcissist.
What are the basic characteristics of a narcissistic mother?
“The cornerstone of maternal narcissism is lack of empathy and the inability to tune into the emotional needs of others, particularly her children. The other traits listed in the diagnostic manual are: grandiose sense of self-importance, preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty and ideal love, believes she is special and unique, requires excessive admiration, has a sense of entitlement, exploits others for her own ends, is envious of others, and shows arrogant and haughty behaviors and attitudes.” (American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)
Dr. Karyl McBride said, “I would add lack of accountability, blames others, projects her feelings onto others, and is basically all about herself.”
– Enter my childhood.
Needless to say, the visit with my mother did not go well. She walked out of my home three days early after telling me to “go to hell,” and “to go fuck myself” while pointing her finger an inch away from my face and repeatedly calling me “girl.”
She would not, no matter how my husband or I pleaded for her to tell us, what we did to cause her to act this way or treat me this way in my home.
She and my step father summoned a cab to take them to the airport a few days earlier than they planned to leave. They just walked down the sidewalk pulling their suitcases behind them, got in a yellow van and off they went, not even looking back to see me crying in the doorway. Nothing. It’s a scene I have etched on my brain. I was discarded like a piece of trash and she has not spoken to me since.
That was over three years ago.
When I cried to my therapist about this, asking her what I did, she said the reason my mother couldn’t articulate what precipitated her leaving, was because nothing happened. She explained that people high on the narcissistic spectrum believe their feelings to be facts and do not operate on thinking. If the feelings floating around inside their minds are telling them they were offended, then they react to that as if it’s an actual occurrence, whether it happened or not. – Pretty messed up, huh?
Contrary to popular belief, she explained to me that narcissistic people are not in fact in love with themselves. Actually, they hate themselves deep down and over compensate with a lot of the characteristics listed above. They think terrible things about who they are as a person, have no self- esteem, and are constantly trying to off load those feelings onto someone else. They in turn blame you for those feelings and say they are offended by something you did or said, even if you did or said nothing. – It’s called projecting.
I know accepting this sucks, but no matter who they are, how much we loved them or how much we wanted them in our lives, we are better off without them. Being discarded by an abuser you’ve spent a lot of time trying to please, raise, love, give to, help… is an insult to the original injury they cause and feels like being gutted. But, there is an upside. I didn’t see it at first either, but I do now. They did us a favor by discarding us. Now, we can get down to business and work on healing and living free from abuse.
When you learn about narcissistic personality disorder you will be able to identify the signs faster and stop your interaction with it quicker. I used to have this crazy notion that most people were meant to be in my life forever, no matter what. Friends till the end. Family forever. — Nope. I used to make excuses for people and their bad behavior over and over. “That’s just how he is.” “Maybe she didn’t mean it like that?” “He’s just tired.” “He said he was just joking.” — Now, I have boundaries and cut people off faster than new tags on a tube top. (Just kidding, I don’t wear tube tops… 😆)
And now, I no longer explain myself either, they don’t know what, why, when… I’m just gone.
I’m no longer in the baggage handling business and make others carry their own emotional baggage, and pathology.
And you should too.