My Narcissistic Mum

Discovering I'm the daughter of a narcissistic mother

Decent sleep!

Ahhh… I’m feeling so much better today after a relatively good night’s sleep! Our baby boy slept all night long (8pm to 7am – wow!) and I actually slept well. It was such a relief. He is now having a huge morning nap (2.5 hours so far!) so I have managed to get lots done today, and have lunch in peace with my little girl.

Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the doctors yesterday as my car wouldn’t start so I’ve got to go tomorrow. I got myself into such a state and was so stressed out. The stress really got to me yesterday. I’ll try to stay calm this time. I get myself so worked up about just going out sometimes. It feels massively hard sometimes, to get out with two little kids.

Anyway, I was saying to my husband last night that I’m not sure where to go with this grieving thing. I feel like I’m a bit numb about it all and that I don’t know how to ‘access’ my feelings. Then it also occurred to me that I may have already grieved a lot since finding out about NPD and also just generally over the past ten years not feeling like I have a normal mum. Maybe I’m not going to cry my eyes out or rage about my mum (I have done those things before though). Maybe I’m already detached from her to an extent (although I know both my parents still have the ability to really rile me so I need to work on that).

Dreading Christmas

My anxiety levels are through the roof right now. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Christmas Day will soon be here and my parents will be coming. I think it has actually been stressing me out unconsciously for a long time but I am only just beginning to realise. My mother-in-law is also coming, and it will be the first time we have ever spent a Christmas with both sets of parents at the same time. I am absolutely dreading it. My MIL knows about my mum’s NPD but I’m not sure that she really understands it, and it’s always me that looks like the weirdo when I just don’t talk to my parents. I’m so worried about what MIL will think of me.

I feel utterly responsible for how things will be on Christmas Day. Everything is on my shoulders. I could ‘choose’ to be civil to my parents but I really don’t feel that I have it within me. I feel like I’m going to ruin it for everyone. I also feel guilty because we spent ages convincing MIL to actually come in the first place, and now it’s going to be so awful, she will wish she never agreed.

Anyway, things feel especially bad today because I got practically no sleep last night, trying to settle our son in a new bed. I feel so dizzy and exhausted and nervous today. I’m worried because I’ve got to drive the kids to the doctors to get my son’s immunisations, and my daughter is already very tired and really playing up (really not like her to be naughty but I am probably not handling things well today).

Grieving the mother you never had

As part of the recovery process in ‘Will I Ever Be Good Enough?’ I have to think about what the ideal mother would look like to me. I’ve to face the disappointment and the pain of what I didn’t have.

I wanted a mum who was genuinely interested in what I had to say. A mum who liked me for the real me, who took time to get to know me and help me figure out who I was and what I wanted in my life. Instead I had a mum who had a very narrow view of who I was, and continually told me who I was and told me I would never change. I had a mum who took credit for anything good I did (because she taught me how or helped me or it came from her genes) rather than ever let me feel good about myself for accomplishing anything. 

I wanted a mum who didn’t compare me to anyone else, who didn’t keep going on about what other people would think. I wanted a mum who was proud of me for the things I did and the person I was, rather than having a go at me for anything I did that she didn’t ‘get’ (poetry, etc). 

I wanted a mum who didn’t criticise the way I looked and paid me a genuine compliment sometimes. I wish I had felt unconditional love but I realise now that I always knew I needed to fit into her image of an ideal daughter. I never lived up to this so I never really felt worthy of her love or attention. 

I wanted a mum who didn’t make me feel abnormal and ashamed to be me. She made me feel like a freak for having the worries that I had. She felt she had to help me to ‘hide’ the real me, and to cover up my real emotions. I wanted a mum who would just accept me and help me to see that anything I ever felt was just normal. Even if it wasn’t normal to her or to anyone else, it was normal for me. And even if it actually wasn’t normal at all, I wished she would just accept it anyway. 

I’m pretty sure I’ll have more to say on this later but I’m off to bed now.

Baby me

Something that makes me sad is when I think about myself as a baby. If my mum is incapable of genuine love (I still haven’t got my head around this, or figured out if she can love at all but McBride says NMs have limited love and empathy to give), then she couldn’t have loved me as a baby in the way that I love my kids. When I look at my new baby boy, I just think how much I love him and how much I want to get to know him and find out who he is, and just care for him. I don’t imagine my mum did this with me. She never really knew me for the real me. I feel like she only ever saw me as who she wanted me to be, or had decided that I was, so she never would have looked at me as a baby with a feeling of excitement at discovering who I was.

I feel so sad to think of myself as a helpless baby, not receiving the love I needed and was entitled to. I always thought I was loved but now I’m questioning that. The love I have experienced for my kids… I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in my mum’s eyes, or through her expressions. I used to think that we were a cuddly family but when I really think back, I can’t remember times of just cuddling up together. I can’t figure out if I’m just not remembering properly – it’s almost like I want to only remember the bad things – but I can’t seem to find those memories. It’s like my mum thought she could just say we were cuddly and I would believe it.

‘Will I Ever Be Good Enough?’

I have been trying my very hardest to read the book ‘Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the daughters of narcissistic mothers’ by Karyl McBride. Trying to find the time to read whilst breastfeeding a four month old and looking after a two year old is challenging! Most of my reading is done at night, in bed, after 11pm when I should be asleep. I have been so tired since finding out about NPD because I have spent my nights in bed just reading.

I’ve finally got to the ‘recovery’ section of the book, which encourages you to start a journal. I thought I’d make this blog my journal but I think I’ve got to start being a little more forthcoming with my posts. I am such a perfectionist that I want to make all my posts just perfect. I want to make sure my thoughts are written exactly as I mean them to be, and that my spelling is right… Argh! It’s very annoying being me sometimes! I should just write what I want to write, when I want to write it.

McBride says journaling is a way to record the feelings that are coming to the surface, and helps you to review them and check on your progress. It also means you are taking your recovery seriously. So I’m going to try to do this as much as I can, even though I can hardly find the time to breathe at the moment. I need to keep chipping away at this.

Once a fortnight

My parents visited today. They visit once every fortnight. We used to see each other once week; I’d drive to them one week and they’d drive to me the next. Since I got pregnant with my second child (he’s now three months old), I haven’t driven to theirs. My initial excuse was sickness but then so many crappy things happened with my parents over the course of my pregnancy that I no longer go.

Things are so rocky between us but I still let them come round because they want to see the kids. I say ‘let them'; I’m not sure how much of that is within my control. They just turn up even though they are extremely unwelcome. I practically ignore them when they are here and the mood is very uncomfortable. I can barely look at either of them and I make no effort to take part in their small talk. 

I feel a bit sick about it all but I’m not sure what I can do. I’m worried that my two year old daughter is going to wonder what’s wrong with me when they’re here. She’s a really smart kid – she must notice how weird I become. I’m usually very chatty and happy at home but when my parents come round I just become quiet, straight-faced, rigid. It’s like I just cannot let them see any real part of me. I’ve learnt from the forum that this behaviour is quiet normal; DONMs (daughters of narcissistic mothers) learn from an early age that they cannot share their feelings with their mothers because these will be used against them at some point. I always thought I was just a rude and horrible teenager (and that’s what she liked to tell me) but it turns out that I was just protecting myself by not letting her see the real me. 

Anyway, right at this moment I’m feeling a mixture of relief (they’ve gone and I won’t see them for another two weeks – although those two weeks always seem to fly by) and horrendous guilt. My mum left looking very sad. I do get affected by her when she looks sad but I also hate her for it because she is completely unjust in feeling that way. All of this is her doing. They think I am this terrible daughter who treats her mother so badly by not talking to her but I’ve told them before that the way I am is not the cause of them problems but the result of them. They just do not get it. They have no idea what’s going on.

I’m not sure how to resolve this stuff with my parents. Well, the problem is that I will never actually be able to resolve it with them, but I still need to resolve it for myself somehow. Things can’t go on like this!

Making the discovery

I discovered my mum was narcissistic about five months ago. It was a complete shock but equally a revelation! Suddenly everything made sense.

After a hugely frustrating argument with my parents, I searched online for information about mothers who are jealous of their daughters (I wasn’t even sure if I was on the right track but it was something I thought my mum might be). I found myself on a website called Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers and suddenly there was a description of my mum right there in front of me. Wow! I thought I was the only one with a mum like this. But it turns out she’s a textbook narcissist!

The DONM website and forum have been invaluable to me. I have come to realise that my mum will never ever change. All those issues I’ve had with her over the years, all the times I’ve tried to get through to her… Now I know it was just a waste of time. It all seems so obvious now that I’ve discovered Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I’ve spent hours and hours and HOURS reading on the forum, learning about other people’s experiences, sharing my own experiences and trying to figure out what really happened to me when I was growing up.

It really feels like everything in my life has been a lie! I thought I had a normal upbringing but I didn’t! I was brainwashed to think I was someone that I’m really not! My mum is really not the person I thought she was! My dad was an ‘enabling father’ (and possibly a bit narcissistic himself but I haven’t quite figured that out yet) and is as much to blame for everything as my mum.

I’ve got so much to figure out; so many memories to reassess, so many habits to get out of, so many negative thoughts to overcome. I’ve realised that the way I think isn’t normal! I’ve made huge progress lately but I’ve got a long way to go. I need to figure out who I really am. I need to find a way to deal with the fact that I no longer want my parents to be a major part of my life. I need to come to terms with everything!

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