Last week was a hard week for me. Although I’ve been toying with the idea for years, I think I’ve finally accepted the fact that my mom is a narcissist. It threw me into a PTSD loop of nightmares, insomnia, panic, hopelessness, and despair. My normally high hypervigilance skyrocketed. One night I even awoke in terror because the furnace was making a different humming noise in the vent of my bedroom. I had to constantly tell myself I wasn’t in danger and I felt frequent paranoia I was.
I had plans with my mom on Wednesday which she cancelled and pushed back until Thursday because she heard the weather might be bad. It wasn’t all that bad, schools weren’t cancelled and my son wasn’t called in to work. So I made other plans for Wednesday. I had a lot of errands to run and was getting ready to go when my mom texted me saying she changed her mind and wanted to come over on Wednesday instead. I told her it wouldn’t work out and she said maybe Thursday which I replied okay.
Thursday morning came and went without a peep from my mom. Then she texted me saying she was going to come over after lunch. I told her it wouldn’t work because Arabella called and asked me if I could take her to her doctor appointment since she didn’t have a car. The morning would’ve worked but the afternoon didn’t. Then my mom asked me what time the appointment was and said she would come over an hour before I had to leave to go for a walk with me. I told her it wouldn’t work because an hour before I had to leave just wasn’t going to work for me.
Then I asked my mom if she wanted to go along with me on Sunday afternoon to do some volunteer work. She said she had other plans which was fine. Then she asked me when we could get together instead. I replied I had a really busy week but could get together on Friday, tomorrow. Then she asked me if there was any way I could make room for her in my very busy week. Again, I replied yes on Friday I have the whole day open.
On Saturday night I planned a birthday party for my best friend with our husbands and another couple. We had reservations to go out to eat and to a comedy show. Shortly before leaving my mom tried calling and I didn’t answer. While out with friends I got a barrage of texts from her. Are you mad at me? Why are you avoiding me? She asked if I was angry because she gave Angel a hard time. Lately my mom has been getting a rise out of me by targeting my daughter. My mom said everything was fine because she apologized to my daughter and I shouldn’t be angry with her about that. I ignored the texts because I was out with friends and wanted to be in the moment with them. But it was very upsetting to me.
On Sunday morning I texted my mom back telling her that she cancelled out on me and I had made other plans. I told her I tried to get together with her on Sunday but she had plans. She did not acknowledge anything I said and asked me again if I was mad. Then she wanted to know what I was so busy doing I couldn’t get together earlier. Well, yes, I am feeling quite pissed now. I hope tomorrow I get COVID or the stomach flu. Her controlling and manipulative behavior was very triggering to me.
I never considered until this past week that I endured a lifetime of narcissistic abuse from her. It was so subtle. She wanted to force a life for me I never wanted. She picked out the clothes she wanted me to wear. For example, for junior prom one day she came home with a prom dress for me to wear. I hated it but wore it anyway. She tried to dictate the music I listened to and even my relationships with other people. I was her best friend and she openly disapproved of everything I wanted that she didn’t want for me. She guilted me by always being the victim. I had to comfort her but she was incapable of comforting me. She is never happy for me. She never wanted me to leave her and live my own life. She always had her best interests in mind front and foremost. I never really looked at that fully until now.
Now as I look back at my life I feel this overwhelming grief. I lost my childhood. There was never peace and joy in my household just pain and suffering. Why do I expect to experience something now I’ve never experienced before? I have no idea how it works. Something as simple as peace.
I should have left a long long time ago. I grew up with my dad being emotionally/verbally abusive. He constantly told us we were stupid and his favorite thing to do as a dad was to terrorize us by the things we were most afraid of. Then there was Matt, my autistic brother who physically abused us. It was pretty bad. Then my mom with her narcissistic abuse. I am angry at myself for not walking away. I put my life on hold because I was the dutiful daughter always ready to help. My mom needed me. I went to the college closest to home. I went to college with dreams of being a counselor because I felt pretty confident I could do that. Then I could take everything I learned and fix my dysfunctional family.
The problem was that I cared too much. I got suckered and fell into the manipulation and control. I thought I could change things but instead over time there was new and creative ways my family of origin caused pain and suffering. If I could go back in time I would leave home and go to college in a place far away. I would’ve went to school for microbiology or God forbid be an English major working as an editor or writer. I didn’t even start writing until I was in my 40’s. (I did have diaries as a teen but my mom read them and got angry for what I wrote). I would’ve joined the college choir. But I wasn’t good enough. I was too stupid. An idiot who didn’t know how to do anything right.
I want to leave, I really do. What’s worse is that my son’s girlfriend comes from a family like mine. Because she is kind and compassionate I see them doing to her what my family did to me. When I hear about the things they do that hurt her I want to tell her to leave because it is never going to change or get better no matter how hard she tries. I want her to leave her abusive relationship with her parents. But how can I tell her that when I won’t leave mine? My therapist said it’s not too late to leave but I don’t really know how. At this point I feel like it’s too late.