I am the Son of a Narcissistic Mother, Part 1: Through the Looking Glass
03/29/2013 § 49 Comments
I’ve been beating around the bush. I’ve talked about this blog being about Highly Sensitive Persons, (HSPs), mysticism, philosophy, politics, but all these issues just orbit around the real topic of surviving Narcissism in the family. I only found out about this for certain in August, 2011. But its tough. My mother certainly will not only deny it; she will find a way to stick it to me for stating it. But my brothers and sisters will attack me before she does anything.
Sounds pathetic for a 57 year old man to be afraid of his 83 year old mother, doesn’t it? That’s one of the features of this bizarre relationship. I haven’t spoken to my siblings in 10 years, nor seen my nephews or nieces in 15. Half of them I’ve never met at all. I am de facto ostracized from my family, and it is seen by everyone in it as either my fault or my choice. That’s the kind of power she wields. Sometimes I actually wonder if she isn’t a sorceress who has my siblings under her thrall. But what is a sorceress, anyway? Could it just be a woman who has expanded powers simply because she ignores social propriety and personal boundaries and is extremely secretive about them?
I’ve just been wading in the shallow end of online web resources about this until now. Most of the literature is about “daughters” of Narcissistic parents, mothers and fathers, but not about sons. Apparently, males don’t come out about this problem as much as women do. Yesterday, I finally found a really good site that includes men’s stories. Its by a woman with a narcissistic mother but she writes about the whole experience, including about the sons: http://postcardstoanarcissist.wordpress.com/ But it is challenging for me to write to her, though, because she’s very Christian and has a Manichean take on Narcissism that is not useful to me: she says they are evil. I don’t think so; they suffer from an affliction which just seems like an evil because they won’t do anything about it. They have no control over it; my mother has no control over it. But identifying them as evil is useful if you must have a justification for protecting yourself from them. And it can be necessary.
Still its very very tricky to deal with my mother because she is constantly harming me with one hand and beckoning me towards her with the other. Sort of like the old Charlie Brown and Lucy Van Pelt football gag.
She always says, “I won’t pull the ball away from you just before you kick THIS time, Charlie Brown!” And he always caves in and she always pulls away the ball, and always comes up with some outrageous excuse. And then in other set-ups she plays the counselor, helping other people’s problems! And you know what, my mother LOVED the Charly/Lucy football gag. She loved the Wicked Witch of the West, Maleficent the Wizardess from Sleeping Beauty, Cruella De Ville from 101 Dalmations, the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland (“Off with her head!”), as she loved Medea, the Priestess of Hecate who married Jason, Captain of the Argonauts, then killed their first-born son to spite him after he was unfaithful to her.
I was my parent’s first-born son. Therein lies the problem.
That was a better lead-in than I expected. It just popped in there.
This is going to be the first in a series of blogs telling my story as the Son of a Narcissistic Mother. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, the story isn’t linear and I have a tendency to get obsessive with it. I’ve been puzzled by my deep melancholy since I was a young boy; at various points of my life I crafted desperate vows to extricate myself from it . Only at the end of a journey that has lasted 57 years did I come to the truth: its not me, it’s her. Part of the problem has always been that I’m very very uncomfortable blaming someone else for my misfortunes. But Narcissists exploit that! And they’re not in the least bit uncomfortable blaming someone else. The real reason why its taken me this long to rescue myself is because certain life skills, like recognizing when I’m being blamed for someone else’s actions, were withheld from me that I had to learn on my own.
The King of Hearts advised Alice how to tell a story: “Begin at the beginning, proceed through the middle until you get to the end, and then stop.” I’m not taking his advice. My story starts near the end.
Next: I am the Son of a Narcissistic Mother, Part 2: How I finally figured it out.