Son of a Narcissistic Mother Part 2: The Man with the Crystalline Face

04/02/2013 § 12 Comments

 8.1.81 --Copyright 2013

This is the only drawing I can think of that shows the struggle. I was appalled at the time I did it. Only an automatic drawing can divine what is hidden.

In my case, I didn’t know my mother was a Narcissist until I was 56!  I knew there was something very wrong when I was 8 years old, when for a school assignment I wrote a 3-page bio of myself and realized it was very sad but I couldn’t figure out why. When I was 12, and then 18, and then 32, I made concerted efforts to find out what was the matter, but I didn’t put it all together until about two years ago. I was always barking up the wrong tree, looking for something dysfunctional in myself, which my mother encouraged.

It was the Sacred Vow I made to myself when I was 32 that began the effort which in retrospect prepared me emotionally and physically for the final realization. I was always too dependent, in ways I was completely unaware of, on my mother. Even though I moved away from home when I was 18 to get away from her. Her hold on me increased, in some ways, the further I got from her physically. I needed to be materially dependent on myself, and even at 32 it was very hard for me to hold a job. So I was always financially broken, which made other kinds of independence harder to acquire. It was always a case of improving a little bit here, a little bit there, and pulling myself up very slowly. When I did have an opportunity to look back at how far I’d come in a given space of time, I was always appalled to realize how bad things had been before, and how much work there was left to do.

When I was a junior in High School, in an English class we had a lesson in which we worked with theatrical make-up artists. One woman designed a crystalline structure on my face. My teacher looked at me for a long time, and said, “That’s very appropriate for him. He’s so complex and contradictory, like there’s a House of Mirrors inside him.” I’ll never forget that.

One, I am very smart, gifted and creative. Now I am beginning to have success at last as a painter. Two, my father was very emotionally violent and yelled at me what felt like every day that we were home together,for the first 18 years of my life. Because he didn’t beat me, I always felt it was my weakness that was so devastated by his mere voice. . He yelled at me because we were both first-born sons, and he was apparently yelled at just as hard by his mother. I found this out from his cousin when I was in my 20s. It wasn’t because of anything I did– I was always very clear about this– It was because his past was eating him alive and his family didn’t allow him to heal it.

But only 2 years ago I discovered that it was my mother always instigated his epic tantrums– I finally realized that it was she who instigated my outbursts.  Because of her huge inempathy– her lack of emotional rapport with other people– she was always completely unaware how often and how easily she tripped him -and me- off. This turned out to be very important, because all my life I thought it was just between him and me, and if I found out what set him off, I could stop it. But the mechanism was never in him; it was in her. My family was a puzzle that couldn’t be solved– she had hidden all the pieces. The more Dad hurt me the more, the more I idealized Mom; even as she became increasingly cold and distant.

So, yes, I’ve had a very confused and difficult relationship with women. Over a year ago, my first wife left me. We had an on-off relationship for 26 years, and were married for the last 14 of them. I’m still processing what happened. It appears that I idealized her unrealistically, and that she was always more sensitive towards herself than she was towards me. She bristled at the suggestion that she was like my mother, but in the final analysis there were unsettling similarities. Its largely for her that my presence on these sites is anonymous.

Narcissism expert Linda Martinez-Lewi’s writings can be found in other places online, but she mostly writes about Daughters of Narcissists– as do most bloggers on this subject.  When they do write about Sons of Narcissists, they almost always write about the male Golden Child. I was never the Golden Child. That would be my sister who was 6 years younger than me. Because my mother always wore the pants in the family and was deeply misandronistic– she hates men. So I was the Scapegoat, as I hope to write about elsewhere on this site. The blame for wrongs in the family always seemed to fall on me, and the finger that pointed at me was always hidden. The only victory that was ever available to me was to endure until I was whole enough to save myself. I waited 55 years.

Thank you for listening,
and thank you for writing this,
Vic Banner
April Fools Day, 2013
(No, this isn’t a joke. )

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§ 12 Responses to Son of a Narcissistic Mother Part 2: The Man with the Crystalline Face

  • Scott says:

    Hi –

    Thanks so much for writing this (and the first post).
    I’m 42 have also just started to realize the maze I was put in by our narcissistic mother.
    Sorry to hear that your brothers and sisters are not able to share this with you.
    Thankfully, I have validation from my sisters. Unlike you, I don’t think I could have looked at it on my own without doubting what I was thinking and feeling.

    Thanks again,
    Scott

    • Vic Banner says:

      Hi, Scott;
      Thanks so much for your comment.
      Yes you are lucky and blessed if you can share any of this with your sisters. You’re all in the same boat, all dealing with a narcissistic mother. But I guess this can play out in different ways. What did Tolstoy say? “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
      I’m going to be 58 next month. Its taken me so long to even be able to talk about it because my doubting of my thinking and feeling has been so strong. I was raised to always expect confirmation and support from the people around me; but on this, there was never any confirmation or support. Like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Johnny Rotten, I did it my way. But my way was the long way.
      If you have a blog or any writing about your journey, I’d love to read it.
      Best of luck,
      Vic B.

  • K Taylor says:

    I am glad to see more information on sons of narcissistic mothers. No knock on the ladies but most of the literature out there for women.

    I realized at 36 what was going on and went 100% no contact. The story is thicker than that but I have gotten into it all at psychforums.com and no need to put it all into the comments here.

    It is so exhausting upon realizing what the deal was in our childhoods – and the sad, sombre realization that all of those cuts and nicks, deep and shallow, all of that sabotage, really was all for no real meaningful reason.

    The realization that our lives were so difficult, for no real purpose, and that our own “mothers” were the ones standing in our way from making meaningful progress, is nothing short of tragic. Even more tragic that all along the way all we did was try to get them to see that we had value. So on one side they goaded us on to show that we were valuable people, and on the other side they stuck their leg out to trip us whenever we felt like we were getting there.

    • Vic Banner says:

      Dear Mr. Canada; \
      Thank you so much for your comment, and my apologies for being so late to reply. As I wrote elsewhere, I’ve never been a serious blogger before, and writing about this is difficult in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
      Yes, there aren’t a lot of men out there writing about this. I wonder why. I appreciate that women are working on this, but at the end of the day I want to hear from the guys. Sons and narcissistic mothers is such a perplexing issue!
      I’ve never decided on 0% contact, but over time its evolved into that. Attempts to reopen communication have always been unrewarding; and there’s nobody home at the other end of the line to have a functional conversation with. This goes not only for my mother, but her identical twin sister, and my brother too who is 2 years younger than me.
      I don’t know about psychforum.com. I’ll look it up, but if there is anything of yours I can read I’d love to look at it.
      I like to think that there is a reason that some of us have had to go on this galling journey. I couldn’t persist in getting through this if I thought there was no purpose in it. Souls are strengthened by the challenges we take on, and this is one of the toughest challenges I can think of. I want to get to the other side of this simply because I want to see what it’s like.
      Best of wishes,
      Vic Banner.

      • K taylor says:

        Ive started a thread on psychforums.com for sons of narcissistic mothers. Im on my tablet and cut and paste of urls is kind of difficult but if you google “sons of narcissistic mothers” right now it hits the top of google.

        There is another thread in there that is very well travelled called “adult children of narcissists acons” you might find helpful as well.

        Hope to see you in there and i dont think the mods would mind if you posted links to these articles.

      • Vic Banner says:

        K;
        Thanx for the tip. I just bookmarked it and look forward to ogling it on the train.
        I don’t seem to have enough parameters to find your thread Children of Narcissists ACON. Which site, psychoforums, wordpress, google, they all gottem.
        I’m in the stone age about using blogs; this site is teaching me a lot I never knew. I don’t know how to put in links but I think I’m about to find out.
        I just published my best article yet though its a bit long.
        Please look at it, and I’ll see you in the PsychoForum.
        Yours,
        Vic

  • Angke Chen says:

    Thanks for writing this! Narcisstic mother’s effect on sons are so hard to find and your retrospection will be invaluable to all of us unfortunate sons!

    Hope to see more writings.

    • Vic Banner says:

      Dear Angke;
      All of our experiences are valuable to the rest of us unfortunate sons! I first vowed to find out what was the name of my pain when I was 12. I’ll be 58 next month. Yet only two years ago did I find out about Narcissism and its effects on children. I thought I was Borderline, or had ADHD, or a dozen different things, but none of them ever yielded a Way Out. Knowing that I am the son of a Narcissistic Mother, on the other hand, has made a profound difference in two years.
      If you have a blog, or any writings about narcissism, I’d love to see it. Knowing there are others like me is a very very new experience.
      Thanks for encouraging me to write more. I think I’ll take you up on that.
      Best wishes,
      Vic Banner

  • Arn says:

    Thanks for sharing your NACR experiences e.g.. my little comment:

    Choosing to be born as a son into a life under a NARC mom with a sailor as a father … makes little sense to me right now(being a buddist) just becomming aware of my past journey in a NARC universe at the age of 52.

    Seen in retroperspective I´ve been in “pain” since I was three years old, all the way thinking/believing such is life!
    Having been through all varius diagnoses from allergies to dyslexia with behavial problems in between.

    Main thing however: I´m still here in one piece and finally beginning to see and feel my true inner core, I´m not sure where this journey ends … but then again it is in reality the journey that is interesting(the goal is ever shifting).

    Now I´m traveling with an emancipated mind, better understanding and a lot of good “gear” in my backpack so now for the first time in my life … I´m looking forward onto/into new horizons, insights and life itself.

    Namaste,

    Arn

    Ps. I am the lucky one – my brother whom I´m not seing, was the golden child

    • Vic Banner says:

      Arn,
      Sorry for taking a while to reply. If you read my newest entries, you will see I’ve had my hands full.
      “Victorious Banner of Perseverance” is the English Translation of my Tibetan Name, Tsondru Gyaltsen, that was given to me by the lama who leads in my home towm in the U.S.
      Buddhism has always been the most intellectually satisfying for me.
      If I chose to be incarnated into the family of a Narcissistic Mother, it would have been for my soul to benefit karmicly from overcoming a great obstacle to higher vision. But now that I look back on it, I think I was foolish and bit off more than I could chew. This is too hard! but its the only life I’ve got, so its for living.
      It was in 1995 that I channeled my spirit guides consciously for the first time. Through me, my guides said that being born into a life of great obstacle is like a chicken emerging from an egg or an butterfly from a chrysalis; it is persevering against the opposition to our emergence that enables us to bring something new into the world. I’m still waiting to see what this something new is, and I look forward to seeing it in you too.

      Bright Blissings,
      Vic Banner

  • John Booth says:

    I am 44 living in Scotland, and have just very recently stumbled across this disorder. As the oldest of three, much of what you have written here resonates all too much with my experience.
    Whereas my mother I think isn’t quite as overtly narcissistic the pain, and need for detachment from, family exposure, is all too familiar.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I feel as though my own struggle finally has a possible resolve. Or at least within myself I can understand the destructive mechanism of my mother’s relationship in my life and defend myself better going forward.
    I am unfortunately also unable to share with my sister and brother largely because I believe my brother is the golden child and has absolutely no comprehension of mothers games and my sister, alas has her own ‘handmedown’ narcissistic disorder learned, I strongly, believe from our mother, and while i believe she’s likely to have a Eureka moment and identify with the ‘daughter of a NM identity’ it is alas very likely she’d discuss with our mother as a diversionary tactic – thus enflaming my own already difficult son-mother relationship.
    I am however very blessed in my current marriage (this one being my second: my first failed marriage I am realising was effectively a masochistic marriage to a likewise narcissistic woman who brought me to the brink of depression over 8yrs while I blamed myself for not being able to help her in her own depressive disorder – but that’s another story), my second wife is enormously supportive and has brought me confidence and trust and a fundamental self belief I didn’t have before so I am now strong enough to see through the mind games my mother has been playing all these years.

    So thank you for your honesty, it’s helped me to see more clearly the difficulties I have had are not my own imagination!

    Likewise I’ll use a different name for anonymity.

    • Vic Banner says:

      Dear John,
      (Do you know that John Wilkes Booth was the name of the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln?– If you’re Scottish you may not know that.)

      I really appreciate your open letter. Narcissistic mothers and their sons is I think an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people, and it can be hard to get good allies about. In the forum I belong to, (link below), people sometimes refer to their parent as not fully narcissistic, but I don’t know how that works. Narcissistic diagnoses are largely speculative, because alleged narcissists rarely submit to evaluation. My mother avoids Mental Health Professionals like the plague.

      I am the oldest of 4, compared to your three. Usually, the first child is the Golden one and the 2nd is the scapegoat, But perhaps both our parents need to target someone before they needed to aggrandize someone. My first sister is the GC, and Ive always felt that she was picked because Mother hates men, it would seem.

      There was a passage in Wickipedia under “Narcissistic parent” that suggested a third type of child, which they didn’t name, can exist who is largely forgotten amidst the dramas of the Scapegoat and the Golden Child, they watch from the sidelines, and learn to become very cynical and manipulative: they tend to become Narcissists themselves, and I think that describes both my brother and second sister. I call them Lost Children or Forgotten Children.
      Recently, my mother wrote to me that she was going to write me out of her will but my brother talked her out of it. I was surprised that he stood up for me, and we began transcontinental skyping sessions. He stood up for me a second time by volunteering not to tell mom we are in contact. But I won’t talk to himabout Narcissism, I have to meditate and psyche myself up every time to keep our conversation neutral. If I reveal the Narcissism, he may or may not tell mom, but I’m afraid it will become an excuse to not take me seriously.
      My first sister the Golden Daughter, is obesely fat, I think from stuffing all her anger at being mistreated. When I still lived with them, I defended her when Dad attacked herat the dinner table, and she promptly threw in with him, not me. We did this dance twice or thrice. I stay away from her now, and she hasn’t reached out to me since 2003.

      I’m really glad for you that you have a second wife who is good for you. My first wife and I divorced too late, after 14 years of marriage and 23 years total of intimacy; I was 56 when she left me. Further, my relationship with my mother has, I’m afraid, deeply poisoned my confidence with women; I’ve had but one date since she left and it didn’t go well. I also need to overcome a chronic tendency to being poor and underemployed before I’ll attempt to meet women again. But I will eventually make the attempt. A very close lady friend of mine, an artistic colleague and almost-lover, has recently gotten married at 66 and I’m really happy for her. Her problem wasn’t psychological, but what’s that called again?– Multiple food sensitivity disorder.

      My former wife left me precisely when my mother was revealed to be Narci, as if the whole marriage was based on the suppression of that fact. In retrospect, she had some narcissistic tendencies herself.

      Yes it takes a kind of strength to see through the Narcissistic mind games, and it took me many years to develop them. I’m glad you worked them out.

      John, I’ve a topic of discussion for you: Are you content to share your situation this one time and then move on, or are you interested in dialoguing with people in similar situations? I’m just not skilled enough in interpersonal play to negotiate this without asking. It would be nice to keep tabs on the followers who share the obstacles we share, or do you think so?
      Here’s the linke to fhe forum I spoke of: http://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/
      Good luck and Merry Christmas!

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