05/14/2014 § Leave a comment
I’m having trouble keeping up with this journal, so Im just going to write down a few of the highlights:
Stupid Letter from my Auntie! My Narci Moms twin sister; they’re both 84 going on 85. If my moms a narci, what does that make her? I dont know. Anyway, she keeps reaching out to me to come back into the fold, the whole dysfunctional mess, and when I say I dont want to she doesnt even hear it. Because she’s been pushing, I made the case in my last letter that knowing what I know about my mother, I’m carrying a burden and if she wants to keep reaching out to me she has to share it with me. Shes not having any of it. So it comes down to this, how do I ditch her? I can’t explain myself any better, she willfully doesnt want to understand my explanations, so I either have to drop something really offensive on her to scare her away, or just stop writing to her and not read her letters, without explanation. The latter way is best. But let me tell you, being reminded to what degree they all wash their hands of me is vexing. Vexing! « Read the rest of this entry »
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.
06/24/2012 § Leave a comment
When I was 18 years old, I looked at my life and saw a great affliction in the center of it. I made a Vow to myself to heal it, no matter what it took.
When I was 32, I weathered an incident in which a sibling exploited weaknesses from my still-great affliction, leaving me in a situation of danger that persists today. I renewed the Vow to heal myself no matter what, and doubled my efforts.
I am about to become 57. In the past year, twenty-five since my second “Sacred Vow,” I discovered what this great affliction is in the center of my heart, my life, my being.
I won’t waste time here describing how I came to discover all this; when I was less than 3 years-old, my mother pointed her finger at me after she made the most minor of mistakes; let’s say she left the milk out overnight; and told the family I did it. She did this to hide herself from the scrutiny of anyone about anything whatsoever. She got away with it, then she did it again. And again. Soon, my siblings, all younger than me, saw right through her, and also pinned their errors on me. She didn’t stop them, so the message was that it was okay, that I deserved it. But the deal was, we all had to pretend nothing happened and we never ever talked about it.
It was like she opened Pandora’s Box, and a million Furies were released, and they all stuck to me. No one else minded or noticed. Scapegoating me in this way opened me up to being scapegoated by other groups; school classes, Boy Scouts, work crews. I struggled with Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, being especially clumsy and forgetful, the poverty of not being able to hold a job, shame about my volcanic anger– so like my father’s–, and being rejected by girls.
The best thing about definitively knowing about all this is that now I can tell people how bad it has been, and they get it. But I don’t usually tell anybody. The true weight of it overwhelms people; yet to me, knowing the weight is liberating. It may be bigger than a breadbox but it’s definitely smaller than infinity.
I only found out about this recently, after I came to realize about a year ago that my mother was a Narcissist, and let it sink into my head for a whole year. It seemed in poor character for me to blame my troubles on her and “make her” mentally unfit (by indentifying her this way), but then, the son of a Narcissist would think just that. It was when I came to understand how jealously she guarded her secrets that I realized that I was her decoy, and that I had been very effective at it. I’ve shut out all communication with my mother and siblings for 9 years now, ever since my parent’s 50th Anniversary which I decided not to go to because they were all so eager to provoke me. I’ve written each of them literally dozens of letters and deleted each and every one on consideration. It is totally unlike me to give any one– especially loved ones– the silent treatment, but at the end of the day, I’m less responsible for being misunderstood if I don’t say anything!
Growing up, I used to entreat parents and siblings now and again to help me get out of the rut I was in, not knowing they were deeply responsible for it. My brother always answered, “What, you think you’re different from everyone else?” I never could answer him, and was always silenced by his hidden anger. Today, I think a good answer would be, “I don’t know and I don’t care!” Yes, I was different from everyone that I was in direct contact with, and he knew it. Nowadays, he occasionally writes me letters asking me to renew contact, but he still won’t admit his complicity and hostility. Even in complete exile, its easier for them to blame me than to face the reality of the violent, dysfunctional family we were born into.
I believe that I have a higher capacity for empathy than normal, and that my mother and at least one of sibling have less-than-normal empathic capacity. This is the reason the whole savage blame cycle exists between me and them at all; my sensitivity versus their lack thereof. It made me a target, yet also enabled me to survive.
At the end of the day, I’ve survived a singular ordeal that I don’t think is less hard than more dramatic life-challenges that we hear about in the news and the grapevine. Now that I know the breadth and meaning of my ordeal, my self-confidence is slowly rising. I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else in the world’s! Being my family’s “Eaten One” has given me an undeniable perspective on our society’s cruelty and dysfunction; I never wanted to fit into a society that would do this to people like me, so finding a means and livelihood to live a “normal” life that doesn’t exploit others has been crucial yet frustrating. Now, I am slowly forging an industry for myself that I can live with as a teacher, a painter, and American ex-pat in Japan.
Pleased to meet you!
Funabashi, Japan, 2012