Realizing that you have a narcissist mother is never easy.
Irrespective of your age and your family background, being raised by a narcissistic mother can seriously affect not only your childhood but your adult life as well. It’s about time you start the healing process and move forward with your life.
It was my wedding day. The ceremony was nice and emotional but, as soon as we arrived at the reception, I knew something was off. I was sitting next to my new husband when my mom walked up to me, flowers in hand …dressed up as a clown. She had organized a play and at this instant, she became the center of attention at my own wedding. She wanted to do “something special for me”. In her mind, it was fun and innocent. In mine, it was another event highjacked by her desire to have all eyes on her. It was not the first time nor the last. She showed up at most of my birthdays, and to every family event, with a poem to read, a story to tell, a song to sing. It was the special gift she had designed for us or was it for her?
As I grew up, I never really understood why I was triggered by her. Maybe all teens are annoyed by their mothers. My friends were telling me how funny she was, and I have to admit it was sometimes nice to have a mom who was not typical or boring. She was creative and artsy. She was designing clothes and furniture, organizing dances for our community and on stage playing in her own productions any time she had the chance.
I knew I could talk to her about anything. Except that what I confided in her could eventually be used against me in the future. One day she could be amazing, giving me advice and encouragement, the next she could crush me.
Success could be celebrated or minimized depending on her mood. Failure was an opportunity for her to destroy all my hopes.
It was never a straight forward criticism. That would have been too obvious. It was a low-level dismissive statement, nice enough to sound like she was concerned for me and hurtful enough to still impact my self-esteem years later. It was her taking me to the doctor as a teenager to double-check if I would stop growing soon because I was “too tall” and her constant noticing that I had put on weight. It was her questioning my intellect when I failed the Medical School entrance exam at the age of 18, two years ahead of anyone, and her minimizing, over the years, any of my professional success. It was her questioning what I did wrong when my husband cheated on me and wondering if I was just pretending to be happy after I worked on myself and bounced back from the divorce. I have never heard my mom say she was proud of me or that I did something right without a “but” at the end of the sentence. I succeeded because of luck and failed because I was bad.
I tried many times to defend myself. It always ended up in a fight, a dismissive statement, her questioning my love for her and me feeling guilty for what I just said. When hurt, she could retreat into her bubble and stop talking to me for days at a time. Boy, she could hold a grudge! It was so hard for me to see her sad. As a kid, I couldn’t understand what I did wrong, and as an adult, I felt it was my fault and I was the bad one. She had her own terrible story, her reason to feel rejected or unloved. My mom was given up at birth because her father didn’t want to raise another girl. Of course, this childhood trauma had its consequences. She was highly emotional, volatile, self-centered and needed constant reassurance from others that she was lovable.