I went into my session yesterday feeling okay. I was feeling a bit annoyed that my excited-ness had worn off (thanks to T). T asked me how I was and I said I was “good”. She always smiles when I say this as if she doesn’t believe me. I think that’s because she’s very aware, as am I now, that I am a people-pleaser and I was taught that fine and good thanks were the only appropriate responses to that question.
When she smiles at me like that I always try to elaborate and so I said “well, I’m not as excited as I was on Tuesday”. She seemed to know this and said “ah, it feels as though the bubble has been burst a bit?” I said yes it did. She asked me how that felt and if it was her that had done that. I said yes, she had brought me back to earth and it was crap. She smiles and said “what a bitch I am” in a playful way and I laughed and said “yeah, you’re so out of order”.
T then asked seriously, did it feel I was right or wrong? I said she was right but that was annoying.
I told T that several times I’ve had an exciting “revelation” and it feels she ruins it. (This all said playfully although honestly).
I said it hadn’t felt I was intellectualising but that it was clear I was. T said there was nothing wrong with that and that sometimes it helps us to be able to cognitively understand. I agreed.
T said she had noticed that it seems when I’ve had enough of the feelings – when perhaps they’ve become too much, that’s when I will read. This intrigued me as it wasn’t something I had noticed about myself. T said that it’s like I need to give myself a break and so I switch off the feelings part and read and deal with things cognitively/intellectually. I found this quite enlightening. Also, I do like it when T out rightly tells me something like that, it’s nice to have some feedback and to know what she thinks about me/what she observes from the other couch.
She asked how I was feeling now about it all (i.e. about my mother). I said it was making me feel sick. T asked in what way and I said it was making me feel physically sick. T asked what exactly was bringing that feeling on and I said the realisation of the fact I was completely brainwashed. That I had never known (obviously) and that it was all so disgusting. T understood and said it was extremely sick. I said “it’s wrank” – which is odd koz it’s not a word I ever use lol!
T asked if I was feeling sad and I said no. I wasn’t crying at all. I said I just felt angry. T repeated “you are in touch with your anger” and I said yes I definitely was. This is a good step for me because anger hasn’t been something I’ve felt much in therapy.
I said that I was re-reading a book called “you’re not crazy, it’s your mother!” And that I had read it when T had first explained narcissism to me but this time it was even more amazing. I said there were just so many examples of things my mother did/does it was really quite shocking. T agreed it was shocking.
I told T what I had written about yesterday and repeated what I have written there. T told me that it isn’t surprising and that actually, it was quite clever because I had to use the tools that I had. T said that some daughters of narc mothers report memories of their mothers being really kind to them when they were poorly and so would regularly get “sick”. I said that my mother was awful when I was unwell. She already knew this but for background, my mother used to make me clean up my own sick as a child whilst I was still being sick because she “couldn’t handle sick or blood”. A few years later she trained to be a health care assistant and has worked in the hospital for the last 12 years where she has to clean patients, bag up dead bodies and all sorts. So just my sick and blood it seems.
I told T that I had text my younger sister to tell her about the book and said I had screen-shotted a section on scapegoats and the golden child because it summed up the dynamic of me and my sister growing up and I hoped it would help her. I’ve realised that in my teen years at some point o started to try to identify with her for her approval and at the time I was “promoted” into golden child position. This therefore meant that from my sister’s point of view, I was the lucky one and that she felt left out.
I wanted my sister to realise that me and mother were not “close” I was just enmeshed with her. Anyway, it fell on deaf ears unfortunately and she told me that going over the past wouldn’t help her and that she is “sure mum will upset me one day too but…” and I realised I was fighting a battle I would not win and so just accepted that we needed different things. It’s a shame.
T told me that at least I had planted the seed and that she would come round in her own time. She said I am further on than she is but said it is hard for her because she is living with my mother every day and I am not. I agreed. T said how hard it is when you can see it and you are seeing your family being sucked in. I agreed. I said that since I had distanced myself from my mother, my sister was now “golden child” and so she would be enjoying that not understanding it all. I said to T that as soon as I received her reply I worried what she would do with this information.. keen to keep her golden child status what if she told my mum about the book or something? T said it didn’t matter really but obviously the thought filled me with terror.
We spoke again about the fear my mother provokes in me – I said that my boyfriend had told me to really think about what I was so scared of and that I really wasn’t sure. T said that it was a trigger back to childhood and the fact that she genuinely was very scary. I said she was. T said I have absolutely no doubt that your mother was an extremely frightening woman. I said she was but that I keep telling myself I am an adult now, she can’t do anything but T said it isn’t as easy as that, the fear is deep set. I agreed. I liked this because it made me feel less pathetic for being an adult who was scared of upsetting her mother.
(conversation changed for a while onto my boyfriend’s mediation with his ex-wife although I was keen not to let this take up too much of my session. T said something nice though, she said “I have really noticed a big change in you and how you deal with [ex-wife’s name]. She said that I was much more able to see her as a separate person to myself and my boyfriend and not feel so threatened by her and their past. That was lovely to hear because I feel the difference too, it used to be all-consuming).
We spoke about my mother again and I shocked myself at what came out of my mouth. I said that I knew this was a horrible thing to say, but… sometimes I think it would be easier if she were dead. I said that I know that is an awful thing to say, and I wasn’t for a second wishing she would die, but that it would mean I didn’t have to live with the constant fear, the guilt, the worrying about being ostracized from my family and everything else. I wouldn’t have to have the internal fight of being too “on guard and aggressive” when I see her, or run the risk of being sucked back in. Lucky T seemed to know what I meant and didn’t look at all shocked or offended. She said that there are many, many daughters of narcissistic mothers who would think/feel the same thing. She said she understood what I meant and that it would enable me to get on and heal without things constantly getting in the way.
I told T that what I am struggling with is how to be around her now. I said that I can’t help myself, I feel feisty. I am on guard, I like to try to catch her out on her inaccuracies. I like to call her out on her shit and that I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help it! T said it’s because I am so angry with her. I agreed. I said that at the moment she is not “liking” anything I put on Facebook when it has anything to do with my boyfriend or his family and that it was making me laugh and was becoming a bit of a game.. I said I know, I know, not healthy. T said the best way to be around her was to act “benign” to not react. She said that was the best place to be in. I said that was difficult! T understood. I said that my book suggested letting the whole conversation be about the mother because they love that and it gets you off the hook too, I said I can’t, it feels so wrong to do that and T said I didn’t have to do anything that made me feel uncomfortable. T said that she understands the temptation but it’s what follows that is the problem. The rage that I will get in return, she said it is not worth it.
I told T some of the awkward/inappropriate conversations that were had on Saturday. I will put some here for your amusement.
- I told T that on Saturday evening my sister told my mother that she didn’t like it when she came downstairs in the morning when her boyfriend stayed (my sister’s boyfriend that is) without a bra on. My mother likes to come down wearing a strappy pj top and no bra.. she has her nipples pierced.. its pretty cringe because her nipples are VERY prominent and obviously my boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend both find this very uncomfortable. They don’t know where to look! My mother said it was her house and she could do what she wanted and that it was their problem if they didn’t like it and that they should grow up. My sister tried to get me to back her up and I just said that personally I make sure I put on a bra when I am around my step kids. My mother would not accept there was anything wrong with what she did. Anyway, it was a very inappropriate and awkward conversation that is probably pretty amusing to read about!
- My mother’s friend said she hated wearing a thong. My mother said she had only worn a thong once and that she went to the toilet and forgot she was wearing it and so wee’d all over it and had to throw it away…… gross. Not exactly normal conversation for my boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend to have to listen to!
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Me and T said how there was such a lack of boundaries. T said that my mother tried to sexualise me at a very young age. This is something we have spoken about a few times before. I said that when I was about 16, I used to go to clubs with her and she would try to set me up with men who were her age. T asked if anything happened with these men and I said no, luckily. I used to get scared and disappear off or hide in the toilets until they lost interest. T said she couldn’t tell where she ended and I began. We discussed how my mother liked me/my sister to know she was having sex. She used to always leave her door wide open so we would have to see and she was VERY loud about it, like really OTT loud (think porn video)… she was once having sex on the stairs and when I came home and shouted at her, she told me it was her house and I should move out if I didn’t like it. All things normal parents just do not do. I said that it reminded me of NYE one year, about 5/6 years ago now where I told her that her loud, open door’ed sex was upsetting me and she went ballistic and we rowed and told me at least she was desired and again, if I didn’t like it I could move out. We didn’t speak for about 2 weeks after this argument and I lived with her so that was awkward. T said that she should have felt extremely embarrassed but she didn’t and T said she was a bit of a voyeur. I said I can only think that she likes us to know how fancied she is because I can’t think of any other reason for it?
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I said to T that I could be wrong, but I am pretty intuitive when it comes to my mother, that I think she is trying to “teach me a lesson” the moment. I get the feeling that she is using a bit of reverse psychology by not asking to see me, not liking my statuses, not contacting me etc in the hope that I will “realise what I am missing” or something. I said obviously I could be way off, but I would not be at all surprised. T said I could easily be right.
I said that she has gone through most of the stages set out in my book such as the victim thing (my daughter doesn’t want to see me) playing the victim, she’s tried to split us up by causing that big argument that time, using hoovering by sucking me in (briefly this worked), she is now doing the whole smear campaign thing of telling everyone that my boyfriend is controlling and manipulative.. so I wouldn’t be surprised. T warned me that she may well be about to “up the anti” and that I should be very careful. She said that some narcissists even attempt suicide as a way to guilt their daughters back in! I said this isn’t something my mother would do, but I will be careful.