How am I feeling about her at the moment?
Where am I in this journey to heal from the mother wound – of being an unloved daughter of a narcissist?
I don’t know.
This is the thing, everything is so confusing in this recovery. It all seems to overlap and intertwine, nothing seems clear cut and obvious, nothing is easy to articulate or process. I think that’s what makes it harder. You make progress in one aspect and then you fall back in another.
I often wish someone would give me some sort of map of recovery, so I could see what stages there were, which stages I had “completed” and which stages were yet to come. I question myself why? Why do I want that? and I think the answer is that I want to know I’m getting somewhere and I need to know there’s an end in sight somewhere – the feeling that this pain and confusion is never-ending is too much to take.
It’s like peeling a very large onion. You learn something (that she’s a narc for example) a layer comes off as you take that in and you learn what that means. That takes years and then your understanding and awareness deepens a bit and you learn something else, maybe that you feel guilty for thinking badly about her – you explore that, where that comes from and why and another layer comes off. This goes on and on.
I have no idea how many layers I’ve peeled off this onion now, but it feels like a hell of a lot and it feels as though its scarily never-ending. It’s the fear of what’s to come and how much more pain is yet to make its way into my heart.
My latest realisation this week is how scared I am of her. I knew I was scared of certain things, but this week I’ve seen and felt the true strength of this fear in a way that I’ve never “seen” before. It’s shaken me up a bit to be honest.
Was that small child as scared as this? I mean, if I’m this scared with my adult knowledge, life experience and safety, how the hell did a helpless child feel who had to live with her night and day? The answer is that the child made it her fault. Mummy was good – she was bad. And that’s stuck. I don’t know what’s worse.
She couldn’t get away. It makes me feel sick.
So I’ve been asking myself, what exactly am I scared of?
I just don’t know the answer. I guess it’s just the way my inner child has been programmed. It’s not a conscious thought process. The way I reacted and how easily I was triggered Wednesday was excessive – she was dangerous. The way I felt and the way my body reacted Saturday evening before going to her house tells me I was very scared.
I know logically there is nothing to be scared of. I’m an adult now – I no longer need her for survival. I don’t need her approval now. I have my own life, house and family and I don’t even have any warm feelings towards her – I dislike her and I HATE the lack of connection between us and how raw that feels to me.
Avoiding her for as long as possible seems the best and safest option.
Yet I now have the option to cut her out completely and yet I choose against it? Why? The truth is (and it’s hard to even admit this), that it’s for her sake.
I see her for her sake. To keep her happy. How fucked up is that? I don’t see her because I miss her or because I enjoy her company. I subject myself to the anxiety before visiting her, the false-self during my visits and then the pain and sadness that follow the day after when I inevitably cry and mourn a little more the difference between what I want and what I have.
It’s like self-punishment. I punish myself for her gain over and over again.
I know that T, my boyfriend and probably my readers will be thinking that I don’t need to do those things, that I don’t owe her anything and that it’s probably infuriating to read – yet the idea that I could live without her seems impossible. Which again makes no sense because she does nothing for me!!! What would I miss other than the apprehension, anxiety and fear?
I think perhaps I’m scared of her ability to manipulate me and how easily she can do it.
I’m scared she will suck me back in without me realising.
I’m scared she will turn me bad – make me do and say things that are not really me as I morph into the people-pleasing me I used to be with her.
I’m scared she will ruin my life. She will damage my relationship with my boyfriend, with my other family members, with friends or my boyfriend’ family…. and why? Because she can and because she has done before. The risk is real.
I’m scared of what could happen if we got into an argument. Of what I would do or say. Yet there’s a part of me wishing for an excuse to let rip and have an excuse to break ties.
I’m scared of having to feel the depths of my feelings about her.
I’m still scared I’ve got it all wrong even though logically I know i haven’t.
I’m still scared that everything else in my life is borrowed and that I may find myself alone one day and need her. That ultimately she’s the only thing I’m guaranteed to “keep”.
I don’t like her and I don’t like who I am around her. It’s all too fake. I feel I loose touch with myself when I am there and it’s scary how naturally that happens, how quickly and how effortlessly.
I don’t feel love for her as a daughter “should” and I can’t handle the disconnect that’s recently become so obvious. That hurts me deeply.
The denial has left (for the most part) and the harsh reality that’s left is frankly sickening.
I find myself caught in cycles of self-pity, mourning and grief, anger then depression.
I wish I could go back in time with this new knowledge and grow myself up properly, differently. I wish I could save my inner child from the feelings I had to endure. I wish someone could save me from enduring them now too.
So much damage has already been done, what more am I scared of? Family relationships have been ruined. Family members think things about me that aren’t true because of her and I’m dealing with that – though it’s a struggle because it’s unfair – I’m learning to accept that’s how this is going to go, I’ve given up the fight.
I don’t need anyone’s approval anymore. I don’t want her’s and if I can’t get my Nan’s or my sister’s or whoever else’s then so be it.
But I do want to get to a place where I fully support myself. Where I have less doubt and far less fear. When will I feel strong on my own?
I’m only uncovering the truth, my truth and yet I feel like I’m being deceitful in doing so. I’m sick of the blame being on my shoulders. I keep telling myself, if she wanted me to speak nicer about her, she should have given me nicer things to tell..
It all comes down to the fact that I am hurt so very deeply by her. My heart physically breaks when I’m in touch with these feelings. It feels like it will be eternal. I can’t intellectualise this away. It’s not possible. My mother is too self absorbed and selfish and narcissistic to love me how I needed and still need to be loved. I didn’t have the mum I needed – or deserved and I never will.
How do you heal that hole in your heart?
Why didn’t I get that? I’m learning it wasn’t my fault, I’m believing this, slowly… yet I need explanations. I need logic to help me accept it and there isn’t any. I have to feel this to loosen its hold.
I know it’s not true, but it feels like I’m the only daughter who wasn’t loved by her mum and dad in the world. It feels so acutely personal.
There’s grief, sadness, anger, hate, disbelief and it’s all muddled up and confused.
People talk about me setting boundaries with her that would enable a more beneficial relationship between us and there is nothing I can think of that would enable this to happen because as awful as it sounds, it’s not boundaries I need, it’s an entirely different mother.
Sure I could suggest we meet at a different location, a restaurant for example so it’s less on her territory. I could lay down the law and ban certain subjects of conversation etc but none of this seems appealing to me because none of those adjustments would give me what I need. It doesn’t feel as though a middle ground is achievable or even wanted.
So what, I would rather put myself through this self punishment than even try and apply helpful boundaries? Yep. How distorted is that?!
In an ideal world, she would do something so undeniably awful to me that I could evidence and then I’d cut her off forever. Nobody could think badly of me because “look what she did!!” They wouldn’t be able to take her side, they wouldn’t pity her and I would be guilt-free. I could finally cut the ties and walk away with my head held high. Some readers may be thinking that she’s already done that in so many ways and you’d be right, but none of it is easy to prove and even she isn’t able to admit any wrongdoing yet alone apologise to me. So there’s still that doubt that I have it wrong. That I would be making a huge mistake.
Then there’s all the people that tell me I should try to emphasise with my mum and understand that she loved me the only way she knew how, that clearly she has wounds herself that affected her parenting ability and then the guilt is back in my hands – it’s me in the wrong again.
Tell me this gets easier please? I feel like I could drown in the confusion and pain this brings.