Clearly I am a stage in my healing where I am seeing and feeling the effects of my mother’s narcissism. I am seeing and feeling, properly, for probably the first time, how deeply hurt and wounded I am because of her. Because of her failure to love me and care for me, because of her failure to protect me and because of all of the horrible situations I have had to witness or encounter because of her – not to mention because of the way I have felt about myself my entire life because of the messages she made me believe were true about myself. I am full of resentment at the moment. I hate her for some of these things. I have also completely let go of any hope, or even desire, that things could be different. I truly understand that she will never change – something that I think before I thought I understood, but perhaps only understood on a logical level.
The issue this brings me is that I understand that I know that hanging on to anger and resentment is not beneficial or healthy for me. When listening to my audiobook this morning (You’re Not Crazy, It’s Your Mother) the subject of forgiveness was spoken about and it said that you have to learn to “write off the debt that she owes you” because you will never get the acknowledgment or apology that you want and that the only person you are hurting by holding onto that, is yourself.
But I can’t do that. Yet at least. And then that makes me feel bad…. Being unable to “write off that debt” or being unable to “forgive” her makes me feel as though I am doing something wrong. But I know myself and I know that right now, any acceptance or forgiveness would be entirely fake and what is the point in that?
I am also too angry to even try to do that. Too angry to even bother faking any acceptance or forgiveness. It just isn’t on my radar right now. I just cannot bring myself to even think about that as an option. That makes me feel stubborn, but it’s how I am feeling nonetheless.
My mother has said to me (and is probably saying to everyone else right now) that I am living in the past, that I can’t move on and that lots of people have had it worse than I did. That I have to move on and the most insulting one, that therapy has made me this way – that it is doing me more harm than good.
What I hear is “Get over it” and “You didn’t have it bad” (the undertone to “you say you had a bad childhood but we always had a nice house and I worked hard because of no help from either of your fathers”). Both of those statements FEEL to me totally invalidating and like gaslighting. Yet at the same time it makes me confused because I do understand that she can’t actually go back to the past and undo anything. Of course she can’t … but if someone had genuine remorse, they wouldn’t say or imply for you to “get over it” would they? They would say how sorry they were and say that they wish they could fix it. They would try to make up for it somehow. Or something like that. Am I wrong?
So what I am feeling right now is her effectively saying:
“Get Over it” – “Shut up talking about it and move on”
And me saying:
“NO! I won’t!”
When I put it like that, it helps to remove the guilt that I feel from the fantasy that perhaps I am unfairly baring a grudge and living in the past, unable to move on etc, – in other words, that my mother’s words are true. The other thing I imagine is that she may offer what the audiobook calls a “fauxpology” – a fake apology. I can’t quite see that myself, but I have learnt that narcissists really will do anything to get what they want and if she does realise how serious I am, maybe she will offer me a fauxpology. Something along the lines of “I am sorry that you..” or “ I am sorry if you are still upset about the past but I can’t change it” or maybe just “We need to move on” (which isn’t actually an apology at all and she has already said in so many ways). In fact I guess she said that in her text which said “People are entitled to their own opinion” I.e. you are wrong.
You can’t forgive someone who isn’t sorry – can you?
At the moment, I have no doubt that if I am around my mum, I would be on guard. Looking out for any perceived signs of attack, insults or whatever. I can’t relax with her because I am constantly waiting to defend myself from her. That could be defending myself against comments about my fiancé, my father, my job, my looks/clothes etc or any number of other things. It isn’t fun for either of us.
She said in her messages last week that I have “changed from a loving, caring, fun girl into someone who is always looking for an argument”. She also said that she felt “on egg shells” around me. Now I know that I have not changed into someone who is always looking for an argument, that isn’t true.. BUT perhaps I have around her. Sunday night my fiancé told me that he doesn’t like who I am when I am with her and did actually say that I seem aggressive AND that he feels on egg-shells waiting to see if a row will kick-off.
I don’t really believe that she feels on egg-shells around me… but maybe she does. Maybe she knows I am liable to explode at her if she hits a nerve. I can’t entirely blame myself for this at the moment, although I can clearly see it isn’t exactly great behaviour. But it does tell me that being around her right now isn’t really a good idea. For either of us. I can’t exactly say that though, can I?
“Right now I have a lot of anger and resentment towards you and being around you isn’t enjoyable for either of us. You say I am looking for an argument and that you feel like you are on egg-shells around me. I feel on guard around you, like I am ready to defend myself to you. For those reasons, I don’t think we should see each other for a while because it cannot end well”. I COULD say that.. but she would again, say to me, and to everyone else, that I am holding a grudge, stuck in the past etc….. does that matter though?
This sounds harsh but the thought of seeing my mother in “safe” places, such as public places and not around alcohol, still makes me feel anxious. In fact, it makes me feel more anxious because I guess the alcohol gave me brave pills or something (entirely dysfunctional I know) and something I have only just realised and am now taking steps to resolve – by knowing that IF I see her, it cannot be around alcohol.
The sad fact is that we have nothing in common, nothing to talk about. I don’t want to share anything of any real meaning with her such as my good news, my worries or family plans such as plans for a baby or details of our wedding. I genuinely feel quite mean for saying and thinking that, but I genuinely mean it. If we weren’t related to each other, I wouldn’t have her in my life (anymore at least). Like my two ex-friends, once I realised their behaviour towards me was wrong, unhealthy and damaging and that I deserved better, I ended those friendships. This is just harder because it is my mother.
Reading this back, clearly the main thing playing on my mind and causing me confusion and doubt is what she says about me being stuck in the past and not being able to move on. That is clearly my sore point right now.
Here are some quotes from her last few text messages a week or so ago:
You and I know I’ve never told you what to do!
I never told you constantly as a kid that I couldn’t wait to get rid of you!
All I ever wanted was for you to meet the man of your dreams and to be happy so that when the time comes that I am no longer around, you would have your rock.
You say you had a bad childhood but I worked full-time as I had to as never had any help from your dads, but we had a nice home and you did not go without much considering I was a single parent.
I give you nothing now emotionally? – That is because I never see you. You have never once invited us round. I text you religiously once a week otherwise I don’t think I would hear from you.
If you ever wanted us to go out – you could have asked.
You are also able to invite us to anything with the kids. You can’t say that is all our fault. We don’t know your plans with them.