I spent some time reading about siblings from narcissistic mothers today. I have figured out some more stuff about my family dynamic. More eye-opening and rather painful/sad stuff.
I read about how in a family with a narcissistic mother, one child will be picked as the Golden Child and one will be the Scapegoat. The Golden Child is picked as the most reliable source of narcissistic supply and tends to be the most similar to the narcissistic mother. The Scapegoat therefore, is the outcast and gets far less attention. They feel rejected.
In my case, this created sisterly rivalry between me and my sister. 2 sisters competing for the mother’s attention and love and only 1 of us getting it… or so it would have seemed at least. This leaves the Scapegoat feeling intense jealousy towards The Golden Child. To the Scapegoat, it is as though she is forgotten and the Golden Child gets a different mother.
For me and my sister, I was the Golden Child. At least that is what my false-self had led us all to believe. I morphed into what my mother needed me to be: her. I would sit and drink and smoke with her. I would dress how she told me to, God, I wore her clothes! I would do my make-up how she told me to, say what she told me to. I would go to clubs with her, talk about friends and family with her and agree with her always. I even used to do her dirty work for her and dump her boyfriends for her!
To my sister, the Scapegoat, this would have looked like I was so similar to my mother – that therefore, she was so different. Alone. Because of the age difference between me and my sister, she couldn’t join in on a lot of this. I wish she could know what a good thing that was. She felt left out and not as favoured. When she voiced this, my mother would say that it wasn’t her fault my sister was too young to drink or go to clubs. My sister never smoked, never drank. She was different to her… to me.
The morphed me then went a step further. My mother got a boob job and told me how I needed to have one like her. So I did. My mother loved this and I guess my sister probably hated this so much. The supply that must have given my mother!
My sister decided she didn’t want a boyfriend for a few years, something which was totally foreign to my mother. My mother would tease her and say she was gay. My mum always had a string of men, one after the other; sometimes more than one at a time. And so I always had a boyfriend too! Another thing that my mum couldn’t relate to my sister about. I provided endless drama with my ridiculous and disastrous relationships. I told my mum WAY too much and would be at her house every single weekend crying over my latest failed relationship, drinking and smoking with her whilst she counselled me. Naturally I was thankful and she got her well-needed supply.
You would think then that I would have been happy? But I wasn’t. None of this was my real self. It was the false self that I had created in order to get some sort of approval from my mum after years of having nothing from her. Also, just to create more of a headfuck, she would randomly befriend someone my age and they would become the best thing since sliced bread. One of these girls even moved in with us. I hated her. I got so jealous – but I guess that is what taught me what I needed to become to get to her.
My sister would sometimes get upset and tell my mum how she felt. Obviously my sister didn’t want me around. I guess she probably hated me. I feel stupid that I’ve never realised this! My sister became pretty individual. She got lots of tattoos, piercings, she dyed her hair bright colours, pink and blue. She developed a very funky sense of style. Come to think of it, my sister calls herself a Wildflower on her social media bios. I guess I understand why. That must be how she felt.
Come to think of it, she pretty much did the opposite of my mother – and me.
Sometimes she would complain to my mum that she craved a normal family. She would say how she wanted a family night in with board games or a film with a chinese or a trip to the cinema with my mother. My mother would say that she was pathetic and immature. That she needed to grow up. My sister would go away angry and upset. My mother would slag her off to me and I learnt not to say the same things. I would (shamefully) agree with my mother that our family just wasn’t like that. How I wished it was.
My sister sometimes shouted at my mother that she didn’t know her at all. That she didn’t know her favourite colour, food or song. My mother used to look completely flabbergasted at those comments. My sister was right. She was clearly voicing that my mother couldn’t see her. She didn’t.
My sister has suffered from depression since she was a young teenager. I guess from growing up feeling rejected, unloved and unseen. Luckily she has a good and present dad in her life and she moved in with him for some years which would have helped a little at least.
What my sister will never understand, or perhaps believe, is that I have grown up feeling the same was as her. It wasn’t until 18 or maybe 20 that my morphing into her took off. Until then, I had many years of being constantly told I was boring, dull, a boffin. I was called Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous and humiliated. She made it clear to me that I was a nuisance, in the way and not liked or loved. I was in the way. I got in the way of her men, her social life and her sex. Although that didn’t actually stop her!
So often when I was young I would be asleep in bed at home – alone and she would come home with loads of people to have a party. The music would suddenly come on very loud, and the house would fill up with strange men, drugs, drink, smoke and sex. I hated it. On the occasions when I would ask her to turn it down or tell her to be quiet, that they had woken me up, she would humiliate me for being so boring and tell me to go and read a book (God, it sounds like a scene from Matilda doesn’t it?!). She would ignore me and carry on regardless. I hated it so much. She always said the same thing – my house, my rules. Whilst you are under my roof.. blah, blah, blah.
My sister probably won’t remember this, but I looked after my sister EVERY SINGLE DAY. I looked after her when I was a kid myself. I fed her, bathed her, put her to bed. It was me that read her stories or tucked her in when she cried at night from nightmares. We did help each other. I have some nice memories with her actually. We always shared a room and would play like kids did occasionally. We used to make food from paper and pretend to run a cafe, we would play with dolls, make up dances. Her dad used to take us both on holiday and we would have a nice time with him.
It is so sad that this all became so twisted. Yet again, things could have been so very different.
And now it has all changed again. Now my sister is the Golden Child and I am the Scapegoat. Because of the work I am doing in therapy and the fact I have detached from my mother, my sister now has what she thinks she has wanted her entire life – my mother. If only she knew.
I guess the only difference now is that I don’t want that place like my sister always did. I feel so sad for her. The anger I felt for her has subsided as I write this tonight. I know I can’t save her.