“It’s all about you, and you make sure of that. Your wants, needs, and demands are always the main focus. Everything must be done your way, or it’s not acceptable. You never stop to consider that others have rights too. In your eyes, you know what is best and are always right, and I have to fall in line or incur your wrath, displeasure, and disappointment.
You are completely self-serving. You use every situation to fulfill your needs. You are blind to others’ needs, deaf to their emotions, and expert at manipulation. You work hard to trigger my guilt, sadness, rage, and constantly berate, blame, and criticize me, and I am always miserable around you.
How I long for some sign that you like or love me, but in all my years with you, I’ve never felt this, and this lack affects me deeply. As I was growing up, you never showed any understanding of what I was feeling, and when I tried to make you understand, you either ignored or minimized my feelings, or became angry and said that I was ungrateful or disrespectful for criticizing you.”
That’s a passage from Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents, and it perfectly describes my reality.
This is a personal post. These are the things we don’t talk about. I need to finally say them, and this feels like the safest, freest place I can do so. People are upset with me for speaking up—several of my closest relations and the same people who should have been my support system. They call me a liar and say I’m ungrateful and selfish. They want me to stay in the diminished, submissive, subservient role I’ve always held. I won’t do it anymore – not for them. Not for anything.
If someone asks you to sacrifice your mental and emotional health in order to spare their feelings, they’re wrong, toxic, and dangerous. Period.
I write unhealthy parent-child relationships into almost every single one of my stories. This is why. Writing is how I’ve dealt with my own pain, striving for growth and clarity through my characters. This past New Year’s Eve, after a particularly explosive and cruel incident, I hit the wall. I couldn’t go a single step farther. Enough was enough, and I said so. They really didn’t like it. Since then, I’ve been trying to break the cycle, break contact and begin to heal myself. It’s still a work in progress and the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it has been helping. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time, though the anxiety is a constant struggle. There are other members of my family that are displeased with my efforts and the ways I’ve disrupted the emotional and practical balance of my family of origin. They blame me, entirely. They want me to do what has always been expected when Mom gets upset—shut up and take it, then beg forgiveness for making her so angry.
That’s abuse. I’m not going to be their victim anymore. I’m also not going to allow them to place my husband or my kids in the path of my mother’s fury just to help vent her emotional turmoil following the death of my youngest brother, who was another one of her victims and the only other person in my entire extended family who believed this was wrong and understood what I’ve suffered my whole life.
It’s not okay. Being a grieving mother is not an excuse to treat your only daughter like nothing more than a handy emotional punching bag. I deserve better than this. My kind-hearted brother deserved so much better than this. She will never be the type of mother I’ve dreamed of having, so I’m letting her go, and mourning the loss of the fantasy mother and happy childhood I never had. For those who don’t believe me, it’s not my job to convince you. My only job is to take care of myself, my husband, and my kids, to the very best of my ability.
If you, somewhere out there in the world and reading this, can relate to any part of what I’ve said, I’m asking you to please make the choice to take care of yourself first. No matter what the relationship is that’s hurting you—parent, sibling, spouse, friend—you deserve better, too. You deserve love, respect, and kindness. If someone tries to hurt you, get away from them. Protect yourself. You’ll be so much happier and you’re stronger than you know.
I love my mother, and all of my family, but I need to take care of myself first, no matter what that means. Now, I’m taking healthy steps forward. I hope they find a way to do the same.