As I began to come into my own, started to develop the concept that I am a person in my own right, I started to realize that my friends’ parents were not like mine. Namely, my mother. It took years, and I do mean years, to realize that the woman who was supposed to raise me to be independent, to take care of myself, and eventually move out on my own and have my own family… that woman had programmed my brain, in a sense, to the point where I became her slave.
I was (am?) terrified to say no to her, even though she has never gotten physical with me… the emotional and mental abuse and neglect sometimes seem worse than if she had just beat me. At least if she had beat me, I could show someone, and they would understand the severity of the situation…
Instead, I got labeled as “the crazy one”, “the addict”, “the cutter”, etc… I could keep going forever, it seems. Breaking away from those labels once they are in place is nearly impossible. Anything I say, especially about her, gets twisted because I’m “crazy,” so I must not be understanding the situation, or I’m “an addict,” so I must be lying for some personal gain.
The hardest part of having a narcissistic mother, for me at least, is that no one really believes me. She is extremely skilled at putting on her “normal person” face, when in public or with her friends and family. However, the instant we are back in the house, just the two of us, she reverts back to her natural, evil self. The tone, the orders, the yelling, the expectations… everything has to be done on her time, and to her standards. God forbid I forget to do something, or be in too much pain (I was in a serious car accident, recently) to do what she is demanding… With the pain, she doesn’t care, she doesn’t want to hear it, she is in pain too, don’t you know, but my pain, my depression, my exhaustion, etc, doesn’t matter at all… the only thing that matters is what she wants and when she wants it…
Recently, I realized that growing up, and now, I cannot remember a single time that she has said “I love you.” I can only remember one time that she has shown any affection at all. She never says “please” when she asks for something, and very rarely says “thank you” when I do something without her having to ask. I am expected to be able to read her mind and act before she tells me to do something, and then if I don’t, but she thinks it is something that is obvious, I get berated for not just knowing that she wanted it done. This can be putting gas in her car, which I barely ever drive, or watering the plants, which i never look at, since I don’t care about them.
I still live with her, because as a result of the trauma I went through from her, I have been declared disabled since I was 21 years old, and even though I have attempted to work, mostly part-time jobs, I cannot hold a job long enough or work enough hours to support myself. Financially, I am dependent on her, and there are no real options to get out and away quickly. I am working on applying for low-income housing or housing for the disabled, at the moment, but my disability makes the process of doing this extremely overwhelming and terrifying in itself.
I feel like an outsider, an intruder, in her house all the time. She does nothing to make me feel welcome here. Then, she wonders why I leave the house before she wakes up and stay away until nearly time for me to go to bed. I have been in therapy for years, and in that time, have started to see all of this for what it really is, and have finally gotten to the point where I just cannot take it anymore.
My hope, for this blog, is to chronicle my relationship with her and progress that is made, either between us or in getting away from her for good.
The DSM-5 Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (revised June 2011) is below.
The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits. To diagnose narcissistic personality disorder, the following criteria must be met:
A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:
1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
a. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.
b. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.
2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
a. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others.
b. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others’ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain
B. Pathological personality traits in the following domain:
1. Antagonism, characterized by:
a. Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.
b. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.
C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.
D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual’s developmental stage or socio-cultural environment.
E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., severe head trauma).