I was talking recently with a good friend of mine who is also the adult daughter of a narcissistic mother. She mentioned her birthday is coming up & how much she dreads the day. It’s a trigger of painful memories & her parents use the opportunity to try to make her feel guilty for not tolerating the abuse anymore.
Wonderful way to celebrate a birthday, huh? Sadly, she isn’t alone. Many adult children of narcissistic mothers go through something similar on their birthdays. A day that is supposed to be fun & celebrated turns into a day of misery instead.
My seventeenth birthday was among the most horrible days of my life. My mother destroyed the little gifts that my first boyfriend/now ex husband gave me because she hated him so much. She made me clean up the mess, & blamed me for “making” her do that. I later told my father about it, & he went to speak to my mother about her actions. She screamed at him for interferring, telling him to mind his own business, then when she was done with him, she screamed at me for tattling on her.
From that day on, I hated my birthday & tried to ignore it every single year.
Then in 2010, an old friend of mine sent me a message on facebook, & asked what plans I had for my birthday. I told him none. My father was sick & I thought I should be available in case he needed me. (I never told him about my seventeenth birthday fiasco.) He kinda chewed me out for not having plans & said I should do something for myself, even if it was just pick up my favorite lunch from somewhere. Something clicked inside me & I realized he was right. I thought about it & was angry that I let my mother steal so many of my birthdays. I decided no more, & instead created a birthday ritual that I’ve done each year since.
The weekend closest to my birthday, preferably on Sunday, hubby & I go to our favorite place- a tiny bar on the water in a nearby town that is often quiet on Sundays. I invite friends to come, & whoever can, joins us. It’s never more than maybe 5 people or so, so I can handle the company. I always say no gifts or cake but I get them anyway because I have awesome friends. lol We hang out, get something to eat & drink, listen to the jukebox (which is full of some really good old classic rock & 80’s music!) & watch the ducks & geese on the beach. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a very nice time.
What about you?
Do you realize that by not celebrating your birthday or even dreading it, you’re giving your narcissistic mother the power to steal your joy? She doesn’t deserve that kind of power! She has had more than enough power that she has abused over you! You however, you deserve to have a fun, happy birthday celebrated with people who you love & who love you back. Or, if you want to spend it alone, you deserve to spend it doing whatever you like to do that makes you feel pampered. Or do both- party one day, alone time another. It’s YOUR birthday, & that means YOU should celebrate it however is the most fun for YOU!
I know you can’t forget the bad birthdays, nor should you. They are just a small part of what has made you the person you are today. However, they shouldn’t be allowed to be the reason you continue to have bad birthdays. You deserve so much better than that!
So what can you do to celebrate your birthday in a way that is fun for you? What new traditions can you create? What gift can you give yourself? Is there a special meal you don’t indulge in often because it is too fattening, unhealthy or something that you can indulge in on your birthday?
I encourage you to think about these things, & create a new, positive & fun birthday ritual for yourself! You are worth it!