Many of us who survived narcissistic abuse have trouble with being sick or injured. We repeatedly have heard statements like, “Others have it worse so you should stop complaining!” “That’s no big deal. What I have is so much worse!” “You have a bad back? It’s nothing compared to mine..” These kind of things sink in.
As I’ve mentioned here before, last February, I got sick with carbon monoxide poisoning & when I passed out, hit my head, resulting in a concussion. Since that time, I haven’t fully recovered, & may never do so. In spite of that knowledge & the symptoms I live with on a daily basis, there have been plenty of times I wonder if I’m faking it. My husband was floored when I told him that, & he said it’s impossible- I even look different when the symptoms are really bad & I can’t fake that look.
I firmly believe my irrational behavior is a direct result of being raised by a narcissistic mother.
As a child, I rarely saw a doctor or dentist, not even when I experienced anorexia when I was around 10 years old. Fevers didn’t mean anything, I was fine according to my mother. She made sure I knew it was hard on her if I had a problem. Mother’s Day, 1986- I was on crutches & my father had hurt his back. She has complained since that she had to sacrifice her Mother’s Day waiting on us hand & foot, it was such a hard time for her. As an adult, any problem I have, she doesn’t believe. I have had arthritis in my knees since 2002. I told my father that was why I couldn’t do more to help my parents out sometimes around their home. He told my mother & her response was to call me later & ask if that was even true. Have I even seen a doctor? Did she say I need a knee replacement? That’s all I need- to get my knees replaced, it’s no big deal. For 10 years I lived with back pain she caused, yet she accused me of faking. She would slap me in the back or hand me something heavy every time she saw me.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, please know I understand your pain & frustration & that you are ok! This is a normal reaction to an abnormal lack of empathy.
I know it is maddening when you are raised this way & as an adult, you don’t even believe yourself that you are sick or injured. The doctor said you have a problem or you feel the pain, so why do you doubt it? Then add in feeling that you don’t deserve to take it easy when you need to because someone else has it worse, & you really feel awful.
It’s time to start rejecting what the narcissist says. Remember, they say nothing to help others- everything they say & do is about themselves. Your narcissistic mother accuses you of faking your illness? That’s because she is projecting her bad actions onto you. She’s faked an illness before. She says what you’re experiencing is no big deal? It’s because she doesn’t want to be bothered with your problems, because it doesn’t provide her with the coveted narcissistic supply.
Trust the symptoms are real. How could you fake them anyway?! You aren’t doing this for attention or sympathy! Narcissists do that, not normal, mentally stable people.
Another helpful tip is to read about the disorder or disease you have. It helps make it more real. Once I read about Edgar Allan Poe’s experiences with carbon monoxide poisoning, it helped me tremendously! I realized that someone else felt the exact same way I did, I wasn’t crazy & I wasn’t making anything up!
While you are coming to accept what is happening, also don’t forget to ask God to heal you as well. He wants you to be happy & healthy! Allow Him to do that for you!
7 responses to “Illness In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse”
My parents did take me to the Dr a lot,before I was a teenager.I had my tonsils out,since I had been sick a lot with them.But later on,they just ignored my complaints,such as telling me I just needed to calm down when my heart was beating fast.It’s like they thought being a teen meant there was no longer anything wrong with me
That makes no sense. Especially with your heart- that isn’t anything to play with!
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My mother actually tore a tendon in my neck. I slept in the wrong position one night and woke up with a crick in my neck – you know how it is, yeah? It hurts and you just can’t move/turn properly, but if you treat it gently it will usually go away after a while, when the muscles have had time to rest and warm up. But no, she said I was just being dramatic and lazy, and when I wasn’t looking, she just came up behind me and wrenched my head around. I ended up on the phone in tears and a friend took a cab down and brought me to hospital, where I needed a jab and was put in a neck brace. And when I got home, she still insisted that I was just making a big deal out of nothing to get attention.
Goodness! That is horrible! What a hateful thing for her to do! I’m so sorry you went through that!
You described exactly what has been happening to me! My sister constantly accuses me of faking illness to play the victim. Because I didn’t grow up with a family I trusted, I tend to hide illness as long as possible. If I say I am tired or sick or injured, she says I’m lying unless I get a diagnosis and a prescription to prove it. But when I was in school and teachers made me go to the doctor when I was sick, my sister yelled at me all night for wasting money on myself and said my doctor’s visits were the result of “complaining too much.”
I developed asthma and arthritis from bad living and working conditions and I’ve been facing character attacks and accusations of lying while she thinks her self diagnosed conditions are real enough to use her pet’s prescription drugs on herself. I’ve been feeling so awful all week but your post did give me some perspective that this is pretty normal behavior from narcissists. I know she is lying, but when I’m not able to be around other people the lies feel a lot bigger and more real. Thanks for sharing.
I’m so sorry you go through this! The illnesses & the “you’re faking” stuff, I mean. That’s terrible! Not surprising though… it really is typical narcissistic behavior!
I’m glad my post helped you… thank you for sharing that! ❤
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