Tag Archives: adult child of narcissistic mother

Is Narcissism Really A Disorder?

We all know the term Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but it doesn’t take long witnessing someone with it to wonder if it is truly a disorder.  The word “disorder” implies their behavior is beyond their control, such as in the case of someone with schizophrenia.

 

This term also makes victims of narcissistic abuse feel as if they can’t do anything to protect themselves or even be angry about what is done to them, because the narcissist’s behavior is beyond their control.

 

None of this really sits right with most victims, because we have seen the narcissist in our lives go from screaming lunatic to nice person when the “right” person came along.  I witnessed it with my mother growing up.  She could be screaming at me, telling me how worthless I was, until the phone rang.  She was normal on the phone, then after she hung up, could resume screaming at me.  Although she no longer screams at me, she still controls her behavior just as well.  She can say something incredibly hurtful to me then smile at the person who enters the room a moment later as if nothing happened.

 

Calling behavior like this, so clearly controlled & planned, a disorder always left a bad taste in my mouth.  It was great to finally have a name for what was being done to me, but disorder?

 

Thankfully I found an answer a while back in reading Dr. Karyl McBride’s facebook page.  (In case you don’t know, she wrote an incredible book on narcissistic mothers entitled, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?”  I highly recommend it- it’s chock full of wisdom!)  She said that personality disorders are different than other mental disorders in that they describe a means of behavior rather than an actual physical illness.  For example, someone with PTSD has brain damage caused by trauma whereas someone with NPD is behaving in a dysfunctional way.  This means people with personality disorders can change their behavior if they desire to do so & learn healthier ways to behave, whereas someone with PTSD can’t change their behavior so easily (if at all) because their brains is physically damaged.

 

Interesting, no?

 

In a way, I found this information to be very freeing.  It means that my narcissistic mother’s behavior isn’t beyond her control & I really do have every right to set & enforce healthy boundaries.  It was also a bit discouraging learning that she could change if she wanted to, but she doesn’t want to.

 

The best way I have found to deal with this knowledge & the conflicting feelings that follow is this: I am grateful that the awful behavior has a name, because it means it isn’t my fault!  I didn’t make my mother abuse me, as she claimed.  I also didn’t force my ex husband to punch walls when he got mad at me.  These people have issues, & that isn’t my fault!  As for knowing they can change but refuse?  Well, that is their right.  Everyone has the right to live as they see fit, & some people make very bad choices in how they live.  Having that boundary in place will help you accept the fact that your narcissist may never change, while still hoping for it.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as the saying goes.  Certainly pray they change & hope for it, as it does happen (albeit very rarely), while accepting the fact it may not.

 

And, never forget- you also have the right to protect yourself from abusive behavior however you believe is right for you to do.  Just as someone has the right to be abusive, you have the right to protect yourself.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Is Discussing Narcissistic Abuse Too “Negative”?

Recently, I was told what I write about is too negative.  I’m sure many of you have heard similar things for talking or writing about your experiences with narcissistic abuse.  I’m writing this for you, Dear Reader.   I hope it helps you.  xoxo

I’ll admit, the main topic of my writing, narcissism & narcissistic abuse, aren’t exactly positive, happy topics!  I’ll also admit that sometimes, it gets to me, writing about such dark things.  That being said, I will continue to write about what I write about for several reasons.

To start with, I believe this to be a calling from God, & I take any calling from Him very seriously.  Everyone has a calling, usually several during the course of their lives.  Ephesians 4:11-13 states, “And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.  12 His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church)  13 [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.”  (AMP) 

Also, writing about what I learn helps me to make sense of the things I have gone through, as well as to help others to do the same.  So many who have suffered with narcissistic abuse are struggling to make sense of it all.  I can help a little by sharing my experiences as well as what I have learned.

Writing about things also helps to loosen the hold the abuse has on me.  By being open about things, I am losing the shame I once felt for being abused, & am able to see more & more how none of it was my fault.  This not only helps me, but enables me to get the message to other victims that being abused is NOT their fault.

It also helps to make my pain count for something.  Knowing I am able to help other people means my pain was not in vain.  Something good has come from something horrible!

Also, by being open  about the taboo topic of narcissistic parents, it helps to raise awareness of this insidious, evil form of abuse.  It makes it safe for victims to talk about it with other victims instead of quietly suffering alone.  So many are afraid to talk about what their mother did to them, because so many people put mothers on a pedestal.  People make victims feel guilty for being abused, as if it was their fault!  They can’t seem to grasp that a mother would abuse her child.  Certainly the child must be exaggerating.  Of course the mother made mistakes- no one is perfect- & the child should forgive the mother.  And, let’s not forget “honor thy mother” seems to mean “allow thy mother to abuse you” to many people.  Because of people like this, as well as the ignorance surrounding Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there needs to be more awareness of this horrible phenomenon.

Don’t let anyone quiet you for talking about your experiences with your narcissistic mother, father, sibling, grandparent, friend, spouse or co-worker.  You aren’t being negative by discussing your experiences.  And, chances are, by discussing them, you are not only helping yourself to process your horrendous experiences, you are also helping to enlighten others who need to hear your story!  So be open- talk about it!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism, Writing

Going Outside Your Comfort Zone Is Good For You

As is common with adult children of narcissists, I have a lot of anxiety. It got worse once the C-PTSD developed fully in 2012.  This anxiety has caused my comfort zone to shrink into a little tiny place. So many things can make me uncomfortable if not downright terrified.  One of my biggest problems has been routine.  I need a strict routine & if something interrupts that routine, I panic.

At the end of February,I suddenly became very sick with carbon monoxide poisoning.  During the worst of it, I passed out & hit my head pretty badly.  While recovering, it’s caused me to think a lot about things.  Mostly the fact that life can change in a flash, & we should enjoy whatever time we have on this earth.  It caused me to rethink some things.  I also felt God was dealing with me about stepping out of my comfort zone.  Granted, He had been dealing with me for a while about it, but I had somewhat ignored that (not proud of this, mind you!).  When laid up with a concussion & recovering from what could have been a life ending illness, there’s really no excuse to ignore God anymore.  Not like I’ve been too busy to talk with Him!

He showed me that during last December when my father was in the hospital, I was constantly outside of my comfort zone.  I had to leave home constantly, deal with complete strangers (doctors, nurses, etc) & spend a lot of time with my narcissistic mother.  In a period of two weeks, I was so stressed, I lost eight pounds & my hair suddenly became brittle & fragile.  However, good came from this awful time. While I still have agoraphobia, it’s improved quite a bit.  I have gone from absolutely terrified of leaving home to able to do it much easier.  Spending a full day alone at the hospital waiting on my father to have surgery helped me in that area.  It was hard, but I got through it, & it wasn’t as hard as I’d thought it’d be.

That particular situation forced me well outside of my comfort zone.  I wanted no parts of it, but it turned into a good thing anyway.  So, I started doing so on a smaller, voluntary scale.  I have a schedule for cleaning my home.  I’ve changed the schedule recently (which I was quite nervous about doing since I’ve had this schedule for 20+ years) so there is more flexibility in it, & it’s been a good thing.  By having a more flexible schedule, I’ve been able to spend time with friends, write or just relax when normally I’d be too busy to do so.  And, this flexibility has helped reduce my anxiety levels.  If something comes up on a day I need to do housework, it no longer completely flusters me.

I know stepping outside of a comfort zone has the potential to make you extremely anxious, but it really can be worth it!  Start by doing small things outside of your comfort zone as you feel able to do them, & work up from there.  If you truly are afraid, don’t discount what you wanted to do- merely postpone it for a day where you feel stronger.  Those days happen sometimes, & it’s ok!  But, if you feel able, push yourself, & ask God to help & strengthen you.  You will be rewarded when you find yourself comfortable doing something that once terrified you!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism