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!