Coming Out Acon
Hello, my name is Raeyn (well okay, it’s not REALLY, ha ha), and I am the adult child of a narcissist.
I’ve been trying to find the right words to encapsulate this concept for long years now, you see. I’ve known for a very long time that my relationship with my parents was problematic and abusive, but I didn’t have the framework to express it. And then, going around Wikipedia, I found two relevant articles:
I realized fairly young that my mother only seemed to treat me as if I existed as an extension of herself. I found this problematic, especially coupled with the fact I was told at age four (yes, four, the same age as my baby girl) that I had to be a grown-up to help raise my (then) two siblings (later three). So not only did I end up having to fill in as the parental unit from a young age, I also was expected to be the emotional support for hell, both parents. So ‘technically’, I’ve been an adult for 28 years. But you know, I’m not supposed to be my own person. Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either.
Now, I’d initially thought about coming on here with a laundry list of all the crap I’d been put through, to make some big denunciation… but I changed my mind. For one, why do I want to give her a list of things for her to claim I’d made up to hurt her? You know, like I’ve apparently made up my diagnosed bipolar; I’ve been reliably told she is claiming (or at the very least, implying) this. I don’t know why I’m surprised — this is the same woman who would loudly tell people I made up my sexuality, who told me to quit making stuff up when I begged in high school to get checked for ADHD because I was doing so poorly. Who, well… as said, it’s easy to get listing. Suffices to say, I am 32 and in poor health because it was established early on that I was ‘making up’ anything and everything about my health. I feel that here, in my health space, I should state that much though. Y’all know I’m busting my butt to turn that around though, and I hope that 2015 or 2016 will see things on a much better keel. 😀
I had chosen back in February to go no contact with my mother/parents. I won’t get into the specific chain of events (once again, no fuel for the fire), but I finally hit a point where I couldn’t take it anymore and started blocking her everywhere. I hadn’t even heard the phrase ‘no contact’ then — I just knew I had finally (rather belatedly) gotten long past the point where I should tolerate having my exceedingly clearly defined borders violated. I wasn’t even mad, and I’m still not mad — I just had to accept that no matter what I did, I was going to be treated like I was wrong, and that I deserved better. I do deserve better, and asked myself the simplest of questions — would I let anyone else treat me like this? The answer was an emphatic no. I would not, and had not for a very long time. So why should blood excuse it? Simple answer — it doesn’t.
Since then, I talked to friends who had undergone similar decisions, as well as combing the internet for those right words to frame the situation for me. I figure that the name of my blog alone gives a pretty big clue to my desire to label and compartmentalize things, hee hee. And of course, finding useful blogs and resources to double-check that my instincts on things were on the ball. For anyone else who thinks this sort of stuff sounds familiar, here’s some good resources:
As for no contact, it’s what it says on the tin — you don’t talk to them ever again. End of. You don’t respond to their emails or calls, you don’t acknowledge mail that comes, and that’s that. Yes, it’s a nuclear option, but the fact of the matter is that we set our own damned boundaries. If someone, parent or otherwise, cannot respect them, then they should not be in your life (exception: small children. They’re still learning, obviously). If going no contact is something you have considered, here’s a couple of good reads:
Both of those blogs are pretty darn solid on the whole, and are great resources. I’ve already taken care of contacting family members that I wish to preserve relationships with, so they knew that I had gone no contact and why. I’ve also let friends know that I have gone no contact, and asked them to respect their access to me, and my privacy. So far, it’s been an overwhelmingly positive response, because my friends know me to be a competent, confident person who knows and respects herself. And I do — in spite of the massive amounts of damage growing up in this situation has done to me, going no contact was so ridiculously freeing because I could start picking apart some of it.
And sure, I’ve got a lot of work yet to do, but I can see that I am pretty darn awesome and worthwhile. That I am not a malicious person, that in spite of constant gaslighting and minimizing, I am sure of myself and my actions. I accept that I cannot have a relationship with my mother or her husband, and I am at peace with it. And with this letting go into this space, I am free. I am free. I am free. I am free to live my life for myself and my family. I am freed of the weight of my past, and can finally make the most of the fresh start life gave me… seven years ago. Ah well, better late than never, am I right?
Mind, I still am going to be a bit quiet about some of my life stuff for the time being. I refuse to be budged from my established public space, but I continue to make use of my private word spaces on the daily to fill in any gaps that I cannot express here at this time. So no, I’m not denying myself any writing need, hee hee. I can say that the depressive spell has passed though, and my sleep has been a bit better and less pained! I’ve had a pretty high level of functionality in the past week, which I’m not counting on lasting, but I’ve certainly been enjoying. My family is well, and my life can only be classed as awesome and fulfilling. This is definitely an amazing year for us all.
You are brave and free. Good for you.
Thanks! It’s pretty scary, but awesome-scary. 🙂
Good job!!! Question, though: In my own extended family, my narc mother is known as the all suffering Angel, and I am the ne’er do well who of course would do something unjust like this. I’ve tried to explain to my closest cousins, but that backfired, as they aligned with her. Now I’m rid of those who clearly were not with me to begin with, but I also have no family at all now, except for my own child (an adult), who is autistic so he is made very uncomfortable by the whole thing.
Have you managed to compartmentalize your life in a way that works for you?
Honestly? I cut and run. I have a relationship with both of my sisters, and my maternal grandmother. My little brother is welcome to have a relationship with me as well now that he’s not living with my parents. The three that I do have an active relationship understand that it is contingent on them respecting my privacy and not giving my parents information on myself and my children. My sisters are permitted to have my address (as they have both come to visit since this), while my grandmother has my in-law’s address (which was already known family-wide).
Now, there are some contributing factors. For one, I was ever the red-headed stepchild; I am from my mother’s first marriage, while my three siblings are from her second. I grew up having it constantly reinforced that I was other, unrelated, not a real member of the family (to include one of my stepdad’s sister’s coming up to me at her father’s funeral and asking me how my real father was (!!!). As I have a cordial if distant relationship with my natural father (who had no desire to be a parent and I completely respect that), that was definitely a calculated move to wound.
For second, I live in another country far far away. It’s hard to care what people ‘back home’ are saying about me, and I honestly cannot be arsed to fight the slurs that have been going on behind my back against me all my life. And I guess for thirds… I just don’t care. You can’t please everyone, and I got over trying to do that a looooong time ago.
I dig. When I lived on the other side of the world, I used to call twice a week ago I could hear my father’s voice. I loved my father, and we were big buddies until he became disabled and got Stockholm syndrome. He did get over that, and I was the only one with him when he died. So now I’ll keep my finger on the pulse from afar, show up to do the dirty work, then gone, gone.
And in that, I try to be loving and patient. Cognitive dissonance is rough, and when one party is putting all the pressure on having people buy their woe is me story, standing up against it just… what point is it, really? People are going to go where it’s easier, and that’s the side of the perceived victim.
I will add that in regards to my maternal grandmother, I made it clear that I had my reasons but that I wasn’t going to give them to her. That it would only end up with, if she tried to call my mother on any of it, my mother throwing up her hands about how hard she tried, how much she loves me… you know the score, anything to blame anyone but herself (and I told her that, that I know that’s what my mother would have done). So I didn’t provide my reasons. My sisters were able to understand well enough without a checklist, and to respect that I didn’t do it out of fickle spite.
That’s good that at least they paid attention and didn’t just label you “the outsider,” or whatever.
I think they likely bought it for a long time… but things quit adding up when her repeated assertions that I ‘don’t communicate well’ are widely destroyed by the relative eloquency I have with the written word. One of my sisters, her cognitive dissonance once caused her to lash out at me for blogging, but that was some years back.
Gaslighting. Don’t gotta love it.
I don’t have any siblings, which made the whole thing more complicated, but now my mother has recruited my cousins as her “real” children, making conditions perfect for triangulation! I caught myself doing that with my son. I don’t have to tell him what an ass my mother is, as she belittles me in front of him and even disdains him, her only grandchild, who has dragged himself out of drug addiction and is now finishing up his Ph.D. But mostly he is a wonderful person. But he won’t willingly go and visit her, so he’s shit in her book. Oh well, not a huge loss. But as my therapist says, it would be nice to have an actual mother….
Definitely. I am blessed to have an amazing mother-in-law, and my friends’ mothers often adopted without me quite realising that I needed it. When my BFFFFF’s mother gives me effusive praise, I feel like it’s genuinely meant and hits the heart good.