My mother is a narcissist. She has a kind of love that needs to feed off brokenness.
I write this not to hurt her, but because I know there are so many others with mother’s like mine.
I am a great disappointment to my mother. She disapproves of my lifestyle. My lifestyle is defiantly traditional, marriage, kids, Christianity, white picket fences. All my life I wanted “normal,” a good man, healthy children, a home, stability. I got it all, ten fold, although sometimes it’s a bit like the Addams family around here, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
If I had developed a drug habit, wallowed in feelings of persecution, perceived myself as a victim, my mother would have delighted in me. Her particular pathology requires those around her to reflect her identity back to her. Anyone experiencing too much success, joy, health, are perceived as a threat. We are oppressors making her feel bad about herself. She may not even be aware of it, but she is driven to sow seeds of discord around her, so she can rush in like a martyr and cluck her disapproval.
The thing is, it’s all about her, all of the time, and the health and well being of those around her becomes a conflict of interest. She’s not there to help or fix the situation, she’s there to feel better about herself, morally superior. Your continued angst, boosts her self esteem. Her emotions, her feelings dictate every situation
Narcissistic mothers tend to put a great burden on their children. I’ve spent my entire life trying to take care of her, help her out, make her life better. Narcissistic mothers teach their children to perceive them as victims, they tie you to them with these bonds of pity and guilt. My mother has attempted to drain me emotionally, financially, psychologically, a bit like a vampire feeds off a person’s life energy.
It’s a distortion, a perversion of love. She can’t help it.
I don’t know what made my mother this way, but I know that pride/shame dichotomy plays a significant role. It’s a very feminine form of pride, one that I honestly don’t really understand. She perceives herself as compassionate, as humble, but it is an act of self deception, because pride tells her she is the only one who truly cares about others, who is capable of such humility and self
I have a very defiant nature. When I was a child, God told me to do everything backwards. Everything people say to you, reverse it and you will find the truth. I listened, I obeyed, and I took those instructions very seriously. I even walked backwards for weeks on end, slamming into trees, falling into the creek, nearly being
hit by cars. What can I say, when God tells you to do something, you do it with all your heart and soul. That reversing everything, that bass akwards approach to logic, has served me incredibly well. In math, if you reverse an equation, you can check your answers and test the truth. In politics, the truth is pretty much always
going to be the opposite of what’s being said. “No new taxes,” means there’s going to be lots of new taxes. “I did not have sex with that woman,” means I slept with that woman and half a dozen others.
When you live with a narcissist, you are simply a mirror reflecting their reality back to them. Everything they do or say is a projection of themselves and if you reverse it like a mirror image, you will find the truth.
I have forgiven my mother many times over. She did the best she could with what she had. I see her for what she is and I love her anyway. It’s a difficult relationship because I cannot comply with her need for brokenness. I may
have been the bug on several people’s windshields, but I will never be a proper victim. I am the kind of person that would go to the gallows laughing, because I know that there is strength in weakness and when I am broken,
God is always right there.
About 3 years ago I had a major marital crisis. My mother wound up homeless, ill, in need of care. My husband is a big believer in taking care of your own, including his wife’s own. I did not want my mother to come live with us. He said we couldn’t leave her to deal with the consequences of her own actions. I said, oh yes, we certainly could. There was much shrieking. Unfair, God, terribly unfair. I pondered divorce, smuggling myself off in a shipping container, anything but this. Hubby is very understanding, very accommodating, very kind, but he often wins eventually, so my mother came to live with us.
In such an ironic twist, love, the real kind, compels me to put his honor, his integrity, before my own desires. He needs to provide and care for my mother, it is his identity, it reflects who he is as a man, as a husband. The irony is that my mother, even in her brokenness, has inadvertently taught me what true love is really all about.
That man Mother, the one you disapprove of so strongly, the one you shoot daggers at with your eyes? It’s that man’s honor that now looks out for you, not mine. I wish you could see him as I do, but you’re caught in a trap of your own making, a trap I am powerless to free you from.