Escaping the Narcissistic Mother

*Trigger warning*

Yesterday was the first therapy session with Paul in almost two weeks. The last time we met, my rumination over family dynamics had reached saturation point and the narcissistic mother was at the helm. We had no idea she was already planning her next cunning move.

Paul was already on holiday by the time news filtered through about my mother and sister visiting my home city, London. The potential fiasco happened last weekend and I honestly thought refusing to meet might trigger an onslaught of self-recriminations and hours in the company of our old friend, Mr Rumination.

As soon as I finished writing my last post, I had an amazing sense of peace surrounding my decision. For the first time in my life, I had taken a stance against these people without battling with the usual self-doubt and guilt. When the martyr’s plane touches down at London’s Heathrow Airport, it can often feel like a tornado landing, but this time it was no more than a gentle breeze.

On Saturday morning, I received text number two from my sister, “We’re on our way to the Chelsea Flower Show,” which is only 20min from where I live. I had already stonewalled my mother a couple of weeks earlier, but it appears she conveniently forgot while manipulating my sister into organising the trip. This is an old trick of the martyr’s, but I’ve never been able to see through it.

I had two choices. Reply and risk our contact snowballing into anger or refrain from any involvement by simply not answering the text. I chose the latter. I waited all day for the guilt to creep in, I even searched in case it was hiding, but I could not find it anywhere.

I doubt anyone could resolve relationship problems within a predominantly narcissistic family because the narcissists only believe in the faults of other people. Nevertheless, I’m tired of pretending everything is okay. I can no longer make feeble excuses and, “Sorry, I’m too busy,” is only colluding with the dysfunction.

Realising mother is a textbook narcissist is liberating and this might be difficult for most people to understand. Narcissists are faultless and will always need a scapegoat to direct their blame and to boost their own histrionic ego. To feel free of this weight is a tremendous relief. I will write a couple of posts about it next week.

I know this is the end of our relationship because the only thing that chained us together was my guilt. I told Paul that I feel different, very different. I am feeling free of the childhood trauma and of the ‘Scapegoat’ title that came from within the same dysfunctional family that caused the trauma in the first place.

Paul said I look and sound different. I’m more confident and decisive, as though I can finally see clearly for the first time in my life. This is exactly how I feel and it was especially nice to hear Paul acknowledge this amazing transition.

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51 thoughts on “Escaping the Narcissistic Mother

  1. sensuousamberville

    That is one of those moments in therapy that I love. One of those big moments when the patient passes a massive hurdle. Realization invades them, you can see aaahaa flow through them. A chain is severed. 🙂

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  2. Priceless Joy

    I had to laugh at the phrase, “I even searched for it in case it was hiding.” Haha! This post makes me so happy Cat! I see it as you refusing to carry all that baggage anymore. I love what Paul told you. I love even more what you have become. Good for you! Celebration time!

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  3. mandy

    Oh Cat, my heart is swelling with pride, as though you were my first-born taking his first steps. (Of course that would make me REALLY old so you know I have a good imagination, lol!) Seriously I’m so happy for you, Cat. You did this on your own–Paul wasn’t there, wasn’t aware the villain was there in the shadows, you were on your own, and you conquered that guilt that tied you to her. hear it in your writing, your new peace and freedom. Awesome X 100!! 😀

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    1. Cat Post author

      The guilt and self-blame were blown out the window as soon as I understood narcissism! The peace and certainty are an unusual treat, thanks, Mandy

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  4. Sharon Alison Butt

    I am speechless with joy! What a milestone! Even Paul has seen a difference in you – how encouraging that must feel. This blogging community of friends and supporters must feel like all getting together and having a party in your honour. I know Priceless would be there and Anxious Mom. Edwina would show up and right behind her would be a Rabbit Hole. Then Mandy would make an appearance together with Sensuous Amberville, not to mention Jamborobyn who’d be dancing around you. Oh, they’d be so many of us there with glass in hand, rejoicing with you till the early hours of the morning!

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  5. chromegurl

    I am so, so happy for you! I think a switch flips when we recognize the narc for who they are–and you are right, poof, the guilt dissipates. My ex-husband is a narc and now that I seem him for what he is, I am no longer emotionally pulled by him in any way. It is a relief.

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  6. Darque

    I am thrilled for you! My last abuser (husband) of 20+ years was a narcissistic psychopath & I know how difficult it was to take back the control of my life (only after I had lost everything). I don’t know you personally, but reading your blog shows that you are healing… It’s nice to “watch” you grow and become more self-confident. YOU did this, it was all YOU! You continue to inspire me & give me hope…

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  7. Glynis Jolly

    BRAVO! I am so happy for you that I want to bust. You just gracefully stepped over a large boulder. There was no huffing and puffing. You definitely didn’t need to do any climbing. You didn’t slide down the other side. You just gently landed with both feet firmly on the ground. YAY! ❤

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thanks Carol Anne, freedom is indeed awesome, I just wish they wouldn’t keep jumping out the woodwork from time to time

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  8. MC

    Hard reading these. I grew up with a martyr grandmother who ruled her family through manipulation and two of her offspring were sociopathic. Ah… so many joyful memories. (she says sarcastically. You have to find the dark humour in life or you’d run off a cliff!)

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    1. Cat Post author

      I am all for the dark humour, MC. No one can truly appreciate what it’s like to be up against a narcissist martyr unless they’ve experienced one first hand. When I was reading about narcissism, I could not help but see my sister, which was difficult to accept because we always got along so well, but those traits were there. Thank you MC for your comment. I’m finding it hard to concentrate on reading and writing, so your comment is appreciated 🙂

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  9. Londi

    Hi Cat,
    I’m pleased for you and I must confess, also jealous.

    I’m stuck in the middle of the onslaught of recovery.I have finally managed to identify and engage with my inner child and she is goddam angry! She is angry at everyone but mostly her family who let her down so much.The trouble is that everyone is so nice to be now and it appears as if I am the aggressor.I was the scapegoat.Mother was narcissistic ( according to me) We all admired her( more fear than admiration) but I always knew the truth and was scapegoated for it.I am still ‘the troublemaker ‘ .

    My issue is that my therapist sounded like she was blaming me as well in our session yesterday.She was looking for all the evidence that my golden child sister ‘loves’ me and I come out of therapy feeling bad about myself.I feel this is another person saying ‘ your feelings are wrong’ .This is how they kept me in check in my family , by invalidating my feelings.

    Thank you for your post and I hope that you have only got stronger and stronger.Your post has given me the strength to trust and believe myself.My therapist is generally very good but she got this one wrong.I am allowed to hate my family for what they did to me and I will( secretly) .My mother finally died in January, still needy as ever and demanding her narcissistic supply! I feel free, less to be guilty about.

    I found your posts in sheer desperation and I am glad because you write as I feel.

    Thank you most sincerely,

    Londiwe

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    1. Michelle Yd Frost

      Hi Londi… I’m jumping in before Cate. I got your reply as an update from Cate’s blog, which I subscribe to. It’s the topic of anger that got me needing to come here and reply. I find that a lot of people (including thereapists) don’t really deal with anger. It’s like they tag human emotions as “good” or “bad” and then the plan is basically – stop the bad ones.

      It seems to me like your therapist sees anger as “bad” and thus she’s doing everything to squash it, hide it or even… make you feel guilty in order to let it go? But anger is NOT a bad emotion, it’s only what you do with anger that is good or bad. Emotions are not moral, they simply are what we feel. And trying to ignore them, or shove em in a box… it never works. They just pop out in all the worst ways.

      So you are still angry… that means you still need to own the anger and really sit down and get to know the anger before it will ever ease off and go away. And that is GOOD, because the anger is HEALTHY. Anger is the human emotion that sums up “this isn’t right”. Heck… even Jesus used that ANGER when he threw the merchants out of his Father’s house!

      Anger is what keeps people alive. Anger overcomes fear and even pain. It pushes us through the worst times and helps us survive. Healthy anger is a wonderful thing – it moves mountains. Healthy anger is the emotion that creates change. It’s the “this has to stop” emotion and that is ALWAYs good. THe only time anger becomes “bad” is actually when we deny it or try to smother it. When you shove anger into your heart or try to avoid it… it begins to fester and then it can turn into something REALLY unhealthy.

      If you can… I’d throw it back at your therapist and ask, “why does my anger bother you so much?” because it feels to me like your therapist means well (trying to get you to let go, be happy, forgive everyone), but they are maybe putting their own personal moral bias on the situation.

      IMO… you’ll never get rid of the anger by denying it, I know first hand. Welcome the anger for what it teaches you. And when you’re over the lesson… the anger will leave naturally.

      Wow… sorry Cate. That was quite a soapbox moment. 😀

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