I posted about my current relationship problems with my mother and sister a couple of weeks ago when they were visiting my home city, London. This was the post. Despite trying to be polite to the martyred mother about being too busy that weekend, she still manipulated her golden child into texting me, anyway, “We’re here.”
When I didn’t answer my sister’s text, I was reasonably hopeful that it might be the last I hear from them for some time. They would be mad I hadn’t complied, while I was revelling in the thought of an all-out estrangement.
That was until Monday night when I was trying to relax in front of the telly. As soon as the ping-pong chimed on my mobile phone (cell phone), I just knew it had to be my sister, “How is everything with you, Cat?”
My heart sank. I realised that I would much prefer NEED to opt for the no-contact rule, which seems quite common amongst adult children of narcissistic parents. I decided to ignore the text. I am done with pretending everything is okay with polite meaningless chat or invitations to lunch, but of course, that wasn’t quite the end of the matter. The next day, I receive an email
“Just wondering if everything is okay since I have messaged you a couple of times but got no response.”
Let us not forget that I usually only speak to my sister every 8 to 12 weeks and she never texts, other than to carry the narcissistic mother’s messages.
I didn’t want to respond, but thought a reply might put her mind at rest in case she was wondering if I might be ill, or something, I emailed back, “I’m fine.” Surely, she would now take the hint.
Every part of my insides were screaming out just to speak the truth – we are a dysfunctional family with serious problems and it is not all my fault – but this is not the scapegoat’s role and rule number one of a narcissistic family is never to recognise a problem within the perceived perfection.
I couldn’t understand why I felt so nervous, heart pounding with the adrenaline pumping and the coward in me just hoped she might go away. How can the scapegoat dare to tell the truth?
She emailed back, “Are you getting my text messages?”
I spoke to Paul yesterday in therapy and realised I am actually terrified of telling the truth. There is nothing to be gained from conversation with narcissists, but neither do I want to leave them with the chance to solely blame me for the estrangement, “It’s all Cat’s fault, we tried and he pushed us away.”
For the first time in my life, I want to stand up to them without being offensive or even remotely aggressive. This has nothing to do with blame, but I only want to tell the truth.
Today, I wrote a very short reply to my sister’s email and I am intrigued what people think.
While I’ve been in therapy, I realised that we are a very dysfunctional family. There have been relationship problems between my parents and me since childhood to the present day. You might not realise it, but this has been devastating to deal with as a child, and as an adult.
I don’t necessarily have any particular problem with you, but you do come as part of that package and if anything stands between us, it’s this.
The situation is difficult for everyone and I’m tired of pretending that everything is okay when it clearly is not.
Any kind of relationship problem can never be the fault of one person, but this is not something we can all agree on, not at this time, anyway. To be honest, I don’t want to get into any conversation about this. While I go through my therapy, I need to take the time to be by myself and work through my own things.