I only want to Tell the Truth

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.

Hi M,

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.

Cat.

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64 thoughts on “I only want to Tell the Truth

  1. Priceless Joy

    You said what you needed to say and I think that is a major step forward. Hopefully, you felt peace after sending her that email. You’re right. You can no longer pussyfoot around the problem it was time to put a lid on it. Good for you Cat!

    Liked by 1 person

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        1. Cat Post author

          Nah, not me, but maybe them, I’m not sure. We’ll just need to wait and see. My sister won’t tell my mother about the email because that would be facing the narcissist with a few home truths and sister would only be in the firing line, but they know how to run me down regardless of my email. Thanks joy

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            1. Cat Post author

              Oh it will, but maybe not without another few interactions, but when Cat’s mind is made up, well, it’s pretty solid. Many thanks, Joy

              Liked by 1 person

  2. myspokenheart

    Cat, you are doing wonderfully and I will look to you as an example. I KNOW the anxiety and avoidance you speak of. It is so hard sometimes to face it and just tell the truth when you know the ‘consequences’ you will have to endure for doing so. (consequences meaning: guilt trips, the brutal twisting of your words, heated arguments etc) It is so much easier to ignore and avoid.
    BIG HUGS!
    Andrea

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Cat Post author

      Telling the truth amongst narcissists is difficult because they wouldn’t know the truth if it jumped up and bit them on their butt. Thanks Andrea

      Liked by 4 people

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  3. sensuousamberville

    I suspect that this will, in her mind, not be a concluded matter and will be questioning you more. You will need to decide if you want to tell her more or stick to the I don’t want to get into any conversation about this. I again suspect if you give her more, it will be fed to your mother who will react making for some unpleasant confrontation, which will lead nowhere and not do you any good at all. See a hint to stick to your guns. 🙂 subtle huh?

    You didn’t close doors Cat and you were nice about it. Insist on your space now. I am seeing you change so much. Your strength and confidence is showing. You are feeling better about yourself now I think? You maybe seeing what we see a bit more. Looks good doesn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, I will definitely be sticking to my guns, but I’m not sure if I see what other people see because I’m still not sure what other’s DO see. However, I do feel a certain amount of relief, but maybe not as much as I thought I would. It’s work in progress and that’s what counts, I guess. Thank you, Amber

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. edwinasepisodes

    I think you have done the right thing Cat, If you had kept on ignoring the texts then your sister might not have realised the reason why. You have now told her what you are feeling which I think she needed to know. I hope you feel better for doing so, as it was long overdue 🙂

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        1. Cat Post author

          And that was exactly why I resorted to the email rather than just cut them off, which I did years ago. It was important to point out the problems date back to childhood… and can never be the fault of one person. The martyr once said when faced with the physical abuse, “Yes, none of us are perfect.” I know you totally ‘get it’ Lynette and I am grateful, thanks

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  5. Sharon Alison Butt

    Great email. Concise and gracious, yet truthful.

    If you get any backlash, you could simply say, “I am no longer in denial and I refuse to accept the accusations from those who still are.

    I have drawn a line and I will no longer allow myself to be manipulated by destructive words and behaviour. I also refuse to get into discussion about it. Everyone’s born with a conscience, so I politely ask you to use yours. “

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Cat Post author

      My sister also experienced the same early childhood of violence and manipulation, so I guess she knows exactly what I am talking about. Thanks Sharon

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. mandy

    Wow, Cat. You did it. You put it out there, and you didn’t mince words. I suspect your sis knows exactly what life was like for you in childhood–she lived there, too. It would be extremely disrespectful of her to pretend otherwise. (And if she pushed the matter, I would tell her just that.) When I used to take parenting classes because my teen gave me grief, they had “tough love” back then, and there were two sayings that we were taught when dealing with subjects who won’t accept what you’re telling them. “Regardless” and “Never the less.” Example for your case: Sister: “Cat, you’re being ridiculous cutting us off because of something from childhood!” You: “Regardless, I don’t need to explain any more.” Sister: “But, Cat, you’re not being fair!” You, “Never the less, I’m done talking.” Short and succinct. You’re onto something now, Cat. Don’t back down from what your gut instinct tells you is right. Our gut usually has it right. So proud of you!

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, I remember the tough love from when I worked in drug rehab. I doubt my sister would attempt to belittle what I said because she was the victim of child violence in early childhood, but emotional blackmail will likely come my way. Thanks Mandy

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  7. littlevoicetalks

    Just be aware, you will get a ‘passing the buck’ email and ‘I’m not sure what you are on about.’ It is at this point you must not justify anything because narcs don’t get it and they never will. Not that your sister is one but she may relay to your Mother who will squash anything you’ve illuminated as ‘fiction.’

    Just be strong and know that this is what you experienced and you do not have to ‘make them see’. Because the truth of the matter is, they never will.

    Remove yourself and carry on being elusive because you know indifference is showing that no one can affect you good or bad. And narc will manipulate to create any reaction good or bad, to prove they are that important that they can still have some kind of power over you. Xx

    Liked by 4 people

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  8. therabbitholez

    I wonder with your anxiety over the intial texts if you feel that somehow they are trying to take back the control, in that “We contacted you” and were ignored, as you know they want to be the ones that have broken off contact with you for all the reasons you have so far listed.

    I think your e-mail was concise and to the point, and incredibly brave of you to verberlise your feelings and as they say “the truth will set you free”, it needed to be done and it’s another step forward.

    This will of course make them angry, as they’re living in denial,and nothing must shatter that house of glass.

    I notice that it took them 2 weeks to respond to your absence, which speaks volumes about their levels of concerns.

    Take care x

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. Em Well

    As I read this, the only word that kept coming to mind was WOW!!!!
    I take strength from your strength.
    You are doing so much to take care of You. It helps motivate me.
    and you are telling others about it so that they too can learn from your strength and experience.
    I wish there was an award floating around for bravery. You would be a shoe in.

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. hbhatnagar

    I obviously don’t know enough about you to be able to offer advice. I hope you feel better and can move beyond relationships that have hurt you so much. I do wish though, that your sister and you patch things up, My personal experience has been that there are moments when only a sibling can understand you and I’ve wished so hard that I’d had one. Might not be true for you, but there’s no harm in hoping, right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. Andi

    I think your email was honest and open and clear. The ball is in their court. Your only job is to continue to heal. Proud of you xo

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  12. painkills2

    I see them blaming the therapist for putting ideas in your head and twisting things around to suit the patient (after blaming you, of course). Even though we all have our own truths, you’ve put in a lot of time and effort to figure out yours. In other words, you can take pride in seeing through the masks of your childhood and discovering your own truth — a truth they don’t have to agree with, by the way, for it to be valid. Having truth on your side will make you stronger and stronger — such a beautiful sight to see. 🙂

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  13. lynettedavis

    I love the first paragraph, as if to say just in case you haven’t realize it, there’s something wrong here… Narcissist family members love to pretend they don’t know what the problem is.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, that’s precisely why I added that little piece without coming across as finger pointing. I didn’t want a backlash of narc anger, only to severe the ties for a while (at least). Thanks 🙂

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  14. mincs1

    I think you achieved your goal of sending a message without being offensive or aggressive. Your journey is enlightening, Cat. I feel like I am learning so much from what you share and the comments your readers post. Thank-you.

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  15. CUCH

    This is a very big step for you in confronting someone when you freely admit to being terrified of confrontation. I think this is the beginning of the situation changing for you.

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  16. Glynis Jolly

    Dear Cat,
    It took courage to write that letter. I’ve wanted to do a few of those myself. Still, I opt for distance between me and the few who want so much to control and mold me. Why? Because I know that if I send those letters, I’m giving into their need for me to feel guilty and inadequate. I don’t feel guilty. In fact, I think their want of that from me is their projection of their guilty feelings. I also know that I’m not inadequate. If anything, considering my physical limitations, I’ve done more and have been more than they’ll ever be. Again, their want is a projection of their own feelings.

    Now that the letter has been sent, I do hope the burden you’ve been hauling around has gotten lighter. I really do think you’ve come out of the valley and are on your way to the highest peak. ❤

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    1. Cat Post author

      For the first time in my life, I don’t feel guilty either, so appreciate what you’re saying. Narcissistic family dynamics seem to thrive on guilt because it’s the only thing that holds them together. It sounds to me that you are far from inadequate and people are only too ready to project their own miserable thinking onto us because we appear more content with our lot and make the most of it. Yes, up we go, thanks Glynis

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  17. gentlekindness

    The problem with telling our truth to narcissists is that it gives them ammunition. Especially truth about our pain and things they do that have hurt us.
    There is a strong normal human desire for resolution and closure to situations. The narcissist knows that we need disagreements resolved and they deny us this, intentionally, to mentally and emotionally off balance us, and cause us pain and confusion.
    Narcissists use our good nature and our desire to be truthful and fair, against us in the cruelest of ways.
    It is such a terrible thing, that they know we are good and turn it against us. They know we are telling the truth but they call us liers, or mentally ill and unable to remember properly.
    If we think they are saying what they actually believe then we want to convince them that they are missing our side of things.
    But they are fully aware of what they did and why we are hurt . They play these games to destroy .
    Assume they are lying when they tell you they do not remember, they did not mean in the way you took it, or you perceived it wrongly due to your mental issues.
    Blessings,
    Annie

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Annie, you will never know what your comment means today. I’ve just been posting about the response I got to my email, which threw a lot of doubt into the mix, but reading your comment was a clear reminder of what exactly I am dealing with. Thank you so much 🙂 I feel grounded again!

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  18. gentlekindness

    I like the part where you said ” I am tired of pretending everything is ok when clearly it is not.”

    Narcissistic people will often back down when they hear this because you are no longer a fun toy to play with.
    But it depends if they have other buttons to push with you that might make you question yourself.

    If anyone tries to tell you everything is your fault, they have no fault, or they were the victim of others and have no accountability, it might be a whole new ride they want to take you on.

    Be careful when you are the most vulnerable. “Suggestions ” of what they want you to think are your own thoughts, go in easier when you are fatigued, sleep deprived, depressed, in extreme stress and anxiety etc.

    These narcissists seem to have no human soul. It is sad for them, but you cannot save them. It is more dangerous for you, than sad for them.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Oh there are a few buttons they know they can press and this s why I am determined not to give them the chance. “If you’re not part of the problem, then you’re not part of the solution” is totally lost on them. Many thanks for your comments, they mean a great deal

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  19. Ellen

    I don’t have much input on dealing with narcissists Cat, though I struggle with my own family. For me, I end up confused, feeling bad but not knowing what happened.

    As I am a black and white type of person, to your email, I was just wondering if you need to also say that you want no contact for now, and will get back in touch if things change? But you will see – it was a good email in terms of your sharing why you don’t want contact. Just, if I got that email, I might take it as meaning you don’t want to discuss family dynamics, not that you want no contact about anything whatsoever.

    I’ll be following to see how it all pans out. Hope you feel lots of peace around your decision to focus on you and keep away from people who trigger you.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Maybe you’re right, but I am unsure if it would make any difference. I just posted about her response, so it will be interesting to see what comes next. Thanks Ellen

      Liked by 1 person

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  20. paininhidingabuse

    Hi cat you keep amazing me as you plod forward good on you for how you handled things ! keep taking care Lisa

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  21. Pingback: Implementing no Contact with the Narcissists | My Travels with Depression

  22. D.G.Kaye

    Good for you Cat. I know how hard it is to be caught in those conversations, and I like you, felt the same way about replying. We can never win with those people, yet we feel guilty for ignoring without explanation, of which would be pointless. An endless circle of ending up at the same destination.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, you’re so spot on, it will always be a no-win situation and it’s the endless circle I want to stamp out. Maybe there’s a life beyond the no-contact, but that’s not what’s on my mind at this stage. Thank you so much for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

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  23. Pingback: The Fear Depresses me the Most | My Travels with Depression

  24. Janice Wald

    Hi,
    You liked my June 29 Linky party. I am sorry I was away. If jet lag doesn’t get the best of me, I will have one tomorrow. Look at all these people. Congrats on an engaged community. I know Debby Kaye. It’s great you give support to people. Sorry I missed your June visit.
    Janice

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Janice, I enjoyed your link party and hope you’re over the jet lag, the cruise sounds well worth it.

      Thanks, community is so important to me.

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