Approaching the Martyred Mother

I can’t remember ever feeling in awe of my own self before. I wonder if this is what happens when we begin to love and respect ourselves. Only a few weeks ago, my actions would’ve been unthinkable… unimaginable, but things have taken an unexpected turn.

My original intention was to wait until the narcissistic mother made contact before sending a similar email to the one I sent my sister. I realised that to delay the inevitable only deprives me of escaping those life-sucking narcissistic demands, not to mention feeling free of my soul-destroying scapegoat role.

A couple of hours slowly passed yesterday afternoon, pondering my words and debating the potential consequences. One of the worst things you can do to a narcissist is suggest they’re at the helm of a dysfunctional family, or are the perpetrators of disturbing childhood memories. With these sacrilegious thoughts in mind, the great unspoken became the basis of my very brief email. It may well spell the end, but I could no longer pretend.

I doubt if I’ve ever put trust in my own instincts and knowledge, rather than feel enslaved to guilt and self-blame. Almost every piece of information on narcissistic mothers suggests a time of no contact, maybe even a lifetime. It seemed ridiculous to send my sister an email, while procrastinating over sending one to the person who deserves to hear it the most.

If I expected to feel relieved, maybe overjoyed, I would soon be disappointed. As soon as I hit ‘send’, a deep sense of loss and guilt rippled through the rest of the day. I don’t ever expect a response and while this is a relief, it feels like the final nail in my own coffin, although that does feel strangely gratifying.

My email does something no other family member has ever had the courage to do; it tells the truth. The truth to a narcissistic mother is like brandishing a crucifix at Dracula, and the turning to dust scenario is rather stupid, but appealing.

The narcissistic martyr believes in her own perfection and she programed her children to think of her feelings and needs first. I spent time yesterday focussing on how it must feel to read my email, her hurt, disappointment and fury, all swirling around her head like a swarm of angry wasps.

Last night I realised that I have feelings too and I deserve to feel them. What about the treatment we endured as children, or the demands and manipulation tolerated through my adult life… what about my own sense of loss, or my own grief for never bonding with narcissistic parents? Maybe it’s time to think about my own needs without feeling haunted by the martyred mother’s warped emotions.

If I ever want to rekindle contact in the future, I would need to make the first move, which will probably never happen. In many ways, I’m glad to feel an element of sorrow, even guilt, because it demonstrates that I didn’t become one of them.

Advertisements

53 thoughts on “Approaching the Martyred Mother

  1. kat

    that final coffin nail you felt you were hammering into your own coffin…..it is. it is the death of the old you, the scapegoat you. you are finally letting it go, moving on, being your own self. by ending that self, you open your new, free self to live and progress. congrats!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  2. Priceless Joy

    This statement is so true: “The narcissistic martyr believes in her own perfection and she programed her children to think of her feelings and needs first. I spent time yesterday focussing on how it must feel to read my email, her hurt, disappointment and fury, all swirling around her head like a swarm of angry wasps.” Everything you wrote here is so very true and makes so much sense. I agree with Kat. You have severed that dysfunctional tie that binds you to her. I believe now that your life will improve in leaps and bounds because you have stopped her “control” over your life and emotions. Good for you Cat! I’m happy for you.

    Like

    Reply
      1. Priceless Joy

        Well, if she is anything like my mother, there will be some backlash, and definitely probably the “guilt trip.” I feel you are strong emotionally and will handle it well. (Strange, I started and ended my paragraph with the same word. lol)

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Cat Post author

          Well, yes, there would’ve been backlash years ago, but we’re almost completely estranged, anyway, so she’s more inclined to be passive aggressive, which suits, I will do well

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
  3. littlevoicetalks

    And now it’s time to let go. You can forgive at the same time as never forgetting. Forgiveness doesn’t mean having to have contact but I guess in the end if you can forgive, you will have more room for the good stuff that you so rightly need and absolutely deserve.

    You’ve said what you needed but again if she does come back at you angry, promise me you will not respond to that anger and feel you have to justify your position because you most certainly do not.

    If she replies, in true narc fashion, she’ll just revel that’s she’s riled you enough for you to respond and then I bet the communication stops. You do not need to suffer that. It’s a clever turn to make you feel rejected and out of control so that she feels she’s won (yes won) the control back. You need that as much as you need a hole in your head.

    Proud of you. Great courage in your bid to find some peace. Great movement forward in respecting yourself and what is acceptable and unacceptable in your relationship xx

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Cat Post author

      Forgiveness is a big word for me, but that process is probably already happening without realising.

      I think my sister tried to contact me at the weekend so she could claim back control. Mum is more passive aggressive. Either way, I have no intention of responding.

      Thank you for your encouraging comment

      Like

      Reply
  4. cardamone5

    I know that guilt/loss feeling when you send truthful communications. I used to think it meant I was a sucker, but now I think it means I am not my father. I actually feel empathy for people, even him, and I think that’s what’s going on with you too. Celebrate your empathy, and allow yourself to be sad. You are a good person, who deserves only love and support from here on out.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  5. therabbitholez

    Bravo Cat

    I read this twice, you have taken a monumental step in severing the past, which can never be undone, but your no longer enslaved to the destructive vindictive behaviours of your mother.

    It brings to mind a line from one of my favourite films Now Voyager, when Charlotte comes back from her cruise and tells her mother “I’m not afraid”.

    3 little words that have a powerful effect on your life from here on end, the one person who should have been your protector was your tormentor, but no more your free from the tyranny, and even better than that you can still show some feeling towards how she might feel, that makes you so much more a better person that she could ever imagine, and will never get to know.

    Ghandi said it best, “speak the truth even if your voice shakes” you did and it has set you free.

    xx

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Cat Post author

      It’s surprising just how many years I was enslaved, but yes, I agree, I’d rather feel a little towards her and our demise, than nothing at all.

      I love the quote from Ghandi because my voice does shake when I try to speak truth in group therapy, especially when someone winds me up, but I’m getting better at it. Incidentally, the narcissistic mother says Ghandi will go to hell because he didn’t accept Jesus as his saviour…. yes, it’s her usual condemnation, it makes her feel better about herself.

      Thank you so much for your wise comments

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. therabbitholez

        The thing about narcissists is they just keep on giving don’t they, it must really be a living hell for them as everybody is wrong and the rest of us just don’t see it.

        Leave them and their ilk to their misery best place for em.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
  6. Ellen

    Sometimes it feels great to take the initiative and firmly state what we want. Hoping your mother accepts your decision gracefully. The sense of the hugeness of this step for you comes through loud and clear.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you, Carol Anne, I believe I will benefit from it further down the line… heck, I feel those benefits already

      Like

      Reply
  7. Lola

    Congratulations, Cat. This is powerful healing work you’re doing! Remind yourself that narcissists have no capacity for introspection. It’s not a judgement. It’s simply a fact. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  8. mandy

    I recognize that you’re on a “roll” Cat. I was like that, thinking I’d just take it slow and deal with one thing at time, see what happens. But once I started it was all systems go. It felt good to clean house. I can imagine the trepidation you feel at not hearing from your mum, but the narcissist uses silence to torture, also. Funny, we don’t want to hear from them, yet we want to clear up what they are thinking in our minds. I hope you remember what you said you figured she might be thinking: “hurt, disappointment and fury, all swirling around her head like a swarm of angry wasps”. You, Cat, have been feeling that for how many years? And who has cared? Take care of you dear friend. You are getting there! So proud of you.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Cat Post author

      It was the truth that got to me Mandy. As soon as I could see it, I didn’t want to point the finger and accuse, but neither could I pretend. My email was only 100 words and very neutral, but to a narc mother, it is dynamite. For once, her passive aggressiveness is working in my favour and I don’t expect to hear and there is no guilt or sorrow, but that’s what’s so tragic about it. As the hours tick by, I feel more at peace… free!

      Thank you, Mandy

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. Andi

    You have so much room to fill now. The possibilities are endless. You have all this space for real love and affection. This is huge. You are remarkable. So very proud. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  10. Glynis Jolly

    You did it! Bravo! Just out of curiosity and care, have you had any thoughts as to which direction your life is going to take now? Your life is now, more or less, a blank slate again. It’s going to be exciting and mind-boggling.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  11. D. Wallace Peach

    It seems that you witnessed something important – an inner Cat that not only needs, but is worthy of your own love, respect, and care. Childhood wounds are so ingrained because we internalize the harm inflicted on us by those who are supposed to love us unconditionally. Now, with the eyes of an adult, you can look at the wounded child, and say, “This wasn’t about you; you are not flawed. This is their baggage that you no longer have to lug around in your head and heart. You were a child and children believe in the infallibility of fallible people.” Every hour of every day forgive yourself for ever believing any of this was your fault. One morning you will wake up and no longer need to repeat those words, because you’ll know they’re true. Good luck and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Cat Post author

      Learning about narcissism has been one of the most validating experiences, but seeing things from a different perspective does take a bit of getting used to. It’s all positive and that’s the main thing, thank you

      Liked by 2 people

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

  13. Anxious Mom

    Good for you, Cat, I’m proud of you!

    I was talking to my husband about drafting an email to my dad laying it ALL out. Holding him accountable for everything he’s done, telling the truth as you said, since no one else will. Hubby doesn’t think I should, if I do “formally break away,” but I do want the truth out, like you.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Cat Post author

      Telling the truth has been the most important part for me, the no contact is just a bonus. Writing might be cathartic to you, but he would never see it any differently. My email was only about 100 words, but it said about the dysfunctional family and unhappy childhood and the fact it can never be one persons fault. That was it, sounds simple, but to a narcissist it is an insult and dynamite. Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Anxious Mom

        That’s very true. And he’d never read what I imagine would amount to 30 pages of text either 😉

        I like your email. Leaving her to ponder what she could have possibly done instead of spelling it out will probably get under her skin more.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply

Your feedback counts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s