Tag Archives: narcassism

Secrets in Big Sky Country Review

FINAL SBSC front cover 44-17-15jpgIt was a great honour to be one of the first to read Mandy Smith’s new book, “Secrets in Big Sky Country.” I’ve looked forward to the release date and the opportunity to share this tragic and courageous memoir, which I highly recommend.

Mandy and Cliff’s childhood changed long before they understood the consequences of their mother’s decisions to divorce their father and then embark on a relationship with his brother. This would affect the siblings for the rest of their lives, but it was never about the children, only the narcissistic mother’s needs were important.

From the age of three years old, Mandy came to know her uncle as daddy, who quickly replaced the attention that was severely lacking from her self-absorbed mother. Mandy was his special little girl, but while her innocence soaked up his apparent attentiveness, he had other depraved ideas of his own. His manipulative grooming techniques and subsequent abuse roamed freely through childhood and into her teens, but Mandy’s most heart breaking experience was yet to come.

I’ve read a few memoirs about abuse in childhood, but Mandy presents a very different story, which is not too graphic or difficult to read. Without a doubt, she is an amazing storyteller of the facts and her book is a real page-turner. Mandy’s ability to dust herself down repeatedly and then move forward in the face of so much adversity is truly inspirational.

Whether you are a survivor looking for validation and healing, or a professional seeking a better understanding of child abuse, Mandy’s book will take you on that journey and stay with you for a very long time to come.

The book is now available on Amazon here and includes a wonderful review by Brad Hutchinson Executive Director of The Gatehouse

This is Mandy’s blog, ‘Healing beyond Survival.’


Contrary to Christian Scripture, spanking is abuse

I am quite sure there will be many who disagree with me, but my blood ran cold when I read thisth (7) statement “Is your child unruly, undisciplined, or disrespectful?” It immediately raised questions over how much love and respect the child might be receiving at home, or if the lack of mutual reverence is behind a lot of the unhappiness.

I shouldn’t have read this particular blog post and it was probably wrong of me to comment, but it’s not okay when Christian’s use Bible verses to justify abuse against children and, yes, I do consider spanking a child as unnecessary and cruel abuse.

The author of this blog was promoting a 20-page booklet, which seems to be the miracle cure for children with behaviour problems. The more I read, the clearer it became as to why this type of parent is experiencing problems in the first place.

If one follows the draconian steps of beating and intimidating a child into obedience, then I’m quite sure the parent’s life may well be a little easier. But, will this approach contribute to a psychologically balanced child who grows into a secure and happy adult?

When I was a Christian, I enjoyed pondering the teachings of Jesus. I remember how he viewed children as innocent and certainly never “little monsters” that deserve “the rod” to teach them the error of their ways.

In the Bible, Jesus said, “Unless you are like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” This doesn’t sound as if he condoned the physical or emotional abuse of a child, so why do some Christian’s justify this by quoting Biblical scriptures that date back to a time when sacrificing your child on a alter was a Godly thing to do?

The author then goes onto say that a child will act like a heathen with no moral standing if they don’t reflect God’s authority. Of course, this is completely incorrect, as well as ridiculous. I’ve witnessed more morals among non-Christian children and adults than those who attend church on a weekly basis. In my opinion, the following statements are testament to the “moral standards” contained in the author’s post.

“We must strive to teach our children to honour and respect the parent, no matter how sick, weak, or incapable we are as parents.”

“The rod is a useful tool for a foolish child”

“Spanking your child is a good and Godly act.”

“Love your child by spanking them.”

“The parent who spares the rod hates their child.”

I don’t see anything in there about Jesus’ teachings of love, honour, respect, and forgiveness. Jesus said in the bible, “Whoever humbles himself as a little child is the greatest in heaven.” This doesn’t imply that it’s okay to humiliate and terrify your child by using violence to address behavioural issues.

I had behavioural problems as a child, which spiralled as I grew from toddler to teenager. I don’t ever remember my parents trying to help ME understand why I demonstrated little ability or willingness to obey any type of rule.

Slaps on the legs as a toddler soon escalated to dad holding me down on the bed as a five-year old while pounding my bare bottom black and blue. By the time I reached nine-years old, until I left home at seventeen, I would get a slap, punch, or kick and sometimes all three, whenever I broke the rules.

Obviously, I didn’t like the violence and I was petrified of my stern father, so I was confused as to why I was unable to be perfect, rather than misbehave and face another potential leathering. It never occurred that a lot of my misbehaviour was actually quite normal, but the expectations and discipline were not.

What their violent discipline did do was create secretiveness and distance. While growing up, I was never able to trust or like them enough to sit in the same room and share family time. When neighbours were sexually abusing their child and then teenager, I was unable to approach either parent for guidance due to fear of a beating.

My parents will defend their actions as unconditional love and guidance, but this does nothing for the psychological damage I’m still trying to repair in therapy today.

th4AG1UDCTSmacking children is a lazy option to parenting and does little to encourage healthy development. A child needs the support and guidance of a loving parent, but fear of physical punishment will only discourage them from discussing and learning from their mistakes with mum and dad by their side.

We wouldn’t smack another adult for misbehaving or making a mistake, hitting out at children is an extreme abuse of power and this is not okay.

Psychology Today on Smacking

Group Therapy Dynamics, the effects of narcissism

The update on our hot-headed beer delivery driver from my last post concludes that he will not be representing the company again, oh shit! This news tinges any satisfaction with regret. I’ve always felt responsible for other people’s feelings and their misfortunes, which raises one of the biggest challenges I’m about to face in group therapy tomorrow…urgh.

I was the only member to show face at last Friday’s group session. I understand why some of the others find commitment a challenge, but their absence can affect everyone else’s therapy. It was a rather odd experience, although I was equally pleased to speak to the two group Therapists alone.

While I am careful what I write about group, I do feel it’s acceptable to discuss an issue from the perspective of how it affects my own therapy.

I perceive one of the group members as extremely vulnerable and I’m always fearful ofth74HYDPIJ tipping him over the edge into deeper depression or suicidal feelings. Since the beginning of this programme, he has irritated me on a number of occasions by talking for large amounts of time during the session. It doesn’t seem to matter who is talking, everything will eventually revolve back to his plight and he will think nothing of interrupting with similar tales of woe.

While I was talking to the Therapists on Friday, I realised this group member represents my own mother. Everything had to revolve back to her and I bore the brunt of those temperamental moods, while accepting blame for many misfortunes too. If I had the audacity to speak my mind or show any kind of negative emotion, it would ultimately lead to disapproval with some form of rejection thrown in for good measure.

Whenever this group member talks incessantly, I seem to experience a weird fear response and rather than exert my own contribution, I withdraw and start to shut down. The adrenaline soars through my veins in seconds and it feels as though I am trembling from head to toe. My heart pounds so hard against my chest, I will come close to losing my voice completely.

I’ve only ever experienced this kind of response in the group. I can be as mouthy as the next person can, but I go to great lengths to project a calm and confident persona and this ‘fear response’ blows my cover completely, which feels humiliating.

The last session I attended with this “talkative” group member, I started to lose patience. I was so terrified of imposing on his vulnerabilities, I quickly became overwhelmed with fear of stepping on his toes. When someone noticed I was quiet, the only words I could squeeze from my voice box were, “I can’t contribute… it wouldn’t be very nice.”

Apparently, my fellow-groupy is very upset because my response suggests I am annoyed with him and his topic of discussion. Of course, I only perceive his response as ‘poor me’, which almost expects some kind of explanation at our next session. Once again, everything needs to revolve back to him.

Children of narcissistic parents grow up believing in their own selfishness. We quickly learn that the parent’s needs and feelings come first. If the child shows anything resembling a free will, the narcissist will tarnish the ‘ungrateful little brat’ as rude and ungrateful. Punishments can easily escalate from verbal abuse through to physical assault, or the silent treatment might hang in the air for days. Both responses carry the ultimate message of disapproval and rejection if we dare speak out against them.

thCRZ1VW5DGroup therapy represents our mini world and that includes certain family dynamics, which is why it can be such an uncomfortable and painful experience. It’s one thing to identify the cause and effects of a problem, but overcoming the most challenging aspects often depend on action. No one is asking me to confront these fears by speaking out, although the very nature of therapy invites us to act upon whatever pulls on our conscience the most.

I need to face my fear of rejection whenever I am unwilling to please another person. I have no other choice but to tell this man how I feel at tomorrow’s group, but I am not looking forward to it. This is something I need to do for myself. After all, this is my therapy too.

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.

The Narcassistic Mother returns

As most readers might remember, the brain-swirling rumination over family dynamics reached saturation point last week. Maybe I needed to get that exhaustive state before I could find enough motivation to end it.

I told Paul, my Therapist, the last thing I need while therapy is in progress is to be around a narcissistic mother. The slightest connection has the potential to bring all our hard work and the non-rumination policy crashing through the floor.

I explained to Paul that it’s highly likely mum will manipulate my sister into organising a trip to London in the next few weeks. He wondered why I was so certain.

I received a text from the martyr about five-weeks ago, which was the first in over 8-10mths. The relationship is not only dysfunctional, but it’s also heart breaking. We’ve not even communicated by phone in over fifteen years.

Anyway, she was thinking about visiting London on her own but when she added, “But I’ll need your help to get around,” I could feel that familiar ball and chain slowly wrap its way around my neck and I promptly turned her down with the feeble excuse of being too busy.

The martyr has never been able to take ‘no’ for answer. I knew she would soon find something else in London, like an exhibition, and set about manipulating my sister into organising the trip as well as taking responsibility for texting me their plans.

On Tuesday this week, only six days after my prediction, my prophecy came true with a text from my sister. Un-bloody-believable. They are in London this weekend for the Chelsea Flower Show, which is only twenty minutes’ walk from where I live.

My sister did not suggest we meet, but the text still asks, albeit in a rather passive aggressive manner. There’s no need to tell me how disappointed and hurt they are, or how selfish and inconsiderate I am, because they have said it all before, countless times.

The martyr hasn’t texted… yet. My next prediction is that their disapproval will trickle from my mobile phone like poison.

It was strange to have the non-rumination policy put to the test so soon, but I’ve managed it quite well. Yes, indulging in the odd rant here and there does prove too tempting at times, but I do swat those thoughts like flies, eventually.

Nevertheless, my guilty conscience is in overdrive this week. The fact is, the martyr’s narcissism robs her of the ability to see past herself. She views the relationship problem as it stands today, in the shape of me rejecting her. Her abusive and manipulative behaviour simply does not exist.

My sister and I get along reasonably well and even though she was also a victim of our mother’s abuse, she cannot help but feel sorry and guilty on her behalf. We were always responsible for our mother’s moods. Each time I refuse to meet the martyr, it tears my sister and I further apart.

I am angry and pissed off. This weekend will be difficult and I imagine there will be times when the old rumination battle will rage back and forth, but I will do my best to keep a lid on it… wish me luck, I might need heaps of it

The Narcassistic Mother dilema

I spent most of yesterday’s therapy session talking about the difficult relationship Ith share with my mother and the decision I need to make about our future relationship.

Whenever I experience any kind of problem, whether it’s childhood trauma, or feeling unable to share in the group, I can never just simply change by willpower alone. I tend to become embroiled in an endless ruminating battle inside my head, desperately searching for a satisfactory conclusion.

All the mindfulness and self-affirmation routines mean little in my quest for healing. While these techniques do support positive change, the key to overcoming my own problem is to start by ascertaining the origin.

I am in no way qualified to diagnose a mental health disorder, but when I stumbled upon information on Narcissistic Mother’s, it was like reading a report on my own mother’s behaviour. Narcissism seemed to slot into place, but the realisation was bittersweet.

It was bitter because some of the information seemed to encourage a common understanding and compassion for a narcissistic mother and suggests making allowances for what is actually a mental illness.

The sweet part of it offered validation that I was not entirely responsible for the history of our conflict and it’s highly unlikely I possess all those horrible characteristics ascribed to my personality.

This does little for the ingrained guilt and self-blame or the anger and resentment that run between us today. What makes it more problematic is the realisation that she truly believes I am a horrible, heartless, and self-centred person.

This woman cannot see past her own narcissism. The hurt and disappointment she feels are genuine. One of the most difficult things to accept is being the cause of another person’s emotional and psychological pain, the guilt is very tough to deal with.

It’s as though the rumination is trying to justify my position or reach a decision over the best way forward, although I fail to see any viable options that might lead to a peaceful resolve.

There was a time when I used to drive 350 miles, twice a year, to spend a few days visiting each one of them, but mum was unhappy because I didn’t visit very often. I finally relented and increased the trips to every three months, but then she was disappointed because I wasn’t in their company for long enough.

“Do you realise how much you’re upsetting us with these flying visits?” She would say, “You’re more interested in other things and other people than your own family.”

thVLOWI8NEI can see only one decision that would lead to a peaceful resolution. She possesses no insight or ability to change, but I can’t make allowances for her narcissistic character traits, especially when I am the poor sod who’s in the line of fire.

I was wondering yesterday if my rumination is a warped way of holding onto the relationship… of subconsciously holding back from finally doing the “dastardly deed” of cutting off The Narcissistic Mother.