Too Many Questions

Childhood Dream

Photo credit: calliphora ‘childhood dream’ 

Trigger warning – the following post may affect some readers

One of the traits of narcissistic people is this ability to make you feel and believe that you are the crazy one and not them. When they are confronted with what they have done, you can be told, “that never happened” or “wow, you have a great imagination”.

This is one of those memories which is vehemently denied by the Mother.

I’m so little, standing in the corner of the room, I distinctively remember my peach coloured walls, I’m crying, my brother is crying too. We are pertrified, I vaguely remember us just saying “no no no” over and over.

The Mother has a knife to my throat – “I’m going to kill you!” She’s screaming this at us – over and over “I’m going to kill you”. Then the memory ends.

As I look back through the lens of being a mother of two myself. There is a part of me which can empathise with the fact she may have been suffering and unable to cope. However, that’s where it ends. Even with various kinds of therapy I still can’t seem to forgive this, I can’t even forget it.

Since having my second child, I have been diagnosed with postpartum depression. There are days where I can not cope, days where I want to scream. I choose to walk away, I choose to ask for help. I choose to admit that at times, I can’t do this on my own. I take medication, I go to therapy, I keep trying to get better. I believe this is one of the fundamental differences between me and the Mother, I can admit I’m flawed.

For a long time I understood my upbringing through the lense of domestic violence, a drunk, unloving abusive father. That this in fact was the source of all my troubles. I attended counselling through out highschool just to get through.

The Mother was a victim too, people felt sorry for us, people wondered why we didn’t leave. And whenever we did leave, how come we came back? The Mother went to many domestic violence shelters when I was very little but she always went back. She was the typical battered wife. And for a long time I hated her for continually subjecting us to the physical abuse.

The real secret was the role she played in the violence. She encouraged my father to hit us when it suited her. Other times he would be violent because he wanted to. These were the times she really did try to protect us and throw herself in front of him. So where does this story fit in with the current rhetoric of family violence? Is her role in the violence simply a product of her also being abused? Are there any other mothers out there who participated in the violence towards their children?

Advertisements

Childhood Games

wooden horse

Picture credit: Omer Unlu

When we were very young children my brother and I were often played off against eachother – today I am an angel sent from heaven, tomorrow I could be the devils child. Whilst she would keep the dichotomy of heaven and the devil to the confines of our home. She would very happily share with the world if you were the best child that day, often telling anyone who would listen how lucky she is to have you.

However, the devil child for the day would get ignored, spoken down to and ridiculed. If you were the angel child, you would participate in the verbal and emotional torture directed at the other sibling. It was actually really enjoyable to be the angel child. You felt loved. You felt happy.

It took a very long time for me to reconcile these memories with who I feel I am today. An amazing therpaist helped me to understand that I had to play this game with the Mother as my very survival depended on it. The Mother fed us, clothed us, drove us to school, took us to activities, she was all I knew.

Being raised in a home with a narcissistic mother has left me scarred to my very core, it has left me with a perpetual fear that I might be like her.

Now that I am a Mum, this fear can be a heavy burden. I constantly question and analyse my own behaviour. As far as I can see the only way to ensure I do not become like her is to have awareness and insight into how my behaviour affects those around me.

A great  link which explains this kind of emotional manipulation between siblings can be found here;

http://www.narcissisticmother.com/how-narcissistic-mothers-create-sibling-rivalry

 

First Memories

Memories

Picture credit: Fe Ilya

One of the first memories I have of the physical abuse is lying on the bed, my father is beating my brother and I with his belt. We are rolling around on the bed, screaming, trying to avoid being hit – and there she is – standing in the doorway – watching – “ok, ok…that’s enough” she says.

This was a common event – my brother and I might have been naughty for whatever reason – I don’t remember the details of our behaviour as we would have been very little – but I do remember the threats – “just wait till your father gets home” – “no no no please don’t tell him…please”.

I remember so many times pleaing with her to just keep our naughtiness to ourselves – and there she would be all smug – happy to have finally broken us – and I would sit there for however long, waiting for that inevitable moment he would come home, the Mother would tell him all about the naughty things we did.

And then he would reach for his belt.

He would take it off his pants, or go to the bedroom cupboard for another one. I would run. He would chase us. He would beat us.

It was only when she thought we had been punished enough, the Mother would make it stop.