A new chapter.
This chapter is just to write the random memories that are popping into my head as my mother likely faces her final months/years. To remind myself, it isn’t me, it’s her. To read when the guilt is consuming. To share with my therapist when I feel like the crazy one. To remember there is so much more to this story than what people see.
It’ll be random. Just as these things are swirling in my head. I remember things. Random things. Odd things. Frequently lately.
Things that make me shake my head. Things that make me question my sanity – Did THAT really happen?
I’ve spent years with gaslighting, manipulation and constantly being the villain in the plot in which she is the victim. Years questioning myself, my self worth, my memories. A favorite in the past is “Why don’t you remember all the good I’ve done? Why do you only remember the bad things? Why did you forgot how wonderful I was at XYZ?” Maybe because it actually didn’t happen? Maybe because my childhood and young adulthood was filled with so much trauma? Maybe because you were never wonderful and just want me to believe you’re wonderful?
It’s been a long ride, a difficult journey, a troubled past. Times filled with alcohol, drugs, sex, parties, eating disorders and more to numb the pain. To pray I felt anything at all besides the hurt.
I spent years, decades, believing that most things in life were my fault. From childhood I blamed myself for anything that went wrong. I went on to marry men similar to my mother. To just replace her with people like her. To believe them just as much when they said I was worthless. To giving them chances beyond chances to “change” because that’s all I knew. To accepting that this was just the way people treated me. That it was okay. That I didn’t deserve more.
Then I began therapy. Real, legit therapy. With a therapist I actually liked. Not one my mother picked out and told awful things about me to first. Not ones I wouldn’t talk to and would just sleep through my session as I already *knew* they were on *her side*. Looking back – Maybe if I’d of talked I’d of got help long ago. Yet, I was fearful to talk. Fearful to be blamed. So, I quietly “did my time” and waited for them to announce they couldn’t help me if I wouldn’t speak and send me on my way.
Fast forward to the *good* therapist. The amount I’ve learned in the last 18 months has been eye opening. It wasn’t always me. I’m not to blame. I’m not an awful person. I do deserve more. Who would have thought?
In that time, I opened up, I trusted, I believed. I began to research and it all fell perfectly into place. It slowly made sense. I learned more on narcissism. She couldn’t be a narcissist though? Could she? She always said how empathetic she was, how victimized she was, how bad things were for her. Narcissists, to me, were mean, awful humans that had no heart, no emotions, no empathy. No, a narcissist was like my ex-husband and my mother was nothing like him.
Yet, she was. I learned what Covert Narcissist was. I learned this is a quieter narcissist. One who often believes they are the victim. One who can still hurt you just as much, but the difference is it’s harder to see. (At least to me.) It makes you simply feel guilty, ashamed, like you’re the problem. Nobody ever said she was empathetic – SHE said it. She made sure the world knew she was a victim. She gaslight like a champ. She lied. She hurt. She befriended anyone she thought could get her somewhere. In her world – I think she believes she truly is the victim. Sadly, she won’t attend therapy. Won’t fix this. Won’t try. Yet, I know this is an illness that can’t be fixed. (And here I am, suddenly feeling compassion for her. Go figure.) I never recognized this as my ex-husband was the opposite – In his opinion he was God, he was amazing, he deserved to be respected. He wasn’t a victim. He was freaking perfect and we all better bow down and worship what he said. Overt Narcissism. Totally different. Yet, all the same.
So here we go – A chapter for almost 39 years and counting of memories, horrors, craziness and pain. Some can be laughed at. Some makes me want to cry. They won’t be in order. They won’t always make sense. They’ll just be here – as they surface and swirl inside my head.
It’s a hard pill to swallow – Knowing the person who should have protected you and supported you the most – was often your worst enemy. Your “competition”. The cause of so much pain which could have been avoided. It isn’t fair, but it’ll never be fair.
All I can do is remember and move on from each memory.
Thankfully, my kids will never have a mom like this. My kids will never hurt in these ways. That’s one thing I’ve always promised myself and always will.