So here’s an example of what it was like being a child to a narcissistic parent.
I would wake up in the morning and my mother would present me with something she’d crafted over night. Maybe a painted lunch box or a sweatshirt with appliqués on it.
I would go to school with this object because I didn’t have a choice. And her crafts were great. And people at school would either say nice things or mean things or treat me differently because they assumed I was a spoiled brat.
And the I’d go home and my mother would force me to report every comment I got on the object. She would interrogate me for hours sometimes. She’d ask follow up questions about the comments. She wanted to know the exact words that were used and the tone of how everything was said. She’d have comebacks to the comments that included all sorts of snide comments about the person making the comments. She’s have thoughts about the people who said nothing at all.
And this would be a topic of conversation for days if not longer.
This happened after every social interaction too. I got interrogated after parties.
Even without everything else that was going on, this caused social anxiety. I was not a human being with feelings and a body. I was an extension of my mother. Anything positive that ever happened to me was because of her. Anything negative that happened to me was because of me or my father or anyone else she could blame. But mostly, I got punished.
Everything was topsy turvy in my house. And Indid a lot of reactive, bad shit at school because the instruction I was getting at home was so twisted.
I can write about this. But when I’m out in public, I don’t want the spotlight. I don’t like talking about myself or bringing attention to myself. I prefer to stay invisible or behind a facade. And my coping mechanisms make it look like I know what the fuck I’m doing when, very often, I’m playing a role that is acceptable while psychically standing five feet back and watching the whole thing happen so it doesn’t happen TO me, just AT me.
It’s because of her that I am an empath and I constantly scan for danger in my proximity.
I’m at the point now, after no engagement with my mother for over three years, where the relationships I have in my life are all a result of my choices and my behaviors. I still fuck up. I overreact. I get very defensive and protective when I feel like I’m being used. But this life I have now is mine. Not hers. Not my father’s. Not my ex’s. So I can invest in it. And I can choose who gets to be a part of it.
It requires so much ongoing work to figure out if a thought, a mood, a reaction is mine or hers and then course correct. It’s gotten easier. When I’m sick or tired or depressed, it’s her voice that comes in and talks for me. And then I have to stop listening so I don’t do needless damage.
I’m really burned out right now.