My narcissistic mom was the kind of person who rationalized the decisions she made and the ones she forced on me with “if you don’t do this/if I do this, your father will kill him.”
She made me keep the secret of the neighbor who molested me at age 8. Truth was, I wanted my dad to kill him.
I remember when she told me she had an abortion, sometime after my younger brother was born in 1962 and before 1967 (that’s when they both got sober). She said she’d had the abortion because she became pregnant with a black man from the bar she hung out in and that she knew having a black baby would throw my dad over the edge.
I didn’t need to know that information and could have lived a lifetime without it.
I ended contact with my parents when my son was born in April of 2000. Their gambling addiction turned them into the same people they were when they were drinking and I had made a solemn vow to never live through that again.
Do you know how sometimes when someone gets sober, they start to see the light and start apologizing for their horrible treatment of the people around them?
Sadly, that wasn’t the case for her; sobriety didn’t cure my mom’s narcissism. She just chose to abandon us in a different way.
Grieving the Juiceman Juicer
And now, here I sit, grieving over the fact that I’m about to let go of a Juiceman juicer. I know, it’s weird – but I can’t seem to stop myself.
So why does letting go of the juicer cause me to grieve now? Because once upon a time in those 40 years of life, my mom actually rose to the occasion for eight weeks of my life and was a mom to me.
In hindsight, I realize that my dad most likely paid her to spend a 40 hour week to be my caregiver. But still, that is an unknown and she did help save my life administering the fairly grueling task of the Gerson Therapy. All I was able to do during those initial weeks of the treatment was lay on the couch and walk to the bathroom and do my own coffee treatments.
So the juicer that has been moved with me since 1991 and lived in eight different homes and garages was some sort of representation of having a real mom.
Today I am letting go of the juicer, and facing the reality of how very toxic my mother truly was.
Are you struggling with a narcissistic mother? Join our free support group for adult children of narcissists, right here.
Editor’s note: Trigger Warning: This powerful true story of surviving narcissistic abuse and sexual abuse may trigger negative emotions and other issues for you. Please don’t read it unless you feel strong enough to do so.
This is my story of how I survived narcissistic abuse and sexual abuse. Usually, I feel like no one can relate to my life, everything that happened is just way too “extreme.” That was until I discovered the SPANily. Now, I’m sharing my story because I want other survivors to know they aren’t alone.
I grew up in a very sheltered environment. On the outside, my family looked great, and was very respected in our small community.
It’s only now, years after I left them and moved across the country, that I was finally able to open up the huge can of worms that was my past, and face the reality of what happened to me.
My father molested and raped me regularly. My grandfather also did. I was punished if I reacted in any way to their abuse.
Once, I threw up after my father abused me with oral sex. He got so angry because maybe my mother would realize something from seeing or smelling the vomit. I’ll spare you the gory details and just say that he punished me by trying to rape me until I bled. I was 6 years old. This is just one example.
But it wasn’t uncommon: everything my father did, he always blamed on me.
Either it was a punishment, or he would somehow imply that I owed it to him to “cooperate.”
Or he would say, “I know you want this. I know who you REALLY are. But don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.”
He would slyly imply that this was the only way to “be good,” or to appreciate him. Often he would do something good for me, and then it was “expected” of me to at least listen to him, no?
Even now it is hard for me to say what it was he was doing to my mind. All I know is that he was smart and sly, and he had my entire being wrapped around his finger. He played with my feelings, my physical sensations, and private things I told him.
Everything was twisted around and used against me.
Being sad in our house was never allowed. He would make us dance and sing even when we didn’t want to. He had this unspoken rule that you are never allowed to be sad, and definitely never allowed to be angry. I lived in terror of anyone finding out my secret, and I learned to dissociate and forget it all myself, in order to survive.
After I moved away, I slowly started realizing how controlling and manipulative my father was. I could not place what it was he was doing! I started feeling awful every time I spoke to him or to my mother.
I started realizing that he was a tricky slippery person. I wished I could just break off contact, I dreamed of it because I was finally realizing how low and horrible he always made me feel.
I reached a point where I finally had the support I needed to remember the stories of abuse. As it started coming back to me, I was filled with such a strong fury. It was like a huge tsunami, powerful and uncontrollable.
It was at this point that I finally broke off all contact with my toxic family. It was hard, but that anger of realizing what he did to me gave me the strength I never could have had otherwise. I was remembering extremely graphic and horrible things, and as I did, I finally gave myself permission to trust my own inner voice and follow my heart.
I started getting rid of everything I owned that was from my former life or my former family. This clean slate enabled me to go further into my past.
Step by step.
I uncovered my mother’s role in it, then the fact that my father would bring other people to abuse me… I realized that my brain has this amazing ability to heal, even the most horrfic and deep wounds.
I saw that my mind knew how to do this, and that my heart was able to guide me as to what step to take next on my healing journey, if only I would be courageous enough to listen to it.
Finally, I was in control of my life, I was free from my family’s toxic hold on me. As I started healing I grew more confident in my own body and mind, and now I am continuing to build myself anew, one step at a time. I feel better than I ever did. I am learning what it means to live a normal healthy life and I am loving every new part of it that I uncover.
When you survive hell, and come out, you are strong and also you’re able to appreciate and enjoy life in a deep and meaningful way that I think only a survivor can enjoy. Sometimes when I do something for myself, I feel as excited as a six year old, like I am experiencing the joys I missed out on as a child.
Life is so bright on the other side and it IS POSSIBLE TO GET THERE! YES FOR YOU also! Don’t take my word for it – don’t give up and you will see for yourself.
Finding Angie’s videos, and this site was exciting for me, because I was finally able to have some sort of place to put my father. He checks off every box on the list of narcissistic characteristics. I connected to everything about what Angie calls Narcissistic Abuse Rehab.
To those of you out there who are here, like me, with the courage to face your pasts and heal, my message to you is: please take a good deep look inside of yourself. Don’t be scared to listen to that niggling deep down voice in your heart. Follow what you know is true, with courage. Don’t let anyone stop you. It is SO WORTH THE FIGHT!
Want to share your narcissistic abuse survivor story? Here’s how you do it.
*Editor’s Note: Dear SPANily, this list of horrible insults and manipulative phrases was submitted by fellow narcissistic abuse survivor, Anna, who tells her story in this post. I’m publishing it here because I agree with Anna in that it may help one of our fellow survivors to recognize their own abuse. Love, Angie
I started keeping a list of his abusive phrases months ago mostly because I needed to see them in writing to believe they were real. I cannot fathom why I’ve allowed him to say these things to me. I am sharing them with you (sorry for some of the language) so you can share them if you like. Maybe they will help another victim to know there is hope and that there are people who understand.
Here is the list.
- I am late because of you
- I have to take care of you
- This is what I have to do everyday-work for you and those fucking cats
- Do you know how much you eat?
- You’re a pig
- Everything will be ok if you just shut the fuck up
- All women are whores
- Do you know how good you got it?
- Get the fuck out of the truck, bitch
- You’re fucking stupid
- You know i love you, right?
- Don’t touch me
- Get away from me
- Here I bought you this
- Has anyone else ever done this much for you?
- Women don’t have friends
- It’s because you’re stupid
- Fix me something to eat, bitch
- I am going to bust you in your teeth
- You are so fucking stupid
- That’s how you do
- Think about it, how good you got it
- You can’t even take care of yourself
- If you show up with a black eye, you better tell them everything is ok
- Why are so mean to me?
- I knew you had something going on, you planned this
- I don’t need you; I don’t care if you are here or not
- You’re nasty
- You know what you did wrong?
- I don’t give a fuck
- You know how much you cost me?
- Get your shit and get out; never come back to this house!
- I will pay for it and then I will own me
- See what you did to me?
- I cannot be happy because I am with you
- It’s about time to beat your ass
- You are almost well enough to be hit
- I have to deal with everything
- Do you understand me?
- Is there anything else?
- I am going to break this phone
Editor’s Note: Dear SPANily, this story was submitted by Anna, a fellow survivor of narcissistic abuse. We share it to offer you hope and to help you understand that you’re not alone. Want to share your story? You can do so right here.
I reconnected with a long time friend in the spring of 2015. We first met as teenagers in 1980, and we are both in our mid-50s now. We’d always kept in touch between relationships and were close. I knew him and I trusted him. I moved 1100 miles at his request to be with him. He told me to move into his house and I did. I got a pretty decent job and believed after all these years the magic was going to happen for me. I fell in love with him.
I lived with him for 3 years until mid-summer of 2018. I use the word “lived” loosely as I feel I merely survived. In addition to the living/dating relationship early on in the love bombing stage, he convinced me to leave my job and come to work for his company.
He said, “Just think of all the freedom you will have, you can come and go etc. as you wish. I will pay you x amount etc. It will be great! “
It has been the worst 3.5 years of my life.
I do not think I can put it into words, but here are a couple of examples of what it was like.
The Flu of 2016
I had the flu for two weeks in 2016 and this is what happened:
He said, “You know when you get well you are going to owe me for all this?”
I said, “You mean I owe you something for taking care of me when I am sick?”
Then he comes over and starts picking up cough drop wrappers and says, “I have to clean this shit up.”
He then proceeds to call his friend on the phone and tells them how sick with the flu he is. But he is not sick. He continues lying to his friend about how he is struggling to make it through – no mention as to my health or me at all.
Stripping Me of My Identity, One Thing at a Time
I was allowed a 2 x 3 closet for my clothes when I said it is hard for me to fit all my things in this space he told me to get rid of my things until they would fit. I ended up renting a storage container.
How I Finally Escaped, Sort Of
After 3 years of his abuse, I found a very small house and somehow managed to purchase it. I told him I was buying it so my elderly mother would have somewhere to go where she would not have to climb stairs. I convinced him I was telling the truth because my mother is 86 years old.
Meanwhile, I started secretly moving my personal belongings (one backseat full at a time) to the new place. It took about 2 months since I could only load the car when he was gone, but finally, my things were out of his house!
I kept just enough to get ready for work on a daily basis, stopping by my house to trade out clothes on the way to and from work. Eventually, the devalue/discard stage started (as it did on a regular basis) and one night in a rage he told me to leave.
I did. I drove to my home and have been there for 6 months.
I knew he was going to hoover and I knew I was going to be weak so, I went to the humane society and adopted a kitten. This way when he hoovered I could not move back to his house. He has two big cats that don’t play well with others, so my kitten at his house was a no-go.
The Journey Isn’t Over, But There’s Light at the End of the Tunnel
As of today, we are still dating because I work for him and I can not go no contact. I am a gray rock queen and I am not sure I am capable of feeling anything.
My plan for the new year is to secretly get another job. I am 56 years old, so age discrimination is somewhat of a problem. I have a BA from a good University and I am pretty good at a lot of things. My dream is to be a professional writer-blogger etc. however, if I can find something which pays enough to live on I will run like the wind. I am working on my final escape plan.
To Angie: I don’t think I would be writing this today if not for you. I cannot thank you enough for the genuine kindness I feel coming through your videos. Your advice is always on point and well…who doesn’t love coffee?
See Anna’s list of 41 insults and manipulative things her narcissist actually said to her.
One of the biggest things I hear from narcissistic abuse survivors who find this site or my narcissistic abuse recovery videos is that they are so relieved to learn that not only are they not crazy, but that they aren’t alone in the painful and shocking realization that they are being (or have been) abused by a toxic person.
It’s a HUGE part of recovery. And it matters.
It’s so important for people who are going through and recovering from narcissistic abuse to truly understand that they are not alone.
When you share your story and your personal experiences with narcissistic abuse recovery, not only can it help you grow and evolve in your own recovery, but it offers you a unique chance to pay it forward and help to encourage and support other survivors who are having or have had similar experiences.
In addition to a personal narrative, you may choose to tell your story in one of several different forms, such as:
- Original Artwork
- Your Own Photos
- Song lyrics
- Videos (If you choose to submit your story by video, please keep the video at under 15 minutes. Do not upload to YouTube. Instead, upload privately to Google Drive or Dropbox and share to email@example.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with a link to your Google Drive or Dropbox upload as well as any additional information, photos or thoughts you’d like to share. If accepted, your story will be told in a video by Angie Atkinson or one of the other QueenBeeing coaches.)
If you want to keep your story confidential, QueenBeeing.com offers a number of safe, moderated spaces and support groups for sharing your stories, thoughts and ideas that are also private to our community. Learn more about those here.
Remember this: your voice is authentic, and it matters. You can truly make a difference for yourself and other survivors of narcissistic abuse by sharing your experiences and perspective. What has helped in your recovery? What has worked? What hasn’t? What has been the hardest part of recovery? What has given you hope and helped you move in the right direction? There are all sorts of things you know that other survivors of narcissistic abuse want to know. You are not alone.
Please help us let them know that they aren’t either.
Want to submit your story?
- First: read our full story submission guidelines.
- Then: submit your story here.
Guest Post Written By Ivy K.
I’m a narcissistic child abuse survivor. This type of abuse is nearly impossible for a child to explain. I’m an adult, and I still cannot explain it to a person.
This is what it sounds like, this is an example of why it’s impossible to tell another.
- An 11-year-old Ivy says, “I don’t want to be like them when I grow up.” (Ivy knows she can’t tell anybody her parents are mean because they are so charming in public.)
- Another teenage girl with normal growing pains says, “OMG, I can’t stand my Mom. I hate her. I hope I’m never like her.”
Think about those two quotes, they are very similar, only one is coming from a child who is being abused.
Related: Why Being Raised by a Narcissist Could Cause You to Marry One
“But why didn’t you tell someone?”
I tried. When I did voice to another about the abuse, I only sounded like a whiny little brat. Here’s a couple of lines I’ve said as an adult:
“They act different when people are around.” and “They are putting on a show for you.”
I can easily see how the comments wouldn’t stick and fly over somebody’s head.
“You could have asked a counselor for help!”
Professionals such as social workers, guidance counselors etc. – they just don’t get it. They do not understand that No Contact is the only way to handle narcissistic abuse. I have been asked to speak to my abusers and again and again, only to open the door to more abuse because these professionals have no training.
Related: How to Find a Therapist Who Understands Narcissistic Abuse
This is one reason why children don’t speak up about the abuse – because there’s always a push for children to interact with their parents. I’m sure professionals with no training on this type of child abuse see the parent “doing everything they can” (when they cry victim as a manipulation tactic) and “the child is just making a mountain out of a molehill.”
No One Believed Me
I tried to tell people I was being abused at age 16. Unfortunately, because of the nature of a narcissist, nobody believed me. So, by the time I was 17, after many years of enduring the abuse I had a nervous breakdown and was sent to a mental health hospital.
I missed a lot of school. I shouldn’t have graduated with my class.
Why I Am Sharing This Story NOW
I’m sharing this for one reason, so that, as Pearl Jam sang in Why Go, “MAYBE SOMEDAY ANOTHER CHILD WON’T FEEL AS ALONE AS SHE DOES, it’s been two years and counting, since they put her in this place, she’s been diagnosed by some stupid fuck, and mommy agrees. Why go home?”
Yes, before anything else, I had Pearl Jam lyrics to let me know I wasn’t alone. Their lyrics seemed to zero in exactly on this unexplainable invisible abuse. I knew something was wrong when I was very young. …. I’m talking age 7.
And then, Pearl Jam came along and a lot of their early lyrics validated my feelings. I didn’t know the abuse had a name until much later.
What Narcissistic Abuse Feels Like to a Child of a Narcissist
When the abuse is at its worse, it feels like they secretly want me dead and they’ll do a real good job of nearly killing me without laying a single finger on me. On a good day, I know their script. I know exactly what they will say before they say it and I’ll have to concentrate hard to keep from rolling my eyes and/or busting out in laughter.
When you’re a child, you learn not to have an identity. If you do discover yourself, you know darn well you had better hide it from your parents. (*Cindy still describes our mother and daughter relationship as the Two-Headed Monster. Because in her eyes, I’m an extension of her. I am Cindy, not Ivy.)
The setup is backward when it comes to toxic parents. The adults are to be the center of the child’s world – not the other way around. You are to know what they want before they know.
The moment you stop making them the center of your universe, they no longer have any use for you. If you wait it out, they’ll forget about you all together.
Neglect is easier than the abuse. You want to be neglected by your parents. To borrow from Dr. Phil, your parents are not A Safe Place To Fall. Meaning you know not to go them for advice or for life skills, such as what to do when your car battery dies or how to replace a clapper in the toilet, etc.
Something simple turns into a stressful dramatic ordeal, because of their need to make it about them.
I’m assuming many who have survived narcissistic child abuse don’t know how to build a healthy and safe circle of support to go to when simple life advice is needed.
Related: Get support in our free online support group for narcissistic abuse recovery.
Narcissist Parents and Victim-Playing
There’s another part to this. Because the narcissist’s inner voice is so toxic, they truly don’t feel comfortable until they believe they are the victim in a real-life situation. They have to make real-life match their toxic inner voice.
Their need to play the victim is so intense that they will create situations that make no sense to anybody else.
As the narcissist is creating these situations to ensure they’re the victim, the problem at hand is easily forgotten about amongst the chaos. Playing the victim is a manipulation tactic used by narcissists.
Two of the most important things to know about narcissists is they lack empathy and will put themselves first in any given situation.
What to know about narcissistic child abuse: it is invisible, it is nearly impossible for the victim to explain, and it is handed down from one generation to the next. It is a toxic legacy.
Terms to know:
*Names changed in the interest of privacy