Tune in for my live blab with narcissistic abuse survivor Christy H. on Monday, August 8 at 11 a.m. CST! If you can't make it for the live interview, you're in luck - you can see the replay right on my YouTube channel - be sure to subscribe to be notified.
Here's a comment Christy left on my YouTube channel - the one that made me invite her to share her story for you.
Christy's Story - In a Nutshell
Hi Angie, one of my sisters and I were just talking about this 2 days ago regarding my mother. She's the 2nd oldest and I am the baby of 5 girls.
It's great to be able to talk to her about our family - especially mom - to put together a better picture of what the heck was going on.
What we knew growing up was that she was crazy (eventually diagnosed schizoaffective) and eventually turned to alcohol to treat herself. She was born in 1930, so it was still the generation that swept such things under the rug.
Her brother was a hetero-married cross dresser (come to find out in his 60's) and had been for decades. Just enjoying whether he could pull it off in Oklahoma honky-tonks (his wife knew and he felt compelled to confess it to my mom - which freaked her out).
Her sister was bi-polar and in/out of psyche hospitals (as was our mom). The missing piece for us about narcissism came later. I have only been aware for a year, but wow, does it connect the dots.
I was going through a divorce in 1996, and my dad died a year later, so my mom's antics amped up and without him around, she was trying to spread that shit to those of us willing to take it.
By that time, I was in a form of therapy trying to understand myself, my choices and why I'd chosen my husband and then chose to get divorced (one of the best things I've ever done!!)
The therapy was a God send, as it was NOT cognitive-based, although the therapist was a PhD.
After decades, he did a combination of energy healing and non speaking emotional release with what he called holotropic breath. I have to say, it was amazing for me.
He told me up front we may work for weeks before we even talked. And it was so weird yet wonderful.
I remember him saying, "it may be a week or so, but this process will cause you to be lighter and lose some of the emotional baggage from your childhood".
After we got to the part of therapy where we talked (more cognitive) he told me he couldn't believe I allowed my mom to even be in my life after how she was in my childhood, so he encouraged boundaries.
Well, this was right around the time my dad died in 1997 (I started therapy in 1995). She kept trying the same horrible behavior and antics she did on us growing up only worse because dad wasn't taking his share anymore. (I am now pretty convinced he died of heart failure because of living with her. He'd retired a year before he died, and was at home more. I told him he should get his own apartment and check on mom everyday, but he was sucked in. He died prematurely at age 67 suddenly one night.)
My sisters and I would do errands or take her to the doctor - mostly stuff she could do on her own (but she was a narcissist and liked having people dote on her!).
So I'd combine my daughterly duties in the most basic of visits, but as I have written before, that woman was smart - she could tell when people were pulling away, so she'd switch up her tactics).
However, due to the great therapy I'd been receiving, I finally told her, "look, Wilma, I'm not taking the shit dad used to put up with. So if you want to spend time together, and behave, I'll stay for a while. If you keep up your antics - I will leave here and not care if you live or die."
Well, I left and spent 6 months no contact (not even knowing about this technique or narcissism at the time - just doing boundaries.) I cannot remember how we reconnected but I recall her telling me that she was sorry and that when I'd walk out on her misbehaviors prior to departing her life, she'd throw herself on the bed crying. She told me she wanted to break through and reach out to me, but she didn't know how, which was equally surprising and heart wrenching for me to hear.
I think this may have been the most honest encounter I've ever had with my mom. So I'd say it was a humbling.
After this, our relationship improved for the remaining years of her life - because she knew I wasn't putting up with it. That doesn't mean she turned into an angel, by far!
However, in her 70's I giver her some credit for quitting drinking cold turkey and learning some behavior modification through receiving some intense repercussions of her bad behavior.
I will also add that she told me that she was horrified and terrified about what she'd put us through (there's the shame) she said she was afraid to face it. But a lot of us know, if you bring this stuff to the light, man can it change your life. BOUNDARIES and letting her take responsibility for the situation she created worked. I was compassionate with her admission, but I didn't go overboard - I mean, once burned twice shy! And I knew from my childhood, that being too loving wasn't getting through to her!
We all tried that, plus walking on eggshells, and keeping quiet (as our dad requested growing up.) NONE OF IT WORKED!
But we didn't know what we were dealing with. That's why this education is so amazing. So, yes, I do feel some milder cases of narcissism can be helped. And I do think it can be a combination of therapies - energetic, non-cognitive, cognitive, maybe some meds, even non traditional therapies that are more playful - like acting classes where you can allow yourself to express and fail and not be judged.
I have been mulling over all kinds as ideas of various therapies I've done (literally and inadvertently) that have helped me heal. I'm doing one now that is energetic, as I now know there is more to heal from finally realizing it was narcissism that put the dots together in my dysfunctional upbringing.
So to sum up and conclude, I did see a change in my mom with some ass-kicking boundaries I put in place after my awesome therapy with Dr. Jerry Dean Epps in the 90's. I do think milder cases can heal if they are allowed to fall apart without shaming.
They need a place probably outside their family to come undone. IF they have that kind of courage. God willing! However, having said all that, the person who rudely awakened me to narcissism last year is someone with NPD.
He has such an intense personality disorder, I would never get back in contact much less have a relationship with him. I have gone on to go no contact with about half a dozen people who I feel are toxic since last year - former friends, ex BFs, employers (I'm freelance).
Today, knowing what I know, and what I've gone through, I'm not allowing close relationships with narcissists in my life. However, I am morally supportive of anyone seeking treatment for their narcissistic behaviors. Thanks for bringing up the topic and citing those different doctors and their ideas and opinions. Big fan of YOURS and Melanie Tonia Evans, btw. Thank you for all your work on this topic.