I was raised in an ideal family, according to most people who know them. Relatively high standing in their community, very well known and respected in their religious network.
But behind closed doors, my parents and my siblings bullied me mercilessly, usually amongst themselves but sometimes in front of others too.
This trend has continued recently, as they have been ‘framing’ me online.
What has been most devastating is that everybody seems convinced that they are wonderful people and believe their lies, but nobody will believe what I have gone through.
They think that I am crazy (which my family freely implies). Maybe some people are aware of who they really are, but they’re afraid that they would be on the receiving end of their antics if they show any sign of siding with any of the people they pick on.
I cringe when I recall how I was unable to avoid the abuse due to the way that I was raised to be such a ‘good girl’ no matter what happened to me. In the network people think my parents are brilliant parents because they appeared to have such nice children. I was actually inviting and drawing abuse to me like a magnet.
It was not until I had some space from my family and children of my own that I realized how terribly my own mother treated me and managed to step away from the toxic network that I was raised in. I could never treat my own children the way she has treated me; nor would I allow anyone to. I want to raise my children in a way that they do not tolerate staying around for anyone who tries to hurt them. The love for my children has been a huge inspiration for me in my healing.
My family enjoyed pushing all my buttons to provoke me and when I snapped they would shame me for being so terrible and call me crazy. I now realize this was gaslighting. At the dinner table, they would call me names and make fun of me: they told me that I would be a lonely old spinster with cats that nobody would want to be around. I was afraid for years that believing this was becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
One sibling would do all in her power to destroy my friendships, to have them only be friends to her, this also applied to my boyfriends. Another would do all in her power to have my boyfriends date her.
I was madly in love with one boy and foolishly confided to her that I knew he wasn’t the best looking guy ever…but that whenever I saw him my heart skipped a beat. The relationship started to go downhill very fast after this.
When he broke off with me angrily saying that ‘I wasn’t so good looking and he could do better than me’, I realized what had happened. One of my siblings begged me to lend them money when I had just gotten paid. I explained that I really needed that cash for my rent at the end of the month. They insisted they would have the money back to me in time for when the rent was due. When I followed up on this they told me they had sent the money to my mom’s account, my mom denied receiving it. I was left in trouble to pay my rent and to this day I don’t know who was lying about the money.
In desperation, I stopped bringing home any of my friends or boyfriends. I met a man and without their interference, things progressed and we got engaged.
One month before I was due to be married, my younger sister (who had previously said she would never get married), announced that she was engaged to be married. The wedding date? One week before mine.
I asked my mother (who was splitting the money she was contributing as her gift for my wedding with my sister) how she could let my sister do this. My mother’s reply was ‘Do what?’
This was my life. I asked my mother who is famous for her baking if she would make my wedding cake, and she agreed. The day before the wedding, I learned she had changed her mind. She had no intention to make the cake.
I was amazed…she is the woman who is always there for anyone who needs it at church, having made so many wedding cakes for my friends. She makes them beautiful wedding shawls and knits blankets for their babies.
But when it comes to me, nothing.
My sister couldn’t have her wedding the week before mine, as she had forgotten to sign a document and instead, she got married on the day of my husband and my wedding reception in his country.
I was unable to attend her wedding.
I couldn’t understand what it was for the longest time… that I seemed to be surrounded by awful people and I believed that I must be imagining it.
Was I imagining it or was it really just me?
It turns out that it actually was me, but not how I expected. I was attracting these kinds of people into my life and allowing them to stay.
And in the meantime, they were not giving any room for healthier relationships to draw close to me.
I had had enough.
In one year, I cut contact with three women that I considered to be close friends because they all were becoming increasingly abusive toward me, verbally and emotionally manipulative. Then my own mother in law physically intimidated and threatened me in my home in front of my children. At this point, I started to make the connections to my upbringing and the dynamic that I had been drawn into.
I had never challenged anyone before and my mother in law did not take the “no contact” kindly as it threatened her reputation. My MIL took the opportunity at a family wedding to try to create a scene to make herself look innocent and me the aggressor.
I had one of my children with me and I realized at this point that she would stop at nothing to protect her facade. So refuse to allow the children near her without close supervision. I hadn’t recognized her narcissism at all until that last time she would be in our home and then it came super clear from every single interaction after that.
She told me to forgive her and get over it. She referred to my husband only as ‘My son’ and the children as ‘my grandchildren’ as though they were not people in their own right.
She emailed me, copying my husband, and implied that I was sabotaging his birthday and not allowing him to spend it with family.
The truth was I was actually quoting what he had told me to write so it backfired somewhat. She almost did succeed in splitting up our family as my husband struggled to accept the reality of his mother and how she was affecting me.
Virtually his entire family are in denial and downplay what she does. I can see that my husband is like me in ways- a people pleaser.. and I see that as I have gotten stronger and happier, learned boundaries and no longer apologize for doing what works for my family, so has he too.
We are are in our 40’s and finally have allowed ourselves to have peace and be truly happy! My heart is with you who feel alone navigating this in your life. Do not let the bastards get you down. Do not let them push you into choosing to isolate yourself further.
I almost deleted my Facebook account several times. Had I done it, I would have cut myself off from what would become my largest support while coming to terms with everything. For a long time, I thought that maybe it was all my own fault as I was told that I am deserving of the treatment I received, but now I know that it is not.
I never go out of my way to hurt anyone. I still feel I’m doing something ‘wrong’ sharing this even though I know in my head that I’m not. Just part of the process of healing.
Be patient with and kind to yourself. Reading and learning as much as you can can help with healing. I’ve learned ‘not to wrestle with pigs, because we both get dirty and the pig likes it.’
When one door closes it truly does allow space for another to open, and you can choose to keep it open or close it to make space for another if it does not bring a mutually fulfilling and rewarding relationship. Big hugs!
Did this story speak to you? You might want to check out these resources.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou
I have probably sat down in front of this very laptop and started, erased, and restarted this story many more than I truly even remember. Until recently I was unable to figure out why it was that a story that I can recall in my mind so vividly was so hard to put down into words.
My whole life it seems, helping others to tell their story, remember ever slightest detail is something I have done naturally, and in a lot of cases without even trying. People have been coming up to me my whole life to tell me their “stories”, I can see them as if they are words that flow together in my mind with total ease and comfort, but when it comes to my own story I have been at a loss for almost a year.
I guess it is kind of like one of those book report projects we all had as kids. First, you panic, then you procrastinate, sometimes never even reading the book, and then when it is about time to turn in the report you try and cram all the knowledge you should have been learning about the whole time into one or two nights of no sleep and anxiety.
Not that my story is a report that has to be submitted, there is no time limit on such things. I just didn’t have the parts of the story that I hadn’t researched in a way. What I mean is, how can you tell a story about a story if you don’t have all the information before you begin to write the report? You can’t really, I mean not completely, and as a trauma survivor with my personality type, if it isn’t honest, correct and just right all the way around, nobody is ever going to read it, because I will never finish it.
That was the struggle of the story of me. I know or I knew that in order to get over what had happened to you in the past, and to get beyond what was I had to at least put down the story you read today on paper, and if I gathered a little courage along the way, like I have done today, and be able to share this story then, I guess, I am all the better for it.
Where do you start if the beginning was a lie and the ending was not happy, don’t all stories need an ending and a beginning? Don’t all fairy tales end with “Happily ever after?” I didn’t have the facts so telling this story as I was saying was truly hard……….until today. Today is a whole new day and the fact that today the ending of the past and the beginning of the future that I have had stolen from me my entire life.
I am not going to start the story from the beginning as most stories are told, I can’t really start there for that story has yet to be remembered or told truthfully, so I can’t tell you a story I haven’t the whole or even the right pieces. Those pieces you need to put that puzzle together. This story is the story that brought me to this place today, to be writing this story, I share with you this day.
This story begins in October of 2009 when I accepted an invitation to a Halloween party that I knew I didn’t belong at. I had attempted to decline the invitation on several occasions before finally giving in, but this would turn out to be a night that would change my life forever (and not for the better).
When we arrived at the party, I was excited and terrified all at once. I mean I had no idea where I was, I hadn’t a clue whose party this was, and truth be told, the one who had invited me to go so many times on this fateful day was no close friend of mine, but rather a relative to a friend – who wasn’t so close either.
I was nervous, to say the least, and I truly wasn’t looking for a date; I was just getting over the fact that the man that I loved had been cheating on me with other people, not of the female gender.
To say my ego was a little shot would be putting it mildly.
We arrived in the normal fashion for this girl I speak of…loud and obnoxious but not in the way that was in any way attractive or appealing, more like in the way a bull runs through a china shop. She wasn’t single at the time, so not only was I at a party I wasn’t too thrilled to be attending, but now I was also the third wheel to a party I didn’t think I was going to enjoy. This would not be the only wrong choice I would make this evening.
As I was wandering around this compound of bikers in the middle of the city, full of people laughing and the most incredible Halloween Party décor I had ever seen, I turned around to see him walking towards the gate. He was a pretty large man in stature, wearing a cowboy hat with a long trench coat; he looked like every man I had ever dreamed up all into one guy. He was handsome, assure, assertive, sexy…and he had this grin that mad me melt right there that very evening.
I had no idea who this man was when he strolled into my path, but it seemed that everyone else had some idea and he could not keep his eyes off of me. I found it hotter than the longest day in the desert and sexier than Brad Pitt in the movie Legends of the Fall.
I could not look away either, it seemed.
We spend the whole night talking, laughing, and making out like we were teenagers in his truck in the parking lot of that very clubhouse parking lot, and from that moment, from that very night, I would be his to do, ask, or demand from without hesitation or thought.
He promised me everything and more. He told me of the places we would travel together, and the things I would see. He said I would be safe and have nothing to fear for he was my night on a white horse and it was true…steel horses, but for a girl who has never ridden any other kind of white horse, he was perfect in every way.
We spent every waking moment together from that moment on – at least when we had the moments to spend. By Christmas, we had moved in together. My son was like a gift from God to him, and I was a woman who had all he ever needed and more. He said all the things every girl (okay, every girl like me) would love to hear, and for the first 2 years, he did just that. I could do no wrong and he took me places I would have never seen on my own. He made that first Christmas for me and my son the most amazing Christmas ever. He did everything perfectly. He promised things, and most of the time he would deliver on those promises.
After about two months of us living together in this honeymoon bliss, the red flags started. Maybe I noticed those small hints that things are not right, but I did as he had hoped and ignored them all. I told that little voice inside, and my intuition and even that little chick on my shoulder to shut the hell up, I was just being paranoid; that this could not be real I was imagining it. I told myself I would stop thinking this way now.
Things would go downhill from here. Despite the many signs I should’ve taken seriously, the worst part was that I had brought my son with me into this relationship. This would lead to devastating consequences that I pay for even to this day.
It might have been around this time that I started to think of him as “the boogie man,” you know, the evil creature who hides under your bed when you’re a kid, lying in wait for the perfect moment to do unspeakable things to you?
He would use my son as one of those tools he spoke of on a daily basis. The ones I wouldn’t come to understand, even to this day. He would speak of these tools that he would use to help to train the human brain to be more submissive. There were micro hints that he would make, but not so clear to the point where a girl who swore that she would give this relationship everything she had and more everything she had.
Hindsight would tell me now that I did give him my all. I am no longer the girl that you hear of at the beginning of this story. I am not as naive to speak as I once was. I am no longer the girl who will give all that she is to someone she thought would fix all those things inside her she wasn’t even aware had been broken.
By 2014, things in my life had gone downhill in a hurry. I was no longer that bright shiny new toy that he treasured with all his lies. The girl that could do no wrong. Now, I was the girl who could do no right, with a son who was the devil incarnated. He wouldn’t hurt him, no not physically, but being one who is so highly empathetic I can literally feel the weight of the world some days, the pain he was causing internally would leave emotional scars I have yet to heal even 280+ days after running from this hell of my own creation.
During the summer of this fateful year, I had learned that my daughters (who had been abducted by their father 10 years earlier) had finally been found by social services. So, after a decade of not seeing or hearing from either of them, they called and wanted me to give up my parental rights.
It seemed that the department had caught wind of where they were, and after another evaluation of the situation, had come to the conclusion that the man that had taken them was insane and they would be better off where they were.
The boogie man would not only not care that this was happening in my life, but would go out of his way to make it impossible for me to do anything other than sign this piece of paper.
By this point, I was doing my best to make sure that anybody who I cared about in life was as far from me as possible. I had seen the alternative and the emotional and physical pain this would cost them and myself certainly outweighed any thought of me actually fighting this order. So I signed the paper. I had lost my girls before I had even gotten them back. Again. He had no care or thought or even a nice word in this time of total pain. He would use this day later on as a knife to drive deeper into my soul.
Shortly after losing what I had thought was left of my heart, my son would be walking back to our place in hell. One day that summer, he was approached by a girl with a semi-automatic weapon and a demand for his money he had worked all summer to obtain. I would lose a little more of my soul this day, not because of the loss of my son – he was the bravest, most quick-minded kid I would ever know. I would lose because of the boogie man’s statements afterward and the things that had yet to come.
One month after this trying event, school started a new year, my son would gain the courage to walk and attend this school, even though his brush with death had happened on that same property. The girl who’d robbed him attended the high school less than a block away and every day as he walked out the door, I would die a little more. The boogie man loved this thought immensely. It would turn out to be another one of his tools for manipulation.
By August of this year, things had calmed slightly. I mean not completely, the house main water main had broken, and the pipes under the house had burst, and life could not get much worse, or so I thought. I also learned that you can’t fly without wings, by jumping off the roof of this very house and landing on my feet. If you ever find yourself in this situation and have any presence of mind, I recommend not landing on your feet for it shatters every bone in your ankle and crushes whatever is left of your soul.
After having the 3-hour surgery it requires to put these bones back together, I didn’t feel much of anything anymore. The boogie man would come to believe that any kind of physical therapy would be too much for him to be able to assist me with. I could walk to the physical therapist if I would like and he left the state for the next two weeks. Leaving his “family” without money, transportation, food or even a thought. I would proceed to try and fix my own ankle, find food for my son and myself, take care of every phone call need and requirement, and not lose my mind. By the end of this two week period, I would lose one of these very important tools needed to proceed with life.
The Discard Phase
After what felt like forever, I finally found the time to slip into a bathtub one morning, not easily; everything hurt at this point. I couldn’t afford the pain medication or the trip to the pharmacy, which was miles from my home, and trust me walking to the 7-11 for cigarettes was enough to stop me in my forward motion.
To be honest it just plain hurt.
So here I am in this bathtub, laying there with my leg lying outside the tub because it truly had holes the size of a quarter in different places. Then the phone rang.
Great, I thought. I will just let it go to voice mail.
Then it rang again, and then again, and then the boogie man’s “There’s an asshole calling” ring would ring. This would get me out of this tub to answer the phone, to answer to the screaming insults from the pit of my soul, only to find that the prior two calls were the junior high school.
It seemed that there had been a rumor that a pipe bomb had been placed upon the roof of the school and they were evacuating all the students to the high school. At this point, I was about to lose it.
Remember the girl, the one with the semi-automatic weapon? Yeah, she attended this very high school, and they were sending my son to the mouth of hell. Even though the administration had been alerted to this matter, they seemed to have forgotten that this girl was attending this school. I lost it. Literally.
Do you remember “The Count” from Sesame Street? He did the neatest trick with numbers. He could pull number calculations or even just numbers out of his ear, and they would literally come out in a puff of smoke.
Now as a kid this really didn’t mean much to me, but on this day, this day of sheer panic and devastating mind-blowing torture, I was back there in that very show. I was standing there in my towel crying, as I had never cried before.
Nobody could tell me where my son was at this moment.
I wasn’t walking that well because I was still on crutches and the boogie man, although on the phone non-stop, wasn’t helping.
In fact, he was explaining to what an idiot I was for not knowing that someone wanted to blow up the school my son was attending and that they would send him to the place I feared every day.
I stood there in fear, and all of a sudden I was The Count in that morning kids show. It was truly the weirdest thing I had and have experienced to this day. I remember telling myself that I was going to need what I saw floating away from my head so easily and that I was going to miss it, but for now, I needed to be stronger than I had been and whatever it was floating away was getting in the way.
Then I got the biggest smile I had had in years for a split second, before being left in a fog that I still struggle with to this day.
Complications and Navigating the Fog
I would spend the next 3 years walking around in circles in this fog. I had no idea what it was or why this was happening. I would find the strength to send my son to live with his dad to keep him safe from the boogie man and I would stay to take care of the monster I had created.
In the summer of 2017, I would receive a phone call from my aunt, who I had not spoken to in over 10 years about my mother, the one who had left me behind at every turn in my life.
Turns out, she had developed Alzheimer’s from a stroke nobody had known she had.
Before I knew what hit me, I was thrown into taking care of her, and the boogie man every day of my existence. Back and forth between his house and hers. Not caring is I lived, not caring if I died. The fog that had come in, and that made it pretty easy to not have any personal feelings whatsoever; that was until the day I accidentally downloaded an app onto my cell phone that would open my eyes to the reasons for the fog I was in, the world of toxic personalities, the torture that comes with loving these people, and the fact that it was ok to choose myself.
Finally, Choosing Me
I made a choice in July of 2018, a choice that I had never known was possible or even an option. I chose myself, for the first time since the age of 14, I chose myself, and I walked away. From everyone. Everyone I had ever known, everyone I had ever loved. The boogie man, the woman I called mom (who turns out may not even be related to me in any shape or form). I just walked away.
I made a great choice, choosing me over death has defiantly put the mind back into my fog, but the place I would choose to land was even worse than before, for I went to a friend’s house who would spend the next 269 days doing her best to lead me back into the mouth of hell.
Two weeks ago I choose to leave there as well.
I’m writing this story from a Domestic Violence Shelter. I am homeless. Jobless. I haven’t the direction or foresight most people take for granted every day, but I can feel life is becoming worth living again. I still don’t dream, although this may be a good thing for I haven’t any nightmares either. Not the kind where I am awake, nor the kind when I sleep. A new life. A new beginning. A new me, for the girl at the beginning of this story, died that day with The Count from the show I watched so long ago. A life that was never lived at all. A life where it is ok to just be me. Just Jenn.
Have you ever wondered what made me start doing the work I do? Why I created this site, and what it means to me? It occurred to me recently that I’ve never really told the whole story, so I decided it was about time to fill you in on the truth about how QueenBeeing.com got started.
I was sitting at my desk bawling one day (after a phone call with a rude scheduler at my doctor’s office) when the doorbell rang. I wiped my eyes, but I didn’t even get up. I figured it was one of the many neighborhood kids who practically lived there during the summer.
But when my son yelled, “Mom, some lady’s at the door asking for you!” I jumped up. At the door stood a beautiful young woman with a concerned look on her face.
“My name is Jane and I’m with child protective services,” she said. Noticing my tear-stained face, she said, “Oh, are you okay?”
I nodded and briefly explained what had happened with the rude lady on the phone, and then asked her how I could help her.
“Uh, we got a call from someone who said your children are being neglected,” she said, almost apologetically. “I’m here to investigate.”
I felt the blood rush to my face and my heart was suddenly pounding. I have never been perfect, but I’m a good mom and everyone who knew me knew how much I love my kids.
“What? I don’t understand,” I said, feeling dizzy. “Who would do that?”
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
Today, I want to share my experience with the narcissist I call “Ultimate Edgelord Casanova.”
Many narcissists are subtle in their manipulation. They don’t throw down in the dramatic way we come to expect, because people will call them out. So, they gaslight. They provide evidence that they’re telling the truth. The only way to prove they’re lying is to engage in extreme sleuthing. This, of course, is time-consuming and unreasonable. But narcissists rely on people to be reasonable, which is why it takes so long for many of us to figure out what they’re up to.
The Ultimate Edgelord Casanova and I were introduced by a mutual friend, who had wanted to set me up with him three years ago. I kept putting it off until last fall. I knew he was shady when he canceled our first date.
Once, when I asked how his evening was going, he sent me a photo of what was definitely a wine bar. It was a romantic-looking setting. I asked him if he was on a date. He said he was having a dinner party with staff. (I did not believe him). But it wasn’t until the second date that I realized what was seriously wrong with him. Additionally, I was dating a few other people at the time, so I was not that focused on him.
Basically, he had this tendency to ask me out on a date only to cancel two days before the date. His usual excuse was that he had an out of town business trip. One time he told me he was out of town on business but sent me a photo of a golf cart on a golf course. So, clearly, he was playing golf and not doing business. He has outed himself as a liar, correct? When I pointed out the discrepancy, he claimed that he had taken his staff away to play golf. Whatever. The next morning, he sent me a photo of himself (naked, from behind) with a large painful looking bruise on his back.
His message had lots of exclamation marks.
“Look!!! I fell and hurt my back!!! I can’t go out with you!!! It hurts when I sit down. I can’t even drive!!!”
I was not actually in contact him at the time so I thought it was weird how much effort he was putting into making excuses to not see me. He seemed happy about the fact that he was injured. Weird, no? Anyway, the bruise looked really bad, so I urged him to go to the hospital, in case a bone was broken. He replied that he had no time to go to the hospital as he had a plane to catch. Red flag. A few hours later, he was back in town and he sent me a photo from inside his car. He was driving to another city that was three hours away. I said something like, “Good luck.” Grade A A-hole, right? Big red flag.
A month later, he asked me out. By this time, I realized that for him the payoff was my accepting the date and not actually going out. So, I told him to ask me out on the afternoon he was available. I said that if I was available on that day, I would go out with him. I think that was how we ended up going out on the second date. He wanted to save face because I was calling him out on his shadiness.
On the second date, he told me he had spent about USD 2 million on lawyers to avoid paying a bill of 200,000 Canadian dollars to a commercial supplier. My spider senses were on full alert so I asked for receipts. As it turns out, he had photos of the contracts, the shipping container, and payment invoices saved on his phone. Wow. The evidence did not match his story, at which point, I realized he was lying to me. I asked to see what messages he had exchanged with the company. Then, I revealed to him that I had a business negotiation certification from Harvard and that this was my area of specialization.
Could I do anything to help? Because he’s spent ten times the amount of the bill to avoid settling the bill. So, clearly, he needed to fire his lawyer, right? If he was in the right, he would ask me to help him. He hasn’t.
What happened? He did the same thing to the Canadian company that he had been doing to me. He made a big order of commercial products to feed his large ‘international man of business’ ego. Then, he paid half the invoice amount to have the product shipped. This gave him boasting rights with the receipts (which is why they were in his phone in the first place). But it took a long time for the products to get to him in the shipping container, so he lost interest. (Typical narcissist – short attention span). Then, when the container finally arrived, he took photos of the container to prove that he had in fact completed this huge international transaction.
But, of course, he decided to “Ultimate Edgelord Casanova” the company, like he does to women. He called the company and said that he wanted to return the products and be refunded his money. They were defective, he said. Their lawyer demanded that he pay the remainder of his bill.
Do you know what he did next? He told them that the person (his representative and agent for the contract) who inspected the products was actually untruthful about the quality of the products put in the container. He also claimed that this person disappeared on him. However, he probably forgot that I had just seen the text messages he and this agent had recently exchanged via iMessage on his iPhone.
At this point, I realized that he was lying to me about EVERYTHING and that he uses photos as “evidence”. Obviously, he spends a lot of time talking to women who aren’t very clever. Right? Who sends golf course photos when they’re supposed to be on a business trip out of town? Also, for a business person, he has a lot of golf playing time. He has serious financial problems so how can he afford to take his staff to play golf? The back injury could not have been recent. Driving for three hours after you dinged your hip bone on the edge of a concrete step?
I have never lived with my mother, but I was extremely traumatized by her toxic behavior. I had buried some of the trauma I experienced so deeply and I think they’re only now coming back because I am strong enough to confront them without spiraling. This happened over twenty years ago and it involves my sister who was 14 at the time, and my narcissist mother, who was 39.
The truth was that this was actual karma at work, because my mother told me that her only criteria for marrying a man were that he could sing ballads and thrill her. Well, her narcissist husband had a great singing voice and pretended to speak several languages. She fell pregnant with my baby sister and they got married.
She got what she wanted. He could sing. But he didn’t own a home even though he was CEO of a multi-million dollar business. He was financially irresponsible and he cheated on her all the time. They were at each other’s throats from day one.
Skip forward after six years of that.
My mother and stepfather have just been evicted from their rented home. The banks are calling him over a business loan repayment. One Saturday morning, my stepfather and mother had a quarrel. According to what I heard, he had spent almost nine hours beating my mother. At one point, he was trying to pour drain cleaner down her throat.
My 14-year-old sister does not call the police, a neighbor, me, or anyone. Neighbors heard my mother screaming and my stepfather shouting for the entire day and forced their way in. That was when someone phoned me at my grandparents’ home to tell me what had happened. I was barely an adult at the time (18) and I was embarrassed about being around something so vulgar. I decided not to go comfort my mother. (That was a hard no for me).
Six days later, on Friday evening of the next week, the incident was headlined on the front page of a tabloid paper. A journalist wrote a blow-by-blow account of my mother’s nine-hour beating in the center pages of the paper. My sister bought the paper on her way home from school and showed it to me. She was excited and happy to show me illustrations depicting the more disgusting parts of the abuse. Quotes from actual conversations were included. I couldn’t bear to read any of it. Well, my sister told me she had called the papers herself and offered to sell them the story. She was very proud that she had produced this juicy story for the ENTIRE country to read.
Do you think my mother was angry, embarrassed or upset? Think again. My teenage sister was her proxy in the war against my stepfather in the press.
Most women would call the police, get the man arrested and charged and then file for divorce, right? Not my mother. She doesn’t want to be disliked by a man. In her mind, sneakily exposing his savage abuse in the press was a clever way of shaming her husband into giving her access to his millions.
Needless to say, my mother sacrificed her dignity for nothing. My stepfather still refused to pay my sister’s tuition for a private preparatory school, piano lessons, medical bills, etc.
As a result of his neglect, I was asked to be financially responsible (parentification!!) for my youngest sister when she turned twelve. I remained so until she left university (I paid her full tuition – no loans).
On top of that, my mother complained that she had to provide room and board and my stepfather was spending money elsewhere. I was scared my mother would kick my sister out, so I agreed to pay her utility and grocery bills until my sister graduated. If you are disgusted by my mother’s irresponsible behavior, try to imagine my brain exploding a little every time I think about that.
Postscript: My stepfather died penniless in a rundown rented home four years ago. He had testicular cancer and refused to take his medication, knowing he would surely die. The landlady came after my mother for rent owed shortly before that.
Editor’s Note: This story was submitted by a fellow survivor of narcissistic abuse. You can submit your story here.
Something weird recently happened to me with my narcissist mother. Last Tuesday, I got an email in my junk folder (all of my mother’s emails go there automatically because they present like phishing or scam emails – how ironic that this is exactly what they are meant to do!!!).
The message was a Pinterest sermon entitled “Just because she’s your mom.”
It looked strange to me because she never refers to herself as “Mom.” And why would she? She never raised me and about seven years ago, she told me that she had two daughters. (She has three daughters and I am the eldest).
I typed the title into a search engine and found the same Pinterest sermon. Basically, there was a list of everything she had done to offend me. She was saying that I had done all of these things to her.
In summary, “I’m your mother so don’t clap back at me or it will hurt my feelings. I’m the only mother you have so you had better stop resisting my efforts to control your emotions through guilt and shame”. It was such an obvious attempt to manipulate me that I had a laugh out loud.
What sparked this narcissistic clapback, anyway?
During the last week of December 2017, my mother sent me a subject only email (no message content) in all caps demanding that I buy furniture for her new home. (She already has two in two different countries).
She was inviting me to visit her in the United States but only if I bought the furniture for her new condo.
The thing is, I was seriously ill and was in the hospital. She had no idea because she did not ever contact me to find out how I was doing. My mother was told over a year before that I have a chronic, incurable condition that causes me crippling pain. My treatment is expensive and I need to spend a lot of time in a hospital. I can’t socialize, travel or do many leisure activities.
So, I reminded her that (a) I was sick and in the hospital and that (b) I needed the cash to pay for my medical treatment. Her response was “I don’t know of anything being wrong with you.”
I reminded her of our conversation a year earlier. I also said that it was extremely rude and vulgar to demand money from anyone via email. She wrote back to me, saying that I was the one with bad communication skills.
Then, I told her I was not okay with not receiving an apology or being blamed about something that she herself had done. I also told her that I was accustomed to her acting immaturely. Then, I reminded her that I was in a lot of pain and would have to sacrifice medical treatment to buy her furniture. She did not rescind her request. In response to that, I told her I would no longer send her money.
I was sick and needed my downtime to recover.
“Please leave me alone so I can heal. Do not send me any more messages. I do not want to be spoken to.”
I sent photos of myself being wheeled from one examination room to the next.
Luckily, I was able to set the hard boundary because I was in therapy for codependency and complex post-traumatic stress syndrome. My therapist told me that once the toxic parent notices that I am sticking to my healthy boundaries, I was going to be getting exactly this kind of pushback. They would tell lies and do everything in their power to guilt me into changing my mind. I was told to completely cut off contact and never discuss my feelings or intentions with the toxic person until I was able to fully accept that they did not care about me. I did not expect her to respond like that. Blaming me for everything she herself did? Color me shocked.