TV show From Victim to Victor episode 1
In this first show I shared my experiences of narcissistic abuse and the journey to recovery. A few key snippets are covered in this blogpost. To see the full show, click here.
Whoever grew up with a narcissistic parent will recognize the feeling that ‘something was wrong’. But what exactly would have remained unknown for a while, or sometimes forever.
After my first book From Victim to Victor was out, I received an avalanche of messages, thanking me for sharing the experiences in my dysfunctional family and my abusive upbringing. People who felt unloved, wronged and insecure in their own birth family recognized the same pattern as in my family and realized the cause of the unhappiness: a parent with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Children of a narcissist are being made responsible for the happiness of their parents and blamed for anything and everything that doesn’t go the way the narcissist wishes. Blame and punishment go hand in hand and it is no wonder that those children tune in into the mood of their parent to gauge the danger.
Are they doing the right thing?
Their mental and emotional focus is on their parent, which prevents their own emotional and mental development. When an adult, there is no sense of self, no emotional awareness and the inability to think for themselves.
After I discovered that my mother was a narcissist (age 55), I hardly talked about it. My friend Jill, who interviewed me, only heard about it when I started to write my book and spoke up in networking meetings. ‘My mother is a nasty piece of work’, followed by a brief description of a narcissist.
Well, that got attention.
During the meeting, but also afterwards when people got in touch to talk about their experiences and were looking for clarity, reassurance and validation.
Jill asked me why I kept it a secret for so long?
Narcissistic abuse can be very subtle and often the messages of a narcissist are ambiguous and confusing. Leaving enough space to deflect the nastiness. ‘A lot of people agree with me that you are really selfish’ when I didn’t do what she wanted. Or ‘Gosh, you look really big’ after you shared you had gained weight. Or ‘It is amazing that you call yourself a therapist, but you can’t explain to me what is wrong’.
Sharing stories with other people often leads to invalidation as others won’t experience my mother in the way I did.
Or people don’t want to buy into the concept of a mother who doesn’t love her children and they try to ‘make it better’ with remarks such as, ‘I am sure she doesn’t mean it’ and ‘I am sure she loves you underneath it all’.
There is a sense of shame around demasking your own mother as an abuser.
Also, the willingness to take responsibility for my part of the story, even though I now realise that a child is not responsible for the emotional abuse that they are subjected to.
Lastly, by voicing your truth and speaking out, the reality hits home. If your mother is a narcissist, you will never be able to have a balanced relationship. There is NO HOPE.
In my recovery and freeing myself from my mother’s abuse this was a crucial realization. All my life I had been trying to find a way to connect with her and have something of a relationship. By giving up hope I was able to stop trying and ultimately cut the cords. Best thing I ever did for my own mental health and the happiness and well-being of my husband and children.
We covered more in the show. You can watch it here.
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