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Old 02-20-2021, 06:34 AM   #1
RubySurvives
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Default Childhood

My mother his a covert narcissist. I only realized this at the age of 37. I have spent so much time researching and has been so liberating in a way because to finally understand the things she does and what her motivations are. I finally know that trying to explain myself to her is a waste of time because she can't or won't be able to hear my point, no matter how logical or fair or how easy to understand those points are. Any attempts are just an invitation for her to use gaslighting, blame-shifting, invalidation or word salad which only leave me more frustrated and hurt. I've just stopped, and saved myself a lot of frustration.



I know that no matter how carefully I try to navigate the eggshells, I can never stop the mean behavior or the bullying because even if I do everything just so, she will always find some excuse, some way to try to throw me off balance because she gets supply from making me squirm. She actually gets supply from me feeling helpless, or confused, or hurt. She likes it when I cower and bend over backwards trying to please her. It makes her feel strong. Narcissists don't want peace. They actively enjoy confrontation because it's a competition for them to win to show their dominance/superiority. All these things have given me insight into better interactions with this person when I have to deal with her. I can say, "Oh, there's the gaslighting. There is the manipulation." I've stopped taking the bait and stopped trying to defend myself, or explain when she isn't being fair or making logical sense.


I know now that nothing she says or does is personal because what narcissists say and do is always tactical and often has nothing to do with the face value of the words. It's genuinely not a reflection on my character. All this has been so liberating.



Growing up, I always knew something was not right about my mother's behavior, with how extremely, stiflingly controlling she was, with her always seeming so angry and the level of criticisms and blame and shame and guilt seemed out of proportion. My brother and I weren't particularly ill-behaved children. I always thought, though, that she loved us and that she cared about us, and maybe she wasn't doing things right, but I believed that inside of her was a human being who struggled with her own pain but had good intentions.



When you really and truly understand what the whole thing is about, you learn that a narcissist is all about power and control and presenting their perfect facade to the world. When they cut you down or it's on purpose because making you feel less than makes them feel more than. It's their whole game. They can get their supply from praise, but they also get it from dominance and control. (In their eyes stronger than you = better than you.) Anything that makes them feel like the alpha, pretty much. A narcissist does not see the people around them as human beings with any right to their own thoughts, feelings or opinions. The whole universe is just about their ego, this idealized self, this superficial self-concept that gets its validation from external sources. Other humans are only appliances, there to be manipulated and controlled into serving this purpose. One narcissist explained it like this. Sometimes, he feels like he really is better than everyone else. It feels good. But his sense of self fluctuates wildly. When he feels insecure, it feels really bad, and he wants to get it back up to feeling good again. He can get this from adulation from other people, people telling him that he really is as great as this image he holds of himself. When there isn't enough praise, hurting other people helps him feel better about himself again.



It's such a bleak picture. They are such ugly people on the inside, so cold, so cruel. There's no humanity there. My mother, the covert narcissist, built being a nice person and caring mother into her facade. She was a nightmare at home, but she tried to sell herself as just a nice person and some part of me bought into that. Maybe I was just projecting my empathetic, human-relationship-orientated nature onto her. I thought she had a heart that was capable to kindness and compassion and love. Now that I understand, I know that she never had the capacity to truly care about us. One might argue that she could love parts of us, the parts that made her look good, but she couldn't love us as human beings with our own inner worlds. It was all an act. And in the end, when we were these hurting balls of shame, it wasn't an accident of someone who just didn't have the skills to parent well. It was a deliberate power game on her part. Making us small and confused and in pain was her way of feeling better about herself. When she felt insecure, perhaps threatened by the idea that she wasn't living up to this perfect parent aspect of her identity, she made sure that everyone knew that we were the problem, and not her. The emotional abuse was on purpose.


I thought that understanding things would set me free, and in some ways it has, but I am now sitting with the realization that the mother I thought I had was never really there at all. I am still trying to wrap my mind around how she could do what she did to us deliberately. How can anyone be that black on the inside? Mentally, I can accept that she is who she is, and perhaps wanting a narcissist to not be a narcissist is the same as expecting someone with ADHD to stop having ADHD, for instance*. But I don't know how to process the whole thing emotionally. My heart is breaking.


* I know that the view passed around as the accepted wisdom of the time is that narcissism comes from childhood trauma or excessive superficial praise, but despite this being what everyone cites, it hasn't been proven, scientifically, certainly not conclusively. I strongly suspect it may be genetic. My brother and I aren't narcissists but my little sister, who went through much the the same treatment as us, has a lot of the same traits as my mother. I'm influenced by the works of Helen Fisher, who studied the effect of hormones on brain development and how it relates certain personality traits.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:08 AM   #2
raging vortex
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Default Re: Childhood

Possible trigger:


strong words, I know. but she wasn't a mother.. she was an abuser. big, big diffrence- and I wish I had a mother who loved me, especially after I never mnet my dad... though from what I hear, he was a bit of an ***.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:10 AM   #3
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I try to tell myself that some parents don't deserve children, but it doesn't make it easier.... I need to live with that the rest of my life
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:04 AM   #4
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how are you doing ruby. hope you're okay?
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Old 02-24-2021, 02:56 PM   #5
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Ruby, it sounds like you have a really good understanding of what happened. This is so important. I still have a hard time accepting this kind of evil exists in the world, especially when it痴 your own mother. I知 in a very similar place right now and finding it really hard to cope on a day to day basis.

One thing I致e noticed as I continue to research this and struggle with the way my mom so cruelly discarded me is that there are a LOT of people who have experienced covert narcissistic abuse. I知 not sure why, but so much of the music I致e been listening to (and liked before I was even consciously aware of what was going on) seems to focus directly on this topic. Sometime I find listening to it empowering, other times it just makes me cry. (But it still feels good to help me work through some of the pain.) I致e also read the number of malignant narcissists is growing especially in western societies. 😧

I hope you have a strong support network and/or a trustworthy therapist. I致e found being raised by a covert narcissist can unconsciously prime you to have others in your life. I know this has happened for me. I used to trust people so easily and now I知 finally seeing the error in this. It still hurts so incredibly much. Right now, I知 trying to deal with everything on my own and not so successfully. I wish you all the best and I知 really glad you shared your story here. We will somehow be stronger for this in the long run.
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