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Nightjar

Children of narcs refuge.

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Posted (edited)

@MarkintheDark

Sounds like you really got a double whammy. Talk about the mother load!! First a narcissist and then something I can't identify - have you looked up personality disorders to try to pinpoint anything?

I suppose labels aren't everything but discovering that my mother checked all of  the boxes for narcissism was a real eye opener for me. It helped me take a step back, gain perspective and see things in black and white, if you will.

I feel guilty right now for discussing all of this with you guys. The mother bond is surely strong and unbreakable, no matter how painful it is to bear it.

Edited by Nightjar

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Posted (edited)

@Nightjar you're the best for starting this thread.  From the many responses you and I have seen from other members in other threads, no doubt this is a great refuge.  For reference, perhaps you, too, should share your story again.

Motherload...hahahaha.  Ah, motherOVERload?

To answer your question on my birthmother - gonna be a long one that doesn't fall into the narc category - it was my own background that gave me an idea of what was going on, though she was never forthcoming.  I strongly suspect childhood abuse from her father and her brothers, one of whom became a detective with a particularly mean streak.  His kids - my generation - have a variety of unhealthy coping mechanisms from overcontrolling to extremist religious practices.  As a child of abuse - albeit with years of recovery - it's second nature that I'd recognize it.

I'd have to say codependency, OCD and depression were the ones I recognized.  As with some codependents, she chose a nursing profession.  Catastrophizing is a thing for her, as well.  I call it her Code Blue.  I once dropped by, telling her I'd had an interesting day.  Her response was, "Oooooh noooooo!"  tbh, I went off on her.  Generally, she completely misses social cues in almost any conversation despite having a Masters.

On the OCD front, her habit has been to work herself to exhaustion.  Yes, it's to get attention, but it's also she feels she's never good enough.  While an election worker, she collapsed towards the end because of an untreated fractured femur.  I also recall once picking her up at the airport and being shocked to meet her with her face covered in scratches, bruises and Band-Aids ostensibly because she'd been cleaning her kitchen cabinets.  She looked like she'd been viciously mugged.

Perhaps most telling is that I'm the result of an affair she had with a doctor (who I never tracked down).  Then she did it AGAIN with the same doctor, my brother being stillborn a year-and-a-half after me.

I'll end the ramble by saying the usefulness of observing her - heck, our facial features are nearly identical - is that it's been a constant reminder that unchecked, that could be ME.

 

Edited by MarkintheDark

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Things are actually much better with me and dad these days.  The way the steward is on The Lord of the Rings with his 2 children is 2 common examples of how parents like ours may act and they are very hot and cold like with those 2 sons.  If we are doing what they want us to do and living up to whatever standards they have set we are the favorite child or the hero child and if we aren't they never want us in their presence again and wish we would die.  I've played both parts to him and the second I start doing bad he will cut me off like it's nothing.  Also things are better because I'm now seen as close family.  I live 4 miles from him and he can't have people talking about the fact that we still don't speak even though we live so close now.  Also he's been playing the divide and conquer game with me ever since mom got sick but he's not strong enough to divide or conquer my life.

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This thread has helped me a lot.  I'm feeling a lot better today because I'm standing up to all the controlling people in my life and taking back control of my life.  I'm not going to let these people make me sick anymore.  I am so close to having the life I want right now.  It's right around the corner and I'm not letting these people win!

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One of the worst things about toxic/narcissistic parents is the sheer, far-reaching extent of the damage they do, even beyond the grave. My mother has been dead for twelve years, and still I get triggered in certain situations because of the things she did and said.

If I have no other goal or purpose in this life it will be to do all the right things for my son and support him fully in helping him make his own way in this world - i.e., the OPPOSITE of what my mother did for me..

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Though it was tough at first - took me years, even after cutting her off, to accept a parent could be so abusive - I've never regretted giving the Narc Mom the boot.

@LonelyHiker, you bring up an interesting point about your own son.  My older step-sister had to shield her son from Narc Mom from the get-go.  Narc Mom insisted , for example, my step-sister bring my baby nephew along to a cocktail party - of all things - travel to which was across several miles of mountain roads in blowing snow.  As told me, it was an almost incomprehensible showdown.  The woman just couldn't comprehend the parents' concern for the safety of the baby in those conditions, let alone the inappropriateness of even demanding the new parents' participation.

On reflection, I realized this was the same contempt with which she'd treated me as a child...and she was doing it all over again!  Together with other horror stories my step-sister shared, it was a refreshing perspective on my own childhood and the woman's utter abdication of any parental responsibilities for the sake of her social life.

(My nephew's now an accomplished private pilot who works for an MLB team)

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4 hours ago, LonelyHiker said:

If I have no other goal or purpose in this life it will be to do all the right things for my son and support him fully in helping him make his own way in this world - i.e., the OPPOSITE of what my mother did for me..

I will do the same thing when I have children of my own.  I can't wait until I have children and I'm able to give them a wonderful life.  My dad beats me down every chance he gets.  He makes fun of me and tries to belittle every part of the life I will get for myself.  A parent is supposed to make sure their child gets the life they want.  Mine makes sure I don't.  Now that mom is gone he will try to mold me to be more like him because that's how fathers like him are but it's impossible.  It can't be done by him or anyone.  The difference between me and him is he's proud to be who he is.  If I was ever like him I'd blow my head off.

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My mom and dad can be very nice but they haven't faced the truth of their controlling ways, emotional distancing, and unreasonable expectations. They think that my depression and anxiety are my fault for bad choices I made. It is impossible to talk to them about it so I just don't go there.

I am to fly there next month for my dad's 90th birthday and I'm not looking forward to all the pretending I will need to do. I'm not sure how I'm going to make it through. I do have some good recovery after working on my issues so that will help and I'm trusting my God will help me as we have a good relationship. So I'm committing to make it through somehow.

BW

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On 5/18/2019 at 11:45 AM, sober4life said:

If we are doing what they want us to do and living up to whatever standards they have set we are the favorite child or the hero child and if we aren't they never want us in their presence again and wish we would die. 

My mother was just like that; As long as I did what she wanted, things were fine, if I said or did something she didn't like, the silent treatment and then the guilt trips. She passed away 3 years ago and I am slowly making progress towards believing I am a good person.

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34 minutes ago, nojoy said:

My mother was just like that; As long as I did what she wanted, things were fine, if I said or did something she didn't like, the silent treatment and then the guilt trips. She passed away 3 years ago and I am slowly making progress towards believing I am a good person.

You are a good person.  We are all good people.  The ones that abused us are the bad people.  Abusive people leave a poison in us that can live forever if we let it.  It will ruin the rest of our lives if we can't move past the words they leave in our heads.

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26 minutes ago, sober4life said:

You are a good person.  We are all good people.  The ones that abused us are the bad people.  Abusive people leave a poison in us that can live forever if we let it.  It will ruin the rest of our lives if we can't move past the words they leave in our heads.

SEYLA!

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2 hours ago, BeyondWeary said:

They think that my depression and anxiety are my fault for bad choices I made.

It's the other way around - depression and anxiety often lead to poor choices (as I can personally attest), which of course fuels the depression and anxiety.

It's a vicious f.ucking circle...😣

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21 hours ago, LonelyHiker said:

It's the other way around - depression and anxiety often lead to poor choices (as I can personally attest), which of course fuels the depression and anxiety.

It's a vicious f.ucking circle...😣

A circle that sucks donkey butt.  It pulls you out of your OODA loop and can make you make sloppy poor decisions or worse none.  

To quote Jocko Willink; "You are at fault whenever something bad happens to you."  That is true to an extent.  It is easy to get caught up in emotions when you need to be thinking and acting.  And the most dangerous decisions are no decision and playing it much to safe.

For me I have wallowed in depression for longer than I would have liked.  Thing is it feels a hell of a lot better to try and fail than not try at all.

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I had a horrible nightmare about my mother the other night. Talking about her here is bringing things up for me but it's also helping me to see the situation clearly.  When it's all in my head and not shared it's almost as if it's not real and not really happening. The way she has invalidated all of my feelings throughout my life makes me doubt my feelings are real too. 

She continues to call around unannounced and sit outside in the car several times a week. It's intimidating. My current strategy is to just let her in for half an hour because it's easier than dealing with her telling the neighbours how awful I am for not answering the door.

The last time she was here,  I was quite proud of the way I handled her. I was very detached and none of her invalidations, attempts to keep me small or to control me triggered me. I didn't share any emotions or any personal information. It was as if I completely accepted that I was dealing with a snake and took every care to protect myself. I didn't look for any humanity in there or try to relate. 

Perhaps this is progress?! 

Saying this, she was only here for half an hour. I don't know if I could keep this restraint up indefinitely. 

Still, I wasn't triggered and she didn't upset me at all. Winner. 

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Posted (edited)

I'm suitably impressed with your restraint.  Five stars! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

One thing I read repeatedly is that the worst thing you can do to a narcissist is ignore them.  And, as you've noted, that may take some energy to do.  She doesn't need to know that.  It would just be ammunition.  You nailed it by being Spock.  That's my go-to in those situations.

fwiw, I had a nacissistic colleague just over a year ago who I ghosted.  He was furious, badmouthed me to everyone, etc.  I ignored it...and my other colleagues eventually came around b/c I had nothing to say about him, a bit of self-preservation since I knew it likely he'd get wind of it, spurring more drama.

Your choice to actually let her in surprised me until I thought about it.  Welp, the unannounced visits are her way of ambushing you.  Make no mistake, it's an ambush.  But if she's not outside griping to the neighbors, she's lost her audience there, too.  Goodness, what's a narcissist to do? :mad1:

I think, too, if she's just sitting out in the car for a portion of that time, it's a pretty clear indication of just how far off the rails she's gone.  Although she's obviously making unhealthy choices, they're HER choices.  She's an adult (chronologically, at least).  You're NOT responsible for her choices.  You're making healthier ones. 

btw, having used the "not responsible" line on my narcissist, I'd advise against even broaching that subject.  It sent mine into a full-blown fury.

Edited by MarkintheDark

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Yes her sitting outside in the car is pretty disturbing for sure.  It would be fun to just leave her out there sitting in the car but if we were to do that it would just be stressful for us wondering what they're doing in the car.  We would be in the window the whole time until they left.  Sometimes it is better to keep your enemies close so you can keep a better eye on them.  Yes it's dangerous but sometimes it's the way you have to do it.  If I keep him in my life I know what he's up to.  If he's out of my life paranoia tells me lies about what he's up to.

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18 minutes ago, sober4life said:

It would be fun to just leave her out there sitting in the car

Personally, I'd be ornery enough to let 'em sit and deal with that choice.  But I'm also enuf of an @ss that I"d also just go about my day, whether or not the narc was in the way.  While the narc's own little mind might be getting stirred up out there, I'd be oblivious.  But, believe me, that takes practice. [see Spock notation]

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Posted (edited)

Ah, this is so refreshing to me...to discuss this with people who actually understand. SO rare. 

I love you guys @MarkintheDark and @sober4life.

You are seriously helping me out right now. Ah, it's like spring rain, honestly.

I've been thinking about the zen side of things about this situation lately....I think the expression about yielding to your opponents force applies here....Also, sober4life's expression 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer' definitely does. I've often thought about that one lol.

I've also been wondering what the hell is life trying to teach me with all of this? Is it to be stricter with boundaries? Is it to see the bad in people aswell as the good? Is it to break all family ties and be free of that connection? Is it to be a zen master?

Well, my reputation may be in the toilet, but as markinthedark has pointed out, my zen skills are coming along quite nicely lol. 

I bow down to your zen mastery @markinthedark. I have a lot of respect for people who are that way inclined 🙈🙉🙊

Edited by Nightjar

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Posted (edited)

So today I'm sat in the park, having a rest after walking through town for a couple of hours.

I'm munching on a nice l'il something I've picked up along the way, I'm browsing the internet and enjoying the general summery atmosphere...

So... what's the story here you may ask? What's to know? 

Well pull up a chair and I'll tell you. This is what happened next...

Along came a spider, well actually no, a spider didn't come along, I'm just jesting. However, along came an inebriated male. And this inebriated male was looking for company.

Lucky me.

He says 'Hello'. I say 'Hello' back to be polite but also to avoid grievance. And then before you can say pass the cider, he plonks himself down next to me on the grass. OK it was a respectable distance, as in not up against me or anything but it was next to me, nonetheless. 

So here we are. He is sitting there cross legged, directly opposite me wildly violating my boundaries (although I can't think of a reason to ask him to leave) and he starts to chat. 'Why are you looking at your phone?' he asks...'I'm talking to a friend' I say, being cordial, thinking this will give him the message that I'm kinda busy here, but no.

'Why don't you speak to real people?' he continues...  'I do speak to real people,' I say, 'but my friend is in America'. I'm starting to feel defensive now but I'm not showing it in case of repercussions (this guy reeks of alcohol and is slightly aggressive) ...'Why don't you go and see him then?' he asks, obviously not satisfied yet with his line of questioning ...

'I can't afford it right now,' I say, not wishing to participate in the conversation any longer but continuing nonetheless...

He persists, enlightening me with his next line of thought. ..

'In 20 years time all you will remember is a screensaver'...

I'm thinking maybe he has a point but his needling is making me very uncomfortable and defensive...

'Oh,  I don't know,' I shrug, as I begin to employ the evasion techniques that I practice with my narcissist. I take a bite out of my lovely vegan cupcake to try to assert my independence in doing my own thing in my own space ...He continues and poses another question and I reply with a mouthful of cake... he mocks me in a whiny voice repeating what I said...He then goes on to say 'Don't speak with your mouth full' telling me off.

More questions follow but after the mocking, I've finally had enough. I put my cake away and make to leave..He gets the message...'OK,  OK, he says I'm going...' but, feeling sorry for himself now, he protests 'Where I come from, people talk to each other'.

With that he walks over to a nearby couple and begins an assault, sorry, a conversation with them.

I sit back down and resume my activities but I keep an eye on him now, I'm wary. I could see how he could easily work himself into a rage.

As I'm watching and listening out for what he has got to say, I hear him say 'How rude'  and I assume that this is a comment very likely directed at me. I also hear the couple agreeing with him. Whether or not they were agreeing to placate him is neither here nor there, I am now publicly and officially rude in their eyes.

Herein ends the story. Sound familiar? 

...The belittling, violation of boundaries, self pity, controlling behaviour, disrespect, the defamation of character, please stop me if you pick anything else out from this story, I'm sure to have missed something.

I've been asking life to tell me what to do and I think it just gave me the perfect example of narcissism in a nutshell. It was automatic and completely the right thing to do to get up and walk away. 

Herein,  I might have my answer. 

Ommmmmm...

 

Edited by Nightjar

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When people drink it makes them want to talk to everyone around them.  I'm shy most of the time but if I drink I want to talk to everyone in the room.  He might be harmless.  He might be dangerous or he might not even know what he's doing at all.  In that situation I would probably just walk away and expect he wouldn't even remember speaking to me that day.  I used to come across people like him every day when I lived in the city.  Most of the time they turned out to be mentally ill and harmless.

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15 hours ago, Nightjar said:

However, along came an inebriated male. And this inebriated male was looking for company.

Thank you for sharing this. The story you tell is sadly a popular one, it does seem to be the experience of women virtually everywhere. I believe it comes down to men who are raised feeling entitled to a women's time, her attention and her admiration and often her body.  

Here we have a basic guy being aggressive. I'm going to replay the encounter with captions to illustrate how men are raised to behave and think:

15 hours ago, Nightjar said:

He says 'Hello'. I say 'Hello' back to be polite but also to avoid grievance. 

Complying in order to avoid a bad reaction is a learned behavior. Anybody who belongs to a group outside the most dominant one learns to do this, it is necessary to guarantee emotional and physical security/safety - even in a public place like a park. In contrast, if this guy is the right sort of race you could drop him anywhere in the world, in any century and he'll feel completely safe there unless there's a war going on. 

15 hours ago, Nightjar said:

he plonks himself down next to me on the grass. 

"It's a public park, I can sit where I like" - he will tell himself this - but the subtext actually is, "I'm not giving one thought to her safety or comfort because I'm entitled to her time and attention by virtue of being a male."

15 hours ago, Nightjar said:

Why are you looking at your phone?' he asks

He doesn't actually care if you were looking at your phone, reading a book, painting a picture or whatever - he believes a woman's time is a public commodity. Obviously, he's here to make personal use of it. 

15 hours ago, Nightjar said:

Why don't you speak to real people? Why don't you go and see him then?

He doesn't give a damn about people, he's not interested in what you're doing or why. He is demanding to know why this woman will not speak to a man as he's entitled to your attention and he believed he had your compliance despite never getting your consent. When he realizes he doesn't, he starts to show aggression. Men react like this when they are taught a woman's safety and humanity are secondary to a man's pleasure and convenience.

15 hours ago, Nightjar said:

In 20 years time all you will remember is a screensaver

Screensaver what??? Like, flying toasters or starry field? Did this dude come from 1996? Anyways, at this stage the guy is now truly aware of his uncomfortable feelings - rejection, and maybe picks up some feelings of discomfort from you that he translates as disgust. These feelings are all his, you didn't "give" them to him. Yet he believes you're responsible for his bad feelings. A man learns he doesn't have to own his feelings (whether he's feeling attraction or feeling rejected) so long as he applies the fallacy of "afterwards, therefore because of" when there are women around. 

15 hours ago, Nightjar said:

OK,  OK, he says I'm going...' but, feeling sorry for himself now, he protests 'Where I come from, people talk to each other'.

What he means of course is, "You're supposed to talk to me because I'm entitled to it. And you're deliberately not complying. I feel uncomfortable, I have unwanted feelings - all because you won't give me what I need and deserve." There might be a temptation for you to apologize but you have nothing to apologize for. 

To your credit you don't shrink away. So he responds by shaming you and this is really in lieu of physical aggression. Men learned that emotional aggression ("you btch") can be as effective and unlike the physical kind, men don't face any risk of consequences. He continues his tantrum by co-opting an unsuspecting couple. He believes it's his prerogative to punish you because of his feelings, because in his reality, all this is happening to him not you, and he's going to use these random people as tools to inflict harm. 

@Nightjar I'm truly sorry this happened to you. I'm sure similar experiences have happened before as it happens to women everywhere. I think you handled the situation skillfully especially considering how your safety was not at all guaranteed. I also think you treated yourself very respectfully and demonstrated strength and confidence. That had to be hard to stay level-headed with someone being so disrespectful to you. In your post, you wonder if there wasn't anything more to pick out of the story. I felt it might be useful to illustrate how men learn to think about and behave towards women - and no, the alcohol doesn't excuse it. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Atra said:

I think you handled the situation skillfully especially considering how your safety was not at all guaranteed.

I'll chime in a li'l on Atra's thoughtful analysis.  You were forced into a balancing act of safety vs. standing your ground.  From this side of the screen it sounds like you handled it brilliantly, imo, evaluating and responding on the fly to a dynamic situation, as unnerving as it was.

Edited by MarkintheDark

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