A while back, my husband found an article regarding narcissistic mothers and brought it to my attention. I didn’t quite understand why he did it until I read it. Until that time, I wasn’t even aware that there was such a thing as a “narcissistic mother.” I just thought that my mother was my mother. I never realized there was a terminology for her choice of behavior. It brought to light so many things that made me wonder and become confused about throughout my 30+ years of life. It made sense of a lot of things, yet also stirred up more and different questions than I had before. I wish I could find an expert on this matter in order to work things out.
For the rest of this blog post, I will be referencing this article as quotations. Some quotes were taken out of context/partial quotes because they’re very long in itself. It’s a good read, albeit long. Also note, when I quote my mother with improper grammar or broken English, it is because she speaks with a heavy Chinese accent and that is how I recall it in my head as accurate. Honestly, every point listed in this article can be somehow traced back to my mother, but I’ll address the ones that stick out the most. This post will be long below the “read more” line since a lot happened.
Growing up, I was constantly ridiculed and compared to everyone else by my mother. My mother never approved of anything I did or supported me in any way with anything I expressed interest in. It may seem like another disagreeable daughter lashing out at her nagging mother in an immature way by stating this, but it goes far beyond that. My sister, my cousins (both male and female), her friend’s kids… I was pitted up against all of them. My sister was perfect in my mother’s eyes. She could do next to no wrong, but when she did (and she was more of a troublemaker than I was), it was forgivable and forgotten as just an accident, or it somehow became my fault. But if I did something similar in a bad way, my mother would rip me a new one and then constantly remind me of said error over and over again, even if it happened years before.
Honestly, and this is without any proof or tests done, I firmly believe my mother suffered from postpartum depression. Considering what she had to endure while pregnant with me… running/hiding from the Vietnam communists as she was escaping the country with only my father. Wading through swamps filled with snakes, leeches, etc. Turning back around because the first boat filled up, only having to do it all over again. No food or water; with only the clothes on their backs. Then to an island where she knew nobody, and finally giving birth to a baby she didn’t want or plan to have. Immigrating to a foreign land, unable to speak to anyone due to the lack of English. All at the age of 19.
With the constant blame that I received for everything, even stuff I didn’t have a direct hand with, and her reminding me daily that she wished that I would have died on the island, it just makes sense. I read those mothers who suffer from this condition harbor intense hatred for their baby. I’m not sure if my mother realized the way she was treating me, but this is all hypothetical anyway. Like I said, there isn’t any proof that she suffered from PPD. Whenever I saw her look at me, there was always this hatred in them towards me. I’ve never once seen her look at me lovingly. Not exaggerating. Her glare burned its way into my heart and continues to haunt me to this day in my mid-30s. It still scares me even though I haven’t seen her in over 10 years.
To quote Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender: “She was born lucky, I was lucky to be born.”
“1. Everything she does is deniable. There is always a facile excuse or an explanation. Cruelties are couched in loving terms. Aggressive and hostile acts are paraded as thoughtfulness. Selfish manipulations are presented as gifts. Criticism and slander is slyly disguised as concern. She only wants what is best for you. She only wants to help you. “
She would remind me every day to be thankful she kept me alive. That if it weren’t for her, I would have died on the island since I was premature and sick without modern medical help. She said she only hit me because she cared. And that I was lucky she doesn’t throw me out. During my childhood, I was sickly and skinny. She would always criticize me for being too thin in front of everyone, as if it was only my fault. If somebody brought up about how I was too skinny, she’d say she tried so hard to make me eat, but I wouldn’t. The only time I’d eat was in the presence of A-yi. One time, my parents literally tied me to a chair and shoved food down my mouth. I still remember that. My hands and feet were tied behind the chair, one of them prying my mouth open, the other shoving it real hard down my throat. I don’t recall the name given to this mental illness that children/babies get, but if a child feels unwanted/unloved, since they’re young and do not understand the ways of the world yet, they chose to starve themselves if they feel that way. They refuse to eat in order to die.
As I got older, I actually did attempt to commit suicide. At times, I’d go outside and lay in the middle of the road and wait. Several times my parents or sister would drag me off. My mother then would yell at me and tell me to go ahead and kill myself. That way she wouldn’t have to take care of me anymore. I had such conflicting feelings inside my head and was generally confused growing up. Why am I here? Why do I exist? What’s the point?
“As a result, you’re always afraid, always in the wrong, and can never exactly put your finger on why.”
There’s so much truth to that statement. I could never make sense of why I always felt like I could do nothing right. My mother always told me that I would amount to nothing and could do nothing right; that I messed up everything I touched.
I used to love to draw as a child and into my teenage years. All the time. That was my release and my escape from this living nightmare of a life. I’d take a small image and then somehow managed to enlarge it over several sheets of paper, creating a huge poster of my own of whatever image I liked (which was mostly Disney-related, and later anime). My bedroom was filled with my artwork! I was so proud of them. My mother, anytime she’d wander into my room, would shake her head in disdain and disappointment, then say they were ugly and a waste of time; that they would not make any money and I should stop doing that. One summer, I went to visit my “A-yi” (ah-yee: “auntie”, although not blood related) for a few months. I came back and all of my artwork in my room was gone. My sister said that my parents did it. To this day, I’m not 100% sure if it’s true (because she was known to lash out at me by destroying something I cherished), but after my mother’s remarks about them, I didn’t question it at the time. All I did was lock myself in my room and bawl for hours and hours, falling asleep eventually, and waking up to bare walls again… crying all over again. It was a really painful time in my life.
“Because her abusiveness is part of a lifelong campaign of control and because she is careful to rationalize her abuse, it is extremely difficult to explain to other people what is so bad about her. The times and locations of her worst abuses are carefully chosen so that no one who might intervene will hear or see her bad behavior, and she will seem like a completely different person in public. “
Everyone that meets my mother thinks she’s cute and funny and sweet; “such a nice lady.” Sure she is… to everyone but me. I would second-guess myself constantly because when I finally got the voice to tell others that my mother does this and that to me, they would scold me for speaking badly about my mother! Oh heaven forbid that I would bash my mother’s good name to somebody else. Good God people, I WAS CRYING FOR HELP! I wanted help. I needed help! I wanted to get away. Instead, I was pushed aside and scoffed at for being a liar. Even as a kid and a bruise would be found on my body, I would say that mama did that… and the caretakers were like “stop lying, what REALLY happened? Did you fall?” … which would confuse the crap out of me. Being a little kid, I eventually closed myself up and wouldn’t respond to others after so many people denied my “crude accusations” of my mother hitting me, which only opened up another can of worms, being accused of acting out as an insolent child.
“She’ll slam you to other people, but will always embed her devaluing nuggets of snide gossip in protestations of concern, love and understanding (“I feel so sorry for poor Cynthia. She always seems to have such a hard time, but I just don’t know what I can do for her!”) As a consequence the children of narcissists universally report that no one believes them. Unfortunately therapists, given the deniable actions of the narcissist and eager to defend a fellow parent, will often jump to the narcissist’s defense as well, reinforcing your sense of isolation and helplessness (“I’m sure she didn’t mean it like that!”)”
If there’s one thing about her that she was good at, it was being a huge gossip queen, especially among her other Chinese friends. I can’t even begin to tell how much she would go on and on about how disappointed she was that I didn’t know how to speak a lip of Chinese to her Chinese friends. She would tell them that she tried to teach me, but I didn’t want to learn. Mm-hmm. Right. (insert eye-roll here) I don’t know how to speak my mother tongue because neither of my parents taught me, despite what they will tell anyone else.
Unlike most Asian families in America (esp. west coast), we didn’t have a huge network of relatives or Chinese family-friends that lived under the same roof, or within walking distance. It was JUST my family… in the middle-of-nowhere podunk town in the Midwest that had a population of a couple hundred at most. Their friends lived far enough away that we had no means of connecting with them, but when they did get together, it was mostly for my parents to play poker or mahjong or sing karaoke, not to teach us how to communicate in our mother tongue. We knew a few words here and there (such as “fungow” (sleep time) or “sic fan” (eat rice) as well as pretty much all curse words in Cantonese), but never how to fully communicate in complete sentences. From the very get-go, we were raised by American babysitters since my parents had to work 2+ jobs just to get by in this new country as immigrants/refugees. The jobs they had were menial labor and paid poorly; at times were all handled under-the-table illegally. Ah, and of course American TV also taught us… but “surprisingly” none of them spoke Chinese. GEE, I WONDER WHY. My parents were trying to learn English (at least my mother was; my dad knew it already since he served in the Vietnam “war”) so they spoke English to us most of the time unless they got really mad. So that is why I only know how to speak English.
The few therapists I’ve seen throughout my life have remarked in a very similar fashion as stated in the above quote, defending my mother without even meeting her and blaming it on other factors of my life, so I gave up on counseling.
“3. She favoritizes. Narcissistic mothers commonly choose one (sometimes more) child to be the golden child and one (sometimes more) to be the scapegoat. The narcissist identifies with the golden child and provides privileges to him or her as long as the golden child does just as she wants. The golden child has to be cared for assiduously by everyone in the family. The scapegoat has no needs and instead gets to do the caring. The golden child can do nothing wrong. The scapegoat is always at fault. This creates divisions between the children, one of whom has a large investment in the mother being wise and wonderful, and the other(s) who hate her. The golden child may also directly take on the narcissistic mother’s tasks by physically abusing the scapegoat so the narcissistic mother doesn’t have to do that herself.”
When I first read this part of the article, I was astonished. I mean wow… that IS my sister. Perfectly explains my dysfunctional family. All of it. Did they write about my sister here? Because it sure looks like it. My sister was the epitome of the “golden child” and continues to be to this day.
She can do no wrong. Even though she got into a car accident that totaled my parent’s car, it was no big deal. I got into a fender-bender that wasn’t even my fault (I was at a complete stop at a stop sign and somebody rammed into the rear, which dented the bumper and gave me whiplash; this being the same car as the one my sister later totaled), and it’s the end of the world that I dented my parents car!! Oh no! (sigh) They reminded me of that accident for months and years later even though it was NOT my fault. A few years later, my sister TOTALS the same car (it had to be replaced, which saddened my father), it was brushed aside as if it were nothing, even though it was her fault since she was speeding through an intersection.
When my little sister started elementary school with me, my sister noticed I was being teased and picked on. Instead of helping her “Jeh-Jeh” (older sis in Chinese), she joined in on the teasing and started kicking me around, which amused the other students who were teasing me. She thought it was hilarious that I was being picked on during recess. She would gloat about it to my mother and say that everyone else was doing it, so she did it, and my mother would commend her because I “deserved it” if I allowed the other kids to kick me around. My mother praised her for pushing me around, both at home and now at school. Because I deserved it.
As trivial as it may be, I still remember how my parents handled our senior portraits. This is only an example. With me, it was all about how they’re wasting too much money over stupid pictures and clothes. Why waste money on pictures? My family never once took a professional family portrait. It was an issue on how I had to take time off working at their store to take the pics. However, for my sister, my mother let her buy so many expensive clothes and pick out whatever portrait package she desired. I was lucky with the lowest/cheapest portrait package, but Lily was able to pick one that cost over double of mine, with a much more in-demand photographer. The reason? Because she’s prettier than me. She is thinner and taller than I am, and thus looked better in pictures. Her smile was always so much prettier than mine. I don’t think I ever truly smiled in any picture or looked happy. My mother always asked why I always looked so sad/upset/unhappy in pictures. Who was I smiling for? Why did I need to smile? Smiling at me was wasted energy.
That’s another thing entirely. They NEVER made my sister work at their store. It was completely different deal with me. I am well aware that in Asian families, the eldest child has to do all the work and that’s what they always told me whenever I complained. Then my mom would respond that she does sometimes work when she needs money. And I’m like wait, what? They don’t pay me anything and I work here almost every day! My mother told me that she “gimme food, clothes to wear and house to live in” and I should be happy for her generosity.
My sister took it to a whole new level when I “accidentally” found out that she was getting married from my father. I was talking to him on the phone and suddenly he brings up, “You go Li-li wedding next month?” … and I was like “Ummm, WHAT wedding?” He kinda let out this chuckle-cough that he typically does when he’s shocked and responds, “uh oh, you better go talk to your sister about this.” Yeah, right… the sister I haven’t spoken to since my own wedding about 5-6 years before. Great. And very typical of my dad to brush off problematic issues away rather than assist. He gave me her current phone number and so I called her. She was so shocked that I’d call her that she didn’t even recognize my voice and asked who I was. Wow. Just when things couldn’t get better. To make matters even worse, we sound almost exactly alike! To the point where even her friends or our relatives couldn’t differentiate between the two of us over the phone!
After the atypical awkward greetings and such passed, I asked her, “Soooo… about this wedding of yours…” and she was like “oh… OOOOH! Umm, well, umm…” etc, etc… stuttering for something to say. Finally she said that she has a spare invite here that she can send me. And I was like “what day is your wedding?” and she told me (I forgot now), which was about a month away. I’m like “you’ve gotta be kidding…” Then she pulls out something from left field that I said a VERY long time ago (many years ago even before my wedding) when she was dating a TOTALLY different guy that I didn’t approve (he cheated on her, they broke up, and then back together again, that’s why) that I didn’t want to go to her wedding. Wait, what? THAT’S her excuse? Seriously Lily… you’re going to use that against me? I don’t even know this guy! Ridiculous. So I hung up. I thought well, that’s that. NOPE! Not with her or my family. Never is. She later lied and told everyone that I didn’t want to go even though she kindly sent me an invitation to come. Like, when everyone else apparently got their invitations MONTHS ago, nothing to do with our phone conversion. Nope, she was the golden child who did everything right. My dad proved that when he told me, “Lee-lee said she send you invite long time ago, but then you tol(d) her you no want to go.” Sigh.
Then there was the time where my mother took my sister and her (I think) then-fiancee on a fancy expensive cruise. I believe she was celebrating their engagement. Thing is, my sister’s then-fiancee is a white boy (Caucasian), just like my husband. However, when I got engaged, instead of being happy for me and celebrating my engagement, my mother said that she will NEVER acknowledge him as her son-in-law. Because he’s a white boy. This of course is after my mother said that nobody will ever love me. The fact that she was celebrating my sister’s engagement (or whatever) with her Caucasian then-fiancee just boggles my mind. If that doesn’t scream favoritism, then I don’t know what does.
“5. She demeans, criticizes and denigrates. She lets you know in all sorts of little ways that she thinks less of you than she does of your siblings or of other people in general. If you complain about mistreatment by someone else, she will take that person’s side even if she doesn’t know them at all. She just wants to let you know that you’re never right.”
Always. As I stated up above, when teachers would report that peers were teasing me and that I was withdrawn in school, she would berate me and tell me that I deserved all that bad treatment. It’s not like I didn’t try. I would come home and tell my parents that I was being kicked around and teased for looking different (being the only Asian in elementary school had its downfalls). My mother would always tell me “you deserved it.”
“6. She makes you look crazy. If you try to confront her about something she’s done, she’ll tell you that you have “a very vivid imagination” (this is a phrase commonly used by abusers of all sorts to invalidate your experience of their abuse) that you don’t know what you’re talking about, or that she has no idea what you’re talking about. This is an extremely aggressive and exceptionally infuriating tactic called “gaslighting,” common to abusers of all kinds. Your perceptions of reality are continually undermined so that you end up without any confidence in your intuition, your memory or your powers of reasoning. This makes you a much better victim for the abuser.”
I had thought that after I was raped, that was that and it was over with… time to move on with life. It was technically the first time I had sex and I wanted to pretend it didn’t happen. Then the least expected thing happened: I was pregnant. I had always thought that the universe was out to get me, but this took the cake. I freaked out and the first person I called was my “a-yi”. I was living on my own for the first time and was far away from her or anyone I knew, so it wasn’t like I could hop on over to somebody’s house and seek council. I was on my own, freaking out and panicking. I told a-yi not to tell my mother. Well, she didn’t listen and ended up telling my mother.
I had left home (I ran away from home due to an incident involving her and my male cousin–which I will get into later, but since I was 18, it’s not technically running away) without her permission and she made me feel even more worthless. A-yi, even to this day, doesn’t believe how mean my mother could be towards me, only because she saw the nice, sweet side of my mother (see the above description quoted). The following day after I revealed this to A-yi, even after I BEGGED and PLEADED through hyperventilating tears with her NOT to tell my mother, she surprised me by calling the next day and saying that she had my mother on the other line (3-way calling). Somehow, my mother seemed to forget A-yi was on the other line and screamed all sorts of profanities in both English and Chinese at me, which shocked A-yi with her. “I TOL(D) YOU SO”, she repeated over and over again, along with other expletives. A-yi later excused my mother’s behavior/reaction due to being shocked about the pregnancy. My mother said that if I decide to have this child out of wedlock, that I will “never be her daughter again.” It was such a big deal for me to not being married and pregnant at the time, like something that she’s never heard of before (which a couple years later, my younger cousin in Toronto, who was known to be promiscuous before this, had TWO children out of wedlock, which my mother dotes on all the time). My mother even had the audacity to ask me if I could get married to the guy who raped me in order to legitimatize the baby as her grandchild!!! I mean SERIOUSLY… WHO THINKS THAT… let alone SAYS THAT to their own child?!
My mother cares MUCH more about her own image than for my own safety and livelihood.
“T” (referring to A-yi’s daughter as that for my story) was sought out by A-yi because I guess she knew that T was considering adoption after a few miscarriages. I lived with A-yi’s daughter, her husband and son during the remainder of my pregnancy (I was around 2 months pregnant when they took me in since I had nowhere else to go unless I chose abortion as my parents wished). Seven months later, I had the baby T’s family adopted her. They named her Renae. I believe T had her sights set on naming her “Olivia”, but it was kinda interesting in a good way how they changed their minds (not that anything is wrong with “Olivia”, it just didn’t seem to fit her after they saw her, I guess?). If P.J. had his way, the baby’s name would have been “Padme”, though. 😛 One night, several weeks before Renae was born, A-yi calls and leaves a semi-cryptic message on their answering machine: “Raaah-nay. Father and I like name Raaah-nay.” I think she also attempted to slowly spell it out with her cute Asian accent. That was all she said (she had a tendency to randomly leave short messages like that). Another day following that random message, T and I were checking out of a grocery store and saw a book of names. T skimmed for “Olivia” and then checked for “Renee”. It meant “rebirth” which we found quite interesting since I had just become a Christian. The family didn’t think anything else of that name until they were holding her in their arms. I recall T saying she was still set on “Olivia”, but… the baby didn’t look like an “Olivia”, or something to that degree. I still vaguely recall T’s husband scribbling different versions on how to spell Renae’s name on the white board in the hospital room we were staying in. I think (some of?) the variants were Renée, Renee, Ranae, Ranee, Renae (not necessarily in that order). I also remember them wholeheartedly agreeing that the hyphened “é” would be annoying to write, so they drew a line through the hyphened version. 😛
After the birth, once again had nowhere else to go and nothing to my name, so A-yi somehow convinced my parents to take me back. The ultimatum was that I had to slave at their store again, no questions asked, no pay. Also, to never speak of this pregnancy or baby to anyone; it never happened. The baby does not exist. It was to be kept as a dark, shameful and horrible secret (aka: fodder for my mother to rub into my face whenever she felt like it).
I recall the night before I left T’s to my parents via bus. I wasn’t allowed to stay with them after the birth for obvious reasons. I mean what if I had bonded with the baby? I guess it would have been more painful, “or something.” Instead, I stayed at one of T’s friend’s (“J”) house for about a week or two (?! — that part of my life is honestly fuzzy since I don’t really like to think much about it). It was nice of J to take care of me, but I think I was a huge burden for her, and she was reluctantly doing it as a favor for T since she loved T to death (I’ve never seen such a devoted friend like J was to T). J was kinda cold towards me and only super nice when T was around. However, T allowed me to linger at their place the night before my bus departed. While we were driving to the bus station, I remember telling T that I was afraid of going back to my parents… that I’m going head-first back into the fray and there will be a lot of pain. I ended up bawling with fear. I was already vulnerable and this would only become worse. She told me that “hey, at least they want to take you back.” (sigh) I don’t think she truly understood what my mother was capable of. I still think that’s the case even to this day.
When I tried to explain to T, she kept saying that all Asian mothers are hard like that; that her mother was hard on her like that, etc, etc. And then she asked me if I read The Joy Luck Club. At that time, I told her that I’ve only heard of it, but never read it. She told me that I should, and if possible to even watch the movie. Well, I’ve since done both, and yes, it did accurately portray a lot of angst and pain that most Asian mothers subject their daughters to, but my mother was FAR worse than that. I did later try once again to speak to T about this, but it was once again ignored. She brushed me off as just some angsty daughter with an unpleasant relationship with her mother, and that she went through it too, blah blah blah. I had also even made the mistake of trying to reach out to her friend “J” that housed me after the birth via Facebook (when I still used it, which has been years since I deleted/stopped). J rudely told me off and said she doesn’t want anything to do with me, and that my life was “my problem” and not hers. WOW.
The kicker here is that both of these ladies helped lead me down the road to Christianity. I became a Christian while living and interacting with this family. And this really how Christians are supposed to act? This is why I question faith a lot… why I did before I lived here, and why I do so today. Seek help, and none will come? Funny, I thought scripture said otherwise. So fake. All of them are so fake. They got what they wanted (T got a baby, J got more “friend points” with T for housing me). I never mattered or was part of the picture. I was just an incubator with T’s baby growing inside. It was all a big fat lie. Not surprised, since I’ve been extremely naive for most of my life, being taken advantage of and tossed away by everyone once they were finished using me.
Speaking of T, I’ve spoken to her several times over the past ~16 years. Each time, Renae was conveniently not available. I don’t wish to shoot accusations, but it feels as if they’re either trying to keep her away from me in fear of something (me?), or that more of my nightmares are true: Renae hates me. She hates me because I didn’t want to be her mother. I’ve read various accounts of other adoptee’s that adopted children can go either way, hardly any are mixed about their feelings. They either despise the birth parents because they somehow feel unwanted/unloved (which isn’t true in my case; it was simply because she was a result of a rape and I was too young AND naive to lovingly nurture and properly raise a child. I already suffered through an unwanted, unloved childhood, I did NOT want that happening to her!)… OR the child will seek out their birth parents. Since the latter has not remotely been attempted, I think after 16 years and the lack of contact of any form, it’s safe to assume that she hates me. Even after years of birthday and Christmas gifts/cards being sent to her. Heck, I don’t even know if she’s received any of them since any time I’d inquire with T, all I’d get was “she liked them” — no feedback on the actual items. From my standpoint going off of every “she liked them” responses, they could very well just throw everything I’ve bought away without her knowing. Anyway, I digress…
One night after my mother and I closed shop, my mom solemnly pulled me aside saying she had to seriously talk to me. She asked me in a uncanny calm manner… “how can you ‘sell’ your baby? Your own flesh-and-blood.” I corrected her and said that I didn’t sell anything. If I sold the baby, not only would it be illegal, but I would have some money out of it… which I don’t. She still went on and on about how I gave away something that grew inside me for almost a year. She asked if I had a heart because she couldn’t understand how anyone with a heart could give a baby away. I told her that it was because I had a heart that I gave her to people who would love her more than I ever could do alone.
Then the big thing that she was leading up to hit: Why’d I chose a-yi’s daughter??!! Of all people! So wrong! My mother never liked a-yi’s daughter and made it very clear to me that night. I think my mother is mostly jealous of a-yi’s daughter because they are really close in age (or rather extremely possessive since my mother also adored a-yi as a mother figure). She went from being disapproving to angry with me. “Why not give away to stranger instead?” She just couldn’t deal with my decision to adopt my child to a-yi’s daughter. Then she changed the direction of the subject and went on and on about why it had to be a girl, as if I had some say in the baby’s gender: “if it were boy, i keep for myself” she told me. I shook my head no, then told her very sternly that she’s the LAST person I’d ever allow any child of mine to be near, let alone adopt. Now she’s REALLY angry with me, then yelled, “What if I sell you?” I just looked at her straight in the face and told her that I probably would have been better off. She slapped my face. I smiled because damn, that felt good! I rarely had the guts to speak back at her, mostly in fear, but after that experience, I said screw it– going to tell it how it is. She huffed off to bed without another word for a very long time.
As expected, she made my life a living hell, and one day when my family went gambling without me (because I’m no fun and my mother wanted to have fun), my old high school friend “K” and her husband stopped by with boxes. They showed up unexpectedly at my parent’s front door and said something like “we’re here to bring you home.” I was really shocked because that was the only time anyone has ever done something selfless like that. We packed up my stuff and I wrote a farewell letter to my parents, stating that I went to live with “K” and her family. I also told my mother that I don’t deserve being her slave anymore. Later, she called me up and asked “who come help me at store?”, to which I suggested Lily. Heh, even she scoffed and said Lily would never help. I told her that I might come by to help, but I need a real job and money since I’m not living with them anymore. My mother just told me that she did me “a favor” by taking me back in, and watch… I’ll be back. And I will have to beg on hands and knees if I want to return again. (sigh)
The whole time I was living back home with my mother, she kept telling me that I’ve “ruined my body” by giving birth to Renae. That nobody will ever love me because I am “used up” and “broken.” That I’ll never get a husband unless they’re desperate. Perhaps that is why I married the first man who even showed interest in me. I didn’t think I’d ever find or deserved to have somebody love me for me, ever. A lot of issues have come from that decision, such as finding out many years later that my husband doesn’t want any children. He doesn’t even want anything to do with sex (which is a whole other story all together). I have a strange marriage, but I still do love him. Maybe my mother was right all this time. He’s the only person that will ever care for me. Renae is the only child I’ll ever have, which is depressing because I was hoping to eventually raise a family to call my own, and to perhaps have the love I never had. Guess it’s not meant to be.
“8. She’s a liar in too many ways to count. Any time she talks about something that has emotional significance for her, it’s a fair bet that she’s lying. Lying is one way that she creates conflict in the relationships and lives of those around her – she’ll lie to them about what other people have said, what they’ve done, or how they feel. She’ll lie about her relationship with them, about your behavior or about your situation in order to inflate herself and to undermine your credibility.”
Oooh boy. I could go on forever with this topic. Besides the lie involving the whole issue with my “fabled” pregnancy and adopted child, one of the MANY lies she told was to my cousins/auntie in Toronto. According to my mother, I chose to get married in March so that I could get married before my eldest female cousin. That I wanted to be the first to marry. They believed her, naturally. I chose my date because my then-fiance was going to school and March was his spring break, not because I wanted to beat anyone. I didn’t even know WHEN my older cousin was getting married (which apparently was the same year, just in the summer, but how was I supposed to know when I wasn’t personally invited?).
Another lie was (as I mentioned up above) when my older male cousin and I got into an immature fight about his PlayStation memory card. I hid them from him because he wouldn’t let me play. Yeah yeah, it was stupid. So this immature stupid tiff turned into a punching fight. My cousin became physically abusive with me, giving me a bloody lip and a black eye… as well as a couple other bruises on my body. This wasn’t the first time either. He had a history of being physically abusive with me, which my mother allowed/forgave every time, especially since he was the treasured boy among us. Since he was twice my body weight and I wasn’t nearly as trained as he was, I didn’t stand a chance. The kicker here? My mother was standing at the doorway of the bedroom the ENTIRE time that this attack was happening… watching. Like some creepy lady getting off on abuse. So sickening. She looked like she was actually ENJOYING herself watching my cousin beat on me. I guess since she did it to me too, it was probably entertaining to see somebody else do it to me. Then I blurted out that he is living/working (for my parents) illegally (being Canadian) and that I will call and report him so he will be deported and cannot ever come back. My mother didn’t understand what I was saying, so my cousin translated it for her (please note, my cousins in Toronto not only have a large Asian population surrounding them– 2nd only to the mainland, but also lived with their father’s family under the same roof, including their grandparents and many uncles/aunts with their own families, so they were very fluent). She was like “nah-uh. I lie for him. I make sure he stay.” She told me that she only needs him, not me. That night, I left home.
Going back even further to when I was in grade 8, I showed up to school in a heavy winter coat, unable to remove the tight elastic sleeve over my hand. It was excruciatingly painful to touch or move my right arm. Why? The night before, my mother was beating on it with a metal clothes hanger (to this day, I am still frightened of metal hangers– her go-to weapon of choice). The day before, my sister had disobeyed my parents and left to go play with her friends at the park. They told her to stay home since they weren’t going to be home until about 1am (they were just opening their store). She had a habit of doing that and getting away with it, so why not? To make matters worse, she stole my bike. After her swinging accident, it took me about 30 minutes to walk to the park since it was pretty far in order to fetch her. At first, I thought it was all a lie to pull my chain (Lily and her previous friends have teased me before, so basically the story of ‘the girl who cried wolf’ applies here) since her several of her friends were calling me and frantically telling me that Lily got hurt. When I finally arrived at the park, Lily was crying and her friends pointed at her ankle, which was double its size and swollen. We propped her onto my bike (which she stole) and I slowly pushed her home. I did what I thought I had to do and called my parents to let them know that Lily was badly injured. All they yelled out was “wait til we get home” and then promptly hung up on me. I asked our neighbor if she could look at Lily’s foot since she was a nurse. She told me to put ice on it and elevate it. We eventually fell asleep until my parents got home around 1am.
When my parents got home, she got the worst beating of her life. I got really hurt in the crossfire. The next morning, I woke up and my arm was throbbing with a lot of pain. It took me a while to even fall back asleep to begin with, but it hurt so much that I could barely get changed for school. I went downstairs crying to my mother about the pain and she told me to “stop being crybaby” and placed several salonpas patches all over my hand and down my arm to “help” the pain. I didn’t want them on me because people would make fun of me due to the smell they give off. I didn’t want to go to school feeling or smelling like this, but my mother forced me. Only Lily could stay home because she couldn’t walk. I told her I couldn’t even put on my coat due to the excruciating pain any time I touched my hand or arm. She told me it was my “fault for being in the way.” So how did she remedy my coat predicament? She forcefully yanked the coat over my arm, pulling at my arm very fast and painfully through my sleeve. It made me cry more.
This was a different school we just moved to and a couple kids who have walked by our new house have heard me screaming in pain as well as being yelled at by my mother. They knew what was up but didn’t know what to say or have the courage to do anything about it (this was the early 90’s, so wasn’t as big of an issue to report on as it is today). They noticed I was having a hard time removing my jacket and asked what was up. I said my arm hurts and I can’t take my jacket off. They asked what happened. I told them I fell. They gave each other a suspicious look, then asked to help me take my coat off. As they did (by prying open the elastic band and slipping it slowly over my hand), they noticed I was crying from the pain. It was barely touching my hand, too. This couldn’t be from a “fall.” Since it was the middle of winter, with blizzard-like conditions outside with negative windchills and snow past my knees, it was a very big jacket with those elastic cuffs around the wrists to keep in the warmth. Any sort of pressure, whether light or hard, sent shooting pains all throughout my right arm. They finally got it off of me, but I was in so much pain that I collapsed by my locker crying, unable to move, cradling my right arm. They told me that they were going to take me to the nurse’s office, and while I was sat there waiting, my friends had actually explained to the student counselor everything they knew about my family. Then they quarantined me in another room (with my friends “volunteering” to stay and comfort me– they actually just wanted an excuse to skip class :P) while they contacted Child Protective Services… and my parents.
The CPS person drilled me asking me what REALLY happened for a couple hours, even though multiple times I insisted that I fell. I was more afraid of my parents and what they’d do to me than I was of lying to authorities. I’m not sure what they told my father over the phone, but he worked about an hour away. When he showed up, I went extremely pale and just started bawling in front of everyone, not holding anything back. He wondered what happened and what was going on, asking everyone why I was crying. Apparently, while they were drilling me for answers (they = child protective agency), another person along with some policemen had forced their way into our house where my sister was recuperating. According to my sister (of what I can recall), a lot of cops broke in, scaring her, with some other people and started asking questions.
There was a point where the counselor had to step away from the room they were questioning my father and I, and my father shook his head disapprovingly and told me, “good thing your mom not here”, implying that it would be worse. He then mumbled about how we are going to try and cover this up from my mother. He didn’t want her to know because she’d get crazy-mad! For the most part, my father didn’t abuse me as much as my mother. He seemed genuinely afraid of my mother at times, occasionally calling her a “crazy woman.” Actually, I recall a time my mother was beating on him, and when he went to guard himself against one of her attacks, it ricocheted back at her, causing her an injury. She said that she would call the cops on him and say he beat her up. We were very young then, but ever since then, he just let her do whatever she wanted. Anyway, I digress…
My dad occasionally liked to pull the “no speak English” card when he didn’t want to deal with any trouble (such as when he got a speeding ticket, heh), so they somehow got a Chinese (mandarin) speaker in to counsel our family from the child protective agency. Unfortunately my mother did find out, to much of my father’s displeasure. Over the next few weeks, they had somehow convinced the counselor that it was nothing more than how Chinese families handle their children; that disciplining children in America is different than back “home.” So the counselor wrote it off with a slap on the wrist. My parents would constantly tell her that we’re just kids; we don’t know any better. Sad thing is that it worked. However, the lady from the agency said that if another incident is reported to them, they will have to take serious action, which may separate us. She explained to them that even though this sort of treatment is acceptable back in the homeland, it isn’t here in America. She told us that in English… to imply that it is our (the kids) responsibility to report any future incidents. After this happened, the physical abuse stopped. The emotional abuse, however, became harsher.
My sister even scolded me for telling on my parents. That I traumatized her, not my parents. She blamed me for tattling on my family. Oh, the reason why I was injured? It was because I was PROTECTING THAT SAME SISTER against more of my mother’s beatings. The same sister who blamed me for all of this, even though I tried hard to lie and keep the truth from coming out. To this day, they don’t believe me that I really tried hard not to tell the authorities about our family’s issues. My friends were the ones that told the counselors everything, not me! Those metal clothes hanger whacks were directed at my sister, NOT me. But they still blame me. Everything is always my fault.
My sister was hysterically crying the night of the incident since my parents, in a frustrated rage, twisted around her already-hurt foot, punishing her for leaving home. “DOES THIS HURT?! DOES IT?! DOES IT HURT?!”, they kept yelling at her, all while twisting her injured foot back and forth. She was crying so hard that she was hyperventilating. My mother had broke the plastic hanger she was hitting my sister with. She then yelled and warned my sister that “if I come back and you still cry, I will hit you some more.” I grabbed onto my sister, shoved her face into my shoulder and told her she needs to stop crying NOW because mom’s on the way back. Well, she couldn’t stop… my pleas for her to stop only made her cry harder, hyperventilating more (I’m sure being shoved into my shoulder wasn’t helping, but I wasn’t thinking about that then! I was thinking about making her stop so my mother would stop!) My mother came back and yelled “you still cry, huh?! you still cry?! you still cry?!” over and over again in a very threatening way, holding up the new metal hanger she retrieved. The way my arms were holding onto my sister, I was facing towards the door where my mom came through… my right arm holding onto my sister’s upper back. Because of that, my right arm was exposed to all the beatings which were intended for Lily! I started to cry real hard, and now the both of us were crying. Wonderful. At 2am no less. My mother literally went to town with that metal hanger on my arm. After a visit to the doctor later that week, we found out that Lily’s foot was broken and all of the tendons from my pinky & ring fingers to my elbow were torn. I was in a splint for about a month and any movement with my right hand hurt like hell. I was in band class and couldn’t play my flute for over a month, which was frustrating as well.
Meanwhile, after the counseling incident, my mother went kicking and screaming to her sister/nieces/nephew in Toronto, telling them about how awful of a daughter I am… about how I have a such a black heart… for making up such crude “lies” about her to the public. That everyone thinks she’s now an awful mother because of me. Talk about playing the victim the wrong way. Either way, she sought comfort from them and my cousins’ hate for me grew ten-fold. They ended up hating me like nothing before because I hurt my poor, dear, sweet, innocent mother (their “soi-yee”). Since my mom couldn’t beat me anymore, they would harass me more frequently in her place, which she allowed (such as when my male cousin gave me a bloody lip, black eye and bruises over a PlayStation memory card). My mother just couldn’t believe how awful of a daughter I was for tattling on her mother like that. For ruining the family. For ruining her.
That was the only year I attended that school. The commute between the store and that house wasn’t actually that long, but my mother blamed me for tattling on her to be the reason why they’re moving closer to the store. My sister hated me even more for forcing her to move away from her new friends. Lucky me.
“9. She has to be the center of attention all the time. This need is a defining trait of narcissists and particularly of narcissistic mothers for whom their children exist to be sources of attention and adoration.”
“10. She manipulates your emotions in order to feed on your pain. She does and says things just to be wounding or she engages in tormenting teasing or she needles you about things you’re sensitive about, all the while a smile plays over her lips.”
During our photo session at my wedding, my mom would lean over (with a smile smeared on her face) and whisper to me about how much of an embarrassment I am to her; how ugly I was and how ugly my dress was. The one time I attempted to go dress shopping with her, she was only picking out the dress styles, not how the dress looked on me. She wanted something that was totally not me: fully sequined, glittery and gaudy, full of shiny stuff. Oh how she hated the dress I picked out and how many times she reminded me of said hate. It was a rather plain dress with minimal shinies on it. I don’t care for flashy clothing, nor did I want it on my dress! Plus I was purchasing it myself to wear myself, not for her! A woman who could spew off so much hate with a smile on her face is a force nobody should have to witness. The dress she chose to wear was so ugly in my eyes, but I didn’t say anything. It didn’t complement her or the wedding. She hated the way I looked so much she even stole our photographer during our reception and had him take a ton of photos of her and her family-friends. How do I know? When we received the proofs, about 1/3rd of them were of her. I was like wow… seriously? And my husband’s parents paid for this bullshit. She was smiling by herself in many of the pictures, or with other people… but not with me. It was full of pics of just her. She used up a huge chunk of the allotted wedding package pictures on herself! I still can’t believe it to this day. She had to be the center of attention.
Speaking of my wedding and being center of attention, as the “golden child”, my sister also had to be the center of attention. After we had finished and walked back down the aisle together, she suddenly burst into tears, bawling ridiculously loud and audibly announced to all of our guests at the top of her lungs how she was losing her only sister. I swear I even heard her yell out “WAAAAAAAH!” which sounded so fake (to my husband and I– we rolled our eyes and wrote it off as being typical Lily). I mean she played it like she was planning and had rehearsed it for days. Such a drama queen, she is. Oh whatever. She lost the thing that validated her and placed her up on a pedestal and made her look good in the eyes of our mother. Either way, a lot of people dropped what they were doing and went to console her poor, poor act rather than congratulate my husband and I.
During the reception, shortly after the food was served and the wedding party dispersed to mingle or whatever, my sister and a few “friends”, as well as all of my cousins… suddenly disappeared. They weren’t present for any of the announcements or the dance afterward. I found out later from my husband’s sister that they went out CLUBBING. Wow, really? How nice. Oh, and how did my sis-in-law know? They also invited her. But she declined like any decent sister would at her brother’s wedding.
It was kind of poetic justice that my aunties from Australia were able to attend my wedding. I think it was their first time in America and I fondly recall a time when my oldest auntie (my father’s side of the family) – “gu-ma” – told my sister “you makka me beri hung-ga-ree” (hungry) with this very upset, stern and disapproving look on her face. My other auntie (younger aunt who’s fluent in English – “gu-je”) had to correct her and say it’s “angry” not “hungry” (hehe). The reason? Because my sister calls her older sister by first name. As expected being older, gu-ma is very old-fashioned, and she thought it was very disrespectful for the younger sibling to address the older one in such a fashion. My mother intervened and explained that they do things differently in America, and that is how we grew up. Then gu-ma addressed other inconsistencies that she observed with how my younger sister treated me and was very disapproving, later scolding my father (gu-ma’s younger brother) for raising such a bad child. The hilarious part was my father then pointed fingers at my mother and said it was all her fault. Ahahhaa… so hilarious. Pardon me, but I can’t help but wonder how much different life would have been like if my father’s petition to be sponsored to Australia (rather than America) to live near his family wasn’t denied. *sigh*
On the day of the wedding, my sister threatened not to show (and consequently missed some group pictures) because I didn’t make her the maid of honor. Seriously. She was upset that my friend was my maid of honor, not her… and that she was just a bridesmaid. I’m not sure what happened to convince her to show up (probably my mother asking her not to embarrass herself in front of everyone else, or make my mother look bad by acting up), but she begrudgingly showed up and was a sourpuss the entire time.
“14. She terrorizes. For all abusers, fear is a powerful means of control of the victim, and your narcissistic mother used it ruthlessly to train you. Narcissists teach you to beware their wrath even when they aren’t present. Even adult children of narcissists still feel that carefully inculcated fear.”
The whole part of “to beware their wrath even when they aren’t present” directly applies to whenever I had to lie to authorities about being hurt. As I noted earlier, I was more afraid of my parents than I was of lying to other adults.
I haven’t spoken to my mother in about 10 years, and I’m still afraid of her. She haunts my nightmares and when something bad comes up, I can “hear” my mother scolding me, berating me, nagging me inside my head. Growing up, if we acted out while around others in public, she’d pinch my leg under the table and give me this “wait til we get home” look… which would make me go pale. She doesn’t forget, and would lay it into us for embarrassing her. She’s a scary lady, no matter how I try to look around it. She scares me so much that I begged my father not to give her my new phone number, which he did anyway. She sent me a text last year on my birthday full of lies. I can’t help but read more into it than her “sweet nothings” implied in the text. It made me shake and tremble and cry so hard when I read her text, ruining my birthday. If I read it to anyone who didn’t know my mother, they’d think I was making shit up. Thankfully, my husband knows what my mother is capable of and helped me get through my anxiety attack. Naturally, I deleted the text and ignored it, blocking any future text/calls from that number.
Narcissistic mothers also abuse by loosing others on you or by failing to protect you when a normal mother would have. Sometimes the narcissist’s golden child will be encouraged to abuse the scapegoat. Narcissists also abuse by exposing you to violence. If one of your siblings got beaten, she made sure you saw. She effortlessly put the fear of Mom into you, without raising a hand.
My sister. In a nutshell. Also my cousins. She loosed them all on me. Constantly. If my sister did something bad that would warrant a beating, I also got beat just because. Even if I had absolutely nothing to do with it, my mother would find some reason. I was never safe.
“15. She’s infantile and petty. Narcissistic mothers are often simply childish. If you refuse to let her manipulate you into doing something, she will cry that you don’t love her because if you loved her you would do as she wanted. If you hurt her feelings she will aggressively whine to you that you’ll be sorry when she’s dead that you didn’t treat her better.”
“Wait til you have children, you see. You get treated worse than you treat me!” Is what I heard a lot. Also, yes, when she dies, we will be miserable and feel bad for mistreating her. Mm-hmm. She only tried to be the best mother she knew how to be. “You should have died on island” is what she’d tell me a lot… that she saved me from dying. I was born very sick and when my family arrived in America, I was rushed to the hospital and was believed I wouldn’t make it due to how malnourished and sick I was.
“17. She “parentifies.” She shed her responsibilities to you as soon as she was able, leaving you to take care of yourself as best you could. She never gave you a birthday party or let you have sleepovers. Your friends were never welcome in her house. She wouldn’t buy your school pictures even if she could easily have afforded it.”
I have several years of school photos that I do not have simply because she said I looked ugly in them. Since my sister’s birthday was about a month before mine, most of the time my birthday would be held on her birthday. My sister was allowed to have friends over, but I wasn’t. If they were “my” friends, they were also my sister’s, so it was permitted. She was allowed to go to sleep overs, but I wasn’t. When I was finally able to drive, I had to also drive my sister to school because she whined about having to ride on the bus while I got to drive. Oh boo-hoo, I had to ride the bus until I got my driver’s license. *sigh* So then I also had to drive her friends to school too. After one incident when the car slid on some black ice and I ended up near the ditch (rather than the middle of an intersection– I thought I did a good job avoiding a potential fatal accident!), I wasn’t allowed to drive them anymore. Hahaha. 😛
“19.She projects. Projection means that she will put her own bad behavior, character and traits on you so she can deny them in herself and punish you. An eating-disordered woman who obsesses over her daughter’s weight is projecting. The daughter may not realize it because she has probably internalized an absurdly thin vision of women’s weight and so accepts her mother’s projection. When the narcissist tells the daughter that she eats too much, needs to exercise more, or has to wear extra-large size clothes, the daughter believes it, even if it isn’t true.”
During my childhood, I rarely ate properly. I was unbelievably and ridiculously picky. I was also sickly thin. She would always criticize me for not eating, to the point where she would tell me “if you die, not my fault.” If I did eat, it was always unhealthy (chips, fries, greasy stuff, etc). Come puberty, I went the opposite way and started eating a LOT. Too much. I became overweight and fat. I was ridiculed for that and told all of the above. I just didn’t care anymore. I was miserably depressed and eating was comforting, especially fried foods. I wasn’t obese, but I wasn’t healthy. I went from being stick-thin, to really chubby in a short amount of time. I ended up with stretch marks all over my body, which just fueled my mother to put me down more. I didn’t know what stretch marks were and she made it out to be some disease, so when I went to the doctor, they just chuckled at me and told me it’s normal growing patterns. Heh, yeah, normal… that is unless you saw how thin I used to be.
“22. She blames. She’ll blame you for everything that isn’t right in her life or for what other people do or for whatever has happened. Always, she’ll blame you for her abuse. You made her do it. You upset her so much that she can’t think straight. Things were hard for her and your backtalk pushed her over the brink. This blaming is often so subtle that all you know is that you thought you were wronged and now you feel guilty.”
I’m the reason why her life sucks. I ruined her life the moment I was born. I should have died on the island back in Malaysia, but because of her good grace I survived. Blah blah blah. It’s my fault that I get beat on so much. I deserved it. I made her do it. Nobody will love me since I ruined my body by having a child out of wedlock. I’m not good enough for anyone and embarrass her for even looking for a husband. My husband must be a blind dumb guy if they love me.
“23. She destroys your relationships. Narcissistic mothers are like tornadoes: wherever they touch down families are torn apart and wounds are inflicted. Unless the father has control over the narcissist and holds the family together, adult siblings in families with narcissistic mothers characteristically have painful relationships. Typically all communication between siblings is superficial and driven by duty, or they may never talk to each other at all. In part, these women foster dissension between their children because they enjoy the control it gives them. Narcissists also love the excitement and drama they create by interfering in their children’s lives. Watching people’s lives explode is better than soap operas, especially when you don’t have any empathy for their misery.”
The part where it states that “unless the father has control over the narcissist and holds the family together”… wow. Well, that explains a lot. My father was afraid of my mother and let her do whatever she wanted because otherwise he’d have to deal with her wrath. As I mentioned up above, he would occasionally refer to her as the crazy one. All biases aside, I think my relationship with my sister is rather painful. We never talk.
There was a time recently that she contacted me via email, stating that she would like her daughter (which I, surprise-surprise, didn’t know about until long after her birth, also through one of my father’s random commentaries) to know that she has an aunt on her mother’s side. I asked her if she’d like to discuss this over Skype or Facetime (voice/video chat), and her response was unreal. She came up with some stupid bullshit excuse of refusing to use those programs because it’s against her principles since she works for a VOIP competitor. I asked her if we could use her thing or whatever it is, and she made up another excuse, but it was still full of stinky bullshit. HOWEVER, my father in the past has said that she uses those programs with him on a regular basis.
Next I asked my sister “What about us? Why don’t we first work on OUR relationship as sisters before we consider going there with your daughter?” She denied it stating that wasn’t worth her time or the effort and she has absolutely no interest in me as her sister and that there will never be an “us” as sisters. Wait, what? She wants to give her daughter an auntie, yet she doesn’t want to be my sister. Riiiiight. Makes PERFECT sense. She said that she will never acknowledge me as her sister. No empathy at all. After I angrily lashed out at her for being ridiculous and stupid for even suggesting this, knowing full well that she can easily have another hold over me through her daughter, dangling her in front of me and taking her away if/when I become too attached to her, whenever she feels like it (she’s subjected me to similar stuff in the past). I told her I’m NOT going to subject myself to that sort of pain ever again! After that, I started to bawl out of frustrating and was extremely upset. My husband wrote an email to my sister and told her to leave me alone and to never contact me again. Then her husband (that I still do not know of, nor does he know me or have any understanding about our rocky past– which is opposite for my husband because he’s met my sister multiple times and knows her and what she’s capable of) came to my sister’s defense and told me to stop causing so much pain for his wife; that she didn’t deserve any of this. There were also quite a lot of curse/swear words from his end, and I was like… wait, what? I don’t even know this dude, nor does he know me (or the ‘real’ me, not my sister’s distorted ‘golden child’ view of me), so he has no right to accuse me of such. I was appalled that this was even happening, and my husband told me that they’re not worth our time, so asked me to delete it and basically pretend this never happened.
“The narcissist also uses favoritism and gossip to poison her childrens’ relationships. The scapegoat sees the mother as a creature of caprice and cruelty. As is typical of the privileged, the other children don’t see her unfairness and they excuse her abuses.”
My sister would always tell me that I’m making shit up and that it’s all in my head. The abuse, I mean. And that I deserved it. Well, she didn’t get nearly as beat up or abused as I did. Most of the time, I’d take the brunt of the punishment for her wrong-doings because somehow, some way, it was my fault that my sister did whatever it was that caused my parents to get upset.
“24. As a last resort she goes pathetic. When she’s confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behavior, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. It’s all her fault. She can’t do anything right. She feels so bad. What she doesn’t do: own the responsibility for her bad conduct and make it right. Instead, as always, it’s all about her, and her helpless self-pitying weepiness dumps the responsibility for her consequences AND for her unhappiness about it on you. As so often with narcissists, it is also a manipulative behavior.”
My father shared with me a while back that my cousins and aunt– my mother’s sister’s family who live in Toronto that we grew up with and who tormented me throughout my childhood– all found out she was lying about *something* for a very long time (not honestly sure about what they found out, or how detrimental it was), but it apparently was so bad that they stopped talking with my mother. Even to the point where I thought I heard some sort of an apology from my male cousin in Toronto for all the hell he put me through as kids. Even the eldest female cousin (the male cousin’s sister) apologized to me indirectly at a later date, saying that she regrets what she put me through while we were children.
I don’t exactly recall how it all came about, but she just said something like “for the record, I’m sorry for everything I did when we were young.” It was quite shocking to hear this… although it’s a bit too late. Maybe it had nothing to do with my mother or this so-called incident which drove them all apart? I have no idea, and even if I wanted answers, I don’t speak to any of them to ask what happened. I’m so estranged from my family through their own fault that I don’t even believe it’s possible to “start over” and act like a normal, semi-functional family. Funny that those two cousins (both older than me by 3/1 year(s), respectively) were the first to apologize and acknowledge our past. I am still bewildered by it, and when I say “apologize”… it was nothing flashy or lengthy. Just a quick admission to their wrong-doing and then subject dropped.
It was also acknowledged that my mother encouraged all of them to single me out. All of them, against me. There were times they’d bully me out of their clubs (the “no Linda club” was quite popular), or abuse me both physically and emotionally. They knew I was ridiculously scared of skeletons, so they’d personally go out of their way to buy a glow-in-the-dark keychain and throw it at me at night. They’d lock me in many rooms, barricading doors so I couldn’t get out. One time, they dashed into the bathroom while I was showering and stole all the towels and my clothes, knowing full well I’d have to run out naked to get anything. They waited by the door, laughing hysterically. Good thing cellphones or digital media/social networks didn’t exist back then. (sigh) When my mom took us to the public pool, they’d relentlessly attack me, pretending to be sharks. They’d push me in, hold my head under water. They’d make fun of me and call me chicken because I only wanted to stay in the shallow end. They’d pull down my swimsuit, etc, etc. The list continues.
So an apology, albeit brief, was kinda nice. Some acknowledgement of their mistreatment. I guess. Actually, I honestly feel indifferent about their apology. It feels half-hearted as if just a passing afterthought. Kinda like a fart. 😐
What I do know is that I don’t have any plans whatsoever to ever see any of my family again. I tried to work things out with my father, who has been divorced from my mother (her doing) for many years. I even went so far to suggest celebrating his next birthday to visit his family in Australia together. He suggested taking my sister and her family along, and I was like HELL NO. If we did this, it’d just be us. Obviously, plans have changed and I haven’t spoken to my dad in about a year. He ended up giving my mother my newest phone number and that was the 2nd time I trusted him with it. If I change numbers again, I won’t be giving it to him. Even though my mother is the “crazy one” and has wronged all of us, he still has a stupid soft spot for that woman. Maybe he still loves her? I don’t even know if they truly loved at all. I mean they were kinda arranged to be married anyway. Yeah, so old-fashioned. So dumb. But it happened.
So if anyone is wondering why I struggle with PTSD, anxiety, depression and seem to be neurotic and have massive abandonment issues (among other crap)… now you kinda know why, for the most part. This is only part of my history, not all of it. I’ve been accused of playing the victim too well, but rather than put down the “victim” and make them feel even worse, why not actually try to help them and make things better? Why belittle them to make it worse?
Expanding upon this a bit more towards any friends that I’ve had in my life… and how much they encouraged my mother and my family to continue being who they are:
Morgan, a boy who used to be a childhood friend of mine also knew my sister and cousins. The last time I spoke with him (mid-2000’s), he lashed out at me as always playing the victim and that I was always trying to stir up trouble by turning him against all of his friends. Well, his “friends” (my sister and cousins) have always loved to make fun of him behind his back, especially the bit about how he is unable to go to the bathroom properly due to a spinal surgery mishap. I mean they tease him over a surgery that went wrong! Is it just me, or is that just horrifying as is, and my sister and cousins only make it worse by stating this! They also make fun of him about other issues behind his back. Constantly. And since we all were kids! They continued this two-faced crap into adulthood! But he considers them more his friends than me… because I play the victim. Because I tell the truth. And I hate two-faced people.
I “play the victim” because I AM A VICTIM. Of a lot of stuff hardly anyone even cares to know about. I struggle with so much inner turmoil that I don’t even know is even fathomable. There’s a voice in my head that constantly berates me and makes me feel like shit… which coincidentally sounds just like my mother. Only my husband understands how much it eats at me because he witnesses it all the time! I only wish people would actually understand this rather than cast me aside and leave me to suffer alone. I wish I could find people who actually realize that I have their best interest in heart and have severe abandonment issues. I don’t want to hurt friends, but they seem to always want to hurt me. Maybe then I can begin to heal through the help of others.
Another friend who I knew as Annette (who now goes by another name) accused me of similar things since she also knew my cousins and sister. She even went so far to tell me directly that she only hung out with me when she didn’t have any other friends available. She would check to see if my sister was available first, then me. Because I was gloomy and too self-centered, she said. I think it’s because I’m an introvert who hated to go club hopping like she did with my sister. How she used to enjoy skipping class and getting drunk with friends at the beach. I recall a time she asked me to do it, but my fear of being caught overrode any sort of “fun” that would take place. However, Annette got my sister into that during her freshman year (our senior), which caused my sister to get written up with detention slips as well as her grades being abysmal. She nearly failed her first year of high school because of Annette’s joy rides. Oh, what a wonderful influence on my sister’s life! My mother also loved Annette! Lily considered her a “real sister” and denied that I was her sister, and one time stated it to my mother. “Can I replace Linda with Annette as my sister?” in front of me. My mother half-heartily chuckled and said sure, with a smile across her face.
Annette was also invited to attend my wedding even though we weren’t close, which yes she did… but later left to go clubbing with my sister and cousins. That was the last time I ever saw her. Not even a hug goodbye or a word of congratulations. The last time I heard from Annette was while I still used Facebook (cannot stand almost all social networking sites) during the mid-2000’s and commented on her brother’s post, asking everyone if he should buy a really expensive car and get into debt because he has no money. Everyone, including my cousins, were cheering him on and telling him to go for it because he only has one life, etc… but I went against the grain and told him that it may become something he’ll regret later in life, so think about it carefully. Annette lashed out at me in this nasty tirade comparing her brother’s desire for an expensive car (and I’m talking about one of those that are $100,000+) is like how I have custom-built computer. Wait, WHAT? That apparently I’m so stuck on myself and am a hypocrite for having an expensive computer (I don’t; my husband builds them and we buy the model-before the current when we upgrade because it saves us a lot of money). I didn’t even bother responding, just blocked all of them and eventually left Facebook all together since it was only a cesspool of nonsense and selfish exploitation of material possessions.
I have issues with making friends mostly because my family moved a lot and I changed schools a lot. I went to 8 different schools throughout my childhood. It made me unable to open up and interact. That, and I was constantly teased due to my different facial features (I grew up in an area where 95% of the kids were ‘towheads’ — all blonde hair and blue-eyed) so I had and still have a hard time trusting people. I constantly have this feeling that they’re going to talk badly behind my back and make fun of me about something. Most of the time in my previous workplaces, I’m right.
We’re all human, right? So why do so many treat those who have different color hair or different shaped eyes as some unidentified alien object?
I was always that one kid that sat alone at lunch. Nobody wanted to friend me because I looked different. I was always gloomy; never smiled. I still have a hard time with smiling. Any time I tried to make friends, the girls who would tease me turned them against me, telling them that if they want to be “somebody” and not made fun of as well, they better not befriend me. Shyla. She was a horrible girl. So full of hate for me for no damn reason. From grade 2 until I moved during grade 7, she would relentlessly attack me. Her and her two minions, Jessica and this other girl that I can’t remember. I remember Jessica because she kinda secretly wanted to be my friend and told me she felt sorry for me, but only while Shyla wasn’t around.
Just gonna say it, but I hate people. Well I’m scared of them. I don’t think I’ll ever have that close friend. Except for my husband, who puts up with me. I hate my life and I hate how all of this has transpired. I wish every night that I won’t wake up the next morning, but sadly, I’m still here wasting space. I’m too scared to kill myself, but don’t want to exist. I don’t want to live. I can’t even hold a job because of my anxiety issues. I have a huge bucket of bad things that have happened where I’ve held jobs, to the point where I don’t even want to work anymore. It’s sad that I can’t contribute because everything locks up inside of me when I even consider job hunting again. I know my in-laws think very little of me because I’m perfectly capable (physically) to work. I’m sure I’m a huge let down to my father since whenever I did speak to him, he always asked me if I was working. And when I said no, he’d say something like “Ahhhh, don’t be like that!” It’s hard to explain what this struggle is like inside unless you endure it yourself.
So many people talk about having a “tribe” of close friends (especially in the yoga community), and that is what I need. “You just need to find your tribe!” is what I’ve been told. I mean why tell somebody that rather than try to befriend them yourself? Seems so contradictory. We need less preaching, MORE REACHING (out)! Any time I make a friend, they find a way to back stab or trigger something of my past. “Everyone jokes about rape these days.” In the MMO gaming community, people freely use the word “rape” to acknowledge their superiority over another after they’ve bested them. When I state my displeasure of the use of that word, I’m outed out as the dumb one who causes drama.
Since mental issues cannot be seen, they don’t exist, right? Right.