I’ve had this post in draft here for a while. I wasn’t going to post it – too revealing- but it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, so here goes
After I’d been writing for a while it dawned on me that I never write a mother – not really. My mothers are always dead or absent or very much in the background.
Perhaps it’s not surprising. I had a very difficult, often impossible relationship with my mother. Towards the end of her life, when for the first time in mine I dared to criticise and disagree with her, she disowned me completely. For a number of years we had no contact whatsoever and that was both heartbreaking and an utter relief. We were reconciled briefly before her death.
The unhappiness and pain of this relationship never leaves me, despite counselling, despite becoming a mother myself, despite everything. Somehow the guilt of it still lies heavy on me. But recently and purely by chance, I came across this website – Are You a Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother? Take This Brief Survey to Find Out.
I took the survey – and was quickly reeling with the number of ‘yes,’ answers. I needed to explore more. Since then I’ve done other similar surveys and have been equally astonished by how much they reflect what was going on between my mother and myself, including all the inappropriate confidences and behaviours.
I’ve read the books too, devoured them, highlighting nearly every page. Now things have begun to shift. I find I no longer feel quite the same guilt. I no longer feel so ashamed – there’s an explanation! (I am always looking for explanations) It was real and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. Just like I couldn’t do a thing about her depression or attempted suicide.
Sadly ‘the problem with being a child of a narcissist is… it takes years to finally see that the type of parenting they’ve been receiving is wrong – if not emotionally abusive.’ S Myers. Yes, its taken me years to undertand the deep sadness I carry, that never leaves me and deeper still my own sense of unworthiness. To understand that my own mental health was compromised and that in the end perhaps no one is to blame. Neither her nor me
But I’m getting there, and who knows, soon, I may even be able to write a mother…