Narcissistic Personality Disorder is something I have only come to learn about recently, but the impact of those who find themselves in any kind of relationship with a narcissist is both huge and seemingly imperceptible which is what makes it so hard. Thank you so much to this anonymous writer for shining a light on such a complex issue, especially one that is personally very painful.

  • Three and a half years after losing my baby girl, Francis, I thought I was going to see a psychotherapist to help with my PTSD, generalised anxiety disorder and my trichotillomania.  Little did I know that I had already processed the trauma of losing Francis through six months of bereavement therapy and it was an underlying childhood trauma that continued to invade my life.

  • I learnt the painful truth that my mother has a narcissistic personality disorder. Growing up, I extrinsically had the world, intrinsically, my emotional needs were never met. My underlying trauma was the feeling of never being held or heard. 

  • My mother’s narcissistic personality disorder was based around her need to be right, her competitiveness and her grandiosity. She bedevilled her family to make herself feel good.

  • Throughout my adolescent and early adulthood, I felt I was never heard, listened to or respected.

  • No matter what I did, I was never good enough for my Mum.

  • It was impossible to meet her unclear, changing standards as her praise failed to exist.

  • I was constantly seeking reassurance but never received it, often leaving me feeling more confused and muddled.

  • Conversations with her were difficult as they often resulted in me justifying myself or her manipulating or gaslighting me.

  • She would twist my words or reply with something so irrelevant or far fetched it resulted in friction between us.

  • In front of others, she embarrassed or humiliated me. Conversations soon led to arguments and I was often seen as rude and disrespectful if I didn’t conform to her rules or her way of thinking. 

  • No conversation was light-hearted and her sense of humour was made up of sarcasm and being mean and unkind to others.

  • There was no steady middle ground and everything was so serious or done by the rule book.

  • I felt I had to justify anything new I bought and comments were made about me looking very skinny instead of toned or slim.

  • Yet to the rest of the world, she was seen as this wonderful, helpful, kind mother.

  • My generalised anxiety disorder was fuelled by never knowing how I felt.

  • When I was little I was never allowed to feel sad or cross or angry as they were a reflection of my Mum not getting it right.

  • Instead of these feelings being validated, I was distracted, told a confusing story, hushed, offered food or subject changed. I grew up thinking it was bad to feel those feelings, unsure how to manage them or unable to make sense of when I felt several feelings at once. 

  • I wished so badly my mum didn’t have a narcissistic personality disorder but the more I learnt about narcissism, the more truths of my life were unravelled. I now had answers for my anxiety and why I had developed trichotillomania. Learning about my trichotillomania was one of the hardest truths to digest.

  • From the age of fifteen, I started pulling my hairs from my bikini line and legs with tweezers. I would frantically pick at the spots on my face and at any ingrown hair that emerged. My face and body are still scarred. It became a shameful, disgusting secret that I carried with me. My psychotherapist explained to me that it was self-harming and my coping strategy to release inner pain. 

  • The more I realised I did it to self-harm, the more memories came flooding back. How I did it after an argument with my Mum, trying to work out why I was bad and what I had done wrong. I realised the extent to which I did it to release pain and remembered cutting my skin with scissors, tweezers, my hands to supposedly find an ingrown hair but in fact, did it until the pain became too unbearable. Remembering this brought on tears for how alone and isolated I must have felt.

  • Me and my parents became part of a triangle, the prosecutor, the victim and the rescuer.

  • With every argument, my Mum played victim and my Dad rescued her, prosecuting me for my unacceptable and rude behaviour.

  • What pains me is no one rescued me.

  • My self-harm became my caregiver. It wasn’t the best way but it soothed and calmed me and was the only way I knew.

  • I feel sad that my Dad never listened to my side of the story and let Mum drive the wedge between us. I see their relationship today and the ways she talks disrespectfully to him or about him. He learnt a long time ago that it was in his best interest to stay quiet or take her side. He too never had a choice and was under her control.

  • The majority of the arguments with my husband were how my Mum treats my Dad. Showing him little respect, always thinking my life was harder and expecting him to see and agree to everything from my point of view. It made me feel shameful that I had learnt my mother’s narcissistic traits. We now share how we feel and explain why not trying to change those feelings but validate and understand them.

  • I struggled when I entered motherhood. I constantly questioned myself and felt like I should be doing something else, something better. 

  • I over-researched everything or made a quick decision and then doubted it.

  • I constantly compared my life to others and was self-critical and put myself down. I was brought up thinking that being a perfectionist was good but it instead destroyed me. Once understanding this was a reflection of how I had been raised, my anxiety started to lift.

  • After Francis died, all I ever wanted from my Mum was to be held. But something deep down stopped me from “going there”. I was only ever held for my achievements or for purpose. It hurt so deeply when I realised I, as a child and an adult, had never been held, praised or congratulated for simply being me. 

  • In the months after bringing Francis’ surviving twin, Edward home, I didn’t receive one phone call or message or visit from my parents asking how I was.

  • The only times I saw my Mum was for a hospital or therapy appointment for Edward. Until my psychotherapy, I never knew why this was and it brought me great sadness and confusion.

  • Sadly, my mother sees parenting and grandparenting as coming from a dutiful place rather than an enriching and joyous opportunity. Everything is on a practical level. She saw herself as being helpful by attending the hospital appointments, I needed her, she was important. Coming round to my house and spending time with us didn’t fit that dutiful place. Nothing is given out of love but all comes out of obligation.

  • Learning about my Mum has brought much anger to the surface. Months passed where I felt I lost love and respect for her. She became a stranger to me, I wished she wasn’t my Mum. It was only through learning about her childhood and her mother’s childhood did I start to develop empathy and compassion. 

  • Sadness is beginning to override my anger as I realise what a self limiting life she leads, one where nothing is ventured, nothing is gained. I lived a contained childhood, where no risks were taken for fear of her getting it wrong. I was never allowed to make my own choices and when I did, she doubted them, subconsciously worrying that they would reflect badly on her.

  • Can you free me to be myself? The question I subconsciously asked my psychotherapist

  • I am learning to accept that I can’t change the way she is. I have learnt to have no expectations, she can’t be better than what she is – she’s done her best, she doesn’t know how to emotionally support me.

  • To grieve the mother I never had/have. When hope goes, acceptance comes. It’s just really hard letting go of that hope 

  • I am setting healthy boundaries and finding the courage to tell her how I feel when she has manipulated me or played the victim and to not be frightened of her. Finding the confidence to respond and not react

  • Learning to love and trust myself and the decisions and choices I make. 

  • I am not responsible for others feelings but I am responsible for my own. 

  • My inner child feels hurt when I read motherhood books. I am trying to overcome the fear and anxiety of traumatising my children, the same ways my Mum did to me.

  • I am learning about my free child who reacts to any situation and has an opportunity to respond to any stimuli – she is not suppressed and no longer lives by a script but can use her intuition. I am free, no longer subconsciously controlled by her.




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