Why do children fear narcissistic parents?
I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother
My guest author today is devoted to a taboo topic: Narcissistic mothers. In her childhood she was often exposed, badly humiliated and mentally abused. Until one day the youth welfare office got involved. J. was taken out of her home for a couple of years. Today she says: "That saved my life!" She works as a librarian and lives in Potsdam with her family, children and dog. Dear J., thank you for your openness and clarification on this topic.
“I can still remember sitting next to her in the car and feeling so bad about it. Not bad because of the rash on my body, but because of a guilty conscience and the fact that she had to drive me to the doctor. On a Sunday! "Just because you have the scabies, I have to do the stress to myself." She was so angry. I remember the ways home, which I liked to walk across the field, in every season of the year. No matter whether in the light or in the dark. Time for me. And nothing happens to me anyway, because mom said "Nobody rapes you as ugly as you are." That I don't look pretty, she made sure every time she cut my hair in her anger.
I have a narcissistic mother
Today I am a mother myself, much of it is in the past. Years of coming to terms with things followed, many tears of fear, but also of anger. Despair, but also hope. And the certainty that you can leave all of this behind and one day give courage to others. Because there are so many of them out there. So many daughters from a narcissistic mother. But what exactly is narcissism? I worked on it for a long time because I somehow wanted to understand what was happening to me - and what was happening to my mother. The word narcissist is derived from a myth from ancient Greece. The young Narcissus rejects the love of a woman and is punished with unspeakable self-love. He falls in love with his own reflection, which he discovers reflected in the water. Since he cannot reach the object of his love, he turns into a daffodil after death. Today narcissism is defined in different categories. Most people have self-love in them, which is also good and normal. Then there are more selfish people that everyone should know. These people are uncomfortable but have a healthy level of self-confidence. Yes, and then there is malignant narcissism. These people just revolve around themselves and expect the world to do the same. In the literature, narcissists are referred to as emotional vampires described. I am very apt to this. They draw their energy from the attention of other people and they are fine with any means. Similar to an addiction like alcohol, they constantly need new supplies. If you deny them, they often become malicious. If you “steal” their attention, it has to be fought hard for. The one who dares to expose them is fought like a war. They indulge in the suffering of the enemy they have appointed. Meeting such a person in everyday life and getting out of the way is often difficult, for example at work. But as a child you have no other choice. In addition, narcissists are good actors. The self-image of the perfect person must be maintained externally. This is why outsiders often see through this game very late or not at all, because everything in the family seems to be intact, almost perfect. Every little mention on the part of the child is portrayed outwardly as fantasies. “Oh, she always had a lively imagination, tends to dream, watches TV too much or likes to be the center of attention. We slowly don't know what to do next. "
The classification of the children is typical for these families
While the mother projects everything bad onto one child, the sibling is the good child. Makes everything perfect, almost flawless. In psychology one speaks of golden child and the Scapegoat. The golden child, who is also unable to see through all of this, often adores the mother. Logically tells opposing experiences and develops completely differently. It is also typical that the mother functionalises the golden child and integrates it into the game. Classic “It wasn't me, mom, it was my sister.” The other child is punished without being asked, because the golden child is always right. The child with the scapegoat role no longer trusts his perception, becomes more and more insecure and doubts himself as a person. Thus a child in this constellation is completely isolated. In addition, such children are very inattentive at school and sometimes have behavioral problems. A dangerous cycle, because now it is an outsider in school too.
My worst years
It went on for me for years. At some point my fear of my mother became too great and I ran away from home. The youth welfare office stepped in and I was taken from my home for a few years. That saved my life and I mean that the way I write it. My mother resents this to this day. But even after such a drastic external intervention, she was unable to recognize that she had made mistakes as an adult. She puffed up little things and tried outwardly to portray a picture of the malicious child. One thing she liked to spread was that I had mistreated my siblings and because of me the youth welfare office almost took them away from her. The fact was that when I was in primary school, she often left me alone with my younger siblings for hours. I was overwhelmed and hit them when they didn't want to hear.
The good thing was that as a young adult I went into therapy. Even before I became a mother, I wanted to come to terms with all of this, because she always told me that someone like me shouldn't have children. She perceived these situations as if I had been an adult to whom she entrusted the children. Certainly a result of her alcohol consumption, as an added complication was the fact that my mother was an alcoholic and often not sober. She was able to hide it well because she drank "stylish" ... high quality alcohol and therefore did not walk around with the schnapps bottle. I didn't realize this until I was an adult. Even today I rarely drink alcohol. But I struggled and got healed inside. “You have good resilience“, Said my psychologist at the end of the therapy. Resilience is the psychological ability to survive difficult life situations without lasting impairment. That statement helped me a lot. Personally, even as a child, I found that as an adult you are responsible for your own actions and not blame your mistakes on your childhood. Something that, by the way, always bothered me with my mother. She blamed her parents for all the problems. So I fought against it for years and to this day I am constantly reflecting on my actions. Laborious, but also healing.
As a mother, I also know that children are not responsible for such problems in the family. I would never leave my child alone with the much smaller siblings for hours and then claim that they abused them. A child of this age is just rightfully overwhelmed and strikes more easily when the siblings do something. For which, by the way, I would have been punished and therefore the pressure was even greater. I had to be careful.
Unfortunately, my father was of no help to me either, because he did not have an opinion of his own and did not seem to be really present. Also typical of narcissistic relationships. The partner has no interests of his own, no self of his own and acts like an extended arm. Still, to this day I can't really be angry with him. He's also a victim of her narcissistic behavior in his own way.
Nevertheless, even with good workmanship, scars and wounds remain. Unfortunately, children with such a past often find it difficult to be mindful of themselves in adulthood. A problem I often struggle with. I fear my limits and I fear failure. If I make mistakes, fear follows the other's rejection. I also quickly take things to heart, reflect once too much and am very self-critical. But I'm lucky and have a wonderful husband and friends who know about all of this. In it I find consolation and support. Since I have practically no contact with my mother anymore, we are doing fine as a family. I don't want my children to grow up in this environment. The risk of this happening again is too great for me.
I love to be a mother and to see my children shine. To support each individual in his or her uniqueness. To love as he or she is intended and not as I or someone else would like them to be. Maybe I tend to spoil my children too much, but honestly, there are worse things.
It is personally important to me to draw attention to and to give courage that every person, no matter how difficult their childhood, can have the certainty of leading a happy, whole and fulfilled adult life.
Because it is possible.
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