bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's

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eternallystuck

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bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« on: December 30, 2018, 11:17:10 AM »
So today i was reading articles about people with difficult mothers, as It sort of soothes me to remember I'm not alone out there. The article was about someone not loving their mother & feeling indifferent to them-the mother sounded pretty N & I related to a lot of it. I came across this really great comment from someone at the bottom of the article (will post at the bottom), it was in response to some (probably PD) person trying to explain why this persons mother, born in 1950s/1960s, was awful, blaming it on post-war trauma and economic depression.

Whilst I don't dispute such tragedies can deeply affect people..... its amazing what excuses people pull out the bag for PD parents at the expense of childrens lives. Adult PD's raising children have a special advantage & a much more profound impact imo. They are the first point of trust/care. I wouldn't say it was unfair to say that society heavily leans towards the side of the parent in most cases- the common defence always goes back to gratitude & what they did for you (usually financial may I add) in your earlier years, when you are dependent :stars:. I have said this many times but humans are possibly the only species that expect constant gratitude from someone they decided to bring into this earth &bad parents often use this to deflect being accountable as an adult. Society mostly flounders to this & thats why I feel there are so many N parents around -we are constantly indoctrinating children 'respect your parents' 'family is everything' 'children should be grateful' 'mothers know best' & so we hold parents on a pedestal no matter how iffy they are as a person. In my experience I often see people sympathise with the PD parent- all the factors that impacted their life (poverty, abuse etc) but in the case of the victim- the child- well they are told to toughen up & stop relying on/blaming the parent. Its like the factor of choice is absolved in that narrative, and there are many abused people who choose not to inflict it on others.

The authority of an individual mother or the impact they have on the child is rarely questioned except for extreme cases, with ample physical evidence. When a child attempts to speak up on covert abuse, people act with condescension or disbelief. If a child is angry or unruly, most sympathies lie with the parent- few look at where this unruliness stems from. This is why I think children of PD parents disassociate & struggle for so long, society constantly hails mothers as saint, family as tribe and so forth. If this isn't your reality youre bound to feel somewhat alienated & end up back in a co-dependent relationship with the PD parent- seeking validation/answers. This is why people should forgive themselves for trying with their PD parent for so long. In fact this is one of the most obvious ways I believe narc parents acquit themselves of accountability 'so what if i did  x,y,z, look at how much I did for you!'.  I find it pretty distasteful when my own NPD M uses the fact she kept me as alive (fed & clothed etc) as an excuse to detract discussion on her long history of unaccountable manipulative behaviour (sound familiar LOL). Those who suffer under PD parents are always expected to pick themselves up after every punch & contain any expression/implication of anger or hurt as to not offend anybody. It really is an impossible way to live, so no one should feel guilt for calling it a day. My own M denounces my GM as the worst M ever as a way to avoid addressing her own failures & dysfunction as an M. Its deflecting and actually just another example of manipulation. For me personally, this kept me still in the fog even with a high degree of awareness that something was very wrong here. I'd think- how could my M be so awful if she kept me alive? She got me xmas presents, & makes a fuss on my bday how can she be capable of such lies about me? But she is overwhelmingly toxic to my wellbeing & thats the key part- if someone is overwhelmingly making you feel trapped, scared, ignored, abused, sick...its freaking time to free yourself!! You have tried enough & you don't owe the world an explanation for something that is so exhausting as it is.

 Many psychopaths are themselves capable of keeping kids alive/ holding down a job. If this is the standard society judges peoples moral functioning from, I do worry. Children don't ask to be put here & they are reliant on the parent to survive/ teach them how to cope with life. If those foundations aren't put in place,its highly likely they will struggle into adulthood as they stumble to find their way. Yet there is little sympathy for this lonesome struggle... I wonder how many people here have been told to stop blaming their depression on parents?  As if you're just being ungrateful & don't have  a long list of disturbing things they have done to impact you. That impact often continues long after you go NC. Of course we have to take responsibility for ourselves to move forward, but we should not be expected to just 'get over' years of abuse that began in childhood. It takes time to heal & reprogram yourself. And whilst most people don't get it, I don't think its reasonable so many people wish to turn a blind eye to uncomfortable truths, it keeps people in a bubble.

 Humans know the sacrifices that come with parent hood, that their life is going to change....they know the expenses...they are also the only species that has the option to choose birth control/adoption...but I find its often resentful parents that make a constant fuss of what they've 'sacrificed'. Yes I know its normal & cathartic for healthy parents to moan time to time & feel overwhelmed but it honestly makes me cringe when I come across parents who almost always complain about the burdens their child brings- wiping the nappies, the hyperactivity, the expense etc ugh its just such a 'chore' to them. My response is, what did you bloody expect? My view is you should get on with it or give the child to a loving family...not subject them to a lifetime resentment. You brought them here, suck it up! Its awful to make a child feel like they are a constant burden when they rely on the parent. This is why the fertility pressure on women is toxic, I wonder how many PD's were coerced into motherhood? We should be applauding people that hangfire until they've healed, the women that are brave enough to say 'i don't want kids' or 'i am not fit to be a mother'. I've rarely met a bad M that is self aware..

 I don't think anyone is obliged to tolerate abuse from someone who chose to bring them here (what a catch 22) & you certainly don't owe them unhappiness in some intolerable form of loyalty. So going back to the comment above...You could replace war or economic depression with any personal traumas and its still not reasonable to expect children to endure abuse...even if a mother has schizophrenia, you should not be expected to suffer all your life for them, you can only do so much. Thats not love or loyalty- its insanity. There is a line that has to be drawn to protect yourself, which is a human instinct and a human right!! Did all mothers become manipulative, cold and punishing to their children because of the war? I doubt it. Surely it would make you want to be closer and cherish those bonds?

Anyways someone posted this great response which I think is really validating for people who are made to feel bad about going NC with a parent.

' So where do you draw the line for the degree of tolerance that the child is expected to have with the adult? Just how much abuse, emotional or otherwise, is one expected to endure in light of the fact that the parent has some problems that should be understood, and for which allowances should be made? How much guilt is one expected to shoulder for not doing enough in the "two-sided relationship" where the parent has, say, a personality disorder and does not realise there is anything wrong or won't do anything about it -- because empathy needs to be felt for this parent who is in pain?

What about the child and the child's needs? The right not to grow up in an abusive household? The right to have genuinely reciprocal relationships in which the other person cares and makes an effort? The right not to have to martyr oneself for the sake of the other in a codependent relationship? Would you give this kind of advice to someone who was in a romantic relationship, or is this special dysfunction reserved for parents and children?

Yes, empathy is vitally important to have with everyone. But not to the point where it is damaging to oneself. Sometimes the best choice to make is to create a distance so that people can be protected from harm. One of the worst things you can do to someone who is extracting themselves from an abusive situation is to suggest that they didn't do enough themselves to try to make it work/help the other person. Often the problem is that they have tried too hard in this respect already and blame themselves when the responsibility was never theirs in the first place.'

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Houstorm

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Re: bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2018, 11:38:16 AM »
Wonderful post ES! Thank you.  Can you post the article or a link?

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blacksheep7

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Re: bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2018, 12:08:37 PM »
Thank you eternallystuck.      Could not have said it better myself!

Quote:  The article was about someone not loving their mother & feeling indifferent to them-the mother sounded pretty N & I related to a lot of it.  :yeahthat:

« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 12:14:45 PM by blacksheep7 »
I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the white sheep are not as white as they try to appear.

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moglow

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Re: bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2018, 12:19:37 PM »
Yes, empathy is vitally important to have with everyone. But not to the point where it is damaging to oneself. Sometimes the best choice to make is to create a distance so that people can be protected from harm. One of the worst things you can do to someone who is extracting themselves from an abusive situation is to suggest that they didn't do enough themselves to try to make it work/help the other person. Often the problem is that they have tried too hard in this respect already and blame themselves when the responsibility was never theirs in the first place.'

This is so often exactly what we are told, over and over, left feeling even more "less than" because so few get it. At least, until the "teller" either witnesses it first hand or is the object of an attack. Kinda sad to see that light come on for them, but a necessary evil if they're to understand how complicated it really is.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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eternallystuck

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Re: bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2018, 09:33:12 PM »
This is the link to the article (sorry wasn't sure if we were allowed to post links)

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/feb/16/indifferent-towards-mother

I don't know about anyone else but I felt a bit the writer was still a bit in denial about the impact her M had on her. She is jadeing quite a bit throughout, most likely due to that classic reflex of not wanting to be seen as a deviant: 'I shouldn't hate my M, people will judge me'.

She says 'I didn't have an unhappy upbringing. I wasn't a particularly happy child but that wasn't down to child abuse or neglect. I was clothed, fed, I had ballet lessons, I went to university, paid for by my parents, and I knew – and know – that there's always somewhere to stay if I need it and probably money to borrow if necessary.'  - this goes back to what I mentioned, about people defending their parents behaviour due to them fulfilling financial responsibilities, but this often follows with resentment/obligation from the child. There are extra T&C's. My M did buy me things, educate me & feed me which Im grateful for but she often threatened me with taking my toys away, sending me to my estranged father or nutty GM, then eventually making me homeless became her go to threat (which she often carried out). Some PD parents fulfil those financial responsibilities only to later retract them or dangle them over your head as a means of control.

Yet on the emotional side- her mother seems uninterested & cold. She may not financially neglect her but she does emotionally: 'My mother is the last person I go to in a crisis. She is certainly the last person to whom I would tell a secret or a problem and, if I am honest, I don't need to any more as I have my friends.'

Towards the end her anger seems much more apparent, she admits her M is 'self-obsessed, not interested in others, thoughtless and incapable of genuine warmth'- that packs quite a punch. So the article strays from her initial point, that her and her mother are simply  'indifferent' to the  more nuanced reality; she doesn't love her M or care whether shes alive. That's a pretty big leap! I wouldn't say indifference would warrant someone needing '15 years of counselling and soul-searching'.


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Rivers

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Re: bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 10:00:57 PM »
Thank you for this! This is a great topic.

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RavenLady

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Re: bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 11:06:22 PM »
Eternallystuck, I enjoyed your writing on this topic! You should rework and submit it for publication somewhere.

It seems to me that while the damage to kids of having emotionally unavailable parents is well-documented, it's so hard to prove a negative that a lot of us don't know what the problem is until it reaches a crisis point. At least, that's my story. I actually really needed my uPDM and uPDF to do the parenting thing when I had a health crisis as an adult. They did not report for duty, in spite of multiple requests. In my case, I'd been quite independent and on distant-but-not-hostile terms with them for many years when I had to ask for the help...it wasn't a matter of wearing out my welcome. Because they had fed, clothed and educated me and I was ignorant of the true nature of emotional abuse, I had developed this idea that they would naturally do the big-ticket parenting things when asked per the cultural norms. It was shocking to discover how little interest there was to love me when and how I really needed it. And, of course, this opened up big, hidden but festering wounds caused by the absence of their love all along.

I wonder how often the "discovery" of PD parents happens along similar lines, where the non-PD has managed to play along as expected and be dutiful and all that and it works fine until the Big Need. Then it turns out the PD parents were faking the emotional side of their roles all along.
sometimes in the open you look up
to see a whorl of clouds, dragging and furling
your whole invented history. You look up
from where you're standing, say
among the stolid mountains,
and in that moment your life
becomes the margin
of what matters
-- Terry Ehret

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 01:18:17 AM »
RavenLady, that was my experience. Distant but cordial, never really called on them for help until I had a health crisis. Always heard how much they missed me blah blah and how they hoped things would be better soon. But once I asked for concrete assistance, the emotional abuse became extreme. Then I had the gall to ask for some space while I took care of myself. That was the end forever, though I didn’t know it then.

I think it would have to go something like that. Something big would have to happen to strip away the denial we learned to live with since our childhoods. We needed it then to survive, right? Otherwise we might be aware something isn’t quite normal in our upbringing, perhaps, but there would have to be some imperative to really work on that. We have to “hit bottom” whatever that might look like for each individual.

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StayWithMe

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Re: bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 03:16:30 PM »
Quote
it's so hard to prove a negative that a lot of us don't know what the problem is until it reaches a crisis point.

@RavenLady, do you feel that you were mistreated before you were an adult as well?

It took me a while to understand as well.  A friend finally told me that I should not assume that because someone has an official role in my life that they are going to support me in every way ..... and worse, they may have their own agenda.  I received that wisdom in my 30s. and it still tok me two more decades before I went VLC with my Mother. 

A lot of things that my mother has done and she knows that if others knew, it would be embarassing.  She has called me stupid many times.  She knows now that I don't rise to the occasion.  I will say "well, you told me that I am stupid, so why would you expect otherwise?"  So I've noticed that she doesn't the "you're stupid" routine anymore. 

This same friend told me that there is the "Just World" theory which assumes that everyone gets what they deserve.  Kind of like "karma" or "you are what you attract."  Got to stay away from those people.

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Fuzzydog

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Re: bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 07:17:36 PM »
Eternallystuck, thanks for this. There is so much attitude of the Sacred Maternal that we who walk away are considered kind of evil.
I don’t want to fix things (I don’t believe they can be “fixed”) and I am so over “exploring” why things don’t work between us. Empathy is fine for real world relationships, but the power differential between a child and parent skews all that so dramatically.
I am resigned to being the “bad guy” in so many people’s eyes by now. (And, just as an aside, where is their empathy for me?)

Now I just congratulate people for having escaped that relationship with their own mother.

And a “difficult” mother isn’t the same at all.

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RavenLady

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Re: bit of validation for daughters of NPD M's
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2019, 11:00:43 PM »
@StayWithMe -- Yes! I just thought it was normal for parents to take it upon themselves to control their child's emotional life though invalidation, discounting, demeaning, silent treatment, threats, and indoctrination into a worldview that put priority on submission and humility to the exclusion of everything else. I learned that it's selfish to have wants and needs and opinions and preferences of my own (as a woman). I learned that good = docile (for women). I thought it was normal to be punished for expressing anger or any other form of emotional independence (as a woman!). Just like I thought it was normal for me to be parentified as the emotional adult whose shoulder existed for M to cry on about her own childhood abuse. And normal for M to lament to me about D's so-called problem with demons, which by the way would allegedly become a problem for me too if I was inadequately submissive to either of them. (Nothing like the threat of demon possession and eternal damnation to scare a kid into towing the line!) And surely it's normal for D to be so worried about me being "spoiled" by M's (role-reversing, unstable) attention that he would taken it upon himself to "toughen me up" with constant undermining and disdain and withholding. Etc. Etc. Etc.

And you are so right about the karma thing. I mean, yes, I think that actions have consequences and that when we treat people poorly we generally can anticipate that will have consequences in our own lives. We dwell in community, after all. And I would *like* it if there were some great moral balancing force in effect on the planet. I still have fantasies of this, especially given the liberties some take in destroying it. But it is so very toxic to assume that people always get what they deserve. It guarantees victim-blaming. As a survivor of chronic illness, I have no patience for the whole "everything happens for a reason" thing when the implication is that crippling pain and disability is somehow good for me or what I deserve. F*ck that. Sure, I can find a way to make lemonade. I can choose to focus on the positive, when I can find it, and I can even grow as a person. But if you are able-bodied, don't you dare tell me that you deserve good health and I don't. That's prejudice. Full stop.

Related to eternallystuck's original post, I now understand that my existence was very inconvenient to them and I was born into a sense of obligation. I've come to believe mine is an excellent case for abortion rights. My conception is why they got married, and for my Catholic-raised M, I effectively brought shame to her from day 1. She set out to "redeem" herself and prove to the world that she was nevertheless a fine, respectable woman in spite of her sexual "indiscretion". Consequently, I needed to be part of her redemption narrative and if I wasn't a model child that would (to her thinking) reflect poorly on her. And her fragility cannot countenance any challenge to her righteousness.

Then I was so inconsiderate as to be a colicky baby following a difficult labor (side note: how many other PDMs out there liked to repeatedly relate the terrible suffering of their pregnancy/delivery to their unwitting child? seems like it could be a popular PDM theme), cementing my first role: nightmarish burden. The first time I managed to parse an adult "joke" was the one I'd been living for years, where your parents sweetly repeat to you for as long as you can remember to "go play in the freeway" and then enjoy a good chuckle. Ha ha very funny.

So...yeah. The resentments were always there. And I didn't create the circumstances that gave rise to any of them. They did.
sometimes in the open you look up
to see a whorl of clouds, dragging and furling
your whole invented history. You look up
from where you're standing, say
among the stolid mountains,
and in that moment your life
becomes the margin
of what matters
-- Terry Ehret