Since I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I've been doing a lot of reading, a lot of talking, a lot of sharing with online support groups, etc. The more I read about the mind-body-spirit connection, and learn about it from therapists the more I end up delving back into my childhood.
The other day a post in an online Fibro group on facebook, that I thought was "Closed", wasn't. The post was about how some of us have family members that aren't supportive with our needs. Those of you on facebook know that if you post something to someone's "Wall" it will say something like "X person posted on X's wall" and you can click on it.
Well, apparently (because she has to absolutely know everything) my mother clicked on this link to a post I made. Which said that she was a narcissist, toxic, and that she wasn't supportive, along with some specifics in the way that she's not supportive.
I received a phone call, where she had that tone of voice, that sing-songey "you're busted" voice that I remember from being a kid, and says "Hi. What are you doing?" I tell her that I'm reading. She then proceeds to tell me she saw what I posted and because it could "affect her business" (she is a hair stylist, and we have several mutual friends that are clients of hers) she demanded I deleted it. I said "Ok, sorry." She hung up on me.
I went and deleted the post, and let the admin for the group (who is also an in real life friend) know that it wasn't "locked down" and what happened.
Well, of course my mother sent me a long email about how I am a horrible person, vicious, a liar etc. I sent a message back not apologizing for the content of the post (because it was absolutely TRUE) but for the delivery (I would not have used such harsh words with her if we were discussing in person, the fact that it was public, which I didn't intend) and that it wasn't the way I wanted to discuss this issue with her.
She then sent back another email (which I waited a "cool off day") to read, about how it's "sad" and I'm full of lies, and she and my stepdad are disappointed and that I should just stay away from her and stop blaming other people for my problems.
Ok, I can stay away.
Again, even her responses to this were about how she could be "seen" by other people - the "me me me" of the narcissism.
1. She had no right to read my venting on a support group, for a disease that she claims is all in my head. This is not a new issue, as she continually read my diary when I was a kid, snooped in my room, listened in to my phone calls, etc. She never let me have any privacy. She would barge into the bathroom when I was in there if she needed something.
2. The kind of narcissism she struggles with is entanglement - she sees me as an extension of her. I only exist to her as a reflection of her, not as my own being. When I ran away to get married at 18 she sent me a 20+ page letter about how I was shaming my family, and letting them all down. It has never been about my feelings.
3. She was abusive when I was a kid. I was grounded for stupid stuff (like grounded for a week for leaving toothpaste on the bathroom counter). She would leave me at home while she was out gallavanting with whatever boyfriend she had (usually significantly younger than she). She would take off for Reno for the weekend and call drunk, making sure I was still at home, "grounded." If I ever stood up for myself or argued I'd get a crack across my face. Sometimes I deserved it, but sometimes I didn't. She has pulled my hair, slapped me so hard I had bruises (I mouthed off to her when I was busted sneaking out), she has hit me multiple times with a broom, hairbrush, whatever she had in her hand. There were times she got that rage in her eyes I really thought she might kill me.
4. She blames all of my problems on my father leaving at age 11. Yes, that was horrible, and it created abandonment issues and a whole lot of other issues. I dealt with that through intensive counseling (years) and also worked through a lot of that when my dad was sick. The one that was abandoned took in the abandoner. That was healing in a lot of ways.
But talk about abandonment - my senior year in high school she moved into my (then future) stepdad's house, with him and his kid (who hated me). Initially she left me in the apartment we lived in. But it's ok, because she would leave a check for groceries. Eventually I had to move out to my stepdad's house. She then spent all of her time with my stepbrother - who rejected her in the end. I was invisible to her for an entire year. Until the night of graduation, when I told her I was going to stay up and out all night with all of my friends at a sleepover. She said if I didn't come home that night, not to come home at all. She meant it. I was kicked out, I moved in with my boyfriend, and then yep, got married. She refused to acknowledge this wedding, she didn't come, she didn't do anything except send me that 20+ page letter. We didn't talk for almost a year.
5. From the time I was born I always, ALWAYS, had to be perfect, had to be the best. She took great pride in telling anyone who would listen that I was potty trained by 2, reading by 3, knew my right from left foot when I was still in the crib. She used me as her own personal doll. I was a tomboy - I wanted to catch tadpoles, play in the dirt, play in the garage with my dad. She wanted the princess. She bought me a canopy bed, and I asked if I could swing from the bars. She dressed me in frilly girly stuff I hated, and yelled at me when I got dirty, and changed my clothes multiple times. She criticised my school pictures for having messy hair, or something unkempt about me. If I got all A's and a B she would complain that I was "so close" to all A's. If I did what she wanted, I felt loved. If I did what I wanted to do, I felt rejected. Therapists call this "lack of voice."
6. She always, ALWAYS has to be the center of attention. 80% of her friends are significantly younger than she is, and she always points this out, about how fun and young she is. She is obsessed with her appearance. She would not go out to get the mail without her makeup and hair done. She is the most vain person I have ever encountered. She is obsessed with looking young, and constantly wants reinforcement about how young she looks compared to so & so. She always tells me I need to change my appearance - wear more colors (I gravitate towards black), get a tan (it would make me look THINNER) etc etc.
7. She has treated me as her emotional spouse/savior my entire life. She expects me to help her with her problems, solve them for her. I have recently learned it is not my job to save her. Yet, if I confide in her, and just want her to listen, she will be full of unsolicited advice about what I should do. She doesn't think I can solve problems on my own, that I am incompetent. She also continually talks behind everyone's back - so in so must be anorexic, so in so's husband is a creep, so in so must be bipolar - and these are her so called friends...
8. She has criticised my parenting, undermined my marriage, told me (in a "supportive move" of course) that I can come and live with her and my stepfather if I ever feel trapped and want to leave. I don't want an escape hatch on my marriage, and if something did happen, her home is the last place I would go! I am 34 years old for God's sake!
9. She is incapable of seeing any of this. She also has denied things that have happened (I "imagined" it), minimized, exaggerated, and I really think she BELIEVES her lies. She just can't see how she is.
So yeah, ok... I guess I broke up with my mom. And I got back my voice.