In our day and age narcissism appears to be spreading like wildfire and sometimes it feels like we are surrounded by them.
I believe that above all the circumstances of the past three years again play a major role here.
To make one thing clear, we all carry narcissistic traits within us and that is a good thing as we need them for survival. As survival has become more challenging due to the measures we have been enduring, I believe that these narcissistic traits have been amplified many times over in so many people.
Having said this, I will be doing a series on narcissism, on NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), the different types of narcissists, how to reveal a narcissist, how to stop feeding a narcissist, and how to heal from narcissistic abuse – which has become much too common.
Firstly I would like to share with you why I am writing this series. There are two significant reasons. The first one is my own experience with narcissists and my very long journey to recovery from the abuse. The second reason is that I wish to clarify what narcissism is and hopefully help one or the other to better understand what it is, what is happening to them when they are in contact with a narcissist, why it is happening, help them in the healing process, and to help avoid them in the future.
To start this I have to tell my own story first. I am not doing this to gain sympathy or even understanding. It is simply a first-hand experience and journey. I was struggling for quite some time to start this series as it exposes me and it makes me very vulnerable. But I also see it as a chance to continue my own healing process and if I can help others with this, that would be the cherry on the icing.
I have fallen for narcissists several times in my life. The reason why this could happen to me repeatedly is simple and as obvious as it was, it took me quite a long time to make sense of it.
I was raised by a full-blown narcissist – my mother. Even when I had overcome all that had happened to me as a child, I nevertheless found myself in a long-term relationship with a narcissist two times in my life. It was something I was drawn to as it was something that was so deeply familiar to me. I knew since the day I was born how to deal with it – not realising how incredibly toxic this is and yet still trying to make it work – so it was like a bad habit you can’t really shake. You know it is bad for you but you do it anyway.
I knew the hoovering, the breadcrumbing, followed by the love bombing, the short high that made it all seem worth it, and the inevitable gaslighting, and discard – I will dive deeper into this in the course of the series.
My mother was an overt or grandiose narcissist of the worst kind. As a child you are dependent on your parents and being dependent on a narcissist is a challenge and survival is key. I found my survival mechanisms over time – children are unbelievably resilient. One of these was music. To this day music is something that helps me in any situation. But I was also very lucky to have a wonderful big sister and I believe it is fair to say that we saved one another.
My little brother that was almost 13 years younger than me and 17 years younger than my sister was not so lucky. He had full exposure to my mother and was alone – my father was not interested in us and unfortunately completely useless – so he fled into drug abuse which my mother even controlled at a certain point, resulting in his death at the age of 27 in 2007.
I cannot remember my mother (or my father) showing us children love or kindness except when we were in public or we had guests. So she knew the difference and did everything deliberately. That was also something that took me a very long time to realise as I always excused her behavior by convincing myself that she did the best she could and that she didn’t know any better – and yet she did.
Does any of this sound familiar?
My mother always felt called to higher things and always let us feel it. Basically, it was us children who ruined her life. My Mother was never at fault and always the victim and she perfected that role over time.
My mother played the piano quite well, but in her own eyes, she had what it took to be a famous concert pianist. My mother was quite a good horserider. She used to come back from the stable and always tell us that there was a horse there that was so difficult and nervous that only she could ride it because no one else had her amazing ability and skills. As I was a curious child, I had the audacity to ask her who had ridden the horse before she went riding there. That was tantamount to an insult to her majesty and was reprimanded accordingly.
In my mother’s eyes, we daughters were her worst competition. I was not allowed to learn horse riding or learn to play the piano. I know today that she could not take the risk that I could have been better than her, nor the possibility of exposing her lies. Her house of cards could have collapsed and this had to be protected by all means.
My mother also always made it very clear that she had married beneath her. She never had a good word to say about our father in front of us children either – though it should be mentioned that they really deserved each other, yet that’s another story. My mother always played our father off against us. He was the bad guy, she was the good one. In my mother’s eyes, she should have married a lord, a prince, or, best of all, a king.
It has to be mentioned that my mother never achieved anything, but was firmly convinced that she was entitled only to the very best. And as long as I can remember she was an unhappy and envious individual.
I think you start to get a picture of this person.
We were never physically abused, but there was plenty of psychological or narcissistic abuse. I won’t talk about the things my sister experienced that I was too young to be aware of or remember – that is not my story to tell. When we were punished, it was usually with love withdrawal – although that would require that there was love. So let’s call it deprivation of attention.
If we made a mistake and wanted to apologise, it was usually, “It’s all right, in three (this number could vary) days.” We were then non-existent for that number of days. As a child, this is probably one of the cruelest and most hurtful things you can experience – apart from physical abuse. Children are dependent wards who are at the mercy of their parents.
My go-to survival mechanism was to be away from home as much as possible. If there was a chance to be outside with friends or have a sleepover somewhere, I would grab it. Pretty much anything to not be at home.
The best times were when we had guests or were somewhere in public. My parents were the kindest and most caring people you can imagine when others were present. The show was Oscar-worthy and as a child, I loved these moments and enjoyed them. We also had great birthday parties – as we had others over to our place and the show had to go on – and to this day, I love my birthday.
When my mother wanted something from us, she would either guilt or love bomb us into compliance and it usually worked. It’s funny that I can remember making the decision never to be like my mother at the age of seven – I guess I instinctively knew that what she was doing was wrong.
I do not want to bore you with more details and I believe you get the picture. What I can tell you though is that I don’t see myself as someone that had a terrible childhood or as a victim. I may have had providers instead of parents but nevertheless, I had the opportunity to live abroad and make many amazing experiences that other children never had and for that, I am endlessly grateful. Also, my parents taught me the most important lesson ever: How NOT to do things!
Raising my own children, I did everything I could to not fall into what I was raised with and for the most part – looking at my children today – I hope I succeeded.
We encounter narcissists in our homes, in our relationships, and in our workplaces. A relationship with a narcissist – depending on how pronounced the narcissism is – is difficult, to say the least, and almost always toxic.
In my next letter, I will give you some insight into one of the different types of narcissism, as there are huge differences.
🎶My Song of the Week
I mentioned that music is one of the things that always helped me and this amazing song by Andreya Triana – Dance The Pain Away could be my hymn….
Andreya Triana – Dance The Pain Away
It’s also here on the Spotify playlist
📚My Poem of the Week
Is once again by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
I took my Power in my Hand
I took my Power in my Hand — And went against the World — ’Twas not so much as David — had — But I — was twice as bold — I aimed my Pebble — but Myself Was all the one that fell — Was it Goliath — was too large — Or was myself — too small?
Mr. Spock not wanting me to go shopping…
For personal reasons, I will be concentrating a large part of my work and expertise on helping people that have become victims of narcissistic abuse and helping them find the road to healing. I would be happy to take the time for a speed coaching call that you can reserve right here, go to my website or simply hit reply and get in touch with me directly.
Thank you for your time and for reading this post. If you know anyone that has been subjected to narcissistic abuse, please share this post with them.
If you enjoyed this post, leave a ❤️ and a comment! I wish you an amazing Easter weekend and look very much forward to hearing from you.
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