I Love a Narcissist. Now What?

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Copabanana, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Seth Myers, Phd Psychology Today

    Simply put, there's no kind of relationship one can have with a narcissist other than a confusing, gut-wrenching, and addictive one. The troubling characteristics of the narcissist induce an abuse-prone relationship dynamic so skewed that the narcissist extends gestures of love and physical affection on his terms only, forcing his partner into an overall state of submission and insecurity. If you've ever experienced a close relationship with a narcissist or are in a relationship with one now, you know how insidious and overwhelming the process of loving a narcissist really is.

    One of the most frustrating effects of being closely tied to a narcissist—whether at work, in love, with a friend or even with a child—is that wrongs never get righted. Rules are broken and boundaries trespassed, but the narcissist will never take accountability for any of it. Narcissists can't allow the mere suggestion that they’re not perfect, which begs the question: Is their ego so inflated that they truly believe they’re perfect? In reality, it's quite the opposite.

    The narcissistic clients I have seen over the years do have moments of insight and even wisdom. However, that part of the narcissist is not dominant. In fact, the moments of psychological healthiness and connectedness are super-fleeting, a mere understudy to the overweening self-absorption that defines the usual resting state for the narcissist. It's not that narcissists are evil, nasty people. (As a rule, I believe the term evil—even for sociopaths and especially pedophiles—is meaningless and simplistic, betraying the complexity that drives these conditions.) Instead, it's that a narcissist's true ego or sense of self is so incredibly fragile and insecure that they cannot tolerate any hint of criticism. They can't take accountability for any hurts or grave boundary-crossings because they aren’t internally sturdy enough to synthesize and integrate complex feelings.

    Hotchkiss (2003) discussed seven traits of narcissism, includingentitlement, which is especially destructive to relationships. The narcissist is so averse to criticism and accountability because he sees the world through a lens of entitlement. The logic goes like this: "You’re lucky to be with me, so you'd better comply with what I want." Narcissists feel entitled to indulge any thought, feeling or whim they happen to have in a given moment, and automatic compliance from others is expected—even demanded.

    Should you challenge a narcissist or call her out on her bad behavior, you’ll instantly be confronted with narcissistic rage. Underneath the narcissistic exterior is a rage and disgust most people couldn't fathom. There are the occasional dark moments in which a narcissist lets in a little whisper that says, "Something's really wrong with you." This whisper can function as intrusively as an actual auditory hallucination for a full-blown schizophrenic. The reason? When the narcissist hears that whisper, it shakes his or her sense of order in the world and causes a massive panic. It's this panic that the narcissist works so hard to avoid.

    Having a daily relationship with a narcissist takes a lot of mental work: trying to figure out her motives or intentions; walking on eggshells when his mood shifts; blowing off negative or even nasty behavior to keep the peace. There’s never a dull moment in a relationship with a narcissist, which can be exciting in the beginning but ultimately feels draining and infuriating.

    Without question, there is a spectrum of narcissism. Only a small percentage of men and women—under 5 percent—have full-blownNarcissistic Personality Disorder, while a much higher number of men and women have some narcissistic traits. Most of the narcissistic individuals you come across are this type: They don’t meet each criterion of the actual disorder, but they have several traits (e.g., sense of superiority, lack of empathy, entitlement).

    It’s interesting to note that, in some arenas, being a little narcissistic can actually be a good thing. For example, new research suggests that, among leaders and managers, moderate levels of narcissism can be tolerated to the point that the narcissistic individual can succeed and have a functional work life. In relationships, it may be that having a relationship with someone who is "a little bit" narcissistic may be survivable. For instance, a moderately narcissistic man may bother and upset his partner occasionally, but a limited dose of narcissism may be something the other partner can blow off by relying on a defense mechanism such as rationalization or minimization. But if the person you’re in a relationship with is highly narcissistic, there is little to no chance for a long-term, happy relationship.

    How can you determine if someone is narcissistic? Researchers use the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Raskin & Terry, 1988) to measure the presence or absence of narcissistic traits, and interested individuals can search the internet to take a free inventory themselves. The problem with measuring narcissism is that most narcissists are not going to want to sit down, take a test, and then share the results with you! Such integrated behavior would require the narcissist to take accountability for her part, and that rarely happens.

    "Now what?"

    If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you’ve probably spent more time than you care to admit trying to figure out why he is the way he is. In terms of the cause of narcissism, most theories indicate a disturbed, highly inconsistent, or unloving relationship with a primary caregiver—and even the most esteemed psychologists of the past and present seem to love to blame the mother. We don’t have actual science to explain the derivation of narcissism, but if you were to interview a group of narcissists, your qualitative research would most likely reveal a significantly impaired relationship with a mother, father or caregiver. After all, the caregiving relationships provide a blueprint from which all later relationships will be constructed.

    As a practicing psychologist who always strives to access empathy for my clients, it can sometimes be heartbreaking to see how guarded the narcissist is against gaining insight into himself. In other words, narcissists are extremely emotionally-injured individuals who don’t have any idea how injured they really are. Let's take a moment to imagine what life would be like if we didn’t have insight into what makes us tick, or if we couldn’t feel real empathy for someone else. This constellation of factors makes for a shallow and guarded life, without many of the rich, positive emotional connections most of us have in our lives. While most people can count on the fact that their friends and family will continue to love them in the future, narcissists live moment to moment in the search for attention and praise and never know any real peace in a relationship.

    If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, the first step is to continue to get educated about what narcissism is and how it works. The more you understand this clinical condition, the more free you will be from taking things personally with your narcissistic partner. Continue to research narcissism online and look for online support forums which help people cope with a narcissist. If you love a narcissist, you’d be surprised how many men and women are dealing with someone who eerily resembles the dysfunction of your own partner.

    Because your continued education about narcissism will show you that having a harmonious relationship with a narcissist is next to impossible, you might want to consider one of two approaches: leaving the relationship, or staying in the relationship but reducing the level of emotional contact with your partner. If you choose the second approach, understand that the narcissist is extremely aware of how interested or desired he is by you—and everyone else around him.

    If you practice an approach of measured contact, prepare to experience almost instantaneous acting out and punishment in response. The best practice for you is to understand that you will be punished, and that the narcissist will deploy a laser-like focus on the specific ways in which he has power over you and subsequently exploit them: your need for sex, money, and so on. Before you change your approach, it is worth considering arranging the circumstances of your life in a way that you are as independent as possible.

    Finally, everyone in a relationship should understand that they always have the opportunity to leave a relationship emotionally before they leave the relationship physically. In this case, there’s no more sex or television-watching together; no more dinners out or asking for help (even when you need something). If you leave the relationship emotionally, it means that you still appear as a couple on paper but are no longer emotionally connected behind closed doors. If this feels like your only option, it’s still a better option than trying to change a narcissist.

    Bottom line: Unless your partner has the openness, time, and money to go to psychotherapy two or three times per week for several years, the narcissistic personality of your partner simply isn’t going to change. And perhaps the bigger question is, would it be totally wrong to suggest that a person's personality is so deeply entrenched and all-encompassing, so intrinsic and fundamental to who that person is, that changing his personality architecture is actually impossible?


    Grijalva, E.; Harms, P.D.; Newman, D.; Gaddis, B.H.; Fraley, R.C. (2013). Narcissism and leadership: A meta-analytic review of linear and nonlinear relationships. Personnel Psychology, Winter.

    Hotchkiss, S.; Masterson, J.F. (2003). Why Is It Always About You?: The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism. Free Press.

    Raskin, R.; Terry, H. (1988). "A principal-components analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and further evidence of its construct validity". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 54(5), 890-902.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This jumped out at me...lol. Do some people really think like this? I am so uncomfortable with people, especially those I don't know, that I have to stop my inner voice from saying, "Wow. Why did you even want me here?"

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  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    His personality architecture....

    Are we talking again about Nietzsche here? About loving because we love because the love came first? Is that why we believe we can welcome sisters who just do not feel that way about us?

    If they genetically do not have that part that loves, then this relationship dynamic cannot change.

    If it is a question of learning to love instead of to accuse and berate and justify hating ourselves the way our mothers hated...themselves? Us? Then everything can change. That is what my sister means when she says she is loving my mother out of it. Loving her unconditionally and steady state and enough.

    But she does have conditions.

    They are very strict conditions, too.

    My mother has to be my sister's mother and hate the rest of us.

    My mother has to be my sister's mother and not be in love with the man who wanted to marry her.

    My mother has to be my sister's granddaughter's great grandmother and not remember she has any other great grands.

    Here is a story: My sister bought my mother a purse with the title: Great Grandmother on it, and with the name of my sister's grand on it. My mother had all the other great-grands' names put on the purse.

    And that did not make my sister very happy, at all.

    So, that would be the way someone with whom a loving relationship has nothing to do with the person being loved would look.

    Be who I say.

    Too bad for me that my sister needs me to be: What would Cedar do. And then, laugh about me. (For those new to the site, my sister is fundamentally religious. There was a saying awhile back: What would Jesus do? That was the mocking and ridiculing my mom and my sister were doing, about me. It still hurts me that they did that.)

    But I am not responsible for how they see me. It is embarrassing and very hurtful that they did this to me, though.

  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    When my mother asked me to try to love my sister, she would remember her sister, my aunt.

    I have been thinking about my aunt since last night. How she tried to own any success I ever had...as if it was her. Just because she thought I was very smart and could achieve. She was responsible. It has this same color to it...

    After my aunt died, my mother said: my sister loved me as I was. Why could I not have loved her as she was? I miss her so much.

    My mother always felt less than her sister. And her sister always felt less than my mother. All the millions of dollars in the world never changed anything. A central grievance of my mother was that my aunt would not give her money, help her financially.

    My mother, then, had more than a million dollars. She would accumulate even more. She still felt her sister needed to take care of her. And if she did not? She was mad at her and a bad sister. I guess that was how my mother felt about me when I was not happy she stole my inheritance. How unreasonable of me to not accept the need to always put my mother's needs first. In that way my sister is my mother's daughter truly.

    How in the world do we even think ourselves out of this?

    All four of my grandparents left their parents in the old world. I never heard one word of guilt about leaving their families. I think moving on is the normal thing.

    The warped thing is the recrimination, guilt and self-guilt that we hurl at ourselves. We feel responsible and we are not.

    I love my sister because that is who I am. Even if she is a serpent. That does not mean I like her venom.

    There needs to be a way to feel our love for them...without the self-attack, and accepting the longing for what never was and never will be.
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    We are, Copa. We already are. When one of us gets stuck, the other sees clearly. When one of us confesses something shaming, the other of us says, "Me, too."

    So individually and together, we are creating a map. Mostly, the map identifies feeling states or ways of thinking come of the shame base we were hurt into believing.

    How sad for all of us, and for everyone who actually does love us, that this was so.

    But we are coming through it so beautifully I can hardly believe it. If we are not ashamed of our shame?

    It disappears. Just a chimera. Just a way we learned to see; just a way some very damaged people taught us to see ourselves.

    Nothing more.

    We are so fortunate that we have been given this opportunity.

    Maybe, once we know we are through, we can go back, for them.


    But we need to affix our own oxygen masks, first. Toxic there, and that will not have changed.
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think I would have a better outcome with you Cedar, and you Serenity as my sisters.
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  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    And no matter what, these adult women who are our sisters have done intentionally hurtful things to us. Our mothers, love them or no, did intentionally hurtful things to us. There we were, right in front of them, beautiful little kids, and they chose to hit or scream or hurt.

    That part is true, too.

    Could it be that we are trying to assure ourselves somehow that they did not mean to do these things because who would do those things to someone who loved them so much?

    I am still reading David Brooks' The Road to Character.

    He is writing about the writer Samuel Johnson in the paragraph I am including here.

    He was also plagued by his own imagination. We in post-romantic ties tend to regard the imagination as an innocent, childlike faculty that provides us with creativity and sweet visions. Johnson saw the imagination as something to be feared as much as treasured. It was at its worst in the middle of the night. in those dark hours his imagination would plague him, introducing nighttime terrors, jealousies, feelings of worthlessness, and vain hopes and fantasies of superficial praise and admiration. The imagination, in Johnson's darker view, offers up idealized versions of experiences like marriage, which then leave us disappointed when the visions don't come true. It is responsible for hypochondria and the other anxieties that exist only in our heads. It invites us to make envious comparisons, imagining scenes in which we triumph over our rivals. The imagination simplifies our endless desires and causes us to fantasize that they can be fulfilled. It robs us of much of the enjoyment of our achievements by compelling us to think upon the things left undone. It distracts us from the pleasures of the moment by leaping forward to unattained future possibilities.

    So, imagination is a human condition. The more I realize what my sister has done (or my mom) the more surprised I am. There is such a pointless, needless ugliness to it.

    An intentional one, too.

    So I imagined something better and believed that, instead.


  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member



    Initially, I was going to respond that we and our sisters had been created by the fires we were forged in. That our situations relative to one another would be the same as our situations with our real life sisters. Then, I remembered one of the articles one of us posted about the narcissistic mom's kids and their relationships in adulthood. There exist siblings, sisters and brothers, who come together in love ~ who never deserted themselves or one another in the first place. This is carried into their adulthoods, and family is created among them and they are all stronger because of it.

    The difference for each of us is that we love in Neitszche sense of love, maybe; love came first because that is who we are. Whatever we come across, we get a fine charge out of it and enjoy it and come to love it. Like the rose in The Little Prince. We love our people because they are ours. It could be, that between our sisters and ourselves, we were the only ones genetically blessed with the capacity for love, with that little ping of joy feeling that motivates everything we do to this day.

    So we would have been wonderful sisters to one another.

    That is why we can be sisters in this way we are, now. There are three of us. That is a perfect set up for triangulation. But we are not doing that. Each of us has taken care, not only to include the others, but to feel incomplete without both the others. When you were quiet for a little time Copa, we both missed you. When Serenity was working that day, both you and I were in defensive mode about whether something had happened here on the site to cause her exclusion.

    We all took steps to see that the connection would not be broken.

    So, in this, we can see that we probably treated our sisters with the same care.

    That is an important thing for us to know. When guilt comes to us about the way we are thinking about our own sisters, knowing that we did not triangulate between the three of us will instruct us on our basic natures regarding our real life sisters.

    I think this is true.

    So that's good, then. One less thing.


    I told D H what you said Copa, about being under the bed but not in it. He thought that was pretty funny.

  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    No. I do not think this is so. I think we know they mean it. Even though we try to convince ourselves they did not.

    We know they do it, but we do not want to hold them responsible. Because we love them. On some level deep in the past, we do not want to let them go. Like our children. In that respect I do not agree with you, Serenity. We adored them once. We long for them still. We may always and forever long for who they were to us. They are no longer who they were.

    I actually feel I may be having a heart attack from the pain of it.

    We learned to love through them, by loving them. Our mothers and fathers were complicated.

    It was simple and such a marvel to love the babies that we were. Without them to love we would never have survived.

    This outlet was allowed us, because it benefited the "witch mom" who wanted both kids out of their way.

    That is why it is so hard to give them up. We loved them with all of our little hearts. They were then the only safe objects to love. Everyone else was dangerous.

    No wonder I felt so betrayed when my sister transferred her alliance to my step father and mother...after my mother's second marriage. I had lost my beloved. Who had turned on me.

    No wonder my sister, when in her 20's realized her devil's bargain, wanted me back. But I could not return.
    Well, I am taking this personally, Cedar, about my driving.
    I wonder if this is how and why my relationship with M satisfies me because it is based upon only real things. Care. Contentment. Respect. Consideration. Gestures. Physical safety. Truth.

    I was thinking this morning about how M fits into my sister's rivalry with me. Was she exultant, because by definition because of his immigration status, he is less than? Or does she fear and resent him because by who he is he is untouchable to her...absolutely undefinable and beyond her naming and controlling?

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I do not believe it was genetic. I believe it was because of the mother dynamic. My mother always felt guilty about my sister. My sister really got almost nothing at all, beyond the love she got from me. I feel sorry for her.
    Cedar, I agree with your first sense of things. That in each of our own families, the same exact horrible outcome would have happened with each other.

    I think only now...that we understand some...our own vulnerabilities and strengths...could we do better. And we would do better with each other because of the work...and because of the understanding of consequences of attitudes and behaviors and choices.

    I think we would inadvertently fall into the same patterns...but we would recognize it...correct it....confess it, talk about it and re-integrate stronger and more devoted.

    What would be different is FLEXIBILITY.

    See, in human life so far as we have lived it there has always been a victim, golden ones, aggressors.

    But such can be a temporary state, like in children's games. Musical chairs. Pin the tail on the donkey. The farmer in the dell. Hide and seek.

    Even in D H's family there were temporary and free floating alliances and wars. But they came together after moments or a day.

    We are the same people we have always been. We will always be vulnerable to the dynamics into which we were bred. But we do not have to succumb.
    I will speak for myself. I think I am sensitive to triangulation and I think I can be subject to triangulating.

    That said, I can do it. I recognize in myself when there are danger zones. In myself and from others. I talk to myself. I try to change.

    What I have lacked is the confidence to speak to others in the triangle. Unless I am already very angry and/or wounded.

    (I guess this is what that bad man at work meant when he said in front of several of our peers: COPA has no boundaries.)

    I always did but I think I was afraid. I am not so afraid now. But I need to practice more.

    I believe that with you two, Cedar and Serenity, I am gaining the confidence sufficient to speak to each of you if I had discomfort, doubt or fear, before rather than after their is harm.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I do not think this happens unless the parents encourage it. And I do not think any one of our mothers would have.

    The thing is, one of the things we are doing together is creating a new family system, with new rules. We are modeling things to one another of positive behavior.

    When I referred to having better luck with you Serenity and you Cedar, I was referring to the new family system we are creating...by how we relate to each NOW.

    There is no expectation of perfection...to belong....there is no expectation of conformity....

    I do not know yet exactly what I mean. But I believe we are identifying new ways of relating...in a sister-like group. They are not old timey rules...like a Sorority...or to be my friend you have to or you can't....do this or that. They are process rules. To strive for.They are aspirational. Not conditional.

    I will think about it. And try to explain what I mean and give examples, if I choose to stand by this idea. (I may change my mind.)

    Donald Trump has been on the radio all day long--the interview about foreign affairs...that he is calling the gotcha interview.

    This will backfire on those who seek to use it against him.

    What Donald Trump is doing is changing the rules of politics.

    We are doing something similar.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This almost made me cry with emotional flashback intensity. She could shame me like no other.

    Why did she want to shame me? Why did any of them want to shame us or make us feel fat or ugly or stupid or bad or inept or whatever our particular mother did? As a mother myself, I can not imagine it. And not all of my kids are little angels who did whatever I asked and kissed my feet. And I know yours were not either. Is it harder to hold in the nasty comments when a child is near adult or adult or even a small child and acting badly? YES! But do we HAVE to shame them? We are still the older one. We still love them. We do not call them names. We do not shame them. We do not give them a childhood that leads to PTSD.

    Why did our mothers do it? How could they have stood doing it? I couldn't talk to ANY child, even one not my own, the way my mother talked to me at times.

    Why could our mothers do this? Cedar, I'm with you now. Where's the win? What did they get out of it, even if their own mothers said nasty things to them? Why didn't they think, "I'll never do that to my child" and not do it?
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  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I kind of know what you are saying, but can't put it into words yet either. Together, we can try.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I put in the italics here. The together word felt so good.

    Thank you,
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think our mothers were reacting to the same kinds of feelings in kind that I had with my own son.

    They felt horrible and they would do whatever it took to stop the feelings. Even cruelty. Even humiliating them. Even sadism.

    Sadists do what they do to conquer their own feelings of helplessness and victimization. It is the ultimate identification with the aggressor. In dominating your victim to the point of helplessness and even horror...ones own similar feelings can be put in somebody else.

    I think the mechanism is similarly. It is just a question of degrees, the extent to which the parent has awareness, and the extent to which the parent has a differentiated system both internally and environmentally.

    When a child acts badly...the parent can feel the child is doing it on purpose to them....punishing them....taking away their love. This is what we have been talking about the past week. i think one would call this a narcissistic injury.

    I am sure this happened to me with my son. It does not mean I am a narcissist, I hope. It does not mean I am a sadist, I hope. But I could be mean...and what I felt is this: I will do anything I can or anything that will stop his (my son's) hurting me like he is. This is narcissistic injury, I think.

    The other thing is narcissistic identification.
    Cedar, look at what your sister did to her children and to her grand? She makes them parade around restaurants (I forgot the other place it was so excruciatingly horrible a thought picture).

    When we are acting like this, I will admit to both types of behaviors, we are unaware of what we are doing. I will speak for myself. I knew it was wrong. I knew I was out of control. I could not stop. At the time.

    Now that I am forced to acknowledge it. This is exactly the same thing I describe about my sister.

    When I think about it? How could I not think that I was similarly injured?
    I know I knew my mother meant it. I never doubted her love for me. I think the same is true for my son.

    He never doubted I loved him. He knew I meant it. I am responsible. Nothing can make it not so.

    I think that is the difference. The capacity for flexibility. My son and I are both changing.

    My sister may be capable of changing with her own children. But I do not think she would be with me.

    Cedar, I think the quandary that we were in as children, or one of them, was cognitive dissonance. I believe that my mother loved me. But she treated me very, very badly. She was mean. I struggled with (and still struggle) understanding why her love for me felt so mean and bad that when I was an adult, I could not even be around her.

    As we have said before, the only way to understand this, as a child, was: I must be very bad for my mother to treat me this way. I must be a very, very bad girl to be so angry at my Mommy. And that was how we solved it. We needed Mommy's that loved us. In in their way, our mother's did. In that way we could understand the bad treatment of us. And reconcile the cognitive dissonance.

    That is how I understand my situation.

    I do not know why here, but again, I am feel how much I love and miss my mother.

    I guess I can look at it half glass full and half glass empty.

    Half glass empty: How sad. To have felt so afraid to love nearly so much of my life, except in my work. Where I was safe because I could have no expectations in return.

    I know the psychiatrist would point out if he were here that I chose as my love objects, two people who were completely marginalized in this society: My son, in an orphanage. M in terms of his legal status. Was this the only way I could love safely? I am done accusing myself...but I cannot not ask myself the question.

    Half glass full: I am strong enough to love. I love fully and simply.
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    It was an ugly game of hot potato....who gets to hold the shame...who gets to hold the self-hate?

    Behind their seeming certainty were fragile egos. When they would be flooded with negative feelings...inept, inadequate, desperate, helpless, ashamed, guilty---they attacked---us. They saw their bad feelings as originating in us---our badness, our stupidity. And they attacked us to stop the feelings (which were actually in them). And they kept on doing it as long as and as frequently as they needed to.

    Remember the story I posted about my mother's visit to see me and my newly adopted son? She was staying in nice old hotel with a wide long corridor. We were in her room with the door open to the hall. The subject of our time with no contact came up.

    My son, then 2 years old, sensed the tension.

    He ran down the corridor and I ran after him. I stumbled and fell head over heels.

    My mother started yelling at my son.

    Me: Don't yell at him. It's not his fault.

    My Mother: Yes it is his fault, she yelled. Who else's fault could it be?

    And this is how it must have been hundreds and hundreds of time through my childhood (and yours and Cedar's) except way worse. And we were alone.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Interesting. Very. So your mother felt t hat because your son ran it was his fault your fell.

    It was nobodys fault, really. Why does there have to be a fault?

    So...are you saying that if we get fat it reflects on them? I know my mom liked having her idea of pretty daughters. It may be the only thing she valued us for.I wonder if she took it personally or warned us we were getting "fat" because that would make us less pretty in her eyes. Of course, we weren't really fat.

    What made them tick anyway? I will never understand my mother, but since she had so many borderline traits, maybe she was just a chaotic mess, just as I was until I got help to straighten out. Of course, she never got help to straighten out. This is so puzzling to me. Why did she have to have a GC? Because he was so smart and in her value system, which I definitely did not adopt, being academically intelligent was everything in a BOY. It is common in Jewish families to have this value, as you know, Copa. She worshipped those she considered smart and felt badly because she did not go to college and did not expect her daughters to necessarily go to college either. Is that because SHE didn't go? And she was a beautiful woman when dressed up so maybe she wanted us to be beautiful because she was. It is so confusing to me. I can't even relate to what she was thinking. Her way of thinking about her kids was just so different than me and my own. I mean, they are precious for what they are, rght? But not to our mothers. I wonder if brother would have been GC if he had not been a gifted student. She worshipped Vain because he was also gifted intellectually, although my grandma most certainly drove that point home to her in a hurtful way...she felt she was lacking.

    I don't think we will ever really understand their minds regarding us. We were so different toward our own kids. I know that my mother taught me how NOT to mother a child and early on, before I had any kids, I decided to celebrate the good in them and let them go their own way and college was not a priority as long as they worked hard and were happy.

    My mother apparently stopped thinking "girls don't need to be smart, only beautiful" after my sister had her girls as they were extremely gifted. They are also very beautiful, especiallly one of them. Then, during those long days when I did call Mother to try to make amends, I got sort of a kick out of how she did try to make me jealous by talking about how smart sister's kids are. Sure, I think that's awesome for them. Honestly, they, from what I know, are good, brilliant young women and I'm glad for them, but their intelligence did not make me feel bad. My oldest two, Bart and Goneboy were gifted, but did not do so well in school, although Goneboy really aced his professional life. When I reminded Mother that Bart was in all gifted classes she said, "Oh, you never told me that."

    Um, yes I did. She didn't listen. I told her he was a very bright young man, but she didn't listen because she didn't care. He is still very bright, making a college kid salary without college. He did have some mental health challenges. So what?

    At any rate, her attempt to make me feel my kids were lacking did not work and this was one area that, although she was trying to bait me especially with the way she said it, her bait did not stir any anger or jealousy or anything within me. I think my kids are the best kids ever and she could not change that. Especially in this day and age, a college degree is not such a big deal. I am proud of my super salesman Bart, my CEO Goneboy (although we are not in touch), my pastry chef who won awards Princess, my hardworking, sweet, happy, overachieving young man Sonic and my future Criminal Justice Star Jumper.

    Why did my mother assume I would be jealous?For certainly she would not say it if she didn't think so. She talked about sisters girls a lot (never talking about her son...guess he was not that important to her), but I sort of had mind drifting when she did. I don't know those girls and, although I'm sure they are nice girls, they never were a part of my life, so why did she think I'd care?

    Oh, yeah. She was trying to stir sibling rivalry.

    That was one way it wouldn't work for me. I'm always happy when any young people do well in life and, of course, it was my mother's point of view anyway and I never trusted her words.

    "You NEVER told me he was gifted."

    Really? I told her as soon as he hit kindergarten, before we drifted apart, Mom and me, but she had no interest so she didn't hear.

    But obviously her news blurb on sisters girls was an attempt to hurt me. Again.

    Fortunately, it didn't work. I never had been jealous of them.I would never have traded my kids for hers.

    My mother never got that. Ever. (Actually, the saddest part of this is how little she ever talked about sister's son, like he didn't exist, but that's her way. GC).

    Our mothers all tried to hurt us by using THEIR values, not thinking that maybe we did not share them. Or am I wrong? Were your mothers different? My point is, I don't think our mothers knew us well enough to know what issues would possibly give us a tinge of jealousy. Yes, I'm capable of jealousy. We all are. But not because of academics. I never wanted to be my brother.As brilliant as he is, and I've been brainwashed to think he is the most brilliant man on earth, to me without a family his life is sad and lonely and, of course, he has his own values and my sadness for him may be a waste of time. He may not regret it one bit.

    Back to why they would try to hurt us.

    Because of some intristic sadness and insecurity within them.

    But as a kid, we couldn't know and couldn't help. Whatever happens beyond childhood can not erase the damage done when we were children. And so we were. And so we are all three learning to let go of that childhood and those who want to hurt us still.

    Cedar, check in often.

    Copa, I am so pleased you are doing so well.

    Hugs to both of you.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
  18. Quicksand

    Quicksand Active Member

    Somewhere, I think your mother assumed that you would be jealous because she is jealous. Not of anything specifically, just generally all around jealous. From what you wrote, it sounds like your mother was a lot like mine. My mother was/is a narccist or borderline.
    She triangulated my 2 brothers, sister and I. I was about to write the details of each one of us, but that would take too long!
    In a nutshell, we had my oldest brother (63)the golden child, who is an absolute selfish, narccist himself and a doctor. My next brother (61)who is a retired UAW worker and her scapegoat,who went 15 years no contact with any of us, my sister who is (56) and is 4x divorced and has continued to be helpless and relies on my mother for most things and then there's me, the baby and another scapegoat. My mechanic brother and I are now no contact since my dads death last November. (That's another (horrible) story!)
    Perfection was her sole goal. If you didn't meet her standards, you were garbage in her eyes. My mother never said- I love you. Not once.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Quicksand, it's amazing, isn't it? Welcome to our healing thread and you are welcome to post long posts. Did you see some of ours??? LOLOL.

    Qucksand, deaths are horrible in dysfunctional families. Especially if a lot of money is involved. It brings out the worst in the people we were taught were not really our "friends" but our enemies, our own siblings.

    I have a very small family to deal with and I am thankful for that. Currently I have a very good relationship with my father, who refuses to listen t o sis and bro, and I am no contact forever with them. But I made a good family of choice and so they are my peeps.

    Quicksand, I am sorry you had to be one of us. I hope you are doing well. You can always post here because, trust me, we understand.
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am sorry, Quicksand.

    I hope in a sad way it made it easier. Knowing that she chose to give you so little.

    I agree with you, that SWOT's Mom must have seen everything through her own filter, her own sad, limited and limiting way of viewing herself and life.

    I am sad that you and your UAW brother are not in contact. Is it for the best, or would you like to be closer to him again?

    Welcome to FOO. Keep posting.