I detest poinsettias. Those red flowers that pop up in Christmas and holiday decorations this time of year that so many people love. Why? My mother used to hang these poinsettia decorations from the front windows. Maybe. If she was in the mood. I used to sit and wonder if any decorations would be put up with that ball in my stomach each year
You see, whether or not the poinsettias went up was blamed on me. Christmas decorations had to be hung up for children, I would be told, and the neighbors had been asking her about my excitement about the impending holiday. So, she was forced to decorate all because of me. It was my fault that she had to go through this decorating and un-decorating.
She’d look at me with those ice eyes of hers, complaining about the tree and how regardless of whether it was a real one or a fake one, it was still trouble. A real one dropped needles on her carpeting and a fake one was a pain to put together. Forget decorating the tree. No matter where I attempted to hang an ornament, it didn’t work. And those silver icicles? I always put them on wrong. They were fronds of silver icicles that you threw on a tree, how could you put them on wrong? The Ice Woman found a way you could. Oh Lordie, how half of me hated Christmas and the other half didn’t because I wondered if I would get any presents.
For her, the tree had to be perfect. Her definition of beauty was not seen through a child’s eyes. You know how a child decorates with lopsided ways? And their favorite home-made (which I never did) or school-made ornaments were always front and center because they should be? To the narcissitic Mother, that doesn’t happen. She wants perfection in her eyes that will bring accolades to her. But if they don’t, well, hell hath no fury like her.
Once you come to the realization that you are a child of a Narcisstic parent, it opens a world of doors for you. The Universe suddenly looms larger than life. Doors open and shut. The realization that I had a narcissistic Mother has taken me decades. The fact that I was being raised in a dysfunctional household I realized somewhere in my middle school years. The dawn of awakening of the full impact of all the damage did not come until my 40’s. Until that time, I was living in a world as another person that had been shaped by the tyrannical escapades of her.
She had died years earlier, but her legacy lived on. It had lasting effects on me. The one place it did not claw through to was my children. I am not sure why or how, but I have not raised my own in the manner she raised me. I was very careful not to behave in the manner she did when I was raising my children even to the extent of going overboard in the opposite direction. When they were very young, she would visit with my father, and she would make snarky comments about my oldest. He was a toddler at the time and my daughter was a baby. Then she would laugh at her comments. I’d turn to her and tell her to be quiet about her grandson, he’s perfectly normal and if she didn’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all. She would continue, saying I didn’t have a sense of humor. I would tell her if that’s all she had to say, then I didn’t want to listen to her, and walk away. And I would. I wanted to protect my children from her. She would ignore my infant daughter, which was fine by me.
But at family parties, she never made these comments about my children. Instead, the accolades were made. The compliments would be told. The smiles and loving hugs given. All bs. Because behind closed doors no one received smiles and hugs or even an “I Love You” from her.
But, that’s life with a narcissistic person. So, how do you go on? How do you break away? How do you compartmentalize the pain they have caused you for so many years? Is there guilt and if there is, what do you do? How do you survive a narcissist?
Only you can make a decision to walk away. Walking away can be forever, can be for the day’s conversation or can be for a few hours. Regardless, it can give you strength over their words. It can lay the foundation for your future survival in this type of relationship. If you feel guilty over walking away from your parent, don’t. Do they feel guilty over making you feel like a twisted ball of twine? You shouldn’t feel guilty being a victim of someone with an illness.
The most difficult part of dealing with the realization of admitting you have been a victim of a narcissist is now dealing with the pain and attempting to put it away (for the most part). You must compartmentalize it. No one will help you to do that because only you were the one that was originally hurt. There are some that won’t believe you because they didn’t see it happening in the family. But, you know the damage that occurred, and that’s what’s important. As you deal with those issues that you remember, put them up on an imaginary shelf, mark them closed and take a deep breath. Remember that you were the victim and it’s you that is now receiving compensation in the form of new-found happiness, relief and the ability to breathe easier.
Each little task you do for yourself brings you one step closer to being a full-fledged Survivor and that’s a wonderful feeling. You can do it. You’ve survived this long under them, you can survive over them. It’s time for you now.
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