I was raised by a disconnected mother. I remember being a young girl who desperately loved her mother and wanted to please her. As I grew up and spent time at school and around other mothers I began to realize my mother couldn’t love me the way I saw my friends being loved by their moms. Every year of my childhood brought more awareness of how distant and cold my mother was to me. By my teens, I began to look to my mom as an example of how not to be a mother.
As an adult, I tried to connect with her and often blamed myself for how painful our relationship was to me. I wanted to have a mother in my life to learn from and confide in. Whenever I opened my heart to her the door was kicked shut by her caustic comments. I heard from friends that she spoke badly about me and twisted anything I did to make me look like I hated her.
One day I searched google for information on toxic mother-daughter relationships hoping our relationship was not toxic. My eyes were open and I had to live and heal from the shock that my mother was most likely a narcissist and probably didn’t truly love me.
Here are some of the zingers she used to keep me in my place over the years:
“Zit city!” That was how she greeted me in front of my friend and her mother after I had been away at camp for a week. The woman who was dropping me off spoke kindly to me and hugged me goodbye to help ease my embarrassment. I wished I could have gone home with her instead of staying with my mom. That insult has stayed with me my whole life.
“Your dad was a sperm donor.” This lovely gem was dropped while she was visiting me in my home. She kept me from knowing my father and wouldn’t tell me his name until I was thirty. She not only committed what is now a crime in alienating me from my father but then justified it in her mind by only saying horrible things about him the three times in my life she spoke of him.
“Does she look heavy to you?” This comment still makes me laugh. She is obsessed with her weight and comments on other women to make herself feel better about her struggles to be as thin as possible. She was critiquing a statue when she made this comment. Even inanimate objects are subjected to body shaming by my mother.
“Wow, that fits you so well.” She said in mock surprise when a sweater she let me borrow fit loosely on me. I am shorter and smaller than her so she would do her best to make me feel inferior whenever possible. I had recently lost weight after a round of being pregnant and birthing babies and was close to the size I had been in high school.
“What was my mom like when she was little?” My daughter asked.
“She was spoiled.” My mom answered. This conversation was held in front of me and my mom made a point of speaking loudly and then watching for my reaction when she answered my daughter. My mom found subtle ways to demean me in front of my children, friends, or strangers. She would reveal things from my past that were embarrassing or criticize how I ran my home.
For many years I tried to laugh off my mom’s comments. I even jokingly called her habit of popping off a verbal zinger her “Tourettes”. I never spoke up for myself or asked her to treat me kindly. I just stayed armored against her assaults and did my best not to show that her words had hurt me in any way.
I don’t agree with the saying: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
The pain inflicted by abusive words can hurt us for a lifetime.
You can read Part I below:
Narcissists use Subtle Verbal Abuse to Control You
Part I: Examples from my former husband
Thanks for reading,
I write from my experience of being raised by a narcissist and being married to an abusive narc for over twenty years. I hope my experience helps others live free.