This is the first of a four-part series by One Angry Daughter, who shares her experience and resources for Adult Children of Narcissists on her blog, One Angry Daughter
I was weeks shy from the birth of my first child, when I found myself in the office of a therapist. On the eve of motherhood, I was a daughter looking for a way to repair a degenerating relationship with my own mother.
I’ll never forget the way I started explaining my mom to her. It was with an excuse – “Mom, well, Mom has had it so hard recently, well really even longer than that. I don’t set out to upset her so much and I really think I am making the best choices. I don’t understand why she thinks everything I do is so wrong.”
I began by describing the tantrum Mom had at our baby party a week before because my husband and I decided to wait to open gifts till after the festivities. She launched all of her emotional weapons in her arsenal at me in less than an hour: anger, disappointment, tears, but I did not budge. She told my young nieces to ask me when we would be opening gifts thinking I couldn’t possibly say ‘no’ to them. As hard as it was, I still said ‘no.’ Finally, as the party wound down, she suddenly spun on her heels and marched out the front door without saying good-bye.
Normally this would signal the start of an ignoring phase – one in which I would call in a few days to smooth things over. It seemed we would encounter these standoffs at any major decision point in my life – like going to college, getting married, where we decided to buy a house or what we decided to name our child. It seemed any choice I made without her direction and blessing would displease her. I felt like my loyalty was being pulled between seeking my mother’s approval and having the freedom to make my own life choices.
This time was different. I began to realize I had done nothing to warrant her angry behavior towards me. All my life, I sought the unconditional acceptance of my mother – knowledge that no matter what I did, she would still be there for me. My mother could not accept me, she couldn’t even accept herself.
The day I grew up was the day I realized that the only acceptance that mattered was mine of my life, my standards, and my genuine reality.
The Full Four-Part Series:
Part 1 – How to Break Free from a Parent’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder, by OneAngryDaughter
Part 2 – How to Break Free from a Parent’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder, by OneAngryDaughter
Part 3 - How to Break Free from a Parent’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder, by OneAngryDaughter
Part 4 - How to Break Free from a Parent’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder, by OneAngryDaughter