Hello I am new to this forum but am desperate to stop feeling so alone. I will try to keep it short. People with NPD and non-NPD please comment alike.
I have been seeing a therapist. We mostly talk about my relationship with my mother. The therapist says it sounds like my mom has NPD, but since my mother is not a patient of said therapist, of course the therapist can NOT diagnose her. I have been reading the following books and am becoming increasingly horrified to learn my mother very likely has NPD:
"Trapped in the Mirror" by Elan Golomb
"Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents" by Nina Brown
My mother would NEVER consider going to a therapist or psychiatrist or family counseling, so there is pretty much no way she will ever get officially diagnosed. In fact she doesn't even know I am in therapy, not because I am ashamed of going to a therapist, but b/c I avoid the subject entirely with my mother to avoid an argument and severe criticism. I cringe at the thought of ever telling her or her finding out. And just to be clear, I feel very comfortable disclosing that I am in therapy with friends and loved ones of my choosing. But I know I could never tell my mother.
This is certainly one of the least things about her bizarre behavior that bothers me, however.
I am in my late 20's now, but since therapy, I am now able to see a constant pattern of my mother's harsh criticisms and unsupportive behavior from childhood till now.
As condensed of a timeline I can do:
As a six-year-old girl I remember driving by a dance studio in the car with my mother and on several occasions begging my mother to let me take ballet classes, her response was always "You are too fat to be a ballerina." Never did she compliment me, encourage me to exercise (though i was a little chubby as a girl but never morbidly obese) or feed me healthier foods (since she thought I was so fat).
She and my father divorced when I was 5, I can barely remember them married, much less any happy family moments from that time. I do remember my mother immediately demanding strict allegiance to her and her alone. I was never allowed to mention dad, to say I loved him or missed him, to do so would have earned me beratings and mom yelling that dad was evil and "where is your loyalty?!" Her crazy hatred for him never ended, not even when he died when I was 25. Keep in mind I visited my dad every other weekend and on holidays as a child, but knew to mention him was an extreme taboo. On Christmas I couldn't say, "well I'm going to Dad's this afternoon to open presents" instead I had to say vague things like "I will get picked up at 4 and be back at 9."
I also remember my mother always asking me if she was prettier than all of my friend's mothers and whose mother was the prettiest? Of course I always reassured her she was the prettiest. Never did she tell me I was the prettiest out of all my friends though. Or I was the most talented or the smartest or the sweetest daughter. Never.
Fast-forward to life in high school. I was on honor roll every semester, actively involved in volunteer work within our community, went to church every Sunday as mother demanded, never did drugs, never had sex and quite accomplished in community and my high school theater as well as A Capella choir. Whenever I had a performance, say a play or an A Capella gala, my mother rarely came and she made it clear to me she wasn't interested AT ALL. I would tell her about said performance, her response would be "Do I have to go to this, Is this really important?" I would be hurt and say "Well, I am your child" and she would roll her eyes at me and tell me to quit acting like no one loved me. Or she would say "If your father is there I am NOT going," always making me choose who to invite. Now in high school she had no problem handing over cash to pay for a uniform or fundraiser but she had no interest in emotional support.
All of this was seen as a kind of quirk mom had until I was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition at age 16. My mother went to one (out of the endless amounts) of doctor appointments I had to go to then told me "You are an adult, go by yourself, I'm not sitting in a waiting room all day." Did she pay for my health insurance? Yes, but only until she legally had to. When I was 18 I got a full scholarship to college. I'm glad b/c at age 18 my mother told me "You are an adult, I don't owe you anything" and she meant it. She didn't help me pay for books, food, housing, gas - ANYTHING. Thankfully since I was a college student my health insurance was extended til I was 22. But that didn't stop her calling me entire college career and warning me that I better change my attitude or do this right now! or she was going to cut off my health insurance. Several times she told me to quit college and go get a job and start paying for health insurance myself. These phone calls would leave me shaking and crying, terrified that I would be without health insurance and die, never finish college and never have a career, if I didn't say whatever she wanted me to say or do whatever she wanted me to do.
Please know that at this time in my life, my college years, my parents (mother and step father) owned two vacation homes, boats, antique cars and their own business. Not only could they have paid my college in full and made sure I had books, the best medical team in the country and food they could have bought me a used car, paid for the gas, etc. They did NONE of these things. They did go on plenty of vacations, by and resell property for profit, upgrade their cars every year, etc.
Then I turned 22. My mother stopped paying for my health insurance immediately and once again gave me the horrible advice to quit school and get a job. I had to take out loans and a credit card to pay for my mounting healthcare bills. I couldn't afford health insurance as a student and since I had a pre-existing medical condition, often didn't even qualify if I had the money. I had to go to free clinics, call and beg big medical companies to put me in their patient assistance or discount programs. IT WAS PURE HELL. All the time my mother would call me and complain how hard her life was. If I dared to mention my struggles and how I needed help, she would aptly reply "You are an adult, I do not owe you anything!"
Needless to say that living life in a constant state of anxiety and in life or death situations along with a chronic medical condition ended up giving me anxiety attacks and depression (thus the whole reason I started seeing a therapist about 2 years ago, I was at my wits end).
I managed to graduate from college with TWO bachelor degrees and with honors (cum laude).
When my college graduation approached I didn't even have enough money to get pictures made or a class ring ( I still have my cap and gown for memories tho). I remember telling my mother in a strained phone conversation about graduation and she let me know that my high school graduation ceremony was boring enough and she didn't really want to sit through it. Her and her husband did make it to my college graduation in the end, but they left half way through it (as soon as my name was called) b/c they wanted to "avoid traffic."
I endured all of this and it was pure hell.
Many, many other things I could report on but I know you wouldn't want to read a 10 page post. My mother and I stopped talking this May after I tried to tell her how much she hurts my feelings when she ignores my medical condition and that she wasn't allowed to anymore. I invited her to learn about my disease. The phone conversation ended with her hanging the phone up on me and not calling back. I know that in order to "fix things" I would have to call and apologize TO HER, even though I am the one who is hurt. I would have to say I am over reacting about my illness in order for us to have a relationship.
Well, I refuse. Whole-heartedly refuse to continue this abusive cycle. It's now aug and my mother's bday has come and gone. I sent her a bday card. She never responded. Yet, I can't lose the horrible guilt I have. I feel like I am supposed to call and tell her I love her and I am sorry even though I know she won't return the apology. She has never ever apologized to me for anything.
I know you the reader can't diagnose my mother, but I would really appreciate any insight you have to this situation, the guilt, the hurt, the experience. I feel so alone. None of my friends have mothers like this, granted their mothers aren't perfect, but mine is a monster.