Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane NMIL

We're still up and online here on the East Coast! We're watching the news and waiting for the storm to hit. In the meantime, other storms are crossing our paths.

DH just checked his email and found this from his NM:

From: NMIL
To: Dear Husband
Subject: Hope you are all secure and safe for this weekend's storm...
Date: August 26, 2011


If there is any emergency or you need anything for the family, I am a phone call away.

Thinking of all of you.

I love you,

Mom


As always, the attempts this woman makes to manipulate my husband are laughable. Just a few hours ago, I warned DH that it was likely he'd get contact from one or both of his parents, as they might use the hurricane as an excuse to contact him. As my dear friend Upsi pointed out once, in regards to the death of DH's childhood cat, people like NMIL and EFIL always use legitimate life events and circumstances as a means to manipulate (IE births, deaths, illness, and apparently, hurricanes).

I don't think I need to point out, Dear Readers, that this email was not sent to yours truly. That speaks volumes to me, it always has. Anyone who can't be bothered to send important emails or messages to me does not give one rat's ass about my well-being. Anyone who can't get over her own pathetic intimidation of her son's spouse in order to properly send her "concerns" must not be very genuine.

This bitch already knows we'd never call her in an emergency, so she's just putting on an act, as per usual. This is part of her, "See how much I care?" game. I knew YEARS ago, when I met her, that she'd never be on our list of reliable people. You know what, Dear Reader? When we were still in contact with her, however limited it was, she NEVER called us during any of the major blizzards or storms or power-outages we experienced. Not even when the tornado touched down in the town my husband works in and caused major damage and destruction to both his building and our home-town. Because at that point, it didn't matter. Now that she doesn't have contact with my husband, now that she's been told she CAN NOT contact him, she's all about her feigned support, "Mommy loves you" bullshit.

She's not like my mom. She falls worlds and worlds below people like my family. In fact, if we all spit, it wouldn't hit her until our children's children children were raising kids of their own. When I approached DH to discuss my predictions that he'd hear from his FOO because of the hurricane, I started by talking about how, whenever there are storms or severe weather conditions, everyone in my family is in touch with everyone else, sending out reminders (Fill up the kettle and pitchers with water in case you lose power!) and asking if everyone is all right. When the storm is over, there is a phone tree of sorts, and we all call each other to make sure everyone is safe and sound.

When we had big snow storms this winter, my mom called DH to make sure that if he was traveling in to work, he drove carefully and let everyone know that he made it in safe. My mom still calls all of her children for every storm to make sure we're all right.

I pointed that out to DH as a way to show the juxtaposition: never has DH's FOO checked in on us or made sure we were all right. Never have they called and asked where DH was if he had to travel, or whether he had made it to work okay. They never called and asked how we had fared with shoveling out our driveway or if we still had power. Never.

Until now. And now that DH isn't going to respond to her bullshit, she'll turn around and use that as evidence that he's really the one without a heart, you know, since he can't even be bothered to tell her that he's alive and stuff. How cruel of you, DH! Oh your poor, poor narcissistic mother! What ever will she do with herself, not knowing whether you've weathered out this storm.

I keep going back to the whole, "If there is an emergency, I'm just a phone call away" crap. Seriously NMIL? YOU are the emergency. We sure as hell ain't gonna be contacting you.

NMIL sweeps in, barreling towards our coast line, hoping to crash into us and knock us off our feet. But here's the thing, when we said, No Contact, we fucking meant it. No Contact means that even if someone fucking dies, we're not contacting them and they are not to contact us...and if they do contact us, they're just going to be ignored.

Well Dear Readers. We've got our water and our flashlights. And we've got each other. That's all we need.

And NMIL too, shall pass.

Hurricane Irene

I just wanted to let everyone know that DH and I may be offline for a few days, due to Hurricane Irene, which is moving quickly towards us right now. We live on the East Coast very close to the water, so although we're not being told to evacuate, we are hunkering down to wait out the storm. We've got our water, we've got our flashlights, and we've been in contact with my parents and siblings.

We're anticipating a loss of power, as the eye of the storm is going to be passing over us tomorrow around noon. Just in case, I wanted everyone to know why we might not be responding to comments for a few days.

Wish us luck!

Jonsi

Can We Talk?

Dear Readers, after leaving the following comment on Doreen and Helen Marie's post over at the Coleman forum, the dishonorable doctor promptly deleted it (along with Lisa's poignant message) and sent me a private email. This was the comment that I posted:

I support Lisa, one hundred percent.

Helen Marie, it is so obvious that YOU are more important to you than anyone else, including the children you gave birth to who did not choose to be born. Your children were not born to protect you, to be your friends, to save you from your abusers.

It's appalling to see that a mere eight months after an estrangement from your daughter, you've miraculously been able to find happiness.

Really? Your daughter was molested at the age of SIX. Clearly, you have NO IDEA what that does, emotionally, mentally, or physically to a child. It is the single most heinous crime on the face of this earth to do that to a child.

But guess what...you come in a close second. YOU should have protected her, by any means necessary. YOU should have been her biggest advocate and YOU STILL SHOULD BE. To hear you talk about your daughter's molestation as though it is just some boring fact about her past, to be using it as a reason for why she should be on your side, to be putting it on this forum at all, speaks to the fact that you are a sociopath.

Believe me, Helen Marie, people may be fooled by you. You may be so charming and so surrounded by foolish and superficial people that you think you've got everyone tricked.

You don't. There are plenty of people out there who know exactly what you are. I'm betting your daughter does. Lisa does. I do.

I know what you are.


I would like to share with you Mr. Coleman's email to me, Dear Readers:

From: Dr. Coleman
To: Jonsi
Subject: Can we talk?
Date: August 27, 2011 @ 10:31 AM


Hi Jonsi,

I don't like deleting posts. And I can tell that you're a bright person with a lot to say. And I'm sure you're right that some of the parents who post are in denial or aren't taking responsibility. If you read my book, you'll see that my whole perspective is based around encouraging parents to take responsibility, self-examine, and find the truth in their child's complaints and act of estrangement. But, I don't think you're going to persuade anyone this way and you're having this conversation with people who you don't know and who don't know you. So, even if you're right, you're probably not going to persuade them, and if you're wrong, you've just hurt someone you don't know.

If you were posting on my site, complaining about your estranged parent, and parents started attacking you I would delete their posts just as quickly

Happy to have a conversation by phone if that would be easier. If so, let me know some good days and times.

Josh


I didn't even get into calling him out on his shameless plug for his book in my response, which I'll gladly share with you as well:

From: Jonsi
To: Dr. Coleman
Subject: Can we talk?
Sent: August 27, 2011 @ 12:54 PM


Dr. Coleman,

You are lying. I call your bluff. When the estranged adult child, Michael, posted on your site about his estranged parents in the thread you most recently deleted ("Many parents won't admit that they are responsible for the estrangement") there was at least one commenter who verbally attacked him. She wrote this, "This site isn't for you or your parents. It's for good, conscientious parents who have raised their children well and been physically and emotionally abused by their children. I am not going to type the whole story, but I had worse parents than yours and I don't blame myself for their actions, but I do take responsibility for my own behavior and choices. You're 35 and still blaming your actions on your parents. Stop blaming others for your bad choices and behavior. I'm disappointed in this forum for even including your immature, irresponsible post, the ramblings of a self-pitying, self-absorbed, inebriated adult." You did not delete it.

So, when you tell me that you would "delete their posts" if parents "started attacking me" you are not telling the truth. Where were you when Michael was being attacked? Why weren't you following the rules then that you claim are in place to protect ALL the members of your forum? This is a rhetorical question that I don't expect an answer to. Your actions have been quite clear to me where your allegiance lies, and it is not with the people who deserve it most.

I am absolutely appalled that you can show support for a woman who shows no consideration or empathy for her son, who committed suicide as a result of the abuses he suffered, and her daughter, who was molested at the age of six. How can you, being a person with a conscience, and a student of the psychological sciences, defend a person of that nature? A therapist who was really interested in helping these people would not be defending them, would not be allowing them to post on his forum about their abuses, would not be supporting their self-interest and manipulative behaviors. He would tell them to seek help for their very serious and dangerous mental and emotional disorders.

If you are using people like Doreen, Helen Marie, and Disappointed Mom as a means to broadcast your services, then you are doing nothing but manipulate the system, just as they have. Honestly, I don't know how you sleep at night.

I have read your book. In it, you make some very good points. But unfortunately, just like some of the most manipulative people I have ever known in my life, it seems you've discovered that choosing your words carefully and painting a pretty picture will bring you success. Unfortunately, I think you have manipulated a lot of people and are doing nothing but teaching them how to do the same. I have been following the posts on your forum, I have read "When the Ties that Bind Unravel" and the thousands of accompanying comments, I have read your book. And from those things, I can see that you are essentially just aiding and abetting hundreds or potentially thousands of people in manipulating their children.

I know, on a personal level, one such person who has attempted to use YOUR WORDS as a further manipulation on me and my family. I want you to know that it's disgusting. You are helping a very select group of people who do NOT deserve or even require your help. They are using you just as you are using them.

I am not trying to convince anyone on your forum that they are wrong. I post there to speak my truths. I even followed the rules by showing my support for one of the posters there. I said, "I support Lisa one hundred percent." In the nature of being supportive, I then shared my truths. I find it interesting that you accept some truths, but not others. I find it interesting that you insinuate that I shouldn't get to have a say with "people I don't know and who don't know me" and yet you allow hundreds of estranged parents to speak to one another, when they don't know each other either.

The games you are playing are very dangerous Mr. Coleman, for you are merely helping a lot of people get away with very heinous acts of emotional terrorism on people who do not deserve it.

I have no interest in speaking with you on the phone, though I honestly do appreciate you taking the time to email me to share your thoughts.

Regretfully yours,

Jonsi

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Dishonorable Dr. Coleman

Dear Readers, it would seem that the dishonorable Dr. Coleman has removed the thread, "Many parents will not admit that they are responsible for their estrangement" from his toxic forum. I want to thank everyone who was following the debate, and all who took the time to comment there or on their own blogs about it. I believe that Dr. Coleman and his cult of estranged parents are trying to silence us. The parents on that forum, a few in particular, are trying to treat us the same way they have treated their own children. In my mind, they have declared war, and it's not something to be taken lightly.

They can not silence us.

They have no power over us.

We will continue to tell our stories, here, there, and everywhere.

We will not let Michael's initial attempt to be heard fall by the wayside.

I have already copied most of the entire thread onto my blog, where it will remain for all to see. I've written about it several times and may continue to do so in the future, for there is a lot to be learned.

We will tell the truth, even when they try to squelch it.

We will stand tall, we will fight back, we will speak up and speak out.

Keep fighting the good fight, Dear Readers.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Giant Rotating Ball of Razor Blades

I think that discussions about the Dr. Coleman forum could literally go on forever, because as long as their are people in the world, there will be abuse. Maybe someday I'll stop reading posts from estranged parents on that forum, maybe I won't. I don't think it's completely useless reading them because I find the discussions there to be eye-opening. Sad, devastating really, but they provide me a look into the black and white world of an abuser's mind. If a psychologist wanted to do a study on narcissism and anti-social personality disorder, I think the Dr. Coleman forum would provide him with the most accurate portrayal. All narcissists lie, and their stories on that forum are, no doubt, laced with them. But, they are also honest in some rather surprising ways. As an example, when they say things like, "I think our kids can be so cruel just because that's who they have become." (Dissapointed Mom, August 12, 2011). It is one of the marks of a narcissist, when she perceives that every action towards or around her is an active attack on her person. I believe that is truth talking, when a person admits that she feels the people she was once able to manipulate and control for NS are being "cruel" to her by going No Contact.

To be clear, I think we all know in this community that No Contact, on the part of the abused, is not an act of manipulation or cruelty. It's an act of self-preservation. In my opinion, it's a smart move. The only way to stop abuse is to move away from it.

So anyway, I've decided that occasionally, I'd like to talk about some of the posts I read over there, more as a means to educate myself than to try to convince anyone that they are behaving in an abusive manner. I know I can't convince an abusive person to stop being abusive, or make them see that they are abusers in the first place. One of the lessons I had to learn the hard way is that no amount of talking is going to convince your abuser to quit it. An abuser is a giant rolling ball of razor blades. And they LIKE being a giant ball of razor blades. (Credit to Lisa for that phrase) So the only way to avoid being cut is to get the fuck outta there.

Today I read a new post on the forum and it really bothered me. Bolding and enlarging for emphasis, mine. In a new thread titled, "They Left Me For My Abuser," Doreen wrote on August 22, 2011:

My teenage, 15 & 17, sons left to live with their father last year. I have been sick every since. I can't find any peace and when I do find something that brings me some happiness, I feel guilty. I try to talk to my kids, but they seem to go thru the motions. They spew the same lies that their father has always spread, about me, drugs, women, etc. They don't want to be in the middle, but when they say that to me they might as well be telling me that they want me out of the picture.

This man abused me for 9 years. He never wanted children, He uses drugs. Is, at least, verbally abusive to his current wife. He boasts about telling my oldest son that he can hit him so hard that "if" he gets up he won't ever want to get hit again. When I try to talk to them, they deny, argue, blame me, lie to me, cover for him. I am so desperate. My life ended last year I can't seem to get it together. I want them away from their father as badly today as I did in 1998 when I left him. I feel like they chose him in spite of me, but now they want to try to convince me of the same lies and torture that he put me through all of those years. My heart hurts so badly I can't put it to words. Their father is still abusing me the worst thing is that he is using my kids to try to convince me of his lies. I miss them so much.


To that, she's gotten one response so far, from Helen Marie on August 23, 2011:

Dear Doreen,

I understand the heartache and pain of 'losing' your two children. My abusive alcoholic ex used our two children as a weapon 'to get to me' also. He was able to get our teenage son on his side for several years, but in his early 20's he no longer wanted anything to do with his father – then his father turned on him, like he turned on me. Unfortunately, he became very depressed over his father's lack of love and verbal and physical abuse. He took his own life at the age of 24.

Our daughter was sexually abused by him while in elementary school, but tried to stay neutral until around the age of 30, when he was able to turn her against me. She became verbally and emotionally abusive to me and defended him! So much so, that I had to distance myself and 'let her go' the end of 2010. I had tried everything to change the way she thought, but that doesn't work. I was extremely depressed for several months – holidays are especially bad.

I realize that my ex is behind all this, and by me being depressed and driving myself crazy trying to change her, wasn't helping mejust ruining my health and my peace and happiness. With the support of a few wonderful friends, I realized I can't change anyone but myself. I read many different articles on the internet on "how to let go" and slowly my depression lifted. I keep busy working outdoors, taking walks, keeping in touch with friends I met at a support group for abused women, and volunteering at a local hospital.

All the talking in the world won't change the way they think. Now, almost eight months later, I can say 'I am happy again'. Don't get me wrong, there are days I am down, again, thinking about her, but they don't last long – thank goodness. Hopefully, you will be able to move past this, and say you are happy again too. Life is too short to let anyone else ruin it. We can stay positive!


Is anyone else as appalled, disgusted, and horrified as I am about these two comments? I'm going to start with Helen Marie's comment first because hers, at least to me, is the more devastating of the two.

This needs to be written in all caps: WHERE THE FUCK IS HER SADNESS FOR HER CHILDREN? HER SON COMMITTED SUICIDE BECAUSE OF THE TERRIBLE ABUSES HE SUFFERED AND SHE SHOWS NO EMPATHY FOR HIS DESPAIR. WHERE THE FUCK IS HER EMPATHY FOR HER DAUGHTER WHO WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED BY THE MAN SHE CHOSE TO HAVE IN HER KID'S LIFE? WHERE IS THE SELF-BLAME? WHERE IS THE INTERNAL RESENTMENT OF HER SELF FOR LETTING THESE THINGS HAPPEN? DEAR READERS, WHAT THE HOLY FUCK???

Good for Helen Marie, that eight months after being estranged from her daughter, she has found happiness. Good for Helen Marie, who isn't going to let the abuses her son and daughter suffered ruin HER life. Good for Helen Marie, who discovered that trying to convince her daughter that she is wrong is just ruining her health and peace and happiness. Good for Helen Marie, who keeps so busy that she doesn't have to think about the one child she has left. Thank GOD she only has to think about that burden of a daughter every once in a while. Good for her for being able to "stay positive!" despite her son's death and her daughter's misery.

If ever I've seen a rolling ball of razor blades, this woman is one of them. I've been reading about these abusive parents for months now, and it still surprises me each time I read another of their stories.

You know what, Dear Reader? I was in an abusive relationship once too. He was emotionally and verbally abusive, and by the time I left, his abuses had started to turn physical. I was lucky in that we didn't have any children together. I can't even imagine, don't even want to think about the horrors that might have been suffered by any child unlucky enough to have that THING for a father. I would be a physical and emotional wreck, every single damn day, about what kind of harm he would have inflicted on my babies. It would have been my goal in life to get my children away from him at ANY COST to myself. If I had to run away with them and lose everything in order to save them from being abused, I would have.

Having babies now makes me so hyper-aware of their well-being, so anxious about their physical and emotional safety. I could NEVER forgive MYSELF if I let someone abuse them. I could NEVER walk away from my children the way these two women have.

Their kids may have walked away physically, but it's only because their NM's were NEVER there for them in any way that counted. In all their sentiments about being "left behind" by their kids or being "abandoned" by the people whom, they feel, were created to protect THEM, I don't see any empathy. Tell me, where the fuck is Doreen's concern for her children who are living with this supposedly abusive man? I have to question the truth behind her claims that he is abusive, but let's assume that he was. If that's the case, why isn't she an emotional wreck thinking about how her sons are faring and whether or not they are being abused by that man?

And another thing - Sometimes, when kids have to suffer at the hands of TWO abusive parents, they are forced to choose the LESSER OF TWO EVILS. If their father is truly physically abusive to them, and they've picked him over her, well then that is saying something about how SHE treated them.

And still, I'm shocked and appalled by the "me-me-me" attitude of these women. Never once did they express genuine concern or sadness for the trials and tribulations their children have suffered. It's all, "I'm so sad, pity me, pity me."

I feel for those children. Wherever they are, I'm wishing they find peace and love. They haven't been given an easy lot in life and it's up to them now to own their own dysfunctions and find strength to overcome them. I'm thinking about them with all of my best and most positive thoughts.

**Credit to Lisa for the awesome title of this post

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

That's Right, It's All About THEIR Pain

Dear Readers, I have shortened my last post down to these phrases, that I think sum up the whole thing rather nicely. This time, I've only taken comments from the estranged parents (and one from Dr. Coleman). In a nutshell, it's very telling.

I would believe that most of us who post on this board were good parents

I was not abusive

This site isn't for you or your parents

Your parents are who they are

I thought his rebellion and sullen character was due to...his conflicted feelings about his father

No one is perfect

maybe [the estranged parent is] not wholly at fault

I am not perfect

Parents can't be blamed for the total estrangement.

Many of us, including myself, in this forum did a great job of parenting.

it will be hard for him to live with the guilt of what he has chosen.

I don't think I will ever know what I did to them to have them both "abandon" me

As parents, most of us try to do the best we know how

I think they lose respect.

I...feel that there is lack of respect today

Self-inflicted blame, worry and devaluation is completely damaging and affects all aspects of my life

So settle in...give yourself a pat on the back

I didn't abuse her in any way, shape, form or fashion

I hate this young women [my estranged daughter] has become

I just want to work on whatever went wrong. But she refuses.

it is horrible to reject a parent, any parent in the world

she is going to be very sorry some day for treating you like this.

No matter what you do it doesn't seem to work.

I may have been wrong, who knows.

I made my mistakes and wasn't perfect

If I'm guilty of anything it is being too good to them

children today do not care about anyone but themselves.

All they care about is what they will inherit

We can't change the past.

We did what we did with what we knew at that time.

Nobody's perfect

I don't deserve this!!

these girls of mine have been mean spirited, disrespectful, nasty and hateful towards me

THEY are responsible for this estrangement, not ME.

it's about time they grow up and act like adults and take responsibility for their issues

I wonder if they know we are right but are too proud to admit it

they need to "look in the mirror" and grow up and take responsibility.

they've decided that being a bully is better than being bullied.

I'm sick of feeling hurt, victimized, tormented, and tortured.

Do I want them back? (not sure anymore)

"let's beat mommy to the ground (emotionally)"

He is doing what He thinks is best for all concerned. 

"judge not, lest ye be judged." 

you do owe them common courtesy

How can you forgive those who have hurt you if you can't even forgive yourself.

take your dialogue back to your own blog or forum.

the purpose of other estranged adult children who are posting here is to reduce the pain of the parents on this forum

this was the forum for people to help each other heal

sometimes you have to apologize for something you did not do

Descent Into Maddness

I had a thought, Dear Reader, that has culminated into this rather long, but very telling post. I have taken the time to put together a timeline, so to speak, of the comments made on Michael's (aka Mike's) post on the Dr. Coleman forum. I have taken clips from every comment that I think best illustrate the point that each commenter was trying to make. I find it very interesting how many of the estranged parents started out by commenting with some sort of feigned empathy for Michael, and later some of them changed their tune completely. Most, though not all, of the posters played a tricky game of manipulation, and they managed to suck a lot of people in to it. Where the topic of the original thread started with the idea that most parents won't take responsibility for their estrangements, it turned into a debate about how disrespectful estranged adult children are, and how undeserving the parents are of such treatment. I see a lot of denial on the part of these parents. I see a lot of manipulation and lies and trickery. I see little empathy or ability to accept responsibility.

Their words are both cunning and foolish. To have manipulated the conversation the way they did, I would consider them brilliant. To have proven that they are not willing to accept responsibility I would consider them morons.

They have proven Michael right. See for yourself, Dear Reader:

Many parents will never admit they are responsible for the estrangement and so they place the blame on their children. (Michael)

YOU are not your parents and you can overcome their horrible legacy by seeking help for yourself...I would believe that most of us who post on this board were good parents or at the very least tried their best. (Susan Caroline)

I have admitted my mistakes (dumb moves some of them) but I was not abusive...Despite the fact that I have tried to talk to my duaghter she is (and her father as well) manipulative (Smokeysmom57)

It is awful but not all parents are like that,due to my childhood I vowed never to hurt my child like I was hurt and I stuck to that promise I loved her unconditionally and was always there to tell her I believe in her. (Jen)

Mike, I so sorry to hear your story. No one should treat another human being, much less their child, the way you've been treated. (Raejen)

This site isn't for you or your parents. It's for good, conscientious parents who have raised their children well and been physically and emotionally abused by their children. I am not going to type the whole story, but I had worse parents than yours and I don't blame myself for their actions, but I do take responsibility for my own behavior and choices. You're 35 and still blaming your actions on your parents. Stop blaming others for your bad choices and behavior. I'm disappointed in this forum for even including your immature, irresponsible post, the ramblings of a self-pitying, self-absorbed, inebriated adult. (Stephni)

...at least the other people that posted have admitted to making some mistakes…on the other hand…you, like most abusive parents, are narcissistic and take no blame (TC)

I agree 100 percent with what you said….those who strike out usually see themselves in that behavior...(Jen)

Stephani, thanks for making my point when I stated that some parents on this forum aren't being honest and are responsible and deserving the estrangement. My parents claim they are hurt and don't deserve the separation...I've been reading the posts on this forum for a very long time and decided to contribute because some of the people on this forum struck me as being dishonest, just as my parents are—and just as you may be too. (Michael)

Your parents are who they are; your past is your past and unfortunately those are things you cannot change, but you can change your future. (Susan Caroline)

Michael, I feel like giving you a big hug. I am very sorry that you have had to endure the childhood you describe and cringe at the thought of an innocent child being hurt...My parenting style was the same for both of my sons. However, my oldest son's father was very abusive both physically and mentally and I fought like #### to get the courts to do something...My oldest son was given every opportunity to express his talents...Each year, I made him his Halloween costumes from scratch, threw him theme birthday parties, worked around his school schedule so I was there for him in the afternoons to do homework and take him to activities. We didn't have a lot of money, but we had a happy family life and my son was finally safe and blossoming. He went through tumultuous teenage years. I thought his rebellion and sullen character was due to hormones and his conflicted feelings about his father...I am, in my most honest assessment of myself, a good, kind, empathetic and caring person. I have a wonderful relationship with my younger son. (RJ)

...no one's truth is the whole absolute truth, and no one is perfect. (grieving/writer/mom)

Saying your sorry and actually acknowledging the mistakes and giving the examples can help children heal. I do think that a lot of parents will say I am sorry, but they will never say I am sorry for doing this to you. I know that hurt you now and thinking back I would have done this or this and its all my fault. (TC)

My addiction is not a monetary liability—the only cost being is how it is affecting the quality of my life. I've been an addict for 20 years...I almost forgot to say thank you to TC, RJ and everyone else that has welcomed me to the forum. RJ, it's always comforting to hear people share their experiences of child abuse.(Michael)

Michael, You sound so intelligent and insightful...(RJ)

I looked at this topic because I feel I am responsible for the estrangement from my one daughter and the semi-estrangement from my three other children...We had four children and although I tried to be a good mother, I fell very short of the mark...Divorced for many years now, I have never, never found one parent like me who says they could have been to blame for their estrangement. (Jane)

Of course all estranged parents feel that we did or may have done something to bring about an estrangement...But if you said the wrong thing unwittingly, or even didn't know that you said or did the wrong thing then maybe you are not wholly at fault...It has taken me over 3 1/2 yrs. to come to terms with this estrangement. I had to really let her go. She has not spoken or written one word to me since the email she wrote encompassing 6-7 pages of my faults, past, present and future. It nearly ripped my heart out. I never answered it, but sent her cards telling her I love her...She is aided by a counselor who didn't, or couldn't find out the other side of what she did to her siblings and other family besides me...I am not perfect...Parents can't be blamed for the total estrangement. (Fran)

Many of us, including myself, in this forum did a great job of parenting. I wonder how our estranged children don't feel this huge sense of loss that we feel...I know it will be hard for him to live with the guilt of what he has chosen.(RJ)

I don't think I will ever know what I did to them to have them both "abandon" me, but that IS what happenned to me, so I assume I brought it on my self. (Viv Hartman)

As parents, most of us try to do the best we know how...Heaven forbid they may have to go out of their way. I don't think this behavior is selfish, I think they lose respect. (Theah)

I,too, feel that there is lack of respect today...I also agree with you that our children today do not want to have anything to do with us unless we can be of some help to them. (Carolyn)

Self-inflicted blame, worry and devaluation is completely damaging and affects all aspects of my life...We can still live by the Ten Commandments, we need to stay ever strong in our beliefs and our commitments to our husbands, other children, siblings, and friends. (RJ)

So settle in, give yourself a pat on the back, and know that there is nothing else to do but heal with time. (Theah)

I really don't know what I did to my daughter to cause her to be estranged from me and the whole family. But I do know what I DIDN'T do. I didn't abuse her in any way, shape, form or fashion...I sincerely believe she has mental issues that she is not attending to. (Raejen)

I hate this young women she has become and I miss the daughter I knew. I know I was wrong slapping her and yelling at her. I was at my wits end! I do feel somewhat very responsible and I wish that I handled everything a little bit better. Suggestions? (Sandra Rutledge)

I can't imagine a parent who wouldn't be searching their heart for what went wrong when they are deprived of the company of their loved one...So, you tell me. Am I being a bad mother. Too proud to admit mistakes? No! I just want to work on whatever went wrong. But she refuses. (Anon)

i take a lot of blame for the estrangement that i had with my ED, which lasted 8 months, and so i can spot a fellow "blame-taker."...i believe [anon] that you have tried everything and nothing works, and i believe you that you are at a loss...stop taking the blame. stop making advances. stop dwelling on your errors...look at her errors for a change...one of her errors: it is horrible to reject a parent, any parent in the world, except for the punitive and violent and abusive ones...but a parent like you who tries her best but is sometimes overly critical, or overly permissive, or overly intrusive, or overly protective – give me a break, for heaven's sake. give yourself a break...she is going to be very sorry some day for treating you like this. (grieving/writer/mom)

No matter what you do it doesn't seem to work. (Carolyn)

Although he doesn't admit it, I'm fairly certain that his estrangement stems from the fact that I placed him in a board school for troubled teens when he was 16 years old...I can only surmise that he's doing it to either get me back or to somehow numb the pain that he had (or has) of feeling that I was actually throwing him away – trying to get rid of him...I may have been wrong, who knows. (Audienceofone)

Sure I made my mistakes and wasn't perfect mainly because of a bad marriage but I sought help and stayed because of my children and because I did not have the support of family to make it on my own...I have spent all my time continuing to be there for my girls (within reason) only for them to no longer want me in their life blaming me for everything that has gone wrong in their life. That's the thanks you get for giving yourself to them...If I'm guilty of anything it is being too good to them...As long as you keep giving into their whims they are going to do whatever they want...it seems children today do not care about anyone but themselves. All they care about is what they will inherit...(Carolyn)

Maybe we were to lenient, too strict, gave too much attention, not enough attention, blah blah blah. It's no use, yesterday is gone. We can't change the past. We did what we did with what we knew at that time. Nobody's perfect, including myself, but I know one thing— I don't deserve this!! If I were to be honest, I have to say these girls of mine have been mean spirited, disrespectful, nasty and hateful towards me and many others for about 20 yrs now...THEY are responsible for this estrangement, not ME. (Disappointed Mom)

As far as I'm concerned it's about time they grow up and act like adults and take responsibility for their issues...I am not sure but there are times I wonder if they know we are right but are too proud to admit it so instead they "punish" us and "blame" us so they can make us be the bad guy. Like I said they need to "look in the mirror" and grow up and take responsibility. (Carolyn)

I too, had a very abusive husband who always treated me with little to no respect. My girls are now 40 and 44 and I think after witnessing the dynamics between the bully and the bullied, they've decided that being a bully is better than being bullied. So they've taken over where their father had left off after I divorced him...I'm sick of feeling hurt, victimized, tormented, and tortured. Know what? Plenty of people seem to like me and think I'm a very nice person. kind, giving, caring, even funny at times...In the end, it is what it is. If they don't want me in their lives, why should I feel so bad about it...Do I want them back? (not sure anymore) It's always an uncertainty when they're in my lives what's going to set them off on another round of "let's beat mommy to the ground (emotionally)"...Leopards do not change their spots, as much as I wish it wasn't that way, I'm afraid that is the way it is. (Disappointed Mom)

I too, live to follow His choices for me and know He is doing what He thinks is best for all concerned. (Disappointed Mom)

Parents are not perfect, but we do (yes I am a parent too) have to take responsibility for our shortcomings, our flaws, our mistakes, and anything that may put our children in danger...Respect needs to be earned, not automatically given. And children do not owe their parents anything. I give everything and more to my children and expect nothing in return. Why? Because they are my children and that is enough for me.(LSV)

WOW, LSV seems very judgemental. I wouldn't want to be looking for any empathy, understanding, or compassion from you. "judge not, lest ye be judged." (Disappointed Mom)

I am judged everyday by my children as I should be. Their eyes are on me everyday. (LSV)

Disappointed Mom, I feel really bad for your children. (Jonsi)

Although you may have been counseled to think that "divorcing" your parents is shiek, fulfilling, and therapeutic, I truly doubt that it will bring long term satisfaction for anyone...Much of your verbiage sounds like direct quotes and jargon from outdated Freudian based philosophy that holds parents as the sole source of one's life problems...However, inspite of their failures and flaws, it is likely that they did some good things even though you cannot see them, and you do owe them common courtesy...help them or encourage them to learn more about what it is that you want. Some attempt to offer the empathy and respect you demand for yourself, and trying to see things from your parents' perspective rather than only looking from yours would be a true mark of independence and adulthood. (A Parent, Child &)

To LSV, you have to open your mind up...How can you forgive those who have hurt you if you can't even forgive yourself. (Fran)

to jonsi, the word "seems" indicates an opinion, which I have a right to have...Have you got a complaint with the bible? (Disappointed Mom)

love is not a panacea; love is work, often hard work, so "moving forward in love" is not as easy as you might think. (LSV)

LSV, Jonsi and Upsi: I have to comment here that I think you guys are out-of-line here on this forum. (Cindi)

Everyone also deserves to be treated with courtesy and respect. I'm not sure when the rules changed to suggest that children are entitled to respect by virtue of their existence, but parents must earn it. (A Parent, Child &)

No one has to respect anyone. Jeffrey Dahmer, Hitler, et are extremes that do not deserve our respect. (Winterskiprincess)

There seems to be a common ideology here in this forum that estrangement necessitates disrespect or poor treatment. This is not so. As human beings, we all reserve the right to end any relationship we see fit because oftentimes, that is the healthiest choice we can make. (Jonsi)

It concerns me when parents or children prioritize their respect based on superficial or materialistic expectations. Even more so when in their private lives, they never lived up to these expectations themselves. (Winterskiprincess)

Jonsi and Winterskiprincess, think it is time that, like upsi, you consider Cindi's advice and take your dialogue back to your own blog or forum. (A Parent, Child &)

But having respect is a choice and a right – no one has to respect anyone if they feel that person is not deserving of it. (Jonsi)

...it may be true that your purpose and the purpose of other estranged adult children who are posting here is to reduce the pain of the parents on this forum by providing an alternative perspective. If that's the case, I would rather the tone be more one of support and empathy than education. (Dr. Joshua Coleman)

I have always felt this was the forum for people to help each other heal, not to further distress one another. (Raejen)

It also takes an open mind to be able to put aside the reasons you do not understand or feel never happened, but your EC thinks they did...sometimes you have to apologize for something you did not do...The more I defended the untruths coming from her, the bigger the distance between us. (Fran)

"Support" does not mean agreeing with everything. (Winterskiprincess)

I am supportive and empathetic towards anyone on either side that is going through this. However, I am not going to agree (even outside of estrangement) that ANYONE is entitled to respect...Since you replied as if myself and others were being disrespectful or impolite or even saying something outlandish (I have a hard time thinking it outlandish to say not everyone is worthy of respect due to their behavior, and this is not directed at parents of the estranged) for having an alternate point of view or by simply stating differences where in fact respect may have not been earned, you are implying that by simply having a different opinion (which is different than supporting others different opinion) we have in some way been impolite or unsupportive. (Winterskiprincess)

[Estrangement] is not a happy thing to feel the need to do. Probably some of you will send a really hostile response to this, but I hope perhaps that some parents here will hear what I am saying and may be able to use it to repair their relationships. Sometimes though, it goes beyond the point of wanting the relationship anymore to hostility, anger and control. Then IMO, nothing is going to repair the relationship. (Winterskiprincess)

I noticed some parents on this board don't like the fact that adult children of estranged parents have been posting here. Why is that? (Michael)

For Mike

Today, I read something on the Dr. Coleman forum that truly made my heart ache and made me angry, righteously so, that people like Dr. Coleman are only catering to the hurts being suffered by estranged parents. My question is, what about the estranged sons and daughters? Why are their hurts being ignored by this man who claims to have the answer to ending estrangement? I'll tell you why, Dear Reader, it's because Dr. Coleman, and all the estranged parents out there who are busy blaming their sons and daughters are WRONG. The way to end estrangement is NOT by allowing the parents to continue their onslaught of manipulations. The way to end estrangement is NOT by catering to wealthy parents who just want to give the appearance that they are good people. The way to end estrangement and all the hurts caused by it is not to expect that everyone who enters your forum will be there to ONLY show support and empathy for the parents who are estranged.

Mike, who started the original thread for the now infamous (at least in our community) Dr. Coleman thread titled "Many parents will never admit that they are responsible for the estrangement" wrote the following today:

I feel like a fool…

My younger brother passed away a couple of weeks ago. His passing has been the most heart wrenching ordeal I've ever had to go through, more so than the abuse we suffered at the hands of our parents. He was the only person in my life that was important to me. And now my little brother is gone.

The beauty that came from the abuse my brother and I experienced from our parents was the gift of the bond we shared. Lonely, with no family and only a couple of friends, I decided to contact my father for closure…and he rejected me. I feel numb. The night I witnessed my father holding a loaded gun to my brother's head while he threatened to blow his brains out on the floor keeps racing through my mind. He claims he's the victim of the estrangement, and despite all the abuse, the rejection has left me an empty shell.

I regret ever having started this thread, and I apologize to everyone for posting this. I noticed some parents on this board don't like the fact that adult children of estranged parents have been posting here. Why is that? No worries. That's why I'm asking Dr. Coleman to delete this thread.

Thank you,

Mike


My heart aches for this man, who not only had to suffer terrible abuses at the hands of his parents, but who recently lost the one person in life he loved the most. There is something so terribly heart-wrenching about his statement that he was able to find beauty in the abuses he suffered - and that that beauty is now gone. To say that the death of his brother has been harder than being abused his whole life is one powerful statement. And it's as though Mike feels that there is nothing to show for it all, no one left to validate him, no one left to prove that he isn't alone. I'm afraid for this man who may be feeling so alone in the world.

Mike, if you're listening, you aren't alone. I am so deeply sorry for the painful loss you have suffered, so terribly hurt for you that you don't have parents to turn to during this very dark time. No apologies are necessary, no explanations needed. I know there are many people out there who share your pain and who would welcome you into their worlds with open arms. Our community here is just one example, of which I'm sure there are more.

I have found the Dr. Coleman forum to be an uninviting place, where most of the people who post are not interested in hearing anyone's side but their own. I think many of the estranged parents who go there are merely seeking guidance from a source who will validate their self-righteous behaviors and manipulations. I posted there, along with my husband and several others from our community, in the hopes that we could tell our truths as well.

I'm sorry that your truths have been rejected by your parents, and that most of us have not truly been heard on the Dr. Coleman forum, where the parents there are more interested in proving to the world how right they are, than they are invested in creating healthier relationships with their children. You don't have to apologize to me, for you gave me an opportunity to express my own views and opinions, in a place where I was most certain I would not be welcome.

You are a brave man, Mike, for telling your truths in spite of their reception. You are a survivor, and a warrior-spirit, for you would not have made it as far as you have without a burning inner strength that so few of us maintain.

My heart goes out to you, wherever you may roam. I am so sorry for the losses you have suffered, and I hope that you find peace and love. I SUPPORT YOU.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers

Definitely one of the best and most extensive lists I've seen on the web. Nearly everything on the list is right on par with NMIL. I found the list a couple months back on this webpage and I thought it would be yet another excellent resource to share. Many of you may have already read this list, but I personally think it's something to re-read every once in a while. I would highlight the parts that I think are particularly important and relevant, but then I'd just be highlighting the whole thing.  I think it's also really important to read this for traits we might find in ourselves. Look inward, Dear Reader, can you see any of these behaviors in yourself, and what can you do to change them:

1. Everything she does is deniable. There is always a facile excuse or an explanation. Cruelties are couched in loving terms. Aggressive and hostile acts are paraded as thoughtfulness. Selfish manipulations are presented as gifts. Criticism and slander is slyly disguised as concern. She only wants what is best for you. She only wants to help you...She rarely says right out that she thinks you’re inadequate. Instead, any time that you tell her you’ve done something good, she counters with something your sibling did that was better or she simply ignores you or she hears you out without saying anything, then in a short time does something cruel to you so you understand not to get above yourself. She will carefully separate cause (your joy in your accomplishment) from effect (refusing to let you borrow the car to go to the awards ceremony) by enough time that someone who didn’t live through her abuse would never believe the connection...Many of her putdowns are simply by comparison. She’ll talk about how wonderful someone else is or what a wonderful job they did on something you’ve also done or how highly she thinks of them. The contrast is left up to you. She has let you know that you’re no good without saying a word. She’ll spoil your pleasure in something by simply congratulating you for it in an angry, envious voice that conveys how unhappy she is, again, completely deniably. It is impossible to confront someone over their tone of voice, their demeanor or they way they look at you, but once your narcissistic mother has you trained, she can promise terrible punishment without a word. As a result, you’re always afraid, always in the wrong, and can never exactly put your finger on why...Because her abusiveness is part of a lifelong campaign of control and because she is careful to rationalize her abuse, it is extremely difficult to explain to other people what is so bad about her. She’s also careful about when and how she engages in her abuses. She’s very secretive, a characteristic of almost all abusers (“Don’t wash our dirty laundry in public!”) and will punish you for telling anyone else what she’s done. The times and locations of her worst abuses are carefully chosen so that no one who might intervene will hear or see her bad behavior, and she will seem like a completely different person in public. She’ll slam you to other people, but will always embed her devaluing nuggets of snide gossip in protestations of concern, love and understanding (“I feel so sorry for poor Cynthia. She always seems to have such a hard time, but I just don’t know what I can do for her!”) As a consequence the children of narcissists universally report that no one believes them (“I have to tell you that she always talks about YOU in the most caring way!). Unfortunately therapists, given the deniable actions of the narcissist and eager to defend a fellow parent, will often jump to the narcissist’s defense as well, reinforcing your sense of isolation and helplessness (“I’m sure she didn’t mean it like that!”)

2. She violates your boundaries. You feel like an extension of her. Your property is given away without your consent, sometimes in front of you. Your food is eaten off your plate or given to others off your plate. Your property may be repossessed and no reason given other than that it was never yours. Your time is committed without consulting you, and opinions purported to be yours are expressed for you. (She LOVES going to the fair! He would never want anything like that. She wouldn’t like kumquats.) You are discussed in your presence as though you are not there. She keeps tabs on your bodily functions and humiliates you by divulging the information she gleans, especially when it can be used to demonstrate her devotion and highlight her martyrdom to your needs (“Mike had that problem with frequent urination too, only his was much worse. I was so worried about him!”) You have never known what it is like to have privacy in the bathroom or in your bedroom, and she goes through your things regularly. She asks nosy questions, snoops into your email/letters/diary/conversations. She will want to dig into your feelings, particularly painful ones and is always looking for negative information on you which can be used against you. She does things against your expressed wishes frequently. All of this is done without seeming embarrassment or thought...Any attempt at autonomy on your part is strongly resisted. Normal rites of passage (learning to shave, wearing makeup, dating) are grudgingly allowed only if you insist, and you’re punished for your insistence (“Since you’re old enough to date, I think you’re old enough to pay for your own clothes!”) If you demand age-appropriate clothing, grooming, control over your own life, or rights, you are difficult and she ridicules your “independence.”

3. She favoritizes. Narcissistic mothers commonly choose one (sometimes more) child to be the golden child and one (sometimes more) to be the scapegoat. The narcissist identifies with the golden child and provides privileges to him or her as long as the golden child does just as she wants. The golden child has to be cared for assiduously by everyone in the family. The scapegoat has no needs and instead gets to do the caring. The golden child can do nothing wrong. The scapegoat is always at fault. This creates divisions between the children, one of whom has a large investment in the mother being wise and wonderful, and the other(s) who hate her. That division will be fostered by the narcissist with lies and with blatantly unfair and favoritizing behavior. The golden child will defend the mother and indirectly perpetuate the abuse by finding reasons to blame the scapegoat for the mother’s actions. The golden child may also directly take on the narcissistic mother’s tasks by physically abusing the scapegoat so the narcissistic mother doesn’t have to do that herself.

4. She undermines. Your accomplishments are acknowledged only to the extent that she can take credit for them. Any success or accomplishment for which she cannot take credit is ignored or diminished. Any time you are to be center stage and there is no opportunity for her to be the center of attention, she will try to prevent the occasion altogether, or she doesn’t come, or she leaves early, or she acts like it’s no big deal, or she steals the spotlight or she slips in little wounding comments about how much better someone else did or how what you did wasn’t as much as you could have done or as you think it is. She undermines you by picking fights with you or being especially unpleasant just before you have to make a major effort. She acts put out if she has to do anything to support your opportunities or will outright refuse to do even small things in support of you. She will be nasty to you about things that are peripherally connected with your successes so that you find your joy in what you’ve done is tarnished, without her ever saying anything directly about it. No matter what your success, she has to take you down a peg about it.

5. She demeans, criticizes and denigrates. She lets you know in all sorts of little ways that she thinks less of you than she does of your siblings or of other people in general. If you complain about mistreatment by someone else, she will take that person’s side even if she doesn’t know them at all. She doesn’t care about those people or the justice of your complaints. She just wants to let you know that you’re never right...She will deliver generalized barbs that are almost impossible to rebut (always in a loving, caring tone): “You were always difficult” “You can be very difficult to love” “You never seemed to be able to finish anything” “You were very hard to live with” “You’re always causing trouble” “No one could put up with the things you do.” She will deliver slams in a sidelong way - for example she’ll complain about how “no one” loves her, does anything for her, or cares about her, or she’ll complain that “everyone” is so selfish, when you’re the only person in the room. As always, this combines criticism with deniability...She will slip little comments into conversation that she really enjoyed something she did with someone else - something she did with you too, but didn’t like as much. She’ll let you know that her relationship with some other person you both know is wonderful in a way your relationship with her isn’t - the carefully unspoken message being that you don’t matter much to her...She minimizes, discounts or ignores your opinions and experiences. Your insights are met with condescension, denials and accusations (“I think you read too much!”) and she will brush off your information even on subjects on which you are an acknowledged expert. Whatever you say is met with smirks and amused sounding or exaggerated exclamations (“Uh hunh!” “You don’t say!” “Really!”). She’ll then make it clear that she didn’t listen to a word you said.

6. She makes you look crazy. If you try to confront her about something she’s done, she’ll tell you that you have “a very vivid imagination” (this is a phrase commonly used by abusers of all sorts to invalidate your experience of their abuse) that you don’t know what you’re talking about, or that she has no idea what you’re talking about. She will claim not to remember even very memorable events, flatly denying they ever happened, nor will she ever acknowledge any possibility that she might have forgotten. This is an extremely aggressive and exceptionally infuriating tactic called “gaslighting,” common to abusers of all kinds. Your perceptions of reality are continually undermined so that you end up without any confidence in your intuition, your memory or your powers of reasoning. This makes you a much better victim for the abuser...Narcissists gaslight routinely. The narcissist will either insinuate or will tell you outright that you’re unstable, otherwise you wouldn’t believe such ridiculous things or be so uncooperative. You’re oversensitive. You’re imagining things. You’re hysterical. You’re completely unreasonable. You’re over-reacting, like you always do. She’ll talk to you when you’ve calmed down and aren’t so irrational. She may even characterize you as being neurotic or psychotic...Once she’s constructed these fantasies of your emotional pathologies, she’ll tell others about them, as always, presenting her smears as expressions of concern and declaring her own helpless victimhood. She didn’t do anything. She has no idea why you’re so irrationally angry with her. You’ve hurt her terribly. She thinks you may need psychotherapy. She loves you very much and would do anything to make you happy, but she just doesn’t know what to do. You keep pushing her away when all she wants to do is help you...She has simultaneously absolved herself of any responsibility for your obvious antipathy towards her, implied that it’s something fundamentally wrong with you that makes you angry with her, and undermined your credibility with her listeners. She plays the role of the doting mother so perfectly that no one will believe you.

7. She’s envious. Any time you get something nice she’s angry and envious and her envy will be apparent when she admires whatever it is. She’ll try to get it from you, spoil it for you, or get the same or better for herself. She’s always working on ways to get what other people have. The envy of narcissistic mothers often includes competing sexually with their daughters or daughters-in-law. They’ll attempt to forbid their daughters to wear makeup, to groom themselves in an age-appropriate way or to date. They will criticize the appearance of their daughters and daughters-in-law. This envy extends to relationships. Narcissistic mothers infamously attempt to damage their children’s marriages and interfere in the upbringing of their grandchildren.

8. She’s a liar in too many ways to count. Any time she talks about something that has emotional significance for her, it’s a fair bet that she’s lying. Lying is one way that she creates conflict in the relationships and lives of those around her - she’ll lie to them about what other people have said, what they’ve done, or how they feel. She’ll lie about her relationship with them, about your behavior or about your situation in order to inflate herself and to undermine your credibility...The narcissist is very careful about how she lies. To outsiders she’ll lie thoughtfully and deliberately, always in a way that can be covered up if she’s confronted with her lie. She spins what you said rather than makes something up wholesale. She puts dishonest interpretations on things you actually did. If she’s recently done something particularly egregious she may engage in preventative lying: she lies in advance to discount what you might say before you even say it. Then when you talk about what she did you’ll be cut off with “I already know all about it…your mother told me... (self-justifications and lies).” Because she is so careful about her deniability, it may be very hard to catch her in her lies and the more gullible of her friends may never realize how dishonest she is...To you, she’ll lie blatantly. She will claim to be unable to remember bad things she has done, even if she did one of them recently and even if it was something very memorable. Of course, if you try to jog her memory by recounting the circumstances “You have a very vivid imagination” or “That was so long ago. Why do you have to dredge up your old grudges?” Your conversations with her are full of casual brush-offs and diversionary lies and she doesn’t respect you enough to bother making it sound good. For example she’ll start with a self-serving lie: “If I don’t take you as a dependent on my taxes I’ll lose three thousand dollars!” You refute her lie with an obvious truth: “No, three thousand dollars is the amount of the dependent exemption. You’ll only lose about eight hundred dollars.” Her response: “Isn’t that what I said?” You are now in a game with only one rule: You can’t win...On the rare occasions she is forced to acknowledge some bad behavior, she will couch the admission deniably. She “guesses” that “maybe” she “might have” done something wrong. The wrongdoing is always heavily spun and trimmed to make it sound better. The words “I guess,” “maybe,” and “might have” are in and of themselves lies because she knows exactly what she did - no guessing, no might haves, no maybes.

9. She has to be the center of attention all the time. This need is a defining trait of narcissists and particularly of narcissistic mothers for whom their children exist to be sources of attention and adoration. Narcissistic mothers love to be waited on and often pepper their children with little requests. “While you’re up…” or its equivalent is one of their favorite phrases. You couldn’t just be assigned a chore at the beginning of the week or of the day, instead, you had to do it on demand, preferably at a time that was inconvenient for you, or you had to “help” her do it, fetching and carrying for her while she made up to herself for the menial work she had to do as your mother by glorying in your attentions...A narcissistic mother may create odd occasions at which she can be the center of attention, such as memorials for someone close to her who died long ago, or major celebrations of small personal milestones. She may love to entertain so she can be the life of her own party. She will try to steal the spotlight or will try to spoil any occasion where someone else is the center of attention, particularly the child she has cast as the scapegoat. She often invites herself along where she isn’t welcome. If she visits you or you visit her, you are required to spend all your time with her. Entertaining herself is unthinkable. She has always pouted, manipulated or raged if you tried to do anything without her, didn’t want to entertain her, refused to wait on her, stymied her plans for a drama or otherwise deprived her of attention...Older narcissistic mothers often use the natural limitations of aging to manipulate dramas, often by neglecting their health or by doing things they know will make them ill. This gives them the opportunity to cash in on the investment they made when they trained you to wait on them as a child. Then they call you (or better still, get the neighbor or the nursing home administrator to call you) demanding your immediate attendance. You are to rush to her side, pat her hand, weep over her pain and listen sympathetically to her unending complaints about how hard and awful it is. (“Never get old!”) It’s almost never the case that you can actually do anything useful, and the causes of her disability may have been completely avoidable, but you’ve been put in an extremely difficult position. If you don’t provide the audience and attention she’s manipulating to get, you look extremely bad to everyone else and may even have legal culpability. (Narcissistic behaviors commonly accompany Alzheimer’s disease, so this behavior may also occur in perfectly normal mothers as they age.)

10. She manipulates your emotions in order to feed on your pain. This exceptionally sick and bizarre behavior is so common among narcissistic mothers that their children often call them “emotional vampires.” Some of this emotional feeding comes in the form of pure sadism. She does and says things just to be wounding or she engages in tormenting teasing or she needles you about things you’re sensitive about, all the while a smile plays over her lips. She may have taken you to scary movies or told you horrifying stories, then mocked you for being a baby when you cried, She will slip a wounding comment into conversation and smile delightedly into your hurt face. You can hear the laughter in her voice as she pressures you or says distressing things to you. Later she’ll gloat over how much she upset you, gaily telling other people that you’re so much fun to tease, and recruiting others to share in her amusement. . She enjoys her cruelties and makes no effort to disguise that. She wants you to know that your pain entertains her. She may bring up subjects that are painful for you and probe you about them, all the while watching you carefully. This is emotional vampirism in its purest form. She’s feeding emotionally off your pain...A peculiar form of this emotional vampirism combines attention-seeking behavior with a demand that the audience suffer. Since narcissistic mothers often play the martyr this may take the form of wrenching, self-pitying dramas which she carefully produces, and in which she is the star performer. She sobs and wails that no one loves her and everyone is so selfish, and she doesn’t want to live, she wants to die! She wants to die! She will not seem to care how much the manipulation of their emotions and the self-pity repels other people. One weird behavior that is very common to narcissists: her dramas may also center around the tragedies of other people, often relating how much she suffered by association and trying to distress her listeners, as she cries over the horrible murder of someone she wouldn’t recognize if they had passed her on the street.

11. She’s selfish and willful. She always makes sure she has the best of everything. She insists on having her own way all the time and she will ruthlessly, manipulatively pursue it, even if what she wants isn’t worth all the effort she’s putting into it and even if that effort goes far beyond normal behavior. She will make a huge effort to get something you denied her, even if it was entirely your right to do so and even if her demand was selfish and unreasonable. If you tell her she cannot bring her friends to your party she will show up with them anyway, and she will have told them that they were invited so that you either have to give in, or be the bad guy to these poor dupes on your doorstep. If you tell her she can’t come over to your house tonight she’ll call your spouse and try get him or her to agree that she can, and to not say anything to you about it because it’s a “surprise.” She has to show you that you can’t tell her “no.”...One near-universal characteristic of narcissists: because they are so selfish and self-centered, they are very bad gift givers. They’ll give you hand-me-downs or market things for themselves as gifts for you (“I thought I’d give you my old bicycle and buy myself a new one!” “I know how much you love Italian food, so I’m going to take you to my favorite restaurant for your birthday!”) New gifts are often obviously cheap and are usually things that don’t suit you or that you can’t use or are a quid pro quo: if you buy her the gift she wants, she will buy you an item of your choice. She’ll make it clear that it pains her to give you anything. She may buy you a gift and get the identical item for herself, or take you shopping for a gift and get herself something nice at the same time to make herself feel better.

12. She’s self-absorbed. Her feelings, needs and wants are very important; yours are insignificant to the point that her least whim takes precedence over your most basic needs. Her problems deserve your immediate and full attention; yours are brushed aside. Her wishes always take precedence; if she does something for you, she reminds you constantly of her munificence in doing so and will often try to extract some sort of payment. She will complain constantly, even though your situation may be much worse than hers. If you point that out, she will effortlessly, thoughtlessly brush it aside as of no importance (It’s easy for you/It’s different for you).

13. She is insanely defensive and is extremely sensitive to any criticism. If you criticize her or defy her she will explode with fury, threaten, storm, rage, destroy and may become violent, beating, confining, putting her child outdoors in bad weather or otherwise engaging in classic physical abuse.

14. She terrorized. For all abusers, fear is a powerful means of control of the victim, and your narcissistic mother used it ruthlessly to train you. Narcissists teach you to beware their wrath even when they aren’t present. The only alternative is constant placation. If you give her everything she wants all the time, you might be spared. If you don’t, the punishments will come. Even adult children of narcissists still feel that carefully inculcated fear. Your narcissistic mother can turn it on with a silence or a look that tells the child in you she’s thinking about how she’s going to get even...Not all narcissists abuse physically, but most do, often in subtle, deniable ways. It allows them to vent their rage at your failure to be the solution to their internal havoc and simultaneously to teach you to fear them. You may not have been beaten, but you were almost certainly left to endure physical pain when a normal mother would have made an effort to relieve your misery. This deniable form of battery allows her to store up her rage and dole out the punishment at a later time when she’s worked out an airtight rationale for her abuse, so she never risks exposure. You were left hungry because “you eat too much.” (Someone asked her if she was pregnant. She isn’t). You always went to school with stomach flu because “you don’t have a fever. You’re just trying to get out of school.” (She resents having to take care of you. You have a lot of nerve getting sick and adding to her burdens.) She refuses to look at your bloody heels and instead the shoes that wore those blisters on your heels are put back on your feet and you’re sent to the store in them because “You wanted those shoes. Now you can wear them.” (You said the ones she wanted to get you were ugly. She liked them because they were just like what she wore 30 years ago). The dentist was told not to give you Novocaine when he drilled your tooth because “he has to learn to take better care of his teeth.” (She has to pay for a filling and she’s furious at having to spend money on you.)...Narcissistic mothers also abuse by loosing others on you or by failing to protect you when a normal mother would have. Sometimes the narcissist’s golden child will be encouraged to abuse the scapegoat. Narcissists also abuse by exposing you to violence. If one of your siblings got beaten, she made sure you saw. She effortlessly put the fear of Mom into you, without raising a hand.

15. She’s infantile and petty. Narcissistic mothers are often simply childish. If you refuse to let her manipulate you into doing something, she will cry that you don’t love her because if you loved her you would do as she wanted. If you hurt her feelings she will aggressively whine to you that you’ll be sorry when she’s dead that you didn’t treat her better. These babyish complaints and responses may sound laughable, but the narcissist is dead serious about them. When you were a child, if you ask her to stop some bad behavior, she would justify it by pointing out something that you did that she feels is comparable, as though the childish behavior of a child is justification for the childish behavior of an adult. “Getting even” is a large part of her dealings with you. Anytime you fail to give her the deference, attention or service she feels she deserves, or you thwart her wishes, she has to show you.

16. She’s aggressive and shameless. She doesn’t ask. She demands. She makes outrageous requests and she’ll take anything she wants if she thinks she can get away with it. Her demands of her children are posed in a very aggressive way, as are her criticisms. She won’t take no for an answer, pushing and arm-twisting and manipulating to get you to give in.

17. She “parentifies.” She shed her responsibilities to you as soon as she was able, leaving you to take care of yourself as best you could. She denied you medical care, adequate clothing, necessary transportation or basic comforts that she would never have considered giving up for herself. She never gave you a birthday party or let you have sleepovers. Your friends were never welcome in her house. She didn’t like to drive you anywhere, so you turned down invitations because you had no way to get there. She wouldn’t buy your school pictures even if she could easily have afforded it. You had a niggardly clothing allowance or she bought you the cheapest clothing she could without embarrassing herself. As soon as you got a job, every request for school supplies, clothing or toiletries was met with “Now that you’re making money, why don’t you pay for that yourself?” You studied up on colleges on your own and choose a cheap one without visiting it. You signed yourself up for the SATs, earned the money to pay for them and talked someone into driving you to the test site. You worked three jobs to pay for that cheap college and when you finally got mononucleosis she chirped at you that she was “so happy you could take care of yourself."...She also gave you tasks that were rightfully hers and should not have been placed on a child. You may have been a primary caregiver for young siblings or an incapacitated parent. You may have had responsibility for excessive household tasks. Above all, you were always her emotional caregiver which is one reason any defection from that role caused such enormous eruptions of rage. You were never allowed to be needy or have bad feelings or problems. Those experiences were only for her, and you were responsible for making it right for her. From the time you were very young she would randomly lash out at you any time she was stressed or angry with your father or felt that life was unfair to her, because it made her feel better to hurt you. You were often punished out of the blue, for manufactured offenses. As you got older she directly placed responsibility for her welfare and her emotions on you, weeping on your shoulder and unloading on you any time something went awry for her.

18. She’s exploitative. She will manipulate to get work, money, or objects she envies out of other people for nothing. This includes her children, of course. If she set up a bank account for you, she was trustee on the account with the right to withdraw money. As you put money into it, she took it out. She may have stolen your identity. She took you as a dependent on her income taxes so you couldn’t file independently without exposing her to criminal penalties. If she made an agreement with you, it was violated the minute it no longer served her needs. If you brought it up demanding she adhere to the agreement, she brushed you off and later punished you so you would know not to defy her again...Sometimes the narcissist will exploit a child to absorb punishment that would have been hers from an abusive partner. The husband comes home in a drunken rage, and the mother immediately complains about the child’s bad behavior so the rage is vented on to the child. Sometimes the narcissistic mother simply uses the child to keep a sick marriage intact because the alternative is being divorced or having to go to work. The child is sexually molested but the mother never notices, or worse, calls the child a liar when she tells the mother about the molestation.

19. She projects. This sounds a little like psycho-babble, but it is something that narcissists all do. Projection means that she will put her own bad behavior, character and traits on you so she can deny them in herself and punish you. This can be very difficult to see if you have traits that she can project on to. An eating-disordered woman who obsesses over her daughter’s weight is projecting. The daughter may not realize it because she has probably internalized an absurdly thin vision of women’s weight and so accepts her mother’s projection. When the narcissist tells the daughter that she eats too much, needs to exercise more, or has to wear extra-large size clothes, the daughter believes it, even if it isn’t true. However, she will sometimes project even though it makes no sense at all. This happens when she feels shamed and needs to put it on her scapegoat child and the projection therefore comes across as being an attack out of the blue. For example: She makes an outrageous request, and you casually refuse to let her have her way. She’s enraged by your refusal and snarls at you that you’ll talk about it when you’ve calmed down and are no longer hysterical...You aren’t hysterical at all; she is, but your refusal has made her feel the shame that should have stopped her from making shameless demands in the first place. That’s intolerable. She can transfer that shame to you and rationalize away your response: you only refused her because you’re so unreasonable. Having done that she can reassert her shamelessness and indulge her childish willfulness by turning an unequivocal refusal into a subject for further discussion. You’ll talk about it again “later” - probably when she’s worn you down with histrionics, pouting and the silent treatment so you’re more inclined to do what she wants.

20. She is never wrong about anything. No matter what she’s done, she won’t ever genuinely apologize for anything. Instead, any time she feels she is being made to apologize she will sulk and pout, issue an insulting apology or negate the apology she has just made with justifications, qualifications or self pity: “I’m sorry you felt that I humiliated you” “I’m sorry if I made you feel bad” “If I did that it was wrong” “I’m sorry, but I there’s nothing I can do about it” “I’m sorry I made you feel clumsy, stupid and disgusting” “I’m sorry but it was just a joke. You’re so over-sensitive” “I’m sorry that my own child feels she has to upset me and make me feel bad.” The last insulting apology is also an example of projection.

21. She seems to have no awareness that other people even have feelings. She’ll occasionally slip and say something jaw-droppingly callous because of this lack of empathy. It isn’t that she doesn’t care at all about other people’s feelings, though she doesn’t. It would simply never occur to her to think about their feelings. An absence of empathy is the defining trait of a narcissist and underlies most of the other traits I have described. Unlike psychopaths, narcissists do understand right, wrong, and consequences, so they are not ordinarily criminal. She beat you, but not to the point where you went to the hospital. She left you standing out in the cold until you were miserable, but not until you had hypothermia. She put you in the basement in the dark with no clothes on, but she only left you there for two hours.

22. She blames. She’ll blame you for everything that isn’t right in her life or for what other people do or for whatever has happened. Always, she’ll blame you for her abuse. You made her do it. If only you weren’t so difficult. You upset her so much that she can’t think straight. Things were hard for her and your backtalk pushed her over the brink. This blaming is often so subtle that all you know is that you thought you were wronged and now you feel guilty. Your brother beats you and her response is to bemoan how uncivilized children are. Your boyfriend dumped you, but she can understand - after all, she herself has seen how difficult you are to love. She’ll do something egregiously exploitative to you, and when confronted will screech at you that she can’t believe you were so selfish as to upset her over such a trivial thing. She’ll also blame you for your reaction to her selfish, cruel and exploitative behavior. She can’t believe you are so petty, so small, and so childish as to object to her giving your favorite dress to her friend. She thought you would be happy to let her do something nice for someone else...Narcissists are masters of multitasking as this example shows. Simultaneously your narcissistic mother is 1) Lying. She knows what she did was wrong and she knows your reaction is reasonable. 2) Manipulating. She’s making you look like the bad guy for objecting to her cruelties. 3) Being selfish. She doesn’t mind making you feel horrible as long as she gets her own way. 4) Blaming. She did something wrong, but it’s all your fault. 5) Projecting. Her petty, small and childish behavior has become yours. 6) Putting on a self-pitying drama. She’s a martyr who believed the best of you, and you’ve let her down. 7) Parentifying. You’re responsible for her feelings, she has no responsibility for yours.

23. She destroys your relationships. Narcissistic mothers are like tornadoes: wherever they touch down families are torn apart and wounds are inflicted. Unless the father has control over the narcissist and holds the family together, adult siblings in families with narcissistic mothers characteristically have painful relationships. Typically all communication between siblings is superficial and driven by duty, or they may never talk to each other at all. In part, these women foster dissension between their children because they enjoy the control it gives them. If those children don’t communicate except through the mother, she can decide what everyone hears. Narcissists also love the excitement and drama they create by interfering in their children’s lives. Watching people’s lives explode is better than soap operas, especially when you don’t have any empathy for their misery...The narcissist nurtures anger, contempt and envy - the most corrosive emotions - to drive her children apart. While her children are still living at home, any child who stands up to the narcissist guarantees punishment for the rest. In her zest for revenge, the narcissist purposefully turns the siblings’ anger on the dissenter by including everyone in her retaliation. (“I can see that nobody here loves me! Well I’ll just take these Christmas presents back to the store. None of you would want anything I got you anyway!”) The other children, long trained by the narcissist to give in, are furious with the troublemaking child, instead of with the narcissist who actually deserves their anger...The narcissist also uses favoritism and gossip to poison her childrens’ relationships. The scapegoat sees the mother as a creature of caprice and cruelty. As is typical of the privileged, the other children don’t see her unfairness and they excuse her abuses. Indeed, they are often recruited by the narcissist to adopt her contemptuous and entitled attitude towards the scapegoat and with her tacit or explicit permission, will inflict further abuse. The scapegoat predictably responds with fury and equal contempt. After her children move on with adult lives, the narcissist makes sure to keep each apprised of the doings of the others, passing on the most discreditable and juicy gossip (as always, disguised as “concern”) about the other children, again, in a way that engenders contempt rather than compassion...Having been raised by a narcissist, her children are predisposed to be envious, and she takes full advantage of the opportunity that presents. While she may never praise you to your face, she will likely crow about your victories to the very sibling who is not doing well. She’ll tell you about the generosity she displayed towards that child, leaving you wondering why you got left out and irrationally angry at the favored child rather than at the narcissist who told you about it...The end result is a family in which almost all communication is triangular. The narcissist, the spider in the middle of the family web, sensitively monitors all the children for information she can use to retain her unchallenged control over the family. She then passes that on to the others, creating the resentments that prevent them from communicating directly and freely with each other. The result is that the only communication between the children is through the narcissist, exactly the way she wants it.

24. As a last resort she goes pathetic. When she’s confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behavior, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. It’s all her fault. She can’t do anything right. She feels so bad. What she doesn’t do: own the responsibility for her bad conduct and make it right. Instead, as always, it’s all about her, and her helpless self-pitying weepiness dumps the responsibility for her consequences AND for her unhappiness about it on you. As so often with narcissists, it is also a manipulative behavior. If you fail to excuse her bad behavior and make her feel better, YOU are the bad person for being cold, heartless and unfeeling when your poor mother feels so awful.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fight The Good Fight

by Triumph



The days grow shorter and the nights are getting long
Feels like we're running out of time
Every day it seems much harder tellin' right from wrong
You got to read between the lines

Don't get discouraged, don't be afraid, we can
Make it through another day
Make it worth the price we pay

The Good Book says it's better to give than to receive
I do my best to do my part
Nothin' in my pockets I got nothin' up my sleeve
I keep my magic in my heart

Keep up your spirit, keep up your faith, baby
I am counting on you
You know what you've got to do

CHORUS:
Fight the good fight every moment
Every minute every day
Fight the good fight every moment
It's your only way

All your life you've been waiting for your chance
Where you'll fit into the plan
But you're the master of your own destiny
So give and take the best that you can

You think that a little more money can buy your soul some rest
You better think something else instead
You're so afraid of being honest with yourself
You'd better take a look inside your head

Nothing is easy, nothing good is free
But I can tell you where to start
There's an answer in your heart
Take a look inside your heart

Every moment of your lifetime
Every minute every day
Fight the good fight every moment
Make it worth the price we pay

No Contact 101

According to Reverend Renee, the following is what it means to go No Contact. I have to agree with everything she has written and I would highly recommend that anyone debating going NC, or who has already declared NC with an abusive friend or relative read this list.

No Contact Means:

NO Talking To Them No Matter What Happens And No Matter What You Hear

NO Letting Them Talk To You, NO Listening To Anything They Say, NO “Hearing Them Out.”

NO Letting Them In Your House And NO Going To Their House. If It Is Possible To Move, Then Move, Get A P.O. Box, And Don't Let Them Know When Or Where You're Going. DO NOT leave a forwarding address at the post office- after the forwarding period is up, any card or letter your abuser sends you will get returned to him with your forwarding address on it; instead contact each of your creditors, friends, and anyone you want to keep in touch with individually and advise them of your new address. Never use your street address. Use your P.O. box as your address on everything- including your driver’s license, car registration, credit cards, deliveries, bills, etc. This will buy you a couple of years, until they find you online. The best move is more than a day’s drive away. In fact, the further, the better.

NO Phone Calls and NO Returning Voicemail Messages. Change Your Number To Unlisted and Unpublished, And Do Not Give It To Anyone You Can't Trust Not To Give It To Your Abuser. NEVER pick up the phone. Screen Your Calls. Use Caller ID Or Let Your Machine Pick Up. If you get any strange messages from people you barely know or whom you haven’t heard from in years, do not return their calls unless they told you why they wanted to talk to you when they left their message. Be very wary of anyone who just leaves his name and number and says something along the lines of, “I need to talk to you.” There’s a very high probability he’s a Silent Partner, sicced on you by your estranged abuser.

NO Sending Or Responding To E-Mails. Block Their E-Mails, IMs, And Ability To See When You Are Online Block them from viewing your page on any social networking sites you are on. Make sure you use a different, unidentifiable name and e-mail address on any forums or chat groups you belong to.

NO Meetings to "Talk Things Over" Or "Work Things Out".

NO Communication At All Except Through Attorneys. NOT THERAPISTS- Attorneys. If you go to counseling with a psychopath, I guarantee you'll regret it.

NO Cards or Letters and NO Responding to Cards or Letters. NO Birthday Cards. NO Christmas Cards. NO Mother's Day or Father's Day Cards.

NO Gifts and NO Accepting Gifts. If A Gift Is Sent To You, NO Acknowledging It And NO Responding. NO Returning Gifts, Cards, or Letters. To An Abuser, That Is A Response- It Means You Are Still Emotionally Connected To Them, You Still Care, And If They Keep Trying They Can Wear You Down. Ignore, Ignore, Ignore.

NO Exceptions For Holidays, Birthdays, or Anniversaries

NO Visits, Including Hospital Visits

NO Letting Them Near Your Kids. If They're Too Toxic For You To Be Around, Then They're Too Toxic For Your Children To Be Around. Warn Your Children To Stay Away From Them. Notify Your Children's School To Call The Police If They Show Up.

NO Public Pleasantries. If You Run Into Them In a Public Place, Ignore Them, Turn Your Back, And Walk Away. If They Approach You, Say In A Loud Voice, "Leave Me Alone!" And "Do Not Talk To Me". If They Persist Or You Believe You Are Being Stalked, Call The Police. Get a paper trail started. Make a police report and get a case number so that in the future you can file charges for stalking, aggravated harassment, and any other crimes that the police or your lawyer can think of.

NO Discussing Them With Anybody Who Has Contact With Them. 

NO Speaking At All To Anyone Who Might Be Pumping You For Information Or Spying On You, And Reporting Back To Them. Cut Off Anyone Who Is Not Loyal To You.

NO Listening to Any News About Them. If you’re absolutely DYING of curiosity, listen but do not show undue interest, do not respond, and do not give any information in return.

NO Giving Other People Information About You Or Your Family That They Could Carry Back To Your Abuser

NO Invitations to Your Big Events and NO Responding to Invitations They Send You

NO Responding To News That They Are Getting Married, Having A Baby, Getting A New Job, Retiring, Moving, Taking A Trip, Sick, Dying, Or Dead

NO Big Announcements or Telling Them Anything About Your Life- NO Letting Them Know You're Getting Married, Moving, Or Having A Baby. NO Letting Them Know When Your Children Get Married, Where They Live, Work, or Go To School, Or When Your Grandkids Are Born.

Print Out E-Mails and Keep All Cards, Letters and Other Communication In A File For Future Harassment Or Stalking Charges, But Do Not Respond.

No Contact means NO CONTACT. Nothing, Nada, Zilch, Zip, Zero. As if they were total strangers who also happen to be dangerous, deranged, psychopathic stalkers. Which they pretty much are. So why would you not protect yourself and your family from them? 

Narcissists do not understand limits, maintaining a comfortable distance, taking it slow, or being cordial while still keeping someone at arm’s length. They only deal in extremes, and must be totally enmeshed with you, with no boundaries or restrictions. It’s all or nothing with them. Because of this, it’s important to accept that it is NOT possible to have “limited” or “occasional” contact- for instance, only when there is a big event like a wedding or funeral. This only sends a mixed message to your abuser, who will interpret ANY willingness at all on your part to communicate with him as a sign that all is forgiven, you’ve gotten over your little snit, and everything can now go back to normal, without him ever having to apologize or stop abusing you.

No Contact is THE END. You have already wasted your entire life trying everything possible to have a nice peaceful relationship, and nothing worked. That's why you reached this crossroads. There is nothing left to try. It’s OVER. It's time to put a period on it, walk away, and never look back. Time to finally live your life. Time to do what you must to protect yourself and your loved ones from evil people who would do you harm. If you break No Contact, you will only be sucked back in. If you keep No Contact, you will live your life in peace, freedom, and safety. And after it's all over, I leave it up to you whether you go to the funeral or not. If you have moved on with your life and left the past in the past, you won't feel the need to.