Sunday, March 20, 2011

How much progress have I really made?

The last few days have been really, really tough. See, last week (Thursday, I think) I learned 2 pretty significant things about myself: that I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and that she physically and emotionally abused me as a child (the emotional abuse actually hasn't stopped). It's a strange experience, to learn new things about myself, especially when those things explain so much about why I am the way I am (and mostly the things I hate). It's enlightening, validating, but also saddening and hurtful, all rolled into one. And it sent me on an emotional roller coaster ride that doesn't want to stop.

For as long as I can remember, anytime I do anything that is less than perfect, I feel like a total and utter its the end of the world. Yesterday, for example, I thought I had annoyed my boyfriend because he wasn't responding to some silly actions of mine, when in reality all he was doing was falling asleep. I started to cry. Not like 1 or 2 tears running down my cheek, but all out hysterical bawling. When he tried to ask me what was wrong, I pulled away from him and refused to speak. It was like the sadness had paralyzed my thoughts and my speech, and I was so convinced that he had absolutely enough of me, that my life might as well have ended right then. So I went to the bathroom, grabbed my safety pin, and created another scratch on my forearm. This is the third on my arm...there are also 2 on my leg... The rest of the night didn't get much better, either, and came complete with plenty of crying and banging my head, both on our wooden headboard and on the tile floor.

It was really upsetting that I lost control like that. Even worse is that I now feel so much guilt and embarrassment that I'm finding it impossibly hard to move on. The wound on my arm and the bumps on my head don't make it any easier to forget last night either. I'm also convinced that my boyfriend is absolutely fed up with me...he just doesn't seem to have much patience for me anymore. I don't blame him. He's without a doubt the most patient and understanding person I know, but everyone has their limits...

Growing up, I always thought I was just a socially awkward, insecure perfectionist, with absolutely no sense of identity. Now I'm learning that there may be a reason for all that. As far as I have been told, starting when I was as young as 4 or 5, my mom used to stand behind me when I practiced my instruments, and beat me with a wooden spoon whenever I made a mistake. No wonder I'm afraid of trying anything new in front of people, and of doing anything less that 100% perfect! It kind of makes me wonder if a lot of the issues I have, including possibly my BPD, is a result of the childhood I had. I'll have to do some more digging into my past...I'm really curious as to what else might come up. Funny thing is I can literally count my childhood memories on one hand. I can barely recall anything that happened before my early teens. I thought perhaps there was trauma in my childhood, and that was why I had blocked it out, but my mom (the alcoholic queen of denial) will only tell me that my childhood was nothing short of perfect. So I've decided to have lunch with my dad this week...we don't speak all that often, but maybe he can give me some more insight into what really went on at our home, at least up until he left my mom when I was 7.

So, those of you who read my old blog shouldn't be surprised to learn that I bought a book on narcissistic mothers, both to validate my experiences and to learn more about what I'm dealing with. It's called "Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing The Daughters Of Narcissistic Mothers" by Karyl McBride, PhD. It's refreshing to read a book that could very well have been written about my mother and I, because it means that I'm not the only one struggling to deal with these issues. But if learning about my mom and my childhood has sent me back into a dark pit for the last few days, I can't help but I really any better than I was a few months ago, or did I just have a few random better days? Have I made any progress at all?


  1. It is especially difficult to relive your past even when it shows that some of your issues in life might be justified. I can relate to the embarrassment of self-injury and losing control. Often times it is harder to forgive ourselves and we hang onto these things longer after others have forgotten and forgiven. Keep working to learn about yourself and your journey toward getting better. You are not alone. Eventually you will get where you want to be.

  2. I totally relate to the childhood you describe. My mother was also narcissistic and abused me physically as a very small child, and emotionally all my life. I didn't realize any of this for a very very long time and when I did, I found it extremely hard to accept and didn't communicate with my mother for years. You've brought up some old feelings for me and I think I understand what you are going through. All I can say is that for me it has gotten so much better since I accepted and dealt with my feelings around my mother. Personally, I had to understand and forgive. That was not easy. It is hard, but it gets better! And yes, it is still sad.

  3. I also have few childhood memories, although I have more now than I used to. Writing has helped me find some of them. I also had to get to a place where I was completely willing to have them.

    And I was a scratcher, too. I'm in a better place right now but I have to be aware. It's definitely addictive. It would be so easy for me to go back there.

    I'm sorry your life is dark and heavy right now. I don't think you should doubt your progress. We all have variations in our moods and stability. See this as a down time and believe that you will be up again. I believe you will be. I hope it is soon.

  4. Thank you carrieann, Linda, misssrobin...its good to know I am not the only one in the world feeling these things...makes getting through the bad days just a little bit easier...