My Mama was a Prize-Winning Narc
*Chloe* is a BNB Guest Blogger who felt inspired to share her story about being raised by a narcissist mother. Her experience comes as an example of my 7-part series on emotional abuse, particularly Emotional Abuse is Not Just for Romance, Part 1: Parental Narcs.
“Chloe, why must you insist on looking like a slob? It’s like you purposely try to humiliate me in front of my friends.”
But I wasn’t. I never meant to upset my mom or make her feel like a fool because of the way I dressed. I was just a little eccentric and had a different fashion style. She couldn’t see that frilly dresses weren’t for me and that I really liked the Punky Brewster look. I hated crinoline and perfectly matched hair accessories and those patent leather shoes. I’d cringe every time she’d set out my clothes for me.
But it didn’t matter what I wanted. Being raised by affluent parents who frequented country clubs didn’t leave much room for individuality. The more you looked and acted like everyone else, the “better” you were.
I know what you might be thinking—oh, poor little rich girl. But I didn’t choose to be rich, or to have snobby parents, or to be preened and presented like the perfect peacock. I didn’t want to have to live up to unrealistic expectations of being like everyone else because my mother wished it so. Economic conditions or not, I still deserved freedom of expression.
I just wanted to be me, and it wasn’t good enough. As I was told so many times, I was never good enough.
I never was presentable enough. Even in the right outfit, I was too wrinkled. I was never well behaved enough. I enjoyed laughing and playing way too much for her sophisticated taste. I’m not even sure I was pretty enough, as she always said she wished I had her nose instead of my fathers because it made me look less delicate.
The only times that I did see good enough was when I got good grades in school or one an award for my equestrian showjumping. Then, she was able to brag to everyone who crossed her path about how wonderful her daughter was. She was able to show me off with pride and make herself good. It was never about what I did; it was more about how I bolstered her reputation.
And so I started the journey to excellence to please her over and over again.
My life became seeking her approval, and it was an addiction that ultimately led to a cycle of abusive relationships in which I performed like a circus monkey for their love and affection. I believed their hateful words about my appearance, my clothes, my attitude, my aspirations. I turned myself inside out for them, only to be belittled and berated just like my mother did to me.
One day, through the help of this soul restoration class I stumbled upon, I finally realized that I was caught up in an emotionally abusive cycle. That really hurt. Having to unravel all those layers of what I believed versus what was true about myself? It was so much to process, and I was so grateful to have a group of women strangers who actually understood and could relate to what I had experienced.
Turns out, their mothers’ love seemed to be just as conditional as mine.
From there, I was able to start healing. And while I can’t change my mother (who to this day, still claims I am an embarrassment except when I accomplish something), I l have learned how to diffuse her insults and not accept them as truth. I also learned how to safely distance without incurring her wrath, and it has made life a little bit easier. And instead of jumping from toxic man to toxic man, I’m on a hiatus from dating and am focused on learning who I am and loving her.
That’s the best advice I can give anyone who was raised by a mom like mine. Give yourself the love you wish she did—and remember to say nice words to yourself. Because you really are great just the way you are 😊
*Chloe* is a guest blogger who submitted her story under an assumed identity for confidentiality. If you are interested in being a non-identified guest blogger for Brazen Not Battered, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear and share your story to inspire others.
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