Last January my mother finally admitted that I was the real problem in her life. She made this declaration passionately as she extended her arm and pointed dramatically at me. She told me that I had turned the family and even her doctors against her by telling things that were not true. She went on to say that she had never been able to make me love her.
I decided that was the last time I would accept her attempt to blame and punish me for the problems she had created in her life. I also decided that I would stop trying to earn the love that I had always sought from her, the love of a mother for a daughter.
For a long time I had felt that she was a narcissist, but her behavior didn’t quite fit the normal description of a narcissist. She had some of the characteristics such as needing extreme amounts of attention, only being able to see a situation as it affected her and believing that she was always right. But a lot of what she did was more behind the scenes than what you typically see in the common description of a narcissist.
So, I began to read and watch videos about narcissistic parents. From the blogs and books and videos I learned that there are two types of narcissists. The grandiose, or overt, is the one that most people know about. But then there is the covert, or, as some say, the vulnerable, narcissist. As I began to learn about covert narcissists it was as if my world had always been slightly tilted and suddenly it was upright.
From all the reading and listening I did, I learned that writing helped with recovery. That seemed like the perfect prescription for me because I am a writer. The therapists and coaches advised that victims of narcissistic abuse should tell, in writing or verbally, the narcissist about the abuse and how it had impacted them. However, the advice was not to mail the letter or confront the abuser. The suggested method was to tell an empty chair or keep a journal or write and then burn a letter. Another suggestion from some of the therapists and coaches was to describe what the abuse victim would have liked to receive from a parent. So, I began to write a fictional story. As a writer this was natural for me and provided the best way to express the pain, frustration and longing. I used some of my experiences and some I had observed. Soon I realized that what I was writing might help other victims of parental narcissistic abuse acknowledge their torture. And so, what began as therapeutic writing morphed into a book –Torture or Nurture, A Tale of Growing Up. It is a comparison of the torture of having a narcissistic mother and enabler father and the validation and support that comes from nurturing parents.
You can certainly buy my book, and of course I would like for you to, but in order to recover, you will have to do your own work. I strongly recommend you write. It does not matter what you write – a letter, a story, a stream of consciousness, a prayer, whatever works for you. You see there is a unique connection between your brain and your hand. If you write about your experiences it helps you acknowledge the torture you have experienced. The hand brain connection forces the monsters out of the darkness into the light where they can be dealt with. I am not a therapist or coach, I am a story teller. I am not a therapist or life coach so I do not counsel or coach anyone, except to encourage the use of writing as part of recovery.
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