The Picture is Only Perfect in Her Head
I could tell you today’s post was written by a woman named Sharon. Or I could tell you her name is Veronica. It doesn’t matter because her identity is an alias so she can write free and not suffer what would no doubt be undesirable consequences. You will read her story and know she’s a gorgeous writer, and you will be struck by her fragility and compassion despite deeply rooted pain. –Beth
For most of my life, I thought that my low self esteem and depressive state, including self-harm episodes, were only due to the bullying I dealt with while growing up. From kindergarten to high school, I was bullied because I was too fat and too nerdy. Even now that I have lost a lot of weight, the fat girl still feels part of me, if not who I am on certain bad days.
I thought that all this bullying and how people felt sorry for any guy I had a crush on, made me so ashamed and feeling like a piece of junk. I thought it was why I entered several bad relationships, from toxic friends to abusive boyfriends. I felt that I had to be grateful to anyone showing interest in me, and it left scars that won’t disappear, no matter how hard I work towards healing.
It was only a few years ago that I had the courage to admit what had been on my mind for a long while: my abuse started with my mother. And this abuse is still going on. I didn’t want to see it. As an only child, it felt improper to think this. With how my mother had this picture perfect of our family, it seemed ugly of me to even consider her an abuser.
I am daughter to a narcissistic mother.
I did a lot of research, because I didn’t want to jump to conclusions. But she has all the symptoms, save for the ones that have to do with having multiple children. This is one of the most untreatable types of mental issue and I know that speaking with her would only mean getting into more trouble. She goes on terrible crisis and insane tantrums for the tiniest random thing, so trying to have a conversation that matters about who I really am and the realness of our relationship and history is impossible.
I am afraid of her, but I also know too well how trying to reason with her is impossible. At least, I was able to lay everything on the table with my father, who had no idea of what I had lived since I was a child. It was an eye opener for him.
Some people told me to cut all ties, but for several reasons, this isn’t an option I am willing to consider. I am working hard on getting distance from my mother’s behavior, but with more than a dozen years of untreated depression, this is a very difficult task. I am unable to get a therapist or even medication right now and am unsure of when this will change. I do as much online research and reading as I can and am set on seeking professional help the day I can afford it, both financially and personally.
Even typing these words make me feel guilty to a degree but I try to remind myself that it isn’t bad for me to speak up. I was raised to have this picture perfect stuck in my head thanks to my mother, about what I was, how wonderful everything was, how much she did for me and that I should be grateful all the time, even when she publicly humiliates me. It was hard for me to accept that she did physically abuse me even when she never hit me. She never respected my physical boundaries and still doesn’t, though I try as hard as I can to avoid situations that could lead to this.
Her degree of narcissism makes her react in a way close to dementia at times, which is why I try my best to be compassionate with her and understand that she might not always mean what she says or do. I still fear her in between the good days and hours. I still get put down for innocent things I say, for just expressing a disagreement, for not being the daughter she wants me to be, for wanting something that wasn’t in her bullet point list for my life, which goes as far as what my sexual life should allow, or how I should raise the children I don’t have yet – and she doesn’t even want to consider I want a different number of kids than she expects me to have.
A few years ago, I hated and feared my mother. Now I can say I manage to love her despite the flaws, but I still am afraid of her. And on some days, I still get extremely angry, both with her and with myself.
I have no idea what the future will bring and she still gaslights me more often than I’d want. All I can do is taking things one day at a time.