A few years ago I lead a class at our church based on the book "Healing is a Choice" by Stephen Arterburn. I opened with my testimony, what it was like growing up with a narcissistic parent and come and go alcoholics. Knowing the content could be a lot for some to handle, I expected a few to leave, and they did. I was left with a room of hurting, people. Most of them processing, a few still blaming and a couple in willful withdrawal.
On the second night of class Ms. M walked in. She was pretty with long brown hair. She seemed confident, that take charge personality.
She sat at my table and began to talk of her childhood, soon the facade of that confidence crumbled. Having missed the first night and not hearing anything I had said, my jaw dropped when she looked at me and asked,"Do you know what a narcissist is?" I said yes, and smiled, perhaps I smiled out of shock.
She had two parents that fell into that category. Two? Details escape me, but I will never forget how fractured she was- still. At around 40, an adult with children of her own, the little girl deep within told her story through tears and shaking. She could barely breathe.
So many times I have thought because I didn't suffer physical abuse it really wasn't that bad. I still think that. I figure most of the things wrong in my life are a result of me...and no one else is to blame, yet seeing her somehow validated the hurt that was holding on to the little shaking girl inside of me.
I once heard Dr. Laura Schlessinger speaking on air to a woman, she too had a broken mommy. Dr. Laura told her she needed to mourn the loss of her mother, the mother she wished she had.
I stood in the kitchen and cried, realizing I too had to mourn the loss of my mother, the mother I wished I had, the mother that would be there when I needed her.
I guess it fractures a child when they are forced to grow up. Forced to make decisions or be the adult of the house, to need comfort and receive none. It makes one tough, it can make one bitter, it may make them a bully and it can give them the facade of confidence.
You can't hurt me, I won't allow it.
in that moment of mourning came the beginning of healing.
She couldn't be, she was incapable of being that mother I needed.
Narcissism stands in the way of empathy, it annihilates sympathy for anyone but itself.
It moves to the front of the grade school lunch line and punches anyone who tries to get in the way.
Narcissism consumes my mother, it does not absolve her of her behavior but it does explain it.
And, it allows me to lay aside all expectations from her.
She cannot let me down if I do not look to her to lift me up.
Miss M somehow still was waiting, needing validation from her parents. They were unable to give it, she was still allowing them to let her down.
She never returned to the class........Healing is a Choice.