My mother has so many –isms, it’s easier to figure out what she’s not: kind, loving, giving, nurturing, forgiving, and etc. I have read many psychology books to try to figure out what the hell happened to me (my childhood torture by a raving lunatic), and thus, what the fuck is wrong with mom (and how can I fix her…but more about that later). To date, I have diagnosed her with the following issues:
Malignant Narcissism: selfishness, lack of empathy, no boundaries, paranoia, anti-social
Borderline-Personality Disorder: variable moods, splitting (shifting from idealizing and demonizing), unstable sense of self, disassociation (including psychogenic amnesia—usually during beatings), impulsivity
These are the two major hitters that defined the world I lived in with my older brother. My mother’s instability littered the house with landmines. I never felt safe. I never knew when I was going to be emotionally and/or physically abused… but I knew it was coming. The emotional abuse was tied in with her narcissism, paranoia and splitting. This is the trifecta!!!! Here’s how it works:
Narcissism: all things are about her.
Splitting: Those who are idealized (and that pendulum can swing on a dime) are there to help her. Those who are demonized are out to get her.
Paranoia: There is a network of demonized people who have formed a network of people out to get her. You are part of it. I am part of it, when I cross her. Any woman in my life is the head of it.
In this triad made in hell, there is no way to win. There is no convincing otherwise. There is no structure for which to moor a rational argument.
The physical abuse primarily took the form of beatings with a belt. During the beatings, she would blackout and lose control, swinging the belt wildly at all areas of my body, sometimes hitting me full force with the belt buckle. I was then belittled if I made sounds of pain or protest “oh, big man gonna cry?” If I stayed silent, it only enraged her more and made the beating go on longer
This article spells out what can happen to children that grow up this way: http://www.suite101.com/content/parents-with-npd-a56054
In this article, it states:
“Children of NPD parents can be affected in many different ways. Some become narcissistic themselves, and the cycle continues. Others lack a healthy sense of narcissism, and pathologically care for the needs of others at the expense of themselves. It’s also common for kids of NPD parents to develop anxiety disorders, depression, and other mood disorders. After all, they grew up in a household where their self worth was constantly under attack, and where they never felt safe.”
“care for the needs of others at the expense of themselves” and try to fix mom because that’s what I was programmed to do—take care of my abuser and serve her needs.