This is the story of my childhood and how I survived.
Growing up with my mom was interesting, to put it lightly. She was never really outright abusive to me or my sister, but there were other things that she did or lack thereof, that really hurt me. Maybe it was the fact that she didn’t allow open communication with my dad, who lived 11 hours away, or that I wasn’t allowed to visit my aunt (Dad’s sister) who lived only 3 hours away. Maybe it was the fact that she told me one year at Christmas that my dad didn’t love my sister and me as much as she did because he didn’t buy as many Christmas presents as she did (he had just been laid off from his job). Maybe it was the times that she would sit on me and hold a knife to her throat and tell me that she was going to kill herself because of how terrible of a daughter I was. Maybe it was when she spit in my sister’s face over some damn sneakers. It was probably all of those things and more. I didn’t realize the toll it took on me until I was much older, and really until I met my husband and had to make a decision on the spot if I wanted to date a man with a child from a former relationship. Clearly, I made the right choice. But anyways, let’s talk about my childhood.
My parents divorced when I was 7-9 years old. I am not sure of the exact time, but I know I was young. To be honest, I don’t really remember the divorce or the next few years after. And I believe that to be because I was under my mom’s control. I always went along with what she said and told me to do. I never questioned any of it. My teenage years were hard and my mother made them that much harder by never allowing me open access to my father. She actively encouraged me to not speak to my dad or visit (I only saw him twice a year as it was) and wouldn’t allow me to contact with any of his family. The irony is that I am closer than ever to my dad’s side of the family. Funny how things come full circle. She also had an open door of revolving men in and out of our house. One time I was about 13-14 and my mom left me home alone to go to the club. I was scared and slept in the living room with all the lights on in just a t-shirt (I am in my own home). She comes home, very drunk, with her friend and 3 VERY young Marines (21-23 years old). Imagine how awkward that would be to see your mom come home like that when you are that young. She had an on again/off again relationship with a guy who was married. That was a great role model right there. One time she had one guy over, I was about 14-15, and her on again/off again boyfriend showed up at the house. I answered the door and imagine my surprise when I saw him there. Well, that was just weird. These are just some of the bad examples of what I was shown to believe was normal when it came to a man/father/relationship. She did all of this while trashing my dad and not allowing me to have a real relationship with him. I had such a distorted view on relationships until I was really into my late 20s.
When I was about 19 I finally started to develop my own voice and question her actions and behavior. I got married (not for the right reasons, but because I wanted to escape my mom) and that really showed her true colors. At that point, I started to really keep my distance and reached out to my aunt. It wasn’t until I was about 23 or so that I finally got the nerve to completely cut her off. I just quit talking to her
one day. For the first few years, it was tough because what girl doesn’t want her mom? But it was for the best. I started to talk to my dad’s family more and I actually started developing a relationship with my dad again.
I got out of a really nasty break up when I was about 27 and that opened my eyes to a lot. I realized that I didn’t need anyone to take care of me and that I was going to amount to something no matter what my mother said. I was going to prove her wrong. At that point, I started to really do some serious soul searching and start to take responsibility for my own actions. I couldn’t blame my actions on my childhood, albeit I did not have the best one. My mother was fully incapable of loving us as children. We were simply little people she could lean on for support and manipulate to get her way. I knew that if I wanted a happy life, I had to forgive my mom. I could not harbor resentment forever.
I made a decision when I met my now husband and his son, that I was never going to be the type of mom that my mother was to me. I make a conscious decision every day to be the bigger person and to be the wife and stepmom (hopefully bio-mom soon) that my mother never could be. I take what I experienced in my childhood and let it build me up instead of tearing me down. Where there is fear and hate, I provide love and safety. I can honestly say that I do not hate my mom. I love my mom. I have come to a place of understanding, a place I got to by becoming a stepmom. I believe that my mom was/is incapable of loving unconditionally. I believe in her mind she thought that how she was raising us was right. I am here to say that it was not. I have forgiven her and I am at peace now. It still hurts a bit to not have a relationship with my mom. But I have 3 wonderful aunts, a great stepmom, and an awesome support group that helps me when I need a little push.
In closing, I just want to say never lose hope. Always love your kids, and never speak badly about the other parent. And just remember what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.
A Child Who Survived
If you or someone you know is suffering the effects of being raised by a narcissistic mother, click HERE.