It is difficult to deal with a narcissist when you are a grown, independent, fully functioning adult. The children of narcissists have an especially difficult burden, for they lack the knowledge, power, and resources to deal with their narcissistic parents without becoming their victims. Whether cast into the role of Scapegoat or Golden Child, the Narcissist's Child never truly receives that to which all children are entitled: a parent's unconditional love. Start by reading the 46 memories--it all began there.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Sandwich

She was bored.

Her chores were done, her homework finished, the potatoes peeled, salted, covered with water, and sitting in a pan on the back of the stove. She checked the three tiny rooms of the little flat again, just to be sure…every thing was clean, dusted, vacuumed, neat as a pin. She was bored.

She couldn’t go out…she had to have permission to go out and she wasn’t allowed to call Mother at work except in an emergency. A real emergency, like somebody had died on the porch steps…and even then, she was supposed to call the police, not bother her mother, who couldn’t do anything about it from halfway across the city, for God’s sake and what was she, a goddamned doctor or something? No, she couldn’t go out...

Maybe she could watch a little TV? If she only watched until 4:30 the set would have enough time to cool down before Mother got home, right? But she’d been busted that way before, turning on the TV without permission and being na├»ve enough to think she wouldn’t get caught. But Mother had put her purse on top of the set when she walked in the door and the rising warmth told the tale. No, she wouldn’t push her luck again…she didn’t know how long it took the set to cool down, so she wasn’t taking any chances.

But she was bored. She pulled out the battered little cardboard box from beneath her bed at the end of the kitchen, the place where the table was supposed to be. She sat on the neatly made cot and put the box in her lap, quickly rifling through its contents. A tattered crossword puzzle book briefly caught her attention, but it didn’t hold. Neither did anything else. She shoved the box back under the bed and stood up, absently tugging the almost imperceptible wrinkles from the thin coverlet. “Give her no reasons…” flitted through the back of her mind, but she dismissed the thought as disloyal. She was bored.

She absently opened the cupboards, the refrigerator…a sandwich! She’d have a sandwich! She could sit on the stoop to eat it and if she left the window over her bed open, she could hear the phone if it rang. God forbid she should miss a phone call and the instructions it was certain to bring. Even being in the bathroom was no excuse… A sandwich!

The bread was stale and she had to pick a furry green dot off one corner of the crust, but it would do. She opened the refrigerator and took out the mayonnaise and cold meat, careful to spread only the thinnest layer on the bread and to separate only one slice of meat from its brothers. She wrapped the sandwich in a paper towel and cleaned up the evidence of her illicit snack, then took a bite from the top. Eh. She wasn’t in the mood for bologna. She worked the bite until she could swallow it, then wrapped the remains of the sandwich in the paper towel and placed it near the back of the refrigerator…she would take it to school for lunch tomorrow.

It was an uneventful evening. She sat on her bed with the old bread board across her lap, eating dinner while her mother and step father ate at the coffee table as they watched TV. The sofa was too small for three and there was no other seating in the living room, so she either had to sit on the floor to watch, or stand in the hallway near the bathroom door, where she was “always underfoot, goddammit!” She opted for her bed and the books she checked out of the school library during her lunch break. Heaven forbid she should go after school and end up late coming home and checking in…her ears would burn and her face would smart for hours from the tongue lashing such defiant independence would surely provoke. She’d rather spare herself that, so she would bolt her sandwich and spend the rest of the lunch period in the warm embrace of the library, savouring the fusty, bookish smell, browsing the volumes and following her literary whims. Mary Poppins this week, Aldous Huxley next, perhaps Upton Sinclair after that. After dinner, when the dishes were washed and the pots scrubbed and the stove degreased, she would shower quickly…there would be no hot water in the morning by the time her turn at the bathroom came…and climb into her cot with the latest borrowed volume, block out the TV noise on the other side of the curtain separating the rooms, and read herself to sleep.

Mornings were hectic, with the three of them trying to use the same bathroom at the same time, but since she didn’t have to leave for school until after they had left for work, she would invariably be the last one in. She actually preferred it this way, even with the lack of hot water, since she didn’t have to hurry, there being no one waiting on her to finish. She was standing in her bathrobe, just rinsing her teeth, when her nerves stood on edge at the sound of her mother’s screech. All three of her names…dear God, she was in trouble up to her eyetops! But what on earth for?

She dried her mouth on her sleeve as she rushed to the kitchen from whence the screams emanated, lest she linger too long and find herself summarily dragged there by her hair. She’d been too slow before and the consequence had made brushing her hair a tender affair for nearly a week. She nearly skidded to a stop in front of the refrigerator where her mother stood with the door open.

“Just what in the name of God is this?” her mother demanded, shoving a paper-towel wrapped object so close to her face that she couldn’t focus on it. She felt suddenly cold inside. Her stomach pulled into a tight, agonizing knot. She could feel the colour drain instantly from her face.

“A s-s-s-sandwich,” she stammered. “Lunch today,” she managed to add before she unaccountably found herself sitting on the kitchen floor.

“Get up, you smart-mouthed little bitch, and don’t take that tone with me!”

She got up, carefully schooling her face into an expressionless mask until she knew whether she should look frightened or stoic…the right facial expression could shorten this. Her left ear was ringing and felt hot and fat. She looked up slowly and saw the glower on her mother’s face that meant an explanation…a good explanation…had better be forthcoming or there would “be more where that came from.”

“I was planning to take it for lunch today…” she began.

“There is a bite out of it,” her mother said without even moving her frighteningly red lips.

“I…I know…I took one bite and I…I…uh…I wasn’t hungry so I wrapped it up to take it for lunch today,” she finished in a rush.

Suddenly she was sitting on the floor again, seeing her mother through a kind of red haze, her ear ringing so badly she could barely hear “…times not to waste food…never listen to a thing…incorrigible brat…stop snivelling…stand up here…” She struggled to her feet, feeling a little dizzy, forgetting her facial expression.

“Aw, gee,” came the nasal, taunting sneer. “Now you’re gonna blubber, for God’s sake, over a couple of love taps. You want to bawl? I’ll give you something to bawl about!” She heard it, the cracking sound, but she neither saw nor felt it. One second she was leaning slightly against the refrigerator for support, the next second she was on the floor again. It needed mopping, she thought absently, seeing something that looked wet and sticky near her mother’s shoe. I gotta mop this up before she sees it, she thought dazedly, or I’ll be in big trouble when she does…

And suddenly it was very quiet. She stayed perfectly still, knowing that to move when motion was not commanded could earn another blow. She looked around carefully with her right eye…her face was on the floor such that the left one had no vantage. Mother’s shoes were gone…when had she left the room? She waited a bit longer, in case she had just moved out of sight and was waiting for her to move unbidden. But there was no sound save the ticking of her alarm clock. Slowly, carefully, she raised herself to a sitting position, noting the small puddle on the floor. Embarrassment flooded over her…she’d had a nosebleed! Not exactly the best time for that since it probably splattered on Mother’s blouse when she slapped her…there would be hell to pay for that! Was Mother in the bathroom, rinsing out the blood, ready to smack her again if she interrupted before the storm was over? Slowly, wondering why her stomach felt bruised, she pulled herself to a standing position gripping the edge of the sink and glanced over at the clock. 8:45. Dear God! Mother was at work by now…so was Frank…and she was late for school! Now she was really going to catch hell!


  1. My mother didn't feed me. I would become "fat" if I ate. I was on an eating "hiatus" for a long time. Needless to say, I am very overweight right now.

    1. As am I (overweight). Mommie Dearest once told us 5 kids beforehand that she and our dad would be taking us out to eat in a (modest) restaurant, a true rarity (we never went anywhere), and that we would be allowed to "order anything we wanted." After a sandwich, I timidly asked if I might have a piece of strawberry shortcake for dessert? It looked so good, and I was still hungry! Her reply was, "You don't have to make a pig of yourself!" I knew better than to ask again.

      I was toothpick skinny my whole childhood, not getting my first period till a good 2 years past the average age, because I had so little body fat. As an adult, I once typed in my teenage age, weight, and height into a percentile calculator, which said at the time I was "borderline starvation."

      In high school, I found little odd jobs here and there, and used the money I earned to buy food at the school cafeteria. My 5 foot, 6 inch frame "ballooned" up to 120 pounds, at which point I finally started menstruating. Mom derided my what in retrospect was a nice figure, by telling me I was fat and had a big "caboose" (rear end).

      I grew to be an adult who continued to stock up on eating as a survival means, the same way I had as a child when I say, for example, went to my grandparents' house and was allowed to eat til I was full, or when someone indulged me in an all-you-can-eat buffet. Sadly, though I don't excuse my lack of control now that I have food in abundance, I can't seem to get past this "I must stock up, because tomorrow there may be nothing" mentality. I am at least 40 pounds overweight. :(

      I'm so sorry to read that I'm by far not the only one who struggles with this...I really wish I was...(((hugs))) to the rest of you... __Poohbear

    2. I could have written every word here, Poohbear--right down to eating my fill at my grandparents' house, being borderline starved as a child, and being told not to make a pig of myself. At the same time I was a bony little starvling, my GC Bro was not only overweight, he had rolls of "baby fat" hanging over his jeans.

      I was also ridiculed when I developed what I see today was an attractive figure. I was told to suck my stomach in because I looked pregnant and my NM also used the phrase "big caboose" for my rear end--even though she was bigger in the hips than I was!!

      And like you, today I am overweight. No excuses, but the "eat now, there may not be anything later" strikes a resonant chord.

      Wouldn't it be lovely if there was some way to give these women a taste of their own medicine, even if just for a week or two??

    3. Well, my NM is now bone-skinny herself, though when we kids were little she was chubby. She prides herself on her slim appearance, too, even though she is 80+ and it really doesn't matter anymore. It's actually very sad.

      I dreaded going to my son's wedding recently, because I know I'm overweight, and I could hear her voice resonating in my head about how fat I'd become. I know how over the years, how she'd cut down my sister-in-laws, my sisters, her "friends," some lady at church, ANYONE who wasn't as slim as she was. How could she not say the same of me?

      But, I also rejoiced because my son (and his older brother) both had nice weddings, and they happily invited ME, while my oldest brother eloped (as did I) to avoid conflict with her (she didn't approve of our choices in mates), and my other brother got his wedding plans ruined by her, eventually having a small ceremony in his apartment. I'm not happy for their misfortune, of course, only thankful that my own sons gladly danced with me at their weddings and told me they loved me. Fat and all, I have something she never will...

      Thank you for understanding..."Poohbear"

  2. Yup--me too. My mother was very stingy with food. She counted how many apples in the fruit bowl (I could have 1 per day), she bought "bologna ends" (scraps from the deli), day old bread, powdered milk. We weren't that poor--she had money for cigarettes and wine, silk cocktail dresses and mountains of junk jewellery, but her grocery budget would barely feed a bird, let alone a growing teen.

    I am also very overweight...

  3. Violet i can perfectly understand this food thing. Narcissistis instincitively starve their children like hitler did to the jews, why, when you are undernoursihed you just cannot rebel, simple.

    BTW how on earth did you come to lose your children to your NM, what sort of a law is that. Were you being financially dependent on her. You are the biolgoical mom and you have more rights to them than anyone else. Did your NM ever realise the separation anxiety when a mom is separated from her children or vice versa.

    When i meant tracey's site has been removed, it is the, the site doesnt go through. I dont know if she has blocked my IP because i commented something about sam vaknin

    1. She has probably blocked your IP address. She bans people at the drop of a word and you dropped the forbidden words "Sam Vaknin." Tracy's cohort, Michelle (aka Light) hates Sam Vaknin and saying something about him is the kiss of death. The site is still operational--I was able to find it on Google and when I clicked the link, the site opened without any trouble.

      I suspect my NM was stingy with food because it cost money and anything she perceived as "wastage" was money in the trash to her. Plus, in this instance, she perceived that I had disobeyed her either by making a snack or by not finishing it (I am still not clear on her "reasoning").

      The loss of my children was a complicated process that took two years and the courts in three states and involved kidnapping, perjury and a ton of lies and subterfuge. More information about it is contained in the 46 Memories.

      Did my NM not know of the anxiety issues? Of course. Did she care? In a way--she knew it would hurt me, so that made it OK. But she had a goal in mind (to provide her GC brother with children to adopt) and nothing else mattered to her but getting what she wanted, regardless of who got hurt along the way...typically narcissistic, eh?

    2. I just lost my 10 yr old daughter, who has lived with me as primary parent since birth, to my N ex husband. He lied his way through the court system and they all believed him. Now, she lives in his abusive household :(

    3. I lost my children in a very different way. After a childhood and many years of my adulthood of being scapegoated by my family (except my Dad) I chose to leave the family. My Dad had become very ill and was no longer able to make clear decisions which required a full power of attorney. I could not bear to see the way that he was treated, after reporting this several times my mother finally convinced them I was crazy. She already had allies so they went to work on my oldest daughter, my mother and sister took her on a vacation while my Dad stayed with me (no one else would care for him while my mother was gone which was lucky for me). During this vacation they told her that her mother was a liar and a theif and could not be trusted, they gave several examples, most of which were bold face lies although I did steal a diary from a store when I was 12. That's how it started, then on every holiday or special occasion they would tell her " you have to come to grandmas for Christmas, this could be your Grandpa's last Christmas". This went on for 13 years, she even went there for mothers day, I never spent a Christmas with my Grandchildren even though I was their babysitter. The others never offered to help with them one time. My youngest daughter left my home in 2001 for college, she has earned a masters degree and is very successful in her career. She rents a home (she travels most of the year) from a cousin of mine whom knows no boundries and has taken over my daughter and convinced her she could do a better job as a mom. This woman has 2 daughters well into their 30's and still has their names on her license plate. There are many ways to lose your children. I am alone. It is unfair.

  4. The soft spots in one's life is one's children. Saddam to extricate the truth used to put one's chidlren behind glass doors and release hornets and make the parents watch. Another was spousal rape in front of the signifcant other. The devil knows how exactly it hurts.

    You have a good parallel to my life. Since my son was the only witness to the death threat my FIL tried to kidnap him and later his 4 year old sister, both were thwarted on time. Chennai police are a bunch of hoodlums.

    My son and me anticipated another round of the same and since he was on his hols because of ramadan last year, i new the narcissitic mother inlaw would try to harm him when he is alone since me and my wife both work. i locked him up behind the grill with the key in my hands and gave him a digital camera. Sure enough a decent looking strangers knocked at my door claiming to be family counsellors. My son gave me a call and i asked him to take down all the details, and the details given were all fake, secondly my 10 year old son photographed them both and slammed the damn door on their faces. I inteded to use the pic as an evidence of trying to liquidate the evidence. When i reported this to the so called highest office the commissioner's office, the dirty hoodlum of a police officer made a mockery of my son's bravery, my pen drive containing the photos and made fun of an entire case which was concerning mental child abuse and kidnap attempts. Later when i walked out of the police station, the guy came right behind me meaning silently to ask for a bribe for i am a suave person.

    Believe me taking a narcissist to the court and police does not work. Police is an overt narcissist and the court is a covert narccisst each of them is a lickspit personality. Since blood is thicker than water you can expect the legal system to support the narcissist and legitimise his crimes and gaslight the victims. Invariably the scapegoat children who are liberated are kind and soft saintly personalities due to their sufferings and they are beacon lights to the world. When counter accusations and counter suits are filed against the scapegoat, the poor thing will be left like a deer before headlights and be accused of a false case.

    Believe me the one thing that will keep the narccissist at bay is an ALPHA male husband in the household. By alpha i dont mean a PUA, i mean a man of intellect emotions and a dynamic leader and a politically incorrect truth.

    Slaying the narcissist is like Hercules and the hydra. The most effective way of slaying the narcissist as Dr.Vaknin puts it and as i have observed personally is to shed light. This will disspiate the hydra. First spread the message about him in no clear terms to everyone. Though people might support the narcissist superficially, deep within they all know the truth.

    Secondly confront him with an open mail stating all the facts about him and how you have managed to unravel his crimes and that you intend to take action. But mind you dont use threatening terms or insulting words so that he ends up exploitng the loop holes. Once you shed the light the vampire is bound to howl and rant, after a few months you find him disintegrating both externally, losing his support system, plus the infection within you is bound to disintegrate as well, you will find authentic peace. When is say email it is because when you try speaking to a narcissist, he will brush off all you say, it will go over his head and ears and he is bound to invalidate and confuse you. A message is more of a continual slap on his face and believe me narcissists never destroy your communication.

    Mere no contact is more of a band aid. what the naricissist needs a dose of laser phototherapy, first for you to recognise his evil and later communicate it to him. It worked everytime for me.

    BTW is it possible for me to communicate to you in email or add you on my FB. We can spread the message together.

    1. I will soon have an email contact form on the blog that protects my email address from spambots. Watch for it.

      The problem with police is, unless the narcissist actually breaks a law--and does is very clearly--they can do nothing.

      Very clever narcissists can actually find ways to manipulate the courts to get them what they want. Fighting them can be a costly and exhausting battle.

      You appear to be doing well, but please bear in mind that I am American, as are many of the people who visit here, and they will not agree with your assessment of the role of an Alpha Male in these dealings. Many DoNMs don't have men in their lives or if they do, often those men are narcissists as well. We need to know that we can survive these predators on our own, that we have the strength and fortitude to thrive without someone else stepping in and rescuing it. This, I think, is a cultural difference because I know in Muslim and Hindu cultures (my husband is Hindu) women often are expected to take a much different role than in Western cultures, and men as well. For your culture a strong Alpha Male to run interference with an NM may be the ideal solution, but it is not necessarily the case with people who were raised in and live in a Western culture.

      You might want to read up on other personality disorders as the narcissist you describe seems to have a co-morbidity with at least one other disorder. You might find some research on Anti-Social PD to be very enlightening!

    2. Hello. I agree with the comment that police are like N's. I was a chronic runaway from age 14-15, only to escape NM's abuse, NOT because I was intrinsically a "bad girl" as NM always made me out to be. I would lie about my age, naively believing I could somehow get a job somewhere and finally, finally be FREE of her, on my own.

      Once, I was gone 3 whole days, during a blizzard, nonetheless...NM couldn't have cared less, except that she was worried about what others might think of HER with her rebellious, trouble-making daughter.

      I was picked up by the police several times, to which her response always was, "I want her put in jail!" Once, an officer responded, "We can't put her in jail, she hasn't broken any laws," to which she replied, "She takes drugs!" I protested, "WHAT drugs do I take??" to which she replied, "Anacin." ??!!

      But, the police always believed the rest of her lies, and promptly returned me to her custody, never asking about the beatings, the emotional abuse, ANYTHING. She was, after all, Miss Upstanding Citizen/Concerned Mother, right? Back I went to hell-on-earth till finally, I graduated from high school and was able to leave as soon as I turned 18.

      What I never understood is, why the authorities never decided to ask ME what I was running awy from? Why did they always believe HER?

    3. You must have grown up in a later time than me, because running away would have gotten me sent to reform school!

      But my parents fought over my custody regularly and I found myself asking the same question as you, but of the judges rather than the police: Why didn't anybody bother to ask ME?? And why did they always believe HER??

      I think people view children...especially teenagers...rather schizophrenically. On the one hand, children are sweet and innocent and naive but on the other hand, all mothers love their children and want the best for them, so if there is a conflict between mother and child, the child HAS to be at fault!

      When I was 17 I took an overdose of sleeping pills. Under the law I had to be admitted to the local psychiatric ward for 72 hours for observation. I had several sessions with a psychiatrist before I was scheduled to be released...back to her custody!! What part of "I would rather be dead than live another day with her!!" did he not understand? When I made a direct threat to him that if I went back to her I would do it again and this time I would make sure I was not found until it was too late, he said "You don't really mean that," in the most patronizing tone of voice. Something must have eventually convinced him to keep me on the ward because I was there for several weeks until I was finally released to the custody of my father.

      If your mother broke your bones, the authorities would come and take you away to a place of safety; if she neglected you to the point of starvation, they would rescue you; if she sexually exploited you, they would take you away. But emotional and psychological abuse? Fair game. It has bothered me all my life because, despite my NM's heavy handed physical abuse, it the the emotional assaults that stuck with me the longest and did the most damage. And it is the one that there is no law against...

  5. Violet thanks for your compassionate response. What you say makes sense. Western women need to make it on their own as marriages are pretty volatile and these alphas themselves are narcissists. Welcome to SE Asia the land of beta males where one dynamic alpha is enough to put down hoardes of narcissists. Anyway my FB ID is rgopi pluto, just google my first name rgopi and you get the first hit as rgopi pluto vanitha persephone.

    The police in the US want a solid evidence, the police in india spread their legs for bribes. That is when the average citizen realises that he is living in an insecure world and is bound to go into a anxiety disorder.

  6. Violet, this memory-story is shattering. What an evil, horrible mother.

    To me, the worst part is that she left you unconscious on the floor. She battered you so horribly that she knocked you out, and then, she just left you there, and went to work. You could have been dying, you could have already been dead.

    My heart is aching for the little girl you were.

    1. Charity, I always believed there was something wrong with her...I had the good fortune to be raised by her parents for two years--until I was 4--and when I went back to her, I knew something was wrong. When I started school and compared notes with the other little girls about their home lives, I knew for certain that there was something wrong with HER, not with me.

      That she was a liar was very clear to me...that she lied to herself, however, was not so clear (I don't think I could conceptualize that yet). And that is what I think was operant here--she simply told herself that I was "faking" it and then she believed it. I didn't yet understand projection, either, but I suspect that, in a similar circumstance, she would have faked being unconscious and if she would do it, then I was doing it. And so she could leave me there without concern. Had she killed me (which I quite regularly feared she would do), I am sure she would have found a way to make it my fault.

  7. I was 12 when my mother tried to gas us all to death. This was after her marriage to my dad had ended violently, and my dad had his own apartment and was involved with someone else.

    There was a safety shut-off valve on the new whole house gas furnace. So when she sent us 5 kids to bed, then blew out the pilot light, leaving the gas valve turned to the ON position, and then set the thermostat as high as it would go, she expected that none of us would wake up the next morning.

    I had insomnia then, it had started on the night my parents' marriage ended, when my dad came so close to killing my mother that I had thought she was dead. So I was wide awake in my bed, waiting for the heat to come on as the house got colder and colder, then finally I went out into the hall to turn the thermostat up, only it was already as high as it would go. Then I looked in the utility room and saw that the pilot light was out. Not knowing how to light it, I woke my mother up. She lit the pilot, turned the thermostat down to its normal setting, and then, as the house filled with wonderful heat, back to bed I went.

    This happened again the next night. And again, and again. How many times after all these years, I don't know. Maybe half a dozen times. Maybe more.

    Each time it would happen the same way. Me, lying wide awake in the darkness, while my much-younger siblings all slept. The house getting colder and colder, the heat not coming on. I would go out into the hall and find the thermostat as high as it would go. I would go into the utility room and see no pilot light. I would wake up my mother and she would light the pilot and the heat would come on.

    I assumed the pilot light was faulty. Or maybe the cat, who liked to sleep in the utility room, was getting too close to the flame and snuffing it out. But what puzzled me was how the thermostat was always being turned up as high as it would go. Maybe one of my little sisters or brothers were getting out of bed and setting the thermostat up as high as it would go, because the house was getting cold? But, how would they even know how to do that? How could they even reach that high? Biggest mystery of all: How could any one of them be getting out of bed and going out into the hall to turn up the thermostat, without me hearing or seeing them? We kids slept with our bedroom doors open, only our mother kept her door closed. The bedroom I shared with my 5-year-old twin sisters was tiny, my single bed butted up against the foot of their double bed. From the street lights filtering through the curtains, I could see both of them lying in bed, and I could hear their gentle snores.

    Directly across the hall from the open doorway of our bedroom, was the little room where our 4 year old and 2 year-old brothers slept. Surely if one of them were getting up and going out into the hall, I would hear it or see and, and I really doubted if either one of them knew how to turn up the thermostat, or could even reach that high.

    Still, it was the only thing that made sense... one of them had to be turning the thermostat up as high as it would go, all those nights when the heat stopped coming on and the house grew cold and the pilot light was out on the furnace.
    (continued next comment)

  8. (continued from previous comment)
    One day mother told me she needed to talk to me. She had something on her mind that she couldn't live with all by herself anymore, she said. But if she told another adult, she would go to prison for the rest of her life, and the 5 of us kids would be sent to 5 foster homes and we would never see each other again. So the only person she could think of to tell was me, she said.

    And then she told me that she had been trying to gas us all to death, all those nights. Only the furnace had a safety shutoff valve. She kept trying to figure out how to override that safety shutoff, she thought she had figured it out that last time, but no. So then she was going to drive us all off a cliff and kill us all that way, only she couldn't think of a cliff anywhere close by high enough, and plus that wasn't such an easy way to die, as being gassed to death while we slept.

    She told me: "I brought you kids into the world, so I have the right to take you out of it. And I would be doing you all a favor, because life is so hard."

    Then she warned me not to tell anyone, or else she would go to prison for life, and no foster home would take all 5 of us kids, so we would be separated forever. She knew that my little sisters and brothers were the world to me, losing my family was a fate worse than death to my 12-year-old mind. So I kept her secret for years.

    Meanwhile, she started spreading vicious lies about me to the whole family. Obviously her preemptive strike so that if and when I finally told the terrible secret that she had burdened me with, no one would believe me.

    I was the only one in school then, and every day all day in school I worried myself sick that I might come home and find them all dead. Every night I couldn't sleep, listening for the furnace to come on.

    I am 59 now and she still lies about me. Why? I'm long gone, the danger of her being arrested for trying to kill us all in 1965 is nowhere in the realm of possibility. Why does she still make up lies about me? She has already destroyed my reputation.

    1. I don't need to tell you HOW inappropriate that was of her, to burden you with such a tale...and the knowledge that she had repeatedly tried to kill you...and then threaten you will the loss of your family.

      Why does she lie still? Because the fact that she would not be prosecuted is not material--what is material is that if your truth came out and you were believable, SHE would look bad. She would look weak and other people might think it was awful she tried to kill five children (look at the lack of sympathy offered to Andrea Yate who was truly psychotic when she drowned her five kids--your NM could expect no better if word got out what she tried to do and was believed).

      She lies about you to keep you unbelievable. If she were to allow things to fall quiet, allow people to forget that you are a "liar," allow anyone to think you just MIGHT be believable, then if you told this story (or any other she didn't want public because it might tarnish her halo), she would lose face. And we all know how that works for an N!

    2. "She lies about you to keep you unbelievable. If she were to allow things to fall quiet, allow people to forget that you are a "liar," allow anyone to think you just MIGHT be believable, then if you told this story (or any other she didn't want public because it might tarnish her halo), she would lose face. And we all know how that works for an N!"

      You are right, of course. It should have been obvious that this is why she still lies about me. I guess I am just too close to the situation to figure it out for myself.

      Thank you, Violet, for sharing your compassion and wisdom so freely. You are an oasis in the desert.

      I didn't see this reply of yours until now. It's been a hectic month.

    3. Replies are never necessary, Charity. I consider them gifts and they need never be given out of a sense of obligation.



  9. when myMothers latest attempt to break me & my bug sister up didn't work she did what she always does, stop eating, take laxatives & diuretics & smoke like a chimney this so she could rapidly get herself dehydrated & super skinny & yellow & have her sister, our flying monkey of an aunt rush her to the hospital. When they admitted her she got to work on calling a mentally disabled niece to get her to call my sister which called me...she is also anorexia & bulimic and told Sister she had signed a dnr & to tell me she loved me & I was welcome to visit!!" I noped out on that one :) instead, I called the charge nurse where she in the hospital & made sure to tell her the complete backstory, especially anorexia/ bulimia taking laxatives & diuretic & that this was all intentional & how she had no problem setting up visits, eating while talking with supposedly 20% lung compacity! having no problem at all! Told nurse mother was very energetic & has so much energy & vigor she routinely drives herself all over town shopping & visiting with her minions & is quite full of life! I also pointed out besides being dehydrated which they were treating with Ivs & long term asthma from years ofheavy smoking mother was really healthy for a 67 year old! also, her breathing meds give her excellent control! I could go on & on! please excuse my bad sentance structure but the words came tumbling out lol oh yeah, I never met her til I was 12 she left 5 kids with a man who only fathered 1 or 2 of us & he molested me for much more but hardly matters as it doesn't lessen the abuse or what its done to not tell it all...God bless :)

  10. Dear, Sweet Violet. I am in tears as I write this. I could have written your Sandwich story myself. I received the same treatment as you. Some people should never have had kids. My mom was definitely one of them. It was hidden from the world, I am fairly sure my dad didn't really witness the treatment I got. I remember getting spanked and berated for getting a little glass of juice, her screaming "You aren't worth juice! That juice is for your dad! Don't ever let me catch you in the fridge again!" And you can substitute milk, anything, for juice. I had appendicitis for a couple weeks before Mom resentfully and accusingly took me to the clinic, cursing me and accusing me of faking it. It was free as Dad was in the Air Force. We stood in line and I vomited and passed out in the mess on the floor, and embarrassed her to death. They moved me to the front of the line, and sped me to the hospital for the surgery. They told me and my Mom I had ulcers (they had to do an exploratory, I was so sick). I had to miss a week of school and Mom was sniping at me the whole time for being a wimp and faking it to get out of school. (I loved school, this was the 8th new school in 7 years, and I would so rather be there than with my folks.) This year, 7th grade, I went to three new schools, in Duluth. Minnesota, Harrogate, Tn, and in Dededo, Guam. No wonder I had ulcers. I was pregnant with my first son when I went to spend a few days with my folks in Biloxi, where Mom was checking out receiving treatment for tumors at the base, and Mom spent the entire week deriding me for being pregnant, like I was a whore (I had been married for 5 years) and telling me she never wanted to see that damned baby and I needed to get rid of that damned baby because it would ruin her life like I ruined hers. She din't live to see Nick; she took her life when she got home. The sting has just killed me for the past 29 years. Dad blamed me for her death and we never were close. All Mom's family except one aunt were also ice cold to me. It has been tough to say the least. I am an only child so there is no one to share or believe me. There is so much more....And to not be believed really stings. At least I have my cousins, I married a series of narcissists, one of whom treated our older child as the scapegoat and the younger as the golden child. Needless to say, the oldest has many issues now, at 29. Even though he never met my mother, he could be her...So many of the same irrational prejudices and hates (which I have never shared with anyone) has made me question if reincarnation might be possible....I have gone on too long...
    God bless you, Sweet Violet. I pray joy and love to you...

  11. OMG, these stories are so horrible and sad. I want to send hugs to all the people who have suffered so much in the hands of their cruel N parents.

    I just wanted to share that I too had eating disorders caused by my N mother and possibly N father (still haven't figured him out).

    I was always very thin and when I became a teenager and began to develop I was teased by them constantly. They would comment on how big my breasts were and how they should be small and beautiful like my mothers'!!

    They would repeatedly ask me to stand "right" because I have many curves and they would say I had "way too many" and that I should stand straight (something completely impossible for me since you really can't avoid your curves!).

    As soon as I gained a few normal pounds (just because I was now a woman) I was labeled a pig and a cow daily, and my portions were strictly controlled by both my mother and father and younger Golden Child brother (who was often encouraged to tease me).

    Now, at age 35, I am about 60lbs overweight and very, very sad about it. I hate my figure and can't stand the sight of myself in the mirror. I don't even take pictures with my kids because I think I look like a "pig" and a "cow".

    I now realize how beautiful I was and how wrong they were. I have my shape, and they had theirs. No shape is wrong or right. I wish I had seen myself with kinder eyes... as I wish I could see myself now.

    It's hard to love yourself when you weren't loved by your mother. And you weren't appreciated or accepted by anybody in your immediate family... something I try to get better at every day.

  12. It's the holidays...another holiday we are not spending with the in-laws. We went no contact 4 years ago. I have spent the last 4 years, researching, documenting, writing a book. It has been my sanity, my comfort. My story is not as horrid as yours. My heart aches for those of you who have been raised by such awful, ungodly people. I'm so sorry you all were victimized. I was victimized too. However, I married into a narcissistic web of dysfunction. My MIL is a narc. My FIL is her codependent, covert narc. and their daughter is the golden child whom they have repeatedly emotional molested, brainwashed, and molded into their emotionally constipated protege. Their dysfunction has even engulfed their grand daughter. She too has been a victim since birth. This problem is a generational one. This family's dysfunction spans at least 3 generations. I'm resolved it will stop with my husband. He was so blind in the beginning. He defended them, he worked so hard to keep up the facade that his family was "normal". He had lived the lie so long that it was his reality. He was the scapegoat. So scrawny, tiny, feeble and underweight for his age. I'm sure his psychotic mother and suppressive father keep him enmeshed in an environment the stunted him physically and emotionally. His mother has always been hypersensitive about her weight. She weighs daily. Exercises religiously, fanatically. She looks down her nose at everyone and everything. She lies, manipulates, and devours others like an emotional vampire leeching their life's blood. She gaslights, triangulates, and has an amazing ability to read her husband like a book. Literally....I have never seen anything like it. It is like she has programmed him. Really an amazing thing to behold. Just incredible. He is literally her puppet. Thank you for your site. These stories, the information, the comments are so intuitive. I realize now I went through years of PTSD. I came from a loving, giving, caring Christian home. No, not perfect but forgiving and nurturing. To be engulfed in the family was a nightmare. I considered leaving my husband. I have two beautiful children and felt I had to get out of the web of lies, deceit, crazy-making passive aggressive turmoil. My health failed, my thyroid shut down. I had an emotional break-down. Now it is just a blur. I'm not sure how I survived. I believe it must have been my faith in God.


  13. A few days ago, I found this website. I have seen a bunch of websites by and for scapegoats. They helped me see. This website, well, I really like the writing style. I read two posts, and then read this one. Then, a few days later, just now, I had an idea of something to write. I started writing as it came to me. After a while, I started remembering random parts of this post. That did not distract me, and as I kept writing, I realized that I was sort of writing my own version, my version, of this post. I wanted to show what I wrote to someone, but wasn’t sure who, so I thought I might post it here. I hope that's okay.

    When I was born, I was good inside and outside, just like most everyone else. I was a good person, and I looked like a good person, like most all babies. My mother and older brother put the bad in them into me, as me. I was the problem who could be easily put down and upset, so it was easy for them to just take all their anger, direct it toward me, so I would be hurt, and then angry, so there it was, there was me being angry, being the anger they wanted to get out of themselves by putting it in me. I was their anger so they did not have to be their anger. A living garbage can for living feelings they wanted to throw away, so they could feel better. And it does make some people feel better when they make someone else feel angry. They like projecting bad feelings so someone else can have them, instead of them having those feelings.

    Sometimes they would have bad days. Even if they didn’t, they just stored up all their anger, prepared it for me, and then felt much better, no problem. The anger was packed up and ready to send. Later at home, they would find me. I would feel glares at dinner. No one talked to me as if they liked me. Formal, polite speech was the best I ever got, if I was lucky. Mom talked to me that way that day in the 1967 Ford station wagon with red interior, and painted side panels that pretended to look like wood. She told me, politely and earnestly, that she will always love me, but might not always like me.

    I had the same feeling I had when I sat at the top of the steps, and when my older brother bragged about all his friends, and when I looked out the window, and a lot of other times. Something that used to be, some sort of way of feeling that used to be there, was not there anymore. Something else was there. It was a very quiet feeling of cold. It was not physically uncomfortable cold, like when I wanted to put on a hat or a coat. It was just a little cold, and it was inside me, not outside in the air. I never thought about that feeling. It just was there, and I had to just go ahead with that feeling being there, because there it was. It was there.

    1. Such lovely lyrical writing. Your story resonates with me because it is similar to my story. I'm not sure I received as much anger as you because it was mainlyy my borderline NPD mom who was dimissive and demeaning. My father was mostly warm when he was at home, though he was also a undiagnosed, unmedicated bipolar and did have some unpredictable mood swings which made him angry and distant. There was some physical abuse too, though fortunately it was more sporadic and concentrated mostly in my teenage years. This didn't happen often, but still enough with the lack of love to make me develop that cold, blank feeling inside. I disassociated from much of the neglect, and the last emotional residue has only emerged lately, in my late fifties and early sixties. I did have some short dramatic marriages with men who were either bipolar or narcissists or both! Of course, I apparently wasn't done dealing with the issue and continued to surround myself with people with whom I could struggle to maintain that familiar lost feeling in order to try to heal it. It took more suffering before I was driven to seek help, and even then, there was much less knowledge about NPD and so I was channeled through some co-dependency counseling and groups that were helpful but not conclusive. My conversations with therapists were also in that category and I was a bit shocked to realize just how emotionally abused I'd been. I had many angry dreams of physically attacking my parents because I suppressed it and denied the situation to some degree, trying to fit in with everyone else. I have four grown kids and made every effort to love them better than I'd been loved. I've definitely made mistakes but they all still speak to me and say they love me. In that sense, my heart is full, but there is still a hole in the heart of the little girl that I once was. Now that everyone is grown and gone, I have to live more with that little girl and am lonely again for the first time in years. Perhaps I'm acting out from a place I left off somewhere. I can't seem to entirely transition, but it may be because I've been living near my elderly mother the past five years and her behavior triggers anxiety in me, even though I've been able to establish better boundaries with her and refuse to give her N-supply.

  14. I have read your post and all the comments. I was touched by every word. Every word was speaking for me. I was an outcast of the whole family since I was 11 years old. All sisters were not allowed to speak to me (the silence treatment). It went on till I graduated from university. With an enabling father and codependents, my life was hill.
    She made sure since an early age that I lose self-esteem by name calling, silent treatment, mockery, no direction, and no clue of the whole world because no one talks to me. I had no social life whatsoever, which made me naive. I was not allowed to make friends, and became loner. I grew up in a family where I was the scapegoat, and the dump trash for everyone else's agony and pain. I've always knew that my what I call un-mother is not right. I've always dreamt of having a real mother who cares about me. She nonetheless, never cared about anyone else except herself. I learned from an early age that I should take care of myself, and do all chores required. That should go without questioning the brutal treatment because it was the right thing to do as mother. My NM started the smear campaigns when I was as young as 10 or 11 years old. She always wanted to prove to the whole world that I am a slut and do not deserve any respect. I am 45 years old and the same scenario is going though I am married with two lovely kids. I was not even allowed to leave my room where I stayed in it for two decades. I assume she didn't want me to know what she says to other people. Her triangulation and manipulation did not seem to have an end. I lost contacts with my extended family as she successfully had cut me off them. We as a dysfunctional family did not have the right to speak as everyone had to keep silent while she managed to convince people that she is the perfect mother. People believe whatever she says because she wears the innocent's sheep mask decorated with religious beliefs and good deeds. My story is too long to be told in a comment, but I reached a point where I had to cut her off as she manipulated her flying monkeys (my sisters) to continue their harassment. I even had to take the beating at the age of 35 by my own sister in front of my husband and kids. Things did not stop there as I had to take up her manipulation with my husband which caused many problems to our life and we were about to divorce. According to her, I should accept everything without even showing that I know what is going on behind my back. Will the backbiting and backstabbing end? I wonder because I know that her next step of revenge is to disinherit me. I knew it few years back when she made clear remarks that I am waiting for my father to die in order to get my share of inheritance. Since that time and my father has started to make the same remark, which I never thought of.
    Everything seems orchestrated and planned very well.

  15. So glad I've found this site as I am very near breakdown, my health is terrible, my marriage is just about broke down as my husband can't cope with way I behave after spending any time or phone call from my hateful mother. The problem I have is that every since my father died 13 years ago she's an alcoholic which just adds fuel to the fire, I know I need to stop all contact before I ruin my own family, however I know everyone will think of me as a bad daughter which I've never been but I've had enough abuse I'm 37 now and want to stop being "the witch" thought this was my actual name when young haha!

    1. Hi there, have just stumbled across your post and intrigued to find out how you're getting on? I am in exactly the same position. Too scared to have no contact with my mum for fear of being the bad child yet the impact it is having on my family is huge. I am 33 and if I don't change my behaviours soon my husband will leave me and he is adamant that our child won't be around me either as he doesn't want him to pick up the same traits that I picked up from my mother. Hope you're doing well anyway and that things have improved for you.

    2. When I was just a few years older than you, I went into therapy. As a result of therapy I ended an abusive marriage, made a good marriage, was widowed and made another good marriage. I have discovered a nest of narcissists in my family and have cut or severely reduced contact with them all. I am now 71, have been married into a family that holds me in high regard for 15 years, and run a Facebook support group for people like you.

      I can tell you this--your fear of "being the bad child" is unfounded. She will not think of you as the bad child if you stand up to her or go no contact--SHE ALREADY DOES. Not only that, but at least half of your family thinks the same because she had led them to believe it. You are her scapegoat child, the receptacle for blame, the reason things go wrong in her life. This is how narcissistic parents roll.

      You need to make ONE decision and one decision only, and then act on it: what is more important to you, hoping to keep your mother from thinking you are a bad child? Or maintaining your marriage and keeping your child?

      If your decision is to pander to your mother, then you don't need to do anything, just keep on the way you are going. Your husband will end your marriage and keep your child away from you and your mother will continue thinking you "bad," especially since you failed at marriage and your child was taken from you.

      If, however, you choose your husband and child, then you need to do the following, in this order:
      1) cease all contact with your mother and her supporters within your family. Even if your sister calls and says she is in the hospital with a heart attack because of you, you must hang up the phone and not be sucked back into their drama and dysfunction.
      2) find a competent therapist who has experience in treating the victims of childhood abuse or domestic violence because that is what you have endured.
      3) go to your therapy appointments, do any homework the therapist requires of you and make it your life's mission to end the influence your mother has had in your life...rid yourself of those "traits" (you may need some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help with that).
      4) apologize to your husband (and your child if he is old enough to have been consciously affected by those traits.
      5) Refuse to succumb to the blandishments, bribes, scoldings and guilt-tripping that your mother and her supporters will throw at you. You have only to slip ONCE to be right back where you are right now. Put your marriage and your child ahead of your desire for your mother's esteem. She is never going to give it to you and deep down inside, you already know this, you just don't want to believe it.

      You have a choice here--your mother or your marriage and child. Which is it going to be?

  16. My first teenage girlfriend was just like this. She was half starved by her single mother who thought her the inconvenient child of two, and who saw feeding the girl as money being lost from herself. So survival instinct kicked in and 14 year old got job by lying about age to get some money for food. Naturally she binge ate junk food when got this job at supermarket on weekends and ballooned leaving huge marks on her belly when she lost the weight later. These marks later made her so paranoid she would mostly hide her body for the year we together as 16 year old kids. She was very damaged kid and had to let her go as she was incapable of emotional self regulation and actually violent toward me. She essentially begged for food without understanding it, by hanging around at local takeaway, that was right next door to her house, where they eventually gave her a 'job' to take orders to nearby houses couple nights a week and gave her what was left at end of nights.
    I saw her recently quite by accident - 25 years later - she had lived in another country but had blown up her marriage there and gone back to live as adult with her mother taking her kids there. She was now in charge of household and they were living on junk food and welfare and the kids were huge, and these kids were obsessed with local supermarket and food. It was quite tragic to see it all playing out all over again. She had returned to fold and started to become the same selfish single mother she had fled as young woman all those years ago.


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