“You should take your negative thoughts seriously and listen to them. These thoughts come from within yourself, they are telling your story. How can you expect to live an enjoyable life if you accept without protest that an attempt has been made to obliterate you? Now you are at a point where you have started to rebel against such oblivion, and initially this is probably very tiring. This is a beginning.”
Alice Miller, Free from Lies
Within the first few months of going to therapy in early 2013, I started to get tired of the idea of talking about my mother in session. The things I uncovered were startling. Discovering her narcissistic personality was an eye-opening experience. Prior to my therapist bringing up that term to describe her, I had never been able to understand our relationship. I had never been able to find self-help books that could help me in my own recovery. I never knew what I was looking for on the shelves.
My relationship with her had always been difficult. Things had only gotten increasingly worse as I grew older. It was not just a passing teenage phase, as everyone had assured me. Her anger and narcissism was more subtle and underhanded when I was young and more irrational and aggressive as I became an adult. I would feel ashamed of my inability to be a good daughter, because she could be so nice at times. But nice is not who she is.
I had trouble accepting her limitations and her true violent, critical, and insecure nature. Even now, I struggle with accepting who she is. I keep going back, hoping it will all be different this time. The years of abuse and hatred were something that I’ve had a hard time forgetting; believe me I’ve tried. Ultimately, my avoidance and denial led to my own depression and anxiety. It came in the form of heavy waves of crying, social phobias, panic attacks, and chronic chest pain. Eventually it was too much to manage on my own.
Like most people who are thinking about going to therapy, I waited too long. I started to look for help only when things were completely out of control. I found an empathetic family therapist who I began to see weekly. We slowly started to chip away at the problems. Even after a year of therapy, I feel like I’ve only begun to see what is really lurking beneath. I still have a long road ahead, but it feels good to be on my way…