Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Question of Judgment

Jeff asked this question: "if you or your readers have ever discussed in any way a) the act of judging Ns, and/or b) what it does or hopes to do for relatives?

I notice also in the comments on your current post this from Billie:'I struggle with horror at feeling sure I'm being judged no matter what I'm doing or not doing.' Perhaps this phenomenon is related?

I suppose I'm curious about the judgement thing because I'm reading key texts on narcissism and mental health and society in general, which confronts me with what I seek to judge and why, so perhaps it's something I'm attuned to."

I don't think we discussed it.

I've been mulling this one over and I'll be honest...I'm not coming up with any coherent thoughts...it comes to me in bits and pieces.

1. I suspect Billie has developed a fear of being judged because she WAS judged - HARSHLY - by her parents. My mother judged me harshly, too...whenever I disappointed her, which was often, she'd reel off a long list of my faults. I came to believe I was all those things: selfish, cold, selfish, lazy, sneaky....and selfish. (Did I mention selfish? )

2. Admission: I'm a pretty judgmental person. I don't know if I became this way because I saw it modeled for me or what. I don't think this is a very attractive quality and it's something I'm constantly trying to temper.

3. On the "act of judging N's" and what it does for the relatives: Judging our parents may be one of the few things we CAN do in regards to them. We can't change their behavior (only our reactions to them), but we can judge them. It's one of our few options and, since we were judged and labeled by our parents, it's a sort of cosmic tit-for-tat that's rather satisfying. It gives us a little power, a little control...sitting high atop the "judgment seat" for once.

I don't think judging N's has any impact on them...even if they were to know about it. After all, we are the ones who are defective, not them. My mother always used to say, "there's something radically wrong with you,"...implying that she suspected I suffered from a mental illness. I don't remember ever fighting back...except in a passive-aggressive way....or challenging her directly because she would have just stop talking to me (again).

I can recite a long list of perfectly awful reasons why my father became a needy, childlike narcissist and why my mother became self-centered and why she so terribly disappointed when I wasn't the adoring, unquestioning, dutiful daughter she'd longed for. My father expected...demanded...my sympathy for his awful childhood yet had no empathy for me....my adoptive parents - due to their needs - required me to pretend in public that I was their biological child. All I have, in a way, is my ability to judge those acts...which their "backgrounds" does not excuse.

I wonder if judging my parents is my one and only act of revenge.


In the end, does it matter if we judge our n-parents...or not? While judging people we DON'T know well is one thing, it's another to judge those we do know very well...and have harmed us.







45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think judgment is necessary in order to set boundaries and protect ourselves from further harm. We have the right to protect ourselves, and I don't see how that's possible without at some point not only examining what has been done to us but also judging those responsible for it. Without judgement, there is the danger that we yet again forget just what these people are capable of and allow them to harm us again and again, which they will do for as long as we let them.

Anonymous said...

I think judgment is necessary in order to set boundaries and protect ourselves from further harm. We have the right to protect ourselves, and I don't see how that's possible without at some point not only examining what has been done to us but also judging those responsible for it. Without judgement, there is the danger that we yet again forget just what these people are capable of and allow them to harm us again and again, which they will do for as long as we let them.

Mulderfan said...

My Nparents have judged me my entire life and I've always come up wanting. If I were to judge them, what possible difference would it make? They're perfect! Just ask them!

But, yes, when I was younger this constant fear of being judged probably made me avoid new people and experiences.

Susie said...

Good point, anonymous! I totally agree that a certain level of judgment is necessary to protect ourselves. We are by no means judging them in the same way we were judged by our parents and like Mulderfan said, "they're perfect" so it doesn't matter if we do or not. They've already padded themselves with the illusion of infallibility. What makes us think that the judgments that go on inside our heads will do anything to penetrate such a severe disconnect with reality? If we dare to share these observations/judgments with them, it certainly "hurts" their "feelings" because our judgments are an act of power and criticism; something they've worked very hard to quell our whole lives. Or maybe they will continue with the illusion because our criticism is far too scary for them to hear?

I feel perfectly fine judging their behavior and sharing my thoughts with my virtual co-survivors. I think it is the one way I continually evaluate and process their behavior and stay on top of any scheming/guilt trips they may attempt with me. It has also taught me to recognize when someone's (other than my N-parents) behavior is unhealthy and harmful. I also spent much of my time afraid to try new things, make friends, compete or do my best because of fear of judgment and criticism. I always worried that I wasn't good enough or that if it wasn't perfect, no one would like me. It wasn't until college that I developed a healthy attitude towards participation and friendships!

IMO, judge away, girl!
-Susie

Anonymous said...

Hearing most peoples views on judging (or forgiveness) makes me nauseous and frustrated. The problem is the black & white thinking. "Good" people put on rose colored glasses and shrug off anything nasty that comes their way. Can you spell repression and denial? "Bad" people judge, blame other people and plot revenge. That doesn't sound so healthy (or fun) either.

So this is what I've found: I was confusing "judging" with "witnessing". I have witnessed a lot of bad behavior by the personality disordered people in my life. Observing the bad behavior, seeing it for what it is, remembering it, and using that knowledge to keep myself safe in the future is not judging. It's seeing reality. Something the personality disordered do not do.

Judging is deciding someone's fate. It's playing God or being a vigilante. And frankly, that's not my job and I don't want it to be.

And about forgiveness: "Bad" people don't want "forgiveness", even though they use that word. They want to eliminate all truthful witnesses. If you are a "witness" and you can't be coerced to see things their way, you will be accused of "judging" them. Count on it.

--RealityTester

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear: I don't see the posts here as being judgmental. I see people trying to stand firm, and resist being coerced into a narcissistic fantasy land.

By my definition, that's being a truthful witness. Do the exact words matter? I think they do. It's very hard to deal with something if it doesn't have a name, or has the wrong name.

--Reality Tester

Billie said...

When I was a kid, I was conditioned that it was ok for Ndad to judge anyone for any single thing, while I was expected to have absolutely no opinion on any matter. As I got older, I perceived the unfairness of this, but only after a series of relationships where I let my complete openness to lack of judgment lead me into some really bad situations; then I became angry that my parents didn't teach me that it's ok to judge if only to protect oneself. I'm still a little angry about this, but I also catch myself being stupidly naive - I have enough life experience now that I should see certain red flags, but sometimes it takes me longer than others because I was conditioned not to see certain things. After I catch myself being naive, then I tend to head the other way down the spectrum, where I try to find the badness in people to protect myself. It can be pretty miserable - therapy has taught me that happiness is like a sweet little kitten and that my extremes are like squeezing the kitten too tight and hurting it. It's a continuing struggle for me.

Susie said...

RealityTester,

It seems like what you're talking about here is a colloquialism. Regardless of what word you use, you're still looking at an action and making an assessment (hence the root word 'judge'). Judging is simply about looking a whole situation/problem and comparing it to your own belief system, values, and experiences. IMO, you're confusing punishment with judgment. In no way is 'judging' someone inflicting pain upon them, punishing them for their behavior or deciding what will happen to them. Judgment is real and useful tool for keeping a healthy distance between the ACON and N-parent's behavior.

I don't understand the quest for a single, unified definition of what it is ACONs do to observe and assess the behaviors of the N-parent. IMO, ACONs have the right to define their own realities. If they want to call it judging or witnessing or, heck, "birthing a technicolor unicorn", then that is completely up to them. What is important is the thoughtfulness and awareness in the process.

Moreover, ACONs have been taught to submit to the bossiness of the N-parent and to follow their beliefs, definitions, and world-view. It is time that we are allowed to listen to ourselves and doing so is not "living in a narcissistic fantasy land". It's called empowerment and choice; things we have been denied for a very long time.
-Susie

Anonymous said...

Susie,
first off, I think you misread what I wrote. It was “I see people trying to stand firm, and resist being coerced into a narcissistic fantasy land.” In other words, live in reality and “resist being coerced into a narcissistic fantasy land”. Living in reality means trusting what you see, what you feel, what makes sense, what can be confirmed and distrusting things that are confusing, chaotic and bizarre.

And as I wrote before, I believe naming something (a type of person, a behavior, and an idea, and illness even) correctly is very important. It's hard to deal with a group of symptoms and perhaps more importantly hard to talk to others or find help on the web even, if you have no concise name. There is relief and power in finding out the correct name for a behavior problem, illness or ideology. Furthermore, if everyone makes up their own names for things, it is very difficult to communicate.

It matters very much to me and many other Christians whether I am a “witness” to awful behavior or a “judge”, when I decide to protect myself. Words matter, because if I call “realizing that certain behavior is harmful and protecting myself” judging, then some victims will reject protecting themselves, because they think the Bible tells them to take it. It doesn't! But the choice of that one word can have powerful, long reaching affects for some people. Perhaps not for you. And that's fine. You can call judging “birthing a technicolor unicorn" if you want to. But don't expect anyone else to understand, or to find help in a Google search.

A final thought: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, is so very, very hurtful and wrong. No one has ever beaten my body, but my soul has been ripped to bloody shreds by words; words and tones of voice and facial expressions and body language. Words are so powerful. So I will continue trying to match the right ones to what I see and feel and experience and can confirm as true. Doing anything else would be creating my own fantasy world. And I choose not to trade other peoples' hell for one of my own building.

--Reality Tester

Susie said...

Reality Tester,

It appears to me that you're arguing both sides of the issue here. You want unity in definition, yet you're using very personal experiences and beliefs to define it. No one has the right to barge in and tell ACONs what word is correct. As far as I know, there is no clinical term for what it is we do to assess N-parents' behaviors; so the word is up for grabs. It seems suspiciously self-absorbed to demand that there is a single definition and then define it for other survivors based on your own limited experiences and beliefs. Don't barge in and tell people how to define their realities. We've had enough of that already.

It also seems strange that you feel you can speak on behalf of all Christian people and ACONs; that "witnessing" is the most useful word. What makes you think that you can speak for everyone? Moreover, what does your religion have to do with the variation in experiences among ACONs? My recommendation is to stop "witnessing" (judging) people based on their choice of word and their method of survival and coping. There is more than one way to be.

Claming that terminological unity for the sake of Googling ease is a lame excuse for what appears to be a need to nit-pick and argue on a trivial issue as terminology. Like I said before, what ACONs prefer to call their survival and coping mechanisms is a personal choice. If you want to call it "witnessing" based on your experiences and your religion, then by all means, do so; but don't assume that everyone will follow suit.

-Susie

Pisces6 said...

RealityTester: You have a very limited view of the word "judge". Please look up the word in a dictionary. It seems to me that you are confusing the noun and verb definitions of this word. Judging someone is NOT the same as deciding someone's fate. It has to do with forming "an opinion or conclusion about" something or someone. Are you telling us what words we can and cannot use based on your own judgement (that is, opinion)?

You are walking a thin line on censoring certain words just because of a pre-assigned connotation rather than understanding the usage of the word in the context of the post.

Furthermore, if everyone makes up their own names for things, it is very difficult to communicate.

What is wrong with coming up with your own names? All you have to do is ask for a definition and remember it. If you have trouble with the variety of definitions for the same word in English, it makes me wonder how you would deal with foreign languages...

Nina: I had a bad habit of reserving judgement. I knew better, but I'd try to see the good in my parents. It was very painful at times when I found myself simply doing what my parents wanted to make them happy while I felt no satisfaction. I felt used and cheap. They did not care to ask how I felt. My parents probably realized this at some point, and just started getting angry at everything I did, thinking that I am spiting them. My motivations are always in question now.

I had no hesitation when it came to others because I usually didn't know them that well, and they never actually tried to hurt me like my parents did.

I started judging my parents' behavior and found that I had enough of being taken advantage of. I'd given them plenty of chances over the years, but their opinion is that I should just take their abuse because they're my family. No more.

I read or heard somewhere that you know your true friends by how they act when you've made a mistake or fallen down. My parents may be my parents, but the majority of the time (99%) they did not act like my friends. Yet they want all the privileges of a best friend. When I refuse to treat my relationship with them like that, they get very angry. I guess they see it as their right as parents.

Pisces6 said...

Hi Nina,

I don't think being judgmental is totally bad. It means that you have opinions and impressions, and you're willing to stick with them.

Being judgmental is only wrong if you are confronted with evidence to show that your initial judgment is false AND you refuse to correct your initial judgment.

I think of judgment as a sort of safety mechanism. It lets us know if there's something wrong. Ignoring it means we don't trust our own thoughts and feelings. This can cause us to rely on someone else to 'judge' for us since we're too afraid to have a real opinion. Too afraid to state an opinion that someone will get upset about.

Anonymous said...

Comment from Lisa

This entire blog has been of interest to me. Yes to MulderFan, who said N parents were judging her throughout life and she came up wanting. I just realized, so did I, so I know how you feel. I just had a MOMENT of uncomfortable ANGER this morning that brought me back to your blog to vent, first time poster (I think).

I have been visiting my Mother In Law's house recently to take care of her plants while she is away. I'm newly married to a wonderful husband and trying to "rebuild" a good relationship with my Mother In Law (I was a little cold to her while dating my now husband and regret that of course, I apparently was under the impression that all women are N Moms and now I realize otherwise).

Anyhow, As I was on my way out of the house, I noticed something sitting on the end table, it was my husbands face, so I went over to look. In fact it was a huge stack of my husband's childhood photos all laid out, Mother In Law has been sitting down and finally putting together those albums she's been meaning to. I felt funny. I always feel funny when I come into contact with a remanent of a normal family. I don't know why, probably because I'm snoopy, but I sat on the chair and lugged the huge binder from the table to my lap and opened it. It was my husband's baby book. Page after page I flipped through it transfixed. MIL has painstakingly recorded every first and every moment in her sons life, complete with faded kodak shots. "His first word was Dada", "Today he laughed for the first time at 9:26 am", "Today he climbed onto the table, I do not know how, I had only bent down to pick up a spoon". Dozens of birthday photo's were pasted in the back, and scraps of his first crayon drawings. Then I saw this little envelope, brown, yet bulky. I opened it and discovered my Husbands, FIRST CURL FOR PETES SAKE.
God I feel CHEATED, So very CHEATED. I became enraged, and then sad. (I suppose mad and sad at fate, not my MIL of course). I found I had been sitting there looking through this book for TWO HOURS, I must have been HYPNOTIZED. I am elated that my MIL has done this for her son, and that one day my husband may give his baby book to one of our future children. What a legacy.
What token of their mother's childhood will the get to see? NOT ONE DAMN POLAROID. NOT ONE DAMN NEGATIVE. Maybe now I'm sounding like the selfish one, but it hurts when it never occured to two adult humans to ever take one picture or perserve one momento of their own child.
Ah well, maybe small potatoes.

Anonymous said...

Please note - I have recently created a blog solely for those adult children still having to go through contact with narcissistic parents. Share your own stories and hurts, as and when they happen, and support others who post their own.

http://narcissisticparenting.wordpress.com

Stoo said...

My narcissistic mother is very judgmental, as a result I try very hard not to be the same. It's hard though, sometimes nasty thoughts about people just fly into my head. The worst thing is that they're usually exactly what my mother would say. I end up chiding myself internally and feeling like a horrible person.

I observe and dissect my mother's behaviour; it's become a sort of hobby for me and it allows me to view her actions from a distance and not take everything personally.

Dan said...

Like pretty much everyone else here im so grateful for finding this blog, and that actually lots of other people are living with this, i dont feel alone anymore?

I live with what i believe is a narcissistic mum, who is currently going through a 3 year long divorce with my dad (mainly as a result of how she is, although she'd tell you differently), i have an older brother and sister who have both moved far away, and both will admit that the reason why they have moved so far is because of my mum.
I've only just turned 18 so im still in eductation and cant afford to move out, and yet im so emotionally tied down by my mum that its impossible for me to go live with my dad?
Anyway what i really want to say is that im so glad ive found a place that makes me sure that im not the insane one, im not the selfish uncaring one, its not in my head and its not me who is crazy...

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness I mean holy freaking crap I have found kindred spirits? Really? Over 40 years, searching. I was adopted at 2 months though... probably not good enough to hang out here (sorry couldn't resist the sarcasm) my eyes are burning from surfing the web, as usual, and from writing, as usual, so I haven't read everything here but I will be back tomorrow when I can see again. Please keep this page up this is really a good thing, much gratitude to you and everyone commenting!

Anonymous said...

nina how did you mange to lift yourself up?

Galadrial said...

Judging?

If were were molested sexually by a parent, no one would blink if we "judged" them. What makes this all the more painful, is so long as the NP is covert, their abuse is invisible.

I was a parent myself before I had the courage to cut my mother off---and only then when I saw her trying the same crap on my daughter. No MA'am. I loved my kid too much to let her be abused by her grandmother.

No, it's not sexual. It's not battering of the body. Its a constant, relentless attack on anything that might make you feel whole.

I took a five year break from my mother. During that time, I found my own closure, because I no longer expect ANYTHING from her. But when I see her now, she's like a ghost. She can't hurt me, because on every level, it feels like she died. If that is "judging", so be it....

Billie said...

Amen, Galadrial.

Cinnamon said...

Judgment is so important. It's evaluating and making decisions about where and how we want to place things and people in our lives. It's the way we protect ourselves.

When someone says "You're being judgmental" I consider the source. Am I hitting too close to home? That sentence can be a powerful way to shame people into accepting what narcissists dish out. There is a certain type of person who only has something to gain if you don't exercise your judgment, it gives them more control over you. And if you back off when they try to shame you out of exercising *your* judgment they might see they have a source of narcissistic supply.

If I'm trying to judge someone yet don't have a lot of information and am projecting a lot of qualities, or I always come up with the same damning conclusion for most people, I'm overboard! :)

Cinnamon said...

@Dan: I just found this place too and am about 30 years older. You are doing great to able to know something is off, look for help on the internet and have the knowledge you do. That's awesome.

Like you I knew something was wrong. I got a job and went into therapy as soon as I could. Going to another state to go to college was also an important step. It took me decades to accept that my family had no real interest or ability to care about me. Friends said my parents treated me more like an employee than a parent and my siblings showed a baffling lack of care or concern, but I had no idea what that meant. Hard to when there isn't anything to compare it to. I also had boyfriends and a husband that seemed like heaven compared to my family but ultimately were also better behaved narcissists that exploited me. It took awhile to really get savvy. But I did. I just kept working at it.

I finally broke off contact three years ago to the cheers of my long time friends and my second husband. They never said it before but when I let go, they wondered why it took so long. I've never felt so safe or happy in my life. That's not everyone's answer, but I want to encourage you to believe what you feel and think.

Anonymous said...

My father is a fruit cake narcissist and my mother is a ding bat narcissist. They were truly made for each other. I can't believe these people had a kid, and I called them mom and dad.

I used to have reverence for them, and wanted to be a good son , but once I realize the reality , I have nothing but contempt for them !! It is truly liberating

Nikki Leavitt said...

Reading through your blog and all of the comments have been a godsend. My sister and I have an n-mother and since my father is dying, she has gotten worse - she likes to be seen by others as taking care of her dying husband and complains to me and my sister (and, sadly, my father) about how much his cancer has infringed on her life and how she wishes he would fall and break something so that she could put him in a home. My sister, being only 20 minutes away, gets the brunt of everything and has finally decided to call it quits with mom - a brave and great move. We've spent hours and hours asking ourselves how a person could treat her children so poorly and, even though we know she has NPD, it still seems hard to understand. I've sent your blog address to my sis so that she too can see that we're not alone in this. That we are not crazy. That we are not failures. That we are not awful people for hating our mother. So that she can see, just like all of you have realised, that we deserved better. Thanks for this.

Galadrial said...

Hi Nikki.

Just a word here...NP like to be the bride at every wedding, and the corpse at every funeral. Do not be surprised if your mother "turns up the dial" as your father's condition worsens. She will see it as someone trying to steal her thunder, and act up to get her share of attention.

I know this from experience. When my dad died, I was just 17, and had barely taken off the dress I'd worn to his funeral when my mother came after me with both barrels. (They were divorced by then.)

"Do you realize that NONE of you have even asked me how I am? I've had a cold for DAYS!"

"Sorry---I was bit preoccupied..."

Just hang in...and remember this is NOT your fault.

Nikki Leavitt said...

Galadrial,

Thanks for this and for sharing a little bit of your own horror story. It's hard for people who don't have a relationship with someone with NPD to understand what's it's been like...finally there are people who get it!

Take care,Nikki

Anonymous said...

As someone who escaped , let me tell you , narcissists are damaged people who never dealt with their problems.

Their mind is so full of emotional triggers that it controls them. They are scared. And because of this they are a runaway train , running over anything that gets in their way.

Billie said...

Hey, in keeping with this thread...an update. Nothing's changed. My father is still a giant asshole. Was a lying, self-serving asshole in his 20s, still a lying, self-serving asshole in his 50s...whaddayaknow - he's a lying, self-serving asshole and he's 80 years old. Everyone who is not related to him made their correct judgment of him long ago...only those of us who are related to him are still suffering. I don't blame a single person who cut him out of their lives; they saved themselves and their families alot of problems because of his evil. Judgment is a necessary part of self-preservation. More power to all who are in a position to protect the innocent.

Anonymous said...

my narcissistic mother ruined my adult life---she has legally financially tortured me and controlled my life through extreme measures.. she and my dad recently stole 9,000 from me and locked it away in an acct where i have no access to it and i cant go to anyone otherwise i get threatened by them. They caused me to owe the govt 12,000 in debt due to their error and nothing i can do about it. My psychotic mother (who is in fact mentally ill yet took it out on me) had me labeled 'mentally ill' (in my early 20's) so she could take over my life...and to assert that she is RIGHT and that i am "CRAZY" for anything i think say or do. If i disagree with her---she threatens to call the police on me or calls me 'abnormal'...I was too traumatized to deal with what she did to me...so take narcissism to an extreme...a deranged sociopath of a monster, using her narcissism on her own child in such an extreme and brutal way--she has had doctors on her side...by lying to them and b/c her husband is one...so she can do this. Everyone sides with a narcissist...i am in my early 30's and she managed to destroy my 20's and is now doing so my 30's. A result of her abuse..? severe chronic fatigue on my part and serious issues....caused by "her" and other abusers in my life...still never the mental health diagnosis ive been tormented with but just CFS, difficulty in doing things, weakness...she is the ultimate narcissist and one of the worst...and no matter what this monster psycho witch "always" wins...she has anyone side with her and people love to support this monster...my hatred for her i cant describe yet i suffer and not much else.. its hard to fight as no one believes me...and im apparently 'schizo' in some form so im perceived as a threat if i go to people for help, while my crazy 59 year old mother with severe bipolar and midlife crisis and munchausen syndrome issues gets away with anything she wants..if she does something crazy it's ok..she is "RIGHT" and i am abnormal for not agreeing with her---the monster bitch of all parental narcissists...may this fat ugly wench rot in hell...

lisa said...

My mother has also turned anyone against me--possible...just so she can make her own daughter out to be 'mentally ill'...if i try to fight back, then people just call 'her' and i have to deal with her abuse....it's so bizarre in this society how sociopaths always seem to 'win'...evil people win...everyone sides with and helps them out yet a good victim, is screwed to no end. ive been a good person/citizen all my life. Never smoked done drugs...literally so many other things, religious etc...yet a crazed narcissistic mother is able to get away with this...and there is nothing i can do in 'civilized' society where people are supposed to have rights....its terrible....i have to fight through organizations God knows what, while my crazy mother...can go to a judge, make up a bunch of lies about me, and have me locked in a psych ward all on her own whim and control me while im suffering and being forced medication....this is how this sick system works? crazy people are able to do this to innocent people...with no repercussions...especially if you can't afford a lawyer? there is no justice...its an atrocity... your own narcissistic parent, friend anyone can do this to you, successfully...if they so choose to---though there are many sick people, there arent that many who are so sick as to take this route---but my narcissistic mother did...and has gotten away with everything scot free and with doctors, and the law and govt by her sick side....while an innocent person got screwed in life....this is the system and justice system....its a horror...so as much as your parents might be assholes..at least they didnt do some of the worst things to you...most people dont always realize this....your abusive mother probably wasnt half the monster my sociopathic evil mother is....who at 59 is still on a mission to destroy my life and has succeeded every step of the way

Billie said...

Wow, wasn't aware this was about oneupmanship. I have the utmost sympathy for you and your plight...but just because I, and others who post, perhaps haven't spelled out our stories in the same words as yours, don't doubt that all of us have gone through our versions of hell.

Fisheye said...

Well, I can certainly sympathize with some of you. I was "raised" by my grandmother because my father was incapable of raising me.... Wonder who is to blame for that one. He never went anywhere in life, and died an alcoholic at age 48 with her still making decisions for him. I was already waking up, but that was the final signal for me. She has nearly(or maybe completely) destroyed my career. I guess though, that I've already gone through all the 'phases' of feeling sorry for myself, so, I'm selling my house to try again, but if I cannot, I'm following my 'back up dream' over seas. It was the last tie keeping me connected to her anyway. For those of you comparing parents, grandparents, and legal guardians, just remember this. Everyone has their own personal hell. Who's to say that another person couldn't 'survive' with your parents, or thrive with mine? Well, maybe 'thriving' is giving way to much benefit of the doubt to a narcissistic individual. For the last few years, I've read many stories about N parents, and non quite sound like my stories. Most of them are unique, just like the ones I'm reading here. I used to look for people that had stories just like mine, but somehow, I think that would just make me sad.

Anyway, from the original post(which is what we're suppose to comment on) I found this little gem.

"All I have, in a way, is my ability to judge those acts...which their "backgrounds" does not excuse."

It is the reason I cut my ties. My N destroyed 2 generations of our family, not counting her own life that she squandered living vicariously through us. Why would I let her go for a third? I want my children(that aren't here yet) be themselves. Simple? Maybe. But it seems like allot of the problems stem from over compensation to what 'happened' to our parents when they were young. Most of the people that leave their stories on here are in their forties before they escape, so I consider myself very fortunate that I have this opportunity now, which means that my story, in allot of ways, is not as severe as many of yours. For that, I feel for you.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered this blog and would like to thank you, Nina, for being so brave in creating this space and sharing your experiences in this way.

At 36 years old, I (and my older sister and our submissive mother) only now realize that my now 78 year-old father has NPD. Dad's career was as a traveling evangelical preacher, and our lives revolved completely around his "ministry", which we increasingly realize was more about fulfilling his disordered and damaged ego than about God.

As he becomes feeble and much more difficult, irrational and demanding, the nature of his NPD condition has become so obvious to us all, and at last we have a name and a label for our situation, in which we were always left feeling empty, wanting, angry, guilty, inadequate, unloved and confused.

In describing how belittled, neglected, and diminished we were made to feel by Dad's various actions and inactions, we felt as if somehow we were being petty, as if we were at fault, as if we had neither the right nor the capability to pass judgment on his behaviors, as if his behaviors were normal for someone of his generation, and it was our shortcoming for transposing our unrealistic expectations onto him.

As I watch my friends have children, and see how they treat them, and as I ask how their parents treated them growing up, I am learning how wrong my Father was in almost everything he did.

Judgment is a powerful and liberating tool for me. It is empowering for me to finally be able to see "I see you. I understand you. And it was you, not me, that was so very wrong in your actions. No amount of excuses of rationalizations will change that. Excuses may help explain your actions, but they do not justify them or make them right. I judge you. You no longer judge or appraise me. Your judgments have been invalidated. But mine are legitimate. And in judging you I also take control over my own life and actions, and take responsibility for them."

The posts on your blog, as well as the resources and books you list, are so helpful. I thank you.

Paula said...

Thank you so much for this blog.I'm 21 years old and have recently discovered that my mother is a N. I'm currently gathering information to be able to protect myself.I It's comforting to know that I'm neither delusional nor crazy and that there are tons of people going through this same ordeal. As far as I know, we're all heroes.

Bri said...

I need help deciding if I have a n-parent (I'm a freshman in high school by the way). I am going to New York soon, and have been doing shopping for the cold weather. I live in the tropics, so finding clothes here is tough. Many of them are not warm enough, or are just plain ugly. I have spent a long time shopping, but still need to look. Because of my age, my mom insists on tagging along. This makes my frustrating situation worse. She will yell at me from three ailes down, telling me about something in that aile. When I go to look, it's something she knows I won't like.
When we get home and I go to my room to chill out, she complains to my sis and dad that I am just in denail about the whole trip, and don't realize the time frame. She has spent more time complaining to anyone she can about all the triuble she's gone through than I have actually shopping! I am considering detachment from both parents, to make myself happier.
Is this n-parent behavior? I've sat down a read a lot of your blog.
Also, how can I detach from them in a way that won't get me in trouble? I fear if I try, they will notice and puncish me for it (done similar things in the past.)
My mom only complains about the trip, from all aspects. While everyone I know, when I tell them about the trip, goes "wow that's so cool" and focuses on the great opportunity, I think I've heard my mom say that once. I'm so frustrated I can't handle it anymore. It is an academic trip, so I have other stuff I need to focus on.
Any help would be appreciated.

Robyn said...

Yet another post and comment thread that resonates so deeply with me. Yes my Nmom is perfect. No judgments of mine could possibly hurt her; they would simply be yet another verification of my unworthiness, ungratefulness and of course selfishness. But they are important to me to keep my sanity. To know that I'm not actually crazy or unworthy. That it's not ok to treat a child this way. So yes I judge her. I judge her tremendously. I am currently judging her for ignoring my daughter's birthday yesterday. I'm sure in a few weeks she'll want to come sweeping along with some grand gesture that she feels will more than make up for her omission. But for now I am judging. Trust me she doesn't care and feels more than justified in her actions.

And like the original post I am myself very critical. I don't know if it's me or if I just am so used to everyone being torn down about every single thing, but I also have to catch myself in this. I am just so used to anything everyone except Nmom does being "not that special" it's hard at times to not think "that's not so special" or "who do you think you are?" even toward people I care about deeply. The one area I don't feel that way is about my own children who are of course super special snowflakes. But I definitely work to control that critical voice in my head. Is it better or worse if I am at least as critical of myself as others?

Robyn said...

To Lisa who commented on feeling angry at seeing things like your husband's baby book. I feel similarly when people post mushy "Moms are so awesome" things on Facebook/blogs etc. The ones where they talk about realizing at 25 how smart their mom was or once they had kids realizing how hard it was to be a mom and how great a mom their mom was. I never have that. Becoming a mom has only made my judgments of my Nmom that much more severe. How could she have not seen how important and delicate we were? How could she have treated us that way? And like you I only recently saw pictures of myself as a child because my father (her first husband that she hopes no one realizes existed) kept them. Otherwise there would be no trace of my childhood.

AsianAsianDaughter said...

Anonymous july 10 2010 made me go LOL.

Yes, by all means, if one feels contemptuous towards the bullies, violaters, deprivers, neglecters,, allow yourself. Feel free to feel.

Two good persons in my life asked me, having heard one of my less severe 'crazy parent' stories, "why do you continue to be so kind to people who treat you so unkindly?"

I couldn't answer them. That was a few years ago. It got me thinking. Even the question seemed simple to others, it wasn't to me. Not then. I didn't allow myself to feel unkind feeling towards the unkind ones.

What got me thinking more deeply, was that they use the word "people", not "parents".

You see, it took me a long time to realize, my parents, my narc mother, narc father, are just....people. Unkind to me sort of people. Will I tolerate adult friends or strangers if they treat me like my crazy parents? No freaking way.

But they are just people. Crazy, immature, people. They are also free to grow up and be sane, or stay stupid and borderline crazy.

I will still not stand for it if "these immature unfeeling damage people" start abusing another human being in my presence.

Human being, includes, myself too.

Ding! Lightbulb. I have the responsibility to PROTECT ME TOO.

Sheesh took me such big detour to find out.

Broken people, the world is full of them. And they tend to want children, for all the wrong reasons. Let's be kinder to ourselves, and only the kind people who has basic manners, who reciprocate our love.

Anonymous said...

I just got home from a particularly taxing visit to my parents, during which I spent much time spewing judgements to my sister. But I eventually realized that she doesn't get the same relief from judging them; it just stresses her out and she ends up judging me for judging them (even if she agrees). I don't feel it's any big deal, levels the playing field for me.

Alexis said...

I judge my N-C. She always put herself up on a pedestal, worshiped herself. She told us how wonderful she was, how slim she is (when her ass was the size of a VW bug), what good taste she has, how clearly she sees reality, how everyone is a damn fool but her, and that she is part of the NY intelligentsia. Just recently she told me she had no idea she had blazed her way into history cus she taught continuation school in the San Fernando Valley - she had just watched a program about L.A gangs and some Crypts were in her classes. So that meant she has a place in the history books cus she babysat a few murderers, rapist and drug dealers from 9-2 mon-thurs.
She is sure she is the most worthwhile person she knows.
I have to judge her. I have to compare her delusions to the reality of the situation. She made me feel like a POS my whole life. I have to acknowledge she is worthless in RL and has no skills outside of a school environment - that my dad did everything for her, how she couldn't manage any aspect of life and still can't. The woman is a self-impressed phony. I wish I knew that when I was a kid. I knew she was crazy but I didn't know she was incapable of calling the electric company to question a bill.

Galadrial said...

It helps to remember that even when you think you've dismantled the buttons they used to push, and put your past behind you, they can appear.

I just got word that a piece I wrote will appear in a national magazine. Great! But then they asked me for a two sentence bio about myself, and I froze. Bios are simple...I've written them for friends. But when I try to write them for myself, I can still hear my mother's voice. "Don't get a big head." "Don't think you're so special".

Well screw her. I did something I am proud of. I shouldn't have to feel ashamed of that.

Anonymous said...

this is so weird. this is most intelligent, erudite, well-spelled bunch of stuff i'v eever found on the net. well, it did say somewhere that bullying is likely to happen to intellectually gifted people..

mintie

Redfizz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Redfizz said...

Mintie, you make a profound observation about the intellect of people who were subjugated to these people. I worked my butt off to prove my N-Mother wrong, that I wasn't dumb, selfish, etc. resulting in a Master's degree and so on. I think the same could be said for the vast majority here.

I almost caved and believed her until one teacher told me I was very smart. It was the first time I had heard that! It wasn't until after I was halfway through my Masters before I realized that no matter what I accomplish will I ever convince my N-Mother that she is wrong about it. I then finished the degree for me, for which I am very proud.

And, yes, I am always afraid of being judged, which I am actively working on.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
You're lucky - she said "there's something radically wrong with you,"...without being able to pinpoint.
I was and am told (I am now 42 and NC since 95) that I have evil dna... Go figure!
Thanks for the blog
Rania