When you cut off your mom, society judges you

1811496873-9771dd3f7fe1e6c3e27417e1ce971207As I mentioned in a previous post since Cruella has returned to our state, she has been trying more and more to force Bruce to interact with her. Sebastian and I have always respected Bruce as a human being, and allowed him to make his own decision on contact with his mother. As I said last weekend as we were discussing it out on the back deck, Cruella makes snide statements to Sebastian like “You would think a good father would want his son to have a relationship with his mother,” but truthfully, a good parents protects his/her child, even if it is from the other parent. Bruce will be in college next year, (he’s graduating high school a year early) he’s basically grown. Bruce sent Cruella a pleasant, calm reply on “Our family wizard” which she has not responded to, unsurprisingly, because he upheld his boundaries. What is tough is that when you make the decision to cut off a parent, especially a mother, society typically judges you for it. They ask what is wrong with you, not what she did to deserve it, because we have a damaging view of motherhood in our society, that says that all mothers love and they don’t all love their children.

One of the best, most validating blogs I have found is another one on PsychCentral called Knotted, the Mother-Daughter Relationship” by Peg Streep. In her post “Toxic Mom? Going No Contact? 5 Things You Must Realize” Peg talks about how society doesn’t accept that mothers can be unloving:

“Culturally, we are sympathetic when a mother cuts a daughter out of her life because we assume the mother has done her very best and left no stone unturned to salvage the relationship, and we sigh with sympathy. People say, “It’s a pity but some kids just turn out bad, no matter how hard you try.”

No such leeway is ever granted to a child who initiates the break. Why is that? My guess is that people so want to believe in one kind of love that’s immutable—a mother’s love—in a world where love is hard to find and harder to hang on to, that the story of the unloving mother is personally threatening. That’s why they don’t want to hear you out.” [emphasis is the author’s]

tumblr_nf8w5q5fxc1r5wmgdo1_500 Please visit the article to read the whole thing, it’s very insightful. Peg shares her own experience with cutting off her toxic mother. I’m proud of how well Bruce has stuck to his boundaries. As I told Sebastian, I gave my own mother chance after chance, for 30 years, to hurt me over and over, believing – even though she never apologized – that when she was nice to me that it was for good. Of course, like every abusive pattern the “honeymoon” phase never lasted and before too long she would be saying horrible things to me, tearing me down, emotionally abusing me, then gaslighting me, saying she had never said or done those things if I even bothered to confront her. I’m ashamed of how many times I opened myself up to her negativity and criticism, because I wanted so desperately for her to love me in the way that society tells you a mother should love. I felt that there was something wrong with me for so many years. I never had the strength that he has at the age of 16. I expected that when she showed up at the school event, he would cave, as I did to my own mother so many times. I am glad for him that he didn’t. Years of dashed hopes have left wounds that I know will never heal. I hope for him that he doesn’t begin a cycle with his mother like I had with mine. I’m glad he’s not second-guessing himself, one of the things that Peg talks about in her article and something I know I did way too many times.

I guess that we are able to do is what we are already doing – supporting him, believing him, not shaming him for protecting himself, and listening when he needs to vent. I wish that we could do more but at the same time, I wish I had anyone that would have validated my feelings back when I was a teenager! Maybe I wouldn’t have been lost for so many years.

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Projecting, what is it and why do narcissists do it?

77141-67838Projection is a defense mechanism, there are many different ones and everyone employs some of them at one point or another. There are some that people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) seem to favor and projection is one of them. In an article on Lifescript, Jennifer Beaumann writes: Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings. The article has several good examples that help explain what psychological projecting is. If we cannot own our negative feelings or admit our negative character traits to ourselves, we may project them onto others, meaning that we assign those negative feelings and character traits to that other person. For example, I may judge an acquaintance harshly for “being judgmental.” I would say something like, “Oh I can’t stand how Jane is always judging everyone! She thinks she is so much better than everyone, always looking down on them. It’s such an unattractive habit.” Yet I’m judging and looking down on Jane, exactly what I say that I hate.

This short article on GoodTherapy.org also explains it well. It gives the example: A person with narcissistic traits who does not respect their partner may say to the partner, “You don’t respect me or see my true worth.” I have seen that Cruella takes this a step further; she doesn’t just assign her negative feelings to other people, she flat out begins to believe that other people have done the horrible things she has done or said the awful things that she herself has said. I believe this is a combination of projection and gaslighting that is not uncommon with narcissists. (I will write a future blog post about gaslighting but you can read more about it now on Narcissistic Behavior Net.)

Cruella will do something and then months later, she will say that Sebastian or Bruce actually did or said the thing that she has done. So not only is she gaslighting by denying that it took place, she turns the tables and blames them for what she actually did or said. Here is a great example of an actual recent event. Over the weekend, Cruella sent a message to Sebastian, in which she accused him of refusing to give her our new address when we all moved in together, which she claims she asked for. In actual reality, Sebastian tried to find out where Cruella and Harley moved to and Harley told him she “would get in trouble” if she told him where they were living. For several weeks, we had no idea what state or city they were in. Sebastian, on the other hand, emailed Cruella our new address because that’s what the divorce papers state each parent is supposed to do within two weeks of moving. This has been a slow progression toward eventually projecting her bad behavior onto him. First, she claims she asked a month before we moved. She both did not ask, and also we had not moved so we weren’t obligated to provide the address until after Bruce was residing there. She said “you knew where it was going to be before you moved.” Ok, but still not sending her the new address prior to moving is not the same as refusing to tell her. (This is typical of narcissistic reasoning though, I didn’t do what I legitimately was supposed to do based on some sketchy pretty much unrelated thing that you did or didn’t do. The narcissist’s actions are always YOUR fault.) Now, she’s flat out claiming that Sebastian refused to give her the address when she asked AFTER we moved, a complete and total lie, but it’s what she did. Projection and gaslighting: what actually happened didn’t happen, and what I did you, actually did.

transitoProjection also allows a narcissist to protect themselves from the consequences of their own actions and behaviors. From around a month after she sent The Letter, Cruella began insisting that Bruce wanted to talk to her but Sebastian was actively preventing it. In spite of the fact that over the last year Bruce has told her: on the phone, in writing, and face-to-face that he does not want any contact with her, because she is incapable of admitting she could do or say anything wrong, she defaults back to this “you are keeping my son from me/influencing his behavior/alienating him from me/actively keeping him from talking to me.” In spite of the fact that she showed up at a school function two weeks ago and he completely ignored her she is still insisting that he wants to talk to her and we are stopping him. So yet again the poor kid had to send her another message telling her he doesn’t want to see or talk to her and the only reason for that is HER and HER BEHAVIOR. Of course, the way she projects, this likely means she is keeping Harley from talking to her father as well as actively turning her against him. Which we know she has done in the past.

204153f928267e09dc7334f5a5ebb574Now, the latest thing since she is back in the area is her attempting to bully us all and force us to force Bruce to spend time with her. Which is sick and we would never do! I try not to be bothered by it, but it really pisses me off when she acts like she can force us to do what she wants. She sent a message informing us that she was going to be coming to one of Bruce’s therapy sessions so we had better get ready. Um, no. That’s not how this works! She can’t force his therapist to talk to her or force herself into his session. What’s great is that we were able to get him in to see Cruella’s former therapist, so she knows exactly what kind of a sick person he is dealing with. She wrote a letter to the court about how being forced to spend time with his mother would psychologically damage him! I guess I just have a stubborn personality because unless you’re my boss at work, you’d better not TELL me to do anything because that’s the best way to make sure I won’t do it! She also apparently wants me to be on this “our family wizard” website, probably because I refuse to interact with her and she wants to force me to. The thing that’s sad about narcissists is that once you’re onto them and their games, they’re pathetically obvious. Insidious, but not subtle at all.

This is the only way I can fight back

I asked myself earlier “why did you revive this blog?” I started it because I needed a place to vent, and I hoped maybe I could get some feedback from others on how tough it is to be a step-parent. Now, I have no outlet for the things I know, about her and about what it is like to have to deal with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I can’t warn people about her. I can’t save Harley from her. I can’t tell the people she spreads lies about Sebastian to that she is lying. I can’t tell people that I’m not being abused like she says I have to be since he is abusive. She goes out of her way to make sure we hear about the things she posts on Facebook, but she can’t be challenged there. I can’t call her a liar in front of all those people, some of whom live in my city, some of whom are people I know! There’s no recourse. This blog, anonymously, is the only way I can fight back.

projectionProjection is a narcissist’s favorite delusion, she takes whatever horrible thing she has done and says that you did it. She takes whatever negative character traits she has, and says that you have them. I will be writing a post about projection, but you can read more about it now on the wonderful blog “Narcissism Meets Normalcy” by Lenora Thompson, who writes about her own experience as a child being raised by narcissists. One way that Cruella projects is to say that Sebastian and I “spy” on her. She will write little snide comments on Facebook posts for us, telling us something or telling our “spy” to tell us something. The funny part is, we don’t cyber-stalk her like she does to me (projecting!) she has actually never unfriended several of Sebastian’s family members on Facebook. They tell us things, because of the vileness she posts there. Lies like Sebastian has never paid child support! Just completely blatant lies! 1000% untruths! We have canceled checks to prove it! But he has learned to let it go, I guess after two decades living with a narcissist you learn how to let things go, but I don’t know how yet. I get angry on his behalf! I want to scan those checks and post them to her Facebook wall angrily saying “yes! here’s the nearly $700 monthly checks he paid you for the FULL CHILDSUPPORT even after Bruce lived here. Where did that money go Cruella? To your shopping fund, most likely. You certainly didn’t give any of it to Bruce. You certainly didn’t care about if Bruce had everything he needed while you continued for four months to get child support for two kids when only one lived with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

See? Angry. I feel righteously angry at her blatant lies. Why does she still have to attempt abuse him? I b85ba79b88f49a8d19dce0bd65ce949fguess because she is sick. I told him once that even if he had ended up never getting sober and homeless on the street, penniless, even then she would not be satisfied. She probably wouldn’t even be satisfied if he were dead. The joke is on her though because we are happy and she is still miserable, sad, and alone, living back with her parents in a state she swore up and down she would never come back to – and it’s not because of Sebastian, it’s not because of her parents, it’s not because people are out to get her, it’s because she’s a horrible, awful person and anyone who sees the real her is sickened by it and wants to get as far away from her as possible. I only wish that Harley was able to. That’s the only place our happiness falters, is in our worry for her. Even Sebastian can’t find a way to have peace and not worry about his child.

I may not be able to tell all her facebook friends what a lying, horrible, abusive person and parent she is, but at least I can say it here. This is how I fight back. Until the day I can finally say, you will never abuse any of us again. Until it is finally safe to show my face and tell the world who she is, because truthfully the abuse is HER shame, not the shame of those she abuses. No one deserves to live with narcissistic abuse.