Alcoholism & Narcissism, what a wonderful pair.Posted on 07/03/10, 01:27 pm
I'm 39 years old and just realized about 3 months ago that I'm the son of a narcissistic mother. My mother has been an alcoholic since at least my very early childhood and I never "bonded" with her as a result. I moved out when I was 18 and have been financially and completely independent ever since (accepting anything from my parents just came at too high a price and taught me to be fiercely independent). This allowed me to set and maintain strict boundaries, I have rarely seen her the past 10 years. I also moved more than 3000 miles away and have spent a lot of time in al anon and related groups to understand my mom's drinking.
Last November I went "no contact" with my mother after she went on a major drinking binge. The no contact apparently made my mother a little crazy. Upon going no contact, I immediately started to receive regular emails and voicemails about how awful I was. It was daily and I'd even consider it stalking. It was this behavior from her that opened my eyes to her narcissism. And that the alcoholism is only an underlying condition of the much deeper problem that is her Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Perhaps a little history about my mom's narcissism is in order... my little sister, just told me this gem the other day that I think sums mom up best... When my sister was 8, my family went to the ocean for a day. My sister took a walk alone on the boardwalk with my mother. My mother ordered a beer from the boardwalk, and my sister said to her "mommy, daddy said you're not supposed to have any of that stuff", upon hearing this my mother smacked my sister on the face and told her "If you tell your father, I'll never talk to you again". Wonderful parenting, right? I'm also fairly certain she killed my first dog when I was 11 and away at school one day, at best it was gross negligence. (I LOVED that dog and it hated my mother, she used to always try and beat on him) She also has recently and regularly drugged my father by putting Xanax into his coffee when she gets annoyed with him and she just wants to be left alone. I have many more stories and she displays all the typical behavior I read about in these forums. I'm sure anyone in here knows the stuff narcissists do...
I could write a book with tidbits like those and believe she would fall into the category of a "malignant narcissist". It is this realization and what it means, that has kind of turned my world upside down. I've been relaying everything I discover to my sister and we talk about it often. I think she got the shorter end of the stick growing up.
Im writing though, because my going "no contact" has had a chilling effect in a lot of ways. My sister appears to be following in my footsteps (although she is nearly equally upset with my father for never acting or helping and I can't blame her). We're both trying to move forward and grow, but it can be very debilitating.
Just last week they came out here where I'm at in their $100k+ RV. I refused to see my mother, but spent a day alone with my Father. Since spending the day with him I have been very depressed. I miss him terribly, but he will never leave my mother. He is so sad, he says he's 68 has no grandkids and just wants to put the family together. But, he is and always has been such an enabler (my sister would say he is a co-narcissist). In his defense, at least he has finally started to acknowledge some of her (and his) bad behavior and its consequences. He says she's going to meetings for alcohol and is changing. He also said he goes to meeting with her too now, which made me very happy to hear.
Still, I've noticed that without my sister and I to "emotionally feed on" my mother has started to feed and immerse herself into my fathers life and affairs completely. Essentially holding him as a sort of an emotional hostage.
After reading so much about NPD, I fear she'll just eventually learn to use the alcoholism as another kind of prop to further her own agenda. And I don't know what to say to my father about my Mom's narcissism or if I should say anything... I honestly fear for his safety and don't know if that's being crazy or not. I think my mom just stays with my father to get his pension checks one day (she'll get 2/3 of his pension if he dies). She's told friends of her's that she only stays with him for financial reasons.
I just don't know what to do anymore. I feel like my actions have made life worse for everybody involved, including myself. Im still hopeful that it is the right decision and that this is just the beginning of what will obviously be a long and painful healing experience. Just after I thought I had figured out how to deal with the alcoholism there is this. I am so tired of it. I wish I could just be around my sister, father and grandmother more often. That I could have and enjoy a loving family of my own. Nobody wants to be around my mother so we all stay away from each other it seems (no one wants to live on eggshells).
I feel cheated and that there is nothing I can do about it.
Thanks for reading. It helps just to vent sometimes.... I'll check back if anybodies comments, thx :)
Reply #1 07/03/10 4:04pm
I am also new to this group, and my mother is also an alcoholic (not active now, but one many things, including nasal spray, diet coke, sugar, coffee...) and a "narcissist." One of my sister's therapists mentioned that term...never followed up on it until now. But obviously there are plenty N's out there! Never expected to find so many others in the same boat. I would encourage you to hang in there with your desire to be NC. They just don't like it! It is never easy. But I think it is so important to have boundaries otherwise they can and will walk all over you. Yeah, you were cheated but there is something you can do...live your own life, someday have your own family...maybe it will take lots of therapy to get to a better place emotionally, but it can be done.
Reply #2 07/04/10 11:56am
Thanks for the support Tricia. It's especially helpful today, as holidays are always filled with some amount of sadness or anger. But, I know it's pointless to dwell on what could be or could have been... One day closer to a better place though maybe :)
Reply #3 08/30/10 7:09pm
My stepfather was an alcoholic narcissist who thrived off the misery of others and nearly destroyed the once close and well bonded relationship I had with my (enabling) mother. I resented her a lot for her 'co-narcissist' role, feeling as though she was somehow cosigning on his abuse by being silent and inactive about it. Though they've been divorced seven years now, the woman she's become after being married to him for thirteen years is a shell of the joyful, loving person that once existed. She's more unabashedly self-serving than ever and has little sense of self-control and a greater sense of entitlement for having endured her marriage to my stepfather. I care a great deal for my mother but feel that little or no contact would be best for me as I just function better and feel much happier away from her impossible attitude. E.g. my partner visited and raked her yard, bagged the leaves (free of charge, of course)...rather than saying thank you she blessed me out for my partner using the 'wrong' bags, because they weren't lawn bags...which she didn't have in her house. I refuse to allow her negativity to dampen whatever joy I can squeeze out of life and for the first time, did NOT get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I thought of putting her out of my life. I intend to volunteer on the holidays and keep occupied. I refuse to stew and allow her to steal my joy. I hope you'll continue being strong and have better holidays to come.
Reply #4 08/30/10 8:02pm
my in-laws play good cop bad cop -in their world of rose colors glass its all about them (sister in-law included)father in-law says nothing but you know he agrees with what ever she says- he uses body langene to let those know hes not happy about others behavor--my mom in her own little world has no time to spend with anyone but her self-- complains that no one comes to see her - complains to all--- parents would let someone have a pet after a bit it disappear- then get another- then it start all over again-mom always had pet- to bad she could not have a litter puppys instead of 6 kids --best for me and the kids is the no contact with the in-laws and very little with my mom--what goes around comes around---
Recovery for adult children of narcissistic parents. From never really being allowed a voice independence and freedom to be an individual while being totally dependent on your narcissistic parents. It is similar to losing a parent as a child. It is possible to recover but it can take many years of therapy. You must come to grips with the fact that you didnt have what most people would consider an entitlement. But that doesnt mean you cannot become a fulfilled person as an adult.