If one of these kind of days wasn’t enough, wouldn’t you know, I got a second one!!
The first one was sixteen years ago and the second happened a decade after that – six years ago. The first one was bad enough, the second one was just as devastating. Rejection is not something you get used to.
Six years ago, my youngest sibling was getting married. I was invited to his wedding. And I really battled with the idea of going – but really wanted to, because the other thing was my brother’s bride-to-be was dying of cancer. I discussed it with my husband and he was ready to be my sturdy Oak if we went. We already decided that we would not bring our children if we did go – I did not want my children around my mother. As the day approached, the anxiety attacks were getting worse and more frequent – I couldn’t help but wonder about what things my mother might say or do to crush me while there – also causing a scene at my brother’s wedding. I told my husband that I couldn’t go if my mother is still the same person she was – the idea that she could humiliate or degrade me publicly again was more than I could entertain. I couldn’t endure it again – not even once. I wasn’t strong enough.
So, I had contacted my mother by email (that I got from a sibling) – who hadn’t physically been in my life for ten years at that point but there was still very limited contact via post mail – it was all I would permit – that was the boundary I set. So, anyway, I wanted to get in contact with my mother to get a feel to see if she had changed at all over the past ten years. (At this point I still knew nothing about narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.) She replied.
She writes as though nothing ever happened between us and she went on about how nice it will be to have all her children under one roof again … red flag number one! I cannot remember all the content of what I wrote or what she wrote, although I recall remaining amiable and calm – attempting to give her the benefit of doubt. All it took was one exchange and, even in my trying to be objective, I knew that she hadn’t changed at all and I knew that by me showing up, to her it would mean that everything was washed under the bridge in her world. No way could I give that impression – no way was I sending her that message!! No way was I going to brush off all her cruelty and abuse and give her the satisfaction of ‘winning.’ In the last email she sent me, she wrote, “You were always so hard to love.” Red flag number two! Now, I’m angry. She always pulled statements like these – blame-shifting statements! This one blaming me for her inability to love me. This was rich! This infuriated me as I had tried so hard for so many years, being who I thought she wanted me to be, bending over backwards for her in hopes that she would love me – and nothing worked!! Nothing I did curbed her abuse of me. I was so done. I was really done this time! After these one or two exchanges, I knew very well that this woman was never ever going to change. If she hadn’t changed after a decade, I was, and am, convinced that she never, ever will.
Now that I knew I couldn’t go to the wedding, I had to let my brother know and I very nicely explained that I thought I could do it, but can’t and told him the truth – it was because of our mother – I profusely apologized for not being able to be there for them. I felt awful about feeling this way, because I really wanted to be there for them – for him and his wife-to-be, who had no idea how much time she had left. But my mother, I didn’t want to risk her making a scene with me at his wedding! I was very torn. I also knew that if we went, my husband would have to deal with me having a full blown anxiety attack 20 minutes drive away from the venue – and we’d have to turn around and go home. I just couldn’t do it. If you have ever had a full blown panic attack, believe me – you’d opt out too. They feel like what I think a heart attack would feel like. Your heart races so hard that it feels like it’s trying to violently beat it’s way out of your chest, your chest feels compressed, you find it hard to breathe, your body goes weak and violently shakes, and because that’s not enough – let’s throw in nausea! Yeah. It’s not nice and they take some doing getting them under wraps once in full swing too.
Well, as you can imagine – news of my not coming spread like wildfire. I got emails from other siblings telling me to get over it. No one asking me why – just jumping in with nasty ‘get over it’ comments. This is when I got so angry, I was shaking. Amazing how they could be so flippant in telling me to ‘get over it’ when they have no idea what they are asking me to get over – not one of them ever wanted to truly know. Anytime I tried to bring it up it was hushed. But, now was the time, although badly timed, to unload it all. I prayed about it – and then I wrote. They all got a full description of what my mother did to me. Yes, the timing was insanely bad and, in many an eye, in very bad taste. But I refused to be pushed into something that was just likely going to be drama hell – and I did not want to be the object of that drama at my brother’s wedding. So yeah, it was like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. I was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t.
After my email, it was obvious they all had a family meeting about me. One sister called asking why I didn’t say this stuff to them in person. I told her, “Believe me, be glad you got it in writing – my words are nicer. I had to edit several times.” I explained to her I can explain myself better in writing and if I did tell them all in person – I would have been quickly hushed, likely attacked and told it was all in my head – because that is what they always did. I told her, “The letter is better.” At one point in my phone conversation with my sister, she dropped this: “We don’t want to hear about it and we don’t want to talk about it.” I was also told by another sister, “We don’t want to hear any more of your crap.” That confused me because whenever I tried to talk about my mother’s abuse, it never went anywhere. No one wanted to hear about it, and believe me, I know body language – when I could see they didn’t want to hear about it, I stopped talking … I guess because to them accusations of being abused is nothing to be concerned about.
At this point in my life with them – I was already the black sheep not only with my mother, but now with all of them. I knew this. Ever since I was little, I was always on the outside looking in and it was now more apparent than ever. The last two years before this incident, my siblings and father had pulled away from me, my husband and my kids, emotionally and physically. I can only imagine (well, I can’t actually) what lies and fabricated tall stories my mother has told them to smear me – to cause them to pull away from me. So because this had been happening, I had nothing to lose sending them this detailed letter of abuse because the reality was, I already lost them. And confronting them proved it.
The next day, my father – who had been divorced from my mother for a good many years at that point – asks if he can come to my house to talk to me, I complied. This was a joke. He asked a few questions and when he didn’t like my answers, he stared off into space without response. Then, he says, “Well, we don’t want to hear about it and we don’t want to talk about it.” These words were my sister’s words verbatim. When he left my house that day, I knew in my heart that it would be the last time I would ever see him, and I was right.
It dawned on me shortly after that visit, that they must think I’m lying. It wasn’t a far-fetched idea because my mother was famous for spreading lies about me – sometimes she would just change details to make me look worse than I was, other times she would totally fabricate things I never did. So … final letter to all, “IF you think I’m lying, I don’t want anything to do with any of you.” After all, how on earth can you be in a healthy relationship with anyone if they think you’re a liar?? How can you be in healthy relationship with anyone who thinks you’d lie about a mother’s abuse?? Especially when all I ever wanted was a healthy, loving relationship with my mother that she didn’t want??
I got a card from one sister not long after that, and I think I got one from the other one as well. In both, I replied, “I mean it, IF you think I’m lying then I want nothing to do with any of you.” and briefly explained why … no responses.
Already living with the brokenness caused by my mother’s abuse, this broke me even more. I was an emotional mess and only my husband and children saw what it did to me. After no response from calling them out on me being a liar, I knew it was over. Ties were cut. It was like all these heart strings that had been stretched to their full capacity were suddenly violently cut which created a most bloody mess … and it was all on the inside – all the pain and anguish that no one could see – except God Himself – and am I ever thankful He could!
Since those exchanges, I have been strict no contact with my family of origin and even extended family of origin – aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews – all because my mother’s poisonous words and deeds went that deep. I felt like I could trust no one. I even severed ties with any mutual family friends – too risky. No emails, no post mail, no phone, no social media … NOTHING. It’s been six years.
I thought I was freed the first time I had a best day and worst day in one day … but this time, the second time, I really was now more free than ever even though I was a total mess at the time. The true state of their hearts were revealed. They believed a liar over the truth-teller – that’s how deep the deception was and is.
A few days after I saw my father, I was googling ‘abusive mothers’, and that is when I came across the term ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’ which described my mother perfectly. Finally, I knew – it wasn’t ALL ME! In fact, 90% of what I thought was me, was actually her! … It was a like a 300 pound weight fell off of me. This is when my healing journey went into overdrive, that was when I sought and found a Christian therapist who was well educated about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Thank God for her – I don’t know how I would have processed everything without her!
Even though I had a long ways to go at that time – with those ties broken, I was no longer cutting my feet walking on eggshells around them, I was no longer anticipating the anxiety that would come when being around my family of origin. I was on my way to total freedom from abuse and abuse by proxy.
Best Day? Yes. Truth was exposed and hearts were revealed.
Worst Day? Yes. It was the day I lost a family because of deception and lies.
Six years later … I am happier, more whole. Yes, my heart, my mind and my soul still have scars from being sliced and shredded … and they still bleed once in awhile. But I can tell you – the bleeding is under control and I can live my life with a clear mind and clear conscience. It was ugly. The timing was awful. But I am glad it happened because now I am truly free.
God is good.
~ Saoirse Quill