"Children who are not encouraged to be confident become adults who are insecure." - Unknown
I never knew what a "narcissistic personality" was until Donald Trump became President of the United States when I first heard the term. As I learned more about narcissistic behavior and its characteristics, I began to notice that my own mother exhibited many of the same traits.
Growing up with my mother was challenging. She was always controlling and demanding, and I had developed my coping mechanism: letting her control me, or else she wouldn't stop bullying me. I remember countless car rides where she would lecture me for hours on end, even when we were on our way to the airport. It didn't matter if I agreed with her or not - if I said something that went against her philosophy or ways of thinking (which were often very traditional), the lecture would go on longer.
As I got older, I started to realize that my mother's behavior was not normal. She was exhibiting classic signs of narcissism, and it was affecting my relationships with others. I struggled in my relationships with people. I couldn't understand why I had such a hard time connecting with others, and why I always felt like I was being judged or criticized. But as I learned more about narcissism, everything started to make sense. I couldn't recognize and avoid toxic behaviors because they have been normalized through my upbringing.
As my mother gets older (in her 70s), her behavior has only worsened. It's sad to see, but I know that I need to protect my children from their grandmother. I don't want them to experience the same kind of abuse and manipulation that I did.
Dealing with my mother is never easy. I don't want to disrespect her, so the only way for my children and I to be happy and find peace is to live far away from her, in another country. I dread the day when we have a family gathering, like the Christmas holidays. It's a constant battle to set boundaries and protect myself from her manipulation.
TRUTH: It's not easy, but I know that I deserve to live a life free from the control and manipulation of my mother.