Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers: Identifying What We Are Feeling
It is 2:58 am.
I am in my office.
I came in here to write a blog post, but I keep shuffling papers and journals around and can't shake this feeling of an impending emotional flashback.
I am extremely irritable.
I am sad.
My self esteem is very low.
I feel like I am a bad person.
I keep thinking about my mom.
When I am feeling particularly low I imagine that I've blown everything out of proportion and I imagine that I have blown it with my family by being overly sensitive and now I've really lost them for good because of what I have put our elderly mother through going no contact more than 2 years ago.
Right now my heart feels heavy and it was just pounding loudly in my ears.
It's weird how it does that.
Boom, boom, boom, then back to normal.
It's almost like I've imagined hearing or feeling it only seconds before.
I must journal every night.
I haven't been.
I need to try to make a habit of it.
It is good to connect to how I am feeling and get what is going on inside of me, out of me, in one way or another.
I know I would benefit from finding a good therapist.
I am finding it too hard to even think about trusting anybody right now though.
Sometimes I don't know what I am feeling.
I can say the basics, like sad, mad, unhappy, depressed, anxious, but to delve deeper is sometimes something I can't do on my own.
I need prompting.
I need suggestion.
I need steps.
I had this great counsellor before I moved back here.
In looking back at the paper work she used with me, I was in really good hands even though we didn't know exactly what I was dealing with.
I'd love to go talk to her again armed with my new knowledge.
When I was talking to her was right before we moved back here and we all believed my mother was a good support to me and moving to be near her was a good idea.
It was all I could talk about.
My mom and my son.
I wonder if I should email her and say "guess what, my mom is a narcissist and she discarded me as soon as she could after we moved here".
At least I now know why I am the way I am.
In the absence of a good therapist, I've been buying books.
One of the books that has helped me understand what having a narcissistic mother does to daughters is Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride.
She recommends using a journal to get through the recovery process, and to help release the trauma.
She says to just write whatever is coming up for you, and deal with it consciously so it can't control our lives.
Sometimes I don't know what to write.
I feel tremendously sad that my mom doesn't know how to love her own children.
My heart literally begins to pound in my ears if I let myself think about it.
What's up with that?
Back to this great counsellor.
She used this work sheet of feelings lists with me.
She'd ask me what else I'm feeling and a lot of times I wasn't able to come up with much other than sad, mad, scared, depressed, etc.
She would hand me this sheet of paper and ask me to tell her if I felt any of the feelings on the list.
The lists were in categories.
For example, words associated with sadness, words associated with anger, words associated with joy, and words associated with fear.
I still have a copy of that work sheet.
It has some words highlighted with green hi-lighter.
Here are the words I have highlighted.
Words associated with sadness: Hurt, dejected, guilty, rejected, depressed, disappointed, isolated.
Words associated with anger: irritated, hurt distrustful, unappreciated.
Words associated with fear: afraid, apprehensive, fearful, ashamed, scared, insecure.
No words were hi-lighted in the list of words associated with joy. :(
These are the words I would choose now based on how I am feeling in the present moment.
I haven't been feeling great.
I've been feeling very triggered lately.
I need to exercise more.
I know that will do me a lot of good.
Brace yourself. A shit ton of feelings words are coming your way.
Who knew you could be feeling so many things all at the same time?
Sadness: defeated, desperate, embarrassed, hurt, melancholy, regretful, trapped, uncertain, worn out, dejected, devastated, ignored, miserable, rejected, worried, depressed, disappointed, helpless, isolated, misunderstood, remorseful, unappreciated, vulnerable, discouraged, lonely, muddled, self-counscious, tired, useless, weary.
Anger: annoyed, irritated, resentful, uneasy, bitter, humiliated, hurt, touchy, distrustful, unappreciated.
Joy: brave, concerned, curious, passionate, hopeful, courageous, loved, trusted.
Fear: afraid, helpless, panicked, self-hating, uncertain, vulnerable, apprehensive, fearful, threatened, uncomfortable, ashamed, scared, indecisive, insecure, trapped.
I think what this all boils down to is....
I miss my mom.
I miss the illusion I was under.
I miss the certainty I felt that I had a good family.
I still want to believe it wasn't all that bad, and I suppose in some ways it could have been worse, but that is coming from somebody that thought what I grew up with was normal, so that's not saying much.
It's got to be this time of year.
It's getting to me.
It sucks not having a normal family at Christmas.
Somehow I feel to blame for the way everything is.
Isn't that what I'm supposed to think?
It's all my fault?
I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother after all.
After going through that exercise, I don't feel so triggered anymore.
I don't feel like I am being pulled down the rabbit hole of despair any longer.
If you are the daughter of a narcissistic mother too, please know I understand what it feels like.
Also know that it wasn't your fault.
Being the daughters of narcissistic mothers, we know what it is to be silenced.
We weren't permitted to share our feelings, especially if it would displease our mother.
We needed to keep them inside, hide them, especially if it would make mother feel bad.
We got to the point that we denied our own feelings, just so we could be on good terms with our own mothers.
It became such a habit, that if we don't do it, we become triggered into an emotional flashback.
Our narcissistic mothers' love was conditional, and that was so unfair.
We deserved so much better, and now we can do that for ourselves.
I encourage you to look for a feelings list online, and use it daily to increase your vocabulary in expressing how you feel.
Here is one I found online that you could use.
If anybody would like to see the one I used please email me and I'd be happy to send you a pdf copy.
~ Poking Holes