Never Good Enough for a Narcissistic Mother

by Michelle Piper

When a client tells me they never feel “good enough,” I know there is serious pain in that person’s life. As I listen, I hear how the person’s thoughts go moment-to-moment, scouring recent experience to see how he or she can be better somehow. The patient asks, compulsively, “How can I be more?”

This is especially common for children who grew up with a narcissistic parent. That habit of hyper-vigilant self assessment was needed to survive childhood. Think of itβ€”if you need to anticipate what a narcissistic adult wants from you next, hoping to avoid negative consequences or gain much needed attention, how could you avoid learning to self-tune and quickly adjust to the narcissist’s needs?

As a result, adult children of narcissistic mothers unintentionally carry forward many unreasonable standards that mom had for them while they were growing up. Though you may no longer tolerate another adult treating you as your narcissistic mother did in the past, you may replicate that same pattern in how you treat yourself. Are your expectations of yourself fair? Do you ever meet the mark you set? Do you feel satisfied with your day more often than not?

When we get stuck in never-good-enough, we become worn out by the constant search to be more productive, valuable, loved, and attractive. Yes, self assessment is a valuable skill. But, when we constantly scan and measure our worth only by what we can do, what role we play, or who approves of us, we become increasingly empty. Instead of accepting our inherent worth as a perfectly imperfect living being, we become driven by our fears.

Never-good-enough feelings can sneak into our lives in many different ways. Here are some examples:

1. You end a long day of work where nothing went wrong and no one acted negatively toward you, but you still don’t feel that your boss or fellow employees were satisfied with what you did.

2. A friend of yours thanks you for the birthday gift you just gave her, but you think you detect some small disappointment in her voice.

3. Someone says you look good that day and you automatically tally that it has been over a week since anyone has complimented you on your appearance.

4. You have leisure time but you don’t use it because you feel you must be productive. You are baffled by friends who say they are “just going to relax.”

The self-doubts can feel never ending. It is awful to feel apologetic just for being alive, but sometimes that’s how we feel when we are in a never-good-enough state. Notice: Do you treat yourself with care and love? How often?

If not, there are ways to do so. Starting now, find opportunities to be kind to yourself. The next time you feel the anxiety of a negative opinion, end your self-reflection with naming at least one thing you did right. Or, at a minimum, one thing you did not do wrong.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Bertie April 13, 2018 at 12:01 pm

I’m back! Thank you for being concerned about me. That means a lot!

Interesting what you wrote about recently. I have also read the same. Scapegoats are the ones who see it for what it really is, fight back, don’t go along with things, leave the dysfunctional situation, etc. The big cuckoo nest of family members stays status quo and then lay blame on the one who “got away’, i.e., who ends up being scapegoated by them.
That sums up my Family Group in a nutshell.

A few years ago, one of my brothers (who did not fare well at the hand’s of our mother) said to me, “When she dies, this will end. It will die with her”.

I hate to report that it won’t. There is much dysfunction among numerous family members.
This goes back to the “We were all affected” comment. In recent years, I had some contact with a grown niece. I couldn’t get over her behavior. She was trying to take blatant advantage of me, lie to me, try to con me, etc., and I said to myself, “How dumb does she think I am?” I went No Contact with her ASAP. What makes it odd is that she is a nice person … she is. But this is “what she is”. This is “how she acts”. This is how she has learned (by watching others, I presume) to “deal with people”.

I was congratulated by the priest for walking away from my family. And I only told him about 10% of the bad stuff and not even the worst of it. Rubies, when I spent three hours talking with him … and this is what he told me … it helped me to hear it. He also alluded to this being something that happens in families and is passed down, from generation to generation.

My mom can be “just horrible”. And a day later, she’ll call you on the phone and act like nothing happened. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. How can I sit there, at the table, with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake and laugh and talk with this person? It’s a farce. To have to continue to have her over for holidays, or do things like that, is like being “force fed”.

I really don’t get it. I don’t get why it is the way it is. As far as going back to talking about “The Narcissist” … there are victims. Spouse probably the number one victim. “And they don’t even know”. I often say to my husband, “I wish my dad would have never married her”. My mom has thrown every single person she knows “under the bus”. Interestingly, she has never thrown her favorite (Golden) under the bus. I find that very interesting.
Golden is a weak person. She is a “nice person” (to those she wants to be nice too). She is someone who is easily manipulated by others. She is naive. She plays the victim a lot.
She’s not a strong person. I suppose she is my mom’s main victim.

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Rubies April 13, 2018 at 9:39 pm

For those wanting to read more comments on this article, you may by continuIng to press “PREVIOUS COMMENTS” at the top of this list, highlighted in light blue. Be advised however, that it will take a good deal of time and repeated efforts to get to them if you choose to do so, as only the first list of comments on this thread will appear.
———————————————————————————————————————–
I and another commenter are carrying on a conversation from the previous lists about our narcissistic mothers, and other affected family members. Michelle, this blog’s founder had written about the importance of “sharing” in the recovery process, with someone on here, another trusted individual, or a therapeutic professional. Since no be else had posted a comment on this article for over three years, we decided to “share” here. Please feel WELCOME to join our conversation if you’d like, as we’d be happy to have you, or of course, feel free to leave your own comment for this article.

Thank You!

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Rubies April 13, 2018 at 9:47 pm

I’m really glad you’re doing okay.
There’s a lot I could say in response to all you’ve written, but unfortunately it will have to wait. Will write soon. <3

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Rubies April 14, 2018 at 11:20 pm

Hey Bertie : )

I’m SORRY! My “soon” turned out to be later than I thought. : (
We left this morning and didn’t get back till late this evening.
I hope you’re doing well.

I hear you about wishing your father had never married your mother. But feel I must state the obvious, if he didn’t, then you wouldn’t be here, and neither would your boys. Good can come out of these unions.

Good can even come directly from these people at times, as they sometimes do good things in order to impress others, or get people on the hook with them. The trouble is that the rotten things they do usually negates the good.

It’s like you were saying, your niece is a “nice person”, you’re sister is a “nice person” (to those she wants to be nice to.)”. Narcissistic people can seem really nice, friendly, caring, good, but what’s their motivation? If they don’t get what they want, are they still going to be these things? Or are they going to start pulling covert aggressive acts out on you. Slandering you behind your back while smiling in your face the next time they see you, being just one of many possibilities. How about being slyly insulting, or obviously rude, and then claiming you’re imagining things and/or overly sensitive if you say anything. How about taking advantage of you for stuff, and then calling you “materialistic”. (You Know!) Defrauding you, and then completely spinning the story so you sound lIke the theif. (I know!) They know “playing nice” works better FOR THEM. Instead of nice, friendly, caring, good, deep down under their facade, they’re mean, hateful, selfish, and rotten. (I’m speaking of narcissists in general, not specifically your niece and sister.) They are out for themselves, first and foremost.

I think TRULY “nice caring” people aren’t playing some angle to GET anything. The trouble is it’s hard to tell the genuine from th fakers.

Yeah both our fathers were victims, but what could they do except carry on doing the best they could with the woman they married, who bore them children. They were honorable men, who were also trapped. I imagine neither one of them knew what narcissism was, or if they did, they didn’t know much about it. I know my father knew my mother had “certain ways”.

I want you to know that your father’s and your brother’s struggles truly affect my heart, whenever I think about them. They deserved better.

I want to say more, but it’s gotten very late. Hope to hear from you before long.

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Rubies April 14, 2018 at 11:24 pm

They deserved MUCH better.

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Bertie April 15, 2018 at 4:45 am

How nice to hear from you on this Sunday morning. πŸ™‚ I read what you wrote while watching a deer frolic outside my living room window. It is very early in the morning around here and is finally beginning to look a little like spring.

Yes, I knew that “I wouldn’t be here” had they not gotten married. However, I still lament.
And yes, he deserved better. She actually kept him in the area. And “the area” was not a good area. The rest of his entire family had normal (by society’s definition) lives.

I still don’t get why people are like this. I especially don’t get it when they like to “band together”. All I can say is, it’s not a true family.

I will write more later.

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Bertie April 15, 2018 at 7:26 am

I still only have a few moments … but wanted to bring up the conversation I had with the priest. Recall he said to me, “You are defining who your mother is by her actions … She is greedy … She is selfish … She is mean”. He wanted to impress upon me that she was still my mother, the person who gave me life. But I don’t agree with his take on this. I think you ARE what you DO. Especially if your bad actions comprise 95% of your total being.

There are so many “stories” I have not yet shared. I don’t think there’s a point to continue on, adding new ones. But suffice to say, I am always left in a bewildered state, just thinking about what transpired in the past. I would NEVER DO the things she did, as a mother.

And the term “narcissist” … used so readily these days … is it a catch-all definition for a really, rotten, screwed up person who only thinks of themselves, is manipulative, uses their kids, causes upheaval in everyone’s lives they come into contact with, etc?

Just thoughts I have had recently.

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Rubies April 15, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Well from all my studying of this stuff, I’ve read that many people are narcissistic to ‘some’ degree. That it’s a continuum, with the most evil of the world, the vicious psychopaths and serious sociopaths being on one end, and people who would be considered average, “normal” on the other. With this in mind, it becomes a little more understandable to see why many of the behaviors of others could be viewed as “narcissistic”. The question becomes whether the person exhibits enough of these behaviors to be diagnosed as having the disorder, or is simply someone who displays tendencies.

I’ve also read about how a person SHOULD have a certain amount. It’s called “healthy narcissism”. To me, this means having enough pride and concern about oneself, that the person doesn’t become a total doormat. Or if they do, they get up and walk away when they see the situation for what it is. (i think we fall into this description, even though it took us a long time to “see” it. We’re not alone.)

Some people don’t have enough narcissism, self concern, self love, etc. At times I think that’s where I was, and how I was “programmed” to be, by my mother. This is where we both were. I think the “Never Good Enough” message is a way of them saying, you don’t have the right or the worth to ever be considered first, or even at all.

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Bertie April 15, 2018 at 12:55 pm

I know what you mean. They always came first. They didn’t consider how we felt.

“Healthy narcissism” — makes total sense. You have to have a certain amount.
Yes, I was a doormat for a long time.

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Bertie April 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

We have been back from our trip but have been out of sorts. Husband and I have both been doctoring at same place (an excellent, renown clinic). I ended what accumulated to six plus years to correct a surgical “error”. But during these six difficult years (full of stress and expense) is that my husband was diagnosed with something serious. It required lifestyle changes and tons of diligence (in other words, attention given to his needs). And being the man that he is, he put the needs of our family ahead of his own. We received word lately, via test results, that he has a life and death reality … something not easily reversed. I love him with all my heart and that is where I am at today.

To tie this reality in with this site … I will say that I will not get any empathy from my own family. I have no plans to tell them anything, ever. I am sure my mother and sister would get pleasure from his demise, and also in knowing that I would be “suffering”. I am 100% certain about this. That is a sad reality in it’s own. These were the two females who have been closest to me, but not in recent years. I don’t care about this anymore (my mom and sister and how they view me and treat me). I definitely don’t care anymore.

That’s all I really have to say today. Don’t worry, Rubies. I’m okay. I’m just very sad.

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Bertie April 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm

I thought I would write a “crazy thread” today. For those reading, who do not know what I am talking about: My definition of a “crazy thread” is a string of related events that have occurred in my family .. that are … just plain crazy.

My brother dies unexpectedly. I decide to paint something, in his honor, and make prints … meant to be a special gift to my mother, siblings, and other significant people who were in his life at the end of his life. After his death, I do this. I get in touch with a different brother who is a carpenter, who can and has, made picture frames. I tell him my intentions and ask if he would make the frames. His answer: “I will, if you pay me enough”.

I send one of the prints home (in a tube) to my mother and ask her to please stay home that day (so it won’t get stolen in the mail box by the road). She tells me she will, but she doesn’t. This particular print was meant for my deceased brother’s best friend. I had asked her to please get it to him.

My mother informs me later on the phone that what I painted “wasn’t any good”.

I didn’t give them to anyone. Naturally, I did not take my brother up on his selfless answer to frame them “If I paid him enough”. I let the prints sit and they continue to sit. And, the painting IS good.

Recall this brother took what he wanted from my brother’s house, immediately after the death.

My sister informed me that the print that I sent home (for my mom to get to the friend) was kept by my mother and is rolled up, in her trunk.

Recall that my mother kept the money that was intended to be for his memorial.

As I have also written, I was blamed for many things, at the time of his death.
I did nothing but help. I didn’t even live in the same state.

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Rubies April 16, 2018 at 8:08 pm

Oh Bertie, it so concerns me to hear about your husband. I really HOPE it can still be reversed, or at least life seriously prolonged with managed care. I understand, and through all you’ve written about him, know that he would put the needs of his family first. That’s what TRULY good people usually do, even to their own detriment. (You and I both know this.) I feel I can’t say enough to express all my concern for the both of you having to deal with such a serious situation.

Stress and the cares of life can wreak so much havoc for the internal systems. It’s sad that we have to get up in years to see that. When one is young, it’s easy to think you’re invincible. Then it all catches up with you.

I hear you about how your family would view the situation if something happened. My surviving family would be the same. Remember, my family members had my mother trying to press false charges against my husband. They all would have been THRILLED if he’d ended up in prison, for years, and that I would have been left struggling to make ends meet with my sweet children. Why? Because one of them is VICIOUS, and they’re ALL GREEDY LIARS. From all you’ve said, I would keep all your business to yourself. Should something HORRIBLE happen, the very last thing you need is them somehow gloating over you. It’s a tragic that some human beings can be so utterly WICKED, but it is a reality.

Really want to say more, but we’re actually without electricity and therefore have no Internet right now. We had a bad storm knock down power lines and more in our area yesterday. I’m out and hooked up to another service at this time, but need to go. If I don’t respond soon, at least you’ll know what’s going on.

Know Bertie that I’ll be thinking of you and your husband, and saying prayers for you both. <3

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Bertie April 17, 2018 at 7:02 am

Rubies, thank you for kind words and prayers. It means a lot.

I think everyone is being affected by spring storms right now!

You and I both married good men. The other day, I said something to mine and made some sort of comment to him about the fact he is always bombarded with issues and problems, etc. (Other people’s). He was calm as a cucumber and answered, “My life is always full of adversity. I do okay with that”. (Which reminds me of my father, who was the same).

When my father was alive, I gave him a little calligraphy piece which read, “Dad, you’re always there when I need you”. It sat, perched, on a little shelf. As you recall, he got Alzheimer’s. And he wasn’t there for anyone, anymore. When he passed away, and we were making funeral arrangements, etc., I took that tiny little calligraphied piece and placed it in his coffin. It’s buried with him.

I have only the highest regard for men like this. Think back to my brother … only a couple of years older than my husband … floating around our house … looking for “things” and a means to get some cash … and he texts me and says, “Your husband should be sharing his bounty”. Good Grief. My brother could not be any further away from being what my father was. His father.

Rest assured my family will have no knowledge of anything. Zero.
He has a health problem — has had — for about ten years. It required diligence back then. Our lives were so complicated these past ten years. Part of the bigger story which I cannot detail on this site. But suffice to say he was under enormous pressure, constantly, and focused on the rest of us. His one health problem grew into three, and now all three are working in unison, as a very serious disease.

That is what burns me so much about my mom and my sister. They despise him. And the only reason is that he wasn’t their “cash cow” as they had hoped he would be.
Why, that’s such a good reason to begin to despise someone you’ve known for decades!

We are going to remain positive.

I hear what you are saying regarding your own family. Pretty awful stuff.

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Bertie April 17, 2018 at 8:40 am

A couple of weeks ago I said that I was going to write about the differences between my family (dysfunctional) and my husband’s family (functional).
I will only cite things that I think are relevant enough to mention.
We both came from large families. Our family was better off than my husband’s (money wise).
Differences:
My husband’s family went to church and the kids all participated in the usual things, at the correct times, for their religion.
My mom sent me off for “school release” and “confirmation classes” but neither of them or us went to church.
My mom had mental problems since I was little.
His mom did not have mental problems.
My father worked away from home for most of my life, returning home only for weekends.
His father worked in their hometown and was always home.
Both families had children who did problematic things.
My mother totally shut out one kid. No regrets.
His mother did not do this to any of her children.
My mother focused on one child (the favorite) always.
His mother did not do this.
My husband’s family went to great lengths to help their children when special needs were present. My family did this only for the favorite.
My husband’s family did not spend money on their adult children. They let them deal with their problems. The kids would have never asked for money.
In our family, certain family members were constantly looking to be given money, borrowed money, for all of their lives.
My husband’s family never “grabbed” things, i.e., akin to “stealing”. My family does.
My husband’s family does not lie to each other. My family does.
My husband’s parents were very interested in the grandchildren and showed them their interest and love, always … even from a great distance.
My family showed little to no interest in the grandchildren.
The uncles and aunts in my husband’s family are also interested and kind to the various nephews and nieces. I will have to say that my family has been okay in this regard.
My husband’s family did not show envy or any negativity or pity to the kids … and they were all doing very different things. They were treated the same. Oh, are you a truck driver? That’s super. Oh, are you a branch manager? That’s super. Are you a stay-at-home mom? That’s super. Every kid felt okay, doing what they were doing … and in comparing themselves with each other. They were EACH building their own lives and families. Complete opposite in my family.
I think I have said enough … although I could go on for many pages. I will say adios for today.

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Bertie April 17, 2018 at 8:54 am

Sorry. Have to add these:
My husband’s family made sure the kids had formal events that were called for, i.e., weddings, a graduation get-together. My family didn’t want to pay for anything like that. And if the other side of the family had an event, my parents may or may not have attended, but did not chip in to help pay for the event. When we had important events take place, I KNEW they wouldn’t attend. When I invited them, my mom would simply say in two words, “Too far”. End of conversation. They had grandchildren living very nearby them, for decades, and did not attend any of their school related events. What does this say to the grandchildren? My answer would be that they are not important to their grandparents.
When all the families were growing, and would venture home to see the grandparents … my husbands parent’s would call all the kids who lived near by and invite them over. One big room full of people. Conversely, while we were visiting at my parents, this was not done. She didn’t have a “meal” and invite people over. She didn’t do any inviting. It was as though “others were not wanted”. The company was meant solely for them. Perhaps someone would stop over for a half hour. Perhaps not. Getting together as a family — keeping some sort of bond amongst ourselves — was not practiced. I think this is key.
In later years, my mom was extremely mean and demanding. Expecting things. Not appreciating what you did for her, even though a lot of people were doing an awful lot for her. She wanted her life kept status quo — no matter what it was going to cost other people! My husband’s family did not do this at all. They still relied on their own finances and would never have demanded, expected or complained about what the kids were doing for them. As a result, our family is broken and his family is still going strong. My husband’s family bonded together many times when a need presented itself. Someone took the lead and they all chipped in (ALL) and they made it happen. To this day, there has never been a single instance of any bad words, negativity, back stabbing, envy, regret, or any other negative thing going on in that family. Despite the death of both of his parents, they still attempt to reach out and talk and keep in touch … especially at the time of holidays. I’m done now.

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Rubies April 17, 2018 at 9:10 pm

We’ve got electricity, and Internet. : )

That’s so nice that your husband’s family is all still reaching out, and caring for one another. I know that’s what you (and I) both wanted and hoped truly for within our own families. Unfortunately, we can’t always take something twisted and make it straight. We can’t make crazy, sane, or turn hateful into loving. That’s the way I see my family now. I can’t change them, and I don’t want to anymore. (Coming to that is progress. I think you’re there with me on that as well.

I think it’s a very good thing for your sons that they still have, and will have extended family members. That they have relatives who set a good example of how things ought to be. I worry about my youngest not really having that much anymore. My husband’s family is scattered in various parts of the country, and has some dysfunction with a few, which has turned into issues at times. It’s interesting though, it’s like all the good truly sweet ones are divided into one camp that does communicate fairly often, while trying to avoid the other camp who have joined together to try to cause trouble in unison every few years. In some ways, it’s the same things, envy, hatefulness, slander, lies, division.

That was touching to hear how your little calligraphy piece stayed with your Dad. It makes me think of a very little plaque I gave my father many years ago that spoke about eing a Dad. I didn’t make it, it was just something I’d bought when I was young and didn’t have much money. He always kept it on his desk, like it was something really special to him. After he passed away, I was able to get it and we keep it in my husband’s office.

You were saying how your specific brother was nothing like your father, which makes me think of one of my brothers in comparison to my father. And in comparing my other brothers to my father, I know that my husband was more like my father than any of them. In that I feel that little plaque has it’s rightful place.

Oh! My batteries going to die. And it’s pretty late. Will write more before long. <3

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Bertie April 18, 2018 at 6:12 am

I’m glad you got the plaque back. I know that my dad thought the world of my husband, and vice versa.

Two camps … good choice of words. You can’t straighten something that is twisted. How true.

I just had to get this out! You know what I mean. I’m getting it all out. It makes me feel better.

I will write more later.

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Bertie April 18, 2018 at 1:25 pm

It is difficult to remain steadfast in remaining NC even though it is called for and the only thing I can see to do. Something that I do, about once a week, is to recount the awful words and deeds that have been done to me (by her and the rest) even just during the past few years. It tells me, without a doubt, that I’m okay in choosing this path. But I have to continue to practice this method. The part of me that wants to be a “good person” feels as though I am wrong to not speak with her. I did this again today. I went back and relived what has transpired with them and me, even in the past few years.
Rubies, what do you do to keep on the path? How much of you is comprised of anger these days? I am angry on some days, and on other days, apathetic.

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Rubies April 18, 2018 at 10:30 pm

Wrote some to you and somehow just lost it. : (
Will write tomorrow.

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Rubies April 19, 2018 at 6:53 pm

I know I only got the plaque because no one else wanted it. Through experience I’ve learned that if anybody else wanted it, my mother would have made sure they got it over me. I could go into writing about things she’d promised me that she gave to others, but don’t want to go there right now.

I MORE than understand your desire to be a “good person”. Unfortunately, that desire is part of what maintains the obligation and guilt one feels when dealing with a narcissistic parent. This is where it’s wise to look at things objectively, logically. We both each tried and tried and tried and TRIED to have a good relationship with our mothers. SHOULD we feel guilty that we’re not putting ourselves before them, to be used and abused any further?

I could say more about the desire to be good, but have limited time right now. So I’m just going to get to answering your questions.

To keep on the path, I’m just trying to take it ‘one day at a time’. My feelings and thoughts about it all still seem to vary at times, but I’m better able to function these days without having the thoughts pervading my every moment.

Through my intensive studying of all this, I’ve heard it said a few times that recovery is often “Three steps forward, two steps back”. That it can take a a few years to feel emotionally stable and ready to move on in life, for sensitive souls. Of course some never come to understand or get past the heartbreak, and then it all comes out in other forms in their lives.

Studying really helped me, but I know it’s been the “sharing” with you that has kept me going and helped me progress to where I am now. I will never be able to THANK YOU enough for connecting back with me after we first met here Bertie. Know you’ll always be in my heart, and so will what I know of your life’s story. <3

How much of me is comprised of anger these days? Not much anymore, though I know I still have the right to be. Must say, I see apathy as a big step forward, considering.

I woke up in the middle of the night several days ago, and my thoughts went straight to my mother, and then I cried a little. But I've been feeling okay about it all since.

What can we do? They've deemed us the losers, whether we're there for them, or not.
They lost us.

HUGS!!!

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Bertie April 20, 2018 at 6:36 am

I think the fact that Mother’s Day is approaching causes me to revisit my NC situation with her. When Christmas came last year, I sent her a check. We saw that she cashed it a short while later. She didn’t even send us a card. That’s okay. The reason we sent the check is because we know she needs the money. However, you know the whole story … how they use us and lie to us and so on. Husband feels a little responsibility about her, fleetingly, every now and then. I say to him, “She has her sons that live right by her! They are already positioned to take her house and I’m sure everything inside. Even if they don’t take everything, my sister will make absolutely sure that we are handed some piddly thing, later on. We came to the conclusion that we want nothing. Dealing with them is madness.

One of the last times I was at home, I was sitting at the table with one of my brothers. My mom was floating around the room, acting odd. She took out a few items (they belonged to my dad). She kind of floated them around us — like through the air in front of our faces — what were we to say? What was she doing? She handed all three items to my brother. He simply said, “Thanks, Mom”. I sat there and felt so bad because he was my dad too.
A moment later, she told me that I could have a particular item (a keepsake book, that was sent to him in recent years, compiled by WWII comrades). When she told me this, she pointed to where it was located, and she hung her head down, and she looked so, so sad. It wasn’t sadness about my dad … she was reflecting to the fact that she would soon be gone. I know this. It was about “her”. (If it had been me, I would have given the book right then and there, and done so with a smile!). With regard to the book, she/they would have never had this book had it not been for me. My father was getting Alzheimer’s when the fellow shipmates began to reconnect. He asked me to do all of the communicating for him. I did this, for years, with the gentleman who was in charge of reunions, newsletters, etc. (who knew my dad). And so, I am the one who deserves the book. However, when it is all said and done, and she is gone … that book will quickly be scarfed up by someone in my family. I know I’ll never see the book. I have come to a place in my brain where I have accepted all of this.

I still get mad. If I allow thoughts of them (all of them!) to creep into my mind … where the first thought progresses along to more thoughts and more … I find myself to be very angry. I try very hard not to think of any of them. When I completed Michelle’s initial “intake form” the thing that rang out was that I was angry.

Thank you to you, Rubies. You are the reason I am sane these days. You are my daily confirmation. You are the person who is listening, understanding, and caring. And I know you need me a little bit too! And like all good mothers, we want to help others.

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Rubies April 20, 2018 at 11:03 am

I definitely “need” you too. No one else in my life really understands. (Other than that one friend who’s long past the issues surrounding her abusive mother. We’ll get there. : ) People don’t usually want to hear someone struggling with their thoughts and emotions on a regular basis. Even psychologists usually only see people once a week.

My husband knows exactly what’s gone on, has been dramatically affected by it all as well, and understands a good deal, but he doesn’t understand why I’m still lamenting the loss of the relationship with my mother. In his mind, if she doesn’t really care about me, why should I care about her. (I see this as logical, and even “Healthy Narcissism” but it’s not so simple.) Of course it’s easy for him to take this stance. He didn’t have decades of having his mother in his life.snowiest see he can’t fully understand.

Gtg right now. Will write later. <3

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Bertie April 20, 2018 at 1:11 pm

The husbands can only understand so much because it didn’t happen to them. They can empathize. They were part of the struggle with us and gave it a good fight. But they don’t have that deep hurt.

Wanted to say that I just read an article on line (it was from Reader’s Digest) but came from an article in Psychology Today, March 9, 2015. It was about sibling estrangement.
Interesting article! It said how we know our parents for 30-50 years but can know our siblings for about 80 years — which makes it all the more sad when there is estrangement. Talked about a study. 26% reported having a highly supportive relationship with sibling. Less than 5% were estranged from sibling(s). Another percentage (can’t remember what) were hostile toward siblings and the remaining percentage were apathetic toward siblings.
But Rubies, don’t you find it sad that we are in the less than 5%? Said that favoritism accounts for a lot of the problems. Talked about their ability to “make up” as children had an effect on how they interacted later in life. Talked about how they turned out in life, as adults, played a big role. It was a good article, I thought.

It talked about one person who “made up” with sibling after the other was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It talked a little bit about regret. But I don’t think I’ll have any. I really don’t.

Just thought I would tell you that before I forget!!!! You should try and find it.

It is a pleasure to connect with you nearly every day. I really, truly mean that. Pleasure isn’t the right word. First of all, I like you very much as a human being. Second, I feel as though I know you to a degree. Third, how could we ever break this bond? I don’t think we will.
And we’ll get through this whole ordeal intact. We will! I remember back to when we were both seething — all of the time — in our posts. We aren’t doing that anymore.

Hope to hear from you later. I have to go now and make dinner. πŸ™‚
We have robins outside. Finally!

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Bertie April 20, 2018 at 4:55 pm

The first article that I read was an excerpt in Reader’s Digest from the Psychology Today article. I found and read the actual article “When Siblings Sever Ties”. It’s a pretty good article. “You can only touch a hot stove so many times ….”

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Rubies April 20, 2018 at 11:37 pm

I read the article. It was interesting and well written, but I can’t agree with some of it.

Like you, I don’t think I’ll have any regret over the loss of the relationship with my only surviving brother. Though for a while at the beginning of all the madness, I cared a great deal. Then, through all my studying of narcissism and really considering all that had gone on in “our relationship” through the decades, I realized we’d never really had a relationship. I’d been the one picked on and ostracized as a child for being the only girl by him and his twin, the greedy hateful one. And we barely ever spoke as adults, other than greetings and the occasional acknowledgements that we were both in the same room with each other. Then his snob wife had to throw out her sly, and not so sly insults on a regular basis till I had to say something. Then there was a rift. Later, he leads the charge in trying to literally black mail us, based on the greedy nephews lies. Why would I feel regret? The person I WAS a few years ago certainly would have lamented the supposed loss, but I see things much more clearly now.

To be completely honest, I do have a couple fond memories of him when I was still a child and he was a teenager, but that’s it. I can now see how they seemed special to the little girl I was, but imagine they were absolutely no big deal to him. Must say, I’d rather just keep those couple memories as to what I know of him as my brother, than ever expose myself to who he is now.

I really felt for you as I read the story about your mother giving those things to your brother in front of you, and then mentioning the book WITHOUT giving it to you. Know Bertie, I know the feelings that can stir up. I have felt such obvious yet subtle slights from my mother cut right to my heart many times. They use to leave me bewildered as to WHY.

Why when we loved them so much, do our mothers seem determined to make sure we know we are last on their lists?

Maybe it’s because they knew we’d rise up and find the resolve to finally leave if they kept trampling and stomping all over hearts. And all our efforts for them.

I’m not going to go back to the article, but I’m thinking it sounded at one point like the person in the scapegoat position might be the one causing the problems, because they’re not the favorite. I just have to say, I never expected to be my mother’s favorite, (Even though at times she stated and implied by her words that I somehow had special status being the only girl.) but why did she have to push it in my face that things were not only not equal, but I was the very last person that mattered. I just wanted fair. Strangers were treated better. Yet I still loved her and was there for her. I wasn’t the one causing the problems. The TRUE favorites were. It’s all an ugly mess.

Going back to what you said earlier about being angry. Just remember anger comes from hurt. It’s pain expressing itself . VENT if you need to!!! I’m listening. I must say I laughed a little when you spoke earlier about both of us “seething”. Though in many ways, it’s not funny. We’ve both been very hurt Darling, but we’re getting better. : )

Could always say more to you, but should go. <3

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