I've had the same question. Of course, I don't have a definitive answer because my mother never talked about this event with me, but I do have a very good explanation. Knowing my mother as I do I realize now that even though I was infuriating her with my insistence on my innocence, that very insistence was disconcerting to her. She had ramped up the rage to terrifying levels and still wasn't able to get me to say what she wanted me to say. My general overall nature as a child was compliant. Fear tactics were consistently quite effective on me. So, I am convinced that my willingness to stick to my guns even as she kept ramping up the rage finally to the point of openly wishing she could kill me...and seeing me crumble into sadness yet still insist on my innocence; it broke through her narcissistic defenses and forced her to reconsider the possibility that I was telling the truth. I am convinced this is the reason she did what a reasonable person would do...go back and look.
Another thing. My mother was around 30 years of age. She was not the hardened narcissist she became later, though she was well on her way. There was still some modicum of hope for her back then. She could be cruel to her children, but she could have been much more cruel than she was. Something held her back. She still had some idea of what reality was. Back then she was still able to see herself as others might see her which kept her from overt manifestations of abuse, both physical and psychological. The person she was most interested in seeing her as being June Cleaver was my father. (As disengaged and lousy as he was as a father, I have been grateful for his presence in the family. Just by being there he provided some protection for his children. Had they divorced I know my life would have been much, much worse.) Anything she did to me or my sister could not leave outward marks. She did physically abuse us, but she was careful to do so in a way that wouldn't be obvious. Mostly, the physical abuse was accompanied by overwhelming psychological abuse. Just enough of the physical to convince us she was capable of doing worse. At that time, her children were the only ones who saw the seething violence just under the surface. But because she could hide it from my dad and others she could pretend it didn't exist. To this day, only children and two elderly family members have seen the violent rage of my mother. She consistently saves it for the helpless and voiceless. Cowardly bitch.
"Where is your [favorite] record?"
"It's there." I point to the storage area of the stereo where stacks of vinyl records reside. "I put it away."
"No, Anna, it is not here. You took it across the street to your friend's house, didn't you." It wasn't really a question. It was a statement of fact.
"No! I didn't!! I put it away here." pointing helplessly back to the cabinet. I can still see her standing over me wearing one of her low-cut sun dresses. Beautiful...and terrifying.
Here's the deal. This 33rpm record was my then favorite. I have no recollection today of what it was. I had been explicitly instructed I couldn't take anything that belonged to me to a friend's house without asking permission. It was just one of The Rules. I hadn't taken anything over to a friend's house without permission when this rule was made clear. I certainly hadn't taken my favorite record out of the house. I had never taken any record out of the house. Ever. So it isn't even like I had committed this particular crime in the past. Nevertheless, since my mother went to look for this piece of vinyl and didn't find it at first glance, I stood accused of breaking one of The Rules. Unless I could produce the evidence to vindicate myself, there was no appeal for my case.
She challenged me to produce the record angrily shoving me toward the cabinet. I looked feebly near the end of the stack and didn't see it. Too nervous and pressured to make a full search, I stopped looking yet continued to contest that I had put it away. Every time I would protest my innocence, her anger would escalate. I was becoming frantic. At some point the tears began. This only infuriated her all the more. My memories of this event are fuzzy around the edges, but then they come into sharp focus again because at some point during this escalation of my desperation and her rage she bent over and hissed into my face,
"You make me so angry. I hate you. If I had a sword in my hand I would stick it through right now!"
I've never forgotten the pure hatred and violent rage in her face and voice in that moment. I've never forgotten that it was a sword she wished she had right then. I've often wondered at her chosen instrument of death. Weird. A sword.
She did have a sword that day and it cut straight through my heart. My mother hates me and wants to kill me. That is what I took away from that moment. The only crime I committed was to dare to defend myself against her untrue accusation.
There is an aspect of this event that was repeated time and again throughout my childhood and up. When Mommie Dearest decides she knows something, contradicting her was useless and would only make the punishment worse. If exculpating evidence wasn't immediately on hand to produce, then it was better to submit to the charge with minimal protest.
I was banished to my room to think over my lying ways and live in dread of what my punishment would be. I don't know how long I was in there. My next memory is her calling me to her. She was in the kitchen. Her face was softened, her tone was kind. I remember I still felt wobbly inside. Broken up in my soul because my mommy hated me. I felt a bit confused by her suddenly acting solicitous and kind.
"S, I found your record. You were right. You did put it away. It was just in a different part of the cabinet than where it normally is."
She pulled open the junk drawer. There was a medal medallion in there she knew I liked but I'd never been allowed to take it out of the drawer. She asked me if I wanted it. I am sure my face brightened into a smile...her face relaxed even more when I said "yes". She took a piece of string, hooked it through the metal loop and tied it around my neck and told me how nice it looked.
The medallion was her apology.
She never readdressed her words of anger and hatred. She didn't retract them. She presumed I could be placated by a trinket. I was simply relieved that she was no longer enraged at me. The trinket only symbolized to me that I was not living under immediate threat of death and destruction.
She didn't leave a mark on my body that day. There was no evidence of her crime to incriminate her. She knew I would never tell anyone of the event. Narcissists the world around are murdering the hearts of their children with little to no fear of being caught.
As I look back, she tore up her parent card that day. How I wish to God I had held this moment against her until I could make my escape and never return. I wish I hadn't forgiven her. It only guaranteed her long-term access to my body and soul. Narcissists attempt to murder souls with extreme regularity. What they do to children is criminal.
I doubted that any of my belongings I left behind would ever be reunited with me, so I packed up the few things I didn't want to part with. A small duffel bag of clothes. My cherished 10-speed racing bike. A small quilt that my paternal grandmother made me. I was right. Everything else I left, except my clothing, stayed behind.
I don't remember the time when I began the sneaking descent down the stairs. It was probably an hour or two after midnight. My trek from my bedroom to my boyfriend's waiting car was fraught with opportunity for me to be caught. My bedroom door was directly across the hallway from my parent's bedroom door. My cousin was sleeping each night on the floor in the living room in a sleeping bag. I was afraid of waking him as he was in direct earshot of the stairs. I had spent time in the previous days memorizing which steps squeaked and where to best step to prevent the louder pops and groans of those infernal stairs. Once outside I had to grab my bike and try to walk as quietly as possible on the gravel road that ran only a few yards along the front of the house. My parent's bedroom window faced out over the road. The sound of the gravel moving under my feet that night was thunderous. Each moment I expected the house lights to come on and the gig to be up.
I found out later that my cousin did hear me coming down the stairs and walking on the gravel as he was a very light sleeper. My parents were extremely angry to find out he had heard my escape and didn't tattle on me immediately. My delinquent cousin shared a moment of solidarity with me as he heard me making an escape. I know he would have loved to do the same thing. Life under my parent's roof was hell for him too. I found out years later from my cousin's immediate family that he said I was the only member of my immediate family who he felt was kind to him. I treated him fairly and decently. I have never suffered fools well even back then. When my cousin acted like a little shit around me, he knew immediately I was formidable when pissed. But since it was not difficult to stay in my good graces, he was motivated to please me. I didn't realize how my fair treatment of him was going to pay off in the end.
My boyfriend and a buddy of his were waiting about an eighth of a mile down the road with the motor idling and the headlights off. As they saw me coming, they opened the trunk so they could quickly throw my bike in. We took off for Tijuana. It was more than a thousand miles directly south. The two guys would switch back and forth driving until we reached San Diego where we parted ways with my boyfriend's buddy and stayed the night in a cheap motel. The next morning we were married in front of a Mexican lawyer.
Meanwhile, back home was where the real drama was occurring. My mother was the one who found my empty bed and the note the next day. I found out from my sister later that my mother read my note and collapsed on the floor. This story wrenched my heart for years. Now I realize it was all about her. And only about her. All her anguish, all her pity, all her tears were only for herself. She never spared any pity for me.
My mother's physical collapse was symbolic of the collapse of her world. She laid on that floor a long time unresponsive to my younger sister's pleas. It was hard on my 14 year old sister to lose her mother that day. The spoiled child suddenly was on her own with her big sister gone and our mother retreated fully into herself.
This is what happened to my mother's little world: She had for years cultivated the image of a "perfect" mother. This was easy to convince people of because she had her children completely under her thumb. We had been perfectly terrorized into compliance. Our behavior was always "perfect" to observers. She always received compliments on our good behavior. Our behavior was mostly "perfect" when no one was looking because nothing else was tolerated. She and my father were prominent in their church and looked up to by many. Most people at least pretended to believe my mother's version of reality of supreme mother of the Perfect Family. Looking back, I think some people had their doubts about what was happening in our Perfect Family. My mother made a small living by raising other mothers' children and there was never any doubt in those mother's minds that my mother was the expert. She often held up her own children as proof to them that she was the pinnacle of motherhood. We made her look good. That was what we were there for.
In one night my mother went from Perfect Mother to Perfect Failure. At least, that is how she saw it. No one else in her sphere of acquaintance had a pregnant daughter who eloped. There really was no greater shame she could have conceived of to befall her. Her grandiosity bubble was violently exploded in her face. Her whole persona, the mask of motherly perfection she had crafted to present to the world, was perhaps forever damaged. How could she hold up her head around these people?
She sunk into a deep, dark, quiet depression. My father loathed me. I didn't call my parents until the night after I was married. My father picked up the phone. It felt like getting ice water thrown in my face as soon he said a word. "Hi, Daddy. I just wanted you and Mom to know that I'm okay." "Hmm," he grunted. I started to cry. I knew he didn't give a damn how I was. "Daddy, I'm so sorry about what I've done." "Don't call here again," he abruptly ended the phone call. I again sobbed my heart out. I felt I had lost my parents. My father didn't care enough to even ask where I was. Again, looking back, I wish I had lost them all the way back then. My life would have been better for it.
In the end, my mother decided to try to prop up the Perfect Mother image. The Perfect Mother would not cut off her child so she set about to convince my father not to divorce his daughter. He was only cutting me out of his affections because of the apparent "trauma" I inflicted on my mother. If the victim herself was willing to "forgive" me, then he should too. He went along to get along. Story of his life.
The next several years my mother was not entirely "herself". This was because the carefully constructed "self" had been completely dismantled by what I had done. It took her some time to repair herself. In the meantime, she would spend hours sitting alone, in the dark, in the hardest chair she could find. She was making sure everyone knew she was suffering. Her persistent behavior of silent isolation would be acted out in the living room where we were sure to find her. It wasn't entirely for show, though. I am sure she was spending those hours and hours of silent time trying to find a way to reconstruct a new way of presenting her grand self to the world. She eventually achieved it.
But this story is about how a complete and utter surprise knocked a narcissist off her pins for a very long time. She spoke for years about how I could have managed to pull off such a surprise. She eventually settled on blaming my cousin and his family for the undoing of her family like she had had no choice but to take him in. Yes, she was so distracted by dealing with my cousin she just didn't take the time to analyze what was going on with her daughter. She claimed she knew something was going on with me, but she told herself she would tend to that as soon as she had straightened out my cousin. She just didn't realize she didn't have time to waste where I was concerned.
This became The Narrative of the Runaway Daughter.
So, as you can see, even though she was completely surprised by both my pregnancy (which means she missed the fact I was sexually active) and my leaving home, she claims that on some level she "felt" that something was amiss. Even though it was obvious by her reaction that she was absolutely blind-sided by my actions she still laid claim to some level of "knowing". She will admit I totally surprised her while at the same time trying to credibly claim she was not absolutely and completely surprised because she "knew" on some psychic level something was "wrong". The false reality she reconstructed in those long months after my elopement has a few non-sequiters in it, but she is able to live with cognitive dissonance as do all narcissists. I have never confessed to her that I had been sexually active for three years prior to my getting pregnant and leaving home. Her Narrative was never contradicted by me in word. I recognized it was how she kept herself together by believing it. I also knew it to be total bull shit. She had no clue what I had been up to for years. I only got caught because you can't hide a pregnancy unless you have an abortion. Abortion was not an option for me, so my secret had to come out. She was clueless and I knew it. I was never as afraid of her after this event because it was my first revelation that the Great and Terrible Oz was operated by a old and much less terrifying fallible person. Yeah, she still could scare me. But never did she have as much power over me after these events.
Unfortunately, a few weeks after I had returned to town after the elopement, I accepted the overtures of my mother and was admitted back to the family. What that meant was that I was allowed to come for visits. Those visits most often occurred during the day while my father was at work. He did not see how my mother would pound me in her bedroom behind the closed door with shame, blame and anger. Not that he would have intervened, but a couple years ago he tried to shame me into forgiving my mother by pointing back to this time period as evidence of how forgiving my mother was of me. I threw it back in his face.
Anyway, I took anything she dished out because I believed I deserved it all. I did not resist in any way. So what that I was pregnant. My emotional torture was the only thing which would bring her any relief. It was the only thing I could offer up to her to make up for my sins. I'm sure offering up myself as a scapegoat for the family shame did much for my mother's psyche. It was important to wipe every smidgen of stain and shame onto someone else. Who better than the perp? Never mind that my behavior was a symptom of what was wrong with our family, not the cause. That is something she'll never get close to admitting to herself.
I hate this story. I hate all the memories that go along with it. Hopefully, somewhere in this damned story I made a clear illustration of how devastating the results can be if you manage to surprise a narcissist. What I have learned about NPD, as well as what I learned from a protracted and painful experience, is if you find yourself in the position to destroy a narcissist's reality bubble, make sure you get out of their life and stay out. Never look back. They will pick up the pieces whether you are there or not. But if you are there, they will do their damned best to make you pay, and pay, and pay. You will be forever in their debt if they are allowed to pretend they have shown you any mercy. Save yourself.
It was obvious my mother had a complete mental and nervous breakdown after my elopement. I wish someone had committed her ass to an asylum because that is where she belonged. She didn't start to climb out of her depression until my baby was two days shy of two months old. My baby died of SIDS. Now all the pain of the previous year faded into nothingness for me and I was subsumed in the deepest grief.
My moment of supreme suffering was the light at the end of the tunnel for my mother. She started to act more like her "old" self with an new flair. She suddenly became the "concerned" mother and offered me a sympathetic shoulder. Now, when I say she was "concerned" and "sympathetic", this is more by comparison. It was a rare thing indeed to get concern or sympathy from her. I was too distracted by my grief to analyze this "new" mother. I was only grateful to not have to carry around her emotions as I was trying to deal with my own. Only in retrospect does her unusual role of "mother" make sense.
Several years later she told me both she and my father were hoping at this time I would leave my husband. I am only left to assume they hoped I would leave him and return to live at home with them since at the age of eighteen with an incomplete high school education I would not have been equipped to live on my own. Mommie Dearest was daring to hope I would be coming home to live under her thumb again. So the death of my infant was the dawning of hope for my mother. She saw me as having the perfect opportunity to expunge the outward evidence of my shame. No baby. Next, no husband. Move back home. Go to college. The appearances of the Perfect Family could be set back in place. So she presented herself as concerned and loving toward me as enticement. If I was to see my opportunity to leave my husband she wanted me to feel comfortable enough to consider her home as a desirable place to jump to. Why didn't she out and out suggest such a plan? Because she was going to great lengths to prove to all how she was not a "controlling person" as she was trying to quell rumors to this effect. (To this day she loves to present herself as "the least controlling person I know.") She was trying to appear to be honorable by not overtly trying to end a marriage. She had to play act for church people and my husband's family. My husband's family would have made a huge stink had she openly tried to end my marriage. Since they ran in the same circles the fall-out for my mother would have been significant. So she offered up a "motherly" persona to me hoping I'd take the bait.
It didn't work out as she'd hoped. I stayed with my husband and got pregnant again at age 19. She again sunk into depression, though a less deep one; she even contemplated leaving my dad at several junctures. She did eventually find new sources of supply and her depression dissipated.
Take from this what you will. It is only one story about one narcissist and her blind-sided collision with reality. It wasn't a pretty sight. It was very, very messy. A train-wreck will always ensue when any narcissist is forced to watch their grandiosity bubble punctured for all the world to see. Be sure you get out of the way if you ever do this to a narcissist. Especially if you are a child of a narcissist. The price for "peace" and "reconciliation" is way too high. The price will not only be extracted from your hide, but subsequent generations will suffer too. I've lived it. I know whereof I speak.
They are capable of certain mental gymnastics which they use to convince themselves and others that they can't be surprised. For the more superstitious types they may assume an air of prescience. They have somehow linked into the universal mind and can catch the vibrations of a looming disaster. There is definitely the air of paranoia that results from this mental defense. Eventually, the narcissist is suspicious of everything and everyone in order that they can be "right" when something goes amiss. Even a so-called Christian narcissist will talk in this new-agey way to describe their particular powers of foreknowledge. The only doctrines a narcissist holds to are the ones they like. They will pick and choose from contradicting philosophies because of their infantile logic centers. Oxymorons do not exist for a narcissist.
A hard as my childhood was with my Nmother it didn't compare to the difficulties of being a teen. My mother has always had a particular aversion to teens. I realize better now why this is. She is unsettled by their budding sense of self which allows them to start questioning things. Like her version of "reality". She is intimidated by their budding sexuality. She despises their budding sexuality. It is a dirty, hateful thing. She hated teen boys most of all.
I was what anyone would have described as a "good kid". I was obedient to my parents. I was responsible. I didn't do drugs. I didn't even eat junk food. But I was a lonely and isolated kid largely because I wasn't allowed to do the things my peers did. My social life was nearly non-existent outside my family during my teen years. After puberty, I started to attract male attention at church and school. It was attention like nothing I ever experienced before. Intense, ardent...someone seemed to really want me. Having a emotionally distant set of parents, this attention definitely resonated with a deep craving in me.
There was nothing as loathsome to my mother as any idea of me combined with sex. I was subjected to lectures about the evils of sex and boys starting at about age 10. All I really took away from those sessions was a general sense of feeling dirty even though I had not done anything or even thought about sex. As I became older, that dirty feeling only happened when I thought about sex at the same time as I thought about my mother. If I could keep her out of my mind, then sex was pretty interesting stuff. I learned to keep the two concepts apart long enough to get initiated into this mysterious, forbidden, yet enticing world of sex.
It is amazing how creative a young person can become who is determined to find opportunities. My first boyfriend was also very creative. My parents did not allow me to date at that time. They did allow my boyfriend to visit me at my home. If I was allowed out of the house with him it was always with my younger sister in tow because the general assumption was her presence would keep me out of trouble. I was 14. My boyfriend was 16. After six months of determined effort he finally was rewarded with sex. I would love to go back and slap around my younger self. I am not proud of my choices. But this is how it went down. Just reportin' the facts.
My mother never suspected my boyfriend and I of having gone all the way. My father did. But because he always deferred to my mother's perceptions, he never did anything to stop my relationship with boyfriend #1. I broke up with him shortly after turning 15.
I was sixteen when I met a twenty year old college student at a university swimming pool. His first impression of me was in a bathing suit. He was highly motivated to become my "friend". By this time I was allowed to date. Sixteen had been held out to be the magic number which would open the dating world to me. Mom kept her promise. I started dating Mr. College Guy. He didn't have nearly as much work to do to get into my pants. We carried on intensely for several months before I realized he was a jerk and dumped him. It was awfully fun for awhile to be picked up for dates in his Porsche. It was his dad's car, but the snoopy teenage neighbor girls didn't know that, so they were duly impressed.
I had become a real adept at lying. Lying wasn't something I had done much of as a kid because I wasn't very good at it. But now I had a real motivation to get good at it. Sex. Sex was power and it was attention. It was a high I craved now. I had become a very attractive female and was the recipient of more male attention than ever. Somehow I was able to convince my mother of the innocence of my dates as she would interrogate me after getting home. Because I didn't have a history of being a liar, it was easy for my mom to think I was being completely truthful. It was because she wanted to believe me. If she wasn't blinded by her desire to believe me innocent of the crime of sex, the clues were there to pick up on.
There were other boys that I kissed and did a little petting with, but so far had only granted the great gift to two by age of seventeen. I guess I want you, the reader, to know I wasn't a complete slut. Don't know why I care...but perhaps it is the vestige of shame that covers my memories of those years that motivate me tell you the extent of my bad behavior. It is important to the story to let you know I was more or less sexually active from the age of 14 because it was a span of three years that I completely deceived my mother.
My mother baby-sat kids since I was the age of six. She did it all through my teen years. She used me as a surrogate baby-sitter the older I got. I was doing her work for no pay. Especially during the summer. She would dump me with all the kids off at the public swimming pool for several hours several afternoons a week. The upside for me was the glorious tan I got every summer and a bit of male attention too. I would have rather been allowed to get a job each summer, but that wasn't an option for me. Mommie dearest didn't allow such a possibility. I was too useful at home as a slave. My slave labors included taking care of all the barn animals (cows, horses, goats, chickens), gardening, hacking weeds out of the pasture, moving irrigation pipes, mowing the large lawns, washing my dad's work truck, harvesting, canning and freezing of the produce from the garden, cleaning the house, doing laundry, all in addition to free baby-sitting. Summers were a thrill a minute at my house. Many of these responsibilities continued on through-out the school year as well except for the outdoor chores. Although, taking care of the animals was year-round. I threw hay for cows, goats & horses, watered them, milked the goats, helped with castrations and de-horning, mucked out the chicken coop, fed & watered the chickens, gathered and washed eggs. Can you get a sense why sex was a nice diversion for me?
My mother liked to run a little bit of a reform school for miscreant kids. Somewhere along the way a male cousin started living with us. He was about five years younger than me. Mom was sure she had her own two children in perfect shape so she, with an air of superiority, would "straighten out" other people's kids. My cousin was a large distraction for her as he had some serious behavioral problems. Lying, drugs, stealing, animal abuse, etc. It was during this time I began my third sexual involvement.
By this time I was a very unhappy teen. I had become even more isolated when my mother decided homeschooling was for me. Starting with my junior year of high school I began homeschooling. It was a program that didn't require parental involvement, so I was completely on my own. This was a very depressing period of my life. Being home all day, every day with my mother was a special form of torture. She had no respect for my time. As was usual. At any point during the day she would call my name and I would have to appear before her immediately to do whatever task she needed at the moment. That she was interrupting my studies never seemed to occur to her. I started to fall behind in certain units like chemistry and Spanish. Two difficult courses to do without a teacher. I was feeling desperate and alone. My only solace showed up in the person of a handsome 20 year old from church. We started dating. After a few months, when he got his own apartment, we started having sex. Without protection. I became pregnant the first time we had sex.
In a few short weeks I suspected the worst...that I was pregnant. A sister-in-law of my boyfriend created a pre-text for my mother so she could take me to a public clinic to get a pregnancy test. By the time the test came back I was around twelve weeks pregnant.
There is probably no way to describe the intense fear and panic I was experiencing at this point. I had not been looking to get pregnant. It was worst of all situations I could imagine being in.
My parents had, over the years, dished up extreme punishment for offenses which in comparison to me getting pregnant were nothing. So it was stretching the limits of my imagination to try to figure out what would be my punishment for this. I didn't know how far they'd go. I feared the most extreme scenarios some of which included being jailed at home for untold years, or worse. If my mother could practically lose her mind with rage at some imagined or even real offense as she had so many times in the past, then what would she do with this news? I started to lose weight and withdraw into myself. I was scared shit less.
When I told my boyfriend I was for sure pregnant, he was delighted. He immediately asked me to marry him. It seemed like a really good idea at the time for reasons stated above. A glimmer of hope of how I would survive this started to come into view. But how do I get married at age 17 without parental approval? My boyfriend's mother came up with the suggestion of elopement.
With this back-story, I'll come back next time to tell of the fall-out of my decision to elope.
I am posting this news about Fred Phelps because I highlighted him on my blog back in January. He is a narcissist/psychopath. If you need proof, read the expose I posted the link to. He is an evil man who has brainwashed multiple generations of his family into a cult following. He is the "minister" of the Topeka, KS Westboro church. The only members of his "church" are comprised of family members. From the CBS article:
[Westboro Church] announced plans to protest at victims’ funerals only hours after 32 people were killed in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. They also may protest at other events on the Virginia Tech campus...Sick, sick people believe this way. I'm being too charitable by calling them "sick". Evil is a more appropriate descriptor.
...Phelps’ daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, said the Virginia Tech teachers and students who died on Monday brought their fate upon themselves by not being true Christians.
“The evidence is they were not Christian. God does not do that to his servants,” Phelps-Roper said. “You don’t need to look any further for evidence those people are in hell.”
“[Cho Seung-Hui] is in hell,” Phelps-Roper said. “But he was also fulfilling the word of God.”
I am convinced the reason the Phelp's clan has continued to expand their venues over the years for their so-called protests is because they are complete and total media whores. As with any malignant narcissist, it is all about getting attention. The only kind of attention they can get is the negative kind, but that matters not. They are more than happy to get negative attention because negative attention has become a feedback loop for them. The more negative attention they receive, the more "proof" they have that they are "righteous". The more outrageous their behavior, the more disrespectful and cruel their chosen site of persecution, the better. Thy feed off the outrage of decent people. The Phelps family have made themselves such a pox as they have protested the funerals of soldiers that legislators in Virginia (and even other states) have fashioned a law to specifically to deal with Westboro Church "protests":
In 2006, in response to protests at the funerals of dead U.S. soldiers, Virginia enacted a law that added funerals and memorial services to the state’s disorderly conduct statute. Other states have adopted similar measures to allow police to keep WBC protesters out of earshot.I hope and pray there is a firm push-back by law enforcement to protect the families of the victims at the funerals. They don't deserve to be abused by a narcissist/psychopath whose only agenda is to gain narcissistic supply from their moment of utter despair and grief.
When Phelps dies and meets his "maker", won't he be surprised to be looking into the eyes of the devil himself.
[Icon by gryphonsmith]
Along with this fear of abandonment is her behavior which seems hell-bent on fulfilling her prophecy of abandonment. Her behavior seems designed to bring on the very thing she fears most. I have watched her force people to abandon her again and again. She finally, after 40+ years, convinced me to abandon her too.
I cite my mother's behavior because she is nothing unique as it concerns narcissism. She is quintessential. As such, in describing her I am describing general malignant narcissism. Therefore, it is useful information for you. That being said, I will continue. You may be tempted to believe the narcissist really wants to be abandoned because of how relentless their attempts are to push people to the edge of what they can or will take. You would be wrong. It is the most visceral fear of the narcissist to be abandoned. Not because they value human companionship or warmth. Oh, no. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the life-blood of the vampire...narcissistic supply. They fear, more than anything else, losing all sources of supply. This is what abandonment represents to them.
So they have this obsessive need to reassure themselves that a "source" is safe and secure by pushing, testing, challenging your dedication and devotion to their cause. It is very nearly suicidal behavior. The thing they need for survival they constantly push away. It is like the very act of pushing away is to test the magnetic field which keeps you attached to them. They seem to get a high just by seeing how determined you are to push back in order to stay close to them. If the magnetic field appears to be weakening because you don't spring back very readily, they are filled with portents of doom. It is likely to bring on even worse behaviors from them.
One of my mother's ways of psychologically coping with the inevitable abandonment of others is by putting on a "show" of how she is the one doing the abandoning. If she can't credibly pull this off, then she will make a "show" of how unsurprised she is by it. My mother makes a nearly constant theme of how she hates surprises. She claims that God Almighty sees her plight so He reveals things to her ahead of time. I would not be able to count how many times I've heard her say this. So my mother lays claim to nearly infallible "premonitions" which she interprets to be messages from the Almighty Himself. With this superstitious and mystical construct she can lay claim to never being surprised by anything. This is an example of how a narcissist provides herself with protective insulation for the inevitable desertion of others. The finer points of how narcissists may play this game will differ from person to person. But the overall defense is that of how unsurprised they are by what happens to them. It is an illusion of control they want to project as well as what they need to believe in order to keep functioning.
In my next post I will describe the one event in my mother's life where she was so completely surprised that it knocked her off her pins for a couple of years or more. The surprise was so utter and complete she was unable to mount a credible defense against it. Therefore, it ushered in an emotional break-down that took her years to climb out of. The source of that surprise was my 17 year old self.
Today I think I'll address another reason to cut off contact. A little sweet revenge.
Come on. You know there is some part of you that wouldn't mind a little revenge. If you don't like that word, you can call it justice, because that is what it will be. Although it will only be a very small measure of justice. You'll have to leave the Big Justice for the Judgment Day. But it is a bit of justice which will bring you peace and the good life at the same time.
Let's go to the mouth of the most outspoken narcissist on the planet, Sam Vaknin. Face it, when he's right, he's right. In his homage to self titled, "Malignant Self-Love" on page 488 he answers the questions, "How does the narcissist treat his past Sources of Narcissistic Supply? Does he regard them as enemies?"
One should be careful not to romanticise the narcissist. His remorse and good behaviour are always linked to fears of losing his sources.
Narcissists have no enemies. They have only Sources of Narcissistic Supply. An enemy means attention means supply. One holds sway over one's enemy. If the narcissist has the power to provoke emotions in you, then you are still a Source of Supply to him, regardless of which emotions are provoked.
The narcissist seeks out his old sources of Narcissistic Supply when he has absolutely no other NS Sources at his disposal. Narcissists frantically try to recycle their old and wasted sources in such a situation. But the narcissist would not do even that had he not felt that he could still successfully extract a modicum of NS from the old source (even to attack the narcissist is to recognise his existence and to attend to him!!!).
If you are an old Source of Narcissistic Supply, first, get over the excitement of seeing him again. It may be flattering, perhaps sexually arousing. Try to overcome these feelings.
Then, simply ignore him. Don't bother to respond in any way to his offer to get together. If he talks to you – keep quiet, don't answer. If he calls you – listen politely and then say goodbye and hang up. Return his gifts unopened. Indifference is what the narcissist cannot stand. It indicates a lack of attention and interest that constitutes the kernel of negative NS to be avoided.
Did you get that? Attention in any form is considered to be supply. Even your provocation, anger or disgust feeds him or her. The only way to repel a narcissist is by complete and total indifference. The only way to really disturb their world is through indifference. What Vaknin outlines above is all the little ways you convey your absolute indifference. Do not allow for even a moment any shred of attention, or they will be back to making a living off of your life blood.
I learned this approach on my own. I finally figured out the beast well enough to realize that any and all attention was fine by the narcissist, so I was forced to realize that if I wanted to quit "feeding the bears" I needed to make a complete and total cut-off. I'll be damned if I continued to let my life-blood be used to keep the "bear" strong. I returned letters unopened. I stopped any and all communication. I was able to move away without them knowing where I went. When you are dealing with a narcissist the only way to do the right thing by them and for yourself is to leave them to themselves. I made this point early on in this blog: by sticking with him you are making him worse. By staying in their life, you make yourself worse. So the merciful and righteous thing to do for both of you is to walk away and never look back.
All that being said, I know there are situations where going "no contact" is not an option either because your conscience or circumstances won't allow you to. I respect that. It is often the case that people haven't chosen no contact because of vague feelings of guilt, societal pressures, or just the overall decency of their souls which makes them reluctant to hurt another human being. I want to give these folks some cold, hard rationales so they can reassess whether or not they can justify going NC. We all have to live with our consciences. But consciences need to be informed. It is possible to feel guilty where no guilt is involved. That is who I'm talking to.
The horrendous treatment V received from her mother is everyday stuff for children of narcissists. For people who don't have a clue what it is to be raised by a narcissist they choose to believe the child is lying, exaggerating and otherwise horrible for saying such things. V describes the overwhelming loneliness and desperation borne of not being believed. No salvation for a child who is nearly powerless to stop the torment. The Geneva Convention demands better treatment for prisoners of war than what V was experiencing at the hand of her so-called mother. If you are a child of a narcissist, you'll believe the narrative of V because you'll recognize the beast.
What children of narcissists need to heal their souls is that at least one person in the world believes them.