I’ve been very open about my relationship with my mom, who I will now refer to as Tanya because she no longer has the privilege of being in my life and hasn’t been a mother to me in a very long time. I have also been very open that I needed and got into therapy and encourage anyone that has the means to do it (and if you don’t, find some legit online support sources.) I think I might have mentioned here or on Clashtalk that I had forgiven Tanya for the previous 12 years of bullshit and made it crystal fucking clear that if she wanted to build a relationship with me, it had to be on a foundation of trust and honesty because I had none for her. I told her full transparency was what I wanted and from that point forward, she was to be vulcan-like in her truth and to remember that, short of her sacrificing newborns, my opinion of her could not get any lower.
Therapy has been great for me but admittedly, I did not seek it out until after it had been almost a year with no contact (NC) with Tanya. Online forums and support groups helped me come out of the fog but still I had a mountain of guilt I was carrying, so much that my therapist thought that my NC decision was fairly recent and was surprised when I told her it had been the year prior. By then, I knew Tanya was a perpetual-victim and narcissist but getting a professional confirmation erased all my doubts. However, I was fascinated over the fact that I had been raised by one and that it took until my 30s to see this.
I’ve been reading about narcissist parents and how they view their estrangement with their children. This site was a trip for me and reading through the stories, as well as this one, made me realize who Tanya was.
Online support groups are good, although personally, some of them are not for me, specifically a few facebook support groups. I empathize with all of the people in these groups and while I understand that we’re there to rant, with some groups it seemed like that is all they wanted to do. People just wanted to bitch and complain and when offered some guidance, they were dismissive more often than not. Everyone deals with pain/trauma in their own way and I definitely held onto resentment and anger for years due to Tanya’s side of the family refusing to listen or even acknowledge my feelings but I wanted to get better and wanted to move past it. I wanted to not be so bitter of my family’s treatment of me because of Tanya; I just didn’t know how.
Another factor is that I wasn’t seeing a ton of people of color in these groups and that makes the conversation a bit more difficult. Black parents and their views/style of parenting can be...trying. No matter how old we are, they still dismiss us as children. With Tanya, my boundaries were non-existent, even after we reconciled and even after I told her exactly what I expected out of her. Tanya just assumed we would go back to our codependent relationship and treated me just like she did when I was teen.
For an example, growing up and into early adulthood, Tanya and I used to talk all the time and she had me trained to always call her back when I would get a missed call from her. After we reconciled, she called me almost every day. It got exasperating and one time I didn’t feel like talking so I ignored her. Days go by and since she hadn’t heard from me, she blows up ManWriter’s phone, which pissed me the fuck off because I gave her his number for emergencies only. When I call back and let her know this was not okay, I clearly wasn’t in the mood to talk so she needs to accept that, she was so flippant and says “when you have kids, you’ll understand.”
I said “I’ve repeatedly told you I’m not having kids! And I have repeatedly told you that if something fucking happens to me, I have people in place that will contact the family.” But Tanya doesn’t care, she just repeats she’s my mother and she’ll always worry and I’ll understand one day.
It’s a conundrum for me because sometimes I can kind of understand why black baby boomer, Tanya, felt so entitled to me (growing up in an era where civil rights were still being fought for, I am the only thing she has outright) but I also don’t get why she’s a narcissist considering her economic, demographic and (no shade) physical traits. And I understand the psychology behind narcissism, it’s just hard to fathom at times, especially when Tanya would come at me when I was simply asking for some respect and boundaries.
I met my dad, my sisters and some of his family when I was 30. Not too long after this, Tanya and I reconciled after being estranged for nine years. When I mentioned I met this side of my family and would she be cool if I talked to her about them, Tanya said yes, all she’s wanted ever in my life is for me to have a relationship with my dad (my dad nearly had a heart attack from laughing when It told him this.) I took her remark at face value.
Nope, 32 years later, Tanya was still bitterly hostile that my dad had moved on, gotten married and had another child while she worked multiple jobs to raise me. And in fairness, I understood her feelings, completely and wholeheartedly. We struggled a lot in my childhood and I get her feelings but none of that shit had to do with my relationship with my dad right now. Anytime I mentioned my dad (which wasn’t a lot, I mostly mentioned my sisters because, holy shit, I had three sisters!) she would find ways to bash him. I would kind of laugh it off but after a while, it made me not want to talk to her. The final straw was when I called her to tell a funny story about my younger sister. Her response was “I can’t believe that your dad didn’t tell me he had more children.
According to Tanya, my dad relinquish all parental rights when I just a toddler and we never heard from him again. I was aware of one of my older sisters’ existence because she lived with my parents for a while, but my oldest sister did not know our dad was her dad, and vice versa, until she was 13, which would have made me three years old. My little sister is eight years younger than me. I pointed all of this out to Tanya, who got really quiet, so I ended the conversation. It was still bothering me so I shot off an email to her where I literally said “I’m politely and respectfully asking you to stop bashing my dad to me.” I said “politely and respectfully” about ten times. I told her it made me not want to talk to her, which I did not want, and it was bringing up bad memories from my childhood from when I tried to talk to her about him and would get brutally dismissed. I said I wouldn’t let my dad talk shit about her to me and I expected the same from her. I also pointed out she was nowhere near a perfect parent but we were all grown so let’s be grown.
Wellllllll, the reply she sent me was nasty. She told me I could love him and hate her all I wanted, and that she “cannot believe I’m talking to her in this way” when she was about to give me thousands for grad school AND she’s battling depression AND anxiety AND she has cervical cancer AND she sacrificed a dating life to raise me AND why did I think she was going to allow me to continue to talk to her that way, and bitch, bitch, bitch. She ended the email telling me I could kiss her ass.
Her response solidified that she was still trying to control and manipulate me and, most importantly, was not being fucking honest and transparent. It was all I needed to go NC with her. But this is the shit I’m talking about; we ask for respect and they think we’re disrespecting them. I established boundaries and Tanya continued to bulldoze them. And what’s worse is because she lives in a completely different reality than the rest of us, she didn’t see anything wrong in sending this email. I still don’t know wtf she expected from it. I can tell you that Tanya certainly did not expect me to respond with an eight-page, certified letter telling her all about herself, reading her with drag queen precision and ending with “you signed for this letter. It’s my proof that you understand if you contact me again, I’ll consider it harrassment and file a restraining order.” (Spoiler alert with a twist: bitch contacted me again but to say that I was accurate in my assessment about her.)
I’m still no contact with Tanya; just thinking about letting her back in gave me physical anxiety. I also accepted that Tanya’s side of the family is always going to be “forgive and forget because you only have one mother” and that no one likes to talk about things. It kind of sucks because it makes me have limited contact with them, otherwise after a while, they start bringing her up and one of my new year’s resolution is to stop keeping shit bottled in.
I don’t really have a point; just making some observations. I wish a lot of the older people in our communities weren’t like this because I think, at least for me, family units would be stronger.
Tell me your thoughts.