Thursday, December 06, 2007

Medical Neglect -- A Frequent Reality for Children of Narcissists

This is another story my mother has told me often enough that it is ingrained in my memory. The event described happened when I was too young to be able to recall it myself. I have to marvel at which events my mother chose to memorialize by telling and re-telling them. I marvel because there is incriminating evidence in her stories if one looks at them from an objective view. This particular story is one she told me numerous times, but I really have no idea if she told it to others. I'll have to ask my cousin if she has heard this one.

I was between ages one and two. We were living in the upstairs apartment I described in another post from my early childhood. North Hollywood, CA. I toddled out the door onto the landing and then took a plunge down the fifteen or so concrete steps to ground level. My cry brought my plight to my mother's attention. She scooped me up and ran inside. She picked up the phone.

Whom did she call?

It might seem like a good time to call a doctor.

This is where the story sharply diverges from what a truly concerned mother would do. No, she didn't call a doctor; she called her sister. She quickly points out the logic of calling her sister...her sister is a nurse. (This particular sister has very strong N traits and may very well be N too.)

My mother is careful to emphasize at this point in the story her extreme concern for me. She is worried I might have a concussion. Her sister also raises the possibility that I have a concussion and so gives my mother advice based on that possibility. "D, it is very important that you keep her awake. If she does fall asleep then you must watch her carefully to make sure she doesn't stop breathing." At this point in the story my mother emphasizes again her concern which was now raised to the level of near panic.

Then she paints the picture of the loving, concerned mother who sat by my crib all night long to make sure I didn't stop breathing. Morning arrived and I was still alive. What relief!! Then more emphasis on what a frightening experience it was for her. Her baby almost died. Obviously, I didn't almost die, but had I been seriously injured in the fall I could easily have died given the fact that my mother didn't seek real medical attention for me.

Now I have questions when I think this story over. First of all, how is it that my mother lost track of her small child long enough for the child to escape out the door and take a dive down the stairs? I realize that small children can move very quickly and even the best parents can lose track of them momentarily. Nevertheless, it is still her fault that this happened. We lived in a small apartment at the time. My mother had no other children to keep track of. What the hell was she doing?? I suspect she had a consciousness of guilt because of how she purposely avoided getting a doctor involved even though there was reason enough for concern about a possible life-threatening injury. The other factor that can't be ruled out is that she didn't want the expenditure. The pattern that developed during the rest of my childhood is that my parents never took me to a doctor no matter the seriousness of the injury of sickness.

One exception, if I can call it that. I was five years old and came down with a very bad case of bronchitis. My mother relented after several days of a high fever and delirium and took me to a Chinese chiropractor that she had gone to as a child. Dr. So. I have no idea how his last name was spelled, but it was pronounced So. He gave her a nasty and horribly bitter concoction for me to take every day for weeks. Every time I took it I wanted to vomit. I was out of school for six whole weeks and returned to school very weak and tired. The teacher begged my mother to take me out of school and restart me in first grade the next year. I was so young anyway, the teacher pointed out. I had missed six weeks of school at the very outset of the school year and I'm almost a year younger than the rest of my classmates. My mother was insulted at the suggestion that I be kept home for the year. She tells this story because she then says, "this is when I knew for sure what a bright child you were." She is proud of her decision. She is proud because I was able to easily catch up and do just fine that school year. She knew better than the teacher what a shining bright star student her daughter was. I was able to reflect well onto my mother by my academic achievement. She was right, that teacher was wrong.

The only other doctor visit I can remember was a tooth-cleaning at age three. And a dentist visit at age 13 for a cavity. That's it.

Back to the original event. While she uses this story to emphasize her great motherly concern for her precious baby, the story she tells actually portrays a mother who didn't care enough. She is worried enough to stay the night by my crib, but not willing to take me to a hospital for monitoring. I think that the only thing she was worried about was how horrible of a mother she was going to look like if 1) she took me to a doctor and had to admit to her inattentiveness that allowed the accident in the first place, and 2) What were people going to think of her as a mother if she ended up with a dead baby in the morning? Would she be accused of abusing her baby? Was there already evidence against her on that account? Her worries were all self-concentric. Her baby only represented possible evidence of her lack of mothering skills if by my death or serious injury she was revealed to be negligent. She is the center of this story. I am peripheral.

This story of my mother's great motherly concern for her baby is just more evidence of her neglect of me. In typical narcissist fashion, this story is really all about her. Her feelings. Her worry. Her heroism (all night vigil). Her relief. Oh, and by the way, my father would have come home from work that evening. It is very likely my mother told him of the fall. He could not have failed to notice my mother watching me sleep. I notice he didn't insist that I be taken to a doctor. He was every bit as guilty as she for the neglect of my physical well-being. He is without excuse.

I am convinced that if I had been born with a birth defect or been seriously and/or mortally injured that I may not have survived childhood. The medical neglect of my youth was complete and total. Thankfully, I had a strong constitution and tended to not court danger with stupid childhood stunts. I have a high tolerance for pain and learned not to complain about pain, sickness or injury. Thanks, ma.

If I revisit this topic again I'll talk about how it was often treated like a sin to get sick. This was more and more the case the older I became.

21 comments:

Naive No Longer said...

I am appalled. Even the "exception" that you mentioned is negligence at its finest - a Chinese chiropractor, in the face of bronchits, for goodness sake??? Bronchitis, if not dealt with properly can cause all kinds of issues, some of which can be life-threatening. This is no light matter as is evidenced by the fact that you were sick and weak for 6-plus weeks.

As with you, luckily I had a strong constitution or there would've been hell to pay. My mother used to "will" us not to get sick. She used her brainwashing techniques and yes, we felt like a moral failure or a weakling if we "succumbed" to sickness. She acted like it was actually something to be proud of that we rarely got sick.

I remember one time I didn't feel good - but of course, staying home from school was out of the question because I wasn't dying. So mommy-dearest decided to give me a couple of aspirin and shove me off to school. I was young, but old enough by her standards to be able to swallow a pill. The problem is, I have always had a very hard time swallowing pills. I would gag. She prentended to be the ever-patient mother for about 2attempts as she held the glass of juice to my mouth and told me to swallow. When her attempt failed she got that "if a look could kill" look you have written about and before I knew it my head was yanked back by the hair and the the juice was poured over my head. Yes, that's right - all over my hair, face, and down my clothes. Then of course, it is MY fault because I cause her endless frustration and now I've made myself late for school on top of it all.

I have such fond memories of childhood. (NOT!) It is funny how few memories of childhood I actually have. I think I had to block them out to remain sane. Since I am currently the only one of my siblings who has confronted the narcissism, they can claim it is just ME. "You know, your sister has always had a faulty perception of her childhood", my mother had the audacity to tell my sister. WTF???

Anna Valerious said...

NNL,

Perhaps it was that bout of bronchitis that made my lungs my weak spot. Flus and colds would always go straight to my lungs up until recent years. I got whooping cough in the early 90s. Supposedly no big deal for adults to get...I was very sick with it. Took me three months to recover completely. I would sometimes wake up because I couldn't breathe. It was scary, to say the least.

I see you relate well to sickness being the equivalent of sin. I gasped when I read how your mother treated you when you couldn't swallow the aspirin. Absolutely sickening.

I'm sorry you get so little support in your family. Sadly,that is the norm for families like ours.

Naive No Longer said...

Anna,

I'm not sure which is worse. The price you've had to pay physically because of your mother's narcissism or the price (we've all) had to pay emotionally. As far as I'm concerned this is just a physical correlate to what we've had to endure on an emotional level. Because she allowed your lungs to be exposed week after week to the damage that the inflammatory mediators can do to the lining of the airways without taking you in to get proper treatment if necessary, you now have to suffer a lifetime from her abuse and neglect.

Same on the emotional level. They force us to bathe in their poison with no hope of help or remedy for the situation.

And then they wonder why we want to cut them out of our life like some bad virus. Or better yet, like a cancerous tumor.

Hmmm...cancerous tumor. It applies on so many levels. A mass of poisonous cells that invade healthy cells, robbing the life & health of the tissue it invades. Tenaciously & wildly proliferating despite sometimes drastic measures to inhibit its poisonous tentacles from further invasion.

Once I realized that she was beginning to invade vital organs I knew radically excising her was my only option if I didn't want to experience a painful, torturous death.

Anonymous said...

Wow Ana, you could have easily had brain swelling from that fall! That woman is unreal.

My MIL once confided in me how when my DH was a teenager, she felt certain that he was very depressed and was going to commit suicide so she decided to spend more time with him. This was supposed to impress me. But all I could think was, "why the hell didn't you send him to a psychologist???"

kroseloree said...

Wow. This post is painful. I had always wondered about my 'medical attention' during my years at home. I think I just dismissed it because I thought the world was different 'back then'...and not as up to date on medical stuff. The more I think back....wow. My family was upper middle class....my mother never worked..she was HOME, but WHAT THE HELL WAS SHE DOING? I know I had febrile seizures when I was ill. I NEVER remember her getting up at night to 'watch over me'....only my father. I was hospitalized several times prior to 4 yrs. old and she was NEVER there. Oh, but 'it was sooooo HARD on her...'. You are right...I never put two and two together about ME...only how 'hard it was on her'. I asked her about medications for seizures....paragoric and some other thing that was addictive. I asked how long I was on it....and it was for several years. I asked if they 'weaned' me off them. She said 'No'....What on earth would that have done to me? Just 'cold turkey' take me off the meds? Sheez.

When I was older....I think elementary school...I was already the Cinderella in the house...and when I got sick, the whole vibe in the house changed. I wasn't available for all the chores...and it seems my Dad was angry that I was sick. (The house seemed 'better' when I was doing all the little things to 'hold it together'.)...but boy! When I was sick, it was an angry, tense house. I was not allowed to get up until I was well enough to go to school. Once I was so dehydrated the Dr. wanted to hospitalize me. How did I get dehydrated? That is over a number of days? Why didn't she notice? Once I was on an antibiotic that so totally stripped the lining of my intestines I was shitting blood and mucous before I got medical attention. What? How does this happen? I just thought it was ME! That I had a 'poor constitution'. Bah! That is just the short 'list'.

Teen years....OK....Acne. I didn't go to a dermatologist until I was 19 and had left home. Simple help....after all those years during my teens that they could have taken me for 'help'. Lordy. Makes me sad.

The list could go on and on...and I now can 'hear' all the words 'how hard it was on them'....all my 'ailments'. Oh yeah...and when I displayed unhappiness and any signs of depression, I was 'threatened' with 'psychiatric hospitals...that I might never get out of'. Thanks....maybe I should have taken my Nmom up on that...might have been 'healthier' than the environment I was raised in.

You 'nailed' a good one here, Anna. Thanks...

kroseloree

Kelly said...

My experience with medical stuff is slightly different. My mom seemed gleeful when we got sick. She relished in taking us to the doctor, only to take up the doctor's time complaining about her own ailments. Then on the way home we'd get a good talking to, as she went on and on of what a good mom she was taking us to the doctor with her busy schedule. (She was a stay at home mom, I thought that was her job?) And that we should be grateful that she took such good care of us.
But then on the other hand, you would have thought she was a doctor or rather she thought she was, if the doc told us to take antibiotics for two weeks. She would stop us from taking them as soon as we felt better. She would always save the medicines to give to us later, my guess was she did that instead of taking us to the doctor a second time.
As another poster mentioned, I too have very little memories of my childhood. In reading this blog and the comments I'm finding memories surfacing. It's strange, some of this stuff I didn't completely realize was wrong until I read the same story from someone else, thinking wow that's so wrong, and then realizing my mom did the same or very similiar things.
K

Anna Valerious said...

Kelly,

It seems that malignant narcissist parents fall into one or the other of these extremes. Either they specialize in neglect...or they use their children to gain attention from the medical community, as well as other family members and co-workers, by either the child's real illness or injury or that which is fabricated by the parent. I suspect that M√ľnchhausen's by proxy is probably always a phenomena associated with narcissism.

It is all about attention. If the Nparent is threatened by the attention a sick or injured child should receive then we see the neglect pattern. If the Nparent finds the attention that comes from pretending to nurture a sick child to be rich supply then we see something similar to your situation. Outwardly, it may seem that these two extremes have nothing in common when in reality they have the same basic thing in common...the narcissist's need for attention.

Barbara said...

hoo boy Anna - another post that brings up a painful and ongoing issue for me.

I had a lot of childhood illnesses. At age 7 I had measles and had to have glasses a few weeks after I recovered. My mother didn't believe I needed them - thought I wanted them because my best friend had them. Made quite the stink over money. My grandmother (thank GOD!) lived with us and insisted my mom take me to the eye doctor. The school did tests too and told her she must take me. She was furious and took it out on me. Yup I needed glasses - so I would SWEAR she got me the most HIDEOUS pair she could find (not that glasses in 1964 for kids were attractive)

Then I got pinworms, almost died. The doctor she was taking me too kept telling her nothing was wrong with me. Again, grandmother intervened and she & my uncle took me to uncle's kid's doctor. I was rushed to the hospital for a week. My bladder had partially shut down and I was jaundiced. Nmom spent a couple nights at the hospital. Maybe from guilt who knows.

I was diagnosed with at age 9. NOT a good disease for an ACON to have. Intense bleeding, early puberty & fast development. Both she and many teachers thought I was 1 step from being a circus freak. Pain, severe acne. For 9 years Nmom listened to doctors telling her I was high strung, sexually active (NOT!), putting things inside myself, or hysterical and it was all too convenient for her to believe it and blame me.

Finally, a doctor straightened me around somewhat with a proper diagnosis when I was 18. Still it was my fault I had male facial hair and a voice like a man for a long time. I was called a FREAK and UGLY and NO MAN WOULD WANT ME by Nmom every day, many times a day. I was blamed for my PCOS.

When the PCOS caused Infertility she refused to believe it. Told EVERYONE I hated kids. I never told her about my infertility treatment (or Dad) just couldn't. I didn't want to deal with the verbal abuse for that too.

A year before my kids were born I developed Atypical M.S. - my Nmom? Tells my Nhusband to "leave me" because "NOW SHE'S USELESS TO YOU."

And of course to hear her tell it was SUCH A BURDEN. I mean, really, how much is one poor Nmom supposed to deal with when her child isn't her perfect reflection let alone medically flawed?? NMom struggled to pay for my braces, dermatology and medical care - yes. But for that I OWED HER. What did I owe?

My very soul apparently.

Elise said...

My mother was great with the medical attention...I had three kidneys, only one of which worked correctly (the other two backed up like bad plumbing) and I got pretty good care for that, with her help. She later got a Master's in Public Health and has completely gotten off on talking with docs and other medical professionals about "the medical model", rather than actually listening to them about her specific medical care. This M.O. has changed to this day. Several docs have fired her as a patient, because she's so "special" that she cancels appointments chronically, and expects no repercussions whatsoever.

On the other hand, I didn't see a dentist once during high school, and probably only once or maybe twice during middle school. Good thing I brushed and flossed well...

renneh said...

Hi! I just found your site. I found it through another site I visit (actively) www.NeverGoodEnough.com
I appreciate this forum. I am an acon (new term to me). My sibs and I have a few "missing" years. We are working through them and it seems that our NM was of the Munchausen's breed. We cannot do anything about it, it seems, as the DCS and hospital records are too old.
However, I am looking forward to reading more on your site. Right now I seem to be in a "frozen" state. I cannot think about it, or I feel I will just melt into a darkness that I won't come out of. I am so thankful that light is being shed on this evil (as I have come to call it). For decades, I just thought something was horribly wrong with me. Sadly, I am not a big believer of healing from this. I will never be able to have a satisfactory closure to this pain as confrontation is futile with my NM. Ergo, "healing" is just not completely possible, in my opinion.
But having sites like this help me to feel less to blame for this pain.
Thanks again, I will be back.
Peace

Anonymous said...

My mother would neglect me also, except when it came to weight. She is fat and I have always been slender and when I lost weight as a teenager due to the escalating stress in the "home," she became overconcerned over my weight. I knew that it was only because of envy and had nothing to do with my health, yet she was able to find a quack that diagnosed me as having anorexia nervosa. After gorging myself on milk and wheat products, which put strain on my digestive system (which tends to be weak anyway), I had managed to lose another 4lbs. No proper investigation was made; it was assumed that I was deliberately throwing up, which was not the case at all but no-one would believe me.

Once when I came out of the shower, my mother ambushed me in front of everyone and ripped my towel from my body and forced me to step on the scale. When I weighed less than my mother was expecting, she flew into a rage and proceeded to hit me.

This really affected my confidence and body image which caused me to withdraw. My mother responded to this by forcing me to walk around the house in shorts and T-shirt, even though I was cold. One day, she dragged me into her bedroom and demanded I get on the scales. I refused. She then got my father and then spent all afternoon bashing me up and goaded my father to join her. I was in a no win situation; if I got on the scales, I would be bashed and yet I was being bashed for refusing to get on the scales. Later that night, I tried to run away from home but my N-sister raised the alarm and my parents responded by bashing me some more and tied my up in front of my sister, whom they then allowed to verbally abuse me.

Another memory surfacing....

-Cassandra

Susan said...

"Then more emphasis on what a frightening experience it was *for her.* Her baby almost died."

Right before my wedding, my paraplegic stepbrother had back surgery, and couldn't drive. A couple of days before the ceremony, I casually asked my mother and stepfather if they'd be bringing him (I'd assumed they would, but I figured I should remind them that he couldn't drive now).

My mother looked at me and answered, "Oh no! He lives too far out of the way, and besides, we'll just get our nice wedding clothes dirty, putting his wheelchair in the car. No, he can take the bus!" When I protested that it was unreasonable to expect a wheelchair-ridden man to transfer busses for hours at night with a wedding present on his lap, she said, "Well, he doesn't have to come to your wedding. He can see you afterwards!"

So the day before the wedding, my husband was calling medical van companies, to see if he could rent a van. Then his parents and some of his friends with a Jeep Cherokee both offered to drive my stepbrother, whom they had never met. At that point, I was so angry and ashamed of my mother, that I told her there would be no wedding unless my stepbrother was there. She looked startled, and said okay. (I was 35, and she'd always been embarrassed that I wasn't married - in fact she had once told me to "just go ahead and marry anyone-the first marriage never works out anyway, so you may as well get it over with!" - so she was terrified I wouldn't go through with the wedding.)

The next day, she apparently realized that there was no point in both her AND my stepfather picking up my paralyzed stepbrother, so she sent her husband on ahead to do the deed. She left for the wedding later...got lost...got stuck in traffic on the freeway...and held up the wedding ceremony for 15 minutes. (To make it worse, I found out later that many people thought that the delay was because I'd had cold feet!)

Anyhow, my mother told the story of how she "almost missed her only daughter's wedding!" many times, in a dramatic fashion, emphasizing the terror of the clogged and confusing freeways. She never seemed to realize the effect of her actions on the rest of us - it was "all about her," and her own terrible stress on that day. Poor mom, how awful it was for her, and how brave she was to struggle on against such odds, to arrive victorious and save the day! (At least, that's how she made it sound.)

Thank you Anna, for all your wonderful postings, which I've been reading for a while. It creeps me out how much your mother sounds like mine. My mother is domineering, deliberately intimidating, manipulative, and malicious. All my life she's pounded in my head about how I'm "selfish, disloyal and ungrateful." I now realize that she's actually the most selfish person I've ever known in my life, and yet I still constantly feel guilty and afraid, probably because she's always denied everything that she did or said, or told me I was too sensitive, overreacting, interpreting her words the wrong way, and so on. Even though I now logically know what she is, I still constantly second-guess myself, because she is SO sure that she is right and that everyone else is wrong, so I wonder if it's possible I am!

My brother and I have both been estranged from her multiple times, but she still doesn't get it, she just wonders why we're so "selfish." She blames my brother's 17-year defection on his hippie drug use and "the 60s," but she can't use that excuse with me, so (she's told me) she just explains to people that I have mental and emotional problems.

Last year I explained to her that I hadn't spoken to them for the previous 6 months because I was tired of the constant disrespect my mother and (henpecked, passive-aggressive) stepfather give me. My mother smugly told me that I need to go to a psychiatrist to "learn to like myself," and then I won't be so bothered by the stupid little comments that people say: I'll just be able to smile and shrug them off like water off a duck's back.

Sorry for going on so much; the Christmas season has me filled with rage, when I think about spending time with my sicko family and buying presents for these people. All I want for Christmas is for all these people to go away! My biggest regret in life is that I made up with my family after the first year-long estrangement. I did it because I was about to get married, and was sad that "family" wouldn't be there. Now I'm kicking myself, and literally praying every day that I'll have a good "excuse" soon to get away from these life-drainers once and for all!

Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. It really helps to know I'm not the only one. (Though all the time I'm reading, I can hear my mother's voice angrily gnashing in my head, suggesting that we're all crazy and selfish and imagining things!)

Susan

So, what IS in a heart? said...

"My mother smugly told me that I need to go to a psychiatrist to "learn to like myself," and then I won't be so bothered by the stupid little comments that people say: I'll just be able to smile and shrug them off like water off a duck's back."

Heh. You should take her up on that offer and make sure you get the right kind of psychiatrist(the ones that can see through your mother's BS). She'd feel smug that she's "getting what she wants", but will be horrified when it backfires on her. Just my 2c.

Anonymous said...

This is for:
so what's in a heart
I did just that. My N studied psychology for 2 years in uni but she acted like she was a doctor. She would always ask me to tell her about whatever medication I was taking so she could give me a second opinion and offer to diagnose me. Anyway I suffer from depression and wasn't doing so well when she met me.
She told me to take anti-depressants, and see a psychiatrist. I did, and finally got the courage to leave her. Man oh man, you should have seen how panicked she was.
She wanted me to stand up to people just NOT TO HER.

Anonymous said...

Boy, you hit the nail on the head sister. I couldn't hork a loogie into the sink while brushing my teeth without my narcissistic, buffoon of an ex treating me as if I'd taken a s@@@ in his lettuce crisper.
Bizarre.

Anonymous said...

Wow. My mom is not that bad. She just doesn't take me to the hospital unless it is an absolute necessity. I was and am always cautious not to get injured because she might say that you will get better. She only takes me to the hospital for required checkups and shots. The dentist she seems to show some concern. But as you say she considers it a sin for me to get a cavity and gets mad at me if I have on at these checkups.

Living in terror of getting sick. Yup that sums it up.

She also told me how she was soooo concerned about me when I was a baby always listening to see if I was still breathing and she said that I would take hours upon hours to eat anything. I don't know if this is true or not though. Made me wish that I was still a baby so that she would care about me.
Garfield

anonymous said...

I cannot believe that there are others out there. I just always assumed that my mother was unique. Almost exactly the same thing that happened to the blogger here happened to my sister. She was in a terrible bicycle accident when she was about 8 and sustained a concussion. She screamed constantly for hours until my mother finally contacted a doctor - the pulmonologist who lived down the street. He of course told her to bring my sister to the emergency room, which my parents finally did because at that point somebody else knew what had happened and they knew it would look bad if they did nothing, which is what they wanted to do. Had my sister not screamed ceaselessly for so long, she would no doubt never have received any medical attention. She has had terrible recurrent migraine headaches ever since, and I wonder whether their refusal to listen to the neurologist at the hospital, who wanted to perform "brain surgery," is the cause. Also, when I was a teenager, I inserted a tampon with either no string or a loose string. My mother assured me that it would just "fall out" on its own, so I needed no medical attention. I was horrified and ashamed, but also scared that I would get some sort of terrible infection from leaving this thing in me, so I told a friend at school. That friend had a driver's license and took me to the local free clinic. I have never been so embarrassed in my life. I had never even had a pelvic exam before and here was this strange man probing me and demanding to know whether I'd had sex with the tampon inside (I hadn't - I was a virgin at the time). He was ultimately able to remove the tampon and informed me that I indeed would have wound up with a terrible infection if I had just left it there and that it wasn't coming out on its own. I have never forgiven my mother for being so cavalier about my health, but this was typical of her. When a physical examination was required before starting school, my mother refused to bring me to a doctor, just signing the forms herself. Nobody at the school ever questioned it.

Halation said...

I defintely had the neglect type. I vividly remember having to get ALL my required shots for school at the same time because mother had never taken us to the doctor to get them as babies. It was horrible & painful to my 5 year old self. I couldn't stop crying even when they were done & I remember mother being mad at me about it.

I didn't go to a doctor again until I was 9 & HAD to have a baby tooth pulled...it had never come out & my new adult tooth just grew in & the baby tooth went down my gum. Mother wouldn't come.

The only other time I saw a doctor was at 16 when after 2 years of begging for glasses, my grandma overheard & made my mom take me. Grandma was paying of course. The whole time we were waiting for my name to be called, my mother was FUMING mad. I remember getting the examination & the doctor was shocked at my bad vision. We came out & to my surpise the doctor wanted to speak to my mother about it. He only got one sentence out "Well, her vision is as bad a 40 year old mans..." & mother exploded. "I don't CARE! I don't want to know!!" & stormed off. I still remember the face the doctor made to this day. His mouth just fell open for a good 8 seconds & he just looked completely shocked. I was then forced to picked out frames SHE wanted for me.

Amy said...

My N mother was not neglecting, but she knew how to exploit my troubles to her advantage very well.
When I was a child she took me away from the place and culture I had grown up with and forbidden me ever to go back because "that would be taking the side of your evil father and I would not survive it." I was torn away from my roots, my level, everything I had loved, placed into a lower school, among vulgar people, and all of the time told that the fault was mine because I was too proud, old-fashioned, boring, inhibited (that is, well-educated). But mommy dearest was ready to talk with me any time I wished about what terrible wrongs her ex husband had done to her and why for this reason she had to tear me away from him and to save him from his "bad influence".
I had a major psychical breakdown at 22. I had to hide it and to find a job and an apartment of my own and to move away from the place where she lived as soon as possible, always on my own, exhausted as I was, and always dreading that she might suspect how unwell I was.
I was right - years later, when I had moved to an address unknown to her, I learned that she had been looking for me and making everybody crazy by raving and crying "I need to see my poor baby darling, she's soooo sick and I need to go to the psychiatrist with her. She does not accept that I had to take her away from her evil father, whom she adores to distraction!"
My father is neither evil nor do I adore him. I had always believed he was the main responsible for their marriage's failure and helped her as well as I could. But whenever I showed the slightest signs of independence she became hysteric and accused me of "not loving her because I believed she had divorced only to take her beloved daddy from me." Typical N psychobabble. As if a teen or adult woman would reason like a preschool child. She sure would have loved to drag me to some psychiatrist and to tell him with tears in my eyes about all that "is wrong with me" and how it never was her fault and she was ready to do all she could to help me, poor misguided daughter that I am. So much for Ns taking care of their children's health. She sure would have loved to visit me in a clinic every day, stuffed full with drugs and telling me the same stuff about her divorce thousands of time all over again while I only could have said "Yes, mommy, thank you for telling me. Now I see what a naughty child I am." While everybody would have admired her and said, "Ooooh, what a wonderful, loving, forgiving, sacrificing mother you are!" I spent most of my life running away from that woman and I am still afraid she might come after me and tell everybody in my environment what a poor crazy thing I am and how wonderful she is for forgiving me and only wanting to help me.
Baaaah. Some people shouldn't have to be responsible for a goldfish in a glass bowl. Let alone for a child.

Amy said...

Dear Anna,
my N mother was not neglecting, but she knew how to exploit my troubles to her advantage very well.
When I was a child she took me away from the country and culture I had grown up with and forbade me ever to go back because "that would be taking the side of your evil father and I would not survive it." I was torn away from my roots, my level, everything I had loved, placed into a lower school, among vulgar people, and all of the time told that the fault was mine because I was too proud, old-fashioned, boring, inhibited (that is, well-educated). Mommy dearest was ready to talk with me any time I wished about what terrible wrongs her ex husband had done to her and why for this reason she had to tear me away from him and to save him from his "bad influence". But she would never have allowed me my most natural and dearest wish - to go back home. She never saw what I was going through. During my teenage years, when she hurt me in some way and I dared only to raise my voice a little in protest, she would immediately see my "aggressiveness" as a sign of sickness. Instead of taking responsibility for herself she would look at me with eyes as big as saucers and say, "It's terrible for you to be without your daddy, isn't it? Yes, I know, daughters always adore their fathers!"
I had a major psychical breakdown at 22. I had to hide it and to find a job and an apartment of my own and to move away from the place where she lived as soon as possible, always on my own, exhausted as I was, and always dreading that she might suspect how unwell I was.
I was right - years later, when I had moved to an address unknown to her, I learned that she had been looking for me and making everybody crazy by raving and crying "I need to see my poor baby darling, she's soooo sick and I need to go to the psychiatrist with her. She does not accept that I had to take her away from her evil father, whom she adores to distraction!"
My father is neither evil nor do I adore him, and he never said an evil word about his ex wife to me. Due to her brainwash I had believed for many years that he was the main responsible for their marriage's failure and helped her as well as I could. But whenever I showed the slightest signs of independence she became hysteric and accused me of "not loving her because I believed she had divorced only to take my beloved daddy from me." Typical N psychobabble. As if a teen or adult woman would reason like a preschool child.
Mommy darling sure would have loved to drag me to some psychiatrist and to tell him with tears in her eyes about all that "is wrong with me" and how it never was her fault and she was ready to do all she could to help me, poor misguided daughter that I am. So much for Ns taking care of their children's health. She would have loved to visit me in a clinic every day, seeing to it that I was stuffed full with drugs and then telling me the same old stories about her marriage and divorce thousands of times all over again, until I would have said "Yes, mommy, thank you for telling me. Now I see what a naughty child I am. You poor innocent. How could I believe that evil man who is my father." While everybody would have admired her and said, "Ooooh, what a wonderful, loving, forgiving, sacrificing mother you are!"
I spent most of my life running away from that woman and I am still afraid she might come after me and tell everybody in my environment what a poor crazy thing I am and how wonderful she is for forgiving me and only wanting to help me. She knows how to play that role very well - she has done so all her life. I fear her because she is not alone, since so many people believe her.
Some people shouldn't have to be responsible for a goldfish in a glass bowl. Let alone for a child.

Maggie Moreau said...

My aunt is the opposite side of the same coin- she hates sick people, yet she appoints herself as a caregiver in the family and as an RN. Her MO is to "help" the sick person, and then, when they don't improve fast enough, she puts the screws to them. My mom had a routine surgery go completely pie eyed and my aunt would bring her terrible food my mom didn't want. Cue a dramatic performance from Auntie dearest. Mom was ungrateful, cranky, and "was she like this all the time?" were major talking points. She did some horrible stuff to my grandmother that would take all day and night to explain.

The mos troubling incident was with her cousin. My second cousin came down with a rare illness that sapped her health, and since my aunt made herself look rather foolish abdicating care of her own mother*, she threw herself into caring for 2nd cousin. This was... okish for a year, but when my 2nd cousin was moved to a hospital w/in walking distance of my school, I saw the cracks in the facade. I went to visit 2nd cousin, and we had a pleasant visit until I casually mentioned my aunt. 2nd cousin looked immediately uncomfortable, and I didn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out my aunt was up to her old tricks. My aunt did a lot of bitching and moaning at 2nd cousin's funeral that basically blamed her for her own death. Keep it classy.

*A blessing for my grandmother, since her loving daughter and granddaughter cared for her