Hello Joanne, September 2, 2020
I'm a middle aged female who is just now figuring out my childhood family dynamics. Because the people in my life, my close connections, cannot (or are not willing to) understand how my sibling's & my mother's actions affect me so badly, I have totally isolated myself since July 2019. This 'withdrawal stage' has had a hard impact on my physical, mental & emotional well-being. Trust me, I am emotionally ill at this point in my life. I do have a compassionate therapist who is helping me figure this out.
Through my own personal research, I have discovered that my Mother is a narcissist. My Father was most likely an empath because I now see that his mother was an empath, and I am just like my paternal Grandmother. My Father became an alcoholic along the way, most likely because he had no other way of coping. My Father got blamed for all of our family problems because of his alcoholism. My parents stayed together for 24 years so I did have some level of secure attachment in childhood with my parents and my siblings. My family seemed somewhat normal to the rest of the world. I have never had a secure attachment with with my Mother. The truth is, I can hardly tolerate being around her because of her immature silliness & her horrible negativity. I had no idea that this was my Mother's issue all these years, narcissism. Her Mother, my maternal Grandmother told me for years how my Mother was so hard headed as a child, "that you couldn't tell her anything". I found an article written by Lindsay Dodgson April 29, 2020 of the 5 common themes in narcissistic families which pegged it for me. I have one sibling who is neutral, one who is needy and one who is the flying money. I am the withdrawn sibling. My therapist helped me to realize that I am an empath. I am true blue empath 100%.
Since the close people in my life (that I was begging for help) couldn't understand, they began blaming me that it is my own fault that I am not able to stand up for myself etc, my 33 year old son included. I was told that I had to figure this out on my own, so here I am. I felt I had no other choice than isolation until I can recover, if ever possible. As of today, my support system is my 25 year old son (who does understand) & my therapist. I'm trying to transition back into some sort of socializing & I am ready to explain this to my 33 year old son, why I am who I am. He tries to support me the best he knows how.
I am commenting on your post because you say it is almost impossible for a child to be an empath with a narcissistic mother. I am the exception. Joanne, if you have any further information on your analogy which may help me, I would appreciate knowing more. Like, if this is a rare occurrence as you state, is the impact on me more significant? I do have a good life, I am happy for the most part. It's quiet bittersweet to have missed out on who I could have been if my parents would have nourished my talents. As we get older, it seems that my sibling's & my personalities become more intense. Their narcissistic tendencies want to overpower my empathic nature and I have been fighting for years to uphold myself. I'm just now pulling myself out of isolation and getting on with my new freedom. I feel free at last. The price of freedom cost me my family. Now that I understand my childhood family dynamics, I can except it. The sad part is, that I am proud to be an empath by nature, I just cannot share it with my estranged family & friends any longer.
I just googled you to find that you are a registered psychologist. Maybe my story can be of use to you in some way. Thank you in advance for any help you may provide me.
Sincerely, Pallas