“I still hear my mother’s voice telling me I’m throwing my life away, that I have betrayed her trust by building support systems outside of her, that I’ve changed and she’s disappointed in me. I still hear her scoff at my dreams. I still see her tears and the disappointment in her eyes that I never became who she had dreamed I would be.”

Oh, Rose-Ingrid, I am so sorry you have been feeling this. I want you to know that you are not alone. For my entire life, until my father died in 2006, I felt the way you do. I heard the same criticisms you did — how I’m throwing my life away, wasting my talents, ruining my looks, etc. How I built meaningless friendships with “so-called friends” instead of spending time with my father. How I will never become the woman I could be until I work hard to resolve the conflicts between us, and on and on and on.

And just like your mother, my father was brilliant in his use of language. He was a very successful trial attorney who won most of his cases by making heads spin so hard and so fast that his truth was the only truth you believed once he was done with you.

You know what? As soon as my father died that tenacious cloud that was always there lifted, and I was suddenly freed. For the first time in my life, I felt good about myself and my choices. For the first time in my life, I felt I was a good person. For the first time in my life, I was free to live my life however I felt like living it without my father’s voice in my head telling me how much of a disappointment I was and am, and how “if only.”

Narcissists are abusive monsters, and the worst part is they don’t even know it. My wish for you is that you will separate yourself from this “cancer” a little more each day, until one day the gray clouds will disappear, and you will see only the sun.

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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