Re: Married into Narcissistic family
WOW. First I want to say thank you for taking the time to write your experience. It really helps those of us trying to make sense of very similar family dynamics. Your story was so similar to mine that it was scary.
I think the thing that people do not understand is how these people totally try and destroy your self image.
I came from an abusive childhood. My mother was very abusive when I was young. I feel in some ways it made me strong. I feel very intensely other people's pain and problems and I find that I am good at helping people. I am however too loyal, WAY too generous and sensitive and I have no idea who I am as a person. I was a prime target for this family.
My husband has many of the same issues that those who survive narcissists have. Low self esteem, can not make decisions save his soul, can not communicate well, immaturity. We saved each other, I believe, and are truly soul mates. My mother never turned on him. She was very satisfied to turn on me. So he was lucky. His parents and one sister has made my life a living hell from day one. However it has taken me almost 30 years (I met him when I was 16) to finally find myself and realize that I am not the bad person they say I am and it is THEIR problem. It still hurts and I am finding it hard to stand up for myself. They will never admit anything and it is always your problem if you stand up. They can say what ever they want about you but if you stand up they act like you are the living devil. This is what you have to realize about these narcs.
The passive aggressive behavior is the huge tip-off for avoiding these people from the beginning. You can have a wonderful relationship with a person from this background but know from the beginning that it will be hard and the most frustrating thing in your life. These Narcs reel you in with niceness and offer gifts, give you money, say wonderful things in front of your spouse but then the moment you leave the room you are viciously attacked. My husband still had a hard time believing that his parents and his one sister would say such things about me. Even when others confirm he still only saw how they fawned over me when he is around. I would suggest getting a very small tape recorder and leaving it in your purse to capture what they say when you and your spouse leave the room. Mine revealed to him some pretty horrific things and how they wished they could hire a hit man to get rid of me, I was a bad mother, bad wife, a stupid bimbo, how they wished they could replace me with this woman or that woman, etc. etc. All at the same time they lavished me with Christmas gifts. Said what an amazing cook I was, How pretty I was. Gave us a beautiful card with money in it for our anniversary saying how we were the prefect couple. It is these types of things that make you feel like you are going crazy. It is always two complete opposites. What they project to your spouse and what they project to everyone else or to you in private. When my father died they said horrible things to me in private but denied it when I told my husband and he confronted them. They find an excuse almost every single year to ban my birthday and give me the silent treatment. Everything I say and do are taken and twisted into something totally different and always bad.
The thing that is most puzzling to me is that his mother is paranoid beyond words. Is this a trait as well or what? If we go on vacation by ourselves she calls endlessly and seems extremely stressed and panicked like my husband is going to die or something. When we went to my family reunion she almost had a nervous breakdown. She acted like my family was going to kill him and dump him in the river. My family adores my husband and we have a strong and very loving relationship. It is this "craziness" that you constantly deal with. It seems normal to your partner because they grew up with this and it is presented to them that they just worry about them and LOVE them so much.
The problem is that it sticks with you even when they are not around and this is the part that you must control. I started to feel like perhaps they were right, I was crazy! I was a bad mother and bad wife, a stupid looser. THIS is their tool of destruction, getting inside of your head. They get great pleasure out of trying to tear you down to a sub-human. You MUST see them for what they really are to heal from them. They are pathetic, sad and very lonely people. DO NOT give them sympathy because they will use it against you. DO NOT think you can talk to them or include them in your life. They will turn everything you do or say around. DO NOT express your hopes and dreams or personal feelings. They LOVE to use these against you. You can not reason nor ever be accepted by them. The best you can hope for is that your spouse will choose you and stand up for you and distance you from them. My husband says now to only talk "Fluff" to them and think of it as a small moment of time. This helps.
They are very very unhappy people. Sometimes I get scared of them because his mother and his father have threatened me and the "hit man" comment so I do stand on guard with them and make it perfectly clear that if they ever threaten me again that my family will take it into their hands. Get your family to back you. The one thing I have learned is that they are cowards face to face and because they are so paranoid you can at least back them off with face to face confrontation, specially with a group of family or friends at your back.
God bless to all who have to deal with these people. They are frauds and completely emotionally void humans. The tell tail comment that I hold dear to my sanity is when my Mother-in-law told everyone how she "HATES when I always say I love things." I love your dress, I love this turkey, I love the day, the snow, etc. etc. Even though she says she loves things all the time somehow my love of life absolutely kills her. They are huge HATERS and they specially hate people who love life and are happy. It mirrors to them how pathetic and unhappy they really are.