I'm a woman in her late 20s who is now living the life she always hoped for: happy in my marriage to a stable partner, financially secure, doing OK on the career front, have some friends, and having the baby my husband and I long hoped for. Most days, I do all right. But then there are days and weeks where I feel I'm suffocating under the weight of the depression.

My childhood was not secure. I have a narcissistic mother whose temper tantrums and swearing matches made me dread the weekends, as that was usually when she had her meltdowns. Her marriage to my dad has always been an unhappy one. I was the scapegoat; I quickly learned I could do absolutely nothing right (especially when it came to housework -- she was an insecure stay-at-home mom, and I believe pushing herself as the only one who could do anything was her way of building up her self-esteem).

There were a few instances of medical neglect when I was growing up (i.e., head injuries -- falling and hitting my head on concrete when I was 5, or doubling over in pain when I was at school, leaving me unable to walk; she either did not take me to see a doctor or deliberated for hours on whether or not she should).

I was allowed no privacy or freedom until I moved out at 23. My door never had a lock and had a huge crack, so I was forced to dress behind the door, as she would sometimes peek in to check on me. When I brought up getting a lock once, she went ballistic. She would freely read my diaries, try to go through my phone (then get angry if I tried to take it from her), even open my mail sometimes.

She hated all of my friends. I could have people over...so long as I wanted to spend days cleaning beforehand, or get screamed at after they went home. I eventually decided it was easier just not to have anyone over, so I spent most of my preteen and teen years in isolation after school.

She would monitor everywhere I went. I'd be out on a date (in my early 20s!) and she would call. If I didn't immediately answer -- even if I returned her call within a minute -- she would explode and scream at me. These calls had no purpose. Just keeping me on her leash. I had to ask permission to start staying the night with my now-husband when I was 22, and she went and blabbed to the whole family that I was a "*****" and a "****."

I never had the chance to explore normal adolescent things. I've never been with anyone other than my husband; a previous boyfriend was also emotionally abusive to me, calling me names, telling me no one else would ever want me, etc.

I never smoked marijuana. Never went to a party in high school or college. Formed very few friendships. The friends I did make were often very competitive and insecure, and eager to find someone they could keep down. As long as I was doing worse than they were, they were happy with our friendship, and quickly became combative and abusive if I happened to excel somewhere they wanted to excel. I finally broke off the last of such friendships 2 years ago, and have felt better about myself.

I've just had more than 20 years of negative influences. Always being told men would never want me, I was going to be a terrible wife because I couldn't keep a clean house (I do OK, in reality, and far better than most people I know), bosses wouldn't like me because I'm too stupid, "I think I know everything," any time I tried to disagree with my mom, etc.

I am now low-contact with her and generally avoid her. Every now and then, she and my father -- an enabling father who occasionally went along with her abuses against me (he has acknowledged he now gets all of her crap treatment, but sees nothing wrong with the way she treated me) -- like to bring up stories from the time I was very young framing me in an awful light.

These people still seriously bring it up as though it's an inherent flaw of mine that we went to a drive-in theater when I was 4, and after 2 hours of sitting through an adult movie, I started getting cranky and acting up (they were going to see a double feature, so they had to leave halfway through).

It hurts that my parents will never be held accountable for my ****** upbringing, and that in their eyes and the eyes of many family members (whose views of me they poisoned), I am a "bad" and "difficult" daughter.

I always excelled in school, never had ANY problems there (or legally or anything else), interned and did well in college, was involved in some extracurriculars, etc. My mom devoted much of her time to telling my brother that I was a "*****" and a "****" for being single until I was 19 and having dating profiles (totally tasteful, no pictures) online. She would make competitions out of "whose kid is worse" with other people we knew, whose kids were legitimately in deep trouble -- legally, at school, addicted to drugs, etc. In her mind, I was worse.

I feel like the role I was cast into will never leave me. I have low self-esteem. I've gone my entire life feeling that I'm too stupid, too ugly or too-something-else-negative to be worthwhile or to be liked.

I generally assume that my husband can't really love me, or that sooner or later, just as my mom promised, he will realize he could have better and leave me. I worry that I'll end up screwing up the lives of my husband and my unborn son, even though we have been hyper-prepared for this baby for 2 years.

Emotionally, at times, I feel like I'm a wreck. But day-to-day, it hasn't affected my life. Until people ask or I get to know them better, many are surprised at how dysfunctional an upbringing I had. It's common for kids of narcissists, though -- some do become the stereotypical 'bad kids' as adults, but lots also become the do-gooders...never getting into trouble, always trying to win someone's approval.

Things have gotten better as the years have gone by. But I wonder if it will ever mostly go away and if I'll ever be able to mostly live a happy, productive life.

I'm haunted by the cruelties of some of the people around me. I'm haunted by the life that I didn't get to lead -- doing normal teenage things, getting into a little healthy trouble, exploring in any way, shape or form. I was kept so imprisoned that I was often developmentally behind my peers when it came to life skills, like knowing how to do housework, functioning at a job, etc.

I was always just told that I was horrible and I was kept from doing anything. My mom would explode if I dared try to cook or do the laundry. We could do the exact same thing, but I always did it worse.

I wish I could get away from my past sometimes.

RiverRunning RiverRunning
Aug 20, 2014