Knowing the Narcissist : Letter to the Narcissist No. 125
You are gone.
There’s a stillness and silence in the space where you were. This space is both inside and outside me. The
everpresent anxious dread and steely apprehension inside me because of you are gone. The dark hue you
cast upon the world at large has now dispersed like the clearing of fog. My emotions are now a peaceful
stream instead of a treacherous river with unexpected whitewater turns and falls. The world is a calmer
place now, even though the waters in the stream are the same as those once in the river and always will be.
I still love you and I miss the best things about who you were. I miss the things that were fine and real. I
miss what could have been. I miss what I thought you were. I miss what I wanted you to be. I miss the
distant memories of when you seemed happier, more content, more whole, more hopeful and more
optimistic. You seemed more enthusiastic and lighter back then; as though you still believed life was good
and there was hope. Was that the façade though? Were you well-fueled during those memorable times?
Or was that the real you? Or was it my wishful image of what I wanted you to be? The mother I wanted
and thought I actually had for a long time?
It doesn’t really matter. Both the real you and the façade are now gone.
Near the end, you showed your true self. Your real emotions emerged. There was no more stoic pride and
constant control. There was fear and pain. You didn’t want to be alone, even in a room. When you were
alone, you called out, demanding company. You said you felt like you were going crazy. You were in a state
of agitation and restlessness in those moments. You looked at me with a look of searching and questioning,
waiting for me to explain why you felt that way, waiting for me to comfort you and tell you everything
would be okay. I tried to calm you with gentle, patient words. I stroked your forehead as you lay back on
the pillow. You closed your eyes. You needed company – constant attention and care around the clock.
The façade was gone. You didn’t have the strength to hold it up anymore. There was no point.
I’m so sorry Mother. Sorry for you and for what your life must have been like. I think of you and I feel a
deep sorrow, punctuated by moments of anger and resentment. Anger at the world for taking away what
could have been. Angry at fate, for giving you a difficult inner-life, and in turn, for giving me a difficult
mother. Is this sorrow for you though, or is it a projection of the sorrow I feel for myself and for all of us
left behind? We all loved you and you actually did have a good life. You were held dear and protected,
cherished and loved. You were in the middle of a devoted family. For a long time, you had all those things.
You had more than what we who are left ever had or have now.
At your funeral, I delivered a eulogy I wrote myself. It was a façade. I couldn’t tell the whole truth so I
described the best parts and the best times. To do otherwise would be highly inappropriate – so
disrespectful, so selfish. I honoured your memory. I said you were an exemplary mother. Ironic really,
given that those words were spoken by your scapegoated child, the one you couldn’t unselfishly
acknowledge, praise and truly love. With the emotional shock and sadness of you being gone, it helped me
to remember you as all good, all loving. It was easy and natural to slip into emotional thinking and to wear
those rose-tinted glasses again. It helped. The strange thing was that I knew I was temporarily ‘recasting’
the truth and it felt like the right and only thing I could do.
In my façade of a eulogy, I described your façade, for that is what people knew of you. It’s what they
probably wanted – or expected – to hear. I remembered the good times and my best memories. Why break
the spell at a time like that? Even if I’d prefer to tell the truth, it was impossible to do on such a sad day. In
the end, the truth doesn’t help as much as peace does. How does that saying go? Sometimes it’s better to
be kind than to be right. Or so society tells us. So I took my real truth home with me. It was inside me and
only I knew about it.
Is that why people believe in gods and need scapegoats? Spiritual beings and shameful wretches they can
share their burdens of truth with? Beings strong enough or unlucky enough to accept and share the burden
of the truth. A burden shared is a burden halved, as that other saying goes. Those truths that can’t be
spoken and can’t be shared with earthly and equal beings. Because, well, society is too sophisticated and
too respectful to bear the shameful truth. So it turns its face away and casts the truth aside, to be dealt
with by gods and scapegoats.
My truth was that I needed to reconcile two painful realities waging a silent battle inside me.
I lost a mother whom I loved. It was a grief all people born to mothers can understand. You were the one
human being who was as close to me as anyone can be. You gave birth to me and for many years I
depended on you completely. You knew me from day one. Every move, every meal, every step, every
word. You were the first person I knew and loved. We were inseparable. You were the whole world to me
back then and my love for you had an unending power.
Alongside the grief of losing a mother I loved, there was so much more. Those other, secret emotions were
thick and heavy, black and painful. You never really loved the person I was. You never truly cared about
the unique human soul you brought into the world and you didn’t find it necessary to protect that soul. We
fought like cats and dogs. There was always an unbreachable barrier between us. We were very different,
yet alike too, in some ways. You stole away the real life I could have had. You mocked and provoked the
real person I was and denied my love, preferring my anger and confusion. You thought nothing of
controlling my happiness and shaping my future. I struggled, and am still searching to find and be that real
person I was meant to be.
There are two sides of you I carry inside me Mother. Although now that you’re gone, at least the burning
dissonance is hushed. That battle has ended. The scorching flames have become embers, and they only
flare into a faded light if I disturb them myself.
Goodbye Mother. I don’t judge or blame you. I understand you better now and have some idea why you
were the way you were. I love you and always will.
4 thoughts on “Knowing the Narcissist : Letter to the Narcissist No. 125”
This letter moved me to tears. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that writing this has brought you peace xx
“There’s a stillness and silence in the space where you were”
This letter to maternal “parent”. Yes, I am no longer “carrying” parental narcissist’s ‘influence’, so that “space” is now mine and it has always been mine, I just ‘reclaimed’ it.
It is therapeutic to read these letters to the narcissist as it offers, maybe, different perspectives, or, similarities.
“I honoured your memory. I said you were an exemplary mother.”
You’re a bigger person than I am.
“I described your façade, for that is what people knew of you. It’s what they
probably wanted – or expected – to hear.”
So true. People often don’t want to hear/see the reality.
“You never truly cared about
the unique human soul you brought into the world and you didn’t find it necessary to protect that soul.”
I am glad the fog has cleared for you AMT.
Okay, this is very different, but also very similar. It made me tear up at one point, for the writer because I understand wondering why they became what they are. But I do not remember loving my mother, I only remember distance, even as a very small child. Being a burden to her. Thank you to the writer, for sharing your experience.