Some people think it’s within their rights to ask you questions that are insensitive, especially when they are questioning your choices to get out of a toxic environment. If you’ve had to remove these toxic people from your life because they just cannot seem to understand your boundaries, do you get questions like “what? How could you just leave your entire family just because you didn’t like one person?” Well, I did, a lot. I even got them from people who I had never met before, but that my mom had reached out to during her smear campaigns. So, that was fun. Some people just don’t realize what they’re doing, or how inappropriate it is to ask those questions. I would never explain it either, because I didn’t feel I had to explain anything to anyone. It was my decision, and no one could change my mind. So, I simply told people to start typing “narcissist and flying monkeys” into Google. They’d have their answer.
In my family system, I was both the golden child and the scapegoat, depending on my level of compliance with my mom. No matter what, I couldn’t get the focus off me. I have extreme survivor guilt and I’ve always felt the need to protect my sisters, but for the longest time, they were joining in on the smear campaign. They tried to turn people against me by calling me names on social media, posting about my relationship with my husband and calling his family psychopaths because they’d stand up for me, they would tell other family members that I was a terrible person and I was making my mom want to kill herself. Just. Terrible. Things.
My sisters were the epitome of the flying monkeys if you were to Google it. Essentially, they were acting on behalf of the narcissist (my mom). They did all my mom’s bidding, so she wouldn’t have to do it herself. She could remain the “innocent one” in all of this if she could get other people to speak horrible things about me. If she could get a posse of people protecting and agreeing with her, then anything they said as a group would be much more persuasive toward her cause, and would mean she could just convince more people I was crazy. For the longest time, I felt so betrayed. I felt betrayed by my own mother, I felt betrayed by my sisters, who I basically raised because my mom wasn’t present. I had no idea why someone could hurt someone so much, just because someone told them to. It made no sense to me. At this time, I had no idea that I was dealing with a specific type of abuse, this had always just been the norm for me. Well, I had finally had enough and I wanted to understand it and get help, so I started going to therapy again.
My therapist helped me realize that I was part of an enmeshed family system and said that it sounded like my mom was either a narcissist or had borderline personality disorder. It’s hard to tell because there are so many similarities between the two, but the biggest giveaway between BPD and NPD was her feelings toward her behavior. Whereas someone with BPD actually hurts because of the way they act, someone with NPD has no remorse or empathy. They simply don’t care about anyone but themselves. That was my mom, and when I started looking into it more and gaining a better understanding, it became clear to me what I was dealing with. FINALLY. My therapist gave me direction on what I was going through. I had no idea this was the case, I just thought my family was being terrible all the time. It was such an eye-opening experience that I couldn’t get enough. I read, and read, and read, trying to understand what I was going through. And, here we are today!
Now I’m sharing what I learned with you, in hopes that if you’re going through anything like this, or recognize the signs, you can understand that there are many people out there who have gone through it too and have gotten out of those toxic relationships. There is also hope of healing and growing from those experiences. Realizing I needed to go outside my bubble for help was the first step. Therapy helped me learn to heal and cope with my situation. And being very motivated to change my situation is what started my healing journey.
My biggest piece of advice if you’re in this type of relationship – You aren’t stuck in your present situation. If you are feeling unhappiness every day, if you have to walk on eggshells, or if you just feel like you can’t go on. RUN. This is NOT a normal situation or a healthy situation. You need to either set iron-clad boundaries, or get out completely. For me, boundaries never worked. They were constantly crossed, because again, I was dealing with a narcissist with no regard for any other person’s feelings and an enmeshed family. Finally I realized I had to go no contact and just remove the problem.
You may find you have to do the same. Just know that whatever you decide to do, always do what’s best for you. Ask yourself what will make you happy. You may not even know at this moment because every decision was made for you previously. But just try it. See what happens! You may find that your happiness is not that far away. You got this!