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New here : Vestibular Migraine and NPD Mother

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by zclesa, May 23, 2019.

  1. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    Hi all,

    I have had "Vestibular Migraine" for the past 5 years (near on 24/7 symptoms though they vary). Obviously "tried everything". I originally started seeing a counsellor because I couldn't cope with it anymore, but about a month ago, I discovered that my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which basically means she doesn't care about me. Not that she hates me - she just lacks the emotional empathy to care and has always used me to meet her own needs.

    Suddenly I could see where all my unhelpful and damaging adult patterns came from. It totally made sense. And the dates when I have been ill (I had a few things before) match up exactly with "episodes" from her. Knowing the mind-body connection, I am not utterly convinced that my illness is psychogenic/psychosomatic/TMS.

    I only times I'm not sick are when I'm abroad, and hence she has zero chance of contact with me - otherwise she texts me every night, not horrid stuff but a little child inside of me is is obviously still so terrified of her (I was as a kid) that it's unconsciously making me sick.

    I can not go "zero contact" which a lot of children of Narcissists do to stay well.

    My mother has damaged me a lot. I can not feel comfort or anything (I barely even know what that word means, as I was never shown it). Is it possible this program can help me - even with contact? From what I was reading of Alan's program, I am hopeful. I know this probably isn't your "usual case", with the NPD and stuff .

    Thanks for listening and any help.
    Lotus likes this.
  2. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    Hi, zclesa – Figuring out that you had a parent who is NPD is a huge awakening. I have chronic back pain and am still trying to use these methods to recover. So, hopefully, someone who is pain-free can answer if this is the right program for you. However, I’ve made a bit of progress with my own issues of being raised by a narcissistic mother and a father (who is a bit on the spectrum himself) who enabled her behavior, and I wanted to share them with you.

    If you haven’t read it yet, the book Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride is a great resource on this. There are a few other good ones, but this has been my favorite. From this book, I learned that EMDR was a good type of therapy for dealing with this issue. I have been doing EMDR since last fall, and it has really helped with processing my trauma.

    I am low-contact with my NPD mother. Our phone conversations are a lot easier for me to manage now. We see each other 2 or 3 times a year, but no more than for 2 nights at a time. I’ve been firm about this, and it has proved to be healthier for me. It hasn’t helped my chronic pain, but it has greatly reduced a bit of stress in my life. Right now, I’m working on figuring out who I am and finding purpose in life. This is a major area for adult children of narcissists, and many of us who had a childhood of emotional neglect now have chronic pain as adults.

    When I first read the books by Dr. Sarno, I could easily see how a childhood like mine could develop into everything he listed – personality traits, etc. Personally, I think a program like this could only help you. But, since I’m still in pain, I think you should hear it from people who have recovered. If anything, healing this major trauma in your life can only help.

    Hoping you find insights, understanding and relief!
    Lotus likes this.
  3. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    Hi, Pemberly,

    Thanks so much for your response. Yeah figuring it out was a huge shock (she was a covert Narc), but it was also somewhat of a relief as 1. It let me know there is nothing WRONG with me as such. Yes, she damaged me, but I am NOT inherently flawed as I always thought I was 2, It made me realise my illness is psychogenic/TMS and therefore I have hope of healing it (which I had lost before).

    I am so sorry to hear about your back pain and I hope for progress for you. I was actually a psychotherapist before I got sick and from much of my understanding, many of the exercises in Alan's program make a lot of sense, although I can't speak directly to Sardo's work, never having worked with pain or illness.

    But I used to use some similar things on Alan's course for clients with trauma. I even taught EMDR. I understand that "Bodywork" (EMDR, EFT, Somatic Experiencing etc.) is usually necessary when you have deep developmental trauma, as you need to learn to not only feel safe with your emotions, but feel safe in your own body again. My counselor says I am very dissociated from my "felt sense of self" (sorry therapy jargon probably!)

    I fit most of the TMS personality traits too, unsurprisingly. I did the checklist on Karyl McBride's website too - they are similar traits. Luckily, through tons of therapy, I overcame a lot of my unhelpful behaviours, but I still have things that I need to sort out - not to mention my illness.

    I may pick up the book -thank you - as the TMS course doesn't seem to have anything specific about setting boundaries, asking for needs to be met etc, although I don't see why some the methods couldn't be adapted for that. Does the book have specific tools for things like that?

    I am glad you have made progress with your issues and well done on going low-contact with your mother. I'm so terrified of mine still (and I'm 38) that I find it very hard to be firm with her. Luckily my illness is an excuse not to visit as she lives fairly far away.

    And I'm sorry you ever had to go through this. It's very tough and not fair on any child.

    Thanks for your good wishes, and hoping the same for you.
  4. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    Hi, zclesa –

    Sounds like your background will give you a good handle on this then! I think Alan’s program is wonderful, and I refer back to it often. I am also struggling with the felt sense, and there are many aspects of Alan’s program that help with this.

    For your question about Karyl McBride’s book, yes and no – great description of the personality and helping you figure out why you are the way you are. For example, I’m very attuned to people’s micro-expressions (from being raised to please). Now, as an adult, when I’m talking with other adults, I observe myself about this and remind myself that I can’t control what people think of me. (This is something I figured out about myself from reading the book.) The book has some good exercises toward the end, but I felt that I really needed to see a therapist to work through it. She recommends finding someone who is female and a little bit older than you. I did, and it has been a great way for me to open up and trust. I still think the book is beneficial though. I picked up the book at my library. So if you can find it at your local library first, it’s a great way to decide if you want to buy it.

    My mother is also a covert narcissist, and it wasn’t until I was 36 when I realized this. I’m 41 now, and, over the past few years, have reached acceptance of this. I actually had an experience this morning though that illustrates how I’m using the TMS program here to support my relationship her: She called to tell me about a doctor’s appointment that she had (has been serious, she’s getting older and so I did need to know). I have a usual level of back pain that I wake up with every day. During the call, it got much worse. I set the phone down and put it on speaker so she could keep going. I listened, but I also checked in on my fear about the pain. My palms were sweating, and I could sense and notice the fear in my gut/chest. I tried my best to just let the fear wash over me, do some deep breathing and it eventually the fear dissipated. After the call, the pain level in my back went back down to its “normal” level. This is great proof for me that my back pain is trying to distract me from emotions that I’m repressing. The fear was only about the pain, not what we were discussing on the phone. So just talking with my mother is still a trigger for me -- but that’s not why I woke up with pain this morning. That’s why I’m working on the deeper stuff about finding out who I am – Karyl McBride’s book has some lists like this (finding out what you like, finding your purpose in life, what gives you joy, etc.). These were things that, as children of narcissists, we were denied.

    Good luck – I hope you find the resources on this site helpful!
  5. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    Haha, my counsellor is glad to have me as a client as she doesn't have to explain terms and things to me ;)

    Knowing about my mum's Narc now pretty much explains everything to me. I am quite self-aware after years of therapy - I just never knew where it all came from!

    I used to have a massive anxiety disorder, which I thankfully overcame, but I still had/ve weird little things that I notice, a bit like your microexpression thing, which were barely conscious to me, but just gave me a sense of unease. Like I always had a mini-sense of being disapproved of whenever I walked past anyone in the street. When I became aware of it, I started saying "human" in my head whenever I passed anyone to remind me that they were just a human being going about their business and not thinking about me at all. Sounds batty, but it worked after a while!

    I may have a look at Karyl McBride’s book, as there may be things I haven't noticed about myself, but my therapist is pretty sharp, so I may not need it. Sounds like you found a great therapist too. I may have to hang around a bookstore and have a flick through the book :)

    Sounds like you did a great job using the TMS tools with the phone call with your mother :)

    I also find some difficulty in knowing my own preferences - but it's over quite trivial things like what to eat and things. Luckily, I found solace in writing and books when I was very, very young and that's something I know I love doing, and learning (I escaped off to uni when I was 18, away from my mother, thankfully, so I unwittingly gave myself a chance at discovering more about what makes me tick). But it drives my OH mad when he asks me what I want for dinner and I can only say "I don't know." I just genuinely don't - it feels like my answer will be judged or just wrong.

    Warm wishes and thank you for sharing with me.
    Pemberley likes this.

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