Friday, January 23, 2015

Narcissists Have No Nostalgia

 Lucky Otter wrote a good article, and I wanted to comment on what I saw too. Many of the qualities that applied to her narcissists applied to mine as well. For feeling people who love, and miss people, this can be some of the most painful stuff in living with narcissists. Narcissists and Sentimentality.

I can go down memory lane with my brother and we often do, but no such thing exists with my mother and sister. This tells me of one core big difference with both of them. I have very few people I can remember things with. When you spend your whole adult life and childhood, moving every 7-8 years, there is very little cohesion or people who have known you for a very long time. Even my closest friend here has only known me since 2010. So there are very few people in my life I can reminisce with.

My mother has no concept of growing older. In some ways she seems decades younger then myself as I have had to face aging and even my possible death at a far younger age then most. I do refer to myself as "old" and in many ways I am "old". I live a life that is akin to an 80 year old and am nursing home material. To be frank, it freaks me out to see my mother in her very late 60s who seems to have no concept of growing older. She acts like she is going to live forever. The constant house decorating and emphasis on material reminds me of that woman in California who built the mansion for the spirits, and kept building, building, building. I and my husband used to joke and refer to her house as the mausoleum, because so much energy was poured into it, it seemed as she expected to exist in it FOREVER.

My sister has no memories and doesn't care about "yesterday" either, there is only right now in both their minds. Don't try examining the future with narcs either, that is a waste of time.

My mother never looked at old photos, she told my aunt not to send me any. It drives me crazy, that she holds all the memories to my childhood with hundreds of photos she does not care about. I wish I had gotten some of them before I went no contact. I have asked my brother to get some from her. He seems willing but I fear him chickening out with her jaundiced eye staring down at him asking, "Why do you want those old things for?" 

So to be honest this was something that always creeped me out about my mother, the total lack of the concept of nostalgia and sentimentality. She just didn't feel the way I did. She didn't hold some memories dear in her mind. One thing that keeps me going is pictures in my mind of fond memories. I even sometimes at this advanced age, think of childhood friends and fun with them and my time in the woods in the park looking up at the trees and youth explorations and memories. The disabled will dream about the time they could run, and play and do things they can't do now. Take my word for it.

One thing I used to say to my family when I was younger was "When People Die, they Disappear" and in this family, they cease to exist. One thing I and my husband still talk about is right after my father died, is every one of his effects was instantly deposed of. She gave my husband a few of his old clothes but once he was dead, there was an instant clean out.  The only thing I got of his, was his old address book that she had accidentally mixed in with some old papers of mine that she wanted to get rid of. There was no tie pins or other effects, I wonder if she gave those my brother. She removed every picture of his from the house though she oddly put a few in this one little wooden box thing like she wanted to cage every memory of his existence, so basically just a short time after he died, one wouldn't even have known he existed.

I still am bothered to this day, knowing she took a trip to New York City three weeks to go shopping after his death, and was on the Today show, whooping it up. Remember when they had that glass window and would show the crowds cheering and jumping up and down? There she was jumping up and down, with a smile on her face. She had told us the day, it would air. A chill ran through my body. Of course the time later came when she bragged about how much money she had been left. We never saw a will so she became instantly financially comfortable for the rest of her life, at the time I lived in severe poverty in the ghetto and at my highest weight too. He died in 1998 and I was disabled in 1997. I was still too much in the narc fog to ask too many questions at the time. Even my sister was bothered by the instant shopping trip back then when she still had some vestiges of her former personality back then.

Other relatives would die, like my loving aunt, and one would never hear about them again. Bringing them up was verboten.  I would have thoughts like "What about so and so?". I actually had thoughts since my health was so bad, and they still trouble me now about being forgotten after I die and having my effects wiped away. I can see her burning my stamp collection and paintings and throwing them in the trash so I am going to make provisions that this doesn't happen.

I can still cry over friends who died even 5 years ago. Something will remind me of them from out of the blue and tears will come to my eyes. This never happened with my mother or sister. Never ever. They simply did not care. They were not bothered by feelings like this. I never saw it sadly in my father either, though he wasn't as severe since he would bring up his deceased parents from time to time.

My mother mocked my interest in the past and history. She was weirded out by my love of previous generations, historical towns and old-fashioned values. At one point, she told me, "You are too old-fashioned and love to live in the past!" That same day she called my old rural town which I loved and still miss quite a bit, "Hooterville" and said, "There's nothing there". She scoffed at any memories. What is scary about this is she was raised in a nice rural small town, one that was very historical, but there was no attachment to this, nor history nor even realizing what she had.

This lack of feeling and sentimentality is something I could never understand. Narcissists are far different creatures then the rest of us.


  1. Wow! Bravo for this! Your mother is even worse than mine, and mine's pretty bad. The creepy thing is, she has your whole family under her thrall and they just do her bidding. Good for you for your old fashioned values and the ability to feel nostalgia and sadness over the passing of friends, who never really disappear if they weren't just objects to you. Sounds like your FOO just thought of others as objects to be used and discarded at whim.
    I am putting a link in my article to this. Thank you. -- LO

    1. Yes mine is pretty bad. The whole family is under her thrall, sometimes it scares me honestly. They do not act normal. I still think about that card "I am praying you will return to the family". Thanks LO regarding my old fashioned values and my ability to feel. With the friends, yes it is hard. I have cried over so many friends who have died. Yes my FOO just sees people as objects. The way they treated someone who died disturbed me. My husband and I have conversations where he says, he was so creeped out too watching my mother remove every vestige of my father from the house. Thanks for putting in the link.

  2. I loved this post, it makes me wonder if my own mother is a narc

    1. Thanks Cat, I hope it could helped. I feel for you if your mother is a narc but it is better to know the truth.

  3. I think it may be because of lack of introspection. When I think of the past my mind goes to a wonderful place of how I felt back then, of when things were nice (or I perceived them to be nice). I imagine narcs hate this, it forces them to look at themselves and feelings. I imagine, no soul or conscience, they can't put a feeling into a past event. Or in my mother's case a positive feeling. She uses nostalgia to martyr herself.

    When we talk of the past my mother turns the conversation into one that she is blaming everyone for her trials. It gets horrible, I never liked to talk of the past to her.

    1. Yes they have no introspection. The lack of a soul or conscience has killed all feelings, and even positive ones are missing, with attachment and love for others. This is one reason time is not even really passing for my mother. I am aging and feeling it's effects fast and the emotional stuff going with it, and with her, every day continues same as the last, there is none of this burden and it creeped me out. What emotions are they capable of but the most base ones. I think your mother is using the past to play martyr too and drum up old things to be used but doubtful she has true feelings about them just something to throw in someone's face.