Just Too Tired; Mommie Dearest

I don’t know what’s going on.  Maybe it’s a replay of the Cytomegalovirus Mono Follies.  Yes, that’s what it feels like.  Drained.  No appetite.  Last night I was shivering uncontrollably, thought perhaps had fever, took temperature with my Israeli thermometer and it was 35 degrees Centigrade.  That’s 95 Fahrenheit.  Hypothermic as all hell.  I think this virus does something bad to my thyroid.

So that was about 8 pm.  I put on my skiing thermals, took my nighttime meds and crawled in under a down puff and two fleece blankets with the heat turned up to 70.  Slept till noon today.  Spent the day in bed watching Mommie Dearest.  No, not the best thing for me to spend my day doing, but my psychologist has been after me to watch it, and I had time, and now I know why she wanted me to watch it.  For those of  you who haven’t seen it, I apologize for not summarizing it here; I’m just too tired.  Here, I’ll do it in one line:  Joan Crawford is a sickass narcissistic maniac who adopts two children so that she will have “something to love” and “someone to love her.”  She scapegoats the elder, Christine, smothering her with luxuries one moment and making her scrub the floors the next.  The girl turns out to be beautiful and intelligent, and Crawford’s jealousy spirals into violence.  There.

It’s a good thing, I think, that I was sick as a dog while watching Mommie Dearest, because when I am sick I become emotionally unhinged, and I was unable to slam all the doors and batten down the hatches to keep my heart out of harm’s way.  Or healing’s way, really.

I don’t think my mother ever beat me with a coat hanger likeJoan did Christine.  She preferred the fly swatter: it didn’t leave marks.

I just so relate to Christine’s conflict when viewing her mother’s glamorously fitted-out dead body: she really did love her, and yet she was so thankful for the pain to be over.

Now I finally  “get it,”  that a narcissistic person can want to have a child so that a) they have someone who HAS to love them; b) they have someone whom they can manipulate any way they want to, and whatever the outcome, it’s the child’s fault (in the narcissist’s mind).   But c) to their dismay they find themselves feeling threatened by the child’s beauty/talents, and feeling compelled to compete with them, whatever it takes.  Therein lies the trap.

I was interested to see that “Mommie Dearest” made a point to cut her two adopted children out of her will.  That took a lot of forethought and planning, more than I would expect out of your average narcissist.  But then Joan Crawford wasn’t your average narcissist.  What she did not foresee was that her brilliant and talented daughter Christine would write a memoir called Mommie Dearest that would become a hit movie starring Faye Dunaway.   That certainly turned out to be one case where outliving one’s abuser was the first step in sweet revenge.  The second was writing the book.

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  1. The movie sounds….like a waking nightmare. I will see where I can find a copy. I’m wondering f my mother has some (mild) narcisstic tendencies (she’s always identifying this trait in others…..)

    • It is indeed. In fact, one reason I decided to watch it on my sick day rather than replays of Wallace and Grommit (my usual sick day fare) is that I had just written the post on nightmares, and I was all tuned up from that. I got my copy from iTunes for roughly USD10. You have iTunes access in the UK? I used to have to use a proxy to get it in Israel, how strange yet not strange is that. I’ll be interested to get your take on it. Don’t let your children see it, though, it will give them nightmares for sure.

  2. They also want to have perfect children as proof of their utter superiority to everyone else…their children are the best, the most beautiful, the most brilliant reflection of Mother but God help those children if they dare to have gifts that Mother doesn’t have..

    • Or maybe worse, ones she does have, but the child does them better…

      • Oh yes! I had a fairly large vocabulary when I was five. I remember that I use a polysyllabic word one day when speaking to my Mother-it was natural…the word was just there in my head. She slapped me so hard I fell backward onto the floor and shouted, “Don’t use those fifty dollar words with me!” People who think they are in charge of every last decision they make
        are living a fantasy. It’s taken me years to understand that there is nothing wrong with having intelligence.

        • Intelligence is second only to compassion as gift. An intelligent person without compassion can turn out to be like your mother, it seems.

          She didn’t know you, even though you had passed through her womb…That’s how I see it, from my own perspective..She was but a vehicle for my journey from gamete to Alien….I wish your mother had had the place in her heart that embraces bright little boys. How much better it would have been for both of you!

          Excuse my rambling, please. I’m trying to distract myself from my physical pain by writing. So far I have not found a better medicine.

  3. “To their dismay they find themselves feeling threatened by the child’s beauty/talents, and feeling compelled to compete with them, whatever it takes. Therein lies the trap.” The more I learn about Narcissism, especially maternal narcissism, the more disturbing it is to me. Innocent young babies and children should not be in the care of these people. God help the children that have these psychopaths for parents. Joan Crawford, in my opinion, is a good example of the two faces of Narcissism. One face, or side, is so convincing, no one would ever believe that this person could do such horrible things. If I remember correctly, Christina Crawford took a lot of flack for telling her story.

    • Yes. And although I am no Christina, I am fast becoming an outcast, as my family forgets what I have done for them, the sacrifices I have made (that does sound narcissistic, doesn’t it?!) so that they can live comfortable lives…But I have to put that behind me, along with the inheritance I probably won’t get now, since I no longer lick my mother’s feet–in fact, have had no contact in over a month. What a relief not to have to pretend! I gave up my house and medical practice in Jerusalem to be with my father while he was dying, and that has paupered me. I watched her abuse him, but since the whole town thinks she walks on water, no one would believe me. And of course, she had her ace in the hole: I’m mentally ill, so of course I “make up things.” All the while, I lived in an outbuilding with no plumbing. I did it for my father, who I loved beyond all things despite his being her “flying monkey.” Yes, maternal narcissism is a trap. Kind of like fly paper.

  4. Jiill

     /  March 12, 2017

    When I watched “mommie dearest” I see my childhood with my adopted mother. I don’t know at what age I knew she didn’t love me, I don’t think she ever did. She and my adopted dad wanted two children, a boy first then I girl. When it was discovered I was born with a disability I believe in my heart that is when she shut me out. Her brother molested me for years when I told her she chose to protect him as well as protecting herself. When my dad was dying I chose not to put that burden on him when he would speak of my mom’s brother who was also terminally I’ll at the time. She chose to make my dad believe I was heartless and to cut me out of his will and have the two beneficiaries also the two witnesses to the will be my mom and my brother who had grown into a sociopath.


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