In my previous post, I described a ritual that took place at almost all of my childhood family's holiday dinners: my mom would insist that I loved something that she had repeatedly been told (by me and others) that I had always disliked.
A friend of mine from ChildrenOfHoarders.com read my post, and she forwarded a quote to me from a page about parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) :
Narcissistic Parents must be in control. No matter what. A Narcissistic Parent controls his or her children by dictating how these children should feel, should act, and the decisions to be made. This can lead to adult children of Narcissistic Parents being unsure of what they, themselves, like and want out of life. These Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents never learn to be autonomous and make his or her own decisions.I've heard other children of hoarders discussing the possibility of hoarding being intertwined with NPD, at least in some cases. I recognized that there might be some validity to their assertions, but I hadn't given it a lot of thought. Along comes the quote mentioned above, and I feel like I've been hit on the head with a Clue-by-Four!
While I am definitely autonomous (perhaps to a fault) and can make my own decisions, the rest of that paragraph is right on target, both in terms of how my mom behaved and the question of knowing what I want out of my own life. I used to think I knew what I liked and what I wanted, but I've come to realize how much of "me" has been about fulfilling other people's expectations of those things, rather than developing my own expectations.
Since realizing this (probably only around a year ago), discovering what I "like and want out of life" has been my greatest objective and my greatest challenge. I wish that I could say that I feel like I have been making progress. I think it would be more accurate to say that I have been, and continue to be, developmentally disabled in this area. I'm in my forties.
Anyway, the article that my friend sent to me, the somewhat awkwardly titled "Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents Resources", is well worth reading. I think that around 90% of it is directly applicable to the dynamics in my family.
Mom was a hoarder, and she almost certainly suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. She wasn't the only one who suffered.