It Was all for You - Narcissism in a Different Disguise
My story is probably less typical in a forum like this. I was raised with plenty of privileges and cannot remember anything that I would easily identify as abuse.
What actually led me here was the feeling of never having been a real person - always an observer, a listener, a mirror.
I realized that my mother is a bizarre sort of person - one that always looks perfect, and behaves and speaks like a television presenter, with perfect enunciation and absolutely no betrayal of emotion.
This realization led me to others. She had never seen any of her children as real and alive. All our perspectives and experiences were deliberately designed to have an effect on her.
If I cried because I was scared at night, I was manipulating her. When my sister got divorced, it was "how could you do this to me and destroy my dreams?".
I realized when she homeschooled me, she didn't want me to have friends. She actively worked to sabotage my friendships by suggesting disloyalty, bad character/traits, or by strictly limiting my time with the person. She would tell me my friend had said something about me to her that indicated they wanted me to go away. Usually I believed her.
It was only when I saw her excessive control in my sister's life (managing her marriage and divorce, inviting her ex husband to things, meeting with him behind her back to try and set them back up, rage when he eventually asked her to stop), that I began to put it together. Before then I felt like I was the problem.
We had screaming fights daily when I was a teen and I thought I was a super rebellious kid. Now I know - she was never there.
She is as shallow as an image, and too blind to really experience others at all.