Took me about 30. But it also took years to understand and accept what she was and to stop putting the onus on myself to make the situation better. Nothing I did or didn't do was going to make her love me or treat me the way a parent should. Narcissists like her only see people as tools, to be used. She doesn't feel guilt or shame or empathy. It was hard to understand, for the longest time, why she would treat people the way she did. Kids don't want to believe their parents are monsters, liars, abusers. We're raised to think parents are supposed to be loving and supportive. If they're not, we must be doing something wrong. At least, that's how the children seem to initially internalize it. I know I did for the longest time. Nothing I ever did was ever enough. The harder I worked, the nicer I was, the uglier and more toxic and manipulative she was. As someone else said, just because someone is family does not give them a free pass to abuse and hurt their children. When people lecture me, saying, "But that's your mom..." I'm like, "Yeah, which makes the fact that she abused me even worse." Had she been a stranger, these same well-meaning people would be more supportive of a victim getting away from his/her abuser.

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