Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

IMG_3471It’s just a fragment of a memory, out of context, out of time, but a dramatic one none-the-less. My mother is in her room, on her bed, writhing in agony. She is wailing in pain and sobbing. My father is pacing back and forth in the livingroom, lost, unsure of what to do.

I am in the kitchen immobile. I can’t move. I am frightened and worried. My mother is in distress. There is nothing that I can do. My sister is home. I know that, but I don’t know where she is.

My father says, “We should take you to the doctor’s”.

My mother replies, sobbing, “Dr. Dean can’t see me until….” I don’t remember how far away the appointment was, but it is strange at this point in my life to remember my mother saying that.

If she had in fact been in as much pain and discomfort as she appeared to be, why was she refusing to see a doctor? Why did she not go into the emergency room of the hospital? Heaven knows that we had been there on many occasions.

I blurted out, “Dr. Dean will be dead by then.” I’m not sure why I said this. Perhaps, it was in recognition of how ridiculous her statement was in the midst of all of this drama. Perhaps I didn’t want the only solution, the only end to this to be so far in the future. All I know for sure is that I felt helpless, lost, worried and panicked.

That’s it.

I don’t remember any more. I don’t remember the outcome, other than the fact that Dr. Dean did die before my mother got in to see him. He was rather old at the time.

Now, in hindsight, I realize that this was probably just one more manipulation. My mother used illness as a way of making herself the centre of everyone’s attention. She was sick throughout my entire life. In this particular instance, the likely reason that she did not want to go into the emergency room was that there was nothing wrong and they would be able to tell. Her family could not. We were focusing all of our energy on her and that is the way she liked it.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available


In this book, Martha Beck examines the truly pathologic relationship she had with her parents and how she managed to get out from under it.

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job

4 thoughts on “Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

  1. Do you believe that your mother really experienced pain? Did she convince herself…it is so hard to know when people complain of pain what they are experiencing…yet there is a powerful amount of secondary gain when that complaint is brought into the picture. I know someone who has this complaint, and no one can help him for long. The person that comes along (provider, friend) is touted as the wonder answer, and then inevitably disappoints and is “dumped”. I was among the dumpees. (non professional), and it was no fun.
    What a terror as a child…and then you must have gotten so tired of it.


    1. At the time I truly believed that she was experiencing pain. Now, in hind sight, I question that. She knew how to pretend that she was in pain and I remember when science “caught up” and they could tell that she wasn’t actually experiencing a migraine. She stopped going into emergency with migraines. The same thing happened with heart attacks. I did believe, when I was young, that she had had several heart attacks.

      I realized when I was older that I had missed out on all sorts of things because she convinced me that she was ill and I shouldn’t leave. Also, she put me in danger with her games, but that’s another story.

      I’m sorry you got dumped, but it does appear to be direct manipulation!


    2. The narcissist thing is a rninung joke with my friends. Lots of people veiw me as very egotistical and self-centered. I talk and write about myself. I haqve a very high opnion me and what I do. Some people don’t know hpow to deal with confidence especially from someone who only recently found hers. Anyone who knows me well always finds that funny. I am self-obsessed but I am definitely aware of what is going on around me. I love the people in my life and I am loyal to a fault. I have just realized I have to take care of me first.


      1. There is nothing unhealthy about taking care of yourself first. The word narcissism is being used as a synonym for arrogant and that is not what I am writing about. I am writing about the pathology. True narcissists would never care how others felt because they lack empathy.


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