Honor. Noun: The quality of knowing and doing what is morally right. Synonyms: Integrity, honesty, uprightness, ethics, principles, noble, virtue, goodness, decency, fairness, justice, faithfulness.
Most have some sense of honor, a personal pride of doing what is right and fair and just. I have it, you (most likely) have it, but my mother does not. That is not to say she is bad, but she lacks the empathy to put herself in someone else’s place and try to think what her actions will mean to them, at least that is my personal experience with her.
My mother is suffering greatly from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, she is not a bad person, but she is unwell and unwilling to admit that she needs to accept help and change. She can’t accept it though, the very nature of her illness means she can not fathom she may be the one who needs professional help.
As one psychologist my young son saw said “We rarely see those with NPD, we see their victims”, it is a sentiment that has been echoed by multiple others who have treated not only myself but my children too.
Sadly, despite the fact my mother is unwell, the way she acts is still inexcusable. We all must choose how we treat others, we have a choice. My mother is manipulative, abusive, and malicious when she feels slighted in any way.
I struggle though, as for my own mental healing, I want to write about my experiences with this manipulation and the pain it has caused me. So much of my mental illness is tied up in emotionally abusive situations that she placed me in, the things she did nothing to help me through, the nurture that I had to give instead of receiving. My lack of self confidence, the inability to set myself healthy boundaries, my anxiety about displeasing others are all deeply rooted in my relationship with her.
But my own sense of honor makes it impossible for me to do this, to betray the woman who raised me the best she knew how, to dishonor her by talking about our dirty secrets. It feels so disloyal.
Even writing experiences I remember in my private journal, words that are just for me to read, feel like a betrayal.
It makes me feel ashamed to admit that I feel envious of a friend who is able to talk about the damaging relationship she had with her own mother. Her mother has passed away, by feeling this sense of anguish, of envy for her freedom to express her hurt, am I wishing away my mother’s life for my own selfish desire to heal?
Honor is a tricky thing, we all want to have it, it is the very fabric of our society. Honor among families holds them together, stops the dirty secrets from leaking out, but those dirty little secrets can poison us and protect the wrong people. Often I find myself feeling poisoned to death, but I have no real way of seeking out the antidote.
I still feel like a young child, trapped in a world of silence, keeping secrets for those who did not deserve it.