My name is Tracy Culleton and I go by the pen name Danu Morrigan for this work.
For years I used only the pen-name out of respect for my parents. I hold the truth of what I said, but I did not want to hurt them by hearing it said.
But the situation has changed now and I will not hurt them by speaking out, and I deserve to speak my truth. Also, my real name is in the public domain anyway, so there is no point in me not acknowledging that.
I have no qualifications as a therapist or psychologist or anything along those lines, and I claim none. What I am is a fellow daughter of a narcissistic mother who is trying to make sense of this whole crazy-making dynamic and who is sharing this. In my other life I am a fiction writer and teacher, and I bring my writing skills to this work, to try to explain this whole confusing dynamic.
This is what I originally wrote, hence it being in the present tense:
In fairness, though, there are many Narcissism Traits she does not have.
She does not seem to have fantasies of unlimited success. Her grandiosity, if it exists at all, is about her importance in her own sphere rather than any global grandiosity.
She is not rude to people such as waiters and shop staff – on the contrary, she is very polite and friendly to everybody. Perhaps over-so, in a way that doesn’t respect their professional boundaries, and she doesn’t realise when it makes them uncomfortable. But she certainly does not think herself better than them as narcissists often do.
She is also not vain – again, the contrary, she never really bothered about her appearance beyond proper hygiene.
But having said all that, she does share many traits.
Everything is always about her. She’s totally self-centred. She demands respect and obedience without earning them. She gives blatantly unsuitable presents. She talks non-stop about herself and her doings in endless detail and repetition.
She has no real interest in me or mine (or, I presume, anybody else) except in as much as that reflects well on her. She likes my successes, such as they are, so she can boast about them to others (and then get the kudos and attention) but never celebrates those successes authentically with me.
She has no real empathy for anybody’s problems and tragedies, but feeds off the drama of them. The excitement and effervescence of her when I miscarried my first baby, for example: she was incandescent with the joy of the drama of it.
She would deny all the above, of course. As she has denied them to my face when I have tried to say some of this to her, to try to sort things out. She denies them in a bullying and aggressive way. Or in a way which cast doubts on my sanity and grasp of reality.
And so, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is my totally unqualified best guess as to why things are as they are.
(I also think back to stories told about her half-sister on her father’s side, and her father, and I think they were narcissistic too, in retrospect. So I can see the pattern there.)
My only regret, and it’s a major one, is that I didn’t do it years ago. That I bought into society’s lies that you have to keep in touch with parents no matter how horrible they are to you.
As part of looking to heal myself (at that time I thought I was broken and in need of fixing as they told me, not wounded and in need of healing as all we DONMs are), I came across EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as Tapping.) This has changed my life, and continues to do so, and I share it here in the hope that it can do the same for you.
As said above: I need to stress that I have no qualifications in psychology or similar, that I’m no guru, that I don’t hold myself up as an expert. I’m simply a fellow daughter of narcissistic mother who’s trying to find her way through it all and is sharing what I’ve found along the way. I have learned a reasonable amount through reading and corresponding with , so I do have some insights, but they’re only that: insights, not dogma. Please take what you find useful and leave the rest.
Danu Morrigan – the name
Both Danu and Morrigan are Celtic goddesses, and I liked the idea of connecting to the metaphorical power of goddesses when my experience of being the daughter of a narcissistic mother was one of powerlessness.
Danu was a mother goddess, which I found particularly appropriate as I was learning to be my own loving mother in this journey. And The Morrigan is the goddess of death, known by her title rather than a name, is (Wikipedia’s definition:) ‘the goddess of battle, strife and sovereignty’, and that seemed so appropriate too, as daughters of narcissistic mothers have to battle and strive for their own sovereignty.
So I chose the name Danu Morrigan to channel my wishes for myself as a recovering daughter of narcissistic mother, but also as a representative name for us all, as we all have to learn to mother ourselves, and to strive for our personal sovereignty.
In this way the name, like this website, isn’t about me at all but about all of us.