I’ve been watching Feud over the last week. It’s the show about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, and their intense rivalry, and their toxic lives.
It is really eye opening for me. Parts of it – seeing how both of these women treated their daughters – was very reminiscent of my relationship with my mother.
Both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had personalities founded in narcissism, ego, envy & manipulation. Having done some research, I am aware they were both considered narcissists, or possibly Crawford was Borderline Personality Disorder – but of the narcissistic type. They were both highly manipulative, selfish women.
It was fascinating watching this show and I’ve also watched most of ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane’ and it is amazing how well both of these women could play the part of terrible human beings, with pathological envy, and highly toxic personalities. And I know it has been said – they were so easily able to play these parts, because those behaviours and attitudes were part of their actual personalities.
Both of these women have daughters who went on to write books – about the toxic nature of their mother’s personalities and the abuse they endured. I have only now worked out that the phrase ‘Mommie, Dearest’ – used often by daughters of narcissistic mothers – comes from the book named ‘Mommie, Dearest’ (and the subsequent movie) – written by Joan Crawford’s daughter. Bette Davis’ daughter wrote ‘My Mother’s Keeper’ and again this expresses the highly toxic relationship between the daughter and her narcissistic, abusive mother.
What struck me as very reminiscent of my own relationship, with my toxic mother – is how the daughters were both just extensions of their mother. Both expected their daughters to look after them (parentification abuse), and all thoughts and actions were totally selfish and often abusive towards their daughters. There was no real or genuine love for their daughters. It was always ‘all about the mother’.
And it was interesting seeing some of the people around Joan Crawford and Bette Davis defend them, and suggest the daughters were lying, or exaggerating. Yet, the motivations of these people defending them – were entirely self serving as well. This happens in the lives of people where narcissistic people are present. Toxic people often have their ‘flying monkeys’ and defenders. And they like to try and bring down the person revealing the truth. It’s common, in these situations where toxic people are manipulating others.
Interestingly both of the daughters, chose to remove themselves from the toxic issues. They had insight into the toxicity of their mothers, and both sought to build lives away from the danger. And good for them.
I’m also not surprised that both of their mothers wanted to exact revenge and spite on their daughters, by disinheriting them. A final act of hatred towards their own daughters – for daring to expose their mothers for the abusive, selfish, narcissistic, vindictive bullies that they were.
I would like to read both of the biographies and watch the movie ‘Mommie, Dearest’. Continue reading