My first epiphany regarding my mother wasn't when I connected her with NPD. It came after a series of events too specific and identifying for me to be comfortable posting. In sum, a very important family decision was made with out me, I was given incorrect information by NM, and when I tried to discuss different options based on the incorrect information, I became the bad guy. To be fair I was acutely aware of being the dissenter and was on hyper alert for signs of attack. As such, I readily admit I am not entirely blameless in the situation that followed. Ironically, the initial ensuing conflict regarding my dissent did not directly involve NM, but she threw herself into because she loves to be a martyr. This, "The Incident" as I like to call it, was the beginning of the path that would lead up to "The Confrontation". If you are interested in the details of said event(s), you are welcome to e-mail me for more information and if I feel confident you are in no way associated with my family I'll share the whole blown out of proportion mess, the two straws that broke the camel's back, so to speak.
After basically being told what a horrible person I was and having my pain and suffering utterly invalidated by NM (story of my life), I had the epiphany over dinner with my best friend. The words of a wise professor came floating back to me. I don't remember
them exactly, but it was something along the lines of "When somebody
tells you to stop crying or you're being too sensitive, it's because they can't handle your feelings." That your feelings are yours and they can't be wrong, nobody can tell you they are wrong because they are yours and only you truly know them, and so on. Suddenly, I realized I was not the one with a problem. It was NM's problem if she didn't like or couldn't handle the feelings I had. It wasn't my problem, it never was. It was hers, it was always hers. She, for whatever reason, could not deal with my feelings. I was practically giddy with delight at this realization. Well, there might have been a little wine involved in that, too.
Connecting those words with my NM was the first step toward the truth. I remember it very clearly, right down to where in the room my professor was standing when he said them. I remember liking those words, but not connecting them at all to NM at the time. When I did connect them, it was amazing, a weight I had carried all my life was gone. I hadn't learned the proper term for NM's behavior yet (invalidation), but I knew the concept. And knowing it was incredible. I wasn't completely ready to act on it though. That would come later, after I had connected NPD to my mother and learned more about it, when the second and final straw came, that I call "The Second Incident" lead me to confront her about about her behavior, especially her invalidation.