Saturday, October 11, 2014

We Are Family...Just As Messed Up As We Can Possibly Be

Stay positive! Keep your chin up! Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Affirmations...not my style, a bit too saccharin-y.

Putting the past behind you and just moving forward for survivors of childhood trauma is far easier said than done. Living my life wrapped up in denial isn't very healthy for me or anyone in any sort of relationship with me. I have come to embrace wholeheartedly that "healing" your root, core problem, bringing it to the surface and getting that sucker out is the ONLY way out.
You will never experience anything except fleeting happiness and temporary peace until that is resolved, no matter how often you attempt to coerce yourself into believing otherwise. In other words, some of us have chosen to stop bullshitting ourselves, but reality isn't a road you simply ease on down. Quite the contrary for those living with the fallout of emotional and physical abuse. The only way through is through. And it ain't easy.



I was not raised in what I, or any other somewhat sane human being would refer to as a “forgiving” household. Mistakes and bad decisions were not soon forgotten. The reality was they were NEVER forgotten. And if you were ever foolish enough to believe otherwise, all you had to do was have a lapse in good judgement to be completely reassured that yes, EVERY single “sin” you had ever committed was as fresh in my mother’s mind as if it were the very day you had brought the “shame upon her”.
My mother kept a mental list running of all your infractions, major and minor, and when you messed up she’d methodically run through said list and remind you of how many times you had disappointed her throughout the years. Sometimes she even felt compelled to speak on behalf of others whom she felt you had wronged. Your friends, grandparents, employers, aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses, former boyfriends, grade school teachers, the credit card company you defaulted on 30 years ago.... it was a loooong list!

This one-sided “airing of grievances” to make a Seinfeld reference, was not only used against myself and siblings to “keep us in line”, but on her husband and on super special occasions various other family members like her siblings.
I lost track of how many times my step-father has been the recipient of the “Let Me Tell You Exactly How Many Different Ways You Have Let Me Down” speech over the past 40+ years.
As painful as it was to have your own list rattled off to you, it has always been a hundred times more difficult for me to bear witness to my mother put my brothers and step-father through this.

As the eldest child and most frequent household rule violator, I had become acutely aware that having an audience present was for my mother that extra helping of humiliation to drive her point home and even quite possibly get a family member or two to turn against you in the process.
This tactic was used often on the off chance that being reminded of your many fuck ups privately wasn't enough to make you start scanning the room for any object sharp enough to put you out of your misery once and for all.
This was one of many in her bag of tricks.

Her rantings and ravings affected the entire household, sometimes for days. Pissing your mother off to that extent could equally piss off your unsuspecting siblings as well as they returned home from a night out or the yelling woke them out of a sleep to find the house in total chaos. Now they were forced to walk on eggshells until this shit subsided in order to keep themselves out of the eye of the storm.
You have managed to turn an entire household against you because at 19 years old you missed your 2 a.m. curfew. That’s right….nineteen. 2 a.m.
You're actually lucky she even let you in the house....30 minutes late usually meant you were sleeping in the garage or at 3 a.m. walking along the forest preserve to a gas station to use the pay phone because upon being dropped off by friends you came to find you had been unceremoniously locked out of the house. You have never been considered "trust worthy" enough to be given your own set of keys.
Keys were for those that made curfew, damn it!!

Growing up with a parent who suffers from N.P.D. (actually those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder don’t suffer at all, but rather those unfortunate enough having to spend more than an hour with them are the ones who truly suffer) you quickly learn that all of your actions are direct reflections back to them….and they better fucking like what they see.
All of your decisions, from simple things such as the clothing you wear to big life changers like whom you decide to marry. They see their children not as independent beings, but as extensions of themselves. Therefore any ideas, opinions or choices made by you that are in opposition to theirs are looked upon as wrong. You’re wrong. End of story. If you hope to accomplish something by challenging them, well good luck because the only thing you’ll be accomplishing is not hearing from them for months (sometimes years) and you can forget about an invite for any holidays!!

The N.P.D. parent is only pleased and only chooses to spend time with a child who consistently mirrors their own belief system as effed up as it may be. They view their children who don’t share this belief system as difficult and out of control. And their children ARE out of control….out of the N.P.D. parent’s CONTROL. When the child starts to reflect anything back to them other than their own values, wants and needs, that child falls out of favor.
Self worth for the narcissist is determined strictly by others' opinions of them. They are not capable of finding that within themselves. Self esteem is something they are unfamiliar with throughout the course of their lives.

The narcissist prefers to banish you from their lives rather than take the chance that the neighbors, co-workers or WORSE yet, their (GASP!) relatives will think badly of them for having a child (who by the way is not a child any longer, but in fact a grown ass adult now) who selected a spouse they believe to be “beneath” them.
A child who is “weak minded” because they suffer from depression dating back to adolescence that can on occasion send them to bed for days.
A child who dared to question their decision to slap a week old infant across the face because they would not stop crying. Newborn was me. How do I know? She told me.... just to let me know I have been an “impossible” pain in her ass literally since exiting her womb.
Or just a child who simply disagrees that eating canned veggies is good for you. (I stand by my claim. They're bad news, not fit for man nor beast!)

Coming home for the 1st time.

NOTHING is more important to the narcissist than their twisted perception of what everyone thinks of them! So if they believe you’re the one causing them to lose the respect of others or to be looked upon negatively, prepare yourself for full on warfare because you are about to be served up a ruthless combination of cold shoulder, disdain, disapproval and straight up bad mouthing.
You are a horrible, selfish, uncaring person and this will be repeated to ANYONE who will listen to them. Consider all bets to be off right along with their mental health.
And remember: You brought this all on yourself. Please do not think you can reason with them, you'll only make yourself crazy.

As a child raised by a narcissist, will you inevitably share some of these fucked up traits? Of course you will, but you also have the power of awareness.
You, my friend, understand true compassion, sometimes to your own detriment. You may even be so in tune with others' pain that you could be referred to as an "empath".
If you have endured it all and remain standing, then those are a few of the gifts you received in return for your strength that no one can EVER take from you!

So, thank you, mom....I'm eternally grateful. You didn't break me, 
I can still FEEL.



***Please check out the site at the link below for a bit of insight into this disorder or perhaps to find some much needed support. Maybe you are unaware that you, too have "survived" a narcissistic parent. It is an excellent source for info on the topic as well as recommending some great reads on the subject.***

I'm still officially a work in progress, but I'll keep you posted......


Surviving the Narcissist Parent

xoxo
penelope