Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Why "faith over fear" is bullsh*t: what faith and fear are and aren't

Hi friends. Part two about why the "faith over fear" trope is dangerous bullshit based on my experiences. I ended the last post pointing out how the promoters of this don't know what faith or fear mean. To continue with this, let me say what faith isn't. Presumably, when they say faith, they mean faith in God. But you have to wonder. 

Especially when someone tells someone in a difficult situation, to have faith, when the teller isn't in the situation and knows nothing about it. That's toxic positivity. And hypocrisy. And shaming. If someone is in a bad place and afraid, telling them to have faith over fear is just opening your mouth and crap pouring out. Faith in what? That the abuser will keep abusing? Yep that's for sure. That they should just tie a knot and hang on? Tell me you don't care without telling me you don't. Or just shut up and love them.  

In the case of a pandemic, telling other people they won't get Covid if they have faith is like clicking your ruby slippers together and hoping you'll get back to Kansas. Another problem is telling others to have faith while we are living very unfaithfully. Or bragging about how much faith we have. That's not about God at all. It's just me, me, me. Honestly the way some people talk, you'd think they were God. Oh wait.

My parents were masterful at weaponizing scripture about faith against me. They themselves Hedonistically did exactly as they pleased. They twisted their every foolish, dangerous, illegal and abusive choice into an act of faith. They said God told them to do it. And how can you argue with that? It's impossible to prove God didn't tell them.  Oh and they loved the verse "lean not unto thine own understanding" as it applied to me (not them, I later realized). Any time I questioned, I'd get accused of trusting myself and disobeying God.  

I lived with that crazy gaslighting all my life. Until I started really listening to God. Then I began to see the flaws. It wasn't God I was to obey, it was them. They were gods, not subject to the real one and making up rules for me as they went along. Their will for me was self-centered and their demands, contrary to God. 

Running around on each other and dragging me along. Shacking up with dangerous, abusive, narcissistic partners and making me subject to them. Making me parent them and their children. Neglecting my care. Stealing from me. Forcing me to do their work. Putting the focus on their selfish wants and needs. Leading me astray. Subjecting me to deviant, immoral, degenerate behavior. Making me be an adult without ever being a kid. And calling all of it God's will for me. 

So yeah, I was afraid. I was in a perpetual dry-drown of fear, self-loathing and shame. It was so bad I didn't know how bad it was. I thought constant pain was normal. I've blanked out not just experiences, but months and years of my life. My memories are like Swiss cheese and not baby Swiss. Huge gaping holes where memory is supposed to be. More hole than cheese actually. But at night, they're there. In endless dreams and nightmares. They are so constant, vivid and pervasive that I have trouble separating dream from memory. And it's all so scary. 

But I'm supposed to just smile and fake none of this happened? I'm supposed to say the right words and hope it gets better? Because that's what this "faith over fear" crap implies.  I'm supposed to feel ashamed to admit that I know nothing but scared shitless? I should feel guilty because I don't even know what let alone who to trust? Well, been there, still do that. My problem isn't trusting, it's trusting too much and the wrong things. It's being too obedient to my parent-gods. It's putting them above God. 

Now that's a problem and maybe the crux of it. God's first commandment in the Jewish and Christian Bible is to have no other gods before Me." Well, blew that one. My parents made themselves my gods. But in my defense, I was a gaslit (brainwashed) kid. I was taught wrong. And recognizing that is where I'll find my healing. 

Bear with me while I get this sorted. So, I was taught to make parents, their partners and kids, gods. But there's no other god before the God. I put my trust in these false gods. I shouldn't have but I didn't know better. I was terrified of them, their crazy demands and harsh punishment. And the fact that I was, shows they were fake. Because God is LOVE. His commands make sense. He forgives. Also the fact that I was so signally uncared for, mistreated, unloved, neglected, manipulated, abused and shamed shows up their wrong. 

We're told that God cares, loves, shepherds, nurtures, tends, teaches, leads, guides, walks with, carries, supports. He also warns us against danger and dangerous people. Unfortunately, I was so little when the abuse began that even if I had heard His warning, they would have shut it down as wrong. I would have been shamed for daring to hear God when they were only receivers, especially if He was saying they were wrong. They firewalled me off from God, lest I catch on that He was real one and they weren't. 

They created a little narcissistic fantasy world, a parallel universe, in which only we existed. Religion was such a convenient weapon for them. They could hide their own sinful behavior behind a smokescreen of Christianity. They twisted scripture to not only condone but command their wickedness. 

But hold on. I've said I wouldn't have understood those warnings even if I'd heard them. Well, that's because I would have assumed that God would never contradict them and what would stupid me know anyway. But what if, on some deep level, I did hear and understand. Was my gut telling me all along that something was rotten in Denmark? Is that what the dreams are about? Is that why big pieces of my memory are gone? Was that God shielding me from too much pain and suffering?

There is a large faction of so-called Christians who preach that trusting your gut is evil. That you're trusting yourself, not God. Ironically, those are often the people, like my parents, who are doing things that send up the red flags that your gut is responding to. I say that our inner voice is the only thing we can trust, especially victims of parental abuse. That's where God's  Holy Spirit (the still small voice) resides. I may not have understood what I was hearing or even that I was hearing anything. But that doesn't mean God wasn't there. 

I didn't feel it at the time. I still often don't. But I guess He did protect me because I'm still here. However it wasn't because I had enough faith. It was because He has enough love. I didn't do anything. I don't always even reach out to Him when I'm drowning. I just keep splashing and He rescue swims with me. 

Why faith over fear is bullshit and how that toxic positivity destroys traumatized kids

 Hi my friends. Last post I promised an earful on why the "faith over fear" trope is bullshit. It's generally bullshit but especially when it comes to traumatized kids of narcissistically abusive parents. "Faith over fear" is unChristian, unBiblical, ignorant toxic positivity that just smacks hypocrisy and slippery slope selfishness.  It was a raw spot for me to begin with. Covid made it so much worse. 

I'm so damn tired of hearing, during a bloody pandemic, how we could avoid Covid if we just have enough faith. And how taking precautions like wearing a mask and getting vaccinated is "fear-mongering." When used with traumatized children who are terrified of their scary bullying parents, it's sick. I've been physically, emotionally and sexually abused, neglected, abandoned, manipulated, parentified, dismissed, scapegoated and gaslit. And let me tell you, no amount of faith is going to see you through that shitstorm. It's fucking horror movie you can never shut off. I dream about it every night. 

I was weaned on fear. Fear of abandonment which could and did happen with alarming frequency. Fear of my dad taking his own life as he threatened to many times. Fear of what bizarre and scary thing my parents and their partners would do next.  I was told to be afraid, very afraid of what my mom and dad and their partners would do to me if I didn't obey. If I didn't let them do whatever they wanted. Living in fear was my God-given duty. To not fear them would be sinning. 

So tell me, how then was I supposed to also have faith and not be afraid? What's wrong with this idea that faith trumps fear is in how it's used and with whom. It is always someone who is not struggling with a terrible situation (or who has his or her head wedged firmly up his or her posterior about said situation) pontificating to someone who is smack dab in the middle of the shit. 

And they never tell you how to leverage this magical faith let alone what it even is. And I'll tell you why. Because they don't know themselves. It just makes them sound like they know what they're talking about and that makes them feel superior. And because the Bible kinda alludes to this, bonus brownie points added. 

However, the scripture they are referencing has nothing to do with how they are using it. "Perfect love casts out fear" is the correct quotation. Perfect love. Which is from God alone. And it's love, not faith that drives demons away. Because another thing they get wrong is the definition of fear. Fear is not caution. Or trauma induced obedience. Or compassion. In some cases, it's just common sense. Fear in this case is the slavery to demonic forces that we in the world are subjected to. So love casts out evil. We are also told in other scripture to fear the Lord. We are commanded to fear! Fear in this case means respect. 

But being accurate isn't something the "faith-over-fearers" worry about. In fact, being vague and hinty is part of the passive-aggressiveness. It's meant to make a person with rationale, reasonable concern feel inferior to their moral superiority. Held up to a little clear-headed scrutiny, their kitschy catchphrases are shown as meaningless, baffling bullshit. 

Because if they don't know what fear means, they surely don't know what faith means. None of us really does. You can put your faith in a lot of stupid things. Is it belief? We believe a lot of stupid, untrue things. That just sounds like opinion to me. And like buttholes, we all have one. Is it blind trust? That sounds dangerous! And then there's the matter of what one says he believes in versus what he lives like he does. 

A lot of right-wingers (who are usually the faith-over-fearers, proclaim to believe in God. But they live for Donald Trump. They wear shirts that say "Faith, FLAG, FIREARMS" (not in that order.) So your faith is in a piece of cloth and a gun. Hmm. Gotcha. So if you get Covid because you won't wear a mask or get vaccinated, you're gonna run it up the flagpole and then shoot it? And if you give someone Covid because you won't take precautions, that's honoring God?? Wow. Stay away from my loved ones please. 

But the biggest concern with "faith over fear" is with people who've suffered from abuse and live in terror of abuser. That's going to require a part two. So stay tuned. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Why I'm too reliable and why I hate it

 Hi friends. Mar here with  more on my life with narcissistic parental abuse, neglect, abandonment, manipulation, parentification, exploitation, unrealistic expectations and gaslighting about it all. Today I'm looking at why I'm too reliable and why I hate it. 

First, you might be wondering, can you be "too reliable" and isn't that a good thing? As one who has been through a lifetime of being the predictable, stable adult  amid the very childish behavior of adult authority figures, oh hell yes, you can and no, it's a very bad thing, for me. 

Lately, I've been opening up about how the four parents (two bio, two step) have always put way too much expectation of me. Heavy housework, taking care of adults (who didn't need care and didn't take care of me) parenting their children and foster kids (including sleeping with them so the adults could have "privacy."), being always obedient and never questioning, basically not being allowed to be a kid and certainly not a teenager. 

They would gaslight me that it was my God-given responsibility to be bossed around by but also to care for them, their boyfriends and girlfriends (later stepparents). I was even subject to their kids. I literally had to babysit my parents and tend to their petulant and unrealistic demands as if I were the parent and they were the kids. But yet they still expected that I would obey them like a little child, even when I was nearly an adult. Both ways of treating me were inappropriate. 

When they threw temper tantrums at me, berating, hitting, screaming at, shaming, name-calling, cursing, I was expected to just forgive and forget without ever getting any apology. And not just my two bio parents. That would have been more than enough to deal with. But they also expected me to tolerate whatever anyone did that they forced into my life. 

I learned very young that I had better be on pointe at all times, to say yes ma'am and no sir. To comply with any and all expectations and to read minds about what they expected. In so doing I might, just might, earn their love. Yes, earn. I didn't deserve it, you see. And (wait for it) no matter how hard I tried, I never succeeded. I see now that it was very much in their selfish, self-interests to keep the prize just out of reach, so I'd keep striving. I didn't catch on till I was 59 that I was never going to reach it. 

I was always so frightened of them as well. They saw to that. By gaslighting, shaming, setting me up to fail, pulling the supports out, raging, beating, blaming, manipulating, guilting, belittling my feelings, mocking, leaving me behind, leaving me out, weaponizing God against me and a host of other shitty narcissistic bullying tactics, they had me terrorized. 

I obeyed because I believed their gaslighting that it was my duty but also because I was afraid not to. Which is never a good reason to do anything. Fear is a great motivator but poor mentor. I never had the luxury of making mistakes, of being obstinate or recalcitrant or just plain lazy. That was for others. Interestingly, the very people who were so angry at me, were also failing me as parents in colossal ways. 

My every error was not only rubbed in my face but made to seem catastrophic,  till I was sick with self-hatred and sense of failure. I see now that every wrong I was accused of was either a mistake, blown out of proportion or flat out lied about to protect the real guilty party. Which usually was the parent or stepparent who was doing the blaming. They expected me to just pick up the ball when they dropped it but were savagely unmerciful if I dropped it. 

It wasn't that I was so good. It was that it was unforgivable not to be. If I'd grown up in a more realistic and loving home, I'd have been your average mostly nice, occasionally naughty kid. But I didn't. So I never learned how to be good, just obedient in the extreme. I was reliable because it was dangerous not to be. 

How they must have laughed behind my back at what an idiot I was, working so hard to get what they were never going to give. And how badly frightened and cowed I always was. It's sick to say, but even sicker to realize, that they knew how traumatized I was and didn't give a fat rat's ass. I dream every night about these terrible memories. So being too reliable, too dependable, too helpful and obedient has had a disastrous effect on me. 

I've  never dared to be anything but. It makes me nauseous to contemplate not doing what people say, giving them what they want, disagreeing, challenging, dropping balls or in any way failing them. I'm still obeying. And I hate it. Don't get me wrong. I like that I'm reliable. What I hate is why I'm reliable. I wish I could relax and fail occasionally, like all humans do, without feeling such hideous toxic shame, guilt and fear. 

And lest anyone chime in with "faith over fear" let me stop you right there. That's the worst thing you can say to anyone who struggles with fear from parental abuse. You'll get an earful on that from me in my next post, I promise. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Healing from abuse and gaslighting means I have to do some uncomfortable but crucial things

Hi everyone. This blog has become more about me dealing with parental narcissistic abuse and gaslighting and less about weight loss. Today I'm looking at some uncomfortable but crucial things I have to do to heal. First, for those that are new, I experienced neglect, abandonment, endangerment, exploitation, abuse (emotional, sexual and spiritual) parentification, exploitation and gaslighting from four extremely narcissistic and manipulative parents (two bio and their new spouses). I'm just now, at going on 60, exploring all this and trying to come to terms with it. 

To do this, I'm finding that I need to do several things that are very uncomfortable but also crucial. First, I need to accept that I've learned a very flawed version of reality and one that was in my narcissist parents' best interest but not mine. Being very empathic, I accepted and covered for every weird, disturbing and hurtful thing they did. I believed all the gaslighting and lies about it. 

When they put adult expectations and responsibilities on me, I never questioned. I tried to do everything to the best of my ability but mostly failed because I was too young. When they expected me to both parent and obey them and their new spouses, I did my best but never seemed to please. When they neglected,  stole from, cheated and forced me into dangerous situations, I just figured it was what I deserved. When they exposed me to inappropriate sexual behavior, made dirty jokes, mocked me for my small breasts and got mad at me when I reported a foster kid for molesting me, I internalized it, felt dirty and ashamed and bit myself. 

When they scolded and punished me, I assumed I was wrong and bad. It never occurred to me that they were expecting impossible  things, not doing their part or acting like parents and taking advantage of me. When they made me and only me do everyone else's work, I did it without question. When they kicked me out of the house for coming in 15 minutes late (no exaggeration) I never understood that not  only was this dangerous, it was illegal. I've only just realized that it is abusively exploitative to expect a kid to parent adults and other kids while also respecting them like authority figures. I thought this was all God's will for me because they told me it was. 

So healing from that has meant that I have to rethink it all.  I have to get a fresh perspective. That's exhausting and uncomfortable. Decades of gaslighting, lies and twisting situations to suit themselves has left me very confused. I hear voices all the time. I have constant nightmares. I'm used to thinking that my parents and their spouses and children are superhuman, ubermensch, above the rules, untouchable. That they speak ex cathedra, are omniscient and basically gods. 

The part of my brain that isn't damaged ( if there is one, I'm not sure), knows that's not true. But having believed it so long, it's really hard to shake. I've been gaslighting myself for as long as I can remember. So when I try to see it correctly, the flying monkeys in my head start screaming that I'm one lying. And being that my brain was damaged by their lies at a very young age, some of my thinking is still very young, immature and naive. So I've got to find my adult part and get her to help the child part. Yes, it feels very fractured. And very tiring.

One thing I've found that helps, but is also super uncomfortable, is to just say what happened. Being brain damaged, my memory is very spotty. There's so much I've blocked out because it's so alarming and hurtful. But one thing I'm sure of is that what I do remember, actually happened (despite a lot of gaslighting that I'm imagining it). Much of it is so bizarre that it seems made up. But then, I couldn't make it up and wouldn't if I could. 

A big part of what made my experiences so difficult is that I went through them utterly alone. No one helped. I had no confidante. They had  me successfully brainwashed into believing that if I did no one would believe me or that they would blame and shun me. So now, it's become important to me to tell my stories. To have people hear my side of it.

I'm working on not trying to figure out why they did (and continue to do) what they do. Each exhibits narcissistic behavior. Do they have NPD? I don't know and I can't afford to care. Does it stem from childhood trauma? Maybe, but I doubt it. I've heard a lot of sob stories from both the bio parents but nothing concrete. Just how they were misunderstood, found fault, yada yada. All that just sounds like narcissistic self-pity. And I've been the victim of their bad ideas, (leaving me behind in Alaska to be "missionaries" quitting jobs, having foster care homes they didn't manage properly, stealing, cheating). If grandparents were faulting those things then I agree. 

It's not like they would have held back to spare  me if anything happened. They never spared me any pain. My dad has regularly been telling me he planned to commit suicide since I was 5. My mother went out of  her way to make me feel awkward. Since I was 8, she'd tell me in graphic detail about her sex life with my dad and others, how my paternal grandfather (and best friend) tried to molest her. She recounted the plot of "A Clockwork Orange" to me and gave me nightmares. She laughed when her boyfriend called me "Blisters." She tells my husband and kids about her vaginal issues and spares no blushes. So if there was anything sordid or icky or upsetting to share, they'd be sure to pass it along. 

I used to agonize about why they did these bizarre things. I made excuses for everything. I felt sorry for them. I let them do whatever they wanted, thinking if I was just caring enough, they'd come around. But they never have. It's just gotten weirder and more disturbing. And I finally realized that me trying harder was just leading to more misery for me. Where they used to be coy about  how they kicked me around, now they're just blatant. They know they can do anything they want and I'll overlook it. 

Well, I've got  news. I don't anymore. I quit. I finally get it. They didn't love me and not only that, they wished me ill. They went out of their way to hurt me. They trashed things I held dear. They lied, stole, cheated and scammed. They threw pies in my face (that's not metaphor). They humiliated, shamed, embarrassed, made fun of, harassed and bullied me.  And they keep on. For once, I see that as odd as it sounds, it's true. 

No amount of candy-coating, toxic positivity, lying, her claiming not to remember, self-gaslighting, forgiveness, ignoring, making excuses for or pretending will make it unhappen. My messed up mind and disturbed sleep are proof. So what now? I'm focused on me and how I can get out of this hellhole I've existed in. I need to debride and disinfect my brain from the crippling toxic shame. I've got to get to the bottom of this pain, to learn what I need to learn. To find a way manage it and not let it manage me.

I think the next step is to pull a Scooby Doo and unmask my fears. I'll blog more on that soon. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

How a bizarre type of physical abuse causes me problems now

Hi friends. I'm doing a lot of deep digging and truth telling about past trauma I experienced: neglect, abandonment, endangerment, exploitation, scapegoating, gaslighting, parentification and abuse (emotional, social, mental, sexual and physical). Today I'm sharing how a bizarre type of physical abuse has left scars and unhealed injury. 

I'm talking about what is referred to as medical abuse or medical neglect. I experience many weird symptoms that I've come to realize are carryovers from medical neglect: allergies, back problems, early onset arthritis, vision problems, ENT, skin rashes and chronic pain. These are attributable, I see now, to lack of care and being made to do too much heavy labor and child care as a child and teen. 

I didn't realize this until my husband pointed out that he'd witnessed this happening to me since first he met me. He also identified what I told him I'd experienced as medical neglect. I'd never understood this due to much gaslighting by my four authority figures (I no longer call them parents). Any symptoms I experienced were mostly dismissed or ignored. I had to get very ill before anything was done about it. This was just basic physical care. Mental health issues were completely ignored. 

I had chronic sore throats beginning around age 5. I was taken to a clinic and given cough drops that didn't help. I was frequently diagnosed with swollen glands, strep throat and tonsilitis. In 5th grade, I missed 40 days of school one year and took penicillin for months at a time (injections and pills). Lowered immunity caused me to get every bug going around. Now you might think, as I did, that well, they weren't medically neglecting me because I was getting medication. 

But months on an antibiotic is not medically advised. And missing so much school should have been a red flag in itself. Finally, after years of suffering, my tonsils were taken out. I was told the doctor was against taking them out. But I can't believe that, now. Two of my own kids had frequent sore throats and the doctor took them out when they were 5. When I told him what happened to me, he said that no doctor he knew of would have waited that long unless my parents wouldn't allow surgery. 

When I finally had them out at age 10, my tonsils were so infected that I was sick for weeks afterwards. I couldn't and didn't eat for 3 weeks and lost like 15 or 20 pounds. My mother didn't even know I wasn't eating till my friend told her (I was left home alone during the summer). Mom got angry, probably embarrassed she hadn't noticed, and forced me to eat applesauce which on a raw throat is like vitriol. 

She and my dad were divorced and he wasn't involved. It was gram and gramp who made them get treatment for me. Same thing happened when I was having headaches. It took them till I was 12 to finally get glasses for me. And then at some rinky-dink place that was cheap. She herself had several pairs of fashion glasses. My whole family wore glasses so I'm not sure why they waited so long to have mine checked. When I finally got them, I was surprised to find that trees actually had leaves and weren't just blurs. 

Another time, I fell out of bed and broke my cheekbone. She sent me to school with a huge goose egg  on my face. The school sent me home to have it examined. It never was till my dad finally the swelling wasn't going down. He snuck me in to the hospital where he worked and had his radiologist friend X-ray it. I'd fractured a bone and a piece is still lodged in my face. 

Later when my mom and her boyfriend lost her foster care license due to physical abuse of kids, I was moved in with my dad and his new wife. My mom says I chose to go there to give she and her boyfriend "private time" (gross).  But I now think that was more gaslighting to cover the fact that when the kids were removed from her home, it included me. 

My dad and his wife were into some expensive vitamin pyramid scheme. For breakfast, I had a vitamin and lunch was one of the power bars. Dinner was a salad. I was always hungry. Then they got into chiropractic and I was diagnosed with scoliosis and spina bifida. They were warned not to let me ride anything that jolted (carnival, snowmobile, motorcycle) and to be careful of heavy lifting. He didn't warn off housework because he probably didn't expect that I, at 12, would be made to do the kinds of things I was made to do. 

I slept, and got up at night with, their babies. I slept in a youth bed.  I did all the ironing. I still feel the intense cramping that caused. I hung clothes out on the line in winter, having to scale snowbanks to take them down.  I did all the vacuuming, lugging around a big, heavy vacuum, scrubbed toilets and mopped floors on my hands and knees. 

I had congenital hip dysplasia as a baby.  Beyond wearing a brace for a few months, there was no follow up care. No one gave a second thought about overworking me and keeping me in unsuitable conditions, despite doctor warnings. Now, I struggle with fused vertebrae, a slipped disk and constant back pain. My hips are a mess. I walk crooked. How much of it is due to that? No idea. But it certainly didn't help. 

When I was 16, my mother's husband kicked me out of their home for coming in an hour late one time. I didn't realize it at the time but this was illegal. I think now that (this is gross, too) he was sexually attracted to me. He'd always been off in that respect. (Side note, they'd stolen my savings bonds from grandparents and lied about how they used my dad's child support payments to fund their new family). 

My mom went right along with it. I was sent to live with an elderly lady in town, for my senior year. I was having lots of trouble with wisdom teeth. My mother finally took me to a dentist who removed them. He prescribed Darvocet (an opioid) and said I would need care and monitoring. I was not allowed back home but sent back to the lady. My gums got infected and when my dad came to visit he said it looked like I had mumps. I lost feeling in half my mouth and it's never returned. No one did anything about it. 

It never occurred to me that any of this was medically abusive. This was not how my parents were raised by their parents. They received proper medical treatment. I was told we couldn't afford it. But they took good care of themselves, their new spouses, kids and even their dogs. There was always money for whatever took their fancy. 

The problems all this causes now are not just physical. I don't take my pain seriously. I'm used to being ignored and gaslit about it. So I gaslight myself. Even writing about, I question whether I'm exaggerating. It's exhausting. 

Monday, June 10, 2024

How I lost 100 pounds by feeding my inner child and starving narcissistic supply

 Hello my dear friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds. I began by writing about weight loss then for the past few months have been delving into CPTSD from parental narcissistic abuse, neglect, endangerment, abandonment, exploitation, scapegoating, toxic shaming and gaslighting about it all. Today, I'm circling back to how I lost 100 pounds by feeding my inner child and starving parental narcissistic supply. 

It may seem like a stretch to say that doing inner child worked helped with weight loss. But it did and in some basic and complicated ways. The simplest way was in literally nourishing myself after spending a lot of my life going without. It's no exaggeration to say that I was not only hungry for love from my four parents but also food. And very often, there wasn't enough. 

We weren't poor and nor had my parents grown up deprived. They just didn't spend their money on care for me but on themselves and their new partners and kids. The dog ate better than I did. And when my abusive stepfather kicked me out of the house when I was 16, I ended up stealing food to survive. 

So what does that have to do with weight loss? Well, obviously, from not eating enough. In college (which I  paid for entirely on my own, thru earnings, grants and scholarships, no help from them, I might add), I pretty much didn't eat and dropped down to 109 pounds which as 5'4' was underweight. I must have had anorexia before I knew what it was because I still saw myself as fat. 

The complicated part of how I lost 100 pounds came later in life. When I met my husband, he saw to it that I ate better. We got married and had kids, and I got to a healthier weight. Then we experienced some very painful situations and I started the antidepressant Paxil, gained a bunch of weight and got obese. Paxil knocked out my limit switches and I overate.  

Additionally, it's a proved fact that an undernourished person will often gain too much weight when they finally get enough to eat. Deprivation makes the body hoard fat because it fears it will be starved again. And, although I was eating better, I was still emotionally starving my inner child and adult self. The parental narcissistic abuse, neglect, abandonment, exploitation and especially the gaslighting didn't end in childhood. I had begun to gaslight myself about the trauma and CPTSD I had and was still enduring. 

All of this was so much narcissistic supply for my mom, dad, stepmom and stepdad. They continued to get more entitled, delusional and manipulative and do crazier and more outrageous things. And they schooled their little acolyte kids in the scapegoating abuse. And I let them because I believed their gaslighting. I never spoke up or called it out. Till one day, I sort of did. That full story is in another post. The short version is that I actually named one of the awful things my mom and her boyfriend had done to me. And she lied and said it never happened. Then I said how I'd been kicked out at 16 and more gaslighting lies. 

But now I knew, from Dr. Ramani on Youtube, how narcissists operated. And I learned from Reddit what gaslighting was. And by golly if Mother wasn't doing just those things. Which kind of woke me up to the fact that she'd always done these things. And that these people I'd been shielding and making excuses for, really did give zero effs about me. And the narc abuse was so extensive that now they were lying to cover their asses. And my poor inner little girl was left a brain damaged mess.

So, part of how I lost 100 pounds (or really about 800 lbs, LOL) was to stop feeding and cut off their narcissistic supply. It was easier with my dad and his wife. They were dead. It's harder with mom and her husband. Well, now ex-husband, as he too began to see the shit she was pulling. Still in denial over his own shit-pulling but oy vey. The thing there is to keep them at arm's length and grow much longer arms. And most importantly, to start feeding my inner child the things she's been lacking all these years.  

I know it may not make much sense. It doesn't completely yet, to me. But somehow, giving myself the love and care I have needed for so long, has helped my inner child to grow to a  healthier adult place. 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Healing CPTSD from parental narcissistic abuse means rethinking everything

Hi friends. This blog is going deep into my past experiences with narcissistic abuse, neglect, abandonment, endangerment exploitation, parentification and gaslighting from four parents and the resulting CPTSD. Much of this, I only just realized within the last year. To say it's been mind-bending is putting it gently. 

One thing CPTSD has left me with is a lot of memory-voices in my head which gaslight me every day in every way. I second-guess everything I think, feel and do. Now that might seem like a good thing, to double check to make sure I'm not doing something wrong or hurtful. To make sure I'm thinking or feeling things correctly. I can't speak to that for someone without CPTSD. For someone who's been gaslit, it's a living nightmare. 

I don't know, because I wasn't taught accurately, what is right and wrong. Narcissists are self-serving. So the version they taught was what worked for them. Rules applied to me, never to them or their children. In fact, such was their hypocrisy that they held others and especially me (the scapegoat) to expectations that they blatantly did not follow. I was told to do for them, at the expense of myself, to ignore my needs and wants and to just give and give and give. 

Now, I don't have any clue where others stop and I begin. It occurred to me recently that I never thought of myself as a real person, just a possession or puppet. Essentially they taught me that I didn't exist except to please them. Which I'm learning is classic narcissism. They made themselves my gods and as such, expected me to worship and obey. 

So now, my entire morality is cockeyed. When I go to confession, I have no idea what to confess because I have no reference for right and wrong. It makes me weep with frustration just thinking about it. I read that CPTSD is a form of brain damage and boy howdy is that the truth. I feel like I've been battered in the head. What IS right??

You might say, if you were not raised in narc abuse, well, just read your Bible. Or follow church teaching. Would that it were that simple. When you have been raised with an effed up view of parents as God, you live only to serve them. What  is "right" is to do their will and what is "wrong" is to disobey them. But if they are living contrary to that, if their behavior is immoral (which of course it is if they set themselves up as gods) how do I juxtapose that? 

You might also say (and people, including priests, ministers, counselors have), now that you know that's wrong, you can just move on and do it right, easy peasy. If you believe that, I've got a lovely piece of swampland to sell you. There is nothing remotely easy or simple or straightforward in CPTSD. We are busted up!! We bring our broken little inner kid minds and emotions and beliefs with us into EVERY situation. We bring mommy and daddy and stepmommy and stepdaddy (said very facetiously) with us everywhere. Their gaslighting directed everything and it still does. 

The super shitty thing about gaslighting and narcissistic abuse is how toxically pervasive they are. I've said it's not so much gaslighting but gas poisoning. They deform and dement us. They are our everything. We know no world outside of their sick, fake, delusional fantasy. How do we escape? How the bloody sodding H do I know? I've been trapped so long I stopped looking for the door. I didn't even know I was trapped till some light shone through the cracks. 

But one thing I am, in all this broken, is tough. My callouses have callouses. My scars as scarred. So by God (the real one) I'm going to find a way if it kills me. You think that's melodramatic talk? You ain't seen nothin yet. I'm sick of second-guessing myself. I'm going big and loud. I'm calling out everything that happened as bullshit. I'll throw the baby out with the bathwater if I have to. 

What do I mean? That in order to find some kind of peace, I need to question every single thing they taught me, did to me and exposed me to. One thing I've learned about lies is that if there is one, there are more. That if there is egregious abuse and neglect and abandonment and shaming and humiliation and exploitation and endangerment and parentification and scapegoating, it's not episodic but pattern behavior. The entire thing is rotten. Boom. 

What I've got to do now, is to tear down the whole facade and start over. It won't be as difficult as it sounds because as I said, it's rotten. There's no salvaging it. The wormwood of narc abuse cannot stand up to scrutiny. It shows it's poison clearly.

Will I end up losing the good with the bad? No. Because there never was any true good. It was just weaponized to keep me in line. A means to an end. Do I feel badly about that? As in guilty? Not on your nelly. I've spent enough years enslaved by guilt to those people. Guilty cat has run out of effs to give. Do I feel sad as in grief for myself? Yeah, sure. I want my childhood and adolescence back. I wish my family had actually been a family and not an exploiting bunch of liars. 

But it ain't going to happen so why waste time on it. The past has passed. All I've got is the now and I'd like to save as much of it and me from further harm as I can. Can I get an amen?


Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Freedom ain't free: the massive cost narcissistic abuse takes on me


Hi friends. You know, I dread these daily posts relating my experiences with parental narcissistic abuse (physical, emotional and sexual). I write because someday I want to break free from those bonds. I don't know how else to do it but to keep lancing the wounds. So I'm revisiting the neglect, abandonment, endangerment, parentification, toxic shaming, manipulation, humiliation, transactional existence, exploitation and gaslighting about it all. 

It's often said that freedom isn't free. And nowhere is that more true than in freedom from the devastation that parental narcissistic abuse has wreaked in my life. That suffering cost me dearly both in living in it and trying to get out of it. It nearly cost me my physical life and it has definitely cost in quality of life. For most of my life, I believed I wasn't really even human, no rights, no feelings, needs or wants that mattered. No life of my own. Just a drone whose purpose was to attend to the needs, wants and feelings of four narcissist parents and their children. 

This is what was gaslit into me, in various subtle and blatant ways. But over the past few months, spurred by some posts on Reddit, of all things, I have begun to challenge that version of me. And I realize that I have gotten very many things wrong about myself, children, parents, God and what life is supposed to look like. It's like I've been looking at a picture sideways and been perpetually confused by it. And suddenly, turning it right side up makes so much clear. 

It explains why I struggle with everything. It explains why I feel so miserable most of the time. It explains why I've been playing different roles, assigned to me by the narcissists. It explains why I've never felt like a person just a possession. It explains why I have no interests or hobbies. Or opinions. Why I can't remember bedrooms, beds, toys, stuff, meals, clothing, birthday celebrations. Why I have constant nightmares. 

The answer is fairly simple but also the most complicated thing I've ever dealt with. I didn't have needs met on a consistent basis. If my bedroom was needed for my uncle and his girlfriend to share, I was moved out. If I was needed to sleep with my parents' children, so they didn't keep them awake, I was given a tiny youth bed in the corner and made to make due. If my stuff was needed to be sold so my mom's out-of-work boyfriend could have a new motorcycle, so be it. If there wasn't enough food because the dog had to have his special Science Diet, I went hungry. If there was work to be done, it ws my job to do it. If my mom o dad wanted to run off to God knows where, I should be fine being left alone to fend. 

And I was gaslit into thinking that I should not expect needs to be met. Because I was not a real person with needs or wants. All that belonged to someone else. I owed them everything and then some. I could never pay all I owed, just for my existence. I had the audacity to inconvenience my narcissistic parents just by being. And did I pay...and pay...and pay. No shameful treatment was low enough for me. 

And I have just accepted my lot as good enough for who it was for. There was nothing I wouldn't take the blame for, no behavior of theirs I wouldn't excuse. No shit I wouldn't absorb. And I was and still am one messed up, confused, self-loathing lil girl. 

Until someone or something flipped that picture and I saw it for what it was. It finally began to get thru to me that I didn't treat others this way or think it was okay to. I can see clearly why neglect, abandonment, endangerment, parentification, scapegoating, surrogate spousing, manipulation, exploitation and abuse are so harmful. So if I was such a self-centered, disobedient, selfish, show-offy, disappointment, how DID I screwed up me know that this behavior was wrong for others?

That's gaslighting for you and boy howdy is that a powerful weapon. It's why I accepted this treatment. Quite simply, they made it loud and clear that I was a worthless and they and their shiny new families, weren't. In fact, they were entitled to more than the average person because they were a cut above. Superhuman. Ubermensch, not answerable to rules, the same rules they preach to others. 

And of course their children were treated so much better than I was. They deserved it. They were their real kids, their real families. Somehow, it was as if they believed that by divorcing each other, they could divorce themselves from me. And yet, not. Because they certainly expected me to do whatever it was they wanted of me, cheerfully and with a complete subservient attitude. Oh and I had to read their minds, as well. A tall order for a kid and one I never was able to successfully do. Ergo the reason I have such feelings of failure. 

I grew up with this broken mirror image of myself. I've wrestled all my life with too much responsibility, too little care and nurturing and being made to feel like an untouchable. I've tried to make them happy and failed. I've kept up all my expectations in the transactions and they've let down their end. Well, they never were going to give me what I needed anyway, no matter how much I gave. 

So where does this leave me? I think it's time to take a long look at the picture now that it's right side up. I wasn't a failure. I was expected to think like an adult when I was a child. I was made to parent my parents and their spouses and children. I was expected to act like an adult so the adults could act like selfish children. I wasn't broken, the family system was. I wasn't a child, I was unpaid staff. I didn't have a family. I had betters. I didn't have a home. It was always their homes.  I was silent homeless. 

I wasn't "dishonoring" my parents. They dishonored me. I wasn't disobedient I was too obedient. I wasn't disrespectful, they were. And they didn't earn my respect. They broke the covenant and didn't keep their part of the commandment. A child has two parents, not four. That's polygamy. Their spouses should not have been shoved on me as parents let alone the tyrannical bosses they were. 

I didn't owe them for my existence and care. They owed me love and nurturing. I was not their parent. They were mine. If anyone was going to suffer the consequences of their consistently foolish, risky and dangerous behavior, it should have been them instead of me getting the brunt of it and them getting off scot-free. (I need to blog a lot more about that later).

I didn't bring their children into the world, they did. They weren't my siblings. They were  my parents new, favored kids. I certainly wasn't their parent and should not have been made to care for them like a parent. I should not have been made to feel guilty or responsible. I could not and should not have been expected to provide for their children what they failed to provide for me.


Monday, June 3, 2024

Healing CPTSD by ignoring the manufactured crises of narcissistic abuse

 Hi friends. For the past few months this blog has diverged from weight loss down a path to healing from CPTSD (or at least just addressing it). Today I'm looking at how the manufactured crises of narcissistic abuse have driven my life. I can't remember a time when my life wasn't controlled by other peoples' various self-created drama. Looking back, I see that these "emergencies" weren't genuine but contrived by manipulative adults to keep me in a state of perpetual chaos, uncertainty and fear. Weaponized chaos is very useful in controlling a nervous, eager-to-please kid like me.  

What got me thinking about this was noticing how I feel in the morning. Lately, I've been doing things differently. Instead hitting the ground running, I've been taking 30 minutes to wake up with my coffee. I've actually been (gasp!) playing a little online game. This is a universe away from how I used to do it. Since I can remember, I've woke up to an impending sense of doom and feeling behind the 8-ball to fix it NOW!

So why is that? Well, to start with, I don't and never have slept well. I dream/ nightmare all night long. And that is due to CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder). I have the craziest, most complicated and disturbing dreams and all in vivid detail. I'm always in bizarre situations in which all kinds of things are expected of me. There are always countless children, unknown to me that I have to care for. I don't know what exactly is expected because it isn't communicated. I don't even know who expects it, just that they do.  I don't know how to do it. I lack the resources. Everyone is mad at me for failing to do what I don't know what or how to do. 

Allowing myself to recall my child and teen and young adult years, I see that these aren't dreams but memories. This is exactly what happened: tons of manufactured "crisis" which I was expected to magically troubleshoot and fix, without help or tools. I was expected to know what needed doing without being told. And it had better be done yesterday, with a smile and no hint of objection. Which of course explains the sense of panic and doom. 

So this is what I dream because this is what I lived. And nightmaring all night long shot my sleep to hell. So waking was and is difficult to impossible. I often sleep to the last minute, trying to scrape up enough to  get by. I never do. And then it repeated all over again. Expectation, demands over constant crisis that came out of nowhere. Which of course, they did. 

And there's the irony. All the crises I was gaslit into believing we were in, were preventable. Financial troubles were down to very crazy spending. Homes were lost due to non-payment. We moved all the time on my dad's whim. Their babies were my job to care for. Their foster care homes were my job to run. All this housework, mine. Angry parent? My fault. Lazy, vindictive spouses, my problem.  None of it was their or their kids' responsibility. 

So now I'm asking myself what was so damn important that I had to sacrifice my childhood, teenhood and young adulthood for? Where was the effing fire??? Actually there wasn't a fire, but not because of any care on their part. So often I was left in dangerous situations with no forethought to safety. 

But back to mornings. All this time I was gaslit about how other people needed their "quiet time" "space" etc, to wake up. I always respected that. My dad had to have his time at a coffee shop (which I was expected to provide childcare for). My mom's husband just slept all day, woke up mad and stayed that way. Literally, mad as in nuts. No one could talk to my dad's wife while she "woke up." Funny, I was the one sleeping with her babies. She had her spacious waterbed to herself while I slept on a tiny youth bed in the baby's room. And no one worried about how I slept or what I might need to wake up. 

Well, now I'm starting to respect my needs. Fortunately I have a husband who applauds my self-care. He even makes my coffee. I need space to come to terms not only with the day but also with the terrible dreams that disturb my sleep. I need my wake up time. And my game. I can't wait for someone to give me permission. That's never going to happen with the people who stole it from me. So I take it. 

Friday, May 31, 2024

Accepting that my pain is real, that I can't fix others and I don't owe anything

Hi friends. Lots of awareness going on around here about parental narcissistic abuse, endangerment, neglect, abandonment, exploitation, parentification, toxic shaming, scapegoating and gaslighting. So that's a big lot of jargon but what it boils down to for me is finally seeing and admitting the unbearable pain I've been living in since forever. 

If it sounds like I bandy these words around as psycho-babble, don't worry, I think that too, thanks to gaslighting memory voices in my head ("you're showing off" "you're too sensitive" "you're making this up"). Truth is, it just helps to finally have words for the crappy feelings and the crap that happened. Using the correct terms realizes, validates and authenticates it for me. 

For the longest time, I've believed I was exaggerating, imagining and making it up. As if!!  I  knew, on some level that it had happened but that it was normal and okay. That the nightmares were just products of my vivid imagination. But you can't make that up. 

All my life, I've believed that other people suffered trauma, had real pain and problems, needed help and that I was my duty to help and fix. Any time I expressed pain, which became less and less often, I was ignored, dismissed and even told to stop feeling sorry for myself. Consequently, I believed that I should ignore and dismiss my feelings and pour myself into fixing other peoples' (namely my parents, their spouses and kids) real problems. 

This makes me miserable. I can't fix others which causes epic toxic shame. I can't acknowledge my pain because that's selfish. So it just gets more infected and swollen. I fake and fake and fake. Thank God I finally saw this for what it was because I couldn't keep on this way. 

So what's different? Well, not a lot yet. But it's coming slowly. I'm starting to look at my weird dreams, thoughts, feelings and behavior as not weird but logical consequences of abuse, shaming, family scapegoating, parentification, exploitation and manipulation, neglect, endangerment, abandonment and gaslighting. 

I'm starting to recognize triggers (things that happen that remind me or feel like, past trauma). I'm starting to allow myself to feel pain and source it. I'm not focusing on blaming, just correctly identifying what I'm feeling and why. I'm letting little me feel and own her feelings instead of gaslighting her. I'm giving permission to feel angry, sad, scared and hurt. That it's not just about others. I was also hurt, that my parents didn't care and that it was wrong. 

I'm finally getting, or trying to get that I don't owe the world this massive, unpayable debt. I do owe myself love, compassion and support. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Why I don't forgive parent narcissistic abuse and gaslighting

Hi friends. Lately, I'm looking honestly at narcissistic abuse, neglect, abandonment, exploitation, endangerment, parentification and gaslighting from four parent figures that I experienced. I'm also rethinking forgiveness about all this. Said simply, I'm choosing not to worry about whether I forgive them and focusing on forgiving myself. I thought I was pretty much alone in this, till I heard Dr. Ramani on Youtube advocate this. 

All our lives, most of us have had drilled into us, that we not only should but must forgive those who hurt us. My version was the Christian one but I'm sure other ideologies preach the same. And forgiveness is not just a religious construct. Most psychological disciplines tout forgiveness as the piece de resistance in emotional healing. 

I don't agree and here's why. Pretty much since I was born, my parents have been legendarily big proponents of forgiveness...of themselves. Whatever they did to me, witnessed, allowed or encouraged to be done to me (abuse, bullying, exploitation, neglect, harm, mind effing, parentification, shaming, etc), was perfectly okay. We never talked about that. But my responsibility to forgive was crammed down my throat with a plunger. The Bible told me so. 

Which in itself is contradictory. My parents and their spouses did nothing wrong,  I was told. The problem was me. But if they were demi-gods, perfect and above all rules, and I was just a miserable screw up, then why was it necessary for me to forgive? Either they were right and I just had to accept that. Or they were wrong and required forgiveness, right? No, they played it both ways. They were always right AND I was always wrong AND I owed them forgiveness. And worst of all, they didn't and didn't have to, forgive me.  WTF?? I've even confused myself. 

I now see that this is just so much narcissistic fantasy and gaslighting bullshit. And I also see that forgiveness for harm is just another gift of God that's been perverted by self-serving narcs to enslave. It's weaponized toxic positivity. Like the Bible and the commandments and God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit themselves. 

Narcissists like my parents have one god and it ain't Yahweh, Allah or any other version. It's themselves. It's necessary for their delusions, to lie about anything they did wrong because it doesn't fit with their fantasy that they are above reproach. Yet the Holy Spirit (the real one) still pricks their consciences. So instead of listening to Him, they clap their hands over their ears. They play bait and switch, saying "okay so IF I am wrong, which I'm not admitting to, YOU have to forgive me." 

And now the ball is back in my court, where it's really always been. If I call myself a Christian, I have to forgive them. At least this is what I always believed. The problem, is, was, always has been, always will be, mine. They are exempt. All my suffering matters not one iota. I just have to suck it up, say it was okay, I forgive them. They aren't required to examine their consciences, change or even apologize. And they never have. 

Now, as an adult, I can see the many problems with this. It completely contradicts the gospel, the Lord's Prayer, and the Trinity. It's a middle finger up to Christianity. It's playing God. He alone is perfect. He said forgive others as you forgive yourself.  They got the forgive yourself part but not the rest. He said confess your sins. If you don't even acknowledge you do sin, you're certainly not confessing, let alone, feeling contrition or repentance. They never apologized or admitted to anything. If confronted, they  lied and gaslit. I've concluded that they are not sorry. 

And we're told to forgive others as God has forgiven us. For all they expected me to exonerate all that happened, I was never offered a crumb of compassion or even hope. My face was ground into the dirt. And not just things I'd actually done. Much was fabricated to prop of their version. And for that, there was no mercy. Sweep the leg. Probably why I have so much trouble convincing myself to stay on this planet and that others wouldn't be better off without me. 

The Bible was written for each person to follow, not something use against others for our own ends. God's commands are for them to live out, not for them to tell others to live out while doing just the opposite. They bound me to burdens they never helped carry and that is wicked heresy. 

I don't believe that the version of forgiveness they pushed on me is correct. Forgiveness is not expunging. Only God can do that. It's not saying it was okay. It's not smoothing feathers. It's not saying it's fine to continue doing. It's not turning a blind eye. It's not "letting go" or "moving on" or any other of that toxic positivity dreck. 

If it is all those things, how the hell is this supposed make me feel better?  If forgiveness is supposed to be so good and healing for me, why do I feel worse? Because that version isn't forgiveness. It's self-gaslighting. It's not acknowledging the awful feelings it left me with. It's not even acknowledging that it happened. It's justifying and defending abuse. It's giving permission to further harm. It's licentious.  It puts all the responsibility on me, the injured party and none on the perpetrators. It's as if someone murdered your family and then walked free to continue murdering, because you forgave him. IT DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT!!!!!

Forgiveness according to the church, comes AFTER confession, contrition, repentance and action to do better. And that's God's forgiveness. I think the best we humans can do, without omniscience and omnipotence, is to just accept that the past won't ever be any different than it was. That's the only definition I get any peace from. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

To heal my CPTSD, here's how I do birthdays and holidays differently

 Hello. If you're new to the blog, you know that I'm excavating deep into my CPTSD from a lifetime of malignant narcissistic abuse and family scapegoating from four parents (two step) and their kids. Mother's Day this year was hard and I realized that it's in part because holidays and birthdays were always traumatic for me. To heal my CPTSD, here's how I do birthdays and holidays differently from my "family" of origin. 

What made birthdays and holidays so hard are the same reasons that made every day in family scapegoating and malignant narc abuse so hard only magnified. It was a big poisonous cake of toxic shame, shame dumping, manipulation, exploitation, emotional bashing about the head, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment, endangerment, parentification and being left out and not celebrated, myself but still being expected to celebrate others at holidays and birthdays (aka bring expensive gifts I couldn't afford). It was frosted over with gaslighting that none of that happened and I was one of the family when I was actually just staff with endless expectations. 

My dad would scream at me and shame me randomly for some perceived wrong. His wife would randomly get mad at me when she was feeling fat or pissed off with someone else. They both felt no qualms ignoring me at holidays and birthdays but yet expecting me to attend and bring big gifts. It wasn't an invitation, but a command. And if I came late, whoa to me. I'd have to spend days fawning to get back in their fucking good graces. Not attending was unthinkable. (Then they all moved away and completely ignored me and my family. Go figure.)

 At the time I felt so bad that I'd cry and apologize. It makes me sick now and sometimes, I  have to rage back at the empty chair. They're dead now, but their gaslighting, toxic shaming voices and narcissistic abuse didn't die with them. I still wake up pretty much nightly sure I've done something horrendous to earn their wrath. That's the auto or self-gaslighting. 

When I was 14 and far to old let alone not interested, they got me a slot car set. And was expected to haul it out every time their sons wanted to play with it. And play with it with them. I complied every time. Then gaslighted me into believing I actually wanted. Such a win-win. Get me a toy that was actually for their kids, with free babysitting to boot. I never realized that till my husband pointed out how exploitative that was. 

My mom just left me out, not so noticeably at first but more and more over the years. She'd make a point to tell me that she got my sister a laptop while giving me a too big shirt from a thrift store that still smelt of Good Will. I got her a new phone. Her husband made jokes about calling me Blisters at 11 (I had small breasts like most teens did.) She laughed along. Then there was the theft of my savings and stuff. And then they kicked me out of the house when I was 16. Merry Effing Christmas. 

What were supposed special days and even religious holidays, were turned into nightmares by narcissists making it all about themselves and/or their children, taking their issues out on me and teaching their kids to be scapegoaters 2.0. I'm so used to being excluded, abused, manipulated and exploited that I didn't even realized till a few weeks ago, when my husband reminded me, that it really was that bad and even he saw and felt it. But he also reminded me that despite this, I did things differently with my now (real) family. 

I got a lotta healing to do. And to do so, I try to do pay it forward instead of back. Not perfectly. But I do try. Everyone is remembered and celebrated. They are not treated equal so much as special. I make lists of what THEY are currently interested in. I update it. I know every one of my grandkids' preferences, including my son's girlfriend's son's interests. He's one of my grandkids too. 

We welcome everyone and don't expect anything of anyone. When someone can't make it for whatever reason, we accept that, wish them well and miss them. We don't expect gifts, and frankly don't really want them. We'd rather they saved their money for things they need. WE DO NOT GUILT THEM. My kids-in-law have commented on how our gatherings are relaxed, inclusive and enjoyable events instead of stressful, excluding, guilt-inducing nightmares. I'm so glad of that. At least if I'm not getting it just right, I'm doing better. 

This isn't rocket science. It's what decent parents do. But it was not what was done for me. This is why I say I didn't have parents or a family. Just a lot of bosses. And it's why Mother's Day and Father's Day can be triggering for me. I try to be as joyful as possible and sometimes I paste on a smile. I don't want my family to experience another round of miserable, angry people making them miserable and angry. That shit needs to stop yesterday. 

I do need to let these bad memories in. Sealing over them will just form toxin filled boils that will need to be lanced sooner or later. And the longer they are left to fester, the worse the scars will be. But I try not to live in the past. What's done is done. Heck I didn't even remember all these things till last Mother's Day when a lot came back. Then I recalled how miserable I sometimes was and why I dreaded holidays and birthdays. I sometimes made my kids sad too. But then I didn't know why and you don't know what you don't know till you know it. I wish I hadn't waited so long but that's just how effective the malignant narcissistic abuse, exploitation, scapegoating and gaslighting were. 

So I apologize and try to do better. 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

I finally figured out why I dread family birthdays how I'm doing it differently

Hi friends. Today's post is going to be another raw one so if you're triggered by stories of family mobbing or scapegoating, CPTSD, parentification, malignant narcissistic abuse, I recommend not reading. If you're following, you know that I've recently begun to allow myself to remember what happened and why I'm so disturbed by it. And I finally figured out why I dread family get-togethers, holidays and birthdays. And that's thanks to family mobbing, bullying and scapegoating surrounding them. 

For almost six decades, I've managed to store and lock memories but recently, the lock sprung and they came pouring out. My mom just plain doesn't celebrate me and excludes. Yet still expects presents. I get her a new phone. She gets me a used candle. With my dad and his wife, I recall that I always felt nervous and fawning at birthdays and holidays and family get-togethers. They always seemed mad at me. Why? BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS WERE. Especially when I got a life of my own. They even got mad at my fiancĂ©. 

These weren't my birthday parties because I didn't have any. I wasn't celebrated. These memories center on their sons' Christmas and birthday celebrations. I wasn't invited, just expected to be there and not to come empty-handed. If I arrived late (and I mean life 15 minutes) because, oh, I had work or school stuff or other events to attend, they literally pouted and made nasty passive-aggressive comments. 

On Christmas morning I had to be up at the ass-crack of dawn, to watch them open their gift mountains, even when I was in my 20s, and living with them to finish my last year of school. I didn't get much for Christmas, despite giving them lavish (on my small income) gifts.  And still my dad and his wife were mad at me. 

I used to think my dad was righteously angry with me. I thought I'd earned his wrath. Even though I'd hopped thru every hoop set for me. I remember trying to make conversation and they'd just snub me and maybe, finally deign to acknowledge me. How happy I was then. Or maybe just relieved. Whey, they were speaking to me again. Yay, they might accept me back as a family member. Now I can go back to being exploited, co-sleeping with their kid, doing all their work and getting nothing in return. Lucky  me. 

Now I realized they were just pissy. They used pissiness to control, manipulate and gaslight me.  They never did and never would accept me as a family member. I was staff. The malignant narc blame-shame gaming was boggling. 

I'm doing things differently and I'll blog more about that tomorrow. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

CPTSD from malignant narcissistic abuse was written all over my face

 Hi friends. So, if you're new to the blog, welcome, but warning also. What I'm writing is incredibly raw and possibly triggering. It certainly triggers me. It's not a pretty place around here right now. I'm finally dealing with the shitshow that my life growing up was. The deeper I go the more toxic ick I find. How that poor kid that was me survived in  nothing short of miraculous. Part of helping her includes looking a pictures of young me. And what I find is disturbing. You can see the malignant narcissistic abuse, toxic shame and CPTSD written all over my face. And for the first time ever, I'm feeling disgust for her not with her. It's appalling. 

If you aren't new, you'll know that I've been opening up about the systematic malignant narcissistic abuse from four parents, two bio, two step. What I should say is four authority figures. They were no more parents to me than the worst bosses you can imagine. The parentification, abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, social and spiritual) exploitation, manipulation, neglect, scapegoating, abandonment, endangerment, shaming and gaslighting are nauseating. 

For most of my life, I've excused and defended them. I believed their gaslighting that I was the problem for everything. I was selfish, a liar, a show off, childish, too sensitive, a burden, a nuisance but also a servant, responsible for everyone. But if I needed proof that I wasn't making it up I had only to look at myself in pictures. The CPTSD, toxic shame and rigid fear were written all over my face. 

I wasn't just awkward, I was turned inward. My face was usually screwed up with my mouth in a tightly controlled grimace, like I was clamping myself shut lest something escape. I know now that it was terror that the truth of what was happening would come out. See, I felt responsible for it all. When my dad beat me, my fault. When my mom's boyfriend screamed and threatened me, or sexually harassed me, my fault. When a kid in my mom's foster care tried to rape me, and she didn't believe me, my fault. When I didn't mother my dad's wife's kids to her specs, my fault. When my mom did or allowed weird, dangerous, sick things to happen to me, my fault. When she abandoned me, my fault. When my dad told me he was gonna kill himself and there was nothing I could do, my fault. 

So they didn't take many pictures of me. I was the invisible kid. Most are ones Grampa took. But they all show me obviously miserable. What I was holding in so tightly was toxic shame, rigid fear and all those secrets that caused them. I was literally trying to keep my mouth closed to keep from screaming. Or throwing up. And I was so ashamed of myself and crippled with fear. And it wasn't just in pictures that this showed. My cousin whom I do not remember meeting despite him saying we hung out fairly regularly, says I always seemed distant, preoccupied, closed off. He thought I was a snob. But the truth was so much different. 

By the time I was 16, I'd experienced countless things that made me believe that I wasn't fit to live. CPTSD. And it just got worse. And it shows. But now that I'm an adult, and not keeping secrets anymore, I see myself differently. I see the terror and despair. I remember the feelings and why I felt that way. I remember the cruelty and it fucking nauseates me. I realize that I'm ashamed but not of myself. I'm disgusted by how my parents treated me. 

I contrast it with how I, even flawed as I am, treated my kids. I see how this toxic shame and fear made me do things I wouldn't  normally have done. How I spanked my kids because my parents hit me and told me God expected me to hit my kids. They didn't hit their other kids and then shamed me when I obeyed them. It's all so disgusting hypocritical and backstabbing. 

I have a long way to go to get to a better place. But at least seeing the trauma in my face, affirms that despite their gaslighting, it did happen. And sorting out who was injured and who was to blame, helps too.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

How gaslighting about narcissistic abuse turns to auto-gaslighting and then CPTSD

Hello my friends. Lately I've been diving deep into my childhood trauma to figure out why I'm having such horrendous and constant  nightmares. Come to find out it's CPTSD, complex post-traumatic stress disorder from malignantly narcissistic parental abuse. And the nightmares aren't so much dreams as flashbacks. If you've stuck with me, you know that for the past few months I've been opening up about a lot of shit that happened and would continue to happen if I let it. 

Today I'm looking at how gaslighting about the narcissistic abuse I suffered, turns to auto-gaslighting. AKA, how being told I wasn't abused (emotionally, physically, sexually, spiritually and socially), neglected, abandoned, endangered, parentified, exploited and manipulated led to me gaslighting myself that it didn't happen. 

And I in turn wonder if you who are reading this, believe me. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't. I didn't believe me. That's why it took six decades start talking about this. Toxic shame, fear, lying to myself and covering for the perpetrators, kept me locked in. It didn't help that I had four narcissistic parents, each with his and her own spin on the abuse, to juggle. Or that I was completely alone in it.  None of their other kids had to deal with it. I was the only child of the marriage. They are all much younger,  don't have stepparents, don't believe me and have participated in the abuse as adults. 

And why did I just roll over and let them? Because that's what I do best. I learned from the time I was a tot, to let mom and dad and later, their new families do what they wanted. That there really was no treatment low enough. And worst of all, I was taught, that this is what God expected of me. He did not, however, expect anything of them when it came to me. 

They knew the honor your parents part very well. But the, take care of your kids, don't anger them, love them like yourself parts, not so much. Apparently, it was perfectly okay with God, if they hit me, scapegoated, took advantage of, exploited, shamed, left me behind in strange cities, let me wander around alone at 5, manipulated, worked me like a mule, made me parent them and their kids, let people molest me, deprived me of a home, a bed, food and medical care, mocked me, screamed at me, stole from me, lied to me, expected me to act like an adult when I was a kid. With all that gaslighting in my head, it's no wonder I started to believe it. 

Pretty soon, they didn't even need to make excuses for their shitty treatment of me. Not that they really ever did. They were so deep into their narc fantasies that they were untouchable, they thought. But very shortly, I was making up all kinds of excuses for them. I actually believed that they loved me despite their very best efforts to prove they didn't. And there was all the fear. I'm so afraid of them that I never confronted them about anything. Any time I try with my mom, it meets with lies, gaslighting and shaming. My dad's wife was so bloody self-righteous, control freaky and passive-aggressive, I didn't dare. And my mom's husband is just too aggressive. 

My dad did listen when once I let my guard down and told him off. But he just dismissed it and said it was "covered by the blood" whatever the hell that means. Actually I do know what he means but he's wrong. He says Jesus forgives him but Jesus isn't the only one he wronged, and he never said he was sorry. And he never extended God's mercy to me. For me, it was fire and brimstone. My dad gaslit me with that shit till he died. For such a Bible beater to others, he missed that these things applied to  him too. Oy vey. I pray for his and his wife's souls. 

Cut to the present and I'm all torn up with this crap. It's hard turn off the gas once you start doing it to yourself. I doubt very much that I'll ever be up to having it out with the two that are left. They're just too far gone in their malignant narcissism. So I avoid them for the most part and paste a smile on when I have to see them. I pretend all is well because that's what is safest for me. 

It sucks. I'd love to keep taking her out for lunch, buying her treats and generally being the kind, loving daughter I've always been. I spent all Mother's Day crying because I realized I don't have a mom and never have. But now that I know, I can't unknow. In order to have contact, she'd have to actually be a mother to me. She have to give as well as take. Now I know how one-sided it's been, I can't go back to that And we'd have to have conversations about all her exploitation, abuse, betrayal, neglect, parentification, endangerment, abandonment of me. And her approval of her husband doing likewise. She'd have to admit to all of this.  And I don't see that happening.  

 And you know, I don't really want it happen, if I'm honest. Because given her track record, it would be just be lies and gaslighting. That's why her husband divorced her. It would be all about her and miserable for me. I would have to experience all those things all over again. And she would be dismissive and supercilious and smug. Or feign dementia. Or say she can't remember. (She once said she didn't remember kicking me out of the house when I was 16. ) Or she'd play the innocent victim-martyr. Or triangulate me and her husband. Honestly, that woman has played us off each other like pool balls the entire time we've known each other. Or  it would come back to bite me. Or, and this is most likely, all of the above. I don't have that much fabulous in me. 

If she did apologize, it would only be  to get more out of me. Money. Pity. Doing for her. Taking care of her. Taking her shit. It will never be about helping me. She made that perfectly clear when I once, once, reminded her how she left me alone to care for all her special needs foster kids (two babies, a toddler, and preschooler) for a week to go to some pyramid scheme "sales training." when I was 11, while her live-in boyfriend (my now stepdad) abused and harassed me. He didn't lift a finger to help  then lied and said I shook the baby (I only just realized it was a lie fabricated to cover his sorry ass). And she BELIEVED HIM and punished me. By paying me only  half the promised $15. 

I'm sure anyone reading sees that for the shitshow it is. But as usual, I'm late to the party. I have to reason my way through. If they really believed I'd shook the baby they'd be getting me counseling. But they couldn't do that because they'd be found out for the shitshow they were running.  Or they wouldn't let me care for the kids again. But oh wait. That'd mean they'd have to move out of their lil love shack in the basement and upstairs so they could actually care for the kids instead of having me sleep in the room with all of them and get up at night with them. 

I now think the real reason was they just didn't want to pay me and made up some BS reason, not to. Duh, yes! I'm just realizing this as I write it. They never intended to pay me! Wow. And malignant narc bonus added, they got to scapegoat Mary and make her the bad guy. Then mom had the balls to play the forgiving parent, saying we'd never mention it again. Buuuullllshhhittt! We'd never mention it again because she didn't want me squealing and bringing CPS down on her! Turns out, it was just prolonging the inevitable. She lost her license a few months later on charges of child abuse, all on her own. No one ever asked me about what I'd been through and I never told. 

How I fell for that shit, I'll never know. But fall for it I did and hard. I've lived with such intense self-hatred that I was sure God would never let me have kids of my own and that he shouldn't because I was such a horrible person. I suspect it will always plague.

So I confronted it a few years ago, (and only then to make her feel better about some lies she told her husband. Not to help myself, God forbid.) When I did, she flat out lied and said it didn't happen. She would never do that. Why? Not because it was insanely neglectful, abusive and a hellish nightmare that has hounded me for 5 decades. Because "I would have lost my foster care license." It's only about how anything affects her. 

Oh and, she reminded me, "you said you wanted to care for the kids to make some money."   Well, maybe if you hadn't stolen everything from me and sold my stuff, to fund your cockamamy fantasy, I wouldn't have had to earn money. The real reason is she couldn't find anyone to it so cheap. And she had to keep it in house because I doubt CPS would have sanctioned her running off for a week or having her bf live in. Couldn't risk that being uncovered. 

And that was just so much gaslighting anyway. I highly doubt I would have asked to watch four very needy kids for a week alone. But what do I know? My memories are so shot to hell with all the trauma, maybe I did. But even if I did, who's the adult here? So because a kid says they want to do something illegal and dangerous, you let them? If I wanted to jump off a building would you give me the push? Might as well have. Cuz any self-esteem I had before that was gone. But sure, paint me the villain. Whatever lets you sleep at night. 

So that experiment in self-disclosure with a malignant narcissist didn't go well. I realized that she KNEW it was wrong. It was illegal, immoral and so traumatizing for me that I almost made myself unalive over it. At effing 11. She knew I shouldn't be given that much responsibility. And. She. Did. Not. Fucking. Care.  She wanted what she wanted when she wanted it and she got it, at my expense. Way to tell me you don't give two shits about me without telling me. 

So I didn't get any closure or help. Didn't really expect any. But two things it did do was to convince that A) she didn't care about me. And B) I'm not imagining it. And that's weirdly helpful. Cuz, sister, I'm squealin' now. I'm writing and writing and writing. I'm done keeping secrets. I'm talking back to those nasty voices you planted in my brain. I'm telling my stories to trusted people about it, even though I worry that they're sick of me or that I'm a nuisance. I guess, even if I'm not getting it completely right at least I'm doing something about it. And that's got to be better than keeping silent and living in fear. Right?

Monday, May 20, 2024

How malignant narcissist parents mess up their kids

Hey friends, welcome another chapter in my deep dive into CPTSD from malignant narcissist parental abuse and gaslighting about it all. Recently I was able to finally admit that I was raised by four narcissistic people (two bio parents and their new partners). My dad was clearly a grandiose narcissist but it took me awhile to see that my mom was too. Until I listened to Dr. Ramani on Youtube, explain malignant narcissism. And then it ALLLL made sense. 

I can now see how they messed me about with their exploitation, manipulation, parentification, emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, endangerment and gaslighting about it all. It was bad enough when they were married. A lot of neglect, endangerment and abandonment, for sure. Then they went to Alaska to "convert the Indians" ( if  THAT isn't a grandiose narcissistic concept...?!) I was left essentially on my own, at 6. I have almost no memory of either of them being around. 

Grandma noticed when she and Grandpa came to visit. When Grandpa remade his home movies of their visit to VHS, she can be heard in the background saying, "remember when we arrived? Jack went one way and Nancy went the other and left us with Marilisa." (My mom tried weaponizing that to make me feel like Gram didn't want to be with me.)  I think what gram was wondering was, who took care of me when they weren't there. Answer. No one. And they weren't the only ones concerned. The Tlingit family who cared for us (and who didn't need converting, just saying) told them that I belonged with my grandparents back in Michigan. 

But back to malignant narcissism. Once in AK, my dad went out on "mission trips" (adventuring) and left me with my mom who left me to myself. She decided to divorce my dad but couldn't till they went back to MI. That didn't stop her having affairs and calling herself single. She told me, let me cry a few minutes, and then dusted her hands and moved on. I was expected me to just deal with it. No questions asked. No concern for my feelings. In fact, angry if I dared to ask. So I didn't. No other adult to help. Nada. She then decided it wasn't fair my dad was having all the fun while she was "saddled with me." She moved us to an remote island 800 miles up the inland passage to be a youth leader (in her mind) and left me with strangers to go to Seattle. 

And then things really went downhill. She moved us back to MI (dad stayed and played in AK) probably so she could get help from family with me. She had one affair after another then finally shacked up with the worst of the lot. Enter narcissist authority figure #3. Dad finally moved back and began dating a 17-year-old. (He was 34 and I was 9). Finally her parents quashed the relationship. Then he hooked up with another woman, narc 4. I'd  have preferred the 17-year-old. 

So what does this have to do with malignant narcissism? Well, I think the narc part is pretty clear. It was all about them. They made up rules for me to follow (like obey these random people we've dumped on you). They were above rules and expectations of parents. They did outlandish, dangerous, risky and bizarre things to me and allowed others to do likewise. They took good care of themselves and ignored me. 

I was told I was in the way of them doing whatever it was they imagined they were doing. They weren't missionaries. The church of the moment (they changed churches more often than underwear) that they were in didn't sanction them. She was not a youth leader. She had no education or training and churches on remotes islands in 1970 would not pay a man to do that job let alone a married woman who was running around on her husband, with a kid in tow. 

Then she started a foster care home with her live-in boyfriend, in which I did the bulk of the childcare, including sharing a room with four kids under 5 while she and bf slept downstairs. I've said before that lot of lies had to have been told to get away with that one. And my dad did the same when his kids came along. Made me servant, surrogate spouse, surrogate parent and scapegoat. And their shiny new families did likewise. 

But still, how is this malignant narcissism? Because of all the exploitation and cruelty. I learned at about 5 to give my parents exactly what they wanted. If my dad wanted tell me he was going to kill himself, it was my job to talk him out of it. When any of them snubbed, shamed, lashed out, abused, parentified, exploited, manipulated me, it was my job to let them. When they said jump, I said "how high?" It was like being in one unending boot camp. 

How did they do this? With constant, cold, calculating, cunning, cruel and creepy control freak anger. I was kept in a state of perpetual fear. Attacks came from all sides and always unexpected. Even now I feel the sick pit of my stomach terror. What I was afraid of I don't know. But it sure as hell was scary. That's why I'm just now, at almost 60, saying what happened. It's still very scary. 

What made them malignant narcissists was the fact that they were so good at hiding it. Only I really saw it. It was reserved for me, because I was the throwaway kid.  Or at least I think they were. As I've gotten older, I'm beginning to think, based on things I've  heard, is that others saw it too. Even I haven't really acknowledged it. Till Dr. Ramani explained it. 

I've always sensed a venom under the thin veneer their smiles. I've seen it come out but I never admitted it. I know now the cool detachment was really cold callousness. The fake humility covers raging arrogance. The projected Christian image is not in line with the rampant, self-centered, unaddressed unBiblical behavior. And the helplessness is a facade for out-of-control need to control me. 

But we are all flawed, right? Absolutely. BUT, while some of us admit it, my parents and stepparents, never did. They were never wrong and always right. If confronted, they get angry, vindictive and malicious. They lie and gaslight, blame and shame. And somehow, that kept me in so much fear that I can't even think about crossing them now and two are dead. It's why, for me, going suuuppper low contact is the only option. 

So what if the other two read this? Well, that's a chance I take. It has to come out. I don't think I can survive much more of this horrendous CPTSD and terrifyingly nightmares. . I've got to stop the auto-gaslighting. The Bible says the truth will set us free. I surely hope so. 


Monday, May 13, 2024

Parental narcissitic abuse at birthdays and holidays: so much hypocrisy, toxic shame and gaslighting


Hello friends, lots going on around here, as I source the toxic shame and CPTSD from bio parents and two stepparents and their new families. Yesterday was Mother's Day and it was  hellish for me. Not because of my husband or children. They're the joy of my life. The pain came from the fact that I didn't have a mother or father.  Only demanding, parentifying, exploiting, abusing, shaming, neglectful, manipulative, gaslighting authority figures. It brought up very unpleasant memories and realizations that their combined narcissistic abuse was particularly bad around holidays and birthdays and celebrations. 

The disparity between how I was celebrated (not at all, really) and how I was expected to celebrate others, particularly their golden kids, is appalling. I don't remember my birthdays being made much of a deal except by grandparents. There is one picture of me at two with my cake. My mom has weirdly inserted herself in front of the camera, posing while my dad is holding my arms behind my back in a death grip. 

Then I recall for my 11th birthday, a party at the beach (no dad or his other family). It was fun but I don't remember any friends except my mom's friends. And again, she's trying to steal the show, bouncing around in her bikini. At 11, I was, like most kids, pretty uncomfortable in my body. It was extra uncomfortable that my mom would choose that moment to flaunt her developed adult body. 

If you think from this that we just didn't do  much with birthdays, you'd be wrong.  I was planning and hosting parties for my parents by age 10. I recall my dad saying he wasn't going to make a deal over me because he wanted me to stay humble. Yet he and his wife had lavish birthday parties every year for their boys.

My mother has actually told me that she spends tons more on my sister than me. She wants me to know, I guess, how little I'm valued. For Christmas a few years ago, she gave me a shirt from a free table from one of her food pantry visits. Yes, they live off food pantries. It was too big, wrinkled and still smelled like a thrift store. I was informed that sis got a new laptop. I'd given her flowers, expensive chocolates, and a new phone. Which she promptly lost. 

For one of her birthdays, I'd taken her to the doc and she was asked what she was doing for her birthday. In front of me, she said "my family is taking me out to dinner." I was not invited and as that's apparently a ritual of theirs, I never have been. I was told that I could take her out to lunch in a day or two,  for her birthday, as she knew I had to get to work. For my birthday that year, I got a text with smiley emojis. 

To my dad's sons' parties, I was not invited, as in a guest. I was expected to attend and bring big, pricy gifts which I could not afford. I don't recall my "brothers" ever getting me anything. I recall them getting annoyed when I brought a homemade gift. And another time I was unable to be present due to time constraints of work and college, and my dad was pissed. So in guilt I rearranged and made it work. Both he and his wife were very chilly with me. My grandma, (God love her) said snarkily to me, "you'd think it was a holy day of obligation." It was. 

Christmas was really rough. I recall my dad screaming at me one year, in front of everyone, because I went to try on my new sweater from gram and gramp after dutifully asking his wife. Mind you the other kids were off playing their toys. Grama chimed in and told him to chill but I was already in tears. No apology ever from him. 

I thought maybe I was misremembering but my husband whom I was dating recalls them making enormous deals over their other kids birthdays and nothing over mine. They even did it to my eldest daughter who had the temerity to be born a day after their kids St. "Mike". We celebrated their birthdays together ( he was 10 and she was 2) and his nibs pouted and sulked the whole day because Molly got some attention that he felt he was due. 

My father scolded me for having a group party because Mikey was left out. He wasn't. And the party wasn't just my idea. I  guess I was supposed to feel guilty because people wanted to celebrate my sweet little girl. My husband was so angry that he vowed to boycott all future parties involving their kids. I was so proud. Wish I'd had the courage to do that. 

The weirdest time was one I just remembered and had never considered. When I was 14, my dad and stepmom gave me a slot car set. I hadn't asked for it. It was okay but certainly  not what I wanted and not an appropriate gift for my age or gender. Of course their boys were always pestering me to play with it. And I had to set it up for them and play with them. I just realized that they got me that because they had spent all the money they had for their boys gifts but still wanted to get them this race car set. So they just gave to me, expecting me to "share" it. And they got bonus added free babysitting too. I gave it to them after a year or so. Which is probably what their parents expected anyway. 

I was gaslit about that for years and gaslit myself. My dad was pretty misogynistic and not one to get boys gifts for girls. In fact, he had an awesome Lionel train from when he was a kid that I would have loved to play with. I've always loved trains. He never let me play with or even encouraged me to take part. It was just him and grampa, in my grandparents basement. Grampa was the one who let me use it when dad wasn't around. 

But I got the last word. Brother Mikey, who had been entitled and catered to so much, grew up to be an adult baby who doesn't take care of his kids, lives off welfare, doesn't work and spends all his time and money on his hobbies. I say his  money but actually it is his SSI, wife's earnings and Dad's money. Dad sold off most of his stuff to fund Mike's hobbies and gave him $13 every day for cigars. (He didn't even know my grandchildren's names). 

When Dad passed I asked for the train set. Mike had taken pretty much everything  (family silver, coins, guns) but didn't want  me to have even the train. There was only the engine, coal car and a few pieces of track. Dad had sold off the rest so Mike could buy his axe heads. Yes he had an axe head collection. Don't ask my why. Kind of like Bert from Sesame Street and his paper clip collection. Only more expensive.

Well, I got the train and it was with great delight that I passed it on to my grandson, who adores steam trains more than life itself. And I enjoy playing trains with him. Is it enough to make up for being left out all those years.  Yes and no. The past will never be any different than it was. But I can change the now. I do things differently than was done to me. Not perfectly, but to the best of my ability. 

And my real family, my husband, children and grandchildren, make up for it every moment of every day, as Mister Rodgers says, "by just their being themselves." 


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