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.


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