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. 

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