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. 

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