Friday, March 29, 2024

How I experience CPTSD dysregulation

Hello friends. This blog post is possibly the most difficult  one I've ever written. And warning, it may trigger a lot of bad things. So proceed with caution. 

It's Good Friday today which was actually very bad Friday for our Precious Lord. So today is probably a good day to post about what is perhaps the most terrifying outcome of parental narcissistic abuse, ensuing CPTSD and gaslighting about it. And that would be dysregulation. I've been experiencing dysregulation all my life stemming from neglect, abuse (emotional, physical, spiritual and sexual), abandonment, shame dumping, exploitation, parentification, manipulation and parental gaslighting. I experienced it as a child but it wasn't safe to let the adults know. I couldn't safely express it till I was in safer relationships. Unfortunately, neither my dear husband nor I had any inkling of what dysregulation was. We've remained ignorant of, but horrified by it till yesterday when I stumbled upon the term by accident. Here's how I experience dysregulation. 

So I say it's the most terrifying manifestation of CPTSD but really it's just the most observable. All the really serious damage stays in my imploded, shattered, bombed out brain and heart. Narcissistic abuse, neglect, parentification, exploitation, manipulation, abandonment and parental gaslighting (by not one but four parent figures) destroys a child's very core. It threatens and fucks up every single thing about us, every belief, thought, emotion, up to including their (my) very reason for being. I do not and never have believed that I belong here. That, not me but others, would be better off if I was...not here. That God's love doesn't apply to me, only His rules. Is that anathema? Yes, but one I was taught, and one I've struggled to shake all my life. 

That's dysregulation at work. It is the effiest of mind effs. For the most part, I'm able to keep my head just above the poison, by looking fairly afloat but paddling like hell to stay that way. But when my arms get tired, when I don't get the help I need, when someone hurts me again, when someone re-exploits it, when I let it, it overwhelms me and I drown. But it's a dry-drowning because no one can see my lungs filling up and taking my breath away. What it looks like, because it is, is me coming apart at the seams. My little boat is breaking up and sinking and I'm screaming frantically for help! 

I lash out and rage and self-harm and scream and cry and wet myself. When I was a little girl, I used to bite myself and then rub out the teeth marks so no one would see and be upset. Being parentified, I had to protect my four parents from seeing the damage they'd inflicted. Being a "big sister" I had to protect kids from seeing the harm that having too much expectation and responsibility, being manipulated into the caregiver role, and being the scapegoat, slave, surrogate parent and spouse, caused. It was all about sheltering them and their dysfunction and making me take their shame, consequences be damned. 

What does this feel like? Like I'm burning up on the inside. It's a full blown nuclear reactor meltdown. I'm disintegrating, breaking up and spiraling downward. But the valkyries in my head are screaming that I deserve this for being such a wretched failure to my parents. I cannot think of a time when, no matter what I did and gave, it was ever enough. I was a let-down, set-back, show-off. I never pleased them, not once. Never made them proud. Never felt love, unless weaponized, which of course, isn't love at all. All of which, I'm learning, was the plan. They had themselves so neatly sewed up, a reason for everything. They were golden. All they had to do was point another finger and it distracted me from the real problems. I was just one big source of narcissistic supply. 

So when I lose it, it looks hideous. My nuclear family has seen it, poor them. And they're now traumatized because of that. The outside world never does because I've been able to maintain the facade of being whole which of course makes me feel like an utter fraud.  Friends who think I'm normal-ish would be appalled if they knew the real me. Extended family would abandon me. They haven't but only because I've never let them see the destruction their handiwork caused.  I just mopped it up and stored the filthy rag in my broken brain. But sometimes, it spills out and the shame I feel causing those I love such pain, is unbearable. It triggers another meltdown, which causes more shame, which causes more meltdowns. You get the idea. 

I've been stuck in this cycle for 59 years, 7 months and 7 days. I've never understood how I could do these unspeakable things. Till two days ago when a Youtuber discussed dysregulation. And it all suddenly made perfect sense. I feel like I'm falling apart because I am. I'm in freefall. I'm drowning. I'm hurting those around me but mostly myself but not out of violence or any desire to hurt.  I'm drowning and clawing at anyone and anything for dear life. Even if that means taking them down with  me. It's entirely a panic-terror response. I'm scared shitless and witless. 

I'm not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me. Or to exonerate what I've done. It's not an excuse. But it is a reason. And one which up till a few days ago, I had no idea about. I didn't understand how trauma caused trauma responses. I just felt that I was evil. And I have done evil things. But not willingly. I never wanted this. 

What I wanted was to grow up loved with some difficult times, but mostly okay. I wanted to please others but  not at the expense of myself. I wanted to get from parent relationships, not just give. I wanted to feel some joy and peace of mind. I wanted to not feel like everything I did was wrong. But that didn't happen. And now it's up to me to accept that the past will never be any different than it was. And try to rebuild what I've allowed to be torn down. 

How to do that? Well, I'm going to  start by researching and learning all I can about dysregulation, so that when, or before, it is upon me, I can spot the triggers and avoid them. I can be prepared. And know that I don't have to do it alone anymore. I can trust loved ones to help me through it. I can trust my higher power. 


Thursday, March 28, 2024

How narcissistic abuse and CPTSD causes me to implode and shatter (caution: raw)

Hello beloved friends, are you buckled  in and ready for today's post? Shit gettin' real around here about my experiences with CPTSD, narcissistic abuse, parentification, parental neglect, toxic shame, exploitation (including pimping and grooming) and manipulation and gaslighting about allllll that. 

This blog is written in real-time stream of consciousness. Stuff  I'm dealing with is here and now. Why is it coming up now? Dunno and can't really care. It is. The "tinnitus" from voices in my head, chronic nightmares and my inner child are clamoring too loudly to ignore. And I need to mark, learn and inwardly digest. 

So last night we went to confession, a Catholic sacrament. And I realized that I did not have any idea what to confess. Is this me saying I do nothing wrong? (No, duh, inner voices, shut up). It's because I've been indoctrinated to think I did everything wrong, was responsible for others'  and did next to nothing right. Even when I was doing everything they said. I don't know right from wrong, safe from hurtful, for me. 

I tried doing the extended examination of conscience with my husband. As he put himself in my place, he could see why it's so difficult. I was held and so hold myself accountable for things others did to me. I was blamed and so blame myself. I was expected to make excuses for others yet still hold myself to too rigorous standards. Rules applied too harshly to me and not at all to them. I was lied to and gaslit about the Bible and God. Nothing was as written. Everything to do with God was manipulated. I was gaslit about things I was reading in black and white. It was important to read the Bible but I could not trust myself to understand without their reinterpretation. I see now that I got it right but it didn't suit them. And how insidiously dangerous and unGodly this was but I didn't then. I just believed them that I was too stupid to figure it out without them to "explain." 

And those kinds of mind effs are what has caused  my brain to implode and "fracture" for lack of  better words. It has never been able to identify where others end and I (and my personal culpability, feelings, thoughts, needs, etc) begin. I have no emotional skin. I'm one big over sensitized membrane. I have mental and emotional leprosy that exposes to constant hurting. My brain and nerves don't function correctly and put me in danger instead of protecting me from it. And boy, do I have a target on my back for predators. 

Because I was brainwashed to think that I (as in the Freudian self or ego) effectively, do not exist. God says, I was told, that it's selfish to think about me. To want, need, feel, DISOBEY, etc. God apparently did not think it was selfish of them to do these things. Just me. God was right onboard with them exploiting, manipulating, lying to and abusing me for selfish gain. 

Because I am not a distinct person. I am the possession, a tool and a servant of my four narcissist parents.  I was just an extension of them, like a hand or shadow. I think they actually forgot I could speak. When I (even as an adult) would enter conversations, they would look at me like the clock had just spoken. And they always seemed to disagree and scoff. I do not remember once hearing any one of them say, (unless for some ulterior motive) "I know what you mean."

I don't remember I time they weren't misunderstanding, twisting, misinterpreting or shooting down what I said. If I called that out, I was "disrespectful." Everything was about them. Stating facts was making them feel bad. Telling something I learned was showing off. Participating in the conversation was "butting in." Children were to be seen and not heard. But I was an adult. And they were not raised that way and shot their mouths off about everything. 

If I had said the sky is blue, my dad would have disagreed and made me feel stupid for saying it.  In fact just being there annoyed them. Like the rug they wiped their feet on had the audacity to think. Me doing nothing really annoyed them. My stepmother could sleep all day. But I'd better not sleep till 9. I had to be busy constantly and if I wasn't they'd find things. This was not  just as a kid. This was when I was taking an overfull college load, working and doing hours of homework. And sleeping with my baby brother. And doing all the housework. So I grew up ashamed to relax.  

 That's what I learned. That's all I know. It's so pervasive that I can't express it to others because I know it would not make sense. That's the experience I had at mass. I think the priest wanted to but because he'd not dealt with this before, couldn't. Poor guy. It's does sound pretty bizarre. 

And so  of course, being gaslit about all the dreck that was my life, I assumed it didn't make sense. But listening to podcasts by survivors of abuse, gaslighting, parentification, I understand that it does and that there are words for it. And defined patterns. And symptoms and etiology. Strike up the Hallelujah Chorus!!! I'm not delusional or making it up! It's like coming out of a pea-souper (or the fog of gas) and into sun. 

So, writing this as it's happening, I can't process it all now. But I don't have to. I just have to do it as I'm able. Something I've always let everyone else to do but can't allow myself to. Well, that's the parentification for you. Expect a child to do perfectly, the first time and every time, what an adult won't even try to do. Anyway...

Does that mean I don't have to say I'm sorry? Well, a little bit, at first. I've been apologizing all my life for every little thing I've done and mostly, haven't done. I've believed the gaslighting that I'm to blame for others' problems. That I did what someone else actually did. I've taken responsibility for and care of everyone. 

And I'm touched out. My empathy and sympathy have been exploited 16,000 times too many. I've carried till  my back is busted. I've developed broad shoulders to the point of them giving out. My hands throb from all the holding others' and pulling them up and rescuing them. My neck aches from bowing it to others' whims. My whole body hurts from being walked on. And this was all before I got married and had kids. 

Then I went right from parent dysfunction to marriage with less than zero preparation. And then I had kids before I even realized the level of dysfunction I brought with me into my new life. Effectively, I just picked up where I left off parenting the parents, stepparents and their kids. The only thing I was taught to do was housework, chores, duties, and parent responsibilities. But because I was doing them FAR too young, I never really felt capable. 

So I went into parenting terrified I'd have a child. That I couldn't parent them because I was the screwed up, fuck-up my four parents said I was. How I reasoned that, when I was actually parenting their children (sleeping in their rooms, getting up at night with them, waiting on them, etc.) is proof of the deadly effects of poison gaslighting. My mind wasn't just gaslit. It was gassed. Like mental chlorine or mustard of phosgene. 

This combination of too much responsibility with gaslighting that God expected it (He didn't, they did but they did think they were gods, so, yeah...) plus neglect of my basic care plus further gaslighting that I was unworthy and an inept disappointment just blew my mind. Literally, shattered it into a million fragments. 

But expectation to put on a good face and lie and pretend and fake that all was well, sealed all that mess inside. What I look like on the outside (which I've does to some extend reflect what's going on inside) is somewhat regular. But it masks an imploded mind that most of the time cannot think, let alone walk, straight. Side note: dizziness and clumsiness are both signs of childhood abuse. 

I'm also beginning to understand dysregulation which kind of characterizes me a lot of the time. I can't think clearly, or focus, of feel clearly, or talk right, or walk straight. I stumble over things that aren't there. I completely misread situations and people. I panic and fight, fly, fawn or freeze. I dream the most disgusting, terrifying, bizarre and exhausting dreams. Constantly. I am losing  my grip on reality and slowly spiraling into insanity. I warned you that this was raw. 

Where do I go from here? Not sure. One breath at a time. I think it will have a lot to do with parenting myself, praying, asking for help, letting go of wrong, rewriting false narrative, learning some resets, learning more about dysregulation and letting in the love that has been there waiting. 

Love, mar

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

What it feels like to live in narcissistic abuse with CPTSD

 Hello friends. If you've been following this blog, I hope you've been properly buckled up over these last few weeks. March unMadness has been wild. I've been sharing about how I've developed codependent CPTSD from a lifetime of narcissistic abuse, exploitation, manipulation, neglect, parentification, abandonment and gaslighting about all that. I lived under a reign of terror from two parents and two stepparents with various forms of narcissism. 

I'm telling my story now, at 59, because it won't keep quiet any longer. Since childhood, I've experienced nightly nightmares that have been louder. Think Stuka loud. It's so bad that I'm getting tinnitus from dream voices in my head! And as I write this they're screeching like furies that I'm just exaggerating, making it up, being TOO SENSITIVE (my dad's gaslighting of choice.). Guessing it may even sound fake or made up. I wish is was. 

I wish this was just a story I wrote. For a long time, I did believe that I had somehow invented it because no one ever talked about or acknowledged the many, many bizarre and terrifying things I experienced. The times I was left to wander alone. Or left with strangers a country away. Or made to parent special needs foster kids. Or molested and made to feel ashamed of it. Or kicked out of my stepfather's house (operative words, HIS house, not mine) at age 16, the list goes on. As Youtuber Patrick Teahan calls it, "one endless gaslighting." 

What developed was a form of PTSD called CPTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder) with codependency, self esteem in the negative numbers and toxic shame. Although codependency isn't even accurate because children are by nature dependent on their parents. Being parentified, or experiencing role reversal where the child takes care of the parent, it was a form of codependency. 

The fact that there isn't even a word to describe what happened has made it seem less real. And finding words for it has helped make it real. So this post is about describing in words what CPTSD has felt like to me. Something I've  never been able to do before and I'm not sure I'll be able to do now. But I need to try. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

How an HSP or empath gets effed by shame dumping and narcissistic abuse

 Hello my friends of this blog which was about (and still is on deeper level) how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs. If you tuned in for specifically weight loss advice, you'll be scratching your head. Because what began as a March unMadness weight loss challenge has morphed into my personal discovery trek on toxic shame and CPTSD from narcissistic abuse. Which, you may say, has ought to do with how I lost 100 pounds. It does in a loose way. But I'm too overwhelmed to connect, going through this real-time awakening. So the March weight loss challenge is a bust. And April doesn't look too good either. 

Moving forward with what's become the main focus of this blog which is how I'm detoxing from CPTSD toxic shame. Since childhood and into adulthood, I was neglected, abused, parentified, manipulated, exploited and gaslit about all those things. But I'm a little late to the party and just now realizing that. I've been JADE-ing (justifying, arguing, defending and explaining) away the perpetrators' behavior and so gaslighting myself.  

That's a lot of psych-ese. I'll do a glossary post to make it clearer if you're unfamiliar with any of these terms. If you've not suffered with them, I'm glad. If you have, you'll be nodding your head. If you have and are not ready to acknowledge it, you'll find, as I did, that it's incredibly affirming to know that these things have names. That you are NOT  nuts. All those icky emotions you felt when icky things happened, have  identifiable causes. You're not  making it up (as if you could or would?!?) "Epidemiologists" in psychology have routed them out and held them up to inspection. And these actions (gaslighting, marginalizing, shame dumping, scapegoating, shaming, triangulation, exploitation, manipulation, neglect) have been justly labeled the abuse they are. 

So, a term I just became familiar with today, but which manifestation of, I've been aware of all my life: HSP or highly sensitive person. And I'm that HSP. I'm someone who  notices nuances and discomfort in others. Who is very attuned to stimuli that others aren't. As an HSP, I'm not superior or special. I'm just aware of more subtleties. And I don't really like being this way. For one thing, I'll  notice someone else's suffering before or in lieu of my own. I'm vulnerable to the woes of others and will let you take advantage of me if I think it will make you feel better. Janis Joplin: "you know you got it child, if it makes you feel good. " 

If that isn't manna for a shame and trauma dumping narcissist, I don't know what is. I've gone along with every form of narcissistic abuse my parents and stepparents levied on me, because someone cried me a sob story (aka trauma dumped). "He had a rough childhood" So do I and you caused it. "I feel guilty" So you should, you've screwed me over countless times. "I'm suicidal" so am I thanks to you!  "I need you to care for me." Fucking who doesn't?? I'm your kid!! "My stepmom abused me." YOU abused me!! 

And needless to say, this became a weaponized pattern in my life. All anyone needed to do was to shame or trauma dump. What does this mean? To weaponize one's own trauma to make someone else feel guilty about it. To exploit, project and blame another for, feelings.  To capitalize on "trauma" for selfish gain. In some cases, to lie and claim to have experienced things you didn't to shame others into accepting unsafe situations, people and experiences. 

"You have care for the 4 foster kids. They've had rough lives." So I sleep with them, get up with, feed, comfort and clean up after while mom plays house with her new BF in the basement. "Your stepmother's back hurts." So I (with a back injury) do all the heavy lifting including sleeping with her babies and getting up with them. 

Narcissistic parents obviously weaponize this but it carries into my outside life as well. I became the target of every scammer in town. "He's special needs and lonely." So  I ignore the fact that he's a super stalker. "He's needy. You should let him play he's your boyfriend." He's 20 and I'm 13, but yeah as you do, overlook that weird and expect ME to normalize it.  Well, not surprising my own dad and stepdad had pedo tendencies. "You have to make the new foster kid (16 to my 11) feel welcome." So I let him molest me. 

I'm not a sucker. I'm just easily moved to help. Which is a good trait unless you live in a narcissistically abusive home. The HSP term really resonates because it gives a handle on how I've been manipulated. I've called myself an empath and been corrected (shamed) for doing so. Which of course, I accepted because I accept all shade as my due.  I don't know if I'm truly an empath and I don't care. What matters is how I feel...responsible for everyone else and driven obsessively to fix them. HSP or empath, explains how they got to me. By exploiting that empathy or sympathy or caregiving nature to get me to do things that were unsafe and hurting me. For their own selfish ends.

They wanted me to think they were good parents with my best interests at heart. But they let me wander around town alone at 5. They ordered me around and shamed me and encouraged their spouses to do likewise. They used me as a toxic waste dump for all their shit. And I in turn, let anyone who wanted to, dump on me. 

And why did I go along with this? Because they effed me into believing this was right...for them, not for others. They were golden. And I don't use the term "effed" lightly or in the nice effed way. I was mentally raped. My boundaries were mowed under as soon as they reared their heads. I was defenseless. And being a highly sensitive person only made it worse. Every unpleasant sensation, every weird vibe, every dirty joke, every breach of my innocence, every exploitation, manipulation and trampling was magnified ten-fold. 

Though actually, having said that, I believe (and have been told that) anyone in these circs would feel the same unspeakable ick, HSP or no. That I'm HSP, I know. Though what good it does me to know that, I'm not sure. It does give me ammunition to fight back when I rehear on autoloop my dad saying "you're too sensitive." Sure am but if you know that DAD why are you using it against me????? Why are exploiting it yet making me feel guilty for it? HMMMM??

Another thing I believe that being an HSP is good for is helping others. You knew that was coming. It's NOT good for me, that's for sure. All it's done for me is to give others a weapon and an open door to use it. I'm stuck bleeding all over the place and being ashamed of it. But back to the point. 

Being highly sensitive gives me an ability to articulate that without it, I may not have. So I can put these feelings and experiences into words that I think resonate those with similar struggles. If this does resonate, I don't have a lot to offer. I can't yet reach out to help. I'm still struggling with being too touched out. I don't know yet, who is friend or foe, where others end and I begin. Who I can safely trust that when I reach out, they'll reach back. Who wants to give and receive mutual help and who just wants to glom on. 

Cuz, spoiler alert: we who are too giving do not know how to care for ourselves or even that we should. We give away the farm. We let others walk all over us and then when we've nothing left, walk up and other our carcass to the next victim. 

Where does that leave me? Needing to go back to basics, with the 5 Ws and one H. To start all over to reframe what happened so I can see how to get unstuck from sickness. I'll get back to you on that. 

If I could describe narcissistic abuse CPTSD in a word it would be...

Hello my friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass, which is fast becoming about how I'm detoxing from toxic shame. The past few weeks here have been a bumpy ride of realizations, confessions, apologia, aha moments and of things falling into place about the abuse I've experienced throughout my life with four parents (two steps). I've written much about the narcissistic abuse, manipulation, exploitation, neglect, abandonment, parentification and the gaslighting about all of it and the ensuing CPTSD, by four dangerously narcissistic parents. 

Since this is a stream of consciousness blog, I'm writing as I'm feeling it, unpacking it, etc. I might sound as if I'd known about this all along. But this is in real time, folks. You're reading these realizations and new perspectives as they are happening. It is mind-boggling bordering on blowing. I'm as shell-shocked now as I was as a kid when it was occurring. Only the good news, I'm an adult in loving relationships, not a young child alone with only four raging, delusional narcissists for reference. 

And am not even writing this blog, at this point to help anyone else. If you're getting something from it, if it resonates, that's good and I hope it's helpful. But this is entirely for me. You may be wondering, uh, what if these people read these blog? You've said some incendiary stuff. That I have, mate. But I just can't worry about that. If he or she does, well, maybe they needed to. I'm not writing it for the purpose of them reading but I'm not caring if they do. 

And just saying, if they did read and decide to confront me about it, know that we would not be having conversations on their terms anymore. No more opportunities to gaslight and lie and backpeddle and shift blame and marginalize and dismiss. No more chances to blow smoke up my ass. The little girl they did that to is in safe hands now. She is in the custody of someone who loves and believes her. That would be adult me. So IF I did (huge if) agree to discuss it, it would be on MY terms.  But I don't foresee that happening because I'm nowhere near ready. 

And this is why this blog is for me. (You are welcome to take what, if anything you need from it) This is such uncharted territory that I'm just taking it as it comes. You may say, then why do you need to go public. I need my story to be heard. I need to validate that girl stuck alone in Newago and Alaska and Muskegon and Grand Haven and Spring Lake. Sleeping with the babies, having nothing of her own, being hungry and cold, be made to be the adult and comfort and do the work for, the adults. That God is disappointed in her. That rules are for her but not others. Being scapegoated into thinking that she is the cause of everyone's problems and everyone would be better off if she was dead. 

I need to help her. I need to comfort her and tell her she's right about what happened and that it was wrong. They are wrong. They are not God. And God loves her. Even if it didn't feel like anyone did or cared. There are large parts of me trapped in those places and times and feelings that I need to release. She needs to know that these bars do not exist anymore. And I need feedback about these things from others. I may sound convinced, sure of myself, etc. But I'm not. I was indoctrinated into thinking that I was too broken to sort it for myself and that I needed others to tell me what to think, do, be and feel. 

But now I know that they had a vested interest in keeping me enslaved to their doctrine. Who else was going to sleep with the babies at night? Surely not their parents! Who else was going to fix dad and mom and their girlfriend and boyfriend? Who else was going to do the work to keep the family going? Who else was going to do the heavy lifting to make their every hare-brained scheme work? 

So to get to the title of this post, if I could describe the feeling that this narcissistic abuse caused, if I could identify the key emotion of CPTSD, in a word it would be...Well, let's look at this like a detective. Let's round up the usual suspects. Was it guilt? Yeah there was a lot of that. But now I'm getting that guilt is merited while shame is not. So maybe it's toxic shame? Yup lots of that. Not the biggest one thought. 

How about dismissed, scapegoated, unimportant, confused, yep, all boxes ticked. Also nervousness because I was not prepared for the situations I was thrust  into. I was only given wrong teaching and bad examples. Mostly, I got no social cues and what I did get was skewed.  So I looked like a bit of an idjit trying to assimilate. So yeah, feeling left out, like a misfit and weird annoyance, tick, tick, tick. 

But that's still not the biggest feeling. And that is. FEAR. TERROR! Panic! Abject, nauseating, craven horror, like all the furies of hell pursuing. Frightened to let up, to slow down, to put the other foot down. Fear that creeps around trying like hell not to wake the Kraken Fear that makes my face a cadaveric grin. Terror like the shell-shocked leer of WW1 soldiers. Terror that had looked into the abyss, at Medusa. at the beast. 

Fear that keeps you rigidly frozen and  radio silent, holding your breath lest the circling Nazi shark subs hear you. Fear of the little animal when the predator is around. So what was I afraid of? I can't yet articulate. I've been unable to pry my hands off my eyes and look at what I'm so pervasively afraid of. 

Of being disbelieved? Ignored? Shamed? Dismissed? Abused? Mocked? Harassed? Beat? Molested? Nah. Been there done those. Child's Play. It's something deeper and it has driven my every thought and move since childhood through to being a senior. It did have to do with awakening wrath in parents. That was NOT SAFE. Remember Credence from "Fantastic Beasts" and his all-consuming rage? My step-father and father could show him a thing or two. And when it came to seething, vengeance that was my mom and dad's wife. Think a love child of Damien (Omen) and Regan. 

But yet, my fear also had to do with that parenting concern of not making your child feel bad (only in a sick, toxic, parentified way). I did not want to upset or hurt my parents because I could see that they were all vulnerable. I'd heard (and been gaslit) by weaponized stories of their "abuse" and "trauma." I use quotes because weaponized as it was, I don't know how much was just a cover for balls-out bullying. 

My parents were my gaolers, controllers and basically God-heads and tormentors. But in some weird way, also my children that I had to care for. My mother has told my children that "sometimes I need your mommy to be my mommy." And as a parent my actual kids, I've been terrified to cause any pain or hurt to them.  That is good parenting and normal feeling. And which of course I have sometimes failed to do, and for which I take full responsibility. 

But in the case of my parents, this was happening when I was young (beginning so early that I can't remember when I didn't feel so protective and responsible.) I can't remember when I didn't feel the role reversal of me as parent and them as child. This was encouraged and expected of me. They were autocratic, uncaring parents to me but expected me to be all-loving, forgiving and nurturing to their every need, want and emergency. And believe you me, they were always in crisis. I grew a flashing siren on the top of my  head like an appendage. 

So there's clearly a lot more on this topic but I need a break. Love ya'll

Sunday, March 24, 2024

How I'm healing CPTSD by realizing that things were as traumatic as they seemed


Hello my dear friends! If you've been with me through these past few weeks of my March unMadness weight loss challenge, you'll know this blog has become less about how I lost 100 pounds and more about how I'm detoxing from toxic shame, CPTSD, codependency and gaslighting. Which is kind of one in the same thing, in some ways. Today I'm looking at how I'm healing from CPTSD ( if one ever can) by realizing and accepting that things were as crazy traumatic as they seemed. And a warning, this is going to be raw and horrifically triggering for some of you, especially if you're in CPTSD and don't yet know it or if, like me, you're only beginning to begin considering it. 

So if you're new to CPTSD, it stands for complex post traumatic stress disorder.  But in my definition, it could also be childhood PTSD or even crazy PTSD. And it's past as much as present traumatic stress disorder in that the narcissistic abuse that caused it is ongoing into adulthood, with gaslighting about the exploitation, manipulation, neglect, endangerment and chaos that occurred. 

Unlike PTSD which happens to soldiers in temporary, observable, combat situations,  CPTSD is messier, harder to observe, chronic (something the C could also stand for). Imagine me using Dorian Gray's voice from  "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" to describe me in CPTSD "I'm complicated." (Another thing it could stand for). 

Which of course, makes it so much easier for those who are causing it and benefitting by (the narcissistic parents) to gaslight the kid about. We lil ones caught up in it are very much  like the misunderstood, blackballed WW1 soldiers with combat fatigue. We are "shell shocked" by the insanely pain, terror, manipulation, cruelty, fear, exploitation and endangerment. This goes way beyond lack of love. Narcissists don't just not care for their kids. They resent their very being as little usurpers to the throne, threats to their supremacy and for being a reminder for how really effed up that is. 

CPTSD is also less of the stress and more trauma, using Youtuber Richard Grannon's analogy of bolts that show wear under stress (pressure), but under trauma (misuse, abuse, bashing about) flat out cracking. Which is what those of us who've suffered repeated bashing about as little children do: we crack up. Stonewall. Collapse. In times past this was called having a nervous breakdown. 

But again, being tiny unformed humans (still emotional fetuses, really) we don't know that any of this is NOT normal, NOT safe, NOT healthy and most importantly, NOT OUR FAULT!!!! To the tiny human, the big human is God. They are our source. For everything. If what the source is providing is good, grand. If it's poison, it's still grand to us because we don't know poison from milk. We just drink it up and die quietly inside. 

Okay, right now, I'm being assaulted by memory-voices that are saying, "You're exaggerating!" How dare you suggest that what we gave you was poison!!!" You vile little creature." And they're also saying "everyone else thinks so too!" Remember I called those head voices a quorum. They are that meeting that was held without you present, that jury that was convened, which decided unanimously that "you're the problem. Now all we have to do is find a punishment extreme enough to fit what you've done." I actually have dreams on autoloop where this happens. 

If it seems I'm exaggerating or inventing this, well, you probably don't belong here and should leave now. No one could make up the things that  happened to me. That has been verified by every one of the few people who have heard it. And they've only heard pieces. A 5-year-old can't make up a dad routinely describing his suicide plans to her. Or leaving me in Alaska, thousands of miles from my home to go witness to the Manson girls. Or a mother who left her six-year-old for a week on a tiny island of Alaska, to go 3,000 miles away. And that only gets us up to age 6.  

And I'd challenge anyone who questions, to tell me how they'd cope with that. I know that on the surface, I don't show how battered, barmy and broken I am. That's because I don't want my experiences to upset you. That's why I never told anyone. Plus I was gaslit into thinking I'd never be believed. I people please like I breathe. 

I'm going to overlook, excuse, defend and even approve whatever you do because that's my "family" expected. It doesn't matter whether you want or expect me to or not. I'm going to because not to was a thought so terrifying I still will not consider it. 

I'm a master of disguise. And of hiding. And keeping secrets. Legendarily so. I'm like the Doctor Who episode where the gas mask is the kid's face. I've become the mask I wear. I don't know what's underneath. I know the face doesn't have much skin or protective layer. It's that shiny, raw skin of someone burned, metaphorically. 

I smile reflexively but it's a cadaveric spasm, a death's head grimace, a poorly pasted on smile that is meant to make everything all right and everyone feel all right about everything. And to cover all the pain. I mean, God forbid I show it. That would be "showing off." And being "too sensitive." It would upset you and make you feel badly. 

Did you think I was naturally a happy person? I'm not surprised I fooled you. Don't feel badly. You were meant to be fooled. Or at least appeased or comforted. And it's not your fault. This panto was set in motion decades ago. And I've been perfecting the costume and role for 59 years. 

It's not the part I wanted but it is what I got. I'd have liked to have been a happier kid. I'd have liked to have a house and a bed and a bedroom and toys and messy little drawings hung on the fridge. I'd have liked to hear memories about myself. I'd have liked to have happy memories with a few sad instead of no memories except sad. 

I'd have liked to be a kid and not staff, a surrogate parent, a surrogate spouse, a sex object, a scapegoat. But that's not my fault either. It's as my husband so aptly put it. I was "groomed" to be these things. I was indoctrinated that this is what "good girls" were. This is  how family members behaved. Of course you know (if you weren't raised like this and I hope to God you weren't but if you were, I love and see you) this is weird AF. But I'm a little late to the party and still have to get up to speed. 

So what is my true self beyond the hiding and masks? I have no idea. I don't have one yet. I've always been a chameleon, a reflection, a straight man, a prop, a possession, a foil. The schlemazel to everyone else's schlemiel. That's what I'm here for. It's all I got in my toolbox. So far. And being the people pleaser I am, I feel obliged to end on a positive note of hope. I'll get there, I'm stronger than I think. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

But if I'm honest, I'm not there. And I might not ever be. Right now, I'm still processing that if God was there, why could I not feel Him? Part of the gaslighting was that parents were the deities. But if that was just to much bullshit, will the real God please stand up? I'm not angry, just gassed. Shell shocked. I've got the enormous task of reviewing, revamping, reteaching and relearning my entire existence. I have to detox, degas, ungroom and unthink. And I don't know where to start, if I even have the energy. 

I'll say this. I may not make it to the promised land. But I'm damned sure gonna do all in my power to get my loved ones, my precious children and grandchildren there. I'm going to break this cycle in one generation, if it kills me. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

How I'm detoxing from covert narcissistic abuse in my dad's weaponized suicide threats

Hello my friends! For the last few weeks this blog has been my recovery from covert and overt narcissistic abuse by my four parents. I've focused the narcissistic personality disorder but others were at play too including two other Category 2, histrionic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. And before you ask, no none of these were diagnosed professionally because true to form none would admit to the problem being anything but mine, let alone submit to any kind of professional. Which as you may know about narcissistic, histrionic and antisocial, just reinforces that these issues are present. 

What I want to consider today is breaking free from covert narcissistic abuse by seeing the "ostentatious displays of vulnerability" for what they are. A simple way to describe these acts I saw them were manipulative attention-seeking ploys. They were emotional blackmail. On the surface they might look like cries for help. 

But the outlandish, manipulative and weaponizing nature of these "cries" is what finally made me see them for the coercion they were. The most terrifying, but obvious, were the casual suicide threats my father made to me, to get me to do whatever he wanted. With a stare that I now see what sociopathic, he would calmly detail how and why he needed to do this. Little 5-year-old me would cry and beg him not to and to please tell me what I could do to fix him. I would ask if he'd miss me as I would miss him. He said no, not really and that nothing I could do would help. 

But he did allow (expect and demand) me not to let that stop me trying. So I did. I did everything, always. I never let him see how this devastated me because, wait for it, this would hurt him. I did what I read a Youtube commenter put so well "betray myself to avoid betraying him." He encouraged his wife and kids to abuse, exploit and work me like a slave. And I let them. Anything to keep daddy from the drop. 

He pirated my entire childhood psyche with his nonchalant death threats. His ostentatious displays of vulnerability were actually weapons of mass destruction for me. But I reaped what he sowed. He never attempted anything (I think he never intended to. It was just a ruse to keep me subservient and self-hating) while I, had to, sometimes daily, talk myself out of doing what he threatened. Not because I believed he had driven me to it, which of course he had, but because I had failed them all so signally. 

I'm not done with this post but I have to stop for now. I want to write more in case there is anyone else out there who has suffered anything like this. I want to comfort you and say, IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT. IT'S NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. They are using it as scare tactics to keep you in line. And it is sick, twisted, disgusting abuse on par with the torture of Imperial Japan against POWs or Nazis. Only against a child. It's spiritual warfare with a child's soul in the balance. 

I have to stop because it is just so insanely painful to remember. I'm finding it hard not to dredge up all those horrific feelings and keep them in perspective. I will end with a tool I find useful and that's the Prayer to St. Michael. 

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, oh prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits that prowl the earth seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

How I'm detoxing from narcissistic abuse by working on getting angry

 Hello again! This week has been one of massive awareness for me into experiences with parents that I know now to be narcissistic abuse. At 59, I'm just now beginning to pry my fingers off my eyes and out of my ears and admit that what happened may have been narcissistic abuse. Okay, was abuse. With large sides portions of exploitation, neglect, abandonment, manipulation, triangulation, trauma and shame-dumping and gaslighting about all of it. 

This has left behind raging CPTSD complete with nightmares, voices in my head, many weird physical manifestations (dizziness, shaking, ulcer, odd adult onset allergies, crippling arthritis, self-harm and apnea. I  have a form of brain damage. I cannot think straight, feel right or respond with anything like normal emotions. As an empath, I can't get truly and appropriately angry about what happened. I can only feel shame, guilt and pity for the four narcissists in my life. 

And hit pause there, if anyone is thinking that anger is wrong and that I shouldn't feel it, let me stop him right there and show him to the door. I don't need more shaming. That was part of the gaslighting. "look at Marilisa. Isn't she bad? She's so angry. Let us punish her. Who's got the rocks?" All the while they were doing insanely frustrating things that would have driven a cleric to anger and making me live in a big bowl of their rage soup. 

I know as I write this that you as readers are probably not thinking that. However this is a consciousness stream so I'm saying it as it comes. Anyone who would suggest, like me dad and mom did, that I'm the wrong to want to feel anger, hit the road. None of us needs anymore stones hurled at them. And anyone who hasn't lived my life, so basically everyone, can't know what it was like. Just as I don't know what your life is like and wouldn't presume to tell you what you need. If you're with me, which is more likely, if you get it, good. I'm glad for both of us. 

And yes, I realize that a lot of what I just wrote was not to you but to the narcissists who scapegoated and then shunned me. Thanks for being me through that. And fair warning, there will be a lot more of it in future. 

And here's the weirdy beard part. I never did get angry with them even though I should have. Keeping silent very nearly killed me. What they proclaimed to see in my was a  reflection of their own rage in the fear in my face. I accepted every shitty thing that all four of them doled out. I never held them responsible. I made excuses for them and absorbed their wrong-doing, including acts of toxic rage (physical abuse, seething, screaming tantrums, mocking, marginalizing, etc.)

I need to feel anger as part of the grieving for the childhood that never was.  I need that righteous anger to steel my reserve to get out, energize my exit and prevent me from allowing further abuse. Trust me, I'm not looking forward to it. But I am hoping that some of the poisonous gas in my brain will be burned off in the fire of anger. And then I can let in some fresh breezes and air the place out. 

I'm only in infancy and working toward better. But it's going to take a long time. And even that filled me with toxic shame...I should be moving on, getting better, doing it faster, blah, blah. But I'm not doing things their way now. I don't have to listen to them anymore. I'm free or at least, the cage door is open and I can leave any time I want. 

Thanks for hanging in there. If you need to end a relationship with a narcissistic abuser or just clear your head from gaslighting, you've come to right place. And you're most welcome. If you need someone to tell you that it shouldn't have happened and that is wrong, I'm your huckleberry. 

How I'm healing from narcissistic abuse by having conversations with the voices in my head

Hiya, post two, piggybacking on the last one about healing from narcissistic abuse by making it all about me. How I need to be a little selfish and take care of  myself because I always took care of self-centered parents and stepparents. Today I'm getting better by having conversations with the voices in my head. 

My life with them is characterized by toxic shame-based, guilt driven interactions. There was a steady stream of narcissistic abuse (which continues still) from four narcissist people. I was gaslit with a bunch of untruths, distortions, half-truths, self-serving lies and weaponized minimizing, discounting and shame-dumping. These wrong visions that "were planted in my brain still remain" in the form of CPTSD nightmares and sadistic, undermining voices in my head. 

This quorum claims to have insider knowledge into me, my motives and my failings. They claim to speak in my best interests. But they don't. They harangue and harass, sounding eerily similar to my mom and her husband and dad and his wife. (I realize now that what I thought was voices is actually memories). 

I've lived in terror of their tyrannical tirades, all my  life. I've been afraid of listening too closely because what they say is terrifying. But it's also very vague and unspecific. Because they speak for the narcissists they speak like the narcissists with illogical babble and word salad. They make random comments that make no sense. They rely nebulous threats and strange, covert intimidation as bullies do. 

Knowing this now, I thought I'd ask this panel of so-called experts that live freely in my head what they're talking about. To see if they're right or wrong, live or Memorex, helpful or hurtful. So the conversation went like this. V (voices) M (me)

V: you know how you're saying that your mom and dad and both steps did this and that to you? Why are you attacking them?  

M: (using Socratic dialog, a good tool BTW) Why do you ask? 

V: Well, c'mon, all four of your parents? Really? You're paranoid. It never happened. 

M: (not doing JADE, justify, answer, defend explain) Why do you say that? 

V: Well (spluttering) just...she said she didn't. He said he didn't. 

M: Nevertheless, they did.  

V: They said you're showing off. Like you always do. 

M: They would say that. It preserves their narcissistic fantasy. 

V: (word salad sprays)  Fantasy, please. Now you're the victim of some giant conspiracy theory. How pathetic. 

M: Agreed, it was pathetic of them. 

V: (ramping up the vicious) You're delusional. You're imagining it.  You're lying. It wasn't that bad. 

M: Am I imagining it or lying or it wasn't that bad? 

V: (major word salad rant) You're playing victim. You're too sensitive. You're too critical. You're judgmental! You don't understand them. You never give them a break. You always think the worst. You're a bad daughter and terrible family member. 

M: I have a family? Huh, that's news to me. 

V: Of course you do! You have two parents, two stepparents and brothers and sisters. 

M: Nope. I'm Jack's and Nancy's daughter (sic, possession) but they aren't my parents. They take authority over me but do not take care of me. They don't do what parents are supposed to do. As for  Bill and Ginny, they are my parents' spouses whom Jack and Nancy encouraged to exploit and abuse And the kids are their shiny new golden family of which I am not part of. If anything I'm their parent, based on the kind of care I'm expected to provide. And whom they allow to exploit me too. .  

V: What do you mean? Ginny and Bill are your parents. The kids are your siblings. 

M: Prove it. 

V: (visibly enraged) Well, they are because your parents say they are. 

M: I don't accept that.

V: (trying and failing to be reasonable) Well, they must be your parents and siblings. Your mom and dad say you have to obey, respect, do their bidding, do all their work, etc. 

M: Yes they did expect that. But I'm an adult and I don't have to now. 

V: Are you saying you don't have to respect them? What kind of monster are you?

M: One who is learning to take care of herself. Respect is earned. They have not. I owe them nothing. 

V: So you're saying it's okay to be disrespectful??

M: Define respect. And while you're at it, define obedience and good parenting. 

V: (silent for a moment) Bowing and scraping. Subservience. Unquestioning minion. You owe them respect but they don't owe it to you. Good parenting is discipline. You're so wayward they have to slap you around a bit to take you down a peg. You're arrogant and they have to humble (humiliate you). It's for your own good. 

M: Thank you. I thought that's what you meant. I just didn't think you'd actually have the balls to say it. You're completely wrong of course. 

V: They are your parents! You have to keep them happy. You have to fix their problems. Who will if you won't. 

M: I have to obey yet fix and take care of them? They are my parents or I am theirs, which is it?

V: Well, you have to honor them. The Bible says so. 

M: Look up the verse. There's more to it. And define honor. I think you'll find it means something different than you think. 

V: Are you seriously that evil?? Are saying you don't have to honor them?? You don't have to obey. These are their homes! Their rules! They are in charge! You have to do what they want. 

M: Funny I thought it was my home too. I clean it and do enough work around them. So homes are only theirs. That clears up a lot. 

V: You know that's not what we meant. But they're responsible. So they make the decisions. And besides, you have to do your share of chores. 

M: They act irresponsibly and shift their responsibilities on to me. They make the decisions and I live with the consequences. They neglect me. I don't have a room I always have to sleep with the baby (!)  I parent the kids. They exploit and parentify me. The other kids do no chores. Bill and Ginny do no housework. I do all theirs and most of Jack's and Nancy's too.

V: Well, you have to earn your keep. Do you expect to just freeload and do nothing? How lazy are you?

M: Ah, now we're getting down to it. I'm not family member but staff. None of the adults do their part. They don't even hold down jobs most of the time. The other kids do not earn their way. They don't help. They freeload and are lazy. So they are  not my siblings and the adults are not my parents. If I have to earn my keep then they owe me for nannying services (extra for nightime sleeping with the babies), housework and laundry (extra for ironing). And they have to provide me a room of my own. With rent deducted, they still owe $300 a week. (NB: costs at the time) Oh and if you add on guilt chores "mummy" doesn't feel like doing, that'll really cost you. Both for the extra work and the shaming. 

The voices are curiously silent after this. I'm finding they usually are when I start talking back and exposing their toxic rot. They are hurtful. But they are also just so much babbling word salad. I know that like the Sand People, they'll be back and in greater numbers. But I'm not backing down. Not anymore. 

How I'm healing from narcissistic abuse by making it all about me

 Hi there friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass! During my March Un-Madness weight loss challenge, I'm looking beneath and beyond weight loss itself to the  madness that causes problems like eating disorders (obesity is an eating disorder). I'm exploring ways to heal from parental narcissistic abuse. And one way I'm doing that might surprise you. 

To recover from narcissistic abuse, I'm making it all about me. Errrm, wait, time out! I thought making it all about me is what the narcissist does and which is so problematically crazy-making. Why would you as the "victim" or survivor of this, do the same thing yourself?? Excellent question, 

So I've described in earlier posts about I was scapegoated, neglected, manipulated, abused, exploited and then gaslit about those by all four  parents (including two step-parents.) Okay, again, Mar, stop. All four? Really? That's a bit of a stretch. Maybe but improbable or not, it's what remains when the impossible has been removed. And yes, the narcissistic abuse flavor changed from person to person. But it was, believe or not, remarkably similar in presentation. 

Each agreed that one way or another, their problems were my fault, that I was disrespectful, disobedient, a bad daughter (insert favorite shame-dump) AND that I was responsible to fix them and the problems their actions caused. Each was needy, dismissive, shame-blamed Each weaponized incompetence, withheld love, made basic care very transactional. And each gaslit me about the true nature of what happened. Each was riddled with delusions of grandeur and persecution, self-pity, God-like qualities, false narratives, entitlement and magical thinking. Each lived in a fantasy world, lacked empathy, impulse control and personal responsibility. Each considered him/herself very outside the pale of rules and mores. 

And it's really not that incredible that all four were, if you think about it. First, having been born of two narcissists (one covert and one overt), it's not hard to fathom that their marriage would fall apart, with two warring God-heads and that when it did, they would seek out like-minded people who were just as broken as them. 

Next, there was an implicit but nevertheless agreed upon protocol for dealing with which basically stated, "good enough for who it's for." Or, translated, whatever abuse, endangerment, neglect and exploitation you want to visit on Marilisa is fine. If you want her to do all your work and sleep with your babies, sure! If you want to let her wander downtown alone in a strange city, go for it. If you want to abandon her to go off the convert the Manson gang, do it. (You cannot make this up). And much much more weird. 

I was disposable and a nuisance, except as arm candy. They didn't want to parent. They wanted to be SEEN to be parents. I was only useful in my 5S role: surrogate parent, surrogate spouse, support  network, scapegoat and servant. That was agreed upon early on. And when the had girlfriends and boyfriends, they were encouraged to treat me likewise. When their kids along, ditto. And, despite what was said of me, I was as dutiful acolyte. 

Because I have an insane, off-the-charts empath drive. I wanted to believe that they were as awesome as they said because they wanted me to. I wanted to please and fix and body-block them from any suffering. And they seized on that, exploited and manipulated it. They managed to get believe their lies, support the shared fantasy, work my ass off to please, take on all responsibility and say thank you for the privilege, all while shame-dumping, weaponizing and guilting and me for failing to fix them.  And then gaslight me into thinking it never happened and covering for them. That is one hellacious amount of narcissistic supply. 

So clearly or not yet to me, but I'm working on it, this was narcissistic abuse. It did happen. It was as crazy and crazy-making as it sounds. And it was wrong. I'm getting unstuck. But as you might imagine, there are a legion of tigers who come at night, with their voices soft as thunder, in non-gratis residence in my head. They growl and murmur and gaslight me all day and all night in nightmares. I wish I was exaggerating. 

So, back to why I need to make it all about me to heal. I was told that none of it was about me. It was their show, their crazy rules but that I and only I had to live by  them. All they took, I was expected to give in equal  measure. For all the energy they put into marginalizing me, I was supposed to say sir, yes, sir may I have some more please? All the burdens they said God bound me up to, they did not carry. I was expected to keep their Cloud Cuckoo Shein in place whatever it took, lies, keeping silent, obeying arbitrary, random, hypocritical rules, you name it. And I did. Because took a lot work to maintain the facade. 

So they made it all about them, their wants, needs, fears, phobias and fantasies. They were the main characters and I was in a minor but critical supporting role. I was responsible for feeding their ego and bolstering their illusions and delusions. I was costumes, prompt, makeup, tech, lights and curtain all in one. And all this has made me one mess of a mess. 

So I am needing to recast the role of  main character in my life. I need to put myself first. To believe my version of events. To stop breathing the gas of gaslighting. To stop sharing their fantasy. To accept that (to paraphrase to narcissist prayer)

It DID happen. It was that bad. It does matter. They did do it. They did mean to. And I didn't deserve it.  Full stop.

I need to stop telling myself lies and believing their lies.  I need to get out of River Denial. I need to stop shielding, body-blocking and protecting them from consequences of their actions .I need to stop making excuses for them and trust that it was just as I remembered it. It has to be all about me now because it was never about me. I have to prioritize my truth and sanity over the insane pack of lies I've spent 59 years believing. I have to put my real needs before their imaginary, faked ones. More tomorrow on other ways I'm breaking free, by having conversations with the voices in my head. 

Thanks for reading. Love to you all. You count. I hear and see you. Don't forget that. 

Monday, March 18, 2024

How I'm detoxing from narcissistic abuse by hearing the word salad for what it was

I've been posting a lot about parental gaslighting I experienced from all four parent figures (including two stepparents). I pondered yesterday how I could be so awful as they said, yet be loving, while they were such "good parents" and unloving. You probably can see the flaws in this but it's taken me a lot longer to get up to speed. But now, after learning about concepts like narcissistic abuse, gaslighting and word salad, I see how they maneuvered it. 

I asked why it was so important to them that I feel badly about myself (like suicidally so) and why they would want me to if they loved me?  I found the answer to those questions when looking up narcissistic abuse. And I found the answer to how they did it, in the gaslighting word salad they use. This senseless gobbledy-gook that baits and switches, backstabs, baffles and bewilders. It lambastes the spirit, crushes the soul, effs the mind and sabotages the self. It actually physically hurts and makes me ill. These answers are terrifying and exhausting. If I'm honest, I sometimes wish I'd not found them because they are so awful. But then I'd still be stuck so I guess it's a good thing. 

So number one answer to why. They didn't love me. They resented me. They loved themselves and the false image of themselves they'd created. That they were all-knowing, above the rules, the hero, the protagonist and eminently good and wise. Jesus, Aeneas, Jupiter all rolled into one. To bolster that archetypal and mythical image, they needed to cast someone as not only the villain of the piece but also, weirdly, the fixer of everyone's problems. The scapegoat.   

As paranoid as this sounds, to me, it was in fact done by all four parent figures, each with his or her own spin. I, as a child through adulthood, went along with this "shared fantasy", sharing a with each, their different narcissistic fantasy. It was exhausting, between the trauma-dumping, blameshifting, game-changing, history rewriting, gaslighting, minimizing, shame-dumping and script-flipping. Each  one did all of these, changing to a new tactic constantly. The only consistent thing was the inconsistency. They both blamed each other and capitalized on each other's bad behavior, to prove themselves somehow superior. And they all, together and separately emotionally gang-banged me relentlessly. 

One narcissistic parent is a demon to live with. Four is an army of them. It was like working in a huge menu restaurant full of angry customers, trying to cater to everyone's predilections, peccadillos, needs and expectations. Oh and these changed  without warning, too. They kept the target moving, just out of reach. They leveled it up, adding more and more, challenges but removing tools. 

How did they do that? My dad's way was with gaslighting word salad and parentified role reversal. He dripped hypocrisy. He was weaponized neediness personified. Bearing in mind I still had to juggle everyone else, including his wife, kids, my mom, stepdad and their kids, I had to counsel, heal and fix my father's every problem. He expected so much and gave nothing fault-finding.

He would tell me that I was prideful if I felt good about something. He routinely gaslit me into thinking that I was the cause of his wife's problems. And his. But also that it was my job to fix them all. And that God commanded that I obey everyone's every whim.  But I shouldn't feel good about it. I should just do it all and not look for reward or even thanks. But then that made him feel guilty, knowing that I didn't feel appreciated. How did he know? He was a mind-reader, you see. And not feeling appreciated was my fault too. I should just know I was. Even though no one said so or acted appreciative. Not so I would feel good, but that he could feel better about ungratefully exploiting me. 

So I didn't expect praise and I just felt appreciated. Not really. But I told him I did. But then I was told I was falsely modest and showing off. So I didn't say anything.  But that was interpreted as sulking. I was too sensitive and should accept criticism better. So I sucked it up even more. But now I was "too critical" and made him feel guilty all the time. His parents, he said, were too critical (when they suggested he do things like get a job and care for his family) So he expected me never to complain because it made him feel bad. So bad he frequently told me he was planning suicide. But when I worried about hi, I was told there was nothing I could do about it. Except feel like shit. God forbid daddy feel that. So little girl put on her fake-brave face. She smiled when daddy said he was going away for a long time, so that he wouldn't feel bad about going. And then he said that I didn't love  him because I didn't act sad when he left. GAAAAHHHH!! I couldn't win for losing!! 

I hopped to every hoop he set in hopes of making him feel better. It never did. He just kept serving up the word salad. And piling on the expectation. And rewriting the narrative. And moving the target. And I kept feeling worse and more frustrated with myself for not being able to work out just what was expected. Pretty soon I was more suicidal than my dad only I wasn't talking about it. Because, wait for it, that would make him feel guilty. It was all about him. It was The Jack Show and I was the main contestant who never won any prizes, not even any lovely parting gifts. 

Now, why would parents do that? Well, normal healthy parents wouldn't but in narcissistic parent, it makes perfect sense. A narcissistic parent is jealous of their target child. They tell themselves that they have golden kids who can do no wrong and one junk one who can do no right (the target). And they are jealous of hell of that kid. Because throw what they will at them, they just keep taking it. They realize that the bad kid is in fact, pretty resilient and successful. And good-hearted. 

When I went to college, he scoffed and dismissed it, saying college wasn't for everyone. I breastfeed my babies and his wife couldn't. I made no comment and certainly no judgement, even though I know now it was more wouldn't because then she couldn't pass off so much responsibility (including sleeping with them) onto me. My dad's comment "well, not every woman is a cow." Pig. Sorry but that's needed to come out for awhile. When I had a second baby he faulted me, saying Molly would always be jealous and resent me. She wasn't and didn't. And he didn't let that concern stop him from having more kids which consistently prioritized over me, expected me to raise and scapegoated for their misdeeds. I could not win for losing. But I kept on loving him and letting him do this. 

And this resilience fills narcissists with resentment and anger and possible shame (I didn't see much of that but I'm told that's what's behind it).  So they have to sabotage the kid, to bring them down a peg or two. Or 26. To knock them off this pedestal they're supposedly on. My dad said that God told him I needed discipline to keep me humble. What he practiced was humiliation. Mind, dad himself was incredibly arrogant and would go nuclear if he felt the littlest bit of humbling, even if no one caused it.

Oh, I was also, he said, judgmental. Now this man was possibly the most judgmental I've ever met. What was sin for others, namely me, was God's will for him. He could do no wrong. It just wasn't possible. You know the narcissist creed: 

That didn't happen.

And if it did, it wasn't that bad.

And if it was, that's not a big deal.

And if it is, that's not my fault.

And if it was, I didn't mean it.

And if I did, you deserved it.

I think he actually believed that God spoke to him and him alone. That God got my dad's permission to be God and that the rules did not apply to him. For me, he made up rules as he went along. And then told me they were from God. Dizzying. 

As this was the man charged with my spiritual, physical and emotional well-being, I believed every lie he told. My father-in-law spotted his bullshit at the first meeting. But I didn't realize it till I was 59. But then I grew up being indoctrinated and gaslit by it. 

So, where does that leave me. Pretty raw. I'm skinless. A mass of vulnerable human goo. I don't know where others stop and I begin. I'm in constant CPTSD. I hear voices in my head. I see dead people. My dad and his wife send their flying monkeys from beyond the grave. But for all this Pandora's box of trouble my dad has willed me, there is the one tiny little pixie, hope. She comes in the form of my loving husband, family and friends who believe my story. She's still pretty small but every time I write a post or get affirmation from loved ones or listen to podcasts detailing narcissistic abuse, or practice an act of self-care, she gets louder. Hopefully, someday, hope will drown out those screeching harpies in my head. I deserve some peace. 

How I'm avoiding narcissistic abuse by believing someone when they show me who they are

So yesterday I wrote about how I'm relooking at things my parents gaslit me into believing I did and which were wrong. Today I'm going to share how I'm overcoming narcissistic abuse by believing not what people tell me but show me they are.  

I told you all about the incident when my stepfather verbally and physically assaulted me because I couldn't find my baby when I came to pick her up from their house. He had fallen asleep and assumed she was on the bed where I'd put her for her nap. She wasn't and I was worried. I was not angry and did not act angry. I did not accuse anyone of anything nor even think to. My first worry was that she'd fallen off the bed because she was beginning to roll. I explained this but he would hear none of it and blasted me. For worrying about my baby. I immediately felt guilty because that's what I do when someone gets mad at me. I believe I've done something wrong. Mind I still hadn't found the baby. 

So that was odd enough. But what happened afterwards was terrifying. In desperation, I went looking around the block and found my sister taking her for a walk. When I returned, was he pleased that we'd found her? No. Did he apologize for yelling at me for being worried? He did not. He had been chewing on it and telling himself a bunch of shit and was in a towering rage. With a bunch of weird gaslighting word salad, he accused me of not trusting them, of being a bad daughter, of taking advantage of them. Of mistreating my mom. This from the one who has routinely abused and hurt me, since we met.  

I'm sobbing the entire time and babbling incoherent apologies. But as with all narcissistically abusive bullying this only fed him. Finally, he pushed me out the door, with the baby in my arms, and said "take your kid, get the hell out of my house and don't come back."

I was so terrified I think I wet myself. I went home in shame. I don't think I even tell my husband the full story. Which is probably good because he would have gone over... dealt with it. Anyway. That's also not the weirdest part of the story. Bill always was a little unhinged and this was not out of character. It was my mom's response. 

So you're probably wondering, sheesh, what did she have to say about all this? She must have been furious with him, right? Nope. Did she tell him to get out before she called the police? No. Did she apologize to me? No. Did she say "honey,  maybe it would be best to stay away for your safety?" No. Did she even make an excuse for him (bad enough)? No. She found a way to weaponize this for  her own narcissistic ends. And she did it with her very own special sauce, where she screws us all but has us blaming each other.  

Grammy Dearest made it all about her. First, she was sad she wasn't going to get to see her granddaughter because of him but he was within his rights to abuse me because it was his house. And she ever-so-fake-gently reminded me that, after all, I had caused the problem and insulted them (?) And that I wasn't welcomed over until "Bill was ready." These three words alone enrage my husband. So she told us what each wanted to hear, or well, what Bill wanted to hear and I guess what she thought I wanted to hear (that she'd miss my daughter, so generous of her) then completely backpeddled and ran us down.  

But she was the one that was hurt. Shame on us for putting her "in the middle." I find that people who say that have frequently put themselves there and enjoy it very much or aren't really in the middle at all as they've already taken sides. The one caught in the crosshairs was me, having the misfortune to get stuck in her spider's web of crap. 

But that wasn't the most bizarre part. That came later when he wrote me a note to apologize. My mother loves to tell how Bill has barely a 4th grade education and his handwriting is "childish." She gets extra narcissistic bonus points by making him look stupid all the while appearing so benevolently tolerant of his "ignorance." It's still not the weirdest part. 

I treasured that note because I knew it wasn't easy to write, both physically and emotionally. Backing down is not a forte of Bill's. A few months later, after my mom had been to church and was a on a religious-high, said her minister shared how his kids had told him what a great legacy he'd left them. She wanted to know what legacy she'd left me. 

Cricket. cricket. Now I was still under the illusion that my mom was essentially a caring mom, just misunderstood and that I was a wretch. But I wasn't that deluded that I could answer her question without some mental gymnastics. I couldn't say the truth which was "legacy? abuse, exploitation, neglect, manipulation, gaslighting, take your pick." So I cast about for answer which would appease her. 

I tried to explain how I admired her non-judgmental acceptance of people (lie, my mom is one of the judgiest I know, but anyway I believed it at the time). I don't remember how it came out but I used the example of Bill's letter in his sweet handwriting. Oh yeah, I remember now. I somehow linked it to the way she was humble enough to apologize when wrong. 

So she never apologized, he did. And she never admitted she was wrong. And that wasn't what she was looking for, anyway. Which was I guess, what a fabulous mom she was. Or maybe it was just the set-up it appeared. In retrospect, I now suspect she was trying to back me in a corner and that no answer would have been right. 

So my response wasn't great. But remember I'm trying to avoid the elephant in the living room without breaking my neck on her ice rink question. I asked her not to tell Bill only because I didn't want him to misunderstand. And obviously it was hard to find a way to say that a letter endears you because it took effort, without sounding patronizing.  I said, do you know what I mean, a lot.

Her mouth said she did but her manner said otherwise. Oh she agreed that the letter was an effort. And reiterated his immature handwriting. However, she signaled disappointment and I felt uncomfortably that I'd let her down. I realized that later. And it should have clued me in that we'd be revisiting this like the dog's dinner. However, I wasn't very good at listening to my inner voice then. I thought she'd taken her tribute and gone home satisfied. But no. Heads would roll. 

So as you know about revenge, it's best served chilled. She waited months. And then, when she'd stolen something from one of my kids (yep, you read that right) and I asked about it, BLAMMMO!! She who prides herself on being so patient and not an angry bone in her body, went nuclear. I have never seen her so angry and certainly never on my behalf. This was to distract from the real problem which was theft from a grandchild. 

With a lot of word salad, she screamed, "yeah well, you know letter you said Bill wrote you?? You know the one you made fun of him for his childish handwriting? (What??) The one you  mocked him about? (Double what??) You called him an ignorant hillbilly! (WTF??)  He says he never wrote it and YOU ARE LYING!!!" Talk about revenge topped with gaslighting and triangulation for afters! 

I had said none of those things!! SHE did!! And if I had why would she tell him if not to shame him? I had tried to answer her stupid-ass question and gotten kicked in the ass for my pains! I asked her not to say anything to him and she promised. And I literally had hard copy of the letter for the longest time, till I lost it. I got to hand it to her. Backstabbing us both, simultaneously while making us feel guilty for making her do it and still appearing as the pretty one. Damn, she's good.  

The only thing that gave her away, and which showed me her real agenda and prevented me from taking this one thing myself, was her vicious anger. If she could just have kept up her sucralose-sweet, ice princess stuff, she'd have won. I still believed the gaslighting. I thought it was a fluke. But through this chink in her armor, she let Medusa out and once seen, you can never unsee. 

So what did I learn from this. That covert narcissists are awesome hiders. But their meanest is their truest self. And believe who they show, not tell, you they are. Also if a question is impossible to answer safely, don't. Say, I'll think about that and get back to you. Then never do. Don't trust trolls with sensitive data. Also, Medusa isn't safe to look at face to face. Use a mirror. Don't take everything as written. Consider the source. Because after connecting the dots, a lot has proved to be false or from a hidden agenda. Also trust your version first. And if it looks and smells like bullshit, don't step in it. 

How I'm detoxing from toxic shame by relooking at things through a clear lens


Hello friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass surgery. In my series of weight loss challenges, this month is March Un-Madness. I'm working to break out of the madness of toxic shame in my brain from parental narcissistic abuse. I'm writing a ton about this because it's all very fresh in my mind. And I've discovered a lot of new insights. 

It's only been the past few months that I've begun to understand and accept that what happened was narcissistic abuse from the four people who styled themselves as my parents. Armed with this awareness, I'm relooking at experiences with a different lens to see whether things that happened actually were my fault as I was told or if there was a different, more accurate version of events. 

Several that I'm relooking at are times when "Bill" the man who was presented to me as stepfather got very angry with me. She met him when I was 10. Prior to them getting married, he lived with my mom. He moved into our house almost immediately after they met and he had lost his job. Mind, he wasn't laid off. He was fired for hitting a supervisor. So he clearly had some rage issues which my mother glossed over by blaming everyone else. He was misunderstood, framed, he had a rough childhood, yada yada. 

I believed these things and being a very intense empath, people pleaser, I felt very badly for him. I never held him accountable for the awful things he did and said to me. I believed the lies he told about me. And he exploited that continually. From the moment they hooked up, he began ordering me around, calling it "his house", randomly raging at me, threatening me, sexually harassing me by calling me names mocking my breast size and telling filthy jokes. He had a dirty mouth and a dirtier temper. 

 My mother had a foster care home and I had to sleep in the top floor with four very special needs children ranging in age from 6 months to 4. He and my mother had a bedroom in the basement. They never got up with the children or even heard them. That fell to me. He would watch TV all night long and the blaring would waken me or keep me awake. I slept very lightly, had a lot of nightmares and walked and talked in my sleep. He would mock me while I was still sleeping which caused more bad dreams. 

If he was awakened, he go into a rage usually directed at me. He blamed me for a lot of things and I lived in constant fear of him. This too was weaponized. He would rant and name-call, screaming abuse at me so that he got me to believe that I was guilty of the things he said I did.  He was proud of the fact that he instilled so much fear in me and gloated over it. I have believed almost to this day, that this was right for him to do and that I deserved it. Understand I would NOT have thought this was proper treatment for anyone else. Only me. 

And my mother reinforced that belief by never once contradicting him or stepping in to defend me. She just quietly approved and would often join in the laughter at my expense. She said she had to respect  him because "he is my husband." They weren't even married yet. And she insisted that I "respect" him because he was my stepfather. Respect that did not go two ways and which usually constituted me pretending some kind of abuse wasn't happening. 

She says she was afraid of him but I don't think she ever was. She has manipulated and triangulated our relationship and does to this day. She pits us against each other by telling what I now realize are lies about the other and making us feel sorry for her. She orchestrates situations where she is a victim of one of one of us and then lies to the other. She eggs us on to be in conflict. Which for me, looks like feeling sorry for and worrying over her and for Bill, looks like violent and vicious rage toward me. 

Time and again, she has stood by while he tore me apart. She allowed him to kick me out of "his house" (he still wasn't working) when I was 16. This was and still is illegal. My husband tells me he never understood why I was okay with it. I told him I had it coming. That's what I've always thought of his every rage...that somehow I deserved it. Even though I would never and have never treated someone remotely like that. On the rare times I confronted it (twice to be exact), she once got furiously angry with me and sicced Bill on me. The second, she lied, said she didn't remember and that it didn't happen and it was Bill's fault. Yes, a lot of contradictions. 

I believed all that dreck right up until recently,  when I began questioning my parents' version of events. In one instance, they'd been caring for my baby for an hour or so.  I had come to pick her up, got worried because I couldn't find her. He was asleep, woke up, saw me frantically looking for her and lost his shit. It wasn't just that he woke up and got mad. He amped up all the time I was looking (finally found my sister had taken her for a walk). By the time we got back he was incandescent. He screamed that I didn't trust them and was a despicable person and "take your kid and get the  hell out of my house!!" 

Then he pushed me out the door with MY BABY IN MY ARMS. I was crying and apologizing. I've inwardly cried and apologized ever since. I've felt guilty but have never been able to articulate what for. My front brain says he was out of line but my muscle brain gaslights me, saying "he was right to be angry, you deserved it" etc. But funnily enough it never says why or how I deserved it. Knee-jerk, toxic shame isn't very specific. It relies on generalizations, misunderstood feelings, lies, exaggerations, fear and generalized anxiety. Tomorrow, I'll post on how my mother managed to weaponize that for a nice narcissistic jolt. 

And because I was treated so shamefully and told so loudly and clearly how awful what I did was, I never dared to look at it straight in the face. I could live with myself thinking I'd done something so terrible, so unforgivable, so unspeakable, that I didn't speak of it. I hid from it like a monster I believed was in the closet. I lived in fear of what I'd find. 

But my dreams look at it regularly. I nightmare at least once a week, that I have done something so utterly bad that I want to end it all. But in my dream, no one will tell me what it was. They are just angry and disgusted with me. And I realize that they don't tell me because they can't tell me because I never did anything like that. It never happened. 

And also, I can't think anything that I would get so angry with my children or really anyone, for. I might be disappointed or sad or hurt or concerned. I would self-examine to see what I might have done to cause them to do this. I would think the best of them until, or if such time came, I absolutely had to admit they were wrong. 

I can't even get truly angry at my parents and stepparents for the hell they put me through. If I'm so awful how can I also be empathetic and caring and concerned? And if they're so right and just why are they so defensively angry about it? If they're such good parents, why do they expect the worst of me? How can good them be so unloving and uncharitable while "bad, evil" me loves to love and show charity? Why is it so hard to accept good things about me? Or as more usually happened, why lie, twist and distort to make me look and feel as bad as possible? I'll post more on the answers I found to that. For now, we'll look at the anger. 

The key lies not just in that they got angry with me, but HOW angry they got. And yes, I'm including all four parents in this because each in their own way was incensed with rage most of the time. What would produce at most mild annoyance, and usually nothing at all, in a rationale person, drove them speechless with fury. My father once, out of the blue, grabbed me and began beating me. He was so so angry that he was spitting. And it was so out of the blue that it shocked and terrified me and I wet my pants. It was like a random drive-by. If I'd done something so wrong, I'd have been prepared for consequence. 

So clearly, or maybe not clearly to me yet, but I'm working on that, this was not about me or what I'd done. It WAS a random drive-by that I just happened to get caught in. I did or said some innocent thing  that triggered deep-seated insecurity or showed them to themselves as the frauds they were. 

Because what I've realized is that they are not what they project. They are not right, just, caring and loving. My dreams are showing me them as they were. Judgmental, hateful, spiteful and mean.  I didn't do anything. It's just in their best interest to keep me thinking I did. To keep me questioning, ashamed and hating myself. To keep me  afraid to really look at what happened. It's so bad that I've been afraid to tell anyone for fear they affirm that I was that awful person. 

What's all this in aid of? To deflect from the truth which is that THEY were in the wrong.  That Bill was abominably wrong. That he was a cruel, ruthless, bullying coward who took out his whatever-shit-it-was on a mother and her child. His daughter. And that my mother, worse yet, stood by, watching and quietly approving this behavior. That my dad was furious with someone else, either himself or his wife, and took it out on me with his drive-by beating. 

So now, what's changed? I'm still not sure but I think it's that I'm looking at situations like this (and there were many) and correctly identifying both what actually happened and how I really feel about it. What happened, both with my dad's beating and Bill's verbal assault (with threats) is that an angry man harmed an innocent girl. 

Once I set aside their justifications, I could see what really happened and I realize there IS NO provocation, let alone one serious enough to warrant that. There is no excuse that I would give for doing that to anyone because I wouldn't do that to anyone. Or if, God forbid, I did, I would be so filled with remorse that I would apologize and make restitution to the end of my days. Because I realize that there is no excuse I'd make for myself, I realize there's no excuse I can or should make for them. 

That fact that they came unglued over nothing or something so insignificant is proof that they ARE unhinged. The fact that they got so inappropriately angry shows that I did nothing to warrant it. Because there's nothing I could do that would warrant such an extreme response. Even if I'd threatened to harm them or pulled a gun, if they were the good loving parents they proclaim to be, their first thought would be to protect me. That's what mine would be. Instead it was to punish. 

And the fact that they are excusing and approving atrocious behavior shows them in their true colors: abusive, narcissistic, bullying bullshitters.  And it's all the proof I need to rightly conclude that I can now let up on myself and stop believing these terrible things about myself. I can call it what it was. I can hold them responsible for their own actions. I can admit that I am not ashamed of myself but of them. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. 

How I'm detoxing from gaslighting by questioning others instead of myself

Hello my dear friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs. During this month, my weight loss challenge has been March Un-Madness. What do I mean by that? I'm working to end the madness in my brain from constant parental humiliation, exploitation, narcissistic abuse, neglect, manipulation, parentification and gaslighting about the true nature of those things. What does that have to do with weight loss, seemingly nothing but realistically everything. 

A large part of how I gained weight in the first place, I'm realized,  has as much to do with toxic shame and total lack of self-care, as it does with overeating or even food in general. Toxic shame stemmed from believed wrong messages about myself, my purpose, my motivation and my actions. I was indoctrinated, by narcissistic parents and people who were called my step-parents, into believing that I was bad, naughty, selfish, self-centered, dangerous, wicked, sinful and always, always in the wrong. 

And I was a good student. I internalized these sick teachings to the point that I perpetuated them within myself. I furthered my own "education" if you will, gaslighting myself into believing that I was not only responsible for others' happiness, I was the source of their unhappiness. This created not just suicidal thoughts but a daily, ongoing, state of mental and emotional suicide. This false narrative was killing me one moment at a time.

I have lived essentially my entire life in this slow death, save for the past few months. What changed is that I accepted that these things were done to me. I stopped making excuses for the perpetrators. I stopped telling their version of events (which I have learned is called the shared fantasy) and I started believing my own version. 

And that that's when the stitched up pack of lies that they'd woven into my memory, began to unravel. This brainwashing or gaslighting, began to reveal itself everywhere. The more I realized how many lies I'd been led to believe, the more I questioned and the more I question, the more lies I uncover.

And let me segue here for a moment. Realize is an interesting and appropriate word. Realize, a verb, to fully understand a fact, to make real. And not even, understanding fact as in juxtaposed with opinion. My realizations were separating real, true fact from lie, from that believed or shared fantasy I'd previously subscribed to. 

So where does that leave me if everything I'd believed to be true was essentially being shown to be false? What do you do when you see that your entire life with someone was a lie? It's like Sherlock Holmes famously said, once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be true. Because it is utterly impossible that one person, namely, an innocent child who is trying with all energy to be the best she can be, could be the source of everyone's problems. It is flatly impossible that one person can be entirely in the wrong. 

Having said that, even as I write this, the flying monkeys are saying "you're exaggerating. They never did that. Or if they did, it wasn't that bad." And maybe it wasn't all the time. But it was consistent enough to make a kid think everyone would be better off with her dead. And inconsistent and mixed messages of love-hate, good-bad, etc., are almost worse. This is the narcissistic abuse that kept me coming back for more. Because maybe I would finally find a way to please, if I just kept trying harder. 

So we've eliminated the impossible and what remains must be the truth despite how improbable I found it. In this case, I would say that what remains in my brain, my version of events, SEEMS improbable because there were so many loud parental voices saying otherwise. They didn't share anything except a dedicated effort to sabotage me in their own individual ways.  

Sabotage? That's a strong word. But yep, I'll die on that hill. It was that bad. They emotionally gang-banged me, all four of them. They weren't even working together.  Each had his or her own flavor of bullying. Or at least I can't see the connection. I think this is why it so successfully effed me, because it came from all angles and in such varied and disjointed ways.  

But again, what remains? As improbable as it was, they had to be in some kind of cahoots. Or at least had some agreed-upon tactics. Some shared fantasy of me as the 4S model I've used: surrogate parent, surrogate spouse, scapegoat and staff. Because they backed each other, even the ones who weren't married. They only questioned the bizarre way each other treated me to weaponize, triangulate and themselves feel better about how they were misusing me ( the old, "well at least I don't do THAT" theme.) And you know how group-think works, "we right because we all agree we are." No thought of the devastation it was wreaking. And never has been. In fact, I've come to the conclusion that it was malicious and intentional. 

Yep, bizarre.  And bordering on unbelievable or so those who know about it have told me. Which is another weapon used against me, that kept me radio silent. The message that no one will believe you because there's no way we all could be doing it. Really?? Paranoid much, Marilisa? That's just you being "too sensitive." 

And it worked. Because I can see how unbelievable it looks and I can hear how unbelievable it sounds. Even the experts, say they've rarely to never seen a case of narcissistic abuse from all four parental figures. Even to me, it sounds like paranoia. But then I am the one who's messed in the head. Where I hear judgement and skepticism, I think what people are actually saying is "just wow that really sucks." I think it's like my son said, "you have people now, in your life, who believe you and who have your best intentions at heart. I know you don't believe in yourself, so let us believe for you." 

So again, I ask, where does the discovery of this web of lies leave me? Well, what do you do when you catch someone in a lie? First, examine motive. Was it done to hurt or protect? We've established that lies were told to keep me in an unhealthy place of abuse. Next, ask self, if one lie was told, how many other things were lies? 

And that's what brings me to the point, rather roundabout LOL, of this post.  Once I began to accept the improbable, that the things that occurred were real and intentional narcissistic abuse, and armed with the loving support I now have,  I'm having to going back and question every bad thing I've believed about myself. I'm reexamining everything that was said and done that felt wrong. And even the things that didn't. Cuz we all know Marilisa ain't very good at recognizing pain and abuse. As one counselor said, "girl, you have a SCARY high pain tolerance." 

I'm filtering everything through the strainer of truth. And what is trapped, what won't fit, is the lies. I'm reevaluating every experience in light of this new awareness of narcissistic abuse. And what I'm discovering is that it's not rocket science. What they did makes perfect sense given their natures. Of course, they made it my fault. They would not accept responsibility. Of course they enslaved me. They are lazy and self-centered. Of course they gaslit me. They wanted to preserve this good thing that they had going on. Simple, really, when you look at it without the smoke and mirrors. 

Thanks for reading. I'll post more on this. 

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