Wednesday, March 13, 2024

How I'm healing from gaslighting by recognizing covert narcissism

 Hello my friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs. As you will know if you follow, I've been delving more into the toxic shame, parental gaslighting and narcissistic abuse I experienced. And the more I do, the more I find how much this has informed every, and I do mean EVERY aspect of my self. And in keeping with my March Madness weight loss challenge, I'm going to explore how I'm healing from parental gaslighting by exposing the madness covert narcissism induces. Because madness isn't just a cute sound byte. It's exactly how covert narcissism makes me feel! 

For the last 59.5 years of my life, I've lived in a fog of confusion about what exactly happened to me. From childhood on through to now, I've breathed the toxic gas, believed the lies and lived by a false narrative I was brainwashed into believing. I've done a lot of work over the years in mental health but never really examined or questioned any of this part of my life. I worked on me. I worked on current relationships, parenting, etc. I never worked on my so-damaged inner child. I tended the flowers but not the roots. 

So now I'm going deeper to find out just where this toxic shame and chronic guilt come from. And I see at every turn, evidence of parental narcissism. But still, the gaslighting causes me to question what I see. Were they narcissistic or is this just you misunderstanding, misrepresenting, EXAGGERATING and being TOO SENSITIVE again? 

Part of it is that while my dad fits the more classic pattern NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) with some anti-social and borderline mixed in, my mother doesn't. Her behavior is very...confusing. But also very backhanded, passive-aggressive and damaging. 

It wasn't until I watched a Youtube video by Richard Grannon that I realized that what I was dealing with, was fragile or vulnerable or covert narcissism. This is kind of a high-low, bipolar narcissism that cycles when it fails to get it's fix. This explains why the grandiose, exaggerated and hypocritical Bible-beating of "rules for thee are not for me" juxtaposed with pitiful, pathetic tales of woe. 

This sheds light on the outlandish and unfounded claims of poverty, hardship and victimization. This makes bizarre, impulsive and seductive behavior more understandable. This explains the Munchausen-ish mystery ailments which no doctor seems to understand. It puts the pie-throwing (in my face, really) the odd deafness with no medical proof, the feigned dementia-like acts, the wearing nightgowns in public in perspective. It addresses the hypocritical preaching against things that she commonly does herself. 

Just one of these behaviors might be explainable. Together they form a pattern of passive-aggressive, attention-seeking and cycling between overt and covert narcissism. When she's on a high, she can do no wrong. When she's in need of a fix, the false vulnerability is a ploy for pity. It's guilt-inducing, subtly shaming and utterly confusing. It's also a lose-lose situation for me. I'll never be able to fill the black hole and so I'm perceived and made to feel like I'm failing. It has created a false reality for me, otherwise known as childhood. 

Recognizing this is the first step. Next is reminding myself that I don't owe anyone fixing (lather, rinse, repeat). Now I need to keep working on identifying covert narcissism and not being sucked into the endless blame-shame cycle. 

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