Friday, April 12, 2024

Why it took me so long to see abuse, neglect, parentification

Hey everyone! For the past few months I have been experiencing new awareness about things that happened in my life with my parents,  stepparents and half siblings. I've been reexamining situations and experiences  and sharing stories with trusted family members (husband) friends and therapists. We have come to the conclusion that I lived with chronic narcissistic abuse, neglect, abandonment, exploitation exploitation, family scapegoating, toxic shaming and gaslighting about it all. I developed CPTSD, codependency and critically low self-esteem. 

Recently I posted what happened to make me aware of this and what I was doing now about it, now that I know. I think the very first thing that led me to revisit these experiences were the constant nightmares I've had since childhood. They have revealed terror, insecurity, self-hatred, family scapegoating, parentification, gaslighting and the constant pressure I felt to please my parents, step parents and siblings. I realize that they stem from memories and feelings about them, buried deep under toxic shame and frosted with self gaslighting. They don't get better or no matter what I do so I think I'm supposed to be paying closer attention to them. I also began to listen to the voices in my head to see what they were saying and they have proved to be shame memory based as well.

But the dreams alone would probably have not been enough to wake me up (pun intended). What led to that was my mother's lies and gaslighting about past situations that occurred that she denied happening. There was more to it but that was a big part. Reviewing situations shows me that I am not wrong and things did happen as I said.  I also began telling experiences and getting feedback about them. I was affirmed that I was believed and encouraged to keep sharing. As I continue re-examining more situations, I find that they are not better but much worse than I remembered.

So I think the first step in healing from gaslighting, narcissistic abuse, neglect, exploitation, toxic shame and parentification, is to  just accept that they happened. And then start listening to toxic shame memories coming out in dreams, self-doubt and messages in my head. And then I had to come to the conclusion which is utterly cataclysmic for me, that I  was not treated lovingly or well and that I did not deserve this. It was not God's will for me. My parents were not God and did not speak for him. I had to stop making excuses for them and accept that their treatment was as bad as I remembered and inexcusable. I say cataclysmic because this revolutionizes what I've always believed, that despite all the abuse, shaming, neglect, abandonment and exploitation, my family basically loved (loves) me. I now realize they didn't and don't. I'll blog more on that later. 

So today I'm looking at why it took me so long, around 59 years, to begin looking at this. I think if I had to boil it down to one word it would be gaslighting. And how effective that was in keeping me striving to please, hating myself, believing their lies and allowing them to mistreat me. 

A child does not understand God. All she knows is her parents. If they are mostly loving and nurturing, she develops a basically positive self-esteem. If they are autocratic, cruel, abusive, self-centered and unloving, that is the idea of God that the child has as well. The more cruel they are, the more screwed up the child is. And my parents gaslit me into thinking that they and their spouses and their other children were gods. They could do no wrong they and I did nothing but wrong. It was so bad that I can't even look in the mirror without feeling revulsion, most days. I am very good at faking my way through life. 

Using a complicated scheme of scare tactics, shock treatment, unrealistic demands, delusions, lies, blame and shame, belittling, minimizing, disturbing behaviors, violent rage, and steady destruction of my boundaries, they were able to coerce me into a state of constant fear, anxiety, and desperate desire to please. This cult like fantasy life was not real but as hell felt real. I realize now that at a fairly young age I split from reality.  I played along with their delusions and let them treat me anyway they wanted. I accepted everything as normal and okay and what I deserved. 

I'll blog more later. Right now, I'm too bewildered. 

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