abuse

Dear My Narcissistic Father

Dear Father,

Firstly, I have to thank you…for you made me the man I am today.

But…I refuse to forsake all my positive aspects to you whilst I burden the negative.

For this is what you desire, the way your mind exists encompasses a “black and white” understanding of the world, a world where my qualities are distinguished by the superior belonging to you, whilst the inferior belongs to the lack of you, or rather… me. A world that I believed for so long and one that made me despise myself.

It is the lack of you that made me the man I am today, along with your presence.

I am grateful for the restaurant dinners once in a while, the fact that I did not have a hungry childhood, that I had warmth, shelter…games to play with. I am grateful for your presence, even though it was mainly just physical.

I am grateful that your constant criticism motivated me to get into university and the  self criticism that persisted produced my degree. Here, I struggle, for it is true that without it would I have become “successful”? My success comes from self doubt, a lack of self worth, a preference to suicide if I was not to succeed, my fear so strong that I lived my life believing I was followed by cameras, watching and criticising my every room, till I was perfect. Yet, without you, it is true, maybe I wouldn’t continue to strive for an unattainable moment of success…as for me, I am incapable of believing anything other than I will never be good enough.

I am grateful also, that you were present but distant. That you were never truly reachable. That any attempt to communicate with you led to criticism, anger or months of silence. It was this that fuelled my curiosity into you. I wondered for years who you are, what made you the way you are, how you were bought up…did you have it tough? Was that what it was? I’m not sure if you knew, but the reason why I used to ask you to walk down the street with me was not because I needed your advice. It was that I wanted to understand you. It was my inquisitiveness of you that led to my interest in psychiatry. It was the question of whether you were Aspergers or Narcissistic, the difficulties of a fit in the box diagnostic approach and the question of whether you are mad or bad or both…this was my childhood dilemma.

I still now, look forward to your invitation to dinner. For it is the brief moment that I can pretend that I am loved by you. Please continue to invite me.

Finally, I am sorry that I will always be angry with you. These are wounds from childhood…the ignored, voiceless, inner child. As a result, it becomes too painful to attend my girlfriend’s family events, because I shed a tear if I see a father play with a ball with his son. She will never understand.

Yes, it is likely that I will always remain angry with you but it has lessened over time. I have come to learn that you are who you are because you too are like me. You did not have a father when you grew up. You did not get to play, but you had it worse. You did not have the nice dinners, the money or the games to sit in your room and play with. You were raised without money. In your anger, you swore to yourself that you would raise your children better and you thought that money is love, for you had no experience of money…nor of love.

I understand this now, for I too now ultimately want to raise my children as a father who loves them, to heal what I didn’t get from you. I wonder what my children will grow up being angry at me for…it may be something that I am unaware of too.

I don’t want to be bitter, father. Or live my life in anger. It is not something that you would notice regardless, but it wouldn’t benefit me…or my future. Building the blocks of self worth on a poor foundation is painstakingly long, with relapses not uncommon, but from believing one is nothing, one can only go upwards. The utmost goal is not that of richness or “success” or other vices to stabilise an insecure ego through narcissistic grandiosity, it is instead that of wholeness and integrity.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Angel Fuels Motivation in Victims of Narcissism

red-lips-girl-blonde-face-leash-portrait-rendering-art

 

When I get told off by any-one….I get angry. 

When I get criticised….i get angry

I don’t shout or scream, yell, or hit. I just smile. 

Why do I smile?

Because I’ve never had another outlet. If I did, the narcissist would know and my position would be weakened. 

So I internalise the anger.

I use the anger as fuel. 

Unfortunately, often I use this fuel to disprove the Narcissist. That I am not stupid or ugly or fat. I modify my behaviour to prove to the Narcissist that I am nothing like he thinks I am.

But then he wins. Because he knows it was his criticism that made you change. He believes that it is him that made you better, more like him. He takes over your accomplishment.

This is power dynamics. 

Use your anger, own your fuel. 

4 Common Traits Of Those Raised By A Narcissist

narcissist

 

I’ve noticed over time that a lot of us who have been raised by Narcissists have certain traits in common. 

For many of us, these were developed as coping strategies for our survival when we were children. Whilst they may have been useful as a child, some become maladaptive patterns as an adult, restricting our life experiences, leaving our outlook of life to be through the eyes of the narcissist, as we never had much of a chance to develop our own. 

Sometimes I can tell when I meet some-one who has been raised by a narcissist. There is some sort of familiarity or an understanding that we have both been through the same turmoil, signalled through our body language towards each other or us having a similar shared reaction if we are both around a narcissist at the same time.

After gaining awareness into my own childhood and opening up to my friends, I found that a lot of them had also had some life changing contact with a narcissist at some point in their lives. It seems odd, but the victims of the narcissist not only attract narcissists into their lives but also attract other victims. Maybe it is a way of us unconsciously relating to others pain, to try to heal others as we heal ourselves.

The following traits seem common amongst those of us that have been raised by the narcissist. 

1. We have an odd relationship with authority.

Whether it be our bosses at work, our teachers at school or the leader of our group of friends, our relationship with authority tends to be affected.

We find ourselves on guard, unable and unwilling to be ourselves. We struggle to understand how other employees can call their bosses by their first name or go out for drinks with them with such ease.

Instead, we become very good students or employees. Our skills at catering to the narcissistic ego has been taught to us from a young age. We know how to make our boss feel superior, in control and powerful. We are often very successful at working up the ladder.

When we are in a group, we find ourselves being drawn to understand the mind of the leader. This is of no surprise, considering how we have spent years trying to make sense of why the narcissist caused so much confusion within our lives. 

In a way, this is a useful survival strategy. The fact that we are disciplined in the art of pleasing our superiors can work in our favour and when skilled can make our working lives very secure.

On the other hand, our difficulty in developing a more relaxed relationship with authority may leave us in a permanent position of formality, unable to progress the relationship to one with more meaning. 

We struggle to lead others, for we detest so much the feeling of being led. Being stuck in a position of being wary around authority, naturally pleasing, we gradually detest our superiors, feeling suffocated at our difficulties in standing up for ourselves and our own needs, living instead of constant fear of upsetting our master.

2. We find it difficult to say NO.

Being raised by a narcissist would mean that you have spent a of of time doing things you didn’t want to do. You may have had to go out for dinner after you had already eaten, attended family parties despite being ill, studied subjects at school that you had no interest in, embarked on a career that you had no passion for or even married some-one who is a stranger to you, just to appease the narcissistic parent.

Our narcissistic parent may have been in a relationship with a dependant person and if so we would have grown up watching how one person always seemed to give in to the other. The result is that it may seem normal or natural for one person to follow the other and odd as to how a relationship of equality would actually work.

We find it difficult to say NO not just because of fear of offending the other person. It is also that we fear the abandonment, the expectation of silent treatment or other abuse that we would have experienced as children just for stating our views.

In its worst form, we become paranoid that if we are to reject another person, it will result in a rejection by all those who know the narcissist, akin to the feeling of being told off by extended family members as a child for some-thing that wasn’t true or wasn’t our fault, due to the narcissistic parent projecting the blame onto us as he or she was incapable of mustering any responsibility for his or her own actions or behaviour. In my case, I was the scapegoat for being late and the explanation given for my mother’s constant level of stress.

3. We are highly self critical

I spoke in my post on awareness of abuse by narcissists on how, when some-one has little self esteem, they lose the ability to see the world through their own eyes, instead seeing the world through the eyes of the narcissist.

For those of us who were raised by a narcissist, we may never have had the opportunity to develop any self esteem in the first place.

Hence, we spend our lives seeing the world through the narcissist’s eyes, where our values, beliefs, aspirations and accomplishments don’t matter.

As a result, many of us will struggle to feel any sense of happiness on our birthday, or when we pass an exam, or get married or any other accomplishment. We will believe as we have been taught to believe, that our accomplishments were solely due to our narcissistic mother or father, whilst we only are responsible for the negative consequences of being raised in the self image of a narcissist.

4. We have anger that we keep hidden

When I meet some-one who can appear to smile genuinely when they are wronged, I question whether they have been raised by a narcissist, or what abuse they have faced in their youth. We have an uncanny ability to be able to hide our emotions. Having lived in fear of the impact of showing our disgust towards our parents, our mastery in this is of no surprise.

What this leaves us with is a harbouring of intense inner feelings of anger, which we keep stored and pent up, hidden with a smile and forgotten by ourselves through either dissociation into a constant numb like state or otherwise through another form of distraction.

Unfortunately, our anger following years of abuse doesn’t simply disappear. It remains within us and facing up to this part of us is difficult. But, who can blame us for being angry?

Some of us may have found a safe outlet for our anger. Many of us will be extremely creative and may use music or writing to process our intense feelings. We may eventually develop a strong desire to protect others or to have an opportunity to defend and speak up after years of neglecting this part of ourselves- many of us may find solace in a career in law, the police force or medicine.

What can we do now?

One thing us adult children of narcissists know is that we can create a positive out of any negative situation.

We can start by recognising these traits within ourselves.

We can take time to celebrate our birthdays and accomplishments, no matter how small, and learn to believe our accomplishments to be ours.

We can develop seeing the world through our own eyes, rather than seeing the world through the narcissist’s eyes.

We can learn to say NO regularly and monitor our feelings through the process, including the anxiety, fear and paranoia. We can start to recognise that it is completely acceptable and within our rights to say no and that our emotional response is likely related to the reality of the past rather than the present.

We can learn to develop our emotional outlet to be used constructively to help ourselves or others and not allow it to affect us in self destructive ways. We can accept that we are angry about our past and not blame ourselves for this very natural feeling.

Most importantly, we can learn to love and care for ourselves.

Unraveling The Chess Board Mind Of The Narcissistic Abuser

cropped-chess_god_devil_drawn_1680x105_1680x1050_wallpapername-com-e1440076669879.jpg

For many years I have tried to understand the mind of the narcissistic abuser.

I admit…their ability to genuinely believe their own lies, to this day, fascinates me.

For do they have insight into the fact that they lied? Certainly, they can remember the events that occurred that favor them, so surely their ability to selectively remember information requires a degree of awareness as to which of their actions would be considered, at least by others, to be immoral?

If they do not have insight and are unaware that they have lied, can they be blamed for lying?

At this point, I stop.

For it is beyond our need to understand whether the abuser should be pardoned for his or her wrong, immoral, hurtful and deceitful actions that have no doubt occurred.

Dwelling down this path may lead the “other” to excuse the abuser’s actions, not because of genuine forgiveness, but rather in desperation to not have to face the painful reality of the abuse that occurred and instead to remain unaware. Such reflection on forgiving the abuser may occur later, only when the “other” has freed his or her enmeshed mind completely from the abuser and regained his or her own self.

Until that time, attempting to explore the abuser’s mind should be solely to help us become aware of the power dynamic for the interests of ourselves, the children and any-one else involved. We must try to understand the part we play in the narcissist’s world to help us to separate fantasy from reality.

We can use the analogy of the chess board and try to understand the mind in three main ways:

Step 1: Identify the fantasy

The narcissistic abuser’s grandiose fantasy of him or herself is the source of all the pain and suffering that the narcissist inflicts on others. It is the “reflection in the mirror”. It is the ego that the narcissist has created and that he or she must defend at all costs to avoid identifying with his or her true self.

It is therefore imperative to question what is the narcissist’s fantasy of him or herself that he or she is so desperate to protect.

It may be higher level of intelligence, wealth, health, beauty, morality, righteousness, leadership within the community, culture or religion. It may be the better ability to father, to mother or to educate others. The fantasy can incorporate a number of different areas.

Interestingly, the grandiose fantasy may even be a lack of a skill, but in comparison to his or her perceived greatness at another skill.

For example:

  • She may express her lack of dress sense in terms of the morality of not being superficial or vein.
  • He may express his lack of availability for his children in terms of his impeccable work ethic which has resulted in a comfortable existence for the family due to his hard work and the sacrifices he as made.
  • She may express her inability to provide for her children in terms of being above materialistic possessions or being some-one of simple means.
  • He may express his lack of friends in terms of being some-one of high morality, intelligence or table manners that others can not match in conversation.

Within the chess board, the King is the narcissist’s grandiose fantasy which the other pieces lay their lives down to defend, often unaware of what they are actually defending.

Note that there can only be one King on the chess board. This is as the nature of the grandiose fantasy means that the Narcissist must be the expert in that field compared to all other pieces on the board. Any-one who comes close to the Narcissist in terms of their chosen area of expertise will, if possible, be devalued, rejected and as a last consequence, thrown off the chess board. The other option would be to take credit for the achievements and skills of others, for example, stating that it was only due to the Narcissist’s teachings that the other has become successful.

Step 2: Identify the Ideology

The core central aim of the narcissist is to keep his or her grandiose fantasy alive. The King on the chess board must survive and the other pieces are there to defend the King’s ego.

But how is the narcissist going to get other people to shield and protect the King’s ego, whilst the narcissist is abusive to those very same people?

One method, as discussed in my previous post, is through psychological manipulation to diminish the person’s self esteem and convert them into the “other”, so that they can only see the world through the eyes of the abuser.

The other method used is in terms of the imposition of an ideology.

The ideology is what the narcissist expresses other’s should do to try and better themselves so that they can try to achieve the grandiose skills or achievements that he or she has.

The ideology is what the narcissist will use to defend morally why the abuse that he or she inflicts was acceptable and appropriate.

The imposition of ideology becomes the mask of abuse.

For example:

  • The narcissist’s fantasy is that he is highly educated. The ideology is that his children should also be educated, to try to better themselves. The defense for abusing children is that it is done to discipline the children to become educated.
  • The narcissist’s fantasy is that she is a slim, beautiful woman who is an excellent mother. Her ideology is that her daughter should control her weight so that she doesn’t impact the beauty that her genetics provided her, to enable her, for her own best interests, to gain a husband. The defense for repeatedly insulting her daughters weight at dinner is to help make her skinnier as the benefit of the child’s future is the good mother’s concern.
  • The narcissist’s fantasy is that he is a man who has slogged hard to earn an income, without the help of his own father. The ideology is that the children should become more independent, like him. The defense for neglecting children or being emotionally or physically abusive is to “toughen them up”.

It is vital to identify the fantasy, the ideology and the defense that the narcissist has created in order to become aware of how abuse is subsequently rationalized and ignored.

Step 3: Identify Your Role

If you are in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, the narcissist will manipulate you to become the “Queen” on the narcissist’s chess board.

Your role will be to shield the narcissist’s fantasy and ideology, at all costs, including the well being of yourself and your children.

Note that the Queen can be the most powerful piece on the chess board, when used effectively. Whilst the King can only move one piece at a time, the Queen can move several.

Yet, the Queen remains loyal to the King.

The Queen is an extremely useful ally for the Narcissistic King. The King will use you as his or her shield in his or her final method of avoiding any blame or responsibility for the abuse that he or she has inflicted upon others.

For example:

  1. The narcissistic father who has a fantasy that he has worked hard his whole life will blame the mother for spoiling the children, and that, to save the mother from abuse from the spoilt children, he was forced get angry and subsequently had to hit the children.
  2. The narcissistic mother who has a fantasy that she is a good mother will tell her children that it is their father’s fault for not being there for her that resulted in her becoming addicted to alcohol and it was the subsequent alcohol that caused her to be abusive.
  3. The narcissistic wife will blame her husband’s perceived lack of education, organisational skills and health issues as to why she was unaware of the various family events that she was neglectfully unable to attend.
  4. The narcissistic father will express to the child that it is the mother that is the liar, the manipulator, the abuser and the cause of all the pain and suffering that the child has been through.

In this way, armed with his or her ability to distort the truth and pretend events never happened, surrounded by perceived inferior others and morality shielded by a manipulated loyal Queen and the imposition of ideology, the King is free to play and live on a fairy tale chess cardboard, never having to accept responsibility for his or her actions.

Whilst it can be extremely painful, by attempting to understand the Narcissistic abuser’s mind we may become more aware of the skewed power dynamic and the role we play on the Narcissistic chess board.