It’s been a long time since I have written anything. My blog traffic suddenly died in September, but in March, it miraculously recovered. I guess I shall take it as a sign that it’s time to blog again.
Why did I stop posting? It’s been tough for me since last autumn. Things started coming up from within that made me question everything I have previously done. Three years of transcendental meditation, psychotherapy, the warrior spirit that I have nurtured my entire life, the ‘I can do it, I can overcome this, things will go better’ belief that I trained myself to have.
Things started coming up that made me wonder whether I have just been deluding myself all those years.
The journey through the unconscious is not for the fainthearted. That’s for sure. I thought I have undone the worst of my traumas in the first years after the narcissistic relationship madness. I remember experiencing what I used to believe were my primary childhood wounds related to rejection and abandonment and feeling hated in my own family. I thought it couldn’t get worse than that. I was wrong.
I stopped blogging because I realised I was wrong in thinking that I have overcome stuff. I was totally wrong.
Since about September 2018, it’s been a ride of panic attacks, anxiety and a full-blown CPTSD. With the help of my therapist, I realised that a lot of it had to do with my profound feeling of being insecure in the world, left to my own devices, not having anyone to rely on, my perception of the world as an enemy territory where nothing ever works my way. This belief was in my unconscious underneath all the optimistic ‘I can do it’ crap I brainwashed myself into. It was more powerful and it came to the surface like a volcano. I was paralysed. I felt defeated and angry at all the new age bullshit that makes healing look like an easy choice. It’s not easy. It’s a lot of work, it takes years and the outcome is uncertain.
There have been some health-related defeats. I had to admit to myself that maybe I will not be able to stop my hair loss, my personal horror story that started when I was only 14 years old.
I had to embrace my inner victim. The part of me I had been disowning for so many years because I always wanted to see myself as strong, I wanted to believe that I had the power to change and overcome things. I am not so sure anymore.
I came face to face with the fact that the entire structure of my mind, how I think and react, how I feel in this world, is the result of the toxic, unstable and abusive childhood that I had to endure. I finally started grieving for the childhood I didn’t have, for the family I never had, for the love I never experienced, for the accomplishments, I didn’t achieve because I was simply too fucked up too early to use my full potential to anything but bare survival. I started grieving for my teens, the truly lost and miserable years of my life, I started mourning for my twenties, which I spent trying to climb out of the mental pit that my parents had dug for me, I started mourning for my thirties that are passing by at the speed of light with me being paralysed by past trauma and so far unsuccessful attempts to exorcise the insanity of the past out of my system.
I finally faced the complete truth about the relationships with my parents, or better say their relationship towards me. I have always felt compassion for them, I have always felt empathy for them. I always thought they became abusive because they themselves were victims of trauma. Looking back, I am realising that it was easier to look at it this way than to face the one big horrible truth – they didn’t care about me. They never have. They only ever cared about themselves. Just like the narcissist I used to date, they saw me as an object that might serve a function in their lives. They never saw me, the human being. They never cared about my needs, my feelings. When I refused to play the role they assigned to me, that was is. If I dared to speak against them, that was it.
I had an epiphany. I realised that my grandparents didn’t treat my parents as bad as my parents treated me. My parents were 25 when I was born. I can honestly say that from the time my parents were 30, I do remember their interactions with their parents, my grandparents. I don’t remember any invalidation, devaluation, badmouthing, ridiculing and demeaning behaviour. Absolutely none. I don’t remember any passive aggression. I don’t remember any name calling. I don’t remember my grandparents playing the victim and blaming my parents behind their back. I simply don’t.
This was huge for me. The entire story about my parents the victims suddenly collapsed. I couldn’t keep excusing them anymore for how they treated me. My empathy and compassion for them faded. It disappeared.
I still believe that they did suffer some sort of a trauma that wasn’t handled well but I can no longer take it as an excuse for their behaviour. My father’s verbal abuse, his telling me to die, his absolutely inappropriate use of physical punishment for nothing really. My mother’s invalidation and demeaning of me. Her constant playing the victim, her attacks on me when I ever tried to assert boundaries, her expert flipping of the script and making me look like the villain and herself like the victim. Her pathetic sobbing in front of my aunts, expertly manipulating them into believing that she was an excellent loving mother and me the ungrateful unmanagable brat. Her lies, reality distortion and fabrications that successfully alienated me from large portions of my family. She is still doing that now. How can I ever forgive this toxic woman?
I gave myself permission to do the unthinkable. To feel my visceral animalistic hatred for my mother. Yes, I do hate her and she only has herself to blame. The point is that she doesn’t care. She is just going to use the fact that I hate her to further her agenda. What a poor victim she is. Totally innocent. An unlucky excellent mother who gave birth to a monster. I want to puke just thinking about it.
I allowed myself to feel the hatred towards those who let themselves be manipulated by her. Those who never questioned her. The toxic mother is still a huge tabu in this society and many people don’t believe it really is a thing. Why would she lie, right? It must be me… Well…
In fact, I realised that just as others were manipulated by her, so was I. I was the one who in fits of hyperempathy (my therapist’s term) would cry for my mother and her failed life. I would cry for remembering the night row with my father when he hit her, I would cry over her being trapped in a toxic relationship with a sociopath who has been sucking out her money for years (I never cried for myself, I never felt sorry for myself thinking this money should have been mine. That might surprise you but I learned to expect nothing growing up. I learned to expect slights, unfair treatment and invalidation. If that relationship was somehow making my mother happy, then be it).
I finally embraced my mother wound in its entirety. I embraced the pain of being a family scapegoat. I embraced the pain of being constantly invalidated and having my story questioned by my mother’s minions and other people in the society who know exactly nothing about these matters but instead of educating themselves like to pass judgments and argue nonsensically.
I am still struggling with all of this. Sometimes, I am thinking about suicide. I wouldn’t do it. I am too much of a coward. But I don’t judge anyone who makes this decision. Life is unfair. How do you undo years and decades of damage. Of damage that you didn’t deserve, unless being born in a wrong place to the wrong people is a sin. The only thing I have done to deserve this is that I climbed into this world out of the wrong vagina.
I am still wrestling with many questions. Will this horrible hatred I feel towards my mother ever leave me? I have grieved for the relationship. I understood that it’s the same as with the narcissist I used to be in a relationship with – if they ever loved you or cared about you, you would know. The fact that you are asking yourself this question means that they didn’t. I stopped looking for excuses for my mother’s behaviour and started taking her actions at face value. I will be honest with you. I no longer care about her. I allowed something in me to die. I allowed this childish naive little hope to die (hope is bitch, especially when it comes to other people). The hope that I can ever have any sort of a reasonable and healthy relationship with my mother. I am choosing to see her silent treatment and essentially a discard of me as a blessing. She’s not hoovering. She’s not guilt tripping me. She’s gone. She rather not have me in her life than to face herself. The only problem is that to everyone else, she says that it’s me who is not talking to her. Well, I am allowing myself to grieve for those relationships too.
It’s tough to be a family scapegoat. Cast out of the herd to run away into the wilderness with all of the toxic family secrets. It’s a tough role to be given. There is no way back. You either make it. Somehow. Or you die. Natural selection, I guess.
What gives me hope is the fact that there are many others who have gone through that. But it hurts me to know what many of them had to endure. The first woman to have openly written of scapegoating and family abuse was Christina Crawford, an adopted daughter of the actress Joan Crawford. Despite all the psychological knowledge out there describing the narcissistic family dynamics and the behaviour of narcissistic mothers, there are still people who would call Christina a liar. It’s been more than 40 years since her book Mommie Dearest was published. It seems that as a society we haven’t really moved too much. And that is heart-breaking.
I started this article with a question: Can you ever truly recover from toxic parents? My answer is no. You can’t get back those lost years. You can’t erase the pain, the sadness, the loneliness. You can’t correct all that you fucked up as a result of being given those faulty blueprints. You can try pretending it never happened but you know what? You will never be able to erase that handicap that toxic parents gave you. They sent you out into the world with terrible insecurities, no healthy blueprints how to handle life, the world, relationships, anything. It’s impossible to catch up with those who had it better.
I still believe we can turn this handicap into a strength by committing to spreading awareness and making the world better for future scapegoats. Maybe it’s a futile pursuit but I don’t see any other way out than this.
I don’t think I will continue writing about my relationship with a narcissist. I have said enough. In fact, I started working on my second novel and whatever residues of this experience I still need to process, I will do so through that novel.
I learned to see the entire entanglement with the narcissist as a symptom. It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been damaged by my parents. It wouldn’t have had such a devastating impact on me if I hadn’t been broken by my parents. From now on, I want to deal with the underlying cause.
At this stage, I don’t have any answers. I don’t know whether I will ever be able to fully recover. I don’t know whether all this trauma will ever stop hindering the progress of my life. I have no clue whether my panic attacks, depression and other CPTSD awesomeness will continue. I don’t blame anyone who decides to give up. It’s a lot to carry and the truth is that no one really cares.