After Narcissistic Abuse Link

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Scent of Cedar *, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Helpful, informative site. The following material is quoted from an article having to do with recognizing and addressing the damage, the negative internals we will carry, from having been raised in families dominated by a narcissistic parent or sibling.


    I included this one because it perfectly describes the underlying dynamic of the shun. This is a direct quote from the site referenced above.

    "How we’re violated: Narcissists cannot tolerate disagreement. For the child who expresses their own thoughts freely, we will be met with much friction from a narcissistic parent. “You don’t think that!” “That is NOT what we think in this family!” Defectors from the narcissists delusional reality of perfection and being the perfect parent or family, will cause the narcissist to act out, typically with rage, to squash the independent thoughts of their children. The child will be called names, ostracized, shut down, shut out, and/or ignored. The resulting feelings will be that the child is not safe to freely share their opinions or thoughts about any topic that goes against the narcissist’s reality. The child is not allowed to experience or express their own reality. To take it a step further, it is typically the child who won’t stop thinking for themselves and expressing the truth they witness, that will become the “scapegoat” in the family; the person on whom all the problems and dysfunction of the family will be blamed for or deemed the cause of.

    Scapegoating within the narcissistic family is in effect an innerfamilial smear campaign. The child who’s got the courage to face down the narcissist’s attempts to squash the truth of the child, is bullied by the group to bring the child under compliance with the group’s (the narcissist’s) mentality lest the child face the ostracism of their family unit.

    How we’re affected:

    We doubt our own thoughts. We need validation of our thoughts from others we perceive as “stronger”. We fear our independent thinking. This can set us up for abusive relationships or to acquiesce to narcissistic and domineering individuals because they seem “more sure” of themselves and seem to “know better” for us than we do for ourselves. We learn to be meek and take the passenger seat in our own lives which leads us to feeling powerless. We become people pleasers. It sets us up to choose people who want power over us, because we’re accustomed to that and we doubt ourselves. We give our power away and this sets us up for disastrous results because allowing a narcissist to control us, will run our lives right into the ground."

    An excellent site for me.

    Very happy, this morning.


  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    HI Cedar,
    Thank you for the article much to think you think that there are degrees of narcissism? The world is full of so many different people, personalities. There are some points in the article that I recognize, but not to the I wondered of that.
    thank you for sharing
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I would expect so. Including some that don't quite reach the diagnostic cut-off. Pretty much every other medical and mental health issue has a 'spectrum' of severity.
  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I wondered about that too. Without any "narcissism", or positive self regard, we would not be healthy, either. In that sense, the term is confusing. One of the best descriptions I have read of the internal reality of the malignant narcissist is: An unrequited love affair with the self. As I understand it, the narcissist idealizes the selected other out of all proportion and then, hates the idealized person, place, or thing they have tried to become or incorporate. For our purposes here, information that resonates with us ~ that gives us a feeling of suddenly understanding why certain things have happened, say ~ is good. If we don't feel that kind of "Oh, I get it now." then the information probably doesn't pertain to us, or maybe we are not ready to hear it or maybe the information is wrong.

    This is one of the images from the site referenced above. I like it especially because it addresses flexibility versus rigidity.

    We are fluid, flexible beings, not solid unchangeable things.


  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Okay. So, this wasn't very clear. The person who hurts others develops hatred for them once the idealized person, place, or thing turns out not to be the ideal they believed themselves less than and held themselves in awe of. It isn't that they just drop them. Which would be a normal thing. It is that they drop and then stalk them, and try to destroy the once idealized person. It isn't that they hurt someone ~ we all hurt one another, all the time. It is that they do not stop doing what they do to hurt someone once they see that they really are hurting someone. It isn't that they call to talk things over, it is that they call and behave as though there is nothing to talk over. but they call, anyway. This is where it shades over into personality disorder, I think. We all have thoughts of revenge, but some of us act on them. Like, flipping someone the bird or honking the horn when we are driving. But some of us follow the other driver home.

    I think I understand too that it has to do with refusing to take responsibility for ourselves.

    The personality of the victim in relationship with someone like that would receive his or her satisfaction from everyone around them being happy. But if we were victimized in this way as children, we are unable to defend ourselves out in the world because we don't know what we want, except for everyone to be happy.

    But wanting everyone to be happy is not helpful when our children are in the kinds of trouble that is happening to my children. So, I have to figure out how to be a stronger person. To do that, I have to re-understand what happened to me when I was a little girl so that I can re-interpret myself. That involves listening for negative tapes. It involves identifying abuse as abuse and forgiving myself for having been abused. It involves learning to see that child that was me with compassion. The child of an abused parent will have been taught to
    see herself with contempt. Before we can honestly clear those toxic negative tapes, we must believe they were wrong.

    Otherwise, we re-traumatize ourselves.

    So, we have to be aware, in our healing. We need to recognize vulnerability and understand how to stay steady state in the face of it.

    That is where Work and Copa's concept of Germany and of the Sleeping Beauty Kiss enter the picture.


    Again, it is a matter of extremes, probably. When it edges over into verbal or physical abuse to twist the victim and shape them into a consistent mirror for the perpetrator's grandiosity, that is what I think they mean when they describe malignant narcissism. The reason this matters here is not to name someone with a nasty psychological-sounding name, but to recognize whether we bear the scars of interacting with someone we loved, but who somehow does not seem to love us. And maybe, somehow hates us, instead. Or is playing some game where the win is something we just don't understand. And so, they tell us we don't think right, or we are too sensitive, or they tell us nothing at all because what they want us to know is that we deserve nothing, not even an explanation.

    So, already damaged, we take the blame for their behaviors. And we walk around all guilty and have PTSD complexly and startle reflexes and fearsome perfectionism and etc.

    Like when my mother raised her hand as though she were going to slap me when I was nearly sixty years old. And thought it was funny. So...I sort of thought it was funny too, except that I didn't think it was funny.

    I was shocked.

    It was instant ~ I don't know. But I was a grandmother visiting my own mother with my own grandchildren and all at once, I was thrown into some weird place where hitting people (Me!?!) is supposed to be funny.

    Well, anyway.

    If we read something that resonates with us, then we know where and how to concentrate on our healing.

    So, for me, to understand that there are people in the world who do things they know will hurt another person because the abuser has a personality disorder that has a name and a set of symptoms helps me to get it, down deep where it matters, that I am not guilty. It goes back to damaged, not defective. If we are damaged, and if we can create a template for who we might have been had we never been damaged, then we have a clearer guideline for healing.

    We can know what that looks like.

    Then, it is only a matter of time and bravery.


    For so many of us, just being out of that circle of abuse is healing over time. This is definitely the case, for me. Of course we can't run around letting people pretend to hit us and thinking that is funny when we are visiting with our grands.

    I am still so surprised that happened. I didn't know what to do then and do you know what? I would not know what to do now, either.

    Even after all this work we have done.

    Okay, so here is the answer to that one. Now, I would know it was wrong. Now, I would not be thrown into that foggy place where I experience ~ I don't know. Time slippage, maybe.

    But you know, when they laugh like it isn't a big deal....

    I recognize that my inability to make a judgment call on that is an artifact of abuse.


    It has nothing to do with anyone but ourselves. Name calling with medical terms would not help us to heal. But knowing where and how we may have been wounded can show us a way to come back from it.
    It takes courage to face our own abandonment issues, or what happened to us inside during episodes of physical or verbal abuse. We only know what we were told about why it was okay to do that to us. Which is what my mom was doing the day she drew back her arm as though to strike or slap and then laughed like it was funny. It was the weirdest thing. I was a married lady / registered nurse / writer / dancer / grandmother. But in that sudden instant, I was none of those things.

    Strange, huh.

    We need information to confront those things we believed were true about us. And while the information may not be absolutely correct and while we are not making diagnoses here, the information can help us determine not only how to see the strange things our families do, but to understand with great clarity that there are wonderful,
    strengthening things they do not do.

    And that is how we heal.

    We provide those strengthening things for ourselves.

    When we know in our hearts that not only were they wrong to do what they did do, but that the are bad people, because good people behave very differently toward those who love them, then we can hold ourselves with true compassion. Not just ourselves, but everyone, really. We are all doing everything we know to make our good lives. Each of us has been hurt at some level, and all of us are carrying as much as we can bear. It matters very much that we can see that, so that we can see ourselves and one another clearly and can choose compassion. This is not about labeling or hurting back or judging. There's been too much of that already. This is about how to be human, and about how to be brave, and about how to learn to be honest with ourselves and one another and how to be truly kind.

    It's way harder than we knew to just sit with all of it.

    But we can do it.

    We are doing it.


    Boy, you guys. I still can't believe my mom did that. It is like, this unbelievable thing that broke the fabric of reality for that instant.

    And then, life (and the visit) went on.

    We grew up all disconnected like that.

    So, pretty much, what we are learning, here on FOO Chronicles, is how to believe that what happened to us really did happen.

    There it is, again. Who is the liar, here.

    We need to stand true, and believe in and take responsibility for ourselves. All that other stuff is way in the past, and doesn't matter. Believing in ourselves matters, very much.

    It can change everything.

  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am glad, Cedar.

    What a great article!
    I think this is where we are going. I believe that because of shame, we have been blocked from feeling healthy narcissism. It was kind of a risk-management strategy lest our mother's retaliate. As in, avoiding having our blocks knocked off.
    I wonder if this is what happened with my sister *towards me.

  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    Copa, you are so funny.


    True, though.


    I read somewhere that there is a circle created of awe on one part and patronization, on the other. That until we are able to let go of judging altogether, we all operate along that circle somewhere. That is why kings and movie stars seem special to us, and why racism exists and so on. For some of us, that circle is a kind of abject, fawning awe versus contempt. The contempt happens because of the shame of the abject awe is projected. It isn't even anything personal, so they say. Just the way some of us are put together.

    That is why they say the love affair the narcissist engages in with himself is unrequited. He is caught out in the external locus of control world, too. But maybe, his world is scarier even than ours. Maybe the difference is in how power is ~ like, instead of everyone being well and well informed and well thought of, only the malignantly narcissistic person can be well thought of.

    Information is a form of currency.

    Remember my describing how my sister behaved about the suckers and the ~ everything, when my father was in the hospital. Or, how angry my mother was when, the first time I was shunned, I called the hospital to find out whether my father had survived CABG surgery. Which my sister had called to tell me about once she was on the scene. And my mother hit the roof when she learned I had called the hospital and already knew, not only that my father had had the surgery, but that he'd survived.

    Strange, hurtful people.

  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes. And this becomes a behavioral template for their being in the world. They become predatory people. It becomes who they are. They are frozen in is. It is kind of like Jekyl and Hyde. Except there is no regret. No shame. Their personalities become segmented, not fluid. They feel not one thing when they stalk, because it is compartmentalized in a place where morality or any feeling that would moderate it, like guilt and shame, do not penetrate.

    The guilt and shame, they project onto others, most likely the person who they hate, and seek to destroy. It is like a virtuous circle. The other, becomes the shameful and guilty one, and for that, deserve every bad thing that can be perpetrated on them.

    The horror of all this is that there is the risk, that we accept this sentence of culpability. We accept this as having deserved it. It would be a miracle to not believe it. Because we were little tiny girls. Imagine growing up in an environment where you were treated as if, as deserving all manner of punishment, abandonment, disdain. And deserved nothing at all of care, of gentle love and acceptance.

    And then we come to attack ourselves throughout our whole lives as guilty, as undeserving, and wrong, or foolish about our responses to abuse, mistreatment or shunning. At the command of our abuser. That is the risk. And the reality. Of the mindsets we learned, that are always there waiting to be exploited. We are always at the ready to respond to that siren call, "who is the fool here?"

    What we do here on FOO Chronicles, is decide that.

    There is a lure of crashing on the rocks, lured by the sirens' call. Because we have abandoned the stewardship of our destinies, to others. We therefore personally bear no risk. No risk. No reward. If we do this, we are in good company. As the political discourse of this past year aptly illustrates.
    In my case, I do not think I needed everybody to be happy. I needed them to be happy with me. If they were not, I accused myself as being bad, guilty, shameful, brazen, out of control...of my appetites and wants. Because after all, my proper place was to want nothing.

    So this puts the buying in another light. Am I practicing wanting anything or wanting all of it, being out of control, or is it trying to satiate the wanting that never, ever had an outlet? Or all of it.

    It is a very, very risky thing to look at all of this because look what we are risking. We open the conversation that always up until this moment, had as a result, every bad thing that could happen to a child; we open up the conversation that as adults, had us taking over and inflicting those punishments on ourselves. Because that is what we learned at our mother's knees, how to take over in ourselves their rage and disdain for us, and make it our own voice, about ourselves.

    That is the bravery that is us. By opening up the conversation, even inside ourselves the risk is to feel the guilt, shame, undeserving, deserving every bad thing, deserving nothing, nothing at all. Deserving abandonment, deserving contempt, scapegoating, deserving isolation, deserving blame.

    Because that conversation about ourselves, now latent, is always there at the ready, to align with the other, about ourselves. We are always at the ready to betray ourselves.

    A diagnosis is only a way to draw a diagram, a map, so we know where we are going, by understanding where we have been. But it a very, very important schematic, this provisional schema of self.
    Yes. Forgiving ourselves for having allowed it. Forgiving ourselves for receiving and accepting love in such a form. Because it was the only love their was. Degrading and demeaning and destructive love. Oh, how sad for us.
    And the child that is still in us, too. Still us. That child is still here. We have a choice. It is recognizing that. This is why the map is important. It shows us where we are, where have been and where we may choose to go. It shows us, if we have taken a false turn, where we need to turn back. And that we can.
    Yes. But this requires seeing them first. First seeing them. Then that they are wrong. Then holding faith with ourselves, standing strong with ourselves and each other, as we stand alone, together. This is bravery.
    Yes. That is the risk. By abandoning ourselves, lured by the siren-call of another's love, a love which is treacherous, we re-traumatize ourselves.

    Now, this is not to say that it is impossible to be in relationship with our families. We can. And should, if we can. But extreme care must be taken to not abandon ourselves, because that will always be the siren call.
    I am not sure. I will look again at the definition.
    When I read this, I felt my mother. I believe my mother loved me. But oh, what a love it was. It was such a love that I could not bear it. Oh how very sad this is for both of us.
    And here I think of my sister. But little by little, I am understanding more.
    Exactly. And what they want us to know is that we are wrong. We are mistaken. We are foolish. We have done shameful things. We are undeserving. We are bad. And most of all, we do not deserve to live in the sun or live at all. Maybe under a rock is OK. But there needs to be a banner or a billboard announcing to all of the world our crimes and our absolute inferiority to the sister and our complete subjugation to her control and definition. Was this biatchy? Sorry.
    Yes. But I still prefer to call it evil. Sorry.
    Yes. This makes me tingle. With what? Fear? Daring? Glee? Recognition? Like I am coming out of the closet?

    I am free and I am proud. Free to be you and me.

    The most interesting thing happened with this post. The top quotes, the ones I took at the beginning of your post, turned out to be at the bottom, in inverse order. So I am dropped off here, at the beginning of Cedar's post, where she cites her intent. Her mission statement and why.
    We have.
    We do now.
    You do, Cedar. You are. You have done it.
    It does. We are doing it. We have done it. We have done the hardest part.

    It struck me this morning after reading your words *my whole morning has been devoted to this, and to responding: We have crossed the river. We may still be in the low water at the other side, but we have crossed the depths.

    I hear in your voice a confidence and trust in yourself, that I have never before heard. There is a sense of completion and strength that I have never before heard. Bravo, Cedar. You have become your own hero. You are the hero of your life. I am so proud of us. Each of us. I am proud of myself.
    Yes. We are identifying themselves and we are doing them. Helping each other across the river.

    When we could have abandoned ourselves and each other and watched from the other, far shore. Which now, for you, almost does not exist, except a memory. What a happy day.
    Yes. It most certainly is. I am smiling here. A big, wide smile.

    Thank you everybody. Everybody had a piece in this victory march which we continue.
    And now what we need to believe, what the truth is of the story, is victory. Transformation. Heroism. Bravery. Commitment to ourselves and to each of us, and by inference commitment to everything good, because we are becoming people of true integrity. Of confidence. Of true voice. True to ourselves.

  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Is it not a curious and remarkable thing that my mother, sister and I had the same triangle.

    How my sister just became undone when I called the hospital the first time she tried to take control of my mother. This need to not just control the person, and the events, but to control the story. It is remarkably chilling. Why? I do not, still, get the win.

  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Control IS the win. They are fighting for control. At least, that's been my experience.
  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thanks Insane Copa and Cedar, I will have to review the article more thoroughly, I quickly ran through it and missed the chart. It fits in with my thoughts when driving that we all have a bit of narcissism, it is a survival thing. Healthy narcissism, what a concept. It may seem like an oxymoron, but really not, because we all need to have a level of self esteem that carries us through life.

    Forgive me, but this article has stirred up all sorts of stuff, and especially stuff about FOO. Not just my FOO, but the forum itself. I think I will be writing and thinking about this periodically throughout the day.

    This is what I was thinking about this morning, before I even glanced over the thread. FOO.
    I know from the work here in FOO that it was okay and maybe even necessary and essential for me to examine my family system. In fact, I had always had this feeling that things were just not right, that I felt very uncomfortable in my home growing up.

    Then I felt something must be wrong

    I was always told that I was " too sensitive" "that was so long ago....get over it", but "it" kept lurking in my mind. I knew from my family's reaction that anything I addressed with them would not be well received.
    So I stuffed it down. Okay, I did write a poem here and there but that was received with awkward silence, rolling eyes and sideward glances. Ahem.

    "It" came rearing its ugly head, as the drama and chaos of my two built, and I had those familiar old feelings of dread with being at home. When the moment came where I figured out the insanity of having my d cs at home and realized they would not be coming back, anger subsided to this emptiness that touched a rawness that sent me back to very old feelings bubbling up to the surface.

    It was like a collision of two time zones.

    I am thankful for this opportunity to review and sort out things here on FOO. It has been very cathartic and helpful in the healing process with dealing with the pure horror of having my beloved children engage in such abhorrent destructive behavior.
    Somehow, the deep hurt of that became intertwined with past issues.

    You know what it was, it was a feelings earthquake, that's it, the trauma of dealing with the kids just caused this catastrophic seismic activity in my heart and mind that revealed and dredged stuff up that I had buried for so long.

    I think that because I could not do anything about what the kids were doing, I was left to delve into that stuff.

    I became a feelings archeologist. Then, coming upon this site and FOO forum was like a feelings archeologist coffe hour and darn it, you guys are all so undeniably fascinating and real, I jumped in.
    I took the plane to Egypt and started searching through De Nile........Oh boy, sorry this is turning into a book..........
    I have written some very private things here and truth be told, would not want my FOO to read them. These are not things I would tell them, because I know they would not understand, or want to hear it.
    Okay gang, forgive me, I am rambling here. But I have to say too, that I am obviously affected by our dear friends experience and recent post. I would be mortified if my FOO read my deepest thoughts here, it would be hurtful for my sister, which is not my intention.

    I am trying to figure out what makes me tick, make some sense out of all of this and how I can better myself. If in the process I dredge up memories and write how I felt, then and now, then those are my feelings and my perception. My story, my truth. It may look entirely different to others in my FOO, because they are
    This work is hard enough alone........
    Oh drat, to Serenity and family, please do not be offended by this. I honor your words Serenity and am glad that you have reconciled things. I love my sibs, but dang there are some things that have been super hurtful that I need to get out of my system......I am sure my sis has plenty to say of me, all in all we are human, people just trying to live our lives, some of us under very difficult circumstances.

    I have written to others that CD Is like a journal that answers back, and it is. Anonymity affords us an ability to share some pretty deep raw, personal emotions. These are feelings that we wouldn't necessarily share with others that know us.
    That is why we are here. So I will write this now.

    I am thankful for this section of CD. New members post and I see bits here and there with their writing that they have also had difficult childhoods. I think FOO work is really, really important. If we are going to build ourselves up to face the reality and pain of what our kids are doing, and we have issues that are unresolved with our past, I think it makes for a shaky foundation.

    I love my FOO. But dammit, there were some very sad, horrible moments in my childhood that I wish I could redo. But I can't.

    So I feel them. Yup, I feel my feelings. You knew why? Because I wasn't allow to feel them in the past. I was always supposed to suck it up and move on.
    Does this make me a person that dwells on the past. I do not think so. I wasn't ever really able to explore this stuff before. It is kind of forbidden territory, if you know what I mean.

    Okay, then there is the whole component of my off the rails kids dredging up their past and blaming me for their problems. Is it the same? I don't think so. The goal is very different. Their goal is to find a reason to continue bad behaviors, my goal is to discover, to retrace, to grow from what I am learning.

    So here goes. My sis was and is a very strong willed domineering person. I can be strong in some respects, but for the most part am very sensitive.infact, I ordered the book "Highly Sensitive People" because I want to explore this more. I am wondering if this mixture of sis being dominant and my being sensitive was and is a sort of Molotov cocktail. In other words, did my reaction continue to fuel her young fire to dominate and control? I don't know. All I know is what I have experienced and that feeling in the pit of my gut that I need to figure this out. I need to address things that for doing went unaddressed. I don't want to be stuck there. I love my family. I know we all have an opportunity to change and grow.
    But I do know that I want to examine this further and it is important for my growth.
    Okay guys I am on my phone and my fat fingers pressed post on accident so it is post or delete. I am taking a leap of faith and posting. I hope I have not offended anyone.
    Thank you all for the work you have done and paving the way.
    To my family if anyone ever reads this.....I love you guys to the moon and back but I went through some pretty heavy stuff that has been stuck with me for a long time.
    I am reviewing for my sanity.
    Forgive me
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Control over themselves, over us, or all of it?
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    The real victim of this, is the sister. Because they lose the opportunity to learn and change when the moderating emotions like guilt and shame, they project onto somebody else.

    When you think about it, guilt and shame, a small dose of them, are self-protective and protective of others. Remember than book I bought by the psychiatrist I heard on NPR. I think the book was Guilt, Shame and Anxiety, or something like that. Was his name Peter Bremmer? I think so. His argument, at least initially, as I did not keep reading, was this: That these emotions are responsible for our species humanity, because these emotions keep us from killing our young, keep us bound to them, in our care, and keep older siblings from killing off younger ones.

    Pretty important, no? All of these prohibitions, this control, this self-control, brought with them the opportunity to nurture one's young for a prolonged period of dependency in childhood, that itself led to our development as a species.

    If you look at it this way: Our parents' lack of effective use of guilt, shame and anxiety about their parenting...which was blocked by their narcissism is what led to their unwillingness, or inability to check themselves when they parented poorly.

    Because they projected all guilt and shame into us. And that is what has impaired our own sisters' self-development, too. The same thing. They too project their own guilt and shame, into us. Or try to. They are victims, of themselves. Because they are frozen in time.

    That is why they try so hard to get us back under control. Because they need us defined as the guilty, shameful and mistaken one, in order to control their own anxiety. It is very, very sad for the sisters.

    Really, less so, for us. Because recognizing what has happening, is happening, can free us. If we choose.

    The sisters lack the incentive to try to see their lives differently. Because they have us. And they have frozen themselves into a rigid, stereotypical and dependent system. They are dependent upon us as receptacles of their noxious emotions.

    Our choice is to accept them, or not. We can never make it different for them. That is the sadness.

    Because I still believe we do have sadness and a sense of responsibility for leaving our sisters behind. Still. To which we are always vulnerable. And it was this that was triggered when our children hit the rocks. And we longed to crash ourselves, too, if that would have saved them. Thank Goodness, with each other, we tied our hands to the masts so that we could stay strong and firm.

    Still I see it in each of us, that perverse desire to forfeit ourselves to save the sister, the illusion of the sister, the illusion of real family, the illusion of love. The siren song.

    Even when we have built all of this in our own self-regard, and in our families of now. It is a very sad thing, to live as human beings.

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Generally, all of it; but if they have to choose, then control over others rather than control over self.
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Think of my mother, gleefully anticipating authoring the story of my father's family. Which story will be included with the geneology she has spent the past twenty years researching and will send down the family line, a copy for each child and one for every cousin and grand. Not her family's geneology ~ my father's. Think of her beginning already, shortly after my father's death, to spread rumors that my grandmother, hated with an almost rabid intensity, was a murderess.

    There are other strangenesses as well, that I have not posted here because they were not personally traumatic to me.

    Except that of course they must have been or I would not have hidden them away.

    A piece of this, for me and I could be the only one, is distaste at what I know of these people. I think the dynamic could be that before our work here, I was sort of programmed for shame. So, thinking about any of this, the conclusion would just be: "That is just my mother." Or, "Oh, that is just my sister."

    And that is a shame response, you guys. Whether we care to admit it or not, it means we have chosen not to confront.

    I think ~ and again, this might only be true for me ~ that I determined to love them and so I did. That is why I was blind. That is why the poetry is about "a blind and savaged child that living, breathing, died". That there may be nothing admirable or generous or gentle in these people at all.


    That is a scary thought too, and brings up echoes of "Who is the liar, here?"

    It brings up echoes of whether in this too, I am like my mother.

    Where is my own gentleness, my own loyalty to blood?



    But boy, once we begin allowing ourselves to see the choices our people have made having to do with hurtful things that could not possibly make a difference now except to the fiction of their own reputations, then we understand how determined they were to exert their wills over us. How determined they must have been, maybe, to create of us little mirrors, broken and broken again to reflect to the parent a sense of her own distorted grandiosity.

    And that is what is chilling.

    Not only that little girls (and boys) thirty to fifty pounds soaking wet were broken for the cheap, tin win of an adult's addiction to her own (really you guys, ravening) grandiosity, but that because of it, we have lived our lives without access to our own strength or for our own best interests.

    Always and forever we have looked outside ourselves for answers that were within us. We have discounted ourselves to ourselves and so, have been easy prey for those with similar mindsets.


    Okay, so here is the bright side of that one: As adults we do recognize these people instantly. Unfortunately (as Copa sometimes says), we are ugly. We pop ourselves into ugly. And I have not heard a more apt description of the feeling of shame. We are popped immediately into ugly (into shamed victim status). We can no longer see clearly.

    That is an interesting observation about my own self. I will be monitoring my popped-into-shame-victim-status consciously, today. I think Brene Brown's "Sit with the feelings." was a correct way to defuse the feelings.

    But, we need to recognize them ~ all of them, in all their myriad twisted layers ~ first.
  16. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So, like always, I am trying to ferret out the why. Control what, exactly. What would that feel like, if life were a series of orchestrated, predetermined outcomes. I can understand: grandiosity hit. At the heart of it, that is what a serial killer is all about, too. So, we know these twists exist. So I wonder if it is like this: Just as the painter, though she may never become an artist, experiences reality differently than the musician, so there are people whose experience of being alive is as different from our experiences of being alive as the painters is from the musicians is from the dancer's.

    That is why we don't understand our families of origin. (Especially the sicker ones.) It is a literal truth that we do not see what they see.

    I wonder what they dream.

  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The need to FEEL in control. As in, they cannot handle feeling "out of control", and for them, the only other option is to feel "in control". Usually, these people have gone through their own FOO issues, and been damaged. Being "out of control" leaves them open to damage. So, perhaps they see the "controlled, orchestrated life" as a way of damage control?

    In the process, they damage others. They don't see that. Their own survival depends on being "in control", and because that isn't 100% possible, they never "arrive" at that calm, collected, peaceful existence that they (like most of us) seek.
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I added the chart for us after your question about a continuum. That was a good question.

    Who we believe ourselves to be matters more than anything, I think this is true. Leafy: Who are you without referencing your sister?

    In my life, the things I most valued were not real. They were hopeful things, they were faith-filled things having to do with some future that never happened ~ that could never happen. I let my mother and my sister walk all over me and never once acknowledged there was anything the matter with my allowing that. "Oh, that's just my mom. Oh, that's just my sister." Had I not known already who they were Leafy with crystalline clarity, I would not have taken such care to hide it from myself.

    I see something like that happening with you, too.

    But I am not the one who can see it or address it or heal it, Leafy. Only you can do that.

    I can tell you what happened to me. I can tell you that as we come through it, we gather strength along the way for the next step. That much I do know.

    I believed in that Family Dinner I always used to post about because the reality of my family of origin was, as I am finally, finally beginning to understand, so ugly and hurtful a reality.

    I have a little sense of that when you describe yourself, Leafy.

    Of the way I was determined to create what I wanted, and what everyone else seemed to have, out of a very much uglier reality than I was able to face while I was still seeing my family of origin.
    Then, shunned again after a series of machinations that would have made Machiavelli whistle admiringly (where do they get the energy to do these things ~ to hate us, as they seem to?!?) I had to grieve the loss of them.

    I love my mother. I admire her and find her fascinating and think she is cute except that she can be embarrassing in public and boring in private. (So, how fascinating. It is a day for examining the undersides of pretty things, maybe.) While those things I just wrote are true, I actually do love my mother very much. She is fascinating in the dangerous way a beautifully green serpent is fascinating. Like, I cannot look away. My sister...clacks along. Making the strangest noises and doing the strangest things.

    Until she hurt my child.


    Memory lane is especially mercilessly bright, today. Makes me feel all toothy.

    Which means I am afraid.

    Unless it means something worse.


    And now, finally, I am actually seeing some really nasty stuff that is actually true stuff ~ and that leaves me wondering, one more time, just who is the liar, here?

    In the past, the liar turned out to have been my mother, whose version of reality I never questioned. Or my sister, clack and clatter, whose version doesn't matter.

    Until she hurt my child.

    And so, I woke up.

    A different kind of Sleeping Beauty kiss, Copa.

    We each felt that way at first too, New Leaf. For me, it began with an acknowledgment and a determination to heal both for my own sake and so that I can be a stronger, healthier mother for my kids who are so much in need of a stronger me. Next to that, anything my FOO might have to say about anything I need to do to accomplish that goal pales into insignificance. (Which turned out not to matter anyway because I am still shunned as shunned could be. Fortunately, as it turns out, after all.) The fear of exposure we feel in telling these truths is only fearsome until we come clear and step away from the victim mentality we were hurt into when we were little girls or little boys.

    And that kind of hurt? That kind of shame and embarrassment poured all over those beautiful little kids who were us?

    That is the wrongness, Leafy.

    Not what we need to do to recover from it.

  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I can understand this. That is what perfectionism is about, right? If everything is good, if everyone is happy, then the bad things will not happen. Which is about guilt and global responsibility foisted onto the developing child by the grandiosity addict parent. To me it is, you guys. I am wondering about my own perfectionism and will to control. In response, I am remembering questioning myself pretty mercilessly about whether the weird things happening at those family dinners I tried to make had to do with my own jealousy or with my ~ I don't know. Like, overweening pride at believing in the dinner. Or having a house. Or having dishes. All kinds of things.

    Most of which I then blamed on D H.



    But as I am coming through into healthier, I recognize in this kind of thinking too, that same old global shame/responsible for everything victim mindset. We sift through it until we find the why to explain what they've done. And it seems to me that the worst things we come up with are the ones we believe about ourselves.

    I don't know how to stop doing that.

    Brene Brown's "sit with the feelings", probably.

    So, that is what I will do, then.


    Perfectionism must be on a continuum, too. And control issues.

    NASA must make every effort to exert control, or the spacecraft would never make it home from the moon.



    I always go back to that because I can feel it there, in the memories of my mother. A thick, chuckling thing; fat, and the eyes vacant. What do I see in my sister. I seem not to have enough interest in her to have seen her at all. She is behind me, when I do see her.


    Not in the line of fire.

    She is safe, he is safe, the baby is safe.

    Except that the baby wasn't safe.

    She may have been part of keeping everything clean and happy. Her happiness, I mean. My sister's. Until she did what she did. And until, in that instant, I stopped being ashamed of myself for what was happening with and to my children (those poops ~ which I can call the but no one else had better) and began protecting them from her dirty rotten way she sees them with such glee.

    Which I should have been doing all along.

    Except that what the kids were doing really was wrong. And I really was embarrassed and appalled and etc.

    Or it could be that I am off on a grandiosity tour of my own. Hurting people who cannot defend themselves because I am doing it anonymously.

    Who is the liar here.

    That must be a question we ask ourselves at every level of healing. So, that is good, then. Integrity, to the degree that we can manage it, matters.

    Sort of like quality control at the spinach factory.

    On Popeye. On those old Popeye the Sailor Man cartoons.


    I am doing good work this morning. What I meant to post on in response to your comment IC is this question: How does hating the sisters have to do with control issues? Is it that they just wish us gone altogether? Then, why do they keep calling and etc. (Other than my sister, who is shunning me too, this time. Or, is being shunned by me. Because truly you guys, I could call them every single day. But I do not because I want this space and time.)

    How is that we see it again and again that there will be that one sibling who attempts to dominate the first parent and succeeds in dominating the remaining parent? Or is it that the parent and the sibling are the same genetic makeup. Why do the sisters seem to need to see us dirtied?

    We don't do that to them. (Except for me, posting away here the way I do, saying awful things and meaning every word.)

    Bad Cedar.

    (Who is the liar, here.)

    But we hear it so often. The maladjusted sibling eliciting allies. In new husbands, in their own children, in extended family. Creating that wicked dynamic: "When did you stop beating your wife?"

    So, that would be my question. How does hating us (other than that we are pseudo mom and carry the sister's hatred of the real mother and who knows what else in that nasty mix) ~ how does hating us and destroying our reputations and eliciting allies and turning everything into a contest instead for just one time, that freaking family does that fit into the control mindset.

    What does destroying us have to do with controlling their own lives when we are all adults, now? When we could put everything behind us and begin healing and accepting both ourselves and one another?

    That piece I don't understand. Why do they devote that kind of energy to dirtying our reputations? (What would Cedar do. So, the laughter then had to do with them knowing exactly what the deal was that they both were entering in to. Maybe, that is why they told me about it and found it so hilarious.)

    And why I felt a dark chill. And never forgot it. And post about it here all the time.

    Because I know, too.

    But why do they do that. When it would be just as easy not to.

    And here is another question. So, if they know they have lied to create certain interpretations of us, then how is it possible for them to take pleasure in having their interpretations of us validated by people who don't know us? Husbands. Extended family. Anyone.

    And it always does happen that one day, the husbands come face to face with it enough times that they understand the person they are married to is nothing like the person they married.

    But everyone is destroyed, already.



    So, okay. Needing to control might be ~ probably is, now that I think about it ~ a need to not be exposed as the liar.

    Oh oh, you guys.

    There is it again.

    Who is the liar here.

    That must be a pivotal fulcrum of a question.

    Which makes sense, doesn't it.

    So IC, would the answer be that the sisters (and the moms, in my case) do what they do to disparage us and destroy our reputations even to ourselves (remember the lady driver you guys, and the eye rolling) because who we are really makes what they have constructed of us a pretty obvious lie.

    And that is what they are controlling. Once again, which is what we get to when we get to the core issue in any kind of abuse, there is nothing personal to the abused person, to the victim, in what the abuser does.

    Abusers abuse because they are abusers.

    So does the question become what is the matter with us that we refuse to allow ourselves to know what we know.

    Why does it hurt us to think of those we claim to love and no matter what, really do seem to love and to must be that the question of who the liar is here is the primary question.

    The question Joseph must have answered Copa and everybody, to have never bought in to the slave mindset.

    Who is the liar here.

    Maybe, that is the question that matters most of all.

    Because the essential lie the abuser continues to try, with all her might, to impose?

    Is who they taught us we were.
  20. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Is that the secret thing I keep beating myself up for?

    Is there some weird underlying dynamic here that enables me not to take responsibility for the shun. That is one complexity too many for me this morning. Truly, I am not responsible for the shun. Not this time, and not last time.

    "But I think it might be true that I wished, always, to get away from them." Cedar whispers down a well.

    So that would explain my determination regarding Family Dinner.