I am the delicious wholesome filling in an otherwise stale and expired narcissism sandwich
or why I believe pain is finite
It has come to my attention recently that there are quite a few narcissists of a lesser or wider stripe among us at all times. I am obviously coming to this observation extremely late in my life, and it has taken multiple nudgings to get me to admit it.
I think the reason is a combination of self-protection and denial.
It seems to me either that: people are talking and writing more on this topic, or that I have finally started to become aware that people often write about narcissism, and the effects of having this disorder in your family. In the factual articles and personal stories that i have absorbed, i see all too clearly my own childhood experience, as well as the repercussions.
Dear old mum
From my favorite site to look for what seems like fairly un-slanted info:
Destructive narcissistic parents have a pattern of consistently needing to be the focus of attention, exaggerating, seeking compliments, and putting their children down. Punishment in the form of blame, criticism or emotional blackmail, and attempts to induce guilt may be used to ensure compliance with the parent’s wishes and their need for narcissistic supply. Wikipedia
Wow, these people must have met my mom. ha ha but seriously. In my case the narcissism was combined with a lot of neglect, physical and emotional. In fact, there was zero emotional input from my mother. She was not available. She didn't keep me safe. She never put me first, honored me as a human being, paid attention to anything i was doing or experiencing. She repeatedly exposed me to emotional and physical danger. I could go on but you get the idea.
Dear old dad
I had the double misfortune of having a father that I am pretty sure was a sociopathic narcissist. I am not trying to label people here, or put people in a basic box, but you have to admit that labels can be one way to encompass your experience of a person without having to spell out all the dysfunction. so going back to Wikipedia:
In psychology, the dark triad refers to the personality traits of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.They are called “dark” because of their malevolent qualities. Wikipedia
(Note: I object to using darkness as a metaphor for malevolence. that strikes me as racist. I prefer to call this the “stinky triangle”)
so anyway thank god my father was mostly absent from my childhood, however he did manage to swoop in on occasional and take any opportunity to hurt me in many ways that have stayed with me all of my life.
at the age of 16 i forcibly ejected myself from my family of origin, at least I assume they were my family of origin. one is sometimes driven to hope that babies got mixed up at the hospital. however, really, I have to admit that I did come from that twisted gene pool, as i have had the doubly tragic experience of producing my own child who I suspect has many of these sad and scary traits.
I miss my son. He has decided to ghost me after meeting a woman much like himself. that hurts, but what hurt me more was that he has never let me meet his little baby who is now a person 3 1/2 years old. I think she has brown hair. I don’t know the color of her eyes. I am not allowed to receive pictures of her. Really, if you think about it, my son has managed to hurt me so much more that anything my parents ever did. I guess he has really scored in whatever game he is playing, I guess he has really gotten his revenge, for whatever I have done to him.
Hey, I am not saying i was a great parent. I had a lot of problems. they have gotten somewhat better with age and perspective, but that is no excuse. I was very mixed up, clueless and a lot of time a deer in the headlights in terms of my responses to challenges in my life. maybe i didn't know how to care for people the way they needed. I never really got any backup as a parent as i married an emotionally distant person who was often physically absent. at the time I couldn’t have stood to be emotionally involved with a partner. So i thought i was, but as i see it now, I was not truly emotionally involved with my husband at that time. I probably picked him for his own emotional remoteness and lack of interest in my feelings.
Wow, see where this stuff leads us? the interconnectiveness of it all is stunning. We are all a human web, influencing and passing on emotional experiences.
So i grow up in a stinky triangle. Then I create children with a guy who is not going to supply loving listening and caring emotional genes either. Well, hmmmm, not fair, but when you have no protection shit happens.
this is a sad bad stinky story, but there is a good ending.
I now live in Costa Rica and some young friends, my kids age, have recently had a much wanted and valued baby. when the baby was only a couple of weeks old they brought her over to my house so my wife and I could see and cuddle her and enjoy her fresh sweet new baby self. We are also welcome in their home to visit the baby and enjoy her beautiful essence and her peaceful energy.
These friends have truly gifted me in a way that has helped to heal my soul. They would never even conceive of withholding their baby from their parents. The fact that they also are willing to allow me to be near their baby has somehow erased at least of part of the deep shame and sorrow I feel from being denied my own granddaughter.
the thing is, the experience of having a child who has these problems is so much more painful, for me anyway, than it is to have a damaging parent. Being a parent yourself leaves you so terribly vulnerable. you can’t blame yourself for your parents, but you can certainly find many ways to blame yourself for your child. for one thing, I am responsible for passing on these genes. if they had a test for emotional destructiveness, like a test for other genetic disorders, what would you do? maybe be better prepared to offer support and intervention.
so the only thing i can do is allow myself to heal a little bit. and wait. maybe something good will happen. I see many challenges ahead for my own son in his parenting journey. maybe someday there will be a little opening for me and the unconditional love I can offer my granddaughter.
Anyway, no conclusions, no deep thoughts or insights. Other than maybe: time really does heal. Not all people are out to hurt you, even if you are already broken and wailing. work to make yourself a better person, despite what you have been told about yourself. Look for the beautiful moment.