Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Grave Offenses Pt. 1

It doesn't take much to set off a narc.  I would get yelled at for the most ridiculous things, and often she would follow her screaming rants with crazy beatings (I'll describe those in the next post or so).  I got to thinking about the things that I did to her which made her have to set me straight.  It's playing fast and loose with your sanity to go down this road with a narc, but you learn to adapt because your very safety and survival depend on it.  Sometimes it's only after getting away from the narc that you realize just how crazy her reasoning was.  What's bad is that some of her nutty habits stick with you because they are ingrained from an early age.

So what did I do to the poor woman that made her abuse me?  Let's see...

1. Letting my toes crinkle when wearing flip-flops.  According to her it was because I was wearing a dress with flip-flops.  She told me that since I didn't know how to wear flip-flops with a dress that I would never be allowed to do so again.  She kept her word on that.

2. Neatly arranging her toiletries on her decorative toiletry stand after being made to clean her bathroom.  She walked in and took one look at what I had done, saw the very slightly different way I had arranged things and took her arms and knocked everything over.  I don't remember what she said exactly, but it was something along the lines of me screwing up because I didn't put her hairspray in front of the lotion, and how it was all just a big, ruined mess.

3. For my senior portraits, I put a barrette in my hair to pin up the sides.  It was one of the approved hairstyles I could use as a general rule.  When she saw how I looked (which was pretty good for 1989), she went ballistic.  She told me that I couldn't apply for the scholarship that was recommended to me by friends of the family because I was too "kooky" and "screwy," and that the school wouldn't want someone like me who didn't know that I was supposed to wear my hair completely down for senior portraits.

4. Letting my bra straps fall down on my shoulders while wearing a boatneck top.  I was 12 and had been wearing a bra for only 2 years, and she would yell at me any time my straps showed.  So I pushed them over as far as I could, which meant they fell over my shoulders.  I didn't have much for shoulders because I was freakishly skinny, so that made her mad as hell.  We were at Disney's Epcot Center, and while waiting in line, she went nuts, telling me how I was doing it all wrong, and that she was gonna forbid me to even wear a bra, and she threatened to make me take off my bra right then and there.  Fortunately she got distracted by something else.  The lines at that place were very long and crowded, but she didn't care how many people saw and heard.  No one ever stepped in to help me out, and she knew they probably wouldn't.  As soon as I could get away from her, I did, and was sitting by a fountain, crying very quietly.  She came up to me and told me a sibling told her I was "bawling," and proceeded to yell at me some more for crying.

5. Not smiling at all times, especially when we went anywhere.  She (and AF) would tell me to "quit frowning up" and to "smile."  This was especially true after a beating or a verbal assault, especially if it was in public.

6. Not looking at the minister at all times during a sermon.  As I got older, I would try to sit somewhere (in church) where she couldn't see me because she would glare at me during the entire service, making sure I had the correct expression on my face, and that my eyes were looking in the right direction.  My peers liked sitting in the back of the church so they could cut up a bit, but I liked it because the bitch couldn't see me at all.  I once had a migraine, and since she never took me seriously, I had to go to church and play the piano for the service.  I was sitting there in great pain, and had my eyes cast downward, and she went nuts when we got home, telling me I was being so rude to the minister by not looking at him.  I reminded her about my awful headache, and she said it didn't matter, that I was always supposed to give him my undivided attention.

7. My teacher telling her I had "high expectations of people."  Well, that's what she said the teacher said.  It sounds like a pretty lofty thing for a teacher to say about a 5-year-old.  In my infinite wisdom as a 39-year-old, I imagine the teacher said something along the lines of, "she tries very hard and wants to do well."

8. Wearing penny loafers during the Thanksgiving meal.  I was 17, and I wore a size 12 shoe from the time I was about 15, and it was 1000 times harder to find size-12 shoes in the late 80s than it is now.  She approved of my sweater and jeans, but she wouldn't allow me to wear sneakers, so when I put on my shiny, brand new penny loafers (which I paid for myself) she went nuts, claiming I was being rude to my AB and his wife by not wearing dressier shoes.  As if they would even notice.

9.  Not wearing a full face of makeup to help AS and her husband move out of their apartment.  This was when she told me about the foundation keeping the sweat from getting into my skin (one of her "Pearls of Wisdom").  She also told me I was being rude to AF and BIL by not being properly "fixed up," and that she hoped they wouldn't be insulted by how I looked (which was still nice because I only needed a bit of mascara and lip gloss to look presentable).

10. Buying anything and not showing it to her the second I got home.  I had my own money from the time I was about 16, whether it was from babysitting or working at a part-time job I got at 17.  If I went anywhere with anyone else, or if I were lucky enough to go anywhere on my own, and bought anything, such as a purse or a pair of socks, she would go apeshit if I didn't show her what I bought the very minute I walked in the door.  When I would show her, she would then say negative things about whatever it was that I bought.

I feel a bit nauseated now.  Time to stop.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cruelty: Verbal Abuse, Part 1

Narcs love to abuse.  Verbally, physically, emotionally, name it.  They do it both offhandedly and deliberately, and their deliberate abuse is often done with nefarious intent.  Of course they would deny that they were trying to hurt anyone, and their defense is usually that they were defending themselves against you.  You, who stood up to them, who questioned their motives, who caught them telling barefaced lies.  You, who dared to have a mind of your own.  And sometimes they are cruel just to watch you squirm.  You attacked them, so they had to hurt you.  You tried to do better for yourself, but they had to let you know that you'll never amount to anything.  If they find out that you have any "weak spots," they will dig at them just to hurt you.  Sadistic, indeed.

Some examples from NAM:

1.  "You look good now, but you don't need to get any bigger."  I was 15 and 5'11" and weighed 135 pounds.  Yeah, I was a real fatty.  I already felt like a huge freak, so this helped me feel so much better about myself.  Not.

2.  "Imagine how you would feel if you were gang-raped."  This lovely tidbit came after I told her about being sexually abused by one of the older foster children they insisted on keeping in their home.  This same creep also molested my brother, and NAM knew about it when it happened.  Did she kick the creep out of her house?  Nope.  She even continued to keep in touch with him, even years later, sending him gifts and calling him, and sending gifts to his children.  She knew what he did, and because he talked about how much he enjoyed living with us and described the time as the best in his life, well, he got treated like royalty.

3.  "Your sister would never let anyone do something like that to her."  This, of course, was the first thing she said after I finally told her about the sexual abuse.  I was 19 when I told her, and I think I was about 10 when it happened.  No compassion from her at all.  Just blame.  And she was always mad at me and my brother for not getting along with the molesting fucker.  And she knew about what he had done to my brother, but my brother was still supposed to get along with his molester?  I lived in terror for a long time, afraid to go to sleep at night because I never knew if he would come into my room again.  He harassed me for quite a long time after the first offense, grabbing me and fondling my crotch, painfully and forcefully.  If I told him to leave me alone or asked him to do anything (such as to get out of my room or to pass on some instructions from NAM) he would say, "Yeah, if you give me some pussy."  He would watch me through the bathroom door, taking full advantage of the fact that we were forbidden to lock the doors.

4.  "You better hope it's a boy so you can get your tubes tied."  I had just told her I was pregnant with child #2.  No "congratulations" or anything.  Like I'd get my tubes tied at 23 years old.

5.  "I'll just take two sheets and sew them together."  Boy did I regret saying that I was having a hard time finding maternity clothes during my first pregnancy!  The town where we lived had one store that sold a few pieces, but, because of my height, none of it fit.  I had two things I could wear that actually fit, and one came from a maternity store 3 hours away.  1994 was not a good year for a tall woman to be pregnant.  I had some hand-me-downs from my SIL, but I could only wear the shirts and shorts.  Of course NAM criticized the way I looked in all of it.  She hated that I gained "so much" weight.  True, I gained 55 pounds, but I had mild pre-eclampsia, and I had lost 35 pounds by 6 weeks postpartum.  She would talk about me (right in front of me) and say how "worried" she was because I gained so much weight.  And of course, she followed that with her fear of the baby getting stuck because of all the fat in my birth canal.

6.  "With your flat butt?  No one would hire you!!!"  Some friends of the family had done some modeling and commercials for a department store about an hour away (from where we lived when I was growing up).  They suggested that I get started because of being tall and attractive, and because it paid very well for very little effort.  Shortly after they told me about this, NAM was complaining about money, and I told her I could do some modeling like Married-Couple-Friends suggested, and she quickly "put me in my place."  A modeling career snuffed out before it even started.

This is more than enough for now.  I can only stomach thinking about this junk for so long.

Her View Of The World

This one may take a while.

Like most Narcissists, NAM has, shall we say, a rather distorted view of things. If you get to know an N very well, you see that there's something rather odd about their thinking. They have strange ideas, and if you dare correct them or express a different opinion, or, god forbid, show indifference to something they're sure is a life-or-death situation, then you'd better start sleeping with one eye open. Sure, they may not chop you up into little pieces and serve you with a side of fries, but they will harm you physically if you're not careful. God forbid you have an allergy to something. The narcissist will deliberately put whatever it is into your food, on your clothing, or anywhere you least expect, and the scary thing is that they can lie so easily and claim that they didn't know you were allergic, or that it was an accident. If their lies fail to convince, they'll claim that you made it all up, and that you're faking your allergy just to "punish" them for something when all they did was try to "help" you. Why do you have to be so sensitive?


So onto their strange ways...

1. If there's something they don't know about, then it doesn't exist. If they haven't heard of it, then it's information that is of no use to them. And if they catch you trying to learn something new that they haven't shown you themselves, then you must think you're "better" than everyone else.

2. If you have a different opinion about something or have different preferences, you're judging them for their opinions and preferences. It could be as simple as preferring dark chocolate to milk or taking a shower in the morning instead of a tub bath at night. If you like certain TV shows, and they don't, or if they haven't heard of your favorite shows, then you're judging them. It must be nice to watch TV all the time. No wonder your house is always a mess.

3. Their sense of style, whether it's fashion, decorating, hair, make-up, etc. is skewed and is usually several years behind the times. True, there are many people who don't keep up with the latest trends, but they are aware that they don't. The N will claim that what they're doing is the best in the world, and if you dare do differently, watch out! Then you're criticizing them, attacking them, or trying to sabotage them. Or you're trying to make them look bad to other people because you didn't do what they did when you clearly knew that their way was the only way. If you read magazines or books that talk about fashion or decorating, then they chastise you for it, especially if you put any of the advice into action. Then they'll say something like, "It must be nice to have all that time on your hands. I don't have time to read books and magazines to see how to make beds." Or put on eyeshadow, or organize a pantry. How dare you try to improve yourself and try new things?

4. They tend to be freakishly neat. And you had better clean the same way they do. And don't you dare show them a new cleaning product or describe a method they don't use. Then you're telling them that they don't clean properly, or that their house is dirty. I remember when Clorox wipes came out, and I bought a tub of them for myself and one for NAM. I thought she would like the convenience because I knew she liked to keep things clean on a daily basis. You know, like keeping the bathroom wiped up so it doesn't get as dirty and the weekly cleaning is easier? Oh, but no! She claimed I was trying to tell her that she didn't know how to clean, and she said, "Are you trying to tell me my bathrooms are dirty?" And, of course, she launched into a tirade about the times she came over to my house and things weren't cleaned up, or I had laundry that needed to be folded.

5. They tend to have strange views about religion. I'm not a churchgoer myself, but I was forced to attend while I lived with my parents and was chastised for not going every time the doors were opened, after I moved out. After I had children, OMG, the fact that I wasn't taking them to church was, to her, as bad as starving them or sending them on a trainride straight to hell. She used to tell my children that I was going to hell, and, the freaky Baptist that she is, would tell them frequently, "Tell your mommy you want to be baptised." She HATED that my children weren't baptised when her other grandchildren of the right age were. She made me get baptised when I was five, and she loved the attention she got from having the youngest child to be baptised at the church. And don't you go letting your baby get "sprinkled." A ticket straight to hell it is. And don't you know that Catholicism is a "cult?" And any denomination that doesn't condemn alcohol is influenced by "the devil."

6. Her children are supposed to be just like each other--and just like her. She was "so hurt" that I was the only one of her children that didn't listen to American Family Radio. You know, that American Family Association diarrhea of the mouth that instructs parents to hit their kids and claims there's a "homosexual agenda" that's destroying the family, and so on? I also had no religious music in my car, and I didn't listen to any of it either. She was so embarassed that I was not "letting the Holy Spirit live through" me like her other children did. My ex-husband (my children's father) was criticized for not attending Promise Keeper's meetings, and of course, our divorce was caused by the two of us losing our "spiritual focus." And about my divorce: she hated it! She would introduce me as her child that "doesn't have a spouse" and would tell people (who didn't care one way or the other) that my ex and I just "couldn't be nice to each other anymore." She was "so worried" about me. Her other children were happily married, and she had been married for 40 years herself. What would people think of her for having a divorced child?

So here's a sample of some of her "pearls of wisdom."

1. Promoting breastfeeding over formula is as offensive as advocating the use of KY over Vaseline.

2. If you gain more than 15 pounds when you're pregnant, you'll get too fat, which will make the baby get "stuck" because of the "fat" around your birth canal.

3. Don't breastfeed if you can get free formula from the WIC program.

4. Don't buy too many nursing bras because that breastfeeding gets real old really fast. [She should know. She never breastfed. Ever.]

5. If you're gonna be working and sweating, you should wear a full face of makeup because the foundation keeps the sweat from getting into your skin.

6. Playing classical music doesn't "glorify god."

7. Singing "praise songs" is not as "worshipful" as singing from the hymnal.

8. If one does not make a "profession of faith," then how will everyone know they are "saved?" They will go straight to hell if they don't make this "profession" to the entire church when they "accept Jesus" into their myocardium.

9. If you don't teach Sunday School and join committees, you are just a "bystander" and aren't "serving god like you should." Attending church every time the doors are open isn't good enough.

10. Having "premarital sex" is horrible. You shouldn't get a wedding shower or wedding gifts if you had sex before you got married, especially if the sex was with someone other than the person you're marrying.

I have to stop now, or else I'll vomit.

So What's She Really Like? Let's Start With Boundaries

Or an appalling LACK of them. These are examples from my own life, but you may find your own NM in here, or she may be equally disgusting in other areas...

1. She doesn't respect your privacy. When I was 14, she told AF that I had no pubic hair, and that she was sure I was shaving it off. She was convinced of this, or that there was something wrong with me because I didn't have to shave halfway down to my knees just to wear a swimsuit like AS did. That girl even had armpit hair at 9-years-old, which is odd to me. But she was the golden child. I was a late bloomer, and even today I would have a hard time growing the porn bush that woman had. How do I know what her pubic hair looked like? Because she was frequently naked around me. And how did she know about my lack of pubes? Because I had to be naked around her, whether I was ok with it or not.

And speaking of naked...

2. She has no concept of modesty. She chastised me for covering up. She would change tampons, wipe herself while sitting spread-eagle on the toilet, bathe, finger-douche her birth canal (it's the best way to describe her disturbing ritual for cleaning her weathered old stinkbox), and more in front of me. If I turned away or tried to leave the room, she would mock me for being so “modest.” She would leave the door open while she pissed and shat, regardless of who was in the next room. However, she would close the door if we had guests she didn’t know well.

3. She will tell almost anyone almost anything, no matter how private. She would describe her bowel movements in great detail to whomever happened to be around. She would talk about how she was “going little lumps” and that she wasn’t able to do any better than that. If the person being bombarded with this private and disgusting information made any sort of face to show their shock, she would talk about them later, saying they were too wimpy and delicate. Or dainty. Or not tough enough.

4. She is disgusting and crude. As if the above isn't evidence enough. When we were on vacation (when I was a teenager) we were at some park where they kept deer in a fenced-in area. Someone asked if there were any baby deer, and she replied that there were because, as she remarked about one deer, “Those tits look fresh sucked.”

5. She criticizes those who don't share her view of letting it all hang out. She would walk around in her bra and panties in front of my teenaged brother and his friends. One of his friends covered his face and tried to apologize for seeing her (even though it was her own fault), and she acted like he was crazy. She said, "Your mother must not walk around like this, or else you'd see that there's nothing wrong with it." When he said that his mother didn't, she laughed at him and later said that his mother "must just hide herself."

6. Her use of the English language is strange, both in public and in private. She was appalled that her children were teaching their own children to call their body parts by their correct names. Her name for “penis” was “goober.” Her name for “vulva” was “crack.” I still cringe when I remember her telling me and AS, “Wash your crack.” Of course her telling any number of houseguests and anyone within earshot about my experience with chickenpox when I was five was traumatizing, you know, because she just had to tell them about me having blisters all in my “crack.” Lovely. She mispronounced words frequently and would get angry when someone used them correctly. The ones that come to mind are the anatomy ones, such as "va-janna" for vagina, "u-truss" for uterus, and "sera-vix" for cervix. Once I told her that I read that Madonna had been a member of her high school thespian club, and she said that it was gross that Madonna was a "liz-bee-an."

7. She's inconsistent with her speech and actions. She would say all the nasty things above, but she thought the following words were bad and wouldn't allow us to say them: butt, butthole, fart (which she said was as bad as saying "fuck"), any profanity (obviously), fag, faggot, queer (although she herself was a huge bigot), crap, and dick. She would say "twat" frequently, not as an insult, but in describing someone's "va-janna." So when she didn't tell me to wash my "crack," she'd instruct me to wash my "twat."

I do want to apologize for the nastiness of my writing. I can be disgusting at times myself, but I use words to make others laugh, and I don't consider any words off-limits, provided the context is right. The thing that's important to remember is that people like NAM are missing the knowledge that other people are separate from them and have different opinions, wants, needs, and ideas of what's acceptable. If you don't think and act the same way as someone like her, she sees it as a threat, and then you will pay. And pay dearly.

My Adoption Myths

I went to live with the parental units when I was three. My brother was 17 months younger than I was, and was more easily taken in as NAM's new baby. I had a fairly established personality, which would cause all sorts of problems...
When I've mentioned that I was adopted as a child, I hear the following idiotic comments:

"Well, at least you knew you were wanted." Uh, no, I never felt like that. NAM actually said to AF, when I was 13, that they needed to send me "back" because she couldn't deal with me anymore. I had put a bag of clothes down two feet too far to the left, and NAM hit the roof. Actually, she hit me. Repeatedly.

"You were chosen." In my experience, being "chosen" meant getting singled out for a beating.

"You went to a better home." Actually, no, I didn't. I went from a loving home with a single mother, grandmother, and grandfather to a traditional, nuclear, "good on paper" family and was beaten frequently within a few weeks of arriving. The reason I was put up for adoption was because my grandmother had died, and my grandfather was too old to take care of two small children while my mother worked. It was the 70s, and support for single (particularly the never-married) mothers wasn't easy to come by.

"Your parents love you as much as they love their REAL children." Yeah. Sure. She never hit her "real children" so hard they lost the hearing in one ear and saw black spots for several days. Her "real" daughter was taken to the doctor frequently while I had to suffer in silence over blood in my urine, trouble breathing, and brain-crushing migraines. I've had three back surgeries in the last 6 years (two in the last 7 months) due to problems from scoliosis, which NAM saw that I had (and commented on frequently) but waited 8 months to take me to a doctor. I had already finished growing by that time, and there was nothing they could do. When she heard me wheezing, she would rudely ask if it was my "stress syndrome" making me do that. Sure, woman, it's "stress." I'm not a smoker, but my chronic asthmatic bronchitis is a direct result of years of untreated asthma. Boy, I sure feel loved!

As I've written already, I am a pretty strong supporter of adoption. I think many times it works out better for the child and the parents. It's love that makes a family, regardless of DNA and who the kid looks like (or doesn't). I also don't judge those parents who regret adopting due to their child having severe attachment problems and so forth. When I first went online to find others like me, I came up pretty dry. Most of what I read was anti-adoption views about women feeling like their babies were stolen from them, even though they made the choice to relinquish their child into the care of someone else. Instead of regretting their own decision, they blasted the whole institution of adoption.

After doing more digging, I finally found a few websites and was able to "meet" others with experiences similar to mine. Somehow finding out that I wasn't alone helped a lot. I hate that others have had to go through it, but being able to reach out and support each other through the internet has been a sanity-saver. That is my intention with this blog too. I've been helped so much by others' experiences, and finding out that I'm not alone with the pain of being an abused child, the child of a narcissist, and so forth is helpful to me. I don't know what I'd do without the internet....

So What The Hell Was Her Problem?

NAM was never officially diagnosed with NPD. She would never go to a therapist for anything, and when her doctor told her she needed an anti-depressant, he had to tell her that she needed it so she would "sleep better." You see, she was one of those people who thought that depression could be cured by reading the Bible. If I ever looked like I might be depressed, it was because I wasn't letting the Holy Spirit live through me, or some shit.

She once told me that she would be an awful person without Jesus. She said that she would be so bad that I wouldn't be able to deal with her, if not for Jesus. Well, that Jesus of hers did a lousy job of keeping her from being an awful, abusive, evil hag. But, for the sake of argument, let's say that Jesus did keep her from being any worse. I cannot imagine it. Well, I can imagine that I would be dead because she would have killed me. But I don't thank her Jesus for that. I thank myself because I learned how to stay out of the line of fire, for the most part, and although I'm damaged from it, I'm alive. And away from her.

A Bit of Background

I use the term "mother" loosely because I don't consider the woman to be my mother. My younger brother and I went to live with her, her husband, and her two children when I was three. My adoption wasn't final until I was twelve, for some reason, and I've never gotten a straight answer from anyone, including the state foster care/adoption system. So my brother and I were foster children for nine years, and we had maybe one caseworker visit after we were dropped off for the first time. I am a supporter of adoption and foster parenting, but my own experience in the system didn't turn out so well. I suffered physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and medical neglect as a foster/adopted child.

The "parents" of mine were the "good on paper" kind. Nice house, married, two kids already, big yard, stable income, avid churchgoers, and so on. What didn't show to the untrained eye was new mommy's temper and all-around craziness. As it turns out, new mommy was crazier than a shithouse rat.

I cut contact with all of my "family" in 2006. After years of trying to have a healthy relationship with the parent-entities, I learned that they were abusive to my children. That did it. I haven't spoken to anyone of them since August 2006, and I only wish I had done it years earlier.