Beginning to recover

Over the past 2 weeks, I have been reading a lot of information on how to recover from the harm done by parents with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), and I also found out that I am indeed a highly sensitive person. Yet, my sensitivity to the external changes and my talent in writing have been continuously ignored and even ridiculed by my biological family. When they were not belittling me or taking advantage of me, they just ignored me. (I used the past tense because over the past few years I have managed to distance myself a little from them, to minimize the damage they might continue doing to me. So now it’s just getting a little better, or endurable, for me.)  I have been invisible and felt that I don’t belong to this family. My feelings have been numb. Being numb is the only way I can survive here.  I have long known that I am also being used as a scapegoat and gone through the traumatic experiences of parentification (http://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Parentification). It is crystal clear that I never had a childhood. I am the surrogate mother for my younger sisters, and used by my mother as a maid (to serve her narcissistic and superior ego) and outlet for her erratic emotional outburst. I already acknowledged that I have never been loved since very young.

Yet, more distress in life have pushed me to look for a way to break free. I must break free, or I am so scared that I will feel suicidal again. 

This blog contains my journal used for self-healing. Some writings might be very personal & emotional since anger,  grief, or even hatred towards our abusers is a necessary process for healing.

After reading the excerpt from the blog supporting No Contact (link below), I now believe that my true self has been forced into hiding at around 4 or 5 in order to survive. Long before I knew anything about NPD, maybe early this year, I suddenly felt that I didn’t know me. I felt I didn’t exist. This person is not me. I don’t have a core. This thought occurred to me repeatedly this year. I don’t know if I am going through a mental breakdown or psychological disintegration. I still go to work, but I became more and more conscious that it’s not me living this life. It’s like I am very aware that I am putting on a performance in order to carry on “normal life”.

Alice Miller’s concept of splitting off in childhood shines light on my feeling. It validates that I was not crazy feeling that it’s not me living this life. The “I” throughout these 40 years is the person constructed by indifferent & narc parents, and I realized that in my job, I have repeated the pattern, letting people take advantage of me, just like my family has. No wonder I don’t know me. It’s not the true self. It’s a false self, a construction in order to survive.

The traumatic experience at around 4 or 5, I always remember consciously. It’s just that I have been numb all my life in order not to feel the pain. I went to a festival in a park near our old apartment with my older brother and some neighbor kids. The park, though near, is too far away for me to walk home. I will never understand why my parents allowed that. No adult accompanied us. The neighbor kids might be only 10 or 12 years old. There were so many people in the park. I got lost. Can’t find my brother or the neighbors. Although I was only 4 or 5, I was calm and smart enough to find the way to the gate and just stood there observing, thinking about what to do next. Maybe I waited to see if my brother would walk though the gate. Maybe I waited long enough and didn’t spot him. So my 4 year old brain started calculating how to rescue myself. Of course, at that time, I had no idea my parents, especially my mother, didn’t love me, or care about me. All I wanted was to find a way home. So, I spotted a young couple, as they were getting in their car with their small children, I went ahead and asked the mother, explaining my situation, if she could help me find my way home. God, I was only 4 or 5!!!!!!!! Looking back, I am amazed how smart and calm I was! I remember even now as I was looking for someone to help me, somehow I knew I needed to look for someone looking like “family oriented”. So I picked the young mother to help me.

I didn’t know my home address at that time. I could only point the directions vaguely to the young couple as they drove me closer to home. Finally, I saw our apartment. The mother was kind enough to walk me up the stairs to make sure I got home.

The following is the traumatic event itself, changing my mentality forever. I believe it’s after this event that my true self went dormant and the feeling mentioned earlier that “I am not myself” is the true self trying to emerge after almost 40 years, so I was not crazy thinking “I am not me, I don’t have a core”. It’s a wake up call, the dormant true self cannot remain hidden anymore. It’s trying to surface.

So vividly I recall that after the young mother rang the doorbell, my mother came to answer the door, opening the old iron door. Upon seeing me with a stranger, there was no surprise at all on her face. No reaction, just as she has been ignoring me all my life, except when she needed me to take care of her other children or do house chores. I cannot recall what exactly the young mother said to my mother, but I do remember that my mother didn’t say much to her, maybe she didn’t even say thank you. Maybe within seconds I got in, and the iron door closed. How ironic. It’s like as soon as the iron door closed, the door to my true self was closed.

My mother didn’t ask me what happened. Never! She just sat back in front of the TV, continuing watching TV, as if nothing happened. After my brother came back with the neighbor kids, he didn’t ask about where I was. My mother didn’t ask him about why I got lost, either. Never. Both of them acted as if nothing happened! As a result, somehow I felt it’s my fault. I pity that little girl. How can that be her fault!? She was only 4 or 5! Isn’t it every parent’s utmost fear that his/her child would suddenly get lost?? But all of my family members didn’t seem to care I was almost lost!

Of course, now I understand there are very few “normal parents”. I should say only
“normal parents” fear that their children would get lost, not parents with severe NPD.

I understand that all children have the primal fear of being abandoned. So, that’s why I believe it’s at that traumatic event that my true self went dormant. If my own mother didn’t care that I might get lost, I must cater to her every need in order not to be truly abandoned, right? Ironically, this false self actually suits her desire. I always knew there’s something wrong with my parents. It’s only after I kept researching NPD that I confirmed they do have NPD.

There were more similar incidents as I was growing up, things that normal parents would not do or behave to their children.

Now I understand. A few days ago, I read a sentence that goes “a cut doesn’t kill you, but a cut that’s repeated will”. Similar events accumulated to so many cuts that nearly killed my true self. My true self remained dormant until now. Will I ever meet me, my true self?

I hope no little girl will ever have to go through similar experience only to find out that for her mother, it’s ok that the little girl did not find her way home.

The following is an excerpt from the blog a spiritual counselor, Elaine, regarding Alice Miller’s idea of “splitting off in childhood”. I think she explained quite clearly and put things into perspective for me.

https://hopehealing.wordpress.com/the-story-of-belinda/splitting off in childhood
“When I said splitting off in childhood I meant… what happens to us as small children when trauma is too much to bear and there seems no hope of it getting better–Alice Miller says at the age of 5 or 6, hsp children with a narcissistic parent experience a trauma so severe that they banish away their true self and develop a false self to please the parents that is obedient and only expresses the emotions that are “allowed”. The memory of the event and feelings of the true self are “repressed” or in other words they are hidden from the conscious memory. We give up out of necessity from the spiritual and emotional abuse and the part of us that is wounded remains dormant in our subconscious until it is safe to come out later in life. Alice Miller calls this “splitting off”–it is the traumatic separation from the true self in early childhood. “

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4 Comments

  1. Beautifully and truthfully written post! Thank you for quoting me and linking to my comment–I’m so happy it was helpful to you. 😀 I no longer go by my pen name Elaine, which is my middle name. Thank you for calling me a spiritual counselor, a title I have been considering for when I get back to coaching people again–feels good!! I look forward to reading your future posts! Wonderful, inspiring writing you are doing here! With love and light, Roxanne

    Liked by 1 person

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