“The Courage to Create”: Part III


Painting, Watercolor, “Irish Bay”, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2007

The Courage to Create: Part III


The Scapegoats and the Golden Children: All Damaged In the End.

I’ve been thinking of the dynamics in dysfunctional families, especially those people who come from Narcissistic parents. There are many personality disorders, but Narcissism gives enough pain to trump most. Over the course of six years, I have written about narcissism on this blog, but still, after eight years of therapy, and with a good and compassionate therapist, I feel that I am just scratching the surface.

The learning curve is steep. Other bloggers do it better. For that I am grateful.

Recently, I have been reflecting on my childhood. And, what I have been told, my suffering from depression. I have been writing (seems like forever…) a book, titled “Memories of a Rotten Childhood”. In part it details, or at least reflects my parent’s behavior, and it seems they were always in turmoil.   That’s what it looked like then, but now I know it was much more. It took many years to understand the dynamic between not only my parents (my father has been dead for 25 years) but also the impact of their dynamic on my two brothers and myself. I was the oldest and the only girl in the family.

And about depression. When you are suffering depression, you think you are the only person in the world that has this condition. You are closed down, in a fog. But actually it’s pretty universal. Samuel Johnson described his depression as “that black dog that barks from morning to night.” Many of my friends have suffered depression and at times, this has stopped them in their tracks: they feel lost, empty, alienated, without the ability to pull themselves out of a deep hole. For those who have never suffered depression (and I don’t know these people…) this is what it feels like. Mostly. What is interesting and is the ‘connective tissue’ of these friends is they all have suffered from the narcissism of either parents in childhood (some with extreme physical abuse….most of us with emotional abuse) or with being trapped with partners as adults who are narcissists. Many times our paths cross with narcissists in the work place and this gives added anxiety to the mix. The abuse continues (and at times might be subtle and then escalate) and it is very hard to know what to do in these work related situations. Our jobs are at the core of this abuse, and the potential of loss of job aggravates the anxiety and depression. ( I remember at Emory University being asked (more than asked) to give   backrubs to my boss (female) and by the head of the department? When his designers came in drunk, if they threw up, I was to attend to them and frankly, do their work on a couple of occasions. With no acknowledgement. Basically I was to cover up their (well-known throughout the university) incompetency. Protect the department’s collective ass. This was crazy making to the max, and escaping that toxic environment was more than a blessing. But it took me five years to do so. I had just adopted a young child and I depended upon the slight salary to help.)

To many who read this blog, I will be preaching to the choir. To others, perhaps what I write here will strike a personal chord and they will find some things speaking to their condition. This is what I hope for.

I have been thinking of this dynamic between the scapegoat and the golden children in families. I have tons of experience, as I was the scapegoat. Early on, it was confusing but constant that my mother preferred her boys to me. I couldn’t understand this. Only many decades later did I start to understand this behavior on the part of her. It took a lot of convincing by my therapist who was an older woman and one who became a ‘mother-substitute’ over the years. Her steadfast kindness and ability to listen and to comfort, her belief in my potential was something I clung to. I had not experienced this with my own mother and only in the last ten years or so did I understand why. She was and is a classic Narcissist. I can see why now. Her behavior is convincing. And grows worse with age.

(Funny enough, I feel some compassion for her. Some. Whatever was the root cause of her narcissism, (nurture or nature issues…and I have my opinions…) she suffered from it: insecurities, jealousies, unbalance, isolation, etc. This is the real underpinnings of a narcissist. They just look ‘happy’ on the surface. They are generally a whirlpool of insecurities. However, they go on to make others really suffer)

The scapegoat is the child who is dumped upon in the family, the one who is blamed for the trouble that others make or feel, can be the whistle blower, or outspoken, but generally is the child who is pushed aside or ignored. Perhaps it is the child who is shy or quiet. It varies in families but the abuse that the scapegoat gets is pretty constant. Unending. It’s akin to the bullies in a school yard but these you can’t escape from. These are the entrenched bullies in the family. Any confronting the abusers, either the parents or the other siblings only makes the situation worse in many cases. These others, the dominant ones in the family don’t ‘hear’ the scapegoat: they have a lessened status, if they have any status at all. The family is ‘deaf’ to the plight of the scapegoat. Hence the suffering is unabated.

As far as the golden children, they are prized, they are rewarded, even if their talents are minor, they are the ones listened to. They also become real prats. They become in many cases abusers of the scapegoat, feeling that they are carrying out the rightful role of the parents, and they have a license to do this. If they are males, they also can become misogynistic. I have seen this where siblings have misogynistic attitudes towards women.   This comes from the atmosphere of the parental narcissist: narcissists are steeped in contempt, hated and disdain for others, and in many cases, for women. If the narcissist is a woman, she will feel competition with other random women, even women she doesn’t know…perhaps celebrities. The ‘flights of fancy’ that narcissists have would account of this. This is a form of grandiosity.

Narcissism as we learn is something common and worldwide, but when we escape these dysfunctional families we also learn that it’s not everyone, or every family that treats people in such toxic ways.

How do these people, the scapegoat and the golden children end up in life? Well, with distance and therapy perhaps, the scapegoat ends up more independent and also has a clearer understanding of these personality disorders that have affected their childhoods. Not to say that there isn’t a long run of terrible choices in spouses, friends, dangerous behaviors, etc. because a scapegoat acts upon their inferior status (they believe themselves inferior). It takes a long time to overcome self-abuse and doubt. They were never valued so they don’t value themselves. It’s parental, family abuse that segues into self-hatred.

As for the golden children? They are emotionally chained to the parent-narcissist and their ability to mature and normalize relationships are stunted in most cases. They don’t understand this, but they don’t really achieve independence emotionally and in some cases, intellectually. They are narcissistic supply to the narcissistic parent (this is the main role of them to the Narcissist). Only when this parent dies can they reconsider the damage that has been done to their lives. Actually, many refuse ever to consider the damage and go on to become what the narcissist has bred. Another narcissist.

Empathy is basically destroyed in these golden children because they take on so many of the characteristics of the parent narcissist. An example of this became clear a year ago when our remaining uncle at 86 years old made a very inappropriate comment to me over the phone. I had not seen this uncle in 50 years. He had been divorced from my mother’s sister (now dead) for many years, remarried three times, and when I wrote to my brother, (a fundamentalist Christian) in shock about this uncle, the only thing this brother wrote back in email was this: “……disturbing”. This was as shocking as the original comment of this predator uncle! I had expectations this brother would at least show outrage. He was supposed to be a Christian minister and I expected something better than this. But why? His compassion was truncated because he still saw me as our mother did: a lesser human being and therefore not worthy of his outrage. However, other male friends and cousins expressed their disgust at the behavior of this ‘uncle’. One cousin asked if I needed him to go beat up this sadly perverted uncle. He was outraged. These men were not puffed up Christians; they were normal, compassion and moral men. What a difference. This brother can wax elegant on religious issues, but his humanity smacks of misogyny. And I am not surprised.  There are some newish studies on the relationship between narcissism and misogyny.  There are also some interesting studies on the fear and intolerance of Christian men and male homosexuals.   They might hide behind ‘gospel’ but the fear and insecurity is real in these men.

The golden boys seem confident, outspoken, not cowed by doubt or self-esteem issues, but this is a façade. In some very important ways, the golden children never grow up. And, sadly, and predictably, they take on the role of punishing the scapegoat as they see with their narcissistic parents. They are the twisted minions of the parents. They think it is their ‘right’ to do so.  The parents, either one of them, call on their adult children to carry out their abuse, and the golden children do this for the parents. It is part of the eternal triangulation of these dysfunctional families.  They might also be attacked at one time or the other by a narcissistic parent, but they rush to not have the ire and abuse turned upon them so they readily carry out the abuse of the parent.  This behavior is fear based.

They are perpetually basking in the approval and ‘love’ of the Chief Narcissist. But this is not love, it’s the relentless search on the narcissist’s part for narcissistic supply. Their support and approval and, yes, submission must be constant for the narcissist to exist comfortably. Otherwise they are useless to the narcissist.
For narcissists on this level truly don’t know how to love. They only know how to use others because of their own ego-needs: these come first and everyone around them are sacrificed….even the Golden Children. They are, after all, just servants to the will of the Narcissist. Less than servants, they are slaves.

The scapegoats, once they make their escape from this dysfunctional family have much more freedom and growth. The growth is painful, there is no escaping this. Years of shame, doubt, self-abuse, etc. must be confronted, and the shame and abuse finally put back where it belongs: on the abusers. Then there is growth and freedom. But there must be distance, and most probably, some serious therapy to achieve this.

Finally, the scapegoat is in control of their life. Hopefully, at some point when they become adults, they have escaped a horrible slavery, though the opinions of the abusive family don’t change. They are left wounded, and maimed in many ways, but they have a chance to live a normal life, where the golden children are still chained to something that denies them growth, independence and maturity.

They remain Adult Children but nothing much more. And when the chief Narcissist finally dies, they are thrown into a tizzy. They have a serious addiction to the narcissist and little ability for critical thought. Their slavery to a toxic situation comes around and bites them in the ass. The chief narcissist is still controlling them from the grave because he/she has imprinted something so destructive to the personalities of the Golden Children left behind. In this way, a narcissist never dies. (She or he also continues to triangulate from the grave: “Glad I won’t be here to hear the howling when the will is read.” This is a prime example how the narcissistic parent continues their control on their adult children. And continues the conflict amongst siblings, which is what the narcissist did in life to continue her narcissistic supply. Alive or dead, the narcissist still has one hand around the necks of her children.)

Regaining the ‘self’ doesn’t happen for the scapegoat until there is a radical rupture with the birth family. Either a period of Low Contact or No Contact helps institute this regained self on the part of the scapegoat. It varies for each individual, but the worse the abuse and the more wounded the scapegoat, the more the necessity for this radical rupture.

It can be an issue of life or death.

Back to the issue of depression. What I am reading and sensing in my friends is that they haven’t been able to put these narcissistic people in the place they belong…which is BEHIND them. And this is damn hard to do. I can testify to that, because I held out ‘hope’ that things would change. We are connected by that twisted family umbilical cord. We have deluded expectations because they are our family. Any peace, joy, creativity, etc. is just about impossible because narcissists, and especially families who have a collection (they grow like algae) of narcissists will always pick at the one who either is the scapegoat or a scapegoat who has escaped. Every person I know who has escaped has gone on to a remarkable and well deserved independence, and over the years I have been privileged to know quite a few who have done this.  But the tentacles of the narcissists will stretch out and attempt to continue to injure, to pull them back. They need the supply like the vampires they are. And it is hard for us to keep these devils behind us. Hence, the depression. They sap our energies, and even thinking of them, rehashing ‘what should have been’ is exhausting. And, ultimately…pointless.

And more about that old depression. That depression comes from various sources: the rejection, the anxiety as to where we belong in these ‘families’ and the lies we were told and hold on to. The lies from the narcissistic parents to try to control us. This is the basis of our anxiety. This is the basis of our confusion, depression and despair. It takes a long time and distance to understand that what we have been fed is just….lies. These lies are the probably basis of our alienation and insecurities.

Each one of us has to come to a place where we have worked it out for ourselves. Each person is different and the abuse is different but in general, we have great commonalities in this sphere. For me, I have gone No Contact with my birth family. At one time, I thought when the Chief Narcissist was dead, ‘normal’ relationships could be resumed, but I seriously doubt this. And I have grown enough to know that these people are not the folk I would seek out for spiritual, intellectual and emotional comfort. They are no standard for me. Regardless of my accomplishments, I would still be inferior in their eyes. They don’t have the abilities to change their behavior. They are stunted by life with the narcissistic parent.

Right after I wrote this above, a sister in law emailed me pix of my two brothers and ‘the mother’. She wrote: “Call me soon”. I am left scratching my head.   I haven’t heard from these people in over 4 years….why would I call? My husband thinks she’s a moron, but I think she is just insensitive and since she isn’t related by blood, genetics, to the chief narcissist, she might feel a bit of guilt. She has been (forever, 40 years) hearing toxic crap. Perhaps she has a conscience. That would be nice. However, it is exhausting to try to understand toxic situations and people.

And it obstructs our creativity and our very lives because of the constant energy these things take.

What possible ‘good’ would it do to ‘reconnect’ with people who have been abusive and aloof to my family? Two years ago my husband had what was suspected to be a small stroke. One brother (who had a stroke 10 years ago) emailed me with some information about regaining balance, but the ‘mother’ and everyone else on this side of the family just ignored what happened to my husband. And this sister in law? I did speak to her in a short phone conversation seven months ago, when she was coming through the Atlanta airport and wanted me to meet her, which I declined. When I mentioned my husband’s stroke, her response: “Oh, I thought you were over that by now.”

Amazing. Of course, a glimmer of interest as to his condition, or understanding how offensive her insensitive (and cruel) words hadn’t crossed her mind. That is what the milieu of narcissism breeds. Arrogance. A lessening of humanity. Sad. At one time I thought she was a good person, but her environment has made a difference in her. Or perhaps narcissism has been too great to resist and she’s joined the monkeys. A dear friend who also has a narcissist as a mother said something I think is really true: “Your sister in law had to learn to play the game (with the narcissist) in order to survive.” This probably is the situation. Narcissism perverts and corrupts good people when they can’t escape or make continuing excuses for the narcissist.

The point is this: when we settle for people who are toxic, who refuse to apologize for their actions, who do no critical thinking, who continue to support the main narcissist in the family unconditionally (and for opportunistic reasons actually…one brother has full knowledge about the viciousness of his mother…and has threatened to feed her to the ‘gators where she lives…but only to me, certainly not to his mother!) when they continue to be a part of the Silent Majority and take a stand with the toxic narcissist, with continued contact we perpetuate our self-abuse. We allow the narcissists on all levels to continue to harm and maim. We perpetuate our self-hatred. Narcissists do it well enough without our help.

Recently I read something that spoke to this situation and to my decision to not go back to this toxic family. “Insight comes at that moment of transition between work and relaxation.” I was bound up in writing and research for a few essays, and trying to complete a book, when I walked away, disturbed by this conundrum of ‘how’ to answer this sister in law. I closed my books, turned off my computer and just stopped all activity. The answer appeared in the ‘space’ between activity and no activity. I don’t know what happened but it was no struggle at all. Einstein asked a friend this: “How come my best ideas come when I am shaving in the morning?” LOL!

It’s that space between our laborious thoughts and when our mind is off the problem. Probably that small space between the conscious struggling mind and the unconscious mind. That small space where new ideas are born. I believe this is where most of our creativity is formed.

Gone were all my concerns about ‘how to answer’, how to proceed. It was clear to me that the answer was already made: Since I had gone No Contact with this family, or more so with the chief narcissist, my life was different: productive, peaceful, with energy and a renewed creativity in a number of areas. Not perfect, but so damn different. The drama/trauma of this family that had me seriously doubting my value, my worth and even the reason for my continued living….it didn’t figure in my life anymore. These toxic people were like a deep and dark well, and I knew that any going back to that well would drown me. My life was too good and creative to do that, and my husband deserved peace and no more narcissistic/abusive drama. He had endured thirty years of this.

And their behavior wouldn’t change. But mine could. There was no ‘pull’ of ‘family’ anymore. I had moved on to something that wasn’t scarred with the trauma of the past. I had to. It was imperative that I do so, and that others were to be considered. Fine, non-toxic loving people deserved better.

There was no contest. I knew in a flash that going back to this family would mean I had once again put myself in a dangerous and toxic place. Under their power and control. And the invitation to ‘call’ came from only one. The rest? They couldn’t be less interested. However, the holidays are approaching and within narcissistic families, it’s always the ‘appearance’ of normalcy, even when it is not. It’s a shell game at best.

The four years where I was in control of contact has given me space to get away and in that distance I have realized how damn happy I have become. Depression was not major, was conditional and not chronic anymore. (Where it developed I believe it was the remains of ‘guilt’…of not making enough closure with the past.) I had found the roots of my malaise and I had the power to walk away. And walking away and meaning it was just the first step. (There’s more steps, but for each it’s different.)

My energy and creativity came flooding back. I published another book with more to come. I went back to those joyful things I loved: painting and dancing, research and poetry. Some of these interests I had put on the shelf because I was exhausted. I had the freedom from conflict for four years and I had regained energy. Why would I consider destroying this with more conflict? It would be another drop into a Hell I had finally escaped. It would be another round of self-abuse and self-hatred.

When we recognize abusers for what and who they are, then depression starts to lift and we start to live. Sure, we will make many mistakes, and for a time, do like the Russian army: One step forward, two steps back. But soon we can come out into the light of sanity and self-respect and we gain speed.

The alternative is pretty dire. When we honestly begin to put these unnatural devils behind us, we can heal and prosper. Our creativity is restored with time and effort. But only we can put this in motion. I believe there is a critical mass of something, abuse, etc…that builds to a point that continuing to reside in toxicity is nothing more than death. And it’s not so slow.

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9 Responses to ““The Courage to Create”: Part III”

  1. TR Says:

    Hi Jane,
    There is a lot of key insights I took away from this. I’ll address one or two here: “At one time, I thought when the Chief Narcissist was dead, ‘normal’ relationships could be resumed, but I seriously doubt this.” I had thought this too, especially after my MiL, who was the matriarch, passed away. That some ‘normalcy’ would return. The system repeats in the next generation and it took time to see my SiL gunning for the position after her death. She controls the ‘family’ affairs today. The next generation follows and it then becomes up to the ones that seek help. I saw myself become a version of my mother before I sought help.

    The other idea you mention is energy. There is an enormous amount of energy that it takes to keep the system running. Whether that is fulfilling the role of scapegoat/GC or other roles, an enormous amount of energy gets used up. When we break away and create distance psychologically, this also takes a lot of energy. The energy that it takes to figure out patterns, understand what emotions are influenced by which triggers has eaten up a lot of my energy – in a ‘good’ way. Putting energy into that is healthier than remaining a scapegoat. What I thought was really insightful is that even the energy it takes to heal can become too much that there is not enough energy to ‘live’ which is addressed as creating, dong things that bring joy to our lives. I feel that in my own recovery process there is a trap – that I can spend too much time thinking through my behaviors, their behaviors, my emotions, etc. that there is no balance in the amount of energy that I spend on recovering and ‘living’, creating, enjoying life. I could fall into a dangerous ‘same’ pattern of still spending energy on my FOO even if it is masked as ‘recovery’. Thereby, never really breaking the underlying, true cycle and moving forward in my life – putting the abuse behind me.

    This post really made me reflect on my own recovery. xxTR


  2. TR Says:

    I love the watercolor! It is beautiful. xx


  3. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, TR! It’s almost an abstraction, but I did it from a photo from great heights….so there is no possibility of much detail. (in the original painting there is….very small houses and sailboats, but they are more inland farther in the bay and don’t show up in the photo for the blog) That is what I love about the possibilities of watercolor. Abstraction comes rather easily with the bleeding and blending of the colors on the paper…and all those ‘happy’ mistakes. Don’t believe other painters who tell you that ‘watercolor is the hardest and most unforgiving medium you can use.” Bullshit.

    Watercolor gives great leeway to possibilities. Once (and you don’t necessarily have to learn any of these ‘lessons’ about wc in the beginning…you ‘discover them’.) you understand the difference between ‘earth’ colors which are easier to fade out with lots of water (if you make a ‘mistake’…but I don’t believe in mistakes with wc…) and more permanent colors that are harder to ‘lift’ from the paper, you have learned a lot. Then the issue of reserving your ‘whites’. I don’t use white paint but have learned to reserve the white of the paper which is the purest white you can have. The light bounces around this way. Of course you can use masking mediums or tape and I have used all of this before. (and sandpaper on dry paper…LOL!) The only time I have used white paint was when I was trying to emphasis the thin white feathers of an eagle. And then I used acrylic paint, much heavier on a dry surface.

    I get so excited about watercolor….and I started out as an oil painter at 16. Now? I’ve been painting watercolor since only 1995, and have not painted really in 8 years, just on occasion, but I have completely forgotten all the ‘lessons’ of oil. Watercolor Rules!

    Thank you, TR. I know you also are a painter and I am really excited at what you are now discovering in your own art.

    Love, Jane


  4. ladynyo Says:

    TR, for some reason, my damn blog won’t let me comment on your very important and insightful comment on “Courage to Create, Part III”. LOL!

    However, your first observation, how other family narcissists step in and take over when the Chief Narcissist dies…is true. And in this way, the Narcissist never dies: their minions take over and continue the grief. You have seen this with your own SIL. Yikes! Great lessons here, and especially about the corruption of the personality disorder…which M. Scott Peck calls “evil”.

    As to the energy expended and consumed….you are right again. An enormous amount of energy expended to keep the corrupt system running. Whether we are the scapegoat, we expend energy trying to balance ourselves in an unbalanced family environment. Whether we are the GCs….their situation is usually fraught with some insecurity and they have to keep readjusting themselves to the whims of the Chief Narcissist. The Narcissist is center to their universe usually. This come from their relief that they aren’t the scapegoat. LOL!

    Getting away expends energy, and finding ourselves expends energy and trying to KEEP away expends energy. Whew!

    Therapy: Important expenditure of energy, but still exhausting. I know of people who have been in therapy for 12-20 years and it’s like 4 walls with no door. Or seems so.

    We have to find a way to expend energy on a good life…without the tentacles of narcissism constantly pulling us back into the morass or our constant insecurities about ourselves and where we are going on all of this.

    We have to put a stop on all of the energy that these vampires get from us, and therapy has to have a purpose and an end…at least I hope so. We have to live with an imperfect world and that is the reality of it, and also humans are imperfect and that is how it should be. there are not absolute answers, except….

    We know that we are resilient. We have come through the fire of all these things, and it is time to live through creativity, etc.

    We have to learn to put these issues and people BEHIND us and go forth with a new understanding that these people are impaired with hatred, a twisted view of what is human, but we have to separate.

    We are not put on this earth to stroke our wounds. Our wounds will heal when they do, and we will go forth to access our potential. I have this greatest hope and I do know that narcissism, as powerful and destructive as it is….it is no match for our recovery and future creativity.

    Love, Jane


  5. Elaine Says:

    I am struggling at the moment …balancing on the parapet ….scared to admit my family is unbalanced and scared to admit it might be me.
    I live my life constantly on that edge hopelessly fearing failure whichever way I fall….stuck balanced and poised and completely overwhelmed with sadness…exhaustion!
    Energy…there is none left…playing…replaying…rehearsing. Analyzing… scrutinizing…criticizing…judging…comparing… evaluating…..and Hoping!

    I need direction…I am floundering…wondering could it happen…would it happen…how would it happen…how could it happen…what would it be like….will I ever know?
    Sometimes it even excites me just to explore the possibilities of being free…truly free to be and to feel what it is to be me….just very pure and simple just me!

    To never again be defined by circumstance or someone.

    It Scares me so here I am teetering….which ever way I fall there will be no one to catch me!


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Elaine!

    Your feelings, sentiments, apprehensions are pretty common to many of us who have realized that our families are unbalanced. If you come from a family that has narcissistic parents, you probably need help to determine what are the next steps. Please understand that it is probably pretty much the same for most of us with dysfunctional families. There are so many layers to it all.

    And, frankly? We don’t need anyone to catch us, when we finally understand the pain we have been living under for decades. Knowledge will enable us to catch ourselves and go on to a more contemplative and fuller life.

    I do hope that you do find someone that is wise and trustworthy to talk to. That is key for opening up and starting on a long road of recovery….of ourselves.

    My wishes to you are that you find knowledge and peace and confidence in the New Year.

    Lady Nyo


  7. Elaine Says:

    Thank you.. your essay struck a chord because I was the eldest of three like you …i cried at your writing it was so honest and that is something rare… No one is honest and true. There are always reasons and underlying psychological stuff. I just want truth and honesty and I don’t want to become one of them…i tread on eggshells always trying to make them happy all of them but its never going to be enough… and the thoughts I have at the moment are …nothing will change them…whether I am part of their lives or not
    and maybe I don’t need to be caught because if like you say with support I can land on my own two feet. I also like the way you look at things like being able to make a decision based on your own well being and not on what you think is expected of you…and not pore over it and waste creative energy.Thank you for your writing I stumbled across…I will read it again. and thank you for your kind words. I am in therapy and we have a good relationship…so I have lots of hope. It would be easier alone but I have a daughter and the impact on her worries me. She is sweet and kind and wants everyone to be happy… x


  8. ladynyo Says:

    “The Courage to Create”: Part III

    FROM: Elaine

    Thank you.. your essay struck a chord because I was the eldest of three like you …i cried at your writing it was so honest and that is something rare… No one is honest and true. There are always reasons and underlying psychological stuff. I just want truth and honesty and I don’t want to become one of them…i tread on eggshells always trying to make them happy all of them but its never going to be enough… and the thoughts I have at the moment are …nothing will change them…whether I am part of their lives or not
    and maybe I don’t need to be caught because if like you say with support I can land on my own two feet. I also like the way you look at things like being able to make a decision based on your own well being and not on what you think is expected of you…and not pore over it and waste creative energy.Thank you for your writing I stumbled across…I will read it again. and thank you for your kind words. I am in therapy and we have a good relationship…so I have lots of hope. It would be easier alone but I have a daughter and the impact on her worries me. She is sweet


  9. ladynyo Says:

    Elaine…..I worried for decades about fitting in with a dysfunctional family that have shown by their behavior that they didn’t want me around. They are all fundamentalist Christians…..and their fundamentalism is full of narcissism and especially misogyny. They are fueled in this by the Chief Narcissist, the 94 year old mother.

    So…you have a daughter. And you should be worried. Get your own self unburdened with these narcissists in your foo: family of origin. Then concentrate on building a life apart from these foo with your daughter. You know that this isn’t normal behavior….families with psychological dysfunction are a drain and energy vampires.

    And YES! Nothing you can do for them, etc…will ever be enough. This is a fundamental behavior in these type of families. I know, I’ve been chasing my tail with my 94 year old mother for 5 decades. Nothing I did for her was every enough. She is a bottomless pit and there is no good in continuing to answer their whims.

    I can certainly understand the eggshells: we are born and bred by these people to serve…them. And YES< again….nothing will change them…..narcissists don't think the world is right….it is only THEM who have the answers. They basically have no self-introspection. IF they were honest (and they don't have the wiring for this….it's all twisted up from a very long time ago…) they would see what they wrought, but generally they have enough 'flying monkeys' around them to pad their asses.

    You won't become like them because you have a certain centeredness. That you are worried that you will become like them means that you know something is very wrong with them. Just carve a life out for yourself and your daughter. Believe me, they will try to pollute everyone around them , and that is the reason I stay far away. Therapy is excellent. It gives you someone with education in personality disorders to bounce crap off of.

    Blessings, Elaine. May the New Year bring you great comfort.

    Lady Nyo


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