Saturday, November 30, 2013

"I can live the rest of my life without letting my toxic family back in..."

From a person who wants to be identified as "Jenny":

I just wanted to express my gratitude for creating such a brilliant and supportive resource online. I am 22 years old, and I finally found the resources and connections to move out while being able to support myself. At first I felt obligated to keep in contact with my mom, believing her initial promises about teaching my younger sister (18 years old) to stop swearing at me and putting me down, and that she would prevent my dad from hitting me anymore. I've put up with, and even believed in the things my parents have told me, including that I am mentally retarded (I believed I had a learning and social disability). When I began to refuse to give up and just tell them what they wanted to hear (that they are always right and I am always wrong, that their abuse is deserved) I was told that I have a attitude problem on a pathological level. My mom does not acknowledge that what I've been through is 22 years of abuse. Some proof of this would be her telling me "Well your dad doesn't hit you every day" while she does not acknowledge that he threatens me everyday, and uses condescending profanities to refer to me, not even using my given name.

My sister was there the first time I truly felt my life was threatened, and was also there when I ran out the house to call the police on my dad. The first time I had the guts to verbally defend myself to him "Go ahead, throw that at me. I WILL call the police with this cell phone right here" --- the next day when my mom confronted him about it, he said "Do you know what that BITCH did to ME?" And he never apologized for traumatizing me over having 2 plates in the sink. After days like this, he looks at me when I come back from work or school and asks me in a sickeningly sweet tone, "Did you have a good day?" as though the abuse the day before didn't happen. Or perhaps to show he had "forgiven" me for whatever upset him that day. Yet she had the nerve to tell me "Mom and dad care and when you say they hate you you're putting words in to their mouths. Get a reality check, and go talk to your therapist." That was the last of her words to me, basically telling me not to talk to her. I've lost all trust in my family and since then I've realized how utterly foolish it will be to go back to a place where I will once again, not have the sanity or peace of mind to form my own identity and personality. She was never hit my either of my parents, and for some reason, my parents only attacked me physically, verbally,  and emotionally.

There are not that many resources for children of toxic parents on the web or out there in general, and the loudest message out there so far is that I owe my parents the chance to stay in contact with me because they've raised me. But there is a reason I felt it necessary to move out, and I stand by my choice. The choice to cut all ties with my family who denies having hurt me, is also one I will stand by.

Emotionally, it is still overwhelming because I've been under the denial that my family will always be around no matter what, and that the abuse is just a part of being cared about fervently. My mind knows that there is no justification for the physical, mental and emotional abuse I've gone through. However my heart is broken because I had a thread of hope left in my mom when she said she understands me. I called her at a desperate time of need for my mom to hear me and understand me, and she just told me this: "Listen, it's me first, THEN you. Got it? Do you want me dead? I need to take care of myself before your needs are met" --- the fact that she said this to me while I called her crying my eyes out in a rented room hours away from a place that I used to call home, made me realize my reality once and for all. 

Thank you again for creating such a supportive website. It's like a lighthouse for me. I want to keep believing that I can live the rest of my life without letting my toxic family back in to walk all over me as they have. 

"Narcissists make deplorably bad parents..."

From a person who wishes to remain anonymous:

The purpose of writing my personal story is to clarify that narcissists make deplorably bad parents and hopefully my story would shed some light on the hidden pain and silent suffering of biological children of narcissistic parents. Eventually check up narcissistic personality disorder for more information of the disorder itself.
I am a 24 years old female born and raised in Europe by Pakistani parents. I am a HSP(highly sensitive person) while my mother is a full-blown narcissist and my father the perfect enabler.

First time I considered committing suicide was at the age of 6, because I felt unwanted and unloved. My mother was obsessed with controlling every single aspect of me: opinions were attributed to me long before I was old enough to even have them, I was forced to wear the Islamic headscarf and the traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez at the age of 7 so that she could receive praise from the Pakistani community - although she knew that my appearance would make me an outsider at school. One of the worst things I could do was to smile on a day she was in bad mood – then she would beat me up and swear at me to ensure that I felt as miserable as she did. Sometimes when she had a bad day, she would suddenly call me in and begin beating me up, just to feel better. 

Once at the age of 9 I had made the terrible mistake of showing interest in a hairstyle which she disliked and as a punishment I was publicly humiliated for several weeks until I broke down in tears, begging her to stop. She perceived me as an extension of herself rather then another individual. She would always compete with me and my siblings: if my father kissed me and my sibling’s goodnight, she would be standing outraged at the door with the words: ‘you always kiss THESE bastards, but you never kiss ME!’’ and as a result my father stopped kissing us goodnight. It was always like she perceived her small children as her ‘’peers’’ to compete with for attention and love. In top of all that, parentification took place: Shortly after my 8 years old birthday my mother delegated all household chores to me including cleaning and cooking and declared that from now I was responsible for pampering her, to look after her emotional well-being and happiness, comforting her when she was upset and protect her from danger, and she would constantly remind me that I failed to meet these responsibilities of mine. 

She would frequently play us children against each other which created hatred and resentment among us, and until this day we don’t have any real relationship. My mother always called me in third person and never by my name, she would every second day remind me of how much she hated me, that I was a burden and that she regretted not having opted for an abortion, that she wished me death and that I was ugly and stupid. When I was bullied at the local mosque (which she forced me to join) she would immediately take the side of the bullies although she didn’t even knew them. No matter how good grades I got at school or how much I tried to please her, she was never satisfied and absolutely nothing was ever good enough for her.
When I reached puberty at the age of 12, I (for the first time) insisted on wearing shoes of my own choice instead of those which she had picked for me, and that made her declare me for being the black sheep of the family. I got beaten unconscious with a cricket bat, but when even that didn’t made me wear the shoes of her choice, she came up with a gun to kill me. Fortunately, the police intervened, and I was removed to an orphanage by the child protection service.

My father was the perfect enabler. He witnessed what his wife did to his children, but he never intervened. If we complained to him about her, he would always take her side and claim that we were the one ‘’provoking" her. It always seemed to me as he was a mental slave of her.

In the orphanage I removed my Islamic headscarf and found great relief in finally being able to look and dress like other children. At the age of 18 I got a job, bought my own apartment, finished college as an excellent student and began studying at a prestigious university. Although I was now free and successful, the damage my mother had done to me began showing its effects: I suffered from constant self doubt, felt insecure, and found huge difficulties in trusting myself. As I was from birth trained by a narcissistic mother to have no needs and to be a people pleaser, I became an easy prey for a criminal female psychopath who ruthlessly exploited me, which increased my mental problems further. I also suffered from a constant guilt without knowing why, and the guilt lead me to visit my mother once in a while, and every time found her devastated for not being able to have power and control over me anymore. The solution, according to her, was that I moved back into her house, which I politely refused every time and every time she would in response begin crying hysterically blaming me for being selfish and arrogant by not caring for her enough and by spoiling her reputation by being western dressed.

She would also play victim in front of her friends, and they would frequently blame me for not honoring my mother. Later when I experienced a series of unbearable anxiety and panic attacks , as well as showing complex post traumatic stress disorder symptoms and paranoia, I was forced to search for answers, and finally learned about personality disorders, and realized that my mother was a narcissist. After receiving a degree in Bachelor of arts I thought that finally my mother(who is uneducated) would realize my worth so I decided to make a last attempt to reconcile with her: I offered her forgiveness for all what she had done to me, if she would just admit that it was wrong of her to attempt murdering me when I was 12. That made her roll with her eyes with claims of me being ‘’oversensitive’’ and that I was the real villain for having spoiled her reputation as I had allowed the police to intervene when she ran after me with a gun. Then I changed the subject and asked her if she was proud of me now when am doing a Master of Arts at a prestigious university. In response my mother said that she had nothing to be proud of as it was a mystery to her how I got admission at the university to begin with as I was the stupidest person she had ever known, and thus she was absolutely sure that I had received my degrees by providing sexual favors to my teachers. I broke down in tears and begged her to stop her horrible accusations, while she had this smirk on her face in satisfaction over having ‘’put me on my place’’. When I heartbroken left her home that day, I suddenly realized that she would never change, and her emotional blackmail would never come to an end. When I reached my place, I texted her a message asking her not to even dare contacting me anymore as I from now on didn’t wanted to have anything to do with her. 

Today – several month later - I am still fighting anxiety, paranoia and depression but by cutting both my parents and their useful idiots completely out of my life, I have taken the most important step towards healing.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

"I think sharing my stories will help me heal..."

From a contributor who identifies herself as "Paula."

My mother “terminated” our relationship last month. This is the fourth time in my life that she has done so. When she eventually came back around the first three times she deeply regretted her behavior.  The last time, which was about 15 years ago, I got therapy to cope with the loss and grief. This time I decided I’m a veteran and can handle it, but it kept getting worse instead of better. I’ve been suffering from insomnia, lack of focus, depression, stomach issues … much like the physical effects of stress from a traditional breakup. When it started to impact my work performance I decided to get help.

Yesterday I met with a therapist and the option of choosing not to welcome her back into my life was presented to me. It has never occurred to me to use the same boundaries I set in other relationships, with my mom. I ordered the book Toxic Parents, and browsed the Internet for other forms of support. I listened to a YouTube interview with Vickie Bergman and learned about Parent Free by Choice. I am so relieved that other people with similar struggles are sharing their stories and supporting each other.

I want to share my stories. There are many, many stories. I think sharing my stories will help me heal and may help others as well.

To be continued…

The interview Paula mentioned is available on YouTube on The Voluntary Life Podcast..

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Just cut ties.

This contributor wishes to remain anonymous. Here is her story:

I found your blog this morning when I was looking for resources on how to break ties with a "toxic" parent. Thank you for providing a healing place to so many. I wanted to just get this off my chest and talk to someone about it. My grandparents are from a completely different era and don't agree with my decision.

My father raised me, so I was Daddy's Little Girl. He did wonderful things for me, like took me around the world, took me out to a restaurant every Friday night, and built me the best dollhouse ever (it had carpet and electricity!!!). However, he also used to hit me (splitting my lip once, bruising me a couple of times, and leaving welts regularly), call me names (he called me a bitch last year when I brought him a pet for his birthday, stupidly thinking it would patch up our relationship), and threaten to leave me on roadsides many, many times, even while on vacation 600 miles from home. Last winter, he screamed at me in a public cafe for dropping my cell phone (which I paid $20 for - it wasn't an iPhone or anything). I was as humiliated for him as I was for myself.

When I moved out ten years ago, we grew more distant and I'm convinced he's developed Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He contacts me by phone once every two or three months and has replaced me with 2,000 Facebook friends. Conversations increasingly became more about him, and he no longer asks how I'm doing; I have to volunteer it. When I smile and say, "Hey, I really like my new job, by the way (I recently received a great promotion that is providing me with some direction in life, so I'm very excited)," he says, "Oh. Am I supposed to ask you how you're doing?" He bought me an iPad for my birthday last year and I sent him a quick email from my graduate class last fall telling him how much I loved it -- I was using it at that minute to take notes, and it was working perfectly. He wrote back, "If I had known that's all you were going to use it for, I woudn't have bought it for you. It was a waste of my money." He is a genius at twisting my gratitude into guilt.

He had a heart attack a few weeks ago and when I called him to say hi and check on his health, it ended horribly. I told him I loved him and he said sarcastically, "Yeah, it really shows." I flipped out. I wrote him a letter last night that told him I recognize all he's done for me, but like anyone else, he has to earn the respect of others; it is not owed to him just because he's my dad. I closed it by saying "It hurts me to do this, but I cannot be in contact with someone who emotionally and verbally abuses me so often that it affects how I work, how I interact with my pet, my boyfriend, my friends, etc." I've lost a lot of sleep over it, too, so I guess it affects my health as well, though that seems like a stretch. He's very depressed, lonely, and not doing well financially, plus he's a functional alcoholic (his drink of choice is Scotch Whiskey) and I've tried to be sensitive to these things, but our relationship is beginning to affect other happier areas of my life now.

I am unsure if I did the right thing -- after all, he's my dad and I was his little girl -- but it's the first time I've stood up for myself. I hope it'll earn his respect and he'll see beyond the self-absorbed fog that hovers around him. I dunno.

It's tough stuff. I know parents are only human too, but they should, at the very least, act like adults.