When Life Hands You Lemons

When Life Hands You Lemons
When Life Hands You Lemons

September 1970
A young girl was born in Chicago, IL to a woman that did not have the financial resources to care for her. The woman chose to give her daughter a better life and decided to give her up for adoption so that she could be taken care of properly. As she grew older, she realized that money doesn’t buy everything. It doesn’t buy love, security, hope, honesty and normal mothers. She remembers thinking about her mother in hopes of trying to figure her out. She remembers thinking about why a mother would hide from her when she got off the bus and then saying, “what would you do if I was really gone?” “If I wasn’t so chicken I would kill myself,” the mother would say sometimes. You must clean the entire house on Saturday she would say, and then there was the dreaded white glove test. Learn how to give me shots so that I don’t have to go to the allergy doctor. The mother would attend doctor’s visits and say, he said that he never saw anything like me! There is no point in joining that club, you can’t stay after school, you must be home to take care of me. The list goes on. One constant lie, hurtful word, and manipulation after another for 47 years.
October 2012
The daughter dealt with all she could handle. One part of her heart still felt compassion for her mother. Compassionate people are the ones that narcissistic people prey upon. She always expected the daughter to treat her like a queen. I’m the most important person in this room, the narcissist will say. The daughter had a broken marriage had to move back home with her mother. It was a bad move in more ways than one. The daughter once again felt like a child. If her shower took too long, the mother would yell. If she stayed out too late, the mother would yell. If she left a crumb on the counter, the mother would yell. If she spent too much time with her art, the mother would yell. It was like being let out of prison for a while only to find yourself back there serving another sentence. The daughter’s life was a prison with no chance for parole. Never. It was a for better or for worse, ‘til death do us part type of relationship. It was always the worse and death will be the only way to break free. The warden did everything she could to keep the convict in her place. Verbal and mental abuse was her choice of punishment. The convict often referred to the warden as a porcupine. The warden would allow the convict to get close enough so that it really hurt when the quills came out. Over the years the warden took advantage of the convict by pulling her into drama, not allowing her to live, treating her like she was clueless and degrading her every chance she got. She hurt…. on purpose. I’m counting on you, text me in the morning and make sure I answer. I could be dead. I get so scared at night, you need to be here. I don’t know what would happen to the convict if she ever gets the opportunity to live. What will she do? Where will she go? Set free from the prison life. Will she grieve, or will she be relieved?
November 2017
Although the abuse continued, the convict kept in touch with the warden. Compassion fueled the fire. The convict prayed for the warden in hope. The convict never gave up on the warden. Eventually, this drained everything within her. She cringed with the phone rang and let it go to voicemail. She would read messages and not respond to the drama. She would pretend she wasn’t home when she came by. There was never a place to truly rest. She avoided her at all cost but eventually they would have to talk. In researching about narcissism, the convict learned terms and their meanings.
Gaslighting found its way into the research. A persistent manipulation. The convict realized that over her lifetime, she had jumped from one career to another. She even pursued careers because that is what the warden wanted her to do. The convict doubted every decision she ever made. She always worried that she would hear the dreaded, I told you so. She was convinced that she could never do anything right, so she quit trying. You will never be good enough, so she thought, so just give up. Let life knock you down, its ok, that’s what you deserve. If narcissistic predators can get you to believe this about yourself, they have won. They will sit there and look down their nose at you in satisfaction.
Any conversation that you could possibly have was always one-sided. There was always an interruption and the conversation always turned back to the warden. I know you are facing foreclosure but let’s talk about what I have and how I always managed money successfully. Here let me rescue you and give you money. The more she gave, the more power she had in the convict’s life. She loved being the center of attention. She loved having people worship the ground she walked on. She loved being in control.
Hoovering happens when you least expect it. Hoover vacuum cleaners are made to suck up things and that just what narcissists do, they suck you back into drama. If the convict wanders too far, the warden will suck you back in using guilt or other similar tactics. The goal is to get the convict back under their power and control. Sometimes they admit that they are wrong or that they will change their ways, but this convict has never gotten an apology, only blame.
Sometimes a narcissist will become like you. They want to dress like you, do their hair or makeup like you, or mimic your behavior. It doesn’t make sense that the narcissist wants to consume your life, ridicule you and then want to become like you but it happens. Jealously plays a key role in mirroring. What are they jealous of though? This convict was raised by a narcissist, but I’ve worked so hard to not become her. I recognized the narcissistic characteristics and have chosen to be something different. I do not want that negativity in my life. I do not want the drama and I do not want the pain.
Sometimes the narcissist will take anything adoration that they can get. They need, not want, to feel in control. If something goes wrong, they only resolution is to blame their problem on their victim. There is no way that the narcissist is at fault nor will they take responsibility. They must have a scapegoat. I’ve taken the blame and apologized for her behavior for years. As a result, people assume that I’m the same way which is very frustrating by the way. Again, I’ve worked hard to not become her but, yet I justify her behavior. Am I the enabler?
This process has led me to believe that I cultivate this personality glitch in her. But then I remind myself that she was already broken before I came around. Speaking to her sisters has reaffirmed the fact that she has been shattered for years. So, did she create drama when something happened that she didn’t like and then she got her way? Where is that fine line? What causes the behavior?
My youngest granddaughter is almost 2. At the age of 2, she tends to be the center of things. For more than one reason (but that’s another story). At some point in time, proper rearing of this child will include transitioning her to believe that you don’t always win every time and the world does not revolve around her. You see, early childhood ‘narc’ behavior is normal. The parents fail when they don’t cut the child off at appropriate times. Do I think that my grandparents are to blame? No, not necessarily. Do I think that my aunts and uncles are to blame? No. What about my father? No. I really wish I could narrow down the why. I love solving problems, but this is one that I have waved the white flag on.
According to Psychology Today, there are the following reasons for this behavior. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/warning-signs-parents/201701/childhood-roots-narcissistic-personality-disorder
• persistent bullying behaviors such as making fun of, threatening, degrading, or scapegoating people (including parents and other adults)
• persistent need to win no matter who is hurt
• persistent lying to benefit oneself (will lie about lying, turn lies into someone else’s fault, deflect accountability by attacking messengers who point out lies)
• egotistical view of extraordinary self-worth
• preoccupation with getting own needs met over other people’s
• entitled attitudes which lead to acting as if they deserve special treatment and to get whatever they want, no matter the circumstances
• aggressive responses to being criticized, wronged, or upset
• repetitively blaming others for bad outcomes
• and being much more competitive than cooperative
I would never say that this is anyone’s fault, per se, but where did it come from? Why wasn’t it stopped? Does the person or persons that caused this behavior know what they were doing, or did they simply not care? Did this go back more than one generation? Something in their lives that bruised their ego and chipped away at their self-image. Intentional? I’m not sure. Reality? Yes. An unbroken cycle? Yes. Create the same problem for generations? Yes. Healing begins when someone recognizes the problem and makes a conscious effort to change the pattern.
Narcissists are incapable of true empathy and true love. They cannot exist outside of themselves. They align themselves with a weaker person to elevate themselves. At the end of the day, their goal is to look good and feel superior to others.
I have heard and read that the best way to deal with a narcissist is to cut the tie with them. To be honest, this bothers me a bit. It may be good for some to do so but I live my life with compassion. I believe that a person can set a boundary and stick to their guns. Does this make me weak? I don’t think so. I believe it makes me strong. I do not deal with the drama. I do not let things bother me as they have in the past. I know who I am and what I stand for. To answer my previous question, will the convict grieve or be relieved when she passes? I think both. I choose to see good in the warden despite everything, there is good. It is a glimmer of good, but it’s still there. But yes, this convict will be relieved because the abuse will finally be over.

One Response »

  1. I’m so sorry. The same painful scenarios were done to me by my ‘evil captor’. 😉. I can see you are searching and finding…hurting and healing…seeking answers that only God can choose to give. Narcissism is deeply and personally individualized. I truly believe this because each person has a unique personality with a unique background, unique Individual Life experiences he/she lives each moment. I’m sitting here thinking… what does a true narcissist look like against the cross of Jesus? 🧐 I mean, I wonder looking at it from a biblical perspective. It’s something I will ponder. There are definitely examples of narcissists to look into. Hmmmm

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