So it has come to my attention that some people feel the need to dismiss the experiences of those who have suffered at the hands of the very caretakers who brought them into this world. I.e. individuals who happened to regretfully misinterpret their own abuse as love, or people who have been lucky enough to experience love in its truest form may unwittingly abuse a victim by telling them to get over themselves because:
- the abuse was imagined or exacerbated
- they must be weak, otherwise they wouldn’t complain about the past
- parents are incapable of causing harm
- the idea never crossed their mind noddle, so it must not exist at all
- C-PTSD is an excuse to be showered with attention
- I’m sure there are other bullshit reasons, but let’s get into the WHY so I don’t put ya’ll to sleep!
First and foremost – if you EVER feel the need to dismiss another’s life experience (there honestly is no justification), I suggest you kindly keep your mouth shut. Why? Because you’re the type of shithead that will make a victim feel bad for the abuse THEY suffered.
Now if you weren’t abused throughout your development or if you’ve been fortunate enough to land an intimate relationship with a loving spouse, then you’ll have trouble relating to any of the experiences that this writer and millions of other human beings have suffered.
That’s okay – congratulations, you won the genetic lottery!
However, some of us have not been as fortunate. So let’s take the time to walk you through my childhood. Don’t worry – it’s a highly abridged version which will aim at giving those who don’t know an idea they can wrap their mind noodles around. Let’s give you some perspective in 3…2…1…
TL;DR skip to the video if you don’t want to read. This is how C-PTSD manifests…
My household was managed by a malignant narcissist who actively worked to divide and conquer every piece of the collective puzzle that comprised our little world. That doesn’t make any sense! (shhh, I’m telling a story) So this means that a daddy, a mommy, two sons, and two daughters never spent time together. I.e. everyone did their own thing, rarely spent time getting to know one another, rarely acknowledged personal interests (at least positively), and actively worked to put each other down in order to feel temporarily elated. It’s called being passive aggressive – really fun when multiple adults do it to your face 24/7.
Does that sound like a loving family unit that sticks together through thick and thin? Not really, but let’s go a little further because the point hasn’t been made. My parents never showed affection. My mother always chastised my father and even teased him openly by calling him a child in front of his own children. “I’m raising five children.” She would say. This in turn encouraged us kiddies to tease daddy while mommy sat back with a grin on her face. I.e. I grew up believing that my father was incapable of providing me with anything.
Following my freshman year in HIGH SCHOOL, my father (who wasn’t getting anything in the bedroom since my mother denied him any pleasure – even a simple “I love you.”) attempted to rape one of my sisters while he was under the influence of alcohol. My mother rightfully kicked him out of the house, and I’ll never forget the last time I spent with my old man.
He picked me up from the alley behind our house as we drove off to a nearby lagoon to fish. The car wreaked of BO, cigarettes, and farts, so I could tell he had been sleeping in it. Long story short, I spent a few hours fishing with the personal sperm donor who completely flipped my life upside down – and he NEVER even mentioned anything that happened. It was the most AWKWARD time EVER spent with him…
So he inevitably killed himself because he lost his family, his job, his home, and practically everything he identified with for nearly half of his life. My mother then proceeded to compare this writer with his father because that projection wasn’t frightening at all! Just kidding, I was fucking terrified for YEARS (nearly 10) that I would lose control and rape someone.
Even the thought of being REJECTED by making an advance as simplistic as placing a hand on someone’s arm was too unbearable to consider. Why? Because I didn’t want to make a move since the potential existed for my feelings of attraction to not be reciprocated in kind. This led me to isolate myself because masturbating in a darkened room is a hell of a lot easier than trying to develop a relationship when your mind noodle is fucked.
To make matters worse, both my mother and the sister my father tried to rape would constantly tell me “you look just your dad!” (awkward turtle) My mother drove the message home that I was my father incarnate. But then again she would also tell me “sometimes I think life would have been easier if I never met your father.” I.e. if I never met that man, you never would have been born. Rejection feels wonderful, let me tell ya!
Who wants to follow the path of a depressed, lonely man who was constantly belittled by those who could have supported him? Or better yet, who failed miserably at parenting by violating the boundaries of a child he took the responsibility of protecting and offering guidance when needed? How about living out your last months as a homeless man who can’t see any hope of recovery, so offing yourself seems like the most logical form of action to take?
Some of you may be wondering how I fared the storm – I’m here, surprisingly so. Back then I struggled with severe depression. Things got so bad that I would envision myself downing household cleaners like Drano or bleach to end my suffering (this was before my dad even committed suicide) because a fourteen year old kid can only be so prepared to face such battles. I was even hospitalized twice because I kept passing out from Vasal Vagal attacks (feinting goat syndrome caused by the Vagus nerve – stress/emotion center). They started with one a day and I worked my way up to having 13 episodes within the same time.
The formal diagnosis recognized by a licensed psychiatrist? INEFFECTIVE GRIEVING. In other words, I was holding onto so much pain because my narcissistic mother trained me to repress any and all emotions. Why? Since it’s easier to accept abuse if you never connect the dots between what you experience and what you felt as a result! I.e. I was trying to bury all of that garbage AND function…LMFAO!! Props for trying, although it’s the very reason I’m so open today with how I feel. If you’re hurt, don’t deny it. But did ya notice how my problems arose from a non-physiologically based issue? Mind issues…
All of this was going on when she drove that message “you’re just like your father” into my subconscious. So you’re suggesting that your mom kicked you while you were already down? Yep! In fact my entire family was like that (except my aunt and uncle). Now I could keep going, but I think the point should be driven home by now. Things were bad before I was teenager, although everything I just mentioned was icing on the cake.
But we still haven’t lit the candles! Oh alright – are ya ready for the end to our little abridged tale of monstrosities? My mother finally asked me one day after we hadn’t spoken for nearly a year as to why I had been avoiding her. At first I dismissed it because my mother taught me well, although she persisted with the question of “why have you been avoiding me?” I unloaded on her and practically gave her a checklist which showcased all of her toxicity.
Wanna know what her response was? She looked me dead in the eyes and muttered the words “So you think I’m a bad mother?” before lowering her gaze towards her lap. She then shook her head slightly from side to side (still no eye contact) as she barely mumbled the words “I didn’t mean it that way, so you obviously misunderstood me.” At that moment I protested and she quickly looked me straight in my eyes and said “I’ve already gotten over it, so you should too.” Needless to say, she’s no longer in my life. The result? I have a life to enjoy without constantly having to check over my shoulder for shenanigans.
Now do I honestly expect you to understand? No. Do I honestly expect you to feel the pain I endured? No. So what does this writer expect?
Well since you asked – for everyone to be: gentle, kind, compassionate, loving, and supportive because you don’t know what you don’t know. Assume you’ll never truly (as in 100%) understand what it means to walk a mile in another’s shoes because to do so would mean that you’d have to go back to the point of that individual’s conception. I.e. this is simply not possible because we’re monkeys.
So how can you make sure you don’t inadvertently abuse someone who has already suffered greatly at the hands of those who were entrusted to support their very existence? Oh I don’t know, you could try listening with an open ear/mind/heart? That method often promotes feelings of inclusiveness when therapists use it with their clients. This in turn facilitates a relationship that can produce something worthwhile (healing).
Just because you haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to empathize. Why? Because we all feel pain, and likewise we can all experience gain! I.e. let’s help each other by connecting as opposed to rejecting. Otherwise keep your mouth shut if you have nothing positive to say to an individual who has more than likely been through something you will never have to face in your entire lifetime. As a last note for those who have been entwined with abuse – leave those who discourage your healing journey anywhere along the way because they will cause you more harm than good.
You and I were both trained to accept abuse as love because that’s the environment that raised us. So as weird as it may sound, we’ll naturally be attracted to abusive peeps years after the abuse since they’ll be “normal” to our confused mind noodles. It’s good to develop and maintain healthy boundaries because not everything in the universe has your best interests in mind. Keeping it real – thanks and congratulations for making it to the end if ya did! *hands you a cookie*
Ladies and gents, an excellent video conveying how abuse morphs a child’s experience. Take note of character roles (child plays adult by tending to toddler’s needs – loss of one’s childhood), emotional flashbacks (memories attached to feelings of dread, hopelessness, extreme anxiety triggered by real time similarities to past events – a smell, sound, color, etc.), and the resulting attachment disorders produced from mistrust.
Hey there, reader. Tonight’s topic was a little impromptu on my part considering that I already shat a post out earlier this morning. Oh well, this needed to come out. My name is Aaron Carlisle, and I’ve been recovering from 23 years of narcissistic abuse and parental neglect. I have no blood-related family because I left them to their fates. I had no friends, save one who lived a couple of hours away from me, until my personality began to soften as a result from the healing I’ve experienced. C-PTSD is not the end of the road, for the journey has only begun. So find out what you can do to elevate yourself from that which has held you back from discovering your true nature. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t walked the path I started…Many Blessings, to Valhalla we ride!
Featured Image: Child Abuse – Slideshare