What happens when someone invites you into their very public family drama?

I wasn’t going to say anything. Not even to my friends or my partner. And I still haven’t said anything to them. I was definitely not going to write a post about it. I don’t tend to write about things that are in the news, especially those that are generating opinionated momentum.

I read the News article. Just one. It wasn’t really an article, it was a screen grab of a tweet, the tweet which started the gossip and opinion sharing globe rolling. I didn’t want to get sucked into it so I ignored all the others – other news about it and other people’s opinions about it.

I’ve read about this particular family’s dramas before. It was hard to miss a few years ago as the courts were involved and dirty laundry aired became News Headlines and big business for the News corporations. Come see the violence inherited in the system (nod to my favourite clip from Monty Python and The Holy Grail).

But then I saw The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt – Ripped from the Headlines.

And I saw it just after I’d posted my latest installment of my Zen of Narcissists series today – The Zen of Narcissists: Lesson #6: Censorship and Control.

The series is based on my own experiences of Narcissists. When I write a post for it I review what I’ve experienced, and I try to shift my perspective from being on the outside of a Narcissist to being a Narcissist, to giving advice to a Narcissist on how to be one. It’s unfortunately not as hard as it perhaps should be as both my parents were Narcissists and trained me deliberately and inadvertently in their ways. I’ve spent many years deprogramming myself and learning a healthier way of being and relating. I never became a Narcissist because I couldn’t, had I been given the option… I don’t know and really don’t want to find out.

When I first became aware of this famous family’s drama, I remember thinking about their children, one in particular because this child was used by the parents to make a point in their public battle. I thought – poor kid, he’s never going to get out of the this mess, he’s never going to be allowed to get out of it.

I wasn’t really thinking about him. I was thinking about myself. He reminded me of myself, the situation and scenario he was in reminded me of my own.

That’s what often happens when we get passionately opinionated and involved in someone else’s story, especially if we don’t know them personally. It’s not about them, it’s about us. They become a figurehead for something which perhaps we can’t face or deal with or discuss about our own lives so we express it by expressing how we feel and what we think about them. We’re attached and detached. We’re safe.

Around the same time that this family and there drama was in the news the first time around, an incident happened to me. Not an unusual one, but a very typical one.

A stranger walked up to me and started lecturing me on my behaviour as a daughter to my father, then told me how I should behave and how to be a good daughter. By then I knew that it was best to thank the person for the uninvited interference and not try and elucidate them. So I thanked this person for their kind advice and walked away. This person did not know my father, they had met him because they admired his work and were one of his big collectors. In certain circles my father is a famous artist.

My father used every opportunity handed to him on a golden platter to use people to further his cause and to make his private dramas very public. My mother did the same. The more the merrier, as misery loves company!

They changed their story and drama depending on who their audience was to garner the greatest amount of sympathy, hopefully to recruit another soldier for their cause of winning the game, and to create the biggest gossip rippling impact.

In all the years of dealing with this kind of shit, I only let it influence how I viewed my father’s work a couple of times. I only criticised his work once openly, and the person I did it to was a friend of mine who nudged me gently back to sanity.

My father may be a Narcissist of huge and malignant proportions, but his work stands on its own separate from him. I think he was a very talented artist. It’s a shame he self-destructed his career, but it doesn’t matter.  His work lives on without him and it inspires those who know of it, who see it and love it. They do not need to know who the person behind the artist is… although I think it might actually add cachet to his work as all artists are known to be crazy and Picasso didn’t suffer from all the biographies which revealed him to be… very difficult to live with.

However… that’s my story.

The child of this famous family who is now an adult expressing himself and his views… that’s his story. He is free to do what he needs to do, and to do it as publicly as he chooses to do so. His life was made public property without his permission when he was a child. Perhaps he’s seeking to get his power back from those who claimed it as their own. Perhaps he just wants his side of the story heard and acknowledged. Perhaps we’ll never know why… just what happens when those why’s push us to act.

I don’t really have an opinion about it as it’s not my story… I have thoughts because his story reminds me of my own.