Carnivals and funfairs are a part of Summer… or at least the weather which mimics the kind we associate with Summer. Some places seem to have that weather all year round. Year round Summer. Summer lovin’ all the time.
And those places often have carnivals and funfairs all year round too. We sometimes go out of our way to travel there and experience that if we don’t live there. Perhaps we appreciate it more because of that… because it isn’t on our doorstep.
My first experience of a funfair is one I can’t recall. I have false memories of it, in other words I was told about it enough times for me to think what I was told was my memory, other people’s memories of it were my own.
Disney World when I was something like 2 years old… couldn’t go on any rides and got to wait around with an au pair while my parents had a blast which they could then tell me about when I was old enough to listen.
Okay, I could go on one ride apparently – That false memory includes my being a nuisance for wanting to go on the only ride on which I was allowed to go according to Disney World rules – the merry-go-round. This was annoying to my parents, it ate into their fun time according to them, and they liked this annoyance enough to make it part of their memory story.
I have many rather bad memories of funfairs and carnivals.
One time when I was about 6 years old I went to a funfair in Paris… and afterwards while sleeping it off, worn out by too much fun, I was woken up by an angry mother (who hadn’t gone to the funfair due to… being a snob about such things) who couldn’t stand the smell of the cotton candy I had obviously eaten and of which I hadn’t cleansed myself. That smell of cotton candy which annoyed her so much was actually the kitchen of the hotel in which we were staying, which was afloor or two beneath our room window which was open due to it being Summer, that was on fire.
Another time I went to Great Adventure in New Jersey with a friend and her family, when I was about 11 years old, and my mother gave me permission to do so… which she later chose to forget about so that she could pretend that I had been kidnapped or something like that. She was so worried that she almost called the police, the national guard, the FBI and CIA… whatever. It was awful for her… and my fun turned into something of which I should be ashamed, feel guilty about and regret.
My dreams of a funfair were someone else’s nightmare… their nightmare became mine and overruled my dream.
This particular funfair experience was rewritten so many times by my parents until it was a conspiracy, several conspiracies, and used in so many diverse ways in their battles against each other, that I’m surprised that I managed to retain the original memory… but maybe I was able to do that because neither of them was actually there even though they tried to own that memory and make me own their multiple versions of it.
To balance things out, I also have many rather good memories of funfairs and carnivals.
I fell in love with my life partner on a very different and personally memorable trip to Disney World. I’d only just met him when he invited me to travel to a fantasy world with him. I said yes… which was unusual for me by that time, but there was something about him, and about me with him.
We bonded over our horror – the horror, the horror – of the Small World ride. It was humorous horror. Adults and children often have a different interpretation of things. Our view was similar to The Simpsons episode which included that ride.
That wasn’t the only way we bonded. There were some fun rides too. Mind you… the horror was fun too. The horror… is sometimes fun and all part of enjoying a funfair.
The funfair in this series of photos is of one we, me and my partner, went to yesterday. It’s a bit special to us for reasons which won’t be obvious unless I reveal them. The ‘Carnies’ who run this particular funfair are our neighbours. They live across the road from us. We usually only see these rides when they are all boxed up. When the trucks leave our neighbours’ compound and head off to their destination. Or occasionally if they’re working on a ride, fixing it, we’ll catch a glimpse of it through the foliage of the hedges and trees.
Carnies often have a bad reputation…
These particular carnies were one of the very first people on the scene when a woman who experienced a brain aneurism crashed her car into my garden.
They were not the first responders. The first person to stop and aid another human in distress was a random stranger in a white van – if you live in the UK you’ll know that white van drivers are often considered as bad guys – who witnessed the accident the moment it happened.. and stopped to help. To offer what they could offer.
My partner and I were late to respond because we didn’t realise the loud crash was a car accident. This may baffle some people. The only way I can explain it is that in this area loud crashing sounds are quite common.
I know you may assume that living somewhere rural and countrified is quiet. It can be. You can hear a leaf drop at night and think it’s a burglar. But leaves… trees fall very loudly around here and do it regularly as part of the natural cycle. If a tree falls in the forest around here… it shakes your foundations. Makes a loud bang like the sound of a car crash. And farming equipment doing what it is supposed to do can sound like the end of days.
But this was different… it takes the mind a while to process different.
The carnie neighbours called the emergency services, re-directed traffic, made sure the woman was alive and looked after her… as did the white van driver… well before my partner and I did something similar.
In essence our role was to offer support to those already supporting. Which is sometimes needed.
When the emergency services arrived, which they did quickly and efficiently, the professionals responding actually relied on the carnies, and the rest of those of us gathered there, to help them access the accident site and do what was needed to be done to save a human life.
All humans cooperated with other humans regardless of social status and any other factors which we may take into account in other circumstances, ones which are not emergencies, of life or death. Someone was in distress and we all put our differences and prejudices aside and worked together to help one person survive. The victim was fine and survived her ordeal.
Once the emergency was over, the carnies, my wonderful neighbours, melted back into the landscape. So did the white van driver. So did I and so did my partner.
But I have never forgotten what they did or who they are as people.
They don’t bother me and I don’t bother them. If we catch sight of each other, we wave acknowledgment. That’s it. If I know they are there it is because sometimes their trucks carrying those funfair rides which offer fun, pleasure and leisure, for others make a hefty sound, and that accident made me aware of being alert to sounds even if they seem to be just the usual, no need to worry.
I love this post, Ursula – such fresh and vivid memories. The early part rang lots of bells with me. xxx
Thank you very much 🙂
Many of your posts resonate deeply with me, I love your blog!… and we’re both redheads and Cappies (at least I’m fairly certain you’re a Capricorn Sun, I’m an airhead so I can get things very wrong 😉 )… the fire burns strong and needs to express itself through creative means!
Fellow Goat indeed, Ursula: you are spot on! Though I have, as you might have guessed, a fair amount of Fire in my chart. Yes, that creative expression is so important, isn’t it? I cannot cope without it. xxx
Your creative expression is an intrinsic part of your beauty, and sharing it with others is too… we can’t cope without it either 🙂
I love the awareness that comes across in this posting on several levels. first your awareness about the “conspiracy stories” in regards to what happened and what was truly fun, “allowed” fun, but with everyone annoyed, and things that were truly not fun.
Of course I thought of my stepkids with this story. I remember once they were so excited their Mom and her boyfriend were taking them to a large city for a night. The kids were still pretty young. Chuck-e-cheeses was about their speed. Instead their Mom took them to Dave and Buster’s, an adult bar and arcade game place so she and her boyfriend could drink so they could “handle” all the noise the kids would make.
Of course the party-line my stepkids have been fed is “Isn’t Mom great for taking you somewhere?”
I love your bit at the end about the people who helped. We never truly know people and we can never assume that we do. It’s must too easy to pass superficial judgements.
Thank you 🙂
Everything which we experience has so many levels of story going on inside and outside of it, our stories and the stories of others. I love reviewing things and seeing perspectives which I had not noticed before or which perhaps had only been peripheral awareness at the time.
When we’re in the now our centre of attention tends to be focused on ourselves or on something immediately related to us, but afterwards we can step back and see so much more.
Your stepkids will look back on that memory and see many other elements and versions of it than the one which was presented to them at the time. Our perspective grows as we grow. As children we often see things as flat, up close and personal to us, so the cow in the distance is not a cow in the distance but a tiny cow close up (I got that from a documentary about how the mind evolves with age), but as an adult we know that tiny cow is a large one which is at a certain distance from us and this enables us to see things as being less up close and personal to us. I think part of the purpose of memory is to be able to review our experiences and see them differently than when the event occurred.
It’s all so very fascinating!
You know, the story you relate about the cow is perfect. We have all had experience with not seeing what was truly there (or seeing it from the wrong perspective).
I think you will understand this when I say that the image you shared will stay with me and also help give me a perspective on what my stepkids may be seeing.
Some times the smallest things can be so transformative.
Big transformations are usually due to a collection of small things adding up over time, coalescing and taking shape. It’s like learning how to walk, we don’t suddenly do it, we work our way up to it bit by bit, but when we do it it sometimes appears as though it happened suddenly. So the smallest thing which is transformative is sometimes the last piece of a puzzle which finally brings all the other small things together and we’re finally ready to see the big picture and then it works its magic on us.
There is some excellent literature based on studies conducted on the differences between a child’s perception and an adult’s. Of course all the studies are conducted by adults so there are blind spots – adults tend to forget how they perceived life when they were children, and they tend to be a bit biased, thinking that their mind is more perceptive than that of a child. In some ways it is, and in other ways it isn’t. Our minds tend to narrow in focus as we age.
I came across this article – Why children can’t see what’s right in front of them – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27538195 – a while ago which I found particularly interesting, not so much in relation to children but as an explanation of how a narcissist perceives, because in many ways people with NPD are stuck in childhood (their behaviour is akin to a warped child, without the excuse/reason for it which a child being a child has) and their perception is flat, as in they don’t seem to have an awareness of depth of field. Thus they can’t empathise because they can’t perceive the other at all, other people are flat to them, whereas they themselves are very large and take up all the space blocking their line of sight. And you could say that other people after exposure to a narcissist do become flat because they get squashed by the oversized space-hogging narcissist 😉
Narcissists are quite appealing to children, especially when the child is the same mental age or younger than a narcissist, the real problems start when the child’s mental age exceeds the narcissist’s mental age. When reasoning and the ability to think logically enters the equation. As the narcissist begins to feel threatened by the growth of the child, so they try to stunt it – keep the child forever trapped at the same mental age as the narcissist. This is when the abuse becomes more damaging because the child can’t grow naturally, flowing along the natural path, the natural path of growth gets deviated and detoured for the sake of the narcissist.
The most terrifying experience a narcissist parent experiences with regards to their child is when the child stops seeing their parent as an omnipotent being, and begins to see them as an ordinary human. A child’s developing mind once it moves beyond a certain mental age begins to think very logically, and begins to see all the inconsistencies and flaws within the reality presented by the narcissist parent.
At that stage if the child has non-narcissist adults in their life, the damage caused by the narcissist can be mitigated to a degree. However if they don’t have a non-narcissist influence in their life or if the other adults are catering to the narcissist, things get very complex for the child to cope with, as their grasp of logic gets constantly dismissed in favour of the illogic presented by the narcissist and their fantasy version of reality and of the child.
At that point when the child realises that the small cow is actually a regular sized cow which is positioned at a distance – the perception is still new and developing. If they have a healthy adult in their life, their growth of perception is supported, that adult will confirm that the cow is regular sized and located at a distance, thus the child can trust what they see and keep developing in a straightforward manner. However if they have a narcissist in their life, their perception is not likely to be supported as the narcissist will insist that the cow is a small cow and what the child is perceiving is wrong. The world is flat to a narcissist, and they need others to confirm this for them. If someone sees things differently, the narcissist will attack their eyesight until that person gives in and denies what their perception sees in favour of what the narcissist wants them to see.
There is another layer of perception to this and that is most children realise what is going on, it’s just that if they are alone, trapped in the world of a narcissist they must accept illogic and flat world belief to survive in that environment. It’s either accept the world of a narcissist or be excluded, ostracised and treated like a heretic 24/7.
However if they are not alone, and have an escape from the trap, even if they can’t escape fully but get a time out from the illogical world of a narcissist, they can become a part of an underground movement which keeps the truth safe – their core self has a haven, where it can grow and develop naturally.
Sorry, I’m reading Noam Chomsky’s Understanding Power… there are many parallels between government policies and corrupt power tactics, and growing up with a narcissist. Microcosm and macrocosm. So I went off on a tangent 🙂
Amazing, amazing….I don’t want to say too much out of respect for my stepkids, but let me say this…
you have outlined their development with frightening accuracy.
And from your words, I continue to grow in awareness and strength in dealing with this situation. Blessings.
This was interesting… I began to wonder about this sort of personality recently… I have been working with a man that views himself as altruistic… however, he has a huge need for entitlement defenses. Lately he’s been unable to refrain from anger. He had been married to a narcissist. I’ve been successful at letting him see himself but his obsessions overpower him and he relapses into drinking and crack use — I assume this may go on indefinitely — he cannot manage to retain a sensible perspective of himself. He admits many obsessions but genuinely is baffled and unable to understand obsessions are projections and to know what his problem is. Every time we meet he has another story or several of how patient and caring he forces himself to be in order to make up for someones shortcomings. He perceives himself as a martyr. His image of himself varies from situation to situation.but it is the same in that he’s always the better man for being able to give up something and the other guy or his ex-wife is sick to the point that he has to repress his intense anger — he’s really beyond my help but he keeps his appointments with me. I agreed to mentor him but I really can’t help him find a turning point toward understanding God’s will (his purpose for seeing me — I not ever recruiting him) since by his projecting God as the illusion. So, I watched some video and read some of the blogs I know, and a couple of articles. I was thinking I may describe narcissism and then I watched this video… so, guess I’ll just let him talk and see if ever it awakens him… if you have any advice, thanks in advance.
Covert narcissists are masters of disguise — successful actors, humanitarians, politicians, clergy members, and even psychotherapists who are beloved and appreciated, but are secretly selfish, calculating, controlling, angry and vindictive. Covert narcissists create an illusion of selflessness while gaining from their elevated status. Although they share similar basic traits with the overt narcissist, i.e., the need for attention, affirmation, approval and recognition, they are stealthier about hiding their selfish and egocentric motives. Unlike the overt narcissist who parades his narcissism for all to see, the covert narcissist furtively hides his real motives and identity. These narcissists are able to trick others into believing they are honest, altruistic and empathetic individuals. They are successful at pretending to be a more likable version of themselves, knowing that if their true identity was uncovered, they would not be able to maintain the respect, status and prestige that they have so furtively garnered. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8OgfVyM8u5xhoHTJPa9sOQ
The short answer:
If someone came to you with a similar issue – what would your advice to them be?
Take your own advice.
The long answer:
If he is a Covert narcissist, and going by your description of him I would say that he may well be one, then nothing you say or do will have any deep or lasting impact upon him. Not because of you, but because of the way that narcissists, especially Covert narcissists, are.
Superficially things may appear to improve, he may appear to have an awakening, it may seem genuine and conscious awareness may appear to have occurred, but with a Covert narcissist that is par for the course. It’s all about appearances.
They are particularly adept at suddenly making progress just when you were about to give up on them. They show you and tell you what you need to see and hear to keep you just where they want you. They add oil to the machinery just before it breaks down.
Narcissists have set patterns with set phases within the patterns. From what you have said he is still in the idealistic phase of – what you can do for him. And it is about what you’re going to do and are doing for him, not what he is going to do for himself. He has to be in your company to partake of the knowledge which you are sharing with him – your consciousness uplifts his and becomes his – when he is not in your company, he may forget what you have shared with him and revert to the way he was before he met you.
The Covert narcissist’s ability to revert back to square one is one of the ways to spot them. They can give the impression that they’ve understood things, that they’ve become enlightened but this only lasts when they are with you because they’re surfing your awareness, and reflecting your awareness back at you as if it was their own – but they never actually absorb it other than superficially, it never awakens their own awareness. They’re basically just mirroring you. And you trust what you see because you see yourself.
Covert narcissists are much harder to deal with than Overt narcissists. They are very deep in denial and believe their own delusions which is why they are able to deceive others. Their belief sells it to others which is why they’re hard to spot until it is usually ‘too late’ and we’ve invested too much into them and their delusions.
An Overt narcissist may be conscious of their manipulations and motivations for behaving the way they do, a Covert narcissist tends to do all of that unconsciously – as far as a Covert narcissist is concerned they are pure as the driven snow. Even when they admit that the problems they have may be due to themselves, they don’t actually believe it – it is always the fault of someone else somewhere down the line and ultimately nothing can be done about it, not by them anyway – everyone else has to change so that they can feel as though they have changed, but even if everyone else changed, they’d still stay the same and experience people as they always have. They are stuck in their story, and so is everyone else with whom they interact.
It is often stated by professionals that narcissists don’t tend to go into therapy. Covert narcissists seek it out quite regularly in one form or another, but just not for NPD – and if a therapist were to diagnose them with NPD, that therapist would never see them again. Covert narcissists are attracted to people who ‘save’ others for a living. Gurus, therapists, counsellors, priests, spiritual advisors, etc, because they are seeking to be ‘saved’.
The Covert narcissist tends to opt for the ‘damsel in distress’ routine, modified for their ego and gender. They always suck people into their life by playing the victim who, under the right circumstances with the right person, can be saved. They sometimes play at being a victim of themselves and their impulses, etc. It’s still the same routine just more cunning. This is how they get their narcissistic supply. But at some point in the proceedings, usually when their ‘saviour/hero/rescuer’ expects them to take some responsibility for their condition and actually do something pro-active about it such as ‘save’ themselves now that they have been shown how to do it, there is a role reversal – the saviour/hero/rescuer’ becomes the ‘villain’.
So at some point his inability to understand what he came to you to understand and discover will become your inability, and he will go off and find someone else to ‘save’ him. He will revert to the way he was before he met you and present this new ‘saviour/hero/rescuer’ with the same problem with which he presented you – figure my problems out, sort them out for me, make me perfect. I’ll pretend to do this with you and cooperate. He’ll tell all the stories which he told you, he’ll make the same sort of progress which he has made with you, and you will be added to the list of people who are a part of – “another story or several of how patient and caring he forces himself to be in order to make up for someones shortcomings.”
Letting him talk with the hopes that by talking he may have an awakening… is not going to work if he is a Covert narcissist. They like to talk an endless stream, especially about themselves and what is wrong with them because of everyone else, and what is wrong with everyone else. They love to talk. Talking is their doing. They particularly love to talk with those who willingly listen with attention being paid to them and their talk.
If they are paying you to listen to them (and even if they are not) – they will be very aware of that and they may try to get ‘freebies’ to confirm their ‘special’ status. They will do things like take up more of your time than you were willing or able to give them, perhaps because they have an ’emergency’, sometimes more subtly than that. They apologise for this to let you know they are aware of it – then they’ll do it again and again, upping the ante, crossing your boundaries further and further. Apologising along the way, but never being genuinely sorry about it as if they were they’d stop doing it.
As for advice – what I sense from you is your instinct/intuition/experience is strong. You sense something is wrong. You know what you would like to do about it. However you are doubting your instinct, because you are very conscientious and caring, you genuinely want to help. You believe that no one is beyond help. Which is true… but it comes with a proviso, one which narcissists ignore – they have to genuinely want the help which they are seeking and be willing to do the work involved to help themselves. And you would like to be wrong about him being a Covert narcissist. If you give him more time, cut him more slack maybe, just maybe, with enough faith this time… narcissists rely on non-narcissists seeing things that way.
You should trust yourself.
You could try testing him. Consider a test which you could do that would clarify matters for you. Someone who is not a narcissist will be adaptable and will be understanding, open to a test. Someone who is a narcissist will be inflexible and will become hostile due to lacking any perspective other than their own, will be closed off and defensive about a test.
If he was not a narcissist you could actually share you concerns, the ones which you have expressed here, with him. He might not enjoy hearing it, but he will be open to listening as it might help to solve some of his issues for him, after all his interaction with you is a relationship and will contain many of the dynamics which he experiences in life with others and within himself. He would benefit from a dose of honesty one way or another.
So. Why not share your concerns with him, after all your concerns will influence the work which you do together and may over-shadow it. Clear the air, get things out into the open. Speak your truth.
The fact that you haven’t done this is very informative. I imagine this may be partly why you suspect that he is a narcissist, because you feel censored in speaking your truth to him.
He wants to understand God’s will. Surely this includes hearing the truth rather than hearing the ‘truth’ he wants to hear which suits his version of reality. Surely his will is not akin to God’s… although if he is a narcissist…
The other day I saw a quote which in my mind seems to apply to this – Sometimes I want to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I’m afraid He just might ask me the same question.
Narcissists on the whole like to tell people what is wrong with them, according to the narcissist, and what they should do about it to please the narcissist, who is never pleased no matter what you do. But if someone turns things back around onto them and asks – What about you? What are you doing to make a difference, to change, etc… that’s when the narcissist reveals himself in his true colours.
Hope this helps a bit. If you want links to advice about Covert narcissists let me know, I have quite a few in my NPD posts. But I think the advice which you need resides within you. Trust yourself!
Generally when I see people as a mentor, they have their experience and move on. So, this was the first surprise to me. This man keeps coming back and without the significance of hi own experiences to motivate him. I though “hmm… he wants my experiences.” So, I get it. after some thinking and your first instinct, I returned to my inspiration. He asked for my views and he shall have that. Thanks for the quote as well. I would not have thought that would ease me off – but it was exactly the right thing to contemplate. I have asked that question many times and never once thought it was a question that ought evoke fear in my heart. I do trust myself Ursula and I do thank you.
One other thing I will say in relation to my stepkids. I am sorry you had to live these experiences, but please know how much it helps (beyond words) that you have lived this and can share your experiences.
I have felt so lonely in this situation, wondering also if I am just making things up in my mind ( you know, second-wife syndrome or something) I read your words and I think, “Someone understands! Someone understands my concerns!!”
I know that feeling well, of wondering if my perspective is completely skewed and if everything which I think is real is just a figment of my imagination. I’ve had that feeling about myself – am I real or am I just imagining that I am or am I a figment of someone else’s mind. It is partly due to the solipsism of existence. Partly due to growing up with narcissists.
These days when I ask myself – am I crazy, am I making all of this up – I usually ask myself – is a narcissist involved in this scenario?
We rely quite a bit on our tribe, on our social group, to confirm or deny our perceptions of reality. If that group contains a narcissist things can get very surreal, and the surreal can become the group’s reality. History is full of examples of group delusion perceived as reality often due to one charismatic person selling their total belief in their delusion as reality to others. Narcissists don’t doubt themselves, non-narcissists do experience self doubt, and we often think that someone who has no doubt is more knowledgeable than we are because we equate doubt with being wrong in some way, not having all the facts, ergo the lack of doubt is equated with a sense of being completely right and having facts to back it up.
Narcissists don’t doubt themselves because they make up facts to back up their fantasies and then set out to convince others that their word is law. They are so certain of their delusion that we begin to doubt our perception. We often fail to notice that their version of reality and their facts change to suit whatever delusion they believe at any given moment. Partly because our minds don’t work the way that their minds do. The rapid shifts of the narcissist can be too confusing and too quick to process.
You have the gift of a very logical mind. The problem is that a narcissist is a part of your life – a narcissist’s mind is illogical, but they believe their illogic is logic. So your mind is constantly having to make complicated calculations – it is able to do so and see what is real. However what is real seems illogical. And if you share this with someone who does not have an understanding of the crazy reality of a narcissist – you’ll end up sounding crazy even though you are not, and you will listen to yourself and doubt your own perception even though you know it is correct.
Dealing with a narcissist in any way at all is a total mind f**k.
Whenever you get those moments of – “Someone understands! Someone understands my concerns!!” – frame them and put them in a prime position on your wall. That’s what will get you through this situation. When you doubt your perception, look at those moments and support yourself with them. Believe in yourself and what you see. Trust yourself. The road is long, the journey is exhausting, rely on yourself, rely on your strength. Your logical mind is a strength. Trust it!
Strangely enough, loneliness is a strength too. Sometimes we need to learn what it has to teach us. A unique kind of personal power through feeling powerless.
When in doubt – trust yourself!
I love your simple solution as to when you are doubting yourself. You ask yourself “Is a narcissist involved?”
That helps. Unless people have dealt with narcissists they have no idea how insidious their havoc-wrecking skills can be. You can lose your balance so easily.
And you are right, I do have a logical mind and try to figure it out.
But what I am coming to realize, though, is the figuring it out has little do with me and a whole lot about “saving” my stepkids. I realize that is insane, but I want them to understand that the perspective given to them by their Mom is not really functional.
What an interesting point you make about strength in loneliness and gaining personal power through feeling powerless. I will have to work with those thoughts some in my mind, but I like the balance they provide.
It’s not in the least bit insane to want to ‘save’ your stepkids. Unless you read the word ‘insane’ as ‘in sane’, meaning that you’re in the sane zone.
There’s a quote (actually there are many quotes from the book which are very insightful) from Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen:
“Was everybody seeing this stuff and acting as though they weren’t? Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?”
One of the hardest parts of being a child of narcissists is other people. The outsiders, so to speak. Those who are a part of things but aren’t a part of things. Who interfere, often because the narcissist has dragged them into things, but who don’t really have to deal with the consequences of their interference – they can just walk away if things go wrong or ignore what they don’t want to see because it spoils the pretty and perfect picture either of themselves or the narcissist.
My Uncle/Godfather was a child psychologist, who was constantly being dragged into things by my parents, and he always sided with them. He would use his credentials as a child psychologist to put me in my place – in the place in which my parents wanted him to put me, in the one which suited him as he enjoyed the ego benefits of sucking up to my parents, and in the one which he agreed children should be put.
He once lectured me on the negative effects of my shyness, told me that I wasn’t making an effort to make friends, and then proceeded to solve it for me. He was ‘saving’ me from myself. We were all on holiday together at a resort and he walked over to another child, who like me seemed to be happy playing by themselves, and he engineered for us to play together. We actually hit it off and spent so much time playing together that it annoyed my parents who then set about splitting us apart. Of course my Child Psychologist Uncle/Godfather didn’t notice what my parents did, and therefore never realised that my shyness and reluctance to make friends had much to do with the fact that whenever I made an effort to interact with outsiders, it triggered my parents to isolate me – therefore keeping me exactly where they wanted me to be, in my place, completely at their mercy.
His partner was a different story as far as ‘saving’ me was concerned. He just accepted me as I was and was interested in my interests, often encouraging me to pursue something and develop it. He was at times criticised for doing this, for ‘spoiling’ me. He once took me for a walk so that I could see the sights of the place we were in. My parents and his partner hated sight-seeing, but I loved it yet rarely got to do it. So this was a rare treat. The drama which ensued because we went off on this walk (typical narcissist OTT nonsense which fed them to bursting with narc supply) meant that that kind of activity would never happen again. Once again I was put in my isolated place – and this was made clear to others, to anyone who might help the prisoner escape.
Here’s the thing – the greatest gift of ‘saving’ which you can give to someone else, adult or child, is to show them that they can ‘save’ themselves, help them to uncover their personal power. This is particularly important for children of narcissists because we feel powerless all the time.
This – “I want them to understand that the perspective given to them by their Mom is not really functional.” – is going to be tricky if approached too directly. Their mother is still their mother, so be careful. It’s best to simply show them another perspective through a living experience of it, children learn best from doing, hands on, and let them absorbed the diverse perspectives and come to their own conclusions.
The best thing to show them what you want to show them is really just by letting them be children – a narcissist parent tends to turn their child into their parent, and they steal childhood away from their child. So, if when they are with you, you let them be children, that’s really impacting and will go a long way in ‘saving’ them.
All humans really want is to be themselves, children are more aware of this more consciously than adults. If with you they can just be themselves, then this will balance out all the not allowed to be themselves which their narcissist parent will put them through. The rest is up to them, it’s their life, their path, no one else can walk it for them, but you can support their right to walk their own path their way 🙂
It is amazing to me how one’s journey, and the learning from this journey, can be gifts we give one another.
You so gently and eloquently capture the child of narcissists experiences (at least from what I witness- and I do witness quite a bit).
What I have enjoyed most about your responses, and what has affected me most deeply, is your focus on the CHILDREN. Yes!
So often in a narcissistic dynamic, the children are never really “seen” or no one ever acts as if the children are really present with their own thoughts, ideas, and so on.
Your strength is not only in your own experience, but in your ability to see “space for maneuvering” within this dynamic. When dealing with a narcissistic dynamic, it can all feel so much like being caught in a web. I can get so I don’t know where to turn and I will almost want to reject the children because of this.
Yet, I do so many thing that help give them get the time and space they need. I take them out for one-on-one time whether they are with us or not. My stepson frequently comes to talk to me each night while I unwind and watch TV and I listen to him. I read the books my stepdaughter recommends- why? because they are important to her.
thanks for giving me a sense of hope and providing the examples from your childhood- they provide a reference for me to continue to trust what I am sensing.
Your stepkids are blessed to have you in their lives, and you are blessed too for having them in your life. It’s a wonderful meeting of souls on their journey through life.
Always trust yourself and your perception. Leave room for doubt, but the kind of doubt which inspires the desire to see and understand more. Adding other views to the view which you already have, but never losing your personal view.
You are a beautiful soul, let the beauty flow 🙂
These have a magical look and feeling to them. Fair and carnivals are a fun way to enjoy a summer day.
Thank you 🙂
I love the way you made colours melt into one another and memories too. Beautifully done.
Thank you very much 🙂
How a single activity-a fun fair- can be the setting for many of life’s memories…amazing…something to think about! I really love this.
Thank you 🙂
When I was writing this memories kept popping up and surprising me as I’d forgotten quite a few. I didn’t realise how many things were connected to funfairs in my life until this post. Since I don’t have any photos or belongings from the past which came before this phase of my life, I rely on memory for snapshots of the past and memory is a strange old thing, the filing system and retrieval of those files sometimes seems completely random. It’s a bit of a journey of discovery when something triggers a flood of associated recollections.
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