NO!

When I came across this quote:

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Susanna Kaysen

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I recognised myself in it.

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According to my mother – myth-maker extraordinaire about all sorts especially who I was as a child and a person, personality, before I could access my own self-knowledge as a point of reference and even then… – my ‘first’ word as a child was ‘No’ rather than ‘mama’ or ‘dada’.

I don’t actually ever recall calling my parents ‘mama’ or ‘dada’, I usually called them by their first names. Which made me weird to my peers and my parents’ peers. Often embarrassed my parents… but only when others were around as an audience for them.

I suppose I did call them some version of ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ but… I don’t care enough to remember.

According to my mother, in another version of her many stories about me and my child self, etc, before I could recall my child self, another word was my first one – ‘Complicated’. Or more precisely – ‘It’s complicated’.

And according to my mother, in yet another version of reality, my supposed reality… according to her, I refused to speak as a child which was most annoying and embarrassing as it reflected badly on her… was her child a mute or something equally liable to make her look imperfect – she was a perfect mother, her child must support that or… suffer the consequences of being forced to support that. Or something like that.

“You walked before you could speak and got things for yourself rather than learning how to ask for them from me…” – was sort of what she told me with bitterness because I was required to need her to fulfill my needs rather than fulfill them myself because… that gave her power over me… but I knew she was never going to fulfill them. Adults are addicted to the power they feel from withholding things… which is really annoying but not embarrassing.

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Children often suffer at the hands of their parents because they’re too effing straightforward about life and people… they see things and people as they are, see right through the hypocrisy because they haven’t learned the ways of the hypocrite yet… and what they think of their parents. They tell it like it is… which annoys those who don’t want to hear it like it is. Their parents want to be viewed as gods by their child… okay, you’re gods… and effing useless ones. Happy now?

My mother was the goddess of embroidery and my father was the god of pretend… useful, when what I was praying for was to meet a god of things real and actually useful. I suppose I could pretend that an embroidered cake was edible? My mind could imagine that… my body might have a problem though and die of starvation… which is okay because my mother thought I was a fat baby and… sorted that problem she had with me out… on me, through me.

Vicarious ways… of working through issues.

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Ah! Life…

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Whatever…

should have been my first word.

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Where am I going with this?

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No!

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That’s all you really need to know about me… whether it was my first word or not, I embraced it and in many ways it defines me.

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Yes… took a long time for me to learn. I’m still suspicious of it, especially when others reject my ‘No’ and try to cajole a ‘Yes’ from me instead. Why are you so disturbed by my answer to your question?

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The way you react to my ‘No’ defines you not me… and now I’m looking at you, finding all the No’s you hide behind your Yes’… your seeming Yes’ which sound like a polite form of No.

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Today is Truthful Tuesday… what is truth?

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Once we learn to lie, and we learn it early on from our parents…

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Figuring out the truth is…

it’s complicated.

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No?

9 thoughts on “NO!

  1. I actually meant it as the utterly most wonderderful food on earth- and I still mean it:)). I think I knew i shouldn’t have come on earth, at least in that family at my birth- labour lasted 48 hours and they finally used forceps, it was a common choice at that time, but the child had to undergo a real ordeal which I guess left a meaningful aftertaste, anticipating the struggle to come.
    Tortionners need Ntraits in order to anesthetize themselves from the pain they inflict; i read that a particular and silly feature which can become a real torture is repetition, cold water dropping, same musical piece played for hours, and I guess that my parents interrogated me in a similar way, threatening, and putting myself down accusing me of hurting them.
    i am still fighting against my killing voices and my body is knock out by migraine attacks; it’s as though I needed a break from this world and most of all from my damaged inner image of myself. it comes back in waves..
    I noticed that lately also in your writing a wave from the past came back, i really hope your mother is not succeedingat torturing more than usual. Tanti baci.

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    1. As a child for me pizza (what non-Italians know as a version of focaccia rather than what they know as pizza) was amazing!!! I liked pizza bianca the most because it was very salty and I loved salt (I used to eat salt straight up – apparently salt is connected to dopamine), but pizza con patate was rather yummy too, pizza rossa… meh!

      When I ate pizza all the world was right!

      My mother used to bitch at me about how much pizza I ate and could eat without getting ‘fat’ – she was obsessed with body weight before it became a global obsession. At the time I couldn’t explain to her that I didn’t get ‘fat’ because I was permanently on a stress diet thanks to her because I didn’t know that permanent stress was the reason that my body always looked like and felt like I was starving.

      Starving for… many things, getting what nourishment I could wherever I could get it.

      My mother almost died after giving birth to me, and before giving birth to me – apparently this was all my fault. N mothers are just one endless drama. If she could have pretended and got away with the pretend that I was an immaculate conception… but nothing can ever be immaculate through the eyes of a narc, even when they try to see themselves that way… they always fail and blame everyone else for their failure.

      I hate myself – is a bit of a mantra for me. But I know it means… I’m still trying to figure out this thing called life and sometimes I don’t want to figure it out because it’s too effing complicated.

      The past is always a tsunami… sometimes we outrun it and reach higher ground, sometimes it tears us to shreds. We’re still here, still alive, still surviving… we need to give ourselves kudos even when we aren’t sure if it’s a good thing to still be here, now. It is… maybe 😉

      A l’avventura!

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      1. Still nowadays pizza makes life more bearable, a sort of natural antidepressant- some people say it’s due to its round shape but I love also making the dough, i find it very relaxing, its smell out of the oven makes me feel at home.my mother spent her life telling me I was fat (i would say i am plump, alas, it’s my structure but you are transparent!!) but until 6yrs old i didn’t eat regularly so she took me to hospital for a proper diet, and as a result i hate fruit and started again eating meat in my 20’s.We have been starving for many things, you say it so well.
        Of course the 48hrs labour was my fault but my shrink (who is also a doctor) told me it’s the other way round.it sounds a common script, doesn’t it? i really would like to have a selective memory and a big, huge rubber, instead of working on it in a rational way.Right now i see N behaviour everywhere, i don’t hesitate to tell myself “watch out, this is N style” but the saddest thing is the mantra you have just mentioned, it’s ringing as a far echo bell in my ears. therefore i try not to listen to it, but what you keep out of the door comes back from the window and i have been prey to migraines for more than a week, it’s like feeling unable to deal with life to forget your inner worries, so you focus on a part of your body and you hope your brain will be soon in shortage of hate mantra repetition..;no, there is plenty of stock!!!
        So I look at my cat, and I see a living creature who doesn’t ask fro much but breathes each moment, present to himself.
        We have to achieve, to build, to represent , to be represented, to share ideas..é complicato, as you said it as a child, don’t you think? And being equipped with Nparents, trust is a main issue, so I am also called a pessimist and a skeptic(i love it) and a realist but I am still convinced human realtionship are a fragile matter.

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  2. Yes indeed, addicted to withholding things! My god’s silence was deafening, with occasional words without rhyme or reason—knowing only the words never the song. So “no” makes since right. No.

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    1. They withhold because they believe in limited resources, because they have now replenishing source within themselves, they look for that in others, in us. And then they tell us we are not allowed to withhold, because they need us more than we need them.

      When we say ‘No’ to them… we terrify them. So they come down hard and make us think that saying ‘No’ is bad… it isn’t, it is very good… for us.

      They are fickle gods in a fickle world.

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  3. Incredible but true once again..my mother used to tell the same story to everybody, that my first word was NO.Actually this is not is very accurate, as i uttered “pizza” as my first word, probably thinking that not only it was nourishing, but more nurturing than she was as well. On the whole it was true and I guess it was the only defense available for me to stand for myself as she had such a precise and detailed image of what her first child should look like, therefore she worked very hard to shape me into what she wanted to see. Alas, she failed and here’s the misfit.
    But i have to give credit to that little girl who struggled to be herself with all her energy, and then she gave in little by little to win her parents’ “love”.
    each child has their own personality and responds in a different way, I wish I were firmer, but my nature was what it was.
    Always moving to read you when you write about your childhood as it echoes with mine, thank you, big hug xxx

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    1. Mille grazie… and abbracci!

      I love that your first word was ‘pizza’. Did you mean ‘pizza’ as in food or ‘che pizza!’ as in you already knew that this life was going to be a pain? 😉

      I think you’re very hard on yourself sometimes, after years and years of 24/7 brainwashing it’s only natural to give in bit by bit. You were exhausted with all the struggling. No reprieve from their onslaught. And at some point we all go with giving in and giving up, we all figure out that if we can’t beat them we might as well try to join them as a possible tactic. It’s all about survival and frankly sometimes giving in is the best tactic… temporarily.

      Have you ever studied torture and interrogation techniques which certain groups use on the ‘enemy’. Many of those techniques are similar to what narc parents do to their children and their other victims. You held out for a long time… but as far as you knew when you were younger, this was life, and your parents were the ‘norm’, they were the representatives of society for you, and if society is that way, then what is the point of struggling? Isn’t it better to learn how to join them, otherwise… well, the options seem bleak growing up in that kind of environment.

      You are firm, and your nature is incredibly strong. The softness which you may see as weakness… is a beautiful ability to feel and be human. You held out within, even if on the outside you appeared to give up, in, away, ground… you didn’t, you held onto your core self which is strong, rebelliously beautiful and still very much infused with an amazing energy!

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