One of the strange gifts of children of Narcissists is the ability to blank themselves out.
We do our best to be unobtrusive, not a bother, not there at all, invisible.
We don’t think about ourselves except in relation to the other person/people. If we’re at a restaurant with a group of people, and the group is playing musical chairs trying to find the best place to sit, we will wait until everyone else has chosen where they want to sit and we will take the rejected chair, what’s left, and sit where no one else wants to sit. If we’re the ones hosting the dinner and everyone is waiting for us to show them where to sit, we’ll monitor their eyes to locate where each person would prefer to be placed. If we know these people, have previously been at a restaurant with them, we’ll have collected data about their preferences – Sam likes to sit with his back to the wall because he’s guarding the group and needs to see the entrance and the whole room to scan it for danger, Lola needs to be at the heart of the group to feel protected and loved, Dimitri prefers to not be at the table at all as he hates socialising and needs to feel he can make a quick escape so he must always be at the end near a clear path to the exit, Tanya wants a window seat which also takes in a view of the whole restaurant so she can people watch and gossip about what she sees – if these preferences are met these people will be more likely to be comfortable, enjoy the meal and company.
When we are with other people, our focus is on the other person/people and not on ourselves. Is the other person comfortable, does the other person have what they need, what do these people want/need from me and how can I give it to them. What role does this person need me to play for their story, who do they want me to be for them, what would they like to hear, how would they like for me to behave.
Does this supermarket cashier need me to chat with them, ask them about their day and nod/murmur sympathetically when they tell me how bad things are. Does the bin man prefer it when I leave the bin on the edge of the road or should I put it where he throws it once it’s empty. Does the bus driver like it when I don’t have the correct change as then she can some to my rescue and be generous to an idiot.
I should leave my test answers visible so that my nearby classmates can cheat if they need to. I should order french fries because the salad eaters love to steal them and stolen food has no calories or fat content. I should drop a coin on the pavement so someone can find it and feel lucky.
I shouldn’t display more intelligence than my boss and work colleagues because they need to believe they are smarter than everyone else in the room. I shouldn’t as a boss make my boss status a relevant issue. I shouldn’t outshine my mother at my wedding. I shouldn’t take credit for solving that problem as everyone loves to be the hero who saved the day. I shouldn’t open the pickle jar even though it would only take me a second to do it because no one likes to be bested at a pickle jar opening contest (I nicked this from the re-boot of Curb Your Enthusiasm because comedians like it when you steal their jokes…).
Yes, it is exhausting to do this and be this way. The decisions you make can’t be spontaneous (this is dangerous, unpredictable, unstable, and selfish), your decisions have consequences for others, there are many options and many optional results to each option, each decision has to be second-guessed, third-guessed, fourth and fifth-guessed. It takes a lot of worrying and ruminating to compile the data. People-pleasing is a full time 24/7 job, not something you do because you’re being lazy. Restoring harmony to turmoil requires listening carefully and closely to other people, to their words, their tone of voice, their body language, their emotional emissions, their thought processes, their coping and survival mechanisms, their ego, their entire system, and it also involves listening to the system outside of their system which is influencing and affecting them.
The simplest way of doing that is by blanking yourself out.
Why do we do this?
Why are we mothering the world?
And are we aware that what we do could potentially be insulting to all those whom we are trying to complement. That in dulling our shine so that they can outshine us, that in protecting them so they can feel safe, we are in effect saying to them – you’re weak, fragile…
9 – View others as fragile or view yourself as too much for others to handle? Your parents played the martyr or became unhinged by your questions or independence.
When I read #9 of the – 13 Ways Being Raised by a Narcissist Can Affect You By Dan Neuharth – I was re-reading words I know I’ve written in old posts on this blog.
Old posts wherein I expressed my own inner turmoil – writing about it helped me to see beyond it. When I write I am also listening to myself, looking for things which stand out, strike me in some way, jump out and slap me. Once I start writing I don’t tend to think that much about the writing process, I tend to just channel whatever… wants to get out into the open and reveal itself.
One of the top posts on this blog (there’s a top posts & pages widget at the bottom of this post), I wrote while possessed by passion (I often write in a frenzy of sorts, sometimes of the heart, sometimes of the mind, sometimes of…), and while I know I wrote it because I did, and I can remember how and where it started, sometimes it feels as though someone else wrote it through me. I can explain this more easily using astrology.
I have Mars and Neptune in Scorpio in the 3rd house of communication. When I get passionate about something, the passion runs very deep, I can become obsessed and possessed by it, and it can have an almost supernatural vibe to it. If I talk with others while under the intoxicating influence of passion, they may get singed, stung, or mesmerised, become believers. If I write when in possession of passion it’s not my ego or superego which is doing the writing but my id, something primal, natural…ly volcanic, dark, mysterious. And once the passion has expressed itself, or the effect wears off, while I know what I did, I’m not really sure how I did what I did. I have Libra on the cusp of the 3rd – it keeps me balanced, but I may also swing from one extreme to another before I find the sweet spot in between.
And right at the moment transiting Jupiter is pinging my natal Mars, and will conjunct it on October 30th. Jupiter conjunct Mars = An Exuberant Time: Almost anything that you direct your energies to, especially an activity that requires a lot of energy, will seem to flow and happen as if you were not making any effort at all. It is important to realize, however, that you are in fact working quite hard; after this period, and even during it to some extent, you will need to stop a while and rest. One of the problems at this time is that because you don’t realize how hard your body and mind are working, there is a real danger that you will overwork yourself. – Robert Hand, Planets in Transit, via Astrodienst
It’s a funny thing for a child of Narcissists who is always scanning the people, society, the world around them, checking for do’s and don’ts, that it wasn’t until I had been online for awhile chatting away enthusiastically about astrology that I realised how much people hate astrology. I can be incredibly dense sometimes. I naively thought that if you don’t like a subject, you simply ignore it, switch off when someone talks about it, change the subject, politely make it clear that this subject is not for you – that’s what people normally do when I start discussing sharks.
But online when people don’t like a subject, they don’t ignore it, they turn on, tune in and launch into rude diatribes against it, they really like to talk about the subject and how much they dislike it, and seek out people who like the subject to inform them how dumb, stupid, and so on it is.
I have a friend who does that about religion. I’m not religious, but sometimes I wish I was just to thump him with a bible, although if I was I’d crack his skull open with a dorje hoping to enlighten him but I wouldn’t do that because you must do no harm and must let people find their own way in their own way.
My friend is more of an acquaintance (whom I met online when he wasn’t such an SJW troll) who used to be more open-minded until he got married (maybe it’s just a coincidence), and I keep thinking/hoping this is just a phase but the signs are pointing to a continued hardening of the mental arteries. He can’t do the religion is BS thing with me, so he tries doing the astrology is BS thing but I don’t react appropriately and it’s frustrating, so he keeps trying to find what I ‘believe’ in so he can tell me it’s BS.
I haven’t spoken to him in awhile, because… I have Mars in Scorpio (again with the ‘I have Mars in Scorpio’, how many times does she have to point it out! Mars in Scorpio is the Harvard of astrological placements – those who have it have to keep telling they have it, partly to brag but mostly to warn you) and Pluto in Virgo in the 1st house of self, and it just isn’t a fair fight. He would not be able to handle me unfiltered, unleashed, unadulterated, and if he wasn’t fragile before…
He can’t even handle me when I’m watered down, filtered and contained – I also have Uranus in the 1st house trine Mercury in Aquarius in the 5th house of creativity and play, which can be seen and felt in my writing, and is particularly visible when I’m making random connections and pulling it all together in a fast talking thunderous flow of excited words (with links galore) which make your head spin, cause flashing images to flit before your eyes as millions of alternative perspectives of the same panorama are shown to you all at once by an enthusiastic child with a wand for a finger – look at this, that, over there, here, inside, up, down, upside down, back, front, forwards, backwards.
Am I wrong in my view that I’m too much for others to handle? I find myself hard to handle, I’m too much for myself sometimes even though I should be used to this mess and shouldn’t be surprised when I’m overwhelmed by it. I’ve watched other people react to me when I’m being relaxed, spontaneous, laughing (uproariously at orange you glad it’s not banana for the umpteenth time) and the expression on their faces is similar to the ones actors have in films just after a UFO lands and the aliens are pink elephants.
And why would I want to be ‘handled’? Why would I want to view myself as being manageable? Why would I want to be viewed as being easy to handle, to grip, to fondle, to grope, to manipulate, toy with, control, sell…
Mostly children of Narcissists view themselves as being too much for others to handle because we’ve been told repeatedly, over and over and over and over again, not just with words but with all the varied way people use to tell others that they’re a problem, being difficult, a burden, heavy sighs, disappointed looks, slaps in the face (literal or figurative), tears, walking away, silence, etc, that we’re a huge pain in the ass by our Narcissist parents.
Do you know why we’re told that we’re too much to handle by our Narcissist parents? Because they’re trying to make us make ourselves easy to handle – they want us to be putty in their hands as they have a creative project they’re working on, and it is vitally important for them to have our full support when they shape us into whatever thing they need as a prop to prop them up. And it is imperative that we remain a shapeless blob which only takes and holds a shape when their fingers poke and prod it and command it to be a man, woman, a tree, a garden of eden, an apple, a snake or a three-headed hound from hell which they might let out sometimes, off the leash…
and it’s your fault you got run over by that car when they shouted “STOP!” at you from several paces behind (but they were not far enough behind to be blind to the fact that you were in the middle of the road), and you stopped even though you knew the coast was clear because you stopped (when you knew it was the right moment to stop), looked both ways, listened to back up what your eyes were seeing, and crossed when nothing was coming, and because you stopped when you knew you shouldn’t be stopping, froze because they commanded it with the power and authority of someone older, wiser, bigger much bigger than you, and there’d be a punishing price to pay if you didn’t…
10 – Trust others unwisely or, conversely, find it hard to trust even when you want to? Your parents told you that you could trust them, then disappointed or used you.
But wait! Thankfully you’re too much for others to handle and you pushed yourself through the fear to the other side just before the speeding car hit you. The driver of the car was right to be horn-honking angry at you, bloody child, why aren’t it’s parents looking after it and teaching it how to cross a road!
Was that a look of horror on the faces of your Narcissist parents on the other side of the road? Is it because you almost died and they would have lost their child, their precious… or is it because you’re still alive? Why are you so hard to…
This morning I read an article about – Resignation syndrome: Sweden’s Mystery Illness (via the BBC) – it tells the tale of a young child whose parents were being persecuted by a criminal organisation. She was sitting in their car when her parents were forced to stop, dragged out and brutally beaten. The mother was allowed to go but the father was kept for several days by the gang who continued to handle him. The father managed to get away, and eventually after being on the run, the family escaped that country and sought asylum in Sweden. Shortly after their arrival, the parents noticed that their child was subdued. Then child overhead a conversation between her parents and the officials in charge of granting residency wherein the parents were informed that they could not stay in Sweden. Soon after this the child stopped eating, talking, moving. This is not an isolated case.
The article, the story, the syndrome is interesting on so many levels.
This bit in particular stood out – Here Sallin (a paediatrician) hits on the main obstacle to understanding Resignation Syndrome – the lack of research into it. No-one has done follow-up on what happens to these children, but we do know that they survive.
Another thing which stood out was – “Then the child understands – my mother can’t take care of me,” Carlshamre (a social worker who runs a home for troubled children) explains. “And they give up hope, because they know they are totally dependent on the parent. When that happens, to where or what can the child turn?”
The latter question has been answered in a treatment which is being used to help children with Resignation Syndrome – That family connection must be re-built, but first the child must begin to recover, so Solsidan’s first step is to separate the children from their parents. “We keep the family informed about their progress, but we don’t let them talk because the child must depend on our staff. Once we have separated the child, it takes only a few days, until we see the first signs that, yes, she’s still there…”
The world is a fascinating place full of the fragile who aren’t fragile at all, and the strong who aren’t strong at all – most humans are a blend of fragility and strength, sometimes the fragility is the source of the strength, sometimes the strength is the reason for the fragility.
Children of Narcissists tend to feel incredibly fragile, especially once they understand that their Narcissist parents can’t take care of them, won’t take care of them, don’t take care of them, don’t want to take care of them, or care for them, about them.
The child of Narcissists is expected to care about and for the Narcissist parent, and figure out for themselves what ‘caring about and for’ means, how to do it, etc, they’ll get many instructions but they’re written in code. They’re contradictory and confusing even when you managed to decipher some of the hieroglyphs. They aren’t logical, and even though a child’s mind is adept at making sense of nonsense, understanding dream symbols, and hearing the voices of imaginary people… it’s just not logical, reasonable or rational. But it keeps saying that it is and that we’re the problem, too stupid to understand!
They are also supposed to take care of the parent, particularly if the Narcissist parent is a Covert Narcissist who is forever crying, crying wolf, crying for help, crying out in pain. But the child of the Covert Narcissist baby in an adult body can’t just change the baby’s nappy, feed it, swaddle and coddle it, sing to it, take it to the baby doctor and give it some baby medicine, to sooth away the crying… nothing soothes the crying, the bawling, the screeching, and piercing squeal.
There is no silence of the Narcissist lambs… unless you’re being given the silent treatment which is never silent.
If you decide that you don’t care for or about your Narcissist parents (as any logical person might decide after being treated like a slave, a dogsbody, a whipping boy, a scapegoat, etc, by another person with no recompense, reward, prize for being the best little engine which could against so many couldn’ts other than being awarded with more work, more wheat to sort from the chaff), and won’t continue to provide care to them (companies are legally allowed to stop providing services to customers who don’t pay them, who steal and cheat them…), they will persecute you, drag you out of your shelter, beat you up with emotional blackmail, authoritarianism – you have to care for and about me because I am your PARENT! That’s the duty of all good children! Just you wait until I tell everyone about how terrible you are and how horrible you have been to me!
If you point out – why should I care for you when you don’t and have never cared for me – you will get blasted with a sand-blaster of rhetoric. They gave birth to you, adopted you, didn’t abort you like they were going to, did you a favour when no one else would have done it, suffered because of it, oh how they suffer and have suffered, you forced your way into their perfect world and ruined it, they loved an impossible to love, they fed you, clothed you, wiped your dirty bottom which was disgusting and still gives them nightmares, how filthy you are, but they put up with your stink, the sight of you, put up with you as a whining baby when what they really wanted to do was throw you out of the 15th floor window but they didn’t do that when they could have, so be grateful you ungrateful little shit, as they have to care for you because they’re your parent and they hate being burdened, it’s such hard work, you’re so difficult to handle.
And all they’re asking for is a little respect in return for everything they have done for you which you don’t deserve, you nasty piece of… hard clay which refuses to be a shapeless lump of soft clay they can use to create their beautiful version of peace and goodwill to all of them.
Yes, you over there politely holding your hand up…
It’s okay you can talk, it is your turn to talk…
You don’t trust me, do you. I understand your Narcissist parents – told you that you could trust them, then disappointed or used you. – let’s discuss this example of the understatement.
You, as a child of Narcissists, are lucky if all you get from trusting your Narcissist parents is disappointment. That’s par for the course. A little less lucky, but still usually within the lucky parameters of growing up with Narcissist parents, is being used – conditions may vary as there are many levels within the ‘being used’ system – were you used to show the world what great parents your Narcissist parents were or to shield them and stop a bullet shot out of a gun by one of their once upon a time BFF’s who (once scolded you about how awful you were and how wonderful your parents were. Did they do that after you warned them about your Narcissist parents and they were shocked that a child would betray their parents’ loyalty, trust, love in such a disgusting and duplicitous manner, or did they do that because your Narcissist parents wound them up and watched them go, and you hadn’t bothered to warn them because… what’s the point) had a psychotic break after a wafer thin mint too much of Narcissistic Abuse (they probably got discarded and didn’t realise how super lucky they were as they were using a different lucky parameter).
Some people just do not know when they’re lucky – I’ve heard that one a lot! and when people have said it to me about my status as the child of my Narcissist parents (which is mainly when I’ve heard it, often because someone was wound up and off they went to me with a message from my parents to let me know other people can’t be trusted, they are fragile because they are easily manipulated, and society is on the side of the Narcissist parents) I’ve often thought – yes, you really do not know how lucky you are… to be able to trust what you see with your eyes and not wonder if it is a beautiful facade covering something ugly underneath, to be able to trust what people tell you and not pause to examine if it’s a reassuring lie which is going to hurt so much worse later on than the inconvenient truth, and to be able to look at my Narcissist parents and see normal people whom you can trust, take at face value, listen to with ease and pleasure, and not see crazed Tom Cruises jumping up and down on a couch shouting SHOW ME THE MONEY in your face, or big hungry monsters charging towards you wanting and needing you to give them the honey mummy.
We listen to Narcissists from before we are born until the moment that we go on the run from them seeking asylum somewhere… but where? We hear Narcissists everywhere…
and if you listen really closely to a Narcissist…
and blank yourself out while doing it because your inner chatter will put a spin on everything they say, will get distracted by their distraction tactics, will want to believe in their religion, their astrology…
you will hear a tiny fragile voice…
underneath all of the bluff and bluster, the bigging themselves up up up and away, the charm, the harm, the screaming and shouting, the crying and complaining…
it’s a sign that there is someone in there who isn’t…
BUT they’re trapped, just as we were, in the infernal machine…
EXCEPT we can get out, and we do get out eventually, finally, even if it takes us what feels like forever to do it.
We do look back, but we can’t go back.
The first rule of survival club is – save yourself. The second rule of survival club is – keep saving yourself, yes, you feel guilty and a whole host of other things, you’ve been programmed to… sacrifice yourself for everyone else, so that everyone else can live, and that is very heroic, but…
if you’re dead how are all the fragile beings whom you don’t trust to look after themselves going to survive once you’re dead because you sacrificed yourself to save them?
Okay, time to reel in my crazy and see what we’ve caught today.
Are people really fragile? Yes and no. Sometimes they are, especially when they’re dealing with inner turmoil – on the flip side they often show you just how not fragile they are when dealing with both inner and outer turmoil.
If, like me, you’ve spent a lot of time listening to people tell you about everything they’re going through and have been through, and you’re really listening with more than just you ears – they’re right there telling you the story, which means they’re a survivor. They’re not as fragile as they think they are in the moment, or as you think they are – they’re living proof of it.
Are we too much for others to handle? Yes and no. Sometimes we are, but so is everyone. Have we absorbed more crazy than others have from the human environment and experience? Maybe… or maybe not.
Every day in every way we are all trying to survive the shitstorm humans have and do create for themselves and other humans – sometimes going crazy is the only way to stay sane. What is sane and what is insane?
Have you ever shared what you thought was too much for others to handle of yourself and found that normal, non-narcissists didn’t notice, they didn’t bat an eyelid, didn’t flinch, they just kept calm and carried on as though you were being normal too. Ain’t that a rather wonderful thing – and maybe you might want to make note of it as a lot of those bits and pieces of you which your Narcissist parents told you were (I’m going to keep it simple, you know what they told you) too hard to handle… they’re normal parts of normal healthy non-narcissist humans.
And have you ever noticed how… many times people, you, have said – I can’t handle this, and this was handled, and sometimes it was fun, you definitely learned a new fun fact about yourself and your non-fragility.
Do we trust others unwisely? Yes and no. Yes when we are overriding our Do NOT trust instincts, intuitions, red flags because of many reasons (I know you’re thinking about it, writing a list and checking it twice). No when we were right to trust them, they came through for us, and all those people who told us not to trust them… can a group of people be wrong all together? History does not always have to repeat itself.
Do we find it hard to trust even when we want to? Yes, because if we’re trying to convince ourselves to trust… it might not be a good idea to trust ourselves in this instance. We’ve trusted ourselves before in similar scenarios. I can see the memories being triggered, that time you… and you knew… but… and ultimately your Narcissist parent betrayed you again, which means you betrayed yourself and that hurts so deep. Truly madly deeply.
But we keep going, keep surviving, keep learning… that not everything about us is damaged and all because of our Narcissist parents. We just need to remind ourselves not to trust those (including ourselves) who keep telling us how damaged we are and how everything about us is all about them, our Narcissist parents. It’s not – that’s insulting!
Brush off the insult, and move along to see so much more in the panorama of you, which would amaze a child, the child within you who you managed to keep safe in an unsafe environment, okay sometimes that child got injured because you… but that child loves you because you were the real parent they needed when you were just a child yourself.
And no, we don’t find it hard to trust when we want to, when the part of us which knows the difference between real want and the other kinds of wants (which are rather fragile under all the show of strength) wants to trust… we just do it.
Similar to the way I trust when I press publish on a post…
which I am going to do now (without checking to see if it has typos which might bother the typo-sensitives – of course it has typos and I love them because they’re messy like me, without editing out the bits which might offend, insult, or upset someone – if I worried too much about that I’d delete untilt here was nothing left of the post, of the blog, of me)
and it’s over to you…