Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tackling the Narcissistic Parent's Legacy

Spent several weeks trying to tease apart "my issues" caused by the secrecy surrounding my adoption and those caused by my narcissistic parents.

Fear of abandonment? The adoption column. Definitely.

Genealogical bewilderment? Ditto.

Not feeling like I fit in? Ditto again.

The people pleasing? The inclination to rescue people? Putting the needs of other's before my own? Feeling overly responsible for the happiness and welfare of others?

Less clear. For a long time, I thought my adoption was the root cause.

And in a way, it was. If I hadn't been given away, I wouldn't have needed a replacement set of parents and I wouldn't have got stuck with the Incapable Duo.

And maybe there is no way of knowing HOW or exactly WHY I got to be the way I'm trying NOT to be.

It seems so many of my fellow adult adoptees seem to have the same set of traits mentioned above. Did we develop them because our a-parents were self-centered? Because we grew up feeling invisibile and like we really didn't matter as individuals...because it was what we could do for others that counted...not who we were.

Spent 1.5 years in therapy and have made much progress.

But one thing still bothered me.

WHY can't I finish writing a book? I'm not lazy. It just seems I stall out after 350 pages. Lazy people don't write that much. I have STACKS of rewrites. It seems that, at some point, I lose all faith in myself. Who am I to think I can write? Who would possibly want to read something I have to say? How silly of me. I'm a nobody. Then I stop. Take a break. And start on a new project. Except I haven't addressed the old, fundamental question. What's REALLY wrong?

It's that voice in my head. The one that tells me that I am not worthy enough to write.

So I booked a session with a psychologist somebody described as "famous" for his contributions on narcissistic parents.

I explained my issue. My burning desire to finish a project and my failure to do so.

"Could they be related?" I asked. "That voice in my head and the whole narcissistic parent thing?"

And you know what he said?

Of course.

Won't bore you with the details...but, in short...how can I finish a book when I wasn't allowed to finish a sentence in my own home? If what I had to say wasn't important to my "own" parents, then why would I think anybody else would care? Of course, he said it MUCH more eloquently than that, but it's my take on it and it was like stars shot across the sky and the music soared.

"Can it be fixed?" I asked.

Yes, he promised. Just being able to ARTICULATE the cause and effect of extremely self-centered parents will free me from the heavy chains that drag me back from accomplishing MY goals.

All of this is VERY hopeful!!!

19 Comments:

Blogger elizabeth said...

I think it is really hard to determine whether our issues stem from abandonment or from NPD parents. For me, there is a lot of overlap. I hate both NPD and adoption, but frankly I think adoption is worse.

Sometimes I think all the "happy adoptees" are definitely not blogging, but when have you ever heard of a truly happy person having an NPD parent? A very good friend of mine (not abandoned) was raised by an NPD mother and she is even more depressed than I am. And then there is my brother, who is just as much as a lost soul as I am, maybe worse.

I dunno. For me, I still wish that I had been raised by my NPD mother instead of abandoned by her.

It's all fucked up.

I started EMDR therapy today too. Not happy at all that it is going to gouge my Paris funds, but I need to do something.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Elizabeth,

The only thing scarier than being raised by a narcissistic parent is the NUMBER of narcissistic parents out there and their adult offspring now seeking help. And talk about situational depression. The situation being in a chronic hell.

You are my favorite Lost Soul, Elizabeth.

And while my first mom is self-centered and nowhere near approaches the extremes of your mom, I understand wanting to be raised by her instead of strangers. We just want to be around our real mothers. I don't know why some people have such trouble with the word, "real." You can parse and define it anyway you want, but they ARE our mothers, plain and simple.

Know nothing about EMDR therapy, so will check your blog and hopefully you'll update it there...will also Google it.

GOOD LUCK and positive thought rays in your direction!!!

10:52 AM  
Blogger Elise said...

It's like the perfect storm, N parents. Outsiders, buying their "mask", think they're great. Even my friends when I was a teen, who normally were able to tell me when something was off-base, never picked up on my mom.

They never seek therapy. Or in the case of my mom, they find therapists who just let 'em talk, and never question them.

All of it adds up to making ACONs doubt themselves, doubt their thoughts, doubt their reactions...and eventually bury them, not just doubt them.

And in terms of *adoptive* parents? My parents adopted one of my brothers, M. He was the scapegoat from day one. He was a difficult teen, but nobody wanted him; my mom couldn't handle him (he was angry, y'see...wonder why?) and so sent him to live with my father, who had no use for him. Then my dad tried to make him a ward of the state of Massachusetts at age 15. Failing in that aim, he got M. his own apt., which (while seemingly very irresponsible) at least got M. away from my parents to the largest extent possible.

Since then, he's known enough to get himself a PILE of therapy. And as damaging as adoption was for him, he's the closest thing to true family (other than my husband) that I have...far moreso than my other (bio) brother.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Yikes, Elise...Had no idea adoption touched your family. That's a really sad story. But I know what you mean about connecting to your adopted relatives. I'm closest to my second cousin in BOTH my families..we just share so much common history as we are close in age and temperament. I'm glad your brother is in therapy. That's some pretty serious double rejection to deal with.

8:33 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Awe thanks Nina! I don't have your email so I thought I'd leave you a note here, yes I wrote that poem (gulp) and you can link it if you want. (I'm blushing)

Love ya!

9:00 PM  
Blogger LeRoy Dissing said...

Hey Nina...it all fits together and I look forward to an autographed copy of your book someday. I want to read it! And don't let anyone, including yourself, say you are a nobody! Cuz you are always a "somebody" to all of us here and to your family too! I have every confidence in your ability to finish the book and add an important contribution to the adoption literature from the eyes of someone who lived it and still is.

You have always had great insight and that is what will make your contribution even greater :)

6:38 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

Thanks for the permission, Elizabeth!

And Leroy...a big thank you. It's actually a fictionalized account of a closed era adoption...touching on my favorite themes: closed family system, Latino tradition colliding with outside values and, of course, narcissism.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Erika said...

elizabeth dont do emdr therapy!!!!

btw i am still stuck with my book too.

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