Friday, November 09, 2007

Smacked by a Narcissistic Parent: The Aftermath

I'm figuring out how this works. Finally.

There's a direct connection between my narcissistic parents, bouts of depression and acute low motivation.

I can look back at my life and say....oh, that's what was going on.

School years? Low achiever.

Finally, college....hit or miss.

Professional career....much better. Then again, I lived far, far away from my adoptive, narcissistic parents so their toxic impact was diluted.

Now....near daily doses of surviving narcissistic a-dad.

So the other day he said something I found VERY triggering. He told me he had no idea I was a month old when I was adopted or that I'd been fostered. He said he didn't care where I'd been during that time because the important thing was, they had a pretty newborn baby of their very own who hardly cried at all.

I'll spell it out.

Once again, a-dad had made me feel invisible. That me as an individual did not count. That if I'd been stuck in an orphanage as a newborn, it was of no interest to him. There was no acknowledgment of my concern over this unexpected information. He's always done this. There is only him. There is no me. A-dad has always talked endlessly. I was hardly ever allowed to talk at all. He'd interrupt constantly. My adoptive mother was also narcissistic. Of the "you are an extension of me" variety. The kind who feared her daughter's growing independence and controlled me with extended punishing silences and, finally, stopped talking to me for years when I went away to college because I'd betrayed her by leaving.

So after a-dad said this the other day, I suddenly felt fatigued. Zapped of all motivation. I couldn't work on my book project. I just couldn't, even though I knew it would make me feel better. I was suddenly thinking, "this is a waste of time," "who do I am think I am?," "who is gonna want to read this crap?,." This depressive sink hole lasted 24-hours. Like a flu.

You can't do something that is important to you when you feel worthless. When you've been reminded that YOU are inconsequential. To my narcissistic father, the only thing that matters is that he's listened to. Preferably by me because I was trained to do so. When I managed to insert an opinion of my own, I was mocked. "Oh, really, little Miss Smarty Pants?" or "Oh, you think you're so smart just because you went to college, but you don't know anything." It's those voices that play in my head when I sit at the computer to write. Which makes my goal of trying to finish a book nearly perverse.

So now that I've figured out precisely how this dynamic works, the challenge is to figure out how to avoid such triggering conversations. I've made a start by not being such a passive doormat in our phone calls, which I've cut back to protect myself. I guess I'll stop asking a-dad any more questions about my adoption. It's always been a taboo subject anyway.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Celera said...

Nina, we have so much in common, it seems. I've it easier, in a sense, having aparents who refused to speak to me after I got married, so I haven't had to keep struggling with that toxic, invalidating influence.

And I just spent a couple of weeks fighting off the latest bout of depression. And fighting off the voices in my head "you'll end up a fat slob and you'll never amount to anything."

Congratulations for getting back on track with your book. You are a strong woman, and I really admire your persistence!

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just "happened to find" your blog. It is so amazing!!
I am an adoptee also and have heard all the "voices in my head" that you and others have posted about.
I never realized what a big porblem it is for adult adoptees.......I have always thought that I was alone in this journey out of abandonement.
Thank you so much for writing......I will continue reading.

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