The first time I went "no contact" I didn't know what no contact was but I disappeared from my family for around three years. Just like a domestic violence victim hiding from an abusive ex-husband, I went into hiding.
I was twenty one years old and went POOF! leaving false flag information of moving to a different town east when my actual town of residence was west-ward.
I knew I was the scapegoat too since my journal of 1989 still in my possession states...
"I am the black sheep of the family, they use me as a scapegoat."
This was during college but soon I would disappear from them.
Was that a normal thing to do? Even therapists at the time were in shock that things went so far. My year of student teaching and later while living at home was a nightmare. Days that lasted from 7:30 am to 11:00 pm, were not smart, but at that point in my life, self-care was not part of the picture.
My parents wanted rent even though student teaching didn't pay anything whatsoever. This meant working basically a double day-student teaching plus telemarketing at night with a weekend job latched on too to meet all my bills. Lesson plans for hundreds of students also were necessary. With no rest, this was also the time my health started to break where asthma, breathing problems and migraine headaches came in full force. My weight was getting harder to control though, the start of the huge weight gain was 4 years away.
My abuse worsened when I went home for that year and half at the end of my college sojourn. They were angry about money they had borrowed for part of my college education even though my mother used a lot of that loan money for shopping. In those days, pre-insurance and lawsuit payoff-my parents weren't as well off and decided to blame me. My brother was in the same college too on their dime totally just a year ahead of me but for some reason I was the focus of their ire. With my cafeteria job over every semester and summer jobs, many of the bills were covered by me including some dorm bills. The me of today wouldn't do college again, but would have exited their world upon high school graduation and gone to Vo-Ed in high school. The pound of flesh for every dollar was not worth it. My suburban high school drumming on the college dream had done me a great disservice.
My rage-filled father screamed and yelled daily and even threatened me with violence. His anger and hostility was always present but that year it was upped a few notches. He didn't know I could hear him talking about me through a heating vent in the corner upstairs bedroom I rented for 120 dollars a month. Shouts of "that prima-donna is a burden around my neck", cuss words I can't write here, and that he wished I was dead. The fear alone led me to barricade my door at times. My mother voiced her agreement. Often their conversations centered solely on their superiority, and everyone else's failings including trashing people they smiled in front of at their respective offices.
My mother would egg my father on, complaining about me, getting him to grow more angry. At times I feared homelessness as they threatened to throw me out or destroy my things. The criticisms flowed, "You're too fat, too messy, too weird, too ugly, too slow, have your nose in a book too much.". I think back to some of those years, and know this year where my college friends had moved home, where my future no longer seemed as bright as it did sitting in class when I started having a life-long problem with depression. What would the outcome otherwise be for someone who had no love in their life? One close college friend who I still have weekly phone contact with to this day, literally kept me alive, as we called each other crying, wondering why our families hated us and nothing was ever good enough.
My mother and sister worsened in their symbiotic narcissism and joined together to call me a "loser" and discussed my faults openly while planning my sister's $25,000 plus wedding. She was never yelled at or abused for the costs of her wedding which actually was more then any money given for my college. This was the one I was left out of where they told me I was too fat to be in the wedding party and that the pictures would be messed up. There was no celebrating of my college graduation. One thing that will happen with scapegoats is their achievements will be ignored as well.
This is the year that my low status in the family was intact as those two poured out every negative emotion on me. Looking back I look at the rejection of my sister, and how my mother instigated it telling her I was not good enough for her. A pattern got set for years that was never broken with too many wasted tears on my part where my sister showed no emotions. I hadn't yet admitted to myself what she had become. Now I have. Back then I still loved her, but it was love wasted on someone who could not love just like my mother.
If I had not been large and standing up to my father, who knows how bad things would have gotten for me. They were angry that I seemed to be having difficulty finding a regular teaching job this being the recession of the early 90s. Student teaching would end and somehow I would scrounge through managing to graduate from college. I would return just to sleep even doing all my eating away from their home because of the constant barrage of complaints, criticisms and screaming. Working three-four jobs consisting then of day care, substitute teaching, restaurant work and factory temp jobs, I saved every penny knowing another better car and money were needed to escape. Escaping was my focus. I knew I had to survive, emotionally and even physically.
It was very hard to try and maintain confidence as a teacher in the class room, one ding on a review was for lack of confidence but no wonder! It was weird to maintain classrooms even later in rough inner city schools where substitutes were considered cannon fodder then going home and being abused. There was no more hitting because few years earlier, my father had started to punch me in the arm and being a few inches taller then him, I grabbed his arm and wrenched it behind his back and said, "You aren't going to hit me anymore". So my abuse was all emotional, and verbal with narcissistic game playing added in but that was bad enough. Unlike some ACON's, my knowledge of being abused was there but I was in denial about it's severity. The fog still surrounded me. I simply did not know what normal was.
The insults never ended. Being midsized around 70lbs overweight at the time, my weight was made fun of, I was offered money to lose and look normal and so I would get a husband like my sister. My father would threaten to pack me away to the convent because I was "too ugly and weird for any man to want to marry me" and would state, "You better lose weight to get a better job!". Another time when cleaning the basement out with him on one of my rare days off, he would approach me and say, "I hate your personality, it's awful.". I think back to that time wishing I had fought back more, the feeling was mutual after all. My life was one of nothing but criticism. In college, I carried a 3.4 GPA, worked, stayed out of trouble. What would have this family had done to someone who slide even more through the cracks? They deserved a crackhead as an offspring for all their whining and abuse.
My chosen career field of art education was insulted, "art hippie, you arty farty!" and there was a day I brought home paintings from college where I remember my mother and father saying "Your paintings are ugly." The class I did the paintings in, I received a B+/A- One of these paintings I would sell years later for a hand-sewn wedding dress that was valued over a 1000 dollars. My love for art was a place of salvation for me, a place of refuge, they tried to even take that away but failed.
Even my brother had one of his moments with my father in the garage, standing up to him to end the physical abuse we both experienced for years. However even with this I still felt physically afraid especially of my father. I was not treated like a girl at all and never protected. There was no proms, or Daddy-daughter dances in my life but housework, fixing cars, raking and digging holes in the yard with my brother. Next to the mother who never bought me a dress or showed me how to paint my nails or do make-up, feminine things were left for nice, sweet petite girls not me. I never went to any school dance or had a formal dress bought for me or went on a date in high school or had any friends for that matter outside of my freshman bowling league. I was too abused.
My father never touched my mother, he wouldn't dare but she stood by and even joined in on the physical abuse pulling strings to increase his rages. They never beat us enough for any of us to be hospitalized, they had to keep their upper middle class life and jobs intact, but being hit was at least a weekly occurrence. My father until I stood up to him even into late high school had no problem with pinching me hard or kicking me in the butt to make one of his points. His eyes would shine and show glee upon humiliating others. His perfectionism and other traits were extreme, to this day I would peg him as one of the most miserable people on the face of this earth. Ironically he'd go to work with a sweet smile on his face, all his employees loved him, but no one knew what happened behind closed doors. Mr. Rogers at work and Hitler at home. He was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, same as his psychopathic, narcissistic wife. Both prided themselves on their hardness and ability to "get over" and disdained empathy and sensitivity as weaknesses.
I did start standing up for myself in college. Both narcissistic parents would complain and say, "We don't know what that college did to change you but it changed you for the worse". I went from quiet, withdrawn, beating down and afraid to finally talking back a bit. Rebellion for ACONS isn't always a bad thing, for many of us it means survival and drawing one's boundaries. I didn't drink or party or date or go looking for fights but I started fighting back against the parents who saw nothing positive in me whatsoever. Cipher-hood for me would have meant absolute destruction. It also means I did not become a replica of my Aunt Scapegoat who in essence never left home, living next door to my grandmother in a broken down trailer into her 50s. She is still there. This is when I began my "goth" years, though I toned the dress down at jobs to keep employed. I awaited the day though where a good job as a teacher and independent life would "save" me but considering the health and financial problems that awaited, maybe it's better I didn't know at the time.
A few months after the grand production of my sister's elaborate wedding, one day I came home from work, and found a box in the mail addressed to me. It was from a company known for knickknacks. I was suspicious opening it because I had not ordered anything. Opening the box, I found a paper within it, and saw that it was addressed to me, and a credit card number I did not recognize in my name.
Then I realized, I had sent away for a credit card in the mail a few months earlier!
My mother had taken the credit card when it arrived in the mail, and used it without my knowledge. At the time I had forgotten about my application thinking I had been turned down.
So my mother had stolen my identity!
Calling the credit card company, I found out over $1700 dollars had been charged under my name. No one asked for this financial help, no one talked to me saying "We are short on funds could you help us out?"
I knew then I had to leave and do it quick. I was employed and had some money saved. I was too afraid of my parents to report her. The statute of limitations is long up. I confronted her and she said because of the money borrowed for some of my college, she said, "You owe me!". Crying I said, "Why did you lie to me or just not ask?" But she refused to respond. She never would apologize for this or anything else in her life. My father simply refused to believe she did it even with the evidence in front of his face and simply threatened me.
I took a day off from substitute teaching and went to go rent a room in a woman's boarding house in a neighboring town. By then I had my juvenile home art teaching job too which was second shift and weekends, part of the recreation program for the incarcerated youth. I choose to commute a distance three times a week, rather then even live in the same town of my parents.
The day I moved out, my mother was at work but my father went ballistic, screaming and yelling. Trying to tell me I couldn't even take my clothes because he had "bought them" actually by that time, all the clothes outside of gifts were purchased by me. Screaming about a blue chair, he had thrown away but decided I was "stealing", my escape was very frightening. I ran out to my car, that was thankfully mostly packed with him cussing me out, grabbing at me and throwing pant cans at me, some full, some empty and clattering on the drive-way. I was lucky to get away without being hurt.
I wouldn't talk to any of them for three years.
Why did I go back?
The therapists I voluntarily sought out, even though they admitted I was seriously abused told me to reconcile with my parents, the pastors--UU at the time--I'm now a born again Christian told me to "forgive" and let by gones be by gones. I heard that my parents were "under stress", to "honor" my parents, to realize "everyone makes mistakes", to "not hold grudges".
Other relatives joined the foray, telling me "that's just the way they are", "you have to accept them for who they are". "You don't want to live your life angry do you?" Others told me it was simply wrong to cut off one's parents no matter how badly they had treated you.
I never heard anything about narcissistic personality disorder, or how severe emotional abuse can affect a person life long or about protecting myself or boundaries. For years I would blame myself. I was a "bad daughter", "cost too much", "shouldn't have gone to college", "didn't get along with people", "didn't make enough money", "messed up the relationships". I worried that I was everything they told me I was, unworthy, fat, lazy, and worse. For many years I dreamed of the day I would be thin or average sized and have great job making lots of money where my parents would finally love me. That was a wasted dream.
But I had enough fire in me at a young age to cut the chains, once upon the time. This time I will stay free.
Looking back on this all from the vantage of a 40 something, I am literally horrified. The abuse I suffered was immense and I believe high on the scale. To be frank, I lay at their feet the breaking of my health and almost the breaking of my spirit. Keep in mind, I was getting already sick, in and out of the hospital for severe asthma, showing terrible signs of PCOS. My periods completely stopped. Today I have faced their cruelty, medical neglect, and devaluement of me as a person head on. There was no excuse for the way I was treated and the me of today, wishes I could go back and hug young me and say, "You don't deserve this, stay far away from these people they only wish you harm. The word family means nothing when you are treated this way."