This may be an intense one, and triggering. I'm peeling the layers of the onion off strip by strip. This is a very thick layer. The facing that my very life was not valued by these people. A warning for all here, is when it comes to illness. Avoid people who display the RED FLAG of having NO EMPATHY for your health challenges or those of others. The worse thing about narcissists is their lack of empathy, the inability to put themselves in another's shoes. They will see illness as something to prey on, not something to have sympathy for. It doesn't matter if it's your Mom. There's nothing inside her to get her to even have one emotion about what you are going through.
One huge reason for my no contact, is physically I couldn't take dealing with them anymore. My body is too tired. I got too tired to do the visits anymore and put on my acting job of getting along with people I knew hated me.
My medical neglect growing up with the narcissists was severe. I am lucky to be alive.
"Turning Blue? Shut Yer Trap!"
The day is seared into my memory. Sitting on the bottom stoop of the stairs, while living at home during college, I tell my father I can't breathe. Every breath is a force of will. Another severe asthma attack has hit. Wheezing and about to throw up, I showed my fear and distress. His response? "Shut the hell up!" "You're not really sick!"
Another day, I am living away from home in one of my rented rooms, and get a violent asthma attack while driving home from work. Thankfully I know right where the hospital is, I should after many panicked visits to the ER. I drive up on the curb, as the orderlies half carry me in. My inhaler won't work. My lungs are slamming shut. I am taken into intensive care. They know it is not a panic attack.
My heart has gone into afib from the severity of the asthma attack. I barely avoid intubation as they give me Benadryl and other medicines and hook me up to the heart monitor. An atheist at that time in life, I pray to God to keep me alive. Later they stabilize me and then give me a breathing treatment. The asthma attack will be such a bad one, that it will hurt to breathe for weeks. Imagine the worse case of bronchitis. I have that too having already entered chronic bronchitis land. Even today, I have to be on steroid inhalers to be able to breathe. The endless asthma during my youth damaged my lungs. I have COPD.
The nurses call my next of kin and call my parents and tell them, "Your daughter is very sick!" "They scoff, and tell the one on the phone, "Oh, she just can't cope!". The nurse waits until I can breathe to tell me, my parents reaction on the phone. I am only 25 miles away from where they live. She says to me, "Something is very severely wrong with you parents, they told me they are not coming out." and relays to me what they said. The look on her face is one of pity. Since I did not have medical insurance, I was released from the hospital. Already I had run up thousands in medical bills but none of my jobs provided health insurance. I would crawl home and could barely make it up the stairs to my rented room. A roommate took care of me as I was in bed for over a week. It should have been my family.
This is how things went for me when trying to get help for medical problems. One other time while still living with my parents. I would get sick again, crawl up those too steep stairs to grab my inhaler and drive myself to a clinic to get a breathing treatment. Sometimes I think, "Why didn't you just call an ambulance?" but I was afraid. I wasn't supposed to have any needs met.
"Xs over Your Eyes? We Need Our Beauty Sleep"
My parents almost even let my GC sister die when she was 13 and I was 14 letting her gasp in her bed, from the smoke in the neighborhood from burning leaves. They went to bed, telling her, "You'll be alright!", and I was the one having to scream, yell and pound at their door to get them to take her to the hospital as her gasping turned worse and worse. Her chest heaved and she grabbed at her throat. What is scary, is by then my sister was showing her growing coldness as she did not cry and depended on me to go display the emotions to get things done. She coded on the hospital floor, but this didn't change them. Not one bit. She would grow up to hate the sister who saved her life.
I often think to myself, that my sister's burgeoning coldness blossomed under my mother's total lack of empathy. Perhaps that is one day some of the craziness set in. In other words, she almost paid the final price too for having a malignant narcissist for a mother. My nieces and nephews couldn't even imagine that the reason they are here today is because of me.
My periods totally had stopped midway through college. I told my mother, who said, "Oh that doesn't mean anything", and went to a doctor at my college clinic who said, "You are stressed". Actually it was the development of severe PCOS.
"You Don't Need to Hear!"
When I was 13, I went totally deaf in my right ear. I cried to my mother for a week and half and still she would not take me to a doctor. Standing in the hallway on the slate tiles of our 6 bedroom house, I remember as she smacked me and told me to "Quit whining about your stupid ear!". While back then, the hearing came back, today I have no hearing in that ear. It is stone cold deaf. That was my life with my parents. Their problems always came first. Mine meant nothing. Being hearing impaired around narcissists sucks by the way, they aren't going to make sure you heard what was said.
We went to Colorado as part of a family vacation and were at a high altitude. I couldn't breathe. I remember crying and being scared. Nothing was done for me. I was told to shut up and suck it up. Fortunately I made it but I spent a week seriously short of breathe that would equal later bouts of severe bronchitis. Thankfully I was young enough then to survive.
"My Baby Loves to Play With Light Motes"
My autistic problems showed themselves early. I stimmed. I cried and was easily frightened. I had serious OCD, that went neglected even though it worsened and became very severe in high school. I would not conquer OCD until my 30s and even now it can arise if I am under stress. Hours were spent lining up my shoes. My mother took advantage of some of the autism as she without guile bragged to her friends when I was a child, that she could put me as a baby in a crib for hours alone and I would not cry. They had plenty of money for a professional. This was not a poor family with their hands tied. Obviously as I became more verbal, they probably knew I would talk and did not want to risk that. I told a teacher who did not believe me, "My parents don't love me," but a therapist may have taken a second look.
"Even Mr. Buller The Ex-Marine Gym Teacher Doesn't Want a Dead Kid on the Playground"
I would get sick, throw up and worse. Gym teachers as early as elementary school sent letters home to my mother stating "Five Hundred Pound Peep is having breathing problems, her balance is way off, she has major motor skill problems, please take her to a doctor!". I would never be taken to a doctor. Thankfully gym teachers had mercy on me. They probably didn't want to have to perform CPR during gym class or have one of their students die. I didn't have to run on the bleachers with the rest of the class. I could walk instead of run, this during times where I was no where near a weight that prevented exertion. The gym teachers knew something was wrong with me, but my parents simply didn't care.
"The Opposite of Stephen King's book THINNER"
I gained 100lbs within 6-9 months, when I was around 13 years of age. I believe this is when the lipedema first set in. Puberty is a major on set time for lipedema. This was just a taste of what would come later with the 400lb gain. I went from being a size 13 to a size 22. Imagine being a size 22 in high school. I was. I did not eat for this weight. My parents knew exactly what I was eating as my mother lorded over the refrigerator. I was smacked for gaining weight, one day when my mother realized I didn't fit in any of my clothes, screaming at how expensive I was. No one thought to take me to a doctor. Aunt Confused lived around us at that point and recently told me, "I told your mother to take you to a doctor, but she just wouldn't."
I saw a doctor on rare occasion, the schools wanted their vaccinations, but these occasions were extremely rare. My mother would pooh-pooh all medical complaints that I told the doctor. "There's nothing wrong with her, she is just a whiner". We got our teeth cleaned in elementary school, I suppose even narcissists didn't want gap toothed children spoiling the family photos.
Since I have gone NC and been diagnosed with a rare disorder [stage IV lipedema, lipo-lymphedema] the second one beyond PCOS] this last year, one fact stood out to me about my family. My sister got a rare disorder as an infant [totally unrelated to mine] and my parents moved heaven and earth to keep her alive.
"Doing What Was Right for the Golden Child"
One odd thing about my Aspergers is I have a good visual memory from it, and can remember many things I have read even as a child. It is not a photographic memory but perhaps a subset of one. I remembered seeing a medical article on my sister as a child, and I decided to go looking for it, using the name of the rare disorder which was heart and vein related. With the help of a friend, we were able to recently find it. In other words, while I was medically neglected, with my Aspergers undealt with and other serious health problems especially from my teens on ignored, my sister warranted the most advanced medical care in the country where my mother went to go find her experimental doctors and researchers.
She would actually be the first one to ever LIVE from her disorder and this was written up in a medical journal. Finding this article too, I realized some discrepancies the family had told me, they told me she got sick at the age of 2 and half, but the medical article made it clear she had been sick from the age of 4 months old. Of course my mother being withholding as crazy, I was having to go by whatever clues I could muster and what was personally witnessed. The stroke I witnessed myself at the age of 3 and half when my sister told me, "I can't move my legs". This was one of my earliest memories.
My mother got huge narcissistic supply via my sister. She was the martyred mother of the very sick little baby and then little girl. The entire neighborhood rallied around her and so did the family. I was sent away from home for months twice, as my sister recovered and my mother was too overwhelmed to deal with me and my brother. One time would be living with Aunt Confused in her crazy domestic abuse house of horrors and the second time would be when I lived with "The Aunt That Loved Me".
I found this interesting as we were only a year apart in age supposedly but who knows what to believe given the possibility I am adopted. If she was sick by 4 months. This means I was a non-entity by the age of 15 months. Irony of ironies, she would go on to be very healthy and thin, and overcome this disorder with no heart issues, while I got sicker and sicker. Of course some will say a possibly terminally ill sibling, needs all the attention! However years after she recovered, and I was getting sick I was told, "Take care of your sister!".
No one ever took care of me.
She ended up with 4 children and as an upper middle class suburban housewife who disdains me. For years I was told she would die young, even into late high school but she got stronger, healthier and meaner, as I got fatter and sicker. To be frank, she was healed by age 4 but the affects of her illness lived on as it guaranteed her golden child status. She was the child that lived! She was the child my parents worked so hard to save! I was chopped liver.
Like a little vampire she sucked up all the energy. She got the space in the garage for her car, while I had to clean the snow off mine. My mother combed her hair and cut her dinner meat into high school. She was spared any heavy house work, raking, shoveling, taking out the trash and my mother protected her from the rage of my father. He never dared to hit her or touch her unlike me. She was the "perfect" child, tattle-tale, a Nelly Olsen who could do no wrong in Mommy's eyes.
My mother laid out her clothes every morning through high school and made her lunch while I was on my own for both and often required to make her lunch too. I was forced to do her school work into college, sharing what reports, and projects with her I could. My mother even had her use my early art class projects from college left in the closet for her community college degree. She was the princess while I was nothing to them.
There was no experimental doctors for me. No true help. I was thrown to the wolves. This is something I never thought about in years, but I'm facing it now. How did she warrant such extreme help and I didn't? I know a baby is different from a teen and an adult, but most parents will say they forever care for their children. Even my autism was so severe, that teachers and others told my parents something was wrong and they simply ignored it. Being in Catholic schools instead of public schools made my sliding through the cracks even more likely. The nuns weren't going to do IEP meetings, we didn't have special Ed. teachers.
"There's Nothing Wrong With You!"
Dealing with severe PCOS as a teen, and not knowing it, as I threw up and was in severe pain during periods, my mother took me to a quack who gave me a big bottle of black vitamins. She yelled at me for the brown spots on my neck and legs that were signs of the disorder. No specialists were called for me. I saw this other doctor once or twice during high school for vaccinations, who did nothing but remember my mother was ever-present telling him, "She's exaggerating!".
I was never ever listened to. Years later I would end up abandoned in the ghetto after my 400lb weight gain and was dying. At near 700lbs in 1998, I was given less then 18 months-2 years to live. I married my now husband expecting to soon die. He supported me on 8 bucks an hour which was chump change in that expensive city as I had applied for disability.
Both parents only visited twice, once for my wedding and other relatives had to talk them into coming, and another time on the way home from Mall of America. This is the day my mother screamed at me, "Do you know how big you are getting?" and pointed to my most swollen lipedema/lymphedema leg and said, "Do something about that!" I was abandoned at a time in my life when I needed help. I knew she hated me, but learned that my father hated me that day as well.
The poverty almost killed me. Imagine being near 700lbs and having to stumble to bus stops, out in the rain, cold and sleet with severe breathing problems. Imagine being that sick living in a very dangerous neighborhood with no car, no phone or refrigerator or working stove. Imagine that fact I didn't have regular groceries. Some of my recent problems now is I feel so triggered to those days of poverty being crushed by all these bills, knowing the bottom could fall out at anytime. My friends have helped to keep me going now. Then I didn't have any friends and I didn't really have any family either. The ER staff knew me by first name in that town. The prognosis was not good. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I had gained 400lbs in 28 months. There was no mercy.
"A SNEER For You As I Taste Your Tears with Glee"
I have mentioned this before, but I gathered my strength to go no contact looking at a picture from that time. I wish I could show it here, but have to keep my anonymity intact. In it, I am standing at 600lbs and something with bald spots on my head, covered body-wide in skin sores on the front stoop of our mouse infested two room Chicago brick building two storied apartment and my mother is at the door wearing crisp bright white linen shorts and a green blouse, her hair is brown, her eyes deep set, and on her face is a Joker's smirk. Looking at that picture years later in horror, I realized something. She enjoyed my pain and misery. This was the time I was groomed to be under her thumb. With her basically teaching me not to depend on anyone, and that I was a worm that deserved nothing but misery. While other families would rally to help an ill member, with narcissists some of us are literally left to die.
As I got older, I realized no sane upper middle class family with financial resources would leave a daughter in such dire straits. I had never done drugs or drank or ran wild. But I was so so so hated. During my time of low contact I hid my health problems as best I could. During one family meal I went to after being in the hospital, almost passing out at the table, I ran to the bathroom to hide how sick I was. This was the time, I and my husband developed the rule, I must always leave my mother's house and other family homes if I took ill. I didn't trust them enough to be around them when sick. Looking back, I think why even bother with people like that? No one ever let me lay down either on long visits, more often then not, the hour and half car ride going and coming and sitting up all day would leave me with a leg infection.
Many of my health problems were worsened via my abuse; in fact the constant trauma led to the failure of my body. With the lipedema, if I had been diagnosed in high school, I could have been kept in stage one or two which means mobility. and being far smaller. I wouldn't have almost lost my life to leg infections. My heart would not have been damaged by hypothyroidism which my doctors believe started in my teens. Severe untreated PCOS and insulin resistance took a major toll on my health as well, destroying my fertility and bringing me to diabetes. My lungs were damaged from all the untreated asthma as a teen. While at the age of 18, I got myself to the doctor and got it diagnosed, the lack of medical insurance and help took a toll. Having to depend on the ER damaged my lungs where I had chronic bronchitis by the age of 19 and was fully entrenched on the way to COPD. Remember the breathing failed before the severe obesity came. There were years I was told, "You're Not Really Sick!" as I cried about my breathing, weakness and fatigue and what teachers were saying to me.
"You're Sick Because You are Negative"
Toxic personalities have no empathy for illness. I even realized on a social website support board I was on, my admitted disabilities were cannon fodder for personality disorders in the mix. That is one sad factor of a growing narcissistic society, be "less then" healthy and raring to go, or have diseases without a cure, these types will try to make you a nobody. How dare you don't heal! How dare you are not positive! They almost see it as a personal affront. I know now to run when I see personalities like that. Your problems get in the way of their narcissistic supply.
Toxics have no empathy for the ill. They lack the introspection to even think one day they could be ill, or bedridden or in pain. They do not think of the day when they may be old or sick. Time barely passes for a narcissist. Sociopaths don't sit around and get nostalgic. They don't give a damn. My narcissistic relatives lacked empathy for other ill people. I wasn't the only one. Things I observed with my mother and sister were quite scary and showed their lack of empathy. A few of things I have mentioned in other articles.
Here are some things I observed:
"No Mercy for A Broken Back"
1. My mother and her husband scoffed at a man they went to go visit in the hospital. He had fallen from a tree and broken his back. My mother said to me at the dinner table, "He was such a big baby, he asked me for a straw! How lazy can you get?"
"You're Taking Too Long to Die!"
2. My grandmother [a narcissist as well] got pancreatic cancer, and was living with my mother. She was still mobile and in the other room inside. Sitting at a table on my mother's new deck, with my mother, Aunt Denial, and one other relative, my mother complains about taking care of her, a job she freely took on. Remember this is someone who will have no problem in acquiring hospice or getting in-home nurses as things progress. She leans across the table and with a sneer on her face says, "She is taking too long to die".
Aunt Scapegoat Colostomy Bag Smells!
3. Aunt Scapegoat is living with my mother for a short time after heart valve surgery. They live 120 miles from each other so my mother has not served as a caretaker for her except for this short period of weeks. She has been disabled since her 30s and is on tri-weekly dialysis. She is despondent and looking at the floor but otherwise healing physically. She goes into the other room. My mother starts a litany of complaints, "She is so disgusting, and lazy!" , "I have to do all the work around here, she won't lift a finger to help herself!", "Her colostomy bag stinks, I can't take the smell!", "She won't help herself!", "She won't join support groups!". I defend Aunt Scapegoat but to no avail. My mother considers her a lazy good-for nothing that deserved all her health problems.
It gets worse, my mother turns to me and says, "I wish she did not get the heart valve surgery, why does she fight to live, her life is worthless!" Why does she keep fighting for her life? It's a waste of time. I wish she would just die!" I realized at that moment how much she hated her sister. This was time my mother's mask she wore in front of other people fell with a thud. Everything was about her feeling "put upon", she wasn't stuck in dialysis or having scary heart surgeries. Why take her in only to resent it? I was speechless and regret not saying more but that it was natural for people to fight for their lives and her life was in God's hands, but talking about God to Satan's daughter was an absolute waste of time.
"It's Your Fault You Broke Your Foot!"
4. An uncle broke his foot coming out of his trailer falling down some stairs, he is older, mildly overweight and works in a factory where he has to be physically fit and on his feet. My mother writes a joke, "At least I didn't push you".
"Be a Good Stoic Even When You Can't Breathe"
5. Around 7 years ago, my sister is visiting my mother but in a full blown asthma attack. Her chest is heaving. She sits there and take it. Pleasing Mommy means being the best stoic and staying over night with cats in the house she is allergic to. Her face is a grey mask as she shows no distress or any emotions. Even the inability to feel fear, starts creeping me out more and more as I watch her. One day about a year later, I am having breathing problems that are severe. They are cold induced COPD stuff and asthma together. I have tears in my eyes but am not fully weeping. I have made the mistake of having the family get me out to travel in weather that is too cold. She says to me, "What's wrong with you?" "You need suck it up a bit."
Later when her daughter has some asthma problems, she looks annoyed as she whips out the breathing machine and methodically gets her ready for a breathing treatment.
"Heart Attacks? No Big Deal!"
6. My brother has his second heart attack, my mother does not go visit him not even during the first either.
7. My mother's own attitudes of health are like my sister. She has heart attacks and finishes the day at work without anyone knowing. She hides her medical conditions to the point I am still unsure what is real and not real. Twenty five years ago, I found out about a heart attack she had a year later from my father. Was it a lie? I don't know. I have never seen her show distress, fear or tears. Migraine headaches bought anger but that is all I have ever seen.
"Daddy's Not Having a Petit Mal Seizure, He's Resting!"
8. I wrote already about how my parents hid my father's seizures. He is another one that had a cold view and showed no emotions when under medical pressures. He was another stoic like my mother and sister. He displays anger at some health problems but never shows fear or normal emotional distress even to the day he died.
"COPD? No, You're Just Weak!"
9. One day I am visiting my mother's house. Her husband is in the room with me. I am telling him "I won't be able to make it to a family gathering in December due to the cold and my breathing problems". He tells me, that I am lazy and just making excuses. "You just tell yourself that and are making excuses". I try to tell him COPD is something real and say "How did I get here today if I am afraid to do anything?". He says, "We get tired of all your malingering." I never could win, she gave the whole family this narrative that all my health problems were my fault and that many of them didn't even exist. I can already hear her in my head telling the lot of them lipedema is a fantasy too.
"Dying in the Hospital? We Got Shopping to Do!"
10. There are 4-5 instances where I was in the hospital and never visited, some when I was seriously ill. My mother would check on Aunt Scapegoat who lived further away, at least once every 6-8 weeks.
These were scary people to be sick around. They all weird me out because I think how none of them seem to fear death or sickness. Stoicism is the demand. When I was young, there was never any nurturance, a hand on the forehead, a cool washcloth during a fever. Never any kind words or mercy. One smear campaign I know that has been done against me, is putting me down for being disabled. It showed in the words of that one cousin and the family narrative, was that I was "fat and lazy". Nothing I could do was right. This was the worse family any person struggling with illness could have had. I have no time for people who act like them either.
My mother attempted to rewrite history and covering her tracks and wrote to me, "What exactly am I supposed to do for you. Years ago I offered to help you out with medical bills so you could go to the Mayo Clinic and get a handle of all your medical issues. ****** reminded me of that and the fact you did nothing."
This was a flat out lie but this is what she has told others for years, turning them against me.
My response in one of my last letters was:
"You did not really try to take me to Mayo. You drove to Minneapolis to go shopping at the Great Mall of America in 1997. I have the pictures, including the shot of you smirking at me while I'm opening the door-this was during my hyper-rapid weight gain, when I was covered from head to toe in sores. I found this picture very disturbing. If you had been concerned about my health you would have driven me to Rochester rather then shopping til you dropped."
I am facing the fact, and healing comes with truth, the truth is, they didn't care about me. I cared about myself to get away from them. Going no-contact for me literally was about saving my life.