Monday, January 12, 2015

Physical Abuse From Narcissist Parents

WARNING THIS ONE MAY BE TRIGGERING: Description of physical abuse.

It is good Narcissist Survivor dealt with this topic. It's a heavy one but meaningful one in that many an ACON has faced physical abuse. I have detailed some of mine on this blog but not all of the physical abuse I faced. I was physically afraid of both parents until I grew large enough around age 15/16  to fight back and even then I remained in psychological terror. While therapists did not warn me about narcissistic personality disorder, and going no contact, I put myself in therapy by age 18 knowing my parents had both been very physically abusive. My experiences included being locked in a room and shoved in there forcibly, being shoved, my hair pulled constantly, my head taken and knocked against another child's head usually of my brother, being punched in the arm hard, being slapped and general beatings where there would be multiple slaps or hits from a belt. I don't have "A Child Called It" stories to tell, even my upper middle class parents knew, a broken bone or burn or obvious abuse in one of their children requiring a hospital stay might mean an end to their career but my abuse was severe enough.

The worse abuse for me however beyond the general emotional coldness and terror, was when my father would literally just about "drown" me in the pool. He would tell others, he was "teaching me to swim" but it was anything but. Real learning doesn't occur in fear.  The house that had locks on the doors when they locked me inside the bedroom also had an above ground swimming pool and that swimming pool for me was the stuff of nightmares. We lived there from the time I was 1 to around 7 years old. Most of the pool abuse was when I was around 4-5 years old.

 He would push and hold my head under the water, and throw me in the deep end and I would thrash about. I was not being taught to swim in any loving or even a more hardcore Dad way, there was no holding my arms out or allowing me to hang on to him to practice swimming but tortured for his pleasure. This was not encouragement or even trying to build confidence but enjoying my fear and distress.

 I remember coughing and being unable to breathe and the bright blue water as my head went under multiple times and my ears immediately plugged up. I have memories of having my head held under, and I'd fight and me being in object terror wondering if I would die.   It got to the point where when it was summer and my family went out to this pool, I would hide in the house. I would shake in fear, hoping that day my father or mother would leave me to my own devices in the house instead of dragging me out.  Aspie melt-downs for me were few and far between but this was a guaranteed one. Even when we went to his parent's house in another state, their above ground pool scared me too. No relative stopped his bad behavior, but would laugh and mock me. I stayed far away. I remember the terror of swimming pools.

 I had nightmares about this still and a life long fear of deep water. I never could swim in deep water. I'm too disabled now but even in my late 20s, these rules applied.   At age 12, I would go with friends to swim club but stay in the shallow end. No parents were there, so I felt calmer. My high school teacher was able to coax me into the pool and she allowed me to learn to swim in shallower end-4 feet of water dog-paddling and general "swimming", knowing I had health and other problems but there was no way I was going to put my head under or go into water that went over my head.

My father would pinch me in the side and do other things like literally kick me in the butt with his foot and then laugh. "You need a good ass-kicking." and then he would kick me. This was done in front of others as well. My mother would laugh and sneer and say "Yeah she does". Many boundaries were crossed for a young teenage woman when you have a father pinching you.  One sick thing my father did, was hit me on the side and other various places on my body and then tell me that he had given me a "love-tap". The more I think about this, the more grossed out I am. This happened for years. The whole phrase sickens me. He had a very screwed up view of "love."

My brother who lives today in denial though he admitted that he had a final mid-teen show down with my father where he proved he was too big to beaten anymore, had major physical abuse from my parents. My father slapped and knocked me around enough, but my brother even got it more. His denials today bother me, as he makes excuses for my abusive mother, but I have memories over my brother being locked in his room, and terrorized and beaten for getting a C average in school. My father never spent time with him helping with his schoolwork but somehow thought getting smacked around would bring higher grades. There too was the giant blow-outs when fistfights and scuffles would ensue between my father and brother. He would scream about his tools and throw them at both of us. If one was misplaced or we didn't rake the leaves correctly, he would throw heavy metal wrenches in one of his rages. We were fortunate never to get knocked out but were always on our toes.

My mother's present husband asked me a weird question once. The week before my brother had visited and got in a fight with his ex-wife on the phone and had screamed and cursed so violently, my mother's husband was in shock. He asked me, "Was your father abusive?". I said, "Yes he was, he had rages and abused us all the time." Too bad my mother entered the room. I didn't have time to tell him my mother took part in all too. I doubt he would have believed this about her. It's probably better I didn't say anything more.

I sometimes wonder what that guy thinks now with me disappearing but he never tried to contact me. He is my mother's puppy and another one in thrall. I wonder if all the shopping and big house, is worth being yelled at every minute? The last time I was there, she screamed at him 15 minutes about finding the right part in the basement for an extra coffee maker.

My mother had far less hot rages like my father but would egg on the abuse. It was rare that she would tell my father to calm down. If anything she set things up for him to go off like a firecracker and to start rampaging through the house as soon as he got home from work. "Did you know what these two kids did today?" Remember she always protected Mini-me so it was us two never my sister.

She would use him as a weapon against us and he played the part beautifully. Sometimes when his rages got so immense, she knew he may cross the "hospital" line, such as giving my brother a black eye, she would quell things down but that was rare. I used to be relieved when my father went away on business trips. In late high school he had a business seminar that was 6 weeks long and I was relieved. My mother was still a problem but the physical threat was far lesser. Her enforcer was gone. When I was a teen I wanted my parents to get divorced figuring one at a time was easier then the united narc front. I envied kids with divorced parents.

Her physical abuse was using the belt when we were younger and siccing my attack dog father on us but when we got older, she would slap me hard as a teen. This was humiliating.  She would also pull and shove me whatever way she wanted. She had no qualms about doing it in front of others. No one ever defended me either. She would play beleaguered martyr, "I have no choice but to keep her in line".

A hard slap would come if I dared to disagree with her or spoke back on anything. Most of the time I was trying to stay out of way and sinking into the woodwork in high school, but sometimes if I left a dish in the sink or couldn't find the right lid for a Tupperware bowl, I better watch it, because a back handed slap would come out of nowhere. Sometimes these smacks would make my ears ring and my head hurt.  At times she did the hair pulling too and throwing things.

I put an end to her slapping when I was 16 or 17, she tried to backhand me in the kitchen and I grabbed her wrist, and said "You are not going to hit me anymore". She went off to scream to my father about me grabbing her, I had fears of them getting me arrested for my self defense, but I was shaking with so much rage, they both backed off. I had the same experience too with my father, who tried to punch me in the arm and I said, "You are not hitting me anymore". I was big enough and strong enough to physically defend myself.

Writing this stuff down helps me put things in perspective. I really did live in a mad house which I managed to escape. I really was surrounded by wicked people who today live in denial of their misdeeds. In one latter letter to my mother, I brought up my father's rages, she would not admit the part she played in it all but told me, "Your father had a lot of problems". My brother told me my father once apologized to him for the abuse but I never heard any such apologies.

No one should live in such abuse. ACONs know especially if they are physically abused, they have to spend years fixing and establishing the boundaries that were crossed, dealing with the PTSD, and many other issues that can arise from physical abuse.

I have thought about the day, my father threw paint cans at me as I left the house and went on my first no contact.  I was an adult. It occurred to me years later, I could have filed a complaint. There probably were marks and paint left in the drive way from the thrown paint cans to prove it. As Narcissistic survivor says, yes if you are being abused tell someone, if young a trusted clergy member, counselor, etc. Adults too, make a stand. No one has the right to hit you. It is against the law.

As I mentioned in the shoveling article,  part of my healing now, is no more blaming myself. I was a child and not responsible for what was done to me. What they did was wrong. I did not choose it. I was not a "bad" child and neither were you. They purposefully chose abuse.


  1. I don't know how you survived as well as you have. I had one, ONE evil person responsible for my formative years and my life has been horrible. Ugh, yuck I hate your father, I mean I LITERALLY hate your father.

    I can't seem to recall too many beatings. I've been wondering that for awhile now. She did have a temper, she did get angry lots, I just seem to recall much beatings. Sure there was some, but usually it was more about poking fun at me. Teasing me, making me feel bad. Making me stay around her all the time, made me the permanent baby. I know this posting is not for me. Just wanted to say I hate your father. And your mother. Peeps you are a miracle to be alive.

  2. Thanks Joan. I know I had two of them and it was tough. They tag team off one another too. One narc is enough.

    You know I used to think because they never put me in the hospital, or held my hand down on a burner, or broke an arm or threw me down the stairs {I did get thrown on the floor once} my abuse "wasn't that bad", but this was serious enough physical abuse. Society often will tell people to minimize abuse, "Oh your parents did the best they could" "You're just crying about a butt whooping" but this was something else entirely. I feared being hit all the time, even as a teen and was. It wasn't a once in a while occurrence either where one slap may pop up every 6 months but far more frequent.

    I am glad you didn't face too many beatings. Some narc parents don't do the beating or slapping, they use more emotional manipulation and abuse though I probably would fathom when it comes to malignant narcs they are fewer in number. Some just rant and rave, mock and make fun. Yours definitely seemed to be the infantilizing engulfer, often those types will use more emotional abuse to draw their lines. At least now I know why I had/have the emotions I do about parents. Thanks. I agree.