Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Gift of Narcissistic Parents: Shame and Codependency

You spend years with these lousy people telling you bad things about yourself. You never hear anything good but the following.....

"Your laugh is weird!"

"You smell !"

"You are a slob!"

"Why can't you do anything right?"

"You do everything half-assed!"

"You are stupid!"

"You said that wrong!"

"No one likes you!"

"It's still filthy!"

The criticism was never ending. When I look back and even think of the time invested in hassling me over the way I dress, spoke, looked and acted, it shows me how sick the individuals I called parents really were. Why didn't they spend time on their hobbies or leave me alone more? Destroying me was one of their hobbies. When I left the narcs, one main thought in my head was, "I am done being your worm". I knew I could not take it anymore. It was time for dignity. It was time for self respect.  Even my recent departure from other relatives was based on this, the parties involved simply had no respect for me. Without respect, honestly there is no real relationship with ANYBODY.

The constant criticism creates shame in the scapegoat especially and this sadly is what they control you with. In other words the shameless who are incapable of feeling the emotion create endless shame in their protégé. Children and young people need love to form a foundation for their identity and who they are. If love is missing, then they will not feel like they are valuable people. They are not shown mercy and understanding or given God's love either.  They are led into severe shame and often codependent behaviors, their relating to other people can be impacted negatively.

 Codependents are people who set aside their needs for the needs of others. Narcissistic parents can definitely groom children for future codependency. After all you are expected to read every nuance to meet THEIR needs lest an unexpected slap comes out of nowhere. You are trained to "earn", "work for" any crumbs of pseudo-love and attention. This is not how real love operates, it happens naturally.

This is where a scapegoat will be taught to neglect their own needs and to ignore their own feelings and emotions. Setting personal boundaries becomes impossible. They don't even know what a boundary is as they are crossed time and time again. It would take me years to learn to set boundaries.

They are led to desperate feelings in trying to control situations and people failing time and time again. When you have to "work" to get people to "love" you in narcissistic sociopathic families, you become very fearful of rejection and of being alone. This actually can work the opposite way you want it, in that others can find you clingy and too needy. The toxic can then take advantage too of your desperation. This was a problem for me in my early 20s. I took all comers out of loneliness. My Aspie eccentricities served as an odd buffer and protection in the dating world, so I didn't have bad boyfriends to contend with but I think of a long list of toxic people that I monkeyed with that the me of today would not even talk to.

 My health problems kept me from becoming too severe into codependency, severe medical crises if anything teach self care and boundaries that are required to be clung to even stay alive. I wasn't going to become the beleaguered jack or jill of all enabling trades because I simply lacked the energy but there are codependent traits, we must all be cautious of.

One thing I had to learned and I knew this was to be applicable to all relationships, is they were not to be one way, they were to be mutual. Relationships were not meant to be all work on one side, and one person doing all the giving and the other all the taking. All narcissistic relationships outside of the food or presents for show they may give you as a child are all inherently one sided.

Sadly the shame that narcissistic and sociopathic parents impart to us, makes us feel "unworthy" inside and like we have to work fervently and endlessly in pleasing others and begging for love and attention. This can affect relationships adversely. This can be a big test for the ACON especially as they step outside in the world as young adults. It is one way that many ACONs can end up in abusive relationships replicating the dynamics of their abusive families where predators will take advantage. As I have said, if you are trained to be the puppy dog always bringing the slippers in a hurry because you fear being smacked, this subservient stance to the world sets up you for abuse in the future.

 Sadly one thing ACONS all have to face when they get into adulthood is realizing that the unmet needs of childhood can complicate adult relationships.  You didn't have a solid foundation to build yourself on as a child and these effects are life-long and the only way to come through it is a lot of prayer and recovery.

The way to recover is finding one's integral worth and realizing that your needs matter. You have to validate yourself. Knowing one's self and asking yourself what you really care about and are about can be party of this journey. Self care is important to learn as well as setting healthy boundaries and learning to say No. When one realizes their worth as a human being, this helps to chase the shame away. Do not let people judge you as a person by material things. Unlike the narcissistic parents who lie to you, you do not have to be perfect to be loved.  Even being a 700lb Peep, I still should have been loved and cared about. I should have been loved as a little fat eccentric Aspie child.  Many people would have loved to have me as a daughter. The problem was not with me but who my mother was as a person.

The narcissists with their deadly weapons of coldness, hatred, abuse and constant criticism brainwash their victims the scapegoat to never think they are good enough. This I realized is the cloud I have carried with me through out my life. I was tired of waking up with this cloud over my head feeling like I was "no good" and had "ruined my life". It made me depressed a lot. Even the poverty issues were part of this toxic stew. Maybe I am finally being shown the way out completely.  This is one lesson from my wicked parents I need to spit on and walk away from, this idea that I am at fault for everything.  Here we want to have grace and mercy for ourselves as well and not treat ourselves like our parents dis.

I am working on is releasing the false shame that was foisted on me and giving myself the SAME compassion I would give other people I care about. You enter the world thinking it will hate you like your parents did, and sadly their treatment sets the scapegoat up for the predators to basically have a party on your head. Nice and kind people do not shame you. If you have a good friend who loves you even if they may warn you of something it is not done with the hatred and shame that narcissist parents unload on their children. Be as nice to yourself as a friend would be to you. This can help change your thinking on how you treat yourself.

Think about the things they have used to put you in bondage. One of my nurses once told me, "you are in the state of health you have to listen to your inner needs, and that means resting when you are tired". So today I give myself the permission to rest and to remove their wicked messages from my head about me being "lazy" and "non-productive". That is her judgment not my own. My mother can tell the world I am a malingerer and a bum, but I know I am not.

They have handed me endless false guilt that needs thrown in the trash. The shameless not only unload the shame, the guilt-free without a conscience types load on the fake guilt. Narcissist parents form many emotional cages for their scapegoats and we have to take a saw to the bars and then crush the things flat as we walk free. My two biggest cages included......

1. Being told that I should be ashamed to be an artist and of my personality.

I kicked this one over at an earlier age. In fact if they had won this war, probably the me of today would not exist. I may write about this sometime, but art was a pathway out for me. They didn't like this. Perhaps I'd be another Aunt Scapegoat. In fact my first no contact had to do with this "battle". I think in terms of forming a self identity, they were enraged because this was a war I was winning. No matter my recent troubles, I knew my identity laid outside of what they had tried to turn me into.

Looking back I know they were trying to turn me into a narcissist. They would tell me all the time, "You are too sensitive". There was one time my father screamed at me, get this, for being an "idealist". He told me idealists were stupid, and would fail. Imagine that! What kind of parenting was that?

2. Telling me I was at fault for being super overweight and other health problems. This almost cost me my life in the long run. Most other parents in the world if they saw their daughter get so sick so fast, would not have sat there making rude comments about her legs growing bigger.  My narcs and sociopaths were able to go to town on me because of the special nature of my severe obesity coupled with my being an Aspie.  I think in some ways my recovery would have happened sooner via my love of art teaching and focus on giving to the community if my health had held out. When I got too sick and faced lay-offs and worse poverty, my shame only grew. It is sad, but I have faced that fact that with parents who taught me that everything bad that happened was my fault was one of their most damaging of messages. I don't want to walk around with the shame they gave me for my having several severe autoimmune disorders and other health problems. I'm done with that.

One thing that can be very valuable to the ACON going no contact is to explore these issues of shame and codependency and how the Narcissists and sociopaths have set us up to feel guilt and shame over things that are not our fault and have led us into negative behaviors that center around trying to "earn" love. These are some chains that need to be loosened as well. We can move on, daring to love ourselves, throwing their rules and messages they gave us in the trash can. We can refuse the false guilt and shame and unload the burden they have put on our backs.


  1. Wonderfully, perfectly stated. After reading about your grandmother and the twists and turns of that family of misfits with their individual struggles for power over someone, anyone; a family I can so readily relate to, I am just overwhelmed by your expressiveness in this post. You are so kind to share such an important concept and you do it so well. ACONs do deserve to finally have peace, without the burden of THEIR shame. What an uplifting message. Thank you so much, Peep. -- Lora

    1. Thanks Lora :) I agree we do deserve to have peace. No more shame and blame from narcs and happiness.

    2. You're welcome, of course, Peep. I just kept going back and forth in my mind between your wonderful writing here, the family treatment of you over the years, and the recent geode/seashell display you shared. Every post interesting with the latest one reminding me to release the shame.

      I actually used to see my individual family members as just different and I had very intellectual explanations, excuses and even fascinations. People are like seashells and geodes to me with all their intricate and complicated formations within varied environments and very interesting to behold. Wouldn't it be nice if the family you've been describing here could just be observed that way? You know, they are really pretty interesting characters, and you describe them so well, it's like watching a well-casted play. Well, a tragedy...

      BUT, there is a devastating flaw in the way I view people; like PEOPLE ARE NOT SEASHELLS AND GEODES!! I still wish all humans could see each other that way, as beauties with amazement to be discovered. Well, THAT'S never going to happen! And well into this older (wiser?) part of my life I've had to give up seeing the beauty in people and now view them all as dangerous to the ACON instead. (More like sharks, though amazing in their own way, they have lots of teeth!) How dumb have I been?

      I thought we were supposed to treat people the way we wished to be treated and they, not seeing a threat, would treat us in kind. HA! I was a fool for far too long. Reading your blog in all its honesty is refreshing and you clearly have a profound message. THEY should be ashamed and blamed, not us! Thanks again. You've created such a comfortable place to visit and open up. :) -- Lora

    3. Hi Lora, thanks so much for your compliments about mywriting and blog. I used to see mine as just "different" not evil. I had been told so many years to accept them as they were and believed the lies that they were more reticient etc. I used to think there was something in them they just didn't want to share with me, you know how you hold a seashell to your ear, and you hear the sea inside it, well, holding them up to my ear I only got silence. The people I imagined inside and "hidden" away from me did not exist, I was getting what I saw. They were what I saw. The souls I went looking for just did not exist. I made that mistake in seeing beauty in people too and well, it put me in more danger of abuse. I think we all want to imagine others are like us with the same emotions, same feelings, and love inside, even if it isn't as easily shown but with the narcs and sociopaths they are different, those things don't exist. I know after I became a Christian, I tried the "being nice" tactic, I was going to be kind and hopefully they would be in return, but all they did was reject me more and backstab me with more insistency. I regret the years where I tried not to argue and was nice to the lizards. Well we both know better now. Thanks Lora :)

  2. Letting go of false guilt is a hard one. I like how you say, "Needs to be thrown in the trash." That phrase is very soothing, I like it. Puts it in its proper place. When I got into abusive relationships, over and over, I was demanding too much of myself when the other person didn't even care. He would even tell me he didn't care, but I kept on trying.

    Catering to the other person all the time is very co-dependent. Now, I've learned that even if he has had a bad day, I can be supportive and not feel guilty or responsible. Growing up, this wasn't even possible. I never learned it. Dignity or self respect was destroyed. They told you who you were and it was damaging and you were forced to swallow it.