There’s a Name for It, Again — The IP

Notes from here.

[side note, if anyone from my FOO clicks on that link, I would bet a substantial amount of money that what they will take away from it is that my husband and I must be in couples therapy, and a self-satisfied confirmation that I’m obviously a mental wreck and our marriage is in trouble.]

“When I used to treat children and adolescents, I’d typically get a call from the parents explaining why they wanted their child to see me… the parents would be concerned, and would want to get their child help.

“Sometimes, though, it wasn’t just the child who needed help — it was the family. The child had simply become what therapists call “the identified patient,” or IP — the person unconsciously assigned to be the keeper of the family’s troubles. The IP looks like the one with the problem, but really she’s the healthiest one in the household, because in her own way, through her symptoms, she’s acknowledging the family’s issues. Instead of denying them or scapegoating others, she’s calling them out. Continue reading “There’s a Name for It, Again — The IP”

8 Common, Long-Lasting Effects of Narcissistic Parenting

Full article here.

2.  Echoism.

If you’re particularly sensitive or empathic by nature, you’re more likely to respond to narcissistic parenting with a stance I call echoism… Narcissistic parents who explode without warning, or collapse in tears any time a child dares to express a need, force sensitive children to take up as little room as possible, as if having any expectations at all is an act of selfishness.

I interpret this as not wanting me to exist.  This also reminds me of my sister’s bouts of hysterics when I said I wasn’t coming to one of the reunions, and when I asked her about the possibility of our mother’s psychotic break. Continue reading “8 Common, Long-Lasting Effects of Narcissistic Parenting”

Who’s the real victim?

Notes from here:

“In my own writings about the abuse I’ve experienced… I go into a lot of detail, get angry, and do a lot of research into such things as abuse and personality disorders… I pour everything in, all the details I can think of, along with trying to figure out what drives a person to act like that, quotes from my research which describe common abusive behaviors… what is abuse and what is normal.

“I have a strong will and don’t just figure I deserved what I got; I get very angry… I hope that these comments/blogs are not saying that if you’re angry, if you’ve done a lot of research into personality disorders and do know family history and have good reason to think disorders are at play, that it automatically labels you as the abuser playing the victim. In my case, the anger is part of the detachment/healing process and a natural response to being abused, and learning about personality disorders has reassured me that I did not deserve what I got.

When a person says “I’ve been abused, and I’m angry about having been abused!” that is not necessarily a sign that they are falsely playing the victim… anger is part of the detachment/healing process… It shows the victim is making an excellent recovery, in my opinion. Continue reading “Who’s the real victim?”

Power

Quote from this article:

“I was at a well-known university about nine months ago when I was in office and I asked an audience of 400 faculty and students the following question:

‘How many of you look at emotions as a source of weakness versus a source of power?’

And nearly every hand went up. This is the paradigm we have to flip in this country.”

Which one?

Had a FB convo recently that started off with one member of the group talking about how, as a baby, according to the advice of the “experts” of the day, she had been left in her crib to cry — so she could learn “discipline” FFS — which has led to her having abandonment issues.

A second woman chimed in with this story:

My mother was in the hospital in an oxygen tent for the first 5-6 weeks after my premature birth, with spinal meningitis, so I was home with an incompetent, elderly, agency baby sitter who had to chase after my two older brothers, aged barely 3 and 1.5 yrs old! So I spent most of my time in the crib and I REALLY had abandonment issues!

I am guessing that my early infancy was much the same, unfortunately, as far as the lack of attention goes.  “You had diaper rash so bad that your butt was bleeding,” was one of the few things my father ever told me about that time. Continue reading “Which one?”

Couldn’t Possibly Have Been A Psychotic Break

Well, this story makes my blood run cold.

“Catherine Hoggle, the 30-year-old Maryland mother suspected in the 2014 disappearance of her two young children, was charged Thursday with killing them, a major development in a case long enveloped by Hoggle’s mental illness.

“Hoggle was charged with two counts of murder, after a grand jury indictment, and was being held without bond Thursday night in the Montgomery County jail, according to officials familiar with the case and jail records.

“Hoggle has spent the last three years locked in a state psychiatric hospital, refusing to tell detectives and family members what might have happened to 2-year-old Jacob and 3-year-old Sarah Hoggle.”

Two things about this story disturb me. Continue reading “Couldn’t Possibly Have Been A Psychotic Break”

Three Strikes

“…I talk a lot about fighting back in The Asshole Survival Guide. There are three factors that especially predict how successful you will be at stopping or bringing down a bully. The first, and perhaps most obvious, is whether you—or them— have more formal power (the more powerful they are, the tougher it will be to win). The second is whether you are fighting back alone or with others, the more allies you have, the more likely you are to win because it is harder to portray you as a lone nut and you also have more power (even against a boss or other powerful person). The third is documentation; keep notes, emails, and social media posts, anything that provides objective evidence that you and your colleagues are in fact being bullied.”

I found out I have no formal power in my own family of origin.

I also found out I was alone in that “family”.

I am the “lone nut”, the scapegoat, the outsider, and as such I am not to be believed, let alone defended.  In some eyes, I am not even supposed to exist, not supposed to take up physical space, be noticed, be cared about.  (With the notable exception of being noticed for what I fail to do correctly, i.e. being criticized.)

And there was no documentation – the incident that started the whole thing, or rather brought it into the light, was deliberately engineered to have no witnesses, other than my husband and a brother who also has little formal power.

No wonder it all turned out the way it has.

A related article shows that there weren’t too many other options.

The powerful bully

Who they are: The engineer with hard-to-replace skills whose creepy overtures get overlooked. The rainmaking dealmaker whose boorish behavior goes unpunished. Whether they’re explicitly in charge or simply influential, too many organizations look the other way when top performers or top bosses behave badly. Sutton points to Roger Ailes — the powerful Fox News chief who left the media empire amid a swirl of sexual harassment allegations. “Going to HR didn’t seem to help anyone for years,” he says.

What to do: Tread carefully. “You’re fighting the cool kids,” Sutton says. In such cases, getting out is really often the best advice — especially if the behavior goes beyond milder incivilities. “This is one when you often leave, or when you hide, or when you lie in wait until their power diminishes,” Sutton said.

Gratitude

A fascinating article on neuroscience here.  I found a few things in it that I’ve already learned:

Suppressing emotions doesn’t work and can backfire on you.

Gross found that people who tried to suppress a negative emotional experience failed to do so. While they thought they looked fine outwardly, inwardly their limbic system was just as aroused as without suppression, and in some cases, even more aroused. Kevin Ochsner, at Columbia, repeated these findings using an fMRI. Trying not to feel something doesn’t work, and in some cases even backfires.

So much for “just get over it.”


we need to feel love and acceptance from others. When we don’t it’s painful. And I don’t mean “awkward” or “disappointing.” I mean actually painful.  Rejection doesn’t just hurt like a broken heart; your brain feels it like a broken leg.  In fact, as demonstrated in an fMRI experiment, social exclusion activates the same circuitry as physical pain

When you put people in a stressful situation and then let them visit loved ones or talk to them on the phone, they felt better.

And just what do you suppose happens when those same loved ones turn hostile to you in the most stressful situation of your entire life?

And later, when you find out that those loved ones don’t really love you?  That they see you as a problem, and they feel all superior for “not holding against you” the perfectly normal things you did?

Over the past five years I have come to understand that they don’t like me, and I don’t really like them either.  They aren’t happy or fun or accepting people, at least not to me.  We dislike each others’ values.  They don’t want to listen, or understand — they don’t let me speak my mind or offer my opinions.  They criticize my life choices, and I don’t like their superior attitudes — but they were my family, once upon a time.  They were people I had known my entire life.  And that rejection hurt.


Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life… I know, sometimes life lands a really mean punch in the gut and it feels like there’s nothing to be grateful for. Guess what?  Doesn’t matter. You don’t have to find anything. It’s the searching that counts.

There are ways in which I am grateful for this family rift, and even for eventually being forced to go no-contact with them.

It is a relief to finally understand some of the things I was always told, or which were “understood”, but which never made any sense.  And not just about our parents — it now makes sense to me why the reunions were the symptom of the problem, and why they would ALWAYS have to be on my sister’s turf, under her control.

Finding out about narcissism explains why I never really had a mother, why my father was so important to me, and even why the rest of them have to believe the opposite; and why I never really liked Susan.  And it feels good to know that my instincts were healthy.

It’s comforting to deconstruct situations which had always been presented in black and white, Mom=right and Dad=wrong, to find that they were really so much more complicated, and to know that there really weren’t any other better options than the one my father chose — perhaps mostly for my benefit.

And it’s great to no longer be obligated to spend time and money to be around people who have, in the past, been SURPRISED to find out that they could enjoy my company and conversation, or when they found out I wasn’t “just a spoiled brat”.  People who I now know have always seen me and treated me as a second class family member, as a problem, as some kind of “wrong” person — simply because I was born, for the very fact of my existence; and because I experienced a different father, and mother, than the rest of them did.

I do miss some of them:  my sister’s husband and kids, in particular.  I lost my past that day five years ago, but I also lost the future.  Not having kids myself, I have always cared about my sister’s kids.  Now I am cut off from them, and I don’t know their spouses or kids or anything about their lives.

That’s been a heavy price to pay, but for my own self-preservation I’ve had to pay it.  It’s difficult, if not impossible, to have a relationship with them that doesn’t continually include painful reminders of the people to whom I am not a beloved little sister, but instead a convenient scapegoat, to be punished for things that were never in my control.

The New Emangelization

This is the internet after all.  All sorts of trash exists out there.

Including this site with this interview, in which Cardinal Burke discusses how today’s lack of priestly vocations and even pedophile priests are the fault of women!

To quote the article that led me to the full interview, “the rampant crisis of pedophile priests was brought on by women who “feminized” the church and discouraged “manly” men from participating in clerical life… It should come as no surprise, given the extreme lengths the Church has gone to to cover up the abuse that has gone on at their hands for decades, that they are so ready to blame anyone apart from themselves.”

I expect there are a few people I’m related to who will eat up this idea of manly superiority and feminine inferiority, with regard to themselves.

But having gotten there, I read most of the original interview, and I’d like to draw attention to a different bit:

“…it was a long tradition in the Church, especially through the devotion of St. Joseph, to stress the manly character of the man who sacrifices his life for the sake of the home, who prepares with chivalry to defend his wife and his children and who works to provide the livelihood for the family.”

So if you’re going to agree with the Cardinal on all the other garbage, you ought to agree with him on this.

And Dad did this.  So why isn’t he considered a hero of the family?  Hell, why isn’t his contribution to the family even acknowledged?

I suppose I know the answer I would get:  the sin of The Divorce completely obliterates and overshadows 40 years of parenting and providing, of course.

That answer is fallacious, not to mention judgy — because AFAIK, no one on earth gets to rank another’s sins and virtues.  But they do anyway.