After my difficult morning, I finally got around to taking a shower and getting dressed.
I have been feeling the urge to wear different prints together. The French teacher at the high school where I was teaching did it, in her refined and somewhat dainty way (she had come out of retirement to fill in on a part-time basis). The Italian professor who visited last week did the same thing.
I looked it up. I don’t see this trend in LA, but it’s evidently done now.
So I wore this.
I nearly wore this.
I felt tingly with happiness–like I had found true North. I don’t know that that has ever happened before. I thought about my distress in the morning, all the work I try to do to get better, and I thought it’s kind of disappointing. I had an idea I would become kind of more competent and instead it turns out I might end up being less successful but actually having fun.
I have been thinking the last few days==and this clothing thing reinforced it–how I was disallowed a sense of ownership to such an extent that I did not even feel I had a right to my own sensations. Feelings that tell you, “I like this,” or “This does nothing for me.” Not even that seemed to belong to me.
I thought about that for a while and it started to seem okay.
In the evening, I had a hard time again. I just really felt angry at myself, a lot of self-loathing and punitiveness went through my head.
I began to think the intensity of this tells me something about how dangerous it felt and still feels to extend myself. This is the only way I learned as a child to get control of that impulse to reach out or to show myself.
I watched a video about the childhood origins of narcissism, which are basically narcissistic parents. It rang true in so many respects.
I have my own theories about narcissism, which has to do with this kind of imaging we do of other people’s emotional states. It happens very quickly, very automatically and seamlessly and without effort. I think narcissists don’t do that. Either they don’t know how, or the conditions of their development were such that they have been conditioned not to, and very likely this has to do with having an overwhelming or malevolent parent whom the child cannot take in without being overwhelmed with negative feelings himself.
The narcissist has this experience of really only experiencing their own feelings and of imaginatively never “seeing” others. This is why they are so annoying. They just tell you what they know, which is themselves. That’s all they know.
They cannot get their need for relationships or for “serve and return” this way. There must be an imagining of one another to have that kind of fulfillment. They are starving for it, and yet they can’t risk doing it, because they cannot imagine how the other person doing it without taking in the other person’s presumed malevolent view of themselves.
The narcissist also never feels safe and so demands complete control.
The guy in the video doesn’t say any of that. He says the parent uses the child as an object. The child is of interest and “worthy” to the parent only so long as she can provide something which the parent wants or needs, and everything which as an inconvenience, strain or embarrassment to the parent is destroyed.
Well, that pretty much sums up why I have parts. These are the parts of myself that were not in any way useful to my parents–or they were useful to my parents as objects over which they could assert superiority.
If your parent is using you and discards after your usefulness is exhausted, it is very difficult to trust. If your parent deceives you into providing for their needs by briefly appearing to desire to meet your needs, it becomes very difficult to trust.
I have not until now grasped so fully that I feel unloveable because my parents were genuinely incapable of taking my existence into their mind and imagining me as a whole person, with an inner world of feelings and thoughts and desires all my own.
Catering to my parents by destroying parts of myself was a matter of survival. This had never sunk in so deeply before. It had never sunk in before how important people like my foster parents or like Nata were, who could see me and take in my existence as a person with my own inner world. Without them, I don’t know what kind of person I might have become.