In the spirit of pushing boundaries, I present to you today’s outfit. It seems to me that this makes it incredibly difficult to get moving in the morning. It’s 1 pm. I’m finally dressed. There is a lot of sitting around, kind of drifting through anxiety.
I realized yesterday this is serious stuff, after a long meander through why am I doing this? Why am I working so hard at something so trivial?
This is painful even to describe. What happened when I was noticed? Not good things.
As a trafficked child, it was all about being noticed. Being seen, but not as a child with feelings, but as a fantasy that wasn’t real.
Increasingly, I realize you don’t just slide through this.
I felt real terror getting dressed today. There are people who would personify that terror, and explain the fear in terms of a protector trying to keep me safe. This way of explaining things has its place.
I prefer to think of it as motiveless. In other situations, scary things followed, and so the reasonable thing is to be scared. This is merely being offered up for me to figure out what to do with. I don’t think what prompts me to feel frightened even knows what I might be frightened of. It’s more like riding a bicycle. It’s for my conscious mind to determine what all the connections might be.
The thing is that I’m not afraid someone will dislike what they see. I am afraid of what someone might do if they even see me.
Narcissistic parents exploit their children. It doesn’t have to be this horrifying to feel the same way. This little voice in my head who feels very, very bad and ashamed and says, “I am worthless. I don’t matter.” That is the voice of myself trying to tell me, Hey, I think this is exploitation. I think I am being used and discarded to satisfy someone else’s needs or desires.
I have thinking how what is in my mind is a template of my parents’ minds. What you have first of all are people terrifically frustrated with their inability to form satisfying connections in their lives. They don’t know how. The end result of all of this frustration is constant irritability, and a desperation to get needs met somehow.
There is a drabness and a joylessness to this. It is natural to feel a sense of wonder at a child’s existence for a parent–just seeing the world through a child’s eyes is so different it can feel magical. That wonder is missing in a narcissistic parent, because they cannot see from your perspective. The other is, I suspect, too threatening.
I was thinking about this in terms of C. There is this sense of joy in seeing her, any indication of her, and I think this is a part of where our joy in seeing ourselves comes from. Someone felt joy at seeing us and so we have learned that seeing ourselves is something to feel joyful about.
The child with a narcissistic parents does not learn to see the self with wonder, but with despair or frustration or shame instead, because that is how the parent responds. It’s been only recently, I have had these little moments where I felt joy in seeing some trace of my personality peeking through.
There is, too, a kind of patchiness about being seen, because you are only of interest if you happen to ping something of relevance to themselves. You can make them look good, or you can trigger their fears. But there is a very clear sense of not just being occupied elsewhere, but of falling completely out of their minds.
It creates a problem with object permanence, but this is also a felt sense that’s hard to make sense of. It feels to the child like it’s not really clear whether they still exist. The absence of the child from narcissistic parent’s mind is felt in a way that is total. It is just not normal. It is not the same as a parent being physically gone, but knowing they remember you. It’s an odd feeling.
You get their attention in whatever way seems possible. This might mean you are passive and just wait for them to need something from you. Or, in true desperation, strike at their fears. Push their buttons.