Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

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Once again, my sister Vicki and I found ourselves without food in the house. The difference this time was that we knew where there was food. My parents owned a tent-trailer. The shell of the trailer was made up of metal. When open, the top of the shell became the roof. It was held up by four folding poles that could be locked into a vertical position. When the roof was up, the width of the tent trailer could be expanded by opening two tent pieces that housed a bed on either side of the body of the tent trailer.

My parents would take us camping at a beautiful campsite, across the river, in the US. Originally we had a large tent and later we got this new tent trailer that seemed so much more modern and convenient. Once my parents had set up camp, my sister and I would be left at the site while our parents travelled back and forth across the international bridge to work and whatever else they felt like doing. I have very little memory of them being at these campsites because they would often leave and not come back until the evening.

At the beginning of each camping trip, we would drive to a grocery store near the campsite and buy all of the food that we needed. I remember Mogen David wine, frozen hash browns, eggs, milk, bacon and little individual servings of cereal housed in their own boxes. These boxes could be opened at the top along perforations and be used as bowls, but I digress.

We would buy so much food that it would overwhelm the small fridge in the trailer, but there would be good eating for a few days. Now we were home and there was no food in the house.

I know my mother was out drinking because I managed to get her on the phone. She explained that she was not coming home soon. Vicki and I both knew that there was food still left in the refrigerator of the tent trailer, but it was now closed and in the yard. We had witnessed the mechanics of how the lid of the trailer was raised and thought that it was worthwhile to try to open it ourselves.

The problem was that we were simply not strong enough to lift the top of the shell by ourselves. Driven by determination and hunger, we both did our best to push the top up. We discussed the fact that it did not have to go all of the way up for us to get into the fridge and get some food out. So we both used all of our strength to lift the lid.

Problem was, we got it up enough to unfold the poles and then our strength ran out. The lid came down and Vicki’s hand was caught in the fold of the poles. She screamed and I was worried that the weight would sever her fingers from her hand. I panicked and used all of my strength to re-lift the top. Vicki removed her hand and we both fell to the ground crying. It wasn’t worth risking another try.

I don’t remember how severely my sister’s hand was hurt. I know that she did not lose any fingers for sure. The trouble was, even though her hand was going to heal eventually, we still had been unable to get to the food and there was no telling when a parent would be home.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

IMGP4598Tomato red pants were the only thing that we could find given the parameters of our shopping trip. We were in a hurry. There were things that my mother would rather be doing. Unfortunately for her, I was not yet capable of going shopping for myself.

I had been wearing the same pair of pants to school everyday for as long as I can remember. This is a pattern that lasted until I went to high school and got my own job and my own money. At that point, I could buy my own clothing and dress however I could afford. I was not there yet.

I was about ten or eleven years of age and the demands of having children were just too inconvenient for my mother. Clothing shopping, well any shopping for that matter, was just not her idea of a good time, so she did as little as possible. When she did shop, she would let us know how expensive we were and how inconvenient we were, but I digress.

On this particular day she had other plans. She always had other plans. I had ripped the only pair of pants that I had. I probably had outgrown them. But, I had ripped them to the point that I could no longer wear them. My mother had been angry. First, she was angry because I had ruined my clothing. Second she was angry because now she had to take me shopping. Third, she was angry because buying me clothing was going to be expensive and finally she was angry because, as she let us know, she would’ve been an opera singer if she had not had children.

So we had hurriedly gone shopping. There was not enough time allotted for us to go to several stores and the department store that we were in did not have a lot of selection in my size. In hind sight, this is hard to believe and I now wonder whether or not she was trying to buy from the children’s department only because they have less expensive items, but I have no way of knowing. If she was, I was probably at the high end and that would explain the limited selection.

Unfortunately for me, a red pair fit. They were hideous. They were unacceptable. They were purchased. I was concerned about going to school in these red pants. I did not want to be seen.

My mother said, “Your ass looks like a big red tomato in those pants.” Nice.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

I wrote my first book above, before I knew my mother was a narcissist.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job

Why Were You With a Narcissist?–Part 1

IMG_2079So, after a terribly tumultuous time you have discovered that your partner is a narcissist. Yes, it is good to know that you are not going crazy. It is comforting to realize that you were not the source of all of the problems; you were simply the victim of a pathology masked as a lover. But, as the first wave of relief hits you, you begin to wonder, why did I pick a narcissist? This is a good question to ask, because it speaks to a deeper, often painful truth. A truth that you must understand before you pick another one.

Consider the following statements:

  1. You had been lonely for a long time.
  2. You are a gentle and open-minded person that is not quick to judge or jump to conclusions.
  3. You are unable to distinguish the difference between someone who truly loves you and someone that pretends to love you.
  4. You are highly independent and have learned to take care of yourself and those around you.
  5. You knew that you could help this person achieve their full potential.
  6. You thought that this person would make your life easier (more money, more support, more companionship).

Do any of these statements resonate with you? At first glance, the list above does not seem that remarkable. A lot of people are lonely. Being open-minded and self-sufficient are both good things. Knowing that you can help someone attain a better life, or hoping that someone can help you, both seem like reasonable things.

The alarming one is that you may be unable to distinguish between someone who truly loves you and someone who pretends to love you. When you combine that with one of the other things on the list, you can be exactly what the narcissist desires. There are three categories of narcissistic needs: the necessities of life, nourishment and a receptacle for their anger.

If you are willing to help this person achieve their full potential, or you are highly independent and can take care of yourself and those around you, the necessities of life may be what you can provide for the narcissist.

An individual that is looking for someone to take care of them, or is tired of being lonely is a sure bet for a narcissist. It is much more difficult for a person like this to leave an abusive relationship. Lonely or dependent individuals can swing between being a source of nourishment and a receptacle for the narcissist.

A gentle, open-minded person is easy to deceive. They are the type of individual that will give the narcissist “the benefit of the doubt” when the narcissist starts to show their true colours and this can lengthen the relationship considerably.

So these are some of the reasons that you may have been a target for the narcissist, but they do not speak to the larger problem, your ability to pick a partner might not be well developed. For many of us, we did not learn the basics of partner selection because we were brought up under less than ideal conditions. This is not to say that our families were not doing the best that they could, it just means that they were not equipped to help us to make good choices in the partner department. More on that in Part 2.

The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

Influences in my Youth

IMG_2942I was watching a series of Ted Talks on storytelling and a common theme, or rather a common element, is that each of the speakers have mentioned a strong influence when they were young. One woman spoke about being brought up in a chauvinistic household and being beat for not following the rules that she was supposed to follow. Another man spoke about how his grandfather ignited his imagination by deconstructing things for him at an early age, taking apart phones and radios. Another man spoke about his mother taking him to the movies when he was a young boy and on and on it goes.

I look back at my early life and recognize that I was neglected. I don’t have any strong role models, people introducing me to things or gifts of insight. I learned how to look out for myself, which I realize is valuable, but it is not being brought up. I can probably relate more to children that have been lost in the woods and survived, except that I lived in a city, amongst humans, not wild creatures.

This knowledge makes me feel a longing for something that I never knew and never had. I remembered my girlfriends being in love with Donny Osmond, how they idolized him and wanted to meet him and I never understood that. There were no celebrities that I had a crush on or felt any connection to. I did not look outside of myself for people to bring things in and offer opportunities.

My wiring has been all about being self sufficient, learning what my needs were and how to meet them myself. This of course, set me up for a marriage to a man that had no obligation to meet my needs or provide any sort of support or encouragement. I hadn’t had it in the past, why would I look for it now? I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if he had not also been cruel and mean. But, in the final tally of it all, I realized that there was no reason to stay and serve this man because he was not a partner, not a friend and certainly not a lover. He was, by this time, however, the father of my children, so I have no choice but to continue to deal with him, but I digress.

I did not have the mentors, the unconditional love and the insights of an adult in my life while I was growing up. This sent me in a particular direction. How could I possibly get people to like me? Good grades in school, excelling at sports and being nice to people were the keys to who I became. Now, in the second half of my life, I am faced with the question of where to go from here. Despite my past, this is my present. What type of future do I want to create?

What I would like to leave for the world is my understanding of what it is like to be allowed to grow up instead of being raised. To be able to explain how to identify the children who are in danger of being neglected and overlooked by those that are supposed to love them and care for them and to offer hope to the people that have survived this lack of upbringing. I would like to help them become all that they can be and live a satisfying life of joy. A few Ted Talks will do that to me.

Read the entire book, now available
My entire story about how I grew up.
A quick summary of everything I learned first hand in how to deal with narcissists

Absence of Parents — Chapter 1

IMG_3554The remaining memories of Oak Street were mainly of being alone. Unlike in the A-frame house, I have no memory of having a family dinner in the kitchen on Oak Street. I have no memories of watching television with my parents and I only have a few memories of playing outside. I don’t know if this was an age thing or if my parents simply were never there anymore. I have very few memories of them. I had lost my grand backyard, so that likely explained why I was never outside. Instead, I lived on a corner at an intersection of a small side street with a four lane road.

I used to lie on the living room floor on Saturday evenings doing a word search puzzle and watching a variety comedy show hosted by Carol Burnett. The show was composed of several sketches. The regulars played characters that would repeat. There may have been other entertainers on as special guests. At this time in television, variety shows were the norm because it was expected that the entire family would sit down and watch the show together. It was important that there be something for everyone. This is in stark contrast to today’s programming where the entire demographic could be as small as a couple thousand people. The rotisserie channel for instance, who watches that?

I have no idea where my parents were on these Saturday nights. I may have known at the time, but I don’t recall now. I know that my father used to work shift work at the refinery. He loved this. He worked three, twelve hour shifts and then had four days off. He felt like he had one the lottery because he had more days off per week than he actually had to work. Occasionally, he would work four shifts in a row so that he averaged a fourty hour workweek. The fact that this meant that he was never on the same schedule as his family did not seem to concern him. I understood that he was either at work, or sleeping because he had worked all night. I’m not sure how the four days off fit into this.

I don’t know where my mother was. She did hang out at the Legion. It was a place where people her age drank, played cards and danced. Some of my happiest memories from this time are when she worked at the Legion, putting on a wedding or a dinner and brought home large containers of mashed potatoes and vats of gravy. Delicious gravy. This was exceptional food.

Otherwise, normal food was distinctly missing from my life at this point. As I’ve mentioned, I made KD and I had learned how to make Hamburger Helper, when it was available, but I also have memories associated with eating the dessert topping that we were supposed to have delivered door to door. I learned how to soften spaghetti by soaking it in water (before I learned how to boil water) so that it would be possible to eat it. I don’t remember having breakfast. I do remember getting up and going to school without seeing anyone.

My sister Vicki was often around. She had friends that she would visit and she dated as well. But, on Saturday nights I always watched Carol Burnett alone.

Another way that I experienced the absence of my parents was through being locked out of the house. Who were they trying to keep out? If someone had wanted to rob us they could easily have broken a window or pried one open. These options were not available to me. I would be there, and not wanting to break in, I would be stuck outside until one of my parents returned, which was often very late. I remember going into the garage. It had a large upstairs room with an open floor and at least one sofa. I would wait in there for them to come home.

I never considered calling anyone and I’m not sure that I knew who to call or where my parents were anyway. Needless to say, most of my memories of Oak Street were not pleasant. I do not, however, remember my parents ever fighting. I just did not see them.

It may have been valuable to me as an adult to know what caused my parents to break up. As I tried to navigate my own marriage, it would have been nice to have been privy to what went on. It was strictly understood, at this time, that any conflict was not to be mentioned in front of the children. This apparently was meant to protect the relationship between the parent and the child. The actual result was to simply distance the parent from the child. It presupposed an ability to have a normal relationship with your child and not speak to them about something significant that was happening in your life. This also explains why some children are totally confused when the parents “suddenly” announce that they are getting a divorce.

In today’s terms what I have described here would have been classified as neglect. What people fail to understand is that I knew no other way of being. There was no set of criteria against which to compare my life. This was my normal and I was no more prepared to recognize it as dysfunctional than my parents were prepared to take responsibility for it.

Keep Reading: Crushing

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Read the entire book, now available

They say when a door closes, a window opens. This telecourse provides some light to guide you between the door and the window.

www.wendypowell.ca

The Only Thing Constant is Change — Chapter 1

IMGP4598I am in my office again. I just finished a pretty hard week at work. I was covering at least two desks, and three for a little while, which meant I had to constantly stay focused on the work. This is not normally necessary. There are definitely ebbs and flows of work and this was a particularly heavy ebb.

I have decided to sit in my office to write. I was going to sit outside but I am finding that I have had too much sun lately. This is always a good sign because it means that it has been hot and sunny enough for me to get tired of it. So, I’m sitting inside even though it is hot and mainly sunny outside.

The disappearance of my parents was not the only change during this time, or any time since for that matter. If someone were trying to assess your level of stress they would be interested in how many significant life events you had experienced lately. These would include things like: death of an immediate family member, change in home address, change of jobs, graduating from school, marriage, separation, divorce, birth of a child, a child becoming an adult and moving out of your home…that sort of thing. Since this first move I’ve averaged one of those every six months. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I only ended up staying on Oak Street until my 15th birthday. Actually the day of my birthday. For the final time, my mother was telling my father that she was going to leave him. This had happened before. This time my sister had said that she was staying with my father. I think there was a sort of recognition that my mother had left and returned before and Vicki thought that she would just stay put this time. Perhaps Vicki just recognized that my mother was unsuccessful in managing the last time she left and Vicki was curious whether or not my father had experienced a similar difficulty.

I was not saying whom I was going with. I knew that making my choice known and then having to live with the other parent would be potentially very uncomfortable, so I reasoned that when my mother actually said what day she was leaving, I would just go. I did not know when she was moving out, but I was pretty sure that she was not going to go on my birthday. I was wrong.

I came home from school that day and she was in the middle of the move. Significant disregard for the feelings of others is a sign of narcissism, but I didn’t know this yet. In this instance she was deciding that instead of acknowledging that it was my birthday, she would make the day about her. Anyhow, my boyfriend at the time, who was three years my senior and had his own car, helped me pack up my stuff and move into my mother’s place.

She had not considered that I was going with her. Maybe that is why she chose to leave on my birthday. Things like holidays punctuate our lives. She knew that I would want her around on a significant event, so she was removing herself from my life when I would most feel it. The facts are, I came home from school and I needed to move out if I was going with my mother, so I did.

The apartment that she got had been carved out of an old house. It was composed of the basement, the majority of the main floor and none of the upstairs. So there were people that lived right next to us and above us. One day someone was either really drunk or fighting or both and came crashing through a door that went right into my mother’s bedroom. In the original house, her bedroom would have been the living room, at the front of the house, and was right beside the main front door. Other than that, I did not notice that we had neighbours.

I made my bedroom in the basement. Since the walls were concrete I took my mother’s good draperies from the last house and hung them in a way that created a small room for my bed and my things. It seems odd now that she would take the curtains with her. They were sized for the house that she had left and unlikely to fit any type of window, with the exception of one identical to the one that they were made for.

I recognize here that I can try to explain why I think that she took them but what would I gain? I would be telling myself a story in an attempt to explain what happened. I could cast my mother as a villain and say she took them out of spite so that my father could not sit comfortably in his living room until he replaced them.

Or, I could make her seem thrifty and say that I think that she was going to alter them to fit another window and that she had that skill and inclination. I could argue that she may have had help to move and the movers had assumed that everything was going, including the window treatments, but I don’t know. I just know that they were in her apartment. I know because I found them in the new place and used them as walls.

This is the first time that I recognize eating to calm myself down. My boyfriend and I spent a week or so at this point eating fresh strawberry jam on toast with butter. I remember knowing that I was eating too much but needing to relax so desperately and not knowing how to accomplish that. I also pierced the upper holes in my ears by myself. I guess I am not the first person to discover the satisfaction of making an alteration to your appearance as a way of marking a change in your life.

Keep Reading: Oak Street

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Read the entire book, now available

Read what I’ve learned about Narcissism by living with them. 

www.wendypowell.ca

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

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Once again, my sister Vicki and I found ourselves without food in the house. The difference this time was that we knew where there was food. My parents owned a tent-trailer. The shell of the trailer was made up of metal. When open, the top of the shell became the roof. It was held up by four folding poles that could be locked into a vertical position. When the roof was up, the width of the tent trailer could be expanded by opening two tent pieces that housed a bed on either side of the body of the tent trailer.

My parents would take us camping at a beautiful campsite, across the river, in the US. Originally we had a large tent and later we got this new tent trailer that seemed so much more modern and convenient. Once my parents had set up camp, my sister and I would be left at the site while our parents travelled back and forth across the international bridge to work and whatever else they felt like doing. I have very little memory of them being at these campsites because they would often leave and not come back until the evening.

At the beginning of each camping trip, we would drive to a grocery store near the campsite and buy all of the food that we needed. I remember Mogen David wine, frozen hash browns, eggs, milk, bacon and little individual servings of cereal housed in their own boxes. These boxes could be opened at the top along perforations and be used as bowls, but I digress.

We would buy so much food that it would overwhelm the small fridge in the trailer, but there would be good eating for a few days. Now we were home and there was no food in the house.

I know my mother was out drinking because I managed to get her on the phone. She explained that she was not coming home soon. Vicki and I both knew that there was food still left in the refrigerator of the tent trailer, but it was now closed and in the yard. We had witnessed the mechanics of how the lid of the trailer was raised and thought that it was worthwhile to try to open it ourselves.

The problem was that we were simply not strong enough to lift the top of the shell by ourselves. Driven by determination and hunger, we both did our best to push the top up. We discussed the fact that it did not have to go all of the way up for us to get into the fridge and get some food out. So we both used all of our strength to lift the lid.

Problem was, we got it up enough to unfold the poles and then our strength ran out. The lid came down and Vicki’s hand was caught in the fold of the poles. She screamed and I was worried that the weight would sever her fingers from her hand. I panicked and used all of my strength to re-lift the top. Vicki removed her hand and we both fell to the ground crying. It wasn’t worth risking another try.

I don’t remember how severely my sister’s hand was hurt. I know that she did not lose any fingers for sure. The trouble was, even though her hand was going to heal eventually, we still had been unable to get to the food and there was no telling when a parent would be home.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Pants

IMGP4598Tomato red pants were the only thing that we could find given the parameters of our shopping trip. We were in a hurry. There were things that my mother would rather be doing. Unfortunately for her, I was not yet capable of going shopping for myself.

I had been wearing the same pair of pants to school everyday for as long as I can remember. This is a pattern that lasted until I went to high school and got my own job and my own money. At that point, I could buy my own clothing and dress however I could afford. I was not there yet.

I was about ten or eleven years of age and the demands of having children were just too inconvenient for my mother. Clothing shopping, well any shopping for that matter, was just not her idea of a good time, so she did as little as possible. When she did shop, she would let us know how expensive we were and how inconvenient we were, but I digress.

On this particular day she had other plans. She always had other plans. I had ripped the only pair of pants that I had. I probably had outgrown them. But, I had ripped them to the point that I could no longer wear them. My mother had been angry. First, she was angry because I had ruined my clothing. Second she was angry because now she had to take me shopping. Third, she was angry because buying me clothing was going to be expensive and finally she was angry because, as she let us know, she would’ve been an opera singer if she had not had children.

So we had hurriedly gone shopping. There was not enough time allotted for us to go to several stores and the department store that we were in did not have a lot of selection in my size. In hind sight, this is hard to believe and I now wonder whether or not she was trying to buy from the children’s department only because they have less expensive items, but I have no way of knowing. If she was, I was probably at the high end and that would explain the limited selection.

Unfortunately for me, a red pair fit. They were hideous. They were unacceptable. They were purchased. I was concerned about going to school in these red pants. I did not want to be seen.

My mother said, “Your ass looks like a big red tomato in those pants.” Nice.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

I wrote my first book above, before I knew my mother was a narcissist.

The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Drive

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Fax

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Interview

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Call

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Cavity

Narcissism–Scenes From the Front Line — The Funeral

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Trailer

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — Biking

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — The Doctor

Narcissism-Scenes From the Front Line — New Job

Why Were You With a Narcissist?–Part 1

IMG_2079So, after a terribly tumultuous time you have discovered that your partner is a narcissist. Yes, it is good to know that you are not going crazy. It is comforting to realize that you were not the source of all of the problems; you were simply the victim of a pathology masked as a lover. But, as the first wave of relief hits you, you begin to wonder, why did I pick a narcissist? This is a good question to ask, because it speaks to a deeper, often painful truth. A truth that you must understand before you pick another one.

Consider the following statements:

  1. You had been lonely for a long time.
  2. You are a gentle and open-minded person that is not quick to judge or jump to conclusions.
  3. You are unable to distinguish the difference between someone who truly loves you and someone that pretends to love you.
  4. You are highly independent and have learned to take care of yourself and those around you.
  5. You knew that you could help this person achieve their full potential.
  6. You thought that this person would make your life easier (more money, more support, more companionship).

Do any of these statements resonate with you? At first glance, the list above does not seem that remarkable. A lot of people are lonely. Being open-minded and self-sufficient are both good things. Knowing that you can help someone attain a better life, or hoping that someone can help you, both seem like reasonable things.

The alarming one is that you may be unable to distinguish between someone who truly loves you and someone who pretends to love you. When you combine that with one of the other things on the list, you can be exactly what the narcissist desires. There are three categories of narcissistic needs: the necessities of life, nourishment and a receptacle for their anger.

If you are willing to help this person achieve their full potential, or you are highly independent and can take care of yourself and those around you, the necessities of life may be what you can provide for the narcissist.

An individual that is looking for someone to take care of them, or is tired of being lonely is a sure bet for a narcissist. It is much more difficult for a person like this to leave an abusive relationship. Lonely or dependent individuals can swing between being a source of nourishment and a receptacle for the narcissist.

A gentle, open-minded person is easy to deceive. They are the type of individual that will give the narcissist “the benefit of the doubt” when the narcissist starts to show their true colours and this can lengthen the relationship considerably.

So these are some of the reasons that you may have been a target for the narcissist, but they do not speak to the larger problem, your ability to pick a partner might not be well developed. For many of us, we did not learn the basics of partner selection because we were brought up under less than ideal conditions. This is not to say that our families were not doing the best that they could, it just means that they were not equipped to help us to make good choices in the partner department. More on that in Part 2.

The Narcissist Survival Guide is now available

Influences in my Youth

IMG_2942I was watching a series of Ted Talks on storytelling and a common theme, or rather a common element, is that each of the speakers have mentioned a strong influence when they were young. One woman spoke about being brought up in a chauvinistic household and being beat for not following the rules that she was supposed to follow. Another man spoke about how his grandfather ignited his imagination by deconstructing things for him at an early age, taking apart phones and radios. Another man spoke about his mother taking him to the movies when he was a young boy and on and on it goes.

I look back at my early life and recognize that I was neglected. I don’t have any strong role models, people introducing me to things or gifts of insight. I learned how to look out for myself, which I realize is valuable, but it is not being brought up. I can probably relate more to children that have been lost in the woods and survived, except that I lived in a city, amongst humans, not wild creatures.

This knowledge makes me feel a longing for something that I never knew and never had. I remembered my girlfriends being in love with Donny Osmond, how they idolized him and wanted to meet him and I never understood that. There were no celebrities that I had a crush on or felt any connection to. I did not look outside of myself for people to bring things in and offer opportunities.

My wiring has been all about being self sufficient, learning what my needs were and how to meet them myself. This of course, set me up for a marriage to a man that had no obligation to meet my needs or provide any sort of support or encouragement. I hadn’t had it in the past, why would I look for it now? I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if he had not also been cruel and mean. But, in the final tally of it all, I realized that there was no reason to stay and serve this man because he was not a partner, not a friend and certainly not a lover. He was, by this time, however, the father of my children, so I have no choice but to continue to deal with him, but I digress.

I did not have the mentors, the unconditional love and the insights of an adult in my life while I was growing up. This sent me in a particular direction. How could I possibly get people to like me? Good grades in school, excelling at sports and being nice to people were the keys to who I became. Now, in the second half of my life, I am faced with the question of where to go from here. Despite my past, this is my present. What type of future do I want to create?

What I would like to leave for the world is my understanding of what it is like to be allowed to grow up instead of being raised. To be able to explain how to identify the children who are in danger of being neglected and overlooked by those that are supposed to love them and care for them and to offer hope to the people that have survived this lack of upbringing. I would like to help them become all that they can be and live a satisfying life of joy. A few Ted Talks will do that to me.

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My entire story about how I grew up.
A quick summary of everything I learned first hand in how to deal with narcissists