I find it difficult to talk about the issues I have with my parents. Most of that difficulty lies in knowing I sound like your typical teenaged bitchfest of “my parents are so mean”, “they don’t love me”, “they’re ruining my life”.

It’s so clichéd. It’s so typical of the feelings of adolescence or adults emotionally stuck in adolescence. Except in my case I’m not young or stuck and those overblown generalizations are neither overblown or untrue. My parents are Disney villans.

The correct term for that is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Ordinarily you only find one of them in a marriage but my parents are an extra special bundle of nastiness & they both meet the qualifications. Ever watch Tangled? Mother Gothel… yeah, I just call her mom. I don’t have as clear cut an example for my father because popular culture seems to villainize fathers almost exclusively by making them either alcoholics who are physically violent or by making them nonentities.

My childhood (who am I kidding – my life) has been filled with threats & manipulations. I’ve been told bluntly that I am not enough. I’ve been informed of my own mistake at having been born a girl. I’ve been blamed for my parents’ physical appearance, temper, lack of social & professional standing, unhappiness, suicidal ideations, drinking habits, lack of friends, family discord & separation… everyone’s flaws were my fault (not only the flaws of my parents but anyone even remotely in my orbit). And anything good anyone did… well that was my fault too in a jealous “why would they do that for *you* but not for me” sort of way. My grandfather stopped smoking when I was born. I was told it was because he wanted to spend more time (read he wanted not to die of lung cancer) with me & then berated because how dare he be willing to make any sacrifice (healthy or otherwise) for me when he was unwilling to do so for my mother. My grandfather died when I was 2 1/2. My only memory of him is his funeral. Yet I grew up secure in the knowledge that his death was my fault. Had I only been born sooner, had he only loved my mother like he loved me…

My father was no different. On the rare days he actually deigned to acknowledge me it was only ever in order for me to either do something for him or accept blame for something. That is the sum total of our entire relationship. Make dad happy, if dad is not happy it is your fault.

Good times…

And whenever I have complained (or more often explained) about my parents I am always met with disbelief. No one could be that awful & not leave me physically beaten, apparently. It always seemed unfair to me that I was treated as if a lack of bruises denoted an absence of abuse. And somehow people have a difficult time with understanding that the threat of violence (which was constant) is just as damaging as the violence itself. Living in a state of constant fear & perpetual dread is damaging. Period. No matter the cause or the source.

But go on and throw your disbelief at me… that’s pretty typical too.


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