12 comments on “July 4, 1776

    • I’m flattered that you find my thoughts helpful. It’s definitely a positivei if my life’s wayward journey ends up being in some way helpful to other people.


      Stephen Bach

  1. Stephan,
    You bring up a vital point that can’t be overspoken: there are people in this world who are crazy, and belief systems that are totally dysfunctional. And how do we deal with them?

    It has taken my whole life to discover and adapt to my mother’s incapacity to love. It has broken my heart, and putting Humpty Dumpty together again was not an easy thing. We do not want to believe that an ordinary human being can have the depths of cruelty and indifference that we have seen in current events. But it goes far beyond belief; most of us are emotionally unprepared to deal with psychologically damaged people in ordinary life. I think there is a vacuum of moral leadership in our society that recovering Children of Narcissistic parents can fill. It may have cost us dearly, but we know when a Loved One is lying to our face. Similarly, we can learn to recognise when politicians and government spokepersons are lying in our faces too. The dynamic is exactly the same!
    Keep writing,
    Vic Banner,
    Moral pioneer

    • Hi Vic!

      I’m sorry that you endured life with a narcissistic mother, too. It truly sucks. My mother’s birthday was two days ago, and I did think about her, but I didn’t make the obligatory phone call. I’m no contact and plan to stay that way.

      You are correct that there are a lot of crazy, self serving and impossible people in this world. I used to think “most people are good”. Now, not so much. It is truly incredible what people will do in support of their beliefs, and it’s been going on as long as mankind has been around.

      It has taken me close to a lifetime as well to realize how truly incapable of love my mother is. It’s sad really. I can remember hugging her and it was like I was hugging an oak tree. No warmth whatsoever. No love at all. Children are just tools to bring you narcissistic supply. I almost feel sorry for her in some respects. She has no idea what love is and what it means to love your children. She was programmed that way as a child, so it’s not entirely her fault, but she chose to “stay the course” and continue the family tradition of narcissism.

      I agree that most politicians are very narcissistic, and many probably could be diagnosed with NPD. Our whole political system is very narcissistic. Either you’re democrat or republican, black or white, win or lose, right or wrong. There’s no middle ground, and there’s a complete vacuum of leadership when it comes to bridging the gap and finding that middle ground. One of the things that I learned through my divorces is that when a true compromise occurs, neither party is happy. It seems our politicians aren’t willing to take the necessary steps.

      I concur that we children of narcissists that have realized the dysfunction of our childhood can see right through people. It actually makes life difficult at times, because I can see people’s motives even if they can’t see them. Often I have to bite my tongue to keep my codependent truth teller side from coming out.


      Stephen Bach

      • Stephan, I can’t write now, I’m at work. I’ll write later, just want to acknowledge that I read you and appreciate that you’re hanging in there.
        I’ll write again soon,

      • Stephan, I can’t write now, I’m at work. I’ll write later, just want to acknowledge that I read you and appreciate that you’re hanging in there.
        I’ll write again soon,

      • Hey, Stephan, I’ve got a simple question to put to you I might put on my blog;
        How did you find out? Was your mother diagnosed or were you diagnosed or did you just figure it out on your own? Most NMs refuse diagnosis do we just have to guess, don’t we. My wife left me after my mother refused bluntly to see a group counselor. Howaboutyoo?

  2. This is an excellent post! I see now that what I thought was empathy was actually me rationalizing my mother’s behavior. I would think…

    Well, everyone has a bad day every now and then.

    Well, everyone gets crabby and blows their stack every now and then.

    Well, everyone needs to vent every now and then.


    Why didn’t I realize sooner that “every now and then” was pretty much 24/7? I had to ignore the pattern in order to survive. I had a beautiful pair of rose colored glasses — totally Elton John-worthy.

    Stephen, you wrote in a comment above:

    “Often I have to bite my tongue to keep my codependent truth teller side from coming out.”

    What do you mean about “codependent truth teller”? Can you elaborate?

  3. Hi BG!

    I think you bring up a very important point, and that is that people should be held accountable for their behavior, no matter what the extenuating circumstances.

    This means that if I decide to go out and get drunk and I kill someone in a car accident on the way home, I don’t expect that I will get let off the hook because I was “drunk and I didn’t mean to”. This is very similar to the rationalization that someone will use when their abuser comes home and starts abusing them after drinking. “Oh, he didn’t mean it, he was drunk”.

    If I have a bad day and decide to take my shotgun into the mall and kill a bunch of people, I don’t expect to be let of the hook because I was “just having a bad day”. Again, this is similar to the situation where I come home from work, and within 20 minutes I’m being screamed at for some trivial issue because she “had a bad day” so I get to be her dumping ground.

    None of these behaviors are acceptable. Yet when I get involved with a narcissist, I’m required to rationalize and accept this type of behavior.

    The codependent “truth teller” side is also a feature of the scapegoat. Faced with a constant barrage of criticisms from the significant people in my life, I will echo exactly the same behavior and tell my “truths” to those people even if they aren’t requested. (i.e. I offer advice where it wasn’t requested and state my conclusions as fact). The people I offer my “wisdom” to didn’t ask for my opinion or thoughts, but I give it to them anyway, thereby telling them what to do. It’s essentially a manipulation tactic. Sometimes things are better left unsaid, even if they are true, and I feel that is an area where I struggle at times.

    My divorce attorney from my last divorce was excellent. One of the things she told me was that in a courtroom, you don’t just go in and start stating your conclusions as gospel, instead you find ways to lead people to make the same conclusions that you have, without directly stating what those conclusions are. It’s definitely a nuance aspect of interaction with people that I struggle with at times.

    Stephen Bach

  4. Stephen, I’m not sure how your NM is/was, but one of the problems with confronting poor behavior when I was still in contact w/my NM was that it would’ve been a constant confrontation. Not only did I fear her, (so I hardly ever confronted her) the things she’d say and do were so “sneaky” or “subtle” as it was happening that I’d only realize it in hindsight. Disgusted looks, sneering, small (but constant) criticisms. And that’s where projection would come in when I would confront her.

    “Mom, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say about so and so.”

    “BG, you are such a critical person! Who do you think YOU are?!”

    Tug ‘o War. I could never win.

    I can fall into the “truth teller” role, too. Here’s to all of us knowing and being fully confident in our own truth so that we don’t feel like we have to prove anything to others again. 🙂

  5. Hi BG, My NM was the queen of the disparaging, backhanded, and subtle comment. She was big on the nasty look, or a backhanded comment on her way out the door. She would often wait days / weeks / months to bring something up. If I called her on it, she would attempt to gaslight me “you must have heard it wrong” or “that’s not what I meant”. If I ever happened to actually truly corner her, she would go pathetic and make sure the focus of the situation always stayed on her. I have some good examples of her pathetic behavior that I hope to use for blog topics.

    I agree with your assessment that continuing in the tug ‘o war with a narcissist is fulfililng the truth teller role. I am attempting to obtain validation from someone who has absoultely no interest in validating me. If she was to validate me, it would mean she would be admitting she might be wrong, and that’s not an acceptable outcome. She must win.

    I agree, here’s to being fully confident in our own truths so that we don’t feel the need to prove our truths to others.

    Stephen Bach

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