Here is one of my most painful memories from childhood:
I always had bladder issues when I was a kid, and sometimes I’d wet the bed. Everyone in the family knew about my bladder issues. The family joke was that if we were out somewhere and someone needed to use the bathroom, ask Stephen, because he knew where the bathroom was in every store. I was always horribly embarrassed when I would have an accident overnight, and I knew it would make mom and dad angry, so I often tried to hide it when it happened. When I was about 7, my narcissist mother decided to teach me a lesson one morning after I had wet the bed. She forced me to put on one of my infant brothers’ cloth diapers, shoved a pacifier in my mouth and took a picture of me in just the diaper and the pacifier standing in front of the wall in the living room. She then proceeded to get the film developed and put the picture in my baby book with a caption that said “You will have to ask Stephen why he is wearing a diaper!!!” Looking back, the amount of vindictive anger by my narcissist mother in this incident is truly incredible. This was a time when there were no digital cameras, so you couldn’t just pop the memory card in the computer and print off a picture. She had to hold onto her anger until the rest of the roll of film was used up, then take it in, have it developed, and place the picture in my baby book and caption it. I would guess that it was at least a few weeks, possibly more from the time she took the picture until she placed it in my baby book. The worst part is that she never took it out of my baby book! When I was about 25, my mother decided she didn’t want my stuff around her house anymore, so she sent me a bunch of my stuff, including my baby book. I had moved out of the house when I was 18. The picture of me in a diaper at 7 years old was still there, so decades later I’m still being humiliated by an incident that happened when I was 7! I threw the whole damn baby book away. My childhood is not something I care to treasure.
What really made me realize just how horrible my mother’s behavior was is that I currently have a daughter that is about the same age as I was when this incident occurred, and I couldn’t even fathom doing something like my mother did to me to her. In fact I’d probably maim the person that would do something like that to her. How could you proclaim you love your child and completely and totally humiliate them like that? Yet in my household growing up, I was required to accept this type of abuse. After all, the embarrassing picture in my baby book was my fault, because I wet the bed.
Instead of getting the love, compassion and understanding from my mother and father that I needed to help me with my bladder issue, I was completely and totally humiliated and I was told it was my fault; I was wetting the bed intentionally to get back at my narcissistic mother and enabling father. The humiliation of this incident was permitted to endure for nearly two decades until I finally threw my baby book away!