7 comments on “Just the Three of Us

  1. Have I suggested my bit on forgiveness yet? Basically, it is getting to the realization that what happened is not OK. it is not acceptable and you won’t likely forget, but you know that it cannot be changed. You know that you are not there yet when you hear yourself saying, “If this had happened, I would feel differently” (or some variation of if it had been different, now would be different). First step in healing. http://wp.me/p3scpP-10

    • Thanks Wendy. I know how hard it is for me to forgive. To forgive myself. To forgive others. I feel it’s because I never received forgiveness for my mistakes during my life, so I have no idea what it truly means. I was constantly held to an impossible standard and then punished if I failed to meet it. I have been able to forgive myself for many things, but there are still some areas where I definitely need to increase my focus.

      • Shit happens. That is not meant to belittle your experience but we are all human and bad stuff happens. We do things that we are ashamed of and others do things that we wish they hadn’t. It is helpful to realize that, for the most part, we are all doing the best that we can.

        It is possible that your parent’s simply did not realize how toxic they were and that the way they behaved was unacceptable. Again, this is not meant to “let them off of the hook”. It is meant as a way to view your situation so that you can get to the point where you accept what happened as simply a fact.

        You will also need to go through the emotional bit. http://wp.me/p3scpP-bh

  2. “shit” does NOT just happen with a narcissist…and forgivneness? is a moot point with one also unless you are prepared to do it 24/7 when dealing with one

  3. Hi Wendy –

    I don’t really agree with the “shit happens” view. My narcissistic parents were very deliberate in their approach to me. It wasn’t just an “accident” that it happened the way it did. It was all done on purpose. I do agree that they had no idea how toxic their treatment of me truly was and getting them to accept that they could have raised me differently is a truly fruitless endeavor. Besides, they produced two other children that don’t have “my problems” so it must be me and not them.

    I have accepted the way my parents treated me as fact. I do somewhat agree with you that they were doing their best, unfortunately it was the best they could do without ever taking my wishes in to account, or treating me as a unique individual. They did their best to mold me into their vision of who THEY thought I should be, and pulled out just about every tactic in the book to manipulate me into being the person THEY wanted me to be. It had nothing to do with what I wanted.

    That being said, some of the complete humiliations I was made to endure were truly vile, and anyone with any empathy would have never been able to do things like my parents did to me. When I look at my daughter who is about the same age as when many of some of my more painful early memories were occurring, I literally get sick thinking about what it would be like to do some of those same things to her.

    I do agree that forgiving the narcissist can be very tricky. If you have read Susan Forward’s Toxic Parents, she goes into a fairly long discussion about whether to forgive or not to forgive. I think forgiving the narcissists in my life for their behavior should be an effort that I make for ME. I don’t know if I really think it is the right thing to do for ME. For some, it may be a way to release some the frustration of what happened and fully accept the narcissist for who they are. For me, I have completely accepted them for who they are, and have taken steps to manage my interactions differently with them in the future, including no contact where required.

    If one is still in a daily relationship with a narcissist (spouse, etc), I think forgiving the narcissist may not be the best approach. In order to forgive someone, the person seeking forgiveness should, in my opinion, be contrite and asking for forgiveness. Since any contrite behavior from a narcissist is nothing but an act, and they are never truly sorry or able to acknowledge their own mistakes, forgiving them just gives them a license to keep on keepin’ on..

    Stephen Bach

    • In no way did I mean the phrase, “shit happens” to reduce the significance of what you went through. It sounds terrible and truly unacceptable from any standpoint. Ironically, I think that we agree but we are using our words differently. This speaks to my meaning of forgiveness (which is different from the way you were using it) “For me, I have completely accepted them for who they are”. That is all I was suggesting you do. See them for who they are not what you wish they were.

      I did not suggest that a narcissist would apologize, take responsibility or be truly sorry.

      It is not “your” fault because your siblings ‘appear’ normal. The “scapegoat” is recognized as a phenomenon in these families and the experience of that individual is very distinct from how the others are treated. That does not make it something inherently wrong with you.

      I’ll take a look at “Toxic Parents”. I’m currently reading another book you mentioned, “Will I Ever be Enough” and dealing with the realization that not only did I marry a narcissist, but my mother was one as well. I knew that she wasn’t normal but this book nailed her. She was neglectful, so it is quite different from your experience. I simply was not taken care of. My home had very little food (I remember eating hard spaghetti before I was old enough to know how to boil water), no adults around and often coming home to the doors being locked and being stuck outside in the garage until the wee hours of the morning…..

      • Hi Wendy –

        I’m so very sorry to hear about your upbringing. If your realizations about your childhood were anything like mine, they created a level of emotional upheaval that was one of the worst experiences in my life. It was way less than fun. If I can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

        You bring up some excellent points. There are many different forms of narcissistic abuse. A narcissist will manifest their self centered behavior in a myriad of different ways, with the common theme that their behavior is always self centered. This predictable yet unpredictable behavior is something that I tried to convey in this post -> https://thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/the-narcissist-predictable-yet-unpredictable/.

        The unfortunate result is no matter how the narcissist exhibits their narcissism, the effect on their victim is always the same. The victim is left grasping for any kind of validation and will go to great lengths to rationalize and interpret even the smallest morsel of appreciation from the narcissist as validation. This was the theme that was brainwashed into my head in my childhood because I was the product of a narcissistic upbringing. I equate it to “I was raised in an 18 year boot camp of how to take abuse and ‘love’ it”. Unfortunately for me I didn’t just leave it all behind when I left my parents home. I carried that paradigm with me for well over the next 20 years. I was so perfectly trained in my family of origin to believe that their abuse meant they loved me that I would get into relationships where I again would find myself abused and grasping at straws trying to get even the smallest amount of validation, basically reliving my family of origin dynamic and trying to get it “right” this time, with the same level of success that I had in my family of origin: NONE

        Yes, our situations were very different growing up, but the theme is the same: We were both looking for validation of who we were from the people that mattered most to us; our parents. Your ignoring family of origin and my suffocating family of origin had the same net effect on us: We both went out into life and found ourselves new narcissists to attach to, trying to fix our family of origin issues.

        I think you are right about us having a different definition of forgiveness. I can accept that Adolf Hitler was a truly horrible individual, but there’s no way I’d ever forgive him for what he did. I guess that’s where the difference lies for me.

        Stephen Bach


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