7 comments on “So You Want to Go to College?

  1. Pingback: Please Come Back, Mr. Scapegoat! | The Narcissist's Son

  2. Your story is so familiar. I was told I should go to “hair school” and that college was “not for me”, despite being a strong student my entire life. I eventually earned an economics degree, taking night classes as I could afford them) and proved myself. My successes are minimized and my failures exaggerated, in everything I do. When I reflect, I realize that I may be the fortunate one, since the GC has grown into a severe NPD. In fact, I cut the GC loose when he threw a tantrum because I would not stop my 6yo daughter’s birthday celebration to take him to a mall. My parents frequently make up lies about the GC to improve their highly valued public image.

    I finally attempted to communicate my feelings to my parents the last time I visited them, which resulted in them screaming insults at me in front of my scared little girls. An hour later, I spent $900 extra to fly home and never looked back (money well spent). I have been NC since August 2014 and I feel like a healthy individual for the first time. I am finally liberated, and your blog helps me prepare and cope with the FOO’s attempts to contact. Thank you so much 🙂

  3. Hi Liberated! Congratulations on your liberation, and congratulations on being a survivor!

    I am always humbled when others are able to connect to my story. I have found that many of us have all had very similar, if not nearly identical experiences. The pattern in all narcissistic families is the same, and the results are the same. It’s as if we are all actors in different productions of Othello. The script is always the same, and is well known to everyone, it’s just the actors that are different. So if the script is always the same, the outcomes will not vary significantly. Every product of a narcissistic family is emotionally deficient, be that product a golden child, scapegoat, or ignored child.

    I definitely feel you are doing the right thing with establishing and maintaining no contact with your family. I know how hard it is to do. When I had spent a lifetime having my familial ‘obligation’ pounded into my head, it was very difficult to leave that obligation behind. For a time, I felt like a horrible child for “abandoning” my family, when the truth is, they had abandoned me since birth, and they didn’t feel any guilt whatsoever about doing it.

    I have yet to fully explain my feelings to my GC brother or my mother on why I am NC. I know it won’t do any good to offer an explanation. I feel it would result in a very similar situation to yours, with them screaming at me and telling me I’m wrong, or trying to gaslight me, or trying to “one up” me and tell me how horrible it was for them to have to endure me. In any case, I feel it’s pointless to give them that last opportunity, unless I feel I need further validation of my NC decision, which I don’t.

    I think it’s fantastic that you found a way to get your degree in spite of your parents best efforts to make sure it didn’t happen. That says so much about you and your character! Well done!

    A question if I may: Do you think traditional role assignments had anything to do with your situation growing up? I know that in my grandparents generation, girls “didn’t need to go to school”; it was their place to support the home.

    Best wishes on your healing journey, Liberated, and thank you for stopping by and commenting.


    • Stephen,

      The only time my parents supported me was when I would do a violin performance. My parents would light up and smile, making sure everyone knew “the one on the end” was their daughter. I have considered that traditional roles impacted their decision. When I would bring home a good grade in math, NM would remind me that her father was to blame for her lack of math skills. She had an excuse for everything. Before my grandfather’s passing when I was young, I was the light of his world. I wonder if the root cause was her resentment, since she did not have a good relationship with him.

      There is always this uncomfortable competition going on, where my mom must one up me. Whether she is buying a larger home, a larger diamond ring, or dragging an unrelated party in to brag about, the goal is always the same. Last year, my daughter attended a state level swim meet at Penn State Univ. After returning from the restroom, I walked into the following conversation between my NM and daughter – ” Your Uncle went to this university”. I asked her what she was talking about since my brother and I went to the same exact school, and this was NOT it. When I began laughing, she said he might as well have gone here because he was attending so many football games. My FOO setup my brother pretty well, and they seem to be very frustrated at the results.

      Your comparison to Othello was right on. The hardest part for me is mourning the fact that my FOO never existed. I did get some satisfaction watching my parents’ angry faces when I announced I am no longer playing the scapegoat. They must still be asking themselves how I sat there so calmly, unfazed by their last effort to control me. My secret was that I anticipated the very reaction they exhibited. I knew the relationship was doomed before I left home.

      This week, my mother emailed me and called my husband at work. My brother called and texted my mobile. I even refused my NM’s UPS package. Clearly my FOO is trying to put things back together for the holidays, and I am not budging. I am no longer ignored, unheard, devalued and compared. How could I possibly give that up? I am also aware that my daughters are watching, and I owe it them to protect them. The day I paid $900 to fly home early, my disengagement caused my oldest to defend me. There is little doubt that she will be punished, and my youngest, who already is treated as the GC, will be rewarded for being too young to understand.

      • Hi Liberated!

        Your story about how your family only supported you when they could gain narcissistic supply from you rings very close to home (https://thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/little-liberace/). I had a near identical experience. When I chose to eschew being a classical pianist in favor of playing guitar, all of the sudden my musical talents where completely ignored and were not even acknowledged (https://thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/just-the-three-of-us/), even though when I was using my talents in the ‘right’ way, they were seen as a source of narcissistic supply. I was only of value when I was doing what I was ‘supposed’ to be doing, and that was bringing accolades to my family in a manner that my mother saw as pleasing to her.

        The competition piece between you and your mother is almost always prevalent in narcissistic families, and I believe it to be even worse in a mother / daughter scenario. I’m sorry that you had to endure that, and that you continue to endure that. It’s great that you can laugh about it now, although I’m sure the pain is still there. I am truthfully thankful that I had no female siblings, because my mother would have absolutely destroyed any daughter she might have had. I think that, subconsciously, my mother reveled in the male attention of her three boys and enabling husband, and any daughter she might have had would have been seen as huge competition to that attention. It’s a blessing I didn’t have any sisters, even though it might have meant that I would have been more an ignored child than the scapegoat, since I’m quite confident any sister I may have had would have been assigned the scapegoat role.

        Your story about Penn State is quite humorous and sad at the same time. Yes, N families will go to extremes to make the golden child look good, and the scapegoat to look bad. It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s part of the black / white mindset of a narcissist. Either you are all good, or all bad, and there is no gray. One aspect that I think is lost on many of us scapegoats is that it’s nearly as difficult for the golden child to live up to the completely unrealistic expectations of perfection that are placed on them in narcissistic families as it is for we scapegoats to overcome the constant devaluing of every part of our being. It’s why you hear of many golden children that struggle with addictions and other less savory behaviors. All children that grow up in an narcissistic family are damaged emotionally, and it’s not just the scapegoats that suffer from having to normalize abuse.

        Yes, it’s very typical that family will ramp up the contact attempts at the holidays. They want to get everyone back together and just pretend like everything is OK, never actually working toward a resolution of the issues. If everyone is back together for the holidays, then they appear ‘normal’, because normal families get together for the holidays. Honestly, it’s in their best interest to NOT work towards a resolution of the issues, because working towards that resolution will result in them having to accept some culpability for the situation. Since they are unable to accept any responsibility for their behavior, the only alternative they have left is to just pretend like there are no issues. It’s gaslighting.

        It is very hard to realize and accept that your FOO never existed. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to accept: That I was just some sort of tool to be manipulated by my family to do their bidding. I never really existed in their eyes. I wasn’t a son. I wasn’t a brother. I wasn’t a person. It’s awesome that you have stood up for yourself! That you have defined yourself as a person, even though they refuse to accept you. I know how hard that is to do. It’s impossible to break free from the roles in narcissistic families, and the only alternative that we have is to abdicate our position in the family altogether. Yes, your daughters are watching. Good for you to set such an example. We can go to school for just about anything, but learning healthy relationships is only taught in the home. Kudos for being a wonderful instructor!

        Best wishes to you on your healing journey, Liberated, and thank you for stopping by and commenting!


  4. Luckily were I live the state does slightly more to facilitate higher education. I think in your situation I may simply have ended up hating myself somewhere with no roof over my head. Even if I have been a better student and effortlessly so. I never saw my own academic talent until I was diagnosed academically gifted. Oh that sent my mother into a rage. Very interesting to think about it. I went to the test because my parents wanted me too and did well.
    How dare I? I obviously only did this to undermine my mothers authority…?? (I still don’t get it but at least now I understand I do not need to.)

    As always the discussion in the comments is also very enlightening even if I feel my experiences are not always in alignment with everyone elses. Maybe because my “parents” may have only some narcissistic characteristics but also have some other issues thrown is. There is some OCPD and medication induced mood swings for my “mother” and my “father” was so very good at ignoring everything, sometimes even his own existence I guess. I am not sure of how to categorise them. Massive memory issues do not help. But I do not think there was that intense a competition. Only a toxic demand for attention on “mothers” part. But I was very withdrawn and they did not force me to interact more.

    Pleasing “father” on most days was easy: disappear (provided he was around in the first place). Disappearing would be as simple as not speaking, physical presences he could see through on his own. Sometimes that worked with “mother” too. I am not sure we had family roles either. My brother was often the problem child because he had many ADHD related issues. Since I was academically achieving and expressed my pain through depression and anxiety rather than schoolboy brawls on a big scale my autism flew under the radar. I’m rather happy for that. The therapists I likely would have encountered would have destroyed me where my “family” did not succeed. Maybe in my absence my brother was the golden child because “mother” could get sympathy from others for fighting in his corner. Not that I feel she did seek out narcissistic supply. But when she did interact with people that’s how she would often go about it.
    Then again she did ramp up her poor me act about her other broken child as well. Something was deeply wrong with me. She made sure everyone knew. She never went into details. Maybe because “my child has emotional needs” usually is not met with “oh you poor poor sod, how great of you to still neglect them the way you do.”
    But my “parents” never praised my academic brilliance or supported me. “Mother” was as mentioned threatened by it and used it to ramp up drama about her own perceived shortcomings. “Father” did what he usually did: ignore. I was ignored and I suspect my brother was too. I always felt our “parents” had children because that is what normal people do but they were in no way accepting of the idea that children had emotional needs. Normal only includes appearing to feed, clothe and shelter your offspring, no one said anything about touching them unless you need to take out your medication induced anger.

    Nevertheless reading about your experiences does help me in my own journey as I learn more and more about my “families” shortcomings. It’s hard to know what exactly you miss when you never received it. I also agree accept you never had a family is one of the hardest parts. It’s for that very reason that I wish there were better names for abusive family members. Somehow I still am stupid enough to talk to people about little stints such as my “fathers” recent unannounced visit to my flat, where he came into my room without my consent while I was still sleeping because he decided after disowning me and remaining silent for two years he can arbitrarily decide he wants to talk and I need to jump at the chance of him granting me an audience I never knew I asked for. The response to such a nice story and about breaching of multiple boundaries and laws is scarily uniform and robotic. They all consider my father oh so well meaning and concerned and excuse and brush aside any of his short comings. Sometimes I just want to scream bloody murder in frustration because everyone always takes their side. Apparently donating half the genetic makeup to a person grants you the right to treat them like a slave, universally accepted truth. On dark days I wonder if I’m not making up the blog on the internet I read about abuse…

    • Hi Stranger!

      Yes, being denied college even though I was of sufficient academic ability to warrant going to college was a VERY difficult time in my young life. I did eventually move out, and then ultimately joined the Navy to get away from the toxic environment that was my family. Good for you for still succeeding without support of family! It’s a very tough journey as I well know, and I commend you for your success!

      Your stories about your father are very unfortunate. I’m surmising he just ‘checked out’ of family life in order to survive. Not the right thing to do, but most likely the only path he felt he had available. My father was quite hands off as well, although it doesn’t sound he was as hands off as your father. I do think that people have children in order to appear ‘normal’ even though they have nothing to offer their children. In my family environment, the role of the children was to bring accolades to the family. If they brought shame instead of accolades, the children were summarily condemned. No effort was made to understand why the child might have issues, they were just condemned. Children served the purpose of providing narcissistic supply, whether that because of their deeds (bragging about your children) or misdeeds (gaining sympathy for having to deal with ‘rogue’ children), it was always about everything but the needs of the children.

      The story about your father showing up unannounced and demanding an audience after you were disowned is truly appalling. It shows a complete violation of your boundaries and zero respect for you as a person. I’m sorry you had to endure that. Yes, he may have been well meaning, but his approach was horribly off base. I often wonder when (not if, when) someone from my family will show up at my doorstep. My brother only lives about 20 minutes away and my mother, who lives about 90 minutes away, visits him regularly. I can certainly envision a scenario where they both show up at my door unannounced someday, and since I do have significant placement with my daughter, I’m surmising they will pick a time when she’s with me. It will be a challenging day, to put it mildly.

      Thanks for your comments, and best wishes on our healing journey!


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