10 comments on “Meet Jed

  1. Hi Stephen,

    That’s just sad and wrong that your parents were that way to you. Look at the reception that you would have had from anybody else who knew all you were doing. The Ns that I know are all just as you describe to both me and my husband (we both are children of Ns and have sisters who are Ns also). Achievements are valued by his mom only but her motives are entirely selfish… she will overly praise him and want some of his college papers to email to family members so she can take credit to how he turned out with her nurturing. Of course, the real truth is that she never allowed her children toys and entertainment, a good education and parenting, better clothing, emotional connection, and support. If any toy was received even by a family member, he got to play with it for maybe 3 days and then it always disappeared. He was a very undeserving child in her eyes and was treated poorly. Most often he was alone and bored to death. Very much removed from stimulation and other children using isolation.

    His N stepfather is a cold, removed and jealous man whose only interest in him is when he can find an opportunity to be authoritative in a situation. Within his family, my husband is the scapegoat and his sister is the golden-child.

    In my family, I was my N father’s golden child and my N sister was and is my mother’s golden child. Today my father is no longer part of my life (abandonment) as a teen and my mother and sister do their best to not properly support me or nurture anything at all. In fact, I think my N mom might have something to do with the isolation between me and my sister ever since we were teens.

    My husband IS very nurturing and supportive and together we heal each other and encourage that normalcy that is not otherwise given. I think it hurts a lot when you figure out how lacking our parents were and still are… I can say though that over time I’m becoming more immune to the lack and find myself devaluing ME less and less according to the reception these people give me. I AM a good, whole, nurturing & loving, fun, intelligent & successful person in many ways.

    Nowadays when someone is acting quiet and forgetful of anything I’m doing and I notice that my talking about something positive in my life is making them uncomfortable…. I just keep on talking some more!

    So I hope, and I know you already have been, that the lack is replaced by celebration from yourself and others who are normal.

    What a strong person you are for becoming a self made man, full of life and wholeness, a strong intellect and intuition and the ability to share and communicate and not operate on fear.

    Congratulations by the way for every one of your endeavors! be proud.

    – Cindy

    • Cindy;
      thank you for your letter.
      I like this:
      “Nowadays when someone is acting quiet and forgetful of anything I’m doing and I notice that my talking about something positive in my life is making them uncomfortable…. I just keep on talking some more!”

      You make appreciations of yourself in dialogues with other people, and where you used to get quiet if others did not react positively, you now notice the interaction and keep staying positive.

      I’m playing with that now, but I’m not there yet. I find I have to take a lot more responsibility for my calm and peaceful responses to other’s negativity before I can feel that present when just talking to others.
      Please visit my site and lets talk some more.

      Vic Banner

    • Hi Cindy!

      I wholeheartedly agree with your first paragraph. I think it has a lot to do with the N parent approach. A normal parent wants their child to feel fulfilled and happy in all that life has to offer, and whether that means the child is the CEO of a major corporation or drives a garbage truck it doesn’t matter to the normal parent. An N parent wants a child to follow THEIR definition of success. The child has no input. If my father had been a career military man, military service may have been more valued by my family, and my father may have been proud of me for my service. But since no one in my extended family had ever served in the military, I was “wasting my time” in the Navy. The key is that it doesn’t matter what the CHILD wants, all that matters is what the PARENT wants. What the parent wants is often couched in terms of concern and care:

      “I don’t know why Stephen is so miserable. If he had just become that doctor I’m sure his life would be so much better!”

      The above statement is ridiculous. Why would I be happier being a doctor when I hate medicine and have no interest in it? True, I was miserable, but the part that made me miserable is the fact that I wasn’t allowed any say in my own life.

      Your story about your husband sending his NM college papers so she could brag about him definitely hits very close to home for me. It would make a good blog post in the future.

      It’s quite possible that the isolation you feel between you and your sister is because you were your dad’s favorite and your sister was your mom’s favorite. I don’t doubt that your mom and sister hated that you were preferred by dad.

      That’s great that you are believing in your value as a person and are able to self validate! That is so essential to leaving the past and issues behind. Great job!

      Thank you so very much for your kind words, Cindy! I accept the compliment. Accepting compliments has been a big step for me. Before, if someone complimented me, I would often diminish the compliment, either by saying something back to the person that complimented me or through my own internal filter. Now I just accept them. I don’t try to rewrite them or analyze them, I just accept them. And the best part: Receiving them is great! Thanks Cindy!

      Stephen Bach

  2. Hi, Stephen;
    I always enjoy reading your posts, but often come up blank in making a comment.
    I shall try now.
    I guess, my question is, what do you do now that you know your family is wrong, unfair and pathological?
    As I recall, you have a Golden Child brother, who’se twin has died, and is rather annoying to you.
    You basically have a policy of no contact with him, and with your mother.
    Are you content with that, or is there more for you to do?
    How do you perceive yourself in contrast with Jed? Is he content with who he is? Are you content?
    I have never been content.
    Intellectually, I know I’m a good human being, and I like who I think I am.
    But whenever I look at myself reflected in another’s eyes, I feel very exposed.
    Its like I’ve had to excavate the shadow that I only see when someone else is looking at me, before I can get to my honest feelings about myself and transform the boy who the family scapegoated.
    Its like mental tooth decay. You have to take out the rotted parts before you can seal off the precious nerve.
    You may never be the pride of your family, but I’m proud of you and perhaps your other followers are. But you can be proud of you. Can that ever be enough?
    I’m going to write more about this now in my blog.
    Good sailing,
    Vic Banner

    • Hi Vic!

      I’m glad that you find my posts enjoyable. I’m always humbled when others are able to connect with my story.

      What do I do now that I am no contact with my family and others that have historically been abusive towards me? I embrace life! I cherish life and live it the way I should have been living it all along. I become the person I always wanted to become. The best part: I’m free to be that person! I no longer have anyone to answer to. Why? Because I don’t give anyone else that power anymore.

      Yes, I am very content with no contact with my family, but there is still more to do. Lots more. I will always be learning and growing and reaching new places. Healing from abuse is a journey, and there is no magic bullet that just makes all the pain go away. Running this blog is part of that healing process and acts like a running journal of my thoughts and memories.

      It’s hard to say how I perceive myself in contrast with Jed. I have no idea if he is content with who he is, but based on what I knew of him at the time, I would say he was content with himself. I haven’t seen him in over 20 years. He wasn’t much for the internet or social media, and I can’t even remember his real name (JED was his initials, but everyone just called him Jed), so I’ve been unable to find him.

      “But whenever I look at myself reflected in another’s eyes, I feel very exposed.”

      Vic, I completely understand where you are coming from with this statement. The key to removing this perception lies within you. As scapegoats, we have always been told that what is important is what other’s think of us. What we think of ourselves is irrelevant. In order for us to have value, someone has to mirror that value back to us. It doesn’t exist within ourselves. Fixing this is very difficult, because it’s how we have been wired from very early on, but it can be done. It’s possible that in the future, when other’s look at you with contempt, you can scoff at them. You can be confident in who YOU are and not need others for validation. For me, a key part of not needing validation from others is accepting who I am. Accepting that I’m somewhat overweight, that I snore, that I should exercise more, etc. Accepting means that all these “flaws” that I have are OK and part of who I am. Accepting means also acknowledging my skills and talents. I have many skills and talents, and if my family and others don’t see them to be of value or feel I am wasting them, it’s their issue and not mine. I don’t answer to them.

      Relying on others for validation is unpredictable at best and downright abusive at worst. Relying on others also makes me a target for another N who would shower me with compliments and affection as a means to hook me into their lair. Now, if someone over compliments me, it throws up a red flag. Before, I would just suck it all in and take the bait.

      I don’t believe you have to excavate that shadow. You just have to make it slowly disappear while at the same time becoming the person that YOU want to be. When you are on your way to accepting who you are and getting in touch with the real you, that shadow will be less and less and you won’t be seeking validation from others.

      Here’s an exercise that may be helpful: Take a piece of paper and write down a negative trait that you have in one column. Then in the column next to it write down a positive trait that you have. The columns must remain equal length. For every negative trait, you MUST enter a positive trait. If you can’t think of anymore positive traits, ask a friend or a coworker what they think your positive traits are. You might be surprised to hear what they say. As scapegoats, we have a filter that immediately devalues our positive traits, eventually getting to a point where we don’t even know we have any positive traits. The GOAL of this exercise is to be struggling to come up with negative traits to keep the columns of equal length because you have so many positive traits to write down.

      I am proud of me. And being proud of me is definitely enough. I don’t need others to be proud of me, too. I have accomplished a great deal with my skills and talents. Add in the fact that all my accomplishments were achieved while my family did their best to prevent me from achieving them, and my accomplishments take on an entirely different meaning. It’s like winning the Boston Marathon while pulling a bus behind me. I was constantly told I was doing it wrong or not doing the right thing, and I succeeded anyway. I have come to learn that I have a strength that few others have, and for that I am truly grateful.

      Please feel free to comment at anytime, Vic, and I hope I continue to be of help.

      Stephen Bach

  3. Stephen, very good blog you have here. I can relate to the golden sibling. I can laugh about it now but I actually called my brother the Golden Child to my mother once and she stammered but agreed. I haven’t talked to my dad in 20 years and it was the best decision I ever made, it was such a relief to not have to attend family functions at his house and endure the sarcasm and paranoia, there was never a Christmas that someone didn’t end up in tears and then have my dad snort how they have no sense of humor. My dad never just had a bad mood, someone always put him in a bad mood. If it weren’t for all the assholes in the world he would have been the happiest man in the world, a regular barrel of laughs.
    My mom was just a bury her head in the sand, if i don’t see it, it isn’t happening. She has even said to me, I don’t want to hear if things aren’t going well call me back when things get better. and hung up on me mid sentence. I didn’t call her for almost a year, things just didn’t get better for that long. If a person attempts suicide they are just looking for attention. No shit sherlock! and she used to work the crisis line. LOL I wonder if their suicide stats were up when she was on call.
    At one point my brother was a heroin addict and my mom phone me constantly crying about my brother, I was terribly concerned about him also but my own son (my mom’s grandchild) was living on the streets drug addicted and I didn’t know where he was. I finally said, “You know mom, I also am concerned about my brother and I have my own son who is lost to drugs that I am worried sick about.” Her reply, “But your brother has so much more to lose.” ( he had a house and a business and the image of a perfect Mr GQ life)
    I said, “So his life is worth more than my son’s life?” and hung up.
    She also told me I should forget I ever had my son, he always had been a problem child and I had “loved him too much” and ruined him.
    I still talk to her because I really think she is just stupid and doesn’t mean harm and she has been trying lately to understand and be supportive.
    I too feel my family considers me a failure, my brother calls me a “flake” (excuse me, who was the heroin addict and you call me a flake?) They have never understood why I don’t care how much money a guy has or what job he does. With my mom and brother it is all about appearances. It doesn’t matter what is going on behind closed doors as long as the neighbors think you have the perfect family and the perfect life. My brother OD’d 5 days after he got out of rehab. My mom and step dad had rented him the house next door, gave him a car, bought his smokes, food, etc after spending $25,000 on rehab because they didn’t want him getting stressed and using. Anyway he od’d and my step dad found him blue with the needle sticking out of his arm, the ambulance was called and my brother survived. The first thing my mother said, “And the neighbors saw them taking him out to the ambulance, what will they think?” I said, “That he is pretty lucky to have survived?”
    she said, “but they will know he does drugs”
    I said, “Yeah? and you think none of them have ever had things like this happen in their family? if you talked openly to people and didn’t always put up this phoney front you would find out that every body has problems in their family. If they don’t then they should fall down on their knees with gratitude because it is by the Grace of God they don”t.”
    the only time I have been recognized for some accomplishment is when one of my mom’s friends has said something to her about how talented I am or something and then she has taken an interest in what I am doing. One of her friend’s saw my painted stuff and told her I was talented, all of a sudden she was buying a bunch of my painted things and giving them as gifts to her friends. She now takes her friends into the store that sells my stuff, up until the friend said something she had no interest in my painting, it was “not to her taste”. LOL
    Anyway I ramble on and on, you brought back stuff I haven’t thought about for a long time. I have learned to appreciate my talents and personality, it took James to rip me to pieces to finally have the courage to really look at myself honestly and shit! I liked what i saw and all those things I had been told about myself were lies. What a relief, it feels so good to just be me.
    Some times the only thing we can do is to walk away from people who are toxic, whether they are family or not.

  4. Hi Carrie!

    Welcome to The Narcissist’s Son! I enjoy reading your blog, too, and your input here is very welcome. Thanks for stopping by!

    Reading your comment brought one very clear concept to my head: It’s nearly as hard for the Golden Child as it is for the Scapegoat when growing up in a narcissistic family. Your brother has a ton of pressure on him as well to perform, just as you did. He had sky high expectations; expectations he didn’t sign up for; and those expectations led to his drug abuse, etc, and his need for your parents to continue to prop him up when he failed. Failure wasn’t an option for him in your family, just as success was not an option for you, the scapegoat. If your parents admitted he wasn’t perfect, then they would be wrong about him, and it’s not possible for a narcissist to ever admit they are wrong. It’s the same pattern that your parents used when they refused to acknowledge your talents with painting. If your parents acknowledged that you had talent as a painter, then they would have to admit they were wrong about you, which, again, they are not able to do. They will continue in denial that your golden child brother isn’t perfect and denial that you have any talents in order for them to continue to be “right” when everyone and anyone can see just how wrong they are. It’s ludicrous, but it’s what narcissistic families must do in order to maintain the status quo.

    It’s wonderful that you can say “I have learned to appreciate my talents and personality”. That is such a huge step in recovery; acceptance of who you are, with all your talents and failings, and realizing that it is OK to be you. The only standard you need to measure up to is your own. With that acceptance comes the peace that you describe, the peace of knowing that others don’t define you and that you will be OK just being you.

    Your comment: “Sometimes the only thing we can do is to walk away from people who are toxic, whether they are family or not” is absolutely spot on. I could not concur more. Being family does not give a person a right to abuse other family members. All it means is that we share similar genes. A toxic person is a toxic person and that toxic person should be dealt with in an appropriate fashion. Genetic makeup is irrelevant.

    Stephen Bach

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