Updated: Mar 15
Abuse is an ugly thing, and it has many forms.
Research shows that 1 out of 3 women have been abused in some form in their lifetime. Whether it is physically or emotionally, or both - doesn't matter. Abuse is damaging whether it leaves physical scars or not.
And one of the saddest statistics of all? Over half of the women that I already mentioned, were sexually assaulted, and usually by someone that they know.
"To put some of these statistics in perspective, physician and abuse expert Charles Whitfield notes that there are approximately 50,000 names on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. If we were to make a memorial to children in our society who have been sexually abused, it would need to be more than 1,300 times the size of the Vietnam Memorial. If we broadened it to include other forms of child maltreatment (physical abuse and neglect), the monument would need to be over 7,500 times the size" (pg. 15, Mending the Soul by Steven Tracy)
I realize that this information is mind blowing.
I know that it was for me when I started going through the Mending the Soul class. The even sadder part of all of this? These are numbers from 2005. You know that these numbers have got to be so much worse now, 17 years later.
The Bible speaks about how the human heart is broken, and the despair that all without God or Jesus suffer; because, of the lack of hope.
I want to give you a glimpse into why I have hope.
I have mentioned that I first met Dr. B in March 2018, at the hand of Dr. Richardson. Dr. B was the astute and assertive woman that I mentioned in the last post.
I started my sessions with her closed off, and still very upset. As I felt like I had been trapped into these sessions by the two of them. Remember, I told you that I had filed a complaint with Banner Medical Center, about how I felt that the doctor was making a mountain out of a mole hill. And that I really didn't think that I needed to be there or even needed therapy. Because I didn't see that I had a life that was anything but normal, or that I had been suffering.
I went on to explain this to her repeatedly in these first few sessions, but I also continued to answer her questions - even though I was still guarded the entire time. Or - so I thought.
Again, remember that I said that she was astute.
She had heard me say things that I had no intention of telling her. She had listened to not just my words - but my body language. She also had Dr. Richardson run a lot of blood tests, and had a variety of hormone, thyroid, and other screenings done that I had never heard of.
These tests - were thorough. I had (and I am not exaggerating here) something like 10 vials of varying sizes taken for blood work.
These along with my initial 3 intake sessions were eye opening. Not for her...
At my last intake session, I had finally started to relax with Dr. B. It was at this time that she went on to tell me that she would be interested in taking me on as a client. This confused me at first - as I thought that I already was a client. But this is when she told me that the past 4 meetings were simply her intake process, and that she had simply had me in an observation phase where she was testing to see if I could be someone that she could work with and see if she could get results with. And she thinks that even though I had endured many years of abuse - she thought that she could do some good and that after time with her - could start to see some healing and be able to start to find some hope.
I was thinking, "Whoa!! Stop the truck! What?!? Abused???"
Yep! I'm not kidding. I seriously felt like she had physically stood up and kicked me in the stomach.
I even told her that. "What are you talking about? I haven't been abused", I said.
She looked me straight in the face, and said, "Christine, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this - but you have been. You're entire life. And the thing is... you have been abused so much that being abused is your norm. You do not see what life is like outside of it."
Yep - those where her exact words. I remember them as plain as day.
I know what you may be thinking. But trust me - she wasn't molding my psyche to think/believe something that wasn't already there. She spent the next 6 months, two times a week, showing me proof to support this. She gave me article after article about what abuse is. How it affects the self-belief systems of people that grow up in mentally abusive homes. What happens to adults that grew up in homes that was not fully supportive. Things like that.
It was about 3 weeks later, that she had asked me if I thought that my Father was a co-narcissist, or was just so damaged by the narcissism from my Mother that he had just learned when to stay out of the way. (Which my research would go to show that this too would be conducive to being a co-narcissist. But I think she was just trying to make a point.)
This was the second time that I physically felt like she had kicked me in the stomach. She sent me home with more articles to read. One of them that she gave me broke down what Narcissism Personality Disorder was. This article was the lightbulb moment for me. She had given me the assignment of reading the article and highlighting anything that seemed to ring true to me. She wanted me to star anything that sounded like my mother to me. And then, I was to bring the article back to her in 2 days for the next appointment, and that we would talk about it.
For more information, click on this link: NPD This is not the exact article... but, it has a lot of the same type of information in it.
This was similar to the second article she gave me: https://theawarenesscentre.com/narcissistic-parent/
It was the second article that was the final blow. "The difficulty of growing up with a narcissistic parent is that the child often doesn’t realize that there is anything wrong. When we are growing up, we only know what we are exposed to by our families. It can be years later that the child, often now an adult, begins to make sense of their childhood." (2nd article above.)
This article was the lightbulb that changed the light that I saw my life through.
If you know someone that is an adult and they too grew up with a parent that had NPD, you may see these traits. Tell me if any of this rings true about them. This info also comes from the second article.
Traits of Adult Children of a Narcissistic Parent
1) Indecision and Guilt
2) Internalized Gaslighting
3) Love and Loyalty
4) Strength and Resilience
5) Chronic Self-blame
7) Insecure Attachment
8) Parentified Child
#4 above is important piece of finding hope. This trait is one that shows that people can overcome their challenges and struggles, and can make changes for themselves, and for their families outside of their parent that has NPD. If you continue to read the rest of the second article, it will walk you through some of these steps that are needed.
I personally am still in step 3. This is recount your experiences.
Because one of my other defense mechanisms is to block out some of my childhood. I am going through EMDR therapy. "Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a fairly new, nontraditional type of psychotherapy. It's growing in popularity, particularly for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)." (cabehavioral.com) I have been going through this along with talk therapy for the past 2 years with my current therapist. It has helped me a lot. Enough to be able to recognize more of the abuse that I have endured in my life after my mother. And has helped me to make changes so that I don't repeat the cycle with my own kids.
I only hope that this article is being taken in the same way that I intend it while writing it. For information. I pray that you take this blog post in, and read through some of the links above. I really hope that this helps you to have hope if you are like me, and also dealing with some past hurts and hang ups because of a parent with NPD. Or, helps you to have hope for someone you know that did.
So, today I leave with with my one of my favorite verses of the bible. Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
These are words that I personally hang on to.
Until we meet on our journey again....