One of the overly frequently encountered “helpful advice” one get when being on the receiving end of systematic long term abuse and/or neglect is that we are supposed to see things from the POV of the person being so hurtful to us. I do think this is one of the most destructive pieces of advice you can give to a victim because it keeps them from becoming a survivor and keeps them in a state where they excuse their abuser/neglector.
Also by and large the people being hurt are trained to see things from the hurtful persons POV anyway to such an extent that they often do not even have an own perspective. It’s all about the person actively hurting others and never about the person being hurt. We call that victim blaming.
To put some words where my words are I’d like to present you with the perspective of my parents. Because you know
it’s all about them and I’m not good enough if I don’t. this advice is filled with so much wisdom and why haven’t I thought of that myself yet?
“mothers” childhood as told by her
Mother had a hard childhood. Which she does not hesitate to remind everyone of frequently. She was the third child and third daughter to her parents who had severe relationship problems and somehow thought having another child would fix things. Mothers two older siblings are 8 and 10 years older respectively and Mother always was the little annoying tag alongs.
My grandfather was one of those sexist idiots who was obsessed with having a Y-chromosome carrying offspring. So my mothers gender is her first failure in life. There’s this story floating around in her family that her birth certificate states that she is male. Apparently everyone thinks this oh so funny. Her second fundamental flaw is that she did not keep my grandfather from cheating. Obviously this is the task of the youngest child.
Grandmother allegedly found him in flagranti when Mother was 7. Before then they lived together with my grandfathers parents. Divorce was heavily frowned upon by the state and the church. So logically grandmother was punished for standing up for herself and consequently instilled a sense of worthlessness of this idea in her daughters.
Over the last few months I have done a lot of reading about healing from being raised in a neglectful family. If we are going to assume that neglect is included under the umbrella term of abuse I found a meagre pile of resources, some of them moderately helpful. If we define neglect as a beast of its own as some people researching in the field do, I have found nothing I can recall from the top of the head that was even moderately helpful. Despite seemingly remembering that neglect is by far the most common way to acquire a mental injury no one seems to talk about it, no one has any healing to offer. The neglected, oh irony of ironies are still neglected.
From the aforementioned meagre pile of somewhat constructive advice I compiled this:
– being raised in any version of a non supportive household will cause your brain to develop differently
– among the dramatic difference in development is a loss of natural tendency to explore and learn, instead all energy is funneled towards mere survival (which is still not achieved by many nonsurvivors…)
– to date there is no known healing tool available that actually rewires the brains of those hurt by the people they are required to trust the most
– since the people you grow up with are usually your only possible way of acquiring food, shelter and mentoring you learn that whatever they do is safe and are conditioned to seek out similar people in later life
– any healing that can take place is essentially geared towards rewiring as in unlearning and relearning every experience you made in early life
– usually being raised in a non supportive household means that even finding ways of starting your journey to a healthier life is severely difficult because you were conditioned to fear, hate and run from supportive things
The term “Narcissist” and how it might be detrimental to healing past the anger stage
Recently I came across this page for . The dictionary was somewhat helpful in finally understanding the me.
However the site got me pondering the matter of narcissism again. I’m struggling with the term narcissist and have been for a while now. My main bone of contention is how it seems so loosely defined that apparently every abuser is a narcissist to the point that the two terms seem to be interchangeable, so why have both? The core of narcissism seems to be a fundamental lack of empathy which in turn informs their abusive and/or neglectful behaviour. Narcissism and abuse/neglect seem to be causally tied together. Also many people I am reading about seem to permanently use the narcissist label to throw blame, hate and vilification towards whoever hurt them.
I am also curious about male narcissism and how things affect sons. My one grandfather might be classifiable as an enabler, but I’m not so sure about the second grandfather and my father. It feels a bit like autism with gender reversal where you only describe half of the spectrum (the male symptoms in autism and the female symptoms in narcissism) and pass it of as the whole thing.
I have been recently asked how I learnt to go for a walk and the more I wrote about it the more I realised the therapeutic benefits of working on that particular issue of mine so I thought I might as well turn it into a blog post. Maybe some other hurt soul finds a way to lessen a bit of the pain. 🙂
I had a flatmate who i was regularly walking with. Her routes tho and on her initiative. But through such things I was aware of the general idea of walking for the purpose of walking. She now moved away and my new flatmates and I do not get along. Through the walks with my exflatmate I had some idea of how my surroundings looked like. In the beginning I would walk our routes, uphill among houses and alleys. I also began to walk to the the city centre instead of taking the bus. Since my sleep rhythm is somewhat more normal I didn’t always need to hurry to barely arrive at the supermarket at closing hour. So I could take my time take in surroundings. When I have been in a hurry I wouldn’t really notice anything, now I’d maybe see that this way extends to some unknown over there asf.
I love dogs so I would sometimes see dogs and their owners who looked friendly to me and I would ask the owner if I could introduce myself to the dog. Only one person has said no so far. Many people even are happy that they meet a dog lover. I really feel connected to non human animals so that kind of socialisation helped as well. Eventually I began to realise the path to the city which I used (pedestrians only, next to a stream) was part of a bigger path alongside one of the cities streams so I followed it up a little more and eventually began to explore the part of it that were less concrete influenced and more about trees and undergrowth. I grew up near forests so I liked that plus people there are normally rather relaxed walking their dogs (or jogging, pushing their toddlers for their nap, but i do not chat these people up. No doggie, no talkie).
I’d say I always felt people would judge me somehow. I had this obsession about always needing to have an answer to the question no one ever asked me where I was going. I felt “justified” in groups but never alone. Neglect teaches you helplessness and nonexistence. The less you are seen and heard the better for you. Going out for a walk FOR NO REASON is a quite obvious violation of that rule about neglect. Part of it is literally about carving your own path, being a person on a basic level. Existing. I still worry about so many pointless things when going for a walk (what if I go to far and I can’t walk back and my battery has died or I have no reception… blabla) but I plan to gradually overcome this and dare I say it might even increase the area I’m covering by using my bicycle, having picnics… you know getting daring 😛
Some of this might not help you. Maybe you are afraid of dogs of the idea of talking to anyone gives you nightmares or you don’t like nature the same way and would prefer the houses. But in the end the walk is about exploring. It’s mostly about you personally I guess. Another forbidden concept to explore around neglectful people. So you need to find a way to ease yourself into walking that works FOR YOU. The growth I have written about here took me a year. Each new addition to the walk (even the taking more time while walking anyway) took me weeks of anxiety getting myself convinced that it’s OK to do this and then even more weeks to get used to the idea of actually doing, trying to be less jumpy about it.
The walk starts with accepting the idea that YOU determine what is right and wrong for you. You can decide when you walk, where you walk and how long you walk. Who you talk to and what you say. A very complicated concept for me. I guess the best way to start is to open yourself up for experiments and review them, confront your fears little by little.
I have not written in a long time. Meanwhile I have contacted 60 hospitals treating traumatised patients, lost another long term friend very suddenly and both came with ugly revelations. But I am a person who has an uncanny ability to see a silver lining in every terrible thing that has happened to me and this ability has not left me.
I think for the first time in my life there is now no one I communicate with on a daily basis. I’m well and truly lonely and it’s given me time to think and understand some things. My biggest lightbulb is that my biggest problem was not that I was abused. Rather I have been emotionally neglected. Pete Walker has linked the pain coming from emotional neglect to a scenario that made me understand A LOT.
He said all (human) children are hard wired to know they should not be alone, they rely on their parents to defend them from predators, nuture them and keep them warm asf. So the fight for the parents attention to a young child (Walker cites the age of six) is a fight for survival. I’m pretty sure the idea that we are safe from my often invoked saber tooth tiger regardless of our elders actions or inactions does not compute yet for our brains.
Emotionally it’s still being left to fend for oneself when young = being in mortal danger.
So the pain I’m dealing with does not come from abusive messages such as I’m not worth the oxygen I breathe or whatever else verbal abusers say. My pain comes from not being acknowledged to exist at all. By the very people who are responsible for my existence. Which in a way is akin to not actually existing. To me it feels more brutal than killing me. But that might be overdramatising things and I’m not a fan of measuring my own pain against other peoples pain. Pain is pain. I just feel a need to verbalise my own, make me realise what happened. I’ve not even been worth my parents time to insult me.
In these last days as I tried to cope with the breakup from my partner I ran into the issue I am always running into when I am in need. Since this is a very painful and at times downright life threatening issue for me I have analysed this thoroughly and want to share my ideas about it with all of you.
My struggles start with the fact that like many long term depressed, neglected and/or autistic people I have no reliable social network to fall back on. You know your best friend you can call in the middle of the night to share your horrifying pain with? I never had that. I dealt with all these night on my own. Always. I do have of course people I’m talking to that may or may not qualify as friends (my concept of friendship is rather… vague).
In times like these I always learn who is a good person to be around and who isn’t. Not that I feel very eager to learn such things when I am preoccupied with the idea that I am in all likelihood never going to see my six furbabies again but such is life. As you may have guessed from the title of this post I am calling the people who do not qualify as good friends are the unhelpful helpers. Let’s see how they go about my issues and why this is far from productive.
Rumors of my demise have been a wild exaggeration of the truth! I’m back everyone 🙂 Life has been really … intense these last weeks and I want to tell you all about how I heeded my own advice.
I have been starting to see a new therapist recently. The last time I was in a psychiatric institution for an prolonged stretch of time ended with me being lied and manipulated, heavily medicated with the apparent goal of making as much money off me as they could with absolutely no regard for whether or not I would even survive the treatment. You might be surprised to learn I’m not fond of therapists. But I think seeing one would offer a great benefit for me, provided that they actually do help me instead of trying to switch me off because they have no idea what the senator they should do with me.
So I wrote to various therapists and two institutions. There is only one therapist in town that specialised in trauma and they have a waiting list 18 months long. Very motivating. One institution had the following exchange with me:
Me: Hi people, I am very sick and cant do certain things, I also have had bad experiences with people like you, thus I have borders I do not wish to see crossed if I ever am to develop trust in someone of your profession again.
Them: We do not care what you can and can’t do, if we are to heal you from your sickness you are to do this our way because this is how things are done. Check if that is possible for you.