Worked to the bone…

Did any of you that have been raised by a narcissist find that you were worked really hard as a kid?  I know it’s kind of an off the wall question, but I’ve thought back to my childhood lately and realized that aside from the abuse, what I remember most is how much hard work I was forced to do as a child.

By hard work, I don’t mean cleaning. There was lots of that as the father is a perfectionist, but what I mean is manual labour. I remember shovelling heavy gravel, and big dirt piles, stacking many cords of wood, painting the fence and deck, mowing the lawn, shovelling snow, picking up hedge trimmings, washing /waxing/ polishing the car and major gardening (The fathers obsession).And the list goes on…

I know some amount of work/chores are normal for a kid, but when I think back it seems to me that there was an awful lot that may not have been so normal. There was also the wrath we’d face if said work didn’t get done.  I know that’s not normal.

I remember watching all the other kids on the street play while I was forced to work hard. I longed to just play, even though play often turned into being molested by that boy on my street. I just wanted to play. I guess I wanted to be a kid and do kid things.

I can’t say that I even know what work or amount of work is age appropriate for a kid of any age. I don’t have kids, but If I did I can’t see me ever working them as hard as I was worked.

The work we did wasn’t ever enough or good enough either. That’s par for the course with a narcissist. They’re never happy with anything.  They take everything out on those around them because they see themselves as “better than” everything and everyone.  Boy are they deceived!

They’re master manipulators and liars. I think they even believe their own lies.  They love to make everything that’s wrong with the world everyone else’s fault, they will never take the blame or responsibility for their horrible behaviour. They seem to enjoy shaming and causing those close to them pain. It’s creepy.  They twist everything we say.

And oh the 5 hour lectures at least three times a week on everything that was wrong with me.

They get angry easily and those around them are always walking on eggshells. One never knows when the mood will switch or why. What we do know, is that it will most certainly be our faults and something that we did to cause their issue.

They “charm” the outside world, so most don’t see the abuse going on. Speaking of not seeing…Why is it that our “justice” systems don’t recognize this kind of abuse?!  Why is that if kids don’t have bruises on them or show signs of sexual abuse, that it’s assumed that there’s no abuse going on?!

I can’t believe our systems aren’t more aware of narcissism, that it’s abusive and does an incredible amount of damage to kids. I wish our systems were more advanced and would listen to those who are victims, instead of catering to the criminals all the time. Ugh, it ticks me off..

Well how did I get there?!  This post took a couple of turns I didn’t expect, but there you have it.  The above is what I grew up with and that’s not the half of living with a narcissistic sociopath.

I’d love to hear from you on your experiences. The more we talk the less this crap can hide in the shadows.

There is hope!

52 Comments

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52 responses to “Worked to the bone…

  1. hi. Just want to acknowledge the tremendous strength that is involved in going back to find all of those pieces; sections of ourselves that were ‘cut’ out when we lived through the trauma of the parent who wanted us to hate the part of ourselves that our parents hated about themselves.

    It’s about their own damage, not ours, yet we are forced to carry their self shame until we can get away and learn to love ourselves again, which is the secret; finding those pieces and placing them back with self-acceptance and unconditional love. I hope you find peace.

    My mother is still with me, now 85, and I have been learning the nuances of her pain, while also tending to my own. Hard work, this healing. Blessings…

    • Thank you so much. You’re right. My father was abused too. My biggest beef is that he refused to look at himself and get help for him and our family. It is their damage but we become damaged because of the sadly. As you know it’s a really hard fight back to the truth. How are you doing?

      • The big change for me came when I could understand, not excuse, both parents; for my father was a motherless child, and vice versa for my mother as a fatherless child. That is the spiritual root. Studying depth psychology and the works of John Bradshaw on how to heal our inner children have been priceless as healing tools for helping others and myself in my energy studio. Grieving the loss of our very important childhood, and nurturing our inner selves is key to a healthy relationship future. It looks like you are on a great path; keep up the work and be kind to yourself through it all. Many blessings…

      • I get what you’re saying. I said to Hubby last week that I understand the father more and more, because I’m now dealing with the same reactions he had. I know that he has ptsd and ocd at very least (undiagnosed) he carries a lot fear and hurt. He may have grown up physically but he’s still stuck as a child mentally. I’m in the process of forgiving but, I will not allow them back into my life because there is still abuse going on.

      • Oh and thank you, many blessings to you too!

  2. One of the side effects (probably unintended) of reading your posts like this is it puts my childhood in a different perspective, as a much more average one than I had thought.
    Thank you.

  3. Megan

    I never considered it before! But I would say that we were worked pretty hard. The obsessive gardening sticks with me. And when “chores” were assigned it was always whatever we hated the most. My sister and I were forced to deal with anything to do with bugs, etc. And if our brother offered to do that instead – there was the intense rage to deal with. Also, one didn’t dare ever get tired. That was admitting defeat or being lazy! Horrible sins! It also ties into the not being allowed to be sick. Because there was NO excuse not to get the work done.

    • I’m so sorry and I can relate. Not being allowed to be sick was in my family as well. To the point where my father let my mother almost die in kidney failure because the treatment she needed was interfering with his retirement/travel plans. Oh and the obsessive gardening..I just cringe…It sucks that you’ve lived this abuse too. :(

  4. I had a lot of chores, some of them big, all-day affairs, but that was how my parents grew up, too. I did all those things you list except maybe gravel shoveling. Add in moving appliances, taking out big trees with ropes and a 2-person saw. Now the habit serves me well. I could have done without the constant anger, the belittling, the abuse, but again that was how they grew up. It was more common then.

    • It sounds like abuse in your case too sadly. You know in my late 20’s I had a major surgery and just after I got out of the hospital, I still couldn’t even stand up straight,the father had me help him move a big t.v. I wasn’t even living with them then, just there for my birthday.

      • Oh my. Yes, there was abuse in my house. We had all experienced a lot of trauma, my dad and stepmom, too. It’s difficult to set that aside and not pass it along to your kids, but I try every day. I have them do chores, but not to the level I did them. We don’t use violence or its threat to get our way. But we aren’t perfect, and we get upset sometimes like any human does. I love my dad dearly, but I don’t agree with all his decisions. I imagine he would say the same about me. I’m sad your dad would treat you that way. We all deserve to be treated well.

      • I admire you for recognizing the abuse and stopping the cycle!

      • It’s not easy, but it can be done. :-)

  5. I could give you a ten hour lecture every week on all the things that are right about you…

  6. I was responsible for running pretty much the entire household from a very young age. My mother made me do everything, my brother did nothing. If things weren’t perfect, I was hurt as a way to teach me my lesson, physically and emotionally. Staying up until midnight on a school night to finish laundry because she wanted to wear this one specific sweater to work…and then being punished because I fell asleep and left it in the dryer.

    I’ll never forget her funeral, hearing how many people were touched by her love and her kindness, generosity, etc. All I could think of was “except me”. I was never good enough and reminded, literally, until the end. How she looked to the rest of the world meant more to her than her own daughter.

    I am sorry you went through something similar. Some people just don’t get it (my brother doesn’t because he was the favored one). I only hope I learned how not to parent when it comes to raising my son now.

  7. Geez, I’m sorry you had to work so hard, WTH! Ok, I feel bad to even say that my job as a child was to only clean the bathroom, dust, and take care of my room. And yes… I played all the rest of the time. Now all I do is work like a maniac around the farm… then complain that my body is falling apart. lol I wonder if you ever thought of being a mentor, seems you would be like an angel.

    • I’m thrilled that you had just a few chores as a child and just got to be a child that’s great. I know you work hard now and that’s painful for you physically. You don’t have to feel bad about that.

      I don’t know if I’ve thought of being a mentor. I do have an 18 year old living with us right now who I love like a daughter. I guess before she moved with in us, and before we moved where we live now, that’s what I was to her. Thank you for you kindness. xo

  8. I guess that ‘emotional’ abuse does not get investigated unless for the most part there is also some physical.. that is recognized by others like teachers… but if a child seems upset or agitated at school I think the teachers should be taught to recognize those types of things and report them.. Diane

  9. My mother was a narcissist and she completely controlled me through work. I did all the things you describe, which I was a farm kid and I get that I had to do, but she also set up ridiculous impossible tasks I would have to do before I could go and play so that I would be unable to do it like cleaning out the entire basement. When I got older, it was things like carpentry or floor scraping: time consuming, hours and hours with noxious agents, backbreaking. Although I have no memory of injuries, I discovered years later that I have multiple broken vertebrae from all of the work, as well as horrible damage to my discs. I hadn’t made the connection with her being a narcissist, though. Interesting.

    • I’m so sorry you’ve been there too. You mentioned cleaning out the basement. Oh man that was constant threat in our family and the father knew full well I had some fears around it, which now is a full out phobia. These narcissists come up with all sorts of horrible ways to abuse and or torture us that the outside world can’t see. Wow that’s awful that you have such damage to your back from it too.

  10. Although I don’t relate to what you went through, I’m betting you occasionally hear the voice of your mother going off in your mind, telling you over and over what a turd you are. If that’s the case, let me tell you what I do with the voice stuck in my head that’s a result of my molestation. I tell it to shut up. I tell it I have no use for its opinion. I tell it to take a nice long walk off of a short pier. I tell it, IT is worthless and I am a daughter of God, worth more than diamonds. I hope that helps.

  11. oh ya i remember my abuse of my fathers hand voice and the never doing enough and walking on egg shells ….I gues Zoe im learning and feeling more this is were we making a difference talking up ..i chose therapy because i wanted to show my kids life isnt meant to be that way at all and slowly we reaping the benifits of this! And if you were a parent im sure you guys would be awesome parents because you know this stuff is just crap and not meant to be!!
    You amazing inspiration to me !!
    lots love lis

  12. I walked on eggshells all my young life too because I never knew what would set a parent off, but my parents did at least appreciate the work I did. I did a lot of work around the house when my mother went back to work when I was 12, but I was paid a good allowance for so doing. I would take on extra work (like ironing) to try to keep the explosions to a minimum (it seemed the more tired my mother was the more likely she or my father would blow up).

  13. I had a ton of chores as a child and yes a lot of them involved manual labor. Stacking wood, mowing the lawn, cleaning out the chicken house, standing thigh deep in duck shit and scooping it out of a pond that didn’t have a filtration or drainage system, etc. To give you an idea of the amount of work I had to do as a kid – I was a chubby kid and went on a diet for 1k calories a day. I lost 60lbs in two months.

    It was never “thank you for doing x,y and z” it was always “why didn’t you do this too?” Which went along with the usual stuff of “why would you want to do this? That’s a stupid idea. You should do X because it’s a good idea (my mom’s idea, I didn’t have a dad he left her and was afraid of her)

  14. I can’t say I’m doing good nowadays. I have had nothing but terrible relationships my whole life where I have been codependent. I left a 13 year relationship 3 years ago with a PA/Narc. I didn’t realise until a year after what he was. I’m now launched into a second marriage with a man I love in a bad financial situation where we live with his PA/Narc father. The last 2.5 years living here have been hell psychologically on both my husband and I. You can read my blog over at shitmyfildoes

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