Struggling to reflect and validate myself

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115522

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Struggling to reflect and validate myself
« on: January 20, 2021, 08:13:56 PM »
I struggle to articulate my emotions and thoughts, no doubt a byproduct of my trauma, so I hope this post doesn't come across as muddled. I have tried to spend a lot of time reflecting before writing this and sharing my experiences but it is extremely difficult for me to quiet my mind and genuinely focus on my trauma without feeling weak or dramatic.

Six months ago I cut my uNPD Mom out of my life. Our relationship growing up was emotionally incestuous, where I replaced my dad as her emotional caregiver. She would cry to me about her childhood trauma, talk with me about her marriage dynamic with my dad, walked around topless in front of me (this continued up to when I left for college at 18), and even had me drive her to a mental hospital shortly after I got my license at 16. Things got worse after I started a family of my own - she has called my wife a bitch, liar, slut, threatened to physically assault her, and threaten to sue her (for on what grounds I will never know). Her treatment towards me also got significantly more hostile as she felt me slipping away. Her adjectives to describe me - selfish, ungrateful, disrespectful, stupid, immature, dramatic - continue to shape the way I view myself. Everything I am proud of and am most happy for in my young adult life was disregarded and ridiculed - instead I was told by her that the sweet little boy she raised is dead to her and that I have become an immature, mentally-unwell basket case. Her unrelenting insistence that she needs me and I need her has led me to have nightmares of her raping me and physically attacking me, which has left me waking up to my wife screaming because I violently kicked my wife out of the bed. As a teenager, I had a recurring dream that I beat my Mom to death - at the time I had no conscious anger of her and had no idea why I dreamt this repeatedly. I was homeschooled up until college so for a lot of my childhood she was the person I felt closest to in the world.

My dad knows all of this (including the extremely odd and disturbing dreams), with some of the verbal abuse happening right in front of him. He did, and continues, to do nothing. When I cut my mom out I left the door wide open for my dad and even invited him to my son's birthday party. He did not come and I talk to him no more than I talk to my mom, which means never. A few months ago my mom sent me the classic last-ditch effort voicemail to guilt me back in - she said my dad and her are getting old and life is too short. Why did my mom group herself with my dad when I made it abundantly clear to my dad that we could still have a relationship?

She left this voicemail months ago and I am just now beginning to reflect and process the anger and disappointment I feel towards my dad. He completely failed me growing up; he distanced himself from the family dynamic and left me vulnerable to the childhood abuse I long thought he had no awareness of. My dad considers hard work the ultimate success, and I was willing to look past his absence and emotional shortcomings as a father because I thought he didn't know better. However even when he explicitly knew, and witnessed, the extremely obvert verbal and emotional abuse towards myself and my spouse, he decided to make excuses for my mom and continue to shape me as a human doormat so he wouldn't get in the line of fire.

The signs of an emotionally absent father were all there growing up - constantly out of the house on business trips, minimizing my emotions, never initiated any "tough" emotional conversations, rarely emotionally present during family time - and yet I still sometimes don't see it. I forget that when I called him, sobbing, that I took mom to a mental hospital, his response was "do I have to fly home today?". I forget that he would repeatedly pretend he left me when out in public in crowded spaces (as a child I had horrible anxiety when my parents were out-of-view). I forget that when, time after time, I cried out for help with my mom he would belittle and get defensive. I forget that I have told him repeatedly I want him in my life and my son's life, only for him to voluntarily go no-contact with me because I cut my mom out.


I started writing this post after reading sonofanarc's "Reflections on growing up in a narcissistic family". I have wanted to share my experiences and hopefully get a little advice along the way for awhile now, but I finally posted because sonofanarc's post read more like an op-ed than a cry for help and I felt comfortable trying to emulate that. There is a huge part of me that considers my trauma as "no big deal" and that I'm a weak, selfish person with little-to-no emotional control who has let their childhood fleas negatively affect their adult life. I have considered my childhood normal and comfortable for so long that I feel awkward and dramatic for saying otherwise. My dad's focus on work provided me with a materialistically comfy childhood, and from what I remember I was genuinely content with my isolated life at home and  caregiver role. I'm trying to come to terms with my childhood and mourn the disconnect with my parents. I am trying to heal my inner-child while my inner-child invalidates my current feelings and insists he was fine with what was happening.

Has anyone else experienced invalidation from their past self and finds it difficult to emotionally navigate and grow from FOG-abuse? At the very least, I hope this post helps someone in a similar situation. Although I can't seem to apply it to myself yet, I know that it is okay to change your opinion on abuse that happened years ago even if you were seemingly ambivalent about it when it was happening.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 08:19:56 PM by 115522 »

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JollyJazz

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Re: Struggling to reflect and validate myself
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2021, 08:28:53 PM »
Hi 115522,

I'm so sorry to hear about what you went through!!!

It sounds like the 'its no big deal' thing was a huge coping mechanism for the trauma that you went through for so many years.

How awful!

But part of you, the part that dreams, was trying hard to break through into your conciousness. It sounds like you've been so piled with guilt it's like part of your mind won't let you process your (completely justifiable) anger at her selfishness and abuse.

Yes, this is very normal. There's a great post here on this website in the glossary about 'abuse amnesia'.

I struggled with it for years, but I'm getting there.

Do you have a good therapist to help you process this trauma?

I'm so sorry you went through this!!

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SunnyMeadow

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Re: Struggling to reflect and validate myself
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2021, 08:43:18 PM »
I think you are very articulate in describing your emotions and thoughts. I'm very shocked and saddened to read your story. Although I don't know that I can offer much input because my story involves a different brand of uNPD mother. But I know how awful they are.

It's sad that your dad won't have a relationship with you because of your mom. That seems to happen a lot. My dad goes along with my uNPD mom and it's lead to him having a very lonely life. There's no one left from his side of the family. She has dumped everyone on his side, and he went along with it.

They sound like two people you're far better off without. I say, feel that anger towards your dad. He deserves it. Thankfully your mom is gone from your life.  Have you had any therapy? It may be helpful so you can work out all these feelings.

 :hug:




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115522

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Re: Struggling to reflect and validate myself
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2021, 09:11:53 PM »
Thank you both for the quick and thoughtful responses.

Yes, this is very normal. There's a great post here on this website in the glossary about 'abuse amnesia'.

I struggled with it for years, but I'm getting there.

I'm sorry to hear that this was a long journey for you, but it is validating nonetheless that this is a struggle for most people. Abuse amnesia is something my wife has suggested I may have multiple times. Unfortunately I am prone to not take any of this seriously and never actually did reading on it because I feel my experiences aren't bad enough to do research on. I think it's time for me to actually dive in though.

I hope you are continuing to do well for yourself! Thank you for your post.


With regards to therapy, I have gone to 2 different ones with an emphasis more on my current behavioral problems (fleas) than my past. Both therapists said I had a "calculated and removed" manner when talking about my past, which I suppose should have been a red flag that I'm avoiding and not truly processing it (my wife has repeatedly said the same). I stopped therapy in September (started in Feb) because my therapist and I thought I made good progress on myself (it was DBT therapy).

I feel like I have somewhat regressed since leaving therapy, or perhaps my issues were never fixed to begin with. I am learning that by minimizing my own trauma I am also minimizing my fleas. By telling myself my own experiences "weren't that bad" I am willingly perpetuating some of the fleas that DBT was supposed to stop. I try not to get frustrated with myself but I feel disappointed in myself for not confronting my own trauma first because I think it made DBT therapy especially difficult and somewhat ineffective in the long run.

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JollyJazz

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Re: Struggling to reflect and validate myself
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2021, 10:21:50 PM »
Hi 115522,

I've just started on a book called the Inner Child workbook. This might also be useful to you to start on these issues? ☺️ https://www.amazon.com/Inner-Child-Workbook-What-your/dp/087477635X

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Hepatica

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Re: Struggling to reflect and validate myself
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2021, 02:19:43 PM »
I had an emotionally absent father and a very overt NPD mother. I think she was suffering from severe CPTSD from her childhood, but she also didn't care how her outbursts and behaviours affected her kids.

Oddly, much of my anger that I feel is directed to my absent father who failed to protect us and who left us alone with this woman who was full of tyrannical rage.

I wonder if it's easier for me to feel the anger toward my father because he was the less scary one?

When I finally felt the anger toward my mother, the realization that what I went thru was unacceptable was clear, and I moved into grief. I sought help then. Coming to that clarity can be really hard because we have defence mechanisms that kick in. I still find myself numbing myself, rather than feeling the feelings that come up. It's really hard to feel them, but they do seem to bring with them a gift, a type of self-protection which is now being cultivated into self-compassion and for the first time I know that i am experiencing progress with my healing.

« Last Edit: January 21, 2021, 02:22:00 PM by Hepatica »
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Wolf

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Re: Struggling to reflect and validate myself
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2021, 06:53:20 PM »
I struggle to articulate my emotions and thoughts, no doubt a byproduct of my trauma, so I hope this post doesn't come across as muddled. I have tried to spend a lot of time reflecting before writing this and sharing my experiences but it is extremely difficult for me to quiet my mind and genuinely focus on my trauma without feeling weak or dramatic.

Six months ago I cut my uNPD Mom out of my life. Our relationship growing up was emotionally incestuous, where I replaced my dad as her emotional caregiver. She would cry to me about her childhood trauma, talk with me about her marriage dynamic with my dad, walked around topless in front of me (this continued up to when I left for college at 18), and even had me drive her to a mental hospital shortly after I got my license at 16. Things got worse after I started a family of my own - she has called my wife a bitch, liar, slut, threatened to physically assault her, and threaten to sue her (for on what grounds I will never know). Her treatment towards me also got significantly more hostile as she felt me slipping away. Her adjectives to describe me - selfish, ungrateful, disrespectful, stupid, immature, dramatic - continue to shape the way I view myself. Everything I am proud of and am most happy for in my young adult life was disregarded and ridiculed - instead I was told by her that the sweet little boy she raised is dead to her and that I have become an immature, mentally-unwell basket case. Her unrelenting insistence that she needs me and I need her has led me to have nightmares of her raping me and physically attacking me, which has left me waking up to my wife screaming because I violently kicked my wife out of the bed. As a teenager, I had a recurring dream that I beat my Mom to death - at the time I had no conscious anger of her and had no idea why I dreamt this repeatedly. I was homeschooled up until college so for a lot of my childhood she was the person I felt closest to in the world.

My dad knows all of this (including the extremely odd and disturbing dreams), with some of the verbal abuse happening right in front of him. He did, and continues, to do nothing. When I cut my mom out I left the door wide open for my dad and even invited him to my son's birthday party. He did not come and I talk to him no more than I talk to my mom, which means never. A few months ago my mom sent me the classic last-ditch effort voicemail to guilt me back in - she said my dad and her are getting old and life is too short. Why did my mom group herself with my dad when I made it abundantly clear to my dad that we could still have a relationship?

She left this voicemail months ago and I am just now beginning to reflect and process the anger and disappointment I feel towards my dad. He completely failed me growing up; he distanced himself from the family dynamic and left me vulnerable to the childhood abuse I long thought he had no awareness of. My dad considers hard work the ultimate success, and I was willing to look past his absence and emotional shortcomings as a father because I thought he didn't know better. However even when he explicitly knew, and witnessed, the extremely obvert verbal and emotional abuse towards myself and my spouse, he decided to make excuses for my mom and continue to shape me as a human doormat so he wouldn't get in the line of fire.

The signs of an emotionally absent father were all there growing up - constantly out of the house on business trips, minimizing my emotions, never initiated any "tough" emotional conversations, rarely emotionally present during family time - and yet I still sometimes don't see it. I forget that when I called him, sobbing, that I took mom to a mental hospital, his response was "do I have to fly home today?". I forget that he would repeatedly pretend he left me when out in public in crowded spaces (as a child I had horrible anxiety when my parents were out-of-view). I forget that when, time after time, I cried out for help with my mom he would belittle and get defensive. I forget that I have told him repeatedly I want him in my life and my son's life, only for him to voluntarily go no-contact with me because I cut my mom out.


I started writing this post after reading sonofanarc's "Reflections on growing up in a narcissistic family". I have wanted to share my experiences and hopefully get a little advice along the way for awhile now, but I finally posted because sonofanarc's post read more like an op-ed than a cry for help and I felt comfortable trying to emulate that. There is a huge part of me that considers my trauma as "no big deal" and that I'm a weak, selfish person with little-to-no emotional control who has let their childhood fleas negatively affect their adult life. I have considered my childhood normal and comfortable for so long that I feel awkward and dramatic for saying otherwise. My dad's focus on work provided me with a materialistically comfy childhood, and from what I remember I was genuinely content with my isolated life at home and  caregiver role. I'm trying to come to terms with my childhood and mourn the disconnect with my parents. I am trying to heal my inner-child while my inner-child invalidates my current feelings and insists he was fine with what was happening.

Has anyone else experienced invalidation from their past self and finds it difficult to emotionally navigate and grow from FOG-abuse? At the very least, I hope this post helps someone in a similar situation. Although I can't seem to apply it to myself yet, I know that it is okay to change your opinion on abuse that happened years ago even if you were seemingly ambivalent about it when it was happening.

Your childhood sounds somewhat similar to mine in that I was also homeschooled through college and so was forced to spend way more time with my mother than was healthy. The issues with my mom were slightly different though, and dealt more with having to deal with her uncontrollable rage and tyrannical control over my entire life. I never had disturbing dreams like you mentioned and that's likely because I did not submit and passively take the abuse--in fact, I was always a very rebellious kid who would often end up yelling right back at my mom, although it usually ended in me crying. But the bottom line is that even when I was a young child, I never was submissive to her and always fought back, so I didn't really have repressed emotion at that time. I have always been rebellious and unable to respect authority or tolerate being told what to do by anyone, likely due to my childhood upbringing (although I did develop intense sexual fantasies about submitting to women, also likely due to my childhood upbringing). I don't mean to rant about myself, but my point is that everyone processes abuse differently depending on their personality, and in your case, there are probably a lot of subconscious emotions that you have and don't even realize. If you were passive as a child and continue to be passive as an adult, you may have a lot of repressed anger and emotion that you don't recognize and need to deal with somehow. Exactly how to deal with is for you to figure out with a professional therapist, though.