Why didn't I tell anyone?

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Why didn't I tell anyone?
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2021, 08:12:49 AM »
Everything you said is the truth, Leonor.

I got one of those, “We always thought your parents were odd,” from a family friend soon after I started to no longer accept their behavior. But then, “But we thought it was only when we were around.” What the actual…? This same person also later said they thought my father would have a breakthrough when his mother passed away. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.

As an adult now, what would you do in these other adults’ situations? People have written about little things like “just happening” to have medicine in their purse and such, but even that seems like such a small thing in the face of the overarching situation of constant abuse and neglect, and I can see how those covert helps almost legitimize the power of the status quo.

I had a situation where I did call CPS on a family, unrelated to my FOO. It’s been a long time and I never got any follow up. I saw many parallels between this family and the way I grew up, and it’s obvious to me all is not well. Where I am the reporter is supposed to be apprised of the outcome of a case. So either the intervention is ongoing, they just neglected to follow up with me, or nothing was ever done. I fear the latter, even though I spoke directly with a caseworker and was told there would be follow up and that my report seemed well founded. I keep distance from this family for the sake of my own kids and myself. And looking back on my childhood I see many of my classmates’ families making a similar choice. My family was weird and not a good choice for close friends for their kids, even if I was able to actually get their kids to like me. My social skills were, er, lacking. I get it. But it left me even more isolated and at the mercy of my parents.

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JustKathy

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Re: Why didn't I tell anyone?
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2021, 07:27:52 PM »
Anyway, if we couldn't confide in our closest other family members for whatever reason, if they wouldn't protect us, what made us think anyone would?   I think that is a big reason.

There's definitely some truth to that. When I was in high school and things were at their worst, my enFather stood firmly behind my mother and believed every lie she told him. The fact that he always sided with her made my situation pretty hopeless. I think he was afraid of her too and had decided it was better me than him. But yeah, if my own father wouldn't protect me, why would I believe that a grandparent or aunt/uncle would have.

I think that my enabling father also helped to normalize the situation. When relatives came over to visit, they saw him standing by her without a hint that something might be wrong. Years after I left home one of my aunts told me that my mother was a nutcase and that she had gotten incredibly lucky meeting a great guy like my dad, that he was "the best thing to ever happen to her." That was definitely true, just not in the way my she had meant it.

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JustKathy

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Re: Why didn't I tell anyone?
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2021, 08:06:03 PM »
Cordelia,

I was in high school in the late 70s when NPD was not yet identified as a disorder, so no one was going to call CPS for me, but I often wonder what would have happened if someone had. I imagine they would have sent a caseworker to my house, but I really doubt I would have told them the truth. I would have been too afraid to. If they didn't believe me and left me behind with my mother things would not have ended well for me.

On the other side, if I told the truth and they did believe me, what would have happened to me? I imagine I would have been taken from my home and placed in the foster system. What small bit of safety I felt with my friends, my school, my room, and other familiar places would be gone. Plus my experience with the foster system wasn't a good one. When I was 15-ish, my parents were approved as foster parents and I had a younger foster brother for about a year. My mother tried to shape and manipulate that poor boy, and when he resisted she called CPS to take him back, tossing him out like garbage. Watching my mother mistreat a foster child was so awful that I would have kept my mouth shut fearing the same thing would happen to me. As bad as things were, they could have gotten even worse.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Why didn't I tell anyone?
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2021, 02:00:09 PM »
What was to tell? I didn't know it was abuse until I was in my 40's and I landed here. I had no friends outside my time at school so I had no idea how other children lived. Anyone outside was not to be trusted with anything personal and everything was personal. Even extended family wasn't trusted but they were all pretty much the same anyway. Generational trauma. Plus enF not only actively disassociated he told me starting at age 6 it was my job to soothe her when she was in a rage by telling me her mood was my fault and I had to go apologize and fix it.  Well into my late 40's I was still telling childhood stories and laughing ... until I started to notice the blank stares. By then I had begun my journey here that started with one simple question. I asked my hubby "do you think my mom is passive aggressive?" and he looked at me like I had two heads and just said "yeeeesss" really low and slow not knowing his lifelong dream of my eyes being opened was about to happen in a huge way.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2021, 02:02:52 PM by Spring Butterfly »
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· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
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JustKathy

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Re: Why didn't I tell anyone?
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2021, 02:46:41 PM »
What was to tell? I didn't know it was abuse until I was in my 40's and I landed here. I had no friends outside my time at school so I had no idea how other children lived. Anyone outside was not to be trusted with anything personal and everything was personal.

It was that way for me until my final year of high school. Nmother's tactics had always been mental manipulation, but with my 18th birthday approaching she knew she was losing control and her abuse went off the charts. She went from controlling me with lies to planting cigarettes and drugs in my purse and framing me for raiding my father's liquor cabinet. The sabotage was constant. Then it became physical neglect. She told me my severe tonsilitis was an infection I got from kissing boys and that I would have to tough it out in order to learn my lesson. That's when I realized she was insane. I was terrified.

The more I write about this the angrier I become, realizing that my enFather saw his daughter lying on the couch suffering from a painful infection and did nothing. My sister never questioned it. No one did a damn thing to help me.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Why didn't I tell anyone?
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2021, 06:48:40 PM »
That’s horrific and I’m sorry that happened to you
· Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
· Individuation is one key to emotional freedom
· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
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JustKathy

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Re: Why didn't I tell anyone?
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2021, 08:56:57 PM »
Thank you, Spring Butterfly. I'm sorry for what you went through too. Big hug...
 :bighug:

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Why didn't I tell anyone?
« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2021, 06:05:16 PM »
Thank you!
· Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
· Individuation is one key to emotional freedom
· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
my Empowered Growth blog

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Fortuna

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Re: Why didn't I tell anyone?
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2021, 08:50:30 PM »
It sounds like maybe you weren't sure what your aunt or grandmother would really do? If your aunt was smuggling in cough syrup instead of taking you to the ER if your mother wouldn't take you to the doctor, it sounds like maybe they wouldn't actually do anything to remove you from the situation, or at least you weren't sure they would be able to overcome the social consequences of stepping in and speaking out. 
It's also possible that you viewed this as normal behavior within the family, so family wasn't the safest option. When we are growing up what we are around is normal even if it's bad, horrible, and dark thought inducing. Recognizing the behavior as actual abuse as opposed to bad parenting or different parenting itself is hard at that age. And if this was pre-internet I would have had no idea where to go for help.

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JustKathy

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Re: Why didn't I tell anyone?
« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2021, 07:06:38 PM »
It's also possible that you viewed this as normal behavior within the family, so family wasn't the safest option. When we are growing up what we are around is normal even if it's bad, horrible, and dark thought inducing. Recognizing the behavior as actual abuse as opposed to bad parenting or different parenting itself is hard at that age. And if this was pre-internet I would have had no idea where to go for help.

This is so true. I accepted it as normal until I was seventeen and the abuse went from gaslighting to actual neglect. That's when I knew something was wrong with my mother. I went to my high school guidance counselor for help. She thought I was making up stories because why would my mother frame me for smoking and drinking? This was the late 70s. Not only pre-Internet, but NPD had not yet been recognized as a disorder and wasn't in the DSM.

Kids today are fortunate to have the Internet as a resource, though I'm not sure if their situation is all that much better. Nmothers are so incredibly convincing. If a child went for help and CPS came to check on the family, the spouse and siblings would defend that mother. It would take someone who specializes in NPD/narcissistic abuse to see through the facade and recognize what's happening.