Tell me if this sounds familiar: "I never saw a guilt trip I didn't like." Uh, huh! Is that true or is it true!? If you, like me, have had your life shot through with narcissistic abuse, you too may be "Addicted to Guilt."
Who taught you about love? Who taught you how to love? What did it look like? How did it sound? Act? Walk? Talk? Think?
How many times did your narcissist insist that you be "sweet"? Accuse you of not being "sweet"? Remind you to be "sweet"? Shame you for forgetting to be "sweet"? It seemed that the end-all-be-all goal for us (especially we women) was to be sweet — because narcissists can walk all over sweet people with nary a repercussion.
No Contact seems so extreme, even wicked, in this "family is everything" culture where PSAs remind parents to "talk to your children." (Wow! I can't believe that actually needs to be said outloud!) But when you think about it, No Contact is a silent, ignored part of the American culture. You might even say that without No Contact, America as we know it today wouldn't even exist!
Some scientific research claims that narcissists are "born not made." Well, I refuse to do such a grave disservice to suffering narcissists everywhere by just throwing up my hands in that way. You can have the worst parents and become a narcissist or have the worst parents and not become a narcissist. As a former narcissist, I know that it's a choice. That being said, there are certain kinds of fathers who "predestine" their sons towards narcissism. Here are three such fathers. Their similarities are striking. They all deprived their sons of of love, of approval and of validation as a man when their son reached adulthood thus tempting them to narcissism. One of these sons became a narcissist, one did not and the other...I have no idea!
Sometimes it takes just the right "trigger" to make you see the shockingly sad truth of your own life. In an old episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, I had one of those "aha" moments. While the narcissistic restauranteur/husband wandered around his £80,000-in-debt failing restaurant, verbally abusing his wife, the long-suffering codependent woman insisted the cameras be shut off so no one would see her husband like that.
Spoiled! That's the usual, flippant conclusion. Pissed off adult children of "wonderful" parents who tried their damnedest to be perfect parents are simply butt-hurt spoiled brats. Right? Wrong!
They were my houseguests for only one night. On my turf. Visitors in my "castle." Years after their brief and painful visit, I've realized just how disrespectful they were. But subtly, oh, so subtly disrespectful as only narcissists can be. If you're hosting narcissists in your home, let's just say that you're definitely not "entertaining angels unawares."
Invalidation: Marco Pierre White claims “I didn’t make Gordon Ramsay cry. That was his choice to cry.”
Inspiration strikes in the oddest places. Memories are triggered when least expected, sometimes in the kitchen. There's an urban legend, and apparently it's true, that three Michelin star Chef Marco Pierre White made a young pre-Michelin star Gordon Ramsay cry! Quelle horreur. Known in the 1980s as the enfant terrible of the culinary world, Marco was renowned for yelling, screaming and swearing at his staff and, five minutes later, calling them "darling" as if nothing had happened. Marco's response to the Ramsay legend was fascinating. He said, and I quote exactly: "No, I didn't make Gordon Ramsay cry. He made himself cry. That was his choice to cry."
Some things are so deeply ingrained, so organic to the very fabric of our being that we can't even see it! I had a rare glimpse into myself this week when I suddenly realized how intensely narcissistic abuse informed who I like and who I don't like. Think about it. I bet the same is true for you.