Eight years ago, a coworker said something I’ll never forget. “You’re just a Project to your parents,” he told me. “You’re not a Person.”
At the time, I denied his statement six ways from Sunday. But his words stuck with me. Haunted me.
Yesterday, I took a long, long view of my family — the 10,000-foot view. I did this by very quickly perusing the 300 entries on my Timeline of Abuse spreadsheet. Reading it so quickly, between putting cookies in and taking them out of the oven, I suddenly was able to see the Forest and not the trees. Over 300 instances of abuse, insults and downright weirdness culminated in the conviction that he was right!
Narcissistic parents are really weird (and weird is a “nice” word; abusive is more accurate) because, to them, their kids are just Projects. Not People.
Narcissists treat their children as though they built them out of Legos. And you can do anything to a Lego Project.
Some narcissists welcome their babies, others hate them from birth. All of them are disappointed in them. And all narcissists consider their child to be a blank slate — to some extent. They don’t delight in discovering their child’s unique personality, encourage their particular likes and dislikes and celebrate their uniqueness.
To a narcissist, you are a blank USB flash drive. An unwritten hard drive. Their mission is to download what they want you to be, i.e. a clone of themselves..
Now, humans have certain rights. Remember these famous words?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal;
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;
that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
But what if you’re not human? What if you’re just a Lego Project created by a narcissist? What if they endowed you with life?
What if you’re just a Lego Project? What then?
Well, obviously you don’t have any rights — God-given or otherwise.
Obviously, they can kick the crap outta you anytime narcissistic collapse occurs and they hate themselves. Naturally, they will project all their vices onto you.
They can punish you anytime you point out holes in your narcissistic parent’s False Self. The false life they’ve created. Their false relationships, false marriage, false family life.
They can brainwash you anytime you show pain because, after all, you live in a Lego Fairytale. It’s a fairytale, I tell you. IT’S A FAIRYTALE. How dare you be unhappy!?! Smile, smile, SMILE…or I’ll give you something to cry about, you ungrateful brat!
They can remove pieces of you that they don’t like — your talent for art must go, replaced with their ambition to be a doctor. Your rounded tummy and ungraceful walk must go! How dare you not be perfect, like them?
But Lego Projects don’t need friends. They don’t need a social circle. Or field trips, experiences, fun. Or normalcy. None of that matters.
Perhaps worst of all, Legos don’t have a boundaries or privacy. So if your narcissistic parent fancies themselves to be doctors and demand that you remove your clothes, you do it! If they decide to examine your breasts during puberty, wash your genitals or check for signs of virginity, you have no choice. How can it be sexual abuse, they lie to themselves. You’re just a Lego! You have no more rights or boundaries or privacy than a little Lego doll.
Normal parents understand the teen years are when their children start severing the apron strings, testing their wings, falling down, dusting themselves off and trying again in their quest to become an independent, adult, unique person. They may dislike it, but they allow it.
Lego Projects don’t rebel…or they get the crap kicked outta them.
Lego Projects don’t become unique adults…they’re shamed for it.
Lego Projects simply don’t grow up.
They don’t. I didn’t. You didn’t. Not til much, much later…with our parents fighting us at every turn.
Narcissists, especially the engulfing kind, own their Lego Doll. Of course they do! They created them. Downloaded themselves into them. Cared for them. Built, took apart, redesigned, re-built and re-re-built them. That Lego belongs to them and they intend to play with it for eternity.
How dare you fall in love!? How dare you move away!? How dare you marry!? How dare you choose the career you want, rather than the one they chose for you? How dare you change religion!? HOW DARE YOU!?!
Those things are not you’re inalienable right. Hell no! They are in your parents’ gift. You can only have them if they give ’em to you — and they ain’t given ’em. They haven’t worked so had on their Lego Project just to throw it away!
You’re a Lego Project. You belong to them. No matter how old, how gray, how wrinkled you may get, they own you. You may have children and grandchildren of your own. They own them too: Lego Grand-Projects.
And by the way, they’re not happy with how you turned out. Time to remove some pieces and replace them with other Lego pieces they like better.
You’re a disappointment. A perpetual disappointment. And after everything they did for you, how hard they worked…this is how you repay them!?!
As you can see, I was very sarcastic when I wrote this article inspired by actual events in the lives of myself and my readers. Narcissists may be good at playing with Projects, but they suck at raising People. People like you and like me. We’re not Projects and we’re not Legos. Yes, we are people…humans…with “certain inalienable rights.” Fancy that!
Narcissists make some amazingly weird parents. Yes, abusive but also batcrap weird. That’s what struck me the most from the 10,000-foot view. On the one hand, my parents seem downright obsessed with the Lego Project that was me. Obsessed! There wasn’t one part of me they didn’t work very hard on — from recommending I change my tone of voice, to shaming me for my tastebuds to trying to redesign how I walk and constantly trying to change my emotions — there wasn’t one part of this Lego Project they didn’t try to change. There was no privacy, no boundaries and yes, they fancied themselves wiser than doctors. They told me what to think and feel before every event and spent hours brainwashing my emotions to be happy, happy, happy, to reflect a fake Fairytale Family that existed only in their imaginations and public façade. Years were spent lecturing, preaching, yelling me into their religion. That was perhaps the most painful of all. They never let go, never stopped removing my Lego parts and trying to replace them with other parts, were never wholly satisfied with their Lego Project and never let me grow-up. Not really. I had the accouterments, but I wasn’t free! I finally got so depressed, I was emotionally dying. In retrospect, I’m horrified by how low I had sunk emotionally.
If you are twenty, thirty, sixty, seventy and still suffering from your narcissistic parents, I’m here to tell you: the pain will not end until you figure this out:
You’re NOT a person to them. You’re just a Project.
A Project they will never be happy with
and never complete.
Because they’re projecting their unhappiness with themselves onto you.
I suppose it gives them something to obsess about, so they can avoid facing their own non-existent self-esteem. Their problems. The cracks and fissures in that False Self they’ve created to fool everyone.
And if that’s true, what do you owe them? What do you owe someone who doesn’t even consider you to be human? Anything?
I don’t think so! You’ve already gone above and beyond! Spent years of misery trying to be the person who could finally please them. News Flash! It’ll never happen. They’ll just keep moving your cheese.
So, now that you know the truth, whatcha gonna do about it? My suggestion: Go No Contact now and then go live your happy, human life!
You’ve suffered enough!