When Family Is A Cult (Pt 2 of 2)

Sometimes, families behave like cults. Oh, I don't mean they have off-the-wall doctrine. Rather, it's the dynamics within the family that are very cult-like. This is often true of narcissistic families, especially the religious mine.


Here’s to the Invisible People…and the Narcissists Who Made Them Disappear

[TRIGGER WARNING] Sitting in the basement, head in hands, I whispered, "Don't exist. Don't exist! DON'T EXIST!" over and over to my thirty-year-old self. It was a desperate attempt to quell my needs, my desires, my wants. Natural needs, normal desires, valid wants. The ones the narcissists labeled as bad...unsafe...verboten.

How fervently I wished to be invisible. That would solve everything. Goodness knows I did my best to achieve invisibility. To blend into the woodwork. Since my teens, I'd crept through life, sneaking around the edges, walking cat-like and silent on the balls of my feet. Smiling constantly to keep everyone else happy. Talking so softly no one could hear me. Agreeable. Catatonic. Servant-hearted à la codependence. Non-objectionable.

But it wasn't enough. I still got into trouble. And each time, I reaffirmed my resolve to be not exist.


High School Commencement Horror!

Eighteen years is a long time to keep silent about how narcissism ruined my 1998 High School graduation ceremony. What happened on that awful day highlights how narcissists steal the limelight at every event and celebration...if humanly possible.


My First Therapy Session!

It's 3 a.m. I'm under a hot shower, trying desperately to wash away the filth I feel after spilling the beans on the abuse I endured to my new psychologist. Seven pages of narcissistic abuse. And that was the "Cliff Notes" version.


Privacy? Fugetaboutit!

Narcissists are incredibly predictable. They come in vanilla (neglecting) and chocolate (engulfing), but the actions actions of both varieties can still be anticipated. That's why children of narcissists have shockingly similar experiences growing up. Take lack of privacy, for example!

Yesterday, I wrote an article entitled Pain, Boundaries and the Narcissist. After all, boundaries is just another word for privacy, isn't it. Two sides of the same coin. A Facebook friend asked me, "How do you set boundaries on a narc?" I drew a blank. But I pondered her question as I fried some chicken.

Frankly, I don't think it's possible. I tried it. It didn't work.

You may try to set 'em. But the attitude of narcissists is, "Damn the boundaries, boys. Full speed ahead!"

I guess that's why most of us decide to go "No Contact."


Pain, Boundaries and the Narcissist

"Mommy," I sobbed. "Tell Daddy to stop hurting me when we play!" Smiling she responded, "Now, Honey, you need to tell him yourself." Thinking of his blackout rages, I wept, "But I can't! He'll get mad at me! Please, Mommy!?" I was five years old. It would be another thirty years before I realized that normal fathers don't hurt their children.


A Quasi-Ménage à Trois from Hell: Smother Mother, Mama’s Boy, Jealous Wife

"Howaaaaaard," screams Mrs. Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory, "have you seen my girdle?" Welcome to the private Hell of a Mama's Boy.

Oh, I know the smothering Mrs. Wolowitz and her bubbala, Howard, are just characters invented for a TV show. But their cringe-worthy relationship is shockingly true-to-life. A concentrated distillation of the covertly incestuous relationship between a smothering helicopter mom and her precious "little boy."

Love Gone Wrong

If you're not familiar with the Wolowitz's warped relationship on The Big Bang Theory, click her to watch clips on YouTube.

Somewhere in the quagmire of dysfunctional relationship skills, neediness, boundary bashing and hidden agendas, I think there's love. A mother's love for her son and a son's love for his mom. But as Danny Kaye said in White Christmas, "Well, if that's love, then somebody goofed."