False Guilt: #SorryNotSorry

Dear Parents, I'm sorry you can't accept me for who I am. You drove me away and now, you're missing out on a wonderful daughter and son-in-law.

Oh, you wanted a baby in 1980. You just didn't want me. You wouldn't have accepted any baby. For you cannot accept yourself. Because no one ever accepted you.

Through no fault of your own, you're both the Scapegoats of your families. It's a role you were assigned....


A Narcissist Drove Me to OCD…then Forbade It

Without my OCD stress relief, I knew I'd explode. Dad's rages drove my stress level off the charts. Then he forbade dermatillomania, my only stress relief. It was torturous! And I wasn't the only one in agony.

Once upon a time, there was a happy little family. A narcissistic Daddy who ran the show. A sweet, codependent Mommy ("Little Warden") who did everything he said. And their sweet, obedient Little Project, the apple of their eye, who provided tons and tons of narcissistic supply. Me.

Things limped along pretty well for the first fifteen years, if you overlook Dad's routine blackout rages. But sooner or later, the proverbial shit will hit the proverbial fan. They never told me exactly what happened, but I have my suspicions.

Suddenly, this nice normal family went from happy and peaceful to Hurricane Narcissist...overnight. Cracks and fissures appeared in the foundation of Dad and Mom's marriage. Everyone's stress went through the roof.


Hello Narcissist. Goodbye Normalcy.

When did it happen? When did life flip upside-down? When did normalcy flee? When was my last day as a normal human being? Ah, common sense, alas, I never knew thee.

Luckily, "normal" is my husband's middle name. By marrying him, I finally got to live like everyone else. What a shock! A pleasant shock. A wonderful shock! What I'd always wanted.

An example, you say? Oh, okay. Here's a classic example of what I'm...


Dude! I’m Your Daughter, Not Your Wife!

Cringe-worthy. Kinda weird. Definitely uncomfortable. But also, flattering. My emotions ran this gamut every Tuesday and Sunday evening, the times Dad demanded I schedule to be spent, alone, with him. Playing music together. Gossiping about his wife/my mother to me. Pawing, I mean, patting me.

On the one hand, I was flattered (and guilty!) that he seemed to like me better than my mother, his wife of thirty years. We bonded over the pain and frustration her paranoia, her menopausal idiosyncrasies and her über-control caused us. Triangulation at its finest! (Look it up!)

On the other hand, I never felt comfortable around the man. His rages terrified me. His depressions worried me. His  teasing wounded me. His hands hurt me. And the way his eyes constantly followed me freaked me out.


When a Narcissist “Gets Religion,” You Get Screwed!

Beware the religious narcissist. They speak with the omniscient voice of God. Wield the sword of His judgment. Brandish the rod of His power. They wear the mantle of His righteousness. They goin' straight to Heaven, baby. And you, you back-slidden heathen? Well, you ain't!

Exploitation of Holy Scripture is at its finest when you give a narcissist a Bible. In fact, all cult leaders have narcissistic tendencies. You can take it to the bank!


I’m Just Teasing! You’re Too Sensitive. Toughen up!

Narcissists have mean, nasty tongues. Duh! Unfortunately, the social convention of "niceness" puts a cramp in their style. Plan B: Couch the meanness in humor. It's called teasing. Now they can be as mean as they want, with plausible deniability. They ain't dun nuthin'. You're just too sensitive.

As far back as I can remember, Dad teased me. Constantly. Mom put it down to his whole family being "smart lips."
But this wasn't ordinary, ridiculous teasing. This wasn't calling me "Thou pribbling pottle-deep skainsmate!" or "Thou qualling ill-breeded popinjay!" Ah, Shakespeare knew how to do insults the right way!
No, these teases always contained a kernel of truth. As the custodian of my character, Dad believed it was his God-given right to point out my many flaws. And as the obedient child, it was incumbent on me to be humble and open to his criticisms. That's what made his teasing so painful. It also denied me any grounds for lodging a valid complaint.

Here's just one little example. No matter what time I got up in the morning, I got teased. Getting up early was met with a sarcastic, "Well! To what do we deserve this honor!?!" Getting up late was met with, "Well, look who's up! Good morning, or should I say, 'Good Afternoon'? Hahahahaha!"

I know, I know. It doesn't sound mean. That Lenora girl must be too darn sensitive, right? Ah, but you don't know the backstory. There's always a backstory, isn't there?


Why Can’t I Cry? The Importance of Self-Compassion

I've got the leakiest tear ducts on the planets. Seems like I'm always sniffling about this or weeping about that. If it's not adorable videos of babies making my eyes well up, it's videos of ecstatic dogs welcoming their master home from serving overseas. Any sentimental YouTube video can get me hullabalooing into my hankie in no time. It came as quite a shock to my husband when we married in 2012. Now he thinks I'm both hysterical funny and extremely soft-hearted.

There's only one scenario where my tear ducts dry up. My own pain. I simply cannot cry for myself. Tried it. Made all the right noises. Huffed and puffed. Nothin'. Eyes remained dry as a bone.

And it's a huge problem. Tears aren't just salty water. Their chemical compositions vary depending on the emotion that stimulated them. Even their structure when seen under a microscope is vastly different depending on the scenario. Personally, I can feel my heart aching behind my eyes. It's a kind of burning, kind of pressurized sensation behind my eyeballs. Only tears release the pain in both my eyes and my heart. It feels like tears purge the toxic chemicals in the tears, but perhaps I'm just being fanciful.

Which brings us back to the original problem. I can't cry. And too often my original pain becomes translated into the secondary emotion of anger.