Wednesday, January 27, 2021


When we are young we very wisely adapt to our circumstances to stay safe and to have the protection of adults. We make use of strategies quite instinctively according to our particular circumstances. Perhaps one learns as a child to be agreeable, or not to ask for anything, or to melt into the background. At the time, that's wise.

However, the very same strategies that kept us safe as a child are not useful to us as adults. Without being able to advocate for ourselves without the burden of thoughts such as we mustn't make a fuss, or to be seen is dangerous, or maybe we are not worthy of more, we put ourselves in dangerous situations.

It was a shock to my system to finally realize, after some particularly abhorrent behavior, that I had grown up in a narcissistic family model. Both parents were self involved, and I realized that some time ago, but I hadn't been willing to see that my only sibling was narcissistic too, taking what he could get, colluding with our mother for more. It took a series of lies, and of trying to turn the tables on me to see that he was dangerous to me. 

It took finally taking in completely that my mother's sister was her 'flying monkey' and that communication with her needed to be ceased completely and immediately.

Nearly a month after what  I refer to as 'the cafe scene', I visited my mother in the Aged Care home and brought her dog, whom I had been minding for the neighbor she gave it to whilst they were on holiday.

It was a tender sort of meeting, the two of us. She wanted to talk about the above event, and I said that I was in no place to do so. But, I did correct an impression she had made up that I said she was a bad mother. I said no such thing, merely reminding her that day, that when she said she had done all these things for me, that I said it was a two way relationship and that I had done many things for her over the course of my life.

She told me said loved me, an extraordinarily rare statement from her, and I said, "I love you too. Always have". And, I hugged her.

She called my brother and asked him to come over. I was quiet. He arrived and was immediately hostile. I was incredibly upset and tears started to fall. But, I held my ground. I said to them both that I wanted nothing to do with my aunt, and that anything they wanted to say to me, they should say it directly from now on. When my brother pushed at me, using all sorts of narcissistic strategies that were obvious to me, I was ready for them.

Finally, I told them, that the argument they had used in their heads, that of rich v poor was bogus. Did they know my finances? Had they asked? I put them straight on that. And then  I added, 'This isn't about rich and poor, mate, this is about the fact that you ask for things, and I never entertained that option.'

To have expectations that people will treat you well is not realistic. Some people will treat you well and some people will not treat you fairly or well. We live and learn but to really learn something is to put it into practice, and now I know who I can trust and who I cannot. They may be my birth family but I cannot trust them. This is my reality. Yes, they were damaged. I can feel for them in that sense and have compassion but to put myself in harm's way again would be stupid. This is life.

It's no small thing to come to acceptance of this situation. I don't sleep well as yet. My mind returns to conversations and definitely not at my invitation. And yet, I have good people in my life. I am still capable of seeing beauty and kindness about me.  I still have the capacity to love and be loved. I, and you, can heal, mature; live good lives.