“If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” – Carl Jung.
Stella’s Saviour who ultimately steered her life in the right direction…
Mention of child abuse and cruelty.
When people don’t deal with their own internal pain in a mature way that is healing for themself, the sufferer, it is very damaging – resulting (whether conscious of it, or not) in child abuse, broken relationships, other abuse, abuse aimed towards the self (addictions – drink, drugs, gambling etc). It’s an individual’s problem and a social problem.
It’s everyone’s problem.
Humans are supposed to care for one another – and when that isn’t happening, problems naturally arise.
Stella is the black-sheep of her family. One might think it is because she was a problem child, but in reality, she was the only sibling who consciously pushed herself to being ‘good’ – to please her parents. Yet, her father was overly critical and saw her only as an extension of himself, and her mother, was distant and cold, or bad tempered and emotionally and physically abusive. Not extreme abuse, some might say – but emotional neglect, emotional abuse, hitting and abandoning when young is never right and very damaging.
Stella is now a sensitive young woman who has done much healing work on herself to understand why she behaves or behaved a certain way; why she (continues to) hurt so much; why the abuse happened; if she deserved the abuse; if she was not understanding things right – and she was in indeed in the wrong, if the abuse was warranted; why she is still today, the black sheep…and other questions.
She was told to be quiet, not question what was told her, to be obedient (or else), she was never validated and really listened to.
She began life deeply excited and curious, then she became withdrawn, afraid, and depressed.
She internalised their hurt into her hurt. It was overwhelming.
She had a strong inner critical voice that constantly followed her about like a black angry cloud. She was – ‘selfish’, ‘stupid’, ‘weak’, ‘pathetic’, ‘not clever enough’, ‘not attractive enough’… – which she later learned and realised were the things the parents were actually saying about themselves; they were projecting.
She would self punish. One way was to deny herself food, or favoured teddy bears, or bed clothes to keep her warm at night. Other, more destructive ways followed as she grew older.
Shame can be an intolerable feeling that can give you a sense of inadequacy and unworthiness of feeling happy or free. When a child feels this way, they believe it is their own fault that their narcissistic parent treats them cruelly and doesn’t love them. Their trauma is carried with them for a long time. They carry the internalized message that they are not good enough, bad, and a defective human. – Michelle Piper, psychotherapist.
She believed she was bad. She felt there must be something [inherently] wrong with me, or my parents wouldn’t keep on telling me so. She hated herself. Especially hated herself when she saw the more loving and considerate treatment that her siblings received.
I’m sorry became her most spoken words.
She read somewhere that all is not lost for the child if she DOES receive proper love from another adult (family or not). This adult shows her compassion, how to love, that she is in fact worthy and not discarded rubbish. That she will not become bitter and hateful towards others – or worse still, have psychopathic or narcissistic tendencies as an adult.
This adult is her saviour, her guiding light towards human decency and hope for a better life.
She didn’t have him long in her life, and nor as frequent as she wished, but the positive impact he ultimately made on that girl was enormous.
She says, thank you Grandad.
Article by Seth Meyers Psy.D., Narcissistic Parents’ Psychological Effect on Their Children
Article by BandBackTogether.com, Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents
Article by Michelle Piper psychotherapist, Narcissistic Parents. A brilliant piece on the projected shame from the parent/s that is internalised by the scapegoated child.
Book by Karyl McBride, Will I ever be good enough?
Book by Susan Forward, Toxic Parents
Book by Jasmin Lee Cori MS LPC, The Emotionally Absent Mother: A Guide to Self-Healing and Getting the Love You Missed
Book by Katherine Mayfield, The Box of Daughter: Healing the Authentic Self – A Memoir. Speaks of the emotional and physical abuse she and her brother suffered at the hands of her borderline personality disordered (bpd) mother and father.
“I feel guilty all the time and I don’t know why,” is one way carried shame can feel. Carried parental shame is toxic because it is injected from a parent’s abusive behaviors. You unintentionally hold onto the shame narcissistic parents should feel when they do boundary-less, harmful behavior. – Michelle Piper, psychotherapist.
Warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. – Carl Jung.
Words: 666 (not including ‘further reading’ and the rest below that).
Writing prompt: Stella’s Saviour
Writing inspiration: Life musings.
Copyright Faith McCord 2016
Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.