When I was 15, I attempted to drown myself in my bathtub. I envisioned myself slipping down the drain into a prison of shit. This is where I belong, this is what I deserve. The ripples from under the surface of the water, distorted the lights above me, but they clearly continued to spread throughout the rest of my life. I never could figure out my reason for wanting to die. I knew I felt the despair but I never knew where it came from. I didn’t know why I held myself under the water for so long. As I grew older, I realized the tragedy that is teen suicide and depression. And to think I might have been part of these statistics was something I felt the need to really think about.
I kept fucking up my adult life. I felt like a jagged piece of steel. I kept buffing out the edges trying to make smooth corners and making new sharp ones that were hurting the people around me. It seemed like I was always making myself unhappy with my decisions. I wanted to confront myself. I wanted to figure out what fell into the water so long ago and why have its ripples have stretch this far for this long.
Then I have a dream. I’m under the water and staring out at the lights in the bathroom in which I tried to end my life. I see this time and time again until one night, I’m standing outside the tub and I looking at my teenage self below the water. I panicked. I dove both my hands into the water and grabbed myself by the shoulders. I pulled a towel around teenage me and I held myself tight.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry no one listened to you. I’m sorry no one believed you.
I believe you, I’m listening.”
So that’s all I have been doing. When the memories come up, I write them down. When enough memories have been written I notice the patterns, the lies, the manipulation. I was determined to figure this out. What my teenage self could never tell me, was that I was a victim of narcissistic abuse. My dad and step mom manipulated me in my emotions so much so that I didn’t even realize I was severely depressed enough to want to end my own life when I was 15. I never told a soul that I wanted to die. Not until I was older and was able to use Jesus as an excuse for no one to focus on my imperfections. God’s forgive-and-forgetfulness was the perfect excuse for me to never confront the source of the pain I felt. That’s exactly how my parents thrived for so long.
They used the Christian God and their Bible to control me. I currently have notes in my phone filled with memories that I’ve attached to each trait of a narcissist. The saddest part for me is that I didn’t realize this is what happened to me. Since their passing, I have been learning lie after lie after lie that my parents told me about fundamental truths about life. It angered me for a while. Then one day, someone gives me the key, the answer to all my wondering. Why is it that I am so incredibly fucked up in every area of my life? My parents were religious narcissists.
Confronting this has been a long time coming. For seven years, I have been shedding the layers of their abuse. Every step of the way has been painful and intentional. I knew I’d be reaching something, figuring out a truth that has been hidden from me for so long. And now I know it and I’m mourning. There is a victory I want to celebrate, I reached my destination. Only now here is the truth. I was abused and ignored and this is why my life is the way it is. This is why functioning is as hard as it is.
All of my unhealthy thought patterns can be traced back to this, I was parented by a narcissist. I know this because I was becoming one to protect myself from the pain of the abuse. (that’s sometimes how narcissism works) I had spent a long time getting to know myself, shedding old fake version of people I had tried to be, when finally I hit a layer that I hated. Thankfully those traits I was beginning to notice in myself were recognized as early as I did (I thank meditation for that). I could see how soon these thought patterns I was developing about life were heading me into a direction I didn’t intend to go. Forcing me to become a person who defends every weak area in my life by obsessively judging others. If I knew that they had more vices than I, then maybe we could be friends. They would see me as better than them and want to be like me. I found myself enjoying compliments TOO much, or not at all. I felt so undeserving of love and attention that I thrived on people’s compliments of me. One boys flirtatious compliment could send me into a manic trance. I felt the need to become smarter than people, so I began consuming content at lightening speed and wearing my brain out to the point of mental numbness. My motivation to wear my brain out to the point of exhaustion was simply that I needed to be sure I was right… about everything. Which a healthier me, can now acknowledge all these bad traits I was developing and tell you that I am changing. Drastically.
I spent some time in hiding. I stopped answering calls and texts for a while and I told myself to rest. Stop trying to achieve perfection. Stop the games you are trying to play with people. Stop trying. Be yourself. Let go. Only then did I see the source. My father and step mother’s narcissism carving the grooves into my brain. Destroying my boundaries, and manipulating me into thinking its what I wanted, rather needed. But they forgot they taught me how to think…
I am one-of-a-kind. I think for myself. No one can control me. This is why they do not win despite their best efforts to control me. This is why my mind is safe from them for the rest of my life. This is why it’s important I tell you the truth… and I will. Stayed Tuned.