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Around The Bend

Still hanging in there with no meds. Just using daily grapefruit juice, and green tea during work shifts.

From hearing the name "Grace" being said from having 3 students named this and a character in a drama I'm watching on TV, a memory was triggered.

My mother told me, more than once, that she named her grand piano "Grace." She said it with such sentimentality in her voice. I was annoyed by it.

By now, I suspect that with her NPD (I have to assume both parents have high levels of Narcissism, but naturally neither will go to Therapy or get Dx'd) causes her emotions to appear superficial to me, and most other people. I have since noticed that other Narcs' "Feelings" seem like "Masks" to me (also just people "like that" with very strikingly similar makeup) and yet they appear to have feelings or they are charades that resemble having feelings. Since they act on very self-centered, ego impulses and have no real relationships, having real feelings is not possible, yet there is something that they have, which are these "semi-feelings" that have their own purpose and logic, which is to appear to be "Good/normal" and to fool and manipulate others.

Last night, I had the flashback of my mother speaking the words "I named my piano 'Grace'".

I could see the black, shiny piano in the gloom of our split-level 70's basement on the rust-colored shag carpet. I felt a familiar dislike for this sentence spoken, for my mother, for her piano. She exhibited more love for her piano than for her children. She named it something beautiful with a kind of love she never felt for us, and said "we were all accidents."

I then realized that we were not well off. My parents had student loans and debts to their eyeballs. They had small kids. They had a crappy house in a small, crappy town. They were trying to get on their feet when I was in kindergarten. I was being sexually and in many ways abused by my father and his friend, and my mother had caught my father in bed with me. I was dissociated in the dark, when the light came on and I 'came to' consciousness to seeing him pulling up his pajama pants and then sliding down the wall into a heap sobbing on the floor at the foot of my bed. My mother stood over him in her white satin robe and nightgown. It was the middle of the night. I thought she'd hug me and save me. She never looked at me. She was angry at him. It was all about them.

Then, she took my sister and I to the river at night, to get back at him? To drown us, because that is what she did. I stopped her from killing my little sister. And I fought her as hard as I could until she drove us home.

It was sometime around the abuse that "Grace" appeared suddenly in our basement. A gift from my father. A very inaffordable gift.

Now that I study Narcissism and mental illness, and I see how Narcs manipulate others, even each other (fellow Narcs, whom they attract) I see that Grace was a bribe and that my mother named her "Forgiveness" because my Father succeeded in manipulating her into seeing him as some kind of victim and shifted the blame onto us kids or his abusers from his childhood.

I feel anger because his crime and abuse was toward my sister and I, not only her, and she should not have forgiven him for a crime against us. It was not her place to choose, but as a Narc, she felt that she had the power, always, to decide our fate and determine everything about us. She treated us children as actors in her play, of which she was the sole Director. We all had to play our parts or we were "evil."

I also see now that only a mentally ill person sees the world in this way. Only a sick person would feel such love for a bribe under such circumstances. I feel EVEN MORE since this new realization that we truly were Pawns in their f*cked up Mind Game.

With every memory I process, another piece of the puzzle and it becomes clearer and clearer that I needed to get myself and my family away from the sick family and its distorted view of reality.
I have the sick, sinking feeling in my midsection when I think of my little sister.

I wish that she would choose to be healthy and try to deal with what happened in our home.

My high school students note: You cannot solve a problem if you deny the situation."

You cannot heal from a trauma that you deny happened. As long as my siblings are in amnesia and dissociation and denial, in whatever proportion, there will be no traumatic growth.

There will be no healthy separation from Malignant Narcissists, and in fact, they will continue to have personality disorders themselves as they attract Narcs and behave as they need to in order to be in relationships with Narcs.

Meanwhile, I cannot be around my siblings and they have no way of seeing what I am doing. They cannot support me, and I cannot support them. I had to come to these realizations with support from healthy people who I sought out for advice and relationship. I came to this forum. I sought constructive criticism from a demanding career and by seeking advice from those I can see are honestly trying to grow and be a better person in life.

I cannot expect my sibs to engage in this because I want it as I am aware that really, a ton of effort and desire goes into it, and this kind of thing takes a huge force of dedication to making a good life when one was not handed one at all. All sense of entitlement has to be discarded.
I sound arrogant, because I am so hurt and angry at this time and I'm still deeply affected. There is no way to be an intense, sensitive, loving, compassionate child treated with such mental, spiritual, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse and not take that to the grave and into the next life.

I know I have soul loss. I do not know if it is possible to get parts of my soul back in this life without overwhelm. I can only keep working to reclaim one fragment at a time.

Thus, life is a long, slow process of reclaiming identity and soul, and there is no guarantee that the effect will produce any tangible reward for anyone. Only that it must be done.
Memory of the same basement from that time came up with the Grace thing.

Memory of having kids over and directing plays that I made up in my mind. I composed a story and characters, often some were anthropomorphized animals.I told each actor whom I selected to fit the character, or I made a character to suit the actor's temperament, his or her backstory and motivation. Then I asked him or her to improvise in a way that would lead to the climax and resolution that I had identified.

I found this to be a way to unleash my creativity. I even liked it when they improvised a different ending. I liked the dynamic creative synergy. I felt most alive then.

I forget about this, or find it embarrassing. Maybe I feel that it is a Narcissistic gift to want to "direct other actors" yet I seldom took a cameo role, I was the director.

Recently, I found myself drawn to write a play. I thought I was doing it for a creative aspect of work. Yet, later I began thinking about a TV show about a man who wrote a musical.

I feel that if I were not traumatized I would have explored my passion for drama from a young age but my PTSD hinders me to the point that I feel too much fear to be creative. But just being aware of what has happened is an opportunity to think about ways to keep the spark alive in me despite the PTSD.

Instead of wishing to be gifted or good at it, there is the sheer pleasure of feeling alive to pursue for its own sake.
When I read my diary here, I honestly cannot remember some of the traumas that I talk about. I go back and forth into dissociative amnesia. A pattern.

Flashback patterns.

I had emotional flashbacks in my stress dreams all night. Then, I was having them in the shower. Separate distressing memories wash over me, starting from a negative emotion to real trauma.

This is what happens, almost every time. I remember something hurtful, feel a mix of fear, dread, and loneliness. I guess that Walker's "Abandonment Depression" maybe sums that up.

Then, I am crying and allowing this feeling, as he states. The thing is, unlike most of the clients in the book, further trauma memories surface and I begin to feel extremely cold. I cling to my throat with my arms, I wrap them around me, I pick at my skin with my nails to see if I'm alive. I start to choke. A tightness is in my throat. I cannot breath. I am terrified. It is dark, I'm small, I feel like I'm being crushed by something, like I wish I were already dead.

I get through it, it passes. But then the suicidal girl surfaces. I have no physical energy because another part of me shuts me down. The part that cannot take the pain and wants it to stop shows me images of taking the large kitchen knife and burying it in my chest. The image is always the same. It doesn't kill me. I just have the knife in my chest and somehow this will make the emotional pain stop.

I tell myself that I'm having flashbacks and redirect my thoughts to present day. This helps bring me back to present.

I'm not afraid of death though. I feel outside of fear or in denial.

I took my dog for a walk to try to come back to present. A black SUV was coming toward me, and I didn't care. I felt fear as it got near me but I thought the driver would see me and move. I couldn't see the driver, too tinted. The car was only inches away, nearly hit me. I didn't feel anger because I didn't care if it hit me.

I've been through this so many times, I am getting used to it.

I wonder if this is how it works in battle. I always wondered how men could march out amid the danger. Maybe they stopped caring. Maybe they despaired of their life and wanted it to end but were not willing to make it end.
How is it that I am still alive? When someone wants you dead and that person is your mother, how do you live?

"She was an accident, so why not another accident to take the accident-baby away?" my mother must have wondered.

<1 week, left on the dryer by my mother, I fell to the concrete basement floor and cried very hard. My grandfather scolded my mother for negligence.

<1, neglected by my mother for long stretches of time, I crawled from the farmhouse past the barbed wire into the field of angry bulls. My mother stood and watched. Perhaps curious to see what they would do to me. How many stomps or kicks would it take for me to die? A terrible accident. Nothing she could do but stand there and watch it happen. Which she did. Only I sat down among the bulls, who did not care about me either, and I crawled back to my mother, who took me back inside.

***Earliest memory not told to me, like the previous two were. I do not speak of it, except in therapy when asked what my earliest memory is. I am crawling in the downstairs of the farmhouse. It is silent. I am afraid, lonely. I do not know why my mother goes upstairs and disappears. I crawl up to the bottom step and look up the stairs, wondering if she will ever come back. The stairs look so big and scary, as if they go all they up into the sky and disappear into dark clouds.

&Recent flashback to a very early trauma.

My mother has me in a river in the mountains. My dad and his friend are on a big, yellow inflatable raft up river. My mom and his wife, her friend, have me and are wading in the river in the sunshine. My mother has me in one hand, letting me be in the water. The ladies are talking. She lets me go all the way under water for so long. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.

Suddenly, I am lifted up onto the yellow raft and the four of them are looking at me. My mother pretends to be worried and sorry for neglecting me. "I didn't notice. It was an accident." They all look at my face. I cannot breathe, and then when I do, I cannot get much air inside me and it hurts so very badly. I feel rage. I hate my mother for holding me down under water. I hate being so tiny and helpless and not being able to say anything. I hate them all. (This memory surfaced a year after a later trauma memory that has been a continual source of pain my whole life that also involved my mother's attempted drowning of my sister and I in a river when I was almost six.)

+my mother always told me that at two weeks old I nearly died of pneumonia. She didn't know how I got it. I was born at the end of May. Maybe I got it from being held under water in a river in the mountains.

+mother said that they took me camping all the time when I was a newborn. They often left me in the tent sleeping while they had fun, and they put me in a backpack and went hiking, she said. She said I loved being outside in the mountains.

I will never know how I got pneumonia, or if the early drowning memory is accurate or was intentional. Or if the burning and other accidents were real accidents at all.

I will never know what mental illness my mother has. I do know that her mom, my sister, and my niece all have/had Bipolar. My mother spent weeks crying in her room, and when she emerged, she had grand plans to save people or do something great.

She had a porcelain doll replica of me commissioned just before my wedding. It wears a black and red plaid dress, just like the one she bought me for my new school dress for 1st grade, the fall after the spring she tried to drown my sister and I, and I used a river rock to beat her skull until she stopped holding my little sister under.
For whatever reason, and I'm under a ton of stress and not able to eat all day again, I had the thought today that it was me that my mother held under water, not my little sister, and that it was while being pushed under that I felt I was going to die, not her, and for that reason took the rock "her or me" and started to hit her blindly with it.

I am aware of the fact that children being attacked by a parent will insist that it was someone else. It is incomprehensible that they would try to kill their own child.
It is possible that my flashback was accurate, but it also possible that rather than being part of the mess and possibly next, that I was first to be drowned.
Painful body memories off and on all day. Maybe the rain triggered it, and it had something to do with drowning. Maybe my memory of that night was off or there was a different time.

In the flashback I was having tonight that started yesterday, I was raped and then the drowning. I don't understand. I felt like I was drowned and I still felt the pain from the rape. I don't understand. The body memories are strong and everything is unclear.
Feeling bad about my mistakes in life. I was frightening to my youngest once. I apologized to her but I know that apologies don't undo the fear that it causes.

I cried a lot yesterday, and the kids heard it, even though I try to keep it from them. They were kind to me, making an oragami flower and a handmade get well card.

They know I have PTSD. I hate that they are so intimately aware of what PTSD is. I am open with them about the fact that this is my struggle, not theirs, and I wish to protect them from bad people and circumstances so that they will not ever have this.

Once a teenage couple were climbing up a rock wall at the beach. One was able to get down, and the boy kept going up. He got stuck very high and could fall to his death upon the rocks below at any second.

While my abusive family of origin morbidly watched, thinking this was free entertainment, I took my young daughter away to the house and distracted her. I said a prayer for the boy, as rescue fire trucks were on their way and could be heard.

I didn't want my 2nd grader watching an older child fall to death. I was the only one who knew that this image could haunt her for the rest of her life.

As it turned out, the boy was saved by a first responded who repelled down to him from above. But I wasn't taking chances with my daughter's mental health.

Yet, there are things I cannot keep from her, like my truth. I spare her the details, but she is aware of what has happened to me.