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Old 11-15-2017, 02:05 AM   #1
BlueCrustacean
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Trig How do I heal myself from toxic parenting?

I've been watching videos about the symptoms of being the daughter of a narcissistic father, and I'm getting SO angry because EVERY SINGLE point is true. I was never loved unconditionally. He never knew how to show me love. He only pretended to validate me sometimes when I did really cool, impressive things, like play the piano by ear. He only showed me kindness when he could brag about me. I was HEAVILY criticized for EVERYTHING all my life. Nothing I ever did was good enough. I always made bad, unforgivable mistakes. I was worthless and ignored. All that ever mattered in life was him, his thoughts, his feelings and his needs. Mine were unacknowledged. I frequently fought with him as a teenager. I tried to stand up to his constant criticisms of the entire family for everything we did "wrong" for him (which was everything).

However, it was scary to stand up to him too much, because he could be very frightening, intimidating, loud and angry. He would cuss you out with the most abusive venom in his voice if you challenged him on anything. He threatened to get violent at the flick of a switch. One time I was in the bathroom with the door closed, having a hard time dealing with my own anger, and I stomped my feet on the floor and hit my knees a bit in rage, and then I heard an incredibly loud crash against the door, and he screamed at me to cut it out. He had punched a hole in the door. I cried immediately because it was so scary. He tried to apologize and assure me that he wasn't going to hurt me.

After an incredibly traumatizing, bitter divorce in which my mom also put us kids directly in the middle during fights, as objects to possess to shield her from loneliness and rejection, I saw him less and less. He's tried to apologize and convince me that he can change and we can get along better as adults, but in truth, he really can't change. He's still a highly volatile, controlling person, who only wants to do what HE wants, HIS way, and wants to hurry through stressful trips and vacations as quickly as possible, with no time to rest. It's still scary to even think of talking back to him in any way, or disagree with him. I basically have no contact with him anymore, either through text or in person, but the lasting trauma and damaged self-image still remains.

I'm starting to realize that my mom is equally abusive in her own ways. She was highly codependent in our family, and was basically a slave to my dad. She was very fearful and over-protective of us kids, and wouldn't let go of us, so we never really learned how to be confident, self-sufficient people. My sister and I still live with her, and we're in our mid-to-late 20s. We can't leave. She guilt trips us if we even TRY to move out, telling us we're "abandoning" her and "betraying" her. It's hard for her to find a new man in her life after my dad, so she's made it very clear that if we leave her, she'll be alone and won't be able to handle it. That's a lot of pressure on us to keep living with her, forever.

Clearly, both my parents have failed horrifically at teaching me love and self esteem. I'm still resentful about my past. I've learned that I'm only worth anything to anyone if I do lots of incredible, impressive things to gain attention and praise, and EVEN THEN I'm still not good enough. I'm never good enough. If I'm not perfect, then I don't deserve to live. If I make a single mistake, then it's too painful to bear and I want to kill myself. My worth as a human being lies in my outer accomplishments, which is why I feel so bad about still having no career or life of my own, in spite of all my wildest dreams as a child. They're getting more and more out of reach. I was supposed to be a child prodigy. I was supposed to be world famous, by 20. I was supposed to change the world and be loved by everyone. Now I still live with my mom, and have achieved NONE of the dreams I wanted to achieve as a child.

I feel like it's going to be very hard to love myself, regardless of my outer accomplishments, or lack therof. Let alone attract healthy relationships with guys who are capable of loving me, without needing me to be perfect and successful in every way. Without needing me to focus entirely on their needs and not mine, and lose myself in the process.

I was also bullied as a child all through school, only adding to the problems I have. I grew up in Utah, and our family was atheist, AND moved to a new town every single year, so I was always the new kid who was shy and slowly gained quiet friends, but once they learned I wasn't a part of their "ward", they would silently abandon me, and I would be mysteriously friendless and alone again. That was even worse than the bullying. People who claim to be your friends and then leave you without telling you why, as a constant reality. I don't trust anybody anymore. I hate people. I'm trying to get over it, but I still don't have any close friends, just acquaintances. Most people seem to have no interest in getting to know me better. Albeit, maybe I have a resting ***** face and look like I don't want to get to know anybody else. I'm so lonely. I wish I could learn and experience what unconditional love feels like. REAL love. Not just positive, fake small talk at social events.

Only my cat loves me unconditionally.
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: How do I heal myself from toxic parenting?

<<BlueCrustacean>>
Clearly, both my parents have failed horrifically at teaching me love and self esteem. I'm still resentful about my past. I've learned that I'm only worth anything to anyone if I do lots of incredible, impressive things to gain attention and praise, and EVEN THEN I'm still not good enough. I'm never good enough. If I'm not perfect, then I don't deserve to live. If I make a single mistake, then it's too painful to bear and I want to kill myself. My worth as a human being lies in my outer accomplishments, which is why I feel so bad about still having no career or life of my own, in spite of all my wildest dreams as a child.

I am sorry you feel so stuck. I think when someone is a narcissist, many times there was something in their childhood that made them insecure so rather than dealing with their feelings they act out. I say this because I hope you can eventually forgive your parents for your sake. Of course, it is time to set boundaries with them and move out.

Transitioning from childhood to an adult it is not easy because you have to make a plan (which they may not support) and I know it takes time to become self sufficient. I think it is especially hard for kids who are not provided resources that give them a "leg up" (a car, $ for school, etc.) Remember, impressive accomplishments do not happen quickly or even as you plan. Most people have a lot of fails in life. Some of them can be hard to laugh at but whenever you can, it helps. Many people have a lot of fails on the way to success. It takes planning, implementing, then reworking your plan when you have a roadblock or fail. You have to enjoy the process or if there are things that must be done that you do not enjoy then reward yourself some way when you get something hard done.

I've had a hard time getting over some things and I found that venting my feeling here helped a lot. Many other young people are struggling just like you. I hope you can get these hard feelings behind you and get on with your life. Just because you are a late bloomer does not mean it is to late. Never give up. Ever. You are still very young and have many years ahead of you. Live for you!!!
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:21 AM   #3
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One more piece of advice would be to define success by what you want, not what your parents expect or want. Careers are about a) making enough money to survive independently (food/shelter). Then b) finding work you enjoy or pays enough so that you don't have to work at something you do not enjoy constantly. Sometimes one of the most realistic things to do in life is to make your dream a huge hobby. I know many people who ''clock in" in order to pay for the things they really love but life is rather dull when you do not have things to do that you enjoy. Some peoples hobbies eventually become their dream jobs.
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Old 11-15-2017, 04:06 AM   #4
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I’m sorry you experienced such a dysfunctional childhood that has left psychological scars. I think you are wise to limit contact with your father. Therapy might be really helpful in sorting through this so you don’t lug this baggage around for the rest of your life. Another good idea might be a life coach who can help you set up a strategy and goals to work towards a fulfilling life. Best wishes.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: How do I heal myself from toxic parenting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopingtrying View Post
I am sorry you feel so stuck. I think when someone is a narcissist, many times there was something in their childhood that made them insecure so rather than dealing with their feelings they act out. I say this because I hope you can eventually forgive your parents for your sake. Of course, it is time to set boundaries with them and move out.

Transitioning from childhood to an adult it is not easy because you have to make a plan (which they may not support) and I know it takes time to become self sufficient. I think it is especially hard for kids who are not provided resources that give them a "leg up" (a car, $ for school, etc.) Remember, impressive accomplishments do not happen quickly or even as you plan. Most people have a lot of fails in life. Some of them can be hard to laugh at but whenever you can, it helps. Many people have a lot of fails on the way to success. It takes planning, implementing, then reworking your plan when you have a roadblock or fail. You have to enjoy the process or if there are things that must be done that you do not enjoy then reward yourself some way when you get something hard done.
It’s not so easy to just say, “Move out”, because believe me, I’ve tried. Two years ago I moved to a different town on my own for a job I got hired for, a two week trial period, and even though I tried my very best and was so stressed out, they wanted to fire me after only one week, because I couldn’t follow their verbal instructions. They didn’t seem to like me in general. I pushed through for the second week and came back home. Of course, I didn’t get the job.

I was super determined though, so I applied for another job while I was still there and got hired for it. It was a landscaping job. I tried my hardest and REALLY needed the reassurance that I was doing a good job and doing everything right, but of course most coworkers and bosses are vague with their feedback and directions, and then get mad at you for not living up to their poorly communicated expectations.

After two weeks my boss called me and said she was concerned that I wasn’t keeping up and it was only going to get harder as summer approached, and she asked me what I thought. I took it as, “I’m firing you, but I’m too chicken to come out and say it because I need you to quit first.” I broke down and absolutely BAWLED uncontrollably over the phone with her, for quite a while, until she finally tried to tell me “lovingly” to buck up and stop crying.

I cried so hard because I had failed so miserably, not once, but TWICE over the course of only one month, and that had never happened to me before in jobs. Such quick rejections. It was so ultimately humiliating and discouraging. I didn’t even know if anyone else failed as hard and frequently as I did. I felt like this was my one last chance at proving that I was capable of making money and moving out, and I failed so horribly at it that I never wanted a job again. It was the nail in the coffin for my self worth and capability of being independent, so after that point I kinda gave up. I tried some at home business ideas and had some interest, but I got this scary empty feeling and stopped. Feeling like I wasn’t good enough to act like I knew what I was doing. Feeling too exposed, trying to market myself.

Right now I’m working for my mom doing pet sitting, which has gradually become a viable day job as we’re getting more and more regular clients. She said she picked this business mostly for me and my sister. It’s comfortable to stay with her, to be honest. To not get yelled at by cold, demanding, unfeeling bosses who make me feel like crap about myself. My mom is so compassionate and understanding about me and my problems, because she actually knows me. She knows I have a hard time understanding verbal directions said once. She’s patient. The problem is, that just creates more strings connected to her.

I went to a therapist last year who was really great and helped me out a ton (believe me, I was much worse then). I regret not telling her the real reason why I quit trying to move out after that landscaping job. I just said “I don’t know”. I wrote it out clearly and thoroughly now. It took all the wind out of my sails, experiencing an unusual amount of rejection. I’m probably just a baby about it though. Half the battle is not knowing that other people struggle like this too, because I’m so introverted and never get to know people that intimately. To understand that I don’t fail worse than literally everybody else around me.

Half the time I still have this underlying feeling that I’m a failure as an adult and the knowledge of that failure is so painful and difficult to cope with, the other half of the time I blame my parents for not teaching me how to be confident and well-adjusted so that my life would be so different by now... and sometimes I realize that I don’t know what I want to do with my life, and I’m scared to try. Blaming my parents feels better than blaming myself, which I did so many times before therapy and was constantly self harming and suicidal because of that self blame.

Through therapy I came to realize what a messed up upbringing I really had, and how that contributed to who I am today, which has fueled my new feelings of anger and resentment towards them- sometimes even hatred. I’m so tired of being so hard on myself, like I chose to be this messed up in the head, and so afraid of success. I just wasn’t raised right. That’s the stage I’m at right now. At least I don’t have any suicidal ideations anymore. They used to be daily, frequent occurrences before therapy. I’ve been practicing self love and patience, but it hasn’t been easy.

Here’s my real conundrum, boiled down to the core: I’m always so disappointed in myself for not living up to my expectations of myself as an adult, especially with all the gifts I have and how sure I was that I’d have a bright, successful future ahead of me (like most millennials it seems). Yet at the same time, I’m so scared of success. I’m so scared of getting what I want that I self sabotage daily. There’s always something that gets in the way, whether it be procrastination, panic or a sudden and unexplainable loss of interest once I’ve jumped a hurdle and had a great triumph. I am the negative definition of perfectionism.
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:35 AM   #6
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Please don't feel bad about being stressed out during the first two weeks of a job. It frequently takes me a couple of weeks to feel more confident at a job (I am in my 50s and have had a variety of jobs). I do better when I have a supervisor who says, "This is easy, here is how I do this. I know you can do this." Some jobs are just really stressful and you have to "fake it until you make it" and lay low if you can. Whenever I have had desk jobs I tend to write verbal instructions down, make lists, read manuels, emails and regulations when I have free time in order to try to figure out what I am supposed to do. I have been fired from a job. I can never work for that corporation again. If I had understood and treated my mental health issues, it may not have happened. It sounds like you are understanding what your issues are and that is going to help you in the long run. I am glad your mom is helping you! Don't give up. Getting fired does not mean you are a failure; either the job was a bad fit and/or they didn't give you good training support at the beginning.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: How do I heal myself from toxic parenting?

It's not the stress of a new job that I'm worried about. It's being fired. Being yelled at and rejected despite trying your best. Deep down, I want nothing to do with a "job" anyway. I'd rather work for myself than for someone else. Sometimes I fear that I'll never be able to work with others, because I have a hard time understanding what other people are telling me, and they make me feel stupid. Anyway, this is straying from the original subject a bit.
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