Narcissistic Personality Disorder can permeate every family dynamic.
This is her story:
Smiling down at my beautiful three-month old daughter, her eyes the most beautiful dark, chocolate brown I've ever seen. Her tiny little lips perfect cupid bows, a personality as big as Texas shines from her eyes, lighting up her adorable face.
A crowd-stopper at three months of age - she already has two bottom teeth! I'd swear on a stack of Bibles that she understands me.
Of course, I keep my feelings to myself - ALL mothers must feel this way about their children, right? This little brown-eyed beauty WAS special; for a secret reason. Only one other human on the planet knew the horrible secret I kept locked deep inside.
This child was almost an abortion.
I was bound to a theological system misinterpreted by the men who preached it. Looking back, I wonder how many of our religious leaders were covert Narcissists, using a Loving and Benevolent God to abuse the women in their lives and congregations. I'd see it Sunday after Sunday, women in impossible relationships seeking answers to their pain.
Divorce was unheard of; separation with "the intent of reconciliation" was the "Christian" term for what to do when you finally ask for spiritual guidance from the "Leaders." You'd see these women each week, desperate for solace, battered from years of being "obedient," weak from loss of hope.
Surely, God must hate me.
Or, I have to work harder, pray more, be a BETTER wife. I knew he was a bad man when I married him - I made my bed, I must lie in it.
At home, I have one beautiful, precious green-eyed blonde baby, thirteen months old. She doesn't have a mean bone in her little body. She's a sweet, loving baby with a tender heart, not an drop of malice.
We can tell. Moms. We know.
When my beautiful sweet daughter was thirteen months old, I found myself pregnant again, unable to get a divorce. I know that I cannot have another child with this man.
I told no one.
Finally, I told the only person I knew would never judge me if I decided to have an abortion; she knows I cannot have another child with this man. My loyal to the death sister-in-law, best friend, wife of my favorite brother.
She took me to Planned Parenthood.
Abortion had been legal less than ten years at the time; pretty bold move, if you ask me.
She and I sat in the waiting room, silent. My brother was watching all the kids, never ever saying a word about the choice I was making. He never judged me, he knew my husband.
As we sat in the waiting room, I prayed to a God I desperately needed to hear from. I was considering the Christian unthinkable.
My decision wasn't the baby's fault; my decision was based upon the monster I'd willingly married. I hadn't known that he was a Narcissist and a misogynist. He no longer tried to hide it. I know that another baby was NOT part of his diabolical plan for world domination.
Needless to say, I changed my mind about the abortion.
I stood up, looked at my best friend and said, "Let's go."
Now, here I was, my second daughter cradled in my arms, about to nurse her. Her sparkling chocolate brown eyes, smiling, her cupid bow lips curved in what appeared to be adoration, her two tiny, sharp as hell, teeth visible. I'm thinking, "Look at her. I almost lost all the joy I feel this moment." Love washed over me as we locked eyes.
With her eyes still locked onto mine, grinning widely, she bit me - a pain sent shock-waves through me. Still, she was smiling.
I reared back, flicked her on her cheek and said, "NO." She just looked at me.
I picked her up, looked into her beautiful sparkling brown eyes and said, "Don't you EVER do that again! Do you understand?"
She started howling like I'd broken her arm.
I put her back into her tiny little bassinet, letting her cry it out. I was PISSED: that kid just bit the shit out of my nipple and ENJOYED it.
From that moment, I knew this child was different from her sisters.
She was beautiful. Charming. Gifted student. Master manipulator. Opportunistic. Seemingly innocent while being precocious. Musically talented, she sang like an angel, gifted at piano.
Then, I outwitted her.
There are consequences for EVERY decision to be bad, do bad, or cause bad and a parent must be consistent, each and every time. Once I understood her motives, it was easier to separate her bad behavior from age-appropriate behaviors.
My kid had to know that if she was going to choose to misbehave I'd move Heaven and Hell to reach her, make her apologize, sit on my bed for 15 minutes. THEN, she had to tell me what she'd done wrong and why. If she decided to be stubborn (and she always did), I had to be more stubborn.
She had to sit on my bed for 15 minutes for me - I knew I had to be calm to discipline her. If I tried while I was angry, it fed her own calm. She fed off chaos. If I removed any scintilla of what she was trying to get, forced her to accept responsibility for her deviant behavior, we both won.
I gave my beautiful, talented, gifted child the gift of shame.
Shame to my little girl equated rage. Discovered doing something intentionally and deliberately wrong, hurtful, deceitful or self-indulgent didn't cause her to feel badly.
No, she became enraged when she got CAUGHT.
I could always tell, like only a mother can, when she switched into survival mode. I called it, "Making her sit down while she was standing up on the inside."
Self-will is incalculable. The strength inside a person cannot be measured.
If this power is used for good, we see people like Mother Teresa. If this human spirit is used for personal gain, we see people like Hitler.
When she was fourteen, she chose evil over kindness. By then, I was a newly separated mother of three teenage daughters. Her behavior went into overdrive, becoming worse each day. Every attempt to help, use therapy, use love failed.
Her fangs grew before my eyes. Her rages kept our home in constant fear of upsetting her.
I got pissed.
I told her that I knew and understood how she thought. Why she behaved the way she did. What her motives were and why. The only explanation of my knowledge was divine intervention.
She sat transfixed as I spoke to her.
As I did, she began to cry genuine tears - I did not take mercy on her. I continued explaining, using vivid adjectives that finally reached the shame deep inside her.
My hope, my prayer, was that she would choose to use her genius for good, rather than personal gain and self-indulgence.
Nobody gives a shit about a genius who's an asshole, I explained. Your choice, I told her. Now YOU get to pick whom you will serve. You've just reached the age of accountability.
Self-indulgent genius and future criminal?
Or earn multiple masters degrees? Master many languages? Become a world traveler and consultant?
The choice was hers.5 Comments