Circling around the maelstrom.

Credit: Jim Carson Design

I’ve been thinking a lot more about my parents and my nightmarish upbringing as a hybrid scapegoat/golden child (I was raised as an only child, so I had to be both). It’s worse in some ways than just being a scapegoat, because it’s a topsy turvy hall of mirrors where you can predict nothing. There’s no stability. There’s no security. There’s no consistency in a childhood where you have to serve two roles, and never know which one you’re going to be next, and where both roles you play are a lie.

I started blogging because of my sociopathic NPD/ASPD ex. I was trying to deal with my feelings about going VLC (very low contact, since we have children) with him and cope with being on my own for the first time. Blogging introduced me to myself.

I’ve been through a lot since the day I sat down and started to write. As I progress in my journey, I’m spiraling ever closer around the emotional vacuum that lives in my center, the maelstrom that was born from hurt and pain. I liken it to a black hole in space or a maelstrom in the ocean, because everything disappears there never to return. Falling into it prematurely could obliterate me. But if I’m ever to heal from my disorders, I need to dive into that maelstrom and explore its terrors and maybe its wonders. I’m a lot more courageous now than I ever was before. I think I can do this.

I’m realizing the problem wasn’t really my ex after all. What I mean by that is that we came together because I was programmed almost from birth to become codependent to someone like him. Yes, he made me worse, but I was in bad shape long before he came on the scene. In therapy, I’m beginning to talk more about my childhood, and the pain inflicted on me by disordered parents. I’m still at the point where I explore it from an emotional distance, as if I’m watching a movie. I can’t really internalize and surrender to the pain yet. I feel a vague sadness and anger, but I’m dissociated from it, as if it’s someone else it’s happening to and I’m just watching.

But it’s beginning. I’m starting to trust my therapist enough to take the plunge. He is using reparenting techniques on me, which is what I wanted. He’s empathetic, which is what I needed. I’m thinking about my past a lot, and making some connections. I have some tools to protect me when the time comes to go in. I’m scared but excited. I’m gaining courage.

I’m swirling around the edges of the maelstrom, looking down into an opaque blackness that looks empty but is full of unseen mysteries. I won’t fall into it. I’ll willingly dive into it, just like when I was eight and first jumped into the deep water at the community pool.

Once I dive in, I’ll either disappear forever, or rise from it triumphant. I’m banking on the latter.

2 thoughts on “Circling around the maelstrom.

  1. It is very helpful when caught in the maelstrom to know that at least 1 other person has lived through it. It makes it bearable that when you share your story they know you tell the truth. Being believed is so affirming after decades of being not believed or invalidated. There are so many ways that people invalidate the reality of survivors. Those that had something to gain by the Narcissistic family of course want the victim to shut up. “mom wasn’t that bad” they say because mom was praising them for persecuting the black sheep. Or, because they had some ideal childhood with a few flaws that aren’t evil incarnate, “that couldn’t have happened”. Or, because they are religious and want you to be Zen and all forgiving of something they haven’t bothered to understand because it might require empathy and work, the voice crying to be heard is shushed.

    Opportunities to speak, be validated with “yes I believe that happened to you because it happened to me” are rare, Sometimes, people uncomfortable with undealt with pain of their lives will insist that “you really need to get over your past” as another “shut up” method. People move on when they are ready to not because someone else wants them to shove their reality under the rug. This is a long way of saying when you share your journey and you share what you survived, there are people crying across the internet thinking “someone understands”.

    I feel that way about much that I read here. I remember staying with a sociopathic batterer for years thinking “at least he is better than mom”. Part of my wounding came from the fact she didn’t treat my siblings with the same level of abuse, she reserved her special hatred all for me My sister once said in a moment of honesty which she later stepped back from “I had to go to therapy to recover from watching how mom treated you” Yet she spent her life throwing me under the bus whenever there was gain. Going to therapy didn’t make her moral nor did it incite her to stand up for me when my brother was intent on ripping off my part of the inheritance (He succeeded in doing so with her help) Thus my 2 rich siblings took my share because they had the money to hire the lawyers to overthrow my dad’s will.


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