The little books.

Originally posted on August 30, 2015


I remembered something today. Little by little my mind is pulling up ancient memories from dark and forgotten corners as I move further along in my recovery. This one almost knocked me over.

For years…decades, even…I couldn’t write. This past year and a half has been the first time in my life I haven’t in under the thrall of a high spectrum (malignant) narcissist, and it wasn’t until I freed myself from them that my words began to come back.

As a child I wrote all the time. I drew pictures too. I remember my father bringing home these little blank stapled booklets in different colors with lined paper in them. There were about 50 of them, tied up in rubber bands. I used to write little stories and illustrate them. I could spend hours doing this.

I always blame my mother for everything. I act as if my father (who was codependent, and probably either covert NPD or borderline) had nothing to do with my disorders. I always saw him as a victim too. But he colluded with my mother; both were abusers. I remember one day when I was 7 or 8, I came home from school, and as I did every day, I went to my desk and opened the drawer to start writing my little stories. I noticed some of my finished booklets were gone. Panicking, I looked everywhere for them, and couldn’t find them. They were very personal to me, like diaries. They were for my eyes only (my Avoidant traits had already set in) . I was very upset but couldn’t tell my parents because then they’d be looking for them and they’d KNOW.

I looked all over the house for them, and finally found them in my father’s filing cabinet in a folder with my name on it. I was horrified. He stole my private creations from me! I felt so violated. My boundaries had been viciously invaded. I remember stealing them back and destroying them. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at them anymore. There was too much shame.
It was as if I wanted to annihilate myself…my true self.

After that I seemed to lose interest in drawing, although I continued to write. But my passion for even that was gone. I didn’t say anything to my dad about him stealing those booklets because to do so would be to invite critique and shame. I knew instinctively he liked them (otherwise he wouldn’t have taken them from me), but I didn’t even want to hear anything good about them. The stuff in them was just too personal. I felt like I’d been raped.


I wrote a novel in 2003. No one wanted to publish it. It sucked. I still have it but it’s embarrassing to read because of how bad it is. I know why though; at that time, still under the thrall of my ex, I was trying too hard to be “a writer,” to make an impression, instead of being authentic.

And now…I’ve done a 180 from when I’d hide my little illustrated books and was so horrified when they were discovered: deliberately posting the most personal stuff imaginable for total strangers all over the Internet to see (under an assumed name, of course). It’s like I’m trying to redeem my shame, somehow. It’s very hard to explain.

After being in my abusive marriage, I thought I’d lost all my ability to do anything at all. I’d sit down and try to write something, and….I couldn’t do it. I even thought I’d lost my intelligence. I was marking time until death. I felt stupid, dead. But I didn’t care either…or thought I didn’t care. I couldn’t feel anything at all. All my emotions were gone.

I was wrong, so wrong about all that.

5 thoughts on “The little books.

  1. I didn’t have anything like those little books as a child, but if I did, I would have felt much as you did no matter what I had put in them. It wouldn’t have been my father who found them. It would have been my mother and she would have commented on it, probably in some combination of as an editor and a psychoanalyst. Her boundaries toward her only child were not the clearest. I began journal writing in my 30s and kept that very private for many years, only sharing some of it when I began blogging two years ago. Your thoughts, emotions, and talent were not destroyed, and I’m glad your recovery has brought them out of hiding.

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  2. Perfect illustration of the coming up and out process many of us are working through. So encouraging.

    I’m proud of you and your persistence to forge a new path for yourself, and for choosing life instead of staying in resignation to a bitter end.

    And I’m proud to know ya, pard.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this, Otter. Your blog was one of the things that set me on my path to recovery because of your writing. So open and intelligent. I’m glad you know why your novel makes you cringe, and you’re not afraid to admit it. I’m a fiction writer and that’s how I started too. Trying too hard to be ‘a writer’ as opposed to ‘writing’. I think it’s where most writers begin. And, unfortunately end. I hope you will write a novel or a memoir or any kind of book again… because I want to read it.

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