I just read this blog post “I Would Be Begging for Help if it were Me” by Fivehundredpoundpeep. I highly recommend it to all ACONs. However, I won’t lie–her well written article triggered me, and the following may be the most emotional post I ever wrote.
This actually started as a reply on her blog, but I decided to turn it into an article because it’s very much on my mind. Tears are not far away.
The mother she describes in her article sounds EXACTLY like mine–the tone, choice of words, attitude, everything. Criticism under the guise of “help.” Dismissal in the name of love. With mine it’s always “positive thinking:”
“If you were not so negative, things would come more easily to you.”
“If you were more pleasant to be around, you would be able to make the connections to help you advance in a career.”
“You never were the competitive type.”
And always, always, “You’re too sensitive.”
Well, excuse me, Mommie Dearest, you’re too damn insensitive. You may not know it, but my high sensitivity, much as it may annoy you, is going to OUT you one day as the MALIGNANT NARCISSIST you always were, and will save my sanity. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
And then you dare to tell me how much you love me in the next line? Prove it.
She used to send me corny memes and hackneyed sayings about always being sunny and cheerful, and accepting things the way they are. Scooping all these memes together and throwing them in the blender, here’s the pureed form of the message she was giving me:
“You are a failure and will never get anywhere in this world because you’re not a fun person, you never smile, you’re always negative, but you should accept things as they are and be happy with your lousy lot, because you don’t deserve any better.
That’s what she was really saying. She’s one of what I call “the positive thinking nazis.” Actually both my parents are. There’s nothing wrong with positive thinking, of course, and it’s something we should all strive to do. But my FOO took it too far. They used it as a way to sugarcoat and deny real issues. It was like putting a Band-aid on a cancerous lesion so it didn’t have to be seen. If it didn’t have to be seen, it would go away. That was the sort of narcissistic magical thinking and insanity I had to deal with.
They used it as a way to deny responsibility. That’s the most glaring thing wrong with the positive thinking movement, when taken to ridiculous extremes. The denial of reality and rejection of responsibility.
Of course if I ever confronted my mother about this (which I never did, not directly anyway, since I was a teenager), she’d either fly into a narcissistic rage or vehemently deny it.
My mother still has the power to make me feel this way. That’s why we’re estranged.
Seriously, that’s the only kind of “help” I have ever gotten from my MN egg donor since I grew up. But I can’t be rejected anymore because I don’t ask her for a thing anymore. I could be lying in a gutter with a broken leg and no home and no way to get to the hospital, and she’d probably tell me I was just being too negative and drawing in my own bad fortune. I would rather lie there and bleed to death than beg her to help.
My whole FOO are huge proponents of the postmodern narcissistic grandiose fantasy of “you create your own reality. If you fail, it’s no one’s fault but your own. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps and suck it up.” It’s The Cliff’s Notes version of Ayn Rand’s objectivism. No compassion. No empathy. No love. Only judgment, gaslighting, subtle put downs, no loyalty, and thinly veiled hatred. And unfair and untrue accusations of my acting “entitled” because at my age, of course I should not be needing any help. But I’ve never asked them for much anyway. They think I asked for too much. All I ever wanted was love. No their conditional fake excuse for love.
It made me furious to the point of wanting to smash my fist into a brick wall when well-meaning people who may have heard about my financial problems or need of emotional support, said to me something like, “Honey, don’t you have a family you can turn to?” Or “Surely your family will help you out of this jam.” Sometimes it still happens, though I tell no one IRL my troubles. But I don’t want to hear what they have to say: all these people assume that just because their own families will help them or give them a hand up when they’re down on their luck or just need a non-judgmental listening ear or a soft shoulder to cry on, then the same must be true of my family too. It’s just what everyone does for own flesh and blood, right?
These fortunate people with loving families may be well meaning but they assume because theirs will help them and give them unconditional love, that the same holds true for people like us. They simply can’t or won’t believe there are some parents who actually HATE THEIR CHILDREN.
I get so tired of it. So very tired of it. That’s why I tell no one my problems anymore except on my blog. I never ask my parents for help, ever, and never will again. Especially not my mother. But I won’t need to. I’m still poor but I’m surviving, even thriving now–but not because of any of their heartless and judgmental “advice.”
I’m getting better because I have the ability to reach out to my real family–this amazing community of people who have such similar stories–through a skill I’ve recently rediscovered and is the tool to my healing: my writing.
I don’t need to be my mother’s scapegoat anymore.