Tuesday, December 10, 2019

When Your Father is a Narcissist

If you know me personally, you know that the last 3 years have been the worst of my life. I have grown and changed so much in that time that by now you have probably noticed I’m a different person than I was before all of this. 2 years ago, I became aware of the situation I was in, and nothing in my life has ever made so much sense. Since I was a child, I was partially aware that something wasn’t right, but I always brushed it off as my imagination and love for storytelling. But now I know the truth. For the first 13 years of my life, I was a victim of emotional abuse.

I never imagined I would write this, let alone share it with anyone. My entire life I have never been completely happy, and I never knew why. I always had a voice in my head telling me that I was a terrible human being and that I could never do anything right. This voice was born from the abuse. Every time I made a mistake, I would receive an insult masked as a joke. Every time I cried or complained saying that these “jokes” made me upset, I was told I was “too sensitive” and needed to toughen up. To my abuser, what I wanted didn’t matter. I would ask him to spend time with me, but he always said “not right now,” but he would then come to me later when I was doing something and make me feel guilty for “never wanting to do anything with him”. Whenever he was home, he was either watching tv or in the gym, either way, I was being ignored. If he was doing one of those things, he wouldn’t hear a word you say. There were names he would call me, simple jokes to anyone else, but when they are repeated over and over, they start to wear away at your pride and self-image. His favorites were “piglet” and “box-checker”. He called me piglet every time I would get food outside of meals, he would laugh as he said it and I would go along laughing while telling him to stop. As I came into my teen years, I developed a negative body image, and to this day every time I look in the mirror, I see a fat “piglet”. He called me box-checker whenever I decided I wanted to try something new, for example, a new hobby. He always made fun of how I would “lose interest” in everything I tried. I was a child, how was I supposed to know what I wanted to do, how was I supposed to know what my interests were if I didn’t try a bunch of things first? Soon box-checker became “incapable of commitment” in my mind. I have to force myself to commit to something now because I believe that I will inevitably give up.

The way my abuser thought was that I was not my own. He and I would have screaming matches about how he claimed I was his property, how I belonged to him. By now I have done my best to try and forget most of what he’s done, but a lot of it will stay with me forever. One of the things he did that bothered me the most, he referred to as “butt-bees”. He would pinch my butt almost every time he came near me, if I asked him to stop and explicitly told him that it wasn’t ok, he would maybe stop for a few days, a week at most. I got to the point where if he came within 3 feet of me, I would say “don’t touch my butt,” out of a gut reflex. At the dinner table, he would interrupt me every time I spoke, then laugh at how I got angry. He would do this multiple times until I gave up on the topic and sat in silence for the rest of dinner. When he was out of town for work, the entire house was lighter and we all felt an odd sense of freedom, but when he came back, we would forget the old feeling and go back to trying to accommodate his feelings and every whim.

Today, he is not allowed to have physical contact with me by court decree, but he still texts me almost every day. I am not permitted to block his number or else I or others involved could get in trouble. I can probably predict how you would react to these texts; they would make you feel uncomfortable after reading enough of them, you would make the same disgusted face everyone else does. I, however, have grown numb to his messages, they don’t bother me anymore because I’ve received so many. In 3 years, I will be 18, when that day comes, I will change my last name, block him on every platform he could contact me on, and I’m moving out of the state. I am not allowed to be free of him until I am recognized as a legal adult.

I will never completely recover from what I’ve been through. My mind has been so damaged from everything I experienced it will still take me years to get to a place where I can even look at him without feeling terrified and sick. There are more things he has done than those I’ve written here, and I may never share those things outside of therapy.

Although I was never physically or sexually abused, I am still traumatized by what happened to me. Due to my abuse, I unfortunately have a hard time believing that those who are close to me don’t have ulterior motives in our relationship. I always believe that they are tricking me, or using me to get something. It will take time for me to get rid of this belief, and it’s something I fight every day. Additionally, his constant teasing and insults have made me feel as if I’ll never be enough, I believe that no one, besides my mom and brother, will ever truly love me because I’m so imperfect. I’ve always believed this, there has always been a voice that appears in my head whenever I do something wrong asking me “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you do anything right? Do you want everyone to hate you because of all your mistakes?” His words, and those of the voices, made me feel completely worthless, for a few years of my life I considered killing myself, and I thank god every day that those thoughts were never serious enough that I decided to do something.

Being around people is difficult for me because I feel as if I’m an accessory and they all have me there out of guilt or out of their aforementioned “ulterior motives”. I have a dark road behind me, and a long road ahead. My scars will never fully heal, I doubt the voices will ever entirely go away, but I’m going to do my best to rebuild myself as best as I can. I’ve already taken a big step forward. In October of 2019 I was diagnosed with depression, and about a week or 2 later I began medication. I have been doing much better since then, but my depression doesn’t account for everything I feel.

I look forward to the day when I finally get to leave my past behind and get to know my new self. I know that many people will never understand how damaging the effects of this abuse are. There is a specific term for the kind of abuse I experienced, but since my abuser is undiagnosed, I cannot officially call it or him what they are.

Every day I take another step. Every day I trust myself a little more, but I haven’t yet been able to make as big of strides as far as my feelings and reactions towards others. For now, I’m taking it day by day, and as crazy as it sounds, my experiences have made me stronger than I could have ever imagined, and I know that I will make it out of this alive.