Dying must have been difficult for my mother, the pain of cancer must have been less than the pain of leaving behind two young kids. As a mother, my constant thoughts are what will my son do if I am not around.
My mother tried to protect us, her kids from a violent, abusive father. She made her younger sister Vanity who worked with her as the custodian of her monies. We were given to understand that, Vanity would take care of us. Be like a surrogate mother. Tragically, she turned out to be the archetype of Snow White’s wicked step-mother, the Evil Malignant Queen.
Vanity Of A Narcissist
Vanity was a full-blown narcissist who was vain, self-centered and selfish. An attention whore always bragging how great she was, flaunting the attention she received from the men around in front of her wimpy husband, Mr. Woody Allen’s twin. All was fine till she realized that Woody Twin was looking at me differently when she caught him staring at me lustfully, she brought the house down. Here I was an innocent 13-year-old unable to grasp the evil adult games, with no one to guide me.
The only other woman who could save me was my grandmother (her mother) but no grand-mom was more interested in protecting the benefits she received from Vanity. She docilely sat while Vanity accused me of trying to lure her husband.
I was 13 years. I was so confused, frightened and angry, unable to defend myself. How could I an innocent child? What did I know what was seduction? And how could I, he was my Uncle?
I now realize that being a narcissist, she did not look upon me as a child but as her rival. Her rage at me when she realized that I was the focus of attention, like the Evil Queen she went about destroying me emotionally with her contempt since she could not kill me off physically.
She used invalidating tactics and sarcastic words to destroy me emotionally First by falsely accusing me of trying to seduce her husband, and then by disdainfully commenting on anything I wore or did. She would brazenly boast about the gifts she received and show off her outfits.
Contempt and Rage
Her underlying motive was to show that I was not classy enough. Once when I had gone to her place, yes, those were the times when I still hoped she would love and care about me, she told me to wait in the car while she and her husband went to visit her friend.
She was very good at sending her contemptuous message to me that I was not in her class. She made conscious of my lack of finesse and that she was ashamed of me. It took me a long time to get over the contempt with which she treated me. Her attitude to me gradually changed me from a happy, joyful, healthy girl to a depressed, twisted woman full of self-loathing. She succeeded in ensuring that I would not be a rival to her.
“The narcissist’s goal was, and always will be, to manipulate their victim into hating themselves. A self-loathing victim is not a threat. A self-loathing child will never be competition to the narcissist parent or golden child appendage because that child will never live up to their potential.
A child with low self-worth will fear outshining anyone because they will view themselves as unworthy of attention. A child who feels worthless will make the perfect scapegoat because that child will end up being self-destructive.”
The trauma of being accused of a crime I could not comprehend plus the other traumas of loss, abuse, neglect, and invalidation were too much. My psyche split into two parts. Psychological development was arrested at age 12- 13 years while my physical body tried to grow but again had to be suppressed because of the threat of sexual abuse, I had to hide my breasts which were the focus of my lustful Uncle that I developed severe scoliosis.
Because the trauma occurred during the so-called sensitive or critical period of growth which is a narrow window it affected not just my brain growth, but also physical growth. Thankfully, due to yoga and healthy habits, I have been able to ward off other of physical health problems
And I’ll rise up, I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up, I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up, And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up, High like the waves
I’ll rise up, In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up, And I’ll do it a thousand times again (Song “Rise Up” Andra Day)
Considering all the traumatic events in my life, being falsely accused by this Evil Woman was the most traumatizing. It was the ultimate betrayal of trust, to my late mother and to me. She did not physically ever hit me, but the psychical damage of her words destroyed any chance of having a normal life.
I always dreamt of having a home with a husband but I was so psychological fucked up. The only relationship I could manage was with a man 20 years older who only wanted to use me. I still remember her voice taunting me when she noticed that my back was hunched “Go to a doctor, my friend who has this problem is unmarried.” Those words cut right into my soul like a 15-year-old goes to a doctor alone.
Not all traumas are equal,” in terms of psychological outcomes. Studies have shown “survivors of HBTs ( High Betrayal Trauma) may experience more trauma symptoms for several reasons. HBT survivors may be prone to make negative self-appraisals to maintain a relationship with an abusive attachment figure.
Looking back, I realize the abuse I was subjected to by her was hidden abuse. You feel it and sometimes you can even see solid glimpses of the dysfunction. More often than not though, it is like a snake. It moves quickly and slithers away before you can get a good look at it. You may have tried to explain to people the exact harm that has been done to you.
It often comes out sounding as if you are exceptionally needy, petty, or even paranoid. Without a specific set of terms to describe the actions of a hidden abuser. Targets of this type of harm feel frustrated with their inability to make other people see the games being played. This happens because the average person doesn’t know about the psychological abuse.
I do feel a deep loss of the time and energy spent on trying to be accepted by this Evil Aunt. However, I do believe in a righteous God somewhere because she was cursed with barrenness. Or was it a blessing because she would have been a horrible mother. She was just not equipped to care for another human being.
The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships: Breaking Free of Exploitative Relationships
Healing the Shame that Binds You
The Road Back to Me: Healing and Recovering From Co-dependency, Addiction, Enabling, and Low Self Esteem.