April 30, 2010
ISSUES IN ADULT LIFE:
- terrified of failure.
- lack of confidence in my ability to perceive reality.
- I try to rationalize my parents’ behavior, to understand why they acted as they did, and to “make the unacceptable acceptable.”
- I fear others being angry at me, so I do things like lie, to try to get out of them possibly being angry at me for stuff like making mistakes.
- Invisible child, unnoticed, unimportant, defined myself in terms of their feelings. Emotional abandonment. Difficulty defining my own identity.
- Difficulty standing up to people.
Similar to alcoholic families, I feel like I, too, grew up in a family that had a “dinosaur in the living room.” But with my family, it wasn’t as overt as drugs, alcohol, or physical abuse. The abuse was so covert that I still have trouble identifying what exactly the “dinosaur” was, even after a year of therapy.
Teasing and sarcasm? Jokes; making fun of me a lot. = Covert Verbal Abuse? Teasing, jokes, sarcasm, humor that belittles, making fun of me, “invisible wounds.”
Ah-ha! That’s it. I’m only 2 pages into this chapter, but I identify so much with it. Toxic Parents, by Dr. Forward. Chapter 5—Verbal Abusers.
If confronted, abuser accuses victim of not having a sense of humor, or being “too sensitive.” Excuses: “I’m just joking around.” “You’re too sensitive.” “You can’t take a joke.” “You need a sense of humor.” Etc.
And no one took my pain seriously. The entire family used jokes to hurt others. I was hurt by many family members and relatives.
Even in therapy, I fear telling about myself because I’m afraid of not being taken seriously, and mocked, made fun of.
Wow. That’s it! This is the abuse right there. I was the butt of my parents’ jokes, especially my father’s. I hated him for it. I’m pissed.
If I’ve been going through life expecting others to hurt me and humiliate me and make fun of me, make me into a scapegoat… then it’s probably no wonder that I hesitate to get on stage at the dueling piano bar. Sammie has really been encouraging me—he must see something in me that I don’t see.
Difficult to trust others—possibly because I received double messages from my parents, as a kid.
pg. 102, Toxic Parents
I felt “off balance, never sure if [I was] doing anything right.”
Were my parents competitive and insecure?
I sometimes feel guilty for being successful in something.
Name-calling from dad: “sociopath,” “too sensitive;” implying I’m a crazy person.
Perfectionist parents teach that making a mistake is the end of the world.
pg. 110, Toxic Parents
“Democracy stopped at the front door. If my parents told us to jump off a cliff, we had to jump.”
“I can’t be perfect, so I might as well give up.”
—a battered spirit
—very intelligent, but I buckle in the face of a challenge, like at the dueling piano bar