A few days ago, I came up with an analogy that even surprised me – and it can clearly explain NPD abuse to someone who has never experienced it. Keep in mind that I am not a professional counsellor or therapist … I simply write from my own experience. So please take note that I am a bit of a tech-tard, so my computer jargon may not be completely accurate, so bear with me. This analogy though, seemed to resonate with others who have also been abused by a parent exhibiting NPD. Others who have never experienced this diabolical and insidious abuse can never even try to understand it and I think it might be because it is invisibly damaging … anyway, here goes: Let’s view the brain and emotions and character of a growing child much like a learning computer. The child learns to trust, to receive and give love, to make judgments and decisions – you get the gist – based on information the learning computer uploads. In a healthy environment where the child is mentally nourished the program does what it should, preparing the child for life – teaching the child about healthy relationships and experiencing what real love looks like, for instance. However, when in a toxic environment, the program is compromised, contaminated – setting up the child for destruction basically – but the learning computer will see this as ‘normal’ for the abused child because there is no other information to indicate otherwise. The learning computer can only compute what its given – new information cannot be processed until its entered which can be input via verbally, emotionally and even physically which occurs over a period of many years before its ‘found out’ – which explains why so many of us don’t discover this ‘virus’ until we’re in our thirties, forties, and fifties. We don’t realize its a virus until our hard drive receives more and more information after observing others, their actions, their words and how they interact with others and with their family members, with society – it is only then that we start to see what is virus and what is not. It occurred to me just how much influence a parent has on their children. It seems so evident to me that we learn our worth by how our parents treat us and teach us – and because we, victims of NPD abuse, have/had parent(s) who didn’t love us, they ‘programmed’ us to believe that we weren’t worthy of love … we trusted that this ‘message’ was true to us as children – where from what I have observed – have a built-in thing to believe what their parents reflect back onto them, they believe whatever their parents have taught and or reflected without question – after all, as a child we often assume that our parents know us better than we know ourselves – at least its what I was conditioned to believe. It wasn’t until I had children of my own (new information) that I became aware of the virus infection … which set me on a path for what was true and what wasn’t – the ‘learning computer’ was back in action, processing whatever information it could work at obliterating the virus. Yes, many victims of this abuse grew up without virus protection. Our learning computer uploaded beliefs that we assumed was truth. At the time, it was our ‘truth’ because we had nothing to compare it to, so our learning computer accepted it as ‘truth.’ It was our truth as we knew it. To us it was our ‘normal.’ We had no safe-guard to tell us of a virus warning like ‘does not compute.’ Our computer didn’t recognize this information as false or inaccurate – it was just ‘information.’ However, the system would freeze up sometimes with our gut reactions. The gut would tell us, ‘something isn’t quite right here’ – but being we were taught as children to doubt and or ignore gut feelings, we learned to overlook those subtle virus warnings – and so we kept pressing the ‘ignore’ button. The warnings may have taken root more, maybe, if a window in our brains popped up saying, “WARNING! DOES NOT COMPUTE! INFORMATION MISSING!” … To prompt us to find ‘new information.’ But the learning computer, which are our brains, would compute around this glitch called the ‘gut feeling’, overriding it so that we could function as best we could in the truth we knew.
We were conditioned, ‘programmed’ to believe our abuser’s lies (viruses) and treatment since we were young based on what information got uploaded – and those lies got embedded into our very identity, into our very core of our hard drives which were formed in those early years with the only ‘truth’ we knew … there was no way for us to know, when we were little, that the ‘truth’ being uploaded wasn’t really the truth – it was just learning and processing only what it was exposed to, by what it experienced. So is it any wonder then that with the knowledge we accumulated along the way in life that the more our ‘normal’ appeared skewed? This is why so many of us don’t realize how toxic the insidious abuse is until we reach our older years. The older we victims get, the more we can see the affects of this life-sucking virus and how it attacks the mind and emotions which then eventually attack the body creating health issues for a good many of us. Our ‘computer’ (our minds) were infected with a virus right from the get-go – it has damaged our ‘hard drive’ – the extent of virus can only be fixed by one line of code at a time because we have to delve into the operating system to fix it – and its insanely tedious and arduous – but its also rewarding when another line of code is working as it actually should have if we were brought up in healthy relationships free of abuse. It is insanely time consuming to restore that ‘hard drive’ as much as we can to what it should have been. Unfortunately, I am not sure that all damage is reversible unless maybe we choose to be incredibly meticulous and tenacious in finding all the ‘system errors.’ I guess time will tell. Good news is, is that if we are deliberate by taking every thought captive – tearing down the lies and imaginations and replacing them with God’s truth, with His help and His Word we can do a pretty successful virus sweep where maybe everything can be swept clean … however, it may not fix all the glitches the virus caused, but it will fix them enough to where our souls can be restored enough to be of value to Him and thus to ourselves and be healthy enough to be of benefit to our spouses and our children. We can fix enough to not pass on this toxic and poisonous virus down to future generations. It can fix us enough to not continue to believe (and pass on) a toxic and destructive ‘love’ that we grew up with. It can fix us enough to enjoy being loved again – or for the first time, it can fix us enough to enable us to find joy in our lives and thus enjoy life with those we have learned to love – authentically and truthfully, wholeheartedly. Striving to change our thoughts – what we think and how we think is the healing process. We owe it to ourselves and our children to not pass the virus down to the next generation which would further exacerbate the damage. No child should ever experience this nasty ‘virus’ inflicted on them by parents who were supposed to love them and protect them. So, let’s continue with the painstaking and arduous journey of ‘rewriting code’ for ourselves and our future generations – for God’s glory. The abuse has to stop somewhere – why not with us?!
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
~ Saoirse Quill