An epitome that hit me today when talking to other victim-survivors of abusive narcissistic mothers like mine is this – when our abuser and her enablers tell us to ‘just get over it‘ – what are they really saying?? And it hit me …
Could it be that they tell us to just get over it because they – THEY – don’t want to hear about it or talk about it?! Could it be that it’s them who doesn’t want to deal with what truth might be exposed?? I think it makes them uncomfortable to have to deal with something they don’t want to have to face or accept. I think it is also partially fear on their part – fear that a certain someone is really not the person they think they are. Because, what if it’s true? And if it’s true, they’d have to act on it. There would be no going back. They didn’t want to be put in a position of having to choose sides. They didn’t want to be a witness on the witness stand. They made it about THEM!! To protect themselves. To protect my abuser. To protect the facade that our family is close and nice and good and ‘normal’. But they forget that by not making a choice is also making a choice – their not making a choice resulted in them choosing the side of my abuser. And choosing the side of my abuser makes them enablers.
I was always confused about the members of my family of origin saying to me that they didn’t want to hear about it and they didn’t want to talk about it. I thought to myself, ‘Am I not worth it?? Am I not valued enough?? Am I not loved enough?? Am I not worth being heard?! I am telling them that my mother (their mother, my father’s ex-wife) abused me, hates me, and they were trying to shut me up?!!’ When different family members on different occasions, tell me verbatim, “We don’t want to hear about it and we don’t want to talk about it” translated to me that they didn’t care one iota about me, but really – I think it was about them. They didn’t want the ‘crazy person’ saying anything even if it was true. One of them even told me, “We don’t want to hear about any more of your crap!” (Which is amazing because anytime I tried to talk about it or tell them – I was shut down – no one wanted to hear it.) No love. No concern. No willingness to even hear what I had to say – they didn’t want to know of anything she had done to me. They didn’t ask questions. It was like they didn’t want to hear it because maybe, deep down, they knew they wouldn’t be able to handle it if it was true, or maybe it was really because they flat out didn’t believe me. Maybe they were deathly afraid of what other people would think! For years, I believed it was the latter, but now, I cannot help but wonder if it was because they didn’t know how they’d handle it – maybe they couldn’t handle it – that they were too afraid to stand up for me. Maybe they didn’t want to know that it could be true. Could it really be that they wanted me to ‘get over it’ because it made THEM uncomfortable?? Could they have really made it about THEM?!?! Do they have no idea that they made me feel victimized all over again by dismissing me the way they did?? Probably not.
Whatever the reason – it matters not – the end result would have still been the same. Their not willing to ‘deal with it’ still left me on the outside (as always) standing completely and utterly alone. At the time, I assumed they thought me a liar and I told them all, via email, (as this was safest for me and I communicate way better by written word anyway where I can say what I need to say without flubbing up and getting choked up) that if they thought I was lying then I saw no point in having relationships. You cannot have healthy relationships with anyone who thinks you’re a liar. You just can’t. It hits me right now too that you can’t have relationships with people who also refuse to stick up for you, who won’t even come to your defence – or at least be willing to hear you. How can you??
What hurts is that they so easily let go of me after that – they didn’t fight for me. Not one of them reached out to hear my truth. Sure I got a few notes in the mail afterward – but it was not to hear my truth. I think they would have loved for me to come back into the family fold as long as I never brought up my mother’s abuse again – as long as I pretended nothing ever happened. I could not do that. I would not do that. Again, potential truth that this was about them and not the abuse I endured. Not one of them had any idea how scary and difficult it was to out my mother’s abuse of me. They don’t know how, for years, I dismissed her abuse because I did not want to believe the woman hated me and did in fact abuse me. It was hard for me to face and it was hard for me to accept especially when there was a period of time where I worked so hard trying to win my mother’s approval and affection. Part of me was embarrassed that I waited so long, but part of me hoped that someone would just ask or notice and they never did. I just couldn’t live with bottling it up anymore. I was tired of covering up my mother’s vile evil toward me, and frankly, I couldn’t take it anymore – I was dying inside. I was an empty shell, a walking black void of nothingness. This is what my mother did to me, what she reduced me to. They actually tried to shut me up which had nothing to do with me, it was about them protecting themselves from the truth getting out.
It’s heartbreaking to learn that I wasn’t worth ‘keeping.’ When I know how much I’d fight for my kids – how much I’d do almost anything to restore relationship if, God forbid, I ever had to, it breaks my heart – no, more than that, it shatters it. They weren’t even willing to do that for me – they weren’t even willing to listen. They made me feel like an outcast – which is no surprise by the way. I felt like an outcast most of my life anyway as my mother’s and my siblings’ scapegoat. This action of rejection was blatant confirmation that I really was the family scapegoat and that I wasn’t cared for enough to rip the lid off of this vile can of worms and confront my mother.
No one wanted to to confront the manipulative controller of the family – the one who smeared me (smear campaigns) to others long before I figured out that she was actually abusing me. So it’s no wonder, that when I did finally speak out about it, I was labelled ‘crazy.’ I was the one who was sarcastically told to ‘get therapy.’ (I did seek therapy and I was so scared that I was the crazy one – but I learned that I was actually the sane one.)
‘Just get over it!’ … oh, how I wish I could! I think that when one’s parents reject you, as well as siblings, it is not something you can ever just get over. Many people could think that I rejected them, but what they don’t know is that they rejected me first – long before I ever called them on it, long before I came out about the abuse in detail and made choices for myself, to protect myself – for my own emotional and mental health.
And once again, I am reminded of the vision God gave me when praying and wrestling over omitting my mother from my life in the year 2000 – which was an agonizing decision to make. In that vision God said to me, “Though your father and mother forsake you, I will take you up. You are mine.” At the time, I understood fully about being forsaken by my mother – it is something I always felt – always. Being forsaken by my father I didn’t understand, but I knew a day would come when it would make sense and left it in God’s hands. I knew it in my gut – that God’s Words would come to pass some way, somehow. To my surprise, my father eventually did forsake me, in the year 2010 – which was the year that I confronted my family and came forward about my mother’s abuse in detail. My father told me that he didn’t want to hear about it or talk about it. He said this to my face. And when he left my house that day, I knew it would be the last time I ever saw him – and it was. Just as my mother had forsaken me, so had my father.
So, don’t ever tell me, or other victim-survivors like me, to ‘just get over it‘. A part of us will never get over it. A person never truly gets over being forsaken (rejected, abandoned) by a parent – no matter why or how it happens. We will heal to the point where it no longer consumes us; we will heal to the point where hate is replaced with indifference, but will we ever be ‘over it’?? No. We never will. For us to ever be completely over it would make us the monsters our abusers are, in my humble opinion. We are not the monsters we have been made out to be by our parents and families.
~ Saoirse Quill