No contact from our families may seem cold and callous, but let me assure you, when the family dynamic is narcissistic, no contact if often the best option for it’s victims. This was sure the case for me.
It’s not vengeance either – its the card I was dealt. I didn’t break all contact to be vengeful, it was for self-protection, it was so that I could heal and recover. So many think it’s insanely harsh to obliterate parents from their lives, and in my case, siblings as well as extended family of origin. But I assure you, when you have experienced the insidious abuse I have that only exponentially got worse through the years, you would totally understand why it was my only option – and so, when God opened that door to take my leave about seven years ago – I took it – I ran for it actually, and when on the other side, I nailed it shut.
When you have been smeared, gaslighted, and triangulated to name a few tactics of the abuse I suffered, and no one wants to talk about it – it’s rejection – and there’s not much left for one to do, but walk away. Let me assure you, I was rejected long before I took that doorway out.
When you have family talking about you, in a bad way – smearing you, behind your back – the kind of talk that actually severs relationships and causes them to pull away from you – you are being rejected. When you find out they are going out for family dinners (even without my abuser) without you, excluding you and your family from other family events without explanation – you are being rejected. When you are enduring long drawn out seasons of silence (the silent treatment) – you are being rejected.
What many don’t understand about the narcissistic family unit is that the scapegoat (which was me) is the one targeted as the evil one, the one who is ‘airing dirty laundry’ – yet, I was the one exposing the evil, which we are supposed to do as believers. I was airing what needed to be aired – it stunk, it was putrid – and it had to be dealt with but no one wanted to address this big elephant in the room – guess they all became ‘nose blind.’ The last thing family members said to me, after confronting them, informing them the details about my mother’s abuse, was, “We don’t want to hear about it and we don’t want to talk about it.” From the scapegoat’s point of view – this is ultimate rejection. The last thing my mother said to me, blaming me for her inability to love me, “You were always so hard to love.” (Me – the subservient one that was always trying to earn her love and affection … for years.) Rejection.
So fast forward seven years after going strict no contact, the abuse still haunts you. Strict no contact is no contact in any way, shape, or form whatsoever. This means no emails, no written correspondence of any kind actually, no phone calls, no texting, no contact via social media (where my family of origin is conveniently blocked from even finding me.) No contact means no contact in any way whatsoever … and even with that, recovering from this abuse is still painstaking.
Some on the outside who don’t come from this dynamic of family, have no freaking idea how painful it is as it strikes to the core of our beings. With me being the family scapegoat, the family sin rag – I was the one that got the family dysfunction dumped on them. For instance, with my abusive mother, when she would dump her sins on me – I’d get called a whore, a slut (and she did this by saying I was like an aunt she hated – she would compare me to her and then tell me I was just like her), she’d tell me I was selfish, she conditioned me to think I was a dunce, that I was inept. Then because one person doing this isn’t enough, they recruit other family members and family friends, even try to recruit in-laws, to carry on this behaviour (abuse by proxy). More rejection. How does a victim of this horrifying behaviour supposed to endure this?! The thing is, we don’t – we die inside. Eventually, I died inside – and it’s been a long, arduous and painful journey back to wholeness!
People who don’t understand this asinine abuse, are always ready to respond to my no contact with family with, “But she’s your mother!” or “But he’s your father!” or “But that’s your family!” And my response to all of those is the same, “You don’t know them and you don’t know what I endured!” (This is why I write about it – people have to know it’s real and how much of a soul rape it is.)
Many also think that now that my parents are getting older, that it’s somehow up to me to ‘make nice.’ That somehow it’s up to me for put things behind me and reconcile with my parents and family. And I have to ask people who think this way, ‘Why is it up to the victim to do this?? Why is no one confronting the abusers to make things right with their victim?’ The reality and truth is that it’s actually up to the abuser to make things right with those they’ve wronged. I know with my mother that she knows exactly what she did to me because she knew when to hide it from people – she’s the one who turned their hearts against me and my little family. She knows and I know what she did and it’s not up to me to fix what she broke. I also know she will never fix it – she will never make the first move, because to do so would require her to admit fault, to admit she’s abused me since I was just a little girl and she’s built up too much of a facade, filled with smears and lies, to reveal her true nature – she’d be rejected if she did. So … my refusing to make things right with her or them is not vengeful – it’s self preservation, it’s self protection. I kindly refuse to get involved with people who will not admit the truth or see the truth of the abuse and pain they have caused. I will not enter back into toxic relationships that has been taking me years to heal from.
It should be noted too that while I was in their lives, in my mother’s life, I tried to make things right. I confronted her about how she was treating me and she gave me excuses for her behaviour without changing her behaviour. I tried, for years, to love her into loving me back – that didn’t work; in fact, it made her abuse of me worse if you can believe it! I tried everything I could think of and I gave her, literally, hundreds of chances to make things right with me and it just made things worse – to the point where it was either ‘take the abuse’ or ‘run.’ I chose the latter.
So many think that things should be patched up as parents get old … and in some cases, maybe it can be done depending on the circumstances, but not with narcissistic parent(s) and the narcissistic family dynamic. To enter back into these relationships where there has been no change or admission of fault on the abuser’s part is downright dangerous! I know in my gut, that without their acknowledgment of the abuse, I will again become the scapegoat and it will be far worse than it was before. No, thank you. Did you know that just thinking about being in relationship with these people causes me severe anxiety as I feel my body tense up and go numb?? No?? Doesn’t surprise me – most people don’t – but this is what I live with … even seven years later.
What brought this up, is that is was brought to my attention recently that my father is not doing well health-wise. The illness is bad enough that most kids would be by their side to do what they can for them. Sadly, it will not be me. Why would it be up to me to come to his aide when he rejected me – when they all rejected me?? Seven years of silence not only validates their rejection of me – but it loudly exclaims it. It’s very clear to me that they don’t want me in their lives and I have humbly accepted that.
No one ever thinks of things from the victim’s point of view. So, I will paint a picture for you. As a victim of narcissistic abuse, having been rejected and discarded long before the Lord opened a door (at the worst time by the way) for me to take my leave seven years ago, leaves me having no allegiance to this family. Why would I run to anyone who has abused me, abused me by proxy, who have rejected me using the silent treatment as well as rejecting me because I refused to be silent about the abuse?? When this family has made no effort to make things right with me, why should I run to their aide?? It’s not because I am hateful or vengeful – it was because I was rejected – it’s because I was shut out without explanation by the way. Why would I go running back to a family who clearly didn’t want me – they never came after me to make things right, in fact I was told I needed therapy, that I was crazy and was being a drama queen – anyone who knows me knows I am not crazy or a drama queen. I did seek therapy because I needed to know if I really was crazy – I found out that I am NOT the crazy one.
I confronted my family of origin asking them that if they thought I was a liar that there was then no point of ‘relationship’ – them thinking I was a liar was confirmed when no one responded. And consider this too – how can I possibly have healthy relationships with people who think I am a liar – that I would lie about the way my own mother (who I loved by the way) treated me?!?! Why would I make that up?? They clearly believed my abuser over me and there is nothing I can do about that – but never assume or think that I should be the one going back to that. That will not happen. It was communicated to me seven years ago by them in so many words to ‘shut up and put up’ – and that was something I couldn’t do – not anymore. And if going back to them required me to stay ‘shut up and putting up’ – that is something I will not and cannot do! I have fought far too long to overcome and heal from this abuse – to become the stronger woman I am now, and to go back into relationship with people who think they have done nothing wrong to me is not an option for me, for any reason.
I no longer consider my family of origin my family. I see myself as being orphaned – as being dead to them. And if dead, how can the dead be there for them? Trust me when I say, refusing to ‘make nice’ to make amends is not vengeance – it’s simply no contact from a horrific abuse that I never want to experience again for the rest of my life – abuse that my body reacts to when I am reminded of the abuse – reactions that I have no control over. It’s about self protection as well as protecting my children from a very toxic legacy.
I took the path God laid out for me and so, when He opened that door, I took it. He has been there for me when no one else was, by giving me a very loving husband – a man He knew I needed. God also blessed us with three children … to whom I get to pass on a far better legacy than the one I was given … and there is nothing vengeful about that.
~ Saoirse Quill