Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Permission to be an Asshole

Yeah, that's a shocking title, and a shocking concept.  Who the hell is this big booted fool talking to?  How arrogant!

First of all let me explain something about "arrogance."  It took over 30 years for me to realize that when I'm having a "good looking day" or that I did a good job on something or that managing to graduate from the U of Michigan with a 3.2 something while working full time as a welder isn't something to sneeze at.  It's NOT arrogance.   Actually it took until the age of 30 to feel good about myself at all, appearance included.

Our narcissistic parents train us to believe ANY good feeling about ourselves is arrogance.  So, along with being told how ugly, incompetent, stupid, or lazy we are 24/7, we're also taught when "defying that order" we've become "arrogant."  

And let's face it...  we DON'T get any kind of credit from our parents at all for anything, so let's treat ourselves once in awhile to doing it ourselves, shall we?  You know what:  DO IT A LOT.  DO IT WHEN YOU DON'T EVEN THINK YOU DESERVE IT.  Trust me.  Your synapses need the experience.  It's nutrition for your soul you didn't get from them.

Come to think of it, the words "I'm proud of you" never came out of their mouths.  Ever.  Except once, and the circumstances are twisted, sick, and inappropriate and I won't be talking about it here.

So what do I mean by "permission to be an asshole?"  It's simple.  Well, simple to those of us raised by the inhuman.

We're trained to believe that "talking back" which is really code for "displaying an emotion" makes us an "asshole."  That's a word I learned very early on in life.  

I was an "asshole" (along with "cry baby," "faggot," and "sissy") for crying about being tormented for hours on end about a weight problem that didn't exist, or not "playing along" when relatives, who were encouraged to join in on various abuses, were put off by my "asshole behavior," which really means I wouldn't join in in making fun of myself.  

Actually I did join in in making fun of myself along with them quite a bit, just so I could pretend I was having a nice Christmas or Thanksgiving (having 20 some people calling you "asshole" or the other variants gives holidays a special meaning for those of us raised by narcissists).

I actually forgive all my extended family tormentors.   They (well most) were relatively young at the time, and after being told what a terrible person I was for so long, not to mention being told what behaviors to look out for such as me crying which solidified what was being said about me, how the hell were they supposed to know? 

So, by "asshole" I'm saying you can reclaim this.  It's NOT what normal society, meaning a society not full of your parents has created, has a COMPLETELY different meaning.  You are ALLOWED to express emotions, especially when treated badly.  It's normal, acceptable, and your right to want to be treated like a human being.

Wow, having a realization as I write this.  I once told my female N parent that I wanted to "be treated like a human being" verbatim one Christmas after hours of incessant teasing from cousins.  She told me that request was "arrogant" and that I was being an "asshole."

We, people, have to pretty much re-parent ourselves, and retrain ourselves out of years of absolute untrue bullshit that was pushed down our throats about us.   This will change your world, and that is scary.  But what's the alternative?  Stay around a bunch of pricks who make a family game of needling, picking, insulting, just to get a rise out of you and THEN laugh at you for your "ridiculous behavior?"  Fuck that.  I haven't spent a single holiday with anyone in my extended family for seven years and I just started truly liking Christmas (Christmas AND Hanukkah in my house) about three years ago.

The good alternative is this, and I'm going to give some valuable advice here.  You're an adult now.  You DON'T have to be subjected to jack shit you don't wanna be subjected to.  You DON'T have to hang around people you want so badly to be part of yet could care less about you, nor do you have to put up with people even being rude to you.  STOP explaining away THEIR bad behavior.  That's something your N parents did, and it's become part of your internal dialogue as you wrestle with decisions as to whether or not to stop talking to a relative for being beastly.  Knock it off.  They won't give you love, don't expect it.  YOU love you, and YOU make your own family.

I was always taught the height of arrogance and "asshole" behavior was thinking I'm better than someone.  Now that I have kids I can say without a doubt I rise infinitesimally over my N parents in every way for parenting ability, and I can say now when I look at how my extended "family" is I no longer want to be part of them.  I am better than them.  Save for literally seven cousins out of a cast of dozens, they are out of my life, many by their doing.

It's not arrogance.  It's clarity.  

Wanting and EXPECTING  happiness and RESPECT does not make you arrogant.  Does this make me an asshole?  I just don't care, since I live for me and my REAL family now.

Thank you for all the emails for the last blog, the response was frankly overwhelming and I'm still in the process of catching up.  

Peace brothers and sisters.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Addiction to Cortisol

Today I was talking with another friend who is also a survivor of narcissistic and abusive parents, and I was explaining to her that no matter how much hope you have that you'll FINALLY be treated with respect, not made fun of, etc., the abuse never ends.  It just doesn't.  It gets worse.  We can't "fix" them and it IS hopeless, and you are better off without them.

A lot of us know this logically.  

I knew it for years until I finally dumped mine, but why the hell did it take so long?  

The wake up call was when I saw the same load of sick, psychological horse shit style head games being given to my kids.  As a parent, I can't allow that to happen.  My narcissistic parents pretty much put me in a corner, making me essentially choose between them and my kids.  It's even worse for my son, considering he has autism.  To my parents he's just a disease.

So if we know, logically, that we're going to be continually made fun of, disrespected, and made to suffer insults and every other sort of cruel behavior narcissists like to undertake in order to control us, why do we keep going back?

The first answer to that is guilt. 

I can't speak for everyone, but I was shamed and trained to feel guilty about eating too much, not eating enough, being too manly, being too feminine, the list goes on and on.  I couldn't even breathe right, and I mean that quite literally.

We're trained to SECOND GUESS ourselves in every situation to the point which we're not even sure who we are or what we like or what we stand for. 

And what's one of the worst things one could possibly do in this society?  Disown their parents.  

Most people had decent parents, so it's hard for them to even conceive why we're angry with ours, much less why we cut them out of our lives.  What's worse is we feel a need to justify ourselves to someone who is shocked at us cutting our parents out.  That's another thing these insidious bastards do to us.  We have to justify everything.

I've done it in the most ridiculous and inappropriate situations where I just straight up come off as strange.  I once said to my boss "I'm having a hamburger for lunch."  Cool.  I felt the need to add "I"m hungry and thought I needed a lot of protein."  

What this further does is support the idea that I'm "mentally unstable," which is something my parents have been telling people since around the age of 9.

If you ever do backslide and feel the need to justify stepping away from your abusers, remind yourself of something:  THEY cut YOU out a very long time ago, not the other way around.  Except they cut YOU out in a passive-aggressive way, rather than just being honest and saying "You are a prop to me."  Remember you are not even a "you" to them, until they need something, which is always more narcissistic supply.

So what's the other reason we keep going back?


No, it's NOT because "that's what we're used to."  We are addicted to the chemicals which rush through our brains when we're treated like shit.  As ridiculous as that sounds, think about a metaphor.  And NO I've never even tried heroin, but I think it's a good example here.

Heroin is fun.  It feels good.  After awhile it takes over your life and really isn't fun anymore. 

Mom and Dad love you.  It feels good.  After awhile they are so in your life that the thought of cutting them out is scary, even when they're causing you obvious pain, and inflicting it with the full intent of doing so.

I'm going to play armchair "brain chemist" and believe me, I'm SO not qualified.  I was taught to look for really old stuff in the dirt.  But, there is a chemical associated with stress, and that chemical is cortisol.

Cortisol is a chemical released in our brains when experiencing stress.  It increases blood sugar, blood pressure, and is thought to contribute to a whole shopping list of nasty things we experience as we get older, from morbid obesity to hair loss.

But it also provides a rush.  It's released from the adrenal gland, and as a TRAINED anthropologist, it's my best guess that it's an evolutionary adaptation related to our flight or fight response.

"Why the hell would I be addicted to something so nasty?!" one might say.  Well, heroin can kill you too, can't it, even though it may give a short term feeling of euphoria.

You can break free from this addiction, and the best thing you can do, AFTER getting rid of the abusers in your life is to forgive yourself every time you need a "fix."  

Learning to forgive ourselves for everything from the D we made in biology fifteen years ago to the way we didn't "smile right" at our parents, along with a whole bunch of other bullshit that in essence is completely unimportant is part of our deprogramming process.

And it is a process.

And make no mistake.  We are programmed, just like cult members.  But step number one is removing them.  It's painful, but must be done, and believe me you'll thank yourself for it in the very near future.