Adult children of narcissists live in a reality that is squishy.
We never learned how to trust ourselves or feel that we even have a right to be here and that shit isn’t easy. We don’t get to have a solid sense of security. We get a sense that everything is squishy. Narcissistic personality disorder creates squishy lives all around.
I am trying to get my head around it and I’m trying to remember my past with some positive memories. I have so many bad ones. From what I understand, many children of narcissists only have bad memories.
Not all of mine were bad.
I never understood WHY I went from being the center of my father’s universe to a child that never failed to disappoint him. I wondered what changed. I can’t pinpoint when it happened, but I knew it was around age 7 or 8 that I went from being a princess to being unwanted.
As I read about children of narcissists, I came across a passage that went something like this. Around age 7 or 8, when the child begins to develop a sense of self, the narc parent rejects the child because they are no longer a reflection of the narcissist.
I had my answer. I didn’t do anything wrong. Life just played out the way it plays out. Reading those few sentences were a revelation to me. It’s when I read that I knew I was finally going to get some answers. They weren’t pretty answers or happy answers, but they were comforting. Putting a name to the pain in my childhood was comforting.
When I was 4 years old, we lived in a small apartment building in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. I was happy then. I would wait in the front yard for my dad to get home from work and when he did, we would do whatever I wanted to do.
I loved taking walks. There is an actual fort in Fort Thomas, Kentucky and we lived just a few blocks from it. I loved walking there. There is a wall along the sidewalk and I would walk on the wall and my dad would hold my hand to keep me from falling off.
On one of these walks, I watched a little bird fly into the windshield of a truck. It bounced off the glass and landed on the sidewalk in front of us. It wasn’t dead, but it was severely wounded.
I was beside myself.
My dad picked it up and we took it home. We lined a box with cotton and I put some bread and water in the box and watched over the poor little dying bird. It was still alive when I went to bed that night.
The next morning, the box was empty. My dad told me that the little bird got better, he took it outside, and the bird flew away.
As an adult, I know what happened to that fucking bird. No way the bird lived. I’m sure it died in the night, or more likely, my dad put it out of it’s misery and chucked the dying bird into the woods behind my house.
Back then, when I was still young enough that he could look at me and see himself, he didn’t want me to hurt. He really didn’t want me to hurt. He was protecting me and it worked. I was secure when I was a very small child. I was safe.
That safety went away just a few short years later.
I’ve spent a lot of time bemoaning my childhood, but the truth is, I do have some fond memories. Some safe memories. I need to remember these memories and take comfort in them.
Besides, I guess it’s POSSIBLE that the little bird got better.