Thursday, July 25, 2013

Who said you have to wear that shirt?

Who gave you your label?  Which narcissist told you that you were the fat one.  Or the good one.  Too stupid to learn, too ugly for boys?  Who told you what you like, what you don't like, who dared to tell you who you are?  Those bastards with their pointing fingers, their blame - they told you.  They gave it to you.  They shoved you into that shirt.

Did you choose your label?  Oh hell no, not a chance, not in a narcissist's world.  The narc chooses which role you will play in their world, and it has nothing to do with your skillset.  It has everything to do with what the narc needs.  It has to do with how much bending you were willing to do to become that actor.  How far they can push you to fit into what they need you to be.  You weren't asked for your preference - that is the antithesis of being a narcissist.  They only choose things that hurt you.  It is better for them if you DON'T want it, because then they get the pleasure of forcing you.  Of watching your shame and suffering.  That is the whole point.

We were babies.  We did what we were told.  We played the role we were given so that we could be part of the family.  There were no options.  There was only subservience.  Acquiescence.  Malleability.  Fear.  There was only fear.  Because they rule with absolute power, unpredictability, fear.  Keeping you off balance.  Never secure - we always had to look to them for the answers.  And the answer was always the same - fear.  And we carry that pain with us every day.  The words of scorn and blame never leave, they rattle like echoes in your head.  A never-ending tape of ridicule and self-loathing.  And the narcissists know it - they still see it in your eyes.  They love it and they still need to see it, still need you to stay in your role and perform for them, still need your anguish and tears and fear.

It's all they want.  All they see - the only thing that makes them hum.  Fear.  Well, that and adoration, but they despise anyone who adores them - it's a stiletto knife in your heart with a smile.

Do you like that shirt you're wearing?  Are you sick and tired of playing the part?  You must be.  You're here, reading this.  You're looking for a way out.  You are tired, and worn out.  Sick with stress and sick of being an adult and still being afraid.  That shirt that they picked out for you, your disgusting narcissistic abusive parents - it doesn't fit - it never did. 


You can say 'no'.  That's what we all talk about, the boundaries we are always going on about out here in ACoN land.  Finally taking off the costume they have forced you to wear.  That costume of shame and guilt and fear.  The shirt with DOORMAT printed on both sides.  You are an adult.  You have power over your own life.  You can choose who you are, and who you become.  You can choose what you like, what you prefer.  How you spend your time.  When you are available and when you are not.  How strange that sounds, that your time, your SELF, is your own.  You can say 'NO'.

What a relief it will be when you stop dancing.  Get away from them.  Stop living in fear.  Stop living in shame.  You get to choose.

If you had a puppy, and the kibble you were feeding your puppy made him sick - vomit, diarrhea, pain - wouldn't you throw out that kibble and buy new?  Find the one that made him happy and healthy?  you wouldn't force your dog to starve or eat the poisonous kibble.  You wouldn't force misery on your dog.

Why are you forcing it on yourself?


  1. Great post, Gladys. I hate the labels. That was one of my first clues that things just weren't right....I never felt I could "just be myself" with my family (or the in-laws). And it seemed WRONG that the one place I should be able to just be, was one of the places that I couldn't be me. So very messed up.

    I liked how you pointed out that labels don't always have to be negative in order to be harmful. The pure act of someone choosing who THEY want you to be is enough (even if they label you the smart one or whatever) to cause harm.

  2. As an AC
    -If you're living in Fear, your brain and body are telling you you're in danger.
    -If you're living in Obligation, your experience is telling you this tab will NEVER be paid.
    -If you're living in Guilt, your conscience has been hijacked by parents that had none.

    If you chose to ignore every last blast of reality that's been demonstrated to you through out your life you're not living: You're doing a Life Sentence on Parole with no hope of Early Release. Every phone call, every email, every "Family Event" is you dutifully reporting to your Parole Officer(s). They never stop threatening to revoke your Parole at their whim and will seek the Death Penalty if you so much as jaywalk.
    You had no choice but to give them all the Power as a child. You're not a child anymore: You can walk away as soon as you accept what IS, not a fairy tale of what never was or will be.
    There are NO sepia-toned endings: They will reach back through the grave and screw you one last time. Meanwhile, you've wasted years trying to fix that which was never your's to fix, assuming responsibilities that were never your burden and propping up paper mache illusions that melted from your tears years ago.
    If your presence isn't helping, your absence won't hurt.

  3. Really great post. This is on line with what I just wrote about NSIL - the part when I talked about the labels that NMIL gave her from the time she was born because it suited her not because they were accurate, or helpful. She wears the labels given to her, sometimes almost with some sort of weird fucking pride it seems - like she thinks there is some god damned glory in wearing the shirt her mother gave her. It fucking bugs me. She calls herself crazy and says she's a disappointment - but those are her mother's words.

    DH was, let's see - gay, ugly, stupid - and now he's also crazy and evil. Great. Nice, accurate labels. Shake 'em. Shake 'em off.

  4. Terrific post. If I had a nickel for every false label my parents smacked on me, I could buy the shirt factory.