It is difficult to deal with a narcissist when you are a grown, independent, fully functioning adult. The children of narcissists have an especially difficult burden, for they lack the knowledge, power, and resources to deal with their narcissistic parents without becoming their victims. Whether cast into the role of Scapegoat or Golden Child, the Narcissist's Child never truly receives that to which all children are entitled: a parent's unconditional love. Start by reading the 46 memories--it all began there.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
A Summary: 10 Commandments of Dysfunctional Families
From The 10 Commandments of Dysfunctional Families
by Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
The Ten Commandments of Dysfunctional Families: A Summary
The First And Great Commandment Is This:
“Be a ‘good’ person: Be blind, be quiet, be numb, be careful, keep secrets, avoid reality, avoid relationships, don’t cry, don’t trust, don’t feel, be serious, don’t talk, don’t love and above all, make everyone think you’re perfect...even if it makes you feel guilty.”
In other words, cease to exist as a separate, autonomous entity and exist as a cog in the wheel of the machine that is the dysfunctional family. Each child has one or more roles in the family, some of them assigned, others taken on by the child. These roles are rigid and, unless the child is an only, unlikely to change during the Nparent’s lifetime. The family is delicately balanced, its cohesiveness and continuation dependent upon each member playing his or her role. To attempt to change your role is to disrupt that balance and threaten the existence of the family itself.
And so you must don your role in the family like a burqa and play the role as if it were really you. And the real you must be stuffed down, silenced, and denied until she doesn’t consciously exist anymore and you become the creation of the dysfunctional parents, playing the role they need to enable their drama to continue. Your feelings are immaterial: ideally, you have none, but you must make a credible show of the feelings they allow or need you to display at any given moment.
You may not be yourself—you may not even have a “yourself.” You must selflessly be who and what they want you to be, what they need you to be, on demand…and like a good little marionette, be unobtrusive and out of sight, call no attention to yourself, make no demands, have no needs, just be ready for the next performance.
The Second Is Like Unto It:
“Since you're worthless and nobody loves you anyway (including yourself), don't try to change yourself. You're not worth the effort and you couldn't do it if you tried anyway. God won’t help you either. So get back where you belong. There’s nothing wrong anyway so what’s your problem! See, I told you that you were stupid.”
If you change yourself, you change how you work in the family dynamic, and in a dysfunctional family, that can destroy the delicate balance the parents have worked so hard to create. It is mutiny—insubordination—chaos—if you change yourself and thereby remove yourself from the role you were assigned...you destroy the family.
The rulers of a dysfunctional organization do not like change they did not create. Any change must be created by them so that it will benefit them…changes they do not initiate, like you removing yourself from your assigned or accustomed role, are threatening and frightening and potentially destructive. And so once you are performing your assigned role, you must be convinced that you have no options outside this role, that you are enslaved to it and cannot ever be released because it is who you are.
And so they convince you to stay as you have always been. That change would be futile even if you were able to change—but you can’t, a leopard can’t change its spots and you will never be more or better than you are today…or were yesterday…or that long string of yesterdays leading back so far you cannot remember.
You are not a person to them, you are a thing, immutable and unchanging, without feelings or needs, occasionally balking as machines are wont to do, but always there, always accepting and discharging your role so that their lives can continue as they created them to be. And if you try, you will fail because you cannot be anything other than what you are: just another cog in their machine.
You cannot even escape if you go No Contact because your absence from them doesn’t stop them from blaming you—they do it in absentia, behind your back, without your knowledge. But at least you don’t have to listen to them anymore.
These are the rules of the Dysfunctional Family and if you wish to be a part of it, you must play by those rules, play your role, don't try to improvise or improve your place. Just do as the directors say and you can stay...and they always assume you want to stay, that you are desperate to stay...
Next: "I Can't!"