Abuse With a Side of Narcissism

This is not going to be a pleasant topic, dear readers, but it’s something I need to put out there.

When you hear people speak of abuse, what’s the scenario that first pops into your mind?  I’m betting you think spousal abuse, child abuse, even abuse towards animals.  That word probably conjures up visions of the raging alcoholic husband beating his wife.  Or is it the parent that neglects their young child’s most basic needs and is heavy handed with punishment? Or maybe elder abuse at the hands of care providers.

What of parental abuse?  It’s out there, but not many people speak of it. Good luck finding support or information on it.  It’s about as easy to find as a pink unicorn wearing a crown of four leaf clovers as it leaps over the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on its way to greet Santa at the North Pole.  Know what I mean?

Do you believe that the only abuse a person can fall victim to is one where they are physically beaten and have the bruises to show for it?

If so, you are misinformed.  I know, because I have an abusive relationship with a family member. This is not easy to write about.  I feel awful putting a name to this.

I know what you must be thinking. What type of parent puts up with abuse from their children.  I don’t have an answer to that.  This form of abuse is so insidious.  It creeps up on you slowly over time.

As a tot, my son was such a happy baby.  Always smiling and laughing.  I could take him anywhere.  He was no trouble.  Which was such a blessing; I divorced his dad when he was a few months shy of two years old.

Flash forward to the teen years.  That’s where it all started.  It’s normal for teens to mouth off, but his was of epic proportions.  He had no problem telling me to f*ck off in the heat of an argument.  He was always so very quick to run down the list of all the ways in which I was a horrible parent that did nothing for him.  Grounding him did not work, he rarely apologized for his behavior.  In his mind, every foul word directed at me was justified.

They were horrible horrible years.  I never remarried.  How could I bring another person into this mess?

When I would try to speak to his father and ask for help with him, his go-to answer was always ” well, he’s not like that with me”.  Thank you, sperm donor, for confirming I made the right decision in ending our marriage.

Back and forth I went with my son.  Some days great, others sheer hell.  Arguments would escalate quickly and I would end up feeling so confused and exhausted by the end of it.  Therapy, anger management, you name it.  We tried it. Nothing lasted too long and all it did was give me watered down versions of his disdain towards me.

He has moved back home twice now and each time the same thing happens.  He is on his best behavior for a little while, but then history inevitably ends up repeating itself.  I should know better, but when someone tells me they have nowhere to go and ask for help, my mother’s heart makes all the decisions.

He is not a bad person.  I can still see glimmers of a good heart inside of him.  It hurts me to be around him because all I want to do is give him a kiss and a hug and tell him how much he is loved.  Sometimes my mind tricks me into acting as though nothing is wrong and I try to make casual friendly conversation with him.  My efforts are usually greeted with a coldness that is reserved for someone you truly cannot stand the sight of.

This is why I’ve been so quiet lately and have put my writing aside.  When something is wrong with my family life, nothing else seems to matter.

There is a version of his childhood that lives in his head that does not match with my version of his childhood.  To hear him speak, you would think he was abandoned from birth and merely “tolerated”, unloved, un-cared for.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

A good parent cannot let disrespect and down right anarchy go unchecked in a home.  I disciplined and I also loved.  I supported and I reprimanded.  I encouraged and I let consequences of bad decisions be known.

Things have come to a head here.  I feel as though bridges are beginning to burn.  After yet another blowout, I had no choice but to ask him to start looking for another place to live.  It is one thing for a teenager to be disrespectful to a parent.  You almost expect it, all those hormones and peer pressure being what it is.  However, when a 25 year old male stands before the woman that gave him life and calls her a loser, an asshole, among other things…..well, it forces a person’s hand to do something that is very painful.

I’ve worked hard to support a child on my own and I’ve gladly sacrificed many things.  Now its time for rubber to meet the road.  If I continue to allow this behavior towards me to go on, I am afraid of what the outcome will be for both of us.

Clearly, he does not like himself.  How could he?  I think of how I would feel inside if I spoke to my own mother that way.  I think it would be akin to sipping a little dose of poison every day.

I may not have done everything right, and Lord knows I’ve made mistakes.  As parents, we all do.  Nothing I have or have not done warrants this type of cruel treatment.

This post is not to seek out sympathy or to have a pity party.  It about finally coming out and putting a name to what I’ve been living for far too long.  It’s about recognizing a familiar and unhealthy dance between two people.  It’s about new beginnings.  It’s about self acceptance.  It’s about knowing my worth.  It’s about ending a cycle of abuse and choosing a life free of drama and living peacefully.

I am hopeful that things will change, but prepared if they do not.