In troubled families, abuse and neglect are permitted;
it's the talking about them that is forbidden.
© by Gail Meyers
Toxic families are closed systems. Mine gave all of the typical toxic responses for breaking the unwritten family rule of going to therapy. The therapists are crazier than the patients. You should not air your dirty laundry. They guess they never needed therapy because they are strong enough to handle their own problems. All of this is rubbish. You do need to find the right therapist, but when you do extraordinary healing can take place. My childhood sexual abuse therapist undoubtedly saved my life.
However, just like any abuser, narcissistic mothers do not appreciate it when your confidence begins to grow, you receive validation, responsibility for the abuse is placed squarely with the abuser, you begin setting healthy boundaries or seeing through their manipulation. So, be warned. During my sexual abuse therapy in the 1980's, the inner child was often discussed. However, I joked that while searching for my inner child, I must have bumped into my inner bitch, because that is what I was so often called when I first started setting boundaries.
Several months into my therapy I decided to tell my mother of my childhood sexual abuse. My therapist warned me that in all likelihood my mother already knew, but I assured her that she did not. She could not have known or she surely would have done something to protect me. It took 15 minutes of sitting in front of my mother trying to tell her why I was so upset before I finally got the words to come out of my mouth. She looked shocked, but then there was a reason my brother and I called her Scarlett O’Hara. She said she believed me, but looking back I realized all she was worried about was whether I had told anyone else. She was especially concerned as to whether I told my grandmother.
I drove the two hours to where my mother and step-father had moved after my brother and I moved out of the house. It was a sudden move that only made sense to me years later. My brother and I were not so easy to control as legal adults, plus the numerous other girls he had molested were also coming of age. Nearly a year after telling my mother of the sexual abuse, my mother was still living with the pedophile. She was telling me she was planning her escape, even though I offered her a place to stay the night I told her. Then one night I picked up the telephone to hear my brother hysterically crying on the other end. He received a letter from our mother which also enclosed a note from our (narcissistic) sister. He was sitting in the cemetery thinking and crying. When I went to pick him up, he showed me the notes that I was obviously never meant to see.
Our mother explained in the letter how the sexual abuse happened one time, years ago. It actually happened many times over nearly a decade. How my step-father, and my brother’s natural father, had changed. He’s even been reading his bible. He was a deacon in the extremely dysfunctional church we grew up in, even though he was an alcoholic pedophile. Looking back, I wonder if it was led by lukewarm Christians or if they were intentional pretenders. I have wondered if it was a spiritually dead church or whether it was actually closer to a cult.
The letter then went on to say how much better the family is doing and getting along now that the troublemaker was out of the house – me. I was anything but a troublemaker as a child. In any case, the note from our sister reiterated the story. I was astounded at the time by what my mother was trying to pull, so much so that I could not fully grasp it.
My Brother's Truth Telling Makes Him a ScapegoatMy brother did not buy the story for a minute. Unlike me, my brother immediately saw the truth and he was beside himself. By this time the father who had abused and neglected my brother as a boy was afraid of him. That is the very reason they told him through a letter. They were afraid he would hear the news and come down there unannounced and infuriated. They wanted him to hear their lies about it first hoping he would buy the story.
So, without knowing I read the notes, my mother called me to tell me to be sure to keep my brother in the city with me. She then told me how she was plotting her escape from her husband and is surprised she has not killed him in his sleep. Since I was unable to keep my brother in the city with me, she then told people I sent my brother down there after them. Keep in mind I was trying to get my mother to leave him and move in with me. I also cared way too much about my brother than to send him down there.
So he went down there to the remote spot where my mother and step-father had moved to that was two hours from the city we grew up in. When his father saw him, he ran to get in his truck to get away, but my brother jumped on the running board and started punching his father through the window. His father drove off and did not come back for days.
In the meantime, that left our mother there without her pedophile husband to protect her. My brother confronted her and when she tried to blame me he lost it. My brother showed amazing restraint, but literally for the rest of her life she used a twisted version of these events to climb back up on her martyr throne while using it to destroy my brother’s reputation and relationships. He did not strike her, but he did shove her. He also told her he was not leaving until she told the truth.
So, our mother sat there infuriated while her pedophile husband hid out somewhere too afraid to come home. It ended with my mother sneaking out in the middle of the night and driving back to the city where she repeated the tale of her heroic escape from her drug crazed son who had attacked her when he was out of his mind on drugs because I put him up to it.
This set the stage for our narcissistic mother to begin targeting my brother as a scapegoat, as she did me, for the rest of her days. Some of her maneuvers are discussed in detail, one-by-one. While these stunts are discussed one-by-one in order to help you recognize, name and articulate each one, they are often used in combination.
*It has been brought to my attention that this video has been hacked. So I will upload the original as soon as time allows. Until then, the video abruptly ends in the middle of the article. Gail