Day: September 11, 2008

Ecopsychology, Narcissism, the Parentified Child and Domestic Violence, the fragile egg of CHILD SOUL…

Back to the “EGG” of the self! And the mother BIRD, with her delicate eggs — her children!

And, a few other core realities unpacked for children everywhere…

All over this planet.

Funny, this is part memoir, part political, part feminist, part therapist, and part election 2008!  Oh well…….

I’m going to talk about what is called “Parentification” of children.  This ususally falls to the ELDEST child in a family system, and it can be a pretty tough job, too.

What it means is that a child grows up PARENTING their parents because the PARENTS act as CHILDREN.  Somebody in the family has to be the PARENT.  I was one of those, so, let me explain how that happened and the resulting wound, as well as talk a little about Domestic Violence and this election — I’ll also be talking a bit more about the EMO children and their parental systems I have been looking into in the web.  Hopefully making an intervention or two along the way as we go.

I want to point you to a piece over at the Confluence first, written by Gary. because it addresses important things about this election and the “bashing” women like the PUMAS, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin are getting by the media, and the Democratic Party itself.  That is here:

Change you can’t stick around for…’cause it ain’t gonna happen.

“…I think the Democratic Party has definitely fallen into the role of the abusive partner in its relationship with women (and, I might add, as a gay man, that we could substitute that constituency in here as well).  It not only takes for granted our votes (where you gonna go sweetie?), it has demonstrated a total lack of interest in women’s issues and demands (UHC, unfettered reproductive choices, war, etc.) Women make up more than half of the Democratic Party.  How then is it possible that after an uprecedented primary run, garnering more primary votes than any other candidate in presidential history, Hillary is relegated to the role of Obama’s handmaiden?  Why is she called upon to clean up the mess he made with the female electorate in his own party?  How dare they ask her to be a front for Obama’s misogynistic smears on Palin and her family?…

This article is about many things that have a paralell in an abusive family system.

I’m going to take you to a place where you can learn about the cycle of violence in case you don’t know about it.  You can also refer any friends to this place, that might be experiencing DV.

Partners who are abusive can be any sex.  The abuser, (carrying their own wounds from childhood) seeks to “control” by means of intimidation.  This is one trait of a malignant narcissist, because in the WORLD of a narcissist — the only thing that counts is THEM.  Everyone is EXPECTED to “adore” them.  Anybody who deviates from this, they will try and “punish” or destroy, as the ad we saw yesterday demonstrated.

The “Cycle of Violence” looks like a circle — like this:

It can also look like this:

Or this:

So, it is about PERPETRATOR and VICTIM.  That simple.  Most abusers learned in their own family systems that this is how the world works.  They saw it.  A lot of times the children of these people turn out to be the most Non-harming, LOVING, people in the WORLD!

(Some become therapists!)  yes, they do….

So, what it is about is CONTROL.  GETTING CONTROL, and MANTAINING CONTROL.  There are phases of the circle that you can see in the diagrams above.  But, it always looks like this!


Every time!  How long it takes to get around this circle may vary.  Sometimes it takes a year.  Sometimes it takes a month, and sometimes it takes ONE DAY.

When it gets to the point where it is everyday, it is at critical mass.  At this point, it is very possible that the “victim” will act to preserve itself — that can have devastating results.  You need only think of the old film “The Burning Bed” and you’ll be able to see what this looks like.

So, we had talked of my client Joey, and my first placement at a Women’s Shelter.  I wanted to!  Because once as a child, I witnessed something.  Let me tell you that story.

The Picasso bird.  My mother loved Picasso, he was one of her very favorite artists — and she had dozens and dozens of books on art.  She was pretty flamboyant herself.  She was also VERY MUCH OF A NARCISSIST.  But, that’s okay, she was my mother!

In families where children are Parentified often there is a Drinking problem — or alcohol can be involved when a fight starts to escalate.  Any of the diagnoses for PERSONALITY DISORDERS tend to EXACERBATE if you add drugs and alcohol on top.  The rage kicks in, that is under the surface of the core wounded NARCISSIST.

Well, I was eight years old.  It was the summer my step-father was over in Hawaii shooting surfing films that it happened.  My parents hadn’t been getting along — they had one of those back and forth relationships — my mother had an affair.  He was a writer named James who lived in New York, and he had flown out to summer with us.

Of course, to me at eight, he was just “there” — and I really liked him because he got me this little kitten. It was gray and white, and he took us all sailing all the time.  He’d rent the boat in the harbor.  He was very much an intellectual.  And a writer…

By Christmas, my stepfather was back.  Trying to make up with my mother I’m sure.  Except that James had painted the house.  My stepfather started asking me about it.  He wanted to know who had done it.  He kept asking me, over and over.  Remember how I said that parents are like GIANTS to their children?  They are.

Eventually I said the word, “James.”

That night, Christmas Eve, I could hear my parents getting louder and louder.

I’ll just give it to you in story form — it is Chapter 3 of my novel “whitegirl”

The novel is what it was like to come of age tail end baby boom, growing up and being a feminist and how one becomes one!  So here you go, in fiction!


(part 3)

“Daddy’s home your daddy’s home to stay…”
lyrics by Shep and the Limelights

Daddy’s coming home, he’s coming home for Christmas and Mommy has set up the tree and you can already see the boxes piling up underneath it, more each day and the very biggest one of all has your name on it.  You shake it and shake it trying to figure out what might be inside and you really want to peek, but you don’t yet.

Mommy works at Joseph Magnin and so all the boxes are pop art designs.  She redecorates the laundry room with black and white checks and puts a huge cartoon poster of Superman in there and this reminds you of daddy, somehow, because he’s coming back.  Bossa Nova music is playing, because that is her favorite.  You press your face deeply into the sharp needles of the tree and inhale the magnificent scent.  Angelica has made cookies like little moons, all covered with a dusting of powdered sugar and the house feels wonderful.

It’s Christmas Eve.  When Daddy comes through the door that afternoon it seems like he is Santa he’s been gone so long.  You and your brother run and grab his legs, hugging him like you never want to let him go, and he picks the two of you up together and you squeeze him as hard as you can, wrapping your legs around him and kissing his cheek.  He asks you to help him bring in the presents and he has gotten you a bike.  A grown up girl’s bike and it’s black and white with streamers and a horn and you just can’t believe it because it is your biggest wish come true and suddenly he sees your kitten.

There are other things his eyes take in as they sweep around the room.  Things that have changed since he’s been gone.  “It looks like somebody painted the house,” he says.  “Come here so I can give you a knucklehead.”  Then he’s sitting on the couch and wrestling your little brother and you and the knucklehead is a little too rough, it hurts, and you wiggle away.

“Who painted the place?”

The question hangs in midair and your face starts to blush all over again just like the day on the playground when you’d seen that sentence.

“You can tell me sweetheart.”

Angelica puts your brother down for a nap and the whole rest of the afternoon Daddy tries to pry it out of you until you finally give in, because you love him so much, and say, “James.”  This is how things work in your family.  Nobody ever sits down and talks together about things.  The adults have a way of finding out things from you when you are alone.  Your grandparents do this too.

Mommy finally comes home and tosses her leather coat and bag on the couch before running right into daddy’s arms.  He’s kissing her and sliding his hand down the back of her skirt and this embarrasses you like it always does but you are just so very happy he’s home and everything seems like it will be all right.  At least at dinner, because you are all going out to the Biltmore, and your grandparents are in town.  You hear your grandfather’s Mercedes pulling up the drive, and when he sees your new bike he says, “Isn’t that swell, honeybunch?”  Grandma has brought you a new little hat especially for tonight.  You kiss her cheek and smell that Chanel scent she is always redolent with, and then you are all off to the hotel together, stepping into the cool evening air like an unfractured family.

It’s only later, after you have heard mommy’s and daddy’s voices rising and rising out in the living room that you put your pillow over your head trying to block out the sound of their fighting and you wonder if your little brother can hear and whether he is okay so far down the hall from your bedroom.

Mommy crawls into bed with you in the middle of the night and her face is wet with tears.  “Let me sleep with you tonight honey, please,” she whispers.  “I don’t want to sleep in my room.”  So you roll to the edge to make room for her in your little powder blue twin bed and she slips between the covers and it won’t be until morning that you see she has a black eye and that her lip is all crusted over with dried blood, because it has been split.  The first thing you see on Christmas morning is the bottle of whiskey on the coffee table.  It’s empty, and the house is quiet.  You plug in the tree so that it will be ready for your little brother when he wakes up and it glimmers like magic and Angelica is already in the kitchen making breakfast for everyone as if nothing bad ever happened.

But it did.  And it’s all your fault because you said “James.”

* * *

So, a PARENTIFIED child was born that night.  It became my responsibility to take care of my mother.  My little brother was asleep in his room down the hall.  I had to take care of him, too.

When I was writing in that writer’s group the content of a lot of the stories was very violent towards women.  It made me furious!  It was all about Men as Masters and Women as Slaves.  The funny thing is, I was so mad, I wrote a piece on DV!  Because the women would NEVER criticise the MALES writing this crap.  I took them on though.  I wrote a story about “Joey.”

Well, not exactly, but I did write it FOR Joey, and for all those other little fragile “eggs” out there!

The WOMEN attacked! (Not unlike what we have seen in the media of late, no?)  Just like THAT.

Defending Malignant Narcissism…

I have a lot of searches behind the scenes asking about this of late, so I’m going to give you a referral to a place!