I just read this article at PsychCentral, and I'd like to see some elements in it explored for adult survivors of a narc family, especially after decease of the dominating parent.
"As the victim’s mind scrambles to discover what one has to do to acquire a positive response from her abuser, cognitive dissonance sets in and the desperate urgency to discern a rhyme or reason becomes a driving force.
At this point, the victim evidences signs of Stockholm Syndrome, a form of traumatic bonding in which victims are pathologically attached to their perpetrator. She is caught up in an addictive cycle and deifies her abuser, dependent on her tormentor to redeem her.
Her locus of control centers around appeasing and pleasing the abuser, so as to mitigate danger. Over time, the victim becomes over-identified with her abuser, ignoring her own needs and assuming responsibility for the abuser’s `suffering.’ She begins to believe the abuse is her fault."
"Therefore, the duped therapist can be complicit in a delusional set-up, which has severe repercussions for the victimized partner. Sadly, this posturing only encourages the psychopath to promulgate his deleterious maneuvering and reinforces the notion that the victim’s suffering, brought about by gas lighting, lies, infidelities, violence and myriad forms of deception is somehow faulty and exaggerated.
Subsequently, with the therapist’s endorsement, the victim regresses into dissonance and deceptive fantasy believing she has newfound agency and legitimate expectations of happily ever after. Inevitably, idealization gives way to devaluation and the cycle of emotional rape recurs, leaving the victim even more emotionally, psychologically, physically, financially and socially devastated."
I am so sorry to say that all of this plays out in the church and every other religious and corporate endeavor on the planet year in and year out as well. It's ENDEMIC within the human race, don't be so surprised. It isn't that God Himself is an abuser, but leadership with a personal, self serving agenda hidden on the side routinely use the same mind games to trigger passivity, excessive donations, self doubt, and generalized confusion among the flock.
[But, Pastor is such a Nice man, he would never Really Lie, he's just trying to grow the church.]And it plays out in senior leadership of businesses.
[We used to be a team, but now we're all on edge because the directors have run out of ways to manipulate the spread sheets and get their bonus checks, while the VP level plays... you get it.]It's psychotic, and no one steps up to deal with the abuse.
People who were raised in sound households know how to recognize the BS when they see it and they learn to ignore it and go on with their own lives. They don't take it personally, they don't do what they don't want to do, they aren't easily intimidated, and if they decide the atmosphere is too toxic or not profitable to what they want to do with their time, they just leave and go do something else.
Those of us who were trained to hold on to the bitter end don't recognize the abuse as abuse for years, we feel compelled to stay and try to make the entire rancid thing "better," even when that's not our job or anywhere within our personal capacity, and even after it's over and we don't have contact with the abusers, we stew in the abuse through memories or grieving patterns.
I noticed myself walking thru the house the other day - I was tense and folded up from my shoulders all the way down thru my fingertips in a particular way, and my gait was odd and familiar. I was mimicking Maggie's* physicality. I was walking and moving in the strangest imitation of her, and it served no useful purpose. I wasn't reacting to anyone, I don't recall what I was thinking, I was just manifesting her presence in my house!
I am continuing to identify with her thru her mannerisms, her voice, sometimes a turn of phrase, and thru a slew of emotions and attitudes that just seem to slice themselves in when I'm not looking. There are all sorts of hunts that I don't have a dog in, yet I find myself running hard to keep up with the pack, and after which I can't understand how I got there in the first place. In a way, I am being her - so I can still respond to her - because that's what I've done all my life and what else can I do now?
I don't know any other life than the one I've lived for the past 50 years, and there are NO ready doors of access to a new life at my age. The same mind that has to fight everyone else to create a new life for me is also the mind that is persistently taking me back to the old life and fighting to see to it that I die there.
You would not believe the thought swings I have on a daily basis between confidently creating new horizons and a new future, and understanding that the biggest likelihood is that I will do nothing but work a job I don't like and am less suited to by the year, live alone with cats, and die unnoticed until the light bill goes unpaid. I used to get cranky at all the Facebook friends who complained on a rotating schedule of [whatever], yet they lived very well, were happily married, and have extended networks of family and friends for support. Now I just have to ignore them as whiny little brats.
I don't have the time or emotional energy to spare for nonsense. My brain runs hobbled even on my best days with the ADD and introversion, how will I ever pull out of this roundhouse of codependency and abuse recovery and actually get somewhere productive and alive?
I dunno. I truly do not know. But I know if I don't keep scrambling for even the little things, death is going to shut down my years before my years have even ended. I'm so damned familiar with being the living dead that I'm more at home in a cemetery than I am at a party, and that is an absolute moral wrong and a stinking, grotesque offense to the God who made me and this entire, wonderful universe.
So then, here's to a good head of steam and finally getting on track. It's a thing of beauty.