I’m going to take a wild guess that I’m not the only victim of narcissistic abuse who has experienced this kind of situation. I’m hoping sharing it will help those of you who have similar experiences.
When I was in either seventh or eighth grade, I experienced the scare of my young life at that time. My parents & I went to the grocery store one night. While there, we ran into my friend, her parents & brother. She & I went off to check out the makeup while our families shopped for groceries. Shortly after we were separated, a very creepy guy started following us & trying to talk to us. He scared us both badly. Thankfully, we found my friend’s parents as we were trying to get away from the creepy guy, & she told her parents what happened. Her father was a very big, imposing man, which worked nicely in our favor. As Creepy Guy approached, her father put his arms around us both & told the guy to leave his daughters alone or else! Creepy Guy left us alone. My friends father told me to stay with them until we found my parents. Upon finding my parents a few minutes later, he told my parents what happened. I don’t remember if they even thanked him for protecting me. We went to one cash register, my friend & her parents another. Creepy Guy was outside the store at this point. He was looking in the window at me, waving & smiling. My father said & did nothing. My mother continued putting groceries on the conveyor belt & said to just ignore the guy. By the time we left the store, Creepy Guy was gone. That was the end of the situation. Neither of my parents asked if I was OK or showed any concern for how scared I had been. I never thought about the incident again until I was around 40 years old.
When it came to mind one day, I was suddenly very shaken up. This guy was just very creepy, I don’t know how else to describe him. It was painfully obvious his motivations with my friend & I weren’t good. Yet, my parents didn’t show an ounce of concern, not even after my friend’s parents told them what happened. These were good, Christian people- they didn’t lie or even exaggerate! Why wasn’t what they said taken seriously?! If I had a child & this happened to her, I would’ve called the police & spoken with the store manager, not to mention, tried to comfort my child.
In considering this situation, I also realized that not only do my parents still shop at this same grocery store, my mother sent me there to do her shopping a few times before I moved out. I didn’t feel any anxiety in that store during those times I visited it. It’s only been as a middle aged woman that I feel horrible anxiety if I’m near that store. Thankfully I don’t shop at that store or have any reason to go near it very often.
I was wondering recently why this is. Why as a child, was I ok, but now, 30 years after the fact, even a quick trip through the parking lot sends me into a panic attack. God showed me the answer.
As narcissists, these parents demand to be treated as gods, basically. There is no room for anything except for their reality. You aren’t allowed to have feelings, needs, etc. with a narcissistic parent because that makes you a “bother.” All that exists with narcissistic parents is their reality, period, & anything to do with you isn’t important. If you experience a trauma, they won’t care. It’s not a big deal to them because it doesn’t affect them. As a child, you accept their reality as your own. When something traumatic or even simply painful happens, & your narcissistic parent(s) acts like it’s no big deal, you internalize that. You accept it wasn’t a big deal & ignore your feelings.
Years later as an adult, you see things differently. If you’ve learned about narcissistic abuse, you definitely see things differently than you did as a child. You realize how messed up your narcissistic parent(s) is. You see things differently than you once did. You no longer blindly accept your parents’ reality but instead accept the real, reality only. You may even have a child, & see things as a parent rather than only seeing them as an abused child. You see things through more mature eyes plus with the influence of things you have learned & things you have healed from. That is why if you look back at something from your childhood you hadn’t thought of in a long time at this point, you realize how messed up it was! You see your parents lack of protection or concern, & instead of taking it in stride, you get angry or hurt.
When this happens, it can be hard at first. When I first thought about Creepy Guy after all those years, I was angry & very hurt that my parents showed so little concern about a potentially very serious situation. (I also wished I’d had the chance to thank my friend’s father for protecting me before he died, but that’s another issue). I was also less than thrilled- yet one more thing to deal with from childhood. UGH. I realized something though that helped me. I realized how far I’ve come. I was so dysfunctional back then, I accepted that this possible rapist or murder being interested in my friend & I was no big deal. Now, I see how sick it is my parents ignored the situation. I realized that my view now is normal & that showed me how much healing I’ve done. Definitely a good thing!! So please keep that in mind if you go through this experience, Dear Reader. Seeing things in a healthy way like I did is proof that you are healing, & that is a huge blessing!