I recently realized something that I’ve been living with for my entire life is most likely a symptom of narcissistic abuse. It never occurred to me before, so I started researching it & found absolutely nothing on this topic. All I can share with you is my personal experience, nothing I learned from anyone or anything else.
Many of you who know my work know I survived Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in 2015. As a result, I live with symptoms of that & a Traumatic Brain Injury from either the oxygen deprivation to my brain during the poisoning or the concussion I most likely got from hitting my head when the poison made me pass out or a combination of both. I don’t discuss these symptoms much partly because I don’t want to sound like either my mother or mother in-law who used their health problems to gain attention. I also doubt my problems in spite of the glaring evidence that something is wrong. Sometimes I think I’m exaggerating or even faking it in order to get attention like them. And, I don’t want to “bother” anyone with my trivial problems.
I know how ridiculous this sounds. How can I think that way when I know better than anyone else just how difficult my life is because of the symptoms? And for attention?! I minimize them to everyone, including myself. As far as burdening anyone, I’m not one to ask for help easily so I of all people should know if I want to ask for help, it’s very necessary. I know all of this, yet these thoughts are still there. Why?!
Suddenly it hit me. These thoughts are there because of narcissistic abuse!
Growing up, my illnesses & injuries were taken as an inconvenience. My mother could be nice to me when I was sick or hurt. A part of me looked forward to being sick or hurt for that reason. But, she would remind me even years later how much of a burden it was when I was sick. The older I got, however, the less likely it was she’d be nice to me when those things happened. In fact, I never missed a single day of high school even though there were days I really should have stayed home.
When I was 19, as I’ve mentioned before, my mother & I got into a physical fight & she threw me into a wall. I am reasonably sure she wanted to kill me that night. I lived with awful back pain for 10 years after that. No doctors believed I was injured & my mother was convinced I was faking it. Looking back now, I think the pain was due to the emotional trauma rather than any physical injury, because when I get extremely stressed, my back aches in that same location. At the time however, I didn’t realize this, & thought if even the doctors think I’m faking it, maybe I am.
As an adult, other people haven’t believed me when something was wrong or acted as if my pain was nothing but an inconvenience to them. My ex husband being the worst of them, but there were others too.
I believe the years of being accused of faking problems led me to doubt myself, & think that I am faking whatever problems I have, unless there is undeniable proof. I realized this recently when I learned one problem I have is a common symptom of brain injuries. It should have simply been eye opening but instead it made me happy because here is proof that something is wrong! I’m not faking it!
I also realized I hide so much from my husband because I don’t want to burden him, & I don’t feel I have the right to expect his help when I need it. Pretty ridiculous, really. He should help me if I need it! That is what spouses do for each other!
It occurred to me that if I experience this with my own health problems, then others who have endured narcissistic abuse probably do too. That is why I wanted to share this with you today. You’re not alone & you’re not crazy! I totally understand!
Unfortunately as of yet, I don’t know of any ways to change this dysfunctional thinking, but if I come up with anything, I definitely will talk about it in the future. In the meanwhile, please know I understand & am praying for you!