“Frank,” she whispered. “Frank, wake up, please.” She was whispering so she wouldn’t wake Mother.
“Hmm?” Frank mumbled, opening his eyes to a squint. “What?”
“Frank, I need to borrow a dollar for bus fare. Can you loan it to me until I get paid?”
His eyes flicked in the direction of her mother, who lay snoring gently to his left, then back to her. “Sure,” he said softly, patting the bed beside him for her to sit down. “Hand me my pants.”
She sat. She had known Frank for ten years…since she was six. Frank had owned the house on the dirt road that Mother and Daddy bought as their first house when she was in the first grade. Frank sometimes used to come by the house to collect the house payment, and often he brought his little black poodle, Duchess, who was friendly to the point of sloppy affection. She liked Duchess, especially after Mother had given Duke away and there were no more dogs.
Mother and Frank had been friends for a long time…at least she had thought they were friends…hindsight being clearer, she was pretty sure now that they had been something more…probably much more. When Frank and his much younger, pretty-enough-to-be-a-model and smart-enough-to-hire-shark-lawyers wife, Marti, broke up he faced losing a great deal of property and several businesses in the divorce. She had often overheard Mother…who was a bookkeeper and who could be very creative when she needed to be…and Frank discussing ways for him to retain his assets while shedding the acquisitive, spendthrift Marti. And Mother, true to her conniving ways, had come up with a brilliant idea…and Frank happily jumped out of the frying pan into the fire by selling all of his assets to Mother for one dollar, thinking to save himself from Marti’s rapacious divorce attorneys. He hadn’t considered, apparently, that Mother would then own all of his assets, leaving him even more penniless than Marti’s attorneys were trying to make him. Mother, ever alert to an opportunity, had parlayed this one into what she believed was a financially secure marriage… and, of course, control of Frank’s little empire.
The one good thing, however, was that Frank didn’t have a lot of patience with Mother’s behaviour and, being twenty years older, was seldom intimidated by Mother’s temper and outbursts. She could thank him several times over for aborting Mother’s run up to a beating by saying “That’s enough, Georgia. Leave the kid alone.” He could shout louder than Mother could and didn’t seem to be the least bit phased by Mother’s control of his assets. She wasn’t sure, but she suspected Frank had resumed ownership at some point in the relationship…maybe when they got married... From what she heard when they argued, which, because of Mother’s contentiousness, was often, Frank had resumed ownership of at least some of the assets, but Mother had some kind of financial control. She shrugged inwardly…it didn’t matter, as long as Frank could loan her a buck until she got paid.
She had a job after school, working in a hospital kitchen. While the work was boring and repetitious, she now had a legitimate excuse for being out of the house from seven in the morning until after eight in the evening, which just suited her fine. She had a study hall in which to do her homework, no difficult classes to study for, and only had to be home to sleep and change clothes...she ate lunch at school and dinner was leftovers in the hospital kitchen. But she had to hand over her pay check to Mother, who would then give her $5 for bus fare and school lunches and keep the rest. When she had objected, Mother archly informed her that the law said a parent was “entitled to the fruits of a child’s labour,” which explained a lot of things to her, including why she could pick beans and strawberries all summer and never see a dime of the money once Mother got into the picture. Nana had taken her shopping at the end of this last summer, a week-long shopping orgy in which she bought everything from underwear to a new coat and everything in between. She had only $10 of her picking money left at the end of the summer and Mother was so mad she was almost cross-eyed with rage, especially since Nana destroyed the receipts and nothing could be returned for a refund. Now, Mother said that she was “saving” the wages she was confiscating for things like senior pictures and announcements and a prom gown, but she knew better. She would never see a penny of that money and although Mother would pay for those things items, Mother would keep all the left-over money for herself. She had no illusions about how Mother’s mind worked…she hadn't for a long while.
She bent and retrieved Frank’s trousers from the floor and twisted her body to hand them to him. “Take out my wallet,” he whispered. As she busied herself removing his wallet from the back pocket, she felt his hand slide up her skirt and rest on her bare thigh. Shocked, she sat stiffly still for a second, then tried to pull her leg away. His hand tightened around her thigh. “Sssst,” he hissed softly. “Sit still. You don’t want to wake up your mother, do you?” She shook her head. “Take the money you need,” he said, his hand sliding around to her inner thigh and moving upward to touch her panties.
She snatched a single dollar and tossed his wallet down on the floor next to the bed and tried to get up again, but his hand gripped her slim thigh tightly and his eyes flicked meaningfully over his shoulder. “What do you think she would say if she woke up right now?” he said softly. She ceased resisting and allowed his fingers to roam, frantically trying to think of something to say that would make him simply let her go without waking Mother. When she felt his finger start to penetrate her, she gasped, then blurted “I’m going to be late for school!”
His hand ceased its predations and she saw him look up at the clock. Nodding once in agreement, he withdrew his hand from under her skirt, but as she leapt up from the side of the bed he grabbed her wrist. “If you tell your mother, I’ll tell her you started it. She’ll believe me, too…you know that, don’t you?” She nodded mutely, straining against his grip.
He smiled, releasing her wrist slowly. “You don’t need to pay it back,” he whispered hoarsely as she hurried to the bedroom door. “And you can borrow money from me any time you want.”
It is difficult to deal with a narcissist when you are a grown, independent, fully functioning adult. The children of narcissists have an especially difficult burden, for they lack the knowledge, power, and resources to deal with their narcissistic parents without becoming their victims. Whether cast into the role of Scapegoat or Golden Child, the Narcissist's Child never truly receives that to which all children are entitled: a parent's unconditional love. Start by reading the 46 memories--it all began there.