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.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Doctor's Visit

She had never felt so humiliated, so embarrassed, so absolutely mortified in her entire life. Half-propelled, half-carried by the Boy’s Vice Principal, she was sped through the corridors of the school, listening to the man mutter imprecations under his breath that she could just barely hear but did not fully understand.

“Miss Cornelius!” he shouted, coming to a halt in front of the school nurse’s door. “Miss Cornelius, open the door!” She shuddered in his grasp, reminded of Mother.

Like an animated Impressionist painting, indistinct colours began to wave and pulse behind the pebbled glass in the top half of the door. Pinkish flesh tones surged and receded with a swath of sterile white as Miss Connie unlocked the office door, releasing a wave of antiseptic and clove oil scents. She felt herself thrust forward and she stumbled weakly into Miss Connie’s surprised embrace. “I found her in the telephone booth, draped over the stool. She can barely stand. I think she’s drunk,” Mr. Rathburn’s sternly disapproving voice floated in and out of her ears. “Report to me when you have this under control.” She heard the glass door pane rattle and felt the concussion of Mr. Rathburn’s slammed exit.

“What’s wrong with you, dear?” Miss Connie said gently, wiping her straggling damp hair back from her eyes. “You don’t smell like you’ve been drinking.” Miss Connie helped her to a chair where she gratefully sat down, her knees being unaccountably unreliable today.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I just feel real tired. I can’t hardly stand up.”

“What were you doing in the phone booth?” Miss Connie inquired.


At the nurse’s puzzled look, she mustered up the effort to frame a more complete reply. “I was on my way here. My legs were just so tired, I had to rest for a minute. But Mr. Rathburn caught me.”

Miss Connie nodded in that slow, comforting way of hers and drew a thermometer out of the little glass beaker full of alcohol in the nearest cabinet. “Open up,” she said. “Let’s see what is going on.”

She sat quietly for a moment, then sat up with alarm. “I need a sanitary pad,” she said urgently, pulling the thermometer from her mouth. “Right now!” If she got blood on another pair of panties, Mother was going to kill her!

Miss Connie looked puzzled for a moment, then handed her the necessary supplies, waiting at the door of the tiny antiseptic closet of a bathroom for her to come back out.

“Lie down on one of the cots, dear,” Miss Connie directed her, popping the thermometer back in her mouth. “Tell me about your periods…”

She wasn’t sure when she dropped off to sleep, but from a fuzzy, hazy place she could hear Miss Connie’s voice in the distance, soft and quiet. “I was right about the pneumonia last term, wasn’t I?” she was saying. “Believe me, Mrs. Janssen, your daughter is quite ill and needs to see a doctor immediately. Her period has been going on for three weeks and this is simply not normal.” There was a pause and then the nurse’s voice resumed, stronger and more commanding this time. “The child is haemorrhaging, Mrs. Janssen. I have seen it with my own eyes. Now, if you are not prepared to take her to a physician this afternoon, I will call Child Protective Services and they will pick her up and take her to the County Hospital for treatment. Do I make myself clear?”

She sighed. She wished Miss Connie had not called her mother. There was going to be hell to pay when she got hold of her, and probably another spanking for tattling to the nurse. She sighed again and pulled up the blanket. She was cold. She didn’t care. She was too tired to care.

* * *

Mother had a death grip on her hair and her head was yanked back so that her neck felt like it was breaking. “All right, you little tramp, who was it?” she hissed.

After silently helping Miss Connie put her in the car and carefully pulling away from the curb, Mother drove a mile or so away from the school then pulled the car over with a jerk. “Don’t pull that Miss-Innocent-I-Don’t-Know-What-You-Are-Talking-About act on me, you little slut. You may be able to fool your father and your grandparents and even that dimwit nurse, but you sure as hell don’t fool me!” She had no idea what Mother was talking about, but her eyes spouted tears as her head was dragged even further back.

Mother jerked her head back and forth by the fistful of hair she gripped. “Who was it?” she shouted. “I swear to God I’ll get his name out of you and I will sue his parents for every dime they have and ever will have! You are only thirteen years old and that’s statutory rape, your consent doesn’t mean shit in a court!” Mother thrust her suddenly away, her head banging painfully against the window.

“I don’t understand…” she began.

“Do not give me that!” Mother raged, pulling the car back out into traffic with a sharp yank of the wheel. “You Goddamned well understand, and perfectly. I was not born yesterday, I know the symptoms of a miscarriage when I hear them, and you, missy, are well and truly caught! Hoist by your own petard!”


“I called your father…do you think I have the money to pay one of these big-time doctors to take care of this? Your precious father,” Mother sneered the words “said that if you were pregnant at thirteen, you were no daughter of his. How’s that for you?” Mother finished with a smug, cat-that-ate-the-canary smile. She was too tired to care.

The doctor was a stranger. She wasn’t sure why Mother had chosen a strange doctor in Las Brisas…this guy had to be expensive---everything in Las Brisas was expensive…rather than Dr. Byrd, their regular doctor. Mother hurried her in through the back door of the office and directly into an examining room. Just as well, she didn’t want to fall over asleep in the reception room. She was so tired!

She struggled out of her clothes and into the stiff white examining gown and sat shivering on the table. The doctor came in and spoke quietly with Mother in a corner for a moment and Mother handed him a white envelope, which he put in a drawer near the examining table. When he came to the side of the table he looked at her briefly, then back at Mother, who nodded silently. “Lay back on the table,” he said. “Bend your knees and scoot your bottom down to the edge.”

* * *

Someone was screaming. She could hear someone screaming. Why didn’t anyone help? She couldn’t breathe, something heavy was on her chest, and her arms and legs were tangled up in the blankets so she couldn’t move. She hated nightmares like this, where she couldn’t move, she couldn’t cry out for help…wait…that screaming…she was screaming. What was going on? Another lick of fire stroked through her lower belly and another scream boiled up and ripped its way out of her throat. It was Mother on her chest…that’s why she couldn’t breathe! “Mommy! Mommy!” she cried desperately. “Mommy! It hurts! Help me!”

Mother just pressed down harder and fixed her with a look that promised murder. “Shut your mouth!” she commanded in a deep, hushed voice, hazel eyes boring into blue. “If you make another sound I will beat you absolutely stupid when we get home, do you hear me?” Before she could nod a streak of searing fire blazed through her belly again but when she opened her mouth a tongue depressor was thrust between her jaws and a strange voice said “Bite.” She bit the stick in half, the muffled shriek finding its way out through her nose. Another wave of pain washed over her but before she could make a sound she saw stars and black and then nothing at all.

“Her hymen was intact,” she faintly heard a man’s voice in the distance, “…just an infection…sometimes just happens....” She thought she heard Mother’s voice but she wasn’t sure, for the blessedly soft blackness came back and embraced her.

“Get up and get dressed, you goldbricking little bitch,” Mother hissed in her ear. “Knock that shit off…they didn’t give you any gas, so I know you’re not knocked out. Stop with the dramatics and get your clothes on!”

She struggled to a sitting position on the narrow table, a thick wad of something jammed between her legs. Her wrists were sore, her throat felt torn open, and her lower belly was on fire inside. She doubled over with a sudden cramp and Mother caught her by her long hair. “Do not try any of your little tricks on me, miss,” Mother said with menacing softness. "I have never been so humiliated in my life with that screaming act of yours…everybody in the waiting room thought someone was being murdered in here! Just you wait until I get you home…”


  1. Replies
    1. It may explain why I need heavy sedation or even general sedation for any kind of invasive procedure...even dental work...

  2. It certainly would. I just have no words to describe my reaction to you having to endure that. And then all the physical and mental abuse as well. Oh my days.

    1. Hopefully people who endured emotionally barren mothers like mine will read these my Memories or stories written by others and realize they are not alone, they are not the crazy ones, they are not at fault. I went into therapy and at least in the beginning, I got more out of group therapy than individual because the group brought it forcefully home to me that I was NOT the only person in the world with an abusing parent and knowing I was not alone was very validating.

      Hopefully, my writing will allow someone else to feel validated enough to begin her/his own healing journey.

  3. Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone.

    Violet, I am 59 years old and I still feel like I'm 12 years old at times. I feel like I am losing my mind. I'm afraid, I don't understand what's happening to my mind. Why NOW? These things happened forever ago, so why am I losing it NOW?

    Reading this helps. It HURTS. But it helps.

    1. I cannot give you a definitive answer, Charity, I can only speculate...

      I am 65 and all of this came back to me, haunted me, when I was about your age. I did five years of therapy in my late 30s and early 40s and had been pretty much ok since then.

      Then a traumatic event happened...I was the victim of a home invasion robbery, tied up and assaulted (not sexually,tho) when nobody was home but me and the maid. She was terrified that when the thing was over and life was returning to normal, she quit her job, saying she was afraid to even BE in my house.

      My helplessness in the situation, my inability to protect the maid, my injuries, all conspired to bring all of this stuff back up. That is when I started writing what is now the 46 Memories--it was a catharsis to spill out the anxiety and terror because all through the robbery, which lasted about 45 minutes, I was strong, calm and rational. It wasn't until it was over that I broke down.

      Has anything traumatic happened in your life lately? Not necessarily as dramatic as my robbery, but something that emotionally rattled you? Has there been some kind of significant emotional event in your life? Did you get into some kind of altercation with someone, even someone unimportant in your life like another driver or a customer service rep whose last thought was serving the customer? Things like this often come up as the result of some seemingly unrelated event, sometimes traumatic, sometimes not, that make us feel the way we did back then--and then it all comes back.

      For me, the fix was to write the blog that became these 46 Memories. It was a secret blog, nobody could see it but me, and I didn't even tell my husband. I wrote every day for a while, just randomly taking memories out of my history and writing them down. Writing them down gave me power over them---in black and white on a computer screen I could look at them dispassionately and see them for exactly what they were: casual cruelties inflicted by a callous, uncaring woman on a vulnerable, powerless child. As a mother myself, I now had a perspective on her behaviour that I lacked as a child, but I was able to validate that child because my knowledge as an adult and a mother validated that child's instincts.

      Something has happened in your life--probably fairly recently or even on-going right now--that has triggered your memories and feelings of childhood to come forward. When I was married to my exNH, I remember being in a very deep depression and literally unable to walk 16 feet to the bathroom without collapsing with physical weakness. I recall leaning against a wall in the hallway and just sliding down it into a sitting position on the floor, and saying to myself "Why do I feel like I am 12 years old and the weight of the world is on my back?" I started therapy shortly after that, the depression having become suicidal.

      As I said in my most recent blog entry "I can't!" it is all about empowerment. You are likely feeling disempowered, probably by some fairly recent event, and it harks back to the years when you were truly disempowered, the puppet of a self-centred mad woman. Perhaps writing, as I did, will help you...if not, find yourself a good therapist with experience in dealing with survivors of narcissists or abusive parents.

      And please keep in touch.



    2. You are exactly right in everything you are speculating about here. I did not suffer a terrifying home invasion, burglarly, and assault, but some things, a series of things, abusive, traumatic, and deeply grievious, have happened in the past couple of years. These things have been building one on top of the other and together they are crushing me, making me feel powerless, like the broken traumatized 12-year-old that I once was. It's like I'm in a boxing ring and every time I start to climb up off the mat, I get pounded again. And again. And again.

      I do need to write about these things. I think I may make my blog private for a while, like you did, so I don't have to worry about what others who read it may think. I need to just tell my story. I'm going to do that, as soon as I get a little energy. Thank you.

      I am also seeing a therapist but I think the fit may not be the best. He works in a Veterans Clinic primarily with combat veterans with PTSD. He is all about living in the now, and cognitive processing your way to better mental health. Which apparently works for some, but doesn't seem to be doing a lot for me. So, I will give some thought to changing therapists. Maybe. Although that's always scary.

      Thank you so much, Dearest Violet.

    3. "He is all about living in the now, and cognitive processing your way to better mental health. Which apparently works for some, but doesn't seem to be doing a lot for me."

      This can be helpful in changing some detrimental thinking patterns absorbed from your NM, but I think someone with a background of extended trauma needs something deeper...something in which everything isn't dumped on you. In cognitive therapy the general gist is "you are doing this to yourself and if you stop, the trauma will go away." That is not the case with people who have suffered repeated deep trauma since infancy. This kind of trauma requires a complete rewiring of your brain and thinking patterns, both conscious and subconscious.

      It's not as formidable as it sounds...I did it and it was actually rather painless (aside from the revisiting the old crap). You just learn NEW ways of thinking about yourself. You see, somewhere inside you, you still believe NM was right about you...and when you do something wrong, NM lives in your head and you punish yourself with her opinions and beliefs and attitudes about you. THAT is something you will need to need to invalidate her at the deepest core of your being, and I don't think Cognitive-types of therapy can do that.

      That said CT does have value and I encourage you to stay with it until you are ready to work with someone who has experience in dealing with the victims of severe childhood abuse or narcissism (or both). It cannot hurt you.



  4. Darn, posting a second time because the computer did a weird glitch and I don't know if it posted the first time.

    Did you talk to your dad after this and get things cleared up or did he believe you had miscarried? Did he really disown you? I see from the posts I read so far that your early relationship with your dad was good, but I have no idea if it remained that way or deteriorated.


    1. I don't know if my father ever learned the truth, but he did not disown me. In fact, when I did get pregnant at 17, I ended up living with him and my stepmother until I got married. I think he knew better than to believe anything my mother said without checking it out first.

    2. Oh, that's good. I know NM are quite adept at destroying the relationships around them. I'm glad it wasn't the case this time.


  5. This is awful. Wouldn't it have been better if your lovely school nurse had called CPS?

    1. This was the late 1950s...things were different then. I don't think there was a CPS back then, but the police were called over a different incident--the gym teachers saw welts all over me from a beating and the police were called. They took me to a hospital where my bruises and a cut on my lip were photographed and I was sent to a children's shelter--and it was a huge relief!

      Unfortunately, my mother submitted a Writ of Habeas Corpus to judge above the Juvenile Court before my case came up (the police do not move as fast as a narcissist determined to gaslight the system) and I was released from the shelter the next day...into her custody...whereupon I got an even worse beating. Back then, people blamed the kids--"What did you do to provoke your mother so much she would do that to you?" was the way it was perceived. If you ran away, you were breaking the law and ended up in Juvenile Hall as a delinquent. The 50s were not a good time to be the child of an abusive parent.

    2. "Every single door...leads me here again"
      Genesis, from the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
      No options. It's like in the movie The Burning Bed. No wonder there are so many runaways. I'm so sorry you were caught in this terrible situation. And so glad you are more peaceful now! Thank you for bringing the hope of that to others.

  6. Please tell me that your mother eventually got what she so richly deserved. To be murdered in the most horrifying and excruciating way possible. Otherwise I may utterly lose all faith in justice and humanity.


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