I wore a mask.
My mask was beautifully deceiving.
Only my eyes spoke the silent truth.
What was behind my mask? Fear. Confusion. Brokenness. Hopelessness.
The day I innocently placed my mask upon my face, I was four. That invisible, yet visible barrier on my face was both friend and foe. At times it shielded me from abuse, yet at the same time it perpetuated the abuse. It was part of me, attached as any arm, leg or hand, until (what a great word) until my eighteenth birthday. On that day in a moment of extreme bravery, I ripped my mask from my face, vowing never to wear it again. That single act of defiance toward abuse forever changed the course of my life.
My refusal to continue the charade I had so carefully perfected over many years, felt foreign at first, and some how selfish to me. Yes, old and new friends, my journey toward emotional and mental wellness would be an arduous one. In my initial moment of bravery, I had absolutely no idea the depth of my woundedness, or even worse the insidious corruption of my thoughts and beliefs about life, others, and myself.
In my family, nothing was as it seemed, and nobody was who they pretended to be. We were so well-trained in the art of (deception for self-preservation) that it became our normal. It was simply what you did to survive in a home brutalized by an extreme narcissist, who was a controlling, manipulative, emotional abuser. Sadly, he held the title of father/stepfather.
Let’s pause right here for just a moment, because I want to pose a question. When you read the words, narcissist controlling, manipulative, or emotional abuser, they didn’t startle you, did they? I believe the reason may be that our society has become increasingly familiar with these terms, but general familiarity does not equal understanding. Actually, it is usually just the opposite. General familiarity is often ripe with misconception and fallacy. The combination of familiarity and lack of knowledge leads us down the road called complacency.
Over the past few years I have moved from concern to red alert as our society subtly becomes increasingly anesthetized to the devastation inflicted on individuals or entire families living in abusive relationships. The current media trend to romanticize abusive behavior in any form has been extremely contributory in perpetuating two dangerous fallacies. Consensual means approval. If you love, endure, and change enough, the abuser will eventually change. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As I have listened to the opinionated commentary on controlling, manipulative relationships marked by degradation and emotional abuse, a few things are very clear to me.
First, our current culture has lost its ability to recognize and identify the characteristics of the abused and the abuser. Second, there is an overall lack of understanding of the methods and mechanisms an abuser employs to control their victim. Third, though many individuals are speaking out today from a clinical perspective concerning abuse, there are few speaking from an experiential, personal perspective.
That is why I choose now at the mid-century + four mark of my life, to share my childhood story in a different, hopefully helpful way.
If you’re like me, before I commit my time and energy to anything, even if it’s just following a blog, I want to know what I can expect. So, I will indulge all those who want to know just a few more details about what this blog will actually look like. Here goes, just a warning, it will begin with a question.
Whenever, you initially read a brief description or general explanation of something, do you ever find yourself, asking your screen questions? I have to admit, I do it all the time. Yes, I am that girl waving her hand, holding up class dismissal with just one more question for the teacher. Two of my top favorites are, “Yes, but what does that really look like?” Followed by, “Can you give me an actual example?”
My answers – Yes I can. Yes I will. Yes I must.
As, I strive to transparently share my personal childhood experiences you will be ushered through the doors of a living laboratory observing control, manipulation and emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissist. Together we will examine and identify the mechanisms executed by the abuser to bend the mind and break the will, while constantly demanding proof of total dependence dedication, and devotion.
My heart’s desire as I open the pages of my life story is simple; to transparently share knowledge that will help you identify abusive behavior, thus preventing the entrapment of a controlling, manipulative, emotionally abusive relationship.
Together we will –
Unmask the lie to recognize the truth.
Unmask the cultural misconceptions and myths in a section titled, abuse truth.
Unmask the mechanisms executed by abusers to bend the mind and break the will.
Unmask the short and long-term effects a toxic environment has on a developing child.
Each time we meet I will conclude with my random partial list, and a few snippets of information. I must confess, I am a list lover, and the creation of colored sticky notes has long been my enabler.
Now, without further adieu, I present my random partial list and snippets.
My random partial list –
I love writing. I love questions. I love restoration. I love people. I love God.
Abuse truth –
Ignorance is never benign; it has perpetuating power.
Effects of abuse are both immediate and cumulative.
Next time –
behind the masque – it began before me
Please know I am humbled you have joined me on this journey discovering what lurks – behind the masque.