lessons learned.

I suppose every family is similar…there will be one kid that is the scapegoat….one that is “pretty” and therefor clueless……one that is “nice”….one that is “perfect”.

At least that’s the way it was in MY family.

As well as being the scapegoat for every single thing that went “wrong” on a weekly basis, I was the kid responsible for solving all the problems.  It made sense…if I was at fault for whatever, I should be the one to “fix’ it.

I have moved past that in most ways…unless the “problem” has to do with my baby sister.  Then inevitably, I will stick my nose in to try to “fix” it. So, it was typical behavior for me to have become a counselor.

I gave up my license years ago after my first heart attack…but that doesn’t mean I have lost any ability to find several solutions to each problem and gently make suggestions or ask questions in an effort to have people fix their own problems. I realize this behavior is a direct result of being the scapegoat for my childhood family..I realize it is not truly healthy emotionally…yet I fall into it so very easily.

I remember watching television shows about “families” when I was a child..and they were all so loving and happy with each other.

Even when the kids acted badly it was cause for some soft correction by their parents.  No dad ever walked away from the conflict…no mother ever screamed, threw vases or books at the kids, or slapped them across the face.

No Mom ever beat the kids with a metal yardstick.  or made them go break off a willow branch with which they were “spanked” . No Mom ever lied about their daughters to their sons. No Mom ever tried to turn the child who reported the abuse into a liar not to be trusted.

I figured out very quickly that either my family was totally screwed up or the people on those television show were just a bunch of fantasists.


I wish my siblings had been able to work through the emotional abuse we all suffered. I have an elder brother…the child who was perfect..that has never been in a relationship. No one can ever meet his expectations, and when they can’t be the “perfect” person are shoved aside with sarcastic and cruel remarks.

I have a younger brother who is in a good relationship, and he is a “good father”…he is also a religious fanatic and refuses to deal with anyone that believes differently than he does.

I have a younger sister who is incredibly intelligent, has an incredibly difficult job at which she excels, but is caught up in growing older and being unable to deal with it. She is absolutely beautiful yet sees only each tiny line or gray hair as a slap in her face.

I look at each sibling and wish I could “fix” it. I KNOW that was my family role and just how unhealthy it is for me to think this way. At least now I can step back and do nothing.

It took years but I managed to escape from the Narcissism that entangled all of us.  As a result though, I have no contact with either brother, and very little with my beloved sister.

It still amazes me that, after all the abuse, when my Mother needed a caretaker at the end of her battle with cancer, I was the one she turned to.  I took care of her until she died. And I felt nothing.  Nothing at all except relief when she finally died. That was her legacy to me. 



10 thoughts on “lessons learned.

  1. You’re telling my story, Suze. For most of my life I have been the “fixer”. It started at age 14 when I had to take over my mother’s responsibilities as a parent. I became the adult in the family until I found an escape in alcohol. Today, the story has changed. It’s been difficult maintaining that fine line between being intrusive and being uncaring. The difference today is that Larry is at the top of his priority list.

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  2. Unh. I’m so sorry you had and have to deal with all of that, Suze 😦

    Sometimes I really feel like the odd pink horse in the herd, what with having such awesome parents. Sure, my mother had/has her own issues, and in my teen years there were some problems … but much of that had to do with both of us being territorial by nature. The rest – once I learned that she had been an abuse victim as a child/teen, so much of her behavior made sense. And there was always my dad. Acting the referee/center of the storm in his inimitable taciturn Buddha style.

    So no, we weren’t that TV family. But to me, we were better, because it was real. Is still real. Complete with screw-ups and issues, but hashing it out as a unit. Comes with its own set of trouble, though. I’m terrified how either of my parents will get along without the other one day. How I will get along. How their grandchildren will deal. Because to them, grandpa has never been anything other than Santa become real, and nana … well, she’s odd sometimes but awesome.

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    1. oh you are so very blessed with your family. I share the problems with mine in the hopes that the one person going through the same will read it, recognize what is going on and get help.

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      1. Yes, I do sometimes feel as if I’ve won the ‘family lottery’. Not that I haven’t had my fair share of other troubles in life, but it does make a huge difference when you’ve a safe port to call your own.

        To that end, I think it’s awesome that you share such a personal part of yourself to help others. While I can’t relate, I’ve had friends and acquaintances in such situations and was (often still am) at a loss about what to do.
        For example, someone very dear to me had a mother eerily similar to how you describe yours. As a teen back then, and not knowing about narcissism and the effects it can have, I only felt that something was wrong, and bad.
        Eventually we just ‘adopted’ each other, with him spending so much time at our place he essentially moved in, with my parents’ amused tolerance (“At least he helps with the firewood. Good lad”), later becoming mutual affection. And he became (and still is, and acts like it dammit 😛 ) my big brother. He still calls my mother “mom”, too.

        But I think had we known more about this kind of thing, we could have helped sooner, and spared him a great deal of grief and troubles.

        So rock on, sensei!

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  3. I understand this perfectly.

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    1. and isn’t it a damned shame that you do understand it?

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      1. I guess. That reply made me smile….💗

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I can only imagine. For the longest time, I was the only child. Parents divorced when I was 5, had a deadbeat dad, a broke mom with no child support, working full time… I was that “latch key” kid at times, and other times pawned off onto whoever would watch me (so that my mom could earn a living and we could survive) – there was a lot of damage and turmoil in my formative years. When my mom met my step dad (when I was in 4th grade), they bought a house together and provided some kind of normalcy. But a lot of damage had been done by my father’s side and of the family, and lack of presence by my mom – working or she was sleeping, the hardships endured between ages 5-9.

    It’s hard to say, how this affected my personality. I was still young enough when life improved vastly and I’d have a step brother / step sister every other weekend. We aren’t close. At all. We see each other at Christmas maybe. I’m not close to anyone, parent (or sibiling) wise. I was taught to be independent and not dare ask for help, unless it was really needed. My mom was pretty strict and hard on me. Then she wonders why she doesn’t get regular phone calls from me, and I didn’t bring the kids by. She taught me to be so independent and on my own, so I am. I don’t “bother” her. I can go months to 1/2 year, and go, oh yeah, I guess I should call my mom.

    My husband’s family, can’t understand why I don’t feel like seeing them for Easter dinner, and all the other holidays, etc. I just saw them 2 months ago. We don’t need to go again right away…quarterly dinner is enough. Hahahah 🙂

    So I guess, I’m the “independent” – you’re lucky if you ever see me person?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sounds like you survived it all in a good way.

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