Many of us grow up in homes of loud abuses. As children, constant new realities wail on our fledgling emotions, all too often beating them into submission. Some of us give up. Our sensitive natures can’t bear the hate of our own creators and we crash into ourselves in a thousand ways, catching fire until we burn out like stars, until there is nothing of ourselves but a black hole of self-hatred.
Others of us continue to rail against the injustices committed against us. The Unwanted, we bash our brains out against the bars of an invisible cage from which we honestly believe we can never be freed. I guess I should be grateful that I fell into the latter of these categories. That is not to say I haven’t vacillated between the two. But I was given others in my life that I love more than myself and for whom I had to fight, people who would have died without me. If I had thought that they might have survived without me, even in extreme difficulty, I cannot say I wouldn’t have pulled my own plug long ago.
It is a terrible thing to be hated. You cannot judge the broken adult who was once a child not of neglect, but of disdain.
When I found my husband I finally understood what truly loving was. What being loved actually felt like. And when he got cancer I knew God had given me a responsibility that I bore with great pain and a decidedly immature anger but, in a strange way, learning what living for someone else is, loving someone more than yourself, past death even, this is the thing that has saved me.
It has not always helped me, this survival instinct of mine. I play great with others… unless the stakes are high. I am terrified to trust. I live with an internal shame mindset I know was forced on me and that I have to try to fight my way out of every day. I get depressed easily and am too self-protective, to the point that I get lonely. I live with almost paralyzing anxiety, always looking over my shoulder. Some days, it is almost debilitating. But therapy helps. This blog helps. Others coming forward and telling their stories helps. Because despite my father, I live. I find joy in my children and in this beautiful world. It is hard won but it exists. For that I am grateful.
I am alive, and I have even remained human in spite of all I have been forced to see. There are some, raised like me, that grow into the monster they knew. I thank God to have escaped that fate, but I also know how close to it I came when I was young. I was a bully for a time, a horribly angry child unable to make peace with the reality in which I lived. But my baby sister, born almost a decade after me was my first real glimpse of love, and protecting her when she was a very small child changed me.
No, growing up my house was never a home, and though it was ripe and pregnant with abuses, not all of them were loud. Many of my nightmares are silent — except for the little whispers he would say to me — his demonic lullaby.
“…I… should… just… kill you.”
Rarely every night, but almost always every week. Sometimes, a few months in between… usually after some great success for our family, (which probably involved some petty fight with others ending in a lawsuit in my parents’ relentless favor, or another debt relief program from my rich grandmother granted) but then… always he would return. To “say goodnight.” Faint and well after my siblings were asleep, my mind was never sure if he even knew I had heard him. But my thumping heart and the hard pit that began to grow in me as soon as I could understand the words, fat fingers on my security blanket, I knew deep in my gut how hard he hoped I could hear him. He paid tribute to me for years this way, but it kept me alive in the end. Is it really ever over though? When your father is a sociopath, does it ever really end?
My parents had been married for five turbulent years by the time I was born. My father came from an extremely wealthy family. His own father had actually been an adoptive stepparent, an utter alcoholic, who doted on his real son while abusing my father horribly. If that’s not a recipe for sociopathy, I don’t know what is.
In my reading I have learned that sociopaths come in all shapes and sizes. Some are aggressively hell bent at proving they are the best, and though all of them believe it, this “best-ness” manifests in different ways. My father, growing up so wealthy, didn’t believe he should have to lift a finger doing anything. He presented a front as though he were the smartest, most accomplished person in the room. My mother was actually much smarter, but had her own emotional problems.
My mother is a borderline. Borderline is a personality disorder that creates a manipulative reality around the patient — every action and emotion they feel is their focus and should be the focus of everyone else. This is perfect for the sociopath, who can hide in the shadow of her over-emotionality, degrading her on a daily basis to herself and others, belittling her emotionally (emotions of which he has none), and therefore seem, in comparison, “normal.”
His campaign against her began years ago and exists until this day. When I was young they would have terrible brawls, usually ending in my mother whimpering in fear as my father smiled and towered over her. Now she doesn’t fight back. She stays medicated. It’s common knowledge, and a bit of a “joke” (how sick is my family?) that she can’t even pick her own clothing out. She sides with everything he says even if it’s blatantly false (“oh you’re right, the sky IS Green Sir!”). Oh and yes she calls him “Sir.”
When something goes wrong in their life — financially or otherwise but usually financially — she assumes guilt in every situation. It angers me. It breaks my heart. But neither of them were parents to us. They asked me to play that role and then punished me for doing it poorly.
Wild tales about me
My brother was barely more than a year younger than me. Of all my siblings he and I still talk. The others believe such wild tales about me I can’t even start to correct them.
For instance, my little sister, again almost ten years younger than me, “remembers” me being held down in a straight jacket while she watched because of my violent behavior. Wow. Not only did that never happen, there is no mechanism in which it could have.
I was away at school. In another state for the four years around the date she thinks this happened. I was on the honor role. I did go into hospital during college for depression, but was only there a few days and never even saw my sister. And I have dealt with depression my whole life — but after a father like mine and losing the love of my life? I think I’ve managed pretty damn well on 10mg of Lexapro and a good therapist. And I’m also pretty damn proud of it.
Straight jacket? They have told my grandparents to not give me Christmas presents — which they did not — because I’m an alcoholic, told my children I suffered from a cocaine addiction, tell their “friends” – they have very few if any at this point — that I’m mentally ill. None of these are or have ever been true.
I have no criminal record, no history of drug use, a successful set of family and friends as well as a great career and stable kiddos. To hear their side of things, I’m a crazed drug addict with mental illness issues and a penchant for violence — including being willing to run over people with my car. (I have never even been in a girl fight lol.) I’m just a widow trying to raise two kids.
I’m not perfect. But — I am none of those things. How I wish I could say this nicely: go f*ck yourself mom and dad. Yeah, that actually feels incredible. And yet — I have lost my siblings, I have nieces and nephews I have never even met.
Because — It’s all me. All my fault. This is the insanity of my parent’s lies.
My sister will never remember that to HER, every night, I would tell her how much I loved her. In fact, she calls herself a “Daddy’s girl.” One with so many of her own problems, one who looks more and more like my mother everyday. If I had to guess I would say she is probably a borderline with no real idea how it could have happened, and by now no desire to see anything wrong in her crumbling life.
Why my father hates me
If you’re wondering why my father finds me more fun to hate than my siblings, there are several reasons. I was the first, the first annoyance, and also horribly not born a boy like I should have been. The boys in our family actually faired pretty well. It was the women who seem to suffer his fallouts.
Also, I was born with a disability that took several surgeries over many years to correct. It embarrassed my father. And even when I was “fixed,” it never made me good enough for him. Nothing did. Not being editor of my schools papers in high school AND college, not being successful on the debate team, a musician who can play several instruments, a singer, a model, I’ve been in the media, a spokesperson for charities.
I run a successful company. A company, by the way, which he is now suing after I made the mistake of hiring him – my own narcissistic gesture of “winning,” and he embezzled from it, then sued me for “loss of a relationship.” So wait — he steals from me, the board (not me) fires him, and I’m being sued for “loss of relationship.” By the way — I’ve now spent over $75K in legal fees separate from what he stole.
The truth is, I didn’t understand why he hated me as a child. As I grew up his behavior was absent, not really hateful — that was my mothers’ job. I hired him thinking I could get to know him. But what I didn’t know was what he was. I barely remembered those whispers from nights past and was somehow sure I had invented or dreamed up it in my head. Now that I do it makes sense — all of it.
The day after the board fired him, “someone” called DHS on me and tried to have my children removed from my care. In the report was my net worth. To the penny. It is information only he, as my “dad helping me make financial decisions,” could have sworn to. Or would have bothered. Only my dad cares how much money I have. No, my attorneys and I are pretty sure a neighbor didn’t make that call. Angry at being caught, he tried to take away my kids and then tell people I deserved it.
My father is the very definition of a sociopath. It should have been illegal for him to do all that he has to us, but what happened instead? I went through (and was exonerated) only after a full investigation that lasted 6 months.
My siblings, by the way, are “Switzerland.” They refuse to get involved. They see my father as the poor victim of my mother, just this poor guy who can’t seem to catch a break.
And all I can hear in my head are the whispers from my childhood, ‘… I should… just… kill… you.”
Writing a book
The list of abominations committed by him could, and will, fill a book. But without some understanding of why writing that book is so important to me personally, you can have no context for my knowledge and understanding of this issue.
I’ll share anecdotes, but nothing that can’t be proven in court, mind you. Like I said, he’s suing me. No one likes a courtroom more than a liar, no one is better at manipulating the truth as one who refuses to recognize their need to be humbled before it.
There is some scientific research in some books that may seem to argue that, in my father’s and other sociopaths’ cases, it’s not their faults… after all they were abused, right?
But this fails to recognize the true horror of these people — that empathy cannot be taught once it has been abdicated. We were both abused — but at some faint point in my bullying past I made a decision not to be like that. To put that away. To be better than he was.
Principle of talio
There is something called “the principle of talio”, or “the taliogenic effect”. This refers to a human beings’ need for revenge, it is an indicator of lack of empathy when diagnosing a sociopath.
A sociopath has an abnormally high talio, and remarkably little or no emotionality that isn’t manufactured. (Even Ted Bundy was charming.) These people are dangerous;, they cannot be understood through the lens of our own empathetic natures, that is where they manipulate us the most.
We think, “Who could do this to their own child?” They gaslight everyone. They deny, they lie. They cheat and manipulate. To me, an adult child of a sociopath still grieving her childhood, still at war with my monsters, to me there is no excuse that matters anymore. You don’t get to hurt me because you were hurt.
I know now that nothing I can do will make him capable of loving me. Nothing will get me back the person I could have been if I had had the support of a loving set of parents. I can’t fix that for any of you either.
But we can tell the world who they are, and what they really look like. We can try to help each other and others like us, afflicted with this kind of malignant infection, others who are still suffering in silence.