Skip to main content

Take This Job and Shove It


As a survivor of abuse, I've always known I have an over developed sense of responsibility. My narcissistic parents made sure they were never at fault for their actions, and that I was somehow required to carry that burden for them. A sense of responsibility and independence carried me through adolescence, and ended up being a positive characteristic that allowed me to accomplish quite a bit. However, this over-developed sense of responsibility also eats at me. I become anxious and hypervigilant because it's hard to shake the feeling, even being aware of where it comes from. I continue to struggle with internalizing things that aren't my fault. I am realizing just how much effort I've exerted over the years to make sure I could not be blamed for something going wrong. It stems from an experience of being blamed for everything anyway. Even if it's not my job, I will make sure it gets done. If someone is unhappy, I will make sure I do everything in my power to please them.

It's this tendency that makes me so at-risk for narcissists and other cluster b people to take advantage of me. I mean, who wouldn't want a friend or co-worker take on all the responsibility and do all the work? The same reason that made me excel at my job also made me bait for abusers. It's a tendency that's difficult to change. Once people are used to someone doing all the work, taking all the responsibility, and usually none of the credit, they will do just about anything to keep that arrangement going. That's where the shame comes in. If I don't hold up my unrealistic end of the bargain, I am bad and wrong. I am the lazy, selfish one. Shame on me for not being a better doormat.

My entire life I have been on a quest to free myself from these undue burdens. Sometimes it sneaks up on me. I will do everything in my power to be conscientious, honest, fair, and reasonable, and yet sometimes it still isn't enough. I am learning how to find peace in my own sense of integrity, even when I can't rely on anyone else's. I am learning that I no longer need to be afraid of angry, irrational people. When someone tries to shift undue blame on to me, I don't need to take it. When someone tries to put me down or talk behind my back because they don't like my boundaries, so be it. I no longer need to feel ashamed of someone else's false perception of me. Some days, I feel like I am making progress. Other days, I am barely managing the all-too-familiar symptoms. Overall, I see progress, and I hope this will soon be another aspect of abuse that I can put behind me.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

No, There Are Not Two Sides

I was in a meeting where a mediator was trying her best to stay impartial to a situation where a large volume of well-documented verbal and emotional abuse had occurred. She was a trained professional, but professionally speaking, she didn't want to be in a position to take sides on the issue. She offered the worn-out platitude, "Well, there are two sides to every story..." I let it slide the first time she said it, but when she said it again, I stopped her.

"Actually, when it comes to abuse, there are not two sides. There is abuse, and there is the recipient of abuse. The recipient of abuse is not at fault for the actions of the abuser."

Her jaw dropped a moment, then she nodded slowly. She knew I was right, and in this moment, a light went on. The situation she was mediating was not about two people having a disagreement. It was about a serial abuser attacking someone else who had done nothing to provoke the attack. She couldn't stay impartial. It was h…

Trauma Isn't Lazy

Trauma survivors seem to worry more than most that they are being 'lazy' when they aren't 100% productive. Let's expose that lie, shall we?

The traumatized brain is anything but lazy. In fact, it is over-worked, over-stimulated, over-active, and over-stressed. Trauma survivors have an enlarged amygdala, which triggers the fight-or-flight response. In a survivor, this response goes haywire. It cannot perceive between something that happened in the past with what's in the present. The brain remembers trauma in the form of flashbacks that constantly re-create the experience.

A traumatized brain is always on alert. Hypervigilance is constantly running in the background, assessing the situation and trying to report back to the rational brain what it finds. In order to keep up with everyday situations, it often must work hotter and harder than a brain without trauma.

Say a non-traumatized person wants to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. No sweat, right? It requi…

The Difference Between a 'Normal' Parent and a Narcissistic Parent

Those who have survived abusive childhoods at some time or another have run into someone (or many people) making banal excuses to explain away their experience. "Parents aren't perfect." "They were doing their best." "Just wait until you're a mom or dad." While it's true that no one is perfect and most people don't intend to hurt their children, these excuses wound children of narcissistic parents at their core. These sorts of trite phrases are often used by narcissistic parents to manipulate and dupe others into believing their child is the unreasonable one. It is not possible to ever reason or win an argument with a narcissist. In order for the child of narcissistic parents to have any identity at all, they must get far away.  While it is considered "normal" for most families have some form of dysfunction, narcissistic homes are especially toxic. The following are some common differences between "normal" parents and …