This is what I am doing right now. A classic childhood pattern has emerged right about now. And I am feeling those feelings I felt as a child. As I sit right through it, I am no longer thinking of escaping it or hiding… I am thinking of alternatives, alternatives to do what I want to do and ways to pacify the parent who has a strong hold in telling me something cannot be done.
Hi, I am Sneha and I choose to avoid talking about a family dynamic I come from. A narcissistic mom and a covert narcissist as a father. For those of you who know what this means; may understand the lethally potent combination this becomes. I am yet to meet anyone in my life who can play such suave manipulative games as my mother.
I should be thankful the world has started talking and taking notice of these people and the collateral damage they are inflicting on the world. Someone rightly said, we punish a cold blooded criminal but we should punish his parents actually. It is controversial I know. But the scars of our childhood, gaslighting, abandonment whilst your physical needs are taken care of, comparing children, pushing them hard, rewarding them or making them feel like a disappointment are ones that never leave us.
Self awareness is a tough journey. It is intense, you want to hide. And in the face of fear, we are always that child who does not know what to do. We are helpless and look for comfort or a place to hide and nurse ourselves. We don’t find any and sometimes we find someone so perfect but he is actually exploiting our weakness further and making us doubt everything including our own self… that is a narcissist.
Have you seen an animal that is tied? Someone who is vicious will call this animal close by showing him food and the moment that animal comes near, he will hit it hard. Now that animal no longer knows what to trust. He starts biting anyone who comes near because it does not trust anyone and wants to protect itself. Most of us go through life in a similar fashion. We are either in fear or reacting to it. We do not know ourselves. What we know is our defense or coping mechanism. Our life starts to change when we sit and ask questions such as this, ‘Why am I a people pleaser?’, ‘Why do I attract people not good for me?, ” Why do I flinch when I look in the mirror?’, ‘Why am I so hard on myself?’, ‘Why was I so horrible to someone who was nice to me?’
But to be able to ask these questions is to be able to observe oneself as a solitary person doing these things, having the empathy to understand how our actions affect others. Well narcissists do not have that.
So coming back to the present moment, I discussed with my dad how I have been presented with a business opportunity.
He says, why its not feasible.. why it is tough. He is not vicious and conniving as he was when I told him I wanted to do journalism after my board exams, or when I said hotel management. But time has lost it essence. We are in front of each other. Me telling him something and he saying it is not possible. He telling me where all things could go wrong.
But this time I am not being quiet. I have an answer to every question –
Dad: ‘Food business means consistency everyday. It is not easy.’
Me: ‘Nothing is easy.’
Dad: ‘It takes years to get recognized.’
Me: ‘Of course nothing happens overnight.’
Dad: ‘Its different when you cook at home, commercial business runs on commercial value.’
Me: ‘Yes you are right. But I have hungry people wanting a home food option. We can give it a try.’
Dad: ‘Yeah you can try, but you won’t be able to do it everyday. You need people to make, pack and manage finances. You don’t know how it works.’
Me: ‘I will learn. And nobody starts on a big scale in the beginning. You figure things out eventually.’
Dad: ‘I don’t think you can do this kind of hard work everyday…(trigger)’
Me: “Maybe yes or maybe no but I won’t know unless I try. I am okay to fail. And if I feel I don’t want to do it anymore hell I don’t need someone’s permission.”
Dad : …(triggered) … ‘You see what works for you. I don’t know.’
If you see the trail of this conversation, I myself noticed generations of beating down conversations flowing from him to me. What someone must have said to him, how they broke him, how he is saying the same to me. In a way it is no one’s fault.
But the beauty is when you wake up. You wake up to notice patterns that are not serving you anymore. They are not giving you anything positive. They have made your life miserable, you miserable. It is when one should question Why do I need to keep doing and keep going this way? Fuck let me try something else.
As I wrote this today, I saw the beauty of life and a human being. We are so flawed. So imperfect. Yet we all have the power to turn it all around. Ask. Ask for help. Ask questions. They are powerful. They change everything.
I have found the most powerful question you can ever ask your self or anyone is – ‘So what?’
It changes everything.
Business starts when you can face your fears, when you can know who you are. Self awareness is key.