Abandonment terror.


Today was surreal and sad for me. It was the day of my father’s memorial service, which I did not attend. As the family black sheep and scapegoat, I am not wanted there. Even if I was wanted there, I did not have the funds to attend.

My son went. My stepmother adores him. All my father’s extended family were there. He saw relatives I haven’t even seen since I was a child. He texted me, “you big brother is awesome.” My “big brother,” really a half brother, is someone I do not know. I haven’t seen him since 1983, when I was exactly the same age my son is now. I vaguely remember him being a funny guy. I remember we got drunk out on my father’s patio after they went to bed. It was fun. That was the last time I saw him.

Later my son texted me about who was there, and told me he had a surprise for me. I was driving so I told him to call back when I could pull over in a parking lot. He kept sending me smiley faces in text. I pulled over and texted him. A few minutes later he was back on and said I was on speaker phone. I guess he’d needed a few minutes to gather all the relatives in the room–the same room I have been in so many times until I was no longer welcome in my father’s home, probably because of my stepmother.

It was awkward and sad. Four of my cousins who I haven’t seen since 1977 and my half brother who I haven’t seen since 1983 and a nephew I have never met were all saying hello to me. I had no idea what to say. I hate phones, but this was too much. All I could find to say to these people was, “it’s been such a long time!” or “sorry I couldn’t make it!” Trying to put a smile in my voice. Trying not to sound hopelessly awkward. Not having any idea who anyone’s voice even belonged to.

The people in my family are different from me. They all have high paying careers, late model cars, nice homes, and money in the bank. They can take vacations and pay for their kids’ college educations.  (I had to pay for my own college education, even though my father had a high paying position as an electronics executive).  They can afford plane flights to attend a memorial service on short notice. They all know I’m the “red-headed step-child” (no offense to redheads) that doesn’t fit in. I felt like they were just being polite.

My son meant well.  I’m happy he gets on well with my relatives; it promises some sort of familial continuity, for whatever that’s worth.  But I can’t tell him how awkward, sad and triggering this was for me. He’s told me before he wants there to “be healing in our family.” He is accepted by them but he loves me too. He wants us all to be a normal family. His dream is one day to host a big family reunion.

It reminds me of the time when he was 12 and his father and I were splitting up. He bought a little toy Hot Wheels car and gave it to me, saying, “give this to Daddy. Maybe he will know you love him and you can get back together.” It made me bawl, how innocent this childish request was. Now he seems to be wanting to do the same thing between me and the family that threw me out with the trash. It’s not ever going to happen. There will be no healing in this family. But it’s touching how he tries.

At the same time, I don’t trust my son. He was his father’s scapegoat and was an emotional, sensitive child, much like I was, but in recent years he’s become very good at burying his emotions and putting on a fake smiling front, just like all the rest of my family. His narcissist stepmother has been cozying up to him, even paying for his plane tickets to his grandfather’s memorial service. He puts on a good impression for them. There may be a selfish motive; he knows he’s in the will (most likely, I am not–and my daughter definitely isn’t). My son defends my stepmother’s behavior toward me, which worries me. I’m afraid she might be trying to make a flying monkey out of him. I know my son loves me and is smarter than to fall for that, but the lure of acceptance into the extended family and the promise of money could override his judgement and integrity. He’s apparently in the club. I also feel like my stepmother is attempting to drive a wedge between me and my son.  I also worry that he may develop NPD himself.  It’s certainly a possibility.

I’ve been very hypervigilant and paranoid ever since my father died, so I don’t know if my worries that she will turn my son against me are realistic or not. It’s doubtful she could have that effect in two short days (the length of time he’s staying) but I know they talk on the phone a lot. He made her a shadowbox of his grandfather’s life. I only sent a card and made a small donation to the Parkinson’s foundation. I can’t be an accurate judge of my own feelings and actions when my BPD is in full bore and I’m stuck deep in the middle of my abandonment trauma like a fly stuck in quicksand.

I called my therapist, crying on the phone. I screamed, “Everyone always betrays me, everyone always leaves me. He will too!” I kept crying and telling him if my son left me too, I would kill myself. “I have no one else,” I wailed pitifully. “He will abandon me, I know he will, everyone always does.”

He tried to talk me down and keep me busy being mindful. He was having a hard time getting me to focus on the present because I simply could not regulate my emotions. I couldn’t think straight. I started hyperventilating and shaking. He kept talking to me until I calmed down some. I asked him again why I was rejected, even though I knew he didn’t have the answer.

“You’re a person with intense emotions who doesn’t hide them well. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re sensitive; you have an artist’s temperament. I do too. Your folks should have cherished that in you but it was not valued in your family. They’re afraid of your emotional intensity because they stuff their own. You remind them of what they’re trying to hide from themselves, and I think that’s why they ignore you and pretend you don’t exist.”

Bingo. Thanks, doc, you’re on the ball. He’s describing exactly what narcissists do to their scapegoats and why they always pick the most sensitive kid for the honor.

I made a lame joke about having been better off if I’d been born to an Italian family where emotions were all out in the open. He laughed at that. “It’s probably true, you should have been. Your family are cold people, people who stuff their feelings, wear a fake smile, expect you to act happy when you’re not, and are more concerned with their image than authenticity. You are a threat to that.”

I’ve talked glowingly about my father before, almost idealizing him, while devaluing my mother–but I’m remembering now how abusive he was too, maybe worse than my mother in some ways. I remember when I was about 14, he told me to “change my personality” because the one I had was “terrible.” Emotions were not to be seen or heard. Whenever I needed to talk about any emotion that wasn’t “positive,” he’d tell me I was being too negative and he didn’t want to listen to negativity.

My mother did the same thing. As an emotional person this rejection was excruciating; it was a rejection of who I was. I’m still an emotional person; I just learned how not to cry. I learned that lesson so well that now it’s very difficult for me to cry, though for the past two weeks I’m doing a lot of it, even if it’s mostly alone.  I also learned that it was unsafe to get too close to anyone; I became extremely guarded around people.

The emotions I buried out of shame and were eating me from the inside and turning me into a walking dead person are emerging, but holy hell, the reality of abandonment finally being shoved in your face in all its hellish glory is painful beyond belief. I can hardly function anymore. But I have to; I don’t have a choice.   I have to eat and keep a roof over my head.  I never had a lot of choices, but always got blamed for making wrong ones. But how do you make a right choice when you’re only presented with bad ones? It’s a rigged game that I’m always rigged to lose. The injustice of it makes my head spin.

It hurts like hell to realize now, after his death, that he was probably every bit as responsible for my disorders as my mother was. It hurts so fucking bad. And he will never be able to say he’s sorry for what he did to me. There’s no closure, there’s no reconciliation, there’s no Hallmark moment with hugs and tears.

My therapist thought I had been cured of BPD, I guess he was wrong. I’m sure he doesn’t think I’m BPD-free anymore based on all the unpleasant symptoms I’m showing that I seem to have no control over and the way I’m going off all the time like a damn 4th of July firecracker. If feeling like this is what is required to be healed from a Cluster B disorder (or even if it’s just the underlying C-PTSD), no wonder so many patients with these disorders quit therapy.   I won’t quit, but damn, I feel like I just entered the 9th circle of hell. I hope I don’t lose my mind in the process.  I feel like an orphan standing in the center of a tornado.


16 thoughts on “Abandonment terror.

  1. Hello Lauren. Sorry that you had to go theought this and I dont think it means your BPD came back. These are still feelings you still have to process and let go of to continue in your healing journey. Its like codependants also have to do with childhood trauma. Realizing your father was as abusive in a very covert way. I know exactly how that feels thag someone cam be so extremely covert that you think its love and the after all the understamding and healing you see it was pure abuse and this is pretty hard to accept to have been fooled like this. I know exactly what you went through.. I also had it ( not dad) and I was shocked to realize this months after he was gone.. Its like an out of the fog moment that at first you cant believe.. What appeared to be love was nothing but abuse. Its this super ultra highly manipulative people.. You dont stand a chance with them but to be manipulated. I think about it and its disgustimg. But as you accept and go through all the feelings, the more you heal.
    Good luck and have a nice day. Hugs ☀️☀️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The worst thing is finally knowing that all your life you’ve been LIED to. At least with my mother, her narcissism was all out in the open (she was very overt and grandiose). My dad seemed very loving but it seems like it was all lies. Maybe he did really love me but stopped. Like that portrait of me I wrote about–he loved that so much but now apparently it’s been thrown away without even asking me if I wanted it (I asked my son to look around for it). It’s possible also that his wife controlled him after he lost a lot of his faculties. He was always codependent to more overt narcissists. Who knows? No one will tell me anything, no one knows anything, and it’s a shock to realize all this after he died.

      I don’t believe in hell, but I hope that wherever he is, he is having some consequences and learning that what he and my mom did to me was wrong.
      How can you ever trust anyone or believe anything anyone says when everything you were ever told was a lie?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I understand the feeling of all lies. But not all people in the world are like that. So believe you are able to identify them.
        Forgive because your parents are who they are unfortunately. It was just not the correct mixture so forgive and move on after you go through all those feelings.
        Its hard to accept it was all a lie. They cant help themselves than just manipulate and make it a lie. Its like it is.. Manipulating one person after the other one.. I shrudder…
        Go through your feelings with support dear. Its fully normal

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I don’t hate them at all. Usually I feel pity for them. They are products of their own upbringings. But right now there’s a lot of anger I’m working through. A LOT of anger. But no hate.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. I will later. Thanks! (I can’t see what song it is right now). You can actually drop the youtube link that appears in the box after you Like it and the video should show up here.


        3. Thanks for the tip. Its aDJ. so music that gives energy and at the same time nice lyrics.. Well there is one main message. #believe 😃

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Your thoughts, fears, and feelings sound like an understandable and appropriate reaction to this situation, considering the context and background.

    The only part that could remotely be considered abnormal by any informed person is the intensity with which you’re feeling all this. But a parent’s death plus having to deal with your entire (rejecting) extended family at the same time, while physically and socially isolated and excluded from them… Plus they’ve got your only connected relative there, your own son, and they have a history of turning people on you… that’s a very hurtful, painful, sad and threatening situation.

    But, kids really want a relationship with and value their parents, even when they swear the opposite- think how desperately you probably used to cling to your own parents even after they abused you continually for years on end. As long as you don’t abuse your son and you treat him well and value him (and when you slip up you sincerely apologize) I don’t think he’s going to turn on you and abandon you for some superficial strokes and money from distant relatives. Even if you are very emotionally intense and have some issues. I just don’t think that’s how it works.

    I would say get engaged in doing something, preferably while talking to people, mindfully- it just becomes a maelstrom otherwise.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you’re right, Jim. I don’t really think they would succeed in turning him on me. He knows me and I raised him, and would be a better judge of my character than some people I haven’t seen in years are. We have a good relationship.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well if you have a good relationship, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. It is terrifying how narcissists can and will ruthlessly turn your own family against you, leaving you all alone, I can relate to that. But in this case, I don’t see it as a real possibility. How old is he?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So he’s old enough to process this stuff.

        You strike me as radically honest and authentic and I think kids, young adults, heck everybody appreciates that, especially in close relationships. People want the freedom & permission to be themselves. Authentic people encourage & cause others to be their real selves, to get better, just by being around them. So I don’t see him walking away from that.

        You wouldn’t want him to feel like you’re trying to control him by demanding he doesn’t see them or something like that, but I do think that IF you see that they start to use him or slander you, it might be wise to very calmly explain some things, some history & point out some dynamics to look out. Things that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt are true. Then trust him to figure it out for himself.

        Liked by 2 people

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