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It’s been four months since my last post. The roller coaster that took me from May to September is (sorta) over. We found and moved into a new home. A death in the family spurred Husband, Daughter, and I to take our first real road trip together through the Rocky Mountains. A nightmarish birthday pushed me to examine another layer of childhood trauma.

For the first time, I posted on my personal social media about the narcissistic abuse I've suffered from my father my whole life.

But I didn't reveal the worst of his abuse.

I wanted to spend my birthday with Mom. Husband suggested we go down to visit her that weekend because it's obvious Mom's #MCI is getting worse. If we endure Father's #narcissism together it's a bit easier. Except a snag at Husband's job prevented him from going. We then debated whether Daughter should come with me. It's never an easy decision for her. She despises her grandpa, for obvious reasons, but adores her grandma.

Red flags bombard me the moment Daughter and I enter Father's home. After four hours in the car we're tired, in need of rest and hugs. It's my actual birthday and I crave a loving moment with Mom. Except Father has people I don't know over. I'm expected to perform for strangers.

A chorus of awkward "happy birthdays" erupts from around the kitchen table. Daughter heads for our room after a quick introduction and does not come back. Lucky girl. I, however, am so well trained I know exactly what role I'm supposed to play. Gracious, friendly, loving. We're a perfectly happy family.

Father asks me if I want anything. A cup of tea would be wonderful. He tells me I know where everything is and gets back to his guests. One of them mentions it's my birthday and I just got here after a long drive, suggests to Father he should make the tea for me.

"She's family, I don't have to help her."

#soulsucking at it's finest. In no way, shape, or form can he make me feel safe and loved. Especially not on my birthday, when all focus will be on me.

This game of #deathofathousandcuts is all too familiar. He's invited people I don't know over to celebrate. Gotta admit, a clever way to throw me off balance. He brings out a half-eaten carrot cake (least favourite treat) with a single, half-burned candle. It's loaded with plump, juicy raisins (puke). My skin crawls. He mentions how hard he worked to make it for me and KNOWS I don't want strangers to think I'm ungrateful or rude. I endure the first few bites.

That's when father mentions he had other people over earlier that morning. They also sang 'happy birthday' for me, lit the candle, and enjoyed the cake. I have no idea if those people found it strange to celebrate without the birthday woman there.

The current guests leave. But, lo and behold, other people are coming over later! Another couple I don't know well. They arrive and there's another 'happy family' pantomime. Raven is still in our room, safe from this stupidity. But I must admit, I like the people Father invited over. They seem genuine, ask interesting questions, and share fun stories. I talk about my favourite birthday with them. Mom took me to the mountains for my 17th. We went on a beautiful hike and dined at a lovely restaurant. The details hold all the magic. I grow animated as I speak.

That's when I hear his whisper behind me: nobody cares.

Brow furrowed, I look at him.

He keeps going: you're embarrassing yourself. These people just want to get on with their evening but you keep talking.

The only "winning" response to #narcissisticabuse is to not react.

I did not rise to the bait. #greyrock #grayrock

No. Those lovely people did not find me annoying. Or rude. Or boring. I knew that. And I have no emotional connection to Father anymore. What hurt so much I finally revealed the abuse on my social media?

It wasn't painful. But it was enough.

Ugly. Upsetting. Unnecessary.

There's very little chance this will ever get back to him. I've blocked all family members from his side. It didn't occur to me, however, that many people from my childhood are linked to my social media. They had no idea I endured this my entire life. Shocked and supportive, people reached out.

Not one minimised my experience or gaslit me. An old friend even took a long walk with me, listening to my stories with an open heart.

It occurred to me. How far I've come. But also how deep the trauma truly runs. Abusive people I kept close because their behaviour felt normal. The layers that must be peeled back. Until I find my true self underneath it all.

That training to pantomime. I strip it away.

The shame I feel whenever I write a post. Ugly. Upsetting. Unnecessary.

But I do need to face the shame I feel for bringing this abuse into Husband's and Daughter's life. My next post is reserved for that tsunami of emotion.

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1 Comment

Farrah Khan Al-Mousawi
Farrah Khan Al-Mousawi
Sep 19, 2022

I’m so glad you have the confidence to see through your dad’s mind games. His abuse has not snuffed out your light xxx

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