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How would you describe your relationship with your parents?
“Mental chaos. They say parents are your safe space, but for me, they were far from safety and comfort”
This is an interview of 27 years old woman named Akansha. She currently works in the IT business and lives independently in Bangalore. The purpose of the interview is to highlight the subtle signs of narcissistic abuse and its obvious impact on the victim’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
Please note that the content mentioned in the interview is based on the real-life experiences of Akansha. Everything is consensual, and nothing extra is added or edited.
Hello, Akansha, Could you please tell me a bit about yourself?
I am Akansha, obviously. I am from Bangalore. I am working as Relationship Manager in an IT company. I love exploring Bangalore on my bicycle especially the gardens during the spring season.
I suck at cooking but since I live alone I have to deal with it. I am not a very social person. I like being on my own because huge crowds always make me nervous.
If you had to describe your life so far, what would you say?
Umm… My life has been interesting so far. At present, I like who I am and I like where I am. But things were not always good for me. I was born in an abusive household. My grandparents had to rescue me from my parents. They pretty much raised me and I am grateful for them.
When I look back, I feel that my life could have completely downhill. If it wasn’t right decision at the right time, I am pretty sure I would have been a druggie running away from home.
Can you tell us how were your childhood days?
My childhood was lonely. I was the only child. We had a huge house because my father was a wealthy man. He was rich only in terms of money though. Everything needed to be as per his rules and expectations. He was extremely controlling of where I would go, what I would wear, which college I should choose when I grow up, my friend circle etc.
Sometimes I felt like I was another trophy for him. In the crowd he would boast about my achievements but in person he hardly ever acknowledged my presence. I used to try so hard to seek his approval but it was fighting a losing battle.
So, this one day I asked him if I could stay out till late with my friends. I do not know what triggered him but he started abusing me and blaming me for all the wrong things in his life. He called me a ‘whore’, and told me what a huge burden I was on them.
This was just one of many incidents. There were a couple of times when he would run away from home and come back after days, and we had to pretend like nothing happened.
My mother was no better. All she cared about were her social parties and her status in society. I survived for months only on junk food because they had both just left for a foreign trip without even letting me know.
I felt neglected and unwanted. I used to curse myself for being born. As a child, if your parents don’t love you then you automatically start believing that you are unworthy of love as well.
That was when my grandparents decided to come and take me away. I don’t know how but they somehow managed to convince my father that I should study at a university in Bangalore and stay with them.
I think I am one of the lucky ones. At least, I had my grandparents. But I feel my parents’ hot and cold behavior left a huge impact on how I perceived the world and my relationships.
So, how do you think your relationship with your parents affected your life?
Since I was not allowed to go anywhere or do anything on my own I naturally became a rebel. I was curious about the world and my parent’s oppression made me even more intrigued.
When my grandparents took me to Bangalore, I tasted freedom. It was something I had never known. It was like leaving a circus animal in the jungle; I went completely mad.
I started lying to my grandparents that I had to stay at a friend’s place to study, instead, I would party all light. I got into alcohol and bad company.
I even had a series of bad relationships. Somehow, I always ended up attracting the ‘toxic ones’. For 3 years of my life, I had no idea what I was doing.
Eventually, my grandparents found out. Needless to say, they were insanely disappointed in me. I was disappointed with myself. I felt like an ungrateful and hopeless person.
I had to confront my father again. I knew it was going to be a total nightmare. He told me how I was a huge disgrace to the family and an unwanted nuisance in his perfect life. He was only ever concerned with his ‘perfect’ image.
My life was back where it has started- in a house with parents who were more like two strangers who wished I was rather dead.
My relationship with my parents forced me to doubt every other relationship. I had major trust issues. I hated myself. I hated seeing myself in the mirror. My academic suffered, my social life was negligible and there was nobody I could rely on.
One day I don’t know what came over me. I took some money and went to Bangalore to meet my grandparents. I sincerely apologized to them and told them that I needed help.
Did you get the help you needed?
Yes, I did. I am really lucky. I started going to therapy because at this point my mind was going crazy. I felt so low, lonely, and hopeless.
Therapy was a great place for me. It gave me the chance to talk about things that I had buried inside me. There were so many things that I did not even know I had in me.
For instance, for the longest time, I believed that I was the reason why my parents hated me so much. I used to think that if I were a boy then maybe they would have been happier.
I blamed myself for everything wrong that happened in my life. I apologized to others for breaking my heart, I settled for the bare minimum in relationships, and I always stayed on the sidelines because I was afraid that nobody will like me.
I lived for 20 years believing that I was useless, ugly, and good for nothing.
No, my parents did not hit me. I was not sexually abused by anybody. Others have worse than me but that doesn’t make my pain any less.
When you are a child, your parents are everything for you. They set the tone for how you see the world around you. For me, my world was always like walking on eggshells. I always had to stay alert and cautious.
Therapy was difficult as well. Nobody likes to confront their painful memories but it is important part of your healing process. I had sessions where I cried my heart out. It was like removing all the grief from me and starting fresh.
I worked hard to build my confidence and self-esteem. I am grateful to my therapist who never gave up on me. She was compassionate when she needed to be and assertive where necessary. Her constant push and encouragement helped me change my life.
What Happened After Therapy?
It was more like during the therapy that I started seeing changes in myself and in my life. I became a more confident and relaxed person. I started opening myself up more, you know? I participated in college events, enrolled myself in activities, and interacted more with people.
I found myself. I started enjoying the life around me instead of always being scared and confused. I let go of my fears and embraced the unknown. My grandparents were super happy too with my progress. When they told my parents about how I was doing, obviously they gave themselves all the credit. I felt a little pang of hurt but this time I was better at sticking to my boundaries.
Nothing changed overnight. I still struggle with my past especially because I cannot completely cut off my parents. What changed though is my response to them. Their actions and judgments no longer define who I am or how my life will be.
Akansha was able to heal herself from the narcissistic abuse and create a better life for herself. Sadly, there are men and women who succumb to the narcissistic abuse for many reasons.
Firstly, narcissistic abuse can take place in very subtle ways. It involves emotional manipulation that can be hard to notice. Also, being a victim of narcissistic abuse for a long time hampers one’s ability to think clearly, making it even more difficult to recognize and come out of the relationship.
Narcissistic abuse also heavily destroys a person’s confidence and sense of self. If boundaries are not set at the right time then it can lead to dependency on the abuser, keeping the person stuck in the abusive cycle.
Therefore, if you are anyone around you is experiencing signs and symptoms such as:
Low self-esteem and self-worth: Feeling constantly criticized, belittled, or devalued, leading to a diminished sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
Emotional instability: Experiencing intense and fluctuating emotions, including feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, or confusion.
Self-doubt and second-guessing: Always doubting their own thoughts, feelings, and judgments, causing them to second-guess themselves frequently.
Isolation and withdrawal: Experiencing a sense of social withdrawal and loneliness.
The constant need for validation: Seeking external validation and approval to feel worthy and accepted.
Feelings of guilt and self-blame: The abuser typically shifts blame onto the victim, making them feel responsible for the abuse and fostering a sense of guilt and self-blame.
Difficulty establishing boundaries: Victims of narcissistic abuse may struggle to set and maintain healthy boundaries, often feeling obligated to meet the abuser’s demands.
Hypervigilance and fear: Being hyperalert and anxious, constantly anticipating the abuser’s next move or outburst.
Impaired trust and relationships: Narcissistic abuse can erode trust in others, making it challenging for victims to form and maintain healthy relationships.
Then it is strongly recommended to consult a licensed and experienced Psychologist and take much-needed help on time. Always remember that you have the strength and the power to change your life at any moment you want. Don’t be a victim of narcissistic abuse because you deserve better.
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