The First Cut is the Deepest, Part 2

We were talking about narcissist-mom and toad-dad, and how they can bend a person’s boundaries. I person with bent boundaries can be pretty vulnerable to future predators of the personality-disordered variety, until those boundaries get fortified through time and work. Narcissists are like hyenas — very opportunistic, and always on the prowl for the easy, emotionally generous catch. (Plus they smell and whine and have greasy fur.)

This connection of the current narcissist to the crappy parent can be seen pretty vividly in the messages in the heads of the emotionally generous when we respond to narcissists and other toads. Look at what people say when they describe their reactions to these guys:

“I feel lost without him.”
“I felt this connection that I desperately need to feel again.”
“I love him. We had something so special, so unique.”
“I just need to have him back. I can’t explain it. But he has this effect on me that just goes through my whole body.”
“I need you. Jesus, just get normal about this, will you?!”

Now, these might sound a bit over-the-top to anyone who hasn’t been mauled by a narcissist-hyena, but they’re taken straight from the testimonials of survivors. This is the way toads WANT to make people feel — like they’re very special, gifts from the Gods, and irreplaceable. And they succeed in making people feel these things, but especially, and most viscerally, in people who have felt this way before.

Look at those statements. And put them in the mouths of kids, little ones, who are being left out in the cold by their parents. Then those statements make a whole lot of very clear sense.

Those feelings don’t get shaken off right away when a person gets to adulthood, because this is primal stuff and it leaves a mark. The statements above get applied to a manipulative and crafty toad when they tromp through the EXACT same breaches in your boundaries that the crappy parents did, the breaches in your boundaries that the crappy parents created. Your psyche is no dummy — it recognizes this, and remembers the pain and the anxiety from childhood. It remembers these things very well. And never forgot how important that connection was. That memory wakes up. This makes the toad feel even more important to us, along with the rest of his BS. Those effects — the breached boundaries, the memory of our childhood emotional starvation, and the current Toadcraft — all swirl together into a downward spiral. Hello, tornado-o’-misery.

This is fixable in emotionally generous people. All of it. The current toxic relationship, the emotional memories that take over, and the bent boundaries all can be straightened out with time and work. There’s more than hope; there’s pretty much no way you CAN’T fix these things, with some time and good work. This is in contrast to narcissists and other toads, who can’t be fixed, or improved, or trained, or helped. They’re permanently rotted out. They’re screwed.

If you got short-changed by a narcissistic parent, then you’re able to show yourself something remarkable. Write down in words the way you feel when the current Toadboy has you feeling your worst. Then look at those words, and imagine them coming out of the mouth of a kid to his crappy parent. I bet you’ll be astounded at how much more sense those feelings make when they’re applied toward the person for whom those feelings are really and originally meant — the person who cut you first.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “The First Cut is the Deepest, Part 2

  1. e

    Panic. Fear of abandonment. Betrayal. Desparate need to reconnect. Disoriented. Please don’t do this. Please don’t go. You are so right, Alex. These are the feeling and words that can equally be expressed by both an emotionally insecure child and by an adult who has been emotionally captured by the narcissist.

  2. Berengere

    Both parents totally self-absorbed and completely devoid of any empathy of connection to me in particular. Went no contact with both after a disastrous time trying to seek comfort after toad break up and got nothing but grief and cruelty in return. Had to see N mum at family reunion a few weeks ago and a few weeks were agreed upon through other members of the family. Not kidding, within two minutes of us being there, she launched at my 8 year old son with presents and cash and went on a rant about what a horrible person I was. I would have left straight away if it was not for the fact that he actually does not speak enough French to understand a word…contract breakers, no boundaries, no empathy and NO they never never never change…… I have seen it and lived it

  3. Casem

    This is a great exercise to help put things in perspective relative to N parents and the mates I choose. Its another great tool in my arsenal…thanks!

  4. Nina

    I did the exercise you recommend in your last paragraph, and it certainly sounds like the child-me.

    That’s great for coming to terms with the origin of my vulnerabilities. But now on to fixing those vulnerabilities: Do you have any practical things you can recommend to straighten out bent boundaries?

  5. Oh, you betcha. 🙂

    That’s what the Toads book is; an outline and description of the steps in the process of boundary-fixing. I’ll bring some more over here, too.

  6. Berengere

    I don’t know if you have noticed but all the customer reviews of the book on Amazon have gone….

  7. They seem to be back. Thank goodness; those reviews rock.

    Thanks for the heads-up, though. 🙂

  8. Wow, very powerful comments. Both my parents as well as my two siblings are disordered.

    I’m NC with them all, but this does post makes so much sense in understanding my ex and the feelings I had the majority of the time with him.

  9. Carol

    Love what you wrote e. This fits me to a T. How about this twist… My N said he had big abandonment fears. While this may feel true to him, and be why he desperately needs to always have a partner, the reason it seemed plausible to me, and got to me, what that I could EMPATHIZE with him! I know it was not only his charm and good looks that hooked me, but also his expressions of pain, sadness and vulnerability, which I understood so well because they are also my own! Was he mirroring my emotional state at the time we met (just after my divorce) or does he “use” this kind of false self revelation to elicit sympathy? Not sure but it worked on me. With both of the Ns I was with, I was drawn to their superficial exterior but stayed because they seemed so “damaged” I couldn’t help but feel for them. Much to my detriment. My attitude was hey, you have issues and pain? I’m your girl! I now see my biggest mistake was in assuming they were trying to deal with their issues and keep from hurting others, as I do. Not true with Ns. In fact they will end up blaming you later and strike out at you when they again feel inevitable pain. blech. But this childhood thing is a big lightbulb for me as well. I realized why I couldn’t feel like a clear headed grown up when having conversations with him about our relationship and future. Because, in those moments, I had the emotions of a child. I need to go love that child now and not depend on someone else to do it. Love to you all, you deserve it.

  10. I am 45 years old. I am currently divorcing my N/Toad and never knew he was an N/Toad until I read your books. I never even thought about my dad bein a Toad until he spent the week with me and my 8yr old daughter this month. I got her a Hamster for her 8th birthday and she wanted to take it to her birthday party we were having with her cousin who also has a July birthday. My dad (who refused to look at the “rat” the whole time he was at my home) took one look at my daughter and said, “What the hell is this?!” I told him that she was going to bring it with us to the party. Dad said, “I just can’t be around things like that, Lori.” (because they are dirty and poop in their cages. BUT, he offered to take Claire to a horse barn the next day for a visit and horseback ride.) After dad pouted and scowled for about a half hour, I asked Claire if she would please leave her hamster home. Before she could answer, Dad shouted, “No! I wouldn’t want you to change your mind. I will drive myself.” When I started to say, thank you and I was sorry, but I’d already told her she could take it, Dad said, “You have your priorities, after all.” When I tried to tell him, Yes, my daughter, he shouted at me, “NO! A DAMN RAT!” Then he got up off the couch to leave. After about 10 min I noticed he was packing all of his stuff up that he brought to spend the week at our house. I asked him, “Why are you packing everything up?” He said, “WELL!! I’m NOT coming back HERE!” I don’t know if he ment forever or not, but he left my daughter standing there crying saying, “I’m sorry Grandpa, I will leave my hamster here! Come back!” and me, standing pathetically outside his truck window saying, “Dad! Please stay, I’m trying to make this right!” Nope. He drove off and hasn’t spoken to not just me, but none of his 8 grandchildren or my three younger brothers either. The last time someone made him mad, he didn’t speak to anyone for 2 years. As I’m sure he’s never been picked over by a family member for a “Rat” every in his life, I’m sure this time he won’t speak to anyone for a good 3 or 4 years. While the rest of my family is gratful to me and glad it’s “My turn” this time and not theirs, I am UTTERLY disappointed in myself for turning right back into the 8yr old girl I saw my daughter being infront of him and begging him to stay. I am so VERY sorry my daughter heard me telling dad that Claire will leave her hamster when I should have told him, “She’s my daughter and I said she could take it! I don’t care if you stomp off and pout for 3 years!” No wonder my ex-Toad latched on me and I couldn’t drag myself away for 8yrs from the same stupid tricks.

    Anyway, Thank you for your books. They have been a massive help. Even more so than therapy. Everything has just clicked for me now and with your book, I have actual PROOF that what I was guessing at the whole 10 years I knew my Toad, was TRUE!! I just still need to work on not getting sucked back in. By my ex-Toad and my N dad.

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