Little Acons – No. 7

YOU AREHARDTO LOVE

A series of memes which encapsulates the mind set of the narcissistic parent towards their child resulting in the creation of the Adult Child of a Narcissist.

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23 Comments

  1. I was generally treated like gold, but my brothers treated like crap. It was quite a realization to reflect back and know who set the dynamic for more to come.

  2. I am hard to love bc i dont go along with the narc program which means having a mind of your own and standing up for yourself. That gets you in the bad books.

  3. As an ACON, I am able to see a more positive side: it was the best compliment I could ever receive from my mother. I was obviously a malfunctioning appliance, difficult to control and engulf.

    1. Saskia. I do not agree with your statement. But, I do not understand why I disagree. Perhaps, I would have to compare a functioning appliance with a malfunctioning appliance: if there is this functioning appliance, this `Black Swan,` somewhere, in order for me to see how each fares. From what I see thus far, all ACON were malfunctioning appliances, by definition.

      1. PSE
        I understand why you disagree. I was writing from my experience as an only daughter with my mother and the type/school of narcissist she is. The emphasis of my statement lies in the second part of the last sentence – I was obviously difficult to control and engulf. She was not able to see me and my development as separate from her at all, there was absolutely no differentiation in her mind or clear boundaries that separated me from her and it was far more obvious in her attitude – her manipulations – towards me than towards my brothers. There would have been no value whatsoever in the oposite – “I was easy to love” because it would not have been a statement about my value as a person of my own either. I regard her statement as a compliment – in retrospect – because it demonstrated there were attempts on my part to push against her and become separate from her. I had to do a lot of emotional work to process, like other ACONs, but have learned – and am still learning – that my mother’s words do not define me or my worth as a person and thus don’t hold power over me anymore.

        1. Saskia. Sometimes people agree with each other even if they are not saying the same thing. This may be happening in our case, but I am not sure. I do feel some disagreement somewhere, but I am not sure where. It may be a tone thing, and not a content thing. Still, I am not sure. Mommypino explained what I am trying to say: that no child is really loved by them in the classical sense. And therefore is a faulty appliance to the Narcissist, including the Golden Child, and is a receptacle being used, no matter how the child is treated, as an appliance for triangulation, scapegoating, guilt, false responsibility, facade maintenance and competition, false pride, self-righteousness, blame shifting and really an innumerable list of other manipulations and usages. None of which is good for the child to be steeped in. Some children may have it easier by pretending to go along, but that child`s authenticity is being damaged by doing so. Some others may actually go along for their own other reasons. And, are biding their time until they are independent enough to continue the malady willingly, themselves. They are `chips off the old block.` The beat goes on. And still others may learn to pretend or to actually go along with things they should not and do not like, and continue to do so when they are adults, as well. No child wins. Many fight back, but a child that has to fight back has no home to feel safe any longer, when a safe home is so important for a child that is young and dependent. All these ACON become adults. Some just survive in manners more acceptable to their respective societies as adults, depending on the individual makeup of the individual child… It is not good for anyone to be an ACON. However, we all deal with the cards we were dealt, and some deal better than others, as you know. Many of us stay stuck in a pattern. However, after we have our epiphany, many others of us are rectifying much of what we did not approve of in our upbringing, as much as we can, over time and are taking on the difficult task of breaking the `chain of custody.`

          1. Saskia. I think I have figured out why I was disturbed by your post. It is because I was reminded of the tragic cases of the children of Narcissists that can not fight back in any way normal whatsoever, but have to store a part of themselves in a hidden place within their mind in order to survive. For example, Physically, the child that is literally chained and raised in a cage from the age of a toddler, Emotionally, the child that is screamed at and mistreated for reminding the parent of their hated spouse day after day since birth, or the child that is Physically abused to the point of being physically and emotionally disabled, or Psychologically, the child that is discredited by their parent constantly, because the child is not excellent enough, nor the creator of the world, so to speak, and the child is taught that they are either worthless or never satisfactory, and for some of these children resistance was an utter impossibility, because of the power, strength and hyper-vigilance and tenacity of the adult parent. These children could not resist, emotionally, psychologically, physically nor mentally many combinations of complex abuse. And some of these children are even murdered, and I am sure you could add more examples. I am glad you were able to fight back, but I still remember all of those children that can not fight back and could not fight back in any normal fashion whatsoever. So, it is not your experience that bothered me, but the fact that your experience reminded me of those did not have the opportunity to fight back, in a normal way. I am glad you could fight back, as a child.

          2. PSE

            Thank you for sharing your thoughts and observations. I see it as a matter of different perspectives and also, different interpretations of words and meaning hidden between the lines – which is difficult to entirely understand if we do not know a person’s full story and how bumpy their journey has been so far.

            From what you have written here and in the comment section where you mentioned my name, I gather that my statement in triggered many associations and, possibly, feelings which is entirely understandable. Your observations about ACONs, in general, are valid, and I see no reason to disagree – all of them suffered abuse, and there were many different ways in which they tried to cope, inwardly and in more visible ways. I relate to both and I empathise with anyone who suffered horrendous abuse – not only because I experienced it myself but because I saw the damaging effects in many other people, irrespective of whether they are narcissists or empaths. I also understand now that you felt the need to stand up for those who did not dare speak up for themselves – that, in itself, is a good thing. It demonstrates compassion for those who felt so powerless they suffered in silence and also, that we – still – possess resilience and strength to find our voice, for ourselves and on behalf of others.

            That being said, I see a clear distinction between my statement, being limited to my story and my thoughts and feelings about my complicated relationship with my mother and your associations and observations, triggered by my statement and expressed on the basis of what I have written both here and in another comment section as I have noticed. I want to draw this line, respectfully, because, by expressing my instant association with the meme, I gave myself a voice, uncensored, in relation to my mother and what I had internalised as her value judgment.

            As such, it felt cathartic to re-translate her statement into a version that allowed me to see her assertion from a different angle and to realise the strength and power that lies in not performing – malfunctioning – as my narcissistic mother expected me to. 

            There are many ways, some of them possible very subtle and barely visible, in which ACONs do not ‘perform well’ or stand up and object against their parents. Some of them might have felt entirely powerless to the point of being silenced yet were stronger, more capable and resilient than they realised. 

          3. Saskia
            I understood your response and interpretation to the meme as personal to your situation and as a different way of looking at it. A positive that at the same time does not detract from the feelings of others. I found something in it for me as well, so thank you for posting your thoughts.

      2. In addition: The first sentence of my reply was intended as “I understand why you disagree based on your explanation”.

        1. Saskia. This is so true what I am trying to say, right here also: `I can see what PSE meant because ACONS are in a way broken because as children we didn’t have a life that most kids experience where their developments were not hampered by the abuse and objectification that we had to put up with while we were growing and developing.` ~~Mommypino.

      3. Since there is no possibility to edit: My initial statement, in its entirety, is based on and limited to my story, what I have come to realise about being my mother’s extension. My definition: Functioning = ‘lovable’ = being compliant, loyal, the sweet sunshine, reflecting well on the narcissist, malfunctioning = ‘hard to love/difficult’ = any attempts to develop an identity independent of the narcissist. I am not quite sure whether ACONs are malfunctioning appliances by definition, as you suggest, PSE.

        1. Hi Saskia, I can relate to what you said. I also had an engulfing type of matrinarc who wanted to shape me and define me exactly accordingly to what she wants me to be. No boundaries, no freedom and no individuality. Anything about me that is unique gets ridiculed or criticized. And so I totally agree with you that every little bit of defiance from us is victory for us. Every little bit of us being able to define ourselves in small ways is a victory for us. I’m trying to think that PrincessSuperEmpath meant by all ACONS being malfunctioning appliances. I’m wondering if she meant with malfunctioning appliance as being abused? If that is the case, I agree with PrincessSuperEmpath that all ACONs are abused because even the Golden Children are abused as well. All ACONs are not loved and all are manipulated. Some are just given a much harder life than the others.

          1. Hi MommyPino,

            Thank you for your comment. I know you shared parts of your story with your matrinarc here on the blog, and I am sorry you had to go through so much in your childhood and youth – it is difficult, growing up with no individuality and often, no space for some privacy either. I like how you put it – standing up for ourselves and using a voice of our own is a form of victory, not in a heroic sense but as having the courage to face discomfort and disapproval that comes with being defiant.

            Of course, I agree with your statement that all ACONs are abused – being raised as the golden child is just as harmful as being scapegoated. I observed both roles in my mother and her sister, and both suffered immense pain and trauma. If that is what PSE meant in objecting against my statement, I don’t quite see a connection to what I have written. I feel that the essence of what I intended to say and how I re-translated and broke down what little-me internalised as a value judgment got a bit contorted or diluted – perhaps a form of ‘meaning lost in translation’. I understand why my statement could cause instant discomfort or a vague feeling of objection without yet fully understanding the reasons. Perhaps PSE will elaborate further if she cares to share her opinion.

          2. Hi Saskia, thank you for your kind words. We are both so lucky to be able to break the cycle. I think that the misunderstanding came from the term “broken appliance” because it is vague and can have different interpretations. Your interpretation is an appliance that doesn’t give the narc what the narc wants therefore doesn’t function appropriately. Some could interpret the term broken appliance as the unfortunate way the narc parent treats all of their children and in the process they end up with damages that they have to fix or compensate with while living with their narc parents and also when they are finally on their own. I can see what PSE meant because ACONS are in a way broken because as children we didn’t have a life that most kids experience where their developments were not hampered by the abuse and objectification that we had to put up with while we were growing and developing.

          3. Hi MommyPino,

            Thank you. I understand what you are saying.

            Yet – I did not use the term broken. I wrote ‘malfunctioning’ which makes a difference to me as far as semantics are concerned and also, applies a different meaning to what I have written.

            I agree with you – it seems to be a misunderstanding based on different interpretations and perspectives. Both your and PSE’s general observations about ACONs are entirely valid.

          4. I’m just really struggling with the reality of what seemed so genuine at times. It’s a tough thing to wrap my mind around.

          5. Indeed it is Claire and it is designed that way for reasons explained previously.

          6. Claire it is hard. I have always interpreted my mom’s helicopter parenting as an obsessive type of love for me. I really thought that she loved me and there were a lot of tender and happy moments with her that felt real. I always told my husband that my mom is really screwed up and was terrible to me because she isn’t smart but I always know that she loves me and she loves me deeply and I always noticed my husband’s facial reaction like I don’t want to break it to her but she’s wrong type of face and I just thought that he just doesn’t understand me and my mom. But now I think it makes more sense especially now that I am a parent myself. I wouldn’t do the things that she did to me to my kids. I am far from perfect but I am not even close to how she was to me when it comes this I treat my kids. Which makes me think that a parent who really loves her kid wouldn’t do the things that she did. Pride for the child can also appear to look like love.

        2. Claire. You are real. And you do real work with real people. It is not a mistake that we do not have Total Recall. Total Recall would damage us further. We are not designed to live in the past. Our faces are located on the front part of our bodies. Our heads do not even twist completely around. We barely have peripheral vision. We just need to know the fundamentals of what happened in our childhoods, to see where some problems may lay, and then go forward as we create our own lives the best way we can, to continue to move forward There is no need for you to be experimentally isolated, or to be put in some deprivation chamber, or to be put in some susceptible state to undergo deep hypnosis and regression, or to have shocking electrical currencies pushed through your body and other methods that can violate and tamper with you even further: I can not believe the things that many mental practitioners do to people who are just searching for a few answers from their past so that they can decide upon some REALISTIC solutions that they can put in place to live a better life.

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