Charity Ends At Home

CHARITY ENDS AT HOME

How many times during your dance with the narcissist did you dread your home that you shared looming into view as you drove towards it or the taxi neared it? How many times did you sit wishing that you were still out and away from its dark, hulking menace as you fumbled for your house keys? How many times did you endure that drive back to the house with us at the wheel as the once vibrant conversation slowly dried up and a heavy, foreboding silence engulfed the interior of the vehicle. Can you feel that knotted sensation in your stomach again as you see our silhouette at the window where we have been evidently keeping watch for your return? The sickness rising in your chest as you see the door slowly open and left ajar, beckoning you inside but we do not stand there waiting to greet you as we foreshadow what awaits you.

It seems that it is only you that suffers this treatment in your own home. It is meant to be a place of sanctuary a place where the toils and troubles of the world outside your window are meant to halt at the door. It should be a place where you feel warm, loved and safe. Goodness knows you have attempted to instil these things in your home as you have worked hard to make it a pleasant and inviting environment, a place to relax and be yourself. Unfortunately, with us you succeeded too well in respect of that last part. Visitors to your home are always warmly greeted by us, cheeks kissed and hands shaken, a firm pat on the back as words of welcome are aired. We act the perfect host, accommodating guests, never hurrying them to leave, always offering a further drink. Of course you play your role as we order you about so you are the one organising the food and relaying the drinks, but it is done in a warm and appreciative manner which belies the reality of our standing over you. You pour the wine into the four glasses as you reflect on how this is the third set you have to buy this year and you are only in May as once the guests have disappeared into the night those glasses are thrown to the floor to shatter as some minor and entirely inconsequential transgression on your part is seized on and becomes the platform for a bout of intimidating fury. How quickly the host becomes the beast once the audience has departed. So many times you have insisted on our guests staying longer and on some occasions offered the spare room in order to keep what invariably follows at bay. Sometimes you have managed to stretch out their attendance until we have nodded off, infused with alcohol and a hearty meal which has enabled you to say good bye to our guests as we have snoozed as you prefer nor to wake the beast in two senses of the word. You tiptoe past us only pausing, ever the caring person, to place a blanket over us as you then quietly head for bed relieved to avoid one of those scenes.

When your taxi halts outside after you have managed to escape the house for a rare night out and you pay the driver, eyes flitting back and forth from that ajar door, the gateway to hell that has yawned open and is beckoning you in, your despair and apprehension rises. The outside world has no comprehension of what goes on between those walls. To everyone else you appear a content couple, enjoying a good lifestyle. Our carefully constructed façade ensures that we are afforded the recognition and status that our kind is entitled to. We ensure that everyone else knows us to be capable, successful, entertaining and personable. That is the reason we receive so many invitations to drinks receptions, dinner, evenings out and prestigious balls. You know that you must never decline them for attendance is mandatory to allow us to walk amongst our people and shine, drinking deep of their admiring fuel. We give speeches at charitable functions and announce a healthy donation as we maintain the gloss of decency and respectableness whilst kicking you under the table so that you smile to all who are looking our way. Our greatness is acknowledged by all in our community and the maintenance of this façade is hugely important to us and not something we can allow to be pierced or destroyed.

Yet all of the charm, the apparent generosity (those donations never come from our pocket but from those of a business we belong to our others we have persuaded to sponsor the event but we of course always take the credit) and the warmth evaporates once the threshold to our house has been crossed. At times, as we have driven away from an event, you have wanted to open the car door and jump out and run away down the road away from the impending horror which you know is waiting for you. You recognise the signs. There is the reduction and eventual extinguishing of conversation after we have muttered some terse criticism of you. You know better than to try to argue back. The drive seems to take an age and you can feel our churning fury as you sit beside us in the passenger seat. As we round the corner and the house comes into view you want to pass out, you want to be removed from the situation but you know you cannot. You walk with heavy footsteps towards that door. We always enter before you and leave it open, in the same way we do when you have gone out without us. It is a clear signal. You are entering our domain now and you will answer for your failure to smile at one of our jokes, or the fact you spent twenty minutes talking to someone else rather than stand laughing and supporting me amongst my coterie. You did not fill up my glass and attended to someone else rather than me. You wolfed down your starter which lacked elegance and decorum. You failed to make a bid during the charity auction. You went to the toilet during a speech. You rolled your eyes at one of my golden anecdotes (having heard it a hundred times before). The list of transgressions, both real and imagined, is long and we will always find something that you have done incorrectly during our time away from the house and once returned you will be punished as we unleash one of our manipulative tools from our devil’s toolkit in order to devalue you. We hope you might argue back and unleash some anger, but more often than not as we push the front door closed with a click and move towards you it is the upset and tears that flow. As our shadow falls over you, already your eyes are welling with tears as you know what will come behind that closed door. The charitable largesse we ladle out to the world at large always ends at home.

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7 Comments

  1. I believe my sister to is married to a narc and I used to think she just liked company but I now think it’s because her husband is his company self when I am around. It never made sense to me why my 37 year old sister with a husband and 2 kids under 8 would want her 30 year old single sister around so much. She wants me to go everywhere with them and even invited me yesterday to go with them while they took family pictures for their Christmas cards.

  2. This is my current situation, what can I do someone is manipulating my family member since last 25 year I am Deepresed too much how can we get out of this shit

  3. This never happened to me with lover narc, I couldn’t wait to get to where he was. I went from being a law abiding citizen to a speed queen, as I raced to him. Speed signs become invisible as I flew past them. There was no law that man ever made, that I would comply with if he was at the other end.

    Back to my family home. A very different story.

    Oh god. I did everything I could to avoid being there. I was a lonely child, as the few friends I had made, were not allowed to come over. Their parents had heard what went on in my house and they were not allowed to see me often. So I couldn’t be with friends much to avoid home.

    I started mixing with the wrong sort of people as they stayed out a lot. Before long I wasn’t scared of these types of kids anymore, I felt at home with them. My kind of people, at that time. Misfits, rejects, big attitudes that actually hid their big hearts. Once I got to know them, it became clear that they weren’t bad kids or the wrong kind, they were just like me. They didn’t want to go home either. Unfortunately they introduced me to drugs, but they never forced me and l didn’t care. Anything to stay out, anything! I would start to shake at the mere thought of going back to that place. I would stay out on the streets a lot. There was a park down the road from our house, with a small bridge over an empty waterway. I would sit under that bridge for hours, after school until midnight, until I knew he would be asleep. I was terrified down there as I watched the other kids all go home one by one. I sat in the dark, very alone and I knew that I would have to go home soon too.
    Because what if someone even worse found me there?!

    I would stealthily get myself home, hiding whenever I saw headlights and hiding in bushes from one house to the next, until home.
    I would climb up the brick wall and over the sharp iron gates so quietly, because if I bumped them and they clanked together, it was loud and he would come. I was a damn expect at climbing before long!

    So I would creep in through the back door that was always unlocked. Most nights I outlasted him and I could get to my room without a problem. Barricade my door and sleep!

    But some nights he waited me out. He would hide in the laundry and grab me the second I closed the door. Oh!! Those nights!!! They were the worst nights. They are many memories that are still hard to revisit.

    Some nights I would creep in and he was there, but I was faster than him and would race to the bathroom, slam the door shut and sleep in there with my back against the door and my feet against the toilet to brace the impact of him trying to get to me. He would wait a long time. But he always had work the next day, so he would eventually give up.

    The next day it would repeat. I got to the point where I was glad he was so drunk every night, because it would slow him down just enough, to get past him. Teenagers are fast!

    I can remember dating some very bad boys and bringing them home as I knew he wouldn’t come near me then. He didn’t like anyone as physically strong as himself. He was essentially a very weak man, unless there was a woman or child anywhere in the vicinity.

    When I was alone, even if I was asleep, he would come in and drag me from my bed over something I had done “wrong”. I can remember laying in bed and listening for even the slightest creak of a floorboard to alert me. I used to hide under my covers but then I couldn’t hear properly. I would see a shadow under the door as the hallway light was always on. Whenever I heard the creaks or saw the light under that door disappear, I would hold my breath and become completely frozen. Some nights he would leave me alone and the shadows would disappear. Not often. The older I became, the bigger my furniture got and when arranged just so, there was no possible way in. The f*cking relief!

    So not just the house, but my bedroom became a prison within a prison. Back then the police wouldn’t help. It was considered to be domestic disputes and nothing was ever done.

    A teacher at my high school took me under her wing. A lot of the kids excluded me and laughed at me. The bullies always seemed to gravitate to me. Kids can be so cruel! But this one teacher, Mrs. Warburton (bless her!!!) was so kind to me. She arranged school counseling for me for one period a week and I found some respite there. I never told them much and certainly no details, but they seemed ok with that. They just let me be mostly quiet and never pushed me. My parents did not like them at all. They asked for a meeting with my parents. They said no. I wished she was my mum! A beautiful woman she was and a role model to the kind of lady that I hoped I would be one day!

    She even came to the hospital to see me, when one of my few friends called the school to tell her where I was. My teacher came to that hospital and held me. My mum came in, pushed a doctor out of the way and slapped my face. Why I was there is yet another memory with a very long explanation behind it. One of so many. One that is so dreadful that I find my throat constricting, my stomach twisting and tears are flooding my eyes at the very damned thought of it. Oh! The hate in this world!

    I am starting to reopen old wounds and I can’t believe the sheer number of them all. Memories coming at me like bullets, one after the after. I had never forgotten anything, but I tended to push them away like they never happened at all. Where as now I am observing them one after the other as if they are seperate to me and I’m seeing them in a completely different light. There is only intense pain associated with some memories. The others I can just remember without feeling anything. Now that I understand what I was living with, I can revisit events with fresh eyes.

    There are truly angels in this world that counteract the demons.

    I wonder what the ratio of good to bad is, but I have a feeling, (believing in the power of our universe the way that I do) that’s it’s precisely 50/50 and that it will always have to be exactly that.

    My past is past, but I’m so thankful that the laws are changing. I hope the kids out there now are being helped instead of shunned.

    This place! This site! All you guys! I am so happy that I found all this.

    HG, you will NEVER know what you have given to me personally by putting your time into this! Thank you so f*cking much!!!

  4. This article troubles me every time. I cannot imagine living this way. My heart goes out to those that identify with this.

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