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By | March 31, 2012 26 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Evil Eyes–A daughter’s memoir

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been writing for Lovefraud as regularly over the last year. The reason is I have been working to get a research program off the ground. Objective scientific research on psychopathy and the family will inform a better understanding of the disorder and educate professionals about the needs of victims and family members. In a very exciting and lucky turn of events, an expert in “mixed methods” research has an office down the hall from mine at the University of Bridgeport, and l have recently learned a great deal about how to conduct this kind of research.

I have long appreciated that the usual mathematical approach to psychological research does not seem to illuminate the disorder psychopathy and its effects on the family. I am not the first to suggest this as a researcher. Kirkman used methods termed “qualitative” to study the impact of partner psychopathy on women. Researchers using qualitative methods can gain an appreciation for the actual experiences of victims. In mixed methods research, qualitative approaches and traditional quantitative approaches are combined to get the big picture of a phenomenon—exactly what we need here.

One way to perform a qualitative study is to review literature about a topic. So to cover the topic of psychopathy in parents as thoroughly as possible, I am going to review every book I can find written by an adult son or daughter of a psychopath/sociopath. As I finish the reviews, I’ll share my impressions with you. If you know of any such books, please comment so I can order and read them.

Books written by adult sons and daughters of psychopaths

The first of four books on my list so far is Evil Eyes: A daughter’s memoir by Cherylann Thomas. I already wrote a brief review of this book for Amazon.com and gave it 5 stars. Please everyone who reads this review go to Amazon and buy the book, or go to Google Books to download the ebook. It is important to support these authors by purchasing and taking the time to read their books. I took many pages of notes as I read the book and will share some of my impressions with you.

I only found one mistake in the book, but the mistake is cute and relatively harmless. For some reason it gave me a bit of a chuckle and made me feel a sense of fondness for Cherylann. She is not a mental health professional but actually does an excellent job of explaining the difference between “malignant narcissism” and “psychopathy.” In so doing she credits Sam Vaknin, a psychopath and self-described “malignant narcissist,” with coming up with the phrase “malignant narcissism.” While I am sure Sam would love to take the credit for this term, it was actually Psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg, M.D., who coined the phrase and developed a theory linking malignant narcissism to the cause of psychopathy.

Cherylann points out that psychopaths are more impulsive than malignant narcissists and are less able to pretend to conform to society’s rules or portray a mask of normalcy. This idea is in agreement with Kernberg’s writing. She also states that she believes psychopaths hurt people on purpose for the sheer enjoyment of it, whereas malignant narcissists’ abuse is more a consequence of their selfishness. Although this thought is also in agreement with Kernberg’s writing, it might be important for the author to hold this view because she asserts that her father was a psychopath and her mother was a malignant narcissist (perhaps mother was not as evil?). Though by her many descriptions, it sure appeared to me that Cherlyann’s mother enjoyed the abuse she inflicted, and abused with the same malice and forethought that I would attribute to a psychopath.

What happens to children who have psychopathic parents?

Cherylann’s book describes the consequences of growing up with psychopathic parents as follows:

1. Children grow up never being loved and so come to believe they are unlovable.
2. Children internalize the abusive messages they receive and these become self-fulfilling prophesies.
3. The lack of socialization leads to poor impulse control and impulsive antisocial behavior that leads to guilt and more self-doubt/hatred.
4. There is an ever present feeling of sadness, guilt, self-doubt and shame.
5. Items 1-4 lead to suicidal ideation and attempts.

Cherylann correctly identifies that adult children of psychopaths suffer with emotional and psychological pain that does not fit neatly into diagnostic categories and that may not be that amenable to medication.

In reading between the lines of the book I also perceived that although Cherylann is a loving, caring person, and so was spared the genetic curse that leads to an inability to love, she does have temperamental traits that we see in children who carry genetic risk. These traits are not necessarily pathological. Reading the book, one gets a sense of inner restlessness, relative fearlessness and excitement seeking. Cherylann is a world traveler who seeks to get to know and connect with a wide variety of people sometimes to her own detriment.

A tendency toward substance abuse was present in most of the family and the severity of the substance abuse seemed connected to the severity of the psychopathy.

Most of the themes of the book are related to self and family experiences as listed below, these were the most important. However I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the frustration the author expressed with the psychiatric profession and its non-recognition of the needs of children of psychopaths. I share her sense of frustration and am also embarrassed by the perception that psychiatry is about pushing pills and making money for pharmaceutical companies.

Important themes related to family and self

The theme of desire for family connection was present throughout the book. Over and over, Cherylann reaches out to and connects with many members of her family who have psychopathic traits. The end result is usually some painful situation but before the pain, there is a sense of connection that seems significant and important to the author. Cherylann says in at least two places that the only way to deal with a psychopath/sociopath is to have no contact, however, she also demonstrates to us that this is easier said than done.

Related to the theme of family connection, the theme of a need to forgive the psychopathic parents was articulated many times throughout the book. A point I found very interesting was that the author had a fondness for her psychopathic father that she did not have for her psychopathic mother. This was due to the father being “absent” and not as emotionally abusive. Her psychopathic father was also fun and charming (as opposed to cold and mean to her the way her mother was). Cherylann’s experience with him differed from that of her half siblings who spent more time with him, and who were directly abused by him. It therefore seems important to reflect on each son’s or daughter’s individual experience with the psychopathic parent.

Also related to family connection, Cherylann provided many pictures of her family in the middle of her story. I was struck by the appearance of normalcy in everyone. The author also stated that her mother’s terrible psychological abuse was a family secret. I would call this theme, therefore, normalcy/secrecy.

The theme of finding meaning and spirituality was also present throughout the book. I found her search for meaning in suffering personally inspiring.

The theme of habitually encountering non-familial psychopaths was present to the extent that, while reading the book, I felt surrounded by psychopaths. Many survivors have reported this same experience to me.

The theme of clinging to loving connections as a way to bring meaning and continuity to self was present. Through motherhood and grand-motherhood, Cheryl felt anchored to this world and to her true self.

The theme of connecting with others who share the same suffering was present. Helping others further brings a feeling of continuity and wholeness to self and gives meaning and purpose to life.

Thank you very much Cherylann, this was a great contribution to our understanding. Today’s children of psychopathic parents will be protected when yesterday’s children who are now adults speak out about their experiences.

Cover image "Evil Eyes"

Again please read the book and comment if you believe I missed an important theme.

Evil Eyes—A daughter’s memoir is available on Amazon.com.


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Truthspeak

Thank you, Dr. Leedom, for the insight and definitions. I am curious what falls in between psychopath and malignant narcissism.

Some of the earmarks of psychopathy (less able to conform and present the mask of normalcy) does not fit the exspath – he would be the very last person to “peg” as a sociopath by all outward appearances. Yet, he was able to orchestrate a 14-year-long scam that resulted in fraud that would result in a Federal offense, as well as compartmentalizing extremely disturbing and alarming sexual interests/activities that are primarily violence against women.

The family from which the exspath came has a teenaged mother (pregnant at 15 in 1968, and again the following year) who openly disdains her own children, her current husband, men (in general), and anyone who may be educated or hold a better financial/social status that she does. The father is a brow-beaten martyr that has no value (other than income) to the mother, and this is openly expressed. The hafl-sister is a married victim of domestic violence and abuse that is addicted to prescribed medications (morphine, Xanax, etc.) and surgeries, and the half-brother is isolated from family and very, very introverted.

It starts with the eldest son being devalued and introverted, to the daughter being a hopeless victim of domestic violence and abuse, to the exspath being something that is beyond my ability to describe.

So much damage, trauma, and wasted lives. OY-vey

skylar

Thank you Dr. Leedom, for the work you’re doing.
I agree that the study of psychopaths is going to have to be done differently than it’s done for the study of other PD’s. The reason is because they lie so much, that it’s difficult to see the truth.

I too am very interested in Cheryl’s assertion about the difference between an MN and a spath.

My spath kept his mask on tight. He did control his impulsivity, spending YEARS on the long con. But I wouldn’t say that he didn’t enjoy hurting others. He lives for it.

Ox Drover

Liane, thanks for this recommendation. I went to Amazon and read the first 60+ pages of the books that is there on the site and read your recommendation. So reading only the first 60 something pages I got only the start of her history but at least a “taste” of it.

I too had a psychopathic parent, my P sperm donor, and he was an absent parent as well. When I did go to live with him though as a teenager, I got the “full monte” with him and realized how EVIL he truly was, so I can identify with her on that. I too felt the need to “connect” with family, especially as an “only child” (of my egg donor) and when I got to meet and get to know my younger half sibs when I went to live with daddy dearest I bonded with them….more so than them to me as since I left there none of them have a need to be in contact with me. Two of the three went NC with our sperm donor though, and the third I think is his clone and thinks he was a “saint.”

I think research about the damages done to children of psychopaths is an awesome need! I’m glad you are focusing on that aspect.

The damages done to parents who are parents of psychopathic children is another need as well. I qualify here as well. The emotional and financial damages done to parents who have a criminal/psychopathic child (and I know several parents who qualify) is tremendous. The difficulty in turning loose of the child who is now an adult criminal, the malignant hope that they will reform is horrible. It is only in the breaking away that I have found some measure of peace, if not safety.

Thanks Liane, I think I will go ahead and order this book.

Annie

Dr. Leedom,
I too would like to add in my vote of thanks for covering this topic. However, I’d like to request that your research consider an extra factor.

Donna writes about how her experience with a psychopath started her on a journey of spiritual growth; that she wouldn’t have been able to reach the depths of knowledge or compassion or self-confidence she now has without her experiences. I think the same thing also holds true for the children of psychopaths, if they can get past their initial experiences and reach out (and receive) healing and support.

I notice that Cherylann’s ‘list’ of the impacts on children ends with doom and gloom. But I believe that this is a misrepresentation by omission; the fact that she’s healed herself to the point where she’s written a book and is extending herself to help others, similar to many of the authors and commenters here at LF, is an indication to me that she’s also gained something valuable – valuable enough that its worthy to be shared with others. Your average person on the street couldn’t write a book like that; firstly they’d have no need, but more importantly they wouldn’t have the wisdom and experience that Cherylann has acquired.

Grace (G1S) recently suggested a wonderful book to me “Strong at the Broken Places“. There is a wonderful documentary produced by Cambridge Films which (loosely) accompanies it (it was developed independently of the book, but the author and producer are now collaborating). They both document people who’ve experienced extreme trauma and have used their experiences to better not only themselves, but others as well – much like Donna describes she did after her experience.

I know from experience that growing up with a psychopathic parent causes immense suffering for their children. True, it breaks some children to the point where they can’t recover. But for others, partly due to their suffering, it refines and purifies them – similar to the process of refining and purifying steel.

I hope that you’ll go on to document all the facets of this experience: to quantify the suffering of the children of psychopaths; to provide some measure of honour and justice for the victims who couldn’t recover; but also to acknowledge and raise awareness of the children who’ve used their experiences to grow into something stronger than they might otherwise have done, and who (in my observation) go on to contribute inordinately to the society in which they live.

skylar

Annie,
WOW!
that’s a GREAT point to consider adding to research.

I wrote my book, Evil Eyes, A Daughter’s Memoir, for myself, initially…to journal my life path which was upside down up until the day my parents died. I was raised by pathological parents, and if that wasn’t enough, my stepfather sexually molested me. I was not believed by my mother or siblings about the molestation and the denial was the single most hurtful abuse my family inflicted upon me. Throughout my life I was called a liar constantly, until my mother died.

My father was diagnosed as a psychopath, pathological liar, and habitual criminal by the time he reach the age of 20. My mother was not diagnosed but shared so many of the same traits of my father I suspect she was either a serious malignant narcissist or a psychopath herself. She was cruel beyond any words I could write. I was raised to hate myself and wanted to die too many times to count. I was unsuccessful at my suicide attempts and I can only say divine intervention must have saved me! I realized that God wanted me here for a reason and wasn’t going to let me go and so I gave up trying.

I pulled all of my stories together in a manuscript and decided to publish my book to show others they may not be alone. If my story can help other’s learn the term “NO CONTACT” with psychopathic people…if I can help give lost souls the courage to walk away while realizing nothing you can say or do will make them love you — then this book has been worthwhile. We cannot change people without souls. They are charming and initially “too good to be true” but they are really impostors of people! We love but they cannot – any more than they can grow an arm.

I hope my book reaches everyone who has been hurt by a bully, abuser, psychopath, narcissist, or sexual predator. I pray that by reading my book people who share my pain will become empowered and learn to love themselves and go on to live happy, healthy lives with people who really do care about them. We deserve it! Cherylann xxxooo

Oh, and thanks so very much for the review and your comments. I am deeply touched. God Bless.

skylar

Welcome Speaking up, thank you for writing the book.
I’m sorry for the pain you endured during your childhood. I can assure you that are now among people who really do get it.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, CherylAnn, and for taking the courageous step of putting yourself out there in an effort to help others. What do are doing now is a gift to the world, and a wonderful ‘healing gift’ to yourself. God bless you for it.

Ox Drover

Speaking_up–welcome to LoveFraud and thank you for publishing your story…I know how hard it is to “admit” to being a victim, or former victim. The shame I have felt, the same that should have been theirs, kept me beaten down in secrecy.

The more people who stand up and SPEAK UP, the more people who are secretly suffering will stand up and be heard. Thanks for your courage! Your bravery will inspire others.

*tears*

Matt

Speaking_Up:

I grew up in a house with a psychopathic father, and a mother who I, for a long time, believed was a malignant narcissist. My father, like your’s was the “preferred” parent – a thought that now strikes me as strange, since he tried to kill me when I was eight. As for my mother, I now put her squarely in the psychopath camp. I arrived at this conclusion after analyzing many, many, many of the episodes of abuse at the hands of my mother and came to realize that the woman truly enjoyed the beatings and emotional poundings she was delivering. What skewed my analysis of what she was — a psychopath — was that for the longest time I didn’t see that she was the master of manipulation — turning the abuse around on me – if she hurt her wrist after beating me senseless I would hear “look what YOU did to me!” or the every popular “look what you made me do!” She did a masterful job of playing the victim. And I bought it. Hook, line and sinker.

Like you, I put up with the abuse and came to hate myself until I felt the best way to destroy the problem was to destroy myself and tried killing myself for the first time at 18. I kept going back for more until finally even I saw the light and walked out the door and didn’t look back at 21. But, they conditioned me well. I got involved with sociopath after sociopath after sociopath. And I heard the same crap out of every sociopath in my life, including the last one who I finally threw out of my life 3 1/2 years ago.

I am now in my 50s dealing with two aging sociopaths. I keep my distance — the occasional phone call or occasional brief visit. I guess I could say that when they die I want to put them in the ground and have no regrets, and that would be partially true. The more cynical part of me says that I see them to inventory the house because every last penny that comes my way when they finally shuffle off this mortal coil is compensation for the living hell they made my life.

As a former writer, I congratualate you on writing your story. I look forward to reading it.

Joanie123

Dr. Lee, I attended UB many years ago and I still live in the area.

On another note folks I had a scary dream last night that my ex-spath husband kidnapped me from my present husband and told me I was his possession and that he’d never let me see my present husband again.
Throughout the rest of the dream I was trying to get back to my family and kids but my ex seemed to have me locked in a prison or secret hide out somewhere. And I could hear his evil maniacal laugh every time I tried to escape. Finally I awoke from my nightmare shaking. I was so scared I woke up my husband but didn’t tell him of my dream.
Joanie123

Lady Ruiz

Speaking_Up,

I am in a place of thankfulness right now for my experience with a disordered man, because searching for answers about him has forced me to confront the fact that I was dealt a bad hand in the parent department. I’ve been NC with my father for 3 years (about the time I picked up the bf — no coincidence), but my mother is still around because, you know, she’s my mother! But because of lurking on these boards, I feel like I’ve been given a Rosetta Stone of some sorts. Tonight my mother called, initially out of concern because I’m in an area that just got hit with some bad weather; but she managed at the end of the conversation to slip this in: “Oh, hahaha, I have to tell you that the last time I talked to (the 6 year old) — this is SO cute — he told me, ‘You know, Granny, sometimes Mom has weird thoughts.'”

In the past this would’ve thrown me into a full-on tizzy. OMG, what sort of poison am I unknowingly spewing onto my babies? I suck at my job as a mom! They know that sometimes I’m hanging on by a thread! They’ll be describing this to a therapist some day!!!

But now I know her motives. Her cutting comment came on the heels of her praising me for being a good mom and making sure my kids were safe. We were in crisis mode here this afternoon, and I acted accordingly. I done good, so to speak. Mom validates me — yay! And then… the ax!!! But I’ve seen this pattern play out too many times to take it personally. The full story is yes, sometimes I have “weird” thoughts, and they are awesome and magical and fun, and I share them with my kids in order to expand their consciousness. I interact with my kids, and there is many a sentence that I start with the phrase, “This might sound weird, but…” and it ends with something like, “…what do you think life would be like if we all had flippers?” They freaking love it. So do I.

She neglected to finish my baby’s statement to her, whatever it was. She just wanted to get me back to being scared.

I don’t know if I’m ready to read your story yet, Speaking_Up. I’m only a few hours into being able to type out some stuff about a silly romantic entanglement. I usually shy away from any LF articles that have to do with parents — especially mothers — and on most days I consider myself to be a pretty ballsy chick. So for you to have the courage and strength to put your story out there… well, outrageous Royal Wedding hats off to you, lady. I look forward to reading more from you.

Joanie123

I’ve often wondered about my own mother. She was abusive and neurotic but she did love us so I have to rule out the psychopathy diagnosis but yet when I hear of others stories she sounds similar but not quite as sinister.

My mother did and still has issues but has mellowed somewhat in her old age.
Joanie123

somebodysdream

@ Oxy Speaking up takes a lot of guts. You have to feel safe. If you think you are safe to talk and the other person has not experienced sociopathic entanglement, including psychologists, you shut down in humiliation because they all want to hear the other side of the story. (we all know the other side of the story!) The response is more alienation because of the very very nice person the spath represents himself to be. WE are the crazy ones that need to be avoided.

Ox Drover

Lady Ruiz…hummmm? I wonder what it would be like if we DID all have flippers? LOL GREAT!!!! Yep, you’re weird all right! The diagnosis is right. Verrry weired! Viva la weird!!!! Celebrate your weird! TOWANDA Weird!!! Weird-up today!!!

Some people can turn a compliment into a put down…been there and had that happen myself, and I celebrate my own weirdness! I hope you celebrate your own weirdness too! Your kids may not remember a lot you do for them, but they will remember you laughing with them and making them laugh!

freemama

What a journey you all have taken me on! I’ve struggled to understand my family dynamics all my life, but I never connected the dots until now. My mother “disowned” me three years ago. She says she “no longer has a daughter”. She’s never even met my 6 year old son. Nothing even happened to cause her decision. I was going to fly down to help her after her knee surgery, and my dad said she did not want me to come. She was going on about arguments we had 20 years ago (when I finally left home). I chocked it up to aging and her almost complete withdrawal from the outside world, and just hoped that one day she might realize what a mistake it was and what a good person I really am. Now I know I could wait forever for that day, but it will never come.

A little background – my grandmother was twice divorced from abusive men, including her father. He wanted nothing to do with her. She started acting out so bad, that my grandmother sent her to an orphanage. She just couldn’t handle her. (Early delinquency a little!). My dad “rescued” her from there and she married him when she was 18. He joined the Navy, and I spent most of my childhood rarely seeing him. My mother didn’t want to be a mother. She totally ignored my older brother except to discipline him. He was born with the umbilical cord around his neck, and always struggled. My aunt said I was the best thing to come along for my brother’s sake. I remember quickly memorizing books at the age of 2 and learning how to read using the alphabet on my toy box so I could read to my brother. Mom rarely read to us. She never took us on outtings or spent much time with us. Her world was crossword puzzles and soap operas. The only time I remember getting attention was when I did something wrong. Just looking at her funny would get you a beating. Her Avon boar bristle brush was her favorite. I still cringe thinking about those spankings! She despised my dad’s parents, so we didn’t have much of a relationship with anybody on that side. We saw the other cousins get lavished with gifts, but we were lucky to get cards. I grew up thinking there was something really wrong with me to have warranted having no one really love me. My dad claimed to, and it was like Christmas when he was home – but looking back, it was all so superficial and unconvincing. When I was finally old enough to be allowed outside, I gravitated towards the delinquents. They were the only ones who wanted anything to do with me! I was so odd. My fantasy life was rich by necessity. I would wear costumes to school… strange things like that. I got into drinking and drugs very early, but was always a good student and managed to stay out of trouble everywhere but home. I became defiant towards my mother. I hated her. I hated how she forced me to go shopping at the mall every weekend but refused to buy me anything. I hated how she asked me what I wanted for Christmas and birthday, then got me everything BUT what I asked for, even as a young child. When I protested, she called me ungrateful. She made me go to work at the age of 12 so I could buy my own clothes… a scary gig whereby a creepy guy would pick me up in his Cadillac every weekend and drop me off in the industrial part of town to sell candy. It’s a total miracle that I wasn’t abducted. She wouldn’t allow my friends to come over unless they were white. (She was extremely racist, but I think she just didn’t want anyone to come over since we always lived off-base and my brother and I were usually the only white people on our neighborhoods.) I never had boyfriends in school. I was too embarrassed to subject anyone to her like that. I left home when I was 16 and put myself through college. They didn’t bother saving up for us to go. The self-loathing and risk-taking only got worse. It finally reached the point where I decided I could either off myself or leave for good. I moved 3,000 miles away when I was 21 and never went back. My parents didn’t speak to me for 2 years, and the only reason they did was because I groveled and beg their forgiveness for whatever it was I did to make them mad. I had gotten pretty good at that. I called every weekend like a good girl. They had no interest in my life, so we talked about the weather. As my mom became more and more isolated, my dad became more of a martyr. He never stood up for me, though he’d secretly say he was proud of me and loved me and such. I’d he ever helped me financially, it had to be “our secret”, and he had to go to great lengths to hide it from mom, since she was always in charge of the money. The money always went to her house, of course. Keeping up appearances for the neighbors was number one!

There’s obviously so much more to this story, but I think maybe some people can relate. It’s no wonder I managed to hook up to men who were just like her. I never felt worthy of real love, so I settled for needy, abusive jerks who would at least give me enough attention to take advantage of me. My ex spath’s favorite thing to bring up was that I was so awful and screwed up that even my own mother didn’t love me. I didn’t realize how much I internalized it until now. When our son was born, he liked to say I was just like my mother whenever I got the slightest bit frustrated or overwhelmed (mostly because he didn’t do shite to help me). That barb lost its effect on me by the time I finally left him, since I realized I was a fantastic mother with more love for my child than 10,000 of my own mothers.

While it hurts to wake up every day knowing that I don’t have the wonderful family that seemingly everyone else haves, it’s been a relief to let go of trying to please my mom or make her love me somehow. Reading these last couple of articles have really reassured me that it’s NOT my “fault”. Even though I’m 41 and still haven’t experienced a healthy live with parents or significant others, I’m so fortunate to have an easy and deep love with my own son. He’s bright and outgoing and totally without the neurosis I suffered from as a child, and I know that it is because he’s totally secure in the fact that he feels loved. What a huge gift that is. Thanks for helping me see that!

freemama

I’m wondering if anyone else has had the experience of being “disowned” from their parent/s..? I’ve been scouring the net lately for support on this topic, but there’s surprisingly little there. Is it because it’s such a rare event, or is there simply a lot of shame? Most of what I’ve found deals with people who came out to their parents as gay. Not much exists for those who came from narcissistic/sociopathic parents. I’m starting to think that maybe my becoming a mother myself had something to do with my mother’s decision – like now that I’m a mom, I can see how horribly I had been treated. I would never even entertain the idea of doing the things to my son that she had done to me! Obviously a huge part of me is trying to make sense out of what will never make sense.

One thing I left out that I know I shouldn’t have – I was raped when I was 12. A van pulled up to me and my best friend. My best friend ran, but I froze. They took me. When I finally told my mother about it 2 years later, she said I must never bring it up again. In later years, she thought it’d be really awesome to call me a whore, or accuse me of being a lesbian because I (understably) didn’t want anything to do with boys. I’d never so much as kissed a boy by then, but I guess I figured I had to make up for it to prove I wasn’t gay, because she hated gay people even more than she hated me.

*whew* That’s hard to put out there, but I’ve bottled up so much shame and guilt for decades now that it’s going to make me sick. Again – these articles on effed up parents has given me so much hope. So many of us probably live every day thinking we’re the *only* people who have experienced this or that emotion. When we realize that others have made it through and become stronger for the experience, it gives us hope that maybe one day we can make that leap. The spath ex I get now. My N mom?? Oh man, not even close…

Freemama;

My mother disowned me many times…mostly through the “silent treatment” if I did not do her bidding or suck up to her the way she insisted I do. In the end she was furious with me for tending to my Pfather in paliative care (she also had lung cancer but was not as far gone as he was). When I came home after he died I was “disowned” by all of his children for tending to him. I could not leave a dying old man with no one to care for him in his last months…that is NOT my nature but it seems to be my family way.

Anyway, I came home and my MNmother (or psychopath, who knows), who also had this lung cancer, came up with a story about how bad her upper back felt. She called me several times in a day on one hand saying it was nothing, she stretched it by accident, on the other…how she couldn’t even roll out of bed to go to the bathroom. I went nuts because she was the LAST person I wanted to help by myself (the way I could feel her eyes burn into the back of my head while I was cooking for her was awful!). Her other children: One was on crack, another a severe alcoholic, and her golden child was just as malignant as she was.

Anyway, she manipulated me when I got home from tending to pfather and I acted…I emailed all the kids and said I was not going to tend to mother by myself…that it sounded like she was very ill…and I needed help. My two brothers went to her and said I was saying she was dying (which she was, just not yet). she went into some weird manipulative rampage with me telling me I was a dark force of some kind wishing her to be dead (projection).

She never spoke to me again, told the kids not to tell me when she was dying (and they didn’t until the day she died) and she cut me out of her will.

Turns out she died by herself, in her bathroom. None of her children were with her. The sad thing is I would have been if she had let me in. I still feel terrible that she was by herself in her final days. I carry a lot of guilt and shame to this day. I am not cured just because they are dead. I have these tapes in my head about how horrible I must have been (because my mother said I was) and whenever something good comes my way I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I do not know if these feelings will ever go away.

About being disowned and disinherited…as I said in my book, “You keep the money, I’ll keep my soul.”

I read all of your comments and could add something to each of your stories…very touching and thank God some of you got out.

My book has many twists and turns (and heartaches) but in the end I insist that I protect my grandchildren first (I’m 52 now) and foremost, and if I ever hear of child abuse by anyone I will be the first person to SPEAK UP.

I am humbled by all of your stories.

Cherylann

Precious

Its weird, I see my dad and mom in there but they are like watered down versions of the real thing. Today, my parents are quite loving ( as long as you don’t need them for anything) They seem to have nothing to do with me when Im down or depressed, or out of work…and they are like fair weather friends when I get back to work and feel chipper again. When I had some of the worst moments in life, my mother disappeared. ( first husband’s death, things like that ) I have had to be my own mother all my life. And I love to nurture others too, and have a garden to dote on too. But there were times we were beaten, sent to bed without meals for not helping out with the 11 other kids ( I was oldest girl, second oldest sibling and Mother ‘needed’ me) So I guess being a ‘caregiver’ is programmed into me. While everyone else gets a life, im cleaning and cooking for “mother” still. ( HELP!!! lol ) But this book is on the must have list. So thanks, going to Amazon now!

Precious

Cherylann, Im 52 now also, so there is still time for me. Can’t wait to read your book. I have no tolerance for child abuse, and even seeing it on a movie makes me freak out and bust out sobbing. There are some movies that get no farther than that scene… If I witness it in a store, nothing stops me from approaching that parent and telling them they need to chill, and calm down…they just need to relax, they’re tired, etc…because half the time, that’s whats happening, the baby is cranky, the toddler is impossible, the four year old wants candy, and mom is tired and thinking she has to lug this stuff home yet, make dinner… So I usually touch her arm and say, “Honey are you getting frustrated? I know you got a handful there, I bet you’re getting pretty tired huh? ” It usually helps them to know they are just that, and someone actually cares. You can see their shoulders drop a couple inches and they take a big breath, and smile and say ‘ yah!’ and the next thing I know they are smiling at the kids, and got a little pick me up till they get home. but I’ve never witnessed out and out abuse; that happens at home or in the car. God help the person I ever see doing that. And if I ever see a kid with bruises…lookout.

Truthspeak

The “Report Abusive Comment” option isn’t loading for the comment, above – obviously a spammer that probably knows the exspath in ways that I don’t even want to imagine.

BEGONE! Before someone drops a house on YOU!

(poof)

Annie

Truthspeak – I tried to report it, but got errors as well. I was able to load the “Report Abusive Comment” screen, but once I hit enter after the “Gotcha” verification screen I got sent to a 404 screen (Internet page not available).

I’ll send an e-mail to Donna reporting this.

Louise

It’s gone now.

Annie

Thanks Louise. I’ve removed my sarcastic comment (above), since it doesn’t make any sense once the offensive comment is removed!

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