In my case, I was encumbered with both styles of parentification. I was living in a narcissist-led household. I was manipulated into the role of the surrogate parent in a household rife with dysfunction and chaos. She wanted someone she could complain to and control while also not having to work much or be accountable/responsible for anything.

For several decades, my narcissistic mother saddled me with an inordinate amount of responsibility (care/maintenance/bills related to the home, her bills, her general care, the care of my siblings, etc.). No one so much gave a sh*t about my well-being or needs. I was too worn out to even worry about myself for the longest time. I knew something was very wrong with this family dynamic but was given little power to define or deal with it. Any time I voiced my issues of disproportionate ill-treatment and sacrifices (of my youth, my money, etc.) I was met with a lot of hostility and judgment. I just couldn’t understand why the more I did, the less I was treated like a beloved family member. She was nicer to strangers off the street. Imagine growing up and you are groomed to feel like everything wrong is your fault or every mess and responsibility is yours to deal with (even when you have nothing to do with it in the first place). Nothing we did was enough. Her toxic version of love was to lie to her kids, pit them against one another, and use them for resources. The moment any of us tried to withhold money or say no or question her, we were blindsided with smear campaigns and lies. She did it to my father, her own parents, my older sister, family friends, and eventually me.

That was our mother’s version of parenting; foisting it onto her kids and sprinkling bits of gaslighting, hoovering, and games into the mix. What amazes me, is we had several occasions where the state was called into our home (cops, health department, etc.) and no one did a thing to help us (kids). Because she was this unassuming, ditsy, pleasant, motherly-looking plump woman, a former teacher, it was assumed it was all just a misunderstanding. She’s so sweet and kind. Yeah, on the outside. On the inside, behind closed doors, it was head-games, blatant favoritism (golden child brothers), financial abuse (of both me and my brothers), she even faked an illness and refused to work so she could milk people for money to supplement her income. She spent most days, lounging in her bed, gluttonously stuffing herself with whatever meal was handed to her (because she didn’t grocery shop or cook). She watched television and read.

Technophobe Who Codes | UX Generalist | Freelance Writer | Egalitarian-Feminist | True-Crime/Forensics Enthusiast

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