Girl Meets Gaslighting

I lost my 2022 apartment to autistic burnout and emotional abuse. I think my autism burnout was exacerbated by the emotional abuse. The more I unmasked and embraced myself, the more emotional abuse my relatives inflicted upon me.

I could list out every event that I think led me to where I am now. I know my bad decisions and what I should have done. I also know I’d be a different person.

Instead, I have only for you an unorganized list of thoughts and recollection of events from my perspective — what I’ve found out, what I’ve realized, etc.

This post is a rewrite of a previous post published under the same permalink. What I knew then is completely different from what I know now, one year later after losing my apartment.

Standing on a small, wooden bridge next to cattle skulls covered in leaves

The enmeshed family dynamic

In enmeshed family dynamics, everyone knows about everyone because there are supposed to be no secrets. Any privacy you think you have is a façade.

One thing I hated the most my entire life was how the bathroom door pretty much meant nothing. Even if there was a lock on the bathroom or bedroom doors, I wasn’t supposed to use them.

Once, I was granted the privilege of using the bathroom myself, without anyone else going into it — but this privilege could be revoked at any time, and it wasn’t without people thinking me ridiculous for wanting privacy in the bathroom.

I remember telling my grandmother, “Hold on. I want to get dressed first, then we can talk,” and shutting the door to get dressed. She got upset and said not to shut the door in her face. She tried to open the door and got even more upset that it was locked.

The event triggered my DID; a protective alter fronted, and I felt like I was watching whatever happened from a corner in the room after the door opened. It was so weird. On top of that, I was experiencing an autistic meltdown; everyone thought I was just in a psychotic episode.

The benefit of being diagnosed is gaining vocabulary and understanding to comprehend your behaviors. My presumed “episodes of psychosis” have since been redefined as “autism meltdown” and dissociation caused by complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD).

Diagnosis saves lives, guys.

Familial enmeshment feels like your life isn’t your life. Nothing you own is yours.

Talking behind my back

To them, they weren’t talking behind my back. They were “expressing their concerns” about me. It’s all the same either way.

Each would know things I hadn’t told them, but another. The more I insisted they not gossip about me, the more they insisted that everyone had a “right to know”. They insisted that I was behaving childish by not telling everyone everything myself.

“If you want to be treated like an adult, you need to act like one. Real adults tell people these things themselves.”

That didn’t feel right, so I stood my ground. The more firm I was with my boundaries, the more critical they were. They rocked my self-esteem and confidence in my boundaries by telling me why the boundaries were wrong.

Family enmeshment is a form of emotional abuse and most common in narcissistic families. Narcissism is learned. Narcissists don’t allow people to have boundaries, because boundaries prevent them from controlling people.

The perverted need to know everything about everyone, or even one someone, is just a way to control them and/or your own anxiety.

They knew things I hadn’t told them

You’re crazy. You must have told me that in the past.

Except…no. I had never told that specific person about that specific thing, using those specific words. She could only have known about it if someone had told her.

What’s more, that person would only have known if they read my blog.

I asked them why they were stalking me and talking about me behind my back, and they called me paranoid.

Um…what? Why did they keep changing it? “The Narcissist’s Prayer” started sounding off in my head. Of course: That didn’t happen. And if it did [..] you deserved it.

There are no individual rights in enmeshed families.

Nothing is yours, all privacy a façade.

They weaponized what I shared about myself

They invested time in everything I published online. Instead of using it to understand me and know who I am, my family used it as a weapon. They learned how to trigger my autistic meltdowns and what triggered my CPTSD.

My family learned how to use my disabilities and trauma against me — then told me I was “crazy” every time I called them out on it.

I believed it

There was this constant play happening, month after month, until I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I became my most vulnerable.

They constantly criticized my successes and told me that I needed mental help, my behavior wasn’t normal, that I needed antianxiety meds so I would “stop this boundary nonsense” and “act normal again”.

I’d say, “This is me. It’s who I am now.”

They didn’t accept it. “No, this isn’t you. You aren’t like this. I know you better than you know yourself. Have I ever steered you wrong?”

At my lowest, I’d had enough. I realized the same patterns were in motion — history repeating itself from a distance.

And it clicked:

  • They didn’t have any access to my mental or medical health records.
  • They only knew what I made publicly available.
  • I could do the same right back to them.

I treated them how they treated me

Taylor Swift’s Midnights album was my playbook. I entered my Vigilante Shit era.

  • They have no idea if I was seeing a therapist, but they presumed I wasn’t. They presumed I wasn’t on medication and should be on something, because that was what helped them. Because if I’m not inside the enmeshed family, then I’m outside of it. Outsiders are deemed the enemy.
  • I knew of their anxiety disorders and that they constantly worry, hence toxic positivity. They do what they do because their anxiety becomes them, making themselves sick. Then they impose that experience onto me, trying to get me to deal with it by letting them control me.
  • They convinced me that something was wrong with me because they couldn’t deal. I researched the signs of projection, how to combat narcissistic behaviors, and phrases to say to stand firm in my boundaries.
  • I played them the same way they played me. 😏

Karma is boundaries.

Karma is my departure.

Karma is estrangement. 🙃

Karma is me being an Outsider to the enmeshed family.

Karma is doing what they taught me. It’s being a mirror of their caregiving, leaving, and completely rejecting that lifestyle.

Throw lemons at me, I’mma throw them right back at you.

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Comments on this post

hi ^_^ i had the same experience , down to a T which was weird reading it on a blog but — i wouldn’t call my family or yours narcissistic , even if we think it’s the best choice of word . it just plays into the stereotype that all narcissists are abusers . & they’re not . i have diagnised npd , & i’m the one who had been abused instead .

but to some extent yes , your family do sound like narcissists , i just wouldn’t armchair diagnose them .. it’s really harmful . & i get being so mad that you don’t care what you call them , & deep down you know what they’ll always be , but saying it’s narcissistic abuse is very very harmful (to me & other people with npd who developed it through trauma) . abuse is abuse .. it doesn’t need a disordered type .

this isn’t meant to be hateful in the slightest , just a little educational comment , bc i get sad when people always compare narcissism with abuse . as in , narcissists are always , inherently , abusive . it’s a disorder .. 🙁 again i hope you take my note into consideration , i truly sympathise with you . we went through similar things . i wish you all the best in recovery , life & such 🙂

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Not all narcissists have NPD. There are many more nuances to what I experienced that I didn’t include in the post. I don’t refer to them as narcissists lightly, without thorough research or psychiatric validation. The relatives I refer to as narcissists check every single box.

but to some extent yes , your family do sound like narcissists , i just wouldn’t armchair diagnose them .. it’s really harmful . & i get being so mad that you don’t care what you call them , & deep down you know what they’ll always be , but saying it’s narcissistic abuse is very very harmful (to me & other people with npd who developed it through trauma) . abuse is abuse .. it doesn’t need a disordered type .

I’m not looking for validation. I’m also not “armchair diagnosing” them. I think carefully about the words I use. Not once did I use “narcissistic abuse” (nor will you find the phrase on my blog, beyond this comment). “Emotional abuse” is a type of abuse; abuse is abuse and types of abuse exist, too.

The abuse I experienced was, in direct relation, to narcissistic behaviors, e.g. the need to control people around them. Factitious disorder by proxy is often in conjunction with narcissistic individuals, because a sick kid gets them the attention and sympathy they crave. I experienced severe abuse at the hands of people that meet the diagnostic criteria for NPD; however, my therapists/psychiatrists have never seen them as patients so they are not diagnosed. I refer to them simply as “narcissists”, because not every narcissist has NPD.

To want me to remove the reference to narcissism from my experience and story completely is to ask me to omit important parts of my story. I already did that too much, for too long with my family. I won’t be doing this to myself again. I understand feeling frustrated due to stigma, but this post/my story is not like that. I don’t write it with the attitude that all narcissists are “evil” or whatever.

Your comment feels like projection. 🤷‍♀️

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😭😭😭 lmfao get this white woman away from the internet

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🤦‍♀️ The irony of this comment.

1. This is my site. I can see the IP address and email you used is the exact same as that of the original comment.

2. Your attempts to invalidate my experience aren’t going to work. 🤷‍♀️ Again, this is my site. You accused me of perpetuating the stigma pertaining to NPD, yet you chose to “get the last word” instead of deleting the notification email and moving on. Future derogatory comments from this email and IP address will be marked as spam.

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