First, thank you to my wonderful, understanding wife nature and wildlife photographer and gift designer Lee Hiller London who has made 2015 “The Year Of The Rick”, that is, I am able to fill comfortable in my development and growth (that never happened) due to un-diagnosed autism, vanus, and NPD Disorder parents (and subsequent “flying monkeys”).
A thought hit me the other day. I wonder what it looked like to neighbors who knew I was put away in the attic and my other siblings encouraged to go outside to play. Don’t get me wrong. I had a bike and all the accoutrements to appear to have some normalcy. But that’s all they were, like braces on my teeth at age 12. One might ask, “But Rick, you were given expensive braces. How can you say they ignored you or scapegoated you”. Every child with crooked teeth whose parents had the resources got braces because that can be seen by the public, plus it played into “the perfection syndrome” of the NPD.
Autism cannot be seen, extremely painful vanus (flat feet with shattered joints, cartilage cannot be seen by the public. Straight shiny white teeth can; futher proof of “all the good they were doing for their ungrateful child”.
So I found a neighbor who moved into my neighborhood when she was 5 years old with her parents who were very well known and respected in the community. Normally, my parents did their best to ingratiate themselves to that type. Not this couple. Why?
Upon asking questions, I asked her a bit about herself several days ago in facebook private message. As it turns out she is now a grandmother, and has grandchildren diagnosed with autism. Upon noticing that, she could see many of the symptoms in herself. ADHD was one of them. That was no big surprise to her as she’d been reading about it awhile. She is starting therapy next week to try to lessen some of the painful side effects of autism (When I say painful I mean emotionally so) such as depression, anxiety, esteem issues, etc.
I asked her if she remembered my attic bedroom. I imagined 50 years later, she didn’t. I was very wrong. She not only remembered it, she remembered wondering what the hell was happening at our home. Why were my younger siblings out and about, and I was at home brooding in my attic bedroom away from everyone else. She knew to a certain degree something was very wrong; she simply didn’t make it that blunt as you can see in her message to me.
I asked her if I might block out her name and photo and post it in my upcoming book (of which I am blogging various chapters now). She said, “Not only can you post it, there’s no need to block out my name or photo. I can see quite well what they were doing to you”. Still I decided to block it out. Her family was very well known and respected and though she’s moved far away, she still visits occasionally.
The shocker is that though her loving parents didn’t know she had autism (which she may not) but chances are good she does, they knew something was different and took a very different approach than my parents did. They loved her unconditionally and being good with academia, helped her nonstop with her homework and encouraged her to try new things and face challenges. Of course mine did the opposite.
Here is a screenshot of her memories of me hidden away in the attic. This was our third home, but our second home in Hillendale, the subdivision my maternal grandfather Marcus London developed, the home that burned down. The home that I made sure the fire department arrived by calling them and the home where I dragged my 5 year old frightened brother to safety and made certain my older sister got out of the bathtub and out of the burning home that had smoke billowing through it. She has even noticed that my wife Lee is an angel, learning with me all we can, so our lives are as happy and fulfilling as we deserve. And we deserve good now. We’ve seen what rough edges can be. We know what “flying monkeys” can and will do. We know how to stop them in the tracks, with the help of major networks and government agencies if need be, but we know our rights, and we use them accordingly if need be.
Everyone who knows they have not done wrong, longs to clear their name; no matter how many years later if it has been tarnished. Often, at first, it is a total surprise as to why it even has (been tarnished). One knows they have tried their best. They know they’ve not hurt anyone, at least not purposely, and they can’t figure out why their family of birth keeps those “imaginary wrongs” in the public eye.
Though I have a good name outside of my hometown in most cases (even worldwide..and should, I treat my friends and fans as I’d want to be treated), remnants of NPD occasionally resurface. I was raised in an NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) home. NPD is a dreaded emotional disorder in which parents abuse their children, all of them, but particularly the “scapegoat archetype” child, well into adulthood. That is a necessary dynamic to the NPD (according to Jung and Satir) in order for the NPD model to work.
Make no mistake, the other children; hero, golden, and/or lost child are injured every bit as much. They simply don’t know it as they get “some soothing” via material possessions, less mental abuse etc. NPD is so subtle, unless one is trained, studied, or looking with a microscope, it can be very difficult to be revealed. In fact it appears the opposite. It appears the victims are the parents and the perpetrator is the scapegoat child. Nothing is further than the truth. In fact it is the overly-sensitive, truthful scapegoat that is chosen for those very qualities in most cases (to be the scapegoat) to the NPD parents.
The narcissistic parents do not recruit friends, they recruit to what are commonly referred as “flying monkeys” named after the flying monkeys from the film “Wizard Of Oz”. Those FMs are completely unaware, at first, why they are recruited, at least most of them. Ironically, not only Jung and Satir (and to for the most part Freud, were aware of this entire sick family dynamic, so was Mark Twain. He warned people with his famous quote regarding “getting fooled”. It pertained to this very issue.
So where is the closure? Where is the justice that was a lifetime of chaos and capriciousness facilitated by parents who used their scapegoat child as a diversion (for the public) to their own mental illness?
What is left but “flying monkeys” who, haven’t a clue they were duped, wouldn’t believe it if the best psychologist (or psychiatrist in the world told them), and why do they continue, as if chronically ill themselves to blacken your name, no matter where you live by insidiously broadcasting to local religious organizations, law enforcement, etc. most of whom all tell me what they are up to. Most are sick of them and, like most adults, feel that if one has unfinished business with someone, they should confront that person themselves. Flying monkeys are cowards. Cowards of the worst kind. Some think they are strong and mighty (because they have brought the scapegoat to his/her knees) but quite the opposite. It was the numbers of them, not any one of them.
No one of them could endure, or even come close to endure what the scapegoat has (and deep down every one of them are quite aware of that fact), hence they never confront or even mention any of the “wrongs” to the scapegoat ever. When word has occasionally gotten back to me by 3rd parties, I always ask, “What was my wrong?” Of course all I get is radio silence. I always then ask, “Do you think you could get them to take a lie detector test with me? I’ll gladly pay for it.” Again radio silence. That has happened so many times, it is what led me on my two decade journey to finally discover exactly what the issue was, and the issue was not me, it was a horrid social/mental disorder of which my parents suffered called NPD.
Recently, I mentioned it was discovered that I have autism. I mentioned this to several relatives, close relatives (or as close a birth relatives that I might have). One does not “catch autism” as if it is an airborne disease, it is congenital. One relative had nothing to say except, “Well we didn’t know much about autism back then.” I followed up, “Why wasn’t I tested?” She continued, “Well if we didn’t know much about anything why would we have you tested?” I responded, “Then why at age 6 was I hidden away in an attic far removed/isolated from my other two siblings? (radio silence). I knew then my parents knew there was indeed something very different about me. It turned out not to be a disease, but a gift. But a gift of which they were ashamed, since it was so different.
When emailed from me to one blood relative of my autism he replied, “Funny, I have a bit of dyslexia and I volunteer with some local doctors and we get great results. I’m very interested in yours. Please tell me more as my wife’s niece has a mild case of it, hence we have it on both sides of the family”. (In other words, “Shut up, Rick. You’re making a big deal over nothing. Sorry your autism was never diagnosed. Live with it. The rest of us are doing just fine with my wife’s niece with her mild case.”)
Unless he is totally naive, which is very possible, I think he thought I’d listen to his garbage and just let it go. He thought so very wrong. I will one day let it go. though, but of course that’s another season. Now is not that season. Now that I am in touch with it, know what it is, and finally know what it is I am battling and learning to grow, develop, and learning to live comfortably with it, I won’t stop, especially give the NPD/flying monkeys experience, until the world is aware. That is a promise. If anything happens to me, there are 25 others writing with me. It’s way too late for them to continue the flying monkey routine and think it is productive. If anything it is simply more “grist for the mill” for our publishing and/or productions.
My life Lee seems to have a very instinctual understanding of it all, and is very supportive. I am very lucky for that. I get so much more done in my personal life, my business life, and now my educational life (that is in helping others understand what is happening to them with NPD and/or un-diagnosed autism/Apserger’s; and “flying monkeys and cruel/ignorant families.
He added, “In 4th grade mom and dad learned I had ADD so mom threw me a Valium, put me on my bike and sent me to school. It’s a wonder I ever made it to adulthood”.
Hence the isolation and subsequent mental abuse. Possibly a part of them felt the abuse would “change those differences”. I had tics, I blinked my eyes incessantly, I flailed my hands and numerous other obvious movements. Healthy parents would have at least had their child assessed by a child psychologist. Even a mediocre one in those days knew enough about autism to know it was “not something to be cured” but something to be educated in a different manner (special education) and in my case it would have simply been “the gifted program” and I would have fared quite well.
Keep in mind after the parents are deceased, with nothing, of course, but unfinished business, not just with their scapegoat but with their golden child and lost child, what happens. Long before the parents are deceased, the siblings of the scapegoat learn they can join in with the abuse, and this for the most part keeps the focus off them, and their imperfections.
Remember, NPD is all about ambiance, (the way things look and seem to the general public) and they must seem as perfect as humanly possible; even if that means “creating a scapegoat” as “the one who is always trying to mess things up”.
That scapegoat actually is, but not because he/she wants to, because he/she has to. He/she has been programmed by the sick parents to do so, and if they don’t, they are often punished. This is the parent’s “alarm bell” to say to them, “See, we are perfect and we are doing the best we can, but we’ve been cursed with this “demon child” who cannot do anything but wrong. And wrong I could do. I must have responded to my programming with such preciseness, they were quite proud (while badmouthing me the whole time).
A recent flying monkey reared his ugly head not more than a few months ago. He lives in Houston and contacted several local businessmen of which I have a good relationship. They wondered why, if he had a gripe with me, he didn’t simply contact me. He grew up in this area, but really didn’t know them or vice versa. One spilled the beans and let me know what he was up to. I contacted the ADA (Americans With Disability Act).
When I tell you they are on your side (if you have a disability, and believe me you do whether you have autism or NPD or both). The casting of aspersions stopped as rapidly as they started. I called for a complete federal investigation (and would again next I hear of one). I now have heart disease and high blood pressure (and civil rights) and if they do anything to affect my health due to my disability (and now that is what the flying monkey business is about), they are asking for prison time. And I am willing to help them pack their bags. I can no longer be run over, not by them, and not by an unsuspecting third party they “recruit in innocence”.
They healthy places I’m now going in my life, they don’t “want to go there”. And not because they wouldn’t if they could, it’s because they can’t go there. They are no longer invited along. They do not have the honor of my company, even in proxy. They will have to create their own new fantasy life that does not include me. Many do not understand that yet. They will when my book and subsequent film is produced, though. They’re writing the ending. They simply aren’t aware of that fact yet. Maybe now they are. They’ve been writing it for the past 1.5 years. I hope they like what they’ve written thus far.
I mention that part of the story because one cannot do enough for narcissists. The “scapegoat role” is way much more important than anything so temporary and expected as risking ones life to save there’s. Thankfully there are still people alive who remember that incident, and I believe the fire and police departments keep that kind of thing on record.
Never try to satisfy a narcissist. They do not look at you as human, only as a tool to further their role as victim and covert abuser. Mark Twain knew that. Jung knew that, Virginia Satir knew that, and for your own peace of mind, please learn and know that.
Twain possibly knew more (by instinct, not training) than any other in contemporary history on the dysfunctional family. Often he felt it necessary to describe it from a child’s point of view. Huckleberry Finn is chock full of quotes regarding this type dysfunctional family as well as other dysfunctional type family dynamics.
If you are someone’s flying monkey, do the healthy thing and distance yourself. If you find yourself unable, get professional help. They will give you the tools to do so.
Pioneer NPD vs Healthy Family therapist Virginia Satir understood the dynamics of an NPD family possibly better than anyone.
Here are her “Five Freedoms”…..
If you find you are the family scapegoat of an NPD family, find a way to get the information into the community.
This type family crisis is fixable, or at least treatable so that the amount of abuse and flying monkeys are minimal, and you get to lead the productive healthy life you deserve. But first one must confront every “demon”, and stop worrying about making waves. As Shakespeare most briefly stated, “To thine own self be true”.
Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and gift & clothing designer. He is best known for his Google #1 ranked Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts. He also has the condition of autism/Asperger’s and is an adult child of NPD parents.