I am the oldest child of six.
I am the family scapegoat and the hero child.
I am ‘hard’ because I tell it like it is and see straight though the façade.
I was the family fixer, the hero for a large part of my life – until I woke up.
My father, Anthony John Townsend was a violent narcissist who beat my mother. My mother, Maureen Danher was a staunch catholic and an emotionally volatile narcissist, most likely a borderline style of narcissist.
She was ‘sectioned’ many times during my childhood and teens, and spent a lot of time when my father was alive, in mental hospital. It was called Winwick at the time. It has since been replaced by Hollins Park Hospital. I think she was also taken to Rainhill Hospital on some occasions.
For many years, she was prescribed Valium and Mogadon by her G.P. My brother would call her Mogadon Maureen.
She was responsible for my two younger sisters, Barbara and Helen while she was on this medication and also spent time in mental hospital! She divorced my father at some point but later remarried him. No wonder they have mental health issues!
My Earliest Memory
One of my earliest memories of my mother was when I was about three years old. We lived in a two-up-two-down house in Bootle, a poor part of Liverpool. I must have asked for sweets and cried a lot when I couldn’t have any because she told me that when we got home she would ‘batter me’ if I didn’t stop. I remember thinking that we have a glass door and people in the street would see her battering me behind the door and come to save me from her!
I remember her being in bed most of the time when I was a young child, and me and my siblings, Tony and Debbie sitting under the dining table in the tiny living room. I remember feeling responsible for them at the age of three years old. They were one and new-born at the time. My mother was twenty one when she had me, twenty three when she had my brother and twenty four when she had my sister. So – three under fives at aged twenty four!
I was an accident I think but I am not sure as she is a catholic, so no contraception.
She and my father would tell me that I was a ‘big girl’ and that I should look after my brother and sister. I was given responsibilities which were inappropriate for a four year old. I was expected to walk to school on my own which included the crossing of a really busy main road. I was also responsible for another little boy called Stephen who I was told was ‘little’ and I had to help him. She and my father must have been crazy to allow this when I think of it now. The task of preparing three under fives in order to take me to school everyday must have been too much for her.
After eleven years she had three more children.
My brother Steven had it lucky because he was planned. My mother was only 33 when she had him and I was 11. He received ‘good enough’ care and went to live in America asap after finishing university!
She had two more girls Barbara and Helen ten years later, at the height of her mental illness and the worst period of physical abuse from my father. At one point she divorced him but later remarried him.
One sister became an alcoholic borderline/narcissistic. She had a child at 16. The other sister has been diagnosed as Bipolar. She had a child at 16 to an unknown father who was raised by another of my sisters, and another child soon after who was raised by her father.
My first brother is violent like my father. They had violent drunken arguments and during one he threw a glass at my father.
My mother and my two youngest sisters often got together for violent interactions where the police were called. Apparently my mother was told to stop calling them if my sisters visited as there was nothing more they could do.
These are the people that blame me, accuse me and use me as the scapegoat.
I used to have interaction with them but as a fixer, my role was to sort out problems which I liked to do as it fitted with my caretaker personality disorder. This isn’t an official personality disorder but it should be! I have disengaged now for obvious reasons.
It is difficult to describe what it feels like to be a ‘caretaker’ and ‘fixer’.
All my needs, feelings and desires were non existent. I couldn’t have any because I had to put my narcissistic parents first to avoid conflict and the possibility of attack and abuse.
I learned to be a soother, a people pleaser, a conflict diffuser and to protect myself by put myself last.
I remember one for the times I went with my mother in the ambulance when he was sectioned for ‘performing’ at my grandmothers funeral. The crew remarked how good I was with her, at keeping her calm and suggested I get a job in mental health. I was 17 at the time so I had plenty of experience to draw on.
My father created such an atmosphere of fear by his aggressive energy that I spent my childhood keeping away from him. One of my earliest memories of him, when I was aged about three or four was that visitors found excuses to leave our house when he was due back from work. I wondered why, even at that age that nobody wanted to be around him.
My last memory of him was hearing him verbally abusing my mother as he lay dying in hospital from lung cancer. He couldn’t speak as the nerve in his throat had been damaged when he had a lung removed.
My mother was speaking, I can’t remember what she was talking about. He beckoned me and I put my ear near to his mouth. He said, in an angry gruff voice,
” Will you tell HER (referring to my mother)…..” at which point I recoiled and didn’t catch the rest what he was saying.
I remember feeling the disbelief that he could be so angry and hostile towards her when his life was in peril. I know now that he was acting on default and that it is impossible for narcissists to ever have insight.
These are the last words I heard him speak.
As I write this I realise that I have been in denial about this for most of my life. It all seemed so normal at the time – when you have no idea what a normal, healthy, loving relationship looks like!
It is also shameful to have had such a toxic and dysfunctional family life.
This video explains what it feels like to be the scapegoat child.
When I defended my mother against my father, which took all my courage, she turned on me, defended my abusive father saying,
Don’t speak to your father like that!”
I was so shocked and felt so betrayed by her that I left to live with my grandmother, Edith Danher at aged 16.
My mother simply dumped my belongings on the grass in my grandmothers garden. A friend, Bernie, helped me take them into the house.
That is how much my mother cared.
I was no longer her supply and ‘home help’ so I was of no further value.
This video explains what happens as the scapegoat child becomes older.
I became the family dumping ground for blame and I am to this day. I moved away at 18 and was studying at university. I returned sometimes to see what was happening with the younger siblings.
On one occasion my grandmother, my mothers mother, was looking after the two young children, one still a baby just left lying in her cot. My mother was walking around bent over like an old lady, dragging her feet along. I am not sure what was wrong with her. I though she was acting at the time.
My grandmother said I had to come back and look after the children, the children that my mother chose to have at the age of 43 and that she couldn’t look after.
I was clearly just an ‘appliance’ to them.
Where was the father of these children?
There was no sign of my father and his responsibility for the children was not even up for discussion. I think this may have been the time when they divorced. But even so he should have been held accountable!
It is no surprize and was inevitable that one of these babies has Bipolar and spend a lot of time in mental hospital and the other has borderline and is alcoholic.
Neither of them can work and neither have ever had a successful relationship.
It is a very sad tragedy caused by narcissism that takes a lot of coming to terms with.
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