As many followers of the Proxy Project know, my personal experiences play heavily into my perspective on abuse. Yet those experiences fell into distinct categories. I could point to them in a book, and say, “Yes. That is what happened to me.”
Until it came to the other truth.
“That Other Stuff”
I always knew my father’s family had what we’d now politely call “issues”. And then there was that other stuff. It had no name or classification in my childhood awareness. We called it my grandmother acting weird, and so did my father, his siblings, and their father.
In retrospect, those behaviors are red flags. At the time, I felt them as a child would, with confusion, fear, and a strong flight response.
The Signs Lead to…
A sampling of such behaviors, all of which I personally witnessed, includes:
- Walking around in a bra and torn slip in front of all and any spectators
- Loudly complaining of her troubles, sometimes in grocery stores or in church, to her youngest child (suffering Down’s syndrome, he could hardly dispute her), eliciting sympathy from strangers
- Insulting each and every person any of her children married, frequently to the offspring of those in-laws
- Punishing those who disagreed with her opinions, by withholding hugs, kisses, food or even a glass of water on a hot day (this included both her adult children and her grandchildren)
- Insisting she knew what was medically wrong with anyone and everyone in the room with her
- Treating anyone actually ill with much fawning and calling them “her baby”
- Centering all tragedies around her, wherein a grandchild’s accident, illness or even death meant she literally wailed, “Oh my baby!” and would fall to her knees, repeatedly crying “Oh my baby!” until all attention centered on her
On some level, you might argue this was simply a troubled woman in a troubled family, and that is very true. On another level, this troubled woman in a troubled family was, herself, creating a great deal of the trouble.
Do you wonder if something in your life was a case of MSbP? Share it with us by leaving a comment below.