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Parental Gaslighting


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My parents viewed themselves as athletes though their accomplishments were relatively modest.

Their marriage was based on the dream their son, me, would be a rough and tumble athletic enthusiast also.

When it turned out I was constitutionally very different than that, ie. pathologicall shy and withdrawn, inherently incapable of meeting their dream they went into denial.

Instead of recognizing I was constitutionally far from their dreams and letting me evolve accordingly, they decided that, by nature (inheritance) I was fine, but my deficits were due to defective WILL power.

Thus, they constantly harped on how inherently perfect and superior I was, but, at the same time, how I was failing completely by lack of will power to actualize my potential.  Thus, I came to believe myself near perfect, but utterly failing at the same time.

I have come to see this as an unconscious form of "gaslighting":  a psychological manipulation that made me increasingly mentally ill in many respects.  I clung to the idea I was inherently near perfect, but totally condemned myself at the same time for failing to even approach reaching my potential.

SPS was only an aspect of this.

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On 1/16/2020 at 5:17 PM, Victimorthecrime said:

I can see how the juxtaposition of those two qualities would be disconcerting.  The perfect & the failure.  
What is your relationship like w your parents today or if they have passed what was it like in your adult years?  

After a crisis of disappointment when I dropped out of "serious" athletics as a College Sophomore, everything settled down.  They more or less dropped their fanaticism and things became less intense. 

Basically, they didn't know that much about what was going on in my life except marriage, divorce, re-marriage, a crisis when I had to stop drinking so much alcohol, and a business crisis.  To the extent they knew what was happening in my life, they continued to apply their usual mentality, but without the fanaticism they felt about athletics. 

Looking back, I can see their early conditioning continued to determine and undermine me and determine my SPS.  Part of the problem is that I was addicted to the unrealistic "hopes" and "arrogance" they had about me.  It was verboten to admit physical/ mental limitations and handicaps including my small penis. 

They passed away almost 20 years ago, now.

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On 1/16/2020 at 5:17 PM, Victimorthecrime said:

I can see how the juxtaposition of those two qualities would be disconcerting.  The perfect & the failure.  
What is your relationship like w your parents today or if they have passed what was it like in your adult years?  

The cognitive dissonance and anxiety was very great.  No wonder I binged on liquor so frequently to make socialization and sex possible.  

Some others, no doubt, suffer parents that are  far less supportive or more directly damaging.   I guess every relationship with parents is unique.  I imagine, some parents must be more effectively supportive and avoid imposing their mentality.  But, how do mentally unbalanced parents not impose their unbalance?

I always kind of laugh inwardly when people say that kids need a father and a mother, like that will solve everything regardless of what the parents are like..

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I've never really pondered this previously though I've thought about parts of it.  Actually writing it down for "public consumption" has dramatic subjective results.

Somehow, my parents conditioned me to base my self-esteem, self-concept etc. on their dream for me.  If I would have been a more typical kid, not severely shy and withdrawn, their conditioning might have resulted in an obsessively competitive kid, eager to actualize their dream.  I have seen this in others.

Or did I rebel against their programming very early?

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No.  They claimed I was rebelling, trying to thwart them purposely, while they denied I was different than normal: shy, withdrawn, solitary, lacking the spontaneity obvious in other kids.

Recently, I've watched some grandchildren and can recall growing up with younger cousins.  No way ANYTHING could restrain their natural exuberance.  You'd need to chain them up to get them to be withdrawn like I was.  They'd be pulling on their chains to join other kids playing.

Parents friends and relatives all thought there was something wrong with me.  Actually, my mother admitted at times she used, while pregnant, amphetamines which she started using during WWII while a "navy wife" while pregnant.  Amphetamines are testosterone antagonist.  So in addition to acting on her marriage dream she acted out of guilt.

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4 hours ago, Victimorthecrime said:

That’s a shame. Parents should, support, encourage, advise children but not push them to be something they are not.  Success at anything is always structured as win-win not win-lose. 

I remember hearing on a news broadcast that so and so famous athlete had alway been a stand-out physically and athletically, "A boy any father would be proud to have."  I remember that sticking in my craw.  . .  "Right!  My parents have to lie to be proud of me."

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I also experienced this kind of parental gaslighting. In hindsight I've chalked it up a bit to my mom's general hatred of men.

  • She talked down my dad a lot and always insinuated that I had his same flaws.
  • She would never, and still doesn't ever, acknowledge my accomplishments without trying to poke holes in them and tear them down.
  • She would chide me endlessly about how other boys in my class were better than me at this or that, and especially that the girls were better than me at things.
  • She would hold me to unreasonably high expectations, talk about my potential, chide me if I wasn't getting straight A's, etc. 

I always got this impression that my mom was simultaneously trying to feign love for me and push me, while also working to secretly undermine me.

Nothing like feeling pressured to succeed while also feeling like the person who is pressuring you is the one undermining you.

Childhood was basically the equivalent experience to constantly being told that you have the potential, obligation, etc. to have a big dick, while having a small one.

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On 1/23/2020 at 1:04 AM, GoldenBoyX said:

I also experienced this kind of parental gaslighting. In hindsight I've chalked it up a bit to my mom's general hatred of men.

  • She talked down my dad a lot and always insinuated that I had his same flaws.
  • She would never, and still doesn't ever, acknowledge my accomplishments without trying to poke holes in them and tear them down.
  • She would chide me endlessly about how other boys in my class were better than me at this or that, and especially that the girls were better than me at things.
  • She would hold me to unreasonably high expectations, talk about my potential, chide me if I wasn't getting straight A's, etc. 

I always got this impression that my mom was simultaneously trying to feign love for me and push me, while also working to secretly undermine me.

Nothing like feeling pressured to succeed while also feeling like the person who is pressuring you is the one undermining you.

Childhood was basically the equivalent experience to constantly being told that you have the potential, obligation, etc. to have a big dick, while having a small one.

Interesting. 

My mother was quite masculine.  She didn't hate men exactly, but resented them if they were more dominant than her.   She even said she wished she were a man from the perspective "It's a man's world."  She liked hunting and other masculine activities.  She looked masculine.  She actually often wore combat boots.  Back then, a common put down was to say,  "Your mother wears combat boots!"  Uh, maybe that she was a gym teachers says all you need to know.

My father was very aggressive in certain spheres, sports and business, but not with women.  He never had a date with a woman until he was 30.  His penis appeared very small flaccid as did mine.  He compensated, I think, by being very physical and a leader in sports, on the job, and in business.  My mother appeared to have initiated their relatioship:  a man she could dominate to an extent?

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On 1/23/2020 at 1:04 AM, GoldenBoyX said:

I always got this impression that my mom was simultaneously trying to feign love for me and push me, while also working to secretly undermine me

I know exactly what you mean!  My mother had love for me but I think she was very insecure and worried that success would take me away from her so she undermined to an extent.  

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Reading my own writing above and in the Bullying area, I can see that, although there is no denying my penis is definitely small, my sps is due as much to projecting my lack of stereotypical masculinity on my penis as it is my penis itself.  My personality was definitely more objectively embarrassing than my penis.

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