This was long time ago when I was in college and I lived in a house for international students. She was my housemate and she told me this story. By the way, she’s from an European country, but it really doesn’t matter where she’s from. The story can happen anywhere in the world.
She said that her mother had an acquaintance who also had a daughter. The daughter was about one or two years older than my housemate. Although the two daughters didn’t know each other very well, the two mothers knew each other and met regularly on social occasions. Then one day the daughter, about 18 years old at the time, joined a religious group and disappeared. She mailed a brief note to her parents, saying that she’s gone for good.
Now I could recall that she didn’t describe the detail of the disappearance, but rather she criticized the religious cult that would do such a thing. She criticized the daughter who were so thoughtless and who would not hesitate to inflict pain on her parents.
At the time I didn’t even know the word “cult” and what she described was something very new, foreign, and even exotic to me. My first thought was that the girl was kidnapped or something like that. However that’s not really the case. The girl disappeared through her own volition and desire, judging from the fact that she mailed one postcard every two or three years during the Christmas time. However there’s no return address or contact phone number.
For years, I believed every word she told me and considered the daughter and the cult religion being the worst in this terrible event. No family wants to lose a child. For years, what she told me was what I believed. I didn’t question her opinion or her story at all.
However recently, I cannot help throwing doubt on this story. Since I want to write stories, I have to reflect on the past and re-examine them. And this story has surfaced. Also I’ve been watching videos on narcissist and narcissism, which give me new perspectives on old stories. For example, I watched a video “When narcissists feel entitled to your property” and I can’t help remembering that my mother gave our cat away and my father ended up crying. Well, strictly speaking the cat was not belonging to my father only, but he loved it a lot. Also my toys, stamp collections, diary, letters were routinely examined, destroyed, given away by my mother. I’ve never told anybody about this since other people would never believe me. One day, when we were eating something very delicious–I can’t even remember what it was–and suddenly my mother took the whole plate away and walked out to give it to our neighbor. I think this was her way of expressing how much she hated us–she considered the neighbor her friend while she didn’t consider her family members her friends. However nobody would ever believe it if I told other people since it defied logic and reasoning, but this was what happened.
Now back to this story about the disappearing girl. My guess is that the parents are narcissistic parents and the girl was neglected, distanced, disconnected for years. Since narcissistic parents enjoy putting up a fake facade and being nice to others to recruit them as their flying monkeys, my housemate and my housemate’s mother never knew the real parents of this girl. Still I feel that one can detect a narcissist if one is good at observation and reflection, but my housemate and her mother probably didn’t have the time or energy to do that.
Also usually these cults will recruit the weakest link of a society and the vulnerable people who have nowhere to go and nobody to help them. And the cult obviously made the connection with this girl and convinced her to go away with them. If this girl had narcissistic parents, the girl would have been already vulnerable before the cult even approached her.
This is just my conjecture. I have no solid evidence that the girl had narcissistic parents. There certainly exist caring and loving parents in this world who raise impertinent and impossible children. And this girl might be an incorrigible bad kid. This is my housemate’s view, which I think it is more of my housemate’s mother’s view.
The world is a mystery and sometimes we don’t even know the person who’s closest to us.