For The Right Or Wrong Reason

Image by Marjon Besteman from Pixabay

The FIFA World Cup is coming to its most exciting final stretch, but not before Brazil was knocked off the quarterfinals. And people love the Brazil team and hate to see their unceremonious exit. So I heard. And even in America where soccer is not really popular, many of the immigrants households would watch those games on cable or online.

I used to pretend that I like watching soccer and would watch the games as if I knew what was going on. Now looking back, I feel that I was not really enjoying the game, but rather I wanted to be part of something exciting. I thought if I faked my enthusiasm, I became part of a sports brotherhood or something like that. However my disinterest and indifference towards sports was very hard to hide. Eventually I had to admit that I felt like a fake and an imposter. So I stopped watching soccer in high school.

Actually this was not the only instance, for which I faked my enthusiasm. I can recall many such unfortunate instances, for which I tried to emulate or mirror a group of people for the purpose of being accepted and appreciated. I don’t understand why, but I know I have a tendency to do this as if my own existence is constantly being threatened by oblivion. I guess everybody has such a tendency to a degree, and a normal urge to be part of a group is healthy and acceptable. However for me, it is a bit more eager, more desperate, a little more pathological.

I guess it all started from my early experience of growing up in a narcissistic family. My mother, the big outgoing narcissist, was an athletic girl who was a star in track and field team of her schools (high school and college). So I was told. However I started to doubt this piece of information recently. If my mother was really good in sports, why hadn’t I seen any photos of her in sports gears or holding a trophy? I was such an idiotic and gullible child that I didn’t even think of asking my mother questions for clarification. In a narcissistic family, lies like this are quite prevalent, all for the purpose of keeping the victim victimized while making the narcissist look as grandiose as possible.

“How could you do so badly in ‘physical education’? I used to be a star jumper for my college team. Too bad you didn’t inherit my sports gene. You are so much like your father.” My mother used to tell me.

I felt quite guilty about it and tried to live up to my mother’s impossible standard. However no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t. Not having the ability to achieve what I tried to achieve, I attempted to compensate it by faking that I cared about sports, which was manifested by my volunteering for my schools’ sporting events. Actually in high school, my fake enthusiasm caught a boy’s attention. He’s a member of the school’s track and field team and he always did well in 400m and 800m running. My attention to his running must have impressed him. One day, he wrote me a letter, which really woke me up and let me see what I was doing wrong. I had misled him into believing that I was interested in sports and in him as well. I didn’t have any interest in sports. I was a little ashamed at writing him back to tell him the truth. So I stopped volunteering for the sporting events of the school and avoided him as much as possible after that. Somehow I felt that he hated me for this.

Now, if I ever meet him again, which is quite unlikely, I would tell him the truth, the whole truth, even if he probably forgot about this long ago. I would tell him that my narcissist mother was destroying everybody around her, and he, an innocent high school peer of mine, also suffered the collateral damage.

38 thoughts on “For The Right Or Wrong Reason

  1. Trying to heal from the pain of our childhoods is so difficult, but it’s worth the effort so we don’t pass the same stuff onto our children. I’m sorry your mom was a narcissist and treated you this way. My mom was abused and although she did better than her mom, she still would pin me against the wall and yell in my face quite often. She’d also demand perfection and then mock me for thinking I was better than her. It’s taken a lot of therapy to not pass this onto my kids. I’m sure I’ve passed new things onto them (sigh) but not the same things.

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    1. I can see the damage your grandma did to your mom and she couldn’t quite get out of her own upbringing. Wow, that is so true. “demand perfection and then mock me for thinking I was better than her”. I mean a narcissistic parent has a lot of contradictory notions about life and other people and what she wants to achieve. You are so wise to realize it and to go through therapy. From what I read of your writing, you have a loving supportive family and you’ve achieved so much in getting yourself out of the shadow of narcissism. You are very inspiring to people who want to do the same.

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      1. Thank you dear. It’s a fight. I have tendacies to be like my mom (the programming of my childhood), but I work hard to notice them and always ask for forgiveness when I mess up. It’s about always trying to do better, not perfection .

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        1. Me too. I behave like my mother just by habit although my mother is the last person I want to be. Sometimes behaviors are hard to change, but if there’s love and care and regards, like what you said, one can always improve.

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  2. I was pressured to get into sports as well. Sure I liked martial arts, but they didn’t count in my parents’ opinion. Mainly because they are not sponsored by schools and universities and I would not get a scholarship. It’s a weird dynamic.

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    1. It’s true that martial arts seem not to be considered a worthy sports for some weird reason, for schools or for Olympics etc. However I heard of martial arts competitions and mixed martial arts etc. They are quite popular among Asian youth, much more popular than a lot of other sports who are deemed worthy. It is a little weird. LOL.

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      1. When I was growing up, the culture here in the US was very Western-centric, almost Eurocentric. This means Western sports are considered superior to Asian exercises. Western languages are more respected than Asia and even American and European history is more emphasized than Asian or African.

        In fact, some foreign English teachers I knew in Asia would think of me as odd or stupid for studying the language and culture of whatever country we were in. One American I met in Korea has a Korean sister-in-law and has been to the country many times and she even said it was stupid to learn the language.

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        1. Oh, you are right. I mean not only white people think that way. Many Asians, especially older generation Asians, think that way too. I heard stories of Asian parents insisted on speaking English with their children at home; hid the family history from their kids; discourage kids from learning Asian culture, language, habits etc. These Asians think they should transform their kids to a real American and the way to do that is to cut them off from their Asian roots as much as possible. I think these parents are performing “arguably” a form of child abuse since each child has the right to know about his or her cultural heritage, language, custom…

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    1. I guess we have all tried. And yes, I also tried to like American football. And also basketball when Jeremy Lin was playing, but I couldn’t fake it for long. LOL.

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  3. I do quite enjoy watching the World Cup although I am not a big sports fan in general. It’s impossible to live up to a narcissists expectations because they keep changing the game. Even if you had been perfect at sports it would not be enough.

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    1. So true. Narcissists are malignant and vicious. They can weave a confusing web of love and support when they spread their venom and destroy their victims. I have to say being vigilant about narcissists are very important. Otherwise one just can’t understand what is happening…

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      1. Even when we are vigilant we can become victims. One of my friends is divorcing a narcissist and I feel so bad for her. She’s going through so much because of him and everyone is turned against her because he has brainwashed them.

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        1. Oh, my goodness. Good riddance. She should get out as quickly as possible. I mean a narcissist can ruin a person’s life in many different ways. Even if the narcissists has trained everybody into flying monkeys and enablers, she should cut the loss and leave if she possibly can. And she really should be careful from now on since she was attracted to a narcissist once, and she is likely to be attracted to another narcissist. I’ve seen people who jump out of one hellhole only to get into another hellhole. For example, me. After I got away from my narcissistic parents’ clutch, I fell into a narcissistic friendship which was very damaging to my fragile psyche, which tend to think narcissism is how the world works and often got bamboozled by narcissistic boasting and shaming…

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        2. I’m so glad she’s leaving him. He has caused her nothing but trouble. Unfortunately, they have children together so she can’t avoid him completely. I just hope he doesn’t turn the kids against her because some people do that. And yes, I hope she doesn’t just get into a relationship with another narcissists. Some people attract narcissists.

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        3. Oh, narcissists have their own ecosystem. They know how to attract victims and recruit enablers and flying monkeys. Narcissists are the ultimate normal people who are mad. And the most dangerous kind since they look and behave normal, but deep down they are lunatics and can make the world a very bad place for others to live in.

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        4. Oh, me too. Tell me about it. They can have such a nice exterior, which covers up a mad, rotten interior. And worst of all, they can also serve as advisors to others. It is quite maddening how the ignorance of their perniciousness can really damage people’s life…

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        5. They have such an antagonism against everybody. And they do everything for a disguise. It is such a pain. And often people are not aware of their poison. It is just so unbelievable.

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  4. I have no interest in any sport or game – physical or cerebral. I’ve got away with this despite living in a country obsessed with football (soccer) and also being male! I can’t even be bothered to think about those “prisoner dilemma” things that fascinate some people. I have sometimes had to pretend to be interested in mental games because they became a fashionable way of teaching towards the end of my career. I would have hated that myself when I was a school. “Just tell me what I need to know!” I would have thought.

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    1. I heard of the football riot and people who are denied entry into the country where football was playing for past football offense. Or something like that. I really can’t imagine that the win of a ball game can cause such big upheaval in some people. True… I don’t like games because I am not very good at games. I mean even very simple games. Also growing up in a narcissistic family, I know how bad games are and I usually try to avoid playing games unless it is something unavoidable.

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  5. Sorry to hear you had to struggle because of your mother. Sometimes I wonder what does it take to be a parent. On the other hand, I suppose it is normal to want to be a part of something bigger, and it is nice when you find something you are genuinely interested in. And it is totally fine if something is not your thing.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words. You are such a sweet girl and you don’t know how devious and insidious those narcissists are. They are people who hate people and who want to manipulate people around them. They are not normal. Many narcissists are on the edge of having a personality disorder, but not quite overboard yet.

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        1. So true. Some narcissists are not too bad but some are really vicious. It is a spectrum actually. The problem is that most people are not aware of this and become a narcissist’s enablers or flying monkeys without knowing that they are joining an evil force.

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    1. You are sooooo right, Geoff. You can always pinpoint the problem. I often think that you have a better grasp of narcissism than other people and you know about narcissists more than others. I was too slow …

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  6. I on the other hand am an avid fan of soccer, Tottenham Hotspur, in the English Premier League, though I live in Canada and have been following the World Cup religiously. I am sure many people in Qatar who previously had no interest in soccer are at the stadiums because, as you so eloquently describe, to be part of something exciting. Ha,ha, I liked that last line children cause collateral damage when their mother declares war on them.

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