I have trouble forgiving myself for things I did in the past — but they’re things nobody else even remembers. They’re things I shouldn’t remember, either, but they’re still lurking in the back of my mind — like silent fingers pointed toward me in shame.
We all grow up emulating our parents or the other adult figures in our lives. We don’t have much choice, even if we consciously don’t like some of the things they do. We grow up believing that what we experience is normal in some way. We don’t decide to be like them. We just act that way without thinking about it.
I had no idea how dysfunctional my family was. I had a inkling — at times — that we were somehow different, but I vaguely felt proud of that. I thought we were better than other people. Whatever we were, well, that was the way things ought to be. Our way was right.
So I grew up emulating a narcissist. I had never heard of narcissistic personality disorder, of course. But I learned his ways and I acted like him. Every now and then, some tiny incident from the past comes to mind because of a tiny trigger — and I feel shame and embarrassment.
Tonight, the trigger was mashed potatoes.