Restoration from Narcissistic Abuse

When I was eleven, I had a tabby cat I loved dearly. When we moved, I had to start school late and to make it worse I had to take the fifth grade for a second time due to all of our moving. I was worried I’d never have any friends. But one thing cheered me, I had a little cat to sleep with me and sometimes she even put her paws up next to my cheek. I went to school for two months before we had to move again.

On this moving day, my cat couldn’t find her litter box because it was lost in the hurry of moving before the landlord got there. My dad hated cat messes and he went into a rage and rubbed the cat’s face in her poop. She scratched him so he threw her against the brick fireplace wall. The cat yowled in pain and ran out the open door. With tears streaming down my face and scared to say very much lest my father belt me, I went outside and called for my cat for the next two hours, but she never came back. My parents packed the car and left while I crooked my head out the back window to look for any signs of my precious kitty while we drove away, but I never saw her again.

For adults on the run, one cat was a just a small loss, but for an eleven year old girl who had very few friends, it was devastating. This happened in winter and a few flakes of snow fell while we left. I cried and cried because I was worried about my kitty, I knew she was hurt and I feared she might die or starve.

This was one of the most traumatic moments of my life, but when you live in a family that’s on the run and hiding, there’s no time to discuss how you feel, so you just stuff it—usually with food. I cried and cried and my mom gave me some peanut M and Ms (my future drug of abuse.) I was holding a large table lamp, but my body had to move so I started to rock back and forth in the car.  That’s when my mom turned around and said, “Stop that, what are you? Retarded?” I tried to sit still, but like much of my childhood, I couldn’t stop rocking due to the things that happened.

For almost forty years after I lost that tabby cat, I’ve always had a cat, but never a tabby. When we went to the humane society to get a cat three years ago, my husband insisted on a half Maine Coon tabby kitten. I didn’t want her. I thought she was ugly, but he really liked her, so I agreed to take the little sprite and figured it would be his cat since we already had a black cat I loved dearly.

Can you imagine? I thought she was ugly? But only for five minutes, because I am a cat lover after all. Oh my word! She has stolen my heart like no cat I’ve ever had before! She sticks with me all day and all night long. Sleeps beside me with her paws around my arm and her face next to mine. She is the only cat who has ever slept as close to me with her paws on my cheek like that little tabby forty years ago. She sits at my feet while I write or wash dishes or paint. She is the most affectionate, smart and crazy cat I’ve ever had.  Here is a painting I made of her.

Kitteh Coon, cherilynclough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/13518170-kitteh-coon?asc=u&c=541259-soul-sanctuary
Prints and cards available here

One day I said to my husband, “I wonder why I’ve never liked a tabby cat before, then all of the pain came back to me. Once again, I felt like that helpless eleven year old girl watching her father throw her pet and friend against the brick wall. Then I remembered all the shame that came when I was discouraged from talking or mourning about it. I literally started to rock back and forth just like I did as a child when I remembered this loss.

To be fair, my dad is an old man now who has been known to make a hot water bottle for a stray cat on a cold winter night. But this blog is not about him, it is about me and my healing from the past. If my parents were healthy, they would recognize it’s okay to make mistakes and apologize to your grown children so you can have an authentic relationship with them.

When we are traumatized we either remember it very well or we block it out. I have always remembered this happened, but I tried to forget the details. And one way I dealt with it was to never have another tabby cat. This way I could forget about my painful loss as a child. My plan to avoid dark tabbys was mostly subconscious, but deep down inside my heart I think I always knew. How can we make up such losses that seem to follow us like dark riders for the rest of our lives?

Today I was reading a new book titled Healing from Hidden Abuse. The author Shannon Thomas is a Christian therapist who has written the best book I have ever read on healing from narcissistic abuse. This emotional moment came up for me today because I was reading through the healing part of her book where Shannon explains how we can find ways to give ourselves some of what we’ve lost.

We’ll never get our missing childhoods back, but we can find some restoration in things that have meaning for us. For me, this started when I got this tabby cat. And even as I read Shannon’s book, I realized my Father in heaven was working to restore this broken piece of my heart. My husband picked out this kitten five months before I realized what narcissism is on the eve of my fiftieth birthday. I’ve always felt like that knowledge was a gift from God and now I realize God was even leading in which cat my husband chose for me.

What sort of losses have you suffered?

How are you finding ways to bring restoration back into your life?

12 Replies to “Restoration from Narcissistic Abuse”

  1. Thank you for your up lifting story. It’s speaks of God’s healing. I recently found a tabby 6 week old kitty in a parking lot. Too long of story to share here, but God does amazing things, and uses his creations to bring truth and healing. It just another way he says, I love you.

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  2. Oh I cried…..
    I had a little black wild kitten that i loved too. It was the wildest kitten in the litter that our farm cat had. Every time I came near her she would hiss and spit. I use to sneak a little saucer of milk to them till one day the little black kitten loved me as much as I loved her. She was cute and adorable. Mum warned me not to get to friendly with them. She hated cats. But as a little girl I loved cats and horses. Mum had the rest of the kittens shot by a family friend and had left mine alone but continued to warn me not to get too close. How do you stop wanting to cuddle and play with a kitty cat as a child. I restrained myself as much as I could. I would show mum how cute my little black kitty was when mum was in a good mood. Just so hopefully she would love her just as much as me. I was either 10 or 11 also.
    My little kitty would sometimes sneak through the screen door and run to my room and pop up in bed with me. I would pat her for a while but in fear of being caught I would take her back outside and latch the door so she couldn’t get back in. Her little cries would make me feel very sad. Then one day mum just lost it. Apparently my cat had slept on her clean blankets she was yelling at me and said she is going to shot it. She got me to coaxe my cat out into the open and warned me to not get in the way otherwise I’d get shot too. I was bawling and screaming noooooooooooooo mum but she shot her anyway. She then made me pick her up and carry her little dead body to the top of the hill at the back of our house.
    I stayed up there with her for a few hours and swore when I get older I will have a cat and she will be in my house and there won’t be a god dam thing she could do about it. I always were to blame and I blamed myself for her dieing. She never once apologized. Just has said “oh it an awful meow”….”I can’t believe you remember that”.
    I do have a beautiful tabby named Miss Jinx. She is 15 and a half. We have had plenty of talks and cuddles. She would go to rub up against mum when she would visit and mum would always move her legs away in disguised disgust. Don’t think she was ever game to lash out at her in front of me.
    Thank you for your story!

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  3. Wow! Lil Black Kitty Lover, you are a true survivor!

    My heart aches and I cried when I read your story! Your mother was the cruelest of narcs! I pray blessings over your heart and life! I am so glad you have had your tabby to love you these years and I hope your life is filled with peace and freedom!

    Cherilyn

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  4. This post is so heart-breaking! I cannot believe what your dad did to your cat. I also know the deep pain of being made fun of for reacting to abuse like you were by your mother for trying to comfort yourself by rocking. It’s an abuser’s way of twisting the knife.

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  5. Oh my gosh, can I ever relate!! with our family it was hunting dogs…puppies…my dad was a hunter and he bought several sweet little puppies for hunting. of course my brothers and I named all of them, picked the ones we loved…my father began building a dog run out back, but he never finished it before purchasing the dogs…well, the dogs began running after deer during hunting season…my father, rather than doing a sane thing…like get his lazy ass in gear and finish building the pens and dog run, well, he decided the solution was to shoot the dogs…so, one by one, he shoot our dogs…when I was doing an internship at a women’s facility, I sat in on group therapy sessions and listen to women tell their awful stories of abuse…while listening to a woman’s story, I began having flashbacks of my brother saying”your dog is next” and my utter horror that dad was going to shoot my dog too…I just went through a divorce with a narcissist, I almost did not make it through the abuse…well, I am safe, have a tiny apartment, but I cannot have my dog…so, my dog is with my ex….I am able to get him whenever I want him, but, then I have to be around the ex…it is heartbreaking to go through this rotten stuff…I am glad that there is a God in the heavenlies that is a God of healing,mercy and grace…may His Shalom be upon all that come here looking for healing, answers, confirmation that they are NOT crazy…..Shalom, Shalom, Shalom

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  6. Hi Modern Samaritan Woman,
    My heart goes out to you! After such a traumatic loss as a child, I can only imagine the CPTSD your current situation is kicking up.

    I said a prayer for you. Yes! I am so grateful there is a God in the heavenlies! Jehovah Rapha is the God who heals us! All praise to his name!

    Thank you for the Shalom blessing on my website! Shalom to you!

    Cherilyn

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  7. Love. You are a survivor revived by love. Thankyou so much for being there for us all holding a lamp to better show our pathways to completeness. Love you already Cheryl.

    Liked by 1 person

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