I'm now irritated and angry that my therapist expects me to cry and express my hurt over what my parents did and who they were. That he sees my laughing and smiling over my discoveries and memories as a defense from my feelings.
I mean, yes, there's truth to that. But it's also a very real and sincere and only natural way to react.
I don't feel pain when I remember how I've seen the mask slip and the look of pure hatred and disgust in my father's eyes. I don't feel hurt when I remember the gloating glint in my father's eyes when he thought he had the power to frighten and hurt me.
The feeling I have is a pleasant one.
"See?" It tells me. "It's not your fault you feel nothing but fear, anger, disgust, and frustration for this man. He's a sadistic destructive malignant narcissist."
You can't be hurt by someone you have no relationship with, no love or respect for, nothing at all, less than nothing. I mean, you can get angry, or you can laugh at how crazy and bizarre a person is, but you're not going to have your feelings hurt and cry about it.
If a crazy person who clearly hates you for no apparent reason says something critical to you or looks at you in a nasty way, are you going to cry over your hurt feelings? No. You're more probably going to laugh about how bizarre it is.
This is a defense, that's true. We defend ourselves against crazy people who are never going to have a relationship with us and are only interested in hurting us. We don't let them near.
I've had that defense against my father for as long as I can remember. There was probably a time when I loved and trusted him, but I can't access that - this probably ended when I was a baby.
Since then, I've known one thing well, albeit not consciously: if I give him the pleasure of knowing he's hurt me, he'll hurt me more. If I am tough and show no reaction at all, he'll leave me alone. That's the only defense a powerless child has. And that's my power. The only thing I truly know as strength.
The only clear memory I have of childhood spankings is the realization that they're not going to happen again because I've won by not showing any pain or fear.
He almost admitted to me that he could never break me when I was a child, recently. In a roundabout way, and, of course, talking about my mother spanking me, not him, but it was there. An admiring sort of anger in his eyes as he recounted how stubborn I was as a child. How they couldn't break my will.
This went on with words as weapons.
It's a battle, a war, a concentration camp. If you've been in a war, yes, you're likely to have been hurt and messed up in different ways. But you're not expected to cry because the enemy soldiers hurt your feelings, are you? If you've been in a concentration camp, there surely are many horrible things to recount. But you're not likely going to weep over how the guards didn't like you or how the Kommandant hurt your feelings. You wouldn't be open to having your feelings hurt in the first place. Because you're in the kind of situation where you're trying to survive against a powerful enemy. There's no time or place for having your feelings hurt by that enemy and wanting to cry over that.
So, yes, it's a defense. And it's a damned good one, one that works with sadistic narcissists. And it's one I've had in place since I was tiny. And I'm not hiding anything or even really holding anything back - I don't remember the last time there was anything there.