Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Question of Judgment

Jeff asked this question: "if you or your readers have ever discussed in any way a) the act of judging Ns, and/or b) what it does or hopes to do for relatives?

I notice also in the comments on your current post this from Billie:'I struggle with horror at feeling sure I'm being judged no matter what I'm doing or not doing.' Perhaps this phenomenon is related?

I suppose I'm curious about the judgement thing because I'm reading key texts on narcissism and mental health and society in general, which confronts me with what I seek to judge and why, so perhaps it's something I'm attuned to."

I don't think we discussed it.

I've been mulling this one over and I'll be honest...I'm not coming up with any coherent comes to me in bits and pieces.

1. I suspect Billie has developed a fear of being judged because she WAS judged - HARSHLY - by her parents. My mother judged me harshly, too...whenever I disappointed her, which was often, she'd reel off a long list of my faults. I came to believe I was all those things: selfish, cold, selfish, lazy, sneaky....and selfish. (Did I mention selfish? )

2. Admission: I'm a pretty judgmental person. I don't know if I became this way because I saw it modeled for me or what. I don't think this is a very attractive quality and it's something I'm constantly trying to temper.

3. On the "act of judging N's" and what it does for the relatives: Judging our parents may be one of the few things we CAN do in regards to them. We can't change their behavior (only our reactions to them), but we can judge them. It's one of our few options and, since we were judged and labeled by our parents, it's a sort of cosmic tit-for-tat that's rather satisfying. It gives us a little power, a little control...sitting high atop the "judgment seat" for once.

I don't think judging N's has any impact on them...even if they were to know about it. After all, we are the ones who are defective, not them. My mother always used to say, "there's something radically wrong with you,"...implying that she suspected I suffered from a mental illness. I don't remember ever fighting back...except in a passive-aggressive way....or challenging her directly because she would have just stop talking to me (again).

I can recite a long list of perfectly awful reasons why my father became a needy, childlike narcissist and why my mother became self-centered and why she so terribly disappointed when I wasn't the adoring, unquestioning, dutiful daughter she'd longed for. My father sympathy for his awful childhood yet had no empathy for adoptive parents - due to their needs - required me to pretend in public that I was their biological child. All I have, in a way, is my ability to judge those acts...which their "backgrounds" does not excuse.

I wonder if judging my parents is my one and only act of revenge.

In the end, does it matter if we judge our n-parents...or not? While judging people we DON'T know well is one thing, it's another to judge those we do know very well...and have harmed us.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Overcoming Social Hang-Ups

It's funny, in real life, I've devoted an enormous amount of time and energy reaching for the reset button...trying to reshape and rewire my reactions and the way I think after discovering my father wasn't just a lousy Difficult Parent, but one afflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

On this blog, however, I haven't spent a whole lot of space exploring how to get over an n-parent, probably because I'm not an expert and what may have worked for me may not work for others.

There are several issues and concerns that readers repeatedly raise...many of which I continue to struggle I'd like to begin taking a look at them. If you've encountered the problem and have worked to overcome it, please share how you tackled it and how you feel about the results you've achieved.


Here's what an anonymous commenter wrote:

This is something I remember and only now am seeing how the incident deeply influenced how I relate/struggle to relate to others. I was 13 and had written a letter to my best friend back home. I left the letter on the bookshelf by the door to be mailed. The next day I noticed an envelope with my father's handwriting addressed to my friend, stamped and ready to be sent. I thought it was strange and decided to open it. Not only had my father opened and read the letter but he had added his own sarcastic and mean remarks in the margins and empty spaces. This was very confusing for me. After all he was my dad, and he was really smart so the letter must have been stupid, right? I am 35 now and fiercely protective of my privacy, unsure of myself socially, and always worried about seeming stupid. I guess sometimes I feel empty because I'm afraid to let my guard down. I can handle feeling numb and empty, I've had plenty of practice. I have no idea what to do with kindness and love and the fear of being hurt is greater than the pain of emptiness.

In real life, I suspect most people would be surprised to hear that I spent most of my life feeling socially unsure of myself because I am an extrovert who can pretty much talk to anybody.

However, for most of my life, I used my outgoing nature to cover up the fact that I felt very uncomfortable in many social situations...especially those involving large groups. I am best one on one. When I was child, I never felt like I fit in...always on the outside looking in. That feeling persisted through my teenage years into young adulthood. It was only until I moved far, far away from my parents that I was finally able to relax a bit and enjoy the company of others.

My best time, socially, was in my my role as mother of two young daughters. This role gave me the opportunity to meet other parents at school, at the park...pretty much everywhere. And I loved it! We had things in common...something to talk about. (I'm not advocating having kids for expanding your social just happened that way).

There's also something funny that happens when you're forty...something rather surprising and nice and totally unexpected. I seemed to care less about what other people thought of me. I seemed to relax in my own skin. When I encountered somebody who didn't seem to like me, it didn't bother me as much. I no longer went out of my way to win people over. I learned to listen more and talk less. I suspect I used to talk too much...nervous disguise the fact that I felt uncomfortable. When I stopped doing that, I was better able to connect with others.

Here's a funny admission...but it's totally true. I began to observe how my teenage daughters behaved in groups of people. I noticed they don't feel compelled to drive the conversation...they can, well, just "hang." I've never done that well very. It seems to work very well for them. When they do talk, what they say is how they really feel (or it seems so)...their reactions are authentic and have range and depth. So at my advanced age, I began to practice it. I'd ask do you really feel about what the person just said...or did...and reacted accordingly. Basically, I had to dig deep to find out how I felt. I have to say it was pretty successful. I was amazed that I could retrain myself.

Please feel free to share your experience!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Question of Mental Illness

In a comment in response to "The Question of Forgiveness," Jeff raised a fascinating question...."Is the n-individual (for we are talking about an individual and not simply a category) , if they are 'mentally ill', mentally well enough to recognise how ill they are? Is their responsibility 'diminished' in the way that some defendants claim in legal cases?"

It really got me thinking. Do I think of my father as mentally ill? He was diagnosed in later life with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. While he was able to hold a job, marry, save money and, in some ways, rise above a terrible childhood, he was a loner all his life and was incapable of forming lasting, reciprocal relationships. He could also be mean, demanding, needy and jealous.

I've always thought of my father as mentally...deficient. I used to wonder if he had a very low IQ. Before his diagnosis, I used to wonder what the heck was wrong with him because he certainly wasn't normal...he didn't act like other fathers. Mostly, I felt embarrassed.

I think Jeff managed to articulate ideas and concepts that would occasionally pop into my mind...fleeting and half-formed...and then poof!....would disappear.

Do YOU think of your narcissistic parent as mentally ill? Slightly disordered?

Here's what Jeff wrote (brilliantly I might add):
The trouble I find is this: one moment I'll make statements about my parents based on how medical categories shed light on their behaviour, then the next, having suggested they were in some way ill, I'll make other statements that suggest they had the same mental faculties as anyone else, as though they were no different and therefore not ill according to medical categories. This doublethink leaves me alternating on their level of responsibility, whether they had the capacity to do any differently than they did, and therefore whether they can be forgiven. To categorise them while assuming they were as responsible as the next person doesn't feel right somehow, as though I'm trying to have it both ways.
The difficulty with forgiveness may be this entrapment between the intellectualisation in understanding their behaviour in medical terms and the inevitable emotional turmoil in having had parents that denied parental love with impunity. The intellectual side relies on models whose helpful explanations explain away the parent's awareness. The emotional side then craves justice from a defendant whose capacity has just been called into question.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Question of Forgiveness

Some people are big on the concept of forgiving. Some have said you need to forgive the person/persons who harmed you.

Then there are other concepts floating the category of "Now What Do I Do With This Mess?" Some say we should try to understand the person who caused us so much grief.

When I've attempted to discuss the behavior of my narcissistic parents with select individuals, I'm often met with, "They didn't know any better; they were ignorant." This doesn't ring true. My aunts came from the same socioeconomic background and were loving, nurturing women.

My self-centered mother is long dead. While I felt sorry for her as I watched her suffer through Alzheimer's, frankly, I don't remember any authentic emotions of sadness or grief. When she started down dementia's spiral staircase, she spent most of the previous ten years giving me the cold, silent treatment for "abandoning" her to go away to college.

My father is fading fast with his dementia. I feel sorry for him, too. I know he wouldn't want to hang on in his terrible condition. Still, I don't feel any strong emotions...including hate. I used to loathe him...couldn't stand to even be in the same room with him. Okay, I still can't, but when I do spend time with him, I'm not a seething bag of resentment and fury.

Sometimes, I feel guilty I don't see him more often, but here's where the question of forgiveness comes in. I can't. I don't want to. I'd have to force myself to do it and I simply do not have the the will to overcome profound feelings of dread that accompany a visit. I can occasionally muster the energy to do so, but it does take its toll. He is well taken care of. I check on his welfare frequently. The woman who takes care of him is incredibly patient with his difficult behaviors (my father calls her and the staff the most horrible names you can imagine...his ability to lob insults is astounding).

So here's the deal. There are some things I could forgive. I could my parents treated me as an adoptee. It was pretty bad (I have a whole blog trying to work out that one), but I could chalk it up to the total dysfunction of the Closed Era of Adoption. Then there's just bad parenting. Okay, my parents were raised poor and had lousy parents themselves and didn't know any better. Check.

Here's what keeps me from actively forgiving my parents....the knowledge that they actively made the decision to cut me off emotionally (my mother) and financially (my father) at a very young age. This was very punitive. When I asked for help....once (a loan of $75) never came.

If I said I could forgive my parents...and really feel it...I'd be lying. Maybe I'll work my way around to it one of these days. I don't walk around, in real life, an angry person. I reserve "my angries" for this blog.

So if not forgiveness...what the heck else is there?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Feeling Unsafe...and the Superwoman Complex

Billie shared in a comment her experience as a child getting a bone lodged in her tonsil...and subsequent "adventure" involving the highway, high rates of speed and quite a show of fatherly "concern." It's a doozie. (Poor Billie!) I've copied it below for ease of reading.

Based on my experience and those shared by readers here, the narcissistic parent will co-opt any misfortune suffered by their child and somehow make it all about them. Still, one would like to believe that their parent would rally and provide the necessary care and comfort if said child were sick or injured. Unfortunately, this is not the case. At least, not in my case and certainly not in the case of readers who've shared shocking stories about parents' disturbing reactions to serious illnesses such as cancer or the death of a spouse.

Knowing your parent is incapable of caring for you when you need them most is not just disappointing, it's....unsettling. You know...just are on your own.

In addition to the stress of coping with the problem or illness that has befallen you, you now carry the burden of trying to manage your parent as he carries on about how terribly worried he is and generally making things much, much worse.

The result, at least in my case, was to hide any bit of information that might be co-opted for dramatic purposes. My parents were the last people I'd tell if I needed help. (Rather late in life, in a weak moment, I told n-dad I was scared about the results of a medical test. I've already written about that. Not only was he unsupportive, he was angry. If I died, who was going to take care of him?)

The end result is...the development of a bad case of the superwoman complex. I hate asking for help. I'd rather do everything myself, thank you very much. No, no, I don't want a ride back from the dentist after a root canal...I'll call a cab. I hurt my foot on a walk with the cell phone in my pocket. Did I call my husband who was sitting at home...he would have been glad to pick me up. No, no...I hobbled home. I'm clobbered by the flu? I'll drag myself to work or make dinner for my kids and take the dog for a big deal. This is different from the martyr complex, because I don't go around sighing and pointing out how no one ever helps me. It just doesn't occur to me to ask for help...this habit of hiding misfortune is so ingrained.

Just this week, I figured out I have another problem: I feel very uncomfortable when people are nice to me. It's embarrassing. For example, a good friend offered me free flight passes. While I was very grateful, I refused them. I felt like I'd be taking advantage of her...or that I wasn't worthy of the gift. She insisted she had more (she worked for an airline) and that she'd given her passes to neighbors...who'd traveled lots of places on them...and to others she knew less well than me. Still, I kept refusing, until she insisted...and now I feel guilty that I'm planning a vacation on her passes. What's up with that???

Anybody else "do" this???

Here's Billie's story:

...when I was maybe 6 or 7, I got a fishbone stuck in one of my tonsils. It was uncomfortable, yes, but not an emergency. My father loaded all of us into the pickup and drove, like, 90 miles an hour with his face to his CB radio hand-held, screaming that his little girl was "choking on a fishbone." Really???? He didn't say jack to me when I was miserably sitting in the back, hoping no one was mad at me for causing all the uproar. He just wanted the truckers on I-80 to respond to him so he could feel important. We didn't even have to take the would have been closer to get to the doctor on the highway. This added some excitement and attention to Ndad's life...he couldn't quit talking about how worried he was about me and telling people days later about this. He must've sounded like such an ass to normal adults. "My baby was choking to death on a fish bone, and so I had to drive like a maniac to the emergency room so the doctor could remove it. I was SOOO WORRIED. I was almost sick over it. I don't know what I would have done if she had died."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh...Grow Up Already!

The flip side to the previous post...about narcissistic fathers acting like big the narcissistic mother acting like a helpless little girl.

One trait I've observed in my own n-parent, and I have no idea how universal this is, is their stubborn resistance to personal growth. They are unwilling to identify a behavior that causes them distress and work to change it...from within. The change, they insist, must come from external sources. In other words, they blame others. (Translation....WE are asked to change, constantly, to accommodate them)

As a result, my n-father had managed to reach old middle age without acquiring the perspective and wisdom usually associated with that age group. He remained....forever 13.

Susie shared her experience with her mother...and I thought it so well illustrated the broader point that I just had to copy and paste it! (Hope you don't mind, Susie). I also applaud her for directly confronting her parent, something I rarely did which I now wish I had! Of course, while we can't change our n-parent, there is something to be said for the satisfaction of sticking up for yourself, setting some boundaries and, well, letting it rip.

The way Susie's mother responds to the criticism...and the setting of, well, CLASSIC! A perfect example of how an n-parent goes into victim-martyr mode when you try to discuss their behavior, thereby escaping personal responsibility. (By contrast, my youngest daughter complained to my husband that he does this thing that really bothers her. He listened, apologized and promised to work on it...she felt acknowledged and respected...he was grateful to have the opportunity to fix something that would improve their communication/relationship).

I guess the big sad take-away is...the relationship with an n-parent is NON-NEGOTIABLE.

Still, for those of you trying to figure out if you're dealing with an n-parent, it's useful to have concrete here is an excellent "case study" written by Susie (credit to Susie for the post title).

I always felt that way about my Mom. That she should be less melodramatic and childish. Dad, on the other hand, always embraced the uber-macho-I-have-no-feelings-and-neither-should-you stuff.

Just as a current example: My mother volunteers at where she used to teach (she retired). My mother has never worked another job in her life, so he skill set and knowledge is extremely limited. She has an unfortunate habit of taking on tasks that she is unable to do without an enormous amount of support. So, naturally Dad, I, and my husband all get sucked into helping her with these projects. This year, she took on the task (among many, many others) to scan pictures into the computer for a compilation for the school year book. My mom is not very technologically savvy, so she ends up procrastinating and asking us a bajillion questions. In the end, we end up doing 95% of the work for her because she never learned how to use a computer.
I am SO fed up with helping her and I decided to put my foot down and say no. I told her that I can't do this anymore and that she needs to be able to take on tasks that she is able to do instead of committing herself to things that she doesn't know how to do because it always ends up being a shared burden. I also made the observation that things wait until the very last minute and that she needs to learn to coordinate her time more efficiently.
Ohhhh was such a bad idea to bring this up. She really laid on thick the "poor me" crap. In a justified and indignant voice, "YOU'RE RIGHT. I'm stupid and incapable and I won't EVER ask you for help again!" When I tried to clarify that she just needs to take on things that she can do alone without encroaching on our time, she says, "I know what I'm able to do! I can scrub floors. I can fold laundry and cook dinner too. Why don't I just do THAT?!"(as if by asking her to take on more reasonable tasks and to set personal boundaries with her volunteer job is somehow doing to coercing her into domestic subordination) and "THIS is what makes me happy! I like doing this!" (which sounds completely contrary to her stress and frustration she seems to have with the project. It also says to me that her feelings about being able to volunteer are more important than the fact that it doesn't make US happy having to do it for her).

When she brought out the poor me stuff, I couldn't handle it anymore. I said, "Oh, shut up! Don't try to play the 'poor me act'" to which she buried her face in her hands, starting to cry and said pitifully, "Ohhh WHYYYY are you doing this to me?!" I just got out of my chair and said, "When you're ready to start communicating with me, let me know."

MAN, that felt good, but of course, it accomplished nothing. It just told me how totally impossible N-parents are when it comes to communication. If it weren't so totally frustrating, it would be almost comedic how much self-pity N's have for themselves. It makes me want to say to her, "OH grow up already!!"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

For God's Sake....Man Up

When I was growing up, I had a bad case of father envy.

My own father, a childlike narcissist, was such a big baby there were times I wanted to scream, "Act like a man, for God's sake!"

When he went to the dentist, the pain was excruciating. Only he experienced that kind of pain. When he had a cold, only he got it that bad. When he went to the Department of Motor Vehicles, only he had to wait in such long lines. Everybody was out to get him. He was always the victim, the one who deserved pity.

There's was also something vaguely womanish about my father...gossipy in an old-biddy way...a little too gleeful about the misfortunes of others.

He was so shaken and stirred by any little set-back, so rattled by daily life, that I knew...just knew...I'd be on my own if there was a big earthquake and the building collapsed on top of me. My father wouldn't dig me out. Instead, he'd need to be resuscitated by the paramedics. When I was a kid and had to have a biopsy, he (and my mother) couldn't stay in the hospital with me because he was too upset.

And then I'd watch a Clint Eastwood film and wonder...why can't I have a father like that? You know, the strong silent type capable of defending those he loved? I also had a thing for Gregory Peck playing Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus didn't follow his kids around pestering them with endless chatter. When his son was hurt, he didn't fall apart and turn the injury into his drama.

I suppose, at the bottom of all this, was the feeling that I was not safe. Ultimately, I was in charge. My father could not be counted on. He wasn't man enough. When the going got tough, he folded.

There's a unique aspect to being the parentified daughter...of a father: the man in your life is a scared little girl who needs your protection.

Friday, March 5, 2010


I've written about this before...maybe on my other blog.

Sometimes, it's difficult to tease apart the tangled mess of issues that are a result of having narcissistic parents...being adopted by self-centered parents....and just being adopted.

I have major abandonment issues. This is very common amongst adoptees. However, having seen my parents cut people off just like "that" (snap of fingers) when I was child, the threat of this actually happening seemed quite real. Later, my n-mother did cut me off when I went away to college. She stopped speaking to me.

Another issue I have is going unacknowledged.

This is a big one. Intellectually, I understand it. I believe I understand the root of the problem and I have tried my hardest to overcome it. Then this week, wham, it happened again and I am astonished that I allowed myself to re-enter the cycle.

So here it is in a nutshell:

Being the capable, people pleasing, good listener with pronounced tendencies to rescue, I became the confident of a certain relative. However, this relative only called when in crisis (3x a year) which involved lots of time and energy. Heck, it only took decades to realize she had no other use for me except as an occasional therapist. Still, that was progress. I pointed this out to the relative and she admitted she disappears after each crisis because she's embarrassed. Okay. So I sent an email and gave her a free pass. No response. I send another email. Zip. Six months pass. Relative calls husband's cell phone and talks to him. It now appears I may see her at a reunion. I send her an email about a travel deal. This too goes unacknowledged.

Now, I'm fuming and all churned up. For God's sake, I think, buck up!'re way too old to behave like a hurt child! Obviously, the relative is not a very nice person capable of a mature, reciprocal relationship...move on! But her behavior is, well, not only's kind of like catnip. I have to admit, also, to now hating the very mention of her name.

Going unacknowledged is a profound and disturbing experience...having had a childlike narcissistic father who never let me finish a sentence. Basically, I felt invisible to him.

When I go unacknowledged today...whether someone doesn't return a phone call, an email...or passes me without saying hello on the, well, scary and threatening. It's like being erased all over again. I know all this, but when it happened again, I was right back to where I started: extremely agitated.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Should She Stay or...Should She Go?

Since I was raised an only child of n-parents, I may be totally off the mark in my response, so I thought I'd post what Music Girl (she uses musical notes I can't duplicate, so I'm dubbing her Music Girl) had to say so she could benefit from the advice of others who were raised with siblings.

She wrote:

My two younger sisters are treated similarly but I bear the brunt of my parents narcissistic behaviour. Relatives, friends, and even my sisters point it out to me. That I shouldn't have to deal with so much shit from them. I've been numb to it for so long that I barely notice it now. The only time it upsets me is if, having come home from a good gig and screamed and moshed a bit and got my anger out, I come home tired and then get punched in the face. The good thing is I can shrug away the bruises as something I picked up in the mosh pit.

Anyway my main concern is that, although my sisters don't get treated the worst, if I move out - I'M NOT THERE TO BE MY PARENTS TARGET. Right now, if either of them does something wrong, they get a telling off but it all comes down to 'you learnt this from your eldest sister, didn't you?!'..
And then I'm the target.

When I move out to university- what'll happen? What if they turn to the next eldest one? What if, because of my absence and blatant rebellion/going against my parents wishes, they become more angry and controlling? What if they give my sisters EVEN more hell than they give me now?

I can be selfish. I can apply for a university I like purely because it's far away. I can stay out an hour or two past my curfew.
But I CAN'T leave/stand by whilst I know my younger sisters are going to get punched in the face for something I'VE done. I don't know what to do :(

This isn't just narcissistic behavior. This involves physical abuse.

I'm a little worried because in a previous post, I mentioned my mother slapped me. She did...several times...but that was in the "old days" and it wasn't very hard. Today, it would probably be considered abusive.

I did not mean to give the impression that slapping a child is in any way is acceptable. Your parents are hitting you hard enough to leave bruises! I strongly encourage you - for your safety and the welfare of your sisters - to either contact social services (or the equivalent of where you live) and enlist their services or, should
your parent(s) strike you again, to leave the house immediately and call the police and file a report.

In addition to the self-centered behavior you've described, your parents have crossed another boundary into even darker territory that requires firm, decisive action on your part. It is possible that your father has serious anger-management issues that could escalate. Your natural, age-appropriate desire for independence will continue to put you at odds with your father...enraging him further...possibly putting you at increased risk.

As for your sisters, perhaps the best thing you can do for them - besides calling social services - is to show them that you will not tolerate a role model, in other words. Show your sisters that leaving home IS possible and that life outside is a much healthier and happier place to be.

Readers...what's your take?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pssst...Your Mother is a Narcissist

An anonymous reader stopped by and posted this question to the teenager with the narcissistic mother:

"do you have any advice on how to make a teenager see that their mother is a manipulative, emotional vampire.."

I decided to post it because it's a very interesting question. Is it possible to help a teenager recognize their parent is narcissistic if they haven't yet figured it out? Are there any risks to doing so? What do you think?

Shoot, I can't remember exactly where I read which book...but it addressed that question. The answer was basically to give the child/teenager a safe place to explore his feelings after an "encounter" with the narcissistic mirror back to them their state of mind. For example, "you seem very upset right now." To be there to reassure the child they've done nothing wrong and, mostly, to listen non-judgmentally so they feel safe to continue talking about the n-parent so it doesn't feel the other adult is attacking their parent.

Easier said than done because I'm sure you just want to ring that parent's neck and call her every name in the book! If I remember where I read this, I'll post it.

At least your step-son has some people in his life who have his best interests at heart and who will see him for who he is!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The You-Owe-Me-Guilt-Speech

Watched Spencer Tracy's last movie, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, this weekend.

One scene left me gasping with recognition...the speech delivered by the African-American father to his 37-year old doctor/son when he realizes his son won't listen to reason and insists on marrying the white girl.

I'm not calling the father a narcissist, but man, that speech is awfully familiar! Substitute the mailman references with, "and after I fed and clothed you" and "drove you to school!" and it was the same speech meant to control my behavior through guilt.

If you see the movie, you'll see the way the father's face twists with fury and his intimidating body language. My mother did a lot of angry finger pointing in my face and much stomping about.

Sidney Poitier's brilliant "comeback" is my I would have LOVED to have articulated that very same reply!

Seem familiar, anybody?


Yeah, I know what you are
and what you've made of yourseIf.

But I worked my ass off to get the money
to buy you aLL the chances you had!

You know how far
I carried that bag in years?


And mowin' Iawns in the dark so you
wouIdn't have to be stokin' furnaces...

and couId bear down on the books.

There were things your mother should
have had that she insisted go for you.

And I don't mean fancy things.

I mean a decent coat.
A Iousy coat!

And you're gonna teLL me
that means nothin' to you....

and you couId
break your mother's heart?

You Llsten to me.

You say you don't want to teLL me
how to Llve my Llfe?

What do you think
you've been doing?
You teIl me what rights I've got
or haven't got...
and what I owe to you
for what you've done for me.

Let me teLL you something.

I owe you nothing.

If you carried that bag
a mllLlon miles...
you did what you
were supposed to do...
because you brought me
into this worId...
and from that day you owed me...
everything you couId ever do for me,
Llke I wlll owe my son...
if I ever have another.
But you don't own me.
You can't telI me when or where
I'm out of Llne
or try to get me to Llve my Llfe
according to your ruIes.
You don't even know
what l am, Dad.
You don't know who l am,
how I feeI, what I think.
And if I tried to explain it the rest of
your Llfe, you wouId never understand.