So Many Gifts

When I was a child, my mother had a drawer in the living room filled with thank you cards. I used to tease her about them, asking her if she was expecting to receive a lot of presents. She also wrapped up small gifts during the Christmas holidays, things such as candles and boxes of stationery, to give to anyone she had not originally planned on giving a gift to but who ended up giving one to her. I always assumed she was overly concerned about appearing socially incorrect or unacceptable. I think this was probably true, but now that I’m older I think what was underneath all of that was her deep desire to be loved. Narcissists are almost always cruel. Their behaviors are inexcusable, but they are understandable. Those of us on the receiving end of their thoughtless gifts of suffering struggle to wrap our judgments in compassion while still holding our abusers accountable. This is the gift we give to ourselves.

2021

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