WOW, I JUST HAD AN EPIPHANY!
As I sat, reading articles to post for The Red Flag Society readers, in the back ground I had “I Love Lucy”. Now some of you know that show (OMG, I’m showing my age, aren’t I?)
During that time and era (just before mine I need to say), a family use to sit around the black and white TV and watch shows together. Back then, this was considered quality family time. But I wonder, what is it that they were watching?
Most of the shows that were “family” oriented, did not truly represent life as it was, but how everyone wanted it to look like. Take shows like “Leave it to Beaver”, the Cleaver’s couldn’t be more perfect to what a “normal” family was suppose to look like back then. “Ozzie and Harriet”, “Father Knows Best”, all these shows represented what society thought was a perfect family life and how life was to look to the outside world… even if that wasn’t what was going on. I know, because I grew up in a home with everything looking perfect from the outside, but what was going on inside was no Cleaver family, that was for sure.
There were other shows like “The Honeymooners” and “I Love Lucy” that made a joke of this type of abuse. “Bang Zoom to the moon Alice…” and the never ending antics of Lucy and Ricky on I love Lucy, loving, fighting, perfect family, then abuse, fear and suppression. These were prime time family shows.
Every morning when I woke up, had my coffee and sat down at my computer… I started to notice that I usually had “I Love Lucy” on in the back ground. It became a routine I think? I Love Lucy for me was a “comfort show” when I was a child. It was my ultimate favorite! I watched it all the time and I even felt that Lucille Ball was like a family member that help raise me. I’ve made jokes of this with friends and family in my adult life, however I don’t think that many understood what I really meant by that.
When I was a child I had the opportunity to have an introduction to Lucille Ball’s Studios (Desilu Productions) through my Grandfather… I remember how excited I was the whole day before, I couldn’t wait to go to her studio and meet her and I couldn’t talk about anything else… I really thought I was going to meet Lucy and tell her everything that I thought about her, her show and why I loved her so much. My Grandparents sat me down and tried to explain to me that she wasn’t married to “Ricky” (Desi Arnaz) anymore. At first I was upset about this. I was like 7 years old and didn’t understand, “not married anymore”. I now think they didn’t want to get embarrassed when I asked, “Where’s Ricky” when at the studios. But, I guess they didn’t know my feelings were on the contrary…. Even as a child, I thought Ricky was a terribly awful man and really didn’t want to see him, meet him or be anywhere near him. I remember thinking how he was so terrible to Lucy, always yelling at her and making her scared to tell him things. Hmmmmm….
Now, those of us that have seen this show know Lucy was a prankster. Ricky use to belittle her, make her feel bad about herself… put down her talents (even though her talents were bad singing, or always wanting to be in his shows…)
In I Love Lucy, Lucy was not suppose to be a talented women for show biz. She was to play the role of the doting loving wife, that supported her husbands dreams and was suppose to abandon her own. For which, she did not!! She rebelled and did everything possible to pursue her dreams, whether achievable or not. As a result, she was ABUSED!!
At the age of 7, I did what I thought to be the respectful way of introduction of myself to Ms. Lucille Ball. I sat down and wrote her a letter about how much I loved her and how excited I was that I might just get to meet her. How I thought she was funny and talented and how GLAD, I was that she got rid of that “HOT HEADED CUBAN” husband that was so terribly mean to her.
Well, my grandfather read my letter and said…. “Oh No, No, No, you can’t give this letter to Ms. Ball representatives….” and he made me re-write the letter with now his guidance. You see Grandpa was a bit of a control freak too, however socially appropriate. My new letter now avoided any mention of how I felt about Ricky Ricardo and how glad I was that he was gone. I was only to say how much I loved Lucy and that was it. I remember being so angry at my grandfather that day, because he wouldn’t allow me to say what I really felt and I really meant it! I didn’t like the way he treated her, it seemed wrong even to a 7 year old. I thought he was mean, hurtful, a bully, he made fun of her, her dreams, and he put down for all of her wants and needs with the excuse that he was the man, breadwinner and husband.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I Love Lucy was a classic!! It was one of my favorite shows growing up and now it is still what I consider a comfort show that I put on in the back ground… It eases my mind…. and makes me feel at home. It gives me those warm fuzzy feelings.
Now you tell me, what’s wrong with that picture???
My association of “Comfort” is the same of what now we understand to be “Abuse”… And, as a child I was trained to think that that behavior was acceptable and even found “comfort” in my association being part of the Ricardo family. I was learning that a man could and would treat a woman as Ricky treated Lucy on their show and it was ok? When I tried to voice my feelings about it at 7 years old, I was told that my feelings were “unacceptable”. Funny however, I was trying to express how I thought that behavior was “unacceptable”. My thoughts and feeling about that type of behavior were suppressed and I was lead to believe that my interpretation was incorrect… which really wasn’t the case. Evident as to some of the struggles I have today with narcissists and my association with them.
Even though this was just a TV program, and suppose to be funny… I knew then it made me uncomfortable. I see now the programming I experienced. I was made to think it was acceptable to treat someone that way and should I have feelings to the contrary, they were wrong and unacceptable to speak.
So begins the steps of conditioning the personality to accept narcissistic abuse.
There were many bricks placed in the making of my foundation by watching shows just like this one. My rearing was a confused mess, so please understand it when I say… much of it was learned from sitting in front of a TV and a very erratic family interaction. Shows such as this were programming me to believed the rights and wrongs in life. What was acceptable or not and what our perception of what made us feel good and bad were all a part of the conditioning normalizing this bad behavior and personality disorder.
As I was sitting at my desk years ago, I wrote bits of this article, While I was sitting there writing, I wrote about how I had I Love Lucy on in the background and I heard Ricky yelling at Lucy for one of her pranks. I watched as she and Ethel coward in the corner, because they were so afraid of upsetting their husbands and tried to get out of the way of the RAGE.
Ricky went off yelling in Spanish. I’m sure what he was saying wasn’t that bad, because we are talking TV 50 years ago. But, if we don’t understand Spanish, (which I don’t), we have no idea what he is saying to her, other than by the “tone” of it. I think we can all agree his face blowing up, his eyes popping out of his head, the veins protruding from his neck, all clearly indication that what he was saying, wasn’t good, no? It was my understanding on the show, that Lucy didn’t understand Spanish either, therefore her reactions were as a result of the “tone” as well, not the words. She was reacting to the ABUSE, not even understanding what was being said. We can see her reaction is upset, frightened, cowering… and ABUSED!!! She can’t even respond, because she doesn’t understand what he is yelling about. And, should she try… he would stop her….
Now mind you, after all is said and done, Lucy and Ricky always made up and the “I love you” always returned making everything OK again… Really?
This reminds me of every time I suffered the abuse from my narcissist and foolishly forgave him like nothing ever really happened. It made it “OK”, it made it tolerable, it made me a “willing victim” to come back for more. I forgave the unforgivable.
I believe that many of us that have suffered from narcissistic abuse were raised with abuse as an underlying normal, acceptable behavior. Such has attributed to fragility in our self-ego’s, respect and psyche. We go through life accepting or fighting off these abusive behaviors to avoid being hurt by them. Both type of responses have the same objective…
The example of narcissist behavior and it’s being acceptable as displayed in I Love Lucy, is a clear example of how society made this normal and acceptable. Our parents may have thought so as well. Therefore, we developed the disposition to accept it, or fight it. I know that I have found numerous ways to justify it to myself and others, while the Rickys in my world performed this roller-coaster rides over my head and trashing my heart.
In I love Lucy, Ricky clearly Loves Lucy, hence the title it’s self. He does however never allow her to evolve without him, nor offer support, love and confidence to achieve her dreams that were clearly neglected and his behavior reflected his insecurities and fears of losing his control… over her!!!
Did you ever notice how some of the people that Ricky apologized to for “her” behavior, took pity on Lucy, offered her support and were a little pissed at Ricky for not recognizing that she had a right to her dreams, be them achievable or not?
If you view this show in today’s age and think about some of what you have read here, you will see it so very differently. The clear cut programming of a narcissist to a victim, representing that love was the bond, by using abuse. I personally believe that Lucy and Desi lived out a lot of their real life issue through their show, love and jealously, control and abuse. The truth here is that Lucy was truly suppressed on every level possible the talents that Desi never really fully achieved.
I mean no disrespect to one of the most brilliant woman Ms. Lucille Ball, I loved her dearly…. But, as a result of her show…. millions of people have suffered abuse, accepted it as normal and tolerated it much longer than they should have. Thanks Lucy… for the insight?
It is what it really is…. Narcissist Abuse Normalizing and Conditioning in the Making…
(some excerpts from my site “The Red Flag Society” made many years ago)