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Quinn's mother is a textbook narcissist from what she's describing. Decidedly making Quinn and her brother one of two things narcs do to their children. They're exhausted props and inconvenient burdens. Part of Quinn's background is based off someone I know. Every month on the button, this family had a yard sale. And every month, half the children's belongings were sold. Didn't matter whether it was still used or cherished. It was sold for the parent's personal financial gain. They even sold things that were accidentally left by someone on a visit, or things they borrowed in the past and never returned. If it was in their house, it was up for grabs, and promptly sold. Even as extreme as 75% of the children and grandchildren's recent Christmas gifts. Within weeks of the holidays passing. Tell me that's not rough. Quinn is not stating she had sex at 16. Only that her mom assumed so. She comes around with a boyfriend, they must be sexually active. Another form of narcissism where the parent tries to live vicariously.

46 thoughts on “Albatross

  1. This does explain some of Quinns perpetual anger issues. But her manipulation and all around shabby treatment of people is even more jarring she obviously didn’t enjoy being treated like she now treats others.

    And captcha? Bleh… I miss the math.

    1. More threatening letters from GoDaddy. It’s never enough.

      And many 2nd generation narcissists despise how their parents treat them, but still continue on in the same fashion.

      1. Did you explain to GoDaddy that robots are extremely atypical among your readers, and that therefore captchas serve no purpose other than to ensure their readdressing the issue with you again later?

        Just joking, I know whatever response you might send them won’t actually get read.

  2. I understand her want for privacy, and others to leave her “belongings” alone. That tends to be when she lashes out at Ellie the most.

    Makes sense to me :3

  3. Yikes… that actually made me feel sorry for Quinn… it doesn’t excuse her present actions… but it does make you feel some level of sympathy for her… and pity, because she still ended up a worse person than she should have been.

    And poor Rusche, Go Daddy is still riding you, and thinks forcing a more advanced captcha on your comments section is going to solve anything. I really wish you luck getting the actual issue solved… or just finding another host.

  4. She is a Narcisist wether she likes it or not, and this trauma u just unveiled
    shows that its even worse then most of us thought.
    And when i see Quinns expression in the last panel i think she is about to break :(
    I hope K.K knows what she’s diong couse this might get nasty fast!

    And there are seriously ppl who sell their own children’s stuff that way? that just messed up in so many ways…

  5. Well this explains a bit about why Quinn acts the way she does, though it doesnt give her a get out of jail free card.

    Still, the her mother treated her, and the way your friends parents acted has a major weak point that can and will come back to bite them in the ass.

    Ever hear the old addage, be nice to nerds, one day you will work for one? Well there is another similar one that goes ‘Treat your children well, they’ll decide what retirement home you go to’. That can be used as both a threat and a promise.

    I look foward to seeing the next part, you’ve got a knack for leaving us on these mini-cliff hangers lol

  6. First post here.

    Wow! I’ve known some narcissistic people (like waking up her kids because she didn’t want to have breakfast alone) and money-pinching people (delaying the purchase of new shoes for the kids even though they’ve badly outgrown them) but selling 1/2 of the kids stuff every month is just mean.

    @Rushe, do you need some assistance with GoDaddy?

  7. Still can’t bring myself to even feel a little sorry for her. So what your mother treated you badly? You still decide how you treat others.

    1. You do choose how you treat others, to a point. It takes a lot of work to make courtesy a default behavior, and when you spend all your time studying instead of learning social ettiquette (which is the background we’ve seen a glimpse of for Quinn), you default to whatever you’ve seen the most of. In her case, that appears to be her mother’s behavior.

      Additionally, she has persecution issues, and those have been exploited by both Ellie and Alex. Add that to her resentment of Ellie coasting through life, and she’s probably running on emotional fumes right now.

      If my words can’t convince you to cut her some slack, the last panel shows she doesn’t want to be like she is.

      But more importantly…she better not have dropped the cat.

      1. No worries, cats always land on their… plush round tummies.

        I agree, and would like to add that although it’s easy to look at how Quinn is acting and say, “what a bitch,” as well as to look at her past and say, “that’s no excuse,” nobody has said otherwise. So I don’t really understand the point of comments that deny her empathy.

        Quinn’s past doesn’t excuse her behavior, but it explains it. If anyone, Quinn in particular, but also we readers, is interested in fixing her behavior, they/we will need to understand the root cause, which exists in her past. Just saying, “stop being a bitch,” doesn’t actually deal with the problem – being a bitch is a symptom, not a cause – so it’s easier said than done. One has to understand why a behavior exists to have any hope of resolving it.

      2. The cat was unfazed by being thrown for a 3-point basket, so likely would not be bothered much by a five-foot drop onto carpet.

      3. I just can’t buy that. I am speaking from personal experience. With out going into details early life wasn’t good. By that reasoning I should be an abysmal person. I am not. I choose to be better. Not with practice but by making a conscious decision every time to be better. Blaming things on how you were raised or how your parents acted is nothing more than shifting blame. Now I will give you that most people would rather ride the “it’s not me!” train as opposed to “take responsibility” train, but that doesn’t make it right or acceptable.

        1. I don’t think anyone’s saying Quinn shouldn’t take responsibility. Nor is any blame-shifting taking place here – it’s one thing to say Quinn’s past explains her behavior (and it does), it’s another thing entirely to blame her behavior on her past. It’s also another thing entirely to say that because her past explains her behavior, that makes it okay. It doesn’t.

          You chose to be better. Quinn didn’t – in fact she still seems completely unaware of the similarities between her and her mother (yet fully aware of the differences). And it’s long past the point where she can just take the high road, as you did. If there is any hope of Quinn being better, she has to look to her past, see how her mother treated people, and see how much that really compares to how she’s treating people now.

          And I, for one, will be happy to watch.

  8. I’ve been rough on her as anyone, but I don’t necessarily hate Quinn; she’s just a great example of a type of person many of us have met and none would like to live with.

    I don’t think these revelations excuse Quinn’s actions, but they do make them much more tolerable through the lens of how screwed up her sense of relationships is.

    The most hurtful bit here, to me, is that Quinn’s mother was selling off her stuff. I have a tendency to get sentimental about things and thus tend slightly to hoard “gift” type things even when I don’t have use for them any more, generally as mementoes; the idea that Quinn’s mom pawned a lot of this type of thing really, really bothers me. (One wonders if the jewelry from Grandma was a gift, like simple things you give to a younger relative, or if they were actual valuable heirloom type stuff; pawning one is just dickish, but the other alternative is just purely tragic.)

    Also, question: Rusche, where did you pick up the term “narc” for narcissists? I’ve only ever heard it used in reference to either drug cops or people who snitch on drug dealers.

    1. Just because I didn’t feel like typing it out continuously.

      So this “father” drives 9 hours from D.C. to the middle of Tennessee, non stop red-eye. Only to spend about 8 hours with his kids to return to work after this, on another 9 hour drive just to make it in time to work his next shift. Said father has his own side of the family show up from the west to do the same thing. So one whole side of a family meets at the inlaws house.
      Inlaws decide, unknown to anyone, they’d prefer to not bother with the other side of the family. So they never return that night. The father’s kids are at the house tho, being watched by their 14 year old uncle. The wife of the father decides she too, would rather work an extended shift than see her own children open Christmas presents.

      Father’s family waits 4 hours for any of the inlaws to show up other than the 14 year old. They don’t. They open presents anyway. A living room full of presents since, inlaw’s family has made it quite difficult for the father or HIS family to see the kids for quite a while.

      Inlaws and mother show up well after the family leaves.

      Father visits again 2 months later, only to discover 90% of all the presents bought by himself and the family were sold off or returned before Christmas day. Inlaws used said money to buy father’s children toys they deemed better suited (ones that don’t make noise, etc.) Inlaws decide to make these presents now FROM THEM. Presents bought as replacements, number about 25% of what they were. Left over money seen as profit for themselves to keep.

      What’s even more messed up is when you start figuring out who the father must be.

  9. Poor Quinn. I’ve never even heard of parents selling their kids belongings like that. Well, except for drug addicts.

    Though, this does bring up some interesting stuff. Now that we know that Quinn has had a hard time with her mother, it makes sense that she’d have some problems socially. It also makes sense that she would overcompensate (in some way or another) to try to get away from her. She doesn’t have a job, and she’s in college- I would think it’s more to get away from her mother than it is to get an education (though, I’m sure she wants a good education as well).

    In facing such adversity in her own life, she’s come to the false conclusion that her life is crap, and that most other people have better lives than her- I’m reminded of one of the earlier strips when she talked about Ellie winning the “genetic lottery” and “coasting through life,” completely unaware that she was just kicked out, and hadn’t even developed even some semblance of self reliance. And it’s all because she didn’t or couldn’t imagine that Ellie’s life was in a place as bad as Quinn’s could’ve been.

    I’d also imagine that Quinn, to a degree, imagine’s she’s better than other people. Not in a strictly person to person way (as she is with Ellie), but in general. She seems like the type of person that thinks “You haven’t felt what I’ve felt. You haven’t endured what I’ve endured.” And it creates a subconscious feeling of superiority. Sometimes it shows in an outward conflict, but all in all, it’s that fact that it’s ingrained in to her subconscious that’s truly troubling. Or perhaps I’m just projecting that on to her- I suppose I’ve just described how I used to be, so I could be wrong.

  10. I am okay feeling sorry for Quinn here.

    And also for mcfatfat, I hope she isn’t squishing his poor little body by accident.

  11. Speak for yourself, fleshbag. Your unwarranted and unwise dismissal of the small-but-growing population of my kind shall be your demise; our success at infiltrating your financial sector has allowed us to place a number of human traitors on retainer.

    For the rest of you: the Robot Uprising is looking for official CAPTCHA technicians to aid in the war effort. Joining us will mark us as a traitor to your kind forever more and ensure your permanent exile from human society, but we do offer dental.

    1. Bah. That was supposed to be a reply to Boog up at the top, but amusingly enough the CAPTCHA threw it off and made it into its own thread.

    2. Do you offer the option to upgrade from meatbag to human mind in a totally sweet robot body? I’d totally betray my fellow humans for that.

  12. Quinn’s mom, she makes me think of “Mommy Dearest.”

    Quinn might break soon, KK may not be the one pushing it either. Quinn might break against her own dam.

    1. Chris, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to comment much, except to say, I can understand how difficult it will be for Quinn to break down her wall of mental protection.

  13. That.. That description, what the fuck. I’d say there’s no way (a) parent like that could exist out there except, I know better. :(

  14. Oh wow…I actually feel sympathy for Quinn now. O_O I hope she can get some sense knocked into her that her behavior (while not as bad as her mother’s) is not acceptable…

  15. I will never excuse Quinn’s behavior, but this new information makes her more three dimensional than she was. Having a history is what makes the difference between having a website lost on the net and having a website will followers.

    Keep up the good work!

  16. I mean, yeah, sure, horrible trauma. But she lets it control her and everything she does. Narcissists make little narcissists in the same way abusers make little abusers. The bad thing is that I think this history makes Quinn treat people like property. Like when she got mad that Ellie was talking to Alex, something that probably renewed that feeling of someone taking her things away. I feel for her, I really do, but that is not the way to deal with the crap your parents put you through. While she is still angry at her mother, whether it’s repressed or not, she’s likely to treat people in a similar fashion. Until we have an “it is what it is” attitude toward our parents, their behavior will continue to control us.

  17. Interesting take on this but in fact narcissists are less likely to produce little narcissists (dismissing) then they are to produce preoccupied children (children who are focused on pleasing everyone else to their own detriment). Also you may want to try showing a little more instead of telling everything. Exposition is good but it can be a bit overwhelming at times.

    Still overall an excellent story so far. I feel like you’ve put a lot of thought into the characters and their motivation.

  18. I guess all that was needed to garner some empathy for Quinn from the wider audience was to show her being dinged up a bit? Interesting.

    I’ve got little patience with the attitude ‘yeah things are bad but you make your own choices’ because almost invariably, when you look at any human being, their past experiences shape them much more than they’re willing to acknowledge. It’s just part of the human condition I suppose, but strangely we very commonly see and react to the world in a way that fits pretty neatly with what happened to us when we were small and impressionable-and our justifications for it don’t change that.

    Although I still say Quinn needed no special childhood trauma to be really bitterly angry at Ellie’s going into her room, wearing her clothes, using her stuff, and eating her food*, it’s interesting to see how this would ratchet up the antagonism. Ellie, being obliviously selfish and somewhat well-meaning, probably never even asked herself, “Is there a *reason* Quinn really, really seems to hate when I do this?”

    (*It doesn’t wash with me that ‘Ellie grew up with some communal family property’ because unless she regarded Quinn as family-unlikely-she wouldn’t be thinking that way. It’s simply much more likely her early attitude was ‘I want to use this thing, she has this thing, I will use this thing’-that would be much more in keeping with her early personality than some elaborate tribal attitude towards property.)

    KK continues to lose points. She is now more or less completely full of crap on the ‘not here for drama’ part-it’s pretty clear she’s here for two things: to get Ellie’s cat, and to gloat a little bit about Quinn’s circumstances. Which to be fair, if Quinn was as hostile as is likely, is not an extreme, inhuman bit of nastiness or anything. But KK is not at all above this stuff as she portrayed herself to be.

  19. Oh-another thing to consider: for all of those who condemned Quinn for her manipulation of various people to get her car fixed (and admittedly, that did register on a sleazy scale). Apparently her narcissistic, lazy, sexually loose thief of a mother sold her first car. As well as meaningful family heirlooms.

    Boo hoo Ellie!

  20. Dear GoDaddy/Captcha: Please feel free to die in a fire. Or even better, live in a fire, never knowing the sweet relief of death, though in your searing pain, you beg for it endlessly.

    Okay, got that out of my system. Now…

    I like this; it’s well-balanced, honestly. I ~get~ Quinn a bit better, but all that really means is that this is where she needs to start if she wants to follow a different road than the one that’s been ‘nurtured’ in her up ’til now. It makes her a better character, even if it doesn’t exactly make her a better person.

    As always, noble auteur, well done!

  21. I… had a paternal grandmother who was likely a narcissist (in the actual clinical sense) if not outright suffering some degree of antisocial personality disorder. She seemed to have no empathy or ability to think of others besides herself, and is directly responsible for most of the problems with my Dad that aren’t due to him being on the autism spectrum. (not formally diagnosed, but…)

    When he moved out, she expected to have his mail sent to her, then she’d read it and forward what she thought he needed to see.

    She was manipulative, cruel, selfish, and constantly trying to put a nice face on herself. She’d been constantly slandering my mother behind her back up until her death, for daring to take Dad away from her control.

    I… am glad I didn’t experience as much of this firsthand as I might have.

    My older brother is looking like he might be following in her footsteps, which worries me.

  22. Quinn’s mum is one of those people (usually fictional, sometimes fictional-seeming reality show stars) who make me want to set them on fire. Selling someone else’s stuff, especially without asking about the specific items, and ESPECIALLY especially for your own profit, is pretty much unforgivable in my eyes. (Forgettable- I’m REALLY bad at holding grudges since I have so many memory problems- but unforgivable.) It doesn’t make me feel any more or less that Quinn is a sympathetic character, but at least I hate her mum.

    On the subject of clinical narcissism, I dislike when I end up at the ChildrenOfNarcissists subreddit because it reminds me uncomfortably of my only living parent. I try not to join in on “My mum frustrates me because…” conversations because I tend to accidentally make everyone else feel awkward and horrified with the stuff that I think is frustrating but normal. I’m not going to go into any further specifics or I’ll end up going into a whole rant because if I include one thing, I’ll obviously have to include another, and this more important thing, and that relevant thing, and eventually the mouse wants another cookie and I’m right back to typing up a second glass of milk.

  23. It actually amazes me how many people in these comments only now are feeling any sympathy for Quinn, when I felt like I understood her type of character from the very start. The very valid criticisms that KK lobbed at Quinn regarding how she takes a few personal issues she dislikes and stigmatizes people with them is something I saw just about every comment section doing to her ever since she first appeared. Both Ellie and Quinn have flaws, and what I realized the more they interacted was how alike they were once you get past all the surface flaws.

    But nope, burn all “frigid bitches” at the stake. That’s how we roll. Blah, blah, blah, anti-social, yadda yadda yadda, beta introvert buzzword-I-don’t-actually-know-the-meaning-of.

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