OK, first and foremost, I'm guessing everyone is sick and tired of this whole Charity thing. I know I am. So, although I am going to reference her in this post, the post is about ME and not her. My failings, what I didn't see, my processing of the event. (And if you are sick of all of this, just skip this post).
Also, I wanted to provide a little update for those of you who may be wondering about things. My NM did show up last week for the event, begrudgingly. There was lots of moaning and production and sympathy pleas. But she did show up. I'm not really giving her credit for that, as much as I'm given myself credit for holding her accountable to her word. She was relatively well-behaved. Or maybe I just didn't care as much about her little pleas for sympathy.
My sister with the medical condition is still, somewhat MIA. She apparently has been in treatment for this very serious medical illness. However, information is sporadic and, often, unreliable. I've been told she has run the course of the treatment and that, upon further tests, things seem to look good (but there is still more to run...I mean, a narc can't TOTALLY let the drama fall away.) Anyway, I got a brief and odd text from my sister last week. The timing was suspicious and the method in which she addressed me seemed to be a disarming move. To my credit, I choose not to rush to answer her. She had asked about my holiday plans and said I was welcome to email back. I used the "medium chill" technique, suggested by fellow blogger Kara, and wrote a quick and to the point message late last week. I've yet to hear from her.
Now onto the Blogger Incident. This thing really messed with my mind. After a long summer of being relatively narc free, I had felt I was stronger. Then mid-August rolled around and it seemed I was being stormed by narcs from every angle. Lots and lots of fucked up and crazy-making and just plain stressful things happened. Last week, I felt exhausted. Like I'd been in a marathon battle. I felt I really need to address some of my painful memories. I felt like I need to "clean house" so to speak. I am very closed and private in my non-blog life. I wanted to be open with myself and really, for maybe the first time, process and feel my emotions about the suicidal moments from my past. I wanted to write and feel purged of those repressed feelings. I wanted to admit to myself that I'd been week and a coward in my choices. I had worried about what other bloggers would think. I was not in a current state of suicidal thoughts, and I needed to really process why I had gotten to that place. Because, as I said in the blog, I never really wanted to die. I had just felt so blamed, so dumped on, so accused. I was at the end of my rope and had felt that, after all I'd tried, I was in the same damn spot I'd started in. Feeling like I had to bend over and compromise myself, or figure a way out. I felt like a burden to those around me. I have not ever admitted to anyone, save my DH, about my suicidal thoughts. I needed to fess up so to speak to my own blog.
And that was the state of mind I was in when the Incident occurred. I found her blog post first. Up until this point, I had found Charity to be eccentric. A bit intense. A bit over the top. She seemed very desperate to fit in. Maybe this was my first red flag. However, I dismissed it. Who the hell was I to determine how she needed to be in this community. Several weeks back I had actually had thoughts about the community. How we all take each other with a bit of faith and trust, not easy for any of us to do. How we often open ourselves up in ways we wouldn't, or couldn't with even those closest to us. I've gotten a few weird emails, my computer got hacked, and I wondered if this community laid me out for con artists. You know, someone who would pose as an ACoN to win our trust, find out information on us (our real names, etc.) and use that to hurt us. I never, ever dreamed someone would do it for narc supply. And really, I dismissed anyone would do it all. I thought, man, that'd sure be a hell of a lot of work to make all this shit up. Create a persona, write a blog, spend hours reading and commenting. I never thought of it again.
When I saw Charity's post, my first knee-jerk reaction was to rush into to soothe everyone. That's my m.o. When their is crisis, or conflict, rush in to see what I can do. First lesson for me in this: it is not my job to rush in. And I need to look around and protect myself a bit before I rush in. I started commenting every which way until Sunday on the posts. I didn't think before I spoke. I wanted to be helpful. I didn't allow myself time to process any of it. My first reaction to Charity was to believe her. I really had no reason (that I had thought of at the time) to not believe her. I was heartbroken for Upsi, but I really felt this woman, who had been so desperate to be a part of our community, and was a part of our community, would inspire more empathy. To me, she seemed on the brink, and I was afraid for her. I was a bit shocked when some people headed for the hills away from her (and rightfully so). It set me on a tailspin and I really had to do some serious thinking about everything. Had I missed the signs? Was I a moronic fool? I thought "all this hard work I've done, all this change in me, and I got fucking duped again? WTF?!"
And sigh. I think the signs were there. Many have been pointed out by others. Here are a few more I found on closer inspection. Red flag #1: She signed the original comment anonymously. Judy (and later Q) pointed out that this was huge. And it was. If she was that effed up on cold meds, how did she have the where with all to be so sneaky about it? And if she really felt her thoughts were valid (although presented in a shitty way, as she stated) why did she own up to it? I mean really, we all are "anonymous" here, but she felt to be even more covert. BIG RED FLAG. Red Flag #2: She didn't own up to it right away. Not OK. And she did it in such a public, dramatic, extreme form. Red Flag #3: Charity had always seemed dramatic and over the top. I also found her blog to be a bit "showy" for lack of a better word. And recently she had kind of amped it up. She made several comments on my blog that she had (in a separate incident) mistaken her husband's medicine. Which makes the new medicine debacle seem ridiculous. And ironically, my NM has also used this "medication side effect" b.s. on me with in the last week. I guess great minds think a like huh? It seems as I look back, she was setting up the scene. Like stage dressing. I thought it was weird, but again, let it go, although I took a step back then. She seemed crazy, but I'm used to crazy. I think I'm desensitized to crazy. Red Flag #4: I found this as the title of a latest post of hers: "Will The ACoN Who Had The Most Painful Childhood and the Worst Narcissistic Parent(s) Please Raise Your Hand?" I hadn't thought too much about it, because the post really had little to do with the title. But man, doesn't this strike you as a big ole red flag? Red Flag #5: I remembered her posting one time about feeling invalidated because people were not responding to her comments. She said she understood, that people are busy, but it was clear that she felt slighted by this. I dismissed this, again, as someone desperate to fit in. I believe I was wrong. I believe, looking back, that she had been setting up this little stunt for quite some time. Or at the very least, had had some growing resentment, and finally the damn burst. She choose Upsi, because her jealousy got the best of her. Jealous of Upsi's "ACoN glory, as she called it. But while she targeted Upsi, she was actually trying to level an attack at all of us for not validating her enough. Removing us all from her blog roll was weird. Putting Upsi on her "blog sites recommended" was weird. I mean, if you are in this emotional, horrible state over what you've done, why do you stop to "redecorate" your blog?
I wanted to feel for this woman. I wanted to believe that she had stumbled and we could lift her back to the right path. I was WRONG. I missed the signs. The one once of slack I'll give myself had to do with this: She had one particular "identifying marker" that I associated with my mother (and no, it was not the damn hair, or her grey eyes...which by the way, she did focus a lot on her looks. Oops, another flag I missed). I think I transferred some of my feelings about my mother to her (or vice versa). Somewhere, I think she represented hope to me that my mother might finally see the light. I know that I had linked them in my mind.
I also felt afraid, because I worried that everyone else might think I was crazy too. Finding out how many people had crazy feelings towards, started my age old worry of "Do they think I'm crazy too?" "What do they think of me?" I felt afraid that if someone found me to weird, they would distance from me too. This community has been a lifeline to me. It has pulled me back from the brink, in many ways. This incident made me feel shaky and scared and afraid of my place. It made me wonder if I had shared too much or looked like a fool. As I've never been this vulnerable and open with other people, I suddenly wondered if I'd made a mistake in opening myself up. Lots and lots of things for me to work on, I've found.
And in the end, I've learned I have a long way to go. I didn't think I was at the end of my journey, but I was a bit shocked to see that I'd only reached a small hill, and that once over it, the road stretches on for many more miles. My narc radar is pretty bad and needs repair. I'm a sucker for a good sob story. I see the emotions and miss the content. I saw the crazy and ran towards it, instead of away. Lots to think about.