Releasing the past in order to find myself

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Unintended NC

I haven't spoken to my sister now for about five months.  I didn't intend it to be this way.  It just has become this way.  The last time I spoke to her was several days after my youngest's birthday.  She didn't mention his birthday.  Didn't ask how the party went.  Didn't wish him well or ask how he had enjoyed his first birthday.   She talked a lot about herself, what was going on in her life, drama with her live-in boyfriend.  How she was struggling with things.  I did what I always did, ignored her rudeness, gave her advice when solicited, hung up and moved on.

Several months back she had her cancer incident.  Whatever that incident may have been.  I still don't know.    Probably will never know.   I know she had followup test results after treatment.  I don't know the results.  I know that everyone has "moved on" now and that no one is even talking about it.

She's now embroiled in situations of extreme domestic abuse.  Her boyfriend is aggressively abusing her and she is giving it right back.   She is extremely violent to him too, so she is both victim and transgressor.  I know she kicks him out.  I know they are volatile and manic and crazy.   NM sends me emails in between the bouts telling me how they redecorated her apartment or celebrated his birthday.  I'm trying not to let her stupidity in dealing with the situation annoy me.  But it does.  That NM thinks that a new carpet is important information to me when all this is going on boggles my mind.  I mean, what in the hell am I supposed to say?  Yay for them?   NM and I had a big discussion on it.  I told her, in my best adult-relating skills, that I will not participate in this drama.  That my sister needs to grow up, accept responsibility for her life, and that I'm not interested in participating in this chaos.   Several days later, NM sends me an email saying my sister took a two hour yoga class.  She's still avoiding the therapy that she's been filling out paperwork for for two weeks, but she got into yoga.  I'm not even sure what the hell that's supposed to mean.  That she is deluding herself into thinking that yoga will help?  That it even begins to balance out the shitstorm that is my sister's life?  My sister is in a sinking boat in the middle of a hurricane and my mom wants to give her props for slapping at the rain about to land in her boat.  I wish I could even work up the strength to be stunned by her delusions.

Other bloggers and friends have spoke kindly of my sister and with compassion for her.  I appreciate their sentiments.  I understand why they feel so much compassion.  She walked the same road I did.  She came from the same place I did.  I've seen why and how she's dissolved into this place.  She has had some horrible things happen to her.

But she didn't get to this place by luck alone.  She has always been difficult.  She was physically abusive and aggressive to me as a child.  I was afraid of her.  She treated me (and still treats me) as a substitute mother.  Someone to fill in the holes that our mother has left in their relationship.  We have never had a relationship of equals.  She has never been my friend.  We've had good times, I feel close to her, but I don't trust her.  Watching her adult life has been difficult at best.  At times it has been agonizing.  She has been selfish and willful and self-absorbed.  She has verbal abused me, taken advantage of me, stolen from and used me.   She has demanded that I revolve around her like a planet and has accosted me when I haven't met her demands and expectations.   For all my sympathy for her, I've found her to be a toxic person in my life, both directly and indirectly.   She has often sided with my NM and has often berated me for being such a horrible daughter.  She is jealous and spiteful and will purposely ignore my husband and kids due to this.   She has demanded that I participate and "support" her through some horrific things.  She demands that I watch helplessly as she continues to make choices that have lead to some indescribable events.  Her life would make the most dramatic soap opera look tame.  I've tried to explain to other bloggers what her life looks like, the things that have happened, the events I've witnessed.  I can't.  There is no way to encapsulate all that has happened.  It's been too many things, too frequently and they seem so outlandish that they would seem untrue.

And in the end, she is not the type of person I would like or associate with if she was not my sister.  I'm afraid of her and I worry about the effects she would have on me or my family.  I'm angry with her for dragging me down into the muck and mud.  I'm angry with her for verbally abusing me.  I'm angry with her for creating drama at every important time in my life and dragging the attention back to her.  I'm angry with her for trying to wrestle attention from me by rushing to tell people things that are my life milestones before I can.  I'm angry with her for continuing to treat me like her mother and demanding I put her first.  I'm angry with her for calling me in the middle of the night, visiting all her b.s. and drama on me, and sucking up huge chunks of my time but then never doing anything about it.  I'm angry with her for ignoring me and my family at important times in our life.  I'm angry at her for continually telling me that my family and me are unimportant to her by ignoring us and acting indifferent to us.  I'm angry at her for talking a big game about how valued we are but never behaving in a way that would suggest that is true.  I'm angry with her that she continues to wallow in shit instead of doing one damn thing to help herself, ever.

I reached out to her three times during her cancer scare.  During the past five months, I've had several events in my life that she ignored.  When I did reach out to her, she didn't respond, or responded with cryptic messages.  She texted me once, and when I responded by email (as she suggested I could) she didn't respond.  She texted and called in the middle of the night when our grandmother was ill, but I never heard from her again.

I've actually really been relieved to have NC lately.  NM likes to suggest that I'm just to weak to deal with this crap, but really I just don't want to be involved.  I think it's ridiculous.  I have been relieved that she's spared me from dealing with it all.  I really could on like this indefinitely   But part of me feels like I should reach out again.  Make another gesture at reaching her.  But I don't want to.  I don't want to get involved in her latest crap.  I don't want to play supportive while she lies and fabricates and twists the truth to make herself look like a victim.  I don't want to hear her rail on my father.  I don't want to be supportive of her living like this.  Maybe I am being weak.  I just think I'm tired of it all.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Choosing Life

QG, another blogger, left me a lovely, caring, and compassionate plea today on one of my former posts about suicide.  Due to her reaction, and the comments of a couple of other people I feel compelled to write this post.

A couple of words about how I blog.  Normally, in my life I edit my writing words ruthlessly.  I reread, edit, change things until it comes out just perfectly.  I also struggle with doing this in all parts of my life.  I'm careful about what I say, I bite my tongue, I choose to not open myself up to people.   I am careful to keep myself private and locked away from public view.  And I'm careful about the person I present to people.  This is probably a narcissistic flea to some extent.  I just don't want to draw any attention to myself, negatively or positively, so I remain closed and 'edited'.   With my blog, I wanted to be real and unedited and unvarnished.  I rarely reread old posts.  I barely skim them for grammar and spelling (and I only started this after I realized I my typos were confusing to readers).  I can do this without really reading my words.  Sometimes I don't reread the posts because I can't bring myself to.  Sometimes I don't reread them because I want to move past them.  But mostly, I want to be careful about editing myself.  I want to speak truthfully to myself on here.  I want to write authentically for myself.  Otherwise, what the hell is the point?

A lot of my blog posts start out as a feeling in my stomach.  Writing all of this has brought up a lot of memories.  My NM REFUSED to allow me to process the crap in my childhood.  When I brought it up, she denied things, attacked me and my character, or started crying like I had beat her.  I hid so many things from other people that happened to me.  And these memories started to bubble up.  I would get a nauseous feeling inside of me, the toxicity of the memory would bubble up.  And blogging felt like an opportunity to vomit that memory out of me.  To expel the toxicity of my childhood from me.  I always feel relieved and lighter and healthier when I purge those memories.

The suicidal memories kept popping up.  (Ironically, as my sister is being swallowed by a pit of despair, this is also the memory that is triggering her.  I wish I could help her...)  Anyway, I also felt I needed to be honest with my self about my own attempts.  I needed to put it out there.  I needed to quit hiding my secrets.  I'd been embarrassed by the fact that I'd gotten that "low"  that "weak".   I wanted to quit being ashamed of it.  I wanted others to know that they can move past it too.  For ACoNs in particular, I imagine the reasons for suicide have a slightly different flavor than other people's (and this is just my speculation).   I kept feeling like other people were telling me that I was a problem.    That other people had implied, oh so subtly, that without me, life would be better.  That I was the root of all problems.  And I couldn't reconcile that with my heart.  I knew, somewhere that I was not a horrible person who caused all these other people's problems, despite how much they blamed me.   I felt myself struggling desperately for myself.  For my life.  To find hope that I did deserve to be and fuck them.

My last moment of suicide was over half a year ago.   I am not suicidal now.  At all.  I'm not naive enough to think it may never come back, but I don't think it will.  Why? you ask.  Because that moment was the last moment before I was awakened to NPD.   I'm sure some people will think I'm a freak for saying this, but I think some angel (or something) guided me out of that moment by helping me discover NPD.  Shortly after this incident, I stumbled upon NPD.  I have a psych background, saw the prompt for NPD symptoms, thought 'that might be interesting', and clicked on it.  And the rest, my friends, you know.  I found blogs and Kiki and Upsi.  I found lists and descriptions.  I felt hope for the first time in a long time.  I started my blog.  I made some friends.  I felt better.  And I continue to feel better.  I believe in myself for the first damn time in my life.  I have changed.  I still have a long way to go, but I go no longer "unknow" the knowledge that forever changed my life.

I wanted others to know that I am OK.  I appreciated the concern and the outreach.  But I don't want anyone worrying needlessly that I'm going to go to that place again.  I am so much better than I was.  And I felt badly that someone might be thinking I was currently battling suicidal thoughts and waste worry on me.  I'm good.  I may need you all in the future.  I may find a dark day.  I doubt I'll sink that far again.  And if I do, I'll rush myself to the therapist faster than shit.

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for your friendship.  Thanks for caring.  You've helped change my life (not to be all sappy and stuff.)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Worm Vent

Is it just me, or do narcissists have a way of implanting things in your brain?  Like little worms that crawl in an infest your brain with toxicity.  It seems that NM has away of implanting little things in my head.  I don't always feel it at first, or maybe it's just like a pin prick.  But then days or weeks later, I begin to think about some little things she slipped into the conversation.  Some little wormy piece of subterfuge that burrows in, waiting for an opportune moment.   Like a bomb on a timer, implanted way into the bowels of my soul, ticking away waiting to blow.

I used to think I was just over analyzing things.  That I was thinking too much about stuff.  DH tells me that.  And probably, that is somewhat true.  But I think there is a lot to it.  I don't think NM always does it intentionally.  Sometimes she does.  Sometimes it's a little passive-agressive remark, slipped in under my arm to nail me in a weak spot.  Something so passive-aggressive I don't even understand the full effect of her words until later.  Sometimes, I think I'm just so busy blocking her blows that I can't fully pay attention to what she says.  I'm ducking and weaving and doing my best to avoid her traps.  It's not until later, when I'm able to put my guard down that I can actual attend to what she said.  And sometimes, her little barbs are just a by-product of who she is.  Sneaky, subversive and manipulative.  It's so a part of who she is, I don't always recognize it.

Something she said in our recent conversation has gotten under my skin.  I noticed it right away, but it's still annoying me now.  And I need to vent, to dispel the little toxic worm from my brain.

NM told me that she knows things about my sister that "would make (my) toes curl."  She hinted that she is a bastion of untold secrets, vile, horrible things that she has been burdened with.    That she alone carries this burden.  She's told me crap like this before.  She's insinuated that she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders with NSis's secrets (as well as other's secrets that she's also been burdened with).  This bothers me for so many reasons.

First, it's like she's throwing it in my face.  As I discussed with my last post on worrying,  she implies (indirectly) that by not being burdened with said secrets, I am somehow lesser than her.  I'm a less supportive family member, I'm less involved, I'm just less.  It is somehow a flaw of mine.  She implies that she is somehow stronger, better, and more attuned to my sister.  She implies that she is more giving, more involved, more...well, just more.  She somehow finds it to be a check mark in her "win" category. 

I want to scream at her, "what the hell do you want, a medal?".  I wonder what is the "appropriate" response she expects?  What am I possibly supposed to say to that?  I could ask her what the secrets are.  But she would never tell.  She just likes to dance around, claiming her superiority at knowing said secrets.  And am I supposed to want to know these secrets?  Am I supposed to feel sorrier for my sister with this mystery knowledge?  It makes me angry that she hints how horrible and awful the information is, and lets me imagine all the disgusting, vile things it could be without every really telling me what it is.   I find it so childish and immature.

And really, I think it's ridiculous she knows this shit to begin with.  There are things about me that would curl her toes.  But I don't tell her everything.  She's my mother.  She doesn't need to know all of my deepest and darkest secrets (not that there is a lot, but I would surely shock prim and proper her).   I wonder if she thinks she is somehow better for swimming down in my sister's shit with her.  I wonder if she thinks she is a good mom because my sister tells her everything.  Good for them.  I think I'll pass.

I hate that she gets off on this.  I hate that she even brings it up.  I hate that she uses it to chastise me.  I hate that it irritates me after the fact.  I hate that she thinks this is a good thing, or an honorable thing, or that somehow she is a "better" person than me for having all this sullied knowledge.  I hate that she thinks I'm a "lesser" person because I am not involved.  And how could I be involved?  Just another lose/lose wormy little situation.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Obsessive Worrying

Jonsi's post the other day about Spaghetti got me thinking about how that issue translated into my life. (Hey look at me, I linked a post!).  Anyway, food was never a big issue for me as a kid.  Sure, my mother made a big deal out of herself that she cooked.  She praised herself a lot for it.  She still likes to think that serving a meal is a substitute for love.  I know, for her, food was scarce when she was a kid.  I know providing meals for her kids felt like a big victory.  I know I felt loved when my mother made a big meal on Sunday.  But it never was a huge issue for me as an adult.

My mother's biggest substitute for love was worry.   If you love someone, you need to worry about them.  Incessantly.  And constantly.  And obsessively.  My mother was always worried about someone.  Always concerned for their well being.  And she always took it to the extreme.  "But what if they DIE?".    The more you worried about someone, the more you cared, and therefore, the more you loved them.    My mother spends hours worrying about things.  It consumes her.  She was telling me just yesterday that the stress and worrying was causing her health problems.

Although I don't remember it being as much of an issue as a kid, I know worrying was there.  I know I worried far too much for a kid.  I know that I was pressed upon with issues far beyond my years.  I know that I shouldn't have had to carry the burden of a lot of those "adult" worries.  My mother over shared with me.  My mother expressed her anxieties about too many things with little me.

When my parents divorced, was when I really remember worrying coming into my life.  My sister, although always a "difficult" child, became out of control.  And my mother made me her keeper.  I was my mother's partner in worrying about my sister.  She recruited me as co-parent, substituting me in for my father as her partner.  I was expected to worry and stress about the increasingly out of control things my sister was doing. And in addition, my mother unloaded her worry onto me.

This was difficult for so many reasons.  First and foremost, there was nothing I could do about most of my mother's worries.  I had not control over my sister, I had no say in my mother's choices to parent her, and I was forced to watch and worry as a silent witness.  Most of these issues were so far beyond the cope of what a person in their late teens could deal with.  I felt helpless.  I couldn't help my sister and I couldn't help my mother.  And frankly, I don't think my mother wanted to give up her worrying.  She just wanted me to worry along with her.

It has been this way for years.  My mother worries, and stress, and she expects me to keep her company.  The really difficult part is that my mother thinks she needs to decide how much worrying is enough.  Like she carves out a worry pie, and doles me out half.  She decides how much worrying I need to take on (half of what she has, if not more.)  And here's where worrying is my spaghetti and meatballs:  if I refuse that worry, I'm considering uncaring and unloving.  I'm cold.  I don't love my family.  I don't support them enough.  Not worrying enough about my family makes me a horrible person who doesn't love them.  She's serving up an unhealthy habit, and if I refuse, I'm a bad daughter or sister.   And then, on the flip side, if I do worry, if I spend time with the anxiety, then I'm weak.  Or a stress case.  In essence  that's how she needles me for being "fat" for eating her "food".    I'm not strong enough like her, or able to deal with things like her.   She takes it as a moment to cut me down, insult me, and boost herself up at the same time.

I've spent years trying to get out of the worry rut.  I could not shake that if I didn't worry obsessively about my family than I was uncaring.   Somehow, I felt my worrying did some good for them.  It proved I loved them, it proved I cared.  God forbid, I do something good in my life, when someone else was suffering so much.  It's carried on, even today.  NM expressed that NSis made some remark about my "perfect, fairy tale life" and how it was a reflection on NSis.  I really didn't push the comment, as it felt like a path I didn't want to go down.  But I'm sure that NSis feels that by not worrying about her, by not sacrificing what's going on in my life, by continuing to live my "perfect life" that I've somehow slighted her.   That it is a symbol of my "unlove" for her.

Around six years ago, I started having severe panic attacks.  I worried obsessively day and night.  What if DH gets run over by a car today?  What if I get a disease?  What if NSis dies?  They were over dramatic worries.  This is when things started to change.  I went on some medication to stop the attacks.  I got some help.  I started to change my life.  I started to really examine what was going on with me.

It's not perfect, but I've gotten better.  I still worry more about my kids and DH than I probably should.  I am fearful of loosing them.  But I've been able to start to let go.  I've decided that I don't want to waste my life worrying.

When my younger child was born, I realized I wasn't worrying about him as much.  I was much less "cautious", much more easy going.   It scared me for awhile.  I felt like maybe I didn't love him as much as my older child.  I must not care for him as much if I'm not worrying about his safety at every damn second of every damn day.   I've really had to work to retrain my brain to stop these thoughts.   I am convincing myself that hyper vigilance does not equal love.  That I love both my kids.  That I, in fact, love my family.   But I don't have to destroy my mental health to express my love.

Who's your Mommy?

I had an interesting conversation with NM.   It was different.  I can't tell if it's because of my reactions or if she is changing somehow.  I'm leaning towards the former.

I have been avoiding phone conversations with my mother.  I find them draining.  I find them long on time and short on substance.  I never really told her I was avoiding phone calls with her.  I just kind of quit calling her.  I email and I text (although, more I respond to her) but, for months, the phone calls have just tapered off.   The weird thing is she quit calling me.  Like, at all.  My conclusion as to why was that she was angry or pissed off.  Or she thought in her own little weird way she was "getting even".  Well, if that's how she get's even, I'll take it.

So, I can't remember exactly how the conversation went (and really, I doubt anyone wants a damn transcript).  But here are the "highlights":

I called to tell her how my grandmother is doing.  She has texted asking.  And, in any other situation, I'd call my father and tell him if one of my grandparents wasn't doing well.  I've really resolved to behaving in ways that I want to, instead of how they want to control me.  It's working, for now.  Anyway, she brings up the topic of my sister.  Surprise.  She always has to bring her up.  She states that NSis is getting updates from my aunt (whom she hasn't talked to in a decade or more) because "your father isn't very forthcoming".  Um, lie?  I correct her.  Dad isn't forthcoming because when he tried to talk to my sister she was a hysterical banshee and was screaming at him.   He told her three times about grandma and she didn't hear him.   NSis told my mother that it was a fight and that they hung up on each other.  It's interesting to me how the truth gets warped.

During the course of the conversation, my mother tried repeatedly to say that my father hasn't supported my sister.  That NSis is angry right now.  She says this in a way that signals to me that she justifies my sister's behavior.  She tries to offer me her "wisdom" of how people store up anger and then it will break loose.  Really?  No, shit?  That's news to me.   But I remained calm.  Me.  I didn't take the bait.  I told her, repeatedly, that my father has offered my sister support.  HOW?!!?  She exclaims.  I calmly listed how.  I tell her that he has been there.  That NSis has refused to allow him to help.  That NSis is refusing everyone's help.  That I'm done chasing after NSis to offer her help.  That I think my father has done all he can.   "Well," she snipes, "he told her that he gave her money and what else does she want?!"  I said, he did give her money.  She snaps that NSis needs support.  I say, he's offered support, repeatedly.  He's offered to fly out there and help her and she continually refuses.  NM snorts that maybe dad needs to just get on the plane then and get out there.  I calmly, yes calmly, tell her that that's ridiculous.  Why  the hell would he get on a plane and go to someone who has repeatedly told him not to come?  NSis is not a child.   Then NM starts crying, saying how my dad had offered to help her with NSis.  How NSis was more than she should have to shoulder alone (haha, this one is rich, because it sounds nothing like my dad.  And it's somewhat sad that she still wants my dad to rescue her.  She has a husband).  I ignored this crying.  I find it childish and immature.  I repeat that Dad has offered NSis support, despite what NSis may have reported back to her.

NM tries more excuses for NSis.  She's broke and had a huge medical scare and stress.   She drinks too much.  She slips and says that the boyfriend needs to go and she hasn't figured out how to "get him out yet."  I repeat that that is not her responsibility.  That is not her right.  That NSis needs to do that on her own.   That she does not need to be involved in this.  NM again becomes upset that NSis will die at the hands of her boyfriend.  Well, yes, maybe so.  But I remind her that NSis needs to take care of that.  That we have been "helping" and "supporting" and "encouraging" NSis for 15 years, and here we are, right in the same damn place.  NM says she's trying to get NSis into counseling.  That she's talked at her until she's blue in the face.  I again, calmly, remind her that it is not her problem.  That NSis needs to take responsibility for her own life.

NM also tries to throw in a few bones for herself.  How hard this is on an "old woman".  It's hard on us all, mom.  She tries the "I have it harder, I'm the mom."  She claims that she knows stories that would curl my hair (unlikely, because nothing surprises me with NSis.  And frankly, I've been able to disconnect emotionally from these things.  It sucks to hear, but it doesn't send me into a tailspin.  Maybe I'm cold to her.).  This is the one thing that almost gets me.   I really hate when she always tries to one up me.  She knows more.  She has been through more hell with NSis.  She's privy to more horror than me.  What do you want, a fucking medal?  Who's fault is that?  Should I feel grateful to her for that?   Is she doing ME some favor?  And, frankly, she doesn't know more.  And if she does, it's because she's got her nose right in the middle of shit she shouldn't.   Anyway, I take a few deep breathes and repeat, it's hard on all of us.  And you shouldn't have to be a part of that drama.  And you need to remove yourself and take care of yourself then.

I remind her that NSis's problems are out of our league to fix.  That NSis needs to take responsibility for her own life now.  That we can support her, but she needs to take the reigns.  NM chimes in with, yes, that's why I'm encouraging counseling!  I've told her it's nothing to be ashamed of!  Lots of people need help.  You shouldn't feel badly about it!  (I think, awesome, by sitting there and telling her it's nothing to be ashamed of, you are really saying it is something to be ashamed of.  That she's weak.  That other people would find it shameful.  Why can't she just say, "Counseling?  Great!  I've heard counseling can be wonderful."  Period.  It's almost like she doesn't want her to get counseling.  I've felt she's sent NSis some pretty mixed signals on this.)  NM throws that even SHE has gone to counseling.  While I do find this surprise, I let it go.  I am SO not interested in her counseling sessions.  And really, I can't help put see it as a ploy.  A way to say, "look, see how much work I do on myself?!"  Or, she's hoping that I'll ask her why.   She's already tried the "I'm so sad, depressed, stressed, lonely" about all this tact so many times in the conversation already.

The thing is, this conversation didn't seem so different from any other we've had.   Excuses for NSis, pleas for pity for her.  But the conversation didn't end up where it always does.  The drama never escalated.  I never felt angry or pissed off.  She never seemed hurt and sad and bitter.  Towards the end, she just got quiet and turned the subject to something else (not in an avoiding way, but in a, "well, seems like we've discussed this enough" way.)  It was weird.   When I got off the phone, I didn't feel anxious, or nervous, or amped up.  I didn't feel shaky.  I didn't feel stressed.  I felt like I'd defined my opinion pretty well.  I felt like I'd said what I felt, without telling too much, over sharing, or offering up more than I felt comfortable with.  I felt like I'd clearly defined for her how I was going to deal with my sister.  I felt I'd clearly stated that I wasn't going to listen to twisted defamation of my father.  He's not perfect, by any stretch, but I won't listen to lies.   When I got off the phone with her, I felt...CALM.  I moved on with my night.  Other than writing this post, I haven't really thought about it.   Maybe it'll bite me in the ass, but I think I'll still feel good about my side of the conversation.

There was only one part that bothered me.  At the end, my mother thanked me for my insights.  She thanked me for listening to her.  She thanked me for always "grounding her" and pulling her back from being swept away in the drama.  I believe she was sincere.  And that's what killed me.   I think I've finally concluded that, in my relationship with my mother, I am the mother.  She often has infantalized our relationship (when she's not lording over me.) expecting to be taken care of, and doted on, and adored.  But what I concluded here was different.  She looks to me for support.  She looks to me for guidance.  She looks to me to be her rock.  And that's sick.  And wrong.  I mean, any adult relationship should have some reciprocity.  But generally, a mother should be there to support her kid.  I should, in no way, ground her.  I should not be her therapist.  I should not have to be her safe place to fall.   And it's always been like this.  She's never been my mother like that.  She likes to pretend she is.  She likes to take on that roll, like a child playing dress up.  But I really feel that she has been denied her own mother due to narcissism.  She took on the roll of taking care of her brothers and sisters.  She play acted like their mother (which she really couldn't have done well, as she was a child herself at the time).  And now, she looks to me to fulfill that role that she wanted.  It makes me angry with her.  I feel it is unfair of her to demand I play this role.   It's one thing to act like a big child and expect me to take care of her, it's a whole other brand of weird to treat me like her mom.   Another little part of the puzzle clicked into place tonight.  And another little bit of hope that she'd ever, ever be what I needed her to be died (not that their was a lot left of that anyway.)  How can I ever expect her to be something that she clearly has NO idea how to be?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Scary Ass Bitch

Apparently, I intimidate my BIL.  Or he's afraid of me.  Or he's just a weeny.  I can't decide which.

Recently, I posted on my relationship with my in-laws.  The BIL I am referencing in this post is the one who lives 5 minutes from me.  He's part of the "Dynamic Duo" with his wife, who think they are god's gift to not only the world in general, but our family.  They imagine themselves to be "godly", kind, thoughtful, giving, and generous.  And they can long as there is something in it for them.  BIL fancies himself Mr. All-American.  He's the "good guy" in the room, friends with everyone, always there to help.  What he doesn't realize is that he is only the good guy on his terms.  If you no longer buy his shtick  or if he feels he's already converted you, he moves on to his next target.

I wrote about how this BIL and his wife made a huge scene at my son's birthday party, completely ignored us, and didn't say good-bye.  They showed up late because they had shopping to do and sent their kids with the grandparents as babysitters.  DH and I were convinced that they were angry with us.  They barely acknowledged my son and were stand offish, when they even bothered to hang around.   The next day was a family funeral.  DH was leery but BIL and SIL acted like nothing had happened.  We imagine that the two of them had been fighting and were too childish to put it aside to celebrate our son.  When I arrived, BIL ignored me.  He ignored me or avoided me during the whole funeral.  He got up and spoke about "family" and "memories" at the service, but didn't seem to act very much like family after that.   Two weekends later, we all attended a family wedding.  He was jumpy and distant.  He again avoided me like the plague.  When I asked him to grab me a drink from the bar, he quickly handed it to me and turned around.  When I tried to speak to him and SIL later,  he was jumpy and antsy.  He wouldn't look me in the eye.  He seemed nervous and anxious and hurried to get out of the conversation.   Two weeks after that, we ran into him at a football game.  He positioned himself behind me, so to just be out of "eye range".  He acknowledged all the others around me but "busied" himself when it came to me.  Last weekend, we again ran into he and his wife.  We were talking to friends and they hoovered in the periphery pretending to be so busy with their kids they didn't notice us.  Finally, DH called them over.  SIL gave me a snotty hello (which doesn't bother me.  I don't take her shit personally).  BIL again "busied" himself talking to my friend about babysitters.

So, today, DH and BIL are going somewhere together.  Due to logistics, BIL had to come over here.  I went outside with my kids to help DH get something.  BIL was a distance away, but  made a huge deal out of the kids.  Again, avoiding me and looking away.  I helped DH and went to go inside.  By this time BIL was closer.  So, I said, "hey, how's it going." as I walked by.  The jackass didn't even bother to respond this time.

I'm not really surprised.  What was good though is that DH got to see it.  I've been telling him about it for weeks, and he believes me, but it was SO validating for him to see it in person.  DH and I went inside to say goodbye and I asked him if he had seen the situation.  Yes, he had.  He'd seen it all.   He told me that he would discuss it with him (they will be together for the next few days, so it provides an opportunity to talk about it.)  I asked him to confirm that he had experienced what I had.  Or had I taken it out of context?  Had I behaved in a way that was wrong?  I knew the answer, but I needed to know that we were on the same page.

"No" he said.  "He ignored you.  He's acting anxious and nervous around you."  DH told me that I give off a vibe when I'm upset and BIL had clearly picked up on it.  DH stated that I completely was valid in my feelings and didn't need to temperate because of BIL's reaction.  But that, clearly, BIL was reacting out of fear of me.

But, here's the thing.  What the hell is he so afraid of?  I'm not a screamer or a yeller.  I generally am pretty thoughtful and willing to discuss things.  I've heard this bullshit for years too about NMIL.  She's nervous around me.  She's afraid of me.  I make her uncomfortable.  And, really, for the life of me, I can't see why.  I don't make lots of other people afraid of me.  There's been a few who don't like me being blunt or straightforward.  But, for the most part, I've never known people to be intimidated by me.  What the hell is going on here?   I think they are afraid that I'm not going to put up with their shit.  They are afraid of conflict. They are little pussies who can't deal with anything unless they have the upper hand.  They don't like that I may not agree with them or that they can't bully me into their thinking.  I think they are afraid I'll call them out on stuff.  I don't know.  Do I have any responsibility for their feelings?  Am I some scary intimidating bitch?

On the flip side of this, I was thinking how I've allowed my NSis and dad to intimidate me for so many years with fear.  I've lived in fear of their anger, their rage, their low blows.   They are brilliant at character assassinations   They can gut you to make a point.  There are not discussions if conflict arises.  It's winner takes all.  They are stubborn and unyielding.  My dad, in particular, always terrified me.  When I was little he was a rageful, hard-ass who didn't deal well with alternative opinions.  He has since been on antidepressants and has calmed considerable.  But I can't shake the fear.  I literally quake when I think of doing something to piss him off.  I've gotten a lot better about it through this process, but it's still a little nagging thing in the back of my mind.  I hate when he adopts his harsh, condescending tone that makes me feel like a small, ignorant child.

So, how can I be both of these people?  How can I be so scary yet so fearful at the same time?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Weekend in the Narc Hood Part 2

Ok, so here is the second thing I was working around this weekend.  This side involves the in-laws.

As I've said before, fall is a time when my in-laws come to my city every weekend or two.   It often is stressful for me and I'm often waiting for the "pop in" visits that inevitably happen.

A little background (some may be review for readers who've been around awhile with me):  DH has three younger brothers, two of which are married.   His family is very enmeshed.   The youngest brother rarely visits or makes contact.  Middle brother lives a distance away but shows up every once and awhile (always specifically for these sporting event weekends).  Brother immediately younger than DH and his wife life less than five miles away.  DH and this brother (I'll call him BIL2) are close, by their own description.

BIL2 and his wife SIL2 are very spoiled, entitled people.  They have always expected lots of help (financial and otherwise) from their parents.  They believe they are entitled to being taken care of.  They dish their children off frequently on the grandparents and a lot of the parenting is done as a "co-op" with the grandparents (none of whom permanently live with the BIL/SIL2, but all of whom have lived with them for the last four years.)  BIL and SIL, in my opinion, miss their pre-children years and often feel they are burdened with the responsibility.    They are competitive and jealous.  These behaviors often seem directed at us.  SIL, in particular does not like to share the spotlight.  She raced me down the aisle and raced to get pregnant before me (her decision to have a baby had nothing to do with my decision to have a family).  She wants to be the golden BIL/SIL and actively campaigns to be such.   She also wants her children to be the most important and I often feel that she pushes her kids on the grandparents to take attention away from my kids.   She wants to be the prettiest, smartest, wealthiest, most admired person in the group.   She is the type of person who always wants to project the image of being a nice, helpful, friendly person, but it's always for image sake and never due to true caring or concern.   BIL is also very concerned with everyone thinking he is Mr. All-American Nice Guy.  It is important for him to see him as friendly and wonderful.  I could go into specifics as to why these are my perceptions of them, but that is a whole other post.  I've avoided discussing them in detail in the past, as I'm afraid of recognition (SIL would be the one to find my blog).  Needless to say, I feel these two are very self-absorbed.  They have thrown me, DH, and our kids under the bus a million times when it suited their purposes.  (One quick example:  We invited them over for a BBQ on Fourth of July in the evening.  Once we had eaten, BIL announces that they had gotten an invitation to another party and were leaving.   No thanks for the dinner.  No, I'm so sorry, but we need to go.   Something better had come along and he was ready to bail right after he ate the meal I had cooked for him.  He didn't see anything wrong with it.)  BIL and SIL were also the pair who made the drama at my son's recent birthday party.  Since this incident, I've seen BIL several more times.  I has actively IGNORED me and avoided me.  Apparently, me being unhappy that he upstaged my son and really not participating in the party at all, is reason to shun me and avoid me (read: I'm to blame for not letting it go).   This BIL also gets into the middle of our relationships with the other brothers.  He has called DH, telling him he is a bad family member for not letting BIL3 stay at our house (BIL3 wanted to just drop in and stay, treating us like a hotel.  DH said no, as it wasn't an OK time for us).  We are expected to allow DH's brothers needs and wants come before our own.   BIL and SIL blow us off at a moments notice, never show up on time when meeting us, invite themselves to our home, and expect us to be OK with it...because we're family.  I have not been invited to BIL and SIL's house in two and a half years (again, they live five minutes from us.)  The rest of the family has.  SIL has suggested that I'm judgmental about her cleaning skills and the state of her home.  This is pure projection on her part and is more related to the fact that, unless she can portray herself as perfect, she chooses to avoid us (she seems to feel superior to the other family members and there fore doesn't need to "impress" them or "compete" with them.)  In the recent past, it has come to light that the image she had tried to portray to DH and me (perfect housewife, corporate superstar, perfect mom, perfect everything) is only an image.

So, this past weekend BIL3 and his wife came into town for a sporting event.  MIL and FIL always drop off their dog at BIL2's house during the game, so I assume they all met up there after the game, if not before.  Many times all of the brothers (except us) and MIL/FIL have met up and hung out at  BIL3's house without us.  The next day, I assumed everyone had gone home.  DH had tried to get a hold of both of his brothers all day and no one had returned his call.  At around 5 p.m.  BIL2 calls and says "hey, we are heading out of town.  Do you want us to swing by?"  DH asks were the hell BIL2 is right now.  BIL2 says the whole family is down having dinner together.  Once again, we were not invited.   DH is furious.  It is such a slap in the face to him.  Not only are we being left out, but we are going to be the "pitstop", as DH put it, on their way out of town.  They had all day they could've called us.  They had no plans that day.  They did nothing except watch sports and shop.  DH told BIL2 no.  He tells him that he's angry.  He tells him that they've discussed this before.  That calling two minutes before you want to stop by is not "calling ahead".  He tells him that treating us like an after thought is unacceptable.   My heart hurt for DH.  This process, coming to terms with reality, has been hard for both of us.   I can see him seeing the reality of the situation.

But part of me was SO PROUD of him for finally standing up to them.   Two years ago, MIL and FIL called us wanting to see us.  They too had spent the entire weekend in town, and when it was convenient for THEM (after they went to dinner with friends, went to a sporting event, spent time with the other brother) they called and expected us to drop everything because they wanted to see our new home.   We arranged a time and met them.  During the visit, MIL is gushing about the great BBQ they all have planned for the evening.  The brothers are all getting together with them at BIL's house.   One brother (a chef) is creating a feast.  Guess who wasn't invited?!  And you'd think she would've had the tact to not rub it in my face.   How nice of the "whole family" to get together.  Without us.  I can't tell you how many times this has happened.  How many times they've cast us aside because it didn't fit their personal agenda (hey, we can't come over and see the baby because we slept in.  So we are coming this afternoon instead--Note, no one asked us if that was OK.  It was just an assumption.).

They ignore our kids unless it's important to them.  The accuse us of not being part of the family enough.  They act like we isolate ourselves from family gatherings at my in-laws house, when the truth is I'm deathly allergic to the five dogs they have in the house.   They wax poetic that the cousins don't get together enough.  But when we suggest outings, they are late or change the plans or cancel.  They leave us out of things.  The act entitled to our home, our money, and our time.  And we are accused of being bad people if we don't roll over and let them take whatever they want.   BIL and SIL project that they are always taking on the family, letting family stay, doing all for the family.  But the truth is, they ASK family to stay because they like having a house full of people all the time (I suspect they bore each other.)  When we have taken a family member, they call all the time wanting to know what the plans are and to get together.  When the we arranged two recent outings for the grandparents to have time with my kids (because I'm apparently stingy with them), BIL and SIL roped the grandparents into babysitting for half of the time.   They also seem to forget that for the 7 years I lived here before SIL and BIL lived here, I threw all the parties and get togethers.  I hosted everyone in my home.  I cooked meals and had people stay.  And I never got as much as a thank you for it.  No one brought anything.  No one helped clean up.  In fact, BIL3 treated my home like his personal grocery store claiming he should've grabbed food from my house instead of having to pay for it at the sporting event.  I don't mind sharing.  I don't like feeling used.  Everything is expected an nothing is appreciated.

This weekend didn't surprise me that much.  We are an afterthought.  I've always felt that.  Hey, if your here, great!  If not, we don't miss you!  It makes me sad for DH.  It makes me sad that they only value him for what he can provide for them.  It makes me sad that not one of them, ever, reaches out to check on him.  It's hard watching him finally see the reality of what his family is.  They are not the perfect All-American family they like to believe.  It's harder watching him see his reality than it is coming to terms with my reality.

As I look at all the Holiday decorations go out in the stores, I'm so sad.  I think my fantasy about family gatherings and holidays full of family and togetherness is dashed.  I know my kids will never have that big family feeling, despite being in a big family.  I wish we could have those get togethers and holiday meals.  I wish that there was support and concern for my kids.  I wish that I felt like they were as loved as much as everyone claims they love them.  I wish that when we are in the hospital with one, someone would reach out and ask how they could help (and not want to be there so they can be a part of "drama").  Even if I did throw meals, I'd be treated like the maid and the cook and not a treasured family member who was opening her home to them.  There wouldn't be connectedness.  It would only make me feel more separated and lonely than I already do.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Weekend in the Narc Hood Part 1

I've been rolling the events of my weekend around in my head.  I really wasn't going to post about it.  Because really I didn't know what to say.  And some of the details were other people's private details.  I've been (probably poorly) trying to limit (edit?) some of the details of my life to protect my anonimity.  And I didn't know how I could discuss all that's happened without compromising myself a bit.  But then I decided I really didn't care anymore.  I'm not saying anything that I wouldn't discuss directly with the people involved.  And it all just started to get so crazy, that I needed to write it all down; for myself, and for some outside perspective.

Before I start, I'll apologize that this post might be a bit tangential.  There is a lot of background and side stories that figure into the events (isn't there always with narcs?).  Also, I've been dealing with crap from both my husband's family and my family.   Although its all been going on concurrently,  I decided to separate the two situations into two separate posts.  So, here goes part 1:

I think my sister is going crazy.  For a little recap:  sister claimed several months back that she had cancer.  Cancer of the lady parts.  Which lady parts is still up for debate.  Sister is in her early 30s.  Sister was diagnosed in early 2012 (and all of this is speculative, because nothing has been directly told to me by my sister.  And even if she had told me directly, it's all suspect at this point.)  In August, sister announced, very late at night and on FB that she has cancer.  She hadn't told my dad and hadn't told me.  I reached out on several occasions to get her to talk, but got vague answers, if at all.  As I've been told, sister got radiation and hormone treatment (all as outpatient) once a week for a  month.  She was very vague with everyone.  She avoided all phone calls from my father and mother, or took them sparingly, claiming she was fatigued or too upset to talk.  She never returned my attempts to contact her.  During this time, she also ignored my son's birthday (nothing new, she's missed the last several) and ignored my son's surgery.   She took money from my dad, managed to go out and cash the check, but never managed to call and thank him or even say she got it.   She called my dad once and screamed at him for being a bad father and ruining her life (because of situations revolving around my parents' divorce almost 20 years ago).  She was so hysterical that my dad finally had to hang up and call the cops.  She also stated to him that her boyfriend is beating her (she has been in many relationships where domestic violence is involved.)  She cried that she didn't know what to do, and was unwilling to listen to him offer solutions.   During this time, my father offered to come visit and help or stay with her, but she told him it was unnecessary.  She called my father in the middle of the night, twice, the night before her retest for cancer with a "panic attack" (I have no way to validate it as a panic attack, but these were my sister's words).  My father talked to her for over an hour at 3:30 a.m.   My sister never called to let him know the results of said retest.

My mother (NM) has also had limited contact with my sister, but has been her unwavering supporter.  Although my sister has offered limited information, and often brushed her off, (and I'm sure also accepted money from her), my mother has repeatedly lobbied for sister's "support" during her time of crisis.  NM has admonished me for not supporting sister enough (during my son's birthday, and if you'll remember, they tried to have a little "reunion" during this time to show my sister support...during my son's birthday).  NM has offered up lots of excuses for sister.  She has vilified sister's boyfriend as an abuser.  She has found lots of ways to excuse sister from any and all responsibility for herself.    NM has also managed to sneak in a few jabs at my father (a man she cheated on and left) for not being their enough for sister AND for NM!  NM has called my father several times to discuss sister, for no other reason that I can see, than to create drama.  

NM sent me an email over the weekend detailing how sister and her abusive boyfriend had a nice weekend together.  My broke sister, who took off lots of time for treatment, took off several days to celebrate her boyfriend's birthday (included, I'm sure, was a nice material gift.  Many, many times, I've listened to my sister cry that she's too broke to buy Christmas gifts for her family-not that I expect one-and then cry that she can't decide which expensive gift to buy her boyfriend.).  Sister and boyfriend also went out and bought new items for their apartment (relatively pricey ones).  Guess daddy's check helped out right in time.

So, last night I get an email from my dad telling me that my beloved Grandmother had a heart attack and was life flighted to a larger hospital for treatment.  (Yes, the email was a horrible choice, one I would have been upset about, had he not called me today to follow up. )  A little more background, Grandmother does not like my mother and hasn't since the divorce.  She's never been calloused or judgmental  but my mother pulled some really crappy shit around that time (some of which was directly against my grandmother) and my grandmother has chosen to not want anything to do with NM (and fairly so).   Around 8 years ago, my sister went to visit my grandmother.  For some reason, my sister didn't feel like my mother was welcoming and kind enough to her.  So after the visit, my sister wrote a long (and not kind) email to my grandmother.  This caused another rift.  My sister, as recently as six months ago, said she really never cared to talk to my grandmother, and blamed my grandmother for the fight.

This morning, very, very early in the morning (read: long before most people are up) my sister started text messaging me and calling me in a tizzy over my grandmother.    I hadn't slept most of last night and I was not happy to get this early wake up call (also, my sister works odd hours so she's often up in the very early morning.  She thinks nothing of calling people at 2 or 3 a.m.   Often she is drunk and hysterical.  Often she's in a fight with someone.  She takes it personally when you are not there to "support her".  I've confronted her, and until today, she's stopped calling me like that.  My mother turns off her phone at night.  Dad has been getting the majority of the calls lately).  When I finally got up, I wondered what in the hell my sister possibly could need to discuss with me about my grandma.   It was almost like she was rushing to tell me the "gossip".   She obviously had no impulse control.

My mother also sent text messages.  In one, she asked if I was "doing OK".  Ever since I told her I wanted their drama out of my life, she treats me as if I'm just too fragile and "not strong" enough to deal with stress.  Stress is one thing, stupid drama is another.  In the next texts, she details that all the information she's managed to drum up from one of my relatives that she has contact with.   It really, really pissed me off that she felt I was not adult enough to get the information myself.  That she had to rush and get the "scoop" and get involved.  And that it was all for the sake of being in the middle of everything.  She also tells me that my dad "wasn't very forthcoming" with information for my sister.   And that my sister wants to call my grandma.  WTF?  I want to call and yell for her to keep sister away from my grandmother.  I mean, my sister is unstable, not particularily nice, and the last thing she needs is a call from my long, lost sister.  But I decide it's not my place to tell my sister (through my mother, none-the-less) what to do.  I'm really, really annoyed with both of them.  But I decide to ignore them.

My father calls this afternoon to update me and let me know what's going on (he had another family member's funeral to go to this morning).  He tells me that my sister called him last night screaming and verbally abusing him again for ruining her life.  Now, while I do agree that the period of time my sister is referring to did change our lives forever, and that she needs to process it to move on, I'm not sure how screaming at my dad will change that.  And while my dad can be a self-absorbed, selfish, one-sided person, he has ALWAYS owned up to his part in the divorce and the aftermath.  He has always apologized (a real apology) and claimed his part.  He may not totally get how bad it was, but he's always held himself accountable.  And after 20 years, and a lot of bad choices on my sister's part, she needs to take some responsibility for treating herself.  (And I've got to wonder in all of this, what the hell happened with her cancer?  It's all but been forgotten as far as I know).   My sister yells at my father for not paying child support and rationalizes that this is why he owes her money.  It's all his fault she screams.

And here's the kicker.  My dad tries three times (THREE TIMES) to tell my sister that my grandmother has had a heart attack and is in intensive care.  He told me that every time she just continues to rail against him.  Until he finally has to hang up.  And turn off the phone.  And it's not until this morning that she becomes SO upset about my grandmother that she makes early morning phone calls to me.

I've kind of had it at this point.  This is all so ridiculous in my mind.  All I can think is WTF?  What the hell is going through her little head? I've been wrestling for awhile with all the secrets about my sister that my mom and sister have had me keep from my dad.  How they collaberate in getting him to give my sister money.  How my mom boosts my sister up into believing he owes her something.  How my sister has flown off to visit her very abusive ex-boyfriend not to long ago (once in the city where my father lives.  Sister didn't bother to go visit my dad at this time).   How my sister lies and manipulates to get what she wants.  I struggle with how much this information is none of my business, and not my crap to tell, and I might be a gossip for telling my dad, how I really need to stay out of it and how much she is lying and manipulating my dad to get what she wants.  It's hard to know all these "secrets" of hers.  And to know my dad makes decisions on how to help her that aren't based in knowing the whole truth.   I have struggled with what the right thing to do was.  But today I told him some things.  Today I told him I thought my sister was lying about her cancer.  Maybe not totally, but that things don't add up.  I told him that she is seriously mentally ill and that he needs to quit enabling her.  I told him that she lies and manipulates him.  I stopped short of some of the things I think would've really hurt him.  I'm so conflicted.  I feel like she's been abusing him.  But I also think he's a big boy and needs to make his own decisions on things.

And I can't help but think that in the end, my grandmother's in the hospital and it's all about them again.  Even if it's somewhat unintentional, they've greased the wheels so much that it circles back around to them.  I think my sister is going crazy (well is getting crazier).  I think my mother is feeding her crazy side.  I'm very afraid for what's ahead.  Things just don't feel good right now.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I think my sister is out to destroy herself.  I don't know how else to explain her life.

She has always struggled.  Her life and behaviors can be described as risky at best (I would describe them as far more extreme).  She is narcissistic to a fault.

I called my father today to tell him that my son's medical procedure went well.  As I tried to close up the conversation, he asked meekly if I had heard from my sister.  I sighed.  No.  I thought, now what?

As I've stated, my sister has been diagnosed with a very serious medical condition.  Very serious.  However, the information has only trickled in and has had to be pried from her.   She finished up treatment a couple of weeks ago.  She announced this medial condition on facebook (while drunk, I imagine) and then quickly retracted it.  My father and I learned about the condition from a relative.  She has willing accepted money and support from my parents but has provided them very little information in return.  I haven't heard from her at all, despite reaching out twice.  Out of the blue, last week, she texted asking about my holiday plans as if everything was normal.

My father told me today that she had gotten hysterical on the phone with him.  She was crying and screaming.  She was wailing that he boyfriend is abusive.  This isn't the first boyfriend who has been abusive, in fact, far from it (and this is actually a fact, as opposed to the "poor me" stories I sometimes get.).  She told my father she didn't know what to do.  Her told her that, yes, she did.  Kick him out and get out of it.  She became more hysterical.  She started screaming, blaming my father and mother for all the horrible things in her life.  She said that her childhood ruined her life.  He finally hung up on her and called 911.  He hasn't heard from her since.

I also had to talk to my mother today about my son's medical procedure.  She stated that my father and my sister had had a "fight".  Sounded like a hell of a lot more than a fight to me.  She then proceded to tell me that this boyfriend is very abusive.  My mother puts all the blame on him.  And while, yes, he is the abuser, I can't help feeling my sister  has some responsibility to get some help.  And to be honest, she's also very violent.  Very violent.  I know these situations are never as black and white as she makes them out to be.    And then my mother tells me my sister is back with the guy.  Then my mother, very quickly, had to get off the phone.

I'm just so very, very tired of this shit.  How my sister's life went from being all about her medical condition to being all about her abusive boyfriend in two weeks, I do not know...OK, well, I do.   And  I do feel for my sister.  I cried a few tears for the wreck of a life she's created.   She and I walked a similar path in childhood.  She and I have a similar story.  Part of me can't help but feel that, if circumstances were a tad bit different, I could be in her shoes.  But ultimately, I know that's not true.  Her childhood did change the course of her life.  Our parents screwed her just as much as me.  But she's also, never once, taken any responsibility for her choices as an adult.  She's remained entitled, and blaming, and childish.  She's remained vindictive and angry.  We have all lived as hostages to her insane life.  Always wondering if the next phone call will be the one were they tell us she's dead.  It's always the same thing over and over with her and it never gets better, only worse.

I didn't sleep more than two hours last night.  It was a long, hard day as I supported and cared for my son.  I stood crying, alone, in the hospital bathroom after they wheeled him away before I got my shit together and went back to wait for him after his procedure.   And in the end, it all became about my sister and FOO again.  For fuck's sake.  I'm so tired of this shit.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Something keeps bothering me about the "Dust up" as Q calls it.  It has to do with compassion.  And it is something I've wrestled with as I move forward in my healing.

What role does compassion, empathy, and sympathy have in dealing with narcs?

Are we able to have any compassion for the narcs in our life?  Is having empathy, on level, only opening us up to attack?  I know they view this as a weakness.  I know they see empathy as a pathway to destruction   They use and abuse our empathy for their own exploits.  But as someone pointed out, empathy is one of our greatest attributes as humans.  Mercy, compassion, and empathy help define us and separate us as people.  When we loose our empathy, do we no longer regard our fellow man with humanity but rather as a mere  object.  To remove our empathy, do we then no longer see the emotions of the "others", force ourselves to not see their emotions, and possibly, maybe slide down a slippery slope to becoming them?

I ask because empathy is important to me.  It is a trait in myself I have always valued.  I want to be empathetic to extend human kindness for the sake of humanity.  I want peace.  Naive and over simplistic as that may be, I refuse to give up my empathy for anyone.  I refuse to not allow anyone the rights of human dignity.  I've always believed in due process.  I've always believed in maintaining a place, where if the person is humbled and sorry enough, that I will allow them hope of redemption.  I want to forgive.  I do not want to hate.  I do not want to judge other than what is necessary to maintain my safety and that of others.

But where does that fit in with a narcissist?  Is allowing any empathy (even if it is only in our own hearts) opening us up to harm?  Can you maintain empathy for them as a human being, while keeping safe distance?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Week in Review

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.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


This post is a hard one to write.  It is very, very personal to me and very painful.  It may cover things I've already written about in my blog before, but I needed to approach the topic from a different angle.

Suicide has touched my life more times that I'd like.  There's been a couple of friends, a couple of acquaintances   Recently, friends of friends.  Everyone always wonders, what went wrong?  I always find it disheartening when people say "Well, they didn't seem like the type to commit suicide!  They always seemed to happy."  Seemed, people.  No one usually walks around looking like a suicidal person.  It's not as easy to spot as you might think.

The first time suicide touched my life was during my parents' divorce.  I was around 13 at the time.  I say around because so much of this incident is spotty to me.  Washed in shades of black and loss of memory.  I had been sleeping.  My bedroom door opened and a police officer walked in with a flashlight.  I was frozen, stunned, and terrified.  He left the light off but began looking around my room, in the closet, around my dresser.  He asked me if my dad was in the house.   I told him no.  I hadn't seen my dad.  My dad had moved out.  The cop left.  He shut the door and I was left in the dark.  I didn't move, I couldn't move.  No one came for me.  My mother didn't come in to check on me.  I was left alone in the dark.

I don't remember how I learned what had happened.  I know my mother didn't offer up the information.  I know I had to ask.  She told me that my dad had showed up late at night drunk.  He had grabbed a gun from his bedside table.  He had had it in his mouth and was threatening to shoot.  My little sister had heard the screaming and went downstairs.  Why hadn't I heard the screaming?  I'm not a heavy sleeper.  I can only assume that I had heard, but blocked it out.  Regardless, my sister went down and saw my dad.  My mother was screaming at my dad and screaming at my sister to call 911.  From what I can gather, it was terrifying for them both.  My dad must have finally come to his senses.  He put down the gun and had left when he knew the police where on their way.

My mother hadn't seemed terribly shaken up when she told me what had happened.  I had asked where my dad was now.  She said she didn't know.  This was the next morning and I can remember feeling terrified for him.  My mother got my sister a couple of therapy sessions.  Obviously, not enough.

I got no therapy.  I don't even remember being asked if I was OK.  I look back now and wonder how a mother, knowing that a police officer was going to walk into your daughter's room and wake her up, didn't go up with the cop.  Why she didn't come and check on me.  I wonder why she never talked about it again to me.

My sister has tried to commit suicide more times than I can count.  On top of that, she engages in such reckless behavior that I can only image is meant to hurt herself.  Between the ages of 16 and her mid twenties, I lived in a constant state of knowing that it was a distinct possibility.   We were all tethered to my sister's suicide attempts.  My mother, in particular, held herself hostage to it.  She enabled and babied my sister (more than she already had) to compensate for my sister's fragile ego.   My sister went to the psych ward once.  Again, too little therapy was offered and nothing changed.  I lived in a state of hyper vigilance  always expecting that late night phone call to be the one telling me she'd followed through.  Often times, it was her, drunk, and I talked her off the ledge.  Several years back, she seemed to stop.  But it's always there.  Even with my sister's latest troubles, that was one of my mother's first concerns.  That this might just be the thing that drives my sister over the edge.

When I was 16, I felt hopeless and lost.  I remember being hysterical and in my car.  I remember feeling so upset that I was, literally, looking for that cliff to drive off.  I couldn't take it anymore.  I couldn't deal with the pain.  I felt I had no where to go.  My sister talked me out of it.

In my early twenties, I again got serious about killing myself.  I remember feeling that I was such a worthless human being.  I had tried, repeatedly, and desperately to get someone to love me and I was being rejected again.  I was being rejected by a boyfriend but the hurt of 1000 rejections was piled on that one.  I remember feeling so much pain that I could not move past it.  Stress and loneliness and exhaustion were constant companions for me.   The boyfriend talked me out of it.

Earlier this year, I sat with a gun in my hand.  Ironically, I just realized, the same gun my father had planned to use.  I was at the end.   I sat battling myself.  I just was so tired of the push.  The push from all those around me who blamed me for their problems.  The push of people who implied that, if not for me, things would be perfect.  I felt completely hopeless.  I felt I had tried and tried and tried to make things work but that nothing I did changed things.  I was giving in to the belief of other's around me that I was the problem . That I was harming my kids, that I was ruining my marriage, that I was destroying my extended families.  I knew in my heart that it wasn't but I was battling for my life.  I could not rationalize how, if everyone around me felt I was such a horrible person, that I wasn't that person.   In my deluded mind at that moment, I felt I would be doing them a service.  I felt that if I could just get out of the way, then things would be better for my family, my husband, my kids.  Sure, they might be upset for awhile,  but I truly felt I was doing them more harm than good by being here.  I can not describe accurately what it felt like to sit there in that moment, trying to sort through the mess that was me, trying to figure out what the right thing was.

I've come a long way from that night.  I am still battling with the voices that want to label, and blame, and shame me.  But I'm not going to sit with a gun in my hand anymore.  I know that I did not want to die.  Ironically, I'm terrified of death, of being gone, of not existing.  But I've cleared my head enough to know that I would've destroyed my children.  That they would never have understood.   I don't choose to live  today for my kids.  Although they deserve their mother, and do not deserve to live with the legacy of my pain, it is also not their obligation to give my life meaning and purpose.  I choose to live today because I'm finally coming to believe that I have a right to exist, just as much as anyone else.  Fuck all of you who've told me differently.

**Reader's reactions to this post have prompted another post.  Please be so kind to also read the second post.  Choosing Life


Some days I feel stronger.  Most days I don't.  Lots of days I'm depressed and sad and exhausted.  Just so plain tired.  But sometimes I feel a bit stronger.

Upsi commented the other day on my conversation about my dad that she was impressed that I could say something.  Truth be told, so was I.  I actually had to stop myself, collect myself, gather my courage and circle back around to his statement (He was talking about writing both me and my sister off because he couldn't get a hold of us.  However, while my sister is just ignoring him unless she needs him, I'd made several attempts to get back to him.  I felt he was painting us both with the same stroke and it felt very unfair.).  After I stated my piece, I felt winded.  I shook.  I trembled.  I felt a bit surprised at myself.   I didn't get any validation back from my father, but at least I didn't get nastiness in return.  The thing was, it took all my energy and strength to say something to him.  Something, that in the grand scheme of things, shouldn't have been that big of a deal.  But I had almost felt my knees buckle.  And the whole thing challenged me so much, that later in the phone call, when he said something that bothered me equally as bad, I couldn't say anything.

His second comment bothered me for days.  And that seems to be more the "normal" course of my interactions with people.  Someone says something hurtful, or mean, or spiteful and I'm left dumbstruck.  Unable to say anything.  These incidents would wear on me, drain me, and I would still be hurting by a lot of them, many years later.

I've recently been thinking about why these things bother me so much.  Comments that were said so far in the past often feel like freshly opened wounds.  Why?  Why couldn't I let it go?

One such incident happened almost 14 years ago.  I had been dating my (now) DH for about a year.  We were at a party in his honor.  Around 50 of his family and friends were in attendance in a smallish room.  My (now) MIL was sitting at a table with her sisters a bit away from where I was.  Suddenly there was uproarious laughter.    Someone asked what was going on.  Oh, nothing, nothing they said.  But they kept laughing.    The whole room was now paying attention to the table.  We pressed again to know what was so funny.   MIL spoke up and said "Oh, was just telling them how I read a study that laughing could increase your breast size.  And I told them that (DH) must not make Jessie laugh very much!!!".  This was followed by more cackling and laughing.

I was humiliated and embarrassed.  I had been held up as a public joke in front of 50 people.  It stung, I was mortified, but I stood there laughing too.  I was really still just a girl and I had no idea how to react.  It took me a long time to sort through my feelings on it.  At first, directly after the incident, DH dismissed it as "just a joke".  It hadn't felt like a joke to me.  Over the years, I would circle back to this example when discussing my MIL with DH.  I would point to this example as her being harsh.  A few years later, he said, "Well, if it bothered you, you should've told her you are sensitive about your chest."  But the things is, I'm NOT sensitive about my chest.  While I'm no where near top heavy and I'd been insecure in the past, I had come to terms with my body as it was.   It wasn't about me or my chest.  It took me several more years to come around to the fact that what bothered me is that I felt she had bullied me.  She had used me as a punchline to get herself a couple of laughs.   She had humiliated me in front of tons of people for her own fun.  I had felt like the "new girl" in a room full of popular girls in the lunch room.  There they all were pointing and laughing at me.  She had taken a moment where she was comfortable, surrounded by people she knew, to put me down.  DH has come around to understanding why I was so hurt, but we both struggled with why I was still so upset about it.

And recently, it dawned on me.  I was really angry at myself.  I mean, I was angry with her too, deservedly so.  But I really was mad at myself.  I was mad I stood there.  I was mad I took it.  I was angry that I didn't stand up for myself.  And in this incident, and many more like it, I find myself agonizing over it for days (or weeks or months).  Replaying it in my head and beating myself up for not responding differently.   I'm angry that I've allowed people to treat me like shit over and over and I just take it.  When I was a child, I didn't have a lot of resources to protect myself, but as an adult, I should've been able to defend myself.  I should've stood up for myself.  I should've valued myself more than to allow someone to treat me like that.

The times I've stood up for myself have never been easy either.  I sometimes have obsessed for days about saying something, hoping I wasn't mean, hoping I wasn't offensive.  Shaking with my anxiety. Wondering if I had had a right to say something.   But after a few days, I'm able to let it go. It's those times when I don't stand up for myself that I'm haunted.

I want to stand up more for myself.  I want to do it in a way that's respectful (not for their sake, but because that's who I want to be), dignified, and maintains my integrity.  I want to put a stop to being bullied.  I want to learn to speak up.  I don't want to live with my regrets or my feelings that if I don't stand up for myself, I'm devaluing myself.  If I can't defend myself, who will?  I want to be stronger.