Releasing the past in order to find myself

Monday, January 28, 2013

Name that Feeling

What do you do when you don't know what the hell your feeling?

This past month (two months, year, 20 years) have been rough.  Since Thanksgiving, I've been treading water.  Not really knowing what the hell to do now.

Find NPD.  Check.
Read about, study, learn about NPD.  Check.
Share stories, blog, feel validated.  Check.

Start believing that, yes, shit was/is fucked up.  Check.

Put NSis on notice.  Check.

Feel angry, feel sad, feel hurt, mourn, grieve.  Feel a bit of happy.  But just a bit.  Feel relieved, feel sad, feel depressed, feel...what?

I've been sad again.  Sad accepting the reality of what my life is.  And that, no matter what, I can't unlearn that.  Sad watching a small Christmas.  Sad seeing my kids not surrounded by family.  Sad that, it won't be different.

Unless I suck it up and let it go.  Unless I just go back to the way things were.

Anger comes up as I remember how shitty it was then.  Whatever it is now, it's better than it was then.  I'm no longer seething, simmering, boiling just beneath the surface.

I have days when I blame myself.  I have days were I feel sorry for myself, because I'm surrounded by fucking narcs.  All the fucking way around.  It's hard not to somehow think you are the problem when you are surrounded by narcs.  Am I imagining it?  Am I wrong?  How can I just be this unlucky?

Some days I think that it wouldn't be so bad.  To just go along to get along.  Except somewhere, I know that would be selling my soul to the devil.  I have caught that glimpse of light outside the cave.  I'm terrified, I'm lonely, I'm scared of myself, but I can't go back to the cave.  I want, for the first time in my life, to be me and be OK with that.

Some days I wonder why I'm not happier?  Why going through all of this hasn't yet brought me peace?  Why am I still struggling and sad and depressed?

I'm not hopeless.  But sometimes, now, I wonder what the point of all this is.  Maybe I'm being too existential.  Maybe pondering the point of the universe is going to hurt.  But sometimes I wonder why I can't just immerse myself in the wonder that is my life.  I have two beautiful kids, a husband that loves me and is willing to grow with me (and put up with me.), a lovely home, a comfortable standard of living.  Why do I sometimes crave that "drama" high that my mother and sister need?

It's a lot of things.  Deciding to never have another baby.  Realizing the "milestones" from here on out (and I'm 35!) get spaced out dramatically.  Realizing that life is a lot of repetition.  And I need to enjoy that and find the beauty in that.  It's the weather, and the cold, and the many days spent alone doing laundry and vacuuming.

It's the friends who haven't called.  It's the sister playing mind games.  It's the friendships, new and untested, that I second guess and feel stupid in.  It's feeling like the new kid in school and really not knowing how to join the playground games.  It's wanting to feel relevant (not important) somewhere.  To matter.  To not know the rejection of four separate families.  FOUR.  How does someone just not fucking fit in anywhere?

It's the loneliness in knowing that few people really understand you.  That in a hard time, I stood alone.  That I'm only good in service to others.

It's wondering if the blogging does more damage than good, as I sit stewing in NPD land.

It's wondering what the hell do I do next?   How do I make friends?  How do I get a life?  How do I learn to appreciate a life that everyone else has taken for granted?  It's feeling this swirling of so many feelings, like the floodgate has been opened and I can't make heads or tails of what I'm feeling.  It's feeling useless but more peaceful than I've ever felt.  It's feeling small and big at the same time.  Resigned but not hopeless.  Disappointed but not unhappy.

It's wondering how to be a good parent.  How to overcome these god damn fleas.  How to allow others to love me.  How not to be afraid.

Letting go of the control, letting go of the anxiety.  Knowing the line between protecting my kids and being overprotective.

It's not having more than a five hour break from being a mom (no dinners out, no weekends away, no time alone) for five years because I have no one I can trust with my kids.  Feeling that my husband must be resentful of that.  Feeling that it's not good for my kids to only be with me.   But how do I leave them with narcs?

I'm just really, really confused.  Where the hell do I go from here?  I feel like I'm treading water.  I feel stuck and lost and alone.

Friday, January 25, 2013


I noticed recently that whenever I talked to my mother, I tempered my feelings by adding the word "just" in front of whatever I was doing.  Good things, bad things, anything in my life.  It was compulsive on my part.  She would ask what  I was doing.  "Oh, just watching the boys."  "Just sitting here."  "Just doing housework."  But I wasn't "just" doing these things.  I was playing with my boys, enjoying the sunset with them, working in my garden, watching cartoons with them snuggled on my lap.  A million things.  I always felt this compulsion to water down things, to make them more palatable to her.  Somehow, I knew that speaking truthfully and happily would upset her, although I really had never connected it it my brain.  I did it automatically.  And it wasn't always good things I tempered down.  Often I was sad, or miserable, or stressed, or sick.  But I had to temper that up.  I generally didn't share anything of any emotional value.  She'd ask if something was wrong, I'd say no, I'm just tired.  She'd ask if I was sick.  I'd temper it with "It's just a little cold." Because if I gave her any reason to be "concerned" about me, I'd be bombarded by texts and emails and calls checking on me.  I couldn't speak about anything in my life, because it caused emotional reactions on her part so out of proportion with the situation, that I couldn't handle it.

So I clammed up.  Offered my life up as a vanilla platter.  Mediocre.  Not good.  Not bad.  Not that it always helped.  Sometimes she'd push.  If I said one thing, she'd spin it with an exact opposite statement.  No matter what I said, she'd contradict it, often contradicting herself.  It was so futile.  Finally getting to the extremely non-committal, evened out "just" statements bought me some space.  It opened up the floor for her to then talk about herself.

I realized lately that my mother also uses the "just" statements.  What are you doing, mom?  "Oh, just having a little sandwich."  How was your weekend?  "Oh, just did work around the house."  Tempered, stale, melancholy.

And amazingly, I realized my mother had long joked about her mother saying the exact same things.  Grandma was a melancholy "just"ifier, too.

I vowed then and there to stop that shit.  No more deception and watered down life.  I still find that it is so automatic for me to say "just" that it slips out.  Luckily, NM has avoided phone calls with me (don't ask me why.  I have no idea.  It dances at the back of my mind that there is some ulterior motive or back story to this, but I've chosen to just enjoy the peace.)  So, I've had the ability to think or process things before I react.  Let my gut punch me first, and then think about what I want to say.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Coming up for Air

Many, many years ago, when I got my tattoo, the thing I remember most is how the lady kept telling me to breathe.  Not as in, breathe deeply, or slowly.  As in, keep breathing!  Quit holding your breath!

I sat, every muscle tense, fist clenched, and held my breath.

I realized shortly after Christmas that I had been holding my breath all through December.  Waiting.  Expecting.  Knowing that I just had to push through.

I had tried so hard to ignore it all.  I had tried to push through, smile, have fun with my kids.

But I realized, one day in January, that I'd just been holding my breath, not living, frozen in a state of animation.   I realized all the emotions that had been so close to swallow me whole, I'd numbed out.

I was angry.  I was angry that I know knew it was never going to be better.  That I'd never have those "big family holidays".  That my kids would never have that.  That my narcs are never getting better.

I was angry that I even had to have these descrations from enjoy my kids and my FOC.  That I couldn't fully let go, fully relax, fully be present.

I was angry that they are out there, circling me like lions.  Waiting.  That NSis has, ever so discreetly, been swiping out at me.  It's been  months since I've spoken to her "on good terms."  She called me three days after my son's first birthday, which she ignored completely (both on his birthday and that day on the phone) and used me as her personal therapist and discussed her boyfriend.  Months later an extended family member informs my father that my sister has cancer.  The family member learned on FB.  My sister, my very young sister, never calls me to tell me.  She avoids me.  She plays games.  I realized it was getting to a critical stage in our relationship.  I could either be real with her, or go back.  I chose to be real.  She thinks I'm a heartless harpy who has abandoned her at the worst time in her life (I assume from the couple of things she has said and that I've heard from relatives).  She has gone pathetic, begging for a reconciliations she has ignored me, she has responded vaguely to a heartfelt email asking her to relate to me on a healthier level.  She has been curt and short in few texts (the only way we've communicated), often just mirroring my response.  She has layed out minimal effort "olive branches" and I am keenly aware that she wants to just "forget" and move on.  She has no interest in looking at her behavior or building a relationship.  She has kept her distance for the most part (through the holidays and both of our birthdays).  But even before this holiday season, she's been distant, ignoring my son's surgery and his birthday, and it isn't that unusual.  Only now, I'm sure she blames me.

NM has stayed out of it, except for the very recent bait she laid out, relaying some ambiguous information about NSis at the end of an email chain.  NMs been relatively well-behaved lately, something that frightens me in it's own right, as I know fully that she hasn't changed.  But what is she up to?  What's her angle?  She's been too nice.  I've seen a few snipets of her self but all in all, she's been very nice.  In reminds me of when NSis and I rarely spoke in our early twenties, and generally hated and blamed each other for being "so mean to" NM and ruining NM's life.  I have to wonder if NM enjoys NSis and I fighting.

I've been jealous, reading FB posts about everyone's wonderful holidays and wonderful time spent with family and friends.  I've been angry that I feel so lonely, and I wonder if I've somehow isolated my FOC from those "wonderful" family gatherings.  It's been hard to bare the weight of the knowledge of what reality is now.  To fully know it, what my life really is, and the road I'm on and all the really hard work ahead to built up a life outside of my FOO, my in-laws, and toxic, selfish friends has been unbearably heavy at times.  I've felt crushed and small and isolated and depressed.  Very depressed.

I've been bitter.  Annoyed and pissed that the narcs seem to get everything they want.  Annoyed that my BIL can be such an ass to everyone, use everyone to their full advantage (to him), and still be handed things.  To see him handed money and promotions and accolades and knowing how much has just been given to him pisses me off.  He can use people, and people thank him for it.  He can use my in-laws and his in-laws to be is live in nannies, yet he somehow makes it out like he is doing them a favor.  Because he is the "good son" and has the "best" relationships with everyone.  I know that the "everything is awesome" image he presents is phony and untrue, but I admit, I sometimes fall for it.  He has a great job, makes lots of money, leaves his kids with the grandparents whenever he wants (which is a lot), has basically a live-in nanny and maid and cook in his MIL.  He seems so close to his parents and brothers and is admired by people.  But I know it's a lie.  I know he's phony.  I know it's a cultivated image he presents.  Not that he's a bad guy.  He's just...hollow.  And I get bitter when he's handed things that help him maintain this false image.  Knowing that his false image, often held up to my "reality" makes me look like a nut job.  The angry DIL who just can't get a long.  I wish people could see him for what he is.  I wish he could see himself for what he is.

I spent a lot of time wondering why he has pissed me off so much lately.  I came to the conclusion that he hurt me.  Not long ago, I'd had the delusion that, as family, I mattered to him.  That as his favorite brother's wife, he would go to bat for me.  But his behavior towards me in the last few years, the dismissive attitude, ignoring me, playing "let's pretend nothing happened", selling out my kids (that was a huge one, I thought at least they mattered to him), his tossing me aside when he learned he could no longer adjust me to his liking, that I couldn't be manipulated into thinking he was Mr. Wonderful, I became just like everyone else.   Not that he had seen me as anything other than scenery in his life.  The shift happened with in me.  I realized that I had never really meant anything to him.  I was nothing to him.  It sucked to realize I'd fallen for this shit again.

I wondered what in the hell I was even doing with this all.  Was it futile?  Was I making any headway?  I felt more isolated and alone than ever.  I wondered if I should continue blogging.  I wondered if I crazy.  I wondered if immersing myself in all of this just making things worse.

I've decided I have a few more stories to tell.  Mostly for me.  Memories have been popping up lately, bubbling to the surface.  Little islands if information that are finally helping me connect the last of the dots.  I hope you'll bear with me as I flush out a few last rants.

But I need to try and figure out how to come back from this too.  To implement all this new found knowledge into a better and healthy life.  To finally decide I've identified the problem and find the way out for me.  To learn to use all these damn tools to finally cut the ties to the hurts in the past.