Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bad Dreams and Manipulations

Had a dream last night in which I got the mail one day and saw an envelope from NMIL. It was not sealed and the top was just flapping open. Instead of writing on the card inside, she wrote on the back of the envelope. She had written an entire paragraph in rather large handwriting but the only part I remember was a line that read, "For an early start in life." I remember being confused about who, precisely, she was sending a card of my children? My husband? I wasn't sure. When I opened the card, there was a $200 gift card to Target and I just started laughing. I was like, "Really? An early start in life is $200 to Target?" Also inside the card was a stack of old photographs. Before I started flipping through them, I anticipated that they would be baby pictures of my husband, or pictures of his sister. But when I flipped through them, they were all pictures of strangers that neither of us knew. I kept going through them, trying to figure out why NMIL had sent them, but I just couldn't figure it out.

I think I had the dream because I've been wondering how NMIL and Co. are going to be handling the upcoming holidays. I'm already anticipating that we'll get nothing from NMIL. Actually, I'm betting that she'll send us some crappy card in the mail, with some sappy and superficial message inside like, "[DH's childhood nickname] and family, we miss you so so much and wish we could see you. It's so hard for us. We miss you and we love you." Blah blah blah. You know the drill. Our children never received any Christmas gifts from her last year, I doubt we'll be seeing anything for her this year. And for EFIL and L, I have no idea. A card with a $25 gift card maybe? I doubt they'll be spending their $600 on us this year, especially once they realize that not even the holidays could make us want to see them.

Onto other news: Last Friday morning, I got the strongest urge to change my husband's cell phone number. He and I had been discussing it for some time now, knowing that NMIL and EFIL still had access to it. I've been chalking up my urgent desire to change his cellphone number right now to some unusual sixth sense I must have. That morning, around 8:30 AM, I went online, wrote DH a quick email letting him know I was going to do it, and then I did.

As it turns out, I was one hour too late. Unbeknownst to me at that point, NMIL had called him and left a message on his voice mail that very morning. Her message was nonsense, of course, and DH only listened to thirty seconds of it before deleting it. She said, in her you-should-pity-me-because-I'm-suffering-so voice, "Hi [DH's childhood nickname]. I know I'm not supposed to call you and everything, but last night I had a bad dream about something bad happening to you and I wanted to call you and make sure you were all right." DH chuckled and deleted the message without listening to the rest of it. When he told me about it, the irony of the situation really struck me funny: If I had changed his number just one hour before, she would have gotten the following message when she tried to contact him with her more-than-likely fabricated story about having a bad dream: The number you dialed is not a working number. Please check the number and dial again.

Ha! Next time, Dear Reader, next time. I mean, we now know that this bitch thinks that a supposed bad dream (supposed because we can't assume that she was even telling the truth about having one) was a good enough excuse to break the No Contact rule and call him. We also know that she has directly broken the No Contact rule three times already (the first time with her emailed form letter to DH, the second time with her phony Hurricane Irene email to DH, and the phone call Friday morning), and it's only been roughly six months since DH sent the No Contact note. Therefore, we know she'll try it again.

Go ahead and try, bitch. You've already lost.


  1. Good for DH for laughing and using the power of delete. :-)

  2. Hi Jonsi!
    I'm intrigued by this. I read an article recently that theorized that dreams are about our REM-exposed minds trying to interpret our lower level thoughts into something that we can understand. That our subconscious uses images of tangible things that we are familiar with (an envelope, a photograph) to try to project into an image some neural/emotional pattern that we haven't yet recognized, and that our minds only have our real life experience to use as templates for these images.

    A theory, like I said, but I wondered...

    The envelope shows up open, preventing you from being able to choose whether you will accept it or not. Could this be a tangible image of a classic Narc boundary violation? The large writing on the outside of the envelope carries a cryptic message, thus making it intriguing. Could this be the promise that Narcs make when they're in the Make Nice to Lure You Back In phase?

    And the Target gift card... I'm a fan of Target, sure, because I can get nice-ish things CHEAP there. I wonder if this is a projection of your 'value' to the N (s)?

    The photos of strangers, though, I think is the most telling of all these things. What that says to me is that NMIL has gone to GREAT lengths to violate your (and your DH's, of course) boundaries, given you no choice about them and insulted you as cheap... to tell you that ultimately you are nothing to her, less important even than strangers.

    Maybe with the holidays (and almost certain attempts at contact) coming up, your soul is trying to break through to tell you that your choice for No Contact translates into a simple phrase that will keep you safe: Return to Sender?

    Thanks for another great post!


  3. Vanci, thank YOU for your thorough analysis of my dream. Usually, I don't have much trouble interpreting the meaning behind most of the images in my dreams, but about this particular dream, I just couldn't put my finger on what it all meant. The picture part was particularly disturbing to me and I think your theory is a sound one.

    I too hold a lot of stock in dreams. I have always thought that dreams are the representation of our most base fears, desires, temptations, and worries. For as long as I can remember, I have had very vivid and lengthy dreams on most nights, and I generally remember the great majority of them. Often times, they are poignant and meaningful to me, and always carry some deeper message.

    Another thought: While I would LOVE to "Return to Sender" I read in an article recently (I posted it somewhere on my blog, I think I titled it 'No Contact 101') that returning gifts or correspondence shows the sender that you somehow still "care" about them, or what they have sent to you (in so far as, you're bothered enough by what they are doing to put in the effort of returning something to them as a way to send them a message). I'd rather not send them any messages at all. In fact, I'd rather not acknowledge their correspondences period and DH and I can simply decide to do with them what we will. You know? Let them wonder if we even received whatever crap they may try and send.

    I think around the holiday season, I'll do a re-post about how to handle holiday correspondence from FOO that you've gone NC with (According to Rev Renee). I really like the idea of applying her ideas about NC to our situation!


    I just re-read your analysis of my dream again, and what you said made me think of another point: Why would there be writing on the outside of the envelope? For the same reason that you said the envelope was already open - it's much harder to choose not to read something when it's already in front of you. Like you said, we didn't have an option but to read it! Again, I found your analysis of my dream to be spot-on. Thanks again, Vanci.

  4. Dear Jonsi,
    I've no doubt that, however you and your DH decide to handle the inevitable contact that the holidays will bring, it will be what is best and right for you and your family.
    I find it amazing what our bodies and minds know that we aren't yet conscious of - and the ways that that knowledge breaks through.
    Good for you for listening to yourself!


  5. Sadly, this is so common. It's almost like a program that runs on auto-pilot. First the "your cat died" - not that it's insignificant, but it was blown way out of proportion BECAUSE of the contact boundaries your husband drew.

    The "I just want to make sure you're okay" translates directly to "I don't believe you could be okay without me and I mask my criticism in concern." It's a sad, fake reason that is plausibly deniable by all accounts. She just wants to make sure you're okay, right? What's "wrong" with that?

    Why would a grown man with a family of his own not be "okay" because his mother hasn't talked to him? It's just absurd that she doesn't seem to give ANY thought to the message that sends to your DH.

    I know I've received this message from my NM in about 6 different "packages" already: Upsi, we're afraid you're being abused. Upsi, we're afraid you're suffering from drug addiction. Upsi, we're afraid you're borderline. Upsi, we're afraid you are not okay because you don't want to talk to us on the phone. Upsi, what am I supposed to tell my friends when they ask about you? Upsi, we're worried that you're unhealthy, manic, hiding, lost in anger, unforgiving (I could go on here - on and on and on).

    As separate people, we're getting along just fine. But in the minds of the disordered (to put a broad category around it): if we're out of sight (read: out of contact), we must be out of our minds. I don't blame NM for trying these appeals, I simply don't entertain them anymore. Just because someone needs to be assured that we are "okay," doesn't necessitate our jumping to assure them.

    I feel sad, just plain sad, that our families play these games and then blame us that they play them. We're stuck on a loop.


  6. ((Vanci)) <---I just learned recently that that is a virtual hug!

    Upsi - It's so laughable, isn't it? The whole, "I'm going to break the no contact just because I can" bit where she doesn't even TRY to go to great lengths to make it seem legitimate. It's like, really? You had a bad dream? If that's even true, it's STILL the most absurd reason I've ever heard to break someone's boundaries. And you're right, the message she's sending is one that says, "You couldn't possibly be fine without me." Which is hysterical. Thanks for pointing that out!

  7. Dear Jonsi,

    Thank you so much for this blog and your posts!
    I have a malignant NMIL from hell, I cannot describe in a few words all the pain she has caused myself and my husband. We cut her and her N family more than 2 years ago but this has not stopped her. Thank you for your blog, it has helped me to understand, heal and keep going when most days I don't want to.

    If you ever have the time I would like to ask you if you could write how you have dealt with losing friendships due to this people believing NMIL lies and manipulations and not wanting no longer associate with you because you are "the bad guy" I'm having a hard time with this, some of the friendships DH and I lost were people who we were friends for years and didn't even knew who was NMIL and NFIL until contact by them so how this happened? how can a heal? how can I find peace?

    Thank you for all you do!

  8. Anon - Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts and questions. I would love to do a post about how DH and I have dealt with our loss of friendships because of NMIL. I feel such validation in what I am doing because you have chosen to share with me.

    I continue to be amazed that there are so many people who suffer at the hands of narcissists (simply because their are so many Ns out there!) I'm sorry to hear that your NMIL has caused pain in your life. I know all too well the feeling you're describing.

  9. Dear Jonsi,
    Thank you so much for replying to my comment. It is such a validation to me as well your blog and your experience, for such a long time I felt so invalidated, everywhere I turned to asking for help against this Ns or any insight, no one seemed to understand. This has been one the most terrible thing that ever happened to me and is far the most traumatic experience of my life, I had no idea what Ns were until I met DH's family and for the last almost 3 years I have read everything I can trying to understand and trying to protect myself emotional/mental and even physical from them. The damage that was done to my DH through out is life is impossible to describe or measure, between many things he suffers from PTSD.

    Since the beginning that I have nightmares with NMIL, first time a few days after we were married, at the time I shared it with DH and he told me that for years and years he has had the same nightmare as I described it, detail by detail with his NM.

    Thank you!

  10. Anon - For me, I was "lucky" in that I had had two relationships with narcs before I ever met my husband. That meant that I had a lot of experience and knew exactly what I was looking at when I met his FOO. The one thing I've continually done is read and educate myself. I learned a lot about narcissism, sociopathy, and manipulation, simply by reading and finding a community (like this great blogging community!) where people understand and can share their own insights and experiences.

    I imagine it's terribly difficult being the child of a narcissist. On the other hand, it's no walk in the park being married to the adult child of a narcissist either. I'm happy to help you by sharing my own experiences and thoughts. I hope that you are able to find peace and that your husband is able to fully recognize where he comes from, so that you can continue to grow as a healthy, loving family of your own.

  11. (Hi, it's me in the way-back machine trollin' ur archives...)

    I think it is absolutely FASCINATING that you had such a strong premonition about the call. So strong, in fact, that the morning just prior to getting the actual call, your inutition PUSHED YOU NOW NOW! You ALMOST got it done in time. It was only being a mommy/wife etc that stopped you from doing it sooner.

    Those intuition voices - they are just never wrong, are they?

    (please tell me if you respond to these comments, I have been an idiot and not left myself a breadcrumb trail back into your archives! I am LOVING re-reading your story!)

  12. P.S. I just realized I asked you to do for me what I should have been doing. I mean, if Imma troll your archives, I should have the freaking WHEREWITHALL to remember where I posted. gah.

    SO - comments prior to this one? I am a dumbasss. I can't remember what posts I commented on. This one and Back To The Future comments? I got smarter. I hate when I do crap like that. sorry Jonsi...

    1. Hahaha - no problem Gladys. I spotted you in my stats, reading through the archives. I have to admit to going through and re-reading this stuff myself sometimes. I'm always looking for details I missed the first time, clues to solve the missing pieces.

      I try to respond to most comments if I can, so yes I'm responding to the ones you've been leaving. I think you last commented on this post: and I responded.

      About the phone call - I remember well how strong my urge was to change the phone number that morning, just an hour or so before NMIL called DH. It felt urgent. It felt like I needed to do it right away. I just had that gut feeling that couldn't be ignored. I think it can only be chalked up to bad timing that I just missed doing it before she actually called.

      Intuition is a pretty crazy thing though. It's kind of the ultimate sixth sense, if only we could use to wield it with more precision.