Saturday, March 31, 2012

Playing Tag

Ruth, over at We Are One, and her sister Judy at The Project are participating in a fun Q & A, and I figured I'd play too! Here is some insight into the world of Jonsi:

1. What happened on the best day of your life?

I can't pick just one. I would say: the birthdays of each of my children, meeting DH, and our wedding day.

2. What is your greatest talent?

My powers of deduction; my ability to analyze details; my writing skills.

3. What have you done in your life that makes you the most proud?

I was most proud of myself for delivering each of my babies without the use of drugs - My labors were not induced, I was never hooked up to an IV, and I never received pain medication. There was a wonderful sense of accomplishment the moment each of my babies were born because I felt so empowered after the experience and happy that I had followed through on my desire to give birth naturally. I was most proud of my husband when he wrote and then read his Declaration of Independence to his NM, and when he eventually followed through on cutting off communication with her and the rest of his FOO when it became clear that they were not going to abide by any of his wishes or needs. I am most proud of my children every day, simply because they are my children and they are perfect, beautiful beings.

4. What do you believe in that others might doubt the reality of?

I believe that there are cures for cancer that pharmaceutical companies have a monopoly over which prevents those cures from ever reaching the public.

5. If you could travel in time, when would you go?

I would go to the 1920's - I love so much of the culture of that time frame: the fashions, the music, the political uprisings. I would also love to see what life was like during that era: my grandparents were born in the twenties and they lived hard lives. If I could, I would travel back to when (and where) they were born and view how they were raised and what lead them to where they are now.

6. What’s your favorite holiday and why?

Christmas, without a doubt. My parents did a phenomenal job of making Christmas a truly magical event for me and my siblings. That's the first word I think of when I think of Christmas: Magical. It was much more than just presents; it was about seeing my extended family, eating good food, enjoying the decorations, and enjoying the magic of the season. I loved picking out presents for my family members as much as I enjoyed receiving them. And, I scoffed at kids my age who didn't believe in Santa Claus. You know what? I still do. I believe that Santa is real because he is magic. And I believe in magic.

7. Any time in your life that you would like to have a ‘do-over’? Explain if you can.

During the time that I was living with my narc-ex-boyfriend, I missed the death of a beloved pet. Just before I moved out of my parent's house and in with my boyfriend, our dog had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and was given only a few months to live. I was so selfish and insecure with myself at the time, that I couldn't see how even my pets were being affected by my actions. To this day, I believe that I killed my dog. I hadn't been very nice to her during the months leading up to her illness, and I honestly attribute the cancer to the fact that she was heartbroken. I had adopted her from a shelter a few years before, only to abandon her when I met my boyfriend. She had the love of my other family members, for sure, but I've always felt that I betrayed her by breaking the bond that we made when I promised to love her. I failed her, and to this day, no one could convince me that I wasn't the ultimate cause of her death. Though I wouldn't take back my relationship with my asshole-ex, I wish that I could have learned the same life-lessons without having hurt my companion so horribly.

8. What’s your favorite movie and why?

I have a couple: Pretty Woman, because when I was a little girl (well before I understood what a prostitute was) I wanted to fall in love that way too. And really, what little girl doesn't want to be swept off her feet by a kind and lovely man (or woman?) and be completely transformed by that love? Pee Wee Herman's Big Adventure, because it's so campy and weird and I've used some of Paul Rueben's famous lines my whole life (I know you are, but what am I? Ahh, classic). A League of Their Own, because it represents the strengths that women posses, but that is often overshadowed by the archaic notion that men are superior. Ordinary People, because it's such a great character study; Robin Hood, because I am a Romantic at heart; Hot Rod, because it never fails to make me laugh, and The Edukators, because I love the German language (and culture) and because, again, it's an excellent character-study.

9. If you could spend one day doing anything you wanted, what would it be?

Taking my babies to the Lake, without any worries of time, or money, or issues of space. My aunt has a cabin on a Lake upstate and it's absolutely my favorite place in the whole world. What could be better than taking my beautiful family there?

10. What are your views on social media?

By "social media" I assume we're talking about the likes of Facebook and Twitter. To that end, I can not stand them. While I know of some people who use them safely and appropriately, there are far, far more people who use them for very unhealthy and inappropriate reasons. See: Exhibit A and NMIL. One blogger, who has since made his blog private, used to refer to Facebook as the "Narcissists Playground." Like anything a Narcissist gets her slimy little hands on, Facebook and Twitter can be dangerous breeding grounds for narcissistic supply. Furthermore, I hate that so many people use social media as their main form of communication, rather than as a supplemental tool. And even worse, far too many people use social media as a means to break other people's boundaries, often times with little to no thought as to the consequences of encroaching on the privacy of others. To most Facebook users, at least as far as I have observed, if they can claim possession of your personal information (including pictures) they will, and they never seem to have any second thoughts about posting it on the web. My short answer to this question is: Social media is being abused by the masses and creating havoc on our ability to communicate with each other on anything more than a superficial level.

11. Have you ever broken the law and what did you do? You needn’t answer if it will get you thrown in the pokey.

I have shoplifted. No need for much explanation there.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Of Us

I was recently organizing our family photos and I started a new project called: Operation Pooper Scooper: wherein I destroyed all photos of EFIL and NMIL that we owned, either in digital form or print material. That's right, I picked up that shit and threw it away. All ten photos are gone.

The one space in our wedding album that had been reserved for a picture of NMIL is now filled by a photo we actually enjoy looking at. The two we had of NMIL holding our infant DD have been ripped up and thrown away. The couple of pictures of our visit to EFIL and L's for Christmas 2009 are gone. The only reason I kept them in the first place was because DH wasn't yet ready to put them where they belonged: in the garbage. But now, a DH-sanctioned Operation Pooper Scooper has commenced, and we no longer have to look at pictures of people who think their shit don't stink.

But anyway, the real point of this commentary was to share with you an insight I had while going through our wedding photos: I realized that, although NMIL was busy playing her little fashion faux pas game ("Oops! I didn't realize I wasn't supposed to wear white to my son's wedding!") she only managed to dig her own grave a little deeper.

Yeah, let's talk about what everyone wore to our wedding.

My mother and best friend both wore dresses in a color that complimented my wedding dress, rather than competed with it.

DH looked snazzy in black pants, a black button down, and a red vest.

My father looked equally snazzy, in an ensemble that closely resembled DH's, except that he wore a red button down and a black vest.

All of my brothers wore white button downs and either black or khaki slacks.

EFIL and L could have been dressed for a neighbor's wedding - they had no idea about any of the details of our wedding, and therefore couldn't have come dressed in color-coordinated outfits.

NMIL wore white.

I forget what SIL wore. She was just a shadow in the background with soul-less eyes, anyway.

So in my mind, the picture of our wedding looks like this: DH looked like he belonged more with my FOO, than with his own. He was officially one of US. And with their absurd antics, his FOO only managed to perpetuate that outcome. I guarantee that everyone in that room knew exactly who coordinated our wedding, and who was truly happy that it was happening. Even NMIL couldn't escape the reality of the situation: that my DH had found a surrogate family that had loved and accepted him the way his own FOO never did.

NMIL was putting on an act. My parents were the real deal.

NMIL was aiming to hurt. My parents did everything they could to ensure that their part in our special day was exactly what we needed from them.

DH's FOO spent their time playing games. Mine spent theirs rejoicing in our special day.

NMIL only succeeded in making herself out to be a fool. She separated herself from her own son in a way that further proved her devotion to control, while my parents and siblings busied themselves with adding a new member to their family. After we married, my dad told DH that now, he had a fourth son.

DH danced with my mother, my great-aunt, and my grandmother, before he danced with his own mother.

And she had to ask to dance with him.

One of my favorite photos from our wedding is a group shot of DH and I with my three brothers and my oldest brother's wife (my best friend). It's a picture that brings tears to my eyes, as corny as that sounds, because to me, it represents what a REAL family looks like.

That's not something I see when I look at pictures of NMIL or EFIL and L, or even DH's sister. No, Dear Reader, the pictures worth holding on to are the ones that give us feelings of warmth and happiness when we gaze upon them. And when it comes to pictures of narcissists, those feelings are few and far between.

DH and I are happy to throw the shit out with the trash. That way, we're left with only the best memories: the ones that show us what real love looks like.

Overbearing Mothers

Around this time last year, my dear friend Upsi-pants sent me the following article from Psychology Today, thinking that it might give DH and I some more insight into why he behaves the way he does. The article was both informative and humorous, and when I recently revisited it, I thought it might be helpful to some of my readers as well. In particular, I know that I have some readers who are in a position similar to the one I am in: we're just the crazy and manipulative daughters-in-law, right? Three cheers for the controlling DIL Club! All members welcome!

If you're wondering how your dear husband's years as his mother's emotional cheerleader have effected him as an adult, read on to discover the answer.

Does He Have An Overbearing Mother?
Loving A Man Who Has Spent His Growing-Up Years Meeting His Mother's Wants
Published on March 8, 2011 by John R. Buri, Ph.D. in Love Bytes

There are many ways in which a mother's needs, wants, and desires can become overbearing in a family.

Ted grew up with a mother who was a master at the guilt trip. Anytime Ted did not do what his mother wanted, he was hit with a litany of shame-based comments:
-What have I done wrong that my own son won't love me enough to do what I want him to do?
-I am so disappointed in you.
-I expected so much more from you. How could you have let me down like this?

Ted spent his growing-up years conforming to the wishes of his mother.

Jerry's mother lived with the disappointment of having married a man who used her, then abused her, and ultimately discarded her for a younger model. Jerry ended up trying to make up for his father's shortcomings.

Jerry spent his growing-up years trying to be the man for his mother that his father had failed to be.

Jake's mother struggled with depression throughout his years at home. He learned at an early age that he should put aside his needs and wants so that he could tend to those of his mother.

Jake spent his growing-up years trying desperately to make his mother happy.

The specific circumstances for Ted, Jerry, and Jake were different, but in each case, these men had spent the early years of their lives denying their own needs, wants, and desires in an effort to meet those of the most important woman in their lives. [By the way: Show me a family in which the needs, wants, and desires of the mother dominate, and I will show you a partner who is either peace-at-all-costs (he does not want to rock the boat) or else absent (either physically or emotionally).]

So what happens to the Teds, Jerrys, and Jakes of the world once they fall in love? Once there is a new most-important-woman in their lives, how do their growing-up years play themselves out? Generally, not so well. Here are the patterns that one can predictably anticipate when a man has grown up with a mother whose needs and wants have ruled the roost:

1. Weak And Wimpy - Having never learned how to hold his own with the important woman in his life, he lacks a backbone with the woman he loves.
2. Peace-At-All-Costs - Having spent years keeping the peace with the important woman in his life, he now acquiesces over and over again with the woman he loves.
3. Passive-Aggressive - Having lost himself in meeting the needs of the important woman in his life, he does not want to lose himself again, but he also can't stand the thought of disappointing the woman he loves - so he gives her lip service, but seldom follows through.
4. The Dictator - Having found that the important woman in a man's life is going to be someone who wants to rule him, he is determined to never be ruled by a woman again - instead, he is intent on being in charge with the woman he loves.
5. Absent (Either Physically Or Emotionally) - Having learned that getting close to the important woman in your life necessitates meeting her wants and needs (often to the neglect of your own), he is ruled by the maxim that it is best not to get too close to the woman you love.

So is a man who has grown up with an overbearing mother helpless in the wake of his growing-up years? Is his hope for a healthy love relationship doomed forever?


But this is a conditional no. It is based on two conditions:

1st - He has to realize that:
- Weak people make poor love partners
- Keeping the peace may appear to produce unity, but it never does
- Love requires that your yes be yes
- Dictators may be obeyed, but they are seldom loved
- Love is impossible without allowing yourself to get close to the one you love.
2nd - He needs to check his shorts. Often when a man grows up with an overbearing mother, his testicles get misplaced. If he is ever going to have a healthy love relationship, he is going to have to find them again.

My DH falls into the first three categories: Weak and Wimpy, Peace-at-all-Costs, and Passive-Aggressive. As our relationship has progressed however, and he continues to work at becoming a more assertive individual, some of his old thought-patterns and behaviors are starting to fall away, making way for new and healthy ones. He often describes a feeling of discomfort whenever he needs to present himself assertively, or when he has to say "no" to someone, but the point is that HE CAN DO IT, and that the intense training he received over a lifetime of having an overbearing mother is something that can be overcome.

My husband is not the pussy they think he is, and they have far underestimated his inner-strengths and abilities. Pity for them. Because each string they pull, and every game they've played has done nothing but make him stronger and brought us closer together. I can hear them rooting for our demise: and that makes me want to fight that much harder to ensure that we succeed.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Was Yours

Exhibit A, who so often provides us with enough subject matter for countless hours of cannon-fodder fun, also unknowingly provides some useful insight into DH's past life. Well, about as much insight as a stagnant pool of festering dog snot, but insight none-the-less.

Yesterday, after tweeting her little drunken heart out, she posted a photo of herself snuggled up with a male friend of her fiance's. So far, this information isn't particularly revealing in terms of my DH (though it does say something about Exhibit A's apparent desire to maintain covertly-sexual relationships with members of the opposite sex, whom she ALWAYS claims are "just friends.") What I found more interesting than Exhibit A's teeny-bopper crush on all things male, was the twitter-depth dialog she had with SIL after the photo was posted.

SIL wrote: OMG!!! I used to work with him!!!! he used to work at [restaurant]! I loved him too cuz he reminded me of [DH's childhood nickname]! lol!

And to that, Exhibit A responded: Haha yeah!!! He totes does! He's one of [fiance's] good friends and he's visiting from Ohio haha. Love him!

So, if we can just look past the over-the-top, superficial glaze here (which requires swallowing some of our disgust long enough to avoid vomiting) a couple of important things become really apparent.

For one thing, it's really hard not to gag on both of these girls' completely outrageous and shallow proclamations of love. From our perspective of Exhibit A, we can see an obviously narcissistic personality, marked by her very apparent desire to be loved. Thus, the incessant and ridiculous proclamations of love, which always manage to lack originality and profundity. It's just not believable that this girl, or any girl really, who claims to "love" nearly everyone and everything that crosses her path, truly understands the concept.

What is more disturbing to me though, is the comparison these girls' are making to my husband. When I read this short commentary, I was struck by the idea that, in their minds, there is a distinction between who he really is and who they want him to be. It's almost as though they have created a different persona for the person they simultaneously claim to hate, because their narcissistic minds' won't allow them to accept that he is, in fact, one person. They would rather hold fast to the idea that my DH is still the little [childhood nickname] they used to know. It's magical thinking at it's very worst and represents the depth of their denial. It seems to me that denial is the only aspect of their mentality that allows any room for depth. And, having this mentality allows them to hate me even more. After all, I took their little precious from them, didn't I?

Let's just push aside all of Exhibit A's nonsense for now, since it's really unimportant in the scheme of things. Instead, lets focus on SIL: It's really kind of sickening that she is fooling herself so badly. I sense no truth in her words, no reality in her delusional world. She treats everyone as though they are just objects - even this friend of a friend that reminds her of her brother doesn't escape such objectification - He gets treated as just another means to find some faint connection to her brother. And the sentiment that SIL "loves" her brother gets lost in translation. Instead, what I see is someone who is desperately holding on to a person who no longer exists, in order to account for the painful reality of the one who does. This dialog, to me, represents the deluded mentality of at least two people who have not accepted, and may never accept, that my DH is no longer their little [childhood nickname.] They think of him as two people: there is the doormat they knew, and the boundary-defining, flying-monkey-fighting, independent man he is now. And sadly, they prefer the former.

As always, it's sad that they are unable to be happy for his successes. It's sad for them because they are missing out on having a relationship with a truly wonderful man - one who has dug himself out of the shallow grave they made for him and is thriving. The only thing he took with him from that past life are the positive aspects of his personality that he's had from the beginning: compassion, intelligence, and inner-strength. Those are the only aspects of their little [childhood nickname] that remain - and that's not something they can lay claim to.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Exhibit A just loves to toot her own horn.

And spew her hatred all over the place.

And live in a superficial bubble, marked by hypocrisy and sloth.

Observe (My commentary in italics):

January 5, 2012
hey, @famousperson it's my birthday on Wednesday 1/XX/2012!! It would make my day if you wished me happy birthday (:

January 5, 2012
Why the HELL do we have a hoe at work?!?! #iworkinabakery #wtf [This one was too funny to pass up. It doesn't necessarily indicate narcissism. It definitely indicates a lack of intelligence though. I shot, Jonsi].

January 5, 2012
Retweet of her own tweet: hey, @famousperson it's my birthday on Wednesday 1/XX/2012!! It would make my day if you wished me happy birthday (:

January 7, 2012
Hey @famousperson it's my birthday on Wednesday 1/XX/2012! I'd love a birthday wish from you(:

January 7, 2012
Some guy just whistles at me. #peoplestilldothat?

January 7, 2012

January 7, 2012
I will pull out your hair, bite your chin off & gouge out your eyes with confiscated scissors.

January 8, 2012
Soooo tireddddd

January 8, 2012
I will get my way.. #bridezilla

January 8, 2012
Heart skipped again. #anxiety ):

January 8, 2012
It's my birthday on Wednesday 1/XX/2012, @famousperson can I get a birthday wish from you?

January 9, 2012
My eye won't stop twitching

January 10, 2012 
Omg a little girl just told me I look like princess Ariel. So happy right now (: 

January 10, 2012 
It's my birthday [soon], @famousperson!! Can I get a happy birthday? 

January XX, 2012 
Sick like a dog on my birthday.... 

January XX, 2012 
@famousperson today is my birthday!! 

January XX, 2012 
Calendar for today.. [Pic of her IPAD calendar, on which she wrote, "Happy birthday to me!"] 

January XX, 2012 
My dad like, never texts. I love him! [Pic of her cellphone. Message from "Daddy" reads: Happy Birtday!!! How's it going so far? Will call you later. And her response: Thank you! It's okay, I have a cold. Haha.] 

January XX, 2012 
Today is my birthday @famousperson!! Hope to hear from you 

January XX, 2012 
Who wants to help me get a happy birthday tweet from @famousperson? 

January XX, 2012 
Cleaning. On my birthday. 

January XX, 2012 
[In response to the following message from @famousperson: You know I wouldn't forget! Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a great day and year! Thanks for all your kind words and support] She wrote: @famousperson aww thank you so much. it means a lot!! [She includes a pic of all the personal messages she ever got from this guy - one for her birthday last year, one for the cake she made for him and sent a pic, and this one] 

January XX, 2012 
My beautiful delicious birthday cake 2012 [pic of her cake] 

January XX, 2012 
Feeling quite crappy. wish I didn't have to work ):

January XX, 2012 
Someone bring me chicken noodle soup.. At work.. ): 

January XX, 2012 
Ew I'm 23.. 

January XX, 2012 
This cold is kicking my ass! 

January XX, 2012 
Feel like death. Sleeping til 11:30 then work at noon 

January XX, 2012 
So congested, my teeth hurt! 

January 14, 2012 

January 14, 2012 
[In response to her friend, who commented that she liked a photo of the two of them]: I know right! We're hot 

January 15, 2012 
Don't plan on waking me up before noon unless you have food or diamonds. 

January 15, 2012 
#Capricorn's make loyal, stable and good friends. [I think the implication is that she is a capricorn, and therefore this description fits her? Lest we've forgotten how good a friend she really is...]

January 16, 2012 
Why do you hang out with them? #dirty 

January 16, 2012 
Being nice has gotten me nowhere. 

January 16, 2012 
And fuck you too.

January 16, 2012 
I don't like being ignored. It's just fucking rude. 

January 18, 2012 Respect people's relationships. So many fish in the sea, don't try and mess with the one that's already been caught. [Oh the hypocrisy!]

January 19, 2012
My ear hurts so badddddd!!!

January 19, 2012
Just got hit on over the phone. #bymycoworker #awkward

January 19, 2012
I feel like "Sent from my iPhone" could be an appropriate title for my memoir. #trendyproblems

January 19, 2012
I hope it's an ear infection so I can get meds

January 23, 2012
Am I seriously getting sick for a THIRD time this year?!?!?!

January 23, 2012
I feel like I was hit in the face with a boulder.

January 23, 2012
Eating a whole bottle of airborne so I don't get completely sick. #isthatsafe

January 23, 2012
I hate the unknown.

January 25, 2012
Bridges were burned, now it's your turn, to cry.

January 25, 2012
Celebrities are always pregnant and alone. [Her wisdom and astute observations never cease to amaze me. She must have had to dig real deep to teach us this insight.]

January 25, 2012
[Someone else said: i just lost so much respect for someone i thought was nice and i just gained respect for someone i thought was a complete ass #reality] Her response: hate when that happens... /:

January 25, 2012
I want to live in the hamptons. #dream

January 28, 2012
I don't think I've ever seen worse parenting. #goodjob

January 29, 2012
Haters just constantly remind me that I am right. #unbreakable

January 29, 2012
Fairly confident I have a sinus infection. #gross

January 31, 2012
This lady is a bitchhh.

January 31, 2012
Karma is a bitch, and I hope she slaps you in the face.

February 1, 2012
Why is my nickname 'princess' everywhere I go? I mean, I don't hate it.

February 1, 2012
Sick to my stomach..

February 1, 2012
Yes, I've changed. Pain does that to people.

February 2, 2012
How come when I have a day off, my cold is 67x worse?? #notcool

February 2, 2012
My daughters will be ballerinas.

February 2, 2012
You are easily one of the grossest people ever. #dirtybit

February 7, 2012
my dream is to one day have louboutins. #shoeobsessed

February 9, 2012
Mmmmm... I look good. I mean really good. Hey everyone! Come see how good I look!

February 11, 2012
Mad they hired another lady. I liked working with only guys... #nobitches

February 11, 2012
There is so much hate in this world!

February 12, 2012
Why am I so sick this morning?

February 12, 2012
Left work. So sick

February 12, 2012
Feel like dying

February 13, 2012
apparently we have a very contagious virus. My neighbor said to try and stay away from everyone hahaha (she's a nurse lol)

February 13, 2012
my body hurts. #hatebeingsick

February 14, 2012
i hate when i go through old email conversations...... [This one is funny to me because it made me wonder if she was reading through some old email she had with DH. She goes back and forth between reminiscing about what a swell guy my husband was, to hating all over him. If she was in fact reading through old conversations she had with him, this was probably one of those, "Oh-woe-is-me-my-best-friend-in-the-whole-wide-world-is-gone" moments.]

February 17, 2012
I wish everyone would shut the hell up and let me plan my own wedding, thanks.. Your opinion is not needed!

February 18, 2012
Blahhh why do I feel sick again?

February 18, 2012
All I want in life is a 65 hour nap, a gallon of iced coffee, and $400,000,000 in my bank account. Is that too much to ask? #trendyproblems

February 18, 2012
Lots of lame people in this world. #classless

February 19, 2012
If he doesn't show you off like the princess you are, show him to the door. #princessprobz

February 21, 2012
[Name of one of the wealthiest towns, with the highest tax rates, in our state] today. I love it here.

February 21, 2012
Please grow up.

February 21, 2012
Bitches be jealous. #imbetter

February 22, 2012
Today is just a "hey, fuck you" kind of day

February 24, 2012
Yes I am five years old sometimes.

February 29, 2012
Emence pain

February 29, 2012
I better not get this damn virus again.

February 29, 2012
Why does my stomach hurt when I eat SALAD? #wtf

March 2, 2012
There's no religion that could save me, no matter how long my knees are on the floor.. [To my anonymous reader who has left several comments about the state of this girl's knees, given her pension for "servicing" her @famousloverboy: I included this comment for you. I know what exhibit A is saying. I'm implying something else entirely.]

March 3, 2012
Just found my next home. It's a cute little condo in [Name of yet another very wealthy town in our state]. I'm in LOVE...Can I move now? It's so beautiful...Plus, it's near the oceannnnn

March 3, 2012
I would die and a half if @famousperson texted me. (dying in the good way though.. If that's possible)

March 5, 2012
already planning my 24th birthday. wait, what? 24?! #fuckthat

March 6, 2012
Please everyone pray for my nana. She's having heart surgery tomorrow. She's my idol and she means the world to me! Love you nana! ❤

March 6, 2012
You probably think I'm so spoiled. I love that. #whitegirlproblems

March 8, 2012
Stop lying you hoe.

March 8, 2012
Nana is out of surgery! She is doing well. She's so strong, I'm so proud of her! Thank you for your prayers!!

March 8, 2012
lol @ bitches

March 8, 2012
Thankful every day for my Nana! She's strong, pretty & brave. Love her tons! ❤

March 8, 2012
don't let bitches ruin things because they're jealous.

March 9, 2012
So proud of my chooch!!! Front page! [Link to K.B.'s article, published in local newspaper]

March 9, 2012
And that's why me & [male co-worker] are best friends. [Again, couldn't help myself with this one. I find it quite hysterical that she considers so many people to be her "best friends." She's got an awful lot of them. Like, more than even the most vapid seventh grader.]

Friday, March 9, 2012

Helping A Sister Out

Over at Not My Rock, Vanci has posted a comment that one of her readers left, with the request that we chip in our two-cents to help her reader through a rough spot. Vanci has given me permission to write about this on my blog, rather than try and respond in a comment on her blog (I was concerned about hi-jacking the thread).

Her reader, KFL5, asked:

...I sent my mother an email in Dec. saying that I'd like to communicate via email for a while because phone conversations have not been constructive, and that I think everyone of us should be accountable for what we say to each other (in my mind, verbal abuse from her and my 2 siblings; gaslighting and denial of horrible things said to me, etc.). She has completely ignored the letter's content, but sent a cordial email on Christmas and another for my birthday. That's it. Anyone else deal with the heartbreaking feeling of abandonment when you are finally able to set some emotional boundaries? How silly of me to think that my NM would actually have a heart and try to work through our relationship. Nah, easier to just ignore the elephant and keep up your Emily Post facade. Do I wait until eternity for a response? If I give in first and acknowledge that she ignored my email, am I feeding her N supply??? Please help, experienced folks! Your blogs are keeping my head above water. Thank you for your courage and honesty! K.

KFL5, first: I am so sorry you are dealing with this behavior from your FOO. It's not right, it's not fair, and you deserve much, much better. It's truly heartbreaking to see that there are so many children and adult-children out there who have spent their entire lives being abused and longing to feel loved. The situation you have described above speaks to the way my husband has been treated by his own FOO, and it is truly devastating to see it being played out in your life as well. I know, at least on some level, how you are feeling because I've seen my husband beat a nearly identical path with his own parents, siblings, and extended family: The attempts to set necessary and healthy boundaries; the disappointment when those boundaries are not only ignored, but trampled; the despair over knowing that he'll have to shake them loose, if he's ever to survive and thrive. I know all too well the type of pain you are describing, even if I haven't experienced it myself.

Having said that, I would love to share my thoughts, experiences, and advice with you, and I hope that there is something here that will be helpful to you during this difficult time.

Like you, my DH made attempts, with both of his narcissistic parents, to communicate with them in writing. And, also as in your case, those attempts were completely ignored. He wrote a letter to his NM in June of 2010 and then read it to her, aloud, in person. To us, the sharing of this letter with NMIL was the greatest opportunity we could have given her to make some necessary changes to her behaviors in order to salvage whatever chance she had left of continuing a relationship with us. To her, it was just another bridge to be burned. After my DH read the letter to her, she spent minimal time immediately afterwards discussing the issues he brought up and, in a classically narcissistic method, her responses to his heartfelt and painful words showed no signs of remorse, empathy, understanding, or ability to make any changes whatsoever. Her brief, unemotional response to DH's letter in the moments directly following DH's recitation was the only response he ever got. She did not respond to it in writing, she never made mention of it again, and by the next time we heard from her (four or so months later) she had gone back to playing the "everything is peachy" game.

EFIL, my narcissistic father-in-law, has played a similar game. Although he initiated conversation with my DH with a letter of his own in June of 2011, he never genuinely acknowledged or responded to my husband's return letter. Days went by, weeks went by, months went by, without any recognition from his NF of the issues that DH brought up in his response letter.

Now, I think part of the problem with narcissistic individuals is that they would not agree with your sentiment that "...everyone of us should be accountable for what we say to each other." Some narcissists may pay lip-service, and claim that they realize they are accountable for their words and actions; other narcissists, like EFIL, just come right out and say things like this: "[DH's name] in the end, I am not accountable to you, or [Jonsi] for my actions. Nor is [L], your mom or anyone else." I would venture a guess, KFL5, that, whether your NM is paying lip-service, flat-out denying that she is accountable, or simply ignoring your request to communicate in writing, she does not believe she is accountable for her actions or words because she does not view you (or anyone else) as being an equal human being, worthy of respect, kindness, and unconditional love. To her, you are just a pawn, a source of narcissistic-supply, a creature to be used and tossed away when it no longer functions the way she wants it to. Under such a point of view, there is no way that she can offer you the accountability you are asking for, and so deserve.

For me, the fact that DH's letters, requests, and needs were continually ignored, was distressing to witness, and did nothing but make me feel righteously angry on his behalf. KFL5, you asked, "Anyone else deal with the heartbreaking feeling of abandonment when you are finally able to set some emotional boundaries?" Unfortunately, I can't offer much insight here because I was encouraging my husband to set emotional boundaries with his NP's from the time we started dating, and because I came from a much healthier FOO, that was not a difficult expectation on my part. I did not feel "abandoned" by my husband's FOO because, although I had expected to be treated respectfully by them in the beginning, I knew that was simply not something they were capable of, or willing to do. I was too busy being disturbed and appalled by their behaviors to have felt disappointment or get a sense of abandonment. But then again, I had never been accepted by them, or invited to be a part of their inner-circle, so there was no need for me to feel abandoned. I would be interested to hear my DH weigh in on that one for you, as I'm fairly certain he would describe a similar feeling as a result of his very similar situation.

You also wrote, "How silly of me to think that my NM would actually have a heart and try to work through our relationship." Believe me, I hear your sarcasm. I want to affirm that you have every right to expect your NM to respect your needs and boundaries, just as you have the right to feel disappointed and hurt when she doesn't follow through. Having grown up the way you did, with a mother who was only capable of loving you conditionally, it's not surprising that you would have such difficult emotional stress when it comes to dealing with your relationship with her. Although I don't know even half of the details of your childhood, I am guessing that, in terms of emotional harm caused by your NM, you and my husband share a similar story.

And, on to the big question: What to do? "Do I wait until eternity for a response? If I give in first and acknowledge that she ignored my email, am I feeding her N supply???"

I'm thinking back to where DH and I were after NMIL ignored his letter, and I remember well my husband's urge to allow his NM to get away with it. Technically speaking, he's STILL waiting for a response from his NM, but the further and further away we get from her, the more he is realizing that he'll be waiting forever. Even if she were to respond to it, it would not be enough. She has an opportunity, every single day, to get up and be a different person. She has an opportunity, every day, to begin a journey inside of herself to discover who she is and why her life has taken the path that it has. She has the opportunity, every day, to change her behaviors and make genuine attempts to solve the severe issues that have been brought to her attention and treat my husband, myself, and our children, as equals and as human beings. The fact of the matter is though, that every day, she wakes up and chooses not to do these things.

At the time, DH and I decided to wait and see if NMIL would respond to his letter, in any way, shape, or form. We chose not to contact her, during her cold-shoulder routine, because we had clearly and firmly set our boundaries and were giving her the opportunity to show us that she could maintain them.

She pissed on that opportunity, by first completely ignoring us and the letter for four months, and then by contacting us and choosing not to address the issues that had been brought to the table. To this day, and probably forever more, she'll be pissing on that opportunity. And boy, that's a lot of piss. At some point, DH had to acknowledge that he was worth a hell of a lot more than a bucket of piss and accept that it was time to move on.

My two cents? Wait for a response. And not just any response, but the kind of response that shows you she got the message, she's willing to begin making changes, and that she's genuine in her desire to create a healthier, more respectful relationship with you. My DH has come face-to-face with such a similar dilemma, on more than one occasion: "I've said what I needed to say. I've told her what I need. She's ignoring it. Can't I just call her/email her/see her and say it again? Maybe she didn't hear me. Maybe she didn't get it. Maybe I can explain it a different way and then it will be different. Maybe when we have a baby, things will change. Maybe, maybe, maybe." I kept telling him, there can be no "maybe's," and no "kinda-sorta's." You're worth more than that. You're worth more than her bare-minimum. You're worth more than the crumbs she's willing to drop off of the table and on to the floor for you. It's not YOUR fault that she is incapable and unwilling to change. That responsibility rests entirely on her shoulders.

When NMIL finally called us, after four months of ignoring DH's letter, she'd reverted to her old "Emily Post facade." And between the cold-shoulder, and her complete obliteration of the giant fucking elephant in the room, it became painfully clear that she was not going to change. KFL5, you can break HER silence (for it is not yours to claim) and try again, but that will only be showing her that you are more willing to accept her crumbs, than you are determined to be treated with dignity and respect. Of course, how you decide to proceed is entirely up to you, and it's my feeling that no one in this community would think less of you for choosing to reach out to her or to try again. I don't know what it's like to feel such longing for love from my own mother, for I was loved unconditionally and without question, but I do know what's it like to watch a loved one suffer under that exact scenario. I know that yours is not an easy path, and I wish you the very best of luck. No matter what, you are not to be blamed for your NM's inabilities or short-comings. It is not your fault that she either can't or won't love you the way you deserve to be loved.

From my heart, I wish you well.


Thursday, March 8, 2012


I recently found the following tweet on SIL's twitter page:

I'm proud of myself for making progress, 
even if no one notices...

I wanted to share it with you, Dear Reader, because I think the message behind these words is a painful one and, given that SIL is a little budding narcissist (working diligently to follow in her NM's footsteps) it is also indicative of the dysfunction from which she came and can not seem to escape.

Perhaps there are people who would read this statement and be lulled by it's superficial glaze. I am not one of those people. To me, this statement screams sadness, loneliness, desperation, and self-loathing. It reveals deep and profound psychological wounds, and displays the value of SIL's self-worth. Despite the message she is trying desperately to convey, these are the words of a very emotionally-crippled individual.

This statement, to me, reads as a call for attention, rather than as evidence of true pride. Now first, we have to define our terms: I realize that there are two basic definitions of pride; one having a positive connotation (as in: an inwardly directed emotion of pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable or creditable to oneself; having or showing self-respect or self-esteem; a sense of personal worth; in this sense, it is the product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging), the other having a negative connotation (as in: an inflated sense of one's personal status or accomplishments, often used synonymously with hubris; self-important, disdainful, imperious, presumptuous, conceited). To be clear, the kind of pride I am referring to, and indeed the kind of pride that I think SIL is referring to, falls under the first category (of the positive connotation), rather than the second.

According to Wikipedia (bolding for emphasis, mine), "Philosophers and social psychologists have noted that pride is a complex secondary emotion which requires the development of a sense of self and the mastery of relevant conceptual distinctions (e.g., that pride is distinct from happiness and joy) through language-based interaction with others...In this sense, the opposite of pride is either humility or guilt; the latter in particular being a sense of one's own failure...When viewed as a virtue, pride in one's appearance and abilities is known as virtuous pride, greatness of soul or magnanimity." I find it intriguing that, in order for a person to feel true pride in oneself, she must first have a developed sense of self as well as the ability to feel humility or guilt over her failures.

These are prerequisites that no narcissist will ever be able to fulfill, resulting in the narcissist's version of pride, which is ALWAYS a false front designed to protect an undervalued self.

And in the case of SIL's declaration, that is precisely what we are witnessing here. First of all, to be using Twitter as her medium for display, SIL is countering her intended message with a more subtle one: that this is not a statement of pride, but a call for attention. I would say that, any time a person feels the need to publicize her pride, then her pride is more a false-front than it is a genuine feeling of deep self-respect. Pride, by definition, is an inwardly-directed emotion, not an outwardly-directed one. Under such a definition, SIL would never have felt the need to make such a statement.

Furthermore, when a person feels true pride, there is no further requirement on the part of others to either acknowledge or validate that feeling. In such a case, a person could make a statement: "I am proud" or "I am proud of my accomplishments" or "I am proud of so-an-so's accomplishments" without the added observation or commentary that "no one has noticed" said accomplishments. Instead of conveying a message of self-worth, SIL's tweet tells us that her pride is false, she longs for attention from those individuals she feels are not offering it to her, and that she has a sense of injured merit because of their ignorance.

In my opinion, her "tweet," which can be seen as the briefest of looks inside her damaged psyche, is a definitive indication of her own internal struggles and her lack of self-development. She doesn't have pride because she was never taught to develop it in a healthy way. Remembering that her NM also uses a display of pride as a means to put up a false front, it is not surprising that SIL has learned to do the same.

One final note: Like so many of NMIL's messages, SIL's trails off into a deep emotional void with the use of her ellipses...

Friday, March 2, 2012

One Helluva Narcissist

About an hour or so after posting her response to me on the Friends and Family Forum, "been there" left the following response to a post in which a woman wanted to know if her behaviors made her a "bad MIL."

I have always had a good relationship with my son and welcomed my DIL with open arms. I thought that our side of the family was loved and accepted until one day out of the blue, I was informed by my DIL that her and my son and grandson would never be back to visit us. Wow, that was a shock and that's not even mentioning all the great times our families had together and everything we've done for them.

That got me searching the internet to see if anyone else was experiencing a similar problem. I discovered that this is all over the place. These young girls are separating their husbands from the herd of their families of origin, while at the same time maintaining the status quo of their own families of origin. These poor mother in laws are trying to figure out what they have done's easy to point the finger at the crazy MIL. Mind you I'm sure there are some of those too, but there seems to be a trend here, where the DIL is demanding the DH to make a choice between her and his family of origin.

This is a pretty sad commentary. These young girls have no idea how devastating there behavior is and don't seem to care. It looks like they just want to be the sole focal point of there husbands, aka "control freaks". My condolences to all of us MIL who have lost our dear sons needlessly to these very misguided young women.

This post really solidifies the image of a narcissist for us, doesn't it Dear Reader? After reading her diatribe in response to my post, and then finding this little gem, I felt I had gathered enough evidence to permanently store "been there" under the narcissist tab in my mental filing cabinet. She bore an uncanny resemblance to NMIL in her levels of disillusionment and in her will to remain blissfully ignorant to the truth. In particular, "been there's" seeming lack of interest and ability to self-reflect had become apparent.

So, are we ready for round two? Here we go:

I have always had a good relationship with my son and welcomed my DIL with open arms. I thought that our side of the family was loved and accepted until one day out of the blue, I was informed by my DIL that her and my son and grandson would never be back to visit us. Wow, that was a shock and that's not even mentioning all the great times our families had together and everything we've done for them.

What do I see here? I see lies, delusional thought patterns, black-and-white thinking, and absurdity. I also see blame, contradiction, failure to self-reflect, and a serious case of the me-me-me's. This woman, who first claims to have "welcomed her DIL with open arms" simultaneously places all of the responsibility for her estrangement on that very same woman. (Yeah, what a welcome that must have been!) There is something fundamentally problematic in a statement that reads, "[I] welcomed my DIL...[but our side of the family was not loved and accepted]." Now, it stands without reason that, in any relationship, there must be acceptance on the part of both parties. HOWEVER, this woman seems, at least to me, to have put an imbalanced amount of responsibility on the shoulders of the newcomer (the person joining her family, as she so carefully points out) to love and accept the family she was attempting to join. I see it like this: When you have a guest, it is customary, and natural to make that guest feel welcome in your home, rather than the other way around. It wouldn't make much sense for the guest (see: outsider, newcomer, in-law) to be expected to make YOU feel comfortable in your own home. That's just not the way it works.

Not only do I doubt the honesty behind the claim that "been there" welcomed her DIL with open arms, but I'm willing to bet that, if this woman were capable of even the slightest bit of self-reflection, even she would know she's full of shit. I'd bet my bottom dollar that her DIL got an even colder reception than I did after I left my "deposition" on the Friends and Family forum: in fact, I'd venture a guess that she got the welcome mat swept right out from under her.

"Been there's" first two sentences immediately brought me back to our first apartment fiasco. For those of you who have not been here from the beginning, a bit of background: Naunt "welcomed" me into her home, and indeed, into her family, by telling me that I was not welcome at all. Just a few weeks after having announced our pregnancy to DH's FOO, DH and I made the decision to move in together. The original plan was that I was going to move in to DH's apartment, which was being rented to him by his Naunt. It was an in-law apartment situated over her garage...the perfect location for a manipulative, overbearing aunt to keep tabs on one of her favorite sources of narcissistic supply: my yet-to-be-made aware DH. The weekend that I moved in, Naunt expressed her displeasure to DH about all of the "demands" she felt I was making on her in regards to me moving in to the apartment (You know, "demands" like "Is it alright if Jonsi brings her cat?" and "Can we put up some shelving units on the walls in order to make more storage room for the baby?") The day I moved in and unpacked all of my belongings at the apartment, DH arranged a meeting with Naunt, at her request, to look over and re-sign the lease. Although it was never stated directly, I had reason to believe that Naunt never intended my inclusion on the discussion, nor on the re-signing of the lease. She knew I was coming to the meeting, but I doubt she wanted me there.

Once there, the conversation took mere moments to turn into a rather text-book display of manipulation and gas-lighting, complete with Naunt's absurd and phoney tears and narcissistic rage. The moment it became clear to me that I was not welcome there (in Naunt's house, apartment, family, or life) was when she said to my husband, "Please don't think we want you to leave." And then she looked at me, paused, looked back at DH and said, "Well, we don't want YOU to leave, [DH's childhood nickname.]" That was a defining moment for me, because in that second, I understood the implication: I, little Jonsi Lou-Who, was not welcome there.

And the funny thing is that I'll just bet Naunt still walks around telling people that she "welcomed Jonsi" into her family "with open arms." Needless to say, the day I moved in happened to be the same day that we moved out.

And "been there's" use of the phrase "our family" touches on another issue: the distinct separation of what is "theirs" and what is "mine" by virtue of possession. In other words, people like NMIL, Naunt, and "been there" all seem to share a philosophy that not only stakes claim on the lives of other human beings, but that also refuses to truly accept "outsiders" into their family-unit. Like Naunt and NMIL, I'm betting that "been there" had firmly solidified "her family" as being one that DIL would never become a part of, long before DIL even realized she was being excluded. DIL probably walked into the mess, thinking that she would not only be starting a new family of her own (comprised of herself, her new husband, and their future children) but that she'd become part of a larger clan as well - her husband's FOO.

From the sounds of it, DIL was like me, and figured out pretty quick that it was time to get the hell out of Dodge, before the shit really hit the fan.

And "been there" didn't like that. So now, it's all "out of the blue" and "what a shock" that her son and his family don't want anything to do with her. And here again, I call bullshit. Anyone who claims not to understand why her adult child has estranged himself, but then follows up that claim with statements of entitlement and stipulation, is either lying to herself or lying to us: but either way, she's lying. And the outcome is that we've now got very strong evidence, with or without actual circumstantial facts, that this woman is one helluva narcissist.

What she doesn't care to realize is that when you put conditions on love, your "loved ones" don't feel loved, they only feel trapped. Having "great times" with her son and DIL and "doing a lot for them" does not mean that they are locked-in to having a relationship with her, much as she'd like to delude herself into thinking. As long as she continues to think that her son and his wife "owe her," for "all that she has done," then she will never be able to maintain a healthy relationship with them.

These young girls are separating their husbands from the herd of their families of origin, while at the same time maintaining the status quo of their own families of origin. These poor mother in laws are trying to figure out what they have done's easy to point the finger at the crazy MIL. Mind you I'm sure there are some of those too, but there seems to be a trend here, where the DIL is demanding the DH to make a choice between her and his family of origin.

I am struck by the irony of such a statement, which comes directly on the heels of the message she directed at me. To all of those who commented on my last post, I commend your insight and wisdom: this woman did indeed side immediately with NMIL without ever needing to see her version of the events I had described. What a laugh I get from seeing this anonymous woman pretend to empathize with my plight, before immediately and unabashedly contradicting herself. "I too have had a MIL from hell," and "I'm sorry you have to endure the behavior of a sick individual" she wrote. And then, out the other side of her mouth: "These poor mother-in-laws" and "it's easy to point the finger at the crazy MIL." Who was it that was REALLY content on "cutting DH from the herd?" Who was it that really "demanded he choose between me and them?"

I'll give you a hint Dear Reader: The only one who ever demanded that he make a choice was the one who drew a line from the very beginning - the one who made the distinction between "her family" and "DIL's family."

These young girls have no idea how devastating there behavior is and don't seem to care. It looks like they just want to be the sole focal point of there husbands, aka "control freaks".

Arguing with a person like this in person would prove to be a tiring and useless endeavor. It would truly be an exercise in futility. Again, I think there is great humor in the idea that, if this individual were only capable of self-reflection, she would be able to see that her statements as outlined above are a reflection of herself, and not of anyone else. She must be such a puny and weak person inside, that the realization that she is, in fact, the callous one, would destroy her. Like NMIL, it is "been there's" issues with control and her own need to be the "sole focal point" that has driven away what could have been the most loving and meaningful relationships she could have hoped to be a part of.

In terms of dialog, there is one thing on which "been there" and I agree: This is, indeed, a pretty sad commentary.