Friday, July 13, 2012

Amidst A Pile Of Junk

A dream (in italics). My analysis follows each section of the dream.

DH and I decided, upon waking, to get up and go to NMIL's house. It was so early that our babies were still sleeping and we wanted to go right then because we somehow knew that no one was home at her house. So we got in the car and I drove us to her house. Once there, DH immediately went to NMIL's car, as though he knew there was going to be something in there that we'd want to see. There was, but I was already in the kitchen, looking for evidence. I think I went to the kitchen because, in most people's houses, the kitchen is sort of the "heart" of the home. Most people keep their calendars there, or drop important things off on the counter to inspect at a later time. So I went there to find my "evidence," even though I had no idea what it would be or what, precisely, it would be "evidence" of, I just felt I would find something important there. Could be a nod to my behaviors in my waking life, where I'm always searching for "evidence" of what NMIL is up to and what her next attack on DH will look like.

While I was searching in the kitchen, DH came running in and told me he'd found stuff in the back of NMIL's car that I would want to see. He seemed excited, and I was worried that it was a "good" sort of excitement (like a kid on Christmas) instead of an anxious excitement, which was how I felt and how I sort of thought he should feel too. I know, there I was, in my dream world, imposing my feelings on DH. But I just couldn't help but worry that DH was having too much "fun" snooping around in his mother's stuff, when I believed he should be taking things really seriously and be aware that we could get in trouble for what we were doing! I mean, I knew we were breaking and entering, and the feeling that someone could come home at any minute and catch us was always dancing on the edge of my consciousness.

I asked DH what he found in his mother's car and he indicated that it was stuff for the baby. He said there were two things, two gifts for the baby, and that he'd go back and get them. I went back to my search in the kitchen, where I had narrowed down my search to a huge pile of notes and shit on the counter. Mostly, I noticed a lot of junk as I sifted through the pile: doctor's receipts, post-it-notes with useless information scribbled on them, pages and pages of blank paper, in various shapes, sizes and colors. But in the midst of all of that crap, I did see a couple things that caught my attention. Upon waking, the only thing I remember was a piece of paper in the shape of a bookmark. All I knew was that it was a "thank you" note of some kind, and that it was addressed to me, except that whoever had written it had used my maiden name and they spelled it wrong three or four times before they finally got it right. I didn't know who it was from, or what else was on it, but I somehow knew that the person who had sent it to her had intended that she turn around and send it to me, which I knew she would never do, and explained why it was sitting in a pile of junk on HER kitchen counter. And then I dropped it before I could see more and began frantically looking for it again because I felt that the information on the note was very important. When I woke from the dream, this seemed like one of the most important parts: Amidst a mountain of crap and unimportant stuff, NMIL had one nugget of information that was important to me for some reason. My thought was that she either realized it's importance and that's why she was holding on to it, or else she didn't know of it's importance, but was keeping it anyway because there was a remote possibility I might want or need it and she flat our refused to give it to me. It was mine, by right, but she wanted to keep it for herself and keep it from me. I also thought it was interesting that whoever had sent it to me didn't know me very well, or else was trying to insult me by using my maiden name instead of my married name, and spelling it wrong to boot. Furthermore, it was someone who CLEARLY didn't know NMIL very well, or else they wouldn't have sent it to her if they really intended for me to get it. I remember thinking something like, "Hmm. So she's getting my mail here and clearly NOT sending it to me."

DH pulled out one of the gifts from the back of NMIL's car that was intended for the baby. It was a pink booster seat, in a box. It looked used and junky and I thought, "No, no, that's all wrong!" Our baby is a boy not a girl. At first I thought maybe she intended it for DD, but then I shook myself of the inclination to give NMIL the benefit of the doubt and said to myself, "No, it's definitely for DS. She either got him something pink because she doesn't care that he's a boy and that it would be insulting; or because she intended to be insulting." I also thought it was inappropriate because DS was not old enough to be using the booster seat, and WE ALREADY HAD ONE for DD and SHE KNEW we already had one. All pretty self-explanatory, I think. My subconscious was already doing the dream analysis for me. Also, I got the sense that she was not even going to send us the gifts that she had bought because she was really just using the fact that she had purchased them as proof to other people that she still 'cared' about her son and grandchildren. Maybe the gifts were in her car because she was going to return them. We took them because I felt entitled to them, even though they were "all wrong" and I didn't really want them.

I asked DH what the second gift was and he said he didn't know because he hadn't gotten a good enough look at it the first time and because it had suddenly disappeared. I felt that this was not an indication that DH was lying to me about it suddenly disappearing (I mean, in reality, that would be very strange for an object to disappear from the back of the car if no one had removed it) but that he was being unobservant about the circumstances (something he was trained to be) and that it had, in fact, been removed after he walked away from the car the first time. It frustrated me because I wanted to know what the second gift had been and knew I never would.

DH then produced two bath mats, which were not the second gift he had originally told me about, but somehow I knew they were for us as well and that he just hadn't found them on his first search of the car. Bath mats. Pretty useless in the scheme of things. And it's not like we NEED bath mats. If we did, we'd just go out and buy them ourselves. I think the bath mats were an indication of how little NMIL knows about us, or will ever know.

When DH went back out to the car again, I continued my search, more frantically now, for the document that I had dropped. I knew time was running out. Sure enough, DH yelled from outside, "Oh shit! It's my mother!" and I had to drop everything I was holding and run back outside. NMIL was pulling up behind our car, trying to block us in from escaping, and DH yelled, "We're just leaving!" I thought that was funny because he made it sound like we'd just come for a visit, instead of to snoop and steal things, and decided we were going to leave because no one had been home...even though the person we had been coming to "visit" was just pulling in. We got in our car, and I managed to get it out of the tight spot NMIL had put it in. I think I did like an 18-point turn, but then I finally got it out of the spot and we drove away. No one followed us. Just like in my observations about narcissists in real life: when you walk away, they don't follow you.

We got back to my mother's house and I told her that we had gone to NMIL's house. My mother looked at me, worried, and said, "No, Jonsi, don't do this." And I said, "No mom, it's alright. We weren't going there to talk to NMIL. We were just going there to find stuff and steal it." Then I woke up. That last part had me laughing. No mom, we weren't going there to talk to NMIL (what would be the point of that?) We were going to find stuff...and steal it! Naturally. But besides that, while I was fighting the urge that "stealing is wrong" and "we were breaking and entering and could get in trouble for it!" I justified what we had done because I felt we had a right to things that were ours, and because by sheer virtue of the fact that NMIL was keeping things from us, we should have them.


  1. This is interesting Jonsi. I keep going back to why you used the word "stealing" though. I mean, even if you had every right to the things, you probably wouldn't have felt it was stealing. You probably would've felt you were just "taking things back". Is there maybe some conflict that you don't feel you have a right to these things? (Not that you don't have a right, I'm just playing devil's advocate here.)

    1. Hmm. A very good point, Jessie. I think I am conflicted about what is "hers" by definition, and what I truly have a "right" to. In my waking life, I feel like she has "information" about me (that is more than likely false) and I rather wish she would "give it back" to me, or at the very least, stop spewing it forth.

      And the post that I recently took down was about some nonsense I read about her on Facebook. I think that's the information that is "important" in that it says a lot about who she is, but "unimportant" in the sense that my knowledge of it isn't really furthering our cause. Also, I feel like I'm sort of "stealing" the information I find about them online because they (read: the narcissists) aren't willingly sharing it with us. I mean, I guess you could say they have to assume that we might find it, but they aren't just openly telling us anything about their lives.

      Very interesting question, Jessie.

    2. Well, just another thought...but do you really have a right to know about anything in their life? I mean, maybe should no contact go both ways. And I hope you don't take that as judgemental or accusitory in any way. Just thoughts to ponder from an "outsider". Maybe you need to email me that post so I can further understand and I am missing something. But (and I actually totally get this, but might be worth you thinking about) what do you want to find when you look a this information? What are you hoping for? Because we, really, do nothing without having motivation. I mean, I get it. For me personally, it would be nice to have a "thing". Something to point to to say "see? see, she is the bitch I've been concerned about". I've often hoped that NMIL would loose her cool, snap at me in front of DH, tell me all the shit I know she feels about me. Just get it out there. But she hasn't, and most likely won't, as that is her MO. It is a hard thing to swallow.
      Also, I get the blurring of "hers" and "yours". That is the MO of the narc. You don't have a right to feel what is yours is actually yours and that you have control over it. Just thought it might be worth thinking about what things you think she has of "yours".
      And as for the information she's spewing (and if that is one of the things) that sucks. I also know all to well about that. NMIL likes to depict me as this helpless, bitchy, snobby, anxiety ridden nut job. It kills me that she lies about me and that others so readily take her "descriptions" of me as fact. NM is always feeding her husband and my sister crap about me. Her distorted little senses of reality. It REALLY SUCK. Because in so many ways, I can't counter her little character assassinations. But that is one of the things narcs do best. Paint little melodramas about how horrible everyone else is, all behind your back.
      I've had to really let it go. It is so difficult, but I had to realize there was nothing that I could do to stop them. And if these people wanted to believe them, there also was nothing I could do about that. I had to just be the best person I could be and hope that, someday, they would see the narcs lies and manipulations. And, well, if they don't, fuck them. Not my problem. I'm really working on defining what is not my damn problem.
      And again, hope you saw my comment as just questions to get you thinking about things, not as judgments.

    3. Jessie, You're right. We can't control them and, if we try, it makes us just like them. Poking around in a narcissist's life won't change a damn thing and is a waste of valuable head space.

      Meanwhile, getting defensive and trying to counter their lies just plays right into their game. People who believe their bullshit are not worthy of my friendship.

      I'm finally realizing that what other people choose to do with their lives is not my problem or responsibility.

      Fuck 'em!

    4. Jessie, I welcome any and all criticisms you have, including the ones where you might be thinking, "Jonsi, are you NUTS?" You're not missing anything at all, and as Mulderfan pointed out, "Poking around in a narcissist's life won't change a damn thing and is a waste of valuable head space." That's what I'm trying to get through my thick skull right now. TW, below, I believe thinks differently about it, and that's okay too. I think I'm going to find my happy medium and do what I need to do to maintain my own emotional health and well-being. If, in poking around, I manage to find something that affects me directly, then I think that might validate my reasons for doing it, at least on some level. But I really have to back away from it for now, or else it's just going to pull me under.

      I mean, I'm all about not being kept in the dark about what's coming my way, but I think some of what I do is just about obsessing for the sake of obsessing at this point.

      And for the record, it feels really good that you guys are with me no matter what I choose to do.

      Jessie, you sound like my mom here: "I've had to really let it go. It is so difficult, but I had to realize there was nothing that I could do to stop them. And if these people wanted to believe them, there also was nothing I could do about that." That's a solid bit of truth there, that there is nothing we can do about how they choose to behave. And we have to learn to let it go. My mom's a fighter, don't get me wrong. But she also knows when to let it go because holding on to it isn't going to help anyone, least of all herself. I'm trying to do that and maintain peace within the space of my own head.

    5. Oh! I got so carried away, forgot this part: "...but do you really have a right to know about anything in their life?"

      I think that the fact that I'm having such a difficult time answering this is proof that maybe I DON'T have a right to know. I mean, maybe looking at their stupid Farcebook pages or whatever, because they've made that be public knowledge. But aside from that, no, it's none of my business. (And even about the facebook shit, I don't WANT it to be my business.) So I think that may be a part of the dream; that we went into HER house and were snooping through HER shit. And what did I get out of it? Well literally, we walked away with nothing, not even the evidence I had found. We walked out empty handed and with nothing more than anxiety in our guts. Doesn't seem all that helpful.

    6. OK, second response first. I think that's what caught me, is you were in her house with her shit. And literally, HER JUNK. I think you said it, in a way, you are obsessing about her JUNK. And in the end, you got caught (which means that you felt you probably should have got caught? Since it was your dream and all?)
      OK, and secondly, you are NOT NUTS, my dear. You are dealing with a narcissists an that's there mode of attack. To make you crazy. Now, I totally understand your desire to "check" on things. I get that you hope to find something that will give you a heads up. I understand wanting to learn about these crazy people who have invaded your life. I understand because I, too, have taken to "checking" things out. Some of it is just natural. Narcissists are so good at creating false realities, that it can make you feel so disorientated, and you grab at an anything to right yourself (so to speak). And like you said, it's not like it's not public knowledge...most likely, not coincidentally. I'm guessing they want you (and more importantly DH) to find it. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of those posts an such are purposely directed AT you both. In a sneaky, underhanded way.
      But back to my point, there has been many times I wish I had some "evidence" some "proof", something I could hold on to. Like I said, I get that. And I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. But, I agree there does become a point of obsession, where you are wasting your valuable time. Maybe focusing on the wrong part? Maybe needing to focus a bit more on your offense instead of your defense? And really, I think, more importantly, that YOU might feel this way (although I don't want to suggest I know your thoughts). I'm only wondering because of the way you phrased so much of what you said. Your guilt, your anxiety, your feeling of dread, of looking for something you couldn't find, or trivial things (with the bathmats), and ultimately, getting caught. I mean, our dreams often are trying to tell us something about ourselves (I believe). And I think my point was, what was your dream trying to tell YOU?
      And one other quick thing. "And we have to learn to let it go. My mom's a fighter, don't get me wrong. But she also knows when to let it go because holding on to it isn't going to help anyone, least of all herself." Sometimes the strongest fight is knowing when to turn and walk away. When to quit engaging in the battle because you need to focus on the war.
      Hang in there, Jonsi. I think you have all the strength you need to win this war for your family.

      And I wanted to add, you are struggling with things the rest of us have been dealing with our whole lives. You are so "new" to the crazy that it must be horrible after all the normal you had your whole life. What you are feeling is normal (at least in my assessment of what people come up against with narcs). What you are going through is, unfortunately, typical. It's a difficult process. And we are all here to walk it with you.

    7. Jessie, thank you. I think to say anything more than that would take away from how I feel about what you've said, the kindness you've shared with me, and your truths. Just thank you.

  2. Wow, what a mother-lode of a dream! I see you being pro-active in terms of trying to stay one step ahead of what she's gonna pull next on you, DH, the kids. (Checking social networking sites to see what's up with NMIL/NSIL.)
    WHO never "seems" to get the spelling of your name correct?! Or the ages of the kids-which one is DS/DD?! I well remember the mechanizations she went through with the "gift" for your baby shower. She never intended to give you that gift anyway-it was all for show. The bathmats-WHO has repeatedly attempted to WALK ALL OVER your lives? As if you're so insignificant, you may as well be...bath mats. (She could have at least treated you like something a bit more fitting-perhaps antique oriental rugs! From the McMansion.) "We're just leaving!"-WHO plays "Let's Pretend?" WHO has never ONCE said, "Thank You" to you or DH? WHO has NEVER allowed you to feel "Welcome" in their lives-from the get? WHO has consistently with held-or attempted to use material stuff-to manipulate you and DH?
    This dream is just loaded with meaning. And your mother worries. Like a normal mom. I don't know your mom but I do know FWIW, I like her. Probably because she has such a phenomenal DD!

    1. You've picked up on so many of those subtle (or not-so-subtle?) little "pokes" in this stupid game NMIL is playing. I want to think it's pragmatic to look up as much as I can about them, but often I just end up feeling like a stalker! (EEW!)

      I also understand why you feel the way you do about keeping on my toes and trying to be one step ahead of them (I mean, hello, you've lived through some of the worst experiences with your absolutely insane stalking FOO). I appreciate your support, TW. I really do. I feel like all of you guys are family in some way, like we'll have this lifelong bond, even as we all grow and get stronger and perhaps don't need to lean on each other as much. There's something here. I can feel it.

      Thank you.