Monday, August 12, 2013

An Ending

"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair." - C.S. Lewis

Here on this blog, as in life, I have both sought the truth and told the truth and I will continue to do so in all of my endeavors. Today, just now, I came to the fantastic resolve that I would move on; that my life holds far greater things in it than dwelling on the likes of the evil people I have known and who have hurt me and those I love. That is not to say that I feel anyone in this community is wasting his or her own time by thinking about their own pasts, or the demons that hurt them; instead it is a realization that I have done the work I've needed to do and am ready to move on. I have decided that today is the day I would effectively end this particular journey and this particular blog. That is not to say that I won't ever write again, because I will continue to use this blog as a place to monitor and record any further attempts my husband's FOO makes to contact us. But I will not be writing on a regular basis anymore.

I will leave my blog open for others to read it - I feel that the truths I have shared here may yet help more wounded souls who are just beginning their journeys toward truth and self-discovery. I will also leave my blog open to comments and continue to check my email on a regular basis for those who wish to reach out to me or continue a dialog with me. And I want to thank my friends and fellow bloggers for sharing their stories with me and offering me exactly the kind of support I had hoped to find when I first came on the scene, first as an observer, then as a commentator, and eventually as a blogger.

"The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is." - Winston Churchill

I feel that my blog has been a worthwhile pursuit and the hours I have spent writing and sharing my experiences have been extremely healing for me. From day one, I felt welcomed into what I considered a community and even though our members sometimes come and go (and in a way I am now doing the same), I think there is some long-lasting bond, some camaraderie between all of us. I've always thought of us as a group of sort of ragtag misfits - we never fit in anywhere else before, but somehow we fit in here. Not to be cheesy, but there's a vein of love here, a thread that runs through each of us and ties us together. I feel for many of you as I have felt for my husband - I'm sorry you had the parents you did, I'm sorry for anyone who has ever had to deal with a narcissist, for anyone who has ever wanted a sociopath to care and realized that it would never happen, for anyone who has ever tied up his or her own self-worth in the value that some asshole assigned. I feel for you, and I'll never stop feeling for you.

DH and I have big plans and projects underway. Our family is growing and I am more confident than ever that we will survive and thrive. I was talking with my grandmother this morning and one of the topics that came up was how different my FOO is, that I've never seen another like ours, that we're lucky to be a part of it and have each other. And I hope to take the knowledge and wisdom and the love I've always had in my life and share it - with you, my dear friends and readers, with my husband, with our children, and with other souls who cross our paths. I feel I have a lot of growth still to achieve and a lot to offer to the world. I'm glad I have taken this journey. I'm glad I chose to share it.

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." - T.S. Elliot

Thank you friends.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's All Relative

Today, I found myself thinking about the correlation between a person's level of dysfunction and their inability slash unwillingness to discuss their interpersonal conflicts in particular with those they have engaged with in some kind of power play. For the sake of this post, I'm going to loosely define "normal" as the non-personality disordered and "personality disorder" as specifically relating to those who exhibit narcissistic and sociopathic behaviors. So what I've noticed is that for fairly obvious reasons, it's a whole hell of a lot easier to discuss interpersonal conflict with a normal person than it is to discuss with the personality disordered.

I have about a million examples I could share about how the non-personality disordered tend to engage in conflict resolution because I've generally lived that way my whole life - with a FOO consisting of pretty good problem solvers and critical thinkers and perhaps most importantly, honest individuals. I'll give you an example: Sometime last year, I became pretty concerned about the child of a loved one as I felt that she was exhibiting obsessive-compulsive behaviors that had started at a very young age and I was genuinely worried that she might not be able to cope with her anxieties as time passed. Unfortunately, not only did I end up offering my unsolicited advice to her parents, but in hindsight, I realized that I did it in such a way that came across as being rather offensive and disconcerting. I meant well, but I didn't immediately recognize the signs from my loved ones that my opinions were really not welcome. And so I kept at it, offering my thoughts and opinions, and even talking in such a way that probably came across as though I knew more about their own child and what was best for her than they did.

I was concerned for her, but it simply wasn't my business to step in and offer my advice when it wasn't asked for and when it was, however subtly, being refused. But my point is this: the parents of this little girl were not pleased with what they felt was me butting into their business and their parenting. I think that when it became apparent that I really wasn't picking up on the clues that they didn't want my opinions on the matter, they decided they had to address it directly. And so my loved one called me on the phone one night, obviously distressed, and explained that she wanted me to stop offering advice and opinions and that she disagreed with me almost completely. She described her feelings and her thoughts. She shared with me her fear that, even if I didn't share my thoughts aloud to their daughter, that she would feel I thought these things about her and that it would make her self-conscious or feel badly. She asked me to stop sharing my thoughts with other members of the extended family (which I had been doing and which I'd shared with her because I thought the information I gathered from another close relative of mine, who also had an anxiety-prone child, would be helpful to her).

I felt bad while I was talking to her. I remember getting sweaty and hot and having an overall sense that I had stepped over some boundaries that I shouldn't have. I told her that I would honor her request not to talk with extended family members anymore concerning the issue and I apologized for having put her in such a position that she felt she needed to address it with me. And days later, I was still thinking about it. I told my husband in days to come that I could understand why my language had been offensive (I remember using phrases like, "What should WE do about this?" and "WE have to do something,") and that I had come to the conclusion that it's not support if the opposing party isn't asking for it and makes it clear that it's unwanted. I was worried for a couple of days that the loved ones who had taken up issue with me might attempt to avoid me because they were so upset with me. My worries were unfounded, mostly because I think they were reassured that I would really work at keeping my opinions to myself in the future (which I have) and that I saw the issues from their perspective (which I did.)

It was such a difference from having to deal with the personality disordered, where not only do you have to account for the fact that they tend to be the most dishonest people you'll ever meet, but they are also the most manipulative and indirect. They don't come to you to express their concerns, and when they do, they spend more time bullying you into submission and backing you into a corner than they do attempting to actually converse with you. As equals. They have hidden agendas. And the real rub is that they still won't communicate with you about their personal gripes with you, even when you give them the clear opportunity to do so. DH and I have been there - we've offered his family (and in some cases friends) the chance to share their thoughts and feelings and experiences. Sometimes the offer came from the both of us, other times from just DH. For myself, I can say that at various points I had a very real interest in hearing what they had to say (if only they were willing to say it, and say it honestly!). I have found myself wondering at times, how DID they experience the events I have written about? What were they thinking? What were they feeling (or not feeling?) How have their life experiences lead them to see those moments differently than I might have seen them? I have had such a deep desire to understand them - their motives, their feelings, their experiences. Because I well recognize that we all come to the table with different baggage and we respond differently to stimuli as a result.

And still, often there is no answer. And when there is an answer, you always always always have to consider the source. And then you have to pick through the blaming and the projection and the denial. And by the time all that is done, there is nothing left that's real or tangible to go by anyway; nothing left to indicate any of the things you were looking for: their emotional state, their thoughts, their opinions. If any of that even exists, it's buried underneath all of the manipulative bullshit.

What gets me every time is that we offered on numerous occasions for them to share their side of the story with us. Our invitations could not have been any clearer. And they refused, never in a direct way, but they refused. Sure did drive the point home that every last one of them had a hidden agenda. Every last one.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A More Accurate Form Letter

If estranged parents like NMIL, EFIL & L, those who frequent forums like DailyStrength and Joshua Coleman, and those of the members of our community were willing to be honest...well hell, all of us would be have a different story to tell right now. But instead, they are who they are: cruel and unjust, completely lacking in empathy or self-esteem, shallow, deceitful, and manipulative. They are always quick to place all blame on the shoulders of their nearest scapegoats and they do not search within for answers. They are incapable of self-reflection. Many of them have so denied their own humanity, that there is nothing truly "human" left about them. Some, like NMIL, are forces for evil in the world. They are soul-less.

I get countless individuals clicking on my blog with search terms like the following: "How to write a letter to my estranged adult son" and "form letter to send to estranged child." They inevitably wind up on this post, in which I shared a form letter that I found in several places on the DailyStrength website. It was a near exact replica of the letter that NMIL had emailed to my husband. She didn't even bother to spell-check it when she was finished copying it. I think she got her hands on a copy of Joshua Coleman's book, When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Adult Children Don't Get Along, in her endless effort to appear the doting mommy. As is probably the case with most of the parents looking for form letters to send to their estranged sons and daughters, NMIL is so busy trying to make it look like she's a good mother that she doesn't have time to figure out what the fuck it means to be a good mother. Or even a decent mother. Or even a mediocre mother. Or even a slightly less than mediocre but at least more than a soul-sucking mother. She's actually one of the worst mothers I've ever had the displeasure of bearing witness to - right on par with the ones that molest their own children, beat their own children, torture their own children.

If you take a look at the comments on that form letter post, you'll see that a few of them represent anonymous trolls, most of whom have spent little to no time elsewhere on my blog, who take the time to drop bombs full of nastiness, shaming, and blaming before running away and never coming back. I track my stats. Trust me, most of these folks really never come back. And their comments typically stink of malignant narcissism. They use all of the typical responses from narcissistic parents everywhere:  

Realize that your generation has been given life on a silver platter and it used to be a child had to earn his parents love and respect, now, because you children are so spoiled, we have to earn your respect. Well, most of you are immature and selfish and yes, narcisstic. You have no respect for your elders or have no appreciation for what it takes to give, give give to your child while all they do is take. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Wait until you have children and they all leave begging and pleading for some love and attention. Because, if it's true that goes around, comes around, you will all be left by your children when you need them. This is a selfish, commpassionless, heartless generation and you are all prime examples of it!!!!!!!

What ever happened to giving someone the benefit of the doubt, "she did the best she could given her ability and the situation at the time". Wow. Her heart has been broken, she is at the end of the road...BTW, is this just your public rant? Trashing people you don't even know...Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings...That sounds like many of you... think on that.

I have a 30 year old son who seems to have cut me out of his life...Looking back I realize that I made a lot of mistakes but can't go back in time to correct them...I would like to know if you have any ideas on what I should do to help me reconnect with my son. I am in a lot of pain.

I stumbled upon this blog and I am shocked and disheartened by the negativity in it...But then again it seems you have a lot of time to waste just spewing so much venom and being so judgmental so I send you a blessing hoping that some day you will see the light.

This is the same song and dance from four different anonymous commentators. If I wasn't tracking my stats, I might think they were written by DH's parents, or the parents of any of the people I've become friends with since starting this blog. But they weren't. And they all taste of the same flavor. I've seen all of these tactics before: The blame placed on not just a single person, but an entire generation of people; the claim that we are selfish and spoiled; the accusation that it is us who are narcissistic and cruel; the endless "shoulds" which attempt to shame us into collusion; the desire that we suffer as they are suffering, with never an indication in sight that perhaps, we already are; the claim that we couldn't possibly know the people we have taken up issue with, with the subtle insinuation that we are incapable of making such assessments of the human condition for ourselves; the constant claims that they "just don't understand" what could possibly have gone wrong in their interpersonal relationships to have caused their loved ones to want to cut them off; the constant ploy of victimhood and occasional game of playing dumb; the pointing fingers that say we, the abused, are actually the bad ones; and finally, the holier-than-thou claim that they'll "pray for us" because there isn't possibly anything else they could do to change the outcome of the situation.

I've put together a more accurate version of a form letter - the one I think these people would be sending to their kids if they were more capable of telling the truth than they are - capable of telling the truth, yet still as unwilling to change as ever.

The Form Letter They'll Never Send, Even Though It's What They Actually Mean:

Dear Adult Child's Nickname [or whichever name makes that son or daughter feel as small, diminished, guilty, or otherwise insignificant as possible],

It has been one of my main goals in life to ensure that you did not get away. And yet here we are. You got away. Though I doubt your strength of will and believe that you are actually quite weak, I don't doubt that you'll try to stay as far away from me as possible. At least until some major life event happens to come up - either natural or engineered - which I will use to my advantage. I will pull on the guilt strings I have pulled all your life, in order to get you to come back. I will maintain a facade with family members and frenemies in order that they continue to believe the lies I have told them all these years - I get off on their stupidity. And I will send them after you. I will contact your exes and subtly manipulate them into contacting you, just on the possibility that it will fuck with your marriage. I will contact your [other parent] and play the guilt card so that [he/she] gets in touch with you to try and convince you how much you have hurt me. I will make sure that every mutual relationship we have ever shared is used against you.

Because I hate losing. I hate losing more than I love you. The truth is, I don't love you. And I never have. I don't want to. It takes too much work to love, to feel empathy, to imagine the level of pain I must have inflicted on so many lives and for so many years. Why should I do that? No one ever did it for me.

I could say that I've made terrible mistakes, but that would be a lie. Nearly everything I have ever done to you has been premeditated, and I've done it all with little to no guilt crossing my conscience. I have been so long without feeling guilt that I've forgotten what it feels like. I feel you owe me - you owe me the love and respect I never got from my own parents and I am choosing, as I have always done, to pass down the burden of that pain to you. I can't and will not acknowledge, ever, any pain I might have caused anyone, especially you. If I have done so in the past, I was lying. If I have ever muttered the words, "I'm sorry," you were right not to believe me. Because I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry for anything. Except maybe for the fact that I've been treated like shit and someone should have to pay for that.

I understand perfectly why you've wanted to cut off contact with me - I simply ignore your reasons and choose, on a daily basis, not to think about it. I only think about you when I'm trying to devise a way to use your absence as a way to control someone else. I've spent your whole life attempting to manipulate you, but also cultivating myself replacements for the day you might decide to walk out on me. And now that you have, it's been easy to replace you. You have had no more value in my life than what you could provide for me, and now that you are refusing to provide what you had in the past, I no longer have a need for you.

I have never tried to make amends with you and I never will. I will never spend more than, perhaps, a few moments here and there (and that's being generous) thinking about my past actions towards you and my behaviors in general. In my opinion, you are not worth that kind of time. No one is. I'd really like to spout some cliches and bullshit about how I'd be willing to communicate with you openly, or that maybe someday we can sit down with a therapist and hash all this shit out. But don't kid yourself. If you ever see me in a therapist's office, the whole scenario will have been so carefully manipulated by me that you'll smell the phoniness from a mile away. The operation will stink of deceit. I only use therapists to keep up the appearance that I'm "working on myself" and "dealing with my dysfunctions."

If you ever send me a letter or an email telling me how you feel, I'll only pick through it for clues into your self-hood that will allow me to guilt or manipulate you further. And you can forget about any future relationship with your siblings or family members that you might have gotten along with - I'll compromise any relationships that I haven't already been manipulating from the get.

I don't want you to be happy. I only ever wanted you to maintain a smile at all times for me, so that I would seem a successful and perfect parent to all outsiders. Your happiness is a threat to me because it means you are no longer as controllable as you once were. Any discovery of self you make means that I have failed in my attempt to keep you in the box I've tried to keep you in all your life. Your poor self-esteem and fear of my wrath has been what has kept you under my thumb for so long. And by the way, I hate your spouse and when I'm not blaming you for walking out on me, I'll blame him/her. Because that's nice and easy and I can avoid all blame and negativity. I will never really accept that you don't want a relationship with me. It angers me that you don't feel responsible for my happiness anymore. And occasionally, when that rage surfaces and when I'm feeling particularly lonely and when I haven't had much attention lavished on me, I will contact you to see if I can trick you into coming back to me, even though you've specifically told me not to. And yes, I know precisely what "no contact" means. You are not a person unto yourself. You have no right to have abandoned me.

I want you to feel guilty. I hope you feel guilty until the day you die. I hope you suffer, every day. I hope you end up getting a divorce, and when you do, I hope you return to your real family as quickly as possible. And I hope you bring your children too. So I can manipulate them the way I have manipulated you. I feel giddy imagining the possibilities of what I could do to them if your obnoxious spouse wasn't around to get in my way. And someday, I think you will come back. Until then, I'll be busying myself stepping on innocents and sending out my flying monkeys and enlisting new minions and taking you out of my will. Your absence will not change me. I don't change for anyone. I like me, just the way I am.

The door will be open for you should you choose to come back. I'd say, "I'll be waiting." But I won't. Not really. I'll be too busy pretending to forget about you and forcing you from my thoughts  to wait for you to come back. I have plenty of other pawns to maneuver.

Fuck you very much,


Friday, August 2, 2013

Shitting Rainbows

I have an apology to make
I've not been kind for kindness' sake
to all the readers who've found their way
to my blog by mistake
they didn't mean to read a word
were, in fact, quite deterred
by the things I've had to say
real, imagined, or inferred
After stumbling upon my writing,
apostate, confused, and reciting
the mantras of their own dysfunctions
these folks found this place less than inviting
So I must offer my apologies
for hurting the apparently
dismissed, discarded, attention junkies
who just don't like my hyperbole
So many have come here
with intent to find answers
and instead have been bombarded by
various word-cancers
that eat at them from the inside out
OH! If only they hadn't looked about
they might not have seen the crap on this page
that I only wrote to incite their rage.

Perhaps I should add a disclaimer to this website that reads: Potential Readers Beware. If you are expecting that this blog should consist of discussions on unicorns and how to shit rainbows and other such delusional drivel, then this blog is not for you. Feel free to either begin or to continue leaving commentary consistent with your judgmental, critical, ignorant, and hypocritical views, but please do understand that there will be laughter. Much, much laughter at your expense. If you don't like to be laughed at, I suggest you move along quickly and with little fuss.