Saturday, December 27, 2014

Nailed It

On Christmas Eve, I got the following comment on my 2011 Ketchup post :

"I accidentally found your page on the net. I have read it and I think YOU are the sociopath. I think you just want to take your husband away from his family so he will have no one but you. It can't be that ALL the other people are crazy and under the control of your mother in law. Seriously you need some psychological help yourself. I see grandparents who want to have a relationship with their grandchildren and their son and you who won't allow it. I truly pitty you. I doubt if my comment will make it to your page, but I'm sure others who read the crazynessin your posts can see this as well. Hope your husband comes to his senses some day and apologizes to his family for his behavior. I know you won't ever apologize and it's funny that you complain about how your MIL won't apologize and basically bow down to you which seems to be what you secretly want."

I'm really glad that I got this comment because Anon has hit on some key arguments that have been thrown out against me before, and they are ones I'd like to address. These arguments are - 1. That I am a sociopath. 2. That I want to "take my husband away from his family so he will have no one but me." 3. That I couldn't possibly be correct in my assessment of the scope of crazy and general assholeishness of DH's FOO, or in my belief that there are many people acting under NMIL's heavy-handed control. 4. That I won't allow my husband's parents to have a relationship with our children. 5. That I won't apologize. [And my personal favorite] 6. That I [secretly] want NMIL to "bow down to me."

It's been a while since I've seen some of these accusations, and I'm not sure that I've ever seen them so clearly posted from one source before. Now seems like the perfect time to acknowledge, and in some cases, dispute them.

On the accusation that I am a sociopath: As always, I have to consider the source of such a statement and in this case, it did appear to be largely baseless, as the person saying it was anonymous and I did not recognize the IP address from which it came. It seems likely that the person saying it did not spend much time on my blog and made his/her assessment based on very little evidence. However, since I have been accused of being a sociopath by passersby in the blogging world before, and of being "controlling" by members of DH's FOO, I still feel the need to examine it. Most often when I see this particular accusation being lobbed at me from afar, I imagine that it comes from people who are themselves controlling, sociopathic, or otherwise character disordered. It was always so ironic to me that NMIL and EFIL and L (among others from DH's past) called ME manipulative and controlling. I have discussed my control issues before, as I feel that it is not entirely inaccurate to describe myself in such a way. I have and continue to, at times, struggle with a sometimes obsessive need to micromanage and control the people that I love and care most about. True facts. The argument that I am a sociopath or a manipulator, however, does not hold water. Those that know me, know that I strive, even under the most difficult of situations, to tell the truth and to live genuinely. Sociopaths are either incapable or completely unwilling to do these things. They do not live in truth and they do not want to see truth. The responses of my DH and I to the various goings-on from 2009-2012 were largely acts of self-preservation, not acts of manipulation, selfishness, or greed. The anonymous commenter above, like some others before, seems to be attributing characteristics to me based on projection. I'm not one to claim that it takes a long time to get a handle on someone [I believe that if we know what to look for, and where to look for it, we can accurately assess an individual in a matter of minutes or even seconds] and so I don't think it impossible for someone to figure out my M.O. after reading one or two of my blog posts. I also think it's reasonable that an individual can come to my blog and dislike either my writing, me, or both. But I don't think it's reasonable, or particularly astute to label me a sociopath.

On the argument that I want to 'take my husband away from his family so that he will have no one but me.': First of all, if it were true that I want my husband to "have no one but me," I sure as hell wouldn't have had kids with him because I well knew before having them that for each child we added to our FOC, we would lose time with each other and we would forevermore have beings that rely on both of us, both together and individually AND whose well-being we would be solely responsible for. It's what happens, it's just inevitable - especially in the early years. The fact that DH and I have children together has automatically made this claim stupid. Fucking stupid. But what I think this anon really meant to say is that he/she thinks that I want my husband to have no one else to rely on, no support system, and possibly no one else who relies on him (so that I can have him at my beck-and-call, I presume). Once again, this accusation is shaky, at best. For one, I don't believe that anyone can be "taken away" from any person, place, or object that they sincerely and strongly do not wish to leave behind. If DH wanted his FOO in his life, he would have fought and be fighting still, to keep them there. I have never had the power to "take my husband away" from anything. What is the nugget of truth that this anon hit on? That I wanted my husband's FOO gone: gone from his life, gone from ours, and gone from our children's. Irrevocably and forever. But not, as anon so viciously charged, because I selfishly and impractically, wanted to ex-communicate an entire support system. (If I wanted to do that, I'd have cut off my side of the family.) I wanted DH's past ripped away, with the full acknowledgment, eventual understanding, and strength of will of DH because his entire (yes, entire) base of prior relationships consisted of nothing but users, abusers, assholes, and manipulators. It makes absolutely zero sense to say that I would ever have envisioned, upon meeting DH, that I would have any interest in taking away my future husband's support system (if one was available) - a support system that, if it had existed, would have been mine too. I STILL, several years after having cut off DH's family, imagine what it might have been like to have HEALTHY relationships with his sister and step-siblings. It's only because I recognized very early in my relationship with DH, just how toxic his FOO is, that I don't and didn't have a stronger pull to try harder to fit in with them. I think it is an absurd and childish assessment of my character to say that I "want DH all to myself."

On the argument that 'it can't be that ALL the other people are crazy and under the control of my MIL': Yes, it can. People like NMIL, in other words, narcissists and abusers, surround themselves by people who are easily targeted, manipulated, and controlled. They make sure not to spend too much time with people like me because I have a strong sense of self, I have high expectations for how I'd like to be treated, I am intelligent, and I communicate clearly and well. I have never believed in "picking my battles." I fight them all. Narcissists don't like people like me on principle, just as I don't like narcissists - on principle and because I've been in relationships with them before. I understand them in a way that only victims do. And I'm observant. Why is it that NMIL is no longer lucky enough to have us in her life? Because she chose to behave in such a way that would ensure our departure from it. It's that simple. The people who choose to continue to have relationships with her are either working for her, or are too stupid to realize they are being used. I don't throw the term "crazy" around lightly and I don't think it's fair to say that it's a fit description for the majority of her minions. And, while she is largely to blame for controlling much of the game, NMIL is not the sole power house from DH's past. Several of his "friends" and members from his FOO acted outside of NMIL's influence, reaching completely around her to slap DH on their own accord. I feel that this would be a more accurate description of the situation: "Most of the people from DH's FOO (on his NM's side) or those who had a willing relationship with her, acted under the control, agency, or subtle and negative influence of NMIL during nearly every interaction he or I had with them; while most of the people from DH's FOO (on his EF's side) either were working in conjunction with NMIL with the shared desire to tag-team him, were still blindly under her influence, or else could not effectively deal with their own dysfunctions enough to have a healthy relationship with DH, myself, or our children."

On the argument that I won't allow my husband's parents to have a relationship with our children: Uh. Yeah. That about sums it up. Here's the why and how of it - My husband's parents were assholes to me, and for the extremely tiny amount of time they had with my children, were assholes to them too. They were assholes both directly and by proxy. They treated my husband like a doormat, as evidenced by their brief scuffle over "losing" him and then hasty retreat when they realized he wouldn't be placing himself under their feet again. I would be asking for my children to be abused if I allowed these known and recognized asshole abusers into their lives. The last time we were supposed to see NMIL was a few weeks after DS was born in 2010 - one of the things she said to DH on the phone that day, when she called up just a few hours before she was scheduled to show up, was that it "didn't take a rocket scientist to realize that we were limiting her time with our babies." If I had been talking to her on the phone that day, I would have said, "You're right." And she lost even the limited time she could have had because she is a willfully ignorant, abusive, manipulator with no regard for anyone except insofar as their capacity to serve her. So fuck that shit. You're damn right I won't allow my husband's parents to have a relationship with the beings that I love most in the world. Furthermore, anon observed that he/she saw "grandparents that want to have a relationship with their grandchildren and son." But not me, right? Because that's really fucking seriously a huge problem. Anyone who thinks they can have a relationship with my children without also having a HEALTHY relationship with me is going to be walking the plank. The same can be said for anyone who thinks they can have a secret relationship with my husband, or a relationship where there is intent to hurt our marriage in any way.

On the argument that I won't apologize: As with most anons who leave comments like the one above, I doubt this one will come back. But if he/she did, I'd like to know what it is they had imagined I should be apologizing for. I believe in the power of a genuine apology. I have asked for apologies in my life before, and I have offered up apologies of my own as well. I learned, a long time ago, the importance of a sincere apology - my parents taught me how and when to do it. I know, on a most basic level, that when you hurt someone you love, respect, or care about, an apology is a most important follow-up. Sometimes I expect them. Sometimes I am responsible for them. In the case of DH's FOO, there is nothing I should apologize for. I am absolutely unapologetic in every choice I have made in regards to DH's FOO, every word I have spoken either to or about DH's FOO, and every expectation I had for how I should have been welcomed and respected, if not loved, by DH's FOO. So the argument that I will not apologize is inaccurate; I will apologize when I have hurt someone. I will not apologize for protecting my FOC, I will not apologize for choosing to step away from relationships that are unhealthy, and I will absolutely not apologize to anyone who tries to make the claim that protecting my FOC or going NC with abusers is hurtful to the abusers.  Intended prey doesn't apologize to a predator. A target doesn't apologize to the huntsman. One can say the opposite is true in both these cases as well. Though I will always expect an apology from NMIL, EFIL and L, and the entire rest of DH's past relationships, both chosen and familial, I know that none will ever be issued. And I have accepted that.

And finally, on the argument that I "secretly want NMIL to bow down to me." This one is funny and sort of a new one, though I don't doubt that some of my other haters have thought this about me as well. If I was ever interested in playing NMIL's game, then I could see some possible truth in this accusation. And if I was a ruthlessly manipulative, emotionally weak, needy, and hypocritical individual, like NMIL, then I could see some possible truth in this accusation as well. If I was so interested in having "NMIL bow down to me," than I'd still be working on that shit, probably obsessively, attempting to come up with endless methods to accomplish such a goal. She'd likely still be around because I imagine it would be a constant and exhausting never-ending battle to get anyone, let alone my husband's mother to grovel at my feet and such. I'm not even sure what it looks like to have someone "bow down to me." And for the record, if I wanted NMIL to do such a thing, it wouldn't be a secret.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Piece Of Shit On A Crosswalk

Today, I conversed (sort of) with a real, live, walking, talking, genuine Piece of Shit. Nothing new, I suppose, as there are plenty of other pieces of shit out there that I have encountered before. But this one today made my blood boil.

The Piece of Shit that I had the unpleasantness of dealing with today decided he was going to park right on top of the cross-walk at DD's school. I don't mean he was hanging a fender over it. I mean he was parked dead center on the thing. For the second time. He did it one day last week too. Last week, I was pissed off about it and I didn't get a chance to do anything about it. So instead, I took note of how everyone else responded to it. And mostly, I noticed, they didn't. I saw one man, just one, out of a whole parking lot full of people, make an angry face and some angry gestures at the douchebag parked in the crosswalk. Everyone else seemed to ignore the fact that they had to walk around the car blocking their path and the drivers' line of vision. I was not in a position to say or do very much, since I had the Littles with me, so I just pointed out to them that there was a man who was so rude and inconsiderate.

I chose to use it as a learning tool, that first time. "Look guys," I said, pointing. "I know that man is very rude and inconsiderate. Do you know how I can tell?" They asked me how and I said, "Because he's parked in the crosswalk, which is illegal, and not safe. That means that he is a person who doesn't follow the rules. He's very rude." DS said, "Yes. That's inappropriate."

When I got home a bit later, I told DH about it - about how furious it made me that people all too often get away with doing shitty things, and that there are so few others who are willing to stand up against them. I shared with DH my theories about a Piece of Shit like that guy: That people like him have a blatant disregard for everyone else; that they don't care how they affect the lives of others or in what way they inconvenience anyone else; that they honestly believe rules don't apply to them; that they are interminably selfish and believe themselves to be better than all others. I despise people who fit this description. I rationalized with DH that this man had no acceptable reason for parking where he did and that any reason he could have cited (if he were asked) would have been absurd. I know he was not in a rush to drop off his kid - he pulled into the spot and sat in his car for a while before getting out and waiting in front of the school with the rest of the parents who showed up early to drop off their kids before the school opens. I know that he was not handicapped - the generally obvious visuals were lacking, as well as a handicapped sticker on his vehicle. I know that he was not late for work - since he was not in a rush. And if he had been late for work, in a rush, handicapped, and having a bad case of explosive diarrhea, that STILL would not have excused him from being an inconsiderate Piece of Shit prick with no regard for the people who also just happen to inhabit the world around him. I know what his reasons were for disregarding the rules (Hell, it's a fucking law). He's an asshole. He's selfish. He's fucking lazy. And he thinks he is better/more important than literally everyone else.

I could tell all of this from this one, relatively brief in the scheme of things, experience.

When it happened again today, I was pissed. I mean ripshit pissed. And I decided to do something about it. I only had DD instead of my whole crew with me today, so it was easier to take action. Right before I got out of the car, another woman attempting to use the cross walk yelled angrily into his window, "You're parked in a cross-walk you know." He ignored her. I got DD out of the car and took three pictures of the Piece of Shit's car with my phone, clearly parked over the crosswalk. He didn't see me take the first two. I asked DD to stand on the grass, while I took a picture of his license plate. I think he saw me when I walked around to the back of the car (because there was no front plate) and that's when he got out of his car.

"Whoa, Paparazzi!" He said. I didn't respond to that immediately, I just walked quickly back to DD so she wasn't standing alone while I handled Mr. Piece of Shit. He continued, "What are you doing? What's the problem? Why are you being so rude?"

I said, "DUDE, you're parked in the crosswalk!" I wish I could have said it more calmly but my anger got the best of me and I SOUNDED pissed. I think it was the accusation that I was the one being rude that got to me, which I'm very aware was what he had hoped to accomplish.

Piece of Shit said, "So you can't tap on my window and ask me to move? It was a mistake! I can't believe you're so discourteous! You could have just asked me to move! Gosh, you're so rude. In front of the kids too." He then looked directly at DD and said, "Hi kids. Hi Little Girl." Which was creepy, to say the least.

At that point, I realized I needed to move. There was no reason for me to still be standing there, listening to this creep attempt to berate me, completely evade responsibility, and implicate my child in his bullshit. As I took DD's hand and walked her around his car and across the parking lot to school he continued talking, loudly, "What's your name? Wait a second, let me take a few pictures of you." I said, "No you will not." And then mostly tuned him out at that point, but I could still hear him talking very loudly, as DD and I kept walking. I don't know if he took any pictures of me, but I'm pretty sure he did get his phone out because he seemed to be talking to someone on it about what had just happened. I only heard snippets of it because after I hugged and kissed DD goodbye, I called our police station. While I was on the phone with the police, I could hear Piece of Shit STILL complaining about "how rude that woman was" because "she didn't even ask me to move." And yada yada yada. He did get back in his car and move it sometime after I walked away, because when I turned back around, it was parked in the drop-off lane.

I waited for a police officer to get to the school and when she showed up a few minutes later, Piece of Shit had already left. I told her what had happened and what the man's license plate number was. I asked her what, if anything, she could do about it and she told me that she would "go talk to him" and that he would get a warning. She also advised me not to approach him again and if he behaved aggressively at all towards me in the future, to back off and call the police. I'd had no intention of approaching him again and would call the police again in an instant if I thought he was dangerous in any way.

Anyway, here is what I took from this shitty, but useful experience: Both times, I was reminded of EFIL and L's bullshit philosophy about not "judging" people or situations (but mostly people.) I used this experience as a bright and shining example of why, precisely, we need to assess people based on their behaviors. When talking it over with DH, he said he could hear his EF and L saying, "Well, we don't know WHY he was parked there" and "It's not for us to judge him." I am reminded that these phrases represent the narrative in which DH was raised; that it is partly the reason why, in his recent past, he has turned away from confronting the wrongs he has witnessed (and at times, been a part of). And I continue to fight this kind of doctrine: I don't need to know this Piece of Shit's reasons for being an asshole today to know that, in the end, he's still an asshole. I have some theories as to what his reasons would be for parking on a crosswalk, and I also have some theories as to why he REALLY parked on a crosswalk, as outlined above. But like I said, either way, based on my observations, he's still a Piece of Shit. And I have every right to "judge" him, and to take action. It's very important to me that my children grow up knowing that.

And my assessment of the situation doesn't stop at the observation that some dude was parked on a crosswalk: it goes further to my observations of how he responded to being called out on it: His immediate response was to play dumb and to evade responsibility by turning the tables on me, the person pointing out his bad behavior. ("What's the problem? Why are you being so rude?") He completely refused to accept any responsibility, either during or after the confrontation. ("It was a mistake!" He yelled to me and to people in the nearby vicinity). He expressed his belief that it is the responsibility of OTHERS to remind him, influence him, and otherwise make sure that he knows and follows the rules of good behavior ("You could have just asked me to move!") He attempted to change the focus of the confrontation from himself to A CHILD. ("Hi kids. Hi Little Girl.") He attempted to make me uncomfortable for DARING to call him out on his behavior - ("Wait, let me take a picture of you.") - as though taking a photo of me, a person, was equivalent to my recording of his illegally parked car, an object.

Let's be clear. I could have asked this fucker to move. I could have knocked on his window and said, "Please move your car," or "Please move your fucking car," if I wasn't feeling so charitable. BUT - this is not about what I did or did not do, or how I chose to respond to his blatantly bad behavior, because this is a Piece of Shit who doesn't believe the rules apply to him anyway. If he doesn't know (or care) by now that parking in a crosswalk is illegal, that it's just plain rude, and that laws apply to him too, than me knocking on his damn window and asking him to move, or telling him to move, or punching him in the face, dragging his ass out of the car, and then moving his car my damn self isn't going to teach him. He's a Piece of Shit. And Piece of Shit are well past the point of learning how to be decent human beings. And besides wanting this dude to learn some basic fucking manners, which we all know isn't going to happen, I know exactly how he would have responded if I had taken responsibility for his poor choice of a parking space by knocking on his window and pointing out his "mistake," thereby leaving his general assholeishness unaddressed: he would have 1. Played stupid anyway and thrown out some nonsense excuse, "I didn't realize" or "I'm just dropping my kid off" or "My legs are broken and I need pain pills to survive my everyday existence and today is my last day to live and the sky is blue and my kid likes it when I park here, how can you be so mean to a kid?" Or 2. Gotten angry, "How dare you suggest I did something wrong!" or "Mind your own business!" or "If the school officials want me to move, they'll ask me," or "I don't have to listen to you! You're not the boss of me!"

To me, it wasn't worth the infinitesimal chance that he was going to respond differently than what I had imagined to handle this situation any other way. And anyway, his response to being called out on it told me that I handled this shit exactly right. You can't reason with a Piece of Shit.

Piece of Shit on a Crosswalk

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Technicalities

"Oh, they never lie. They dissemble, evade, prevaricate, confound, confuse, distract, obscure, subtly misrepresent, and willfully misunderstand with what often appears to be a positively gleeful relish."

- Iain Banks, Look To Winward

Sunday, December 14, 2014

No Fear Of Time

"Things of quality have no fear of time."

One can say the same thing about people. ;)

Also, I'm not ashamed to admit that this quote comes from a lingerie company. Which makes it even more humorous.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Elephant In The Living Room

"There'a a phrase, "the elephant in the living room," which purports to describe what it's like to live with a drug addict, an alcoholic, an abuser. People outside such relationships will sometimes ask, "How could you let such a business go on for so many years? Didn't you see the elephant in the living room?" And it's so hard for anyone living in a more normal situation to understand the answer that comes closest to the truth; "I'm sorry, but it was there when I moved in. I didn't know it was an elephant; I thought it was part of the furniture." There comes an aha-moment for some folks - the lucky ones - when they suddenly recognize the difference."

-Stephen King

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Worst Thing

"The worst thing is watching someone drown and 
not being able to convince them that they can save 
themselves by just standing up."

- Author Unknown

Friday, May 2, 2014

Circle of Trust

Make sure everybody in your "boat" is rowing 
and not drilling holes when you're not looking.  
Know your circle.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Nicely Ironic

I just got the following comment on my ever-popular form letter post which sparked my interest enough to respond:

My son and I have had an on and off thing for years. I found your blog and read through most of your posts and it has really opened my eyes to the other side of the issue. Seems that most of you really want to totally end your relationships with your parents...and most of us want to figure out how to keep you in our lives. So I am asking for help....I love my son and truly miss having him in my life...but should I stop trying to make amends and just try to live my life without him... Is trying the wrong thing to be doing? - Bern

Bern, chances are really good that if you've had an "on and off thing" with your son "for years," then it's very likely that there is no one-step approach to fixing the core issues in your relationship with him that have likely caused his (permanent) absence from your life. Having said that, I think you have grossly misinterpreted the point of my blog if your key assessment of it leads you to believe that ACoNs "want to totally end [their] relationships with [their] parents." I have never, in my several years of blogging, come across a blog written by an ACoN who fits your description. And precisely what that assessment leads me to believe is that you have spent little to no time trying to figure out your part in what is most likely a very unhealthy relationship.

It's funny that you paint yourself as the good guy and, in one sweeping judgment, shove an entire group of people into the opposite category. It's almost as though you think that children owe their parents for something. Or that adults who choose to end relationships with their parents are evil. Or that the party in the estrangement who is most invested in keeping the relationship is somehow better. Or that "keeping a son or daughter" in your life forever makes you the morally responsible party.

When you say "most of you" I have to assume that either you haven't read all of my blog as you claimed (and which my most recent stats do not back up) thus leading you to group myself in with the ACoNs with whom I converse, OR you read it and saw only what you wanted to see: the validation of your own anger and accusations. FYI, the fact that I question whether you've actually read through my entire blog or the blogs of the people on which you place your value judgements is pretty much enough for me to assume the exact opposite of your claim.

Is trying the wrong thing to do? That all depends on what it is you're attempting to accomplish. For example, what in the hell does it mean to "try to make amends" to a person you've described as having been partially absent from your life for years? In all likelihood, you've never had a decent relationship with your son, and therefore "making amends" could only result in the return to the status quo, which sounded pretty shitty to begin with and I don't even have the details. And do you even know what "making amends" means? Because when I use that phrase, it's usually in regards to problems that I feel responsible for - and in your little bitty paragraph above, I don't see too much of that going on.

I'm also wondering if you're actually, like literally, going to die now that your son is (permanently?) gone from your life. Because if you have to "try" to live your life without him in it, then that sort of means that, if you don't succeed in that endeavor, then you might die. But you know, I'mma go ahead and call bullshit on that. Maybe it feels like you're going to die, but that's just the co-dependence talking.

Also, your use of my blog's title in your mini-expo is so nicely ironic. It about sums up exactly what you don't see. Which is, I don't know...reality? The truth? Your son?

You asked for my help - this is what I've got for you: Leave your son the hell alone until or unless you've figured your own shit out. Fix yourself and your own damn problems and then maybe you'll have a shot in hell of having a relationship with him.