Wednesday, June 30, 2010
SM also said that she was very frustrated on the last day they were here visiting - gee..really? - because I refused to go out to McDonald's with all of them due to my anxiety and she thinks (she should have said KNOWS since that's how everything comes across) that I need to push myself more if I ever want to get past this thing. She said going with them at that time was a perfect opportunity to work on my anxiety and I'd have had "all those people there who love me and could have helped me through any panic attacks" and I wasted it by not going. I told her - AGAIN - that the reason I didn't go had little if anything to do with my anxiety and more to do with the fact that I had that bad pain in my right side that day due to a muscle spasm from my back going out the day before. Unfazed, SM said that was another thing, that I needed to realize that daily aches and pains were NORMAL and I just needed to get used to it. After all, SHE'S lived with it for years and hasn't let it stop HER. (More channeling of NM anyone?) I just calmly explained that I DO push myself and that I realize daily aches and pains are par for the course now that I'm getting older and have two back injuries under my belt, etc. but that, AGAIN, the day they were here was an exception to the norm and one of those times that I needed NOT to "push myself" and to take it a bit easy lest I injure myself further.
Good gravy, I am SO SICK of people talking to me like I'm an effing MORON who doesn't know to come in out of the rain!! I've been living with these back issues for practically half my life, having had my first back injury when I was just 17. (I'll be 34 in a few days.) I think I know by now what's "normal" for me now and what isn't and how to handle it! And if I never hear the phrases "You need to" or "You should" ever again, it will be too soon! Every time I hear someone start to tell me what I "should" do or what I "need to" do, I feel like telling them to shove it up their you know what until they CHOKE on it!
My normal reaction to someone like this would be to go NC and just walk away because, really, what other option is there? When someone is convinced that they are always right and you are always wrong, there's little you can do and zero hope of having a positive relationship with that person as far as I'm concerned. However, since she is still married to my dad and they are a package deal, I need to find another alternative. I've already decided LC is in order which won't be hard seeing as SM and my dad live over 9 hours drive from me but I need to learn how to stand up for myself in those times when I do have to interact with her, mostly over the phone.
*sigh* It can't ever just be EASY for us DoNM's, can it?
Monday, June 28, 2010
So, my dad and stepmom came into town last week. They left Ohio on the 20th, spent the night with my half bro that night and came the rest of the way here Monday. They stayed with friends who live about an hour from me. My SM called when they got into town and said they'd probably see me Wednesday and then they'd TRY to get back to see me Friday before they left that Sunday. So, yeah, they drove over 9 hours to visit with their friends basically and, according to my SM, they'd TRY to fit visitation time with me in. This basically set the tone for the whole visit.
About a half hour after getting here, my dad and dh began working to fix our shower fixture in the front bathroom. It was a bit involved but should have only taken about 2 to 4 hours max. Instead, the whole project wound up taking 10 hours that day. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong did but that was mainly due to the fact that they were trying to fit old stuff to new. Needless to say, I didn't really get to see my dad much that day.
Despite working ten hours Wednesday, the shower fixture still wasn't finished and the guys had to work another 4 hours Friday when my dad and SM came back. I strongly suspect that had she been able to have her way, my SM wouldn't have come back at all after Wednesday, figuring she'd already spent enough time visiting with me and away from her precious friends who she never stopped going on and on about the entire visit.
Since dh was busy with my dad working on the shower, that left me to visit with SM who did nothing but bitch and complain the entire time. She was having stomach issues - she's gluten intolerant and apparently accidentally ingested something with gluten in it - and I had to listen to her go on about that the entire time. She spent a bit of time with ds, which was nice as it kept him busy and they both seemed to enjoy themselves but, once that was over it was back to complaining. SM didn't like the fact that we allow ds to watch Spongebob as she feels it's "inappropriate". She doesn't like the fact that we only flush our toilet every so often when it's only pee to save water because she says it's spreads germs. She doesn't like that we don't make ds wash his hands after going potty unless he touches something (apparently even walking into the bathroom is enough reason for him to wash his hands according to her). She doesn't like that we allowed to eat McDonald's TWICE in one week - gasp! - while they were here.
Despite my anxiety issues, I really pushed myself to go out to at least a couple of antique stores while my dad and SM were here. With my side hurting - despite my having taken some Motrin earlier that day - I told SM that I could probably go to two or three places but then I'd need to return home otherwise I'd be in a lot of pain later that night and probably wouldn't sleep well. She said okay. Since my dad was still busy on the shower thing with dh, that left me and SM to go out shopping. I called my MIL to see if she wanted to go as she'd been wanting to go to that store and I figured she could help keep an eye on ds. MIL got here and off we went.
Of course, all SM did was complain about everything, particularly how she couldn't believe the stupid shower thing was taking so long. It was like she was blaming me or something, as if I'd caused it to take so long. I just ignored her. But the whole time we were at the antique store, anytime I mentioned liking something, SM would say, "Oh no. No, no, no." as if to say that my choices were wrong, ugly, etc. As we left the first store and I noticed a small section of old, wooden porch railing and commented how it would look so good hung on the wall above my tv, SM looked at me like I was crazy. I just smiled and said, "I decorate cottage style, remember?" She said snarkily, "I know what cottage style is! I used to decorate that way!" Once again the implication being that I was wrong and apparently did NOT know what cottage style was and that I was insane for even contemplating hanging an architectural element on my wall.
After two more stores, I was hurting badly and said I needed to go home. The fact that it was 99 degrees and super humid that day didn't help either. So off we went home. SM didn't say anything much but I could tell she was pissed that we were heading home after only being out for an hour or two. Oh well. Since *I* would have been the one to suffer all night if I pushed myself further, I drove us all home. As soon as we walked in the door, SM set to bitching because the guys still weren't finished despite the fact that they were putting the finishing touches on everything and nearly done.
I also had to hear about how I need to work on myself more with regard to getting out and becoming able to travel. A) I HAVE been working on it and B) I suffer from intense anxiety and agoraphobia for which healing is a process. Apparently, now that NM is out of my life, all my issues should have magically disappeared as, according to SM, my NM was the cause of them all. And the fact that all my issues haven't just magically disappeared is cause for my SM to bitch, piss and moan about them and make nasty comments. For example, we were sitting in the living room trying to decide what to do about dinner and dh asked me if I felt up to going out to eat. I told him no, partly due to the fact that my side was hurting due to a muscle spasms caused by my back going out the day before and also partly because of my anxiety issues about going out certain places. Now I'm the first to admit that dealing with my anxiety problems can be a pain in the ass to put it mildly, but it's not as if I can really help it, ya know? Anyways so my SM gives me a dirty look at about that point and makes a snarky comment about "some people" not being able to go out to eat. I just looked at her and finally said, partly joking, "Don't give me yer dirty looks woman!" to which SM responded, "I'll look at you any damn way I want!" At that point I had grown tired of her freaking comments so I said (in a slightly LESS joking manner) "Fine! But then don't be surprised when I shoot you a dirty look back...woman!" She just grumbled something under her breath and continued looking pissy.
As it turned out, I stayed home by myself and enjoyed a few moments peace and quiet. Dh had promised to take ds to McDonald's since he'd been so good the past couple days and MIL said she'd tag along if he didn't mind. Rather than coming to another agreement, SM decided she and my dad would just not eat until they got back to their precious friends' house and tagged along with dh, ds and MIL and pouted the entire time. Dad and SM were the first to return home and SM, as usual, was ready to get back to her friends' house immediately "before it got dark". (It was barely 5pm at that time and it currently doesn't get dark here until about 9pm.) My dad said he wanted to stay until dh and ds got back to say goodbye to which SM, quite begrudgingly, agreed.
My dad asked if I was going to be working on becoming able to travel again. I explained that I was working on it, it was a process, etc. and he seemed to understand and was okay with it all. SM on the other hand said again how I need to push myself, blah blah and how I can't let my myriad of health problems like back pain or stomach issues stop me since, after all, they don't stop HER. (Sound like NM much?) I just reiterated that I DO "push myself" daily and that these things take time and aren't going to just magically evaporate just because NM is no longer in my life causing problems.
As soon as dh, ds and MIL returned, SM jumped up and was ready to leave. As everyone was saying their goodbyes, SM hugged me tightly and said to me, "Oh! I'm going to MISS you so much!" I felt like saying to her, "What?! Are you freaking kidding me?? All you did was bitch and complain about everything and it was clear you could barely stand to be with me and away from your precious friends the entire time you were here!" But, of course, I said nothing because, really, what would it have changed?
So, despite the fact that they were in town for about a week, I got to spend about ten minutes with my dad and that was only with SM there being her usual controlling self and dominating the entire conversation. Before my dad left, I asked him if he wanted some of the chocolate chip cookies I'd made for him and dh and SM interjected, "No. He doesn't need them." I wrapped some up for him to take with him. I mean, really, the man is 58 years old. I think he can decide for himself if he wants a damn cookie lady! My dad seemed happy to receive them and I hope he got the chance to enjoy them. Most likely, SM made him throw them out.
I miss my dad so much. They left yesterday to go back to Ohio, an 8+ hour drive from here. He and I have missed so many years together, in large part due to NM and her lies about him all those years. And now that he's getting older, the time we have left grows ever shorter. He seemed so different from the man I used to know when he was here. He seemed broken down somehow. Clearly, SM has finally broken his will and taken over total control of him. Every time I'd ask what he wanted to do when they got here, he always answered, "You'll have to talk to (SM's name) about that. Whatever you guys decide." It just makes me so sad. I wish I could talk to him - WITHOUT SM getting involved, reading any letters or emails or otherwise interjecting herself in my relationship with him - and let him know how much I love him and am here for him if he ever needs or wants to talk.
There's been some talk about a position opening up about 30 minutes from here - my dad is a Lutheran minister - in a year or so when the current pastor retires. As much as it would suck to have SM so close by (and able to drop in constantly), I would love to have my dad so close. We spent so many years not in contact with one another and while I'm so grateful to have him in my life again, even if it is mostly by telephone, it would be so much nicer to have him here, close by, where we could visit often and get to know each other again.
For now, however, I'm just glad my SM is gone and I can have a break. I don't know if it just hit me harder since I've been NC with NM for nearly 6 months now or what but one thing that was clear, despite SM going on and on about her sister being a narcissist, after this visit, I'm thinking that SM is also very much an N. She's so much like my NM. A bit subtler in her criticisms but still very N. Kind of came out of nowhere in one regard as she and I generally get along so well over the phone. Then again, thinking back now, there have always been signs. I guess I just didn't notice them until now.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Someone posted this on the DoNM board. They apparently found it online while searching for how to deal with passive-aggressive dh's but felt it applied to narcissists as well. I agreed and so I am sharing it with you now!
Remember, this is what NOT to do...
1.) Apologize in email. Hey, why should you actually have to FACE the person you harmed and DEAL with the real consequences of your actions - like the fact that they might still be hurt and upset? It's so much easier to do it from a distance - that way you can go around telling everyone how you made all this EFFORT to rectify things. If questioned on this, you can fall back on your old excuses about how the other person is just too scary to face in person. (People you have betrayed aren't usually very compliant). Ignore the fact that this avoidance is completely contradicting any statements you might make about "taking responsibility" for your behavior (see below).
2.) Make sure the "confession", er, apology comes MONTHS or years after the incident. It's just too much work to actually own up immediately afterwards. Let's face it, you're not after any real resolution, and you are not offering any kind of restitution - you are looking to assuage your guilty conscience and buy absolution, and, if you play your cards right, you can get attention for your act of "bravery" in coming forward. If it's absolution you are looking for, why not join the Catholic church instead?
"Powerful and sneaky people use apologies as end runs around repentance. They betray a trust; and, when they have been found out, they say they are sorry for "mistakes in judgement". They smile through their oily apologies when their crime calls for quakes of repentance. They get by only because we have lost our sense of the difference between repentance for wrong and apologies for bungling.... We should not let each other get away with it. A deep and unfair hurt is more than a mere faux pas. We cannot put up with everything from everyone; some things are intolerable. When someone hurts us deeply and unfairly [deliberately], an apology will not do the job; it only trivializes a wrong that should not be trifled with."
-- Lewis B. Smedes, "Forgive and Forget"
3.) Use generic sweeping statements, so that you don't have to own up to, or deal with any specifics. This is a great way to avoid any REAL acknowledgement for the stunts you have pulled, while giving the appearance of sincerity. As Dr. Phil (C. McGraw) says:
"Acknowledgement is a no-kidding, unvarnished, bottom-line, truthful confrontation with yourself about what you are doing or not doing, or what you are putting up with in your life that is destructive. It's not some pious, phoney-baloney, half-hearted rendition of what you think they want to hear. Nor is it a watered-down, politically correct 'confession' that you think will buy you closure at the expense of truth. I mean brutal reality: slapping yourself in the face and admitting what you are doing to screw up your life. This also means admitting that you are getting payoffs for what you're doing, however sick or subtle those payoffs are."
And God knows, real acknowledgement and acceptance of responsibility is not what you were after or you wouldn't have apologized in email in the first place.
4.) Try to evoke sympathy for yourself as part of the apology. Use worn-out lines like "It may not mean much to you now...". Thank the person for their past "support" of you in your (largely self-inflicted) trials and tribulations as a not-so-subtle reminder of how "rough" things have been for you. You can also use this as a way to look magnanamous and introspective while avoiding taking any real action. Whine about how you are finally working on your "issues" (never mind that you have been saying the same thing for years), as if that is supposed to mean something real. Avoid any discussion about what you are doing *specifically* to work on those issues. After all, (despite your previous litany of lies) the person you are apologizing to should trust that you really mean what you say this time, right? Talk about how you are finally accepting responsibility for the consequences of your behavior, and then avoid making any effort to talk to the other person face to face. Talk about how you miss the fun you had with the other person (carefully avoiding any mention of the fun you had at that person's expense at the same time). See if there is still a chain left to be yanked. Remember, this is all about assuaging your conscience and repairing your damaged image - not about doing real work or genuine caring for the other person, but nobody else needs to know that. With a little careful manipulation, you can use this apology to get sympathy and attention from other people as well.
5.) Don't give any reasons about why you have suddenly decided to extend this tremendous effort (writing an email) after so much time has passed. It is equally important that you avoid replying to any questions they might ask about specifics. Remember, this isn't really about making amends, it's about making yourself feel better.
6.) Expect instant redemption and forgiveness. Remember, no matter what you have done, a few words are supposed to magically wipe away all the pain of the past with no further work required by you. Now that you have made a token gesture, the other person should just "forgive and forget" so that you find it easier to sleep at night.
7.) Get upset when your trite "olive branch" isn't received with warmth and acceptance. Go whining to whomever will listen, about how you made all this *EFFORT*, and how *HARD* it was for you to take that step (what with all your issues, and all), and how it was REJECTED because that awful person actually expected you to DO SOMETHING REAL. After all, you have ISSUES and such, and that means you should be exempted from behaving in a manner congruent to your words, and everyone should coddle you and praise even the smallest effort on your part.
8.) Take no further action. Use pat phrases like, "I'm doing my best to take responsiblity for the consequences of my behaviour", but don't actually DO anything beyond sending the email. It plays well, and you can always use that "doing my best" as your cop-out when you don't actually follow-through - it wasn't a REAL commitment to change, it was a "best-effort", and your emailed apology was a fine demonstration of how good THAT is. I can't stress enough how important it is that you don't reply to any questions the other person might have about your email, especially ones that ask "why now?", "what specifically do you acknowledge was inappropriate?" and "what specifically you are doing to take responsibility?". After all, you don't owe them any explanation. Like I said, this isn't about doing anything for *them*, it's all about YOU. Indicate in your original apology that you still have some of the other person's belongings, but don't actually make any effort to RETURN them, or contact the other person in any way. After all, once you've made your apology, you can wash your hands of the whole messy affair and wipe your conscience clean without having to dirty yourself with uncomfortable things like integrity, sincerity, action or actually facing the person you harmed.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
So dh dropped ds and I off at his P's house and then went off with BIL to NM's where he found a box of my stuff sitting on the front porch. He rang the bell several times but no one answered. SJ's truck was in the driveway but the garage was all closed up so he couldn't tell if NM's car was inside or not. Didn't hear any sound from inside so we don't know if they were out with NHS and BIL for Father's Day or sitting inside and ignoring dh or what.
NM gave back several small pieces of copper I'd said she could have. Most of my good pieces of copper were in there except the three frying pans. I can't help but wonder if she deliberately set them outside on the front porch minus the pans so that if I said anything about them missing she could claim she put them in there and they must have been stolen or something or what.
One thing I can't figure out, why go to the trouble of calling dh to see if he could come back today to get the rest of the stuff and then not be home? Was SJ bitching about wanting my stuff out of HIS house? Did NM just want to be rid of the last traces of me? What? These things plague my mind despite my efforts not to think about it all. As does the question of where they were. Were they all out at a restaurant with NHS and BIL and their kids playing "happy family" minus me? Celebrating finally being rid of me? Wish I could stop thinking about it...
Saturday, June 19, 2010
In all, everything went well. Dh said he was at NM's less than a minute. NM opened the door before dh even got to it and then immediately set to handing him ds' wicker bassinet and some of my old art stuff that I didn't even know she still had. Dh asked for my copper as well and NM said that it was all put up on top of her kitchen cabinets and that she'd have to take it all down. She said she'd get it done in the next couple of days and dh could come back to get that as well as a bag of toys of ds' that were still in her attic. Dh said that would be fine, he'd email her to arrange a time to come get it and left.
Dh said that NM seemed very tired and sad, though he suspected it had little to do with us. Dh said it was that same tired, fed up look NM gets when SJ has been acting like an abusive ass. My guess is that SJ was drunk - as usual - and talking shit either about dh coming into HIS house or made a comment that I'd better not be coming too and/or that he had something to say to me, etc. In other words, the usual BS from him. Dh said that while he first thought NM was saying he (dh) wasn't welcome in her home, that he later thought - after thinking things over - that it was more like NM didn't want any trouble from SJ.
I wish we'd gotten everything today because now I'm worried about dh having to go there again if SJ is there and decides to start something. The only danger from NM is words really but SJ can definitely get violent and I can totally see him going after someone physically. Maybe dh can get FIL to go with him the next time if BIL isn't available. Worst case, I'll go and stay in the car so at least there'll be a witness.
The sucky part? I'm now sitting here feeling bad for NM. I still care for her on some level, even if I know that she'll never change and we can never have a positive relationship. I certainly have no intent of breaking NC but it just saddens me so much that her life is so miserable, particularly with regard to being married to a sadistic, N pig like SJ. And because of her mental illness, she can't see that there is a way out.
I wish there was some way I could explain things to her and she'd understand that I didn't walk away to try and hurt her or cause her pain but because I didn't want to hurt anymore and, after everything else had failed, it was the only option I had left. Instead, she feels she's done nothing wrong and I'm just out to hurt her.
I just wish it didn't have to be like this.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I had considered going with him. For one, I've realized that it's always best to have a witness present when interacting with narcissists. For another, I thought it would be nice to support my dh and have him support me through this. And thirdly, I thought it might help me take back some of my stolen power as well as to find a bit of closure in this whole being NC thing with NM. However, after much consideration (and a talk with my stepmom), I've decided to stay home. And boy, is it ever going to be HARD!
It's not that I don't trust my dh to handle NM. I have total faith that he can handle anything NM may try to throw his way tomorrow. It's more the relinquishing of control of the situation. Apparently, I'm a huge control freak...or so I'm told! I suppose it's because I had so little control over my life for so long growing up in an abusive, dysfunctional household full of raving N's.
At any rate, the thought of having to sit here at home tomorrow while dh is there is enough to drive me a bit crazy. As I said, I have total faith that dh can handle anything NM may throw at him. It's more a question of will he put NM in her place as strongly as I would if given the chance to be there?
Though I am loathe to admit it lest all my N FOO's ever said about me being a horrible person be proven correct, the truth is that a part of me longs for NM to be put back in her place, forcefully and rudely, the way she's attempted to do to me all these years. A dose of her own medicine and all that.
I guess I'll just have to have faith that my dh's way, while perhaps not the way I might do things, is okay too.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"Hi, Sorry to hear you've been sick. I hope you're better now. Your mom is coming here again around the beginning of July so she can bring the gown with her when she comes. I hope the rest of your family is healthy. Love you guys"
What got to me was the part about my NM being up there - Ohio - again "around the beginning of July". My birthday is July 5th and my NM will be out of town.
Now, I realize I should be grateful NM won't be in town because it means I can have a happy, uneventful birthday without having to worry about NM popping over uninvited or otherwise being around to cause trouble. So why is it that the only thing I can seem to think is that NM is rejecting me once again by not even caring to be here for my birthday?
Actually, as I type this, I realize that it's more NM won't remain here, just in case, hoping to be invited. It's just one more reminder of how she couldn't care less about me and never has.
This whole thing, in addition to a post made over at the DoNM board recently, got me thinking - do we ever truly get over or past our DoNM legacies? Will the day ever come when we truly get over it and are able to move on or will our "fleas" always continue to hinder us and nibble at our insides?
My dh is of the opinion that we never truly get over our "fleas" but that we just learn to cope better so that they don't impede our ability to live our daily lives. I'd like to think that he's right but, at least from where I'm sitting right now, it feels like it'll never happen.
What do you all think? Do you think it's possible to ever truly get past our legacies as DoNM's? Or will our "fleas" and other issues always be there just behind the scene?
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Communication & the Functional Sociopath
By William Polowniak, Ph.D.
Fritz Perls a famous Jewish psychotherapist known for his founding of Gestalt therapy once said that refusal to communicate is the most toxic human behavior. I am convinced that he is right. Refusal to communicate really means refusal to listen and to enter into dialogue especially when we disagree. Usually people who refuse to communicate live their lives as “functional sociopaths.” That is, they are self-centered, they do as they please with total disregard for others and they indulge in subterfuge, self-delusion and see themselves as persecuted. Their delusions of self-persecution cause them to become angry manipulators.
So why label people in “either or” categories as “toxic” or “nourishing” people? Labels themselves are dangerous and often unfair, but for the wise person they do help us see what to avoid. They help us to invest our energies in more productive ways. When we use labels, however, we must be aware that labeling others without caution is in itself a toxic behavior. Let us “be aware” when we choose to label others or ourselves.
“Action speaks louder than words” Everyone’s mother has probably said this during our childhood more than once. My father used to say “Talk is cheap, whiskey costs money.” The typical behaviors of those who refuse to communicate are labeled by psychologists as the “fight?flight” response. Those who refuse to communicate are usually adept at manipulation, they have toxic behavior in general and when confronted by circumstances that proves their position is faulty, they will attack or run away, or they will attack and run away. "Toxic people are adept at pushing our buttons and provoking an over-reaction in others. But the up side of that is that they challenge us to remain centered and be a positive influence even if there is no reward to us directly. Our efforts to not add to the pain and suffering toxic people use to justify their emotional cruelty and brutal behavior is our best strategy. If they do not run they will not listen using a variety of tyrannical behaviors. They begin by raising their voices, then will shout, scream and rant and rave often appearing to be a raving lunatic. They typically indulge in anger, condemnation and blame. They are adept at interrupting and often will not allow their adversary to finish even one sentence. We often see people like this on TV talk shows."
So how does a person deal with those who refuse to communicate? The best defense is listening, in silence, and adopting the posture of a detective. While listening, try to discover what is really at the root of the problem. All the while, if you must communicate, focus on short, simple and clear statements using "I" statements frequently; that is, if your adversary permits any pauses in their onslaught of anger, condemnation and blame. At the very least, actively listening in silence and non-judgment will provide your adversary with needed catharsis, will often defuse their anger and will not add to their fear of retaliation.
Another thing that helps is to rely on trust and the great healer—time. We’ve all heard the biblical quote “Vengeance in mine, sayeth the Lord.” The fact is that time and life will usually bite these kinds of people in the behind when they least expect it. They sabotage their own life by alienating others, when in fact they desperately need and want love and affection.
Another helpful thing to realize is that to the wise person, knowing that “not communicating” can often communicate more than we realize. Not retaliating, not interrupting the interrupter, but listening in silence or basically allowing the adversary to wallow in their own delusions of persecution will ultimately allow the TRUTH to emerge. Reality is the second best teacher. Do you know what the best teacher is? Pain. Very often only pain and suffering can communicate to the person who refuses to communicate.
A final thing that is helpful is to remember that “help is not always helpful.” Recently I tried to help a person who was wallowing in her anger and hostility. Her remark to me was “I don’t need your help.” Often it is wise to avoid unnecessary contact with people who seem to be waiting to pick a fight or to blow up. If communication is really necessary it should be done in writing (and keep a copy) so that it is less likely to elicit a reaction or temper tantrum. And in the worse cases, if a toxic person retaliates and legal action becomes necessary to remedy the situation, what you have in writing may be valuable. In addition if a toxic person acts out threats they will thereby create the proof you will need to legally prosecute for blackmail and malicious mischief. Those of us who believe in community do not like to think of things like legal action or legal defense but the reality is that sometimes legal remedies do in fact create community and can force a more healthy emotional situation to prevail. Legal remedies can show the bully and the emotional tyrant that you are not afraid.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
I attended a workshop recently which explored the differences between feelings and emotions. It gave insight into something that had previously confused me re Ns, and I found it very helpful so am passing it on.
Feelings are different from emotional states. There are only 4 feelings:
ANGER - FEAR - SADNESS - HAPPINESS
Feelings are not negative or positive, they just are. We can control our thoughts but we can't control our feelings. All feelings are valid if expressed appropriately - it's how we express them that leads to positive or negative outcomes for us. Everyone experiences feelings. Feelings are spiritual but can affect us physically (adrenalin, pain etc.)
Emotions are the results of feelings. They come from within our minds. Love, hate, guilt, envy, resentment, shame, frustration, despair, caring, joy and so on are all emotions. We can control them - they are a result of our thought processes and a reaction to the feelings we have, nothing more. We can overlay a negative emotion with more positive thought processes - we have the power within to do that. For example, if we feel anger and fear (thanks, NM) and that leads to thoughts of guilt, that's all it is, a thought. Our tutor expressed it this way "You don't feel guilty, you think guilty. You can learn to think differently by overlaying negative thoughts with positive ones while appropriately expressing your valid feelings of anger and fear."
I found this very helpful on a personal level and hope I've explained it clearly.
Now the Light Bulb. Ns have feelings too. They experience the same 4 feelings that everyone else does:
ANGER - FEAR - SADNESS - HAPPINESS
And that's it. No emotions, just inappropriate expression of the 4 basic feelings. They don't understand how emotions affect us, they are simply well aware that they do. And because they cannot experience "caring", they just don't care. They don't have any negative thought processes to overlay because emotions form no part of their thoughts. They just bulldoze through. Meet my mother. And yours. It also explains one of the reasons why they notoriously use enablers to express their emotions for them - they are incapable of expressing something that - for them - doesn't exist.
I struggled with this for a long time - how could they do the things they do when they are obviously capable of experiencing feelings? Becoming aware of the limitations of raw feelings without the additional human quality of emotions and empathy has gone a long way to reconciling that glaring disparity for me.
Have a great day DoNMs.
It was the last part that especially struck me. I've wondered for a long time, how can my NM say and do the things she does to me? Doesn't she understand how it hurts me? And if so, all the more reason why I didn't understand. So when I saw it explained the way it was above, it suddenly made a lot more sense to me.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Well, a few days later, I remember some family was over and my NM called me downstairs and said she had to ask me something. She asked if she could show everyone my papers I'd hidden in the cabinet. I don't remember if I was embarrassed or anything but I must have said yes because I remember getting the tiny slips of paper out of the cabinet and handing them over.
NM passed them around to everyone and began laughing hysterically as she uttered, "See?" or something like that. The hateful bitch was LAUGHING because I'd misspelled the word "dead" by switching the "a" and the "e". Oh, they all had a good laugh at my expense and I was left feeling humiliated, stupid and confused as to exactly what I'd done that was so "funny".
I cannot even begin to imagine ever mocking my son in such a cruel way. Someday soon, when our family dog, Akira's, time comes, my poor ds is going to be heartbroken and I will comfort him as best I can. As his mother, his pain causes me pain.
How could one's own mother be so cruel? So what if it was "just a bird"? He was my pet and I loved him. It didn't matter the reason for my pain, the point was that I was hurting and it was my mom's job to comfort and console me and, instead, she took my pain and used it to hurt me further. And yet this same woman has the gall to ask me what is it she's done that's so wrong that she should deserve to be punished so by me and denied access to my son!
If anyone wants to check him out, here is a link to the convention info and here is a link to his website.
Here are just a couple examples of his amazing work:
(Couldn't get the pics to show up right so I'll just post the links!)
A loving, supportive, handsome man who is a talented artist too? Yessiree, I've got it made.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I found myself wondering last night what my life would be like had my NM and SJ not moved us out of Ohio and away from all our family and friends. For sure I'd have been closer to my dad and SM and my half bro and sister. There likely wouldn't be any estrangement between my half bro and I. I'd have friends who I'd grown up with and went to school and graduated with. I'm sure I'd have gone to college since my dad would have been in my life and paid for it. That means I'd likely have a career at this point, maybe in veterinary medicine or psychology...or maybe as an interior designer like my half sis since, like her, I seem to have a natural flair for that sort of thing.
I may even be closer to my FOO since they wouldn't have the fact that I chose to remain here in North Carolina, rather than moving back "home" the first chance I got, to hold against me. Though I'm sure I'd never have had any REAL, meaningful relationship with any of them regardless simply because of the nature of their dysfunction.
I'm sure the abuse at home would have still occurred though it may have been to a much lesser degree with extended family close enough to pop over unannounced.
As I thought about all that might have been, I felt myself getting angrier at all I've been cheated out of in my life and I resolved that I'd had enough. I'm so sick of all of these people taking from me - taking my power, my happiness, certain aspects of my life, even my material things. My NM has several items of mine including one heck of a copper collection that I managed to scrape together with some very fortunate yard sale and thrift shop finds. If purchased new in a store, I'd dare say the entire collection would total a few thousand dollars yet I paid, at most, less than $100 for all of it.
I decided then and there that I was going to do whatever I could to get my things back from my NM. Why the hell should she get to win and keep my stuff? More to the point, it's MINE and I WANT IT BACK! I spoke with dh and he assured me he'd help me and do whatever he could to get my things back from NM. He plans to handle it all himself and keep me out of it but, honestly, I feel a part of me NEEDS to do this myself. Dh can be there for support - I'm certainly not stupid enough to go into the lion's den alone - but I need to stand up to NM and take my power (and my things) back for myself. It's more of a gut instinct at this time but I feel this may be just the thing I need to really and truly put all this behind me and move on with my life. And while I'm there, I can throw...I mean, nicely hand my NM the stupid family baptismal gown back. They want it back, fine but I'll be darned if I'm going to put it in the mail and risk it being lost so that they can berate me for that too.
Strange....just typing all this out and seeing it written down is enough to make me feel a bit better.
I'll let you all know how dh and I decide to handle getting my things back. Right now, I'm thinking a surprise pop over is best since to announce my arrival beforehand could prove disastrous. NM has had FIVE long months now to seethe in her anger at my daring to refuse to put up with her crap anymore. Five months of letting her anger build and grow. If I catch her off guard and surprise her, I may be able to escape some of her wrath but, announced beforehand, it wouldn't surprise me to arrive there to find NHS and BIL just "happened" to be visiting so that they could all ambush and attack me. No...a sneak attack is definitely best.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Hi DA, I'm writing to ask if you will please send the baptismal gown back to me. Julie has asked me about it because she wants to use it someday when she has her baby....she is not pregnant yet but is in the planning stages. I will send you money for postage.
That's it. No, "How are you?" or "Love you, GM xx", just a very cold, businesslike "Fine then. If you're no longer a part of this family then we want the family baptismal gown back!", which, in my DoNM mind, is exactly what's being said here.
I don't know whether to be more hurt or plain ole angry. I just want to scream at them, "You know what you uppity assholes? If you all knew the truth, not NM's version of the "truth" but the REAL TRUTH, you'd all be ASHAMED at the way you're treating me!" Of course, it wouldn't achieve anything other than to add to their evidence against me, proving what an unstable, immature little girl I am. Still, it would feel SO GOOD to get my moment to tell them off!
I wrote last time about my step GM (my stepjerk's mother) who was such a good, kind, caring lady and who always treated me the same as the rest of her grandchildren despite the fact that I wasn't technically her gk. The same applies for my stepmother's mother. She and her dh, who passed away just over a year ago, were so kind and loving toward me. They always treated me the same as the other kids. What the hell does it say about my FOO that three people who weren't even related to me have treated me with more love and respect and kindness in my lifetime than the people who are my blood relations??
Most importantly, it says that it's not ME who has the problem. It's not ME who is flawed or bad or wrong. It's all of THEM. This is a huge light bulb moment for me, one I am clinging to with the same ferocity that a person who'd fallen overboard would cling to a life preserver with.
Am I perfect? Hardly. Have I made mistakes? Yes, of course. But if I were so fundamentally flawed or wrong as my FOO would have me believe then I should think that NO ONE would love me. Yet I have my dh, my ds, my IL's, my SM and dad, my (good) half sister and two sets of step GP's who have loved and cared for me.
So while it hurts - a LOT - and I continue to struggle with my DoNM issues of feeling flawed and unloveable - I'm going to do my best to focus on the people who love me for no other reason than that I am ME and realize that means that I am okay and worthy of being loved and respected.