The Furnace.

This is the sort of writing I like doing best, and this is one of my favorite posts I wrote.

Lucky Otters Haven

My post The Mystery Ship was one of my most popular posts. Here’s another childhood memoir from over two years ago I wrote in the same spirit as that essay.

Originally posted on June 15, 2015

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In 1968 our family moved to a Dutch Colonial three-story house built in the 1920s. We only lived there for five years, but the memory of that house is etched into my mind like veins of quartz in granite. Some other time I’ll write about how cool the entire house was, but right now my concern is the old oil furnace that lived in the basement.

Yes, it lived there. It wasn’t hard to imagine that furnace was alive. It had a personality.

Its squat rotund body stood in the sooty gray-concrete corner like a Russian sentinel from a lost age. Its concrete exterior had been painted what appeared to have been white in…

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Wise words from Honest Abe.

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We need a lot more awareness about narcissism and psychopathy.

Originally posted on January 28, 2018.   Comments are welcome.

Lucky Otters Haven

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Elizabeth Mika is one of the 27 mental health professionals who contributed to the  bestselling book,  The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.   She is a psychologist who writes about narcissism, psychopathy and authoritarianism (specifically Donald Trump’s authoritarianism) on her Medium blog.  I follow her on Twitter (she’s under @yourauntemma if you want to follow her too) because I never want to miss one of her articles.    The other day, she tweeted this in reference to the many pleas to “remember the Holocaust”:

Unless we teach about the conscience-impairing character defects, like psychopathy & narcissism, shared by genocidal leaders & their followers, these calls for remembrance will remain hollow.

She’s absolutely right.   Even though the Cluster B personality disorders, specifically those in the Dark Triad — Narcissistic Personality Disorder, psychopathy (Antisocial Personality Disorder), and malignant narcissism (a combination of both disorders with paranoid traits)  — are getting…

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These 7 Traits Make You Vulnerable to Narcissistic Manipulation

This article is a must read for empaths and HSPs, and anyone vulnerable to narcissistic abuse:

These 7 Traits Make You Vulnerable to Narcissistic Manipulation

By Kim Saeed

Comments here have been turned off.  Please leave comments under the original post.

She also has a great site!  Be sure to visit.

https://kimsaeed.com/

We are being held hostage here in the former “Land of the Free.”

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Trump is holding hardworking government employees (and people doing contract work for the government) hostage until he gets the money to build his useless, destructive, and racist wall. Only a sociopath without empathy or a conscience would punish innocent people because he can’t get his way.    These are not the tactics of any democracy, but are the ones used by tin pot dictators in backwards banana republics.   As for the shutdown, there’s no end in sight.   As usual, the spoiled toddler in the Oval Office is digging his heels in deeper, folding his fat, sluglike arms arrogantly across his puffed up chest, and holding his breath like a bratty two year old until he gets his wall.   He cannot and will not compromise because working with others cooperatively is not in his nature.     Attacking and demonizing when he doesn’t get his way is.

We are becoming a shithole country.

And it’s much more than just not paying people for their hard work (who just got their first paycheck with a big fat ZERO on it and have been given no promises of being paid any back pay) or laying them off.  Necessary programs are being shut down, including Food Stamps and the Parks Department.    The USDA has stopped food inspections, which will lead to epidemics of illness and food poisoning.  Our national parks are now dangerous places that are becoming filled with trash from squatters and transients, and as they are being kept open, no security is being provided.  And it’s all because Trump is a spoiled brat who can’t get his way on something that is not only a bad idea but would never work anyway.

It’s not that border security isn’t important.   But there are better, less invasive, more modern, and cheaper ways to protect our borders.  This could all be resolved without making innocent and hardworking people suffer and go without the things they need because the government refuses to pay them (while actually increasing the pay of high ranking government officials and other Trump cronies).   But compromise isn’t a word in the Trump or GOP vocabulary.  It’s their way or the highway.   To make matters worse for those victimized by his cruel policies,  Trump and his privileged cronies who never wanted for anything have the gall to patronizingly suggest furloughed workers take up babysitting or hold yard sales.

I’m so disgusted with this ruthless, spoiled, and evil tyrant, and his tyrannical, mob boss tactics.   I’m so exhausted I don’t have much more to say about the government shutdown, so I’ll just let these words from authoritarian expert and frequent MSNBC contributor Sarah Kendzior speak for all of us (I’m sorry, but I don’t have the information on what book this is from).

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Thankfully, with the new Democratic Congress demanding accountability and restoring some checks and balances, there are new investigations into Trump and his criminal, treasonous and immoral activities, and Mueller is almost finished wrapping up his case.  For perhaps the first time in his empty, criminal, privileged life, there will finally be consequences for Trump and his equally amoral and arrogant older children, and all the white collar criminals and traitors who have aided and abetted Trump in his lies and treason.   Trump and his enablers are Russian assets and enemies of America.

Justice is coming.

Car-ma!

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A few days before Christmas, my daughter was in a car wreck. She is fine (no injuries), but unfortunately her car was totalled.

Her narc father pays for her car insurance (which is in his name) because due to her age and a few driving violations when she was younger (including driving without a license), rates for her are astronomical and I can’t afford to put her on my insurance either.

It was raining hard and a truck suddenly cut in front of her, her brakes locked up (she didn’t have ABS brakes), and she hydroplaned into the guardrail. She is fine but was pretty shaken up and it could have been bad!   Her car couldn’t be fixed so it was totaled out. The insurance company said they would pay $3,000 for a new car. She was happy because that meant she could get a better, safer used car.

The check came in her father’s name and he kept delaying and making excuses for not giving her the money for the car, or even taking her car shopping. He told her he had to wait for the check to clear. My daughter felt there was something fishy about his excuses and was starting to think he was lying to her.   She knows he’s not trustworthy, especially when it comes to money. He’s also a world class liar.

Finally, he got back to her.   He said that after bank fees there was only $1700 left, so she’d have to find something for that amount. She was very angry and upset.  She thought he’d already spent the money, and he most likely did, since he was bragging to her about his expensive new phone and other things he’d just bought. Obviously, he used her car insurance money to buy toys for himself.

Fortunately, her fiance was helpful, and also because he knows people in the area, he can get inside scoops on good cars at cheap prices. So she was able to snag a 2007 Mazda in good condition and not too much mileage for about $1300.
The car runs great and so far there don’t appear to be any problems with it.

This is when things turned weird.

The day after she got her new car, her father called her and said his truck’s engine blew out. Unbelievably, the first price the mechanic told him he would have to pay to fix it was…wait for it…$1700. He said okay, he could afford that, it be no problem. He lined up a tow truck for his vehicle and asked my daughter to ride him to the repair shop in her new car, where he would wait.

But on the way to the mechanic, he suddenly got a phone call from the proprietor who apologized for the mistake. The price, he said, would not be $1700, it would be $5,000.
Since $1700 is all he has, now he has to find a car for that amount or less.

Car-ma?

The awkwardness of being a Borderline ACON.

Thought I’d reblog this, as it shows where my head was at almost three years ago, and how I reacted to criticism from “pure” abuse survivors who didn’t believe it was possible to be both an abuse victim and also suffer from something as “evil” as Borderline Personality Disorder (whose symptoms are often mixed up with those of  Complex PTSD and may even be the same thing).

I’m a lot calmer and more centered today, but I was also in therapy at that time and learning a lot about myself, so it was a fruitful time for me, however difficult it could sometimes be.

Comments here are welcome, since the deadline for comments under the original post has expired.

Lucky Otters Haven

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I won’t lie.  It’s incredibly awkward being a blogger who blogs about two things that seem diametrically opposed to many people in the narcissistic abuse community:  being a victim of narcissists, and having a Cluster B disorder (BPD).   To those of you who aren’t familiar with the ACON (adult children of narcissists) blogosphere,  there are a few ACON bloggers (not too many on WordPress, fortunately) who seem to think if you have BPD then you can’t also be an abuse victim and certainly shouldn’t be blogging about it.  Because, you see, if you have BPD then you are one of the soulless abusers.  If you are any kind of “cluster B person” blogging about abuse, then of it follows that you must have an “agenda.”  What that agenda is is never specified though.

I have been accused of many things, none of which are pretty, and few of which are true…

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My little girl is getting married!

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Talk about a whirlwind romance!   She started dating Robert (“Bobby”) in August, but they had been friends for a year or two before they fell in love, so it wasn’t like they were complete strangers.   They met through mutual friends.  There were a few problems at first in their relationship, but they seem to have gotten past and resolved them.

I’ve watched the two of them together, and I can honestly say I’ve never met a man who treats my daughter as well as Bobby does.  He shows no signs of any narcissism, or any personality disorder for that matter, although he has a few neuroses (but don’t we all).    He treats her like a queen but not in the typical wine and dine way of a narcissist.  He doesn’t shower her constantly with material gifts and dinners and flowers, but he’s considerate and empathetic and genuine, and he has taken to me too, and I to him.  I’m looking forward to calling him my son in law.  I think they will be good together and can grow and learn together as a couple.

He’s pretty stable financially, has never been married (he said he never met anyone he loved before), and also he is close to his own family who lives in this area.  At first I was concerned about his age, because he’s going to be 40 this month (he was born in 1979) and my daughter is just 25 (she was born in 1993).   But at her age, 15 years isn’t that huge an age difference, and it happens quite frequently that the bride is a younger than the groom.  She has dated boys her own age and in my opinion, they’ve all seemed a bit immature and self centered.  They certainly didn’t seem ready to support my daughter emotionally or financially (even though she will continue to work and don’t plan to get pregnant for at least a year or so).

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We’re not wealthy people by any means, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have a special day.   They don’t want to wait, so they are going to be married at the Courthouse next Monday (she’s not pregnant).  She ordered her own dress which by the way is absolutely beautiful and so flattering on her.   It’s a knee length long sleeve dress that is casual enough she could wear it for other dressy occasions.   I ordered her a pastel floral headband and some beautiful white ballet flats with a beautiful lace overlay.   She will wear my pearls (that I wore at my wedding) for something old and borrowed; a beaded off white clutch purse,  and a pretty bracelet with pale blue glass beads and rhinestones (for something blue).  This week she’s going to have her hair professionally done: a trim, and soft curls and highlights put in.

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Her dad and I will be there to sponsor them, and this Friday they’re going to the Courthouse to register.   After the little wedding, we’re going out to Carrabba’s for dinner (he dad has declined to join, which I’m relieved about) and then back to my place for a special cake I will have made for them.

Later on, if they want, they can always have another wedding with all the trimmings and a big reception, but I don’t think that’s a priority of theirs.  They just want to be married now!   I don’t blame them.  It will be lovely.

They have actually been engaged since the end of August (he was going to propose to her when we were at Myrtle Beach), but he didn’t have enough to buy the ring at that time, so he proposed on Christmas.   Here is the video I took of that.   She told me later she knew he was proposing, but by her reaction, you’d think she didn’t know a thing.

“Yes, I’ll marry you, stupid!”

Crash test dummy blog for Gutenberg.

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I don’t learn well by following instructions or watching someone else do something.  I’m one of those people who has to actually try a new thing myself before it sinks into my brain.  That’s just the way I roll and it always has been.   That’s not likely to change at my age.

I hate Gutenberg.  I hate the idea of having to use it.  I feel like it’s a terrible editor for actual writers and is going to interfere with the entire writing process, even if I should ever master it.   The writing process is holistic (at least for me it is), and Gutenberg is anything but holistic.   It’s like building a freaking Lego building.  Blocks are fine, even fun — but they’re not friends to writers.

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The Lego block version of the sort of post I might write using Gutenberg “blocks.”  

So I decided to start a dummy blog.  Yes, a crash test dummy blog just to practice Gutenberg and see what I really think of it.   Hey, it can’t hurt.  A dummy blog cost me nothing, and I can practice using the dreaded new editor without totally fucking up my current blog.

You can’t see my dummy blog.  It’s set to private.  It doesn’t even have a proper name.  I called it “My Dummy Blog.”  How creative is that?  I wrote one blog post so far using Gutenberg. The post I wrote is sheer nonsense, word salad really, and you wouldn’t want to read it.   I still hate Gutenberg.  But at least I got sort of an idea about the feel of using the thing.  Do I think I could actually master it?  Yes, eventually.  But I can already tell it’s astronomically unlikely I’ll ever like using it, and as a result, I won’t be motivated to blog.    I’ll keep practicing and see if that ever changes but I doubt it.

If you’re curious about trying Gutenberg but are like me and afraid to try it on your real blog because it might wind up FUBAR,  start a dummy blog like I did, and just play around with it.  If you completely make a mess of things, it won’t matter.

 

Delphine.

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“Terra” by Jenndalyn, Etsy.com

While I was in therapy a couple of years ago,  my therapist asked me to keep a dream diary.    I noticed that I actually seemed to remember more of my dreams while doing this.   I used to write about my dreams often on this blog, but even more often on another blog (Down the Rabbit Hole) I started around that time that focused on my therapy and the things I was discovering about myself and relationships with others.  I took that blog down about a year ago (it still exists, since I didn’t want to delete it, but I set it to private, and then stopped paying for its domain so it’s out there in WordPress Limbo somewhere but no one can see it, not even me unless I decide to revive the domain, which I doubt I’ll do).

Also about a year ago, I stopped going to therapy (I no longer felt that I needed it) and I stopped keeping  the dream diary, which was probably a silly thing to do.   Since then, I haven’t been paying much attention to my dreams and hence, I remember few of them.

But this morning I had one that was quite vivid and actually woke me up.  The dream seemed to have deep meaning and also a message that is important for me to remember, so I wrote the dream down as soon as I woke up.   My most  vivid dreams are always in the early morning, and this was no exception.  I consider this to be a very positive dream, though I’m not sure of its exact meaning for me.

I was cleaning apartments in a two story apartment building.   The apartments were almost identical and they were small.  The apartments at the ends of the hallways were a bit larger and had a different layout from the ones lining the hallways.  It was the end of the day and I was exhausted.  I wanted to go home, but I still had one more apartment to clean, on the second level.  It was one of the end-apartments, so it would be one of the big, rambling ones.  Ugh.  I hoped it would be one without pets or kids, maybe with a single old lady who barely touched anything in her home.   I was so tired!

Wearily, I headed toward the apartment.  Before I even knocked on the door, a woman who appeared to be in her late 30s or early 40s opened the door and ushered me inside.   How did she even know I was there?  She wore a wide smile and bohemian looking clothing.  Her hair was long and wavy, and tied in a messy ponytail with tendrils that curled around her cheeks.  She was a pretty woman, but seemed a bit frazzled.

It wasn’t hard to understand why.  Behind her, down a long messy hallway, I saw 4 or 5 kids, ranging from about age 3 to 12 chasing a large dog around.   Oh great, I thought.   Pets AND kids.  I’d be here forever.   No, no, no.  I wanted to go home.

The woman offered me some iced tea with lemon, and put out a plate of cookies, which I accepted.   Two dirty faced kids came running in and helped themselves, stuffing their faces with cookies.  The dog, some kind of sheepdog/retriever mix, came shambling in behind them, and barked a few times.  One of the kids offered him a cookie and off they went again, running back down the long hallway.

The woman, whose name was Delphine,  projected a bohemian friendliness, warmth and empathy.   I could see she was exactly the type of person who would feel right at home in such a messy, large, disorganized apartment.   The place was so huge and rambling that it seemed more like a house than an apartment.  It was much bigger than the other end- apartments I’d seen earlier, and seemed to have hidden rooms and all kinds of nooks and crannies that seemed utterly impossible in such a space.  It seemed as if it might be separate from this world and therefore not really in that apartment building at all.   The entrance to her home might have been a portal to another dimension.

Delphine showed me around the place, which seemed to ramble on endlessly.  She joyfully told me stories about the rooms and the children and animals who lived in them.  She also  showed me which rooms to clean, but there were only three I’d need to worry about.   I felt that she could sense how exhausted I was, and was trying to help me out by not overloading me with work.  The bedrooms I was to clean belonged to three of her children (I never did find out how many she actually had), but they were pretty well kept, so all I’d really be doing was vacumming the rugs, dusting, and straightening the beds.

The work went fast, so fast I can’t even remember doing it.   But Delphine wouldn’t let me leave.  Or more accurately, she didn’t tell me I couldn’t leave, but she kept showing me incredible, magical things that made it impossible for me to leave.   I noticed Delphine didn’t walk: she floated.  Although I could see her bare feet under her long Indian print hippie dress, she seemed to not really be using them at all.   What was this woman?

We were walking along some kind of half outdoor wooden catwalk to another part of the huge apartment (don’t ask) and growing directly out of the wooden planks was what she called a lotus bloom.  It was in some shade of purple but looked grayish too.  But its color wasn’t what made it so otherworldly and incredible.   I  bent over and looked closely at it.  I saw that the whole thing was moving, almost vibrating, and embedded in its whorl-like petals were other, identical, smaller blooms also vibrating.  Within their petals were even smaller blooms, on into infinity.   Magnificence in fractals.  I couldn’t stop staring, but t Delphine had other things to show me.

On another catwalk hung an intricate bamboo cage and inside the cage was the most incredibly colored bluebird I’d ever seen.   It was alone in the cage but didn’t seem lonely.   The bluebird was  colored blue and bright red (instead of the rusty color normal bluebirds have on their bellies).  The colors were of a brightness that that could be considered neon.   His feathers glowed and shimmered like LED Christmas lights in the middle of the day.

The bird looked directly at me and smiled.  No, it didn’t have teeth or lips, so I can’t explain how it smiled, but it did.   Somehow, I knew the bird knew me from somewhere before, but I couldn’t remember from where or when.  He seemed familiar and I felt good around him.  I couldn’t bear to leave.

I woke up at that point, and sat there for several minutes feeling awestruck.  I was trying to hold onto the memory of the dream before it fragmented and faded away forever , and then decided to scribble it down so I could write about it here later.