“Inside Out”: a touching and funny story about the way emotions work.

inside_out_poster

Yesterday I decided to take myself to the movies for a change, and chose to see “Inside Out,” the Disney Pixar animated summer fantasy blockbuster.

Seeing “Inside Out” was a serendipitous choice, because I just happened to have enough money to afford a ticket (which is a rarity for me), and also because, although I didn’t know it right away, this movie has a beautiful message about the way Sadness and Joy, though seemingly polar opposites, when working together make human connection and unconditional love possible. Just as the light can’t exist without darkness, or good without evil, joy cannot exist without sadness. When working in sync with each other, these two emotions create a beautiful life affirming thing called Empathy, and that’s what connects us to each other and keeps the human race from becoming extinct.


Official Trailer


Sneak Preview–Teaser Clips

Riley Andersen is a young girl of 11 who becomes severely depressed after her parents’ decision to move from Minnesota to San Francisco. The movie begins at the moment of Riley’s birth in Minnesota, shown from Riley’s point of view. Her first Emotions (depicted as loveable anthropomorphized characters) are Joy (feeling secure in her parent’s love) and Sadness (when she needs something or feels ignored or in pain). As Riley grows into early toddlerhood, sometimes her needs and desires are thwarted and Anger takes over and she throws a tantrum. Around the same time she is also capable of feeling Fear or Disgust (both necessary for her survival), and it’s at those times those characters become dominant in Riley’s growing mind.

When the five Emotions work together in harmony, not overstepping each other’s boundaries and only doing the jobs assigned to them, this teamwork manifests in Riley as a well-adjusted little girl able to feel all her emotions at the appropriate times.

The five Emotions work in Headquarters, which is the conscious part of Riley’s young mind. Joy is responsible for making sure Riley’s short term memories are sent to Long Term Memory deep in Riley’s subconscious. Her memories are depicted as glowing colored orbs containing a ghostly image of the actual memory. The color of the orbs represent the dominant Emotion Riley felt at the time of the event. Transporting Short Term memories into Long Term Memory happens during Dream Production as Riley sleeps, and sometimes the other Emotions are needed to help Joy do her job getting the memories there (and sometimes discarding certain irrelevant or painful ones.) Occasionally the other Emotions (as well as Riley’s imaginary childhood friend, Bing Bong, who is a jokester) like to play little jokes–and certain irrelevant memories like an annoying gum commercial jingle are sent to Long Term Memory along with the important memories, which causes Riley to occasionally hear the gum jingle in her head at random times years later.

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At the center of Headquarters is the vault which contains Riley’s Core Memories–important but happy long term memories that are responsible for Riley’s happy go lucky personality. The orbs that represent these are colored gold (Joy’s color) and for Riley’s continued mental health, these core memories must not be contaminated by the other Emotions, which is why they are kept locked in a vault. Each of the Core Memories has a long glowing tube that leads to one of Riley’s Five Islands of Personality: Family, Goofiness, Hockey (which she loves to play), Friendship, and Honesty. Maintaining these islands is necessary for Riley’s continued normal psychological development.

The crisis in Riley’s mind is set off when her family moves from her beloved Minnesota to San Francisco. Moving away is always a traumatic event for even the most loved child. Feeling isolated from her old friends and lonely in a place she doesn’t know, Riley’s Emotions begin to make mistakes and not work in sync. Joy and the other Emotions have never been sure of Sadness’s purpose because she just seems to be a Debbie Downer who is always in the way and always making mistakes. It’s Joy’s job to keep Riley’s happiness intact, but one day shortly after the traumatic move, Sadness goes around touching Riley’s happy memories, turning them blue (sad). Joy frantically tries to undo the damage but the memories already touched cannot be repaired. Desperate, Joy tries to isolate Sadness to prevent her from doing any more damage.

On Riley’s first day at her new school, Sadness takes over and Riley begins to cry in class, which creates a new but painful core memory. Joy frantically tries to keep this new core memory from reaching the central vault, but in her struggle with Sadness, who seems to keep contaminating more memories, she accidentally knocks out some of Riley’s untouched happy core memories, which fall off into the abyss. These memories are almost impossible to retrieve once lost to Riley’s Unconscious. Worse yet, both Joy and Sadness are sucked through the Long Term Memory Tube themselves, and are both lost deep in Riley’s vast and labyrinthine Unconscious.

During Joy and Sadness’s absence, Anger, Fear and Disgust attempt to run Headquarters in their place and make a holy mess of things. They attempt to provide “joy” but of course it’s faked now, rather than genuine. Sadness too is absent, so Riley can no longer longer cry or even feel grief over her loss. Anger, Fear and Disgust manifest in Riley’s new insolent and angry attitude toward her parents and loss of interest in the things she used to love. With the core memories now missing or contaminated, one by one the Five Islands of Personality crumble and fall into the abyss of the Memory Dump, a place deep in Riley’s mind where old memories are forgotten. The first Island to crumble into oblivion is Goofiness (Riley’s sense of humor), followed by Hockey (which she quits), and then Friendship (she no longer has any desire to make new friends).

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Joy and Sadness find themselves adrift after falling through the Long Term Memory tube deep into Riley’s unconscious mind.

Desperate, Anger decides to insert in Riley’s mind the idea to run back to Minnesota. He plugs this into the Control Console, in the belief this can produce new happy memories. This requires Riley to steal money from her mother’s purse in order to fund her trip back to Minnesota, and then she lies about the theft. As a result, the second to last Island left, Honesty, falls away in ruins into the Memory Dump.

Back in the abyss of Riley’s deep Unconscious, Joy and Sadness run into Bing Bong, Riley’s long forgotten childhood imaginary friend. Bing Bong wants to reconnect with Riley, so he tells Joy and Sadness they can all get back to Headquarters by riding the Train of Thought. After a series of failed attempts, they eventually catch the train, but it becomes derailed when the last personality island, Family, falls into the Dump.

At this point, giving any more away would be spoiling the plot, but gradually Joy and Sadness, who have always been at odds with each other, realize that in order for Riley to return to her normal happy state of mind, they must work together as a team and Sadness has the biggest job of all. Riley must be able to experience–and receive–empathy and love (which comprise both joy and sadness) to heal from her near-catatonic depression.

As a blogger about narcissism and personality disorders, I see Riley at this point in grave danger of suicide or developing a personality disorder, even NPD or BPD. Her trauma-induced depression has caused her to become apathetic and unable to feel anything at all. What happens next is so magical and touched me so deeply I sat there in the darkened theater with tears running unchecked down my face and my nose running. I wasn’t alone–I heard sniffles and nose blowing all over the theater, and there’s a safety and sense of connection with total strangers that comes from that, and that’s why going to see a good movie never gets old. There’s something wonderfully liberating about being able to cry in a public place yet unseen by others and unjudged for it because everyone else is crying too. I think that’s why “heartstring tugging” movies are so popular. But the emotions elicited in “Inside Out” feel real–there’s no sappiness or fake sentimentality in this film that make you feel manipulated by the producers.

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The five Islands of Personality.

But for all its poignancy, “Inside Out” has plenty of humor too, and all the jokes are clever and well timed. At times during the movie I was both laughing and crying at the same time. The Five Emotions are all funny characters with their own unique charm. Even Anger is loveable and hilarious in his own irascible way, and the Tinker-Bell like Joy, who could have been incredibly annoying for all her upbeat perkiness, has a depth you don’t expect and over time you realize she is the only Emotion who can feel all the other Emotions. I pictured Joy and Sadness as really being the same person–the two sides of Riley’s True Self–and when they were lost in Riley’s memory dump, Riley’s behavior became quite narcissistic. It wasn’t lost on me that both Joy’s hair color and her “aura” are colored blue–Sadness’ color.

Pete Doctor, the film’s director and screenwriter, was inspired to develop “Inside Out” while trying to come to terms with his own daughter’s psychological changes and mood swings as she approached adolescence. To give the complex psychological concepts presented credibility, well-known developmental psychologists were consulted during pre-production. It’s obvious that a deep knowledge of the way the human mind works fueled both the story and the landscape of Riley’s mind. Kids will adore “Inside Out” because of its lovable characters, fantastic animation, humor, its engaging story about a regular girl, and impressive special effects. In the theater I saw it in, there were plenty of children there, and all of them were rapt in the story.

But adults will love it just as much because of the movie’s deep message of Empathy being born from pain and loss, and the necessity of “negative” emotions to exist in a healthy person’s psyche, working in tandem with “positive” ones. Understanding the movie at this level requires an ability to think in an abstract way about the mechanisms behind personality development and psychological disorders. “Inside Out” is a rare movie that celebrates the human ability to feel, and to love, cry, connect, and laugh. It tells kids that all their emotions are okay, and experiencing them is normal and just part of growing up.

Parents, if you have children ages 4 to early teens, please take them to see “Inside Out.” Both you and they will leave the theater feeling great, and the ideas presented in the story can open up honest discussion about emotions between parents and their children. I’d even go so far as to suggest teachers show this movie to their students, and engage them in discussion afterwards.

I find it encouraging and heartening that such an honest and touching movie with a positive message about genuine emotions and empathy has become the hit of the summer, instead of the usual mindless dreck that passes for summer blockbusters.

“Inside Out” is rated PG. I would not recommend it for children age 3 and younger, due to several quite scary moments that could give a young child nightmares.

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Riley with her concerned parents at the dinner table.

My rating: Five Stars! *****

Facts about “Inside Out”:
via Wikipedia

“Inside Out” is a 2015 American 3D computer-animated comedy-drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed and co-written by Pete Docter, the film is set in the mind of a young girl, Riley Andersen (Kaitlyn Dias), where five personified emotions—Joy (Amy Poehler), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Fear (Bill Hader), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith)—try to lead her through life as she moves with her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) to a new city. The film was co-directed and co-written by Ronnie del Carmen and produced by Jonas Rivera, with music composed by Michael Giacchino.

Docter first began developing Inside Out in 2009 after noticing changes in his daughter’s personality as she grew older. The film’s producers consulted numerous psychologists, including Dacher Keltner[6] from the University of California, Berkeley, who helped revise the story emphasizing the neuropsychological findings that human emotions are mirrored in interpersonal relationships and can be significantly moderated by them.

After premiering at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in May, Inside Out was released on June 19, 2015. It received universal critical acclaim, with many film critics praising the voice performances (particularly for Poehler, Smith, and Richard Kind), its concept and poignant subject matter. The film grossed $90.4 million in its first weekend—the highest opening for an original title, besting Avatar‍ ’​s previous record.

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Depressed.

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My daughter moved out last night with her current boyfriend. This was of course the plan, but I’m really in the dumps today because we fought last night. It ended with me telling her to pack up and get out last night, which she did. For a couple of months she has been sleeping on the couch (my roommate–yes, she’s still here but has been a bit better–has the other bedroom) and just got a job last month. She had paid nothing toward the rent because she was saving to move out. I had told her this was okay.

We are usually best friends but because we also both have diagnosed BPD, things can get heated between us sometimes. There can be drama. I hate drama. There was plenty of it last night though. Two things happened that made us fight.

1. When I was in the shower, she stole $10 from my purse. I wasn’t so much upset because this was all the money I had until Friday (which is bad enough–go ahead and try to make $10 last three days), but because I’d started to believe I could trust her again. (She used to steal from me a lot). I confronted her about it and she admitted she took it but called it “borrowing.” This led to a fight, because what she did was STEAL, not BORROW. I told her she didn’t seem that remorseful and that worried me. Later on she did admit she was wrong and admitted it was stealing, but that didn’t happen until several hours later, after she was gone, and it didn’t help my mood at all.

2. My father called her and asked if she had received a gift card and birthday check (her birthday was last week) because he hadn’t heard anything. She never did receive anything in the mail. Now she believes I took it when I got the mail (apparently the check was made out to me) and cashed it and used the gift card without letting her know. I don’t collect the mail (my roommate does, which makes me wonder if SHE took it). I have never stolen from my daughter and never even entertained the thought, but due to the circumstances I could actually understand why she would think along these lines. I’m also afraid my father will believe her over me, if she tells him she thinks I stole from her. I don’t know why I’m worried about this but I just am.

Even so, I was hurt that she would think I would steal from her. I told her I didn’t want to live with someone who not only stole from me, but would accuse me of stealing from them when I didn’t. I can’t convince her it might have been lost in the mail. She isn’t mad anymore but still believes I stole her money. There is nothing I can do to make her think otherwise.

It’s for the best she’s out. She is 22 and too old to be living with mom. I can’t help feeling a little sad though. I’ll miss her, even though I’ll be seeing her almost every day probably. I’m used to having her around.

I have more space now and can actually use the living room again, but because the fight happened late last night, I was so upset and wound up I didn’t sleep at all. I had to call in sick to work today (which always makes me feel guilty). It’s a pretty day and I may go outside for awhile and work in the garden or just sit on the porch and read. But right now I just want to lie on my bed and sleep the day away. I know that will only make things worse. I just want to cry right now.

ETA: I called my father and he said he never sent her anything (he doesn’t trust her and is sort of No Contact with her, so I thought it was odd he would even be sending her money). So she is lying to me though I can’t fathom why she would do that. I am going to confront her with this information and see what she has to say for herself. She doesn’t have NPD but is good at playing some of the Narc games that she learned from her father. BPD’s can be almost as manipulative sometimes.

My daughter just made me cry.

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Molly and me in the car in April 2014. I was 2 months No Contact with my MN ex by then.

My daughter Molly got home from visiting some friends, and admitted that she had come across my blog back in December and read the article about her where I said I thought she was a malignant narcissist (I think I was mistaken about that).

I thought she’d be angry, but instead she told me that although it hurt her feelings, it was a wake up call too, and because of that article, she started to rethink some of her past behaviors. She had time to do that during her 30 day stint in jail too.

Then she actually thanked me. She said, “Mom, even though I was so hurt you thought I was a narcissist, I started to think you were right and realized I do act very narcissistic sometimes, especially when I was doing pain pills (she hasn’t done pills in over a month). I want to say thank you, because I know you would never have written that if you didn’t love me.”

It gets even better.

She continued, “You’re different now, Mom. You seem so much happier now. I’ve read some of your other blog posts and I have to say I really admire you, Mom, for being so honest about everything. I think you’re so brave to be doing that and it’s doing good things for you. I could never do what you’re doing. I really want to change, Mom. I want you to be as proud of me as I am right now of you.”

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She took this with her phone while we were talking. I wasn’t crying yet lol.

And then she came over to hug me and we were both crying.

For the record, the article I linked to describes something that wasn’t true. She had a brief relationship with a narc who lied to me about her doing hard drugs and because he gave such a good impression (this guy was a skilled psychopath who could sell ice to a penguin), had me believing him. It turned out everything he said to me was a lie. I wrote about that too, but it isn’t a long post (and actually replaced another one which I deleted).

Targets and Victims

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I found another blog today written by a survivor of a sick family of psychopaths and sociopaths (I’ve added the site to my list of resources under the “Info and Support” tab in the green bar in the header. I know I’ve written about this before, but this is one of the best lists of the traits of potential targets and victims of psychopaths I have seen yet. I have just about every single one of these traits, unfortunately. From an early age, I was trained to be a doormat. I learned that lesson too well.

BEFORE: TRAITS of a Potential TARGET

Below are the traits most commonly attributed to a sociopath’s target. Every person is inherently different, and that includes each target and the traits that are most pronounced in the individual. An individual would definitely not need any of these traits to be preyed upon.

This is not an attempt to diagnose anyone.

Shyness
Difficulty communicating
A lack of self confidence
Wanting to please
A belief that if you love enough the person will change
A belief that if you love enough the relationship will succeed
Difficulty establishing and maintaining boundaries
Not being able to say no
Being easily influenced by others
Wanting to be rescued from your life situation
Wanting to rescue others from their distress
Being over nurturing particularly when not asked
Feelings of shame and self doubt
Low self-esteem
A lack of memories about childhood or periods of adulthood
A lack of motivation from within and being motivated by others

AFTER: SYMPTOMS of a Relentlessly Abused VICTIM

This is a very accurate list of symptoms experienced by someone who has had their psyche brutally victimized by a sociopath. With that said, this list is not all-inclusive, nor is it intended to be part of any diagnostic function, whatsoever. These symptoms can also be triggered by many other conditions or events.

The source of this data is from ongoing research, but the majority of the data is derived and confirmed from personal experience … the key word being “majority” There are some symptoms listed here that I have not experienced at all, though they have been mentioned enough for me to accept them as potentially common.

If you, or someone you know, has experienced even a few of these symptoms, seek professional help. Keep in mind, though, that not all “help” is equal. If the professional you choose does not seem to relate to your needs as you would expect or desire, keep looking.

Emotional paralysis
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Suicidal thoughts or actions (indirect homicide)
Loss of interest in life
Loss of energy
Insomnia
Anxiety
Depression or Severe Depression
Numbing of feelings
Disinterest in having a relationship
Panic attacks
Irritability
Increased anxiety from being alone
Increased anxiety from being in crowds
Mood swings
Source: sociopathicstyle.com [confirmed by personal experience (50+ years)]

How my mother became a narcissist.

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I’ve said a lot of negative things about my mother, but I don’t hate her. Today I was thinking about how she got to be the way she is. While most narcissistic psychopaths are probably genetically predisposed to this condition and are missing the part of the brain that causes them to have empathy and compassion for others (actually it’s just not functioning properly), in most cases there are also psychological factors. Many psychopaths and narcissists were abused or neglected children, whose own parents failed to mirror them adequately as young children. So as unpleasant as they may be, their condition is not their fault. It was done to them.

I’ve already described my mother as a vain, self-centered, image conscious woman who almost always put her own needs ahead of those of her children and husbands, and chose me (as the youngest) to be her scapegoat. At times I was also her golden child, especially prior to my teen years when I started to rebel, and she loved to make me in her own image, dressing me up like I was a little doll. She expected me to act like one too, and flew into a rage if I ever had an opinion of my own or dared to challenge her.

The story I’m going to tell is gleaned from the scant bits and pieces I heard over the years, most of it described by people other than my mother. Like most narcissists, my mother is stunningly lacking in introspection. She almost never talked about her past or her childhood, and the few times she did, it was negative. Most of her anger seemed to be directed toward her mother, who she spoke of with contempt the few times she did mention her.

Ginny was a beautiful child with big blue eyes and light red hair. Somewhere in my mother’s home there’s a photo of her at about age two, and she is dressed in a pink and white dress with a Peter Pan collar, her bright hair is done in a 1930s bob, and she’s sitting in an oversized chair holding a large teddy bear on her lap. On her feet are brown high top shoes, and her little feet are sticking straight out toward the camera. Ginny’s expression is solemn, almost sad. In fact, she looks close to tears. I will probably never see that photo again, as I am not in contact with my mother and she’s in her 80s and probably won’t be here too much longer, even though she’s in good health for her age and still looks younger than her years. I wonder if at the time that photo was taken, Ginny’s narcissism was already ingrained, or if she could have still become a normal, loving woman had her circumstances been different. The sadness in her face tells me she was hurting. It’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever seen my mother.

Ginny was the fourth and youngest child born to a naval academy officer and second generation Irishwoman. The family was middle class, lived in a nice house in a safe neighborhood outside Annapolis, Maryland, and raised all their children as Roman Catholics. Because Ginny’s father was in the military, when the Depression hit, the family didn’t suffer too much financial hardship and his job remained secure. But Theodore (her father) was a heavy drinker, probably an alcoholic, and started drinking almost the moment he got home from work. Anna Marie (Ginny’s mother) suffered from melancholia (what we now know as major depression) and after Ginny was born, took to her bed and stayed there for most of her childhood and teen years. She may have been suffering from postpartum depression, but in those days, no one knew about such a thing. Anna Marie started to neglect her duties as a housewife and mother, saying she was “too sick” and had to lie down.

Ginny was the most attractive of the four children, and the only one with blue eyes. She was obviously Theodore’s favorite child, and he constantly told her how beautiful and special she was. Anna Marie began to resent all the attention he showered on his favorite child, and became even more depressed (she may have been a narcissist herself). Theodore was a faithful husband (from all accounts) but his wife’s demands were wearing him down and he began to drink even more. Sometimes he came home from work already drunk and often he would pass out after eating dinner, so that no one was running the household but the children.

By this time Ginny was about six, and her older sisters (who were in their teens) and brother (who was about 11) weren’t interested in keeping the house clean or taking care of their exhausted, drunk father and depressed, ill mother. Ginny hated dirt and disorder, and took it upon herself to keep the house clean and cook the family meals (Anna Marie was a bad cook). Her sisters were always out at parties or on dates and of course her brother was a boy so he wasn’t interested in keeping up the home or taking care of the family. Soon Ginny was the sole caretaker and became her father’s young surrogate wife. (I don’t know whether or not she was sexually abused, but it would not surprise me and I assume she probably was). Anna Marie developed a hatred for Ginny, who seemed to be everything she was not and also got all her husband’s attention. Theodore’s adoration of Ginny increased, and he began to depend on her for everything, including confiding his problems in his marriage. Ginny seemed sympathetic, but was already plotting to leave the home.

At age 15, Ginny had become a drop dead gorgeous young woman. She left her family and dropped out of high school to marry a young man from the naval academy who was studying to be a Methodist minister. She took a job modeling for the local newspaper to help makes ends meet. By 18 she was pregnant and gave birth to her first daughter, and a few years later she had her second child, also a girl. But Ginny was tired of the church dinners and the drudgery of family life. She was bored and longed for excitement that her two young daughters and minister husband couldn’t provide. So when her daughters were just 7 and 2, she left them to marry my father. It was the late 1950s, and a woman leaving her husband and children just wasn’t done, but she did it without a second thought.

Although her older daughter had abandonment issues and hated Ginny for years for leaving, today my mother lives in her home and my sister’s become Ginny’s most loyal flying monkey. I barely ever knew my sister, but I was told several years ago that I was not welcome in her home because my sister didn’t want me there. Either my mother didn’t want me there and blamed it on my sister, or my sister is a sheep who believed all Ginny’s lies about me. Ironically, my sisters were much better off than if she hadn’t left them because the woman who married her jilted husband and raised them was a kind, nurturing woman, almost the polar opposite of my mother.

Another irony is that even though my mother, as a malignant narcissist, is completely lacking in compassion, both her father and my father were taken in by Ginny’s fake “sympathy.” Ginny listened to her dad talk about his marital problems when she was a teenager and offered him kind words and a ready ear; and recently my son told me how my father fell in love with Ginny (my father never told me this story but he told him): my father’s 3 year old son from his first marriage had been hit by a train and died, and my mother offered him a shoulder to cry on and a sympathetic ear and soon he was madly in love with her.

I clearly remember when my grandmother suffered a major stroke at age 57 when I was only 7, my mother’s comments after seeing her in the hospital. All she could talk about was how helpless and disgusting she was (the stroke had left her paralyzed from the waist down and incontinent) and how she couldn’t wait to get out of there. Even at that young age, I was horrified by my mother’s callous remarks about her own mother.

Even though I don’t use my real name or their real names, sometimes I think it’s just a matter of time until she discovers this blog. I had to go inactive on Facebook because of her extended family all finding me there.

It’s all about image: the skewed values of narcissistic families

monopolyguy

Last night I read a blog post by another survivor of narcissistic parents , and was astounded by how similar her parents’ values were to mine.

She writes that her father criticized her for being too idealistic. Now that would normally be a compliment, but because her family valued nothing but money, class and image, it was meant to be an insult. My father (who I don’t think is a narcissist, but has always been a huge narcissist apologist and enabler), said exactly the same thing to me.

We live in a narcissistic and materialistic society, that increasingly values traits that are narcissistic and exalt the individual over the community. In fact, studies have shown that a high percentage of CEOs, top executives, Wall Street tycoons, and others of the “One Percent” have narcissistic personality disorder. It’s a disorder that is very adaptive in modern society and whose traits are rewarded with money and material goods. Especially since the 1980s, with its “Greed is Good” ethos, we reward those who act in their own self interest over those who act in the interests of the community and want to help the less fortunate. There’s even a meme that’s become especially popular with narcissistic Baby Boomers: “I’m spending my children’s inheritance,” as though this is something to be proud of.

inheritance

My family bought right into this ethos. Image was everything to my parents, especially my mother. My parents looked down on our blue-collar neighbors and relatives, and my mother in particular constantly made jokes at their expense and talked about how much better we were because we had nicer things and my father had a better (meaning white collar) job in the city. Appearance mattered, and our clothes had to come from the best department stores, never Sears. We had to live in the most exclusive neighborhoods. To not have a college degree was considered a mortal sin, and even then, it was far better to be successful in the cold-hearted business world than to be a successful teacher, social worker or a nurse. Such things were regarded as jobs for those who couldn’t do anything else, and of course they required a level of idealism that my parents just couldn’t relate to. When my parents split up when I was 14, my extremely image-conscious mother took up public relations as a career, which is all about image. She had so many face-lifts that today her face looks like a mask.

Whenever my parents, my mother in particular, complimented someone else, it was always on their visible, tangible qualities–things like their appearance, home decor, financial status, and taste in clothes. Table manners were of utmost importance, but being a good person was not. I can’t remember a time when my mother ever complimented anyone for qualities such as sweetness, generosity, friendliness and altruism. I do remember her putting down others for having these qualities, calling them “insipid” or accusing them of having no backbone.

My values never matched those of my immediate family, and when I became poor as an adult (because I was never given the tools and self esteem that would have led me to make better choices) I was shunned and rejected by them. I don’t think it’s any accident that when narcissistic parents choose a scapegoat, they usually choose the most sensitive child–the one most likely to be empathetic and have idealistic values. To a narcissist, idealism and empathy are weaknesses. They truly believe that the poor deserve to be poor, and they make no exception for their own child. The child with traits that cause them to become a scapegoat (and who all too often are also bullied at school) would probably become successful if they were raised in a loving, nurturing home, but in a narcissistic home, having these traits is a curse because that child is led to believe they are worthless and this leads to cowardly, “safe” choices that are more likely to lead to poverty. They are constantly told they will fail, that nothing they do is good enough, and then are usually “tossed out to the wolves” at a young age, with no family financial or emotional support to help them get a foothold in the larger world. I have read so many blogs by the scapegoated children of narcissistic families, who were forced to make their own way in the world with no family support, even if their parents could have afforded to help them, and even when other children in the family (who were not scapegoated) did receive support when they entered adulthood.

superiority

What is so ironic about all this is we scapegoats are rejected and hated for the very traits that were instilled in us as children! Scapegoated children are not encouraged to think independently or have ideas of their own. In fact, having a mind of one’s own is reason for punishment and abuse. We were trained to be deferent and obedient–and very much afraid. Deference, obedience and fear are not traits that lead to success in modern life. I think this training is deliberate, in that an evil narcissistic parent needs and wants someone they can use as the family trashcan–someone who can take and absorb all the family pathology and carry its burden. This child is then blamed for everything that goes wrong both within the family and in their own lives. When a scapegoated child becomes an adult, their low self esteem and fear almost inevitably leads to a life of material and financial lack, and this gives the narcissist parents an excuse for rejecting that child and refusing to help–for “violating” their materialistic, self-centered values. I think another reason narcissistic parents train HSP (highly sensitive) children to be scapegoats is because they know an HSP child must be silenced: this is a child who sees through their lies and can use the light of truth to blow the whistle on them. If they are encouraged to think and act independently, they might “out” the narcissistic parent and that is a prospect that terrifies them.

Of course, the best revenge for a scapegoated child is to become successful in spite of their upbringing–and of course there are those who have. Even then, narcissistic parents will find reasons to put that child’s accomplishments down as somehow not “good enough.” The few times in my adult life where I had some legitimate tangible success, I was never praised for it, but given some sort of left-handed compliment or told why it didn’t really count. I was also always compared with my more financially successful older half-siblings, who of course never had been designated the family scapegoat.

Narcissistic parents also don’t care if you have a mental disability. I’m a self-diagnosed Aspie (this was later confirmed by a psychiatrist) and suffer from intermittent major depression, but when I tried to tell my parents these were the reasons why I had so much trouble making the social connections necessary to become financially successful, these diagnoses were dismissed. I was told I was “making excuses.” Both my parents are convinced my poverty is my own fault because of the stupid choices I made. While I don’t deny having made dumb choices, these choices were based on the way I had been raised–to be afraid of taking any risks or challenging myself.

The only way to break the narcissist/scapegoat family dynamic (and it is probably the most toxic parent-child combination imaginable) is by cutting off contact with the abusive parent, because as long as you keep trying to please them, they will continue to attempt to break you down and make you feel insignificant. Nothing will ever please them, even if you dare to become more successful than they are. And if you somehow manage to do this without sacrificing your idealistic and empathetic values, that’s the biggest threat to them of all.

Make no mistake: your narcissistic parent doesn’t love you and never will, but it isn’t your fault. They hate you because they envy those qualities you have–empathy and humanity–that elude them. Be a good parent to yourself. Love yourself. You deserve it.

haters

Conversation with a narcissist: part two

I didn’t blog about it, but this weekend my daughter was admitted to the psychiatric ward due to major depression. I was concerned because she hadn’t gotten out of bed or eaten anything in 4 days. Her father who is a psychopath and a narcissist, seemed concerned as well and met me at the hospital where we waited several hours for her to be admitted. He was actually pleasant for a change, and while I didn’t allow his charm to lure me into giving away too much information or convince me he wasn’t really that bad, I thought maybe…just maybe…he might be changing. After all, he did seem to care about his daughter’s well-being (even if it was to ensure he could continue to manipulate her after she gets out).

Boy, was I wrong.

After that meeting, he won’t stop texting me, and last night it was getting so annoying I finally just stopped answering his constant texts (mostly to ask for things of his he needed that I have in my house–as always, it’s all about him). I guess that pissed him off, because first thing this morning, he texted me again, and these texts quickly turned nasty. Here’s the conversation. I’ll let it speak for itself.

Michael: please when you bring the computer and black backpack, please please bring a tube of BIOFREZE…I have serious strain in my left bicep, it’s killing me. It’s in the cabinet in the bathroom.

Michael: today is one of the only days you can go to work knowing that Molly is safe, and you won’t come home to find her dead. Rejoice!

Me: That’s a shitty thing to say esp first thing in the morning

Michael: Re read it

Me: If a joke that’s pretty fucked up

Michael: you are reading it wrong. Or is English a second language for you?

Me: How the fck am I reading it wrong? I also don’t appreciate the little dig there on my intelligence

Michael: you told me every day you worry u would come home and find her dead [this is true]. well you do not have to worry today cause she is safe. I cannot help it that you are an idiot.

Me: U want me to stop talking to you? Then keep it up. I’m not a fucking idiot.

Michael: Done. no need to talk. I need that puter and biofreze and do not give away my clothes [he is homeless] Let me know what day you get around to it

Me: I cannot do it until the weekend. No money for gas to get downtown to meet you

Michael: do it on the way home

Me: Do not order me around. I said it would be on the weekend. I already told you I won’t forget as long as I find these things. I cannot do it today, sorry

Me: Tell u what. I’ll call if I can bring them sooner. Now drop it please, I need to get ready for work.

Michael: Feeling Bipolar today I see talk to me when you become rational again. have a nice date. [not sure if this was a deliberate misspelling or not]

I was tempted to hurl an insult back but decided to just ignore him after that last dig. He has not changed. He will never change. I’m glad, however, that my daughter is in a safe place for now and cannot hurt herself.

I promise this will be the last of these narcissist conversations. I think everyone probably gets the idea, but this is the way he operates.

Conversation with a narcissist

rage

Last week my daughter was in a car wreck (see “Shit Happens”). She has minor injuries to her back and lumbar region but the car (which was in my name and she wasn’t supposed to drive until she got her license reinstated–she is trying to work off a DUI) was totaled. The other driver in the Hyundai SUV was at fault for failing to yield and he wasn’t licensed either.

She waited 3 days to go to the hospital because her back didn’t start bothering her until Saturday (The wreck was on Thursday). I had to give her the driver’s exchange form (which gives all the information about both vehicles, both drivers, and both insurance companies) to show the hospital. She’s been lying in bed for two days and I think she may be having a major depressive episode, which is understandable. But even before the accident, she has been increasingly unreliable and irresponsible. So before she went to the ER, I stressed the importance of getting back this document so I can inform the other driver’s insurance company so we can possibly get some money. I must have told her ten times to please keep it safe and have the hospital make a copy, so what did she do? She returned saying the hospital wouldn’t give it back to her and would not make a copy. Molly lies about a lot of things, and I didn’t believe her. I think she forgot or she lost it. She was also in another county because she was visiting her latest boyfriend, who I think is a meth-head, and it’s very inconvenient for me to drive the 50 miles to that particular hospital to get this document. I need the document SO SHE CAN GET SOME MONEY BACK, or if the other driver’s insurance company fails to pay (because she was not licensed), she could possibly see an attorney and get a settlement for bodily injury. All week I’ve been able to do nothing about this situation because I was missing the most important document.

Yesterday I called the sheriff’s office and gave the name of the officer who wrote her the citation, but oh no, it’s not as simple as just printing me off another copy of the form. I was told (rudely) that I would have to go to the records department at the courthouse (which means taking a day off from work), try to find parking (which is damn near impossible in downtown Asheville), and then stand in line for God only knows how long. My daughter can’t do it because the car’s in my name and she has no way to get downtown anyway.

So finally my psychopath ex-sperm donor texted me and the following conversation ensued. It started off with him offering to help and acting all concerned and fatherly, but pay close attention to the way his smooth manner still can make me trust him and show too much vulnerability, and then later watch the way he starts twisting things around to shift blame and/or make it all about himself. It’s easy to see the pattern and some of you dealing with narcissists will recognize the pattern. Things didn’t get too out of hand though, I did get the needed document, and I think I handled him well.

As always, real names were changed. Comments are in italics and explanations/clarifications are in [brackets]

Michael (x-spath):
Sorry to bother you but try to get Molly a lawyer for her accident a fractured hip means a good settlement and free money. lawyers could even come tothe house to get the info, just worried that she’s throwing another opportunity away. With the settlement she might be able to get another car and pay for school and pay bills at your place. so you have some interest in this. thanks.

Me: I agree w u 100% i really don’t know wat to do…she is very depressed and needs therapy not just meds but refuses to get it…also she lost drivers xchange form when she went to hospital and w/o that i can’t do anything to help her get money back…i have no time to go to records office to get a dup…she has become so unreliable…also stealing..no goals…going nowhere…pissing everything away….so depressed all the time, maybe major depressive episode…i think she needs to be committed to [name of local mental facility] of have an intervention or something i am very concerned…

Michael: [this next message was sent in 24 consecutive texts–while I was working. I have consolidated them]
that info is in the accident report. how does she keep losing stuff…her phone…then she parties after the crash and looses that info. the police will have the report , u must have time date and location plus the car descriptions [telling me what I already know] Talk about irresponsible, geez. Ask her if it was APD [Asheville Police Dept.] or Sheriff. I bet it was APD. call them and get the information, make her pay u for the trouble after the settlement. this is stuff she should be doind instead of feeling sorry for herself.

So far so good.

Me: I’ll try she won’t do anything I ask tho…my ins. may go up as much as 400% after this.

Michael: also your insurance company will have the info since they are going to raise your rates. If they have no info on the crash, then there was no crash and they can

Me: I knew something like this would happen but she is so sneaky, there was no way i could keep her from driving…she always found the key…car was totalled thank God at least she’s alive…but the way she is acting, is like the walking dead [showing too much vulnerability to a narc as usual]

Michael: …not raise rates on a rumor and no police report.

Fair enough. He’s getting me to trust him…

Me: It’s all very overwhelming tbh. [again, showing too much vulnerability]

Michael: Why wasn’t Meth Head [current boyfriend’s name] driving. He has a license. fucking looser. [starting in with the name calling and blame shifting]

Me: Idk, im at work now ttyl (I don’t know, I’m at work now, talk to you later)

Michael: [watch how he starts shifting blame to me]
but you could have taken over the car at some point. now she can’t go to probation or court, good news is that all her druggie friends will not be asking for rides.

Me: True

Me: Idk how low her bottom has to be before she gets some help she just refuses to listen to anything I say…there’s nothing I can do to make her change…I hope you are aware of that…I’m really scared Ill come home one day and find her dead of an overdose…she’s gotta talk to someone

Michael: [now becoming sarcastic as well as shifting blame and shirking any responsibility]
cannot help you there , remember I am homeless thanks to you [because I kicked him out after he beat up my daughter and refused to contribute to the household in any way] but maybe your new roomie can help. I thought it was all rainbows and unicorns after I was gone.

Me: Let’s not go there, ok?

Michael: I like your positive message that you will find her dead. Keep thinking that way and it will happen.
See if you can get the accident report number from the APD. then call a lawyer

Me: ok will do. TTYL, bye.

He is not through yet.

Michael: I texted her on FB to do the same.

Me: Good.

He now sees that I am done and no longer want to talk; starts love bombing with helpful offers.

Michael: well I am next to the APD…I will try to get it for you.

Me: Ok. case # XX-XXXXXX. …ask for the drivers exchange form. Its free i think.

Michael: what day did it happen

Me: Oct 9 thursday

Michael: awesome…at least you were thinking. [notice the dig there–he always used to point out how stupid and lacking in common sense I was]

brokenphone

I chose to ignore the insult and not take it personally although I am very tempted to call him out on this.

Michael: thanks….I will try to get it today. arrange for pick up tonight or on your way home.

Me: thanks…text me later [I was on the job still]

A few hours later:

Michael: Got it! and he [the other driver] was without a doubt at fault as he “Failed to yield.” Molly hopefully has the hospital papers. His ins. company is Integon ..you and Molly need to come up with a reason she waited to go to the hospital…[starts telling me what to say, and what lies to tell] …like she was very upset and no way to get there. Had a friend in [a neighboring county] drive her to that hospital vs. Mission St. Joes. She began to hurt a day or 2 later, but thought it was just sore from seatbelt. [the truth is she did not start to hurt until a few days after the wreck and also was too depressed to get out of bed] ..u can try a lawyer and give them the info you have….time, date location, car model etc, they might be able to take it from there

Michael [continuing on his diatribe]
never mind badmouthing and finding faults. [current boyfriend’s name] is not good for her. You may want to change the PIN # on your bankcard. She or u need that hospital report and get a lawyer very soon. [goes into self pity mode] I am homeless and I don’t have any power to help you with your problems with her. Get this accident claim started and deal with the other stuff later.

Michael: Keep on her lazy ass. It’s free money, but she don’t want to lift a finger [kind of true, actually]. If you get a settlement then go from there…maybe hold the money till she does something positive [ok, I admit that’s fairly reasonable]

Michael: She watches that show. [what show?] C. (ex-boyfriend’s name) was better for her as he wasn’t a fucking meth head like (current bf). just look at his fucking teeth.

Michael: Sucks for you.

Michael: Maybe after you get the insurance process started we could all meet and have coffee. discuss what the hell she is going to do going forward. Even if she goes to rehab, she comes back to the same pill popping friends [actually all of this is the truth unfortunately…but he’s trying to upset me and stir the pot as can be seen in the next sentence]

Michael: or she will get prego by some fucking unemployed drug addled looser.

Nice.

And he’s not done yet.

Michael: she went thru that 20K [her trust fund from my father] in 6-8 weeks. I told her to put money in CDs so she would have some down the road. this time you must make her do that and not blow the money. [notice how he makes it my responsibility to control my adult daughter’s poor choices when I have tried over and over again with no success. This just instills more anxiety and guilt]

Michael: (friend’s name) who she spent like 2K on doesn’t even talk to her. she spent 600 on me and says she gave you 6K [not true, it was about 1K to help with bills] Spent 7K on car, 2K on vacation. paid 2500 on fine [she was and still is on probation]. And the rest on clothes and a lot of pills [probably all true].

Michael: she cannot do that again. she must find a trade. or she will get a felony and be unemployable. [I have talked to her until I’m blue in the face about going to school and cleaning up her life but she refuses to do anything I suggest, and he knows I am powerless.] Ethan [her brother] is going to school, doing all this and she is actually smarter than him. [she has a higher IQ but he is making much smarter choices and doing well, proving IQ means jack shit]

Michael: Find a way to get the report from me toay. I am at the salvation army (homeless shelter). Molly can direct you or take Patton to Precision Tire. We met there before. Use your GPS

Me: ok I can’t read all these til later I’m at work…Thanks for getting it though, I will text u later when I’m off work, thanks

Me: I do have the hospital papers.

Michael: You are thinking today! [another dig] so anyway thats good. does it sat “hip fracture” and “broken toe”?

Me: I have to check later. i am not home rite now.

Michael: ok…come meet me with Molly…she will direct you [I am perfectly capable of finding the meeting place myself] we will get coffee and such. she wants you to get lunchables.

Me: I am still at work! And I’m broke so I can’t buy the snacks today, I hardly have any gas. I need to go home and change first so it wont be 4 a few more hours…

Michael: K after 5 please. Get me McDonalds coffee [after I just told him I was broke]

Me: it will def. be after 5.. R U paying? I can’t buy you coffee, sorry

Michael: I will buy my own…not paying for yours. I am homeless remember? [I didn’t ask him to buy me coffee]
Let me know when you are on the way.

A few hours later…

Me: I’m on the way now. Give me half an hour. Please text when you get this so I know you will be there

Me: Ok?

He doesn’t text back until I am nearly there.

Michael: First left at precision tire, N Ann st. last house, large gravel parking lot. pull in there

He knows my GPS requires an actual address not just a street name.

Michael: Take Molly

Me: she was sleeping. Also need address so i can gps it.

Michael: [repeats previous directions]

Michael: wake her up. Now. do not come if she is not coming. [he never told me to bring her earlier]

Michael: she knows exactly where it is. wake her up as this is for her and not u or me…I will not meet u unless Molly gets her ass out of bed

Me: I am already more than halfway to downtown she didn’t want to get up , please just give me the address.

Michael: no.

Me: ???

Michael: if she can not bother to do the steps to get a settlement on her claim then fuck it.
She awake? Get her in the car.

Me: I can’t I don’t have enough gas to go back now and get her.

–end of conversation–

Finally he gives me the damn address. Then he calls, saying he ALREADY GAVE ME THE ADDRESS earlier, which is a lie. He also said he wouldn’t meet me unless I bought him a coffee, even though I told him I was broke. I was about to turn around and go back, and then decided to use my last couple of bucks for the week to buy him his coffee because I really needed those papers.

I finally got the paper I needed, and also an entire texted conversation that is really very boring and went on ALL DAY, but illustrates clearly the way a narcissist operates. Michael used every trick in the narcissist grab bag: put downs, blame shifting, name calling, manipulation, lies, guilt-tripping, self-pity, gaslighting, and more lies. It made me wonder how the hell I lived with him for so long without putting a bullet in my head.

It also was a wake up call to me–how whenever I’m in his presence I act helpless and vulnerable–and those are exactly the qualities a narcissist both despises and needs like they need air and water. I need to watch that trait more around him and other narcissists and not show so much vulnerability.

exhausted

I’m tuckered out.

So I decided to blog about it. I had no other ideas for today anyway.

Yes Virginia…evil people really do exist. Don’t think–run!

evilpeople

Those of us in an active relationship with a psychopath usually either don’t see or choose to ignore how purely evil these characters are–and that they are set out to destroy the relationship, the victimized person, and even the children if there are any involved. Many times a victim feels like they can’t leave, especially if they don’t have financial resources (which is often the case when a person is enmeshed with a psychopath, who may have made any funds impossible to access), a supportive family to help them escape, or there are children involved.

Like most women (and men) enmeshed in a marriage or relationship with a psychopath, I waited far too long to leave my abuser. My son, although scapegoated by his father through most of his childhood, escaped relatively unscathed (although he has some anger and self esteem issues), but my daughter is another story. She was deeply damaged by her father’s manipulations and by having to play the role of his junior “flying monkey” and participate in his triangulation and gaslighting games when she was just a child and young teenager, not to mention being introduced to things a youngster should not have to deal with: drugs, alcohol, family violence (and even possible sexual abuse, though this has never been proven). She’s taken on a few of his narcissistic traits (she’s good at manipulation and isn’t always honest), although narcissism is to some extent genetic and her symptoms don’t seem to be too severe. She is also bipolar and suffers from C-PTSD, as I do.

For many years, I didn’t even see that he was an abuser. He wasn’t usually physically violent (except when drinking); his method of abuse was much more subtle–and more diabolical than that. I didn’t know what hit me and like most abused spouses, learned to blame myself and came to believe the discord was MY problem, because I “overreacted to everything” and was “crazy and unstable.” Having to spend time in a mental facility in the late 1990s was “proof” that I was the one with the mental problems–and in fact I did have serious mental problems, but they were brought on by my mind being played like a violin by a very evil man. He was a virtuoso crazymaker.

buddha

Other people saw how evil he was and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t see it too. I remember a friend of mine from work came over once with another friend when Michael was home, and while he was pleasant enough to them, neither of these friends ever wanted to come to my home again. When I asked Holly (one of the friends) why not, she said, “I don’t like your husband and neither does Teresa. He gave us the creeps, there’s just something not very nice about him.”

Parents of two of my daughter’s friends had met Michael, and would not allow their children to come to my home because of him. Oh, he was always on his best behavior with adult visitors, but one of the mothers told me, “he seems perfectly polite, but I just don’t feel comfortable around him and don’t want my daughter around him. I’m very sorry.”

I saw the evil in him on one occasion while we were still married–and what I saw scared the shit out of me. It was one night when he was very drunk, we had been fighting all night and ended it by having sex. The sex was rough and angry though, and suddenly I looked up and saw a totally expressionless face. There was no love there, just pure hatred. I could feel the hate emanating from him. But worse than that was his eyes. Normally a steely gray-blue, they had turned solid black, very similar to the solid black eyes demons in horror movies have. I know I wasn’t imagining this–what I was seeing was what he really was but kept hidden. No, not a demon, but something worse–a person with no self, a person who had sold his soul or never had one. There was nothing there, and nothingness is what evil actually is. That’s why malignant narcissists and psychopaths need to wear masks, to cover up what isn’t there.

Michael knew I had seen it, and knew I knew, because he immediately ended the intimacy, pulled on his clothes, and left the house, but not before giving me the most hateful sneer I had ever seen.

jesus

My father had talked to him one night during one of our many fights. Now my father has never been a particularly religious man and never believed in Satan or hell, so he didn’t say anything about this to me at the time, but years later, after Michael and I separated, he confessed that night he had heard Michael speaking in a low, gutteral, demonic voice. It scared him so much he decided to read M. Scott Peck’s book,”People of the Lie,” and after he was done he sent me the book. I was riveted by the book and also shocked and scared to death. That was the first time I began to realize that I had been dealing with a malignant narcissist who was dead set on destroying me and my children and almost succeeded.

People outside the relationship–casual friends, mothers of my children’s friends, and my father had all seen immediately what he was, but because I was enmeshed and had young children, I couldn’t see it–or refused to. It gives me chills to this day to think I spent 28 years in the presence of pure evil, but that’s what it was. I’m lucky to be alive today and even luckier that I didn’t completely lose my soul. My children are lucky too, although my poor daughter is the most deeply damaged by him and may never fully recover.

If you are in a relationship and others are wary or uncomfortable around them and can’t explain why, or you see the countenance of pure hatred and evil that I did (and also the solid black eyes), run away as fast as you can. If there are kids, take them with you. You may think you can’t, but even if you don’t have a supportive family or are financially unable to find another place to live, most towns and cities have services and even shelters for abused women and their children. The shelter I stayed at with my kids was very nice, and the counselors were wonderful (I went back though). If you are a man, it may be more difficult to find this kind of help, and you might have to dig a little deeper or even move to another area to find services, but they do exist. Take advantage of the government programs that still exist–food stamps, Medicaid for the kids, in some communities even housing vouchers. Churches and other charitable organizations have limited funds, but may be able to provide some food, help with bills, or other services. Seek counseling–many communities have free or low cost mental health services for abused parents and their children. Don’t worry that you have to move out of that big house you bought together, or that your kids will be without their father (or mother). This is life or death–don’t think about what you’ll be losing because at the end of the day, it won’t be much. Just get the hell out.

lincoln

Blogging drunk

drunkwriter

I’ve had almost three glasses of Merlot and I feel like the buzz just got vacuum-suctioned from my brain. See, I had almost finished a writing this post but in my half drunken state I hit some key I shouldn’t have and the whole thing was deleted, and the nice buzz I’d been working on was gone. I wanted to ram my laptop through the wall. I couldn’t get my post back so now I have to start over. I want to kick a puppy right now. And now I can barely type because although my mind is suddenly clear, my body is apparently still drunk.

I’m pouring a little more wine into my glass now and taking a sip. Aaaahhhhh! I must rewrite that post, but it won’t be as good as the first one, which was awesome. Arrrrghhhh!

So today I decided to get drunk. Now, I’m not a big drinker at all, and in fact don’t even like alcohol too much. It makes me feel sick and doesn’t give me the same pleasant buzz it did when I was in my 20s. Today, in my 50s, I can have just one or two drinks and stop. I drink very rarely and when I do I don’t care for it much. Back in my prime I spent a lot of time drunk and didn’t know when to stop. I even joined AA (and met Michael, my psychopathic sperm donor there) but evidently I was just a problem drinker and hadn’t crossed the line to alcoholism because according to their beliefs, a true alcoholic can never ever drink again because if they do, they will fall off the side of the sobriety ship, get abducted by Jack Daniels, whose goons will waterboard you with booze for all eternity. Well, anyway, that didn’t happened to me. The last time I got this drunk was on New Years Eve almost two years ago.

But today I decided I wanted to not only drink, but get drunk. I didn’t wake up wanting to do that though. There were important things to take care of.

I guess I need to provide a little background as to what motivated me to want to get sloshed. My 21 year old daughter Molly has had her share of issues. She was a rebellious teenager and her rebellion and rash, impulsive behavior hasn’t let up much since she was 15. I blame a lot of this on her dad and his ex-girlfriend, who took my then 12-year old daughter to drug parties where my girl developed a taste for the illicit and mind-bending.

I just finished my third glass of Merlot (the one I was refilling a few minutes ago) and just took a couple of hits of weed too, another thing I don’t indulge in much. I like to be clearheaded most of the time but today? Honestly, IDGAF.

Molly’s had a few run ins with the law–petty charges like shoplifing and a DWI. Back in April, when she turned 21, she received an inheritance from my father for $20K. My son received the same, but has spent his wisely on his education and camera and computer equipment so he can keep making films which he hopes get him into that industry (I never got any inheritance from my father but that’s irrelevant right now and I’ve talked about that before anyway). Within two months, the money was gone. Neither she nor I have any idea what happened to it, but she did help me pay a few bills and bought herself a used dark blue Honda Acura. The car is fine but needs a little work. Because Molly had a DWI the car was put in my name, and I would have to put it on my insurance and not allow her to drive it until she finished her probation requirements and her license was reinstated.

I’m not typing very well and spellcheck is sure getting a workout too because my fat drunk fingers are flapping around the keyboard like dead baby flounders. Please, dear God, don’t let me hit the delete key or whatever it was by accident again. >< (Does that smilie exist? It's supposed to be that face you make when you're frustrated beyond all reason and you squint your eyes real tight.) Yep, I'm feeling it.

So anyway back in July, about a week before her probation was up, Molly decided to break up with her boyfriend. It was her idea but she went batshit for about a month, laying in bed and not eating for a week (she is bipolar and has BPD), and then suddenly leaving–in the car she isn't supposed to be driving–and not returning for almost a week. Her psychopathic sperm donor texted me and told me she was hanging with a group of junkies and pushers and was shooting heroin herself and I had better do something abou tit. about it.

He was lying through his teeth. It was just him trying to start drama again in his psychopathic, sadistic way, but the situation with Molly was still concerning at the very least. That night she brought home a group of the kind of boys we call "skells" around these parts–according to the Urban Dictionary, a skell is basically a lowlife or redneck type of guy who sells drugs because they're really not otherwise employable. (I just had to go back and correct "employable" three times and twice on this quoted one). My daughter is very intelligent, far too intelligent for the type of company she keeps. So it turned out the guys were really only into weed and Molly had no tracks or marks on her arms and she looked okay. She said they were taking good care of her. I wanted to believe her, but of course I'm not stupid and I know they were very bad for her. But she's 21 and can do whatever she wants. I have no control over what she does. She seems to have no interests in a career or a future, but maybe she's not ready yet. I have to remember I was much the same way at her age (which has a lot to do with why I'm a 50ish unpaid blogger and former medical editor recovering from a bad marriage and currently obliged to clean houses for a living). God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

But then she disappeared again, with the car. And I didn’t see her for three more days.

I’m pouring a 4th glass. Would you like some? Am I still coherent? Soon I won’t be able to type at all.

Instead of going into my usual panic of biblical proportions and imagining she had been abducted and taken into an abandoned field to be gang raped and strangled and left lying in a bed of tall weeds, I felt…angry. dducted bductedd (That was me trying to type abdduted abducted. (spellcheck said that was right). I decided to leave it there.

The car Molly was driving was in my name, under my insurance, and she was driving it illegally and not very responsibly. She was transporting God knows what sort of lowlifes in it. If anything happened I would be responsible and the car impounded, not to mention that I’d never be able to live with myself if something happened to her in it and I hadn’t at least made an effort to put a stop to it. So I went to the magistrate and filed a charge against her for a stolen vehicle. I hated doing this but I felt like if I didn’t something terrible might happen.

Now Molly’s basically a good kid, but she was veyr very angry with me, understandably. I finally agreed to drop the charges on her not because of her anger, but because she was almost done with her probation requirements (and she had been very good about paying her fines and doing whatever else they told her to) and I didn’t want her record to be further sullied. I made an arrangement to have someone else I trusted hold onto the car temporarily and agreed to drop the charges. In order to do that, I had to be back in court with her this morning.

Sometime last month the friend who was holding the car moved so had to return it, which means Molly has acces to it. I’ve given up trying to hide the keys. She’s returning it every night in pristine condition and seems more responsible but I keep warning her she is driving it illegally. Apparently she’s willing to take that risk. I didn’t change my mind about dropping the charges.

To make a long story short, she was supposed to be home this morning so we could go to court together without her having to drive–but guess what. When I woke up this morning she wasn’t here. I couldn’t call her either because she lost her phone (again). We were due in court at 9, and by 8:45 she still hadn’t shown up and it takes forever just to find parking at the courthouse. So I went there myself, stood in line, and told the person at the desk who I was and that I wanted to drop charges on my daughter. The officious lady at the desk said that would be fine as long as my daughter showed up but she was nowhere to be seen. And I had taken a day off work to help her out in court, and that’s not exactly something I can afford to do in the financial straits I’m in.

I drove home in a self righteous fury and that’s when I decided I wanted to drink today. I thought rationalized mused to myself, “we’re all entitled to indulge in some excess on occasion, and after all, I spend so much time and energy trying to always be good and having so little to show for it. Fuck that shit.”

I pulled into an Ingles supermarket and bought a jug of Merlot. Livingston Merlot, to be exact. It’s cheap and doesn’t taste too bad. It does the job, which is to get me pleasantly tipsy. Expensive wines drive me insane because of those goddamn corks which I always wind up mangling in my pitiful efforts to pry them out with a corkscrew or a damn fork if a corkscrew isn’t at hand. And then in my enraged defeat, I wind up pushing the entire mutilated cork down into the wine itself and then have to drink good wine peppered with stuff that tastes like sawdust (though I bet cork does add healthy fiber to your diet).

I picked up some of their delicious homemade chicken salad to go with the wine, because I knew if I didn’t eat anything I’d get sick, and I just wanted to get drunk, not sick.

Today may be the last day I have Internet service (though I will have it set up again soon and in the meantime I can always use the WiFi at the hipster coffee place, the library, or even freaking McDonalds or Bojangles) so I was cheered up a little when I got home from my useless morning in court and found the Interwebs still working.

I decided to blog about how furious I was at my daughter and get drunk while doing it. I could retreat into my own private little alcohol infused world in the comfort of my postage stamp living room and pretend to be fucking Dorothy Parker.

I’m almost finished with the Merlot jug and that’s it for me. I can’t type anymore (this sentence took & 9 8 tries to get right) and my thinking is getting fuzzy.

Molly just got home and she said she was late to court because she overslept and had to go strauight there instread of coming home (spelling mistakes left intact) and then opn the way she ran out of gas (again! she is such a blonde!) but made it to court just after I left and the charges for unathorized use are now dropped.

She just noticed the wine and is now rolling on the floor in hysterics because of the face I just made at her that was supposed to look angry but just looked drunk and goofy.

Can you still understand what I’m writing?

Thank God she didn’t have her camera phone with her. If it was my son Ethan, he’d be filming my reaction and putting init it up on Youtube. And with my luck, it would go viral. “My crazy drunk mom trying to look angry”–43,864,301 views. I’m in that weird part of Youtube my brain again.

I’m so relieved my post is still here and my daughter is still okay. I’m so relieved I’m going to take a hot bath and then a nap and then wake up sober and eat a good meal.
Today wasn’t a disaster. I’m just an overstressed nutcase. I don’t have to drive anywhere today. It’s all good.