Gals’ night at home.

My daughter and I had a nice time girl-bonding tonight.   I’m not the type that gets into female bonding in general ( most of my platonic friends have always been male), but every once in a blue moon, I can get down with it.

So we shared a bottle of chardonnay and got just a little goofy.   She decided she wanted to give me a makeover and do my hair.    I rarely have my hair done professionally; usually I do it myself, which means either a blunt, easy cut (if I’m ambitious) or a ho-hum parted down the center boring 1970s look.

I did have my hair done by a real hairdresser back in March (you might remember that post), but it’s expensive, and my hair was getting boring and lifeless again (and worse, frizzes in the high humidity, so I told her to be my guest and have at it.

She used a color called Soft Black Violet in the deepest layer of hair(near the scalp) and and after letting that sit about 20 minutes (rather than 40 like the box said–I didn’t want it  BLACK because I remember about 20 years ago when I dyed my hair jet black and I looked exactly like Morticia from The Addams Family, with my pale, almost redhead type of skin crashing into the blue-black of my hair like a cargo of black and white linoleum floor tiles after a truck explosion.

I asked her how much gray hair she could see (I have no gray where I can see it in the mirror).  She told me just a little in the deep layer near my neckline in the back.

“That’s it?” I marveled.  One thing my family did right with me was give me good genes. I hate sounding narcissistic, but I always thought I looked pretty good.  Most other people did too.  Hardly anyone on either my mother’s or my father’s side looked anywhere near their real age (until age finally caught up with them, usually around 70 or 80).

“Yup,” my girl confirmed.   Then, “Mom, you’re done.  Wow, you look great!”

The result is a color a little deeper than strawberry blonde, but not really red either, sort of a dark mauve (the mauve must be from the “violet” in the haircolors’ name). My medium blonde hair on the top layer remained intact, and the effect makes my hair look thicker and with more 3-D depth.

The choice of color might seem a little eccentric for a woman my age, but I never pretended to be anything but a bit off the beaten path.  Besides, my daughter picked it for me.  It’s true,  I’m not much of a risk taker in much of anything, but when it comes to doing weird stuff to my hair, well…

“Bring it on!”

It will always grow out if you hate it.

Here are the final results, after the blow dry and the hair straightening my daughter did.   I think I just saved about $80.00.

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One last thing that made everything perfect.  Here’s the song we cranked up and sang at full volume so it reverberated against the white ceramic tiles that cover most of the bathroom walls.  It’s one of her favorite songs ever and it’s grown on me too.

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My dad…

A few hours ago, I received a phone call from my son.  He told me to call my mother and said she had been trying to reach me for several days.   He said it had to do with my dad and was important. There were no notifications of any messages and I had not received any calls from her.   Even though I’m NC with my mom, I still felt terrible.   Of course I called her right away.

She told me my dad fell down on some pavement a few days ago, and there has been bleeding in his brain. He has suffered from Parkinson’s for a couple of decades, but recently  he’s been unable to keep his balance and is prone to falls.   He’s also very fragile at age 90.  He is unable to speak or move, and is being transferred to 24/7 hospice care, where doctors expect he will pass on.   However, his wife (not my mother) tells me that he is conscious because he will squeeze her hand to let her know he heard something and earlier today he opened his eyes.   My dad has always been in good health for his advanced age, in spite of the Parkinson’s, and has a strong will to survive.   So it does look hopeful but because he is so fragile and his brain could throw clots at any time, he might not make it.

I wish I felt more emotional than I do.  I haven’t had a lot of contact with my father in several years, and only speak to him a few times a year, but he always tires easily and doesn’t always make much sense when he can talk.   I feel like I’m going through the motions of a worried/grieving daughter, but I only feel a vague sadness, as if this happened to someone else’s father.  Of course I don’t want him to die, but I know it will happen pretty soon even if he survives this.   Because of our unfortunate family dynamics, where I’m so estranged from both my parents (my father less so), I feel very disconnected from family events and milestones and can’t work up a lot of emotion.    I’m glad he’s in good hands and has a devoted wife who takes care of him and friends who are checking in on him.

If you pray, please say a prayer for my dad’s recovery.

A reflective trip into our common past.

My son said he’s spent today feeling reflective and wanted to revisit some of the places he knew as a child, including the home he and his sister were raised in by us.   Compared to the last two days, which were fun and active, today was quieter and more reflective  for both of us. It was also very healing and put a lot of perspective onto things.

So we took the 20 minute drive to where he grew up, parked the car and just walked around looking (without trying to look too suspicious!)   Our old house has fallen into disrepair (I don’t know if anyone lives there) but back in 1993, just after we purchased the house, we planted some trees.

We had this nutty idea of importing 30 tiny Canadian redwood seedlings from a company in British Columbia, Canada.   I remember we had to wait a while for them even after they shipped, because first they had to pass some kind of inspection in Florida to make sure they were free of aphids and other microbes that they might have been carrying from outside the US.   I remember when we finally got the seedlings, I had to keep them in a tub for a few days to moisten and soften their roots before planting them.

Redwoods are not indigenous to North Carolina, but we did some researchh and found out the moderate humid climate here is actually conducive to their growth, which is why we took a chance on them.   Over the years most of the seedlings died, and when the house was finally sold (well, actually foreclosed on) in 2003, the next owners chopped most of the surviving redwoods (about 5 or 6 left) down.  I remember being so enraged by that.   At the time the doomed young redwoods were about 8-10 feet tall.

But there is one last survivor, a beautiful, majestic redwood that is now 30-40 feet tall and looks very much at home among the small grove of other large trees that were either non-existent or very small when we bought the house in 1993. Here is that redwood as it is today.   It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that twenty-three years ago it sat in my tub upon arrival encased in a root ball with a plastic bag tied around it.

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Closeup of the bark–beautiful, red and burled.

I got photos of the rest of the trees (the ones I was able to–I didn’t want to be caught trespassing), all so much bigger than they were in 1993 or even ten years ago.     Here’s a cherry tree that was very tiny, barely more than a sapling,  but is now a huge shady tree big and sturdy enough to support a tire swing.   When my kids were little, the tree was too small to climb, but they used to pick caterpillars from its bark and collect them in a bucket (to be released outside later, as per my instructions.)

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View of the property as it is today.  It was quite bare and almost treeless when we moved in.  You can see part of the house on the right.  The pink magnolia directly to the left of the house I planted there as a tiny seedling in 1996.

Here is a closeup of the magnolia:

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One of the many pine trees showing off its huge sturdy trunk:

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The tree pictured below was the only one that was already big when we purchased the property in 1993, but it’s at least twice the size now and wide enough at the bottom to make a perfect fort for kids to play under.  Hell, I used to go sit under that tree to escape from my then husband!  Sometimes I even read books under there.

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2 views of the remains of our old outbuilding.  The roof has collapsed.  My son and I are both attracted to the eerie beauty of abandoned buildings.  Seeing the shed we used to store our gardening equipment and other things in was a little bittersweet.  I didn’t dare go inside.

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A nearby “bamboo forest” growing behind the elementary school my kids attended.  It wasn’t there then.  Bamboo may be an invasive weed in this country because of its lack of natural enemies to keep its growth in check, but I find it beautiful.   I find the same to be true of Kudzu, which also grows here.

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Finally, a view of our old neighborhood from the top of a nearby hill:

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My son is flying back to Florida in the wee hours this morning.  I’m going to miss him, but I feel so happy we had such an amazing time together.

Tomorrow I’ll be able to return to blogging as usual.   I’ve been so busy the past few days that keeping up has been difficult.  I didn’t even have time to post a Monday Melody, but I promise there will be a new one this coming Monday.

I not only love my son, I like him too.

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It’s entirely possible to love your child, but not particularly like them, or at least not like the things they do. But my son has grown into an outstanding young man, and not only that, we share many of the same interests. He’s like a more extroverted version of me. We have the same sense of humor and basic philosophies about life. If I just met him on the street, I could see us being friends.

I was annoyed at work because it was taking too long to get done, and I wanted to be off early to spend some time with my son since he’s only here until Thursday morning. He kept himself busy while I was working though. He met up with his sister, who loaned him her car while he’s here (he didn’t have enough to rent a car) and they went to the mall, and then went back to her place and they hung out with her boyfriend (they are back together, sort of) and their dad (my ex). Apparently my ex mellowed quite a bit as far as our son goes, and I was happy to hear they had a nice conversation.

I finally arrived home about 3:30 and didn’t expect to see my son until late tonight, but within the hour he came in the house and announced, “I’m taking you out for a ride.” Okay, I thought. I put away the laptop and changed my clothes, and we got in the car and drove first to his old high school, which he wanted to see. He said it was weird seeing the old sights after so many years (he hasn’t lived here since 2010)

Then we drove into the funky, arty part of town which is filled with old hippies and young hipsters, musicians, consignment shops, unique hole in the wall stores of all kinds, craft beer bars (we live in the craft beer capital of the USA), and many little eateries, most which have areas where you can dine outside.

We walked up and down Haywood Road and just looked at the people and the shops. There’s always so much to see there. He took a lot of pictures using his new 35mm camera. He got a really cool photo of an old abandoned white church. Like me, he’s fascinated by abandoned buildings (I wonder what that says about us).

We finally were hungry, and decided to eat at one of the little eateries, a Tex-Mex and seafood establishment called, of all things, The Lucky Otter (which is the restaurant that inspired the name of this blog). I mean, I just had to eat there, having named my blog after it. I even got a picture of the sign!

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We sat outdoors as it grew dark. I had a bowl of chili with cheese and sour cream and a locally made orange-vanilla soda. He got a veggie-seafood burrito and the same kind of soda. The food was cheap and good, and a friendly black and white puppy from the next table came up to visit us. The puppy was adorable but hard to get a good picture of because she wouldn’t stop moving. I can’t get over the pale pink lacy bow tied on the back of her collar! I also got a couple of pictures of my son.

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Later we stopped in a convenience store he used to frequent when he was about 12 or 13 and it’s completely changed–the laundromat that used to be there now sells craft beer and the design is much more up to date and includes organic foods along with the usual chips, candy and soda. Both of us are addicted to a locally made drink called Dr. Enuf, which is made in Tennessee and apparently can only be found in this area. We like the cherry kind with the ginseng and purchased one for each of us.

dr_enuf

We drove back to my house where we looked through old picture albums and I found a box of his old CDs from the early 2000s filled with the nu-metal he used to love so much. I had no idea I still had them, and it was like Christmas morning for him as he looked at all these old CDs, which he’s bringing back to Florida with him.

Two years apart is way too long. I’m off for a week in July and we decided I’m going to drive down to Florida to see him and stay in his apartment while there, so my only expenses will be gas to get there and back, and a little spending money.

It was a good day. Tomorrow he’s taking his sister and me to see the animated film Zootopia.

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One last thing: I received my copy of Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker, which my good friend Linda Lee sent me as a gift. Thank you, Linda!

Thanksgiving 2015 (with pictures!)

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Mr. Biggles and his Thanksgiving greeting.

I look back on last Thanksgiving and realize now how weird and sad it was. My daughter was in jail for 30 days for DUI (she has improved IMMENSELY since that experience)–I don’t recommend jail time for anyone, but it actually was a wake up call for her and she’s been making lots of positive changes this year. Now she’s engaged to a great guy, has a house, and is working full time and looking into going to college (finally!), possibly working with troubled kids or in the substance abuse field.

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I made myself sick eating these while making them. 😛

Last Thanksgiving was very strange. I had dinner with her then-boyfriend, a charmer named Paul who seemed too good to be true (and was!) He was financially stable, seemingly successful, very polite and seemed to really love my daughter, but he was actually a sociopath who in short order showed his true, evil colors, but I won’t repeat that story again (I already wrote about him early this year). My daughter, who was in jail last Thanksgiving, couldn’t join us and so it was a lonely Thanksgiving dinner with just me, Paul and my roommate Stacey who tagged along because she had nowhere else to go. The food was excellent (Paul is a very good cook and of course he was love bombing us and trying to brainwash us all with how perfect he was before the demon inside him began to come out and wreak havoc on our lives).  He had us all fooled, but that story (which I’ve told already) doesn’t belong in this post.

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Dexter all ready for the holidays in his “Ho Ho Ho” collar.

This Thanksgiving was much better–much more of a normal-family Thanksgiving.   The food was great (I brought 2 pies–which no one ate–and deviled eggs I had made this morning. While I was making them, I probably ate about 8, and the only downside to my Thanksgiving was I spent most of the time at my daughter and her fiance Ryan’s house in the bathroom, LOL! So I wasn’t very hungry, although I did pick at the delicious turkey and stuffing my ex had made.

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It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas!

Speaking of my ex, he was there, mostly staying in the kitchen cooking and washing dishes (he was probably trying to avoid me, LOL). We actually got along very well and he was on his best behavior. We even had a pleasant conversation with each other. I’m still very low contact with him (and intend to remain so) but today there was no antagonism, fighting, or drama of any kind. He even showed concern over how sick I was feeling (probably fake, but was still nice).

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I just thought this looked pretty.

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Dinner is served!

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Enjoying the food.

My daughter’s best friend was there (they seem more like sisters than friends and they look alike too) with her 1 1/2 year old son Weston. Also there was the friend’s sister and her 6 year old son Clayton. My daughter is great with the kids, especially Weston (who she babysits a lot for); I definitely think she’ll make a good mom someday.

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Ryan teasing Weston with his “glowstick” gloves.

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Soon to be newlyweds.

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Weston again.

When I arrived my daughter and her friend were putting up the Christmas decoration, my ex had started a fire, and they finally have some furniture in their lovely 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, so it looks like home now.

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They look so much in love.

After we ate (no one actually sat down to eat, as most of us just nibbled from the plates laid out on every flat surface), we went out in the backyard because it was pretty warm (60’s) and took more pictures. When it stared to get dark, I headed back to my house because I have trouble seeing on the road after dark.

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Weston and Clayton.

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Are you listening to me???

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Going for a ride!

Random thoughts on family.
I was also thinking about how my immediate family is splintered into at least 4 or 5 discrete groups located in various parts of the country. There’s my enclave of our splintered family (me, my daughter and her husband-to-be here in North Carolina, and all our pets); then there’s my son in Florida with his “adopted” family of close friends and his partner’s immediate family who almost think of him as a second son, and their 2 dogs; then there’s my 80-something mother and her extended family in the upper-middle class Chicago suburbs; and finally my aging father and his caretaker-wife in Texas, who in recent years have been celebrating the holidays by themselves or sometimes with their neighbors (since he hasn’t been well and Parkinson’s has compromised his ability to walk or speak normally).

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My son (the family empath) has this dream of organizing a huge family reunion one day when he can afford it; of anyone in the family, it means the most to him to bring everyone together at some point. He’s even made friends with distant cousins, second cousins, and other relatives I’ve never even met through Facebook and other social media and is closer to all of them than either me or his sister is, because he has reached out to them and we have not.  I think that’s beautiful but I don’t know if the family reunion idea will ever work. There’s just too much baggage, drama, and too many of us not speaking to other family members. It sucks and is very sad but that’s how it is. I think it’s commendable though that he’s the only one who actually cares about wanting to heal this family and bring us ALL together, even if his ideas are too idealistic and unrealistic and unlikely to come to fruition (half of our relatives probably wouldn’t attend anyway).

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Resting after stuffing ourselves. That’s my ex back there in the kitchen.  

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Yours truly.

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I’m not sure what she was doing here but I don’t appear to like it! 😀

I feel very thankful our little corner of the family appears to be finally healing, and for once we enjoyed a holiday with NO drama, NO stress (other than my poor stomach), good food, fun, and lots of hugs and love to go around. And I’m thankful my ex opted to stay out of the way in the kitchen most of the time. :mrgreen:

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).

I think my family knows.

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Oh, dear.

I don’t have definite proof I was “found out,” but I saw that both my parents have LinkedIn profiles, and reading her profile, she is quite knowledgable about social media.

Of the two viewers I had tonight, one chose to be “anonymous.” I bet one of them is a family member, possibly my mother or father, who may have seen one of my articles I shared there tonight. Since I’m using my real name there and my profile contains my blog’s name and IRL, I think I was probably found out, if they didn’t know about it already (which they might have).

Oh well. It wasn’t going to be a secret forever, and maybe it’s all for the best.

ETA: I just changed my name on my profile to Lauren Bennett (I always liked the name Lauren, and Bennett is a family name). It might be too late now, but it could throw them off.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Why my parents disowned me.

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I was going to skip over this post, but I think it’s an important thread in my entire story of psychopathic abuse. I’m going to keep it as short as possible though, just because I really don’t feel like writing too much tonight. But I’m afraid if I don’t write about it now, I might forget.

I have already explained that I’m certain my narcissistic mother never loved me, although she pretended to when it was convenient. I spent much of my childhood and adolescence in a state of “learned helplessness” as a result of their incredible mindfuck–I was expected to achieve (on their own terms) and punished if I did not, yet at the same time I was being psychologically programmed to fail. For more detail, you can read my earlier entries (click on “My Story” in the green header above) which will explain how this mindfuck worked.

To make a long story short, I think I would have been disowned regardless. If I had become a financially successful adult, I would have been a HUGE threat to my NPD mother and she would have cut me off. I have noticed the way she denigrates and says terrible things about any powerful woman she envies (she is very transparent)–my mother always dreamed of being a Martha Stewart-like success story. She always took pride in her homemaking, entertaining, and “gourmet” cooking. And she always admired and envied the rich and powerful, something Martha certainly is. My mother’s achievements don’t hold a candle to Martha’s and she knows it. I remember several years ago my mother ranting over how ugly and gauche she thought Martha Stewart was. I saw right through her hatred–for a narcissist, almost all their hatred is fueled by envy. If I had become more successful than my mother, she would have cut me out faster than a surgeon cuts off a wart. She wouldn’t be able to handle someone outshining her, even her own daughter.

But I digress. As things turned out, I never became what most people would consider successful, at least not in the financial and material sense. I had a few opportunities and false starts, but through either self-sabotage or sabotage by others (described in my earlier entries), anything I started I’d give up quickly or never follow through on. I hope that pattern has finally changed.

In her later years, my mother, dependent on her oldest daughter (the one she abandoned as a child but who has now become her flying monkey and biggest apologist) will not allow me to visit them in their home. My mother and I are No Contact now (my own choice), but a few years ago, after my mother reluctantly moved from New York to Chicago to live with my half-sister, she told me I would not be allowed to come there because “Rebecca doesn’t like you.” WTF?!? Rebecca hadn’t seen me in over 20 years! She barely knew me. I mentioned how outrageous that was but my mother just said, “Well, it’s her house. Those are her rules. You are a very difficult person to get along with, you know.” I was offered no other explanation other than my sister’s “rules” and my horrible personality.

I thought about that conversation for a long time and finally got it–my mother was embarrassed by me! Always obsessed about her social standing, I had become too “working class.” My lowered social status would certainly offend her fake upper-middle class ideals and pretentions. I actually had to laugh when I found out my mother was no longer able to find any professional-level work and was working part time as a clerk in a department store. But it took a cousin of mine on Facebook to tell me that. My mother would have died before admitting that, especially to me.

I remember a few years ago, burned out by office and retail work, I mentioned to my mother I wanted to start a housecleaning business. It was something I could do without a lot of capital, it was physical (I like to move around when I work), and I was qualified to do it. I thought it might be fun, and I would be able to work alone and set my own hours instead of having to punch a clock and sit in front of a monitor or phone all day. I even had business cards made up. My daughter was interested in getting into it with me–we were going to call it “Two Blondes and a Bucket.” (no matter that I’m not really blonde anymore–I could dye my hair). Here is what my mother said: “I don’t think anyone would want to hire you. You’re a slob and you have a police record.” (she was referring to the pot charge I got when I was married to my Narc husband.)

dontlikeme

When I showed her my novel I wrote back in 2004, she glanced through it and said, “well, you should focus on getting some articles in magazines first before writing a book–you’re not ready.” I may not have been ready to publish a novel, but my point is, she always berated me for “not improving my circumstances,” and yet any time I presented an idea that might lead to a better life, she shot it down. It was the old mind-fuck all over again. She’s good at it.

That’s why I refuse to use Facebook anymore. My mother and her flying monkeys, as well as my father and his current wife who may well be NPD or at best, someone with OCD and a lot of narcissistic traits, have found me there. My stepmother is a control freak and an ultra conservative Republican who can’t stand me “because I’m a failure” and because I allegedly subscribe to “a mindset of dependency” (even though I haven’t asked them for anything in years). My Narc ex has found me there too, and even hacked into my account. He also trashes my character all over his Facebook page (he’s not dead by the way–he was in a psychiatric facility). I might delete my FB page if I figure out how. So much hatred. My family sucks. There, I said it. I’m like fucking Cinderella.

My father is sick with Parkinson’s and my stepmother, who is also his full-time caregiver and mouthpiece, acts as a “gatekeeper” to keep me from “upsetting your father.” If I call their home, I always have to go through her first, and tell her what I want to talk to him about before I’m allowed to speak to him. Hello? It’s my FATHER, you controlling bitch. When I do get to speak to him he is usually very loving (when I can understand him) but he’s completely dominated by his wife, just as he was completely dominated by my mother–only it’s even worse now because he’s physically dependent on his wife too. He’s always been drawn to Narc women and is a huge enabler. I do believe he has love for me though, I always have, even though he was very strict. I was cut out of his will after I allowed my Narc ex to move back in with me. (My father saw his true colors early on, and detests him). I want so much to explain why I did that, to have him read my blog and maybe he would understand the reasons–but his wife would not understand and she’d have to “approve” it first. Because she’s a cold person with very little compassion, I doubt she would.

It makes me sad I can’t have a healthy or loving relationship with my aging parents, who won’t be around too much longer. But it is what it is, and I can’t focus on that or regret we don’t have that kind of loving relationship. All I can work on is me, and finally stop trying to get their approval, because it ain’t ever gonna happen. If I can feel proud of myself, and even help others along the way, I think that’s more than enough. This blog is the beginning of that, and of course my parents will never know about it, if I can help it.

My son is “furry”–got a problem with that?

mexnyman

So far my blog has been pretty inoffensive. Well, I like to think so anyway. But I knew the time would come where I’d have to post about something controversial and now is that time.

My son is a furry. And not only do I not have a problem with it, I’m damned proud of him. Yes, I really did just say that.

I know what some of you are probably thinking.

“What kind of a ‘parent” are you?”
“Furries are a bunch of perverts! How can you accept your own CHILD being one?”
“You are depraved to be writing bragging about that.”
“Ewwwwwwwww!!!”
“You are going to hell and so is he.”
“You are SICK!!!ELEVENTY!!111!!
*puking sounds*
“MAKE HIM STOP!!!”

Let me explain. My son, now almost 23, was, along with me, his father’s scapegoat during most of his childhood and teen years. Like me, he’s a HSP (highly sensitive person) and HSPs and psychopaths as parents do NOT mix.

His father, Michael (not his real name), nearly destroyed my son’s self esteem. As a child, he was easily hurt, withdrawn to the point I thought he was autistic (he isn’t though your truly is), and was told (and began to believe) he couldn’t do anything right. Michael called him stupid, sissy, a wuss, and constantly told him he’d amount to nothing. Like me, my son had few friends in grade and middle school. He was bullied. I identified with him (and tried to protect him from Michael’s narcissistic rages) because well, he was so much like me.

I already told you earlier how Michael’s flying monkeys bullied him just prior to the divorce. Ethan (not his real name) was about 12 during this time and that’s a vulnerable age for even the strongest, most confident kid.

Fortunately, Ethan decided to live with me instead of his father after the divorce (my daughter chose her dad, and that’s another story I’ll get into in my next post). I don’t like to toot my own horn and I certainly wouldn’t have qualified as “Mother of the Year” but I like to think I did a pretty good job as Ethan’s mom, and some of the damage that Michael and his team of flying monkeys had done on my son was repaired. Or at least kept him from becoming one of those hardcore emo kids who writes freeverse poetry about suicide, rain and darkness and may even attempt the ultimate self destructive act. Or kept him away from drugs and early drinking. Or becoming a Narcissist himself. He never became any of those things, and in fact was always pretty straight edge. He told me (and I believe him) he never tasted alcohol until he was of legal age. He never liked pot and certainly never touched anything harder. He always did his homework. In high school he was one of those computer geeks and found he had a fascination with photography and art, something I also was involved with when I was his age.

Ethan wasn’t popular and seemed to have no interest in girls. He had a few friends he hung out with to play Age of Empires,” “Legend of Zelda” “Black and White,” and other video games. He was really good at the games and started his own forum about auto racing (something he’s still passionate about). But he was still painfully shy and lacking in confidence.

Two things helped to improve Ethan’s self esteem: Outward Bound and Kung Fu. His 8th grade graduation trip, instead of the usual “fun” trip to New York City or Washington DC, was a physically and mentally challenging 4 day Outward Bound expedition to the mountainous wildnerness right here in western North Carolina. I won’t get into detail about his trip (that’s a story he can tell), but he came back a little different, a little more mature, a bit more confident. When I asked him if he had fun, he said not really, but it was a trip he would never forget and that taught him a lot of things about himself.

When Ethan was 15, he decided to take Kung Fu classes. He was pretty good, and stuck with that for 3 years, advancing to Green Belt, which is more than halfway to Black Belt.

Ethan was keeping some secrets though, and admitted later on he was still deeply unhappy. I didn’t know this at the time, but I did know there was something he wasn’t telling me, and I could have guessed what it was. But I had to wait for him to say it.

At age 17, Ethan came out as gay. He was afraid to tell me, but I told him I had known for a long time but was waiting for him to say it. Ethan was relieved, and now that he was “out,” his confidence level went up a little more, and suddenly at school he was considered “cool,” something he had never been.

It’s so funny how kids will bully another kid they suspect of being gay but who isn’t “out” (and he was definitely bullied about that), but as soon as they’re “out,” they become accepted and cool. It’s a paradox, but it really isn’t–because it’s really not about gay vs. non-gay, it’s about self esteem. Bullied kids are kids who are too outwardly sensitive and have little self confidence. A kid with confidence, even if different from the other kids, is accepted, or at least respected. And I think that’s what happened with Ethan when he came out as gay.

After Ethan graduated from high school in 2010, he came out as “furry.” At first I didn’t even know what that meant, and Ethan didn’t want to explain it to me so I had to go online and do some research myself.

There’s been a lot of negative publicity about “furries,” especially since an infamous episode of the TV show CSI, in which a serial murderer was a furry who liked to kill wearing an animal costume. But this negativity isn’t deserved or even valid. Most of the criticism of furries is related to their alleged depravity–furry detractors insist furries engage in bestiality, or at best, have a fetish about having sex dressed up as animals.

While I won’t deny there is a subset of the furry community that may have a sexual “fursuit” fetish, it’s a small subset from what I’ve seen (and I know a lot about furries now) and the idea that they’re into bestiality is a ridiculous claim with nothing to back it up.

My intention here isn’t to give you a history of the furry fandom (there’s plenty of other places to read up on that). But a little background is required. The furry fandom grew out of the science fiction community back in the early 1980s. Most furries are geeks–comic book geeks, computer geeks, sci-fi geeks, Dragoncon geeks, art geeks, and among Millennials, animated cartoon geeks. Millennials grew up inundated with a huge array of the best made animated films and shows Disney had to offer; and because their stressed out parents were often working or busy with other things, cartoon animals like Mufasa, Timon and Pumba from “The Lion King,” CatDog, Bolt, and the Animaniacs were often left in charge as surrogate babysitters to entertain them.

Naturally a lot of Millennials developed a special affection for these cartoon critters who gave them so much laughter and comfort as children, and some of them continued this fascination into adulthood.

Enter the furries. The vast majority of them are Millennials (born from 1982 to 2000 or so) and there are a surprising number of female furries and heterosexual furries, and many of them are married. There are furry conventions that are becoming more popular every year, the most famous one being Anthrocon, which is held in Pittsburgh every year. Most furries are involved in art–either visual or performing art. I’ve talked to furries, and as a whole they’re a creative bunch. Furry isn’t a perversion; it’s a hobby, no different than someone who attends Star Trek or comic book conventions.

Being a furry has helped Ethan find his creative outlets. Ethan is naturally rather shy and reserved. Dressing up as “Mex” and his other “fursona” has allowed him to discover his outgoing and sociable side and that he has a love of performing (dancing and acting), which is something he might not have explored had it not been for the costume where he feels more comfortable experimenting with that side of himself.

He showed interest in photography and art at an early age, but has developed these abilities, and is now a fledgling filmmaker with a professional eye. He took up filmmaking in college and now has a degree. He makes his own music videos and has posted many of these on Youtube. Not all are about furries. Although none have gone “viral,” several of his films have received thousands of hits. He also is a competent artist, and draws well, although I think he’s more naturally talented at photography and filmmaking.

Here’s one of his videos from his music channel, Radio Recall.

What he’s proudest of is his dancing. He’s been training himself in street-dancing for two years. At the past two conventions he’s attended, he entered the fursuit dance competition. At the most recent one, he was one of the finalists, and he told me being accepted as a finalist was the happiest, most validating moment of his life and the high from it lasted for days. Now he’s working hard at getting even better so he can possibly win one of the Top 3 awards the conventions give out to the winners.

Here’s a video of his performance in the dance competition at a convention in Florida.

Ethan has shown me what can happen to a highly sensitive person who is able to escape from psychopathic abuse when still young, and then is given validation and encouraged to follow their own path, even if it’s not a path most of us would take. He’s shown me what I could have become had I been given such an opportunity (or taken advantage of it) when I was young. Not a furry or dancer or filmmaker, but someone who chased my dreams and never looked back. Ethan has shown me that none of us is a hopeless cause, and it really is possible to free yourself from the barbed wire prison of family psychopathy. Instead of being attacked by the flying monkeys and having your wings clipped, you can learn how to fly.

And that is why I’m proud my son is a furry.