My online friends.

goodfriends

While I wouldn’t wish narcissistic abuse from either families of origin or ex-lovers or spouses on anyone,  I’m grateful there are others besides me who have experienced it and that we have found each other.   If it weren’t for the Internet, that never would have been possible, and I’d still be reeling from the abuse all alone and wondering why no one else in the world could relate to my pain.   Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without my little community of ACON bloggers and readers who have suffered this type of trauma.  Very few people you meet in daily life get it.   It’s also not something you can just tell people about.  The anonymity of the Internet helps give us the courage to speak up.

It makes me sad to hear your stories, but at the same time, it’s great to be part of a found online family that is so supportive of one another and give each other virtual hugs and hope.

I’m very grateful to each and every one of you.  Thank you for being my friend and a friend to one other.

 

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“Should We Feel Sorry for Narcs”?

Fellow ACON blogger Fivehundredpoundpeep takes issue with my post from earlier today. I had a feeling this would be a point of contention between us, since my religious beliefs are more liberal than hers, I guess. She removed me from her blog roll, which I expected. Here is what she has to say about this matter.

Should We Feel Sorry For Narcs? 

guilt_trip

My answer in short is NO.

Lucky Otter differs…..

“I think it’s time we stop bashing narcissists”

God forbids vengeance and we are to avoid repaying evil for evil, but when it comes to narcissists and the wicked in this world, there are many who desire the enabling of evil. Anger in itself is not sinful, it depends on what you do with it. There is such a thing as righteous anger that is used to protect oneself and the innocent.

I wrote Lucky Otter the comment below in warning her. We have a world now where many tell good people they must love the unrepentant wicked and this is one reason why wicked people have been able to hurt so many people. Often the enablers even use this kind of logic telling people they were not loving enough to the narcissist. Every Scapegoat in the world was told these lies, that they were not kind and loving enough to their abusive narcissistic or sociopathic parents. We were told we were not kind enough, not forgiving enough. We were told by cruel narcissists we were mean bitter people even for drawing healthy boundaries.

One thing to consider is how many do excuse evil in this world using situational ethics, or telling the world, that the guy who just murdered a dozen people had a “hard home life”. There is a point where a human being does make the choice for good or evil and in the case of malignant narcs I believe they have seared their consciences making the decisions for evil. Yes there are narcissists who are lower down the spectrum who perhaps could get help or turn to God, but most blogs that write about narcissism make for those allowances.

I am concerned about Lucky Otter’s defenses of narcissists, it has gotten to the point, I am going to have to unlink her blog from this one. It is something that has been troubling me for awhile. I like and care about Lucky Otter but I do not want anyone on this blog led to bad places emotionally or psychologically.

My religious beliefs about evil which are rooted in being a born again Christian, are on a different page from Otter’s. My beliefs about narcissism and what should be done biblically when it comes to the wicked also are completely different. The call to love, forgive [with no repentance from their end] and feel sorry for the “abused little narcs” for me is the last straw. This is asking people to be doormats and abused more by evil. I am going to pray and hope she is shown the truth about wicked people. Her beliefs concern me even for her own sake, in being led to a place where she is to feel sorry for narcs or whom even smakintosh once warned in one of his videos about “Hugging the Vampires.”

Lucky Otter, I can’t hug the vampires, or feel sorry for the narcs. I do not believe God mandates this. I believe many false churches and no I am not pointing at your specific type of church but a lot of them out there are teaching people to endorse, enable, excuse evil. Jesus called the evil VIPERS, he didn’t hold back. He said exactly what they were in the book of Matthew 23:33:

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

I wrote this comment on Lucky Otter’s blog:

I disagree with you here. If anything the entire world is wrapped about defending the feelings of the narc. If anything every institution takes up for the narcs as scapegoats get smashed down again and again. I have gotten smashed down for narcs over and over, while no one cared about how I felt. A narc that wants help and wants to change in my book isn’t even a malignant narc, that is someone with fleas or borderline personality disorder or other spiritual problems but not a narc or what I call in Christian spiritual terms. “SEARED” and “REPROBATE”. Show me a narc who has REALLY REPENTED. If they have then they are not a sociopath and most likely not a malignant narcissist. False churches will teach enabling of the evil. Otter, I mean what I say about that, there are many invested in desiring the evil is enabled.

*****

I respect FHPP’s religious views, but I won’t pretend it doesn’t sadden me that my post might have caused a rift in our friendship.

But even friends aren’t always going to agree. I also think some things I said might have been taken out of context. For example, I never encouraged enabling a narcissist or staying with one. I am a strong supporter of No Contact. I also think we aren’t really in disagreement about malignant narcissists who are beyond hope or help.

I just don’t think all the hate on the web helps anyone and it only continues to feed their need for supply. Like a drug addict, attention–whether negative or positive–is their drug of choice.

ETA: 3/5/17.    I’ve since arrived at the conclusion that this blogger uses her religion to shame and judge others, pretends “concern” which is really a form of gaslighting, and has STILL not moved on from the black and white thinking and hatred of anyone with a cluster B disorder.  At the time, I was hurt at what I perceived as betrayal (it was) and was still trying to give this blogger the benefit of the doubt, but now I no longer do.  The friendship ended with this post.  She wasn’t done with me yet.  Shortly after this post, I was mobbed, viciously attacked and smeared by some of her blogger “friends” (really flying monkeys). As a result I was retraumatized and almost took down my own blog.  The implications are clear.   Not all ACON blogs are safe and some are, in fact, run by narcissists.

I feel like I’m a bad friend.

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Tonight on a whim I looked up an old Facebook friend I hadn’t talked to since 2012 (we had been close from 2009-2011) and was shocked and very upset to learn that she died this past September of Merkel cell carcinoma. She’d had to have part of her jaw and her lips removed and I even saw her post that first announced her terminal cancer diagnosis. She asked for prayers.

I never knew. I never bothered to check in on her until tonight and felt just awful about not having been there at all for her while she was in so much pain and dying. I left a post on her wall (which is still up) telling her to rest in peace and how sorry I was. What else can you say to a dead friend you abandoned? Sure, she was only a Facebook friend but I still feel like an insensitive heel.

About two years ago, another casual friend, someone I had actually known through work who ran a blog about living in poverty in the United States, and who was known to have suffered from major depression, committed suicide. I hadn’t talked to her in several months, and it was her husband who posted about her death on her wall. I learned this horrible news THE DAY AFTER she killed herself. All I could do was offer some kind words to her bereaved husband, who had loved her very much and was understandably devastated. I felt ashamed at not having talked to this woman during the months prior to her suicide and was almost too embarrassed to say anything to her husband.

I always seem to find out bad news about friends and people I used to know on Facebook, which is another reason I don’t like Facebook too much.

But neither of these things are as terrible as the way I treated a close friend of mine from back in the 1980s. Robert was gay and he was one of my best friends for several years. We used to have a blast together, and were even roommates for awhile. I remember planning his 21st birthday party and how much fun it turned out to be (and I hate parties!)

But Robert was also promiscuous and brought strange men home while we were roommates. He also developed schizophrenia around this time, and due to both his bringing men I didn’t know to the apartment and his declining mental condition, I had no other choice but to move out. We continued to remain in touch occasionally even after I married, but over time, as friendships do when lives go in different directions, we lost contact and stopped speaking.

betrayal

Just after my son was born in 1991, I received a phone call from Robert’s sister. She told me Robert was in the hospital and very close to death. He had AIDS and had lost his vision and his mind, and was no longer able to feed himself and had to be cared for like an infant. It occurred to me he probably already had AIDS during the time I knew him. I was shocked at the news and promised to come visit him in the hospital, but I never did. In all honesty, I was afraid to see him like that and chickened out, even though I had intended to go.

He died two weeks later. His sister called again and invited me to the funeral. Again, I didn’t attend because of the guilt I felt over having abandoned him and never visited him in the hospital.

I realized later how selfish this was of me, only caring about my own needs and feeling like seeing him like that would be too upsetting and just plain weird. My friend needed me when he was dying and I let him down. I never forgave myself for that and still pray for God to forgive me for my selfishness. I’m sure He has, but I never really forgave myself.

That’s why I feel like I’m a terrible friend and maybe don’t deserve to have any.

Closure.

closure

Closure can open new doors, even as one door is closing for good. There are so many other doors we can’t even imagine. Doors that may be right in front of us but we can’t see until we accept that the old door will never open again.

Sometimes just apologizing to someone can lighten your emotional load and bring closure to an uncertain or painful situation.

I had been struggling with severe guilt and shame over some things I said to someone whose views I respect. I never had ill intentions or alternative motives but this individual reacted in (what I thought was) an extreme way to my obliviousness and insensitivity.

While this individual has still chosen to no longer be friends, I respect their views about that and I think that decision is for the best.

For my part, I just feel so much better now that I apologized and had the opportunity to thank them for their friendship when it was needed. It’s no longer necessary, and because I reached out in sincerity and humility, I feel like I can finally move on. I feel so much lighter and freer than I did before I reached out. There has been closure, and that’s always a good thing.

One old friend and 4 little anecdotes

best_friends
A friend of mine from way back in the late 1970s and early 80s (we were high school BFF’s) who I have been in and out of touch with over the years emailed me today and wanted to call. I emailed her back with my cell # and we talked for about an hour.

She has been reading my blog and here is what she said:
“I’m so proud of you. This is what you were always meant to do. I always knew you could write, but wow! I’m really impressed with what you’re doing and you should be proud of yourself.”

She asked me not to talk about her on this blog (which I won’t) but she gave me the okay to share a few of our absurd little adventures from way back in the day. We both still laugh about these things.

Anecdote #1: Babushka Landlady, the lawnmower, and the clanking pipes.

babushka_lady

In 1978 and 1979 we shared a cheap two bedroom apartment in Queens, NY. We had a crazy landlady, a Russian immigrant woman, squat and always dressed in layers and layers of old world skirts and aprons and homemade knit sweaters. She always wore a babushka with huge brown combat boots.

Babushka Landlady did some nutty things:
–Mowed the lawn at 2 AM on a regular basis. Said it was better for the grass. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, look out my window and see her down there wearing her combat boots, her many skirts flapping, pushing that lawnmower back and forth, scowling and grunting whenever she passed under my window. I could just forget about getting back to sleep on nights she decided to mow the damn grass.

night_mowing
Mowing the lawn at 2 AM. Who does that?

–Babushka Landlady had a “partner”–an extremely elderly man of about 90 who was hunched over and could barely walk. We used to see the two of them entering the basement of the building through a back door. We’d wait for them to come out but they never did. We never talked about what they might be doing in there.

–Babushka Landlady and/or her “partner” went to the basement and banged on the pipes with metal rods to fool the tenants into thinking the heat was working. The boiler was always off or very low. I caught them doing this. After that they stopped and the heat suddenly started working again.

Anecdote #2: El Presidente beer and the rotting bathroom rug.

el_presidente

Same year, the same apartment: My friend and I had no car but we’d walk over to the Cuban deli and buy a case of El Presidente beer. It was terrible beer that tasted like old wet cigarette butts but we’d go through the whole thing, sitting in the tiny single bathroom getting drunk. The bathroom was carpeted with a rug that had once been plushy grey but had turned into a rotting clay-like substance from the cat peeing on it all the time.

It was disgusting sitting in there but we always sat in there anyway, for reasons we could never explain because we could have sat anywhere else in that apartment. One of us would sit Indian style on the lid of the toilet, the other propped on the side of the tub. We’d talk and talk and drink until the room began to spin. Our feet made squishy sounds in the sodden rug, and I contracted a bad case of Athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is no joke, by the way.

two_girls
That isn’t a picture of us, just a couple of girls we probably wished we looked like. And they’re in a bathroom too.

Anecdote #3: The flying Oxtail soup.

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Don’t open that pot.

Once my friend decided she’d make some Oxtail soup. In the middle of July. She started the soup in a big tureen, then left for a weekend trip with her boyfriend. I was spending the night somewhere so didn’t arrive home until the next day. Obviously she had forgotten about the soup she started.

The first thing that hit me was the smell. I thought my cat was dead somewhere. I cautiously approached the kitchen and opened the lid of the tureen where the smell seemed to be coming from. I took one look at the green-white mold growing on top of what looked like chunks of rotten meat and started dry heaving, then picked up the whole tureen, opened the window, and tossed it out into the alley. It was too disgusting to even attempt to wash. I have never been able to eat Oxtail soup since then.

Anecdote #4: The Folded Fish

origami_fish
Okay, it wasn’t an Origami fish. He wasn’t smiling either.

It was 1981. My friend had a new apartment. She asked me to house-sit while she went on a trip, and that meant feeding her fish too. There was one particular fish bowl I kept forgetting about. It contained one tiny golfish. The day she was to return I finally noticed the fishbowl and floating on top was its tenant, partly rotted and folded in half. I felt terrible about killing her fish and tried to hide him under some of the stones but that didn’t really work and he floated back to the top. Fortunately my friend wasn’t too upset and laughed because he was folded in half.

There are other stories but these are the ones I always think of when I think of us back in the day.
I miss you, my friend.

ETA: I just realized 3 of these stories involve rotting things. What does that mean?

A pretty good day

goodday

Alright, so my day didn’t start out very good.

Yesterday I got my settlement check from the insurance company from the car accident Molly was in last month, and this morning had to go to the bank to open a savings account and deposit the rest in checking, so I was an hour late for work because the bank didn’t open until 9 AM and I didn’t want to be toting a huge check around all day.

At 8:30 I received a call from my boss. She screamed “WHERE ARE YOU?”
Rubbing my assaulted ear, I explained I’d left a message on voicemail at 6:30.
“BUT IT WASN’T ON VOICEMAIL! DON’T YOU REALIZE THIS IS OUR BUSIEST SEASON?” The implication that I was lying about leaving a message could not have been more obvious.
“I’m sorry, I did leave a message. I’ll get there as soon as I can. I won’t be more than an hour late.”
“WELL YOU BETTER MAKE IT QUICK!”
Click.

I opened up my laptop and Tweeted: “Today is going to be the day from hell.”
I quickly scanned my blog stats, and found them disappointing.
Mentally I felt my defensive armor going up and my cortisone levels rising. I braced myself for the attack I knew I’d be facing once I got to work.

Although I have nearly perfect attendance and am never late, sure enough, when I arrived at the office, my malignant narcissist boss screamed, “IT’S THE BUSIEST WEEK OF THE YEAR! DON’T YOU REALIZE THAT? YOU ARE RUINING THIS COMPANY!”
Facepalm.

I knew she wasn’t serious, because I do a good job, my attendance is good, and she’s like that with everyone (well, except for her flying monkeys and sycophants), but it still made me feel violated and angry. Narcissists have a way of doing that.

The other bad thing that happened this morning was my daughter Molly went to court and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. She will be out Christmas day (thank goodness for that!). The good thing is that when she gets out, she will owe no more fines (which are far more than she or I can afford) and will have no more probation. She’ll do her time and just has to stay out of trouble after that.

But the day got a lot better. While it wasn’t the day from heaven, it didn’t turn out to be the day from hell either. I made friends with Molly’s older boyfriend, Paul. We were texting each other back and forth about Molly’s day in court and what happened. When I got home from my long day at work, I called him, and we spent about two hours talking. He is very easy to talk to, even for an Aspie like myself–I always feel violated and threatened by the most simple telephone conversations. I always hated the sound of a ringing phone. But talking to Paul was different, and put me at ease.

Paul is not only comfortable to talk to, he genuinely and sincerely cares about Molly. He’s the first boyfriend she’s ever had who has really cared about her wellbeing and wants her to turn her life around instead of all the losers who did nothing but drag her down and use her. We talked mostly about Molly, and what we can do together to help her. He’s older than she is and she listens to him, where she hasn’t always listened to me (I’m her mom–that’s probably why!) He put money into her jail account so she can buy concessions and make phone calls.

The other day I wrote a long depressing post saying I thought Molly was a narcissist (and she may be), but once again I have doubts. Drug addiction and bipolar disorder can also cause a person to act in a narcissistic way. She also has a diagnosis of BPD and PTSD. People with BPD can act very much like narcissists, as can bipolar people in their “manic” phase.

The reason I’m once again doubting she’s a true narcissist is because when she was handcuffed today, Paul was there with her, and she looked at him and said, crying, “I’m so sorry for all the pain I’ve caused everyone. I really want to change. I’m a terrible person.”

I don’t think she would have been faking those tears and those words; for what reason would she do so? Paul told me they have had some deep conversations about her behavior and run-ins with the law over the past decade and how much she doesn’t want to be part of that anymore. I think she was running around with some people who were very bad for her, because she thought she didn’t deserve or couldn’t do any better.

yesterdaysfeelings

Molly is intellectually brilliant and could do anything she wants in life. Once upon a time she was a straight-A student. But her self esteem is so low that she’s mostly associated with people far beneath her, people who do stupid things because they just aren’t very bright. Paul wants her to spend more time with her psychologically healthier friends who aren’t doing drugs, and meet some of his friends who are succeeding too.

Molly has never liked to read much (although she reads and writes very well), but in jail she will have a lot of time for reading (it beats playing cards and watching endless reruns of “Cops”). He told me about a book she had been talking about by the actress Kristen Johnson, called “Guts,” in which she describes her struggles with alcohol and drugs before she turned her life around. This book could be inspirational for her. Molly has always liked biographies and stories about people with substance abuse issues. I remember her favorite book in high school was one that had also been a favorite of mine when I was her age: “Go Ask Alice.”

I don’t have any family to speak of (or rather, none that I speak to), and certainly none in my area, but Paul invited me to his home for Thanksgiving. I invited my roommate to come along, but she declined, so it will just be the two of us. He’s new in this area and has no family here either. He’s cooking dinner and I’m bringing dessert and a bottle of red Merlot wine (my favorite).

Having been burned so many times by narcissists and psychopaths, I don’t trust people easily, so of course there’s a small nagging voice in my head warning me Paul may be a narcissist in the love-bombing phase, but I really, truly don’t think so.

Just the other day, Molly was talking about having kids someday. She’s never shown the slightest bit of interest in having children (she is a bit young still and certainly not emotionally ready), but she told me she would be interested if she was married, and she thinks Paul may be The One. I told her not to rush things and I would like her to attend school first. Paul and I think she just may do this once she is released. He wants to take her to the community college just to have a look around and maybe sign up for one class just to get her feet wet.

After putting most of the settlement in savings, I still have a little over $1,000 left, a nice sum of cash for someone as poor as I am. Some will be used for Christmas, but I decided to order a few books tonight. One was Kristen Johnson’s book “Guts” which I’ll bring to Molly; I also ordered a Wild Republic stuffed raccoon (a Christmas gift for my son (who already has “Alfonso” the river otter, who I wrote about)), and two more books about narcissism: Martha Stout’s “The Sociopath Next Door,” which I have heard great things about; and Sam Vaknin’s gigantic tome, “Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited.”
I love to get things in the mail, especially books.

dancingsnoopy

Any day, no matter how shitty it starts, where I can make a new friend, feel hopeful about my kid, have a little money to spend, realize I won’t be alone on a big holiday after all, and get some new books to read, is a good day. And if I can end that day with a new blog post telling you what a good day it was, then it’s officially a great day.