Summer’s end.

The end of summer always brings me sadness — and I mean that quite literally, since I suffer from the mood disorder SAD (seasonal affective disorder) that always sets in around late August and usually sticks around until sometime in late January or early February, when the days start to become noticeably longer.

It seems incongruous to me that it is still so swelteringly hot (we hit 90 degrees F today) and yet signs of fall are everywhere: Halloween (and even Thanksgiving and Christmas) products and decorations in the stores,  kids going back to school, the presence of school buses on the roads when I drive to work in the morning, a few falling leaves here and there,  and that tired, wilted, look the trees and shrubs get before they begin to turn their fall colors (around here, that usually means dingy brown).  And, of course, the dreaded Pumpkin Spice Everything.

Another sign that summer is at its end is the closing of public swimming pools.  Even though it’s still as hot as the inside of a locked car in Miami, the municipal pool has closed its doors until next Memorial Day.   I found that out when I drove over there this afternoon, hoping to enjoy a quick cool down in the water.   Instead of the welcome sight and sounds of people splashing happily in the refreshing turquoise water and the occasional whistle from the lifeguard, what I found instead was a completely abandoned concrete building guarding the pool, which was half-drained so whatever water was left looked as refreshing as thick green pond scum.  The surrounding chain link fence with its rusty Master locks keeping the gates closed completed the desolate look.  The fact I was sweating balls under the blistering sun and the sky was a deep bright summer blue dotted with fluffy cumulus clouds made the sight seem even sadder somehow.

There was also not one person in sight.

I took a few photos so my visit there wouldn’t be a total waste of time.

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I enhanced the above “closed” announcement on the main building with a sepia toned filter for a nostalgic effect.

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In the above photo, I used a color enhancing filter, making the water a more lurid green and the sky even bluer than it actually was.

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Abandoned pool and lifeguard chair in black and white.
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On John McCain’s legacy.

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In spite of my earlier post, I did start watching some of the highlights from John McCain’s funeral proceedings today.   It’s important that I did, and I’m glad I did, and do you know why?

Here in the Upside Down — in post-trump bizarro world (the lower case t is intentional) — I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face over a man I did not vote for, whose party and politics I never supported, and it feels very cleansing.  Weird.

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Taking a break from Trump and the news.

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Other than Meghan McCain’s moving tribute to her father at his funeral today, I’m not even watching the footage of this sad event. I’ve reached a point where I simply have no more capacity to cope with more unpleasant news. For almost two years, since Trump’s election, politics has been my #1 concern, so much so that it has squeezed all my other interests into much smaller compartments.

There is more to life than Donald Trump. I have been allowing him to live rent free in my head and it’s driving me crazy.  He has a way of doing that.  It seems like he’s everywhere, but is he really?  No, it just seems that way.   I think those of us who suffer from PTSD due to narcissistic abuse are especially prone to the kind of hypervigilance which can turn into obsessive thinking and a need to constantly scan our environment for dangers.

Taking a break doesn’t mean I’m no longer going to be part of the resistance. Of course I will! Morally, I feel like it’s imperative that I continue to participate and write about my experience and observations about what I see happening in my country. If we all just decided to pretend Trump doesn’t exist and ignore him, we will definitely fall into totalitarianism. Complacency and a pervasive attitude of “oh, Hitler can’t be THAT bad” or “there’s nothing I can do anyway” is why Nazi Germany happened. Germany learned the hard way but their democracy was restored and today they appear to have been inoculated against another descent into fascism. We might have to learn the hard way too, but I’ll be damned if I become a part of the problem. So I’ll continue to resist and write about politics.

However, obsessing and allowing Trump to live rent free in my head is messing with my sanity, and if I’m insane, there’s nothing I can do to help anyone, least of all myself.

So I’ve been doing other things: watching nature shows, taking walks, enjoying music, and spending time enjoying my family. I haven’t watched the news in a few days because I need a break from it. If it’s important enough, I’ll hear about it. Soon, I’m sure I’ll start following the news again because I must.
But it’s okay to take breaks from it once in a while and realize that no matter how bad things are, or how bad they get, there is still much more to life than the news and Trump. Trump will never “trump” my mental health.

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The “Four F’s” of C-PTSD

This article was originally posted in April, 2016.

I also wrote a review of Pete Walker’s wonderful self help guide for survivors of complex PTSD, which you can read here:

Book Review: Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker 

Lucky Otters Haven

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I just began reading “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving” by Pete Walker. I can already tell I won’t be able to put it down (I will write a book review when I’m finished, which shouldn’t take long). I’m also going to bring this book to my next therapy session because I want my therapist to see it.

Walker, who is a therapist and also a survivor of narcissistic abuse and sufferer of C-PTSD, is an engaging writer and definitely knows his subject matter. In one of the first chapters, he discusses the “Four F’s”–which are four different “styles” of coping that people with C-PTSD develop to cope with their abusive caregivers and avoid the abandonment depression. Whatever style one adopts may be based on several factors–natural temperament, the role in the family the child was given (scapegoat, golden child, “lost” or ignored child), birth order, and other factors.

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Available…

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Meet and Greet: 8/24/18

Dream Big, Dream Often

 

It’s time for the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

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Oh, for the love of Christ. Fooled by another f*cking covert narcissist?

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This time it’s a damned covert narc.  At least I think that’s what I’m dealing with.  Do I sound mad and upset?  You bet I am.   I hope I’m wrong but I know the red flags when I seee them.  I’ve had enough experience with them.

Hell, about two years ago (as some of you probably remember) I spent many weeks and maybe even months reading and studying everything I could find about all the symptoms and signs of covert NPD because I was so certain I must be one myself.   I probably qualify for an advanced degree in this disorder.  (Happily, I finally realized I am not one, but CPTSD, an earlier diagnosis of BPD, and my narcissistic “fleas” had me fooled.)

You may be aware I live with my daughter, who is 25.   She’s a good girl, hardworking, sweet, empathetic, intelligent, and beautiful (and I don’t just say that because I’m her mom).   Sure, she has her bad, even bitchy, moments, but don’t we all.   She’s overcome a lot due to her father’s abuse, my complicity and enabling, and sexual abuse she suffered at school.  There was a time back during her teens both her therapists and I were afraid she was developing a personality disorder, probably ASPD (antisocial personality disorder) because she had a diagnosis of ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) as a teen.  She could not function in a regular school setting because she was in trouble constantly and suspended several times for things like stealing and fighting.

Finally, she went into residential treatment and was helped immensely (she was very cooperative with the very strict program) and today is a much different young woman. She has a ton of empathy I never knew was there.    I am beyond grateful for that, and today I can say we are the best of friends.   She is also clean and doesn’t do drugs anymore so I am incredibly grateful for that too.

But there’s a downside too.  Over the past several years, she’s been engaging in a dead end lifestyle I can only call serial monogamy.   She gets serious about one guy, they seem serious about her (for a time), and they even start talking about marriage, but things never progress any further.   There’s always something wrong with the guy: he’s too controlling, becomes abusive, or starts to see other people on the side, or she gets tired of them herself.   At least one who seemed too good to be true turned out to be a dangerous psychopath.

All of these relationships end, and then she quickly moves onto the next man (she’s attractive and personable so it’s easy for her to find new lovers).   I’ve talked to her about furthering her education, deciding on a career (she works in a series of dead end service jobs none of which last very long),  and focusing on just herself, but she’s just like I was at that age: she seems to lack the motivation gene or any idea what she wants to do in life (besides find a man she can marry and will support her).  She seems incapable of tolerating being single.   That’s how I was at her age and I will always regret never developing myself to my full potential and not being more serious about finishing a higher education and finding something I’m passionate enough to turn into a career.  She is certainly intelligent enough, but she’s emotionally damaged.  Getting her to go to therapy is futile.  She simply won’t do it.  But that’s a whole other issue I won’t get into here.

It’s painful watching her take the same non-path I took –a road to an adulthood of constant near poverty, frustration, lack of intellectual and creative fulfillment, relentless financial insecurity, and now, for me — a terrible dread of old age without any real safety net.  I may be living on the streets if Medicare and Social Security are abolished, and that is terrifying.  I don’t have a life partner to provide emotional support, since I never knew how to pick one who didn’t turn out to be an abuser.  I  feel like I’m way too old (and still too afraid) to enter the dating scene again (I hate dating with a passion).  I’d rather just stay single and see how things play out.

Getting back to my daughter, her latest paramour is a man 14 years her senior (he is almost 40).  He gives the impression of a very sweet, kind, and sensitive person.  In fact, he appears to be a very emotional person who shed tears easily and is constantly apologizing.   That should have been a red flag.

At first I thought, “oh, how sweet, a sensitive man not afraid of his emotions,” but I actually think he uses tears and emotion to manipulate others to get his way or to get attention.   Using pity is a red flag of a covert narcissist, especially one of the “fragile” or “vulnerable” type.   They’re common (especially in women but can be found among men too).  They’re dangerous because they’re so hard to spot.  We expect narcs to be mean, arrogant, verbally abusive, and never apologize for anything.  But not all of them are like that, even though on th inside, they are all pretty much the same and just as self obsessed and entitled.   No matter whether their style is grandiose or self pitying, there’s always a yawning black hole where their heart ought to be.

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The reason I came to the conclusion he’s probably a covert narcissist and not just a big softie with a huge heart is the way he appears to string both of us along, causing immense anger and frustration.

He has been promising to get her an engagement ring and propose.  He was supposed to do it on our vacation last week.  We had agreed ahead of time that he would give me  half the money for the hotel, plus half of all expenses (meals, etc.).    The tab came to over $400.   Originally he was supposed to have the cash for me when we got to the hotel and I would pay the whole tab on my credit card.   Well, it turned out his employer made a mistake on his check and he didn’t get paid.  How convenient.

His employer promised they would rectify this on Friday, the day we returned from our trip.    I believed him, sort of.  At least I wanted to believe him.   But there had been one or two other red flags previous to this, that I didn’t think much of at the time, but I suddenly remembered them and began to wonder if he was trying to find a way to get out of paying me, or if he was getting cold feet about the engagement, since without the money, he couldn’t put the final payment down on my daughter’s ring.

I wanted to have a good time, and forget about all this unpleasant business, and so we did.   It seemed worth it, since we all had a great time and he was nothing less than wonderful to both my daughter and me.  Not another sign of narcissism or abusiveness, covert or otherwise.

But after we got home, he called his employer and found out they “forgot” again.  He was promised they would write up a check from petty cash the next day, which was Saturday.  Something felt wrong.

On Saturday he had a sudden “episode” of fainting and an ambulance had to be called.   My daughter went with him to the hospital, which said he would be okay.  It had something to do with heat stroke from too much sun, plus another chronic medical issue he’s been struggling with.   It wasn’t that I wasn’t empathetic or thought he was faking, but the timing of this “emergency” was just really weird.  Of course he could not go get his check, so now it would have to wait until Sunday.    Even my daughter mentioned to me that she was afraid he might be faking so he could put off getting the money.   I have to admit I thought this was a possibility.

I was growing very angry over his failure to pay me back the $400 he had promised me almost a week earlier.    We had never agreed that the vacation would be a gift.  I also considered that this might be his way of getting “cold feet” since his inability to get the money meant he could not finish paying off her ring and therefore there would be no proposal right now, if ever.  What a cowardly way to call off or delay an engagement, if that was what he was actually doing.

Of course, when he got back from the hospital, he was all apologies and tears.   He was hugging both of us and saying “sorry” over and over again.  I felt a little nauseated by this over the top display of emotion because I felt it wasn’t really sincere and was just a way to keep stringing us both along and buying more time.

So last night, he was all happy and excited and told both of us his company had finally issued a check (it was handwritten).  He waved it proudly at both of us.   He wanted me to take today off from work to film him proposing to her (this was supposed to have happened at the beach, but oh well).  I agreed to do this because it seemed important and I didn’t want to miss it.  I had also promised them I’d film the moment.    He said he would cash it first thing in the morning and then he would go get her ring and then we’d all go out somewhere special where he would propose.

Well, guess what.    This morning when I woke up he was gone.  My daughter was in her room mad as hell (not crying, just furious).   I asked her what happened, and she said the check was postdated for next week!   I asked her if he had failed to look at the date and she said, no, he definitely had seen it but chose not to mention it because he was afraid she’d be mad at him and he “couldn’t bear to hurt her again.”    She said she was sick of his lying and game playing so she made him leave until he could get everything fixed and get the money for both her ring and the $400 he owed me.   She said if he failed to do that, she was done with him.   That’s a good decision on her part.   Meanwhile I’ll still be out $400 which he bilked from me to get a free beach vacation, but I guess things could be worse.   He promised her he had a way to get the money today.  We shall see.   I’m skeptical.

Anyway, I’m glad my daughter is beginning to catch on to when she’s being manipulated and abused, because this is abuse, even though this man hasn’t uttered one nasty word, called her any names, or physically abused her.

Abuse comes in many forms.  Covert narcissists (and many borderlines) often use tears, guilt tripping, begging, financial abuse, “stringing you along,” and other underhanded, insidious techniques to get what they want.  Because they are less obviously abusive and can seem so “nice” and even emotionally fragile and needy, they can instill guilt and pity to get their way.  Their marks are empaths who fall for that sort of shit.    If they never deliver on their promises, you can be pretty sure you’re dealing with a person who is never going to be honest with you and will make your life an endless carousel  of frustration and anger that’s difficult to target on that person because they “never mean it.”

So, at this moment, I’m (maybe foolishly?) waiting for him to come back with the money he owes and make good on the promises he’s so far broken.    But I’m not getting my hopes up, that’s for sure.

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Pictures from Myrtle Beach.

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I spent three days at Myrtle Beach and unlike last year, the weather was perfect every day!  I would have loved to spend an extra day since the day dawned so gorgeous on the morning we left, but I don’t think my sunburned skin could have taken any more!

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We didn’t do much, mostly just lazed on the beach, took long walks, and ambled along the boardwalk, but relaxation is what a vacay is all about, not staying busy every second.

I just love the ocean.  It’s so soothing to my body and soul.

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Myrtle Beach sunset.

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Since Myrtle Beach is on the Atlantic Ocean, if you get up early enough, you can catch incredible sunrises.  The second morning we were able to do just that.  These photos were each taken about five minutes apart:

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My codependent “marriage” to a narcissistic boss.

I completely forgot about this post! Unhealthy, codependent relationships with narcissists are not limited to romantic relationships, marriages, and familial relationships. You can definitely be trapped in a codependent “marriage” with your boss (or anyone else you have frequent contact with, especially when unequal balance of power is a natural part of the relationship, as there might be between therapist and patient).

Lucky Otters Haven

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In late 2004, I was hired as a cashier at a local convenience store. My boss, John, was a flamboyantly gay man around my age who seemed fond of me at first. He was friendly and likeable in a way that didn’t offend my Aspie social reticence. We often worked alone together, and because he spent most of the time talking my ear off, I wasn’t required to add much to the conversation. I was his captive audience when we weren’t serving customers. John was bright and I found his one-sided monologues interesting if sometimes a little strange.

I’d hear everything about John’s exciting life, from his four Shar-Pei’s antics (he was a huge dog lover) to his once-a-month visits to the spa for regular colonic irrigations–he discussed these publicly, in the most intimate detail, even with customers–as if he was talking about what he had for breakfast. Although John…

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Rest in peace, John McCain

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John McCain finally lost his battle with brain cancer and passed away today.

While I disagreed with much of John McCain’s platform,  I never doubted that he was a good and noble man with integrity, a dedicated American, a war hero, and a true patriot who deserved to be treated with respect and dignity by the party who went rogue and abandoned him and his legacy in favor of the corrupt politics of Trump.

RIP, John McCain.  You lived a life of service to us all.  Thank you.

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If you’ve lost views recently due to loss of StumbleUpon, try Pinterest!

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StumbleUpon, which was bringing me an insane number of views every day (who knew it had that much influence?) recently folded and changed their name to “Mix.”  I don’t like Mix.  I find it confusing, impossible to understand or to use, not to mention the aggravation of creating a custom sharing icon for it.

Why are things that work perfectly well always getting “improved”?   If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!    It’s so frustrating and infuriating!

But I think I found a solution, or at least a partial solution.  I already had a Pinterest account from way back when I started this blog (or maybe even before?), but never used it and never bothered sharing anything to it.  Pinterest seemed kind of pointless as far as social media platforms go, just a bunch of pictures with links on them.   But really, that’s all SU ever was too.   Both are social media aggregators, not really social media sites in the same sense as Facebook or Twitter.

Okay, so since I’ve been sharing to Pinterest, my stats have improved. My views have gone back up.   Alright, fine, maybe they’re not as high as they were during the SU days, but definitely better than they were earlier this month.  My statistics page shows that after Google, Pinterest is now my second highest source for views.

I hope this helps some of you who have also experienced a drop in views and activity since the demise of SU.    It also helps that the Pinterest share button is included in the WordPress sharing buttons, so you don’t have to go to the trouble of creating a custom button for it.

 

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