A day in Chimney Rock, NC

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Today was my birthday!

For the past two years, I’ve been going to Chimney Rock on my birthday. It’s a perfect way to spend that day.

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Chimney Rock is a little village right next to Lake Lure. It’s full of cute shops, restaurants, and all kinds of natural wonders: Chimney Rock itself, which I passed on because it involves taking an elevator through a mountain, a wonderful rocky creek that has places where you can wade and even swim, and the whimsical Bridge of Flowers, which has been there since 2013.

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My daughter (who is clean 49 days now!), her hubby, and I walked through the town, stopped for ice cream, and spent about an hour by the creek, sitting on the rocks and wading in the water. Most of these pictures (except the one of DD playing in the creek) are of the Bridge of Flowers, which has every type of plant, aromatic herb, succulent, and flower you can imagine, and tons of artistic and whimsical touches, such as “secret gardens” with brightly painted benches, handmade birdhouses, “doors to nowhere” and old windows repainted in creative ways, colorful gates, paving stones, and lots of other creative touches. It’s maintained by the community, all volunteers.

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I’m feeling a little conflicted.

Concept image of a lost and confused signpost against a blue cloudy sky.

A few days ago I received a birthday card from my mother. The message inside was warmer and more loving than most of the cards she has sent me in recent years. Inside the card was a check.

I’ll be perfectly honest. I wasn’t expecting to get anything at all from her this year, because I know she found this blog and the things I’ve written about her haven’t been all that nice.

I haven’t actually spoken to my mother in three years. Though I never officially went “No Contact” with her, I just stopped calling her (or accepting her calls) because talking to her is very triggering for me. I always feel like a stupid little child in her presence–even on the phone (and I hate phones anyway). I always hang up feeling diminished as a human being. Her verbal abuse of me has always been somewhat subtle but it’s definitely there. I do still have contact with her via email and mail though. We send each other birthday and Christmas cards, but that’s about it. I don’t see any reason to stop doing those things.

I started this blog primarily to come to terms with and deal with my feelings about my psychopathic malignant narcissist ex after I finally got the courage to make him leave. But I couldn’t write about narcissism without thinking of the patterns in my life–especially my pattern of always being drawn to narcissists (and having them drawn to me) due to having been raised by a narcissistic mother and an enabling dad.

I haven’t posted much about my mother lately, partly because I know she probably reads this blog, but also because I’m having doubts about how malignant she actually was. She certainly was nowhere near as bad as my ex. A malignant narcissist or psychopath likes to see others suffer and deliberately hurts others for their own pleasure. My mother isn’t like that. There’s no doubt she’s very narcissistic and self involved–but she isn’t vindictive and doesn’t necessarily punish or deliberately hurt people who have crossed her. She usually just ignores them and acts like they no longer exist. I suppose that in itself could be a form of punishment though.

You may think she sent me the birthday card and gift as a form of Hoovering me back into the family or as a last ditch attempt to get narcissistic supply from me. I don’t think either is the case. I actually think my mother wants little to do with me at all. Of course that hurts, but I’ve grown used to it. I think things were like that long before I started this blog.

A few years ago, she might have tried to coerce me into providing her with more narcissistic supply through love bombing, because I would actually provide it. But I haven’t given her any supply in three years, and she has other resources now (other family members). So I doubt she is actually trying to get anything from me.

It could be a way of keeping me off balance too, but something tells me that isn’t it. It just doesn’t seem like something she would do. She isn’t that smart or cunning.

So here is what I think. I think that she does have some rudimentary maternal love for me. Garden variety NPDs aren’t entirely incapable of love. It’s also possible she may have had her eyes opened in reading this blog, and knows she is narcissistic. She may realize she wasn’t a good parent, but as a narc, she isn’t going to be caught dead admitting it, especially to me. Maybe her gift to me and its warm birthday message was a sort of indirect admission of culpability. If so, she will most likely take that knowledge to the grave with her and I will never know.

“Hand crack” for my birthday.

My birthday isn’t for 3 more days, but I was browsing in a rock shop (I collect geodes and other interesting rocks) and was looking for something that “spoke” to me. I finally found these beautiful unglazed squares of “picture” jasper. Besides the natural patterns of the jasper that look like desert scenes, I liked the way they felt–kind of heavy and smooth at the same time, and I liked the soft clacking sounds they made when they hit each other in my hand.

Immediately I thought what a marvelous DBT tool these could be. I have my turtle, of course, but it’s a little big and the feel of it isn’t all that special. These are little natural works of art that I know could help me calm down with their sound and feel in my hands when I’m stressed, upset or angry. I think the $4.00 spent was well worth it.

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I turned them around to show the patterns on the other side:
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