Throwback Thursday: My Inner Narcissist.

Originally posted on January 8, 2015

envy pride
The beautiful paintings in this article are by Marta Dahlig at Deviantart.

Narcissism isn’t limited to narcissists.

Most people have some narcissistic traits and that’s why it’s dangerous to try to diagnose someone you don’t know pretty well or have lived with. Mislabeling happens a lot, and ACONS and victims of abuse tend to be quick to label anyone who shows any narcissistic traits as a narcissist, because we’re so hypervigilant about everything and trust no one.

I hate my narcissistic traits, but I do have a few. Now’s the time I “come out” of the closet about them.

We also can’t forget a little narcissism is actually healthy and protects us to some extent from victimization. No one can be completely unselfish. It’s just not realistic or good for survival.

My two most deadly narcissistic sins are:

1. Envy. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I used to be pathologically envious of those who had more than I did, were more attractive, came from loving homes, had a better job or made more money (practically everybody!) I don’t think this is uncommon in people who were raised and/or married narcissists, and we are not incorrect about having been cheated in life. We have a right to feel like it’s unfair. It’s still an ugly, soul-destroying emotion though, because it makes us hate ourselves even more when we think we fall short of others.

I think what sets my envy apart from true narcissistic envy is that I have never had any desire to ruin or take away someone’s else’s good fortune. I might feel bitter and brood about it, but I never felt it was my right to interfere. Sometimes the people I envied could inspire me too. I also didn’t necessarily hate the people I envied, even when I wanted to. Or maybe it just sets me apart from the MALIGNANT narcissists, because those are the dangerous ones who really want to hurt you.

I’ve been getting a lot better–but another deadly sin that is envy’s polar opposite is slowly taking its place…

2. Pride (vanity). I haven’t experienced too much of this until recently. I think some pride is normal and healthy. If you have no pride you feel like you deserve nothing. But I have noticed a tendency to brag about this blog when it’s doing well or my stats are high. Maybe that’s a normal thing for bloggers (I think we tend to be competitive) but I bet it’s also made a few people think I’m a narcissist playing the victim. I hope not, but I still worry about it. I’m always tempted to delete those stats posts after they go up, but then again, why not share good news when you have some to share? Because until recently, I hardly ever had any good news to share. So I’m like a little kid on Christmas Day or something.

I still have to watch this though, because you can drive people away with too much bragging, and pride, as pleasant an emotion as it can be, can turn you into a narcissist eventually. It’s a slippery slope to selfishness and evil. I can’t ever forget that my primary focus with this blog is to get better, and maybe help others get better too through my writing. Not to have X number of views or Y levels of visibility. It’s not about me anyway, it’s about what God wants for me and how he wants me to be of service.

Acquired narcissism due to good fortune is probably why there are so many narcissists in Hollywood and the music industry (not all celebrities are narcissists of course). Their success has probably changed them. Or it drives them crazy. I think only the most mentally sound and insightful celebrities are able to escape from the clutches of acquired narcissism (or serious mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, drug addiction, and even psychosis). It can’t be easy being famous and sought after by millions of strangers and having to be “on” for the media all the time.

Then there’s the other kind of pride–the kind that keeps people from admitting when they’ve been wrong or showing humility when it would benefit them and others to do so. Fortunately, I don’t think I’m guilty of that kind of pride very much. I can admit when I’ve been wrong and am not “too proud” to do so. I think narcissists pretty much have a monopoly on that type of pride.

My last “deadly sin” is sloth. I can be the laziest person you ever met. I’m a world class procrastinator. But I don’t think that’s a narcissist trait.

sloth

What are yours?

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6 “useless” emotions that aren’t useless, and 2 that really are useless.

Originally posted on July 10, 2016

negative-emotions-crop

I get tired of the positive thinking brigade who tells you you always must be happy and that there’s no place for “negative” emotions.   Not only is it obnoxious to wear a pasted on smile all the time even when you’re not feeling it, it’s not natural or healthy.   Of course, being a positive person who thinks positive thoughts is a good thing, but when it’s taken to ridiculous extremes (and it certainly is in my family, where “negative” emotions are not accepted or allowed) it can be soul-damaging.   Following is a list of unpopular (or “useless”) emotions that definitely have their uses (when they’re not excessive).  There are only two emotions I can think of that have no uses whatsoever, and I’ll describe those last.

1. Guilt.

My father always used to tell everyone that guilt was an unhealthy, useless emotion, but I couldn’t disagree more.   True, excessive guilt is bad for you, but the right amount of guilt separates people with a conscience from the psychopaths. I pointed out this to my father once, and he became enraged.   Hmmm, I wonder why!   The ability to feel guilt keeps us civilized and mindful of the feelings of others.

2. Sadness.

Sadness is a normal reaction to a loss.  It also connects people in those times of loss.  We have socially sanctioned rituals that promote and even encourage the expression of sadness (funerals) but otherwise, people are uncomfortable with the sadness of another and are always trying to cheer you up.   If you’re crying, people always want you to stop. Why?  Feeling sad and crying can be healing; if sadness is repressed it can lead to something much worse–depression.   People need to just shut up and let you be sad and cry if that’s what you need to do.

3. Anger.

There are times it’s appropriate to be angry.    Anger, though toxic both to yourself and others when excessive,  helps you survive.  If you feel threatened or feel that someone close to you is threatened, you are going to fight back.  The only other survival option is to flee (which I’ll talk about next).   Otherwise you’re just going to stand there and let yourself or your loved ones get attacked or treated badly.    Excessive anger, of course, leads to hatred, and hatred is not only useless, it’s dangerous to the soul.

4. Fear.

If you can’t fight (sometimes you can’t), you can flee danger.   Like anger, fear is a survival emotion.   It can be excessive, leading to anxiety disorders, but fear in normal doses is both healthy and appropriate reactions to danger.   It’s important to distinguish whether it’s better to flee (fear) or to fight (anger).

5. Jealousy.

I’m not talking about envy here, an emotion often confused with jealousy.  But they are not the same.   Jealousy refers to the fear that someone is taking something you love away from you; envy refers to wanting what someone else has.  There are similarities though. Both are bitter, painful emotions, hard to deal with.  Sometimes they lead to people attacking the object of their jealousy or envy to “even the score.”   But jealousy has its place.   It’s another survival emotion, similar to anger mixed with fear, that warns you that something that belongs to you is in danger of being taken away.   The problem is jealousy often crops up when there is no real danger of that happening, and that leads to all kinds of problems.  Excessive jealousy can actually be self-defeating and drive what you love away from you — the most obvious example is constantly asking someone you’re in a relationship with if they are seeing someone else, or snooping in their things to find out.  That sort of behavior will eventually drive the other person away.

6. Envy.

I hesitated to put envy here, because on the surface it really doesn’t seem to have any useful purpose.  I almost put it as one of the “useless” emotions I’ll be describing last.  But envy does have one useful aspect.  If it’s not excessive, it can be a motivator, making you take action to improve your own circumstances.   When it’s used that way, it’s really more akin to admiration than envy.   The problem with envy is it can so often turn so bitter that it saps all your energy and lowers your self esteem, making you LESS likely to improve your circumstances or achieve the things you want.

The Two Emotions That Really Are Useless.  

uselessfork

1. Worry.

I heard a great saying once:  “Worry is useless because if what you dread comes to pass, then you’ve lived through it twice; if it never happens, then your worry was in vain.”  I took those words to heart because of how true they are.   Worry is absolutely useless.  If faced with a potentially bad or dangerous situation, worry won’t help you.  If something can be done to prevent the situation from happening, taking action will help,  and once you take action, then there’s nothing more to worry about.   If there’s no action you can take, then worrying about it is a waste of time.  Better to plan how you will deal with it when it happens, than to sit around wringing your hands, pulling out your hair, and making yourself sick over it.

2. Shame.

Shame must be distinguished here from guilt.  Guilt refers to something you did, while shame refers to the person you are.  Guilt is useful because without it, there would be no apologies or amend-making for bad behavior.   People would just go around doing whatever they want, regardless of how it makes others feel.   Shame, on the other hand, is useless because it means feeling sorry not for something you did, but for who you are.  If you were the family scapegoat, then you were the receptacle for all the family shame, and were made to feel like you’re worthless and don’t deserve to live.    Shame is the one emotion that is at the core of all the personality disorders and every case of complex PTSD generated by familial abuse.  It’s incredibly toxic–probably the most toxic emotion there is, and it has about as much usefulness as a bicycle does for a fish.

For more about shame vs. guilt, please read Carrie Musgrove’s article about the important distinctions.

Envy is the emotion at the core of narcissism.

Of I never heard of envy being the core emotion that fuels narcissism, but it makes a lot of sense. I just discovered this psychologist’s Youtube channel. His videos are excellent.

He believes envy is a primitive form of hatred.  Envy is, of course, a defense against toxic shame.

6 “useless” emotions that aren’t useless, and 2 that really are useless.

negative-emotions-crop

I get tired of positive thinking nazis  who tell you you always have to be happy and that there’s no place for “negative” emotions.   Not only is it obnoxious to wear a pasted on smile all the time even when you’re not feeling it, it’s not natural or healthy.   Of course, being a positive person who thinks positive thoughts is a good thing, but when it’s taken to ridiculous extremes (and it certainly is in my family, where “negative” emotions are not accepted or allowed) it can be soul-damaging.   Following is a list of unpopular (or “useless”) emotions that definitely have their uses (when they’re not excessive).  There are only two emotions I can think of that have no uses whatsoever, and I’ll describe those last.

1. Guilt.

My father always used to tell everyone that guilt was an unhealthy, useless emotion, but I couldn’t disagree more.   True, excessive guilt is bad for you, but the right amount of guilt separates people with a conscience from the psychopaths. I pointed out this to my father once, and he became enraged.   Hmmm, I wonder why!   The ability to feel guilt keeps us civilized and mindful of the feelings of others.

2. Sadness.

Sadness is a normal reaction to a loss.  It also connects people in those times of loss.  We have socially sanctioned rituals that promote and even encourage the expression of sadness (funerals) but otherwise, people are uncomfortable with the sadness of another and are always trying to cheer you up.   If you’re crying, people always want you to stop. Why?  Feeling sad and crying can be healing; if sadness is repressed it can lead to something much worse–depression.   People need to just shut up and let you be sad and cry if that’s what you need to do.

3. Anger.

There are times it’s appropriate to be angry.    Anger, though toxic both to yourself and others when excessive,  helps you survive.  If you feel threatened or feel that someone close to you is threatened, you are going to fight back.  The only other survival option is to flee (which I’ll talk about next).   Otherwise you’re just going to stand there and let yourself or your loved ones get attacked or treated badly.    Excessive anger, of course, leads to hatred, and hatred is not only useless, it’s dangerous to the soul.

4. Fear.

If you can’t fight (sometimes you can’t), you can flee danger.   Like anger, fear is a survival emotion.   It can be excessive, leading to anxiety disorders, but fear in normal doses is both healthy and appropriate reactions to danger.   It’s important to distinguish whether it’s better to flee (fear) or to fight (anger).

5. Jealousy.

I’m not talking about envy here, an emotion often confused with jealousy.  But they are not the same.   Jealousy refers to the fear that someone is taking something you love away from you; envy refers to wanting what someone else has.  There are similarities though. Both are bitter, painful emotions, hard to deal with.  Sometimes they lead to people attacking the object of their jealousy or envy to “even the score.”   But jealousy has its place.   It’s another survival emotion, similar to anger mixed with fear, that warns you that something that belongs to you is in danger of being taken away.   The problem is jealousy often crops up when there is no real danger of that happening, and that leads to all kinds of problems.  Excessive jealousy can be problematic too.

6. Envy.

I hesitated to put envy here, because on the surface it really doesn’t seem to have any useful purpose.  I almost put it as one of the “useless” emotions I’ll be describing last.  But envy does have one useful aspect.  If it’s not excessive, it can be a motivator, making you take action to improve your own circumstances.   When it’s used that way, it’s really more akin to admiration than envy.   The problem with envy is it can so often turn so bitter that it saps all your energy and lowers your self esteem, making you LESS likely to improve your circumstances or achieve the things you want.

The Two Emotions That Really Are Useless.  

useless.stamp

1. Worry.

I heard a great saying once:  “Worry is useless because if what you dread comes to pass, then you’ve lived through it twice; if it never happens, then your worry was in vain.”  I took those words to heart because of how true they are.   Worry is absolutely useless.  If faced with a potentially bad or dangerous situation, worry won’t help you.  If something can be done to prevent the situation from happening, taking action will help,  and once you take action, then there’s nothing more to worry about.   If there’s no action you can take, then worrying about it is a waste of time.  Better to plan how you will deal with it when it happens, than to sit around wringing your hands, pulling out your hair, and making yourself sick over it.

2. Shame.

Shame must be distinguished here from guilt.  Guilt refers to something you did, while shame refers to the person you are.  Guilt is useful because without it, there would be no apologies or amend-making for bad behavior.   People would just go around doing whatever they want, regardless of how it makes others feel.   Shame, on the other hand, is useless because it means feeling sorry not for something you did, but for who you are.  If you were the family scapegoat, then you were the receptacle for all the family shame, and were made to feel like you’re worthless and don’t deserve to live.    Shame is the one emotion that is at the core of all the personality disorders and every case of complex PTSD generated by familial abuse.  It’s incredibly toxic–probably the most toxic emotion there is, and it has about as much usefulness as a bicycle does for a fish.

For more about shame vs. guilt, please read Carrie Musgrove’s article about the important distinctions.

Envy is my worst character trait.

envy
Envy, by Marta Dahlig, Deviantart

I’m about to write a painful, bitter post. It’s about something brings me a great deal of shame, so much shame I hesitated writing about it at all. It’s about what’s probably my very worst quality. But my need to be honest on this blog (because it may help both me and others), no matter how ugly or socially unacceptable my feelings may be, overrode any misgivings I had about what I’m about to write.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an envious person. Having been programmed by my FOO to be a perpetual victim, honed and chiseled by master artisans to become a dysfunctional, self-loathing adult unable to achieve even the normal comforts, supports, and pleasures non-abused people enjoy and take for granted; seemingly set up to always fail (and then get callously blamed for my failures by the very people who programmed me to fail), another unpleasant side effect of being programmed to be a “loser” is a nasty tendency to envy others for having those things that should have rightfully been mine too.

I’m not talking about winning the lottery or acquiring a new Ferrari (though those things might count too). I’m talking about envying those who achieve or acquire normal good things that most people who were raised in loving families take for granted–landing a great job, acceptance by a publisher, a place to go and be supported unconditionally when their luck is down, a wide circle of friends, an inheritance earned through simply being who they are and being a member of a family that cares about them unconditionally.

If such a good thing happens to a person I always knew had those things, someone who never seemed surrounded by darkness and always seemed to have things pretty easy, I envy them a lot less than if those things happen to someone I had met when they were still on “my level”–in other words, a fellow victim who suffered abuse and is still reeling from its fallout, struggling (and failing) to find their footing in a world that seems so cruel and cold, the way I continue to do and feel like I will be doing until the day I die. If such a person’s fortunes suddenly change, I fall into a slimy, nasty cesspool of envy. Instead of feeling inspired and encouraged that yes, the good thing that happened to them could happen to me too and I should just be patient, yada yada yada, I just feel consumed by that bitter, horrible emotion that does no one any good, least of all its bearer.

easter_outfit
Coveter-in-training: being a hybrid mini-me/scapegoat/golden child to someone I knew even then I could never aspire to set the stage for my tendency to envy others.

I think I know why it’s easier to envy people who suddenly came into a great opportunity to change their lives than those who already had things easy. It’s a “misery loves company” kind of feeling: when you feel victimized by life and all the people you ever had to answer to, it helps to know that others feel exactly the same way because it means you’re not alone. It’s not that you want the person who’s fortunes changed to feel as badly as you; it’s not even that you’re not happy for them. It’s more that there’s a sense of solidarity in being able to wallow in a communal pit of misery together, and suddenly that feeling of solidarity is broken. It’s that feeling of realizing, “it’s not just me after all! I’m not alone!” being thrown into doubt because that person is suddenly able to lift themselves out of a hellish existence and you are still not. In all honesty, it feels like a kind of…well, betrayal.

I know it’s not really that at all. All of us who were victimized by narcissists all strive to break out of the trap of a life of failure set up for us by our abusers early in our lives. During our wallow in communal unhappiness, we feel strong solidarity. We support each other, cry on each other’s shoulders, feel angry on behalf of each other, and wish each other the best with utmost sincerity, as we wish it for ourselves. But then one one is suddenly lifted up out of the mire, you can’t help but feel left behind. You’re completely unprepared to feel that way, because this person was an angel to you and came to you at a time when she was most needed. You looked to her for inspiration, advice and support. So you beat yourself up over your envious feelings because you know feeling this way is wrong and sinful. You feel like a hypocrite, since in theory, you wanted what was best for this person and still do. You know they deserve good things and there is a part of you that is happy for them, but it’s corrupted by the unwelcome thought, “why not me too?” like mold on a delicious chocolate cake.

You know their reward was not undeserved. We are all at different parts in our healing journeys, and some are farther along than others. The person you so envy is farther along their spiritual and emotional journey than you are. You’re well aware of that fact and it never bothered you. You saw that person as a teacher and guide. You know that perhaps you’re just not ready yet to handle something that good happening to you yet and that’s why it hasn’t happened. First you must learn to better appreciate the things you already have, to see the glass as half full.

Of course you wish this person no harm; your envy is not the sort that wishes to take away anything or try to sabotage the person’s good fortune. But the bitterness and sense of unfairness is still there, eating away at your insides like an unwelcome and potentially lethal parasite. You know better but you can’t help it. Exhausted from your bitterness, you feel tired an depressed. You shout at God in frustration and exhausted rage: “When is MY ship ever going to come in?” You don’t want to take away anyone’s good fortune; you just want to have some for yourself too.

I think it’s hard for ACONs to learn to trust. The people in our lives have proved to be anything but trustworthy. We’ve been hurt, betrayed and disappointed by everyone we thought mattered. We learned to expect the worst from people. Many ACONs turn to God or religion as a respite. Desperate to trust someone, anyone, they fully embrace God and throw their worries blindly at the feet of the Almighty. Their faith seems perfect. Others, like me, have more trouble. How can we fully trust an entity we can’t actually see? How do we even know there’s anything there at all? We overthink everything and overthinking makes faith difficult to attain. I pray for faith constantly, because I know that’s the only thing that will take away my fear, self-loathing, suspicion of everyone, and my envy. The person I envy right now has faith that seems nearly perfect. How can I get to that point?

I pray that one day my envy can be transformed, that I can be genuinely happy for the good fortune of someone else, and even be inspired by it. I also pray that the person this post refers to doesn’t judge or condemn me for feeling envious, but something already tells me they will not. I will always be grateful they came into my life.

****
Further Reading:
My Envy

The narcissist game of “Gotcha!”

gotcha

An earlier post of mine described the 8 mind-games  that narcissists all love to play.   (Please be aware this was actually a reblog of someone else’s post).  One of the more popular games, played by both covert and overt (grandiose) narcissists is “Gotcha!”

“Gotcha!” can be played two different ways, but both have the same devastating effect on the narcissist’s opponent (victim).   Both are intended to bring your mood down as low as it can go and at the same time, reward the narcissist with supply (which you provide with your emotional reaction) which makes them feel better about themselves.

Here are the two versions of “Gotcha!”

Bug.

dead-bug

This game is most popular with overt narcissists because it allows them to exercise their grandiosity and turn it into a handy weapon and suction tube for feeding.

In “Bug,” the victim always goes first.  You start the game by feeling down, depressed, or worthless after some misfortune.    The narcissist is good at faking empathy and love bombs you by spreading that phony sh*t on thick.  Eventually you let your guard down and confide in the narcissist all your woes, misfortunes,  and feelings of dejection.   You tell them your whole life story, feeling like you have found a kind shoulder to cry on.   A patient, empathic person who cares about you and wants to help you.

Not so fast, there!   Your narcissist is already planning their next move, and it has about as much to do with empathy as a Canadian Mountie has to do with a Taliban terrorist.    What is that next move, you ask?   They’re about to pull a bait and switch on you.   The next time you confide in them about losing your home, your spouse, your job, or your mental health, they will callously “share” with you all about the exotic vacation they’re planning to take, the big promotion they just got, or the new romantic partner in their lives.   They will crow about how blessed they are (“blessed” is a favorite term used by narcissists as a subtle envy-generator) and how unfair it is that others aren’t as fortunate as they are (this last is a snide put down, implying that you’re not one of the chosen people that God has chosen to shower his bounty on).

Of course you’re not an envious person, but hearing all about their perfect, blessed life at a time like this when you are suffering is too much.    The narcissist doesn’t care.   In fact, they may actually be lying to you about all those wonderful things.  They want to see you suffering and envious of them, because (1) your suffering provides them with a comparative ego boost (hey, at least they’re not as unfortunate as YOU!)  and (2) your envy inflates their ego even more.   They feed off your pain like a pig rolling in slop.

To them, you are just a bug, not worthy of respect or any real compassion.   Maybe they’ll getcha with some pitying contempt though:  “Oh, I feel so SORRY for you!”   It’s intention is to make you feel shame.  When you’re already down, expect to be stepped on and squished under the heel of the narcissist’s boot until there’s nothing left of you.

Wet Blanket.

wet-blanket

This is a game almost always played by covert narcissists.   The tactics used to win the game are very different than “Bug,” but the end goal is the same:  to make you feel like shit.

As in “Bug,” you (the victim) begin the game.  (Of course you don’t know it’s a game, but that doesn’t matter.)   You think you’ve found a friend in the narcissist because they seem so interested in you.   You just found out some great news–you got that promotion, your book is going to be published, you just found out you’re pregnant after months of trying, you won the lottery.

Naturally the narcissist doesn’t like your good news. To them, it is very bad news, because in their minds, the good fortune of someone else diminishes them.  Life to them is a zero sum game.  There can only be one winner and it has to be them.    For something good to happen to you means it didn’t happen to them which means they hate your guts because you have something which they do not.   It doesn’t even have to be something they want:  the fact you have something good at all is an affront to them.  They must find a way to ruin it for you and in effect, bring you down closer to being as miserable as they are (evening the score).

So after a phony congratulations (maybe), the narcissist becomes a concern troll.  Out of “concern” for you (and always for your own good), he or she just has to “warn” you about the dark  side of your good fortune (and if possible find a way to put you down too, or tell you why it doesn’t count).    So if you got a promotion, you’ll get a speech about how much harder you’ll have to work and how you’ll probably lose all your friends stil in lower positions.  Or you’ll be told why your promotion doesn’t really count because it’s one of those “honorary” titles or it’s really just a “lateral” move.   If your book just got accepted by a publisher, you’ll be told that publisher is a crook or their business is failing and you’ll never see your royalties; if you found out you’re pregnant they’ll tell you all about how horrible pregnancy is and about all the drudgery and loss of freedom you’ll be facing; if you won the lottery, they’ll trot out stories about people whose lives were ruined after winning the lottery or they’ll remind you that “you did nothing to earn it; it’s only chance–I could have won too!”

Of course, after you listen to the narcissist’s “advice,” your heart will feel heavy and your smile might have disappeared.    You might even be gnawing the sides of your fingernails in anxiety over all the things that could go wrong.  Checkmate!  The narcissist won and now he can feed off your new worries too.

A variation of “Wet Blanket” is actually the mirror-image of “Bug.” After you’ve shared your great news, the narcissist brings down your mood by telling you how terrible their own life is and how they never get any breaks at all. The intention is to make you feel guilty for having so much while they have so little.

Whether it’s guilt, shame or envy the narcissist is trying to induce in you doesn’t matter. They just can’t stand to see anyone happy and must take you down to their level or obliterate you like a bug if you’re already down.

I should stay the hell off Facebook.

thanks_bitch

I’ve hated Facebook for a long time, and last night reminded me of one of the biggest reasons why.   My mother’s entire side of the family is on Facebook, and of course I just *had* to go look at their profiles and see what everyone is up to.   I don’t know why I do that, since every time I do, I’m always blindsided by a tidal wave of envy.  Last night was no exception.

A niece, who is twenty years younger than I am, appears to have a storybook life, at least the way she presents herself on Facebook.  She appears to have all the following going for her: She is happily married, her adorable  husband just opened a high-end restaurant to rave reviews, they just finished building a house near the ocean, she gave birth to a third perfect child a few months ago (natural childbirth, of course), her children are disgustingly beautiful, she always looks fit and well put together, she always looks ecstatic in her photos, and she gets a ton of comments–like hundreds of comments from their scads of friends and of course the extended family–telling her how beautiful and perfect she and her family and everything else are.  Oh, and they just got back from a vacation too.  She has the love and acceptance of my mother and all of her extended family.  And she’s not alone.  Everyone else on that side of the family seems to have a perfect life too.   I always imagine (and probably imagine correctly) that they all look down on me.

Do I sound envious?  I guess you could say I am.   I don’t have the sort of happy, successful, perfect, monied life my mother and her extended family value.  Because I “failed,” I’ve been devalued and am seen as an embarrassment and source of shame, which is the real reason why I’m never invited to any family functions, not that I’d go anyway.   The sad thing is, as the family scapegoat, I was set up to be the family black sheep and never be able to have a life like that.

I need to quit Facebook.  I really hate it.  All that perfection makes me want to HURL!

My narcissist mother’s hate-crush on Martha Stewart.

martha-hate

I hesitated about posting this because earlier this year I found out my mother has read this blog and ever since,  I’ve felt inhibited about posting anything bad about her.

But why? What’s she gonna do? Not talk to me? We don’t talk anyway. Say bad things about me behind my back?  She does that too.  Why am I still so worried she might “disapprove?” She’s never approved of me and never will, so fuck it, I’m posting this because it’s funny.

My mother was consumed with Martha Stewart-envy, but would rather have laid on a bed of nails than ever admit it.

She was a woman who perceived herself to be the perfect housewife, perfect corporate hostess, perfect chef, perfect decorator, and perfect party-giver.  She held herself up as a paragon of upper-middle class feminine virtue.    When she was married to my father, she prided herself on her flawless and memorable cocktail parties (no matter that both she and my father spent the entire time drunk and arguing loudly at these events in front of their guests).  She crowed to anyone who would listen that she could whip up a gourmet meal worthy of Julia Child’s praise (to be fair, she actually was a good cook but she wasn’t THAT good).  She also thought of herself as a world-class interior decorator even though the kitchen in the house we lived in was outdated by about 40 years and never had any modernizations or improvements done to it (the fixtures were all white enameled metal, the floor was cracked multicolor-speckled brown linoleum, and counter space was nonexistent), the ancient floral wallpaper in most of the bedrooms was dingy and yellow with age (this was the original wallpaper in our 1920s Dutch colonial revival house), and every room in the public areas were carpeted with the same boring beige wall-to-wall because the hardwood floors looked like shit.

She did, in fact, have a short lived career as an interior decorator, and to be fair, she was probably reasonably skilled, but you’d never know it looking at our house. Our Christmas tree was always boring too–every year the same white lights and red and silver ornaments went on the tree (no other colors allowed) because anything more colorful was deemed “tacky” even though there was a child in the house.

After my parents divorced, my mother went into public relations and bragged constantly about how successful she was in her field and how everyone wanted to be her client because of her flawless skills, sparkling charisma, and her ability to sell ice to an Eskimo. Although she never achieved fame and riches, she liked to live as if she had both, and looked down on people who had “regular jobs.” But one thing my mother never had much of was creativity, although she liked to brag that she did.

Martha Stewart was everything my mother wished she was: a woman who had parlayed her creative homemaking, decorating, and cooking skills into a huge empire; a woman who appeared on TV talk shows, wrote books, published a glossy magazine, and had countless articles written about her in national publications. My mother hated Martha Stewart. She never passed up an opportunity to rail on about Martha’s terrible taste in decor and table presentations, her weight (to my mother, Martha was “fat”), her “tentlike” clothes, her irritating personality, her flat “peasant-like” facial features, her obsession with fattening desserts rather than healthy salads and lean meats, and her overuse of tacky primary colors and insipid pastels (my mother was the Queen of Beige, an evil color if I ever saw one–is it even a color?). For a normal woman with my mother’s range of interests, someone like Martha Stewart could have been an inspiration, but to a narcissist like my mother, she presented a huge threat; she was someone who had the potential to make my mother’s domestic and entertaining skills look uninspired and pedestrian in comparison.

likeigiveafuck

When the story broke on the news that Martha Stewart got arrested for tax fraud, my mother actually rubbed her hands together with glee and her eyes glittered in a Mean Girls sort of way. She literally squealed in delight when Martha was shown being taken off in handcuffs to the minimum security womens’ prison where she would live for the next five months, to be followed by another five months of house arrest. “Common criminal,” my mother sniffed contemptuously. “She had it coming. What’s she going to do? Sew tacky curtains for the barred windows?”

I’ve never been a big fan of Martha Stewart either but I thought her attitude in prison was classy, refreshing, and even touching. She treated her cellmates–mostly women of far lower social class than she was–with respect and dignity, and from everything I heard, all the women there adored her and they all cried when she was released. One of the girls knit Martha a clunky homemade shawl, which Martha proudly wore in front of the cameras as she was escorted away. I thought Martha handled what could have been an incredibly embarrassing situation with class and good humor. I pointed how nice Martha’s attitude was.
“I think it’s so cool the way she treats all those girls like human beings, and makes them feel valued.”
Always the wet blanket, my mother hissed, “well, you don’t know what she’s like when the camera isn’t on her.”*

That’s what narcissists do. They’re wet blankets. Maybe Martha Stewart can do something creative with those too.

***

* Martha Stewart’s daughter reports that her mother was anything but ideal, and was probably a narcissist.  That may be true but I still thought her attitude toward her cellmates was admirable, even if it was only to make a good impression to the public.

The useless parasite who lived on my couch got rewarded for having ASPD.

cash-cow
Credit: That Woman’s Weblog

I need to vent a little.

My MN/ASPD ex just received $31K in backpay disability for the seven years he spent living like a leech in my living room (after we divorced), making a mess everywhere, taking advantage of me, mentally and emotionally abusing me, refusing to work (so he could get disability–during the review process you cannot have a job), and not paying me so much as a dime the entire time he lived here. He played his horrible music loud when I was trying to sleep and got mad when I told him to turn it down. He complained constantly about everything. He brought in a Jack Russell puppy even though he knew I couldn’t have another dog and he knew I can’t stand Jack Russells (which is going to be my next post). Of course I was stupid to ever trust him and allow him to live with me at all, once we were divorced. But I was so codependent and scared of his empty threats.

I’m envious. And outraged. And I can’t seem to shake this toxic rage. I’m envious because he doesn’t have to slave away at a low-level service job and live paycheck to paycheck, but now rakes in about $500 more per month than I do for doing absolutely nothing. Plus that he has more money right now than I’ve ever had in my life even though I work like a dog for very little. The parasite is actually capable of working to some extent, but never wanted to work, so he successfully used a few medical and psychiatric problems to prove he can’t work. He’s great at playing the system, which is a good indication of someone with ASPD, which he has actually been diagnosed with.

useless_bum

And that brings me to my next issue with all this. The useless POS was officially diagnosed with ASPD. Apparently ASPD is recognized by the North Carolina disability board as a “disability,” for the obvious reason that someone who’s antisocial is unemployable. I understand that part, but why is he being REWARDED for being a lying POS who gets his sadistic thrills making people more vulnerable than himself miserable and crazy?

It’s outrageous is what it is. I recognized the anger I feel is righteous anger that most normal people would probably feel too in the same situation, but it’s mixed with this toxic envy of what he has and I don’t and this childish envy won’t go away and is eating away at my soul like an ulcer from hell.

So what am I going to do about it?
I’m going to do nothing. There’s nothing I can do. I might write a letter to the paper but not use our real names, just to call attention to the fact that this ridiculous state of affairs exists. Maybe some politician will read it and take it seriously. Most likely not. It might make me feel better to write a letter though.

But other than that, I have to accept this injustice. The jerk isn’t going to help me get my car fixed. I haven’t even asked because I know what he’d say and asking would be breaking my No Contact rule anyway. He’d say no. Even though it was on my back he was able to apply for disability at all. I supported him while he went through the whole process. He’d say no because he’s an asshole who likes to make people suffer. He has no empathy. He does.not.care. In fact, I bet he’s gloating right now over the fact that I’m still wallowing in poverty and working at a crappy job and driving a half-dead junker while he gets to enjoy all his new toys and sit around the house all day trolling political websites, getting high, and sleeping.

My scarlet letter.