In defense of “Cinderella”: is she really a weak Disney princess?

Here is the Twitter thread in which I found this video.   It’s a good explanation of why Cinderella, far from being weak and shallow (only interested in a dress and a man), is actually incredibly brave and a wonderful example of a strong woman who was her family’s scapegoat and eventually, through her own strong will and by remaining a good person, escaped from her abusive family and still retained her compassion and humanity.

Twitter thread by Lia (edited for clarity):

Cinderella gets a bad rep for being considered a weak Disney princess; a bad role model. But she’s literally one of the strongest! think about it.  She was a victim of being abused by her stepfamily for years, yet still remained a kind and caring person throughout all the verbal and mental torture.

Cinderella overcame her situation in the 1950 Disney classic due to retribution for her kindness and optimism. She remained positive through it, truly believing one day she would have the opportunity to escape her family and make her life better for herself every chance she got.

“She waited for the prince to come and save her” is one argument used against her.  But no, she didn’t wait for the prince to come save her. She wasn’t even looking for a man the entire film. She just wanted ONE night of fun to completely enjoy herself by going to this ball.

Let me remind you of this: when Cinderella went to the ball and danced with Prince Charming, she wasn’t aware of who he was and it wasn’t her intention to fall in love. She thought she was dancing with just some guy and didn’t discover he was the prince ‘til she got home.

My point of this thread in defense of Cinderella is many people hate on her because she didn’t physically fight back or run away.  But look at the time period she lived in.  Women weren’t considered as men’s equals and seen as nothing but the purpose of being a housewife (cook, clean, etc.)

If she had run away from her childhood home, where would she have gone? She would’ve been completely homeless with no money to her name.   Even though she didn’t want to stay, she knew having a roof over head and at least being fed was needed to survive.

In conclusion, if you’re a parent or teacher, reconsider listing Cinderella in the “weak Disney Princess, bad role model for girls” group.   Cinderella was a strong character who overcame being abused and dehumanized for years through her kindness, and found her own way by using the other slipper she had to escape.

 

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Grey-rocking: if you can’t go No Contact.

This article has been picking up in views lately, so I decided to reblog it. Several people have told me they’ve found it helpful. I know this trick has helped me in dicey situations when I can’t go No Contact with a narcissist.

Lucky Otters Haven

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Lately I’ve been hearing a new term in the narcissistic abuse community: grey rocking.  I don’t know if it’s a new term or not, but I haven’t heard it before.

How to Grey Rock a Narcissist.

It’s always best to go No Contact (or Very Low Contact) with the narcissists in your life, if it’s at all possible.   But sometimes it isn’t.    For example, you may have underage children with your narcissist and shared custody of them.  Or your boss or a coworker may be a narcissist and you’re not willing to leave your job.  Or you may be in a marriage or relationship with one, have no options for leaving right now and are biding your time until you can save enough money to leave.    Or perhaps you’re still living at home with narcissistic parents and don’t have a place to go yet.

In these types…

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The bullies are winning and my heart is breaking.

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Today I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach and recovering from some terrible illness at the same time.  I have no energy.    I just want to pull the covers over my head and sleep.  But I can’t sleep because I’m so on edge.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and I’ve spent the entire day lying in bed. I’m depressed and anxious and everything hurts.  I’m stress-eating, doing pretty much nothing but staring at the ceiling and dropping the crumbs from the loaf of lemon pound cake I bought this morning all over my clean sheets.  At least I haven’t watched the news today (I need a break from it, after this past week).   I’ve been trying to read a new book I just bought, but I can’t concentrate.  I must have read the same page about ten times and didn’t comprehend a word of what I read.

As a survivor of narcissistic and sexual abuse, this whole Kavanaugh drama that’s been on the news 24/7 for almost two weeks now has been extremely triggering and making my C-PTSD symptoms flare up.  It’s not much comfort to know I’m far from alone though.  What this government is doing is narcissistic abuse writ large, and it’s negatively affecting millions of women and children, people of color, immigrants, and even many men.  Brett Kavanaugh is an abuser.  Even if he wasn’t a sexual predator (and I think there’s enough evidence that he is), he is predator and an abuser of women.  You can tell by his smug demeanor and his fake tears, by his narcissistic rage, by his entitlement, and by his abuser non-apology (“I didn’t mean to lose control, but SHE made me do it”).  Trump loves Kavanaugh because he’s a mirror image of himself and he will do his bidding and make him immune to the law.

So now that this predator, serial liar, and all around awful person has been confirmed to the highest court in the land, I feel personally threatened.  Not by Kavanaugh personally, since I will never have to deal with him.   I feel threatened by this entire regime which seems to grow stronger and meaner every day.  The abuse they inflict seems to keep getting worse, and now it’s getting personal.   First there was the Muslim ban, then the horrible treatment of the people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, there was Heather Heyer being killed in Charlottesville by a white supremacist, and then football players taking a knee and being condemned for that.   As terrible as those things were, they didn’t seem that personal.  They were just terrible news stories, distant from my own life.  I still had hope things would turn around, people would wake up to what was happening, and good would triumph over evil.

But real life isn’t a movie with a happy ending, and things continued to deteriorate.   There were reports of  migrant kids from Central America locked in cages and forcibly separated from their parents.  I remember waking up in cold sweats from nightmares about little Hispanic children crying and screaming behind bars in cold dark cages, reaching their little hands out through the bars toward me, tears streaming down their small brown faces, and not being able to do a thing to help them except pray for them.  My nightmare wasn’t far off from the reality of what was actually happening.  Kids in concentration camps.  No privacy, not enough food, forced to drink dirty water, denied medical care or comfort.  Provided only with an aluminum foil blanket for warmth.  Ripped from their mothers’ arms and then not even allowed to comfort each other.  Abused and mocked by cruel, sociopathic guards in some cases.  Children fortunate enough to be returned to their parents looked shell shocked, their faces devoid of emotion.  They’d obviously been traumatized and were forced to  bury their feelings because living like that, in cages, away from the family that loved them, not understanding what they did wrong to deserve such treatment, hurt too much.  These little kids will be damaged for life, because a fat orange faced dictator felt like it was necessary to “deter” immigrants from coming here, and these innocent little lives were used as a tool and a warning.

And this travesty is happening in America.  In the land of the free.  In the the shining city on a hill.  “It can’t happen here.”  Really?  Oh, yes, it can.  And it is.   Who will be targeted next?

Women.   Women are being targeted now.  Especially women who dare to come forward and tell the truth about their abusers.   This regime has no empathy for survivors of abuse, sexual or otherwise, especially if they’re female.   Trump mocked Dr. Christine Ford at one of his rallies, and his supporters cheered.   A sexual predator gets confirmed to the Supreme Court, after lying under oath, committing perjury, and after a sham FBI investigation was run that turned out to be nothing more than a way to get “the left” to shut up.

Now Democrats and liberals are being targeted.    I avoid reading Trump’s tweets, but I couldn’t ignore this one, because it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck:

You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left wing mob.  Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern.  Republicans believe in the rule of the law – not the rule of the mob.

Let’s unpack this tweet.  First of all, it is blatant gaslighting and projection, which this man does every day.   It’s the Party of Trump (formerly the Republican Party), that has become extreme and dangerous, they are the ones who are trying to install a fascist, authoritarian government, remove our rights and freedoms, and now they appear to want to squash the First Amendment rights of anyone who doesn’t fawn at Trump’s feet.

I have never heard any president in my lifetime ever refer to the opposite party as a “mob” or “dangerous.”   Such labels were reserved for outside enemies, like ISIS or Al-Qaeda.  Our protests have been peaceful, much more peaceful than the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally that ended in the death of a counterprotester, or all the hate-filled Trump rallies where his followers chant mindlessly, “Lock her up!  Lock her up!” two years after Hillary lost the election (even though she didn’t lose the popular vote) — and even though repeated investigations found she was innocent of any wrongdoing.   THEY are the mob, not us.  The Trump party does NOT believe in the rule of law because its leaders are corrupt to the core and break the law every day.  Its followers are fueled by hate and fear, and they are growing more aggressive, as Trump stokes their rage at his rallies and encourages bullying and violence against anyone who is different from them, or anyone who doesn’t worship Trump, which means most of us.  I fear there is going to be a crackdown against us very soon, a curtailment of our rights, even though we have done nothing wrong.

In America, the bullies are winning.  Evil is winning.  It’s so triggering.  I am reminded of being the bullied, sensitive kid at school who was chased home every day by a rowdy group of cruel boys and mocked by the popular girls because of my social awkwardness.   Our president is a sadistic bully and he is surrounded by and rewards other sadistic bullies, while gaslighting and blaming and cruelly mocking everyone who has ever been a victim — or even anyone who is just a decent human being — by him and his merry band of flying monkeys.

When I think back to two years ago, or even a year ago, I realize with a jolt how much worse things have become since then — and much worse than I ever thought they could get.  I certainly thought Trump would have been impeached or removed under the 25th Amendment by now, but nothing he does or says — locking kids in cages, committing treasonous acts with Putin and Kim Jong Un in plain sight, alienating our allies, mocking women and abuse survivors who are brave enough to come forward and tell their stories — nothing at all seems to force him to be accountable.   He is apparently already above the law.  His new SCOTUS pick, Kavanaugh, was chosen primarily because he will make sure Trump stays above the law and is never held accountable for his many criminal acts and brutal deeds.    Our system of checks and balances has been hacked away at and has failed us, and now all three branches of government are completely under Trump’s control.

Even the breaking news story the other day in the New York Times that provided proof that Trump is a tax cheat and fraud who lied about his inheritance and businesses,  made barely a blip in the news.  It got buried under all the Kavanaugh drama, and no one even seems to care.  No one is going to hold him accountable for his crimes.   Even if the Mueller investigation somehow isn’t shut down,  Trump will skate, no matter how bad the charges may be.

Things have gotten worse, so much worse.  I feel it in my very cells.  It’s different now than it was even a few weeks ago.  Trump is consolidating power, he’s become more blatant and open in his cruelty and his lackeys don’t even try to hide behind a pleasant facade anymore (Lindsey Graham is a good example —  it’s almost like he’s possessed or suddenly removed his “soft spoken southern gentleman” skin suit).

The GOP has declared open season on women who dare to call out a man for abuse or for rape, and on all Democrats.   This isn’t normal.   A president is supposed to bring people together, not divide them.   Democrats have been demonized and identified as the enemy, and Trump’s tweet is preparing his base for aggression and violence against us.  To Trump and his supporters, we are the enemy, every bit as bad if not worse than ISIS.  We are fair game for whatever Trump wants them to dish out.   Martial law and curtailment of our freedom of speech is probably next.   We may even be rounded up and put in reeducation or forced labor camps.  Private prisons can make a hefty profit off our free labor.

As a Democrat and a woman and abuse survivor, I don’t feel safe in this country anymore.  I’m hypervigilant and constantly stressed.   Things seem to get better for awhile, I see a ray of hope — and then something happens and it feels like I’m on the Titanic as it was sinking, knowing there’s no way to save myself.  Or like I’m in hell, trapped in a torturous game of two steps forward, three steps back, for all eternity.   It’s as if I’m back in my abusive marriage, only this is worse because there’s no escape, no way to go “no contact.”  Trump dominates everything, he’s an oppressive presence even when I’m not seeing or hearing him.   I feel like I can’t breathe.  I wish I could flee the country, but I lack the means to do that.    And I’m so jealous of those who will be able to.

If things have gotten this much worse in less than two years, I’m absolutely petrified of what is coming down the pike next year, or two years hence.   I lack the right kind of emotional makeup to be able to survive living in a fascist dictatorship and once it’s established (if we lose the midterms I am sure it will be), all I have to look forward to is the relief of death.   I worry about my children facing a future under such a cruel and heartless regime, where my daughter can be targeted because of her gender, and my son can be targeted because of his sexual orientation.   I don’t feel like they’re safe here either and I worry about them.

Besides being terrified, I’m also heartbroken.   I remember the way things used to be here in America, how bright the future seemed.  I remember the way we took our many freedoms and rights for granted and never dreamed anything like this could happen.  I’m filled with grief so profound and heavy I can barely move.    I often wonder if this is the way women felt in Afghanistan or Iran before Sharia Law took over or the way the people of Germany felt in 1934 before Hitler seized total power.

I never thought it would happen here.  But it has.  America is dying, and this is what is feels like.

Please pray for us.

*****

Here is a similar, but more hopeful, article from Chris Kratzer’s amazing blog.  Its central message is that if what is happening in America makes you feel sick, nauseous, angry, sad, fearful, or disgusted, there is nothing wrong with you.  In fact, if you feel those things, it’s an indication you have a working soul.

If Today, Your Heart Breaks and Your Hope Is Fading

Confusing patterns.

This is an older post about a very confusing time for me during my recovery journey. It’s very common for people with Complex PTSD who survived narcissistic abuse to believe they are narcissists themselves, but if you think you are one, most likely you are not. I definitely have narcissistic traits, some that I picked up from my abusers, others that may be inherent, but I don’t have NPD.

Two years ago, I became so certain I did that I actually started a second blog about it. That blog has been taken down, though some people did tell me they found it helpful and that makes me happy. It’s very common for people with C-PTSD to believe they have NPD. but I just couldn’t leave the blog up because it started to feel like a lie.

Lucky Otters Haven

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In the almost year and a half since I’ve been blogging, an interesting picture has emerged. I started to blog after I went no contact with my ex (actually very low contact since we have children) as a way to process having been a victim of narcissistic abuse, first by my family of origin, then by my ex. My focus for the first six months or so was primarily on my abusers, and my rage at narcissists in general. Most of my articles were about narcissists and narcissism, and I read everything I could about it too. I became close with other ACON (adult children of narcissists) bloggers. I wasn’t ready yet to take a good long look at myself and what I could do to help myself, other than staying far away from abusive people. But it was a very good start to a journey that proved to be…

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Narcissistic abuse: who is the real victim?

I’ve noticed the way the Trump administration is constantly “blaming the victim,” and the way they never take responsibility for their own terrible and abusive actions that hurt real people.  Not just that, but they usually paint themselves as innocent victims and use rhetoric that makes it sound as if the real victim is the perpetrator.  They project their own evil onto the victim and often use flying monkeys (in a government, a flying monkey can include state run news, TV pundits, and other propaganda generators) to smear or destroy the victim’s reputation or credibility.   This is a form of emotional and mental abuse common in families run by sociopaths and narcissists and, as we are seeing, it also happens in sociopathic regimes like the one we’re currently living under.

There is an acronym called DARVO in the narcissistic abuse community (DARVO = Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender). Narcissistic abuse survivors are all too familiar with this method of mental abuse and emotional manipulation.  It surprises me that more of them don’t see it happening in the Trump administration, when it’s staring them right in the face, but there are abuse victims who actually unconsciously identify with their abusers and this could be an example of that.

There are many examples of DARVO in this administration (it would take a whole other article to name all of them), the most recent one being the GOP ganging up on and blaming a rape victim of trying to “ruin the life of” and making a victim of a “model citizen” (Brett Kavanaugh).   In general, women are held in very low regard in this regime (especially if they are not white), and are usually blamed by the patriarchy for anything that happens to them, including rape. These hateful, entitled men seem to think a man who sexually abuses a woman or even a child (Roy Moore) is just “doing what men do” and it’s the female’s job to somehow stop him, or that she somehow “led him on.”

In this authoritarian regime which emboldens and encourages toxic masculinity and misogyny, men are painted as poor innocents who simply cannot control their sexual urges.   Never mind that forcible sex, rape and molestation have nothing to do with sexual desire and is all about power and control.   If it cannot be denied the rape or sexual abuse was wrong, the woman is blamed for not reporting it in a timely enough manner.  But there are many reasons a woman or girl may not report sexual abuse or may wait many years to do so: shame and fear of retribution being the most common reasons.   According to the patriarchy, the man is never to blame.  It is always the woman’s fault.

Franklin Graham, the dominionist son of Billy Graham (what the heck happened to Graham’s kids anyway? Billy was not a lunatic) even went so far as to say Kavanaugh “respected” his victim by “not finishing.”   Wow.  A real man of God.   He probably thinks it’s okay to rape young girls because that’s what men did in Old Testament times.    Now the corrupt GOP are trying to silence Dr. Blasey Ford and ram Kavanaugh through for the SCOTUS seat in spite of abundant evidence he is not a man of good character.  They are trying to excuse what he did to Dr. Blasey Ford as normal behavior for a teenage boy, even though it is not at all normal.     When I was in high school, no boy with any moral compass would ever hold a girl down while forcing sex on her and cover her mouth to keep her from screaming (and have a friend turn the music up to drown her out), and if he did, it would become a police matter (if she ever reported it).

In light of these developments and the real peril women are in under the Trump regime (we may lose all our rights and freedoms should this nomination go through and if the GOP wins the midterms), I’m reblogging this article I wrote about distinguishing victims from their abusers (it can be hard to tell, if the abuser has convinced you they’re the victim)

Lucky Otters Haven

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Narcissistic abusers are great at charming people they want to impress, or those people they want to get on their side. When they have targeted an individual for abuse, they will stop at nothing to turn their friends, colleagues, even their families against them–and it’s not at all uncommon for them to claim that THEY are the ones being abused.   The process of using malicious gossip and lies to turn people against the victim is called triangulation and is well known in the narcissistic abuse community. Most of us who have been targeted by narcissistic abusers know all too well about triangulation and its close cousin, gaslighting. Both will be used in conjunction with each other to turn the victim’s potential allies against them, effectively isolating them and ripping away any support systems they could use later.

Those who have been turned against the victim by the narcissist are called

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I used to be a dominionist without even knowing it.

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I’ve written about dominionist Christianity extensively, so I won’t describe it at length here.  One of the most toxic and abusive doctrines of dominionism is that if you are vulnerable in any way — if you are poor, sick, disabled, mentally ill, or even a person of color (in dominionist doctrine, people of color are believed to be derived from the line of Ham, the son of Cain, who was Adam and Eve’s “bad” son — in the past this has been used as “biblical” justification of slavery) — these are all indications of God’s disfavor and people “afflicted” with these things deserve their lot.   In contrast, God’s favored people are always rewarded with great wealth, perfect health, and no disabilities.  They are also usually white and Republican.  This is why dominionist Christians feel no obligation to show compassion toward the sick, poor and disabled (as Christ would do) — because to help them would be to go against God’s will.   It’s also why they seem to think unlimited power and greed (and oppression of others) is perfectly moral.

But getting back to myself.  While I was never a dominionist Christian or even a conservative evangelical, my attitude in the past toward myself was a very negative, self punishing one.   I always had at least a nominal faith in God, but I truly believed he disliked me and my terrible luck, my bad relationships, my inability to form close relationships, my emotionally abusive family, and my poverty were all punishments God was inflicting on me because he hated me.    I looked at others and saw how fortunate they were (or at least seemed to be) and felt like God must like them much better.  Sometimes I thought God only put me on earth as an example to others of what not to be.

This made me feel completely worthless and made me want to hide in shame from the world.   It made me painfully shy, which only exacerbated my problems meeting people and socializing.    In my recovery from narcissistic abuse, I realized this negative, self defeating narrative was self inflicted due to internalizing abuse inflicted on me when I was young.   I began to realize that I had good qualities and never had the chance to develop them.

I like myself now.  No, I’m not living my “dream life” (that would involve traveling all over the world and writing bestselling books) and I will probably never have a high powered, high paying career at my age.  I probably won’t ever achieve all my dreams, but really, who does?   I’m still on the lower end of the income scale, but I wouldn’t say I’m impoverished anymore.   I have enough money to be comfortable and even buy a few luxuries (like occasional inexpensive vacations, beach trips, new books, the occasional dinner out, and nice clothing).

I’m still alone (not in a relationship), and even though sometimes that’s lonely and I even occasionally feel sorry for myself, I also know I prefer things that way for now.  I’m still working on myself, trying to find out more about me and what God wants for me (and what I want for myself).

I feel fortunate to have two wonderful adult children, both of whom I have a great relationship with, and three awesome cats.   I also live in a beautiful part of the country, with endless opportunities for photo taking and just enjoying the natural world.  Not everyone is so fortunate to have that.

Recovery from narcissistic abuse coupled with reframing God as a benevolent and loving Father who wants all his children to be happy and healthy rather than as a punishing and hateful bully who favors some of his children over others (and rewards them primarily with wealth and material abundance) has made all the difference.

I think this is why I find Christian dominionism so triggering and scary.  Not just because it’s become a real threat to our basic freedoms and rights, but because it’s a toxic, abusive, and hateful belief in an avenging, constantly angry, narcissistic God who likes to bully and punish the most vulnerable.  That sort of God, to me, is as bad as the devil.   I think that God was made in his narcissistic control freak human makers’ own image.

I’m so glad I don’t believe in that God anymore.

 

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

Crocodile Tears

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.

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

boss

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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The Divide and Conquer tactics used by the GOP to divide the left.

divideandconquer

This cartoon clearly shows how Divide and Conquer works.

 

I think my experience as a survivor of narcissistic abuse and my subsequent “crash course” in how this type of abuse works (which is the original reason I started this blog)  is the primary reason I am now so aware of the narcissistic abuse that the Trump administration is inflicting on America and the whole world (and yes, that even includes his supporters, who are codependent to him as they would be to an abusive spouse or parent — or are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome).

One of the Machiavellian tactics used by malignant narcissist Trump and his equally sociopathic regime (and it IS a regime, which is why I call it that)  is Divide and Conquer.  Malignant narcissists and other Dark Triad people use D&C as a way to manipulate and control their marks.  Dividing people works, because it’s easier to take control over them when they are not united as an opposing force because they are too busy fighting each other to see the real danger right in front of them.

There are many examples of Divide and Conquer used by the Trump regime, but some are less obvious than others.  Rallying his supporters to hate journalists and the “fake news,” or using racist dog whistles to rile up his base against “the Other”  are more obvious examples that can be fairly easily detected by anyone who follows the news and is against the Trump regime.

One of the less obvious D&C tactics are insidious ploys to divide “the left.”   I need to mention here that “the left” is no longer limited to latte sipping East Coast intellectuals and artists, socialist Millennials, and pot smoking aging hippies.   It now refers to anyone who is against Trump and his regime.   We are at a point in history where even moderate conservatives who oppose this president (the so called “Never Trumpers”) are now part of “the left.”  George W. Bush could be considered a leftist now — that is how far right the Overton Window has moved in recent years.   But I digress.

In the past few days, I have noticed a smear campaign being used against Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.  Liberals and Democrats on Twitter have been arguing and fighting amongst themselves (even blocking other people on the left who otherwise agree with them politically), over whether Nancy Pelosi should keep her job in the House or be replaced with someone younger and “more relevant.”

It turns out this smear campaign was started by the GOP and specifically Trump, who constantly tweets derogatory and inflammatory things about her, knowing she is controversial to people on the left to begin with.   Here is a tweet from the other day that seemed to be the catalyst for the current discord:

Democrats, please do not distance yourselves from Nancy Pelosi. She is a wonderful person whose ideas & policies may be bad, but who should definitely be given a 4th chance. She is trying very hard & has every right to take down the Democrat Party if she has veered too far left!

What he’s doing is taking advantage of the fact Pelosi is already controversial to divide the left even further and create deeper discord and division.  His goal is to provide a distraction from the real damage he and his regime are doing while simultaneously making the left lose focus on who the real enemy here is — and it is not Nancy Pelosi.

This is a sneaky and insidious way to divide (and subsequently conquer) Trump’s enemies and it’s being used because IT WORKS.    It’s so insidious that unless we have received an education in how to spot narcissistic abuse and Machiavellianism, we may not even be aware that we are just marks being used and manipulated by a sociopathic leader for his own benefit.

That Trump is using a common technique known to abusers and malignant narcissists is as obvious to me as the sky is blue, but it may not be so obvious to others not familiar with how narcissistic abuse works.    I recommend people opposed to Donald Trump and his regime read The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout.  This blog also features many articles about narcissistic abuse, or if you prefer, just Google “narcissism” or “narcissistic abuse” to find other blogs, articles, and resources about this pervasive problem that begins in families and between individuals and works its dark magic all the way up to our highest world leaders.